Defining Abnormality Essay

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Defining Abnormality PSY/410 February 10, 2014 Defining Abnormality Normal behavior is what it considered socially acceptable or expected. Therefore, abnormal behavior violates these unwritten rules (McLeod, 2008). Social norms and situations change over time. Throughout history, and even today, there have been many challenges to classifying normal or abnormal behavior. Religion, culture, and age are a few of the factors that can influence whether a behavior is viewed as normal or abnormal. Religious Challenges in Defining Normal and Abnormal Behavior Historical perspectives of abnormal behavior focuses on the religious beliefs of abnormal behavior. Religions, mostly Christianity, understood the normal ways to behave in society, and anyone acting abnormally was convicted of being a heretic or in league with the devil. Religion defines abnormal behavior as evil, in league with, or possessed by the devil. “Ancient societies believed that events and people were controlled by the supernatural and when individuals in the community acted outside of what was considered ‘normal’ they were then placed at the mercy of evil spirits that could cause affliction, inhabit their bodies or cause terrible events to happen to family members. History is filled with stories of individuals who intentionally exchanged their souls in order to obtain wealth and power. Therefore, ancient societies looked for physical evidence of evil and found it in anything that deviated from the norm (Millon, 2004). Physically and mentally abnormalities were proof of demonic possession.” (Ramsden, 2013). According to this research, anything considered outside the normal behavior was defined as abnormal behavior. Religious groups in history also developed their own idea of normal as well. Like most beliefs in society, religion develops its own belief of normal behavior. The idea that
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