1. Describe what each model emphasizes as being important to study when understanding abnormal behavior. Be sure to use full sentences in your answers and always be descriptive and thorough.


Biological : The Biological model emphasizes the physical aspects of psychology such as brain anatomy, chemical imbalance, genetics, biological evolution, and the links between viral infection and psychological disorders. The biological model attempts to find a physical cause for psychological issues (Comer, 2013).


Psychoanalytic : This model believes in looking at current and past experiences to see and understand how they may have hurt your development or taught a negative connection where a positive one should be (i.e. parent/ child relationships). This model was founded upon Freud’s concept of dysfunction being rooted in the conflict between the id, ego, and superego. These forces are our primal impulses and desires, our guide for the appropriateness of acting upon those impulses, and finally, our conscience which is adopted from our parents throughout our early life (Comer, 2013).


Behavioral : This model emphasizes the importance of our life experiences on our actions. It focuses on how behaviours are learned and maintained over time and began as studies in classical conditioning, operant conditioning, and modeling. In classical conditioning, humans learn by association when two events repeatedly occur closely together until the person responds the same way to both events (Comer, 2013). Operant conditioning studies concluded that both humans and animals behave in certain ways as a result of receiving either rewards or punishments (Comer, 2013). Finally, modeling has no reinforcement but shows that individuals learn behavioral responses by observing and imitating certain behaviours (Comer, 2013).


Cognitive : The emphasis here is on thoughts and cognition. How someone accesses, processes, and uses ideas (Comer, 2013). How and what a person thinks/ feels after X stimulation and why they feel that way. Cognitive therapy is present-focused and rarely delves into one's past (Comer, 2013). Cognitive theorists argue that the subject must be challenged about the nature of their cognitive processes so that they can create a more constructive process by which to assess their life and circumstances (Comer, 2013).  




2. Give examples of what type of treatments the model might recommend because of its emphasis.


Biological : There are three different biological therapies: drug therapy, electroconvulsive therapy, and psychosurgery. Drug therapy includes providing the subject with medications such as antianxiety drugs, antidepressants, antipsychotics, and mood stabilizers (Comer, 2013). Electroconvulsive therapy and psychosurgery are not nearly as widely used as drug therapy, so they are reserved for more extreme cases in which drug therapy has proven to be an ineffective treatment (Comer, 2013).


Psychoanalytic : In a therapeutic interview the guide (therapist/ Doctor/ other trained persons) talks to the subject and through guiding questions helps the individual to ask and answer important questions about their own experiences. They do these using techniques such as free association, catharsis, therapist interpretation, and more contemporary trends like relational psychoanalytic therapy or short-term psychodynamic therapy (Comer, 2013).


Behavioral : Behavioral therapy aims to identify inappropriate behaviours and replace them with more appropriate ones. Behavioral theorists can do this using classical conditioning, operant conditioning, or modeling (Comer, 2013). Classical conditioning can also be used to change reactions to stimuli in processes like desensitization and cessation (Comer, 2013).


Cognitive : A therapist asks questions to understand a subject's thoughts and assumptions to better understand how to help them learn “new” and “better” ways of thinking/ processing information (Comer, 2013). They would keep their primary focus on the present and try to teach clients better ways of interpreting thoughts and events.



3. Choose one of the other theories listed in the textbook, your choice. Summarize the theory (3 points) and present a real-life situation where this type of theory might be the most helpful. Explain in detail the reason for your choice and make the connection to a real-life situation very clear (5points)


Barely mentioned in the text, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is my chosen theory. The theory is that thoughts affect actions and feelings, that feelings affect thoughts and actions, and that actions affect thoughts and feelings.

Feeling like “If I try, I will fail” causes non-action “so why try?” which in turn makes one feel even worse. Alternatively, by trying I give myself a chance to succeed. By not placing unreal value or expectations on things you can learn to accept them as they come.

I learned through C.B.T. that my feelings of mistrust and lack of self-value caused me to behave in a way that made me even more unhappy in the end. By learning to process the negative thoughts differently, by recognizing “bad” behaviour and questioning them, by asking what are these thoughts? Do they help me? Do I want them? I teach myself not to react to stimulations internal or external with negative thoughts or actions.




Comer, R. J. (2013). Fundamentals of Abnormal Psychology. Worth.