An introduction to abnormal psychology and its three major groups

Abnormal Psychology By Saul McLeodupdated August 05, Abnormal psychology is a division of psychology that studies people who are "abnormal" or "atypical" compared to the members of a given society. The definition of the word abnormal is simple enough but applying this to psychology poses a complex problem:

An introduction to abnormal psychology and its three major groups

Organismic trait designed to solve an ancestral problem s. Shows complexity, special "design", functionality Adaptation that has been "re-purposed" to solve a different adaptive problem. Williams suggested that an "adaptation is a special and onerous concept that should only be used where it is really necessary.

Obligate and facultative adaptations[ edit ] A question that may be asked about an adaptation is whether it is generally obligate relatively robust in the face of typical environmental variation or facultative sensitive to typical environmental variation.

By contrast, facultative adaptations are somewhat like "if-then" statements. For example, adult attachment style seems particularly sensitive to early childhood experiences. As adults, the propensity to develop close, trusting bonds with others is dependent on whether early childhood caregivers could be trusted to provide reliable assistance and attention.

An introduction to abnormal psychology and its three major groups

The adaptation for skin to tan is conditional to exposure to sunlight; this is an example of another facultative adaptation.

When a psychological adaptation is facultative, evolutionary psychologists concern themselves with how developmental and environmental inputs influence the expression of the adaptation. Cultural universal Evolutionary psychologists hold that behaviors or traits that occur universally in all cultures are good candidates for evolutionary adaptations.

Basic gender differences, such as greater eagerness for sex among men and greater coyness among women, [36] are explained as sexually dimorphic psychological adaptations that reflect the different reproductive strategies of males and females.

Human evolution Evolutionary psychology argues that to properly understand the functions of the brain, one must understand the properties of the environment in which the brain evolved. That environment is often referred to as the "environment of evolutionary adaptedness".

More specifically, the environment of evolutionary adaptedness is defined as the set of historically recurring selection pressures that formed a given adaptation, as well as those aspects of the environment that were necessary for the proper development and functioning of the adaptation.

Humans, comprising the genus Homoappeared between 1. Because the Pleistocene ended a mere 12, years ago, most human adaptations either newly evolved during the Pleistocene, or were maintained by stabilizing selection during the Pleistocene. Evolutionary psychology therefore proposes that the majority of human psychological mechanisms are adapted to reproductive problems frequently encountered in Pleistocene environments.

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The environment of evolutionary adaptedness is significantly different from modern society. Because humans are mostly adapted to Pleistocene environments, psychological mechanisms sometimes exhibit "mismatches" to the modern environment.

One example is the fact that although about 10, people are killed with guns in the US annually, [44] whereas spiders and snakes kill only a handful, people nonetheless learn to fear spiders and snakes about as easily as they do a pointed gun, and more easily than an unpointed gun, rabbits or flowers.

The term was coined by Niko Tinbergen to refer to non-human animal behavior, but psychologist Deirdre Barrett said that supernormal stimulation governs the behavior of humans as powerfully as that of other animals. She explained junk food as an exaggerated stimulus to cravings for salt, sugar, and fats, [48] and she says that television is an exaggeration of social cues of laughter, smiling faces and attention-grabbing action.

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The human mind still responds to personalized, charismatic leadership primarily in the context of informal, egalitarian settings. Hence the dissatisfaction and alienation that many employees experience. Salaries, bonuses and other privileges exploit instincts for relative status, which attract particularly males to senior executive positions.

One of the major goals of adaptationist research is to identify which organismic traits are likely to be adaptations, and which are byproducts or random variations. As noted earlier, adaptations are expected to show evidence of complexity, functionality, and species universality, while byproducts or random variation will not.

In addition, adaptations are expected to manifest as proximate mechanisms that interact with the environment in either a generally obligate or facultative fashion see above. Evolutionary psychologists are also interested in identifying these proximate mechanisms sometimes termed "mental mechanisms" or "psychological adaptations" and what type of information they take as input, how they process that information, and their outputs.

Evolutionary psychologists use several strategies to develop and test hypotheses about whether a psychological trait is likely to be an evolved adaptation. Buss [53] notes that these methods include: Characteristics that have been demonstrated to be cross cultural human universals such as smiling, crying, facial expressions are presumed to be evolved psychological adaptations.

Several evolutionary psychologists have collected massive datasets from cultures around the world to assess cross-cultural universality. Function to Form or "problem to solution". The fact that males, but not females, risk potential misidentification of genetic offspring referred to as "paternity insecurity" led evolutionary psychologists to hypothesize that, compared to females, male jealousy would be more focused on sexual, rather than emotional, infidelity.

Form to Function reverse-engineering — or "solution to problem". Morning sicknessand associated aversions to certain types of food, during pregnancy seemed to have the characteristics of an evolved adaptation complexity and universality.

Margie Profet hypothesized that the function was to avoid the ingestion of toxins during early pregnancy that could damage fetus but which are otherwise likely to be harmless to healthy non-pregnant women. Evolutionary psychology and cognitive neuropsychology are mutually compatible — evolutionary psychology helps to identify psychological adaptations and their ultimate, evolutionary functions, while neuropsychology helps to identify the proximate manifestations of these adaptations.

An introduction to abnormal psychology and its three major groups

In addition to evolutionary models that suggest evolution occurs across large spans of time, recent research has demonstrated that some evolutionary shifts can be fast and dramatic. Consequently, some evolutionary psychologists have focused on the impact of psychological traits in the current environment.

Such research can be used to inform estimates of the prevalence of traits over time. Such work has been informative in studying evolutionary psychopathology.OPEN MORNING FOR ENTRY Tuesday 2 nd October am – am – Headmaster’s speeches at am and am OPEN EVENING Thursday 18 th October pm - pm—Headmaster’s speeches at pm, pm and pm.

Group of disorders involving severe and enduring disturbances in emotionality ranging from elation to severe depression. Major Depressive Episode Most common and severe experience of depression, including feelings of worthlessness, disturbances in bodily activities such as sleep, loss of interest, and inability to experience pleasure, persisting at least 2 weeks.

Why people do the things they do is an age-old question. However, psychology — the science concerned with behavior, in both human . Abnormal psychology is the branch of psychology that studies unusual patterns of behavior, emotion and thought, which may or may not be understood as precipitating a mental disorder.

Although many behaviors could be considered as abnormal, this branch of psychology generally deals with behavior in . To this end, the fields of psychology and psychiatry have developed the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (known as the DSM-5), a standardized hierarchy of diagnostic criteria to help discriminate among normal and abnormal (i.e.

“pathological”) behaviors and symptoms. Abnormal psychology is the study of abnormal thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Abnormal thoughts, feelings and behaviors may or may not be part of a larger mental illness, or psychopathology.

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