Samenvatting Class notes - Abnormal Psychology

- Abnormal Psychology
- N/A
- 2015 - 2016
- DU
- Psychology
332 Flashcards en notities
2 Studenten
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Samenvatting - Class notes - Abnormal Psychology

  • 1453071600 What is abnormal psychology? Historical views

  • What is abnormal psychology?
    Branch of psychology, studies abnormal patterns of behaviour, thoughts and emotions
  • What is abnormal?
    • Deviance: Behaviour, thoughts and emotions deviant from “normal"
    (incl. Irrationality and unpredictability, Violation of the standards of society, Is something that is statistically rare always undesirable (such as genius)?)

    • Distress / Suffering: Behaviour, thoughts and emotions usually have to cause distress (e.g. depression, but what about mania?)

    • Dysfunction / Maladaptiveness: Interference with daily functioning (work, social interactions) e.g. anorexia

    • Danger: Behaviour that becomes dangerous to oneself or others 

    • The Elusive Nature of Abnormality: Inability to apply this definition consistently (e.g. alcohol) 
  • What was the prehistoric view of abnormality and the treatment to "cure" abnormal behaviour?
    Prehistoric view:
    • Internal event result from action of magical beings
    • Victory of evil sprits / possessed by demons

    Method:Trephination to release the evil spirit (i.e. drilling a hole in the brain)
  • What was the Greek and Roman view of abnormality?
    Abnormal behaviour (e.g. mania, melancholia) is a disease; internal physiological problems
    ---> Medical Model: Conceptualization of psychological abnormalities as (biological) disease that have symptoms, causes and possible cures
    i.e. they understood that abnormal behaviours were due to physiological backgrounds & biological causes, and that the disorder could be treated with bioligical/ physiological cure - NOT possessed by devils

    ---> They thought an imbalance of 4 essential fluids/humours (black biles, yellow bile, blood and phlegm) caused abnormal behaviour
  • Eysenck's Four Temperaments and Two Personality Factors model was influenced by Greek & Roman view (see slide 4, p 3 lecture notes)
  • What was happening in Europe in the Middle Ages (about A.D. 500 to A.D. 1500)?
    • Demonology returns in Europe
    • Growing distrust of science
    • Religious beliefs dominated all aspects of life
    • Satan’s influence, God’s punishment, Exorcism
    • Time of great stress + anxiety (plague/black death)
    ---> stress is a key factor in the development of mental disorders
    • Outbreaks of mass madness, hallucinations, delusions, Saint Vitus’ dance/Chorea Sydenham     
  • What was happening in Europe by the 13th century (think witches...)?
    By 13thC, witch trials were held. These looked at orientation, memory, intellect, daily life + habits. 

    • Witch prickers went from town to town sticking pins into the accused. No response was considered evidence of madness.
    • Last execution of a witch was in Switzerland 1782
    ---> if someone (esp. women showed certain disorders, they were accused of being possessed = burned at the stake/drowned
  • What happened during the renaissance to accommodate those who showed abnormal behaviour?
    Hospitals/monasteries were converted into asylums (i.e. storage places for the insane)
    - locked patients away from society
    - didn't particularly help patients
    ---> Once the asylums started to overflow, they became virtual prisons. Patients were held in filthy conditions and treated with unspeakable cruelty. 
  • Who was the first physician to specialize in mental illness?
    Johann Weyer (1515-1588) (during the renaissance)
  • In the 19th century, what 2 people tried to bring about reform and moral treatment?
    • Phillippe Pinel (1745-1826)
    Chief physician in La Bicêtre, Paris. He thought that “Patients’ illness should be treated with sympathy and kindness rather than chains and beatings”

    • Dorothea Dix
    ---> 1841 Dorothea Dix went into institutions. 
    ---> She was shocked + repulsed. 
    ---> She travelled through Massachusetts jails + poorhouses. 
    ---> She presented her findings + demanded more state-funded hospitals. 
    ---> However, several factors led to a reversal of the moral treatment movement: money shortages, recovery rates declined, prejudice against people with mental disorders.
  • In the early 20th century, what were 2 opposing perspectives?
    1. Somatogenic Perspective
    2. Psychogenic Perspective
  • What is the Somatogenic Perspective?

    ---> Abnormal behaviour has physical causes

    1. Emil Kraepelin (1883): Physical factors, such as fatigue, are responsible for mental dysfunction. First modern system for classifying abnormal behaviour.
    2. New biological discoveries (syphilis and paresis/weakness in voluntary movements) - people started to understand that abnormal movements were due to a physical problem, not from being possessed. 

    Treatment: tooth extraction, tonsillectomy, hydrotherapy, lobotomy, eugenic sterilization
  • What is Psychogenic Perspective?
    ---> The chief causes of abnormal functioning are psychological.

    1. Josef Breuer (1842-1925): Studies on hypnotism / inducing a trancelike state in patients with hysterical disorders (from hystera = uterus)

    2. Sigmund Freud (1856-1939): Psychoanalysis, unconscious psychological processes are the cause for abnormal functioning.

