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57 Cards in this Set

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Sympothamedullary pathway

Hypothalamus triggers activity in sympathetic branch of the nervous system. The sympathetic branch becomes more active when the body is stressed and using energy. It stimulates the adrenal medulla within the adrenal glands which then releases adrenaline and noradrenaline which causes blood pressure and heart rate to increase, digestion to decrease and perspiration and breathing rate to increase. This is the fight or flight response.

Pituitary adrenal system

Hypothalamus triggers the release of CRH (corticotropin-releasing hormone) , CRH stimulates the anterior pituitary gland. This then releases a hormone called ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone). ACTH travels through the body and then stimulates the adrenal cortex which is near the kidneys.

The adrenal cortex then releases corticosteroids which gives us energy by converting fat and protein. This energy is needed to replace that used up by the body's initial reaction to stress, e.g. running away.

Hans selye

Three stage response to stress

1) The alarm stage

2) The resistance stage

3) The exhaustion stage

Krantz et al

Stress and the heart - Lab experiment 39 participants did one of three stress inducing tasks (maths, stroop test and public speaking) Their blood pressure and the extent to which the vessels around their heart contracted was measured. Peoples who's heart contracted most showed most blood pressure increase. Stress may have direct influence on aspects of body functioning making cardiovascular diseases more likely.

Brady et al

Stress and development of ulcers -

Monkeys put in pairs and given electric shocks every 20 seconds for 6 hour sessions. One monkey ( the executive) could push a lever to postpone the shock. The other could not delay them.

The executive monkeys were more likely to develop illness (ulcers) and later die

Kiecolt-glaser et al

Stress and wound healing - independent measures design, a punch biopsy was used to create a wound on the arms of 13 women who cared for relatives with alzheimer's disease (stressful job). A control group of 13 people also took part.

Wound healing took 9 days longer for the carers than those in the control group.

Long term stress impairs the effectiveness of the immune system to heal wounds.

Rahe et al

LCU (life change unit) score and illness

Correlational study - 2500 american navy seamen were given a form of the SRRS to complete and filled out events over past 6 months.

Higher LCU scores were found to be linked to a higher incidence of illness over the next 7 months.

- the stress involved in the changes that life events bring is linked to an increased risk of illness.

Kanner et al

Stress and daily hassles - 100 adults completed a questionnaire each month which asked them to choose which hassles they had experienced that month from a list of 117. Rated hassles to show how severe it had been for them. Repeated for 9 months. Certain hassles occur more frequently than others such as weight family health and finance. Those with high scores were more likely to have physical and health problems. Uplifts also reduce stress or protect us from it. Daily hassles are linked to stress and health.

Marmot et al

Lack of control and illness in the work place -

7000 civil workers in London surveyed. Information collected, grade of employment how much support and control they had etc. Those who felt had least control , more likely to have cardiovascular disease, lowest grade 4 times more likely to die of heart attack than those on highest grade. Believing that you have little control over work influences work stress and the development of illness.


Stress levels in sawmill workers - 2 groups at sawmill. One group repetitive task feeding logs in machine socially isolated (no control). One other group had different task more control and more social contact. Stress levels measured in urine and blood. More stress levels in first group.

Friedman and rosenham

Type A personality and illness -

3000 39-59 year old american males were assessed to class personality characteristics into type A , B or X using interviews and observation. No one started with coronary heart disease.

8 years later 257 of them had developed CHD. 70% of these were type A personality. Type B had half the heart disease rate than Type A. Even when extraneous variables such as weight and smoking.

Type A personalities seem to be at a higher risk of stress related illnesses such as CHD.


Identified hardiness as an important individual difference.

3 characteristics -

1) Commitment - highly committed

2) Challenge - view change positively. Seeing as an opportunity for challenge.

3) Control - having an internal locus of control


Stress inoculation training

1) conceptualisation

2) skill acquisition and rehearsal

3) application and follow-through


Irrational thoughts - ABC model

Activating event leads to a belief which leads to consequences. If beliefs and irrational this leads to maladaptive consequences such as depression, anxiety or symptoms of stress.

Rational emotive therapy involves changing irrational beliefs into rational beliefs to lead to a more positive consequence.


Cognitive triad of types of negative thought.

1) themselves - I'm useless at everything

2) the future - nothing will change and I won't improve

3) the world - you need to be better than I am to succeed in life


Normative social influence - conformity on an unambigious task.

Lab experiment, independant groups design.

