Cognitive explanations of Addictive behaviour

  • Created by: Shelley
  • Created on: 08-05-13 15:48

Cognitive Explanations of Addictive Behaviour

Cognitive explanations focus on the way people process information. If we make a faulty judgement then we could develop an addiction. For instance, compulsive gambling revolves around faulty thinking. Gamblers believe that they will win or be able to control the odds using 'lucky numbers' despite having no real evidence to support this.

Despite the fact that odds of most activites are heavily weighed against the gambler, they continue to believe they can win. This observation leads to the conclusion that gambling may be maintained by irrational of erroneous beliefs. For example, people overestimate the extent to which they can predict or influence gambling outcomes and misjudge the amount of money they have won or lost. This hypothesis has been confirmed by numerous studies showing that people overestimate the degree of skill or control that can be exerted in chance activities. Also, studies that use the 'thinking aloud' method, reveal high levels of irrationality in verbalised statements made during gambling sessions.

Griffiths 1994 has demonstrated that gamblers have irrational biases concerning their gambling and that they use a variety of heuristics (mental shortcuts people use to make judgements or social inferences) e.g.flexible attributions, hindsight bias, illusory correlations. For instance, typical examples for explaining away losses involved the hindsight bias with players predicting events after they'd happened such as 'I…


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