Cognitive Theory

Attribution Theory
Heider (1958)- we develop explanation for causes of a person's behaviour
Dispositional Attribution- internal factors e.g. Traits
Situational Attribution- external factors e.g. Luck or Social Norms

Fundamental Attribution Error
People prefer to make dispositional attributions
Ross et al. (1977) Quiz. Group 1 had advantage over Group 2 but participants put superior performance down to dispositional factors despite knowing the advantage

Actor/Observer Bias
We explain our behaviour in terms of situation but other behaviour in terms of disposition

Self-Serving Bias
Take credit for success, disassociate from failures. Protects self esteem + sense of control.

Covariation Model
Kelley (1967)

Consistency, Distinctiveness, Consensus 

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Cognitive Therapy

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
Focuses on how people think about a situation
Mentally-disordered behaviour is caused by maladaptive, irrational thinking
CBT identifies and challenges these thoughts and replaces them with positive ones
Used for mental disorders and 'normal' problems e.g. marriage guidance


A person believes that everybody hates them. This is causing problems.
Challenging this belief (where is your evidence? why does it matter?) helps.

Behaviourist element:
Rewarding desirable thoughts and behaviours

Beck's (1967) Cognitive Therapy
Dysfunctional Thought Diary
Record automatic negative thoughts and ratebelief in them
Write rational response to the automatic thoughts and rate that belief
Re-rate automatic belief. 

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Cognitive Strengths and Weaknesses

Mediational Processes
Perception and memory of stimulus and response
e.g. Tulving and Psotka (1971) The use of retrieval cues to recall more information from memory

Successful Applications
Applied to treat psychological disorders
CBT to treat depression

Nature and Nurture
Ignores key influences like genetics, which are consistently an important role in behaviour
Ignores some social and cultural factors

Mechanistic and Determinist
Behaviour is like that of a machine
Kelley's Covariation Model= set of rules for making attributions
So ignores social and emotional factors, oversimplifies- Reductionist 

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