Cognitive distortion in interpersonal relations: Clinical implications of social cognitive research on person perception

Susan M. Andersen, Elizabeth Przybylinski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Everyday interactions with new people are often influenced by an individual's interpersonal history, which affects perceptions of and behavior toward new people, and one's own sense of self in the moment. Biases in interpersonal perception arise from the activation and use of relational knowledge, including mental representations of specific significant others from the individual's life, enabling past relationships to pervade new ones. Research on this social- cognitive process, and the relational self that is activated in such contexts, suggests that it occurs as a "normal" nonclinical process outside of the therapy setting. Here, we review the theoretical framework and evidence of this social- cognitive process, including how it is triggered (and why) and with what consequences, for better or for worse, in the context of daily living and in treatment. We also address clinical implications, with a focus on how problematic relationship patterns arising in this way can be changed if they lead to personal suffering for the individual.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-24
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Psychotherapy Integration
Volume24
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2014

Keywords

  • Bias
  • Cognitive distortion
  • Person perception
  • Relationships
  • Social cognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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