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Introduction to Psychology


other people) affect human thought and behaviour. ... Janet Jackson. Morrissey. Michelangelo. Wolfgang Motzart. Edvard Munch. Friedrich Nietzsche ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Introduction to Psychology

Introduction to Psychology
  • Abnormal Psychology

Recap Social Psychology
  • Last week we talked about social psychology,
    which is…
  • The study of how social conditions (i.e. other
    people) affect human thought and behaviour.
  • Specifically, we talked about conformity, and how
    human behaviour is a result of an interaction
    between both the individual and the individuals

Recap Social Psychology
  • We learned how extraordinary situations can cause
    ordinary people to commit horrific acts of
  • We looked at studies by Asch and Milgram which
    examined the causes for the Holocaust and other
    atrocities through history.

Recap Social Psychology
  • Last weeks session was a little heavy, and the
    focus was mainly on how people can be influenced
    to do unexpectedly bad things.
  • However, it also works the other way around!
  • Although perhaps not as dramatic, we can also
    influence people for the better.
  • This is actually what my research concerns.
  • For a readable and insightful example of how
    social norms can do this, please see Cialdini
    (2003) available online.

Recap Cognition and Social
  • All four of my presentations (Intro, Cognition,
    Social, and Abnormal) are now available online
    at http//
  • Ive added many resources at the end of the
    presentations, most available on the web.
  • Feel free to share the link above or the
    presentations with friends and family.

Structure of the Session
  • 1) Overview of Abnormal Psychology
  • 2) Depression
  • 3) Schizophrenia
  • 4) Critiques of Abnormal Psychology
  • 5) Conclusion

Todays Session Abnormal
  • Today we will be talking about Abnormal
  • What does Abnormal Psychology mean?
  • It is actually quite tricky to define.
  • Although not perfect, we define Abnormal
    Psychology as the mental processes that manifest
    themselves as Abnormal Behaviour.
  • But what is Abnormal Behaviour?

What Makes Behaviour Abnormal?
  • There is no concrete definition, but abnormal
    behaviour generally meets most or all of these
  • 1) Statistical infrequency
  • 2) Violation of norms
  • 3) Personal distress
  • 4) Disability or dysfunction
  • 5) Unexpectedness

Overview of Abnormal
  • There are many psychological disorders.
  • However, many are poorly understood, and there is
    widespread recognition that some may need to be
  • In fact, what is officially a disorder is a
    very thorny issue, and is somewhat political.
  • By current definitions, mental illness is common
    about 20 of all people at any one time.
  • Many people with disorders lead fulfilling lives

Abnormal Psychology is actually common
  • There is a stigma around mental illness, but it
    is actually quite common, and most people who
    have an illness are not crazy.
  • In fact, most great and famous people in the
    world probably qualify for one or more mental
  • Mental illness is something that touches all of
    us, whether it be ourselves or someone we care
  • You can always speak to your school counsellor if
    you have questions or concerns about yourself or
    a friend.

Some Disorders (DSM-IV-TR)
  • Specific phobias
  • ADHD
  • Pica
  • Autism
  • Substance-abuse related disorders
  • Schizophrenia
  • Depression
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Eating disorders
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Dissociative amnesia
  • Dissociative fugue
  • Dissociative personality disorder
  • Frotteurism
  • PTSD
  • Borderline personality
  • Antisocial personality
  • Obsessive-Compulsive

  • A disorder you probably have not heard of…
  • It is the compulsion to eat inedible objects.
  • Frequently includes dirt, clay, coins, and any
    number of other things.
  • This image shows nearly a full stone of coins,
    jewellery, and needles swallowed over many years
    by a 62 year old man who ultimately died as a
    result of his pica.
  • Note that it is believed that this man passed
    about 85 of the objects he swallowed.

  • What is depression?
  • The word depression means many things,
    depending on who is using it.
  • Today, we are talking about clinical depression
    or major depressive disorder.
  • Clinical depression actually has a very exact
  • Though most clinicians acknowledge that people
    can still be depressed even if they do not meet
    the definition exactly.

