Written by Shulamith KREITLER on . Posted in Special issue: Metacognition, Self-Reflection And Health, Volume III, Nr. 3


The paper deals with varied effects of self reflection on physical health in the framework of the cognitive orientation (CO) theory. The major tenet of the theory is that cognitive contents and processes guide responses, including overt behavioral, emotional, cognitive and physiological. Major constructs of the theory are meaning assignment, beliefs, CO cluster, behavioral intent, and behavioral program. The theory describes how beliefs (concerning goals, the self, rules and norms, and reality) representing underlying meanings of the response in question interact and form a unitary motivational dispositional supporting that response. Two main variants of the theory are presented: The behavioral CO model, which deals with predicting and changing overt behavior, and the CO model of wellness, which deals with predicting and affecting changes in physical diseases. The main methodological procedures of the theory for identifying the meanings relelvant for different responses are described. Two studies are presented briefly, one concerning the behavior of undergoing tests for the early detection of breast or colon cancer and one concerning the effects of beliefs on the course of disease and survival in cancer patients. The CO theory and the studies done in its framework exemplify specific yet broader meanings of the constructs "self" and "reflection".