PSYA1 Evaluation

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  • Created by: viv24
  • Created on: 10-05-16 22:13

Evaluation for The Learning Theory





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Evaluation for Bowlby's theory of attachments





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Evaluation of the Strange Situation

  • BIASED SAMPLEonly use 106 middle-class American babies therefore, it is difficult to generalise the findings outside America and to working-class families. Because of this, the study LACKS POPULATIOn VALIDITY and is CULTURALLY BIASED.
  • ETHICAL ISSUESinfants were not protected from harm when they were put under a lot of stress. They also didn’t have the right to withdraw since they were only infants and they didn’t know what was going on. 
  • HIGHLY ARTIFICIAL-laboratory setting was used. Because of this, all variables that could affect the baby’s behaviour were controlled, giving the study a LOW ECOLOGICAL VALIDITY.
  • However, a study conducted in Germany found that 78% of children were classified in the same way at ages 1-6 years old. This consistency of results shows that this study is reliable.



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Evaluation of Cultural Variation (Van Ijzendoorn a


  • meta analysis was used and therefore, lots of data can be accessed to be analysed, which would make it easier for the findings to be generalised to other groups.


  • meta analysis is dependent on research done by someone else and that it may not be valid or reliable. This means that the study might have a LOWER INTERNAL VALIDITY
  • there are a limited number of studies from each country/ type of culture as only 5 of the 32 studies were from collectivist countries. This makes the study CULTURALLY BIASED and it implies that individualistic culture is universal.
  • the strange situation study was created and tested in the USA therefore, it reflects the values of American culture which means that the findings cannot be generalised to countries outside the USA.
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Evaluation of Separation/Deprivation (Bowlby and R



  • The research can be used to inform childcare practices
  • the majority of observations made within the research are naturalistic, giving the model a high ecological validity.


  • only a small number of children were sampled therefore, it might be hard to generalise results to other children as the study lacks populations validity.
  •  the research only concentrates on the mother and baby separations therefore, it doesn’t tell as if the same thing happens when the child is separated from its father.
  • individual differences are not taken into account. Children might have different responses to separation as they all behave differently.
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Evaluation of Separation/Deprivation (Bowlby)



  •  method of collecting data is retrospective. The children and their parents had to think back many years to the child’s younger days. This can produce inaccuracies as they might forget some details or may remember the wrong thing but is still led to believe that it’s and what actually happened. 
  •  some of the children were only separated for short periods of time, so it is difficult to believe that separation has caused emotional disturbances.
  • other factors could be responsible for having affectionless psychopathy. For example, children from poorer backgrounds are more likely to be hospitalised and are more likely to become delinquents therefore, poverty might be the cause of this and not attachment.


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Evaluation of Privation


  • case studies is that it only focuses on one rare individual case therefore, it is hard to repeat the research. Because of this, the research cannot be tested for reliability therefore, we cannot be sure whether what happened to Genie and the Czech twins will also happen to children who have been neglected. 
  • case studies only work for an individual or a very small group of people therefore, it lacks population validity.
  • It can also bring about ethical issues as the children couldn’t give their full consent due to their age and mental health.


  • The outcomes of the Czech twins study is good compared to Genie.
  •  both twins recovered and formed later attachments whereas, Genie didn’t.
  • might have been because the people who adopted the Czech twins loved and cared for them whereas, the doctors and psychologists mistreated Genie.
  • you can still minimise the effects of privation by providing care and affection. 
  • BRAIN DAMAGED-This could explain her lack of progress and why she never recovered which means that it is not the effects of privation. This makes the case study not valid.
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Evaluation of institutionalisation (Hodges and Tiz



  • As the study was a longitudinal study, it allowed the researchers to see what long-term effects institutionalisation had on the children. 


  • attrition occurred as some families moved to other areas and no longer wanted to take part in the research. Because of this, only 51 of the 65 were questions at the age of 8.
  •  lack of control of variables, therefore, there could be other factors that had an effect on the results.
  • method of collecting data was interviews which is a self-report method. Because of this, the participants might have been influenced by social desirability and it would be difficult to tell whether the children and parents are being honest.
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Evaluation of Institutionalisation (Rutter et al.)



  • longitudinal study, therefore, the researchers were able to point out other factors that might have caused disinhibition for example, neglect from the adoptive parents. 
  • they used a range of measurements to assess the children’s behaviour, making the findings reliable.


  • the children were originally from Romania therefore, it may be hard to generalise the findings to other people from different countries. Because of this, the study lacks population validity.



