Psychology AS- Detailed notes on 15 studies- OCR

I have written up all the essential information you need to know for the AS Psychology cores studies paper- this information will be particularly useful for section a and b.

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  • Created on: 01-06-13 14:46
Preview of Psychology AS- Detailed notes on 15 studies- OCR

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Baron-Cohen (Autism)
Cognitive approach. Snaphsot study.
Autism is associated with:
Difficulties with social interaction
Difficulties with verbal and non-verbal communication
Lack of imaginative play
Aim of the study: to investigate if high functioning adults with autism or Asperger
syndrome would be impaired on a theory of mind test called the `Eyes Task'.
Research method: Quasi experiment
Strength- as it is an experiment, high level of control is possible over extraneous
variables- in this case, intelligence, sex and disorders- able to infer a relevant cause
and effect relationship
Strength- naturally occurring differences so manipulation of IV was not necessary-
less chance of ethical issues
Strength- experiments can be standardised and they were in this case- each
participants experienced the same set of conditions- photos were presented in the
same way for everyone- allows more certainty when saying the IV causes the DV
Weakness- low ecological validity- the task and environment were controlled- eyes
task is not a natural task so may cause participants to act differently to how they
would in real life- faces seen in full and less static in real life. Also some
participants were taken to a lab in a university- unfamiliar environment
Weakness- participants know they are being studied, demand characteristics may
arise- they may act in a way they think are expected of them rather than naturally
Sample and sampling method:
16 autistic/ Asperger sufferers- Group 1- normal intelligence- recruited through
advert in National Autistic Society magazine as well as through clinics
50 normal, age-matched adults (25 male, 25 female)- Group 2- normal intelligence-
randomly selected from subject panel held in University department
10 patients with Tourettes- Group 3- age matched with groups 1&2- mirrors sex
ratio of group 1- normal intelligence- recruited from referral centre in London
Variables:
IV- three different subject groups (see above)- naturally occurring
DV- the performance on the eyes task
EV- intelligence could easily affect scores on eyes task- but controlled by doing IQ
test beforehand to ensure all participants were of average intelligence. Also if eyes
task was not consistent between each participant, results could vary because of
this- but controlled by making the eyes task standardised.

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Summary of procedure:
Subjects were tested individually in either a quiet room in their own home, the
researcher's clinic or a university lab
Eyes task consisted of magazine photos of the eye region (25 different faces)
Each picture shown for 3 seconds- forced choice of 2 mental states written below
Researcher asked each participant which word most suits the person's thoughts or
feelings
Eyes task was out of 25
Examples of mental state options included: Relaxed or worried, concerned or
unconcerned, calm or anxious, ignoring…read more

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Evaluation:
Ethics- overall very ethical- could be argues that laboratory and clinical
environment could cause anxiety amongst the autistic adults as it was an unnatural
situation (protection against mental harm)
Validity- high because it was compared the Happe's Strange Stories task- pattern in
results of this mirrored the pattern in the eyes task. Also high because extraneous
variables were controlled quite well e.g.…read more

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Loftus and Palmer (eyewitness testimony)
Cognitive approach. Snapshot study.
Aim: to investigate the effect of leading questions on the memory of an event.…read more

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Summary of procedure: Experiment 2
150 students viewed a short film which contained a scene of a car accident
There were 3 conditions relating to the speed of the car- smashed, hit and not
interrogated
One week later these participants returned- critical question was asked- "Did you
see any broken glass" which was part of a longer set of questions
No broken glass in film
Findings: Experiment 1
Phrasing of the question did affect how people answered
Smashed had the highest speed estimate at 40.…read more

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Possible changes to study:
Increase ecological validity- make participants unprepared for clips and set a
reward system after to heighten incentive- could lead to fall or rise in accuracy
Use wider age range in participants- findings could be generalised- results may
change
Savage-Rumbaugh (animal language)
Cognitive approach. Longitudinal Study.
Aim: To study the language acquisition of two pygmy chimps, Kanzi and Mulika, compared
to two common chimps, Sherman and Austin.…read more

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Findings:
Kanzi and Mulika understood lexigrams far more easily than Austin and Sherman-
more spontaneous without the need of training- Kanzi learnt 46 words and Mulika
37
Kanzi and Mulika far more capable of comprehending English words
Kanzi and Mulika used the lexigram far more specifically
Kanzi was able to refer to requests of others whereas the common chimps could not
Demonstrated more explicit gesturing compared to the common chimps
Conclusions:
Pygmy chimps display symbolic and auditory perceptual skills that are distinctly
different to those…read more

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Displacement- ability to speak about past, present and future
Arbitrariness- no natural connection between word or sound to the thing it denotes
Productivity- ability to invent new signals to describe new ideas
Cultural transmission- language used around us or by family is the language we
speak…read more

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Samuel and Bryant (conservation)
Developmental approach. Snapshot study.
Aim: to investigate whether children could conserve at a younger age than predicted by
Piaget by altering the method used by Piaget.…read more

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Summary of procedure:
Each group of 63 were divided into 3 sub-groups with different conditions:
Standard, one judgement and fixed array
Standard- two question task as carried out by Piaget- children asked about the size
of the objects before and after the shape has changed
One judgement- only one question asked- sees objects before and after
transformation but only asked about the size post-transformation
Fixed array- no transformation was seen- only saw post transformation- to check
that the children who answered the post-transformation question correctly…read more

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