Milgram (1963) Obedience - Social
Social approach because the results show how pressure from another person could lead people to administer potentially fatal electric shocks to another individual and how they could be led to do this in spite of their evident discomfort. Included because of the importance of its subject matter and because of the way in which it inspired so much other research in the area of obedience. Furthermore, Milgram emphasised situational rather than individual explanations.
Bocchiaro (2012) Disobedience and Whistle-Blowing
A study which sought to develop a new way to investigate obedience experimentally. Similar to Milgram in revealing high levels of obedience, but a good contrast in that this study was conducted in the Netherlands; as it also sought to investigate if there were any personality differences distinguishing those who were obedient, disobedient or prepared to be whistle-blowers, it challenges a purely social approach to explaining behaviour and does consider individual explanations.
Piliavin (1969) Good Samaritan - Social
Social approach because it was seeking to investigate (in a real-life setting) the impact of other people on helping behaviour. It did this through counting of the number of people in the carriage at the time of the incidents (diffusion of responsibility was not seen) while another person was available to model helping behaviour in case this was necessary.
Levine (2001) Cross Cultural Altruism - Social
A more recent study investigating helping behaviour, this can be seen as building on the Piliavin study by investigating it in non-confined settings and also by doing so cross-culturally, in 23 different countries. Results found cultural differences in altruism, this offering culture as an explanation.
Moray (1959) Auditory Attention - Cognitive
Cognitive because of its subject matter – namely, attention. This specific study was included because it is one of the many studies from the 1950s which sought to investigate auditory attention; Moray’s study comprises a series of three experiments, one of which investigates the ‘cocktail party effect’ and what kind of information breaks the attentional barrier is discussed.
Simon and Chabris (1999) Visual Inattention - Cogn
This can be seen as building on Moray’s work by investigating visual (as opposed to auditory) attention. This study also explains why we may not recall information that we see, but do not pay attention to.
Loftus and Palmer (1974) Eyewitness Testimony - Co
Cognitive because of its subject matter – namely, memory. This study shows the impact that post-event information can have on memory, even to the point (in the second of their two experiments) of producing false memories.
Grant et al (1998) Context-Dependent Memory - Cogn
A study which shows another way in which memory can be affected – in this case, by whether information is recalled in a similar context to that in which it was first encountered. In contrast to Loftus and Palmer’s study, this research explains how memory can be enhanced, rather than distorted.
Bandura (1961) Transmission of Aggression - Develo
Developmental because of the way in which it shows how children’s behaviour can be influenced by the behaviour of adult role models (who they imitate). This lab study can be compared to Chaney et al’s field study.
Chaney et al (2004) Funhaler Study - Developmental
Developmental because it is illustrating another way in which children’s behaviour can be influenced by external factors – in this case, the presence of positive and negative reinforcers.
Kohlberg (1968) Stages of Moral Development - Deve
Developmental because it is investigating how, as people get older, the nature of their moral thinking can be seen to evolve, potentially passing through six distinct stages of moral development. It is suggesting
that this occurs in line with cognitive development and that it occurs irrespective of the culture a person is growing up in.
Lee et al (1997) Evaluation of Lying and Truth-Tel
A cross-cultural study which challenges Kohlberg’s suggestion that the development of moral thinking is unaffected by the culture a child grows up in. Lee et al show the impact of culture through Chinese and Canadian children’s evaluations of lying and truth-telling. It also investigates the impact that a child’s age has on their evaluations of lying and truth-telling, and its use of a cross-sectional approach contrasts nicely with Kohlberg’s longitudinal approach.
Sperry (1968) Split Brain Study - Biological
Biological because it is showing, through split-brain patients, the way in which different abilities are localised within the two hemispheres of the brain and distinct areas control specific behaviours. Sperry’s study has a small sample in comparison to the Casey et al study.
Casey et al (2011) Neural Correlates of Delay of G
Biological because it involves trying to see whether there is a neural basis to self-regulation. This is done through fMRI scans of people who, forty years previously, had taken part in Mischel’s delay-of-gratification (marshmallow) test.
Blakemore and Cooper (1970) Impact of Early Visual
An early example of research into brain plasticity, in which evidence is put forward of the impact that the visual environment has on cats’ brains (specifically their visual neurones). Included in a biological study because of its focus on neurones, and also because it opens up the debate about whether biology affects behaviour or whether behaviour might even affect biology.
Maguire (2000) Taxi Drivers - Biological
A modern counterpart to Blakemore and Cooper’s study which again illustrates brain plasticity. This time, though, it illustrates it amongst adult humans (specifically London taxi drivers) in a different part of the brain (the hippocampi). It also uses different techniques (MRI scans) to investigate it. The study also explains brain plasticity, in that the organisation of the brain is altered by experiences.
Freud (1909) Little Hans - Individual Differences
Individual differences because of its focus on trying to explain a way in which people may differ – namely, by having phobias. It does this through the case study of a single boy.
Baron-Cohen (1997) Autism in Adults - Individual D
Again, individual differences because of its focus on trying to understand a way in which people differ – in this case, through being diagnosed as being on the autistic spectrum. A good contrast to Freud because of the different research method used (a quasi-experiment) and because of the number and ages of the participants as well as the different disorder.
Gould (1982) A Nation of Morons (Bias in IQ Testin
Individual differences because of its focus on an attempt to develop a test to measure a way in which people differ – namely, in their levels of intelligence. Included for many reasons, but particularly because it shows how difficult it is to avoid cultural bias in supposedly objective measures.
Hancock et al (2011) Language of Psychopaths - Ind
Individual differences because, again, of its focus on trying to measure differences – in this case, text analysis tools are used to examine the crime narratives of 14 psychopathic and 38 non-psychopathic homicide offenders and the findings demonstrate how the two groups differ.
Bandura (1961) Transmission of Aggression - Behavi
Behaviourist because of the way it provides empirical support for social learning theory. This is shown through children imitating the aggressive behaviour of the role models that they observe.
Chaney et al (2004) Funhaler Study - Behaviourist
Behaviourist because of the way it provides empirical support for operant conditioning (both positive and negative reinforcement). Results found increased adherence, due to the positive reinforcement provided by the funhaler.
Freud (1909) Little Hans - Psychodynamic
Psychodynamic because of the way in which Freud’s theory of psychosexual development (especially the Oedipus complex) is drawn upon to explain little Hans’ phobias and fantasies.
Kohlberg (1968) Stages of Moral Development - Psyc
Kohlberg’s study is not psychodynamic, but within his paper he explicitly positions his own work against Freudian views of the origins of virtue (as “...superego-identification with parents generated by a proper balance of love and authority in family relations”). Psychodynamic theories about moral development could be drawn out further in the course of exploring Kohlberg’s work.
Hancock et al (2011) Language of Psychopaths - Psy
Similarly, Hancock et al’s study is not in itself psychodynamic, but it makes repeated references to concepts that draw upon psychodynamic ideas throughout the course of the paper – namely, ego development, use of a Rorschach test, psychological ‘distancing’, basic and thrill-seeking drives, and language use being in all likelihood beyond conscious control. Again, these ideas could be drawn out and explicitly related to the psychodynamic perspective.