Distinguishing Normal & Abnormal Behavior

Normal vs Abnormal Behavior

The concepts of normal and abnormal behavior can differ based on cultural context, as what may be considered normal in one culture could be seen as abnormal in another. Culture plays a significant role in understanding behavior as normal or abnormal, but sometimes this understanding goes beyond cultural expectations and becomes a medical condition that can be harmful to the individual and society. Such behaviors are then considered abnormal universally. In psychology, abnormality is specifically studied in abnormal psychology. This article will explore the differences between normal and abnormal behavior.

What is Normal Behavior?

Normal behavior refers to the expected behavior of individuals, which is usually in accordance with social expectations. When an individual’s behavior aligns with these expectations, it is considered normal. Every society has social expectations, norms, values, and mores that dictate the code of conduct for individuals. As long as people follow these guidelines, their behavior is considered normal. However, there may be exceptions for eccentric characters, but they are not considered abnormal due to the wide diversity of individual characters and personalities.

What is Abnormal Behavior?

Abnormal behavior is defined as a pattern of behavior that goes against what is considered normal by society. According to the Diagnostic Statistical Manual, abnormal behavior describes behavioral, emotional, and cognitive dysfunctions that are unexpected in their cultural context and associated with personal distress and substantial impairment in functioning. This definition suggests that common myths about individuals with abnormal behavior, such as being incurable, weak-willed, dangerous, and devious, are inaccurate. In the past, people with abnormal behavior were believed to engage in witchcraft or be possessed by demons and were treated brutally. However, in modern times, abnormality is considered a mental illness and is categorized into different themes in psychology, such as clinical disorders, personality disorders, and general medical conditions.

Key Takeaways

  • Normal behavior refers to expected behavior in individuals, while abnormal behavior goes against social expectations.
  • A behavior can be considered normal or abnormal depending on the cultural context of the individual, meaning that a particular behavior might be considered abnormal in one society but not in another.
  • The concept of abnormal behavior has evolved over time, with past interpretations involving witchcraft and demonic possessions, whereas today it is considered a mental illness.
Dmitri Ivanov
Dmitri Ivanovhttps://whats-different.com
Dmitri Ivanov, a writer and managing editor, was educated in Canada and holds a BS in Science. Dmitri loves doing research, writing, and teaching various courses.


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