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PSYA4 - Addiction - Cognitive (1-2)

Cognitive model of addiction

Clare Schulze

on 4 February 2016

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Transcript of PSYA4 - Addiction - Cognitive (1-2)

Cognitive model of Addiction
This approach puts an emphasis on cognitive thought processes underlying the addiction.
Addict believes it is important
Behaviour may help people cope by reducing negative moods such as boredom & stress and increase positive moods such as excitement.
This could be shaped by a person's....
1. Attitude towards the behaviour
- "Alcohol helps me feel confident and relaxed"
2. Perception of others' opinion
- "I need a drink to fit in"
3. Perception of their ability to control their own behaviour
- "I can't cope with social situations if I don't have a drink"
Cognitive bias in fruit machine gambling

Griffiths (1994) compared 30 regular gamblers with 30 non regular gamblers and measured their verbalisations as they played a fruit machine.
Regular gamblers believed they were more skilful than they actually were and were more likely to make irrational verbalisations during play (e.g. ‘putting only a quid in bluffs the machine’) they tended to treat the machine as if it were a person (e.g. ‘this fruity is not in a good mood’).
They also explained away their loses by seeing ‘near misses’ as ‘near wins’. Something which justified their continuation (they are nearly winning not losing!) = IRRATIONAL THINKING
AO1 is rarely more than 4 marks. You need to be able to be concise.
Effective AO2 needs to be focused on evidence for and against the explanation

Need to know three models (Challenge)
1. Self medication model
2. The role of irrational beliefs
3. Expectancy Theory

a. 'Just World Hypothesis'
b. Becks cognitive triad

Maintenance of Gambling: Irrational beliefs play a role in the maintenance of pathological gambling. Despite objective probability of failure related to any games based on change, problem gamblers frequently have irrational perceptions about their ability to influence the outcomes of their gambling.

Types of Exam Questions for this section
1. Having a stage of addiction mentioned in the question
5. An application style question
3. Identifying one of the three explanations
4. Specifying smoking or gambling in the question (next two lessons)
2. Choice of an explanation for an addiction (could specify the addiction)
Examiners tip
- If a question is focused on one of the explanations/approaches remember that you may be able to gain AO2/3 marks by comparing or contrasting the model with the other two.....
June 2012 - Outline & Evaluate the cognitive approach to explaining problem gambling (4+6)
Mark Scheme
Which band would you put them in for AO1 & Ao2?
Assessment books - Complete own answer
Carousel - Scripts - MS - ER
Model one - The self medication model
People purposely choose what they become addicted to. Somebody chooses something that they believe will help them with a problem they have. E.g. someone may feel smoking relieves stress so will smoke to solve problems with stress.
Individuals think that the drug is helping with their current problems. Research indicates that these drugs are specifically chosen for their effects (e.g. alcohol reduces anxiety).
Individuals then think the drug is managing the problem. Many smokers say that stress relief is why they continue to smoke, Parrott (1998) claims an cigarette has an acute effect on stress as it relieves the withdrawal symptoms that arise when a smoker can’t smoke.
Parrott (1998) also claims that a cigarette has an ongoing (chronic) effect, which increases the individuals stress levels. Their desire to ‘solve’ the problem causes relapse.

