Charlotte s1 4-definitions of abnormality

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Definitions of abnormality and evaluation

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Charlotte s1 4-definitions of abnormality

  1. 1. Unit 2 - PSYA2: Individual DifferencesDefinitions of Abnormality Deviation from Social Norms Deviation from Ideal Mental Health Failure to function adequately
  2. 2. Normal or abnormal?
  3. 3. “Deviation from social norms”… Every society sets up rules. They can be… Explicit ‘rules’… Implicit ‘rules’…Violating explicit rules means These are unspoken & breaking the law e.g. arson, conventional e.g. Standing taking drugs… too close to someone People who violate explicit People who violate rules are criminal implicit rules are deviant Since rules become established as ‘norms’, anyone who deviates from these can be seen as ‘abnormal’ if we accept this definition…
  4. 4. Eye on theReal life Application of exam: You could be askedDeviation from social norms… to apply your knowledge to a person’s behaviour…NAME: Tiger Woods has violated both explicit & implicit rulesEXPLAIN: E.g. he has committed adultery (explicit) & could therefore be considered ‘criminal’. He has also broken unspoken rules about relationships (implicit) & can therefore be seen as ‘deviant’ Since he has violated these rules that have becomeAPPLY: ‘norms’ Tiger Woods can be regarded as ‘abnormal’, if we accept this definition.
  5. 5. Evaluation (Ao2)In your group, discuss what you think the strengths & limitations are for this definition of abnormality.One member of your group needs to list thediscussion points on the mini whiteboard provided.You will feedback your ideas to the rest of the class.
  6. 6. AO2: STRENGTHS of “Deviation from Social Norms” Since social norms identify behaviours that are ‘desirable’ (ideally) for the individual and society, this definition allows us to assess the desirability of a behaviour. Deviance from social norms is viewed as undesirable. . This definition also takes into account the effect thatbehaviour has on others. Deviance is defined in termsof ‘breaking social rules’ & these rules are establishedto help people live together. Deviant behaviour issocially unacceptable as it is damaging to the socialrules that bind society together.
  7. 7. Deviation can promote social changeSocial deviancy is not necessarily a bad thing. Somepeople may choose to live an alternative, non-conformistlifestyle. Others are socially deviant because theirbehaviour is motivated by high principles e.g. oppositionto an oppressive government.Often social deviance is the catalyst for social change.
  8. 8. AO2: LIMITATIONS of “Deviation from Social Norms” We cannot accept that deviating from social norms ALWAYS means being abnormal. There are limitations/criticisms of this definition Eccentric or abnormal?Sometimes, behaviour that deviates away from thenorm is more ECCENTRIC than abnormal. Forexample, someone running a marathon dressed as agiant armadillo we may think is a bit strange oreccentric, but not psychologically abnormal. However,eccentricity may be abnormal if it is severe enough.
  9. 9. Abnormal or Criminal?People who violate legal norms are usually regarded asshowing criminal (deviant) behaviour, but stealing carsis rarely due to underlying psychological disorder.Other criminals e.g. serial killers, are more likely to beviewed as abnormal & having an inbuilt fault in theirpersonality. ‘Normal’ people couldn’t commit suchcrimes.The severity/magnitude of the behaviour is importantwhen defining abnormality using deviation from thenorm.
  10. 10. The role of context…We must remember that much of our behaviour iscontext-specific, and if taken OUT OF CONTEXT then itmight see odd or abnormal.For example, it might be normal to jump up and downscreaming orders at people (if you are a spectator at afootball match and you are shouting at the players)…buttaken out of context, if we did that at the opera, or in thesupermarket then it would be abnormal
  11. 11. Change with the times…Society’s beliefs about what is abnormalchanges over time. What is thought of asdeviant by one generation, might not be by thenext.For example, before the 20th century, unmarriedwomen in the UK who had babies were sent tomental institutions and their babies put up foradoption. So we cannot just accept that deviatingfrom social norms means we are abnormalA way of excluding non conformists from societye.g. homosexuality – ‘susceptible to abuse’
  12. 12. Cultural Issues…We can’t make the assumption that whatwe see as abnormal in our culture shouldbe classed as abnormal in others, and viceversa. These are cultural issueswith this definition.For example, talking out loud to aninvisible person is abnormal in our culture,but often quite normal in some African andIndian cultures following a bereavement.
  13. 13. Summary of Deviation from Social Norms This definition suggests that we can be defined as abnormal if… • we break either explicit or implicit rules that haveAO1 become ‘norms’ in the society we live in Strengths of this definition are… •It allows us to assess the DESIRABILITY of a behaviour – help people live together. •It can promote SOCIAL CHANGEAO2 Limitations of this definition are… • Our behaviour might be ECCENTRIC, not abnormal • It might just seem abnormal if TAKEN OUT OF CONTEXT • Social Norms CHANGE OVER TIME • Social Norms are different across CULTURES
  14. 14. Brain Break… Spend 10 minutes with some of the new activities!
