Psychology PY2 Core Studies

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1. ASCH: opinions and social pressure
JENNESS- Jenness put beans in a jar and asked participants to judge how many
beans were in there. He then put participants into groups and asked them to
complete the task again.
Jenness found that the participants conformed to a group norm (a middle number)
SHERIF- looked at the autokinetic effect, he put participants in a dark room and
asked participants to guess how far the light had moved. The participants then
were put in groups and asked to discuss. Again the participants conformed to a
group norm.
ASCH noticed that in both studies the tests were ambiguous, there was no
blatantly right answer, he wanted to know if people would still conform if there
was a obvious answer
ASCH was interested in how social influence effects thoughts and feelings
Conformity is when someone chooses a course of action that other members
see as acceptable
ASCH wanted to see the effects of individuals in unambiguous situations, if
the participants would conform under pressure when faced with a obvious
incorrect answer.
Student volunteers
123 male volunteers from 3 u.s colleges
students were told they were taking part in a `vision test'
1 naïve participant in a group of 6-8
all other participants were confederates
participant was always seated last/second to last to hear everyone elses answers
participants shown 2 white cards
1 card had one vertical black line, the other had 3 black lines of varying length
participants asked to match the correct lines
confederates answered the first question right
confederates gave 12/18 wrong answers
25% never gave a wrong answer
75% conformed at least once
5% conformed every time
participants that did not conform said they had `confidence in their
those who did conform said that they `did not want to spoil the results'

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ASCH found:
group size raises conformity
a truthful confederate reduced pressure to conform
a inaccurate confederate reduced pressure to conform
strong tendency to conform under pressure
group agreement is necessary to social life
the effect of conformity depends on the extent of the majority
Strengths: variables controlled
Weaknesses: subject to demand characteristics
Subject to experimenter bias
Lacks ecological validity
VALIDITY- people have different levels of eyesight
Lacks ecological validity
PARTICIPANTS: gender bias
Culture bias
Country bias
ETHICS: deception (acceptable as it…read more

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MILGRAM-study of obedience
Milgram is jewish
Interested by the nazi's defence at the Nuremburg trials after the holocaust
Nazi's claimed that they were `simply following orders'
The theory that `germans are different' was suggested
MILGRAM wanted to test the `Germans are different' theory
He wanted to see if it conformity was part of Germanic behaviour or if
anybody has the capacity to conform
40 men of different intelligence levels
all volunteers
they were payed $4.…read more

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MILGRAM asked 14 yale students to predict the results they said that 0-3% would
administer full 450 volts
65% administered full 450 volts
12.…read more

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Rahe , Mahan, Arthur: health change
SELYE in 1930's suggested a link between stress + illness with his work on rats
HAWKINS worked in a TB sanatorium and observed poor people suffered worse,
he suggested this was due to emotional stress making them more vulnerable
RAHE made the schedule of recent experience (SRE) and the social readjustment
scale, these provided scores for stress that could be used to measure a persons
stress levels.…read more

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SRE which
documented significant life changes
each participant completed the SRE every 6 months over a two year period
each life change was given life change units that reflects the severity of the
event experienced
a research physician went aboard and looked at the medical records
the most minor health changes were recorded ( ensuring reliability)
any visits to the medical unit thought to be motivated by dodging work were
neither participants or medical staff were aware of the experimental hypothesis.…read more

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CONTROL: double blind study eliminates demand characteristics and experimenter bias
Alternative evidence
RUBIN used the SRE on naval aviators and found a relationship between stress
and illness, this suppors RAHE, MAHAN AND ARTHUR as they found the same
DELONGIS found a 0.…read more

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Bennett, Levy,Marteau- Fear of animals
SELIGMAN proposed the concept of biological preparedness, this is a inherited
disposition to fear certain animals
3 observations were made:
Non random distribution of fears (snakes and spiders etc.)
Not matched by traumatic experiences
Fears peak in early life (childhood)
MINEKA found wild reared monkeys showed fear to real, model and toy snakes
whilst lab monkeys only showed a mild response
this suggest operant learning is responsible.…read more

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Strengths: 2 questionnaires used so participants didn't guess the aims
Less demand characteristics
Weaknesses: lacks ecological validity
Limited answers
VALIDITY: reliable results as MERCKELBACK found similar associations
Low validity as it doesent represent everyday situations
SAMPLING: can be generalised to both sexes but not to people in other countries.
Alternative evidence
COOK AND MINEKA found rhesus monkeys could aquire fear through social learning
to a fear inducing stimuli. This supports BENNETT LEVY AND MARTEAU as it supports
the idea of preparedness.…read more

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Gardner + Gardner- teaching a chimp sign language
CHOMSKY said humans have the language acquisition device which allows
us to acquire language, so theoretically animals should not be able to learn human
HAYES AND HAYES woked with a chimp called VICKI but could only teach it
4 words in 6 years.
PREMACK AND PREMACK taught a chimp called SARAH to use 130 signs by
using coloured shapes and chips that related to words.…read more


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