the cognitive explanation of schizophrenia

HideShow resource information

cognitive explanation

The Key points of Cognative explainaion

it is caused by:

  • Fault thought processing. 
  • leads to experiences senses that are not real.
  • Other people tell them it isnt real 
  • So they result in the indivudal feling like the person is trying to conspire against them. 

Example (story):

Sarah started to experiencne hallationatons of ailens following her when ever she walks home from school. She asks her friend one day if they could see an an stange green man following them, her friend looks at her in a strange way an asks Sarah if shes okay. As she sees the Alien more and more often, she starts to become increasingly paraniod. She feels as though everybody knows but are secretly not telling her. that is classic case of skizphriena. 

1 of 5

The role of attention

The role of attention 

  • 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.
2 of 5

Failure to activate schemas

  • Failure to active schemas 

žHemsley (1993) suggests there is a substantial breakdown in the relationship between memory and perception in schizophrenics.

  •  As a result, people with schizophrenia are often unable to activate schemas which would allow them to predict what will happen next, their concentration is poor, and they attend to unimportant or irrelevant aspects of the environment.
  • žTheir poor integration of memory and perception leads to disorganised thinking and behaviour.Helmsley believes these deficits can be attributed to abnormalities in the hippocampus. 
3 of 5

Faulty cognitive processes

Faulty cognitive processes 


  • cognitive deficits are caused by abnormalities in those areas of the brain that use dopamine, especially the neural pathways that connect the prefrontal cortex to the hippocampus.
  • Schizophrenics have reduced cerebral blood flow to these areas (indicating reduced brain activity) during particular cognitive tasks.
  • Bentall (1994) – schizophrenics have deficits and biases in how they process information. There is an attentional bias towards stimuli of a threatening and emotional nature. This accounts for many positive symptoms – paranoid delusions may be caused by the individual misinterpreting an event as threatening due to the exaggerated amount of processing it receives. 

4 of 5

Genetic links

  • Genetic links
  •   McGuigan(1966) found that the larynx of patients with schizophrenia was often active during the time they claimed to be experiencing auditory hallucinations.
  • This suggests that they mistook their own inner speech for that of someone else. žMcGuire et al. (1996) found schizophrenics to have reduced activity in those parts of the brain involved in monitoring inner speech. ž
  • PET scans show under-activity in the frontal lobe of the brain, which is linked to self-monitoring and so provides biological support for this explanation.
5 of 5


No comments have yet been made

Similar Psychology resources:

See all Psychology resources »See all Schizophrenia resources »