Psychology PSYA3

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  • Created on: 06-04-14 14:06


Identified stages of development, independant of environment; first is sensorimotor; 0-2; lacks internal representations and schemas; egocentric; lacks object permanence

Bower and Wishart: After lights were turned off, children between 1 and 4 months continued to look for the object. Baillargeon: children in the sensorimotor stage were puzzled over a carrot disappearing impossibly then reappearing 

Preoperational; 2-7; unable to perform operations; unable to see from other peoples perspective; unable to conserve

Piaget: three mountains task showed that children in this stage were unable to see from a dolls perspective

Hughes: in a relatable situation, 90% of 3-5 year olds could complete the policeman/naughtyboy task

Concrete operational stage; 7-11; can perform an operation; can only be done if its physical; able to conserve; starting from other peoples perspective

Piaget: children able to complete volume task

Prince-Williams: children in pottery factories could conserve at 6 

Cultural relativism/determinism  some cultures may place more importance on abstract thinking

Formal operational; can think in abstract; logical problem solving 

Bradmetz: 62 15 year olds, only one had reached this level 

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Vygotsky's theory

Ability is due to social interaction; speech develops, going from  preintellectual (0-3) to egocentric (3-7) to inner speech (7+); speech is used as a problem solving tool

Vygotsky: inner speech increased when obstacles wer eintroduced to a task

Berk: Found children talked to themselves more when working by themselves or when a teacher was unable to help 

Cultural bias: Berk and Garvin: those in low income familes developed inner speech at a slower rate than middle class children (due to amount of social interaction) 

Vygotsky identified two main mental functions; elementary and higher; elementary found at birth and include sensation and attention; higher involves problem solving, language and thinking; society required to make the transition

Grendler: Children in papa new guinea used body parts to count, limiting higher mental functions Flynn: IQ increasing on average and claimed to be due to society becoming more advanced

ZPD; difference between what a child can do on its own and what it can do with help; must be given scaffolding via a MKO; can only reach its full potential this way 

Freund: providing a MKO before a task was set increased the success rate of the task when the child was on their own 

McNaughton: a child was able to reach a higher jigsaw puzzle level when the mother was present to act as a MKO          ZPD's real world application in teaching

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Application of vygotsky

- Idea of the ZPD; task set at the right level; involves identifying the childs ZPD; not too difficult not too simple

Wood: Adjusting level of assistance at a task ot maintain the child in the ZPD improved success of the task

McNaughton: Completion of a puzzle was highest when the child had been put in their ZPD

- Helping using MKOs; anyone with enough knowledge to assist; peer tutoring

Tudge; found the best peer tutors are those who are ahead of their tutees yet worked in the ZPD, effectiveness droppe when not enough scaffolding was provided 

Barnier: the performance of 6 to 7 year olds on spatial tasks was sugnificantly improved when tutored by 7 to 8 year olds

However it suggests a child can be nurtured into any problem

More appropriate for collectivist cultures 

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Application of Piaget

-Readiness: Right age to allow them to complete the task; should be at appropriate level;  programmes should be altered to suit childrens ages

Danner and Day: found that coaching 10 year olds had no effect

Bryant: Preoperational children could be trained to perform certian logical tasks

- task is repeated until the child is ready; teachers role is to allow the child to develop through discovery learning

Meadows: found that tuition sped up development and decreased time to complete a task, goes against dicovery learning

Child: criticised applying Piaget's theory to education, claimed that discovery learning is slow and a teacher should not sit back and wait. Teachers should encourage children to progress through the stages

Hugely limiting to some children 

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Kohlbergs theory of moral understanding

-Kohlberg believed in the existence of six stages; preconventional: stage one = punishment and obedience, stage two= if their needs are satisfied

Kohlberg: cross cultural study of UK, Taiwan, Mexico, the US, and Yucatan. Kohlberg found very similar stages up to stage 5

Snarey: in 44 countries found stages 1-4 at similar ages but very few progressed to stage 5 

Those in stage 5 were from western cultures, Isawa found that Japan and US differ in moral types, suggesting the theory is biased to the collectivist cultures. 

Conventional stage: stage 3= goodboy/badboy stage 4= law understanding

Colby: Conducted a study on USA male ppts and found by 10 they were in stage 2 and by 22 were in stage 3 or 4

The final level is the post conventional level: stage 5= can determine which laws carry more moral backing than others, stage 6= personal ethics have been set up but can take into account other peoples perspective

Colby: found the two stages are impossible to distinguish using the dilemmas and interviews. Kohlberg: found no evidence to suggest stage 6 exists in normal participants, he even suggested himself that stage 6 may not even exist 

Theory shows gender bias: Gilligan refused the suggestion made by kohlberg that females have lower moral reasoning. She found males and females differ in the type of reasoning so using male standards is not valid for females. 

