The behaviour. There are different kinds of mental

The cognitive approach looks at our internal mental processes
such as memory, thinking and perception. The approach studies
information processing, this includes ways in which we extract, store and
retrieve information that helps to guide out behaviour. There are different
kinds 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 to
observe it therefore psychologists study these indirectly by looking at their
behaviour to discover what going on in their mind.

To begin with, cognitive psychologists believe that behaviour
can be explained through schemas, this is a cognitive structure that helps to
organise and interpret information in the brain. A schema develops through our
own personal experiences. As children, schemas are used so that we are able to
adapt to the complexity of the world. For example, as a child we learn that a
green , round fruit is an apple, and as we age our schemas are developed. They
are used to help us fill in the gaps in the absence of the full information and
allow us to take shortcuts when interpreting the huge amount of information we
deal with on a daily basis. However, schemas can lead us to develop stereotypes
that are difficult to disconfirm. This is because as well as being a short-cut
of information, schemas also cause us to exclude anything that does not conform
to our established ideas about the world, focusing instead on things that
confirm our pre-existing belief and ideas.

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Someone who is depressed would have acquired a negative
schema during childhood –which is a tendency to adopt a negative view of the
world. This may be caused by a variety of factors, including parental and/or
peer 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 were
learned. Negative schemas lead to systematic cognitive biases in thinking. For
example, individuals over-generalise, drawing a sweeping conclusion regarding
self-worth on the basis of one small negative piece of feedback.

Moreover, strength of the Cognitive explanation of depression
is that there is evidence to support the role of irrational thinking. Bates et
al (1999) found that depressed participants who were given negative automatic
thoughts statements become more and more depressed, therefore this supports the
research because it is suggesting the view that negative thinking leads to

In any case, the cognitive explanation of depression can be
criticised for being reductionist, for instance, the cognitive explanation
expresses that if an individual thinks adversely or has negative thoughts they
are likely to develop disorders, such as depression. This is a weakness because
this theory of depression ignores the fact that biological research has
indicated that depression can be down to low levels of the neurotransmitter
serotonin and therefore, the cognitive approach can be seen to be too.

Another weakness of the cognitive approach to depression is
that it blames the patient. For instance, the intellectual approach recommends
disorders are essentially in the patient’s brain (e.g. an individual is
discouraged on the grounds that they think in a negative programmed path) this
could lead to situational factors (e.g. family) being neglected. This is an
issue since it might be unhelpful to put a huge weight of fault on a person
prone to negative thoughts and depression, therefore,  if individuals feel responsible for their own
abnormality this could lead to delays in treatment (the individual may not have
the motivation to treat a disorder that they feel ultimately responsible for).

One way to study internal process is through the use of
theoretical models. One critical theoretical model is the information
processing approach, which recommends that information runs through the
cognitive system. It goes through a series of stages that include input,
storage and retrieval. The cognitive system also uses a computer model where
the mind is compared to a computer by suggesting that there are similarities in
the way information is processed. These models use the concept of central
processing unit (the brain), the concept of coding (to turn the information in
to a usable format) and the use of stores to hold information.

An advantage of the cognitive approach is that it has
numerous applications. For instance, the cognitive approach to psychopathology
has been able to explain dysfunctional behaviour in terms of faulty thinking
processes. This has led to the advancement of medication for illness such as
depression with cognitive based therapies. These treatments, which aim to
change dysfunctional ways of thinking, have appeared to be successful in some
mental disorder, which suggest that the importance on mental developments for
explaining mental disorder is valid.

Benefit of the cognitive approach is that it can be viewed as
a scientific approach. Although cognitive psychologists make speculations and
models of conduct, they do this as a result of experimentation with human
participant. This implies their decisions depend on much more than presence of
mind and contemplation, which can give a deceptive picture. In that capacity,
the approach can be viewed as a systematic, objective and hard way for
achieving specific decisions about how the mind functions.

One significant disadvantage of this approach is the
utilization of computer models. For instance, the approach utilizes terms, for
example, ‘encoding’ and ‘storage’ for the mind which are obtained from this
field. Nevertheless there are essential contrasts between the human mind and
computer programmes. For instance, human mind commit errors, can overlook, and
can disregard accessible data when vital. These are for the most part major

Supporting examination for the intellectual approach needs
biological legitimacy. Examines in memory utilize counterfeit test materials
that don’t attempt to see how memory is utilized as a part of regular day to
day existence. This implies it is improbable that the discoveries can be summed
up to genuine circumstances. Along these lines, supporting research for the
cognitive approach diminishes in believability. A further issue is that the
intellectual approach seems to disregard critical variables. Although the
cognitive approach discloses to us how psychological procedures happen, it
doesn’t reveal to us why they occur. The part of feeling and inspiration are to
a great extent disregarded. This might be an aftereffect of the PC relationship
and the over-reliance of this approach on data preparing analogies. People have
inspiration and feeling, while data handling machines don’t.