• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Outline and evaluate psychological explanations of OCD

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

´╗┐Outline and evaluate psychological explanations for OCD The cognitive approach assumes that OCD is a consequence of faulty and irrational ways of thinking taken to an extreme. Patients with OCD have different thinking patterns and more intrusive thoughts. The cognitive explanation stresses that everyone has unwanted thoughts from time to time, but OCD sufferers cannot ignore these thoughts and they are often misinterpreted, leading to self-blame and the obsessive symptoms of OCD. So that the negative thoughts and concerns associated with a particular anxiety do not come to pass, compulsions arise in an attempt to ?neutralise? the anxiety. The sufferer becomes more wary of having intrusive thoughts and their fear of them increases. As these ideas are constantly thought about, they become obsessive and a pattern of ritualistic, repetitive behaviour begins. A strength of this theory is that there is supporting evidence. For example, Wegner found that a group of students asked not to think of a white bear were more likely to do so than a group allowed to think about it. ...read more.

Middle

We therefore cannot prove cause and effect to show that suppressing thoughts lead to symptoms in OCD, so there are other factors the cognitive approach needs to consider in order to offer a causal explanation. However, although there are issues with self-report methodologies, they can provide a greater insight into the participant?s thoughts and a greater level of detail. They are allowing the participants to describe their own experiences rather than inferring this from observing participants. It therefore provides access to a high level of quantitative data. The behavioural approach assumes OCD is a result of a learnt association between a stimulus and anxiety. Firstly, a neutral stimulus becomes associated with a particular learned response and whenever the stimulus is present, the individual carries out the response. For example, dirty objects became associated with anxiety and this is called classical conditioning. This response is furthered by avoidance of the stimulus, so positive outcomes are achieved. The anxiety is maintained over time by negative reinforcement which leads to the obsessions and the compulsive behaviours are then developed as the person believes that by performing them, the anxiety will decrease. ...read more.

Conclusion

Despite this, the fact that the study used participants who haven?t been diagnosed OCD means that ethical guidelines haven?t been breached, particularly protection of psychological harm. Causing such participants to suppress thoughts could worsen their symptoms of OCD, whereas participants without the disorder will be less affected. These approaches sit on the reductionist side of the debate. For example, the behavioural approach only focuses on environmental factors and doesn?t take into account cognitions, biological factors such as biochemistry, genetics and brain dysfunction and psychodynamic factors. The cognitive approach draws attention to cognitions, ignoring behavioural, psychodynamic and biological factors. This is a strength because the reductionist nature of the approach means a higher level of detail is given because only one idea is taken into consideration. These approaches also only focus on one variable in an attempt to establish causal relationships, as opposed to looking at a variety of variables. However, this could also be seen as a weakness of the approach, because it leads to a limited theory overall and therefore, any treatments developed from the assumptions of these approaches solely may not treat the whole of the OCD sufferer, and there may not be a correct diagnosis. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Physiological Psychology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

3 star(s)

A reasonable range of relevant discussion points offered with some level of evaluation.

3 Stars

Marked by teacher Stephanie Duckworth 24/10/2013

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Physiological Psychology essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Outline and Evaluate 2 Biological Explanations of OCD

    3 star(s)

    This means that environmental factors must play a role as well. In addition to this, it seems to be the occurrence of OCD that is hereditary not the specific symptoms again suggesting an environmental contribution. Therefore, this weakens the explanation of genes as a cause of OCD as it shows

  2. Biological Explanations of Aggression

    For example, humans are physiologically different than monkeys and may have reacted differently to a high tryptophan diet. This is a problem because it means that the research cannot be generalised to humans. Hormonal Mechanisms One biological explanation of aggression involves hormonal mechanisms.

  1. Stress can be explained as the stimulus in the environment that triggers a stress ...

    Brady chose more active monkeys as bar-pressers, so this could have made them more sensitive to stress. Experiment poorly controlled, both experiment should be equal. Unethical - monkeys were dieing. Commentary The ethics is big issue in these studies. Experiment wouldn't be allowed today due to cruelty to animals.

  2. To What Extent can psychological research provide useful forms of stress management techniques?

    Barbiturates also have a number of other side effects and tend to be addictive. Patients who stopped taking the drugs often reported symptoms of delirium, irritability and increased sweating. This therefore highlights the limitations of drug therapies as a method of stress management, although a second form of drug was

  1. Describe & discuss how each psychological perspective explains smoking using empirical evidence to support ...

    This causes a physical need to smoke. The limitation of this theory can be in the fact that Nicotine Replacement Therapy has helped many smokers to quit smoking. So it could be the act of smoking which can be the addictive part and not the nicotine itself.

  2. Marked Essay - Discuss biological explanations of schizophrenia.

    // Because twins tend to be raised in very similar environments and children have been known to imitate behaviours of those

  1. In this essay I will cover explanations of dreams including Freuds theory of repressed ...

    Alternatively Dierdre Barret (1970) believes that our dreams aid us with problem solving. In 1865 Friedrich August Kekulé dreamed a snake forming a circle and biting its own tail. From this dream he realised the chemical structure of Benzene which earned him a title of nobility in Germany.

  2. Outline and Evaluate the relationship between sexual selection and human reproductive behaviour

    (Buss & Schmitt) On balance, men tend to be much likely to have short-term relationships or on-night stands then women. This was demonstrated beautifully in Clark & Hatfield's studies where a sample of male and female students approached strangers of the opposite sex on campus and asked them either to:

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work