Alexandru I. TIBA*
Complex for Child and Family Support, Division of Counseling and Psychotherapy, Oradea, Romania
Center for Rational-Emotive and Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy,
Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
Knowledge has been the subject of different controversial theories in psychology; recently the idea that knowledge is grounded in the modal systems of the brain has gained considerable evidence. This paper discusses applications of the grounded cognition theory to irrational beliefs, a main concept of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), proposed as core cognitive vulnerabilities for emotional disorders. Irrational beliefs, as grounded maladaptive emotional knowledge structures are considered the result of interactions between linguistic representations and simulations in motivational and emotional brain processing circuits. It is proposed that irrational beliefs (e.g., demandingness) are represented by distorted simulations in motivational and emotional brain processing circuits that bias the online processing of activating events. This biased emotional processing generates emotional disturbance. A three-level model of irrational beliefs is presented. The impact of irrational beliefs on emotions can be analyzed at the verbal or linguistic symbols level, at the simulations and modal symbols level and at the level of relations between verbal symbols and modal symbols. Maladaptive mechanisms and proposed corrective cognitive interventions are analyzed at each level. We conclude that a grounded perspective on irrational beliefs increases the explanatory power of the REBT theory of emotions.
Keywords: grounded cognition, irrational beliefs, Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, cognitive restructuring