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Psych 270


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Social Construction
A concept about the nature of reality based on the shared principles of a society
the study of the origin, development, and manifestations of mental or behavioral disorders
abnormal psychology
Study of mental disorders via science.
Out of touch with reality “Persistent hallucinations are an example of a psychotic state”
A group/cluster of symptoms
Central Tendency
given data, we want to find the "middle“ …to use as a "norm".
Condition that causes some harm to the person… …harm as defined by the standards of the person’s culture. …harm in terms of experiencing distress and/or difficulty performing social or work-related tasks.
Problem with some internal mechanism. Mechanism could be physical (low dopamine) or mental (process that allows us to distinguish perception from imagination).
Study of frequency and distribution of disease/disorders within a population. Frequency: how often does a disease occur? Distribution: in what groups (gender, age, ethnic, geographic) is the disease more/less frequent?
The number of new cases in a population within a period of time.
The total number of active cases in a population (including old and new) within a period of time. Lifetime prevalence: total number of people affected at some point in their lives.
Presence of more than one disorder at the same time. Synonym: co-occurrence.
Disease Burden
Impact of disease on peoples’ lives. Burden = mortality + disability (lost years of healthy life) = premature death + living with disorder
The Biological Paradigm
Focus: Abnormal behavior is rooted in biological abnormalities Major Influences: Discovery that syphilis is associated with general paresis
The Psychodynamic Paradigm
Focus:Abnormal behavior is caused by unconcious mental conflicts rooted in childhood Main Influence:Sigmund Freud & psychoanalytic theory
Cognitive Behavioral Paradigm
Focus:Abnormal behavior is a product of learning Main Influence: Ivan Pavlov (classical conditioning – learning through association) and B.F. Skinner (operant conditioning – learning as a function of consequences)
The Humanistic Paradigm
Focus:Human behavior is caused by voluntary choices ( free will). Main Influence: Abraham Maslow & Carl Rogers
Social roles
(expectations of behavior according to a situation) are seen as causes of abnormal behavior
Labeling theory
states that abnormal behavior is created by social expectations; it is only abnormal what a given group or society deems to be abnormal
Self-fulfilling prophecy
states that people’s actions conform to the expectations created by a label
the same event can lead to different outcomes (e.g. abuse can lead to very different outcomes in different children)
a psychological disorder may have multiple causes; there are many routes to the same destination; multiple pathways=equifinality
Reciprocal Causality
the direction of causality can be in both directions simultaneously (e.g., children behavior affect parents just as parents’ behavior influence children’s behavior).
sociocultural treatment paradigms
the individual is viewed as a part of a larger system of relationships influenced by social forces and culture that must be addressed in therapy Paradigms include: group therapy, community psychology, family therapy, couples therapy
Experimental Method
A controlled scientific procedure that allows researchers to determine cause and effect.
Prediction about cause and effect
Independent Variable
Variable controlled and manipulated by experimenter
Dependent Variable
Outcome that is hypothesized to vary according to manipulation of IV
Statistically Significant
Probability of chance outcome is less than 5 %
Can treatment work (under prescribed situations)?
Does treatment actually work in real-world?
Outcome Research
Study of how effective psychotherapy is in terms of relieving symptoms, eliminating disorders, ie. outcomes
Treatment with no active ingredient, but that creates expectation of an effect for patients, and therapists
Double-blind Study
Neither patients nor physicians know whether Tx is real or placebo
categorical classification
qualitative distinctions (“either or”)
quantitative distinctions (“how much”)
inclusion criteria
conditions that must be present for a positive diagnosis
exclusion criteria
conditions that, if present, rule out positive diagnosis
how useful is a diagnosis? What does it tell us?
validity: etiological (history)
Are the conditions leading up to “Disorder X” consistent?
validity: concurrent
(same time!) Does “Disorder X” consistently produce a common set of symptoms, behaviors, and test results?
validity: predictive
(future)Does “Disorder X” allow a consistent prediction of the outcome of a disorder?
