A level Paper 2 June 2017

  • Created by: cieran32
  • Created on: 30-10-18 22:30


Explain why John’s genotype will not reveal whether he will suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. 

• the genetic test reveals the genotype not the phenotype

• John’s genotype will only reveal his set of genes (not their interaction with the environment)

• a genetic test will only reveal if he is predisposed to suffering Alzheimer’s disease but will not reveal whether he will develop/suffer from the disorder

• environmental factors may contribute to the disorder (it depends on an interaction between inherited factors and the environment).

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Describe the structure of the personality according to the psychodynamic approach

  • personality is made up of 3 parts; the id, ego and superego. This point is essential for 4 marks. • elaboration regarding the components
  •  the id: Focuses on self (selfish), irrational and emotional, deals with feelings and needs, seeks pleasure/hedonistic (reference to ‘pleasure principle), formed from birth-18mo, unconscious part of the mind
  • The ego: Rational, balancing the id and superego, reference to ‘reality principle’, formed between 18mo-3yrs, conscious part of the mind
  • the superego: Reference to ‘morality principle’, acts as the conscience or moral guide, based on parental and societal values, formed between 3-6yrs, unconscious part of the mind 
  • elaboration regarding the dynamic nature of the three components 
  • experience/conflicts in childhood shape the development of the 3 parts affecting how a person behaves 
  • description of the levels of consciousness
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Outline and evaluate the humanistic approach. Refer to Tatiana’s behaviour in your answer

  • Maslow’s hierarchy of needs – motivation to achieve progression through the levels
  • Rogers’ focus on the concept of self and self-acceptance
  • Incongruence between self-concept and ideal self leading to negative feelings of self-worth •
  • person-centred approach to therapy - client led
  • self-actualisation – fulfilling one’s potential
  • unconditional positive regard rather than setting conditions of worth
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  • hierarchy of needs: Tatiana requires her mobile phone to meet her safety needs, ‘feel safe’, love and belonging needs, ‘socially isolated without her phone’, ‘ feels good about herself when she receives messages or comments on social media’, self-esteem needs, ‘low selfesteem’/‘ feels good about herself when she receives messages or comments’
  • self-actualisation – ‘achievement at school’
  • conditions of worth linked to feeling the need to text friends and use social media for acceptance and friendship
  • incongruence and negative feelings of self-worth applied to ‘low self-esteem’/ ‘feels good about herself when she receives messages or comments’ and/or anxiety
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Possible evaluation:

  • limited application of the humanistic approach due to its abstract concepts 
  • the humanistic approach is not reductionist which may improve validity
  • humanistic approach lacks empirical evidence to support its claims
  • consideration of influence eg. counselling, theoretical influence etc. 
  • discussion regarding whether behaviour is due to free will or environmental factors •
  • redit use of evidence to discuss the different explanations when made relevant to the stem •
  • comparison with alternative approaches in terms of evaluation and/or application.
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Explain the process of synaptic transmission.

possible content 

  • electrical impulses (action potentials) reach the presynaptic terminal 
  • electrical impulses (action potentials) trigger release of neurotransmitters (or named example) •
  • neurotransmitters cross the synapse from vesicles 
  • neurotransmitters combine with receptors on the postsynaptic membrane
  • stimulation of postsynaptic receptors by neurotransmitters result in either excitation (depolarisation) or inhibition (hyperpolarisation) of the postsynaptic membrane
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Using your knowledge of the functions of Broca’s area and the motor cortex, describe the problems that Lotta’s grandmother is likely to experience

Possible content: 

  • as a consequence of damage to Broca’s area, Lotta’s grandmother is likely to suffer from language/speech problems (Broca’s aphasia)
  • it will affect her language production (but not her understanding)
  • Lotta’s grandmother will only be able to talk in short meaningful sentences which take great effort
  • speech lacks fluency/difficulty with certain words which help sentences function (e.g. ‘it’ and ‘the’)
  • as a consequence of damage to the motor cortex, Lotta’s grandmother is likely to suffer from loss of muscle function/paralysis
  • motor impairments on the right side of the body. This point is essential for 4 marks.
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Using your knowledge of plasticity and functional recovery of the brain after trauma, explain why Lotta might be wrong.

