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AS Psychology

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AS Psychology
Themes and Perspectives
Core studies 2 - 1 hour examination
Section A – Answer ONE from 2 questions. Questions
about methods, themes and perspectives of ONE KEY
STUDY.
Section B – Answer ONE from 2 questions. Questions
about methods, themes and perspectives of ALL KEY
STUDIES.
YOU MUST LEARN ALL KEY STUDIES
Most Ethical Studies
Ethics
o Gardner & Gardner – abuse of
animal rights.
o Hodges & Tizard – lack of
consent.
o Tajfel – fun, harmless activity
– paid.
o Samuel & Bryant – consent
from children? Testing
stressful.
Least Ethical Studies
Zimbardo . Withdrawal difficult.
No informed consent and
confidentiality. Arrest and torture
o Milgram. – Difficult withdrawal.
Deception and upsetting.
o Bandura. – encouraging aggression.
Consent from child?
o Piliavin – deception and upsetting.
o
Problems with trying to be ethical
o Need to deceive – e.g Milgram
o Not possible to get consent – e.g Piliavin
o Not always possible to predict behaviour – e.g. Zimbardo
o If follow guidelines would miss out on some behaviour – e.g. anti-social.
Also could have low ecological validity
N.B. Ethical studies could be used un-ethically. Hodges & Tizard – social control
Ethics
Think how to make ethical, studies that are unethical.
Zimbardo
 Experimenter should not be involved. Should have an
independent observer.
 Observe real guards and interview witnesses and
families.
Make the experiment as natural to real life as possible
and carefully consider all participants and effects on
results.
Choose one of the following and make suggestions to
make it more ethical: –
Milgram, Bandura, Gardner & Gardner and Piliavin
Ethnocentric bias
The tendency to interpret human behaviour from the viewpoint
of our own ethnic, social or other group.
Scientific racism.
To favour our own group over another.
Ethnocentrism
Tajfel
o Maximum difference in points
in favour of own group.
o British boys – capitalist and
individualist. May not apply to
collectivist society in East.
Milgram
o Americans – could be cultures
less obedient. Also historical
time.
o
o
o
o
o
Problems
All research takes place in social
and cultural context.
Samples need to be representative
Cross-cultural studies are difficult
to conduct. Expensive and time
consuming. Therefore Psychology
tends to have a ‘Western’ bias.
Test material must be appropriate
e.g. instructions and interview
questions.
Due to all of the above it is
difficult to give universal
explanations for human behaviour.
Individual & Situational explanations
Behaviour can be explained by individual differences or due to
situations which may alter individual behaviour.
Individual
Dement &
Physiologically determined dream patterns,
Kleitman
REM and NREM
Baron-Cohen Born with Autism
Situational
Gardner & Gardner
Loftus & Palmer
Hodges & Tizard
Milgram
Zimbardo
Bandura
Piliavin
Tajfel
Chimp learned signs not natural
Leading questions
Love and care in parenting
Difficult to disobey authority
Given power or lacked power. Adopted roles
Aggression copied
Help according to victim or if others helped
Discriminate in favour of in-group
Individual & Situational explanations
Behaviour can be explained by individual differences AND due to
situations which may alter individual behaviour.
Both
Situation
Samuel & Bryant
Question once or twice
Freud
Dad’s interpretation and
questioning
Culturally biased test
Gould
Individual
Cognitive
development
Psychosexual
development
Ability of individual
Problems
o Difficult to separate these variables. Individual differences e.g
Milgram - 35% disobeyed.
o Bias for people to give situational explanations for own behaviour
and individual explanations for the behaviour of others.
Known as the ………Fundamental attribution error
o Could be low in ecological validity and unethical. Situation and
individual therefore not natural.
Nature
Tajfel
Raine
Nature vs. Nurture
Nurture
Bandura
Hodges & Tizard
Loftus & Palmer
Gardner & Gardner
Piliavin
Gould
Problems
Both
Milgram
Freud
Zimbardo
Samuel & Bryant
Thigpen and Cleckley
o Difficult to isolate factors, many behaviours are both.
o If isolate factors may be unethical and have low ecological
validity.
o Environment can affect biology
o Relationships between data , difficult to interpret. Intelligent
parents have intelligent children?
o Research - case study or small sample. Difficult to generalise.
o Ethical implications. E.g. intelligence is genetic. Eugenics – The study of
hereditary improvement of the human race by selective breeding
Ecological Validity – true to life
High
o Hodges & Tizard – real
lives of real families.
However data collection –
were people truthful?
o Piliavin – real people on real
trains. However observers
could influence behaviour.
o Zimbardo – Realistic arrest
and prison procedures and
conditions.
Low
o Loftus and Palmer – Video
o
o
o
o
o
crash and expected accident.
Milgram – Not usual activity,
shocking somebody learning
Freud – bias of father,
secondary evidence.
