Intense physiological processes are continually taking place in the human body.
Any disturbance or change from the delicate homeostatic balances in the body will
result in severe consequences for the individual. Correct diagnosis and correct
treatment are both necessary to remedy the situation. Just as a physical problem must
be corrected, so a psychological problem also must be corrected. It is important to
understand and distinguish between physiologically normal processes and those
processes which are abnormal. Of just as great importance is the necessity to
distinguish between psychologically normal processes and those that are abnormal.
a. Definition. The word behavior can be defined as the manner in which an
individual acts or functions. The term normal behavior is a little more difficult to define.
The society in which a person lives defines normal behavior for that individual.
Additionally, behavior considered normal in one society may be considered totally
abnormal in another society. For example, men who sit most of the day staring at the
sun are considered to be exhibiting normal behavior in India where such men are
believed to be holy. In the United States, the same men would probably be thought to
be deranged, perhaps locked up, and/or referred to a psychiatrist. Normal behavior,
therefore, can be defined as behavior which is socially acceptable in the individual's
society. Another example of normal behavior involves driving an automobile. A driver
in the United States automatically drives on the right side of the road (unless otherwise
directed)--normal behavior. Driving a car on the right side of the road in England would
not be normal behavior since that group of people drive on the left side of the road.
b. Characteristics of Normal Behavior. Although it is very difficult to define
normal behavior, it is possible to list some characteristics of normal behavior. An
individual who behaves normally has the following attributes:
He is capable of changing his actions as the situation requires.
(2) He has insight into cause and effect. He is able to understand that the
cause of his dented car fender was running the red light and, consequently, being hit by
(3) He is oriented to time, place, and person. He may not know the exact
date without looking at a calendar, but he does know the month, year, and where he is.
His perception of reality is such that he knows who he is (not Napoleon, but Bob Jones,