investigating abnormal behaviour

Investigating abnormal behavior – Edgar Miller – Stephen Morley


PG 8  – “For convenience, definitions of abnormality can be considered under three main headings which constitute the statistical, departure from cultural norms and subjective definitions.”


“ Statistical definition – The average level, or a range about the average, is the regarded as normal and the extremes are defined as abnormal. An immediate question is how deviant from the population mean an individual needs to be to be considered abnormal?

Any chosen cut off point is necessarily arbitrary, assuming a continuous variation in the characteristic under consideration, although it is possible to b more sophisticated and have degrees of abnormality.”


PG 9 – “ Departure from the cultural norm – Views as to what is considered abnormal also vary within cultures over time. Within a quarter of a century, views about the nature of homosexuality have changed very considerably and it is now generally not considered to be “abnormal” in the sense that it once was. Homosexuality also illustrates the arbitrariness of ideas as to what is deviation from norm to ideal.”


“ Subjective definitions – Peoples subjective impressions of what is abnormal and undesirable obviously overlap appreciably with the other two criteria but this overlap is by no means perfect.”


PG 23 – “ To summarize, the position adopted here is that any complete account of abnormal behavior needs to take into account explanations at levels other than the purely psychological. It must be recognized that psychological abnormalities do have social aspects on the one hand just as they have physiological and biochemical aspects on the other. The general approach which contrasts the ‘medical model’ on one side with explanations in terms of social processes, such as labeling on the other, is really drawing a false antithesis as thought these things were necessarily incompatible. Factors at a number of different levels may be important and the extent to which they are significant or offer a casual mechanism in any given context is a matter for empirical investigation rather than ideological argument.”


PG 103 – “ There is a general assumption based on common sense reasoning that psychological disturbances can be produced as a reaction to environmental stresses. Popular arguments have sometimes had it that the increase in the rate of psychiatric consultation that has taken place in recent decades is a consequence of the stresses and strains of modern living. This latter argument is based on two assumptions, both of which are open to question – the first of these is that the increase in psychiatric consultation reflects a true gain in morbidity as opposed to a greater willingness amongst those afflicted to come forward and seek help. The second assumption as that such things as the potential horror of nuclear war and worldwide devastation make life today more stressful than it was decades or centuries ago despite the fact that modern life also cushions people against other sources of stress that operated in the past.

It is not the purpose to analyze the reasons for the change in consultation rates overtime. The present concern is with whether psychological distress or disorder can result from stress brought about by adverse circumstances. In fact with the example of bereavement and its consequent grief in mind it would be very hard to argue that distress could not result from adverse life events. The question at issue is therefore more properly whether psychological distress or disorder of the kinds that could be considered to constitute psychiatric conditions can result from social and environmental occurrences.


PG 151 – “ The main features of behavior therapy”

‘ In contrast to both analytic and humanistic psychotherapies behavior therapy places little emphasis on the personal qualities of the therapist and the form of the relationship that he establishes with the client/patient. At its most extreme the relationship might be regarded as having no therapeutic properties of its own. The therapist is merely a means of conveying information to the patient.’


PG 152 – “ The therapist will focus on antecedent and consequent event in relation to the problem behavior and on features that may modify their effects such as mood or the presence of others. This description then becomes the basis for developing treatment plans.

The behavior therapist is directly concerned with the symptom or problem behavior rather than the ‘ personality’ of the client. Therapy aims to modify the symptoms and not to change the clients personality………… If emphasizes the variability of behavior over situations and the critical role of environmental events in determining behavior. This position is not entirely universal and one well-known promulgator of behavior therapy also supports a trait theory of personality.

This view of behavior and personality also determines the kinds of measure behavior therapists use to evaluate their work. They emphasize direct measures of behavior like role play test.


PG 154 – “ Cognitive therapists and theorists make strong assumptions about the relevance of cognitive activity in controlling behavior. They back these assumptions with interventions, which are specifically aimed at the reconstruction of the person’s cognitive activity. The main contemporary exponents of cognitive therapy all share the following assumptions to some degree (Marzillier,1980;Morley)

. A persons feelings and behavior can only be understood if one takes into account their cognitive activities. These cognitive activities mediate between the events in the person’s environment and the response which the person makes to these events. For example, Ellis (1979) has a simple mnemonic which characterizes this basic assumption. His ABC model proposes that the emotional and behavioral consequences (c) of an activating event (A) are determined by the person’s mediating beliefs (B) about the event.

. Cognitive therapists assume that people

with behavioral and emotional disorders  have essentially faulty cognitive activities. The processes by which they extract and assimilate information from their environments are either distorted or malfunctioning.


Literature review:

This book has a great insight into psychology and all the psychological behaviors and treatments, where as this book is designed for learning about psychological disorders and how to treat and understand them, there are snippets within this book, which can be used to refer back to my design process. To create an environment where behavior is manipulated through design I must first understand behavior symptoms and why we behave the way we do.

This book gave great insight into that you cannot change a person’s personality their personality will remain within any circumstance; you have to manipulate the environment for which makes them behave. Its all about the relationship between a one person and their environment.

One question when reading this is why do we behave upon what population decides, this meaning are social society behaves upon morals of right and wrong from what he larger popularity agrees upon, but who decided that population is right and abnormality has the wrong opinion, perhaps that is todays problems with society we need to tackle to the undecided guidelines between population and moral beliefs. Times and laws change so rapidly its time design moved on and brought social values forward.


About hannahruthkellett

I am currently doing my Masters in interior design, this blog is to reflect and inspire my progress through out my time on the course. View all posts by hannahruthkellett

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: