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Explanations of Abnormality

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1 Explanations of Abnormality
The Cognitive Approach

2 MUST Name and Outline the main assumptions of the cognitive approach to abnormality SHOULD Explain the two key features of the cognitive explanations of abnormality, in more detail COULD Apply the two key features to explaining real life examples of abnormal behaviour



5 The Cognitive Model Cognition Real World Thinking Perception Emotion
Information Emotion Behaviour Behaviour

6 The Cognitive Model Main assumptions:
Abnormal behaviour is caused by abnormal thinking processes We interact with the world through our mental representation of it If our mental representations are inaccurate or our ways of reasoning are inadequate then our emotions and behaviour may become disordered

7 The Cognitive Model: Main Assumptions
Assumption 1: The Cognitive Model of Abnormality assumes that how we think influences how we feel and how we behave. The ways in which we process information (cognition) directly affect the ways we behave. The Cognitive Model suggests that disordered thinking can cause disordered or abnormal behaviour. Disordered thinking includes irrational assumptions and negative views about the self, the world and the future. Assumption 2: The Cognitive Model assumes that cognitive disorders are the result of negative or disorganised thinking and, therefore, they can be made positive or organised. Thoughts can be monitored, evaluated and altered. Individuals can modify their thinking, challenge their irrational cognitions and self-defeating thoughts. So the model assumes cognitive change will lead to behavioural change.

8 The Cognitive Model Factors in abnormal behaviour:
Inaccurate perception Poor reasoning and problem solving Cognitive-emotion relationship assumed to be bi-directional, but cognitive processes given primacy Underlying reasons for faulty thinking are not considered especially important

9 Q: Describe the Cognitive Approach to explaining Abnormality
Ellis (1962) and Beck (1963) : criticise the behaviourist explanation of abnormality because it focuses on stimulus -> response, but doesn’t take into account the mental processes in between MUST Cognitive Approach argues that it is the THINKING PROCESSES that occur between a stimulus and response that are responsible for the feelings that form part of the response. 2 KEY FEATURES TO THE COGNITIVE APPROACH TO ABNORMALITY: IRRATIONAL THINKING / A-B-C MODEL (ELLIS, 1962) COGNITIVE TRIAD & ERRORS IN LOGIC (BECK, 1967)

10 Distorted thoughts = emotional problems
IRRATIONAL THINKING / a-b-c model (Ellis, 1962) Distorted thoughts = emotional problems Distortions can be negative thoughts, irrational beliefs or illogical errors A B C AN EVENT (STIMULUS) BELIEF CONSEQUENCE (RESPONSE) Polarized thinking = seeing everything in black or white Over-generalisation =making sweeping generalisations Tyranny of ‘must’, ‘should’ and ‘ought’ = something MUST happen Catastrophizing = making a mountain out of a molehill SHOULD Abnormal behaviour occurs if people engage in faulty thinking to the extent that it becomes maladaptive for them and others around them

11 TASK 1 : If you failed a mock exam (stimulus), this may lead to either maladaptive or adaptive behaviour (consequence/response). Cognitive theory would argue that the thoughts and feelings in between have an effect on the outcome. COMPLETE THE FIGURE IN TASK ONE OF THE HANDOUT: WHAT THOUGHTS, FEELINGS AND BEHAVIOURS COULD LEAD TO THE OUTCOMES COULD MALADAPTIVE RESPONSE THOUGHT FEELINGS BEHAVIOUR OUTCOME STIMULUS THOUGHT FEELINGS BEHAVIOUR OUTCOME ADAPTIVE RESPONSE

(Beck, 1967) Negative thoughts underlie mental disorders, but why do people become depressed? There are 2 mechanisms… Errors in logic: depressed people draw illogical conclusions when they evaluate themselves Cognitive Triad: there are 3 forms of negative thinking that are typical of those with depression NEGATIVE VIEWS ABOUT THE WORLD “everyone is against me because I’m worthless” SHOULD NEGATIVE VIEWS ABOUT THE FUTURE NEGATIVE VIEWS ABOUT ONESELF “I’ll NEVER be good at anything” “I’m worthless and inadequate”

13 Beck’s (1976) cognitive triad
negative (irrational) thoughts that depressed individuals have about... Themselves: “I am helpless and inadequate” The world: “The world is full of insuperable obstacles” The future: “I am worthless, so there’s no chance that the future will be any better than the present”

14 TASK 2 : Watch a case study of a depressed person and identify the features of the Cognitive Triad…
The negative thoughts they express about themselves The negative thoughts they express about their experiences The negative thoughts they express about the future COULD You COULD apply the Cognitive Triad by Beck to other cases of abnormality.

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