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1

Outline statistical infrequency as a definition of abnormality.

• Mathematical method.
• Abnormality is based on infrequency, if it occurs rarely then it is abnormal.
• For example, average IQ of population is about 100. Anything below 70 is deemed abnormal and so is anything above 130.

2

Evaluate statistical infrequency as a definition of abnormality.

• Some abnormal behaviour is desirable e.g. people with IQ over 150. This wouldn’t be considered undesirable or as needing treatment; unable to distinguish between desirable and undesirable behaviours.

• Sometimes appropriate e.g. when determining intellectual disability by looking at IQ.

3

Outline deviation from social norms as a definition of abnormality.

Every culture has certain standards for acceptable behaviour. Norms are expected ways of behaving according to the majority and therefore anyone who goes against these norms and violates them is perceived as abnormal.

4

Evaluate deviation from social norms as a definition of abnormality.

• Varies as time changes. What is socially acceptable now may not have been 50 years ago e.g. homosexuality.

• Deviance is related to context of a behaviour e.g. person on a beach half-naked is regarded as normal, whereas the same outfit in a classroom or formal gathered would be seen as abnormal and possible an indication of mental behaviour. Social deviance on its own is not sufficient.

• Social norms are culturally specific and differ from one culture to another, e.g. person hearing voices may be considered normal in one culture but considered a mental illness in another. Could create problems for cultural groups living within another culture.

5

Outline failure to function adequately as a definition of abnormality.

Under this definition, a person is considered abnormal if they cannot cope with demands of everyday life. For example, they may be unable to perform behaviours necessary for day-to-day living e.g. self care, holding down a job and may cause distress for others as well as themselves. Following characteristics suggest failing to function adequately:

• Personal suffering and discomfort
• Irrationality
• Maladaptiveness
• Causes observer discomfort
• Unpredictability

6

Evaluate failure to function adequately as a definition of abnormality.

• Can be hard to say when someone is really failing to function adequately and when they are just deviating from social norms e.g. people who practise extreme sports could be accused of behaving in a maladaptive way whilst those with religious or supernatural beliefs could be seen as irrational. Treating these behaviours as failures could risk limiting and discriminating against minority groups.

• Some apparent dysfunctional behaviour can actually be functional e.g. some mental disorders such as depression may lead to extra attention for the individual which can be rewarding and therefore quite functional for the individual.

7

Outline deviation from ideal mental health as a definition of abnormality.

Define physical illness by looking at the absence of signs of physical health so mental illness can also be defined in this way.

Characteristics associated with ideal mental health:

• High self-esteem
• Personal growth and self-actualisation
• Autonomy: independent and self-regulating
• Accurate perception of reality
• Mastery is the environment: ability to love, function at work, adjust to new situations and solve problems

8

Evaluate deviation from ideal mental health as a definition of abnormality.

Some of the ideas in Jahoda’s classification of ideal mental health are specific to Western Europe and North America (culture-bound).

E.g. emphasis on personal achievement would be considered self-indulgent in collectivist cultures.

9

Outline emotional characteristics of phobias.

• Anxiety
• Panic

10

Outline the behavioural characteristics of phobias.

• Avoidance
• Endurance
• Panic

11

Cognitive characteristics of phobias.

• Irrationality.
• Selective attention
• Cognitive distortion

12

Outline and evaluate treatments for phobias

• Systematic desensitisation: gradual build-up of phobic stimulus which is more ethical than flooding. This also has low refusal and attrition rates; elimination of phobias is long-lasting.

• Flooding: individual is immersed in their phobic stimulus - immediate exposure. They eventually learn to associate the stimulus with relaxation in a process called extinction. This is unethical and can be highly traumatising. However, it is cheaper and highly effective for specific phobias (but not for complex phobias).

13

Outline one explanation for developing phobias.

Classical conditioning is learning by association. Phobias are acquired by associating the phobic stimulus with a fearful experience.

Diagram below illustrates an example of classical conditioning in Watson and Rayner’s study:

Before conditioning:
NS —> NR
White rat —> NR

UCS —> UCR
Loud noise —> Fear

During conditioning:
UCS + NS —> UCR
Loud noise + White rat —> Fear

After conditioning:
CS —> CR
White rat —> Fear

14

Outline an explanation for how phobias are maintained.

Operant condition takes place when our behaviour is reinforced or punished.

Reinforcement tends to increase the frequency of a behaviour - can be positive or negative reinforcement.

• Positive reinforcement: the likelihood of a behaviour (i.e. phobia of something) is increased when person receives comfort or attention from others because this is seen as rewarding.

• Negative reinforcement: this involves avoiding the phobic stimulus because the individual wants to avoid an unpleasant situation.

15

Evaluate the behavioural approach to explaining phobias.

• Has research evidence which shows classical conditioning can lead to phobia: conditioned Little Albert to fear white rats.

• Theory based on Watson and Rayner which lacks mundane realism - unlikely to encounter same experience that many times over such a short amount of time.

• Ethical issues associated with the study that the theory is based on.

• Some phobias appear to be universal - may be innate. Not all phobias are learnt.

• Diathesis-stress model: not everyone who experiences something fearful develops a phobia of that stimulus. Could be that only those with a genetic vulnerability would be affected, which also suggests it is innate.

• Has real life applications: flooding and systematic desensitisation which prove to be long-lasting and effective.

16

Outline one explanation for developing phobias.

Classical conditioning is learning by association. Phobias are acquired by associating the phobic stimulus with a fearful experience.

Diagram below illustrates an example of classical conditioning in Watson and Rayner’s study:

Before conditioning:
NS —> NR
White rat —> NR

UCS —> UCR
Loud noise —> Fear

During conditioning:
UCS + NS —> UCR
Loud noise + White rat —> Fear

After conditioning:
CS —> CR
White rat —> Fear

17

Outline one explanation for developing phobias.

Classical conditioning is learning by association. Phobias are acquired by associating the phobic stimulus with a fearful experience.

Diagram below illustrates an example of classical conditioning in Watson and Rayner’s study:

Before conditioning:
NS —> NR
White rat —> NR

UCS —> UCR
Loud noise —> Fear

During conditioning:
UCS + NS —> UCR
Loud noise + White rat —> Fear

After conditioning:
CS —> CR
White rat —> Fear

18

Outline one explanation for developing phobias.

Classical conditioning is learning by association. Phobias are acquired by associating the phobic stimulus with a fearful experience.

Diagram below illustrates an example of classical conditioning in Watson and Rayner’s study:

Before conditioning:
NS —> NR
White rat —> NR

UCS —> UCR
Loud noise —> Fear

During conditioning:
UCS + NS —> UCR
Loud noise + White rat —> Fear

After conditioning:
CS —> CR
White rat —> Fear

19

Outline one explanation for developing phobias.

Classical conditioning is learning by association. Phobias are acquired by associating the phobic stimulus with a fearful experience.

Diagram below illustrates an example of classical conditioning in Watson and Rayner’s study:

Before conditioning:
NS —> NR
White rat —> NR

UCS —> UCR
Loud noise —> Fear

During conditioning:
UCS + NS —> UCR
Loud noise + White rat —> Fear

After conditioning:
CS —> CR
White rat —> Fear

20

Outline one explanation for developing phobias.

Classical conditioning is learning by association. Phobias are acquired by associating the phobic stimulus with a fearful experience.

Diagram below illustrates an example of classical conditioning in Watson and Rayner’s study:

Before conditioning:
NS —> NR
White rat —> NR

UCS —> UCR
Loud noise —> Fear

During conditioning:
UCS + NS —> UCR
Loud noise + White rat —> Fear

After conditioning:
CS —> CR
White rat —> Fear

21

Outline one explanation for developing phobias.

Classical conditioning is learning by association. Phobias are acquired by associating the phobic stimulus with a fearful experience.

Diagram below illustrates an example of classical conditioning in Watson and Rayner’s study:

Before conditioning:
NS —> NR
White rat —> NR

UCS —> UCR
Loud noise —> Fear

During conditioning:
UCS + NS —> UCR
Loud noise + White rat —> Fear

After conditioning:
CS —> CR
White rat —> Fear