Oh G-d, A Borderline: Clinical Diagnostics As Fundamental Attribution Error Page: 14
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an individual's unwillingness to control their own behavior. There is no published data that this
author is aware of, but anecdotally, it is not uncommon to find clinicians who respond with
disdain about being assigned to work with clients with Axis II diagnoses and to expect the worst
out of them; it is this response which inspired the title of the present project, "Oh G-d, a
Borderline." This negative response by mental health workers is likely due, in part, to the
typically chronic and sometimes difficult to treat nature of personality disorders (Bateman &
Social Psychology: The Power of Situations and Attribution Error
This paper suggests that the presence of these various difficulties found in using DSM
taxonomy, which designates internal dispositional problems of the individual at the expense of
accounting for behavioral and social psychological assertions that contextual factors weigh
heavily on a person's behavior, do not co-occur without reason. It may be that the taxonomic
system indeed, as Szasz argues, is like explaining pathological behavior with witchcraft. Social
psychological research has persistently extolled the power of situations to influence a person's
behaviors, so much so that this idea has become a central tenet of social psychology.
The following three well-known studies highlight the role of the situation. Solomon Asch,
in his conformity studies (1955; 1956), found that a person will go against her own good reason
and give apparently false answers when in a group of people who do the same. Milgram's (1963)
renowned obedience study determined that average, healthy people will inflict severe pain,
sometimes to the point of apparent death, upon others given the presence of an authority figure
telling them to do so. Zimbardo (1971) observed that the social influence of expected roles
dramatically influenced people's behaviors. Specifically, Zimbardo (1971) found that people put
into the roles of prisoner and prison guard will begin to act radically different than they would in
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Schmalz, Jonathan. Oh G-d, A Borderline: Clinical Diagnostics As Fundamental Attribution Error, thesis, December 2011; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc103389/m1/20/: accessed April 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .