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    Theoretical perspectives to investigate lay representations of illness

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    Psychologists have used a variety of theoretical perspectives to investigate lay representations of illness. The major approaches have been the cognitive, phenomenological, discursive and social perspectives. I need help with explaining a patient's possible representations of an illness and the implication of the representations.

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    No problem. I gave you a bunch of ideas and examples. See attachments.

    Major approaches have been the cognitive, phenomenological, discursive and social perspectives

    These terms are not specific to psychology, they are terms used in both metaphysics and epistemology. We are applying these terms to a specific issue: how people grasp the nature and consequences of illness.

    In all uses of this word, it refers to the process of thinking. The assumption is that people come to the conclusions they do because they go through a specific sort of thought process. Think of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy here: the issue is not so much the "facts" of the case (which are usually not present) but how we come to grips with them. Our thought process can be distorted, leading to error, or proper and logical, leading to truth.
    In this particular field, the cognitive approach comes through ignorance. In fact, the question assumes that we are dealing with people with only a smattering of knowledge of the medical field. One simple example is self-interest. Say you have been diagnosed with cancer. You might first deny that you have it, and that you'll get a second opinion. Yet, you have all the symptoms and the biopsy came back clearly malignant. Here, your desire to be well and fright at the disease has distorted your thinking to the point where you actually deny the competence of the doctor(s) giving the prognosis.
    The broader point is that many people do not think in terms of logical analysis with the aim of getting to the truth. In fact, truth is the enemy for most people. No one wants people to be honest, they want them to say what they want to hear. In other words, they want what is in their interests, whether factually true or false.
    The cognitive process then takes these desires and distorts the conclusions to our "logic." The problem here is that reason cannot justify itself, in other words, the content of our reasoning comes from the outside, and is not part of reason itself. Reason can be used, successfully, to justify any action. Hence, for the most part, self-interests distorts the cognitive (thought) process, leading to false conclusions that are at least convenient for the patient.

    This term is almost exclusively used in epistemology. It derives from the late 18th century and stresses how we filter experience to create reality, so to speak. At a minimum, this approach says that we do not perceive what is "external" to us directly. Instead, the very structures ...

    Solution Summary

    The theoretical perspectives to investigate lay representations of illnesses are determined.