Psychology unit 2

  • Created by: Michaela
  • Created on: 27-05-13 08:48

Learning: Classical Conditioning

Key terms:

  • Learning:a relatively permanent change in behavior due to experience
  • Classical Conditioning: a procedure during which an animal or person learns to associate a reflex response with a new stimulus
  • Unconditioned stimulus:the stimulus that produces the reflex response.
  • Unconditioned response:the reflex response to an unconditioned stimulus.
  • Conditioned stimulus:a new stimulus presented with the UCS
  • Conditioned Response:the response that is learnt .it now occurs when the CS is presented
  • Extinction: a conditioned response dies out
  • Spontaneous recovery: a conditioned response that disappeared suddenly reappears.
  • Generalisation:the conditioned response is produced when a similar stimulus is produced tot he original conditioned stimulus
  • Discrimination: the conditioned response is only produced when a specific stimulus is presented.
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Learning: Classical Conditioning

Pavlov (1927)

He noticed that his dog started to salivate when it heard the sound of food buckets. He set up trials over the next few days, and each time he fed the dog he rung a bell for a few seconds and then recorded how much it salivated. Then the bell was rung and no food was given and the amount of saliva recorded, it turned out to be the same as when the food was given. 

Pavlov then tried other procedures to investigate, for example, how long the learning would last. He discovered that if he continued to ring the bell without giving the dog any food, after a short time the dog would no longer salivate. He called this extinction. Then after a short period during which no bell had been rung. Pavlov would suddenly ring the bell and the dog would immediately salivate again, he called this response spontaneous recovery.

In another set of trials he found that even if he changed the sound of the bell the dog would still salivate, he said this was generalisation as the dog had widened its learned response, the CR to a similar CS, a new bell sound. He found that he could stop this generalisation by ringing a number of bells but only presenting food to one of them. The dog stopped salivating at the sound of all the other bells, he called this discrimination.

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Learning: Classical Conditioning

Watson and Rayner (1920)

A) To see if the emotional response of fear could be conditioned in a human being.

M) Albert was 11 months old, he seemed to like a white lab rat and had no fear of any white furry objects. In the conditioning trials the rat was shown to Albert and, as he reached for it, a metal bar was hit very hard with a hammer, behind his back. This was done several times.

R) After seven times the rat was presented to Albert but he screamed and tried to run away. He did this even though the bar was not by the hammer and there was no loud noise. Albert also screamed when he was shown a Santa hat and a fur coat.

C) Watson and Rayner showed that fear responses could be learnt and even very young children could learn in the way suggested by classical conditioning. 

E) The study was very unethical as it likely mentally scarred the child for life. Furthermore it cannot be generalised to other children as it was only done on one, also as it was not a usual everyday situation in a lab it lack eco validity.ethnicty /age

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Practical Applications of Classical Conditioning

  •  many dog trainers use classical conditioning techniques to help people train their pets.
  • These techniques are also useful in the treatment of phobias or anxiety problems.
  • Teachers are able to apply classical conditioning in the class by creating a positive classroom environment to help students overcome anxiety or fear. Pairing an anxiety-provoking situation, such as performing in front of a group, with pleasant surroundings helps the student learn new associations. Instead of feeling anxious and tense in these situations, the child will learn to stay relaxed and calm.
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Remember :when asked to show how this new response association is learnt you must use the classical conditioning schedule (the steps in the procedure tot he new conditioned response)

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Learning:Operant Conditioning

Key terms:

  • Operant Conditioning: learning due to the consequence of behaviour,through positive or negative reinforcement
  • Law of effect:behaviours that are followed by rewards are usually repeated,those that are punished are usually not repeated .
  • Punishment: a stimulus that weakness behaviour because it is unpleasant and we try to avoid it .
  • reinforcement:a consequence of behaviour that encourages or strengthens a behaviour-reward
  • positive reinforcement: a reward or a pleasant consequence that increases the likelihood that a behaviour or action will be repeated
  • negative reinforcement: when an unpleasant experience is removed after a behaviour or action has been made increasing the likelihood of that behaviour or action being repeated
  • Behaviour shaping:changing behaviour in small steps.