How can you apply this to gambling?
Relapse: Pathological gamblers often suffer from a ‘recall bias’ i.e the tenancy to remember and overestimate wins while forgetting about, underestimating or rationalizing losses (Blanco et al 2000). Consequently, a string of losses does not always act as a disincentive for future gambling. Such individuals believe they will eventually be rewarded for their efforts and could be motivated to return on subsequent occasions because of a belief that they ‘deserve’ to win, having lost so often on previous occasions – This is known as the just world hypothesis
The study by Griffiths (1994) offers an explanation for this based on the cognitive bias (i.e. irrational thinking) that distorts the reasoning of addictive gamblers.
Initiation - Same principle as smoking, so if a specific question on gambling, just change it to gambling!
If gambling does help relieve boredom or stress then the individual is likely to continue to gamble, maintaining the addiction.
They may continue to gamble to reduce the anxiety associated with their losses from gambling as these mount.
Theory two - Role of irrational beliefs
Cognitive distortions associated with gambling include gambling fallacy – Belief that completely random events such as a coin toss are somehow influenced by recent events.
Superstitious behaviours are also common and gamblers believe they help to manipulate the event outcome in their favour.
Pathological gamblers show exaggerated self-confidence in their ability to ‘beat the system’ and influence chance. Griffiths set out to discover whether regular gamblers thought and behaved differently to non-regular gamblers
(See P240 of dog book)
Ao1 or Ao2 point to strengthen point
Excel - Just world hypothesis
Challenge - Summerise the AO1 for each of the two theories/models about addiction
Other explanations suggest expectancy plays a role with gamblers expecting that gambling to result in positive outcomes while under-estimating the risks which then leads to addiction. This expectancy may also increase if they win early on and they may see the benefits of winning highly while expecting few negatives from their behaviour. They may prioritise short-term excitement rather than on the possible future consequences. This is known as cognitive myopia
Evaluation of Cognitive explanation - Gambling
1. Real world application as there is implications for possible treatment. If people are gambling to cope with stress, then stress management techniques can help to manage this.
2. This is supported by Wood & Griffiths (2007) who found that pathological gamblers blamed their relapse due to wanting to escape boredom and stressors in their lives. It suggests that people who learn to cope with unwanted emotions were less likely to relapse and this provided an opportunity for treatment
3. Blaszczynski - found gamblers were
more prone to boredom than non-gamblers supporting the self-medication theories.
However - difficult to establish cause & effect between mood and gambling. It may be due to their addiction gamblers feel bored when not gambling rather than boredom contributes to gambling itself
4. Limitation of the self-medication model is that it cannot explain why individuals without any major psychological problems have drug addiction as there is nothing to 'cure'
5. Strength is that cognitive explanations for gambling helps us better understand individual differences which other explanations struggle to explain as peoples thinking differs. therefore it is not deterministic unlike biological explanations as they account for peoples ability for conscious thought.
Cognitive explanations for Smoking
Expectancy theory
Can explain the initiation of smoking addiction
Beck 2001 developed the 'vicious cycle' to explain addiction from his cognitive triad
coping by
Financial, social and medical problems
Low mood
People engage in addictive behaviour as a means of coping with stress in their lives and for;
Mood regulation - could increase +ve mood & reduce -ve mood
Performance enhancement
May make person feel alert or more able to perform certain tasks
May distract from less pleasant life experience
This can be used to expl
& the cognitive triad
Cognitive explanations - AO2 - Smoking
Research support for expectancy and playing a role comes from Tate et al (1994).
Smokers were told not to expect any negative withdrawals during a period of abstinence. When compared to a control group, the experimental group reported less withdrawal symptoms such as shakes and mood disturbances which supports expectancy maintaining smoking behaviour as if individuals expect withdrawal to be difficult they are less inclined to quit.
When an experimental group was told to expect somatic effects (shakes), they reported more than a control group not told to expect this
One major strength for cognitive theories
is that they help explain individual differences
better than biological explanations
as they can account for individual differences
and free will and why not everyone
becomes addicted to smoking.
However a weakness is cognitive explanations
may be limited to certain types of behavioural
addictions and better suited to
gambling rather than smoking. With smoking
there is a biological component such
as nicotine evidently influencing cravings
and dependency has an irrefutable biological component which explains why nicotine
replacement therapies are successful
without cognitive interventions. Cognitive
explanations can not fully account for
this which undermines them. Another
weakness is although cognitive explanations
account for individual differences in
thinking, they cannot offer a full explanation
why people think this way or why they
may have lower self-efficacy or coping
abilities than others.
A weakness with cognitive explanations is
that it is difficult to establish cause and effect
as to whether it is actually faulty thinking
that leads to smoking addiction or
whether this is symptom of smoking addiction
itself. It may be that biological vulnerabilities
in the form of genes pre-dispose
individuals to have irrational smoking expectations
or revert to it as a means of coping.
A strength of cognitive explanations is they
have real world applications in the form
of cognitive behavioural therapy interventions
which can be designed to help reduce
smoking addiction. CBT has been
shown to be effective with addictions
which is a major strength for cognitive explanations
as this proves at least a cognitive
element is involved.
Cognitive explanations also see people as beings able to think for themselves and therefore isn’t reductionist in trying to oversimplify behaviour down to single components but rather how thinking affects behaviour which is more holistic than biological explanations.
Look at AO2 for Smoking & Gambling - colour in any which 'could' be used for questions asking about the other addiction
Dont forget if it is a general 'addiction question' you can talk about smoking, gambling, sex, chocolate - any addiction you like!!!!
Review of 24m Question
Read & response to the PIN.
Please do so in red
20 minutes to ensure your assessment book is all up-to-date
24m Plans all complete
C/W where applicable
Sign/Date/mark for mini assessment
Mini Assessment
Key terms regarding the biological explanation and treatment for SZ
Homework for the week
PS4 assessment dates
Theme of week = Time management
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