A behavior can be normal in a society or culture but in other society
and culture it can be abnormal.
What's normal today may be "abnormal" in the future. The concept
of normal is not an uncontroversial topic in psychiatry.
If something conforms to a general pattern, standard, or average, we
describe it as normal, but of course that standard can change over
According to G .W. Kisker ,”The word normal comes from the
Latin names normalis which means a carpenter’s square. A norm,
therefore becomes a rule or pattern or standard, and it was in this
sense that the word introduced into the English language.”
Normality implies a dynamic adaptation to the changing
environmental condition but also the variations from a media
considered normal in social and cultural milieu.
Normality-notion used in psychology to define a complex
functional and dynamic equilibrium in a totality of active
interference and interdependence with the environment.
Normality has been defined as patterns of behavior or personality
traits that are typical or that conform to some standard of proper and
acceptable ways of behaving and being.
Hawker (2008), states that normal means standard, usual, ordinary,
conventional, expected, typical common, regular, unremarkable, of
sound mind and compos mentis.
The WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION (WHO) considers
normality to be a state of complete physical, mental, and social
Mashlow and Mittleman (1951) has described 10 characteristics
of a normal personality. These are as follows:
1. Adequate feeing of security
2. Adequate Emotionally
3. Adequate Self Evaluation
4. Adequate desire and have ability to gratify them
5. Adequate Self Knowledge
6. Efficient Contact with reality
7. Integration and Consistency
8. Realistic Life Goals
9. Ability to learn from past experiences
10. Ability to satisfy the requirement of the group.
The term abnormal was derived from the word “Anomelos”, that
was formed by adding two words Ano + Melos which means “Not
It means a behavior that is not regular can be called abnormal.
Another mean of the term Abnormal is “Away from Normal”. It
means, if a behavior is so differ from normal behavior then it can
be called abnormal behavior.
Definition o f
Abnormal psychological phenomenon are simply exaggeration or
disguised development of the normal psychological phenomenon.
J F Brown (1940)
Human behavior and experiences which are strange, unusual, or
different ordinarily are considered abnormal.
G W Kisker (1949)
Abnormality is a behavior, that is not socially confirmed and
developed by a sad or stressful condition and distorted cognition .
Personal Distress Criterion
•In this criterion the individual assess his/her own abnormal
•According to this criterion, If an individual's own behavior is
stressful for him/her or it creates discomfort and for him/her then it
is called abnormal behavior.
•This criterion is good to assess simple mental illness but it can not
be suitable to assess all the abnormal behavior.
According to this criterion, if person could not perform his task due to
disability or dysfunction, this behavior will be called abnormal.
Wakefield (1992) has described dysfunction as a task which is not
being performed by the individual , though he used to perform it better
This criterion has some limitations; there many behaviors that
might not be abnormal due to several others external or internal predictor
variables. If a person is not able to perform his task, there may be some
physical reason behind this such as any disease or accidental injury.
Criterion of Unexpectedness
According to Devison and Neale (1996) this criterion is very important to assess
the abnormality in a person.
As per this criterion if person perform any unexpected behavior in any
situation, it can be called a abnormal behavior. In other words, a behavior which
unexpected as per the situation, such typed of behavior can be called abnormal
For example, suppose that if person's beloved one has died and he/she
don't feel sad but he/she is smiling or laughing at that time. So this behavior is
definitely an abnormal behavior.
Criterion of 4D’s
This criterion was developed by Comer (1995). Though there is no
any universal criterion to described abnormal but many of psychologist
believed that with help of the 4d's criterion we can assess the abnormality in a
4D's criterion are as follows:
Maslow and Mittleman (1951) has described some characteristics of an abnormal
personality. These are as follows;
•Abnormal person's have different symptoms than a normal.
•Suffering from unhappiness
•Lack of Insightful behavior
•Sensitivity and tension
Other Characteristics of Abnormality
•Lack of Self Evaluation
•Inadequate Emotional Control
•Lack of Attachment to reality
•Lack of Satisfaction
•Lack of Self Knowledge
•Disorganized personality (ID, Ego, Superego)
•Lack of realistic goal.
•Inability to use previous experiences
•Inability to work with social group (anti-social behavior)