Cognitive Distortions – Intro (Part 3)

vcxcognitive distortions


B & W thinking makes me feel safe!

PREVIOUS: CDs Intro (#2)


4. Categories of INCORRECT THINKING 
There are more than 10 major kinds of Cognitive Distortions, over 40 kinds of Bias & almost 200 Fallacies. Part 4 gives a brief look at some. They’re all incorrect ‘logical’ arguments used to manipulate & control.

ACoAs are very susceptible to being conned by the WIC & PP’s use of CDs, but many people are also affected by anyone who uses twisted thinking to influence (advertisers, politicos, manipulative relationships…). This contributes to not feeling safe in the world, BUT we can protect ourselves by learning to recognize twisted thinking for what it is!

a. Cognitive DISTORTIONS (CDs): Exaggerated & irrational beliefs that contribute to & perpetuate certain psychological disorders. They can be divided into 3 groups of Negatives – re :
Views about the self (‘Mind-reading’), Views about the world, generally(‘Catastrophizing’) & Views about the future (‘Fortune Telling’).

b. Logical FALLACIES: Any part of an argument that’s flawed, making either a line of reasoning or the whole topic untrue. ALSO, when a seemingly plausible argument includes a mistaken idea (even if there are some valid parts) OR when we draw an incorrect conclusion from correct info.

ad-hoc fallacyEXP: A ‘post hoc’ fallacy insists on a direct cause and effect between 2 events, simply because one event preceded another:
i. I went to the jewelry store to look at rings
ii. While I was there, a masked man with a gun came in & robbed the store
iii. Since I was there before he came in, I must have something to do with the robbery!

Here the fallacy is the result of ignoring other relevant information around the 2 events, such as THAT:
— my being there was an unlucky coincidence
— the robber & I don’t know each other
— he’s robbed other stores I’ve never been in….

• The human tendency to make systematic logic errors based on preconceived ideas, rather than evidence. They’re ‘one-sided’, favoring some outcomes over others, which interferes with the ability to be impartial & objective.  EXP of Gender Bias: ‘All boys are better at math than all girls’

• Biases can come from information-processing shortcuts, including errors in judgment, memory, or the cause of something – which drastically skew the reliability of personal accounts (experiences) or legal evidence (concrete proof). RESULT : Thinking Biases can harm our ability to make proper decisions, solve problems correctly, & limit the capacity to learn new information or ideas.

We’ve know the term Placebo, used to identify both pleasant & harmful effects of the power of suggestion (voodoo dolls that cause pain or ‘fake’ medicines that reduce/eliminate pain).
In the 1990’s the term NOCEBO (Latin for “I will harm”) came into use in medicine. It’s anything that in itself is benign or neutral (the color of a pill or a type of plant), but which can cause symptoms of illness by the suggestion or belief that it IS harmful.  This belief can come from inside or outside of ourselves.

nocebo• ‘Nocebo’ was originally used to label the harmful, unpleasant, or undesirable reactions some test subjects actually exhibited when given an inert dummy drug.
The very real physical reactions were not created chemically, but entirely due to the subjects’ pessimistic outlook & expectations.

A psychiatrist at Boston’s Brigham & Women’s Hospital, found in a recent review of the nocebo literature that – patient expectations of possible harmful side-effects of a drug – played a significant role in the outcome of their care (Arthur Barsky, et al. 2002)
• In another study, more than 2/3 of 34 volunteering college students developed headaches when told that’s what could happen from a (non-existent) electrical current passing through their heads.

All Cognitive Distortions are mental nocebos!  Since CDs are incorrect assumptions or belief that negatively influence how we feel & act, those irrational conclusions causing untold emotional or physical injury to ourselves & others.
(From ‘Skeptic’s Diary’)

NEXT: CDs Overview

2 thoughts on “Cognitive Distortions – Intro (Part 3)

    Make decisions & arguments based on ‘intuition’ or some emotional feeling rather than on objective evidence or rationale

    I pretty much live here. I am so happy to see this in the list of CD’s. Now I don’t have to give it so much power over me – because it’s a CD. Who knew?


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