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Cognitive Explanations for Schizophrenia

Notes for the AQA Psychology Unit 4 Exam

Zoe Alford

on 30 January 2011

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Transcript of Cognitive Explanations for Schizophrenia

Cognitive Explanations
for Schizophrenia "Attention Deficit Theory"
Frith (1979) Schizophrenia is the result of a faulty attention system. Schizophrenia may be the result
of the break down of the thought filtering processes There is a problem with attention- difficulty focusing gives the impression of "disorded thought" For Frith, this accounts for the positive symptoms
e.g delusions,auditory hallucinations and disorganised speech. Frith (1992) -
cognitive deficits are caused by abnormalities in the brain areas that use dopamine. * Good link to dopamine hypothesis & shows that coginitve theories are not reductionist as they take biological factors into account* Proof: Frith showed that schizophrenics have reduced cerebal blood
flow to those areas during cognitive tasks. Bentall (1994)
"Schizophrenics have deficits and biases
in how they process information" This means that there is an unusual "attentional bias" towards stimuli of a threatening and/or emotional nature. For example, paranoid delusions may be caused by an individual
misinterpreting an event as threatening due to the EXAGGERATED amount of processing it recieves. So, while a person could be cutting a cake with a knife... the knife is given too much focus. Like AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
A KNIFE!! SHE'S GONNA KILL ME WITH IT! Cognitive theories simply describe
symptoms of schizophrenia in cognitive terms, rather than explaining how symptoms originate Negatives Doesn't explain negative symptoms
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