SPAARS Approach: Integrated cognitive model of emotion of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder


  • Neha Khetrapal


SPAARS (Schematic, Propositional, Analogical and Associative Representational Systems) is the integrated cognitive model of emotion proposed by Power & Dalgleish (1997). In SPAARS, emotions are described as appraisal based against an individual’s goals and this makes the theory functional in nature. The theory proposes two routes for the generation of emotions, namely a direct one in which the appraisals have become automatized and the other where these are still not automatized. It provides a useful approach within which both basic and complex emotions can readily be understood. The theory can also be applied for explaining the disorders of emotion and it can be used to generate novel therapeutic interventions for them. In the current review, the SPAARS approach in conjunction with the theory proposed by Nigg and Casey (2005) has been applied for understanding ADHD. According to Nigg & Casey, affective deficits in ADHD could be due to problems with either approach or avoidance emotions. These problems have been explained with the help of appraisals and reinforcement learning within the SPAARS framework. Interventions that follow logically from the SPAARS framework have also been suggested.