Key study: “On being sane in insane place” (Rosenhan, 1973)

Travis Dixon Abnormal Psychology, Qualitative Research Methods Leave a Comment

Rosenhan’s famous study attempted to demonstrate the unreliable nature of psychiatric diagnosis in the 1970s and how poorly patients were treated in psychiatric hospitals. While his methods were a little suspect, the study seemed to make the point Rosenhan was hoping for.  Background Information One of the most influential studies conducted investigating the difficulties in defining normality and abnormality, and …

Key Study: Clinical bias and the effects of labelling on diagnosis (Temerlin, 1968)

Travis Dixon Abnormal Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, Key Studies Leave a Comment

Clinical bias can affect the validity and reliability of diagnosis and one thing that can cause clinical bias is when a patient is labelled with having a particular disorder. Labelling theory usually refers to how a label can affect the individual being labelled, but it is also used to explain how others can treat someone based on their label. Effects …

Key Study: Confirmation bias: why psychiatrists stick to wrong preliminary diagnoses (Mendel et al. 2011)

Travis Dixon Abnormal Psychology, Cognitive Psychology 4 Comments

Clinical bias can affect the validity and reliability of diagnosis. One example of a clinical bias that could have an effect is confirmation bias. While the use of classification systems could reduce the influence of clinical bias, it might also lead to it. Clinical bias is a general term that refers to any cognitive bias that can affect the diagnosis …

The sociocultural approach and diagnosis in Abnormal Psychology

Travis Dixon Abnormal Psychology, Social and Cultural Psychology 4 Comments

Making an accurate diagnosis of a psychological disorder like depression or PTSD is very important. However, it’s not always easy and culture is one factor that can influence the validity and reliability of diagnosis.  Culture and Reporting Symptoms One factor that may affect diagnosis is culture. In particular, people from different cultures may report their symptoms differently. For example, a …

Socio-cultural Etiology of PTSD: Socioeconomic status

Travis Dixon Abnormal Psychology, Biological Psychology, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Social and Cultural Psychology Leave a Comment

When you are writing an essay on etiologies, keep it simple to begin with. Find one basic etiology (brain abnormalities, appraisals or socioeconomic status) and explain how and why that’s linked with PTSD. Use simple studies to begin with, and then later in your essay explore the interactions of bio, cog and socio-cultural influences. Etiology – Socioeconomic status A common finding …

Cognitive Etiology of PTSD: Appraisals

Travis Dixon Abnormal Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder 2 Comments

Updated July 2020 You can prepare for Paper 2 – Abnormal Psychology – by getting ready to answer any question from just the “Etiologies of abnormal psychology” topic. If you are using this strategy, you need to make sure you can explain biological, cognitive and sociocultural etiologies.  Etiology – Cognitive appraisals (and re-appraisals) Cognitive Appraisal: In the context of PTSD, …

Biological Etiology of PTSD: Abnormalities in the brain

Travis Dixon Abnormal Psychology, Biological Psychology 4 Comments

Updated, July 2020 After teaching my unit on PTSD (Chapter 4), I found that my students developed a really good understanding of how PTSD is not explainable by a single etiology, but rather it is the product of multiple-interacting factors. While this is great, it does mean that when the question asks about “one” specific etiology, they found it difficult …

Lesson Idea – Understanding Etiologies With a Case Study

Travis Dixon Abnormal Psychology, Biological Psychology, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Teaching Ideas Leave a Comment

This lesson is designed to help students understand how reduced function in the vmPFC might be connected with symptoms of PTSD. As with other similar lesson ideas, it tries to make the abstract more concrete by giving real-life examples.  The Activity Students are to read the following summary of Due, a fictionary Vietnamese War vetern. After reading the summary, they …

Lesson Idea: Kahn the Caveman

Travis Dixon Abnormal Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Teaching Ideas Leave a Comment

This lesson comes from the PTSD unit/chapter and will help students understand an evolutionary explanation of the effects of stress (emotion) on memory. It also helps consolidate learning about fear conditioning, which is a key concept in the study of PTSD. Kahn the Caveman! Kahn is living 40,000 years ago. He’s part of a hunter-gatherer tribe living in Southern Europe. …

Sociocultural etiologies of bulimia nervosa (and studies)

Travis Dixon Abnormal Psychology, Social and Cultural Psychology Leave a Comment

Background Information Research has shown that body dissatisfaction is widespread amongst Western teenage girls and adult women. Furthermore, body dissatisfaction has been found to be an independent predictor of disordered eating. This makes it a significant risk factor in the development of Bulimia Nervosa (BN) and other eating disorders. Body dissatisfaction: being unhappy with one’s body. It’s usually measured by comparing …