Psychology AQA A UNIT ONE


STM + LTM duration etc, case studies

STM: duration - secs/mins, capacity - 7 chunks, encoding - acoustic or visual

LTM: duration - hours/days/years, capacity - unlimited, encoding - semantic (has meaning)


  • Peterson and Peterson: students, WRT 204, count backwards in 3s/4s, 3 6 9 12 15 18 secs, 90% remembered after 3s, 2% after 18s, STM = around 20s.
  • Bahrick et al: yearbook 40 years on, 70% accurate
  • Miller: 7+-2, chunking
  • Simon: size of chunk matters
  • Baddeley: acoustic hard to remember STM (not LTM), opposite for semantic
  • Jacobs: easier to recall digits than letters bc 9 vs 26 
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multi store model


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case studies and strengths limitations MSM


  • serial position effect. primacy and recency effects. (LTM AND STM)
  • brain: prefrontal corex active with STM, hippocampus active with LTM
  • case study: HM, hippocampus removed, couldnt form any new LTM

Strengths and Limitations:

s - there is evidence for the three stores, evidence of structure/process, clear predictions for memory

l - STM and LTM arent unitary, KF had brain damage bad with verbal info but gd with visual. 4 suggested stores for the LTM: semantic, episodic, procedural, PRS. STM relies on LTM they arent seperate - to chunk a list, need to recall from LTM

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CENTRAL EXECUTIVE: KEY component. determines how resources are allocated. limited capacity

PHONOLOGICAL LOOP: limited capacity, auditory info. phonological store = inner ear. articulatory process = words repeated, inner voice

VISUOSPATIAL SKETCHPAD: visual and spatial info. spatial is the relationship between things. visual cache (store) and inner scribe.

EPISODIC BUFFER: general store. limited capacity. information from all stores and LTM.

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Evidence =

CE: Activity is increased with dual task (2 at same time)

word length effect: PL can hold info said in 2s but this disappears with articulatory task. cant rehearse shorter words faster. 

VSSP: task 1 easy, task 2 hard bc 2 different components were being used

EB: Immediate recall - better with related words.

KF (case study): STM damaged, esp auditory, phonological loop damaged

SC (case study): couldnt learn word pairs that were said out loud. damage to PL.

Strengths and Limitations =

s - good explanatory power, supporting evidence, diff kinds of memory, more detail than MSM

L - central executive is very vague. probs SEVERAL components but doesnt explain much. brain damaged ppl arent gr8 because you cant make before and after comparisons. 

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Loftus and Palmer - 

1) 45 ppl, 7 films. questionnaire about accident. 1 critical q = smashed, collided, bumped, contacted, hit. highest average speed with SMASHED, lowest with CONTACTED.

2) 3 groups, film. 1 group = smashed, other group = hit, 3 = no q. critical question was about broken glass (there wasnt actually any). higher answer YES with smashed. misleading info


  • Study: 75% with consistent qs picked correct answers, 41% without
  • misleading questions affect RETRIEVAL not storage. (slides in correct order, recall now same)
  • EWT irl - accurate recall even with misleading info. not the same irl.
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EWT anxiety


negative effect: metanalysis showed that high levels of stress negatively impacted on the accuracy of EWT.

enhances recall: 58 real, bank robbery, those who were threatened in some way were more accurate in their recall even 15 MONTHS later.

weapon focus effect: ppl focus more on the threat eg weapon than other factors

Loftus: condition 1, man with PEN, 49% accuracy. condition 2, man w KNIFE AND BLOOD, 33%


1) Yerkes Dodson Law - MEDIUM arousal best recall, curve

2) weapon focus effect - Loftus studied eye movement. eye drawn to weapon

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EWT age

1) children - experiment; children had a high rate of CHOOSING but were less accurate

2) age diff - 651 public people, had to recall features of a women they had spoken to 2 minutes before for 15s, no significant difference in recall.

