Cognitive‐Behavioural Theory: An Alternative Conception

Jack E. James*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The present paper aims to show that mainstream cognitive and cognitive‐behavioural theories are fundamentally flawed, and should be discarded in favour of a behavioural explanation of the relationship between cognition and behaviour. The essence of this behavioural explanation of cognitive control is the distinction between contingency‐shaped and rule‐governed behaviour. The former occurs when consequences are experienced directly, whereas the latter influences perceived consequences. Cognitive events, including thoughts, expectations, beliefs, and images, function as rules that encode relevant contingencies of reinforcement. In turn, rules serve as potent cognitive discriminative stimuli that profoundly influence current and future behaviour. 1993 Australian Psychological Society

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-155
Number of pages5
JournalAustralian Psychologist
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1993


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