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Learning:Operant Conditioning

Thorndike (1911)

  • studied the problem solving abilities of animals.
  • Designed puzzle box in which he placed a cat.
  • Task: the cat has to escape-when the string was pulled the latch would lift and the door would open.
  • By accident pulled the string and learnt that if it pulled it the latch would open allowing it to escape.
  • After 20 trials the cat escaped very quickly
  • Thorndike stated that the cat was learning due to trial and error and that the escape was a pleasant consequence that encouraged the string pulling behavior and not a different behaviour.

Thorndike's hypothesis:

If a certain response has a pleasant consequence,it is more likely tan other responses to occur in the same circumstances.-law of effect

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Learning:Operant Conditioning

Skinner (1939) studied operant conditioning by conducting experiments using animals which he placed in a “Skinner Box” which was similar to Thorndike’s puzzle box.

  1. A hungry rat would be placed in the box
  2. The rat would produce many different actions such as sniffing or grooming
  3. By accident the rat would press the lever and be presented with food ( positive reinforcement)
  4. Every time the behavior of ” lever pressing ” was produced it would be reinforced by a food  pellet.
  5. Sometimes there would be an electric shock fromt he floor of the box ,this shock would disappear when the lever was pressed (negative reinforcement) .
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Learning:Operant Conditioning

  • unishment is something horrible like yelling , pain or shocking. It is a stimulus that weakens behavior because it is unpleasant and we try to avoid it. It stops one unwanted behavior.
  • Negative Reinforcement is not horrible it is the removal of either something”bad” or “good”.
  • Positive reinforcement is the  giving of a reward such as the pressing of the lever means food in Skinner.
  •  Negative reinforcement is the withdrawal of punishment such as pressing the lever stops the shocks.
  • Penalty is removing something to get less of a action .e.g confiscating or removing rights.

Positive punishment targets an UNWANTED behavior with ADDING an unwanted consequence. 
Negative reinforcement TAKES AWAY an unwanted consequence to gain a WANTED behavior

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Learning:Operant Conditioning

Examples in Real Life :

  • Negative Reinforcement :You decide to clean up the mess in your room in order to avoid getting in a fight with your mother. "Billy hates when his mom nags him to do the dishes. He starts to do the dishes immediately after finishing a meal to avoid his mother’s nagging.
  • Lisa always complains of a headache when it is time to start doing her homework. Her parents allow her to go to bed without doing her homework.
  • Studying for an exam to avoid getting a poor grade. Low grade as a negative reinforcer for studying (but.. a high grade is a positive reinforcer for studying at the same time)
  • Positive Reinforcement : A mother gives her son candy for cleaning up his toys.
  • • A girl receives AED 50.00 for every A she earns on her report card.
  • Punishment : A student does not listen to the teacher during a lesson .The student is shouted at and given a detention.
  • Penalty: In school a kid is caught on a cellphone , the phone is then confiscated form the kid.
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Applications of the Conditioning procedures

  • Treatment  of phobias: a persistent and irrational fear of an object,activity or situation.The typical symptoms are intense feelings of fear and anxiety avoid the object,activity or situation
  • Phobias are fear response gone wrong: Normal Response-
  • UCS-----UCR

when someone has a phobia their fear response  is to something that has little or no danger

  • screaming -----fear
  • screaming + spider ------fear
  • spider-----fear

Understanding the connection allows for psychologists to treat phobias

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Applications of the Conditioning procedures

Systematic Desensitization-A treatment of phobias in which the person is taught to relax and then is gradually exposed to the feared object. The fear the people experience in phobias is replaced by a feeling of a relaxation.

