Chapter 1 Defining Abnormality WHAT IS PSYCHOPATHOLGY? The Core Concepts Six Core Concepts in Abnormal Psychology 1. The importance of context in defining and understanding abnormality 2. The continuum between normal and abnormal behavior 3. Cultural and historical relativism in defining and classifying abnormality The Core Concepts Six Core Concepts in Abnormal Psychology 4. The advantages and limitations of diagnosis 5. The principle of multiple causality 6. The connection between mind and body The Core Concepts The Importance of Context in Defining and Understanding Abnormality Context in which abnormal behavior occurs requires consideration for three crucial reasons. understanding the circumstances surrounding any behavior the context in which abnormality occurs abnormal behavior is profoundly influenced by demographic context categories such as gender, age, class, and culture The Core Concepts The Continuum Between Normal and Abnormal Behavior Many forms of abnormality can be seen as exaggerations of normal feelings and behaviors. People suffering from mental disorders are people much like ourselves, not “freaks.” The Core Concepts Cultural and Historical Relativism in Defining and Classifying Abnormality Definitions of abnormality have changed dramatically over time. Definitions of abnormal behavior vary widely across different cultures. Because of cultural and historical relativism, we cannot make absolute, universal statements about what constitutes abnormal behavior. The Core Concepts The Advantages and Limitations of Diagnosis Reliability - the consistency of a test, measurement, or category system. Validity - the accuracy of a test, measurement, or category system. The Core Concepts The Principle of Multiple Causality Precipitating causes - the immediate trigger or precipitant of an event. Predisposing causes - the underlying processes that create conditions making it possible for a precipitating cause to trigger an event. Reductionism - explaining a disorder or other complex phenomenon using only a single idea or perspective. The Core Concepts The Connection Between Mind and Body The mind and the brain are fully interconnected and Interdependent Emotional experiences alter brain chemistry, and brain chemistry is in turn the basis of emotional experiences. Defining Abnormality Defining Abnormality Core Concepts In Defining Abnormality Cultural and Historical Relativism Cultural relativism refers to the fact that what is considered normal and abnormal differs widely across cultures and over time. Historical relativism refers to changes over time in a particular culture’s views of abnormality. The Core Concepts The Core Concepts The Core Concepts The Core Concepts Defining Abnormality: Practical Solutions Natural categories - categories that usually work reasonably well in everyday life despite their lack of precision.