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Childs sense of self

-Self recognition; earliest indicator; it is said that all humans are able to recognise themselves after the age of 2; rouge test; claimed the sense of self and other is linked

Lewis and Brooks-gunn: 75% of children aged 21 to 24 months old could recognise themselves (rouge test)              Bischof-Kohler: sense of self developed by 20 months

Bischof-Kohler used the mirror test alongside levels of empathy for the researcher and found that the two correlated, therefore as sense of self develops so does empathy for others

- understanding emotions; by age 3-6 children can understand the feelings of others as they are aware of themselves and therefore of others; relies on being self aware, able to pretend and be able to seperate real from fantasy. 

Harris: used ellie the elephant and the monkey, found that by 6 children can decentre                                                      Piaget: 2-6 unable to see from the perspective of others 

-ToM: ability to attribute  mental states, knowledge, beliefs, wishes, desires and feelings to oneself and others; baron-cohen referred to mind reading as we read others mental states without knowing; the theory of mind predicts that autistic children will lack a theory of mind; it develops subsequently developing an understanding of oneself

Baron-Cohen: Autistic children unable to pass a false belief task (sally ann) , showing they may lack a ToM                Application: Helps understanding of the disorder and aids treatment (helping them pretend play) 

Perner: Children before the age of 3 could not pass a false belief task (smarties), proving ToM is not innate 

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Childs understanding of others

Understanding others views we can better empathise with them; Baron-Cohen highlighted two types: perceptual (understanding that other people see differently) and conceptual (understand how they feel); Flavell made a similar point but referred to them as stage 1 and stage 2 

Flavell: painted a sponge to look like a rock, 3 year old would say it looks like a rock and therefore is a rock, 5 year olds would say it looks like a rock but really its a sponge

Gopnik: asked what will your friend think it is, younger would say their friend would think its a sponge but 5+ would say they'd think it's a rock

Selman's stages of p.t; used Holly dilemma; egocentric, social informational ( different views due to different information), self reflective (stepping in another persons shoes), third party (can imagine how the self and other look), societal (understand the 3rd party view can be influence by other values

Edelstein: longtitudinal study of 7,9,12 and 15 year olds, responses to the Holly dilemma reflected stages outlined by Selman

Clark: Were able to identify the stages and at what age each one occured

Real world application: therapy for children with emotional and behvioural difficulties, called pair therapy and helps perspective taking and negotiation skills  Suggests perspective taking is determined. Manly found mistreatment can alter p.t level 

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biological explanation of social cognition

being socially adept was an advantage; the ability to understand others would increase our rate of survival especially if it involved copynig others; the MNS allows us to to produce very similar brain activity when watching someone perform an action as if we were doing it ourselves

Gallese: fMRI showed brian activity the same when observing and when doing a grasping action Rizzoletti: watching vs doing a hand gesture produced the same brain activity in ppts

Reductionist: Gopnik- takes complex altruistic behaviour and reduces them down to a collection of neurones firing

If autistic children lack a theory of mind and MNS then it proves that the MNS is an advantageous mechanism for humans to understand others; a lack of MNS impairs social cognition

Depretto: found that autistic children showed less activity in the MNS as they watched or copied the expressions of others, more severe the autism the less brain activity shown Lacoboni: autistic children asked to imitate facial expressions and found no brain activity in brain regions associated with the MN. worse the autism the less brain activity 

Nature vs nurture: Hebb developed the theory of cell assembly (those that fire together wire together) MNS not 100% nature

The MNS may allow true empathy of others and feel their pain 

Phillips: found that brain areas similar if feeling disgust or watching someone disguste. Follow up: pattern of firing similar to recieving and watching loved ones have same electrodes attached to them 

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Formation of relationships

Reward/need satisfaction: operant- positive reinforcement for being with that person (negative reinforcement- gets rid of negative issues) 

Griffit: participants rated experimenter higher if they had rated their performance better

Cate: relationship satisfaction rated higher when rewards were higher

Classical: partner associated with pleasant circumstances

Griffit: onlookers rated higher if experimenters positively evaluated their performance

Veitch: participants more attracted to another student if a good news bulletin was played before


Similarity theory: 2 stages: sorting those who are similar and avoiding dissimilar, then those remaining have a higher chance

Lehr: stangers described as similar were more attractive to people 

Speakman: found partners often choose partners with similar body fat 

Evolutionary approach: most physcially attractive

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Theories of maintenance

Social exchange theory: profit or loss; aim to minimize costs and maximise rewards; development depends on how mutually beneficial the relationship feels

