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ABNORMAL BEHAVIOR Abnormal behavior is very difficult to define, because there is not a categorical distinction of “crazy” or “Normal” people. There is a continuum between normalcy and abnormal behavior. The one end of the continuum could be “Normal” and another extreme could be “crazy”. In between these 2 extremes there are different degrees and aspects of abnormality. So, how can abnormality be determined? Well, there are again a lot of controversies and disagreements, just like any other field of Psychology. I would present the most widely accepted definition of abnormal behavior. The most widely accepted definition is: Patterns of emotion, thought pattern and action patterns are considered Pathological due to following criteria. 1. Statistical Infrequency 2. Disability 3. Personal distress 4. Violation of norms 1. Statistical Infrequency. The behavior patterns, or thinking which occur rarely, are considered pathological, because statistically those are few in number. For example, Delusion is a pathological thinking. When people become delusional, they develop false belief about certain event or person or incident and strongly stick to that belief. For example, some delusional people think that somebody is trying to poison them. In reality, no body is trying to poison them or kill them. But they develop this belief and nothing changes this belief system. How many people develop such a false belief? In statistical terms, there are not many people who develop
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this kind of false belief. So, because of the statistical infrequency, this behavior or thought pattern is considered abnormal. However, only these criteria cannot be considered sufficient
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This note was uploaded on 06/11/2009 for the course PSYCH 12295 taught by Professor Sadhana during the Spring '09 term at Delgado CC.

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