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Abnormal Behaviour in Humans: a Theoretical Problem in Practice

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image of Netherlands Journal of Zoology
For more content, see Archives Néerlandaises de Zoologie (Vol 1-17) and Animal Biology (Vol 53 and onwards).

A brief description is presented of patients treated in the "Dr. Henri Van Der Hoevenkliniek", a forensic psychiatric clinic in The Netherlands. Some attention is paid to the interactions between research workers and practical workers in the psychiatric field, and suggestions are given as to how an active cooperation can be achieved between the two groups of workers. Since treatment of psychiatric patients is thought to be a learning process and maladaptive human behaviour is thought to be a result of deficiencies of learning processes in ontogeny, learning behaviour is extensively discussed in this paper in an ethological and cognitive perspective. The contribution of exploratory behaviour, play behaviour and stimulation seeking behaviour to learning is especially accentuated. A theory on the organization of learning behaviour is presented, assuming that there exists at least one behavioural system for learning that can be activated by a combination of particular external stimulation and internal factors (cognitive, psychological, and emotional ones). The influence of stress on learning, coping behaviour (also abnormal behaviour) and the development of individuals is discussed and represented in a theoretical model. Arguments are given based on both scientific data and clinical findings and theories. Finally, attention is paid to the application of the theory in practice.

Affiliations: 1: (Dr. Henri van der Hoevenkliniek, Postbox 174, 3500 AD Utrecht, The Netherlands


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