  • Example: Phobia of snakes
  • 1.    The counselor or psychologist would begin treating  a phobia, such as a fear of snakes, by firstly teaching the person to relax by listening to music or relaxing muscles so that when they are presented with the first example of  snakes  they are not anxious or scared
  • 2.    The psychologist or the counselor with the patient would then build a hierarchy of fears in order of what is least frightening to most frightening
  • 3.    The first level may be the word snake, which would be presented to the patient while relaxed.
  • 4.    This would then be progressed to a picture of a snake.
  • Finally the patient is presented with  and actual snake. The patient has to be very calm and relaxed at this stage in order for the process to work.
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Applications of the Conditioning procedures

Hierarchy of fears: a series of feared events ranked from least frightening to most frightening


  • Therapists often prefer this method, as it is less traumatic as it is done in stages and the patient is able to withdraw from the treatment at any stage.
  • However it takes longer then flooding but is also highly effective as the patient is not stressful and anxiety arousing.

Flooding A treatment for phobias that involves the immediate exposure of the person to the feared object, activity or event until there is no fear response.

Evaluation: Flooding allows for the connection between the CS-CR to be broken. This has to be done without stopping in order for the therapy to work -Therefore it has some ethical issue.

  • The participant losses their right to withdraw
  • The therapy may not break the connection but it may even produce more anxiety and fear if not done properly. It is an extremely traumatic experience.
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Applications of the Conditioning procedures

Flooding Example:

Example: Fear of Heights

Therapy involves exposing the patient to their fear rapidly and frequently until the association is broken.

  1. The patient would be flooded with thoughts and actual experiences.
  • The patient would have to possibly have to imagine standing on the edge of a very tall building or even visualize standing on the edge of a high mountain.
  • They would then have an actual experience such as standing at the edge of a high mountain or even skydiving for an extreme case.

One application of flooding is to treat phobias

one implcation of flooding is that using it may mean treating people in an unethical way.

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Applications of the Conditioning procedures

Aversion Therapy-It is a treatment for addictions which makes the addict have a negative reaction to the addictive substance

  • Aim: to get the patient to have an extremely negative reaction to addict substance.
  • Example: Nail varnish (to stop people biting their nails) + bad taste
  • Nail varnish + nail biting + bad taste
  • Nail biting + bad taste
  • This works because the nail varnish is designed to produce a bad taste after patient bites their nails. The patient forms a  new association with nail biting and instead of biting nails as a sense of relief it now brings a bad taste which is undesirable-Patients desire to bite nails decreases
  • Salty water + vomiting
  • Salty water + alcohol + vomiting
  • Alcohol + vomiting
  • This works as the salty water is used to only to produce a vomiting reaction after the alcohol.Therefore a new association is formed where the alcohol is associated with feeling of illness and vomiting and not a sense of pleasure.
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Applications of the Conditioning procedures

Evaluation of Aversion Therapy:

  • Alone this therapy is efficient it is more successful when paired with another type of therapy.
  • Aversion therapy can be an unpleasant experience for the person and therefore many ethical issues are raised.
  • May revert back to old habits if not given additional support and therpay-younger addicts.

Token Economies-rewards that are given to improve behaviour and can be exchanged for other goods

  • Primary Reinforce: a reward such as food or water that the animal or person needs to surviv
  • Secondary reinforce:a reward such as money or a token that can be exchanged for a primary reinforce.
  • set up in hospital psychiatric wards to reward socially acceptable behaviour.
  • Every Time the appropriate behaviour is shown the staff reward the individual immediately.
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Applications of the Conditioning procedures

Evaluation if Token Economies

  • makes the individual focus on the reward rather then the self satisfaction
  • the learned behaviour may not apply in the real world,outside the institute walls
  • if the reward is not immediate the associateion will be lost as the behaviour is not reinforced.
  • ethical issue-prohibiting people from doing things they enjoy
  • some suggest if we learn behavior due to reward we will not become socia or kind humans
  • we should learn to do something because it 'feels good'
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Social Influence: Conformity

Key terms:

  • Social Influence: the effect other people have on our behaviour includes conformity,loafing or obedience.
  • Conformity:a change in a persons behaviour or opinions as the result of group pressure
  • Auto kinetic effect: an optical illusion,in which a spot of light on a screen appears to move when in actual fact it does not.

