Day 1: Introduction to Abnormality

Psychology 3443: Abnormal Psychology
Instructor: Larry L. Mullins, Ph.D.
Teaching Assistant: Kasey Claborn
First things first…
 The gory details…the syllabus
 So…what will it really be like?
Keys to Success
1. Read the text every day
2. Attend lectures and discussion groups
3. Download and use chapter outlines and lecture
4. Do not miss any quizzes
5. Use study aids…practice exams, study guide and
6. Maximize extra credit opportunities early
7. Get to know instructor and TA…office hours are
 My Background as a Clinical Psychologist
 My Expectations
 More info to follow, both written and on D2L within
a week.
Historical Context of Abnormal Psychology
Definitions of Abnormal Behavior
Chapter 1
 What is abnormal behavior (and what is not)?
 How has abnormal behavior been defined and dealt
with across history?
 What model guides our thinking of abnormal
behavior today?
Myths and Misconceptions About
Abnormal Behavior
 No Single Definition of Psychological Abnormality
 No Single Definition of Psychological Normality
 Many Myths Are Associated With Mental Illness
Lazy, crazy, dumb
Weak in character
Dangerous to self or others
Mental illness is a hopeless situation
Abnormal Behavior?
 Quinn is afraid to leave his home and hasn’t done so
alone in over three years
Abnormal Behavior?
 Laura cries several times a day
Abnormal Behavior?
 Ricky was arrested last week when he was found
painted orange and sitting in a tree
Abnormal Behavior?
 Joan is afraid of riding on escalators and avoids
riding on them
Toward a Definition of Abnormal
 Atypical or unexpected cultural response
Reaction is outside cultural norms
 Psychological dysfunction
Breakdown in cognitive, emotional, or behavioral
 Distress or impairment
Difficulty performing appropriate and expected roles
Impairment is set in the context of a person’s background
Abnormal Behavior Defined
 A psychological dysfunction associated with distress
or impairment in functioning that is not a typical or
culturally expected response
 Psychological disorder and psychological
abnormality are used interchangeably
 Other terms include mental illness, emotional
disturbance, psychiatric disorder, behavioral
disorder, etc.
 Psychopathology is the scientific study of
psychological disorders