Skip to Main Content
Box 1.

Therapy concepts relevant to inference (alphabetical order).

Attribution: Inference that a particular cause was responsible for an observed event. 
Attributional bias: A cognitive bias (see below) affecting attribution (above). 
Avoidance: Emission or withholding of activity so as not to enter a feared external situation, as would be ordinarily expected. For example, ‘School avoidance’ = not going to school (Lovibond et al., 2009) 
Catastrophizing: A cognitive bias, postulating unwarranted inference of unaffordable and/or severe and irreversible loss. 
Cognitive (or reasoning) bias: Propensity to draw inferences unwarranted by the totality of information available to a healthy person in the particular context. Many use it to imply that no qualitative information-processing or organic deficit is present. Hails from learn ing theory and the psychosocial therapies, in opposition to the medical model. 
Cognitive deficit: Lack of an adaptive information-processing function. Many use it to imply that a reasonably well-defined brain problem (gene, lesion, mis-development, etc.) adversely affects information processing. It hails from neuropsychology / medical model. Computational psychiatry elegantly reconciles ‘bias’ and ‘deficit’. 
Dysfunctional assumption: Belief such as ‘unless I always succeed, I’m a loser’, used as a rule guiding behavior (‘... so I must always succeed’). It can lead to unhelpful inference (‘I failed in this, what a loser I am!’) and hence psychopathology. 
Ex-consequentia emotional reasoning: Treating the presence of an emotion as evidence for congruent inferences-e.g., ‘I am anxious, therefore there is danger around’. Tradi tionally considered a reasoning error, we argue that it is in the first instance an adaptive process of inference on the basis of interoception—though of course only in the first instance. 
Exposure: Entering the feared situation, whether withholding or emitting safety behaviors. See also ‘response prevention’. 
Mentalizing: Inference of mental states as causes of the intentional behavior of self and others, relevant to the self. 
Mentalizing breakdown: Stereotyped inference about mental states, usually resulting in unwarranted inferences that take place under strong emotions. Closely related to mind- reading (below), but more elaborated, as it’s used in conditions where such biased theory- of-mind is of central importance. 
Mind-reading: A cognitive bias, postulating an overconfident inference that others hold negative views about the self. Note that in CBT this term is more narrowly defined than in common parlance. 
Psychotherapy: A formal treatment aiming to change mental function and perception by using existing sensory inputs in order to improve mental health. Here we include at least the psychological therapies of all modalities (behavioral, analytic, systemic, etc.) and the rehabilitation therapies. 
Response-prevention: Withholding safety behaviors (see below) upon entering the feared situation (what happens in Exposure with Response Prevention, or ERP). 
Reinstatement: The re-appearance of an older pattern of behavior in response to a stimulus, well after new behaviors have been successfully learnt, as a result of non- specific factors such as the passage of time or the occurrence of non-specific stress. 
Schema: Constellation of properties pertaining to a state, and appropriate actions to be performed in response. A person’s mini-model of an aspect of a situation. Some therapy theorists write about emotion as part of schema, but here we follow the more traditional analysis of emotional feelings as interacting with schemas which include beliefs about self, world and appropriate action. 
Safety-behavior: In general, any behavior carried out in order to reduce or avert a serious feared outcome (Salkovskis, 1991). In that sense avoidance is a safety behavior that removes the patient from the anxiogenic situation. However ‘safety behavior’ usually means usually means protective behaviours emitted within the anxiogenic situation. 
Attribution: Inference that a particular cause was responsible for an observed event. 
Attributional bias: A cognitive bias (see below) affecting attribution (above). 
Avoidance: Emission or withholding of activity so as not to enter a feared external situation, as would be ordinarily expected. For example, ‘School avoidance’ = not going to school (Lovibond et al., 2009) 
Catastrophizing: A cognitive bias, postulating unwarranted inference of unaffordable and/or severe and irreversible loss. 
Cognitive (or reasoning) bias: Propensity to draw inferences unwarranted by the totality of information available to a healthy person in the particular context. Many use it to imply that no qualitative information-processing or organic deficit is present. Hails from learn ing theory and the psychosocial therapies, in opposition to the medical model. 
Cognitive deficit: Lack of an adaptive information-processing function. Many use it to imply that a reasonably well-defined brain problem (gene, lesion, mis-development, etc.) adversely affects information processing. It hails from neuropsychology / medical model. Computational psychiatry elegantly reconciles ‘bias’ and ‘deficit’. 
Dysfunctional assumption: Belief such as ‘unless I always succeed, I’m a loser’, used as a rule guiding behavior (‘... so I must always succeed’). It can lead to unhelpful inference (‘I failed in this, what a loser I am!’) and hence psychopathology. 
Ex-consequentia emotional reasoning: Treating the presence of an emotion as evidence for congruent inferences-e.g., ‘I am anxious, therefore there is danger around’. Tradi tionally considered a reasoning error, we argue that it is in the first instance an adaptive process of inference on the basis of interoception—though of course only in the first instance. 
Exposure: Entering the feared situation, whether withholding or emitting safety behaviors. See also ‘response prevention’. 
Mentalizing: Inference of mental states as causes of the intentional behavior of self and others, relevant to the self. 
Mentalizing breakdown: Stereotyped inference about mental states, usually resulting in unwarranted inferences that take place under strong emotions. Closely related to mind- reading (below), but more elaborated, as it’s used in conditions where such biased theory- of-mind is of central importance. 
Mind-reading: A cognitive bias, postulating an overconfident inference that others hold negative views about the self. Note that in CBT this term is more narrowly defined than in common parlance. 
Psychotherapy: A formal treatment aiming to change mental function and perception by using existing sensory inputs in order to improve mental health. Here we include at least the psychological therapies of all modalities (behavioral, analytic, systemic, etc.) and the rehabilitation therapies. 
Response-prevention: Withholding safety behaviors (see below) upon entering the feared situation (what happens in Exposure with Response Prevention, or ERP). 
Reinstatement: The re-appearance of an older pattern of behavior in response to a stimulus, well after new behaviors have been successfully learnt, as a result of non- specific factors such as the passage of time or the occurrence of non-specific stress. 
Schema: Constellation of properties pertaining to a state, and appropriate actions to be performed in response. A person’s mini-model of an aspect of a situation. Some therapy theorists write about emotion as part of schema, but here we follow the more traditional analysis of emotional feelings as interacting with schemas which include beliefs about self, world and appropriate action. 
Safety-behavior: In general, any behavior carried out in order to reduce or avert a serious feared outcome (Salkovskis, 1991). In that sense avoidance is a safety behavior that removes the patient from the anxiogenic situation. However ‘safety behavior’ usually means usually means protective behaviours emitted within the anxiogenic situation. 
Close Modal

or Create an Account

Close Modal
Close Modal