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Introduction to Psychology

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Introduction to Psychology ­PSY101
Lesson 35
·Psychological illness, psychological disorders, or mental illness are referred to as psychopathology.
·The term is used to describe abnormal behavior.
Psychopathology is the area of study in psychology that primarily focuses upon the origin, development and
manifestation of behavioral and mental disorders.
Abnormal psychology is that branch of psychology that studies, describes, explains, and identifies abnormal
·The observable behavior and mental experiences of an individual may be indicative of a mental or
psychological disorder. The overt behavior and other experiences provide cues to the development of
mental or psychological disorders.
·Psychiatrists and clinical psychologists treat mental disorders.
·Besides, they are also interested in studying and conducting research on the nature and role of the events
that cause these disorders e.g. past history of a person and other variables that contribute to mental illness.
Historical Perspective of Psychopathology
Human life existed, presumably, on earth even more than three million years ago, but the records of only
few thousand years are available to us.
One of the earliest traces in history, about the treatment of mental disorders date back to the stone age that
was more than half a million years ago.
·Headaches, convulsive attacks, and other brain related problems were treated, at that time, with stone
instruments in which a hole of about 2 cm was made in the skull of a person. This process was called
·Evidence is available that trephining was performed even 4000 to 5000 years ago.
·It is believed that the Stone Age people used to perform this procedure.
·The ancient explanations centered on the supernatural: gods, evil spirits, demons etc. It was thought that
the supernatural forces caused strange and troubled behaviors, as they resided within the body of the
person. The practice of trephining was based upon the idea that the evil spirits needed a hole to get out of
human body, thus ridding the person of its impact. In the ancient societies the influence of evil spirits was
the main focus:
Herodotus, the ancient Greek historian, wrote about a king who was driven insane by evil spirits.
According to the legend of Hercules, he killed his own children because evil spirits drove him mad.
·Trephining was done in order to allow the evil spirits to escape the body of a person so that he returned to
sanity. This view prevailed throughout the rich civilizations of that time such as the Egyptian, Hebrew,
Greek, and Chinese civilizations.
·One of the most primitive ways of treating abnormality, and freeing the person of the "evil" possession
was the use of "exorcism".
·Various techniques were used for casting the evil spirits out of the body of the afflicted person; these
included black magic, noisemaking, chanting, prayer, and the use of potions.
·In extreme case flogging and burning the patient were also used.
·This treatment were done by the "Shaman or the medicine man", who was regarded a very special
person possessing unusual healing powers.
·In Egypt and Greece, the tasks of treating the ill were eventually taken over by the priests.
·These priests were a combination of a priest, physician, psychologist and a magician.
·The cure however still depended on magic.
·But not all ancient thinkers believed in this approach.
·In the Golden Age of Greece, temples for healing the ill were maintained.
·This was like a revolution that took place at a time when knowledge about human anatomy and physiology
was very limited, and insufficient.
·During that time, Hippocrates, " the father of modern medicine", made his contributions in various
Believed in the rational knowledge for understanding and treating the psychological disorders and denied
the interventions that was used at that time for treating the abnormal.
Introduction to Psychology ­PSY101
He that all illnesses, including mental disorders, had a natural cause and required natural treatments for
curing the patient.
He maintained that brain is the central organ for all activities including the intellectual abilities and that
disorders are the result of brain pathology.
·He also believed that abnormality was caused by the imbalances of some humors or liquids within the body
of a person.
·He gave theory of " humors" that account for the basic human activity. He was of the view that the perfect
health is the result of the proportionate mixture of these humors
·Maintained that four humors led to four temperaments forming one's personality. The temperaments were:
a) Sanguine (Cheerful and Active)
b) Melancholic (Sad)
c) Choleric (Angry and Aggressive)
d) Phlegmatic (Calm and Passive)
Hippocrates maintained that epilepsy is caused by insufficient air carried by the veins to the brain and limbs.
For him, soul is most important it should be properly looked after.
It is not just one faculty or any particular material entity; rather it is a broad area comprising intelligence and
character, or man's conscious personality.
He maintained that thought and reasoning are the building blocks of personal worth and happy life.
It can be concluded that problems with the soul led to abnormal behavior.
Believed in the humane treatment of mentally ill patients
He was of the view that disorders developed when the conflict arises between emotions and reason
But despite having modern thoughts, he still believed that mental disorders were partly treated by the divine
powers too.
He mainly followed Hippocrates' theory of mental disorders.
Gave different ideas about many emotional states such as anger, fear, envy, hatred, courage etc.