Mills: other types: score-keepers and those with genuine concern about the other                                                       Murstein: only insecure and suspicious people tend to score-keep

Comparisons levels used to assess rewards: Comparison level (expectations) Comparison level for alternatives (other relationships)

Rusbult: those in profitable relationships judged others as less attractive

Agnew: found rewards minus costs is a much better predictor of commitment to a relationship

CLA can explain why women stay in abusive relationships: the alternative is no financial support 

Equity theory: achieve fairness; unfair leads to distress; what people put in they expect back

Dainton: those in inequity relationships showed lower satisfaction

Strafford: those in equal relationship more satisfied than those over-benefitted

Moghaddam: short term relationships only

Only relevant to individualistic cultures

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Breakdown of relationships

Ducks model of dissolution: Breakdown, intrapsychic, dyadic, social, grave dressing

Tashiro: found everyone grave dresses before they put their relationship to distress

Akert: those who instigated the break up sufferers in different ways to the other partner

Application: theory suggests communicaiton helps therefore counselling can help 

Duck also outlined reasons for dissolution: including lack of maintenance

Rohfling: found 70% of student HAD been in a long distance relationship

Stone: found it wasnt just the distance, it was the effort to maintain the relationship

Lee's stages: dissatisfaction, exposure, negotiation, resolution, termination

Lee: found evidence for these stages and found stronger, more intimate relationships 

Akert: however he found some people may not have a role in the stages, for example some may not experience dissatisfaction (cannot apply to both)

Culturally specific: some cultures require all of the family to aggree to a break up

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sexual selection and human reproductive behaviour

2 types of sexual selection: Intra and inter; Men and women differ: women: ability to protect, ability to provide, handicap shows strong genes. Men: reproductive ability, many sexual partners. sexual selection vs natural selection

Singh: women prefer WHR ideal is 0.85 (broad)

Buss: women wanted tall strong and healthy

Singh: ideal WHR is 0.7, wide child bearing hips

Buss: also found men preferred wider hips

Clark: 75% of males agreed to have sex with a total stranger

Schmitt: 16000 people, found men reported wanting to have sex with more people than women 

Kenrick: Teenage males prefer women 5 years older than themselves theory cannot explain this

Deterministic: Richard Dawkins claims we can override biology with free will

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sex differences in parental investment

Males and females do not invest equally; Females: limited offspring, higher costs, post and prenatal. Males: unlimited number, fear of cuckoldry, females fear in shift of emotions 

Buss: US males had a higher physical response to sexual indidelity whereas women reacted to emotional infidelity

Harris: men respond to any sexual stimulus 

Daly: Children are 60% more likely to be killed by a step parent

Anderson: Found fathers werent bothered whether resources went to biological or non biological offspring

Lacks historical validity: theory formulated in 1972, society has changed and investments are becoming more similar

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The Influence of childhood on relationships

Atatchment theory: nature of attachment persists onto adulthood; provides a template; continuity hyp; insecure: problems with intimacy, invest little, pessimistic, sex without feelings; secure: trusting, optimistic, high self esteem, comfortable sharing feelings

Hazan: securely more optimistic about the relationship

Belsky: secure men more positive and supporting with problem solving with partner

Hazan: insecure more willing to engage in one night stand and preferred minimal emotions with it 

Brennan: insecure more willing to have sex with no feelings for that person

Continuity hypothesis is deterministic: Zimmerman: found events such as divorce can alter future

interaction with peers can influence: shift from parents to friends to relationships, all a template

Hartup: Popular children had positive outcomes which could influence quality of relationships

Connely: Intimacy with friends laid foundations for the degree of intimacy in adult relationships

Gender differences: girl behaviour is different to boy behaviour in friendship groups

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Influence of culture on romantic relationships

Western: more mobility, degree of choice; non-western: arranged marriages, less mobility, less interaction with strangers. 

Epstein: arranged marriages work well and divorce rates are lower

Xiaohe: women with more choice and 'in love' were happier with their marriage

Individualistic: Interest of individual for love; collectivist: interest of the whole family 

Levine: More people in individualistic cultures said they wouldnt marry someone even if they had the right qualities (49% indians said yes vs 7% of english) 

Sprecher: Japanese just as romantic as americans and both expressed a reluctance to marry without love

Culture norms also influences relationships in terms of behaviour and attitudes

Moore: Anglo-australians and chinese-australian students differed in specific differences in attitudes

Ma: American students share feelings earlier than east asian students

Shows historical bias: Xiaohe found been in a shift away from arranged marriages, from 70% (1970) to 10% (1990)

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Social psychological theories of aggression

Social learning theory: observing; rewarded will be repeated, model rewarded will be repeated; Bandura: attention retention motivation production; increasing likelihood: through media, good model, in their skill zone, low self esteem

