ERIC Number: ED245171
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984-Apr
A Social-Cognitive Perspective on Early Childhood Influences in Psychopathology.
Bohart, Arthur C.
The Freudian view of psychopathology suggests that the individual is motivated to distort reality. In contrast, social-cognitive theory views the individual as a naive social scientist, who observes his behavior, others' behavior, and the social context. Out of these observations come meaning structures which organize, guide, and structure behavior in a particular domain. Reality is never viewed directly, but as a construction of the observer. Distortions in social judgment are honest attempts at understanding, rather than the result of deliberate manipulation to protect the individual from self-knowledge. Cognitive errors result from neglecting co-variation and accurate sampling, and through transference. Although these errors may be characteristic of psychopathology, the form of many aspects of psychopathology may be quite general and may not serve motivational purposes. Developmentally, the social-cognitive view implies that adult distortion in judgment occurs as the result of sampling biases that lead to distorted ways of viewing social reality. Sampling errors may begin in childhood; children tend to base generalizations on irrelevant characteristics of exemplars and imagistic forms. Given that the vividness of information unduly influences social cognition, adolescence may be a crucial period for the development of pathology. The constructed world view of the child oftentimes is carried into adulthood, resistant to modification. (BL)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Western Psychological Association (64th, Los Angeles, CA, April 5-8, 1984).