Sunday, November 11, 2012

General Psychology

Assessment and Anxiety Disorders

Maladaptive Behavior Approach – defines a behavior as psychologically damaging or abnormal if it interferes with the individual’s ability to function in one’s personal life or in society

Generalized Anxiety or GAD is characterized by excessive or unrealistic worry about almost everything or feeling that something bad is about to happen.  These anxious feelings occur on a majority of days for a period of at least six months.  GAD is also called “free floating anxiety.”

Panic Disorder is characterized by recurrent and unexpected panic attacks.  The person becomes so worried about having another panic attack that this intense worrying interferes with normal psychological functioning.  Often interpreted by individuals as heart attack or “going crazy.”

Phobia – is an anxiety disorder characterized by an intense and irrational fear that is out of all proportion to the possible danger of the object or situation.  Because of this intense fear, which is accompanied by increased physiological arousal.  A person goes to great lengths to avoid the feared event.  If the feared event cannot be avoided, the person feels intense anxiety.

Social Phobia – characterized by irrational, marked, and continuous fear of performing in social situations.  The individual's fear that they will humiliate or embarrass themselves.

Specific Phobia – formerly called simple phobias, are characterized by marked and persistent fears that are unreasonable and triggered by anticipation of, or exposure to, a specific object or situation.  (spiders, flying, heights, seeing blood)

Agoraphobia – characterized by anxiety about being in places or situations from which escape might be difficult or embarrassing.  If a panic attack or panic-like symptoms (sudden dizziness or onset of diarrhea) were to occur.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – a disabling condition that results from direct personal experience of an event that involves actual or threatened death or serious injury from witnessing such an event or hearing that such an event has happened to a family member or close friend.

Obsessions – persistent, recurring irrational thoughts, impulses, or images that a person is unable to control and that interfere with normal functioning.

Compulsions – irresistible impulses to perform over and over some senseless behavior or ritual (hand washing, checking things, counting, putting things in order).

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder – consists of obsessions and compulsions.

Somatoform Disorders – marked by a pattern of recurring, multiple, and significant bodily (somatic) symptoms that existed over several years.  The bodily symptoms (pain, vomiting, paralysis, blindness) are not under voluntary control, have no physical causes, and are believed to be caused by psychological factors.

Systematic Desensitization – a technique of behavior therapy, based on classical conditioning, in which a person is gradually and progressively exposed to fearful or anxiety-provoking stimuli while practicing deep relaxation.  Systematic desensitization is a form of counter-conditioning because it replaces, or counters, fear and anxiety with relaxation.

3 legal definitions of insanity
1. Involuntary commitment
2. Not guilty by reason of insanity
3. Competence to stand trial

Most abnormal behaviors fall in the middle on the biological-psychological continuum.

50% of Americans report at least one lifetime disorder. 40% seek professional help?

two most common mental disorders
Substance abuse
Anxiety disorder

two most common phobias
Social phobias
Specific phobias

Exposure treatment technique, including both imaginary and in vivo
Gradually exposing the person to the actual anxiety-producing situations or objects that he or she is attempting to avoid and continuing the exposure treatments until the anxiety decreases. Exposure treatment technique is effective for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Phobias.

Two treatments for specific phobias
Cognitive-behavioral therapy
Exposure therapy
Systematic desensitization

conduct disorders – a repetitive and persistent pattern of behaving that has been going on for at least a year and that violates the established social rules or the rights of others.  Problems may include aggressive behaviors such as threatening to harm people, abusing or killing animals, destroying property, being deceitful, or stealing.

some of the problems shared by adolescent shooters
Uncontrolled anger and blamed others for problems
Little parental supervision
Isolated and rejected by fears
Access to firearms in homes
Gave warning signs of violent intentions

Mood Disorders and Schizophrenia

Major Depression – (major depressive disorder) marked by at least two weeks of continually being in a bad mood, having no interest in anything and getting no pleasure from activities.  In addition, a person must have at least four of the following symptoms: problems with eating, sleeping, thinking, concentrating, or making decisions, lacking energy, thinking about suicide, and feeling worthless or guilty.

Bipolar Disorder – marked by fluctuations between episodes of depression and mania.  A manic episode goes on for at least a week, during which a person is unusually euphoric, cheerful, and high and has at least three of the following symptoms: has great self-esteem, has little need for sleep, speaks rapidly and frequently, has racing thoughts is easily distracted, and pursues pleasurable activities.

Biological Theory of Depression – genetic, neurological, chemical, and physiological components that may predispose or put someone at risk for developing a mood disorder.

Beck’s Theory of Depression – when we are feeling down, automatic negative thoughts that we rarely notice occur continually throughout the day.  These negative thoughts distort how we perceive and interpret the world and thus influence or behaviors and feelings, which in turn contribute to our feeling depressed.