In groups of 8 participants judged line lengths by saying out loud which comparison line (1, 2 or 3) matched the standard line. Each group only contained one participant the rest were confederates. The real participants always went last or last but one so that they heard the others answers before giving theirs. Did 18 trials and 12 of these (critical) trials the confederates all gave the same wrong answer. There was also a control group where participants judged the line length in isolation.

In control trials participants gave wrong answer 0.7% of time. In critical trials people conformed to majority 37% of time. 75% conformed at least once.

Control condition showed that task was easy however 37% were wrong on critical trials. They conformed to majority, normative social influence.

Zimbardo et al

Stanford prison experiment.

Male students recruited to act as either guards or prisoners in a mock prison. Randomly assigned prisoner or guard and behaviour observed.

Initially guards tried to assert authority and the prisoners resisted by sticking together. Guards invented nastier punishments and prisoners became more passive and obedient. Experiment abandoned early because some prisoners became very distressed.

Guards and prisoners adopted social roles quickly. Our social role can influence our behaviour - well balanced men became unpleasant and aggressive in the role of guard.


Going along with the majority even when you dont share their views

normative social influence

Going along with the majority to appear normal as going against the group might lead to exclusion or rejection from the group.


accepting the majorities view as your own. Following along with the majority and believing in their views.

Informational social influence

This may happen in an unfamiliar situation where you don't know how the correct way to behave is. In this situation you'd look to others for information about how to behave.

Situational factors of Asch's experiment

Group size -

Asch found with two confederates the participant conformed on 14% of critical trials. With three confederates conformity rose to 32%. There was little change to conformity rates after that no matter how big the majority group got. Very small majorities are easier to resist than larger ones but influence doesn't increase with size.

Social support - Another version of Asch's experiment but with a supporter in the group. When one confederate agreed the conformity rate fell to 5.5%. A dissenter makes it easier for participants to resist the pressure to conform.

Factors which affect conformity

Confidence - When asch debriefed participants he found a common factor of confidence in people who hadn't conformed.

Expertise - people who felt competent in a task were less likely to conform. Replicated Asch's study but with participants as engineering students. Conformity was much lower.

Gender - females conform more than males due to social roles


Developed questionnaire to measure a personality characteristic called a locus of control.

Internal means what happens in your life you believe is a product of your own behaviour or actions.

External means that you believe that events are based on luck or the action of others.

Moscovici et al

Minority influence -

Laboratory experiment into minority influence using 192 women. In groups of 6 at a time, participants judged the colour of 36 slides. All slides were blue but brightness varied. Two of six participants in each group were confederates. In one condition the confederates called all 36 slides green and were (consistent) and in the other condition they called 24 of the slides green and 12 of the slides blue (inconsistent). There was also a control group with no confederates.

Results found in the control group 0.25% of participants called the slides green. In the consistent condition 8.4% of time participants adopted minority position and called slides green and 32% of participants called the slides green at least once. In the inconsistent condition the participants moved to the minority position of calling the slides green only 1.25% of times.

Confederates were minorities but their views appear to have influenced the real participants. Minority more influential when they were consistent.

Minority influence

This is where a member of a minority group can influence the majority group to take on their views.

Social change

The process by which a lower status individual can improve their social identity by challenging the legitimacy of the higher status group’s position.

Examples of minorities causing social change

The suffragettes

Martin Luther King

Gay rights movements


Lab experiments to test factors thought to affect obedience. Took place in Yale. Aimed to test whether people would obey orders to shock someone in a separate room. 40 men took part, responding to newspaper advert seeking volunteers for a study on learning and memory. Received payment for attending, didn't depend on proceeding with the experiment. Experimenter wore a grey technicians coat, participants introduced to confederate acting like a participant. Drew lots to see who would act as 'teacher' and 'learner' but was fixed so participants were always the teacher. Participant witnessed confederate being strapped to a chair and connected to a fake shock generator. Switches ranged from 15 volts to 450 volts labelled XXX. The participant taught the learner word pairs over an inter com and when the learner answered incorrectly the participant had to administer an increasing level of shock. As shocks increased learner started to scream and asked to be let out. After 330V shock he made no further noise. If participants hesitated, the experimenter told them to continue. Debriefing included and interview, questionnaires and being reunited with the 'learner'.

26 participants (65%) administered 450V and none stopped before 300V. Most showed obvious signs of stress

Ordinary people will obey orders to hurt someone else, even if it means acting against their consciences.