Are we consistent? - are conditions measured consistently? are decisions made consistently by individual clinicians and across clinicians
hypothetical construct
A theory that attempts to explain some set of observed data or behavior (may not be directly observable)
operationalize hypothetical construct
Create a set of measures, tests, procedures that define the term. Make predictions based on definition → predictions that can be tested
construct validity
Extent to which specific measures produce results that are consistent with the theoretical construct
Criterion Validity
Does the disorder (as conceived) correlate with other relevant variables. Concurrent validity - SCHZ correlates with present drop in IQ Predictive validity- SCHZ correlates with future suicide attempt
Content Validity
Does the disorder include characteristics that have actually been observed
Major domains of information (Axis)
Axis I → Current problems (shorter term, what are recent issues) Axis II → Stable, chronic problems Axis III → Medical conditions Axis IV → Life events/environment (reminder: “general antecedent conditions”) Axis V → Overall rating; helps track disorder over time
non-shared environment (among MZ twins):
Aspects of the environment that differ across the two twins, for example if they attended different schools, have a different set of friends, play different sports. The non-shared environment can contribute to psychological differences in the two twins.
polygenic inheritance
When the phenotype/characteristics of an individual are caused by more than a single gene
The genetic structure of an individual that we don’t observe directly. as opposed to the phenotype which are directly observable characteristics/behavior.
culture-bound syndrome
A syndrome (collection of signs and symptoms of psycopathology) that is specific to a particular culture
empirically supported treatment
For a treatment to be considered empirically supported, it needs to at least be shown to have efficacy using the experimental method
comprised of a specific theory and a set of assumptions about how the theory is tested
Diathesis-stress model
Diathesis - a predisposition to develop a disorder Stress - a difficult life experience
A measure of inter-rater reliability that controls for chance agreement (> .7 good, <.4 bad)
Rating Scales
Allow an observer to make judgments and rate behavior on a scale
The values, beliefs, and practices shared by a specific community or group of people
case study
an in-depth look at the symptoms and circumstances surrounding one person's mental disturbance
Biopsychosocial Model
When biological, psychological, and social factors all contribute to abnormal behavior
Part of the psychoanalytic theory - present at birth and houses biological drives (hunger, sex)
Part of the psychoanalytic theory - deals with realities of the world as it attempts to fulfill id impulses
Part of the psychoanalytic theory - contains societal standards of behavior. Acts as the conscience
Defense Mechanisms
Unconscious self-deceptions that reduce conscious anxiety by distorting anxiety-producing memories, emotions, and impulses.
Classical Conditioning
Learning through association
Operant Conditioning
learned behavior is a function of its consequences
Systems Theory
integrates evidence on different contributions to abnormal behavior - holism, causality, and developmental psychopathology
The predictable course of a disorder
Premorbid History
A pattern of behavior that precedes the onset of the disorder
Concordance Rate
The key comparison of two sets of twins, specifically whether MZ twins are more aliked than DZ twins are alike
The use of psychological techniques and the therapist-client relationship to produce emotional, cognitive, and behavioral change.
A description of most health professionals that means they use different treatments for different disorders
The process whereby pts transfer their feelings about some key figure in their life onto the shadowy figure of the analyst
the statistical procedure that allows researchers to combine the results from different studies in a standardized way
The identification or recognition of a disorder on the basis of its characteristic symptoms
the study of the causes of disease
Mind-Body Dualism
Every mental state/experience we have is experienced by the brain and the body, as well
Kendall's Biological Disadvantage
Mental conditions that increase mortality or decrease fertility ADVANTAGE: grounds judgments about pathology in evolutionary terms
Wakefield's Harmful Dysfunction
Sought to merge objective (malfunction of internal mechanism) and subjective (harmful or disvalued judged by social norms) aspects DISADVANTAGE: natural (objective) component falters under interrogation
Sedwick's Social Construction
Psychopathology is an intentional concept - mental disorders are social constructions involving deviations from the norm and a quest for explanation
Mind-Body Problem
A challenge regarding how to best explain the fact that human consciousness, subjectivity, and free will are somehow realized in the physical properties of brains

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