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  1. 1. Area of Study 2 Area of Study 2 – Individual Differences; Learning Outcome 2 – Analyse the strengths and limitations in scientific approaches to defining ‘normality’ and in the application of psychological assessment in this area. Defining Normality & Abnormality When psychologists use the word ‘normal’, they frequently refer to the behaviour of a group for comparison, rather than simply describing the behaviour of an individual. When describing typical behaviours of groups, the word ‘norm’ is often used. Norms – standards based on measurements or observations of a large group of people and they are used for comparing the behaviour of individuals with the behaviour of others within a well-defined group. a – Activity: Complete sentences – Normal is . . . . . Abnormal is . . . . . b – Activity (handout) Normal versus Abnormal behaviour activity. (In pairs discuss your answers) c – Class Activity: Think of a time when you saw someone and thought that their behaviour was not normal. What were they doing? What made you notice them? (eg; clothes / or what they were saying)
  2. 2. <ul><li>Defining Normality </li></ul><ul><li>Psychologists have identified six main approaches to describing normality: </li></ul><ul><li>The socio – cultural approach </li></ul><ul><li>Historical approach </li></ul><ul><li>Situational approach </li></ul><ul><li>Medical approach </li></ul><ul><li>Functional approach </li></ul><ul><li>Statistical approach </li></ul><ul><li>Read pg 271 – 273 and complete class handout “Approaches o describing normality” (match statements with approaches). </li></ul>
  3. 3. Read pg 273 – 281 and complete the table on A3 paper. Statistical Medical Situation Historical Functional Socio – Cultural Strength and limitation to approach Example of abnormal thought / feeling / behaviour according to the approach Example of normal thought / feeling / behaviour according to the approach Description of Approach Name of Approach
  4. 4. Different Approaches to Defining Normality Using the description of Sujatha’s behaviour on pg 282 – Write 6 answers with each answer taking the perspective of a different approach to defining normality. L.A 8.12 pg 282
  5. 5. There is no universal agreement that one society’s (or cultures) view of normality can be applied in all societies (and cultures). Australia is multi-cultural so there are many different and conflicting beliefs about which behaviours are acceptable and unacceptable. Useful in gaining a broad understanding of the laws and social norms for appropriate behaviour within a specific society. Sociocultural: What a particular society or culture views as (commonplace) acceptable or (different) unacceptable Behaviour. Eg; Marrying one person in Australia as opposed to having multiple husbands or wives Limitations Strengths Abnormality
  6. 6. Mental health professionals have different views on what they consider to be effective and ineffective functioning within a society. Useful in assisting mental health professionals to identify people who are not coping with everyday like experiences. Functional: People are considered normal if their thought, feelings and/or behaviour enable them to function (feed, clothe themselves, etc. . .) in their everyday life. People who are so upset, confused or distracted that they cannot care for themselves properly or work productively, are considered abnormal. Limitations Strengths Ab/normality
  7. 7. Limited use in describing current normal and abnormal individual behaviour. Helpful in giving an overview on how attitudes and our understanding of thought, feelings and behaviour change over time. Historical: What is considered normal or abnormal can change over time. Eg; homosexuality was acceptable and normal in ancient Greece, was abnormal in 1950 when it was listed as a mental disorder depicting emotional and behavioural problems, and in 1974 it was removed from the list of mental disorders. Limitations Strengths Ab/normality
  8. 8. Can’t generalise about what is normal or abnormal from one situation to another. Learning appropriate behaviour in a variety of settings is an important part of our social development. It provides us with a framework for how to behave so that we will be accepted by others. Situational: This approach to normality addresses the context in which the behaviour occurs. Eg; An adult wearing PJ’s to go shopping verses going to a fancy dress party. Limitations Strengths Ab/normality
  9. 9. Once a person is labeled as being mentally ill, they may then make no attempt to deal with the problem. It can be difficult to identify the exact physiological cause of the abnormal patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving as the symptoms of some mental illnesses are similar. Provides a set of guidelines on which a diagnosis of abnormality is based; thereby providing a more objective, unbiased interpretation of behaviours Medical: Abnormal behaviour is a treatable illness that has an underlying biological (physical) cause which may be inherited or develop from problems associated with brain structure, brain activity or brain chemistry. Therefore a person whose behaviour is normal has no illness requiring treatment for their behaviours Limitations Strengths Ab/normality
  10. 10. No person is average in thought, feelings, mental abilities, interests, size, shape . . . Etc. There is a very fine line wehre normality end and abnormality starts. Normality does not equate to desirability. ‘ Averages’ in development and performances provides us with a comparison for our own development and ability. Statistical: Normality is how most people think, feel and behave and abnormality is how few people think, feel and behave. Limitations Strengths Ab/normality