Variations in Milgrams experiment

percentages refer to administration of 450 volts.

Male participants - 65%

Female participants - 65%

Learner's protests can be heard - 62.5%

Experiment run in seedy office - 48%

Learner in same room as participant - 40%

Authority in different room communicating by phone - 23%

Other teachers (confederates) refuse to give shock - 10%

Other participant (a confederate) gives shock instead - 92.5%

Evaluation of milgrams experiments

Internal validity - participants may have belived they werent really inflicting electrical shocks and going along with the experimenters expectations. (demand characteristics)

Lacks ecological validity - Participants did a task unlikely to encounter in real life.

Lab experiment - variables tightly controlled so possible to establish cause and effect

Ethical issues - decieved, informed consent, right to withdraw, wasn't protected from stress.

Factors that affect obedience - milgram

Presence of allies

Proximity of victim

Proximity of authority

Agency theory

Acting on behalf of an external authority is being in an agentic state.

Acting as an agent rather than taking personal responsibility for actions

The opposite is behaving autonomously - not following orders

Evalutation -

experimental evidence supports agency theory, Milgrams participants claimed they wouldnt have gone as far by themselves but they were just following orders

Sometimes people resist pressure to obey authority, this can be due to the situation or down to individual differences. Agency theory doesn't explain why some people are more likely to exhibit more independent behaviour than others

Binding factors for agentic state

Reluctance to disrupt experiment -

participants had already been paid so may have felt obliged to continue.

The pressure of the surroundings -

the experiment took place in a prestigous university. This made experimenter seem like a legitimate authority

The insistence of the authority figure - if participants hesitated they were told they had to continue the experiment.

Why people obey

Being in an agentic state

Gradual comitment - gradually committing to something in small steps makes it harder to refuse the next request

We see some people as justified authorites - they have the right to tell us what to do i.e. Bickman study.

Some things can act as buffers - these are things which can protect us in some cases from the consequences of our actions


Field experiment where researchers ordered passers by to do like pick up a bit of litter. They were dressed in either a guards uniform a milkman or just in smart clothes. People were more likely to obey the person in a guards uniform as he seemed to be the most legitimate authority figure.


Where people lose their personal identity and identify with a group.

Abnormality definitions

Deviation from ideal health conditions

The failure to function adequately

Deviation from social norms


Six conditions of good mental health

R - resistance to stress

A - accurate perception of reality

P - personal autonomy (being in control)

P - positive self attitude

A - adaptation to environment

S - Self actualisation (releasing your potential, being fulfilled)

Limitations of deviation from social norms definition

Cultures vary so there isnt one set of universal social rules.

It can be used to justify the removal of unwanted people from a society - eg people opposing a particular political regime could be said to be abnormal

Homosexuality was considered abormal

Concept of deviation from majority can be expressed statistically in terms of normal distribution - bell curve.

Limitations are no desirability of behaviour just frequency ie high iq is abnormal.

No distinction between rare, slightly odd behaviour and rare psychologically abnormal behaviour.

No definite cut off point where normal becomes abnormal.

Some psychologically abnormal behaviour is depression e.g. mild depression.

Limitations of failure to function adequately

1) dysfunctional behaviour

2) observer discomfort

3) unpredictable behaviour

4) irrational behaviour

5) personal distress

If you can tick one or more criteria then the persons behaviour is considered abnormal when in the majority of cases everyone could fit under one or more categories.

Limitations of deviation from ideal mental health

It can be hard to meet Jahodas six standards and theyre subjective. A violent offender may have a positive self attitude and be resistant to stress but society would not consider this normal. What's considered mentally healthy at one time wouldn't necessarily be at another. E.g. in some cultures its considered abnormal for women to enjoy sex, in Victorian times women who enjoyed sex were considered abnormal.

Symptoms of mental illness

1) Impairment of intellectual functions such as memory and comprehension

2) alteration to mood that lead to delusional appraisals of the past or future or lack any appraisal.

3) delusional beliefs such as of persecution or jealousy

4) disordered thinking - the person may be unable to appraise their situation or communication with others

Cultural relativism

Absolute - occuring in the same way and frequency across cultures

Universal - present in all cultures, but not necessarily with the same frequency.

Culturally relative - unique to a particular culture.

Labelling theory

if people are treated as mentally ill their behaviour will change and become more like that expected from their diagnosis.

