Psychology

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Normal behavior is behavior that occurs frequently. Abnormal behaviors are those that occur least frequently. Thus, abnormal behaviors deviate—or represent a significant deviation from— social norms. Some examples of unusual behavior include false perceptions of reality (such as hallucinations), an intense preoccupation with repetitively washing one’s hands, or demonstrating extreme panic in a social setting. Defining symptoms of mental illness can be extremely subjective; decisions about what is normal or abnormal are influenced by the background of the mental health professional evaluating the symptoms and the cultural context in which the behavior or symptoms occurs. Certain sexual acts, criminal activities, and homicide are also behaviors that our society considers deviant. However, such activities do not necessarily involve the psychological or biological dysfunction associated with mental disorders. Additionally, social norms are far from static, and behavioral standards are not always absolute. Changes in societal attitudes toward human sexuality are a prime example. Many films and magazines now openly exhibit the naked human body and explicit sex acts, and topless and bottomless nightclub entertainment is hardly newsworthy. Additionally, compared to earlier generations, women are freer to question traditional gender roles and to act more assertively in initiating sex. Such changes in attitudes make it difficult to subscribe to absolute standards of normality. However, certain behaviors are considered abnormal in most situations. These behaviors include refusal to leave your house; depression so severe that you sleep most of the day; starving yourself because you are so fearful of gaining weight; experiencing frequent nightmares involving a trauma you experienced; forgetting your own identity; feeling overwhelmed with fear at the sight of a spider; avoiding contact with objects such as doorknobs because of the fear of germs; believing that others can “hear” your thoughts; seeing aliens inside your home; collecting so many items that your health and safety are jeopardized, or intentionally making your own child sick with the purpose of receiving attention. Even taking varying cultural norms into account, these situations would be seen as abnormal.

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Citation: Sue, Sue, Sue & Sue, (2016). Understanding abnormal behavior (11th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
Reminder: Must use in-text citations throughout the document. The whole assignment is from the same source. Thank you.

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