Clinical Definition of Depression
  • According to the DSM-IV-TR, a depressed person
    must experience five of these symptoms for two
    consecutive weeks to officially be depressed
  • 1) Feelings of overwhelming sadness and/or fear,
    or the seeming inability to feel emotion
  • 2) A decrease in the amount of interest or
    pleasure in all, or almost all, daily activities.
  • 3) Changing appetite and marked weight gain or
  • 4) Disturbed sleep patterns, such as insomnia,
    loss of REM sleep, or excessive sleep
  • 5) Psychomotor agitation or retardation nearly
    every day.
  • 6) Fatigue, mental or physical, also loss of
  • 7) Intense feelings of guilt, nervousness,
    helplessness, hopelessness, worthlessness,
    isolation/loneliness and/or anxiety.
  • 8) Trouble concentrating, keeping focus or making
    decisions or a generalized slowing and obtunding
    of cognition, including memory.
  • 9) Recurrent thoughts of death (not just fear of
    dying), desire to just "lie down and die" or
    "stop breathing", recurrent suicidal ideation
    without a specific plan, or a suicide attempt or
    a specific plan for committing suicide.
  • 10) Feeling and/or fear of being abandoned by
    those close to one.

Describing Depression
  • In common terms, a depressed person seems down
    or blue for no apparent reason for weeks at a
  • They will often feel tired and unmotivated.
  • Changes in sleeping and eating habits are common.
  • Importantly, these changes do not have a clear
    reason (e.g. grief) and are not within the
    conscious control of the depressed person.

Prevalence of Depression
  • Depression has been described as the common cold
    of mental health.
  • In fact, it is highly likely that everyone in
    this room knows someone who is depressed.
  • About 16 of people are clinically depressed at
    some point in their lives.
  • Depression is the number one cause of disability
    in the developed world even more than heart
  • Many times depression is clearly evident in a
    person but often it is not clear, even to close
    friends of the depressed person.

Causes of Depression
  • The exact cause of depression is not known.
  • Like most psychological disorders, the cause
    appears to be very complex.
  • Most proposed causes are either biological or
  • Proposed biological causes include chemical
    imbalances in the brain, genetics, poor diet,
  • Proposed psychological causes include low
    self-esteem, prior traumatic events, coping
    methods, etc.
  • It is almost certainly an interaction of many

Depression and Gender
  • Women report clinical depression about twice as
    often as men do, particularly in early and
  • The reason is unknown, but several theories have
    been suggested
  • Women experience more stress than men.
  • Hormonal changes after childbirth often leads to
    postpartum depression.
  • Men are more likely to mask their depression with
    substance abuse or express it as anger.

Depression and Creativity
  • Many people who have been depressed have been
    great historic or artistic characters.
  • In fact, many researchers have speculated that
    there is a link between mood disorders
    (depression and bipolar disorder) and artistic

Famous people who have had Depression
  • Woody Allen
  • Buzz Aldrin
  • David Bohm
  • Jim Carrey
  • Winston Churchill
  • Charles Darwin
  • Princess Diana
  • Paul Getty
  • Julian Huxley
  • King David of Israel
  • Søren Kierkegaard
  • Meriwether Lewis
  • Abraham Lincoln
  • Martin Luther
  • Isaac Newton
  • Boris Yeltsin

Musicians/Artists who have had Depression
  • Kurt Cobain (Nirvana)
  • Billy Corgan (Smashing Pumpkins)
  • Sheryl Crow
  • Nick Drake
  • Vincent Van Gogh
  • Francisco de Goya
  • Paul Gauguin
  • Janet Jackson
  • Morrissey
  • Michelangelo
  • Wolfgang Motzart
  • Edvard Munch
  • Friedrich Nietzsche
  • Mark Rothko
  • James Taylor
  • Pyotr Tchaikovsky
  • Robbie Williams

