The cognitive approach looks at our internal mental processessuch as memory, thinking and perception. The approach studiesinformation processing, this includes ways in which we extract, store andretrieve information that helps to guide out behaviour.
There are differentkinds of mental processes contribute to information processing. For example, attention:include selecting important information, thinking: using it to solve problems.However, due to the fact that this approach is internal, it is difficult toobserve it therefore psychologists study these indirectly by looking at theirbehaviour to discover what going on in their mind.To begin with, cognitive psychologists believe that behaviourcan be explained through schemas, this is a cognitive structure that helps toorganise and interpret information in the brain.
A schema develops through ourown personal experiences. As children, schemas are used so that we are able toadapt to the complexity of the world. For example, as a child we learn that agreen , round fruit is an apple, and as we age our schemas are developed. Theyare used to help us fill in the gaps in the absence of the full information andallow us to take shortcuts when interpreting the huge amount of information wedeal with on a daily basis. However, schemas can lead us to develop stereotypesthat are difficult to disconfirm. This is because as well as being a short-cutof information, schemas also cause us to exclude anything that does not conformto our established ideas about the world, focusing instead on things thatconfirm our pre-existing belief and ideas.Someone who is depressed would have acquired a negativeschema during childhood –which is a tendency to adopt a negative view of theworld. This may be caused by a variety of factors, including parental and/orpeer rejection and criticisms by teachers.
These negative schemas (e.g.expecting to fail) are activated when an individual encounters a new situation(e.g. an exam) that resembles the original condition of when the schemas werelearned. Negative schemas lead to systematic cognitive biases in thinking. Forexample, individuals over-generalise, drawing a sweeping conclusion regardingself-worth on the basis of one small negative piece of feedback.
Moreover, strength of the Cognitive explanation of depressionis that there is evidence to support the role of irrational thinking. Bates etal (1999) found that depressed participants who were given negative automaticthoughts statements become more and more depressed, therefore this supports theresearch because it is suggesting the view that negative thinking leads todepression.In any case, the cognitive explanation of depression can becriticised for being reductionist, for instance, the cognitive explanationexpresses that if an individual thinks adversely or has negative thoughts theyare likely to develop disorders, such as depression. This is a weakness becausethis theory of depression ignores the fact that biological research hasindicated that depression can be down to low levels of the neurotransmitterserotonin and therefore, the cognitive approach can be seen to be too.Another weakness of the cognitive approach to depression isthat it blames the patient. For instance, the intellectual approach recommendsdisorders are essentially in the patient’s brain (e.g.
an individual isdiscouraged on the grounds that they think in a negative programmed path) thiscould lead to situational factors (e.g. family) being neglected. This is anissue since it might be unhelpful to put a huge weight of fault on a personprone to negative thoughts and depression, therefore, if individuals feel responsible for their ownabnormality this could lead to delays in treatment (the individual may not havethe motivation to treat a disorder that they feel ultimately responsible for).
One way to study internal process is through the use oftheoretical models. One critical theoretical model is the informationprocessing approach, which recommends that information runs through thecognitive system. It goes through a series of stages that include input,storage and retrieval. The cognitive system also uses a computer model wherethe mind is compared to a computer by suggesting that there are similarities inthe way information is processed. These models use the concept of centralprocessing unit (the brain), the concept of coding (to turn the information into a usable format) and the use of stores to hold information.An advantage of the cognitive approach is that it hasnumerous applications.
For instance, the cognitive approach to psychopathologyhas been able to explain dysfunctional behaviour in terms of faulty thinkingprocesses. This has led to the advancement of medication for illness such asdepression with cognitive based therapies. These treatments, which aim tochange dysfunctional ways of thinking, have appeared to be successful in somemental disorder, which suggest that the importance on mental developments forexplaining mental disorder is valid.Benefit of the cognitive approach is that it can be viewed asa scientific approach. Although cognitive psychologists make speculations andmodels of conduct, they do this as a result of experimentation with humanparticipant.
This implies their decisions depend on much more than presence ofmind and contemplation, which can give a deceptive picture. In that capacity,the approach can be viewed as a systematic, objective and hard way forachieving specific decisions about how the mind functions.One significant disadvantage of this approach is theutilization of computer models. For instance, the approach utilizes terms, forexample, ‘encoding’ and ‘storage’ for the mind which are obtained from thisfield. Nevertheless there are essential contrasts between the human mind andcomputer programmes. For instance, human mind commit errors, can overlook, andcan disregard accessible data when vital.
These are for the most part majorcontrasts.Supporting examination for the intellectual approach needsbiological legitimacy. Examines in memory utilize counterfeit test materialsthat don’t attempt to see how memory is utilized as a part of regular day today existence.
This implies it is improbable that the discoveries can be summedup to genuine circumstances. Along these lines, supporting research for thecognitive approach diminishes in believability. A further issue is that theintellectual approach seems to disregard critical variables. Although thecognitive approach discloses to us how psychological procedures happen, itdoesn’t reveal to us why they occur.
The part of feeling and inspiration are toa great extent disregarded. This might be an aftereffect of the PC relationshipand the over-reliance of this approach on data preparing analogies. People haveinspiration and feeling, while data handling machines don’t.