Abnormal Psychology

Think you’re abnormal? Moreover is it good or bad to generally be abnormal?

Abnormal simply means outside of the normal – that today mean individuals who have a behaviour which most others do not.

It does all hang on how abnormal psychology addresses or analyses the statistics though, and just how society places values on attributes. There was a period in Britain when to be left handed wasn’t just abnormal – you might have been burnt at the stake for being a witch!

Having a significantly low IQ is abnormal. So is having a appreciably high IQ, but it is typically only the former that’s considered to be abnormal because children with very high IQs are considered as having desirable attributes – highly gifted springs to mind even when they do display unusual behaviour

Approximately one quarter of older people suffer from depression; does that make depression abnormal? It’s definitely not rare, but it can be unusual behaviour and it’ll be a problem

Psychology only tends to come to the fore in the event the attributes of a person’s behaviour or thinking become problematic. When someone’s behaviour makes people feel threatened. Not that the threat will have to be real;  it is a perception.

Social standards seem to have more effect on abnormality, than someone being different does. if it’s not socially acceptable then its considered abnormal. As mentioned earlier abnormality doesn’t stand the test of time. Being a homosexual was seen as a psychological indeed psychiatric disorder at one time whilst it isn’t today and drink drivers, once an accepted normal behaviour is now not seen in that light. Ditto smokers.

Abnormal psychology comes to the fore when people behave in a fashion that interferes with their day-to-day functional ability

Rosenhan & Seligman (1989) noted the following indicators of abnormality

•              Maladaptiveness – becoming a danger to oneself

•              Vividness & unconventionality – an individual who sticks out significantly from the crowd

•              Unpredictably & loss of control – somebody who may explode with rage or tears

•              Irrationality/incomprehensibility – the inability to think in a traditional way or to make themselves understood by the mainstream

•              Causes observer discomfort – those whose behaviour disconcerts those around them

•              Violates moral/social standards – those who go against generally accepted standards

Strangely enough even these traits are open to question

If the behaviour means they are happy who is to suggest it is not acceptable when it does no physical harm?

And aren’t boxer, smokers, drinkers all self harmers?

Abnormal psychology isn’t easily defined

It looks to be less about “abnormal “but more to do with ” less than the ideal”

 So what is the ideal?

Well again, ideas vary but in most cases it’s people with a positive view of themselves and others, who have the capability to grow and develop. They have the ability to function independently of others and can also think for themselves. They know what is real and what isn’t – worrying when you consider the amount of people who think the characters in Eastenders are real! Furthermore they are able to function daily and find it not too difficult to form good relationships and maintain them.

Oh and if you pile on social class into that little box of tricks, you will see that when it comes to abnormality, the working class suffer more than their higher class counterparts

An abnormal psychology course will help you understand this fascinating subject.