3) effects of delay - short delay has no diff. but one week later, older less accurate w recall


  • OWN AGE BIAS - Inviduals more accurate and confident in recalling people from their own age group. 24 photos were shown, then a filler activity, then 48 photos (24 from previous) young and middle aged more accurate but own age bias
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Cognitive interview


  • changing perspective
  • report everything
  • mental reenactment
  • changing the order


- metaanalysis found 34% increase in accuracy with CI

- mix of procedures so it requires a lot more training

- time consuming

- ENHANCED CI has more techniques but this places more demands on the researcher.

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Strategies for memory improvement

verbal mnemonics: acronym (ROYGBIV), acrostic (Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain), rhymes, chunking

visual imagery mnemonics: method of loci, keyword method (associating 2 pieces of info), spider diagrams/mind maps


- real life; psych students revising, 30% used mnemonics

- method of loci has LTM benefits for adults (O'Hara)

- verbal m effective in kids with learning disabilities, but not evident 12 months on

limitation: most carried out in lab conditions, real life has more mixed results. mnemonics not effective in helping learn a foreign language better.

They work bc: organisation (establishes links), ELABORATIVE REHEARSAL (helps us remember info), DUAL CODING HYPOTHESIS (words and images processed seperately, concrete words are double encoded, increases likelihood will remember these)

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Learning Theory

Classical conditioning: UCS produces an UCR. (food makes baby feel pleasure). mum brings baby food multiple times. CS produces a CR. (mum entering room brings baby feelings of pleasure).

Operant conditioning: something that brings pleasant consequences will REINFORCE behaviour. unpleasant consequences will mean less likely to repeat behaviour. 

food = primary reinforcer (gets rid of hunger). person bringing food becomes secondary reinforcer (becomes associated with avoiding discomfort). 

STRENGTHS: adaquete explanation

LIMITATIONS: Harlows monkeys (contact comfort is also important), human studies: Schaffer and Emerson studied 60 babies over a year, baby attached to the most responsive person. 

association and reinforcement certainly a part but not a full explanation

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Bowlbys Theory

Innate children have an INNATE drive to become attached, like imprinting in animals

Sensitive Period 2nd quarter of 1st year, most sensitive to developing attachments

Adaptive babys have social releasers, adults have innate drive to care for babies

Secure Base provides INDEPENDANCE

Monotropy and Hierachy bias towards one individual. infants form a hierachy of attachments, all key to development

Internal Working Model concepts about relationships and what to expect from others

Continuity Hypothesis link between early and later emotions. eg a secure child will go on to become socially competent

I Shouted And Said Monday Is Crap

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Bowlbys Theory Evaluation

STRENGTHS: imprinting in animals, sensitive period: research shows that infants with no attachments formed then go on to have later difficulties with peers, universality eg Efe tribe, Minnesota longlitudinal study = link between early attachment and later behaviour, Harlows monkeys

LIMITATIONS: multiple attachments; all are important, TEMPERANT HYPOTHESIS: personality or characteristics of an infant shape the mothers responsiveness eg children who were calmer are likely to be more securely attached.

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Types of attachment


parent and infant play. parent sits while infant plays (SECURE BASE). stranger enters, talks to parent (STRANGER ANXIETY). parent leaves (SEPERATION ANXIETY). parent returns, comforts if needed (REUNION BEHAVIOUR). parent leaves again, stranger, returns.


proposal of a FOURTH type: disorganised: inconsitent behaviour.

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Evaluation of types of attachment

  • longlitudinal studies support link with early attachment and relationships in later life (Prior and Glaser)
  • adult romantic behaviour: LOVE QUIZ: secure = positive and trusting, avoidant = fearful of closeness, love isnt lasting. resistant = preoccupied with love, fall in love easily.
  • maternal sensitivity scale - secure mums: sensitive, cooperative. insecure: unresponsive, less affectionate. avoiding: rejectant, less attention. resistant:occupied with other activities.