Bandura: watching model being aggressive resulted in aggressive behaviour, especially if rewarded

Bandure: reported low crime areas are so because they do not copy aggressive behaviour

Bandura: Cartoon characters resulted in just as much violence as real models in children

Williams: introducing TV increased aggression in a remote community


Deindividuation: Lost of sense of individual identity, loosening of inhibition; increase: anonymity and no chance of getting caught

Mann: 48% of suicides involved people in crowds encouraging it

Malmuth: 1/3 american male students would **** if their was no chance of getting caught

Watson diguised warriors more likely to be more aggressive

Application: use of mirrors in football stadiua and close circuit TV cameras 

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Institutional aggression

Importation model: Previous behaviour and traits brought into prison; behaviour same outside including experiences

Mills: those with higher alcoholic dependance had higher levels of aggression inside

Kane: inmates with lower education and unemployment more likely to be aggressive

Deprivation model: liberty, autonomy, goods and services, heterosexual relationships, security; deprivation leads to stress; anger a way of regaining control

Johnston: overcrowding leads to increased aggression due to competition for resources

Megargee: aggressive incidents correlated negatively with the amount of living space

Jiang: found the deprivation model more persuasive explanation than importation model

McCorkle: found no good in explaining rates of prison violence and was more due to staff and management e.g. poor staff turnover

Application: some prisons allow interactions with those of the opposite sex

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Neural and hormonal mechanisms in aggression

Serotonin: Neurotransmitter prevents stimulation of the amygdala; high levels = less aggression; been linked to impulsive behaviour as it makes amygdala more susceptible to external stimulation

Deville: Drugs increasing serotonin reduced aggression levels

Linnoila: relationship betwwen low levels and highly explosive violent behaviours

Works in line with the evolutionary theory: Higely found monkeys that survived had higher levels of serotonin, wereas those with low levels were dead or missing (it increased sociability)

Testosterone: sex hormone; causes increased aggression from adult onwards; influences areas associated with behavioural reactions; thought to influence other hormones; males more aggressive

Connor: rats after puberty could be made to show more aggression by increasing t levels

Klinesmith: when assembling a gun, testosterone levels increased and led to aggressive behaviour

Real life application: governments debating whether gun ownership increases aggression

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Genetic factors in aggression

MAOA gene: gene regulates production of Monoamine oxidase A; regulates serotonin; low levels of MAOA = more aggression

Brunner: Dutch family had mutant MAOA gene and subsequently had retardation and impulsive aggression

Cases: Mice made to have mutant MAOA gene had behaviour alterations such as aggression

Real world application: suggests ability to genetically engineer

XYY 47 syndrome: linked with aggression

William court-brown: 315 violent patients, 9 had xyy, xyy is 1 in 1000 suggesting a link

Mulinsky: xyy on average are taller but no evidence of increased aggression nor higher than average testosterone

Nature/nurture: uses only nature, cannot explain a sudden act of aggression

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Evolutionary explanations of aggression

Jealousy: fear of the loss of a mate; male male competition (access to women) or female female competition (trying to be more attractive)

Buss: found females will criticise other females to reduce rival attractiveness, trigger for aggression to one another

Andersson: Competition for females becomes very intense in many species, often leading to violent rituals between the two 

Women fear emotional infidelity; threat that they will not recieve resources; show aggression when this is threatened

Buss: Higher stress levels when shown emotional infidelity, may be a trigger for aggression

Harris: Women more distressed by thoughts of emotional infidelity

Males fear sexual infidelity (cuckoldry); waste of resources; men have evolved strategies to deter females from infidelity

Wilson: found women who reported men using these tactics were often victims of abuse

Dobash: Most cases of domestic abuse against women were jealous and fear of infidelity

Real world: strategies taught to women as it may be an indicator of abuse and violence

Deterministic: not everyone is violent

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Group display (ritualised acts of aggression) in h

War dances: Rituals before battle to intimidate enemies and to motivate troops

Sua peter: Sira Tua performed by samoan rugby players was adapted to be more aggressive 

Haka: Noticably aggressive and performed before each NZ rugby game, originated from a war dance

Territorial behaviour: mark out and defend territories; it is a valuable resource; often leading to battles for territories

Morris: found Oxford united fans congregated in home supporter areas, resulting in brawls

Shwartz: home advantage is due to territorial dominance

Xenophobia: Chants and signals to players; evolved to display intolerance to people not from their group, helping ancestors to be automatically suspicious of strangers

Foldesi: found that racist conduct lead to increased aggression shown by extremist fans

Real world application: reduce aggression by reducing racism, 'say no to racism' supported by many footballers 

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