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CSI PSY 202 - Chap 3 Psychopathology

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Psychopathology Chap 3:● The scientific method is a method of inquiry that provides for the systematic collectionof data, controlled observation, and the testing of hypotheses● A hypothesis is a tentative explanation that describes possible reasons for observedphenomena● In psychology, a case study is an intensive study of an individual that relies on clinicaldata, including observations, medical and psychological tests, and historical andbiographical information- Case studies provide detailed information regarding the development and features ofpsychopathology in a specific individual but lack the control and projectivity of manyother methods● In many Latin American countries, there is a belief in espiritismo - that the soul isimmortal and, under certain circumstances, able to inhabit or possess a living person● A case study such as this provides an in-depth information about the development andexperience of a disorder, as well as insight to possible treatments● Limitations:- The study involves a single individual or specific situation, questions arise about whetherthe findings are applicable to other individuals with similar problems- The data gathered in case studies often reflect the theoretical perspective or bias of theinvestigator; the clinician may operate from a biological, psychological, sociocultural orother perspective and ignore other viewpoints- Case studies do not generally provide scientifically reliable information about causes● Correlational studies allow researchers to look at data from a group to determine ifvariations in one variable are accompanied by increases or decreases in a secondvariable● A positive correlation means that an increase in one variable accompanied by anincrease in the other● A negative correlation involves an increase in one variable accompanied by adecrease in the other variable- The stronger the correlation (positive or negative), the stronger the relationship betweenthe two variables● Correlational studies are very important to scientific inquiry because they allow analysisof variables that cannot be controlled - variables such as age, annual income, orfrequency of exposure to certain childhood experiences● The experiment is perhaps the best tool for testing cause and effect relationships- An experimental hypothesis, which is a prediction concerning how an independentvariable will affect a dependent variable- An independent variable (the possible cause), which the experimenter manipulates todetermine its effects on a dependent variable- A dependent variable, which is expected to change as a result of changes in theindependent variable● An experimental group is a group exposed to an independent variable● The use of a control group enables researchers to eliminate such possibilities● A control group is a group that is similar in every way to the experimental group exceptthey are not exposed to the independent variable● Some researchers have found that if participants have an expectation that they willimprove from treatment, it may be this expectancy - referred to as the placebo effect -rather than specific treatment that accounts for improvement- To control for the placebo effects, researchers often design their experiments to includea placebo control group- In fact, studies developed to test the effectiveness of medications often use a placebo -an inactive substance - for the purpose of making a comparison● Because experimenter and participant expectations can also influence the outcome of astudy, researchers sometimes use either a single-blind design, in which participants inan experiment are unaware of the purpose of the research, or a double-blind design, inwhich the impact of both experimenter and participant expectations is reduced- In the latter procedure, neither the individual working directly with the participant nor theparticipant is aware of the experimental conditions- The effectiveness of this design is dependent on whether participants are truly “blind” tothe intervention, which may not always be the case● Sometimes researchers resort to an analogue study - an investigation that attempts toreplicate or simulate, under controlled conditions, a situation that occurs in real life- Analogue studies can give researchers insight into the processes that might be involvedin abnormal behavior and facilitate the search for effective treatment● Investigators may then resort to a field study, in which they observe and recordbehaviors and events in their natural environment- Field studies sometimes employ data collection techniques, such as questionnaires,interviews, and analysis of existing records, but the primary technique is observation● Limitations:1. Field work does not provide information about casualty2. So many factors affect real-life situations that is impossible to control - and sometimeseven distinguish - all possible variables3. Observers can never be absolutely sure that their presence did not influence theinteractions they observed● Endophenotypes are measurable characteristics, such as atypical cognitive functioningor anatomical or chemical differences in the brain - traits that indicate the geneticpathways involved in a disorder- To be considered an endophenotype, the characteristic must be heritable (can beinherited), seen in family members who do not have the disorder, and occur morefrequently in affected families than in general population● Ongoing developments in the field of genetic research are contributing to ourunderstanding of psychopathology- Genetic linkage studies attempt to determine whether a disorder follows a geneticpattern- If a disorder is genetically linked, individuals closely related to the person with thedisorder (who is called the proband) are more likely to display that disorder or relateddisorders● Genetic studies of psychiatric disorders often employ the following procedures:1. The proband and his or her family members are identified2. The proband is asked about the psychiatric history of specific family members3. These members are contacted and given some type of assessment, such aspsychological or neurological tests, to determine their mental health status● Epidemiological research examines the frequency and distribution of mental disorderin a population- This important type of research is used to determine both the extent of mentaldisturbance found in a targeted population and the factors that influence the rate ofmental disturbance●

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