Cognitive vulnerability is an erroneous belief, cognitive bias, or pattern of thought that predisposes an individual to psychological problems.
The vulnerability exists before the symptoms of a psychological disorder appear. After the individual encounters a stressful experience, the cognitive vulnerability shapes a maladaptive response that increases the likelihood of a psychological disorder.
In psychopathology, there are several perspectives from which the origins of cognitive vulnerabilities can be examined, including cognitive schema models, hopelessness models, and attachment theory.
Attentional bias is one mechanism leading to faulty cognitive bias that leads to cognitive vulnerability. Allocating a danger level to a threat depends on the urgency or intensity of the threshold.