Validity: cant be generalised bc different countries are different. only measures particular relationships

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Cultural variation


  • UGANDA - use of mums as secure base, mums of secure kids showed more sensitivity
  • EFE TRIBE - breastfed by several but slept with mum @ night, showed one PRIMARY attachment.
  • ISRAEL - kids cared for communally by nurses, reunion behaviour had a greater attachment to mums = primary attachment figure :)


  • GERMAN - more insecurely attached bc German parents keep distance from child
  • JAPAN - (Takahasi) rarely seperated from mums. 90% had to stop ** at this point bc reactions were so intense when seperated. all secure/insecure resistant.

despite cultural differences, mum always seems to appear as the strongest attachment.

secure attachment is the norm in all countries (found in metaanalysis)

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evaluation of cultural

  • CULTURE BIAS eg West, secure base used to promote independance. in Japan they are taught to be reliant on mother. and in the West, secure attachment means socially competent but in Japan taught to inhibit emotions, group oriented.
  • NATION VS CULTURE difference in cities/rural areas, cities are mainly studied but there may be a variation within cultures.
  • CORE CONCEPTS ARE UNIVERSAL suggested that these similarities may be due to the influence of the media, and these concepts are not biological.
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disruption of attachment


1) Laura: 2 years old, 8 days in hospital. calm/distressed, struggled to cope w emotions

2) John: 9 days, father visited lots, tried to get attention from nurses, seeks comfort from large teddy: breaks down, wont eat or play, basically gives up. resentment towards mum for months after

3) Robertson and Robertson: 4 kids under 3 years, substitute emo care given and routines, dad visited and they visited their mum. all good, some signs of distress but no rejection when reunited w parents. 

high validity because natural observation but also lacks validity bc all kids different,


  • physical/emo effects - Skodak and Skeels, infants in home, other control group in orphanage,1 and 1/2 years later, higher IQ in home
  • reversing emo disruption - CS; 600 adopted in sweden, @ 11 yrs, 26% problem kids but 10 years later all normal = reversed.
  • 'triggers' - 249 women who lost mums before the age of 17 more than twice likely to have anxiety/depression
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Privation (failure to form attachments)

  • Hodges and Tizard: 65 kids in institution @ 4 months or younger, 70% described as unable to care deeply about anyone - lack of attachment - assessed till 16, adopted or restored to natural parents. those restored less likely to have attachment w mum but adopted v close to parents
  • Romanian Orphanages: 100 orpans at 4,6,11 years. those adopted before 6 months = normal, after 6 months = bad attachments and peer relations. 
  • Attachment disorder: children with this have no primary attachment figure, bad at interacting, experience of severe neglect.


- long term effects = not studied for long enough

- poor parenting = Quinton et al 50 women reared in instution and 50 reared at home. In 20s, ex institutionals were bad at parenting. 

- dwarfism = Gardner: girl had to eat through tube, mum didnt cuddle to avoid it moving, at hospital she THRIVED with attention

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Impact of day care


  • NICHD study - longlitudinal, 1000 from 10 diverse locations. at age 5, more time spent in daycare, the more they were rated 'aggressive, assertive, disobedient'. those in full time daycare were rated 3x more likely to have behaviour probs.
  • EPPE study - longlitudinal. ages of 3 to 7, wide range of info of 3000 kids. those who spent longer in daycare teachers said showed more antisocial behaviour. if high quality daycare, effects reduced.

Peer Relations

  • Attachment - children in day care less likely to be securely attached. (assessed in strange situation). EPPE found increased independance/sociability
  • Social strategies - field: amount of time in full time day care positively correlated to # friends they had at school. if they start daycare before the age of six months, actually found to be MORE sociable.
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EVALUATION of peer relations/aggression

aggression - NICHD results: Friedman, 83% of those who spent 10-30 hours werent more aggressive. ... Other factors: eg higher maternal education and family income. ... Lack of a causal relationship: cant showed that daycare CAUSED aggression. but they are linked

peer relations - lack of a causal link and there are many other explanations.

