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BEHAVIOURAL AND COGNITIVE ASSESSMENT:
traditional assessment concentrates on measuring underlying personality structures and traits, such as obsessiveness...
behavioural and cognitively oriented clinicians often use a system that involves the assessment of four sets of variables,
sometimes referred to by the acronym SORC.
S stands for stimuli, the environmental situations that precede the problem.
O stands for organismic, referring to both psychological and psychological factors assumed to be
operating under the skin.
R refers to overt responses. These probably receive the most attention from behavioural
clinicians, who must determine what behaviour is problematic, as well as the behaviours
frequency intensity and form.
C refers to consequent variables, events that appear to be reinforcing or punishing the behaviour
As might be expected, O variable are underplayed by Skinnerians, who focus more on observable stimuli and
responses and C variables receive less attention from cognitively oriented behaviour therapists than do O variables
because these therapists’ paradigm does not emphasize reinforcement.
Cognitive-behavioural case formulation: place considerably more emphasis on cognitive events such as people’s
distorted thinking patterns, negative self-instructions, irrational automatic thought and beliefs and schemas.
The information necessary for a behavioural or cognitive assessment is gathered by several methods; direct
observation, interviews and self-reports, and various other methods.
Direct Observation of Behaviour:
formal behavioural observation: the observer divides the uninterrupted sequence of behaviour into various parts and
applies terms that make sense within a learning framework.
Behaviour therapists and researchers ask individuals to observe their own behaviour and to keep track of various
categories of response self-monitoring.
Used to collect a wide variety of data in real time as opposed to the more usual methods of having people reflect back
over some time period and report on recently experienced thoughts, moods and stressors (diaries, palm-top computers
with alarms to start recording behaviour, thoughts...)
The main reason for using EMA is that the retrospective recall of mods, thoughts or experiences may be inaccurate.
Memory researchers have shown not only that simple forgetting leads to inaccurate retrospective recall, but also that
recalled information can be biased. A report of a person’s mood for a whole day is overly influenced by moods the person
has experienced most recently.
considerable research indicates that behaviour may be altered by the very fact that it is being self-monitored.
reactivity: phenomenon of behaviour changing because it is being observed.
In general, desirable behaviour such as engaging in social conversation often increases in frequency when self-
monitored, whereas behaviour the person wishes to reduce such as cigarette smoking diminishes.
Interviews and Self-Report Inventories:
Within a trusting relationship, the behaviour therapist’s job is to determine, by skilful questioning and careful
observation of the client’s emotional reactions during the interview, the factors that help the therapist conceptualize the
behaviour therapists also make use of self-report inventories but have a greater situation focus than traditional
The most widely employed cognitive assessment methods are also self-report questionnaires that tap a wide range of
cognitions, such as fear of negative evaluation, a tendency to think irrationally and a tendency to make negative
inferences about life experiences.
SPECIALIASED APPROACHES TO COGNITIVE ASSESSMENT: