psychology - approaches to abnormality

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the biological, psychodynamic, behavioural and cognitive approaches to abnormality

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Explain the biological approach to psychopathology the biological approach assumes that abnormal behaviour is caused by problems within the body and brain and that mental illness has a physical cause. factors that cause mental illness are genes, neuroanatomy and neurotransmitters.
explain how genes may cause mental illness the genetic explanation is that mental illness can be passed from parent to child through genetic inheritance. genes act as a blue print or plan for our biological development. if we inherit a family gene or our genes mutate this may affect our development.
explain how neurotransmitters (brain chemicals? may cause mental illness this explanation says that psychological conditions can be caused by abnormal levels of neurotransmitters. these chemicals are responsible for sending messages helping the brain to function. an imbalance of certain neurotransmitters might cause parts of the brain to malfunction. low levels of serotonin are found in people with depression.
Explain how neuroanatomy (brain structure) may cause mental illness the structure of the brain may be responsible for mental illness. different areas of the brain have different roles. if an area of the brain is damages or improperly formed then thinking, emotion and behaviour may be affected.
what are 2 strengths of the biological approach to psychopathology? 1. The biological approach has brought about a change in perceptions and means that there is more ethically acceptable view of people with mental illnesses. 2. there is evidence from the effectiveness of drugs that there are biological processes involved in mental illness.
What are 2 weaknesses of the biological approach to psychopathology? 1. the biological approach is heavily focused on the nature side of the nature nurture debate, looking just at physical cause for mental illness and ignoring the impact experiences have. 2. it is very difficult to determinate cause and effect between an individual's biology and mental health.
Explain the behavioural approach to psychopathology? the behavioural approach believes that all behaviour has been learned from our experiences, through three different learning process. learning through association, reinforcement and observation of others are important aspects of this model.
What is classical conditioning? classical conditioning explains that we learn by associating something new with something that we respond to automatically.
what is Operant Conditioning? this explains learning through the consequences of behaviour.if something good happens to you when you do something when you are likely to perform that behaviour again. this is called positive reinforcement. if something bad happens to you then you are unlikely to repeat the behaviour. this is called punishment.
what is the social learning theory? you can learn behaviour from observing what other people do, noticing whether they get rewarded or punished and imitating their behaviour, particularly if you have seen them have positive consequences. seeing what happens to other people is called vicarious reinforcement.
what is a strength of the behavioural approach to psychopathology? There is evidence from studies that support the idea that learning can be responsible for the development of mental illnesses.
What are 2 weaknesses of the behavioural approach to psychopathology? 1. this explanation does not take into account thought processes - the way that individuals think about events that happen to them. 2.the behavioural approach is heavily focused on the nurture side of the nature nurture debate, looking just at learning experiences as causes from mental illness and ignoring the impact of biological factors.
Explain the Psychodynamic approach to psychopathology The psychodynamic explanation of abnormal behaviour focuses on the unconscious and the interactions of three parts of the mind - ID, ego and super ego and the use of ego defences.
How can the unconscious mind cause mental illness? Sigmund Freud believed that most of our behaviour is the result of powerful processes in the unconscious part of the mind that we are not aware of. much of what is in our unconscious stems from childhood experiences and strong emotions and these can cause mental illnesses.
what do the ID, ego and superego do? ID - is your basic animal drives such as hunger, aggression, sex. The Ego - tries to balance the ID desires with the demands of the superego The superego - your conscience and morals, your ideal self.
how do the ID, Ego and Superego cause mental illness? if the ego is not able to control the ID or the Superego, abnormally can develop. a very strong superego can produce feelings of quilt and inadequacy that can lead to depression or eating disorders.
what are ego defence mechanisms? when we experience emotions that are strong and disturbing, the ego has the role of protecting the conscious mind from the anxiety that these cause. it has a range of strategies called ego defences that prevent us from being consciously aware of the feelings and so we do not get so distressed by them
Name two ego defence mechanisms? Repression and displacement
what is repression? when very upsetting memories are buried in the unconscious by a process of repression or forgetting, these repressed memories can resurface later in life and cause mental illnesses.
what is displacement? A fear may be displaced or re-redirected to something else that is not so threatening to the conscious mind.
what are 2 strengths of the psychodynamic approach? 1. this approach has generated a successful type of therapy - psychoanalysis. 2. it also emphasises how important the experiences in childhood are for the adult behaviour.
What are 2 weaknesses of the psychodynamic approach? 1. The main limitation of this approach is that is it very difficult to investigate. 2. is that this approach does not take into account more recent or current experiences.
Explain the cognitive approach to psychopathology the cognitive model of abnormality is based on the idea that irrational thoughts and beliefs are the cause of abnormality. irrational thinking produces abnormal behaviour.
how can irrationally negative thoughts cause mental illness? Thoughts can be extremely negative. this means that a person interprets anything that happens to them in a negative way, even if an event is positive. this is often seen in those who are depressed.
how can irrational focus on'should, ought, must' cause mental illness? some irrational thinking focuses on ideas such as must, ought or should and is associated with the feeling that we are not quite reaching perfection. persistently thinking in this way can lead to problems associated with low self-esteem and feeling not good enough.
how can extreme distortions of reality cause mental illness? thoughts can be distorted and not reflect reality. people with anorexia believe that they are too fat when they are really too thin.
give 2 strengths of the cognitive approach 1. A strength of this model is that it places importance on a person's thoughts and beliefs. 2. the cognitive approach has generated a successful therapy, CBT.
Give 2 weaknesses of the cognitive approach 1. it is very difficult to determine cause and effect between an individuals thought processes and mental illness. 2. this approach could be criticised for being limited as it does not take into account biological factors that might explain abnormal behaviour nor does it consider the role of experiences in life.
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