Clarke Stewart concluded daycare does have some effects on children but it is not acting alone.

Mediating factors:

  • quality of care - if substitute emotional care is provided then there are no ill effects. NICHD = low quality daycare = poor social development
  • lack of commitment - Haves and Hamilton; 50% attachments with daycare staff. 70% mums
  • childs age/# of hours - Gregg et al, negative effects when placed before 18 months of age. Clarke Stewart et al said no diff in attachment
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Influence of attachment and day care research

attachment research:

  • improved quality of daycare. caring for children in hospitals eg visiting. 
  • adoption usually occurs before sensitive period/within a week.

evaluation: Bowlbys theory (importance of secondary attachments), caring in hospitals (Robertsons research), Adoption (privation studies eg Hodges and Tizard)

daycare research:

  • importance of high quality daycare
  • good staff to child ratios
  • minimal staff turnover (Schaffer)
  • qualified and experienced staff

evaluation: being able to respond to a childs emotional needs is v important, NICHD found that only 33% of infant caregivers give highly sensitive infant care

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IV/EV, ethical issues

IV and EV both affect DV.

Mundane realism = how an experiments mirrors the real world.

Internal validity: if IV produced a change in the DV. did researcher test what was intended? if study had or didnt have mundane realism.

External validity: ecological, population and historical validity.


  • informed consent
  • deception
  • right to withdraw
  • protection from physical/psychological harm
  • confidentiality
  • privacy
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dealing with ethical issues, hypotheses

ethical issues: ethical guidelines, ethics comittee, cost-benefit analysis, punishment eg being banned from being a psychologist


  • need to make a comparison of IV
  • operationalise!! example: People get more q's right on a test of recall when they study in short bursts (10 mins at a time repeated 3 times) than studying for longer sessions (1 30 min session)

direction hypothesis = better/worse

non directional = DIFFERENT.

pilot studies and confederates v important

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experimental design, extraneous variables

  • repeated measures: 1 condition may be more difficult; may guess purpose; order effect - practise, boredom fatigue effect.
  • independent groups: no control of participant variables, may need twice as many
  • matched pairs: time consuming to match, cant control ALL participant variables.

counterbalancing: AB or BA, ABBA

extraneous variables:

PARTICIPANT variables: age, intelligence, gender, irrelevant ones, motivation, experience

PARTICIPANT effects: seek cues from others, social desirability

SITUATIONAL variables: order effects, time of day/temp/noise, investigator effects, demand characteristics eg cues

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Quantative data analysis, experiments

measures of central tendency: mean, median, mode (inform us about central values for a set of data)

measures of dispersion: 

range (easy to calcuate) and standard deviation (more precise)

lab and field experiments - lab; ppl know theyre being studied, not like everyday life, less realistic. field; less control over EV's, ethical issues.

natural experiments: experimenter cant manipulate IV. cant show causal relationships. lots of EV's, decrease validity. can only be used where conditions vary naturally. participants may be aware of being studied.

designing observational research: behaviour checklist, rating system, coding system

observational research = high validity bc more natural behaviour, IV - coding system may be flawed. ethical issues and reliability.

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participants, self report, correlational analysis

selecting ppl: oppurtunity sample (eg asking ppl in street), volunteer sample, random sample

self report techniques: QUESTIONNAIRES: open questions w no select answers, closed questions (tick, Likert scale eg agree strongly, circle number, forced choice). INTERVIEWS: structured with pre determined questions or unstructed where you develop questions as you go along.


correlation coefficient = measure of the correlation that exists between the co variables

+1 is a perfect positive correlation (linear), -1 is a perfect negative correlation

content analysis - indirect observation, not people but observing people through things that are produced. 

qualitative data - in depth understanding; thoughts and feelings.

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