Possible content:

  • Lotta’s grandmother might still be capable of functional reorganisation/plasticity
  • functional compensation by other undamaged areas
  • although she is older her brain might still be able to form new connections (axons and dendrites) between neurons
  • neuronal loss may be compensated for by regeneration (axon sprouting)
  • denervation supersensitivity to reduce the severity/extent of Lotta’s grandmother’s impairment 
  • plasticity allows the brain to cope better with ‘indirect’ effects of brain damage resulting from inadequate blood supply following a stroke 
  • references to increased brain stimulation of the opposite hemisphere, physiotherapy, etc to enhance Lotta’s grandmother’s recovery
  • reference to relevant studies on plasticity, eg suggesting women recover quicker than men would be an effective way to illustrate key points, if directly linked to Lotta’s grandmother’s recovery
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A researcher wants to investigate the effectiveness of physiotherapy in the recovery of stroke patients with brain damage. Carers of stroke patients will be sent questionnaires to produce quantitative data. Explain one disadvantage of obtaining quantitative data in this study?

1 mark for an accurate, relevant disadvantage of quantitative data eg lacks detail (which may decrease validity of findings) etc.

Plus 1 mark for clear application regarding the negative impact of using quantitative data in this study (such as rating a patient’s improvement).

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Write one question that could be used in the researcher’s questionnaire to produce quantitative data and one question that could be used in the researcher’s questionnaire to produce qualitative data. 

1 mark for an appropriate question which produces quantitative data, eg ‘On average how many hours of physiotherapy does the patient receive per week?’

Plus 1 mark for an appropriate question which produces qualitative data, eg ‘How does physiotherapy help your patients?’

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Outline and evaluate one or more ways of studying the brain

  • fMRI – Uses magnetic field and radio waves to monitor blood flow; it measures the change in the energy released by haemoglobin, reflecting activity of the brain (oxygen consumption) to give a moving picture of the brain; activity in regions of interest can be compared during a base line task and during a specific activity
  • EEGs – electrodes are put on the scalp and detect neuronal activity directly below where they are placed; differing numbers of electrodes can be used depending on focus of the research •
  • ERPs – electrodes are put on the scalp and detect neuronal activity (directly below where they are placed) in response to a stimulus introduced by the researcher
  • post-mortem examinations – brain is examined after death to try and correlate structural abnormalities/damage to behaviour.
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Possible evaluation:

  • fMRI captures dynamic brain activity as opposed to MRI/post-mortem examinations which purely show physiology 
  • interpretation of fMRI is complex and is affected by temporal resolution, biased interpretation and by the baseline task used
  • fMRI research is expensive leading to reduced sample sizes which negatively impact the validity of the research 
  • EEGs and ERPs are cheaper so can be more widely used in research
  • EEGs and ERPs have poor spatial resolution 
  • post-mortem examinations may lack validity due to small sample sizes (as special permission needs to be granted) and also due to neuronal changes during and after death
  • advantages of investigating brain activity in humans rather than generalising from animal lesion/single electrode recording studies (for validity and ethical reasons)
  • comparisons between techniques is an effective source of evaluation marks
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Identify the type of experiment used in this study. Shade one box only.

A Laboratory

B Natural

C Quasi

D Research



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Identify the operationalised dependent variable in this study.

2 marks for identification of the operationalised dependent variable: running time in seconds/time in seconds taken to run

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Explain why a histogram would not be an appropriate way of displaying the means shown in Table 1.

1 mark for explaining either you need to have continuous data or scores for each participant in order to draw a histogram.

Plus 1 mark for identifying that the data represents two separate conditions (with music/without music). Accept categorical/nominal.

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Name a more appropriate graph to display the means shown in Table 1. Suggest appropriate X (horizontal) and Y (vertical) axis labels for your graph choice.

1 mark for each bullet point: 

  • a bar chart
  • appropriate X-axis label eg ‘With or without music’; ‘Auditory Condition’, etc.
  • appropriate Y-axis label eg ‘Mean/Average (400m) time in seconds
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What do the mean and standard deviation values in Table 1 suggest about the participants’ performances with and without music? Justify your answer. 

Mean: 1 mark for interpreting what the mean times suggest about the effect of music on the participants’ 400m performance - participants run faster with music (take less time to run 400 metres) or participants run more slowly without music (take more time to run 400 metres)

Plus 1 mark for an accurate justification about the difference in the mean scores in each condition – mean time is greater in condition A than condition B (or mean time is lower in condition B than condition A).

