ap psych study guides

🤔  Unit 5: Cognitive Psychology

👶  Unit 6: Developmental Psychology

🤪  Unit 7: Motivation, Emotion, & Personality

🛋  Unit 8: Clinical Psychology

8.2 Psychological Perspectives and Etiology of Disorders

#abnormalpsychology

#labeling

#approaches

⏱️  4 min read

written by

Emily Pedrazzi

emily pedrazzi

Dalia Savy

dalia savy

Sadiyya Holsey

sadiyya holsey

November 11, 2020


Etiology is the cause(s) of a psychological disorder. Each psychological approach has a different view on the causes of each disorder.

Review of each Approach

ApproachDefinitionKey FiguresDisorders
Behavioral 📖Studies the connection between our minds and behavior. Ivan Pavlov, B.F. SkinnerCould explain learned phobias. Think about the Little Albert study 🐀
Biological 🧬States that behavior is based on physical processes such as those relating to the brain, hormones, and other chemicals.Paul Broca, Carl Wernicke, Roger SperryDisorders are a result of a misbalance in the brain 🧠, whether it be with neurotransmitters or hormones.
BiopsychosocialAcknowledges the person as a whole and tries to look at all of the patient's circumstances. It looks at biological, psychological, and social factors to understand a person’s behavior.Modern PsychologyDisorders are as a result of genetic predispositions, a misbalance in the brain, maladaptive thoughts, and culture.
Cognitive 🧠States that thought processes impact the way people behave. A cognitive psychologist may study how an emotion such as fear affects one’s thinking.Jean Piaget, Albert BanduraDisorders are a result of maladaptive thoughts
Evolutionary ❤️Uses evolutionary biology to explain human behavior. Also, it looks at how natural selection of traits promotes the survival of genes. An evolutionary psychologist may study how anger could be a gene inherited from our ancestors.Charles DarwinAnxiety helped us survive, therefore we have it. It was part of natural selection.
Humanistic 🔺believes that humans have free will and the ability to grow 🌱 All individuals are striving to reach self actualization with this approach.Abraham Maslow, Carl RogersAnxiety disorders are as a result of not having the environment to grow (not having an unconditional positive regard) and therefore being unable to reach self-actualization.
Psychodynamic 🙊Focuses on the study of the unconscious mind. It states that behavior is determined by past experiences stored in the unconscious mind.Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Erik EriksonCould explain that anxiety disorders are a result of unconscious thoughts from childhood or the instability of the ego and not being able to balance between the id and superego.
Sociocultural 🗣️Studies how thinking and behavior vary across cultures and situations. A sociocultural psychologist may study how expressions of fear vary across cultures.Solomon Asch, Stanley MilgramAnxiety occurs as a result of norms that exist within a culture.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Approach

Strengths

Weaknesses

Behavioral 📖

Uses theories of conditioning which have been proven to help in rewiring behavior.

Has little to no focus on biological aspects.

Biological 🧬

Experiments are objective, providing concrete data.

Has little to no focus on environment, upbringing, etc.

Biopsychosocial

Provides a more complete picture by using three different approaches.

Relationship between each section may be difficult to understand.

Cognitive 🧠

Used to successfully rewire thoughts in clinical settings.

Extremely logical and rarely accounts for emotional responses.

Evolutionary ❤️

Can compare humans throughout different evolutionary stages.

More effectively used on animals than humans.

Humanistic 🔺

Methods are adaptable to various types of people.

Little objectivity is used.

Psychodynamic 🙊

Uses concepts from both nature and nurture arguments.

Theories cannot be proven.

Sociocultural 🗣️

Observations are most commonly made in real-world situations.

Variables are challenging to control.

Effects of Labeling

The purpose of diagnostic labels is to categorize/classify mental illnesses within an easily identifiable set of parameters. However, unexpected negative consequences may occur, such as increased stigma and discrimination toward certain groups. 

The Rosenhan Study is a famous 1973 experiment that analyzed labeling by sending mentally healthy subjects to psychiatric hospitals by feigning hallucinations. They faked the disorder to get into the hospitals, but once they were in, they acted normal.

Despite the eventual fading of any symptoms, patients were still seen as correctly diagnosed. Stigma was proven to be driven by the diagnosis, leading to an inaccurate portrayal of circumstances.

  • 7 people were diagnosed with schizophrenia and 1 with bipolar disorder, which shows that they didn't know how to differentiate normal behavior from symptoms of mental illnesses.

  • This is yet again another example of an unethical experiment that happened. By being brought into a psychiatric hospital, subjects were prone to being treated differently, sometimes searched randomly, and had no privacy.

Rosenhan concluded that labels do matter and could have "a life and an influence of its own." They change one's perception and reality.

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Image Courtesy of Psychology Wizard.

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