Gardner & Gardner – Not wild
chimp.
Bandura – Not natural
environment. Not ‘real’
aggression
Tajfel – totally artifical. Not
discrimination but competition
Ecological Validity – true to life
Problems
If the study is realistic you lose control of the variables.
may not be testing your aim
You
o In real situation no chance to debrief participants and find out
o
o
o
o
why they showed that behaviour.
Difficult to replicate (repeat) if realistic study.
Difficult to ask for consent (ethical) which makes experiment
unrealistic.
Need to protect participants by not upsetting them.
Individual differences. Some people view situations as realistic
whereas others may not.
However the more realistic the experiment is , the more useful it
is to understanding behaviour and relevant to real life
applications.
Application of studies to everyday life
Loftus & Palmer
In police and court
situations, people could
be given leading
questions.
Placement of adoption
children by agencies
Need rules and
procedures to regulate.
Awareness of how
modelling works for
children
Understanding that
people behave to role
Control of violence on TV
Milgram
Need to be responsible
in authority
Understanding power of
obedience
Piliavin
Understanding of
altruistic behaviour
Hodges & Tizard
Bandura, Ross &
Ross
Zimbardo
Helps parents
understand development
Prison reform
Problems in research
o
o
o
o
o
o
o
o
o
o
o
o
o
o
o
o
o
Ecological validity.
Ethics – protection of participants.
Generalisations – not all went to maximum in Milgram
Attrition – lose participants in longitudinal studies.
Laboratory experiments are unrealistic, low ecological validity.
Demand characteristics – people know they are in an experiment
Questioning – can be subjective and too qualitative
Control groups – will they ever match experimental groups
Experimenter bias – e.g. Freud
Field studies – high ecological validity but cannot control variables
Observation – difficult to separate cause and effect
Case study – impossible to generalise
Ethnocentric bias – need to be aware of cultural and time context
Individual and situational explanations
Nature vs Nurture
Quantitative and Qualitative
Reductionism
Quantitative and Qualitative measures
Quantitative- numbers Qualitative - description
Loftus & Palmer
Samuel & Bryant
Piliavin
Freud
Zimbardo
Both
Milgram
Bandura
Gardner & Gardner
Hodges & Tizard
Quantitative
Strengths
Weaknesses
o Clear visual of results
o Easy to analyse using statistics
o More reliable – objective
o Easy to collect
o Lacks detail, not full picture
o Not allowing detailed response
o Forces people in categories
Qualitative
Strengths
Weaknesses
o Find out reasons for behaviour o Difficult to analyse and collect
o Provides more detail
o Open to interpretation
Reductionism
The explanation of complex behaviour by reducing it to a simple level
The use of reductionism in the following studies
o Bandura – aggressive behaviour reduced to imitation
o Loftus & Palmer – memory reduced to leading questions
o Tajfel – discrimination reduced to competition in a group
Problems with reductionist explanations
o Reduces complex behaviour to something too simplistic
o Could overlook other causative factors. e.g. I.Q. not the whole person
Strengths of reductionism
o Easier to study. Able to use scientific method
o Makes reasons for behaviour more understandable
How could the following studies be explained with other interpretation?
Bandura
Upbringing
Loftus & Palmer
Individual differences – personality – age – memory differences
Tajfel
Group unity
Reinforcement – Learning theory
Reinforcer – increases the likelihood of a behaviour occurring again. May
be pleasure, such as praise or pain which causes avoidance of behaviour
Classical conditioning
o Pavlov – dog associates bell with food. Bell becomes reinforcer
Operant conditioning
o Consequences of behaviour – repeat if pleasant – avoid if not
How could the following studies be explained with these concepts?
Milgram- Screaming meant avoidance, this overcome by authority
Gardner & Gardner - Praise for correct sign
Freud - Phobia of horses after crash
Weaknesses
Strengths
o Research scientific – controlled
o Able to treat phobias
o Learning theory enables us to
explain nurture and the
environment in development
o Type of reward could affect
behaviour. Ethical?
o Reductionist explanation.
o Does not account for nature
o Ignores cognitive processes.
Psychometrics
Standardised tests that measure psychological characteristics or abilities
Hodges & Tizard – Rutter A and B scale. Questionnaire on social difficulty
(Lindsay & Lindsay 1982)
Zimbardo – Students checked for personality abnormality
Weaknesses
Strengths
o Objective – not just
subjective view of experimenter
o Comparisons – able to compare
performance
o Easy and cheap
o Used by therapists and
employers ( aptitude for work)
o Subjective decision on social
desirability (Hodges & Tizard)
o Reductionist - measuring only
one aspect of person. - I.Q.
o Does not tell you if innate ability
or learnt (nature-nurture)
o May not be reliable and valid
o Practice ,fatigue, motivation and
anxiety effects
o Different responses to tests than
real life
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