  15. 15. “Deviation from social norms”… Every society sets up rules. They can be… E______ ‘rules’… I______ ‘rules’…Violating explicit rules means These are unspoken & breaking the law e.g. arson, conventional e.g. Standing taking drugs… too close to someone People who violate explicit People who violate rules are _______ implicit rules are _______ Since rules become established as ‘________’, anyone who deviates from these can be seen as ‘abnormal’ if we accept this definition…
  16. 16. Eye on the exam: YouReal life Application of could be asked to apply yourDeviation from social norms… knowledge to a person’s behaviour… NAME: Tiger Woods has violated ____________________ rules E.g. he has committed adultery (________) & could therefore be considered ‘criminal’. He has also broken EXPLAIN: unspoken rules about relationships (____________) & can therefore be seen as ‘deviant’ Since he has violated these rules that have become APPLY: ‘________’ Tiger Woods can be regarded as ‘abnormal’, if we accept this definition.
  17. 17. AO2: STRENGTHS of “Deviation from Social Norms” Since social norms identify behaviours that are ‘desirable’ (ideally) for the individual and society, this approach allows us to assess the desirability of a behaviour. Deviance from social norms is viewed as undesirable. . This model also takes into account the effect thatbehaviour has on others. Deviance is defined in termsof ‘breaking social rules’ & these rules are establishedto help___________ ________ ________. Deviantbehaviour is socially unacceptable as it is damaging tothe social rules that bind society together.
  18. 18. Deviation can promote social changeSocial deviancy is not necessarily a bad thing. Somepeople may choose to live an alternative, non-conformistlifestyle. Others are socially deviant because theirbehaviour is motivated by high principles e.g. oppositionto an oppressive government.Often social deviance is the _______ for social ________.
  19. 19. AO2: LIMITATIONS of “Deviation from Social Norms” We cannot accept that deviating from social norms ALWAYS means being abnormal. There are limitations/criticisms of this definitionSometimes, behaviour that deviates away from thenorm is more ___________ than abnormal. Forexample, someone running a marathon dressed as agiant armadillo we may think is a bit strange oreccentric, but not psychologically abnormal. However,eccentricity may be abnormal if it is severe enough.
  20. 20. Abnormal or Criminal?People who violate legal norms are usually regarded asshowing criminal behaviour, but stealing cars is rarelydue to underlying _______________ disorder.Other criminals e.g. serial killers, are more likely to beviewed as abnormal & having an inbuilt fault in theirpersonality. ‘Normal’ people couldn’t commit suchcrimes.The severity/magnitude of the behaviour is importantwhen defining __________ using deviation from thenorm.
  21. 21. 2.We must remember that much of our behaviour iscontext-specific, and if taken ___ __ _________ then itmight see odd or abnormal.For example, it might be normal to jump up and downscreaming orders at people (if you are a spectator at afootball match and you are shouting at the players)…buttaken out of context, if we did that at the opera, or in thesupermarket then it would be abnormal
  22. 22. 3. Society’s beliefs about what isabnormal ________ _____ ____.What is thought of as deviant by onegeneration, might not be by the next.For example, before the 20th century,unmarried women in the UK who hadbabies were sent to mental institutionsand their babies put up for adoption. Sowe cannot just accept that deviating fromsocial norms means we are abnormal
  23. 23. 6. We can’t make the assumption that whatwe see as abnormal in our culture shouldbe classed as abnormal in others, and viceversa. These are _______ _____with this definition.For example, talking out loud to aninvisible person is abnormal in our culture,but often quite normal in some African andIndian cultures following a bereavement.
  24. 24. Summary of Deviation from Social Norms This definition suggests that we can be defined as abnormal if…AO1 • we break either explicit or implicit rules that have become ‘norms’ in the society we live in The limitations of this definition are… • Our behaviour might be ECCENTRIC, not abnormalAO2 • It might just seem abnormal if TAKEN OUT OF CONTEXT • Social Norms CHANGE OVER TIME • Social Norms are different across CULTURES
  25. 25. Brain Break… Spend 10 minutes with some of the new activities!
  26. 26. Quick Quiz!Matthew works part-time in a very respectable hotel.After each shift he works, he goes to play football withhis friends at a local park. The hotel has strict rulesabout staff wearing the correct uniform, so Matthewalways makes sure that he wears his freshly ironedshirt and trousers, along with polished shoes.However, sometimes he forgets his change of clothesand goes to play football in what he is wearing. Hisfriends think he is abnormal. Is he?
  27. 27. “Deviation from Ideal Mental Health”Considers characteristics of mental health, rather than mentalillness. According to this definition, people should ‘meet’certain criteria to be considered ‘normal’.Jahoda - identifies 6 characteristics associated with optimalliving & ‘ideal mental health’. Therefore, anyone who deviatesfrom this is ‘abnormal’. Resistance to stress Accurate perception of reality Positive attitude towards the self Personal autonomy Adapting to the environment Self-actualization of your potential
  28. 28. Eye on the exam: You could be asked to apply your knowledge to a person’s behaviour… Kerry Katona might be deviating from ‘Ideal mental health’ asNAME: she is ‘missing’ some criteria… E.g. she has failed to master her environment (showbiz), whilst also not having a positive attitudes towards herselfEXPLAIN: (see MTV). Furthermore, she seems unable to resist stress (see any of the arguments she has with Mark). Since Kerry fails to ‘tick’ some of the criteria of ‘Ideal mentalAPPLY: health’ she could be considered ‘abnormal’.