Standard deviation: 1 mark for an accurate comment about what the standard deviations suggest about the spread of scores in each condition – performance is more consistent in condition A than condition B (or performance is less consistent in condition B than condition A).

Plus 1 mark for a justification about the difference between the standard deviations in each condition – standard deviation is smaller in condition A than in condition B (or standard deviation is greater in condition B than condition A).

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Calculate the percentage decrease in the mean time it took participants to run 400 metres when listening to music. Show your workings. Give your answer to three significant figures

Correct workings: 123 – 117 = 6

6 ÷ 123 =0.048780

0.048780 x 100 = 4.878

Answer = 4.88(3sf)

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The researcher used a directional hypothesis and analysed the data using a related ttest. The calculated value of t where degrees of freedom (df) = 9 was 1.4377. He decided to use the 5% level of significance.

Give three reasons why the researcher used a related t-test in this study and, using Table 2, explain whether or not the results are significant

1 mark for each bullet point:

  • A t-test is an appropriate choice of test for this data because
  • a difference between the two sets of data is predicted
  • the data is of interval/ratio level
  • a repeated measures design has been used.
  •   the result is not significant (at the 5% level)
  • because the calculated value of t (1.4377) is less than the critical/table value of t, which is 1.833 (at 0.05, for a directional hypothesis where df is 9).
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What is meant by a Type II error? Explain why psychologists normally use the 5% level of significance in their research. [3 marks]

 A Type II error would occur where a real difference in the data is overlooked as it is wrongly accepted as being not significant, accepting the null hypothesis in error (a false negative)

Plus 1 mark for a reason for why the 5% level of significance is used in psychological research. The 5% level is used as it strikes a balance between the risk of making the Type I and II errors (or similar).

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Identify one extraneous variable that could have affected the results of this study. Suggest why it would have been important to control this extraneous variable and how it could have been controlled in this study. [3 marks]

 1 mark for identification of one appropriate extraneous variable eg type/rhythm of music/equipment/environmental variables.

Note - participant variables only acceptable if feasibly could have changed in a week eg illness/hydration level/injury/etc.

Plus 1 mark for an explanation of why it is important to control their chosen variable in the context of this study ie the impact on the DV.

Plus 1 mark for how the stated variable could be controlled

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Describe the process and purposes of peer review.


  • other psychologists check the research report before deciding whether it could be published •
  • independent scrutiny by other psychologists working in a similar field 
  • work is considered in terms of its validity, significance and originality 
  • assessment of the appropriateness of the methods and designs used
  • reviewer can accept the manuscript as it is, accept with revisions, suggest the author makes revisions and re-submits or reject without the possibility of re-submission
  • editor makes the final decision whether to accept or reject the research report based on the reviewers’ comments/recommendations
  • research proposals are submitted to panel and assessed for merit.


  • to ensure quality and relevance of research, eg methodology, data analysis etc 
  • to ensure accuracy of findings 
  • to evaluate proposed designs (in terms of aims, quality and value of the research) for research funding.
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Explain why it is more appropriate for the psychologist to use an observation than a questionnaire in this case


An observation would be more appropriate because a self-report method like a questionnaire would lead to socially desirable answers/lying/self-delusion/misremembering, so would not reflect what really happens at the gym, so the data would lack validity.

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Design an observational study to investigate how people spend their time at the gym. In your answer you will be awarded credit for providing appropriate details of:

  • type of observation with justification
  • operationalised behavioural categories 
  • use of time and/or event sampling with justification
  • how reliability of data collection could be assessed.
  • Type of observation with justification – eg covert or overt, naturalistic, participant or nonparticipant and why 
  • Operationalised behavioural categories – detail of at least two specific and observable behaviours to be recorded. This must go beyond the idea of global constructs such as exercising, socialising, use of other facilities 
  • Use of time and/or event sampling with justification – recordings can take place at specified time intervals (time sampling) eg every minute or as the behaviour occurs (event sampling) eg number of times interaction occurs with another gym member. The type(s) of sampling must be appropriate for the behaviours chosen
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24) continued

How reliability of the data collection could be assessed, - inter-observer reliability eg using two observers/raters and comparing separate recordings; statistical comparison (correlation) of data from both observers/raters, intra-observer reliability eg checking video recordings.

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24) continued

How reliability of the data collection could be assessed, - inter-observer reliability eg using two observers/raters and comparing separate recordings; statistical comparison (correlation) of data from both observers/raters, intra-observer reliability eg checking video recordings.

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