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The appeal of connectionism for clinical psychology

Authors
Journal
Clinical Psychology Review
0272-7358
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
12
Issue
7
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/0272-7358(92)90022-z
Disciplines
  • Biology
  • Computer Science
  • Medicine
  • Psychology

Abstract

Abstract While the connectionist approach has led to productive solutions for a number of problems in cognitive science and artificial intelligence, the impact of this approach on cognitive modeling in the realms of clinical psychology and psychotherapy, in particular, has been minimal. This is especially surprising given the increasing frequency with which information processing concepts are being used to understand change processes in psychotherapy, patient-therapist interaction, resistance phenomena, and even basic psychopathological processes. We contend that these issues may benefit from a reappraisal along connectionist lines and endeavor to provide an overview in this article. The first part of the paper outlines connectionist thinking and contrasts it to the currently dominant symbolic approach to cognitive modeling. The paper then examines specific applied problems in clinical psychology and psychotherapy such as the relationship between emotion and cognition, change processes and adaptation to environment, resistance, and the therapists' cognitive activity. Without fostering a disregard of symbolic approaches to knowledge representation and meaning construction, connectionism can contribute a vital and novel theoretical framework from which to examine these issues of enduring importance.

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