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Psychology   >   Psychopathology – Contextualising Abnormality


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Psychopathology – Contextualising Abnormality

In this course, Dr Ayoub Bouguettaya (University of Birmingham) explores the concepts of abnormality, phobias, and psychopathy. In the first lecture, we define abnormality and discuss how social norms, adequate functioning, harm to others, and statistical prevalence play a role in understanding it as a concept. In the second lecture, we consider the characteristics of phobias and how we define them as abnormal. In the third lecture, we look at learning explanations for the acquisition of phobias. Next, we think about behavioural explanations and treatments. In the fifth lecture, we discuss how psychopathy presents itself as an expression of abnormality across a breadth of social interactions, and how that can be reflected in language. The sixth and final lecture summarises the content from the course and reflects on how this can inform our understanding of these concepts going forward.


In this lecture, we think about how we define abnormality, focusing in particular on: (i) how social norms influence our perception of what is and is not normal; (ii) how we can use adequate functioning as an alternative method of gauging abnormality, as well as considering how behaviours might cause harm and/or distress to the individual expressing them, or to others; (iii) the role of statistical prevalence of behaviours and attributes in deciding abnormality, and how this ties into our perception of phobias.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Bouguettaya, A. (2022, February 16). Psychopathology – Contextualising Abnormality - Abnormality [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Bouguettaya, A. "Psychopathology – Contextualising Abnormality – Abnormality." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 16 Feb 2022,

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Dr Ayoub Bouguettaya

Dr Ayoub Bouguettaya

Birmingham University