Psychological Explanations for SZ: Cognitive Explanations

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  • Created on: 11-06-22 12:43
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  • Cognitive Explanations
    • This focuses on impaired information processing.
      • Frith et al. (1992) identified two types of dysfunctional thought processes that underlie some of the symptoms of SZ.
    • Deficits in metarepresentational 
      • Metarepresentational= ability to reflect on thoughts and behaviour. 
      • disrupt a person’s ability to distinguish whether their thoughts originate from within themselves or from their external environment.
      • This would explain hallucinations and delusions of thought. 
    • Deficits in central control
      • ability to suppress automatic responses while we perform deliberate actions instead
      • Disorganised speech could result from the inability to suppress these automatic thoughts. 
      • P - There is supporting evidence for dysfunctional thought processes.
        • E - Shen et al (2013): compared 86 people with SZ and 86 controls. Carried out 13 computerized tests e.g. Stroop test. 
          • E - People with SZ performed worse on tasks requiring sustained attention.
            • L - This shows that there is a relationship between impaired information processing and SZ.
      • P - Having knowledge of psychological explanations for SZ allows researchers to develop therapies to reduce symptoms 
        • E - cognitive behaviour therapy.  Cognitive behaviour therapy aims to identify and challenge faulty internal mental processes e.g. delusional thoughts.
          • L - This shows that the research into psychological explanations of SZ could have a positive impact in the real world. 
      • P - There is contradictory evidence
        • E - McKenna (1994) found that people with SZ do not seem to be any easier to distract than people without SZ when engaged on cognitive tasks. This challenges the idea that SZ is the result of cognitive deficits.
          • E - In addition, although cognitive explanations have evidence to support the existence of dysfunctional thought processes, they do not reveal anything about origins of those dysfunctional cognitions.
            • L - Therefore, cognitive explanations can account for the symptoms but not the origins of the disorder.
      • P - The biological explanation states that schizophrenia has a genetic cause rather than a cognitive cause.
        • E - For example, the DRD3 gene codes for dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter, that is associated with the development of schizophrenia.
          • L - This means that psychological explanations for schizophrenia are not fully comprehensive alone. 


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