    Treatment: Technique of psychoanalysis: Helping patients to get insights in their unconscious psychological processes (even without hypnotic procedures)
  • Note: psychology did not exist in the early 20th century (somatogenic & psychogenic perspectives)
  • What are current trends to treat abnormal behaviour?
    • Psychotropic medications: antipsychotic drugs, antidepressant drugs, antianxiety drugs
    ---> cost effective, they became more efficient = not as many people were going to mental institutions
    • Deinstitutionalization: 1955: 600,000 people, 2010: <40,000 people, short-term
    • Private psychotherapy: Nearly one out of six adults (US) in the course of the year (at least 20% with milder problems)
    • Prevention: Correcting social conditions (e.g., poverty/violence in the community) and emotional problems (e.g., teenage mothers, etc.)
    • Positive Psychology: Study and enhancement of positive feelings such as happiness and optimism  
    • Insurance coverage: Managed care programs; Federal Parity Law (US), providing equal coverage for medical and mental problems)
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Laatst toegevoegde flashcards

Who studied the severity of schizophrenia between males and females? What did they find?
Nopoulos et al, 1997
---> brain imaging study

Results: schizophrenia-related anomalies of brain structure are more severe in male patients than female patients

(p. 316 abnormal textbook)
What is the difference between the findings of Thompson et al (2000) and Cahen et al (2002)?
Cahen et al (2002) just study early onset schizophrenia; however Thompson et al (2000) suggests that decreases in brain tissue and increases in the ventricle size are not limited to the early phases of schizophrenia
(p. 334 abnormal textbook)
Oversecretion of what hormone is related to more frequent depressive symptoms?
What is exposure and modeling therapy?
Controlled exposure to the stimuli /situations that elicit phobic fear

  •   Participant modeling = interaction with the phobic stimulus/situation

= these techniques allow the client to learn that these situations are not as frightening as they had thought 
---> the new learning is probably mediated by changes in brain activation in the amygdala, which is centrally involved in the emotion of fear

(p. 244 abnormal textbook)
What is Cognitive and Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy?
Focuses on observable behaviour and “private event” (e.g. thoughts, evaluations, self-statements)
---> one central issue for cognitive therapy is how best to alter distorted and maladaptive cognition 

Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (Albert Ellis)
  • Attempt to restructure client’s maladaptive thoughts and unrealistic beliefs
  • Therapist disputes a person’s false belief system through rational confrontation (“Why should your failure in passing the exam mean that you are worthless?”
  • Increase self-worth 

Beck’s Cognitive Therapy
  • The way we interpret events and experiences determines our emotional reactions to them 
  • Stable set of schemas that contain dysfunctional beliefs
  • Identification of dysfunctional beliefs and logical errors (e.g. ignoring positive events, overgeneralization, magnification, exaggeration)
What are the 3 humanistic-experiental therapies?
1. Client-Centered Therapy (Carl Rogers)
2. Gestalt Therapy
3. Process-Experiental Therapy
What is Humanistic-Experiental Therapy?
---> Based on the assumption that we have both the freedom and responsibility to control our own behaviour - they can reflect on their problems, make choices, and take positive action
---> Focus on expanding clients’ “awareness”
---> This type of therapy emerged after WW11

Client-Centered Therapy (Carl Rogers)
  • Process of removing constraints that grow out of unrealistic demands that people tend to place on themselves (they believe this as a condition of self-worth)
  • Primary objective is to help clients accept who they are
  • Client-therapist relationship is essential (climate in which client can feel unconditionally accepted, understood and valued).
  • Nondirective techniques such as empathy and restatements of client’s descriptions = allows clients to begin to feel free
  • Ultimate result = client becomes more self-accepting
---> in contrast to most other forms of therapy, the therapist does not give answers, interpret what a client says, probe for unconsscious conflicts etc. They simply listen to what the client wants to talk about

Gestalt Therapy 
  • Emphasises the unity of the mind and body ('Gestalt' means whole in German)
  • Integration of thought, feeling and action
  • The main goal of gestalt therapy is to increase the individual's self-awareness and self-acceptance (the same goal as client-centered and humanistic approaches)

Process-Experiential Therapy 

  • Emphasizes the experiencing of emotions during therapy and reflection of their meanings

(p. 581 - 583 abnormal textbook)
How has psychodynamic therapy changed since Freud?

- Face-to-face interaction instead of ‘couch’ setup

- Active conversation instead of interpretation of ‘free associations’
What are the erroneous beliefs of mental illness?
- mental disorder is a sign of personal weakness (fundamentally different from physical injuries)
- psychiatric patients are dangerous

---> unfortunately the erroneous beliefs shape the way we view mental disorders
---> education about mental disorders dispels the stigma (at least this is what it tries to do)
What are 5 advantages and 3 disadvantages of classifying mental disorders?
  • Nomenclature (a naming system)
  • Allows to structure information
  • Allows research 
  • Allows to develop (and generalise) treatment
  • Multicultural - same diagnosis all around the world


  • Loss of (idiosyncratic) information
  • Stigma, Stereotyping & Discrimination
  • Problem of labelling / Self concept is affected