Cognitive explanations of schizophrenia

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  • Created by: Rob D.
  • Created on: 10-03-14 17:14
The role of attention
Mechanisms that filter and process incoming stimuli are defective in the brains of people with schizophrenia so they have an information overload. These people are poor at laboratory tasks that require them to pay attention and/or ignore a stimuli.
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Psychological abnormality and cognitive malfunction
Cognitive psychologists believe that there is almost certainly physiological abnormalities associated with schizophrenia and these lead to cognitive malfunctioning. These are referred to as ''neuropsychological theories''.
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Failure to activate schemas
Hemesley suggested that the central deficit in schizophrenia is a break down in the relationship of information already stored and new incoming information.
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Failure to activate schemas (2)
As a result people with schizophrenia are subject to sensory overload and do not know which aspects of the situation to attend and which to ignore.
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Failure to activate schemas (3)
This means that superficial incidents may be seen as highly relevant and could explain symptoms such as delusions.
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Failure to activate schemas (4)
Hemsley further suggests that internal thoughts are sometimes not recognized as arising from memory and so are attributed to an external source and experienced as an auditory hallucinations.
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Evaluation - Hemsley's model
Hemsley has tried to link his model to an underlying neurological system, in particular to the hippocampus and related brain structures however, there is currently little empirical evidence to prove his theory.
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Faulty cognitive process
Frith's idea is that people with schizophrenia are unable to distinguish between actions that are brought about by external forces and those that are generated internally.
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Faulty cognitive process - Frith's cognitive processes
1. Inability to generate willed action 2. Inability to monitor willed action 3. Inability to monitor the beliefs and intentions of others
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Faulty cognitive process - Frith's cognitive processes (2)
Frith suggests that these three processes are all part of a general mechanism which he calls ''meta-representation'' that allows us to be aware of our goals and our intentions and to understand the beliefs and intentions of others.
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Faulty cognitive process - Frith's cognitive processes (3)
According to Frith faulty operation of this mechanism is due to a functional disconnection between frontal areas of the brain concerned with action and more posterior areas of the brain that control perception.
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Evaluation - Frith's theory
Some critics regard his theory as too reductionist in that it fails to take into account the role of environmental factors.
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Evaluation - Both theories
Good theories should explain the deficits and their origin for an abnormality such as schizophrenia. Both Hemlmsley's and Frith's models do not and therefore do not offer a complete model of schizophrenia.
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Genetic links
Cognitive psychologists are attempting to find evidence for a genetic link by examining whether malfunctioning cognitive processes are a family trait.
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Genetic links - Park
Park (1995) identified working memory deficits in people with schizophrenia and their first-degree non-schizophrenic relatives.
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Genetic links - Faraone
Faraone found impairments in auditory attention and claimed that that these impairments are a manifestation of the genetic predisposition to schizophrenia. However their data cannot explain why some relatives do not develop schizophrenia.
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Genetic links - Cannon
Cannon (1994) suggested that the mediating factors that determine the expression of these genes (responsible for the verbal and attention deficit) are birth complications.
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Evaluation - A genetic origin
Cognitive impairments thought to have a genetic origin have been implicated in a number of different mental disorders, e.g. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
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Evaluation - Limited scope of cognitive theories
Cognitive theories in themselves do not really explain the causes of schizophrenia, they simply describe some of the symptoms of the disorder in cognitive terms.
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Card 2

Front

Cognitive psychologists believe that there is almost certainly physiological abnormalities associated with schizophrenia and these lead to cognitive malfunctioning. These are referred to as ''neuropsychological theories''.

Back

Psychological abnormality and cognitive malfunction

Card 3

Front

Hemesley suggested that the central deficit in schizophrenia is a break down in the relationship of information already stored and new incoming information.

Back

Preview of the back of card 3

Card 4

Front

As a result people with schizophrenia are subject to sensory overload and do not know which aspects of the situation to attend and which to ignore.

Back

Preview of the back of card 4

Card 5

Front

This means that superficial incidents may be seen as highly relevant and could explain symptoms such as delusions.

Back

Preview of the back of card 5
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