Example Answer- Synoptic Paper AQA

An example of how to answer question A of the Approaches section on the AQA synoptic paper for A2 Psychology.

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9) Jenny loves cooking meals for other people such as her family and friends. She
rarely bothers to cook elaborate meals for herself, but regularly invites people to her
house to eat and spends a lot of time planning meals that please her friends. She is a
good cook and people look forward to being invited round.
a) Describe how two approaches might try to explain an enjoyment for cooking for
others. (6+6)
The learning theory approach assumes that behaviour is related to the environment which
shapes an individuals behaviour. Here behaviourism would offer an explanation in terms of
classical conditioning, for instance Jenny may like to cook for her friends because it makes her
feel good and so she associates feeling good with cooking for her friends. Behaviourism would
also offer operant conditioning as an explanation for Jenny's behaviour.,For example Jenny may
receive praise from her friends which acts to positively reinforce this behaviour. Her behaviour
may also be negatively reinforced as she may fear that if she does not frequently cook high
quality meals for her friends they may not like her and she will not receive praise. According to
social learning theory Jenny may also cook for her friends because she has seen others,
perhaps attractive or successful celebrity TV chefs being admired and praised for cooking for
others and so may model her behaviour on these celebrities.
The Psychodynamic approach would then explain Jenny's behaviour by saying she may have a
strong Superego element to her personality as a result of an Electra complex that developed
during the Phallic stage. This superego element of her personality may mean Jenny has strong
moral principles that means she considers others feelings and needs above her own. The
Psychodynamic approach may also claim that Jenny is fixated at a certain psychosexual stage
of development, in this case perhaps the Anal stage, which she may have become fixated at
because of an extreme trauma or being overly comfortable in this stage. Cooking for her friends
would fulfil Jenny's anal tendencies for example she is likely to like exact measurements and be
compulsively tidy and organised or conversely she may like to make a lot of mess. Jenny may
also have a strong Eros instinct which is life preserving and nurturing and so she satisfies this
through cooking.


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