Abnormal Behavior Is Defined as Behavior That Is Not Normal

Topics: Sociology, Normality, Behavior Pages: 2 (682 words) Published: January 8, 2011
Abnormal behavior is defined as behavior that is not normal; what does that mean? How do we know if behavior is normal or not? The field of psychology uses four distinct definitions to define abnormal behavior, these are; Statistical Definition, Social Norm Deviance, Subjective Discomfort, and the Inability to Function Normally. Each of these definitions has distinct characteristics which separate each from the other. Statistical Definition is taking a mathematical approach to defining what normal behavior is and what normal behavior is not. Mathematics tells us that if the majority of the population is behaving in a certain manner then the part of the population which is behaving in a way that is different than the majority, is abnormal. We look at emotions and we observe how the majority of the population acts when they are sad, we compare the expressions they have, the words they share with other members of the population when they are sad; if one group shows more severe emotions than the other then we would say they are behaving abnormally; for instance, if when sad some individuals say they want to kill themselves we would say that is not a normal phrase that comes from someone who is sad. Social Norm Deviance closely follows statistical definition where we compare individuals to the social majority for their geographical area. I mentioned geographical area because how the social norm behaves in some parts of the world is different than how the social norm behaves in other parts of the world. Individuals in Northern Canada may be generally more depressed than individuals in Miami, Florida. The reasoning is behind Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD); people in Northern Canada get less daylight then the people in Miami, Florida. Because of this I would suspect that they as a social norm are generally sadder than the social norm in Florida. If we compared the population in northern Canada to the population in Miami Florida, with respect to how sad they are,...

Bibliography: Ciccarelli, S. K., & White, N. J. (2009). Psychology. Upper Saddle River: Pearson Education.
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