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Evaluation of Day care (positive)


  • A strength of this study is that it had a larger sample size. This means is that the findings can be generalised to other children outside the study, giving it a high population validity.


  • This study is a naturalistic observation therefore, it has a high ecological validity as the findings can be generalised to others settings/ situations.
  • However, this study is also a correlation research therefore, it only shows the relationship between the time is spent in day care and sociability.
  • Furthermore, there are also ethical issues in this study as videotaping children without their full consent is classed as an invasion of their privacy. Also, the children were too young to give the researchers consent to tape them.
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Evaluation of Day care (negative)



  • This study has a high population validity as the sample consisted of children from diverse families.  
  • it is reliable because the parents and children were assessed regularly and the same behaviour pattern was found.
  • This study is also supported by Melhuish’s study we found that the more time children spend in day care, the more chance they have at developing antisocial behaviour.


  • the results found in this study is based on the rating given by adults therefore, it is subjective and thus decreasing the validity of the research.
  • Furthermore, other factors might have affected the children’s behaviour such as the quality of day care and individual differences as children have different in personalities.
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Evaluation of MSM

  • The case study of KF does not support the multi-store model of memory because, after his accident, he was not able to process verbal information but could still recall visual information. This shows that there is more than one store in the short-term memory for different types of information. This suggests that the multi-store model of memory is too simplistic and that the working memory model may be a more reliable model in explaining memory.
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Evaluation of WM

  • The working memory model is supported by the case study of KF. After his accident, he was not able to process verbal information but was still able to recall visual information. This proves the existence of the phonological loop and the visuo-spatial sketchpad which means that there is more than one store in the short-term memory for different types of information.


  • there is little evidence for the role of the central executive as most research is done to prove the existence of the other components. Because of this, its exact role remains unclear. 
  • the relationship between the working memory and the long-term memory is not clear. This is because it does not explain how the long-term memory store works at all and how information is stored from the short-term memory to the long-term memory.
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Misleading information (Loftus and Palmer)



  • Both studies were laboratory experiments therefore, all extraneous variable were controlled which means that Loftus and Palmer were able to establish the link between the verb used and the answers that participants gave to the questions.


  • laboratory experiments lack ecological validity as it does not represent events in real life. Real life incidents would probably be witnessed directly and without warning, and not on a film clip in a comfortable laboratory. Furthermore, participants are more likely to remember the event if it happened in real life. Because of this, it is difficult to generalise the results to real life situations.
  • the experiments also lack population validity as their sample of participants only consisted of students that were all the same age. Because of this, it would be difficult to generalise the results to other age groups.
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Age on EWT


  • The importance of simple and clear language in courtroom cases is that children (6-15 year olds) would understand it better than legalese language therefore, they would be able to answer the questions more accurately.


  • The findings above show that the investigator had an impact on the way that children had answered the questions. This is because the fact that the investigator said ‘didn’t he/she?’ would imply that something did happen therefore, the children would be led to think that something happened, causing them to agree with them.


  • The research study above lacks ecological validity as the event only happened in a film that all of the participants had watched.
  • in real life situations, people might not even pay attention when watching a film or may easily get distracted.
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Anxiety (negative)



  • Both research studies for the negative impact of anxiety on eyewitness testimony were done in a laboratory setting and had simulated situations which didn’t have participants actually experiencing it.
  • This means that although there was high control over extraneous variables, it still lacks mundane realism therefore, the findings lack ecological validity.
  • Studies based on real life events may be more reliable than this.
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Anxiety (positive)



  • The findings from the researches above have high ecological validity.
  • This is because it is based on real life events therefore, the people’s reaction at the time were real and valid.
  • However, both research lacks control as the researchers could not control the extraneous variables in real life situations and these variables might have affected the results. Because of this, the study may lack in internal validity.
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Memory improvement


  • However, creating stories or mnemonics are not easy and requires extensive training.
  • Furthermore, it is time consuming to create one and it is hard to use if the information is presented quickly. In addition to this, you would have to work your way through the list if you had to find for example, item seven, or any item that is further down the list.


  • However, if the information is abstract, it would be hard to use our imagination.
  • Furthermore, we can only use this method if the words are unrelated as we can only use each place once otherwise, we will get confused.


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Cognitive interview

  • A weakness of cognitive interview however is that it is time consuming and is not used in trivial crimes. Instead, the police would rather explore other avenues such as CCTV.
  • Furthermore, it is difficult to tell how good it is in the field as police use different strategies when solving crimes.
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