SCHIZOPHRENIA - Psychological explanation for schizophrenia (inc. cognitive explanation)

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  • Psychological explanation for schizophrenia
    • Family dysfunction
      • Double Bind theory
        • contradictory messages from parents
          • affects child badly - confusing, don't know how to express and show emotions themselves
        • suggested by Bateson (1956)
        • develops into affective flattening and withdrawal
        • R.D.Laing - sch is a reasonable response to an insane world
        • case study of sch girl 'Jane' - when Laing first met her - emotionally flat and she had reoccurring fantasy - she saw herself as a tennis ball involved in a game of mixed doubles
          • Laing discovered parents' relationship was awful but still living together. Dad's mother used to get involved. Mum's father used to get involved - mixed doubles
            • Laing also found in past, Jane used to be a go-between (go tell your mum this etc.). TENNIS BALL FANTASY
    • Too much expressed emotion (EE)
      • can cause initial sch
      • if someone in family is sch, they will treat you differently
      • family communication style of expressing (hostile / critical) emotion to each other
      • once someone is sch, it can lead to higher relapse rates
      • suggests people with sch have lower tolerance for intense environmental stimuli
      • Kuipers (1983) - high EE relatives talk more and listen less
    • Cognitive
      • includes dysfunctional thought processing (part of general cognitive approach)
      • maladaptive (irrational) thought processes cause sch
        • faulty thought processing (wrongful interpretation)
        • problems with meta-cognition
          • def: when an individ is thinking about their thinking
          • sch people have problems with their met-cognition
          • healthy person can think about how our thinking can affect out thinking and behav
        • problems with our executive functioning
          • cognitive processes that control and manage other cognitive and behavioural processes
          • healthy person = efficient ex.funct
      • cognitive explanations of delusions
        • degree to which an individ perceives him or herself as the central component in events
        • sch tendency to relate irrelevant events to themselves
        • muffled voices criticise them, flashing light is from God
      • cognitive explanations for hallucinations
        • hallucinating individs focus excessive attention on auditory stimuli
        • Aleman (2001) - hallucination-prone individs find distinguishing between imagery and sensory-based perception difficult
        • Baker and Morrison (1998) - hallucinating patients with sch are more likely to misattribute the source of self-generated auditory
      • Research
        • Takahashi (2013) - compared electrical brain activity of sch when exposed to auditory tones. Ability to detect changes in tone was limited.
        • Knoblich (2004) - schs are impaired in their ability to detect mismatch between self-generated movement and their consequences when drawing. Suggests cognitive inability to self-monitor
        • O'Carroll (2000) - 75% cognitive impairment of schs - particularly memory, attention, motor skills, executive function and intelligence.
        • Elevag & Goldberg (2000) - sch is better characterised by cognitive deficits rather than symps. Memory and attention are the main cognitive deficits.
        • Bowie & Harvey (2006) - cognitive impairments are core feature of sch: impact memory, attention, verbal learning and executive functions. Impairments pre-date disorder
      • Evaluation (A03)
        • Cognitive theories don't explain the cognitive impairments - can't been seen as explaining causes for sch
        • explanation can account for positive and negative symptoms
        • theory can be combined with other theories (biological)
        • high success rate of cognitive based therapies (CBT)
        • Sarin & Wallin - found supporting evidence of claim that positive symptoms have origin of faulty cognition
        • Howes & Murray - early vulnerability factors (genes etc.) combined with social stressors causes an increase in dopamine.


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