Biological model of abnormality

Psychological disorders are physical illnesses with physical causes. When the same symptoms frequently occur together, the represent a reliable syndrome or disorder. The cause of aetiology may be one or more of the following




Brain injury


Carried out a meta analysis of approximately 40 twin studies.

It was found having an identical twin with schizophrenia gave you 48% chance of developing the condition. This was reduced to 17% in non-identical twins.

Schizophrenia has a strong genetic basis.


47 adopted children whose biological mothers had schizophrenia were studied. Control group of 50 adopted children whose biological mothers did not have schizophrenia.

In experimental group, 5 of the 47 became schizophrenic compared to 0 in the control group. Another 4 of the experimental group were classified as borderline schizophrenic by the raters.

The study supports the view that schizophrenia has a genetic basis.

Biological therapies for abnormality

Drugs - can be used to change neurotransmitter levels in brain

Psychosurgery - brain surgery involving separation or destruction of parts of the brain. Last resort therapy.

Frontal lobotomy.

Electroconvulsive therapy - shocking a persons brain with around 225 volts and can help to relieve depression but can also produce memory loss. Last resort therapy

Biological model strengths

Strong scientific basis in biology and a lot of evidence shows biological causes can produce psychological symptoms.

Can be seen as ethical as people are not blamed for disorders. They just have an illness.

Biological therapies have helped relieve conditions (schizophrenia) that could not be very well treated previously.

Biological model weaknesses

Biological therapies raise ethical concerns. Drugs can produce addiction and may only suppress symptoms rather than cure the disorder. The effects of psychosurgery are irreversible.

Psychological disorders may not be linked to a physical problem. Psychological therapies can be just as effective as biological treatments without any interference to biological structures.

Psychodynamic approach to abnormality

Freud - Id , ego and supergo

Stages of development - oral, anal, phallic, latency and genital stages.

Conflict and anxiety may occur during childhood because the ego is not developed enough to deal with the ids desires, understanding real-world issues or cope with the superegos's moral demands.

Psychological disorders may come from conflict or anxiety which happens in a certain stage of development.

Anxiety from the conflicts is repressed into the unconscious mind. Stress or trauma in adulthood may trigger the repressed conflicts, leading to psychological disorders.

Treatment of psychodynamic approach

Psychoanalysis - aim to access repressed thoughts and unconscious conflicts. Freud called this 'insight'. Patients are then encouraged to deal with conflicts. Freud recognised that this process would be painful and cause anxiety and that people would be resistant at first. However patients were encouraged to focus on the feelings repressed feelings brought about.

Psychoanalytic techniques

Hypnosis - An altered mental state involving deep relaxation. Freud believed people could access repressed thoughts whilst in this state. He found it difficult hypnotise people and found people became suggestible when hypnotised.

Free association - patients given a cue word and is asked to say any ideas or memories that come to mind. Freud believed repressed thoughts would eventually emerge giving an insight into unconscious problems causing abnormal behaviour.

Dream analysis - Freud believed a certain part of the mind keeps repressed thoughts in the unconscious and that it is less active during sleep. Therefore Freud believed repressed thoughts are likely to appear during dreams.

Psychodynamic approach strengths

1) a unique approach to abnormality suggesting disorders may be linked to unresolved conflicts related to biological needs

2) It offers methods of therapy which may uncover unconscious conflicts. The client can then understand the causes of their problems and so resolve them and release their anxieties.

3) It was the first theory to focus on psychological causes of disorders. Before this focus had been on physical causes or things like possession by evil spirits.

Psychodynamic approach weaknesses

1) Freud's claims based on subjective interpretations of his patients dreams, etc. There hard to scientifically test and cannot be proved right or wrong.

2) Psychoanalysis may take a long time and so be very expensive. Childhood conflicts which are uncovered may be emotionally distressing and possibly inaccurate, depending on reliability of patients memory, techniques used to uncover them and the analysts interpretations.

3) The focus is on patients past, rather than problems that they are currently suffering.

Behavioural model of abnormality

Behaviours learned through classical and operant conditioning.

Classical conditioning can explain the development of many abnormal behaviours such as phobias and taste aversions. (case of little albert)

Operant conditioning - learning though consequences of actions. Actions which have a good outcome though positive reinforcement (reward) or negative reinforcement (removal of something bad) will be repeated. Actions which have a bad outcome (punishment) will not be repeated.

Examples include maintaining phobias, (prevents anxiety - negative reinfocement) , Bulimics (negative reinforcement) and anorexics (not eating, positive reinforcement as lose weight).