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AQA A-level Psychology 3

Issues and debates in psychology

Options: relationships, stress and aggression

This Answers book provides guidance on the content and characteristics of effective answers to the questions in the workbook. It does not provide model answers for each question. These answers are intended as a guide to give teachers and students feedback.

Where a question calls for a specific response, a detailed answer is provided. For questions that could elicit a range of answers, a list of the most probable responses is included. Use your discretion when marking unexpected responses by assessing whether the question has been answered.

Topic 1

Issues and debates in psychology

1 a Ethnocentrism is the effect that your own cultural perspective has on the way you perceive other cultures and people from other cultures.

b Emic constructs are traits that are specific to one culture (e.g. monogamy in Western culture), but etic constructs are universal traits that are the same across cultures.

c When alpha bias occurs, research tends to emphasise and over exaggerate differences between genders (or between genders). When beta bias occurs, research tends to minimise or ignore differences between genders. Any research is beta biased if it is conducted with an all-male or all-female sample and then applied to both genders.

d Loftus and Palmer: study of eyewitness memory involved university students.

e Milgram: all-male sample; Asch: all-male sample; Zimbardo: all-male sample.

f Students may suggest Asch (1956) — study of majority influence — because society was more conformist in 1950s.

2 a i True

ii False

iii False

iv False

v False

vi True

b Nomothetic

c Nomothetic examples are classification manuals like the DSM-IV which classifies people according to particular types of disorders; behaviourist experiments with animals (e.g. rats, cats and pigeons) to establish laws of learning; Milgram used the nomothetic approach to draw general conclusions about obedience. Idiographic examples are Freud and the case study method (e.g. Little Hans) where patients are interviewed over a long period of time and qualitative records are kept of the researcher’s interpretations.

d Biological determinism suggests that the cause of behaviour is inside the individual, for example genetic makeup or the biochemistry of the brain, but in environmental determinism the cause of behaviour is outside the individual, for example a stimulus that evokes reflex behaviour in classical conditioning.

e The person level of explanation (individual differences).

f The biological level of explanation.

g Reductionism means breaking down, and explaining complex behaviours as being caused by simplistic single factors, such as inherited genes, so that scientific hypotheses about the causes of behaviour are easier to test.

h Research into memory is usually nomothetic because the memory of a group (a sample) is studied and then generalisations based on this sample are made to explain all human memory.

i Research is sensitive when it investigates a personal experience, and/or when it investigates deviant or anti-social behaviour, and/or when the findings of the investigation may not be popular with vested interests. This research is socially sensitive because it involves children under the age of 16 and the findings may have a negative impact on the children in the sample, especially if they worry about being classed as bullies. The research also has implications for the reputation of ABC secondary school and for the senior staff in the school. Researchers should ensure that parents have given their consent, the children must be reassured that what they say will be confidential and that their identity will be kept private. There will need to be sensitive debriefing of participants, parents and teachers, and the school should be advised how to reduce bullying.

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