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Psychology Glossary

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Cognitive Learning Theory

Cognitive Learning Theory is a broad theory that explains thinking and differing mental processes and how they are influenced by internal and external factors in order to produce learning in individuals. When cognitive processes are working normally then acquisition and storage of knowledge works well, but when these cognitive processes are ineffective, learning delays and difficulties can be seen.

These cognitive processes are: observing, categorizing, and forming generalizations about our environment. A disruption in these natural cognitive processes can cause behavioral problems in individuals and the key to treating these problems lies in changing the disrupted process. For example, a person with an eating disorder genuinely believes that they are extremely overweight. Some of this is due to a cognitive disruption in which their perception of their own weight is skewed. A therapist will try to change their constant pattern of thinking that they are overweight in order to decrease the unhealthy behaviors that are a result of it.

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