Normal vs. Abnormal Psychology

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Normal vs. Abnormal Psychology Psychology can be defined as the scientific investigation of a person’s mental processes and behavior by examining three main factors; the subject’s biological makeup, their own personal psychological experiences and functioning, and the cultural and historical moment the subject is currently living in (Kowalski & Westen, 2011). With this understanding, the broader term “psychology” can be broken up into two distinct types; normal psychology and abnormal psychology. Normal psychology is the study of an individual’s psychological makeup whose behaviors and mental attitudes are considered to be socially acceptable or average. The subject performs exactly as his or her peers within that society expect them to perform without any conflicts or problems involving these everyday socially acceptable or average behaviors. Psychologists believe that the most common socially acceptable behaviors follow a normal curve. The majority of individuals who can be measured at the highest point of the curve would be considered average, or exhibiting “normal” behavior (Cherry, 2012). In contrast, abnormal psychology would be the psychopathological study of any behaviors that fall on either extreme end of the curve. It is important to understand that the term “abnormal” does not necessarily mean “bad”, it just implies that a subject’s behavior does not fall within the socially acceptable average on the curve. For the purposes of this paper, the term abnormal psychology can be defined as any type of behavior that causes some level of discomfort to the subject or those around him or her. The term abnormal psychology can cover a very broad range of behavioral disorders from anorexia and Alzheimer’s to obsessive compulsive disorders (OCD) and severe depression. References Kowalski, R. & Westen, D. (2011).
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