Historical Perspectives of Abnormal Psychology

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Historical Perspectives of Abnormal Psychology Susan Hardin University of Phoenix Abnormal Psychology PSY/410 Krisit Lane, Ph.D. October 25, 2011 Historical Perspectives of Abnormal Psychology Historical perspectives of abnormal psychology sounds complicated, mainly due to the differing definitions, or interpretations, of what is considered abnormal. Identifying someone at work or in a social situation who appears to be behaving abnormally is easier to spot than it is to define the term abnormal behavior. No matter what the definition of abnormal the different perspectives each present a theory concerning its cause. This paper will provide a brief overview of the different perspectives and the theories presented by each.…show more content…
Basically Erikson theorized that individuals pass through eight stages of development. Each stage of development involves two opposing powers, or contrary dispositions; Erikson named these opposing powers syntonic and dystonic. An individual, Erikson theorized, must successfully pass from one stage of development to the next in order to maintain a healthy balance. As an example, the first stage of development lists the syntonic as trust vs. the dystonic of mistrust. An individual who does not successfully pass through stage on may develop a mistrust that lasts a lifetime. The unsuccessful mastery of any of the eight stages of development could cause an individual to develop abnormally, thereby demonstrating what society terms abnormal behavior. Biological/Medical The biological/medical perspective refers to a malfunction in the brain that is the primary cause for abnormal behavior. This malfunctioning of the brain could be due to the physical structure of the brain itself or abnormal biochemical functioning (Hansell & Damour, 2008). The brain abnormalities could be either genetic or environmental. “…the biological perspective focuses on physical structures and biochemical functions in the body that contribute to abnormal behavior” (Hansell & Damour, 2008, p. 36). As technology continues to advance the ability of researchers to understand the biological
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