Aim - To invesitgate whether children will imitate aggressive behaviour that they observe in a model while no model is present.
Participants - Children: 36 boys and 36 girls from Stanford University nursery, California; Between the ages of 3 and 5 with a mean age of 4yrs 4mths; They were all rated on pre-existing aggression levels on a scale of 1-5 by one of their teachers and a researcher. Adults: One male model and one female model as well as a female experimenter who took the children to each room.
Design - Matched pairs design - The children were split into three groups: group 1 observed an aggressive model, group 2 observed a non-aggressive model and group 3 were the control group who observed no model, and half of each group saw a male model while the other half saw a female model. In stage one, the children were taken to a room for 10mins with the observer the other side of the room. The agg model played quietly for five minutes and then started hitting with a mallet, sitting on, punching and kicking a Bobo doll while saying things like "Pow" or "Hit him down". The non-agg model played with tinker toys and ignored the Bobo doll. In stage two, the children were told that they could not play with the toys in the next room to prime aggression in the children. Finally, in stage three, the children were taken to a standardised room for 20mins and were observed (time sampling) through a one-way mirror for imitative, partially imitated or non-imitated responses as they played with the toys.
Findings - Overall, the boys were more aggressive. The boys imitated the male model more for both physical and verbal aggression while the girls imitated the male model more for physical aggression but the female model more for verbal aggression. The aggressive condition showed more full, partial and novel aggressive behaviours but there were also some aggressive behaviours in the other groups. Comments were recorded such as "That's not ladylike" about the female model.
Conclusions - The children used social learning to learn the behaviours they saw, especially since they observed the models receiving no punishments for their aggressive behaviours. This also showcases Freud's "Identification with aggressor" as it is suggested that when we are faced with an aggressive person, we adopt some of their characteristics to lessen our own anxiety. Natural aggression was displayed as children in the non-agg and control groups both displayed aggressive behaviours, despite not having observed it. The study also showed that stereotypes and gender differences play a part in the imitation of aggression as the male model had more of an impact (perhaps due to their higher status at the time or due to aggression seeming more of a masculine behaviour - the children were shocked by the female's aggression).
Samuel & Bryant I
Aims - To test whether children under the age of eight could conserve; To test a new method of questioning conservation
Participants - 252 children from Crediton, Devon, split into four age groups (5.25yrs, 6.25yrs, 7.25yrs and 8.25yrs) with 63 children in each group.
Design - The children were asked "Does this one have more, does this one have more or are they both the same?" about counters (measuring number), playdoh (measuring mass) and water (measuring volume). They were either done this through standard questioning (before and after the transformation of the objects), one judgement questionning (the children saw the transformation but were only asked the question afterwards) or fixed array questionning (the children did not see the transformation and were only asked the question after [the hardest question type]). The children were measured on the number of errors they made of of 12, four questions on each object.
Samuel & Bryant II
Findings - The older the child was, the fewer mistakes the made as the maximum mean was 8.6/12 for a 5.25 y.o. but the minimum mean was only 1.3/12 for an 8.25 y.o. It was also found that in all age groups and conservation tasks, the most errors were made in the fixed array condition while the least were made in the one judgement questionning. The number task generated the least amount of mistakes in all conditions, while the volume task generated the most amount of mistakes.
Conclusions - Cognitive abilities and conservation develop with age, which is why fewer mistakes were made as age increased, however some 5.25 y.o's could conserve, showing that we all develop at different rates (and also refuting Piaget's theory). The standard questionning type, which was Piaget's original method, seemed to confuse the children while the fixed array was the hardest so the children have to see the transformation to be able to mentally reverse it. The number task was the easiest for the children but this could have been because they counted the counters. On the other hand, the volume task was the most difficult, showing that the ability to conserve different objects develops at different rates.
Aims - To investigate the Oedipus complex in a young boy named Little Hans; To demonstrate psychoanalysis.
Participants - Little Hans (psuedo name) who was aged 3-5 during the study and his mother, father and sister; His father was a follower of Freud's work and so knew about his theories.
Design - Case study - Hans' father recorded conversations and observations of Hans and sent them to Freud via letter, for both Hans' father and Freud to offer explanations. Freud met Hans once during the study and offered psychoanalysis then.
Findings - Hans showed an interest in his widdler from the age of 3, which was shown when his mother found him playing with it. She told him then "If you do that, I shall send for a doctor to cut off your widdler" which made him develop a castration anxiety. Hans felt sexual desires towards his mother and didn't wish to share his mother with his father, leading him to want his father dead but he repressed these feelings and felt conflicted his his love and hatred for his father. He felt more seperation with his mother when his sister was born and so wished that his mother would drown her in a bath but this only led to his own fear of baths developing. A phobia of horses developed through the study for a number of reasons. Firstly, Hans heard his father tell his sister that a white horse might bite her if she touched it.
Findings Continued - Additionally, Hans feared his mother would leave him on a horse drawn cart because he asked her to touch his widdler but she said it would not be proper. He also saw a horse fall down in the road and was asked whether he thought of his father and he said yes. He was then asked if he wished the horse dead and again he said yes. The horse may have reminded him of his father as he had blinkers and reins which may have resembled his father's glasses and moustache so his fear of his father may have been displaced onto the horse. Hans had many dreams or fantasies during the study, such as the giraffe dream where Hans took a small giraffe away from a big giraffe so the big one called out and then he sat on the little one, or the plumber dream where a plumber came and stuck a borer into Hans' stomach and then took away his behind and widdler the next time he came. Hans finally identified with his father and overcame the Oedipus complex when he imagined being the daddy himself.
Conclusions - Hans' behaviour was quite normal of that of a young boy as children do develop through psychosexual stages, which Hans was showcasing. He was also showing how boys go through the Oedipus complex as part of the phallic psychosexual stage. The phobias Hans felt were results of repressed anxieties linked to real events, however psychoanalysis helped to release these phobias and repressed anxieties.