University Of Phoenix
PSY 410 Abnormal Psychology
August 11, 2008
Defining Abnormality Paper As William is walking down the street he notices a young woman walking toward him having a full conversation. Technology, Bill thought to himself, thinking that the young woman has one of those blue tooth ear pieces in her ear. Once Bill is close enough to get a clear view he realizes that the young woman is not on the phone but indeed talking to herself. Bill then thinks to himself “that was abnormal.” Abnormal psychology simply defined is behavior that is other than normal. However, other factors have to be taken into account before an individual is categorized as abnormal; their culture, age, and gender have significant influences on behavior.
The process of distinguishing normal and abnormal behavior must take into account cultural relativism. Many different cultures view behaviors differently. What may be considered abnormal in one culture is considered normal in another. An important component of culture is religion. From Catholics to Muslims, many different religions exist today. Each religion has practices and customs unique to his or her culture. Each religion worships in a unique form. While some worship Jesus, others worship different Gods. Some of these worship methods may stand out as unusual and abnormal without an attempt to understand the religion. For example, African girls as young as age 10 are often given to spiritual leaders in order to pacify the Gods for past offenses committed by family members (Levesque, 2001). Additionally, girls in the Middle East and Africa are often subjected to female circumcision. In fact, most Yemeni women, 71.4%, favor this circumcision (World News Connection, 2008). In many other religions female circumcision is considered inhumane, cruel, and unnecessary. However, in these religions this practice is necessary for religious acceptance.
References: Coon, Dennis. (2004) Introduction to psychology: Gateways to mind and behavior, 10th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning, Inc. Levesque, R. (2001). Culture and family violence: Fostering change through human rights law. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. Majority of Yemeni Women favor female circumcision. (2008, July 4). World News Connection. Retrieved August 7, 2008 from EBSCOHost database. Meyer, Robert G. (2005). Case studies in abnormal behavior, 7th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.