Risk Factors for Suicide
Most who talk about suicide do not attempt.
Most who attempt do not succeed.
Most who succeed have discussed it.
Whites twice as likely to commit suicide.
Rates higher among rich, non-religious, and unmarried.
Women much more likely to attempt, men much more likely to succeed.
Suicide rate among 15-19 year olds has doubled since 1950.
3% of alcoholics commit suicide.
Highest rate is among elderly (20/100,000), almost double the national average (12/1000,000).

Personality Disorders In General – consists of inflexible, long-standing, maladaptive traits that cause significantly impaired functioning or great distress in one’s personal and social life.

Antisocial Personality Disorder – refers to a pattern of disregarding or violating the rights of others without feeling guilt or remorse.

Positive and Negative symptoms of schizophrenia.
Positive – reflect a distortion of normal functions: Distorted thinking results in delusions; distorted perceptions result in hallucinations; distorted language results in disorganized speech.
Negative – reflect a decrease in or loss of normal functions: decreased range in an intensity of emotions; decreased ability to express thoughts; and decreased initiate to engage in goal-directed behaviors.

Diathesis Stress Theory of Schizophrenia – says that some people have a genetic predisposition (diathesis) that interacts with life stressors to result in the onset and development of schizophrenia.

Biological causes of schizophrenia
Genetic predisposition
Genetic markers

Neurological causes of schizophrenia
Ventricle size
Less activation of the prefrontal cortex

Dissociative Identity Disorder is characterized by a person having a disruption, split, or breakdown in his, or her normal integrated self, consciousness, memory, or sense of identity.  This disorder is relatively rare and unusual.

How do persons who are depressed explain bad events that happen to them?

common drug treatments for mood disorders
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors – work primarily by raising the level of a single neurotransmitter, serotonin.
Anti-depressants – may take 4 to 6 weeks to work, help about 65% of patients while the remaining 35% receive little or no benefit.  Although anti-depressants initially help, about half or more patients relapse when the medication stops.  One disadvantage of anti-depressants their unwanted side effects.

effectiveness of psychotherapy and medication therapy for depression
Psychotherapy alone or along with medication therapy is more effective than medication therapy alone.

nicknames for major depression and schizophrenia
Major Depression – common cold
Schizophrenia – cancer

Types I and II schizophrenia, including their likelihood for recover
Type I – positive symptoms such as hallucinations which are distortion of normal functions.  This group has no intellectual impairment, good reaction to medications, and a good chance of recovery.
Type II – negative symptoms, such as dulled emotions and little inclination to speak, which are a loss of normal functions, has intellectual impairment, poor reaction to medications, poor chance of recovery.

Social Psychology

Just World Phenomenon – the tendency to believe the world is just and people therefore get what they deserve and deserve what they get.

Attribution – things we point to as the cause of events, other people’s behaviors, and our own behaviors.

Fundamental Attribution Error – Tendency to underestimate effects of a situation and overestimate importancy of personal characteristics.

Self-Serving Bias – explaining our successes by attributing them to our dispositions or personality traits and explaining our failures by attributing them to the situations.

Cognitive Dissonance – catalyst to change – state of unpleasant psychological tension that motivates us to reduce our cognitive inconsistencies by making our beliefs more consistent with each other.

Conformity – any behavior you perform because of group pressure, even though that pressure may not involve direct requests.

Obedience – performing some behavior in response to an order given by someone in a position of power or authority.

Bystander Effect – an individual may feel inhibited from taking some action because of the presence of others.

Diffusion of Responsibility Theory – in the presence of others, individuals feel less personal responsibility and are less likely to take action in a situation where help is needed.

Deindividuation – the increased tendency of subjects to behave irrationally or perform antisocial behaviors when there is less chance of being personally identified.

Control, aggression, and power are the primary motives of rape?

Aggressive children perceive the world and interactions differently. For instance, they view the world as more hostile and overlook positive social cues.

People are most likely to offer help others when personal distress, empathy, and norms and values are present.

decision stage model of helping
1. Notice the situation
2. Interpret as one in which help is needed
3. Assume personal responsibility
4. Choose a form of assistance
5. Carry out that assistance

factors that increase obedience
People have learned to follow orders of authority figures.
People learned to follow orders.
Increased punishment for not following orders.

factors that increase conformity
Peer pressure
Social pressures

Asch experiment
People were showing 4 lines, two of the same length and 2 of different lengths.  They had to choose whether one matched A, B, or C.  Three of four people at the round table were told to choose the wrong line.  The fourth person went last and 75% of them, although knowing they were doing so, chose the wrong line as well.

Milgram experiment
Subjects were told to shock and raise the voltage of the shock when a person gave the wrong answer to a question.  The person answering the question was in another room screaming to stop, but 62% of the people did not stop and raised toe voltage to the max amount (450 volts).  They did so because they were told to do so by an authority figure.

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