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Unread January 26th, 2005, 10:52 AM
James Pretzer James Pretzer is offline
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Default Is "cognition" necessarily verbal and conscious?

You write "is it not important to consider that developmentally 'affect' came first. That has to hold some weight, doesn't it?? Our biological equipment introduces "affect" way before conscious language emerges. Unless one believes that conscious cognition develops apart from affect, we have to slow down here, don't we?"

In this statement you seem to be talking as though cognition is restricted to "conscious language." Beck defines cognition much more broadly than this. In fact, he asserts that the cognition involved in both "primary appraisal" and "secondary appraisal" is automatic, operates outside of conscious awareness, and isn't necessarily verbally mediated. For example, if you are out walking in the woods one day, turn a corner, and find a bear standing in front of you, you probably will not have words running through your mind saying "Oh my goodness! A bear! It will eat me! I must run away!" Instead, you will quickly and automatically appraise the situation, conclude that the bear presents a threat, conclude that "flight" is more promising than "fight" and act on this behavioral inclination. You will also feel afraid.

These appraisals are based on your schema about bears, woods, and hikers and if your schema is erroneous in some ways, your appraisal and subsequent responses are likely to be dysfunctional.

Most people assume that one feels afraid and therefore runs away. However, Beck argues that the affect and the behavioral inclination are two independent products of the appraisal of the situation. Afterall, humans are quite capable of being afraid but not running away or of running away even though they are not afraid.

CT includes non-conscious appraisals, mental imagery, and "conscious language" as different aspects of cognition, we do not limit ourselves to just addressing conscious language.
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