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Psychopathology As a Science

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    Psychopathology is the study of unusual behaviors or mental disorders in human beings. Mental health professionals in the fields of psychology, psychiatry and social work need to understand the genesis of mental issues in order to come up with remedies against them. Initially, the explanation for the causes of mental illnesses was based on superstitious or religious beliefs. The idea was widely accepted until the 17th century with individuals suffering from such conditions were subsequently tortured as a form of treatment. Since the introduction of psychology, the field has been viewed very differently. For instance, there exists a relative perspective on psychology as well as a Universalist perspective on psychopathology.

    Relative Perspective on Psychopathology

    The relative perspective is subjective, with varying principles and prioritizations of psychological concepts such as nature and nurture creating a unique psychoanalytic framework which varies depending on culture. The developmental and social setting whereby behavior occurs helps in distinguishing the disordered character from normal behavior. It is upon social judgment to decide what is damaging dysfunction or unfitting development and this differs across different societies. Ethnic and cultural groups have differences in their practices as well as activities that are important for their ecocultural adaptation and endurance. These cultural differences support a relativistic perspective.

    Universalist Perspective on Psychopathology

    A universalistic view of psychology is a preferred view when compared to the relative perspective, especially when focusing on psychiatric epidemiology. The basic point of the Universalist view is that psychiatric conditions and disorders are general and have chief symptoms that collect into widespread disorder outlines. What can vary in diverse cultures or smaller assemblages within cultures is the indicative expression of the disorder or the inception of what is deliberated pathological against ordinary character. Hence, the same inner disorder can be expressed contrarily in diverse cultures but have the same fundamental psychopathology across all cultures . This type of perspective is the one that is close to my own. Examples include Anglo culture and Thai culture. In Anglo culture, a child will display disobedience by openly refusing to follow the adult’s requests while in Thai culture the child will be hesitant or will appear uninterested showing the symptoms of disobedience. In both cultures, disobedience, when tied to a number of behaviors, show oppositional insolent disorder.

    Types of Biases

    Self-centered Bias

    Bias in cross-cultural psychology refers to issues of attribution which arise from a person’s lack of objectivity, usually caused by external influences such as cultural values or other flaws in perception or judgment. For instance, a self-serving bias the tendency for people to maintain their self-esteem through denying their failures and attributing negative results to external factors beyond their control while successes are attributed to internal or inherent capabilities. The self-serving bias is a cognitive process where a person feels the need to navigate any negative feelings about themselves or hurtful emotions by denying that any negative results from a certain event could come from their own shortcomings. As a result, only positive results can be actively acknowledged due to their opposite effect on the persons, self-esteem, which explains the origin of the term self-serving bias. For instance, a person who passes a test will naturally claim that they passed it because they studied but not because the test might have been easy. Contrarily, if the person fails the exam, they will claim that it was because the examiner was unfair or that it was too difficult, and not that they simply weren’t well prepared.

    Unassuming Bias

    An unassuming bias is the opposite of self-serving bias and involves the acknowledgment of a person’s failures as a result of their personal attributes, while their failure to accept any successes as their own, instead of relying on external factors. This bias is quite contrary to the self-serving bias which aims to maintain self-esteem, as the unassuming bias has a negative impact on one’s self-efficacy. As a result, the unassuming bias acknowledges personal weaknesses and mistakes as a more significant contributor than their own capabilities, which are perceived negatively. For instance, a winning racer with an unassuming bias would typically attribute his success to factors outside his control such as the weather or the car’s independent specifications. On the other hand, a losing winner would attribute his loss to his own inferior driving skills, rather than attribute it to driving a less powerful vehicle.

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    Psychopathology As a Science. (2022, Mar 22). Retrieved from

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