WJEC Psychology: PY2 Core Studies

Modal answers, however, some may need more depth to get a higher A

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ASCHopinions and social pressure
Context
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
Aims
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.
Procedures
Student volunteers
123 male volunteers from 3 u.s colleges
students were told they were taking part in a `vision test'
1 naiive participant in a group of 68
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
findings
25% never gave a wrong answer
75% conformed at least once
5% conformed every time

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ASCH found:
group size raises conformity
a truthful confederate reduced pressure to conform
a inaccurate confederate reduced pressure to conform
conclusions:
strong tendancy to conform under pressure
group agreement is necessary to social life
the effect of conformity depends on the extent of the majority
methodology:
LAB EXPERIMENT
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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Context:
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
Aims:
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
Procedures:
40 men of different intelligence levels
all volunteers
they were payed $4.…read more

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LAB EXPERIMENT
Strengths: variables controlled
Weaknesses: subject to demand characteristics
Subject to experimenter bias
Lacks ecological validity
VOLUNTEER SAMPLE biased as only certain types of people may volunteer
ETHICS: highly unethical, causes psychological and physical harm to
participants
Orne + Holland said: experiment lacked experimental validity as 22% had
doubts that the test was real
MILGRAM defended himself by saying: he didn't expect people to carry on
with the experiment.
84% were happy to have taken part.…read more

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Context
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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QUESTIONNAIRES:
Strengths: lots of data collected
Easy to analyse
weaknesses : only major stress was counted
possibility of lies
not very reliable
CORRELATIONS USED:
Weaknesses: variables are not accounted for
Cause + effect not shown
Participants may not remember previous events from 6 months ago
VALIDITY: unusual events were used on the scale, young sailors may not of
experienced any of these.
SAMPLE: all males from the navy, results cannot be generalised.
ETHICS: medical records were made available without the sailors consent.…read more

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Bennett, Levy,Marteau Fear of animals
Context
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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Methodology:
QUESTIONNAIRES:
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
Context
CHOMSKY said humans have the language acquisition device which
allows us to acquire language, so theoretically animals should not be able
to learn human language
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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HOWEVER, they did show that sign language is a appropriate language
for chimps as washoe was able to learn it.
Methodology
CASE STUDY:
Strenghths: the experimenters got to know washoe better
They gained washoes trust
Weakness: experimenter bias
VALIDITY: it is valid as they got other people from the outside community for
example deaf people to work with washoe.…read more

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