Writers/Philosophers who have had Depression
  • William Blake
  • Albert Camus
  • Charles Dickens
  • Fyodor Dostoevsky
  • T.S. Eliot
  • Michael Foucault
  • Ernest Hemingway
  • Franz Kafka
  • John Keats
  • Herman Melville
  • Sylvia Plath
  • Edgar Allan Poe
  • Amy Tan
  • Leo Tolstoy
  • Mark Twain
  • Kurt Vonnegut
  • Walt Whitman
  • Tennessee Williams

Treatment for Depression
  • Depressive episodes typically disappear on their
    own after a few months, but they can last longer.
    Treatments include
  • A wide variety of therapies, cognitive
    behavioural therapy (CBT) being one of the most
  • Medications Tricyclics, Monoamine Oxidase
    Inhibitors (MAOIs), Selective Serotonin Reuptake
    Inhibitors (SSRIs).
  • Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT).

  • Questions about depression?

  • What is schizophrenia?
  • Literally means shattered mind.
  • This should not be confused with split
    personality disorder (Dissociative Identity
  • More accurately termed schizophrenias.
  • Although it is one of the most studied disorders,
    the causes are still poorly understood, and it is
    likely to be a complex cluster of similar
  • Officially, to be schizophrenic, symptoms must
    last for at least 6 months, 1 of which must be

Art by Schizophrenic Patients
Art by Schizophrenic Patients
Art by Schizophrenic Patients
Art by Schizophrenic Patients
Art by Schizophrenic Patients
Art by Schizophrenic Patients
Positive Symptoms
  • Positive symptoms are excess or distorted
    behaviours, including
  • Disorganized speech and thought
  • Delusions (grand and paranoid)
  • Hallucinations (usually auditory, but can include
    visual and tactile hallucinations)
  • Lets watch a short video of these symptoms.

An Example of Disorganized Speech
  • Interviewer Have you been nervous or tense
  • Patient No, I got a head of lettuce.
  • Interviewer You got a head of lettuce? I dont
  • Patient Well, its just a head of lettuce.
  • Interviewer Tell me about lettuce. What do you
  • Patient Well, lettuce is a transformation of a
    dead cougar that suffered a relapse on the lions
    toe. And he swallowed the lion and something
    happened. The…see, the…Gloria and Tommy, theyre
    two heads and theyre not whales. But they
    escaped with herds of vomit, and things like
  • Interviewer Who are Tommy and Gloria?
  • Patient Uh,… theres Joe DiMaggio, Tommy
    Henrich, Bill Dickey, Phil Rizzuto, John
    Esclavera, Del Crandell, Ted Williams, Mickey
    Mantle, Roy Mantle, Ray Mantle, Bob Chance..

An Example of Disorganized Speech
  • Interviewer Who are they? Who are those people?
  • Patient Dead people… they want to be fxxxed… by
    this outlaw.
  • Interviewer What does all that mean?
  • Patient Well, you see, I have to leave the
    hospital. Im supposed to have an operation on my
    legs, you know. And it comes to be pretty sickly
    that I dont want to keep my legs. Thats why I
    wish I could have an operation.
  • Interviewer You want to have your legs taken
  • Patient Its possible, you know.
  • Interviewer Why would you want to do that?
  • Patient I didnt have any legs to begin with. So
    I would imagine that if I was a fast runner, Id
    be scared to be a wife, because I had a splinter
    inside of my head of lettuce.
  • (Neale Oltmanns, 1980, pp. 103-104)

Negative Symptoms
  • Negative symptoms are behavioural deficits
  • Avolition (lack of energy)
  • Alogia (low-content speech)
  • Anhedonia (lack of pleasure)
  • Flat Affect (no visible emotions)
  • Asociality (poor social relationships)

