Essay Sample (Psychology)

Document Type: Essay
Pages/Words: 1 double-spaced / 275 words
Academic Level: PhD
Citation Style: APA7
Sources: 5

Topic: Emotional and Anxiety Disorders and Social Cognition

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Professor Name


Emotional and anxiety disorders, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety disorder, and depression, are generally characterized by emotional and social disturbances caused by impaired brain functioning. The recent developments show that disturbances in social cognitive processes contribute substantially to the development of psychotic disorders (Washburn et al., 2015). They are thought to be a result of cognitive problems rooted in childhood and developed in the course of adult life.

Nikolic studied the role of social emotions and social cognition in the development of social anxiety disorder. He proposed that dysregulated social emotions (such as fear and shyness) are crucial for social anxiety disorder and are closely connected with the disturbances of socio-cognitive abilities (Nikolic, 2020). The study proved that in early childhood, negative cognitive experiences, such as situations causing an elevated sense of fear or shyness, can result in the development of social anxiety disorder.

Depression is often associated with cognitive problems and the impairment of higher mental functioning, which have a significant impact on the patient’s life. In recent research, depression is started to be viewed as cognitive, rather than an emotional disorder (Perini et al., 2019). Regarding such emotions as fear and shyness as learned rather than biologically inherent, researchers argue that their disturbances are a result of cognitive problems experienced in childhood.

Jansen’s research aimed at establishing the connection between social cognition and obsessive-compulsive disorder states that almost all patients have certain cognitive problems. They show deficits in recognition of social clues and certain facial expressions, while themselves having poor emotion regulation skills (Jansen et al., 2020). The research of cognitive and emotional impairments in obsessive-compulsive disorder shows abnormalities in brain functioning linked to cognitive and emotional tasks (Goncalves et al., 2016). They include inhibitory control, cognitive flexibility, working memory, as well as feelings of fear and guilt.

The studies contribute to the perception of emotional and anxiety disorders as being both cognitive and emotional in their nature. Such disorders as obsessive-compulsive disorder, social anxiety disorder, and depression are rooted in childhood, with negative cognitive experiences being the underlying cause for their development. Studying these disorders from a cognitive perspective provides new insights into the nature of the human brain and offers new opportunities for treatment.


Perini, G., Ramusino, M. C., Sinoforiani, E., Bernini, S., Petrachi, R., & Costa, A. (2019). Cognitive impairment in depression: Recent advances and novel treatments. Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, 15, pp. 1249–1258.

Goncalves, O., Carvalho, S., Leite, J., Fernandes-Goncalves, A., Carracedo, A., & Sampaio, A. (2016). Cognitive and emotional impairments in obsessive-compulsive disorder: Evidence from functional brain alterations. Porto Biomedical Journal, 1(3), pp. 92–105.

Jansen, M., Overgaauw, S., & De Bruijn, E. (2020). Social cognition and obsessive-compulsive disorder: A review of subdomains of social functioning. Front Psychiatry, 11, pp. 118.

Nikolic, M. (2020). Social emotions and social cognition in the development of social anxiety disorder. European Journal of Development Psychology.

Washburn, D., Wilson, G., Roes, M., Rnic, K., & Harkness K. (2015). Theory of mind in social anxiety disorder, depression, and comorbid conditions. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 37, pp. 71–77. Retrieved May 14, 2020, from