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What are the five theories of etiology?

  1. heredity
  2. innate
  3. congenital
  4. constitutional
  5. social construction


In what five ways did Dr. Todman define abnormal behavior?

  1. norm violation
  2. statistical rarity
  3. personal discomfort/distress
  4. maladaptive behavior
  5. deviation from an ideal


How is norm violation described?

Every culture has a set of norms, and when people deviate from them, we think they are crazy. Norm violation can vary from context to context, matters where it happens, when it happens, and why.


What are some problems with statistical rarity defining abnormal behavior (according to Dr. Todman)?

Since statistics frequently rely on a bell curve, both sides of the curve would be considered abnormal, including high intelligence or musical ability. There is no way of differentiating between desirable and undesirable traits.


Do all pathologies see personal discomfort or distress (person feeling disturbed about what is happening to them)?

No, not all pathologies cause subjective distress.


  • early and middle stages of addiction (lack insight)
  • most personality disorders (think the rest of the world has the problem)
  • schizophrenia (lack insight)


What is maladaptive behavior, and what is the problem with its definition for the purposes of psychopathology?

It is the capacity to cope with the demands of  the typical everyday life.

The problem lies in understanding what is "typical." What are they adapting to, exactly, and does it make sense within that context?


What are the problems with the "deviation from an ideal" definition of abnormal behavior?

It is the "soviet model" of defining an ideal and sending anyone who deviates from it to the hospital and calling them crazy.

Slide says: the ideal defined by a particular theory of psychological functioning.


Do the mind and the brain differ, according to Dr. Todman?

No, everything that happens psychologically is subject to natural law, must be explainable in the same way biological and physical symptoms are.


Why is Darwin so important to understanding pathology?

Because psychological functioning results from some evolutionary purpose, everything is adaptive.

From the slide: We think, remember, feel, perceive, and generally process information the way we do because it is adaptive to do so.


What is the process of maximizing adaptation called?


Especially in complex organisms, learning is relied upon to gain new skills, manipulate world around us, and manipulate ourselves.


What happens when learning (or unlearning) is impeded?

Pathologies form when certain skills or capacity to adapt (learning) are (is) compromised.

From slide: When untoward events, whether internal or external to the organism, compromise an organism’s ability to learn important skills necessary for adaptation, the organism is at risk of being identified as mentally ill or impaired.


Almost all prominent psychological theories are consistent with the principles of natural selection. Give some examples.

  • Freud & other psychodynamic models: Pleasure Principle; Reality Principle; The Unconscious; Psychosexual development
  • Behaviorism/Learning Theories:
    • Pavlov: classical conditioning, cue exposure theory
    • Thorndike/Watson/BF Skinner: operant conditioning
  • Cognitive Theories/Social Learning Theory/Modeling
  • Neuropsychological Theories