Implicit Cognition and Psychopathology: Looking Back and Looking Forward

Posted: 24 May 2019

See all articles by Bethany Teachman

Bethany Teachman

University of Virginia - Department of Psychology

Elise M. Clerkin

Miami University of Ohio - Department of Psychology

William Cunningham

University of Toronto

Sarah Dreyer-Oren

Miami University of Ohio - Department of Psychology

Alexandra Werntz

University of Virginia - Department of Psychology

Date Written: May 2019

Abstract

Implicit cognitive processing is theorized to have a central role in many forms of psychopathology. In the current review, we focus on implicit associations, by which we mean evaluative representations in memory that are difficult to control and do not require conscious reflection to influence affect, cognition, or behavior. We consider definitional and measurement challenges before examining recent empirical evidence for these associations in anxiety, obsessive–compulsive, posttraumatic stress, depressive, and alcohol use disorders. This examination is framed by a brief review of the ways that prominent models of psychopathology represent biased implicit processing of disorder-relevant information. We consider to what extent models reflect more traditional automatic/implicit versus strategic/explicit dual-process perspectives or reflect more recent dynamical systems perspectives in which mental representations are iteratively reprocessed, evolving continuously. Finally, we consider the future research needed to better understand the interactive and temporal dynamics of implicit cognition in psychopathology.

Suggested Citation

Teachman, Bethany and Clerkin, Elise M. and Cunningham, William and Dreyer-Oren, Sarah and Werntz, Alexandra, Implicit Cognition and Psychopathology: Looking Back and Looking Forward (May 2019). Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, Vol. 15, pp. 123-148, 2019. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3392843 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev-clinpsy-050718-095718

Bethany Teachman (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Department of Psychology ( email )

United States

Elise M. Clerkin

Miami University of Ohio - Department of Psychology

OH 45056
United States

William Cunningham

University of Toronto ( email )

Toronto, Ontario M5S 3G8
Canada

Sarah Dreyer-Oren

Miami University of Ohio - Department of Psychology

OH 45056
United States

Alexandra Werntz

University of Virginia - Department of Psychology

United States

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