  29. 29. Evaluation (Ao2)In pairs, brainstorm what you think the strengths & limitations are for this definition of abnormality. Discuss your ideas with another pair.
  30. 30. AO2: LIMITATIONS of “Deviation from Ideal Mental Health”This approach is refreshing as it focuses on positive,rather than negative aspects of life. But to meet all 6criteria is quite demanding, and therefore most peoplewill fall short of ‘ideal mental health’• It is difficult to ‘self-actualize’ as very few people meet their full potential in life.• There are possible benefits to stress, as some people work better under moderate stress.• There are cultural issues as Jahoda’s ideas are based on Western ideals evident in some cultures but not others You must APPLY these weaknesses with more detail, explaining why they criticise the definition
  31. 31. “Failure to function adequately”• Based on the idea that everyone should be able tomake a contribution to society. People withpsychological disorders often experience suffering &distress and are unable to cope with their everydayactivities• When diagnosing mental disorders, Dr’s are requiredto take this into account. One measure used is the‘DSM’, however the Global Assessment of FunctioningScale (GAF) assesses people on physical &psychological measures.
  32. 32. Rosenhan & Seligman suggest 7 criteria that indicate a failure to function adequately. The more criteria a person meets, the more severe their abnormal behaviour is considered to be Suffering - e.g. anxiety disorders Maladaptiveness - preventing you getting on with life Unpredictability - e.g. mood swings Observer discomfort - behaviour making others uncomfortable Unconventionality - different from others behaviour Irrationality - others can’t understand whyViolation of moral standards - going against moral standards Rosenhan & Seligman argued that each might not be significant on its own but, when several were present, they are indicative of abnormality.
  33. 33. Real life application of Failure to onYou Eye exam: the Function Adequately could be asked to apply your knowledge to a person’s behaviour… Michael Jackson might have been failing to functionNAME: adequately as he was causing distress both to himself and others… E.g. his behaviour had become progressivelyEXPLAIN: unpredictable, whilst his behaviour also caused observer discomfort (e.g. swinging ‘blanket’ over a balcony). Furthermore, he sometimes acted unconventionally (e.g. sleeping in an oxygen tank) and he sometimes behaved irrationally (e.g. by making his children wear masks for fear of contamination)APPLY: Since Michael ‘achieved’ some of the criteria of ‘failure to function adequately’ he could have been considered ‘abnormal’.
  34. 34. Evaluation (Ao2)Discuss what you think the strengths & limitations are for this definition of abnormality.
  35. 35. AO2: LIMITATIONS of “Failure to function adequately”• Not the whole picture: It does not really define abnormality, it just determines the extent of a persons problems and the likelihood of them needing professional help• Who judges? Someone needs to determine if this is the case.• Exceptions to the rule: sometimes people behave uncharacteristically or inadequately, but this does not make them abnormal• Adaptive or maladaptive? Some dysfunctional behaviour can be adaptive/functional for the individual e.g. transvestitism is classed as mental disorder but the individual may make a living out of it.• Direction of causality: the inability to cope with life might be the cause of a mental disorder, not always a symptom of one
  36. 36. Evaluation (Ao2)The 3 approaches to defining abnormalityshare several strengths & limitations.Can you identify these strengths &limitations?
  37. 37. Evaluation (Ao2)The 3 approaches to defining abnormality share strengths &limitations e.g.+ve: A gateway to treatment – help lay people to decide whetherto seek professional help if they or others are concerned aboutdeviant behaviour, failure to function or deviation from ideal mentalhealth.-ve: Relating definitions to changing contexts & times-ve: Cultural limitations – open to cultural bias
  38. 38. Deviation from Social Norms BUT this could be just eccentric behaviour, or taken out of Explicit & implicit rules context to appear abnormal. It of society are norms… could also be culturally and breaking them is historically dependent. ‘abnormal’ behaviour Deviation from Ideal Mental Health Failure to function Defining Resistance to stress adequately Abnormality Accurate perception of reality Positive attitude towards the selfBeing unable to function Personal autonomy Adapting to the environmenton an adequate level in Self-actualizationthe society we live in is‘abnormal’ behaviour … 6 criteria of ideal mental health BUT, failing to function adequately is not always the whole picture. There BUT to meet all 6 criteria is are often exceptions to the rule. This quite demanding, and therefore definition is both Era and Context most people will fall short of dependent, and the Direction of ‘ideal mental health’ causality – cultural issues
  39. 39. Typical examination questions… questions• Outline two definitions of abnormality (3+3 marks)• Explain one limitation of the ??? definition of abnormality (3 marks)• Using your knowledge of psychology, explain how ??? may be considered ‘abnormal’ (4 marks)• Outline and evaluate two or more definitions of abnormality (8,10 or 12 marks)

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