The primary objective of the Cognito project is to better
understand the dynamic relationship between core cognitive processes and the development and maintenance
of posttraumatic stress symptoms.
We will examine the role of two key cognitive processes for psychological reactions such as symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and anxiety:
- Maladaptive appraisals are negative thoughts about oneself, the world, and the future such as “anyone could hurt me” or “I will never be able to have normal feelings again”. Previous studies have found that maladaptive appraisals are highly related to psychological reactions after trauma.
- Counterfactual thinking (CFT) are mental simulations of alternative outcomes of an event. It can involve thoughts about how a dangerous and frightening situation could have been avoided (upward CFT) or how the outcome could have been worse (downward CFT), and these thoughts can have different qualities regarding emotionality and vividness. Previous studies have found that such thoughts are frequent after trauma, and that they are related to posttraumatic stress reactions.
The PhD-project is financed by the DAM foundation and the Norwegian Centre of Violence and traumatic stress studies, in collaboration with the Norwegian Council for Mental Health.