Abnormal Psychology

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Chapter 2
Conceptualizing Abnormal Psychology

One-Dimensional versus Multidimensional Models
 One-Dimensional Models
 Multidimensional Models
 The Role of Genes
 Neuroscience
 Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences
 Emotions
 Cultural, Social, and Interpersonal Factors
 Life-Span Development
 How do we put it all together?

One-Dimensional versus Multidimensional Models
 One-Dimensional Models
 Single cause, operating in isolation
 Linear causal model
 Ignores critical information

 Multidimensional Models
 Systemic
 Several independent inputs that become
interdependent
 Causes cannot be considered out of
context

What Caused Judy’s Phobia?
 Behavioral Factors
 Biological Factors
 Genetics
 Physiology
 Neurobiology
 Emotional Influences
 Social Factors
 Developmental Factors
 All of these interact interdependently

The Nature of Genes
 The Nature of genes
 What are genes?
 Long molecules of DNA
 Double Helix structure
 Located on chromosomes
 46 chromosomes in 23 pairs
 Pairs 1 – 22 = body and brain development
 Pair 23 = gender

The Nature of Genes
 Determine physical characteristics
 (e.g., weight)
 Importance of contextual factors
 Dominant vs. recessive genes
 Single-gene determinants
 Polygenetic influences
 Rule, not the exception

Genetic Contributions to Psychopathology
 Evidence of the complexity and the contextual
nature of genetics:
 Quantitative genetics accounts for the small,
individual effects of several genes
 Gene expression and gene-environment
interactions

New developments in the study of genes and
behavior
• Behavioral genetics

The Interaction of Genes and the Environment
 Eric Kandel—learning affects genetic structure
of cells
 Activation of dormant genes
 Continued development in the brain
 Plasticity vs. hardwired
 Diathesis-Stress model

The Interaction of Genes and the Environment
 Diathesis:
 Inherited tendency to express traits/behaviors
 Genetic
 Stress:
 Life events or contextual variables
 Environmental

 Combining both yields activation under the right
conditions

The Diathesis-Stress Model

The Interaction of Genes and the Environment
Reciprocal Gene-Environment Model

 Genes shape how we create our environments

 Inherited predispositions or traits that increase
one’s likelihood to engage in activities or seek out
situations
 Example: divorce

Epigenetics and the Nongenomic
“Inheritance” of Behavior
 Overemphasis on the role of genes?
 Environment and early learning
 Cross fostering studies of development
 Critical vs. sensitive periods

Genetic Contributions to Psychopathology
 ~50% of variance in personality or cognitive
characteristics

 Complex gene-environment relationships
 Genes:
 Behavior, Cognition, Emotions
 “Bounds” of environmental impact

 Environment:
 Genetic structure and activation
 May override genetic diathesis

Neuroscience and its Contributions to
Psychopathology
 The field of neuroscience
 The role of the nervous system in disease
and behavior
 The central nervous system
 CNS
 Brain and spinal cord
 PNS
 Somatic and autonomic branches

The Central Nervous System
 The neuron-basic building block
 Soma
 Dendrites
 Axon
 Axon terminals
 Synaptic cleft
 Function: Electrical
 Communication: Chemical
 Neurotransmitters

The Structure of the Brain
 Two main parts:
 Brain stem—basic functions
 Forebrain—higher cognition

The Structure of the Brain

Divisions of the Brain Stem
 Hindbrain
 Medulla—Heart rate, blood pressure, respiration
 Pons—Regulates sleep stages
 Cerebellum—Physical coordination

 Midbrain
 Coordinates movement with sensory input
 Contains parts of the reticular activating system
(RAS)

Brain Stem and Forebrain Connections
 Thalamus and hypothalamus
 Relays between brain stem and...
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