Life Span Perspective Essay

601 words - 2 pages

Psychology PAGE \* MERGEFORMAT 5
Running Header: NORMAL AND ABNORMAL PSYCHOLOGYNormal and Abnormal PsychologySandra LattinAngela HampUniversity of PhoenixNormal and Abnormal PsychologyIn asking the question of what normal and abnormal psychology is, we must first consider the definitions of the terms "normal" and "abnormal". By all rights, "abnormal" is an exceptionally confusing word dependent on what is called "normality". Both terms may understandably change radically from one era to another and one culture to another. How then do we decide upon what is normal and what is abnormal? Indeed, this is much more of a philosophical problem than a psychological one. For understandable reasons of practicability, it is necessary to create a roughly uniform definition of abnormal psychology that we can more or less agree upon as a group. This definition would naturally be general in its nature, but the common definition of the discipline of abnormal psychology often looks something like this:Abnormal psychology is the study of behavior patterns that diverge widely from generally accepted norms, especially those of a pathological nature.The common definition of normal behavior often looks something like this:Normal behavior is what is prescribed by the constraints of society.One simple way of parsing the difference between abnormality and normality is to use a simply statistical set of criteria. In such an instance, one simply maps out the frequency of such a behavior among the population and plots it on a graph. Then, one could measure a specific person's behavior in comparison to the graph: The defining characteristic is uncommon behavior, a significant deviation from the average/majority. Many human characteristics are normally distributed . . . . Basically, we're talking about a nice symmetrical bell-shaped curve along which we can rank people: more people fall around the average; the farther away you get from the average, the fewer the people . . . . Characteristics falling beyond a...

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