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Reliability of Eye Witness Testimony
· Significance of issue: if we are aware of issues in EWT we can ensure that innocent
people are not incorrectly locked up for crimes they did not commit. Also by
understanding these issues, we can look into improving our judiciary systems, and
look at police methods like line ups and interviews.
· Repression- (Freud)- Theory which says traumatic memories are forgotten, laying
dormant in the unconscious mind. A defence mechanism, causing inaccurate recall of
· Leading Questions- (Loftus and Palmer)- Explanation of false memories due to the
questions that are asked to Eye Witnesses which may cause unreliable recall.
· Weapon Focus- (Pickel)- If a weapon is involved, often focus is switched is to that
weapon only and all other memories are forgotten, causing ineffective recall.
· Cue Dependency- (Godden and Baddeley)- If taken back to the scene of the crime,
context and state cues may trigger memory, improving recall.
· Reconstructive Memory- (Bartlett)- We patch up forgotten memoires with new ideas
based on schemas (units of memory). This creates false memories.
· Levels of Processing- (Craik and Lockhart/Tulving)- Explanation of how we
remember certain things and not others, based on the way in which we process them,
structurally, auditory or semantically.
· Cognitive Interview- Come out of the theories to improve reliability, by avoiding
leading questions and asking things with a attempt to aid recall, e.g. what did it smell
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Issue of Genocide
· Tajfel can explain why genocide occurs, based on a few principles.
· In-group favouritism- Before genocide takes place, there is a categorisation of them
and us. When ever we come across someone of a different group, we tend to exhibit
in-group favouritism, where we see out group (to which you are a member) is better
than their group (known as the `out group' to which you are not a member).
· Social identity theory- (A process including social identification, categorisation and
comparison). This process occurs in order to protect our self esteem. This is related
to issues of status. We put other groups (to which we are not members) down in order
to boost out status. Although this process does not nessercerily lead to genocide, it is
a nessercerily process for genocide to take place.
· Obedience- We need to accept that if we are order by somebody else who we
consider as having authority (a higher status over us) we will obey. (German soldiers
obeyed Hitler in order to contribute to the Holocaust).
· Agency Theory- The process by which we give up our free will in order to serve the
greater good (or what is perceived as the greater good) for our society/ authority
figures demands. For example, in terms of the Holocaust, in interviews with Nazi's,
they reveal that when people commit the atrocities, they genuinely feel they are
serving the interests of their communities, even if they are repulsed by what they are
doing, they feel that they must carry the awful acts out.…read more
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Do dreams have a meaning?
· A process which Freud felt the unconscious mind expresses itself, is via the process
of dreaming. "The royal road to a knowledge of the unconscious mind". If we find out
the meaning of dreams, we provide evidence/explanation for the unconscious mind,
meaning we can look at the psychodynamic explanation of behaviour.
· Freud argued that dreams had a major function in the fulfilment of wishes.
· Freud states that there is a manifest content: the story line the dreamer is aware of,
and the latent content: the underlying wish. The manifest content is very much often
based on content which has happened in the day. The process in which the latent
content is translated into the manifest content is called `dream work'.
· The purpose of dream work is to transform forbidden wishes into a non-threatening
form, reducing anxiety allowing us to sleep. Adult dreams which may include sexual
and aggressive impulses do require disguise for their latent content. Otherwise they
would be far too arousing and would prevent us from getting any sleep. The memory
of arousing dreams would also affect us once awake. Freud therefore proposed that
dreams are repressed upon wakening.
· The interpretation of dreams is a multi-million pound industry, many books and DVD's
provide information/interpretation of the subject.
· Some on the other hand believe that dreams have no meaning at all. They suggest
that dreams are just a physiological result of things that happen in the brain, whilst we
are asleep. These people think that interpreting dreams is a pointless exercise.
· If dreams do have meaning however, is can a third party interpret another persons
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Are transgender operations ethical?
· A transgender operation: involves the process of changing the physical sex on a person. So you
remove a penis and replace with a vagina, or vice versa. It also includes the process of feminising
or masculinising an individual through hormone treatment.
· Transgender operations are most commonly performed on adults who feel they have been born
into the wrong body, and feel unhappy with their sex. This is known as a gender identity disorder.
Such operations are not undertaken lightly, as it is such a serious decision. The individual would
need to see a psychiatrist and have been living as the opposite gender for at least 2 years. There
are no ethical issues if an adult decided to undergo this assuming there consent has been given
and has been fully informed of all the risks and issues involved.
· However is some cases, gender reassignment occurs at a very young age, due to medical
conditions or disfigurations with hormones or sexual organs. For example, it may occur in a
hermaphrodite, where both sexual organs are present. Parents then on the behalf of the young
child consent for their child to undergo a gender reassignment operation. The case of David
Reimer shows a terrible struggle he went through from being changed into a girl after his penis
was burnt off during a circumcision accidently. He went through gender reassignment operations,
but later on in life after living as a girl for many years, decided to turn back into a male. He then
sadly committed suicide as he struggles to deal with the process.
· Rainer and Gaerhart studies 16 genetic males born without or with very small penises, but
normal testes and XY chromosome. 14/16 were raised as girls after the surgery procedure. The
majority said they felt like males, suggesting surgery and being raised as a girl is not sufficient
when changing gender identity. This raises doubts as to whether the operations should be
performed. Much unhappiness is caused due to these kinds of operations. It bring the question
forward of should parents and doctors have the decision to change gender? There are many
· There are practical issues. It is easier to create a vagina than it is a working penis. For
transgender operations, it is probably more effective during infancy whilst the body is still
developing. However, this does not mean it is effective and successful.…read more
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Influence of violence in the media.
· Bandura shows that adults can influence children's behaviour.
· Imitation of Role Models: When TV characters are violent, they are modelling
behaviour which will be acquired by children via social learning theory via (attention
retention, reproduction, motivation). If the storyline/ characters are arousing and
rewarding, behaviours are more likely to be reproduced. Meaning violent behaviour
may be copied. If the model is rewarded (vicarious reinforcement), this is particularly
· Operant Conditioning: There may be direct positive reinforcement. Children who are
aggressive may be rewarded through threatening others via respect from peers, or
sweets. Positive reinforcement may occur via the increased status gained. By
imitating a TV character, a child may gain status. These are all reinforcements, which
could increase the frequency of violent behaviour being performed. Video games are
particularly bad, as often points are gained from being violent towards the `bad guys'.
· Identification with role models: TV heroes are designed to have features that make
them effective role models. They have high social status and a likable personality. E.
g. Vin Diesel. These are the sorts of characters young men aspire to be and therefore
they identify with them, making imitation of behaviour likely.…read more