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Abnormal Psychology Test 1 Chapter 1 Criteria for Determining abnormality o Unusualness behavior that is unusual is often considered abnormal Rarity or statistical deviance is not a sufficient basis for labeling behavior abnormal; nevertheless it is one yardstick often used to judge abnormality o Social deviance all societies have norms (standards) that define the kinds of behaviors acceptable in given context. Behavior deemed normal in one culture may be viewed as abnormal in another. Norms which arise form the practices and beliefs of specific cultures, are relative standards, not universal truths. Clinicians need to weigh cultural differences while determining what is normal and abnormal. What strikes one generation as abnormal may be considered normal by the next Standards we use in making judgments of abnormal behavior must take into account cultural norms o Faulty perceptions or interpretations of reality Normally our sensory systems and cognitive processes permit us to form accurate mental representations of the environment. Seeing things and hearing voices that are not present are considered hallucinations, which in out culture are generally taken as signs of an underlying mental disorder. Similarly, holding unfounded ideas of delusions, such as ideas of persecution that the CIA or mafia are out to get you may be regarded as signs of mental disturbance, unless of course they are. o Significant personal distress States of personal distress caused by troublesome emotions, such as anxiety, fear or depression, may be abnormal. Appropriate feelings of distress are not considered abnormal unless they persist long after the source of anguish has been removed (after most people would have adjusted) or if they are so intense that they impair the individuals ability to function o Maladaptive or self-defeating behavior Behavior that leads to unhappiness rather than self-fulfillment can be regarded as abnormal. Behavior that limits our ability to function in expected roles, or to adapt to our environments, may also be considered abnormal. o Dangerousness Behavior that is dangerous to oneself or to other people may be considered abnormal Social context is crucial Demonological model o In our culture, abnormal behavior has come to be viewed as the product of physical and psychosocial factors not demonic possession o Archeologists have unearthed human skeletons from the Stone Age with egg-sized cavities in the skull. One interpretation of these holes is that our prehistoric ancestors believed abnormal behavior was caused by the inhabitation of evil spirits. These holes might be the result of trephination the drilling of the skill to provide an outlet for those irascible spirits. Fresh bone growth indicates that some people did survive this medical procedure.... View Full Document

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