Other Symptoms
  • Some symptoms of schizophrenia are not clearly
    positive or negative
  • Inappropriate Affect (unexpected or out of
    context emotional responses)
  • Catatonia (repeated gesturing)
  • Catatonic Immobility (remaining motionless in
    unusual positions for hours or day)
  • Waxy Flexibility (like catatonic immobility,
    except the person will hold whatever position
    their limbs are moved to)

Catatonic Immobility and Waxy Flexibility
Prevalence of Schizophrenia
  • Schizophrenia is found in all cultures throughout
    the world.
  • Onset most often begins in early adulthood.
  • Prevalence is typically 0.5 to 1, although this
    does vary extensively by region.
  • Frequency can vary over time, becoming more or
    less common in particular areas.
  • Occurs roughly equally in men and women.

Causes of Schizophrenia
  • The truth is we do not know what really causes
  • It appears it is a very complex process, with
    both biological and environmental elements.
  • One of the leading theories (for most mental
    illness) is the diathesis-stress theory.
  • This means some people are biologically
    vulnerable to schizophrenia, but it only develops
    when some kind of stress triggers it.

Genetics and Schizophrenia
  • Identical twins share 100 of their genes, but if
    one has schizophrenia, the other only has a 48
  • The chance is increased, even if they are
    separated at birth.
  • Genetics clearly plays a role in schizophrenia.
  • But only part of the role.

Environmental Factors
  • Environmental stressors increase the chance of
    schizophrenia. Known triggers include
  • Personal stress (abuse, persecution, etc.)
  • Living in densely urban areas.
  • Substance abuse.
  • Poverty.
  • The mother having the flu during pregnancy.
  • The mother undergoing severe psychological trauma
    during pregnancy.

Schizophrenia and the Brain
  • Schizophrenics have decreased brain mass (about
    5 to 10 less) compared to non-schizophrenics.
  • This is particularly evident in the ventricles.
  • This image below is of two identical twins, one
    schizophrenic (right) and one non-schizophrenic

Treatment of Schizophrenia
  • Institutionalization
  • Anti-psychotic medication
  • Reduction of environmental stressors
  • Therapy
  • Skills training
  • Schizophrenia rarely goes away entirely, but
    symptoms do tend to decrease over time.

  • Questions about schizophrenia?

Critique of Abnormal Psychology
  • There are many critiques of abnormal psychology,
    particularly psychiatry.
  • Critics claim that many disorders are poorly
    defined, and diagnosis can be subjective, and
    that the difference between mental illness and
    mental health is not concrete.
  • Other criticisms include the reliance on
    medication instead of fixing the problems that
    cause the disorders (i.e. covering up the
    symptoms instead of relieving them.)

Critique of Abnormal Psychology
  • It seems unlikely that schizophrenia is totally a
    social construction.
  • But there are obvious problems in its definition
    and diagnosis.
  • This is true of many disorders.
  • Most psychologists believe that abnormal
    psychology does need some kind of restructuring,
    and treatment needs to be approached more
    holistically, but that it is a valuable field
    that will continue to develop.

  • Final questions?

  • Note Much of what is online about abnormal
    psychology is not factual! People are often
    selling a treatment, have an axe to grind, or
    just have no idea what they are talking about. In
    contrast, Wikipedia is surprisingly accurate
    about most aspects of abnormal psychology (I have
    checked the articles below for accuracy myself.)
  • Wiki on Clinical Psychology http//en.wikipedia.o
  • Wiki on Scientific Paradigms http//en.wikipedia.
  • Wiki on Depression http//
  • Wiki on Cognitive Behavioural Theory (CBT)
  • http//
  • Wiki on Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)
  • Hell and Back - one mans experience with
    depression http//
  • Famous Depression Suffers http//
  • Wiki on Schizophrenia http//
  • Wiki on Causes of Schizophrenia
  • Wiki on the Dissociative Identity Disorder
  • Wiki on the Rosenhan Experiment
  • Video about the Rosenhan experiment
  • Rosenhan, D. (1973) On being sane in insane
    places. Science, 179, 250-8. Full-text PDF.