Exam Example on Institutional Aggression

This practice exam got me an A in class, so i thought id just give snippets of the good points in it, on Institutional Aggression.

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  • Created by: Zoe
  • Created on: 16-12-12 19:54


Question: Outline and Evaluate explanations into institutional aggression (24 marks)

I firstly started off by explaining what institutional aggression was (only briefly!) to give an overview and starting point which could then lead nicely onto other points.

"Institutional aggression is a form of aggression that involves the behaviour of those people serving in institutions (such as the police services as well as criminal or terrorist groups.) Explanations into institutional aggression usually consider two difference explanations: situational forces and individualistic forces."

This has its good points as it is as short as possible and only goes into depth briefly as you wont have alot of time in the actual exam! also its giving example and has a good ending sentence to then lead on from into backing this statement up with supporting studies.

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What studies I have chosen to use throughout the e

Zimbardo Stanford Prison Experiment

"A psychologist who supports the view that all aggression is caused by situational factors is Zimbardo. Zimbardo believed the situation a individual is put into would trigger the aggressive behaviour and is likely to occur. He found this in his research on Stanford prison...."

Then i described study briefly giving important details:

ie. what the aim was, what they found, what this shows/supports/challenges

I also included a real life application of Abu Ghaib and linked it to Zimbardo:

"Zimbardo argued that the behaviour of the prsion guard was the product of the situational forces of being a guard and being put into that specific prison environment, this links to the real life prison situation in Abu Ghaib...."

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Alternative Explanation + Issues and Debates

I have always been taught that in the exam if you get stuck and cant think of anything to write, challenge the topic with an alternative explanation whether that be biological, evolutionary, social etc. Or an alternative is discuss issues and debates somewhere in the essay to pick up those 4 AO3 marks!!

"This study (Zimbardo) raise the issue and debate of nature vs. nurture, the concept hat it either down to yourself ie. biological factors or it is the nurture side of the argument suggesting that aggression is influenced by your environment and other environmental factors."

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Finally those key evaluation points!

  • "Researching institutional aggression can be very difficult, because aggression can be seen as many different things."
  • "Most aggression research may entail asking individuals opinion on how they were feeling etc either using a scale or questionnaire/interviews. These methods are probably not the most scientific as they are known for being arbitrary measures which can be critiqued for not being hard evidence - Therefore raising the debate of "Is psychology a science?""
  • "During institutional aggression research the psychologist is dealing with information that is socially sensitive. Furthermore it would be very hard for a researcher to control all the variables in these often natural situations therefore cause and effect cannot be established."
  • Study used to Critque explanation - McCorkle et al (1995) - suggests this explanation fails to provide suggestions for how best to manage violent offenders or how to reduce prison violence.
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