Compare and contrast the organic (biological) and psychological views of abnormal behavior that explain abnormal behavior. Compare the two perspectives and then contrast them by showing the fundamental differences. Then, write about which perspective best explains the abnormality to you and why.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Your first step in getting started with this assignment is to gather information about the organic (biological) and psychological views of abnormal behavior. Actually, most often, both of these, along with social-cultural factors contribute to abnormal behavior.

Let's start with the organic or biological view. This model focuses on the physical structures of one's body, such as a genetic predisposition or susceptibility or certain functions or dysfunctions in the body that can lead to various behaviors. For instance, some people seem to have a disposition toward depression or schizophrenia that is passed down through the generations and may be genetic, encoded right in the genes.

The organic view also looks closely at the structures and chemicals of the brain and how they contribute to behaviors. For example, if a person's nervous system (how the brain communicates with the rest of the body) gets messed up somehow, it can lead to strange behaviors. Further, if the chemicals in one's brain fall out of balance, this can cause abnormal behavior. Doctors and psychologists who favor this model tend to treat mental illnesses and abnormal behaviors through medication and other physical treatments (like electroconvulsive therapy) that readjust the body.

Now let's take a look at the psychological view of abnormal behavior. This model concentrates on a person's thinking and responses to that thinking. Negative self-thoughts, for instance, fall in this category. We can see how these could easily lead to abnormal behavior. If someone thinks that he or she is worthless, good for nothing, and a failure, this person is far more likely to act out in negative ways or at least not to try to improve his or her life.

Uncontrolled fears and emotions fall in this category, too, as does a difficulty dealing with stress. Extreme stress, of course, can lead to all kinds of odd behavior as a person seeks to cope with it and often fails. Doctors and psychologists who abide by this view will often try to treat abnormal behavior by changing the person's thought patterns.

Now that we've established the basics here (you will probably want to research more), we can brainstorm a bit about the similarities and differences between these two models. For one thing, they both try to understand abnormal behavior. They both step back and look at the person in question through an objective lens (or at least one that is as objective as possible) to try to determine the causes of what is going on. They both seek reasons. The primary difference between these models is that they look for those reasons in different places. One looks at the body itself, while the other explores the functions of the mind. They also treat abnormal behavior in different ways.

This should give you a start on your assignment. For the last part (which perspective you think best explains abnormal behavior), you will have to make your own reasoned decision based on the definitions and explanations.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial