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WJEC PY1 Cognitive Approach

Covers the assumptions and attribution theory

nigel cannar

on 26 February 2015

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Transcript of WJEC PY1 Cognitive Approach

Cognitive Approach
History of the Cognitive Approach
Three Assumption
Attribution Theory
1. Behaviour can be explained by mental processes.
2. Human mind is compared to a computer.
3. Pyschology is a science, and behaviour should be studied in an objective, measurable way.
2. Humans mind is compared to a computer.
3. Psychology is a science, and behaviour should be studied in an objective, measurable way
1. Behaviour can be explained in terms of mental processes
Ulric Neisser
Ulrich Neisser used the term "cognitive psychology" in his book Cognitive Psychology, which was published in 1967.
Neisser’s definition of cognitive psychology is the:
‘characterization of people as dynamic information-processing systems whose mental operations might be described in computational terms.’
The cognitive approach looks at the internal, mental explanations of behaviour. The word ‘cognition’ literally means ‘knowing’ and concerns the way we understand the world around us. Central to the cognitive view of people, is the idea that they actively try to make sense of their environment by imposing order and meaning on the things they encounter.
Cognitive explanations of behaviour are based around the ways in which people organise and process information relevant to particular ways of acting.
Cognitive psychology assumes our behaviour is an internal process including perception, attention, language, memory and thinking.
Cognitive psychology is one of the more recent additions to psychological research, having only established as a separate area within psychology since the late 1950s and early 1960s following the cognitive revolution, primarily initiated by Noam Chomsky.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
Practical Uses;
The cognitive approach can be applied into real life situations such health care where the use of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) has been shown to be extremely successful in treating a range of mental health issues, such as depression. Note the use of the word behavioural which brings into play the behaviourist approach, combining the two approaches to produce a highly effective treatment.

The cognitive approach has also be used to advance the study of memory and cognitive neuroscience is probably the most influential field of psychology in the present day.
Adpated from a Prezi by Julaka Begum
Thank you
This sees humans as basically information processors. All cognitive processes work together to makes sense of the world: These processes include:

a. Perception.
b. Attention.
c. Memory
d. Language
Example: What do you make of this picture
Can you see the cow? Initially you may not see it. However when I point it out to you, you should be able to see it from this point forward. If you still cannot see it there is a picture of it at the end. Anyway for you to see the cow you must first know what a cow is. You will know it has four legs, usually black and white with large udders, eats grass etc. This is called a:
This is a mental structure that represents an aspect of the world. In order to name it, we use our knowledge of language
In basic terms cognitive psychologists compare how we take in information (input), change it/store it (process) and then recall it when necessary (output)
Example: Multi-Store Model of Memory (MSM) Atkinson Shiffrin (1968)
Although cognitive psychologists focus of internal, mental processes they still advocate a scientific approach to studying behaviour. This means looking at variables, reducing extraneous ones and ensuring reliability and validity.
An example is when testing the duration of short term memory (STM) Peterson and Peterson (1959) conducted an experiment which suggested that if rehearsal is prevented the duration is approximately 20 seconds)
The following video is from Heider and Simmel (1944) - this is a classic study - as you watch it note what you think is happening
In the original experiment one group was asked to write a description of what happened, whereas a second group were asked to interpret the movements of the figures as if they were human. For example, participants variously described the triangle as aggressive, warlike, irritable, dumb, stupid etc.

This shows how people even attribute personality traits to inanimate objects.
Attribution theory was first developed by Heider in the 1950's

An attribution is any claim about the cause of someone's behaviour
Heider proposed that humans are natural psychologists - or naive psychologists .

As naive psychologists we intuitively, in our everyday experiences, form impressions of people's personalities on the basis of their actions. These explanations come from two sources:
The person: Internal or dispostional, such as a persons traits. For example we might explain a person's loud behaviour in terms of their extrovert personality
The situation: External or situational factors, such as social norms or luck. For example, we might explain a persons loud behaviour in terms of the noisy environment. Or we might explain getting a good result in terms of having a good teacher (a situational attribution) rather than in terms of a student's ability (which would be a dispositional attribution)
Funadamental Attribution Error (FAE)
Look at the following video interview and what do you make of what the people say.
Kelly's Covariation Theory
Kelly (1967) suggested that attributions can be explained in terms of covariation. Things that covary are things that tend to happen at the same time, such as grey coulds and rain.
Kelly proposed that attributions are determined by covariace of three factors or axes.

1. Consistency
2. Distinctiveness
3. Consensus
1. Consistency - does this person regularly behave this way in this situation?
Example - John always laughs at a particular comedian (high consistency), or John sometimes finds this comedian funny (low consistency)
2. Distinctiveness - does this person behave this way in many other situations?
Example - John laughs only at this comedian (high distinctiveness), or John laughs at most comedians (low distinctiveness)
3. Consesus - do many other people behave this way in this situations?
Example - Everyone laughs at this comedian (high consensus), or only some people find this comedian funny (low consensus)
Internal (dispositional) attributions occur when:
1. Consistency = High
2. Distinctiveness = Low
3. Consensus = Low
External (situational) attributions occur when:
1. Consistency = Low
2. Distinctiveness = High
3. Consensus = Low
LHL or when all three High
The table below can be used to check the type of attribution
Actor/Observer Bias - we prefer to explain our (the actor's) behaviour in terms of situation, and the behaviour of others (those we are observing) in terms of disposition.
Nisbett et al (1973) asked students to provide an explanation for selecting a particular course of study, relating to both themeselves and their friends. They made situational attributions about themselves (e.g. what the course had to offer), but dispositional ones about their friends.
One study that supported this was by McArthur (1972) - they gave participants 12 event depicting sentences that contained information (high or low) about all three axes (consistency, distinctiveness and consensus). Particpants attributed external or internal causes as the model predicted.
And finally remember the cow?
Key Terms
Maladaptive behaviour is a type of behaviour that is often used to reduce one's anxiety, but the result is dysfunctional and non-productive. For example, avoiding situations because you have unrealistic fears may initially reduce your anxiety, but it is non-productive in alleviating the actual problem in the long term.
Key Figure
Aaron Beck
Founder of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
Believed that depressed individuals feel as they do because their thinking is biased towards negative interpretations of the world
Believed people have a negative triad.
Various techniques to challenge these:

1. Dysfunctional thought diary.
2. Therapy during therapy
Donald Meichenbaum
Founder of Stress Inoculation Training (SIT)
Developed a form of CBT to deal with stress. He believed that we cannot (usually) change thecause of the stress in our life (e.g a stressful job is still a stressful job), but what we can change the way we think about it.
Three main phases
1. Conceptualisation
2. Skills aquisition (and rehearsal)
3. Application (and follow through)
So what is CBT?
1. Used to treat a wide range of disorders, depression, anxiety, phobias, marriage guidance.
2. Cost effective - usually 16 - 20 sessions.
3. Popular because it does not involve deep meaning.
4. Involves both cognitive and behaviourist approach
The cognitive approach
Believes that the key influence on behaviour is how an individual thinks about a situation, i.e their mental processes.

Aims to change unwanted or maladaptive thoughts and beliefs. Different psychologists used different terms:
Beck (1976) called them dysfunctional automatic thoughts.

Meichenbaum (1977) called them conter productive self statements
CBT aims to identify and challenge these negative thoughts and replace them with constructive and positive ones which can lead to a healthier life.
How does it work?
Therapists challenge the negative thoughts and try to break the cycle
So what are the main negative thoughts?

1. All or nothing thinking.
2. Overgeneralization.
3. Mental Filter.
4. Disqualifying the positives
5. Jumping to conclusions.
6. Magnification or minimisation.
7. Emotional reasoning.
8. Should statements.
9. Labeling and mislabeling
10. Personalization.
The Behaviourist Approach
Believes undesirable behaviours have been learned, therfore therapy aims to reverse the learning by learning new desired behaviours.

Symptom substitution - one of the problems with with behaviourist therpaies is that they simpley replace undesirable behaviours and don't consider the causes of such behaviour, which means that further unhealthy behaviours will appear.

Combining therapies with cognitive therapies can be an effective way of dealing with this problem.
Research Evidence for CBT
David and Avellino (2003) - reported that CBT has the highest overall success rates of all therapies.

However, Wampold et al (2002) suggests that this may be becasue non-bona fide treatments (i.e those with no theoretical framework) are included in the comparison therapies; when these are removed CBT does not appear superior to these otehr therpaies. However, apparent lack of success could be due to the fact that effectiveness varies considerably in relation to therapist competence.

Kuyken and Tsivikos (2009) - as much as 15% of the varience in outcome may be attributed to therapist competence.
Beck's Cognitive Therapy
1. Believed depressed people have aquired a negative schema
2. Negative triad - self, world and future.
3. Various techniques:
a. Dysfunctional Thought Diary
b. Therapy during therapy.
Dysfunctional Thought Diary
1. Homework - client keeps a record of events leading up to any unpleasant emotions experienced.
2. They should record the negative automatic thoughts. and rate how much they believe them (on a scale of 1 - 100).
3. Next clients are asked to write a rational response to the automatic thoughts and rate their belief in this rational response.
4. Finally the client re-rates their beliefs in the automatic thoughts
Therapy during Therapy
1. During CBT a client is asked to challenge dysfunctional thoughts.
a. where is the evidence to support this claim.
b. what is the worst that can happen
2. Replace these with more constructive ones.
3. Client trys out new ways of behaving
Meichenbaum's SIT
Developed a form of CBT to deal with stress. He believed that we cannot (usually) change the cause of the stress in our life (e.g a stressful job is still a stressful job), but what we can change the way we think about it.

Negative thinking may lead to anxiety, whereas positive thinking (e.g OK so I missed my homework, all the others were on time) leads to more positive attitudes and feelings.
3 Phases
1. Conceptualisation - therapist teaches the client to view perceived therats as problems to be solved and to break down global stressors into specific components that can be coped with.
2. Skills acquisition (and rehearsal) - this includes positive thinking, relaxation, social skills and using social support as well as self statements.
3. Application (and follow through) - clients are given opportunities to apply newly learned coping skills in different situations, which become increasingly stressful.

Think about your exams - what are we doing?
Kerr and Leith (1993)

Showed that SIT has been linked to improved performance during cross-country running, squash and basketball, and has been partiuclary effective at boosting the performance of gymnasts.
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