First ever to distinguish between the acute and chronic mental disorders
Also differentiated between delusions, hallucination and illusions.
The movement of atoms in the body caused disease.
He advocated the practice of baths, dieting, exercise, and massage for curing disease.
Most outstanding physician of antiquity after Hippocrates.
He regarding the anatomy and nervous system of human beings as he was performing dissections
on animals made influential contributions.
The following many centuries did not see a major breakthrough regarding the understanding and
treatment of abnormality.
In The Middle Ages
In the middle ages of Europe, religious thought, dominated the understanding and treatment of
mental disorders.
This period lasted from the fall of the Roman Empire in 5th century AD till the
15th century.
It was thought that the mentally ill were possessed by demons or the devil.
They were accused of being witches who could infect others with madness.
As a result the mentally ill were treated not humanely but with religious
inquisition and barbaric treatment.
Introduction to Psychology ­PSY101
However, many thinkers even at that time believed that mental disorders did have
a physical cause.
They believed that the imbalance in the four basic humors, grief, and poor diet
caused such illnesses.
In The Islamic World
The mentally ill were treated in a good and humane manner by the physicians
during the rule of Muslim caliphs. Asylums were made for the mentally ill.
Special baths, diet, medication, music, and pleasant environment were provided to
the patients.
Such asylums began in 8th century AD.
The first one was established in Baghdad, and was followed by others in Cairo,
Damascus and Fez.
In Europe
The mentally ill underwent inhuman treatment for long.
The situation prevailed even in the 17th and 18th century AD.
They were either left to wander in wilderness, or kept isolated in institutions.
Many hospitals in Britain, France and Italy became notorious for their callous
way of treating the mentally ill.
However with growing public awareness the need for a change was felt.
La Bicetre hospital in Paris, France, was a pioneer in this regard.
Pussin was the superintendent of a ward for incurable mental patients.
He released patients from shackles, and the staff was forbidden from beating
Philippe Pinel who became the chief physician of La Bicetre hospital continued
this practice.
Developments in 17th And 18th Centuries
The period of 17th century is regarded as the " age of reason", and that of 18th century as the " age of
Great changes as well as discoveries were made at that time in a number of fields including psychology
Franz Friedrich Anton Mesmer (1734- 1815)
Mesmer proposed that a power similar to magnetism existed in humans.
This, animal magnetism, exercised a powerful influence on our body.
He asserted that animal magnetism had a medicinal value.
He believed that maintaining and balancing the magnetic field could cure mental
He was of the view that hand movements and their magnetic force were enough to
produce dramatic changes in the ill persons.
He introduced mesmerism, a trance like state, as a curative technique. Mesmerism was similar to today's
hypnosis. He made more use of magnetism than suggestion.
The major breakthrough took place in the later half of the 18th century.
Philippe Pinel: (1745-1826)
His contributions began with the revolutionary changes at the La Bicetre hospital in Paris. He
believed that abnormal behavior is caused by some hereditary defects or nervous system defects. He was of
the view that mental patients should be treated with great care as he severely condemned chaining and
shackling of the mentally ill.
Due to his efforts, La Bicetre and Salpetriere hospitals were regarded as the first
modern hospitals for caring and curing the insane.
Introduction to Psychology ­PSY101
Pinel gave the concept of Moral Treatment. He said that the mental patients should be treated with
kindness and sensitivity. Cruelty and violence were discouraged and forbidden.
William Tuke
Tuke established the York Retreat in rural England in 1796. Here, mental patients were provided
compassionate treatment. This retreat became a model for others to follow.
Wilhelm Griesinger:(1817-1868)
He believed that the best way to understand mental disorders is to assume that they are caused by brain
pathology. He firmly believed on the organic origin of mental disorders rather than the psychological cause.
Kraepelin: (1856-1926)
Published the first system of classification of mental diseases.
This system could help to label different disorders as psychosis and neurosis.
Kraepelin clearly differentiated between `dementia praecox' (now known as schizophrenia) and
`depressive psychosis'; severe mental disorders.
These severe disorders were thought to be developed out of the organic reasons.
Jean M. Charcot: (1825- 1893)
French neurologist.
Charcot was most interested in observing and treating hysterical patients.
He noticed that these patients had strange beliefs about their own bodily functions. He developed
techniques for treating hysterical patients as well as also being able to induce hysterical symptoms in
normal individuals
Defining Abnormality
What is abnormal behavior?
Abnormality can be defined in a number of ways.
People identify, understand and explain abnormality according to their past experience, common
information, cultural tradition, societal attitude, and/or professional knowledge. Definitions of Abnormal
1. Statistical definition
People deviating from the norm are considered "abnormal".
·BUT what if majority of people indulge into erratic behavior?
·What about the creative artists who did not go along the norm?
2. Abnormality as deviation from "Ideal"Ideal refers to the standard toward which most people strive.
Abnormality, according to this definition, is not striving toward the ideal.
BUT what about those for whom the `ideal' is not the `ideal'?
For example a student who is a very good painter and does not want to pursue
conventional education.
Table of Contents:
  1. WHAT IS PSYCHOLOGY?:Theoretical perspectives of psychology
  3. SCHOOLS OF THOUGHT:Biological Approach, Psychodynamic Approach
  4. PERSPECTIVE/MODEL/APPROACH:Narcosis, Chemotherapy
  5. THE PSYCHODYNAMIC APPROACH/ MODEL:Psychic Determinism, Preconscious
  6. BEHAVIORAL APPROACH:Behaviorist Analysis, Basic Terminology, Basic Terminology
  8. RESEARCH METHODS IN PSYCHOLOGY (I):Scientific Nature of Psychology
  9. RESEARCH METHODS IN PSYCHOLOGY (II):Experimental Research
  11. COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT:Socio- Cultural Factor, The Individual and the Group
  12. NERVOUS SYSTEM (1):Biological Bases of Behavior, Terminal Buttons
  13. NERVOUS SYSTEM (2):Membranes of the Brain, Association Areas, Spinal Cord
  14. ENDOCRINE SYSTEM:Pineal Gland, Pituitary Gland, Dwarfism
  15. SENSATION:The Human Eye, Cornea, Sclera, Pupil, Iris, Lens
  16. HEARING (AUDITION) AND BALANCE:The Outer Ear, Auditory Canal
  17. PERCEPTION I:Max Wertheimer, Figure and Ground, Law of Closure
  18. PERCEPTION II:Depth Perception, Relative Height, Linear Perspective
  19. ALTERED STATES OF CONSCIOUSNESS:Electroencephalogram, Hypnosis
  20. LEARNING:Motor Learning, Problem Solving, Basic Terminology, Conditioning
  21. OPERANT CONDITIONING:Negative Rein forcer, Punishment, No reinforcement
  22. COGNITIVE APPROACH:Approach to Learning, Observational Learning
  23. MEMORY I:Functions of Memory, Encoding and Recoding, Retrieval
  24. MEMORY II:Long-Term Memory, Declarative Memory, Procedural Memory
  25. MEMORY III:Memory Disorders/Dysfunctions, Amnesia, Dementia
  26. SECONDARY/ LEARNT/ PSYCHOLOGICAL MOTIVES:Curiosity, Need for affiliation
  27. EMOTIONS I:Defining Emotions, Behavioral component, Cognitive component
  28. EMOTIONS II:Respiratory Changes, Pupillometrics, Glandular Responses
  29. COGNITION AND THINKING:Cognitive Psychology, Mental Images, Concepts
  31. PERSONALITY I:Definition of Personality, Theories of Personality
  32. PERSONALITY II:Surface traits, Source Traits, For learning theorists, Albert Bandura
  33. PERSONALITY III:Assessment of Personality, Interview, Behavioral Assessment
  34. INTELLIGENCE:The History of Measurement of Intelligence, Later Revisions
  35. PSYCHOPATHOLOGY:Plato, Aristotle, Asclepiades, In The Middle Ages
  36. ABNORMAL BEHAVIOR I:Medical Perspective, Psychodynamic Perspective
  37. ABNORMAL BEHAVIOR II:Hypochondriasis, Conversion Disorders, Causes include
  38. PSYCHOTHERAPY I:Psychotherapeutic Orientations, Clinical Psychologists
  39. PSYCHOTHERAPY II:Behavior Modification, Shaping, Humanistic Therapies
  40. POPULAR AREAS OF PSYCHOLOGY:ABC MODEL, Factors affecting attitude change
  41. HEALTH PSYCHOLOGY:Understanding Health, Observational Learning
  42. INDUSTRIAL/ORGANIZATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY:‘Hard’ Criteria and ‘Soft’ Criteria
  43. CONSUMER PSYCHOLOGY:Focus of Interest, Consumer Psychologist
  44. SPORT PSYCHOLOGY:Some Research Findings, Arousal level
  45. FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGY:Origin and History of Forensic Psychology