Deutsch and Gerald (1955)-Duel process method

  • Informative social influence: need to be right. Ambiguous situation and the individual is unsure of correct behaviour,observe others behaviour and assumes they are corrct and adopts theri behavior.Especially the case when believed that someone has superior knowledge to ourselves a restaurant -which fork to use.
  • Normative social influence :need to be liked. in a social setting there is a string desire to be accepted by others so the individual copies the behaviour the 'popular' group
  • Extent of normative behaviour depend who we are with at the time.

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Social Influence: Conformity

Sherif (1935)

A) To discover the effect on judgment off listening to other people.

M) He asked participants to estimate how far a spot of light moved when they were sitting in an otherwise completely dark room. In fact the light didn't move but it did appear so because of something called the autokinetic effect, an optical illusion.

R) Individually the ppts gave a variety of estimates which differed quite widely from each others. However after being allowed to undertake the same task in groups of three, their estimates became more similar until finally they were close.

C) The  ppts used other peoples opinions to help them form a judgement in an ambiguous situation.

E)Lacks eco validity – it was done in a laboratory situation under circumstances  that they were not familiar with and with strangers may have been more likely to conform because they were trying to impress strangers/ Very old study – 1935 – outdated – back then people couldn’t have own opinion, more obliged to conform with society so they would be more likely to conform to the experiment/Demand characteristics.

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Social Influence: Conformity

Asch (1951) :  To investigate whether people could be influenced by other people’s opinions to give an answer they knew to be wrong. In this way it would be possible to see if people were conforming. 

M) Ppts were shown sets of four lines. For each set the ppt had to say whether line A, B or C was the same length as the test line. When tested alone, the ppts rarely made a mistake (error rate of less than 1%). However, ppts also had to give their answers as part of a group. The rest of the group was instructed to give incorrect answers for some of the tests.

R) On 32% of the trials where the rest of the group gave the wrong answer, the ppts gave the same wrong answer as the rest of the group, rather than the obviously correct answer. In fact 74% of the ppts gave at least one wrong answer.

C) The only reason for this 32% error rate was hearing the incorrect answers previously given. Those who gave incorrect answers told Asch they knew their answers were wrong but did not want to go against the rest of the group. This clearly demonstrates normative social influence.

E) It lacks ecological validity as it was done in a lab setting, also there are many demand characteristics. It was a child of its time. Only done uni students.

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Social Influence: Obedience

Key terms:

  • Obedience:following the orders for someone we believe to have authority.
  • Socialisation: the way we are raised to behave and the things we are taught to accept as normal
  • buffer: something that creates a distance between the teacher and the leaner


  • Space shuttle: Challenger explosion could have been prevented as the authority figures within the organisation knew about it but chose to go ahead with it.
  • Hitler and the Holocaust 
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Social Influence: Obedience

Milgram (1963)  A) To seehow far people would obey an unreasonable order.

M) 40 male ppts volunteered to take part in what they thought was an experiment about memory and learning. made to believe they were giving an electric shock to a ‘learner’ every time he got an answer wrong. The learner was an actor and the shocks were not real. . The ppt was seated in front of a ‘shock generator’ that had 30 switches marked from 15 volts up to 450.

The learner had to remember a pair of words, and the ppt had to deliver a shock that increased in severity with each mistake the learner made. As the shocks increased, the ppt heard the learner groan in pain, protest and eventually yell to be released.  After doing a lot of yelling, the learner then just fell silent. This made the ppt want to stop so the experimenter would provide verbal prods such as, ‘the experimenter requires that you continue’.

R) Prior to the experiment, Milgram asked psychiatrists how far they thought the ppts would go, the consensus was that no more than 1% would deliver a 450 volt shock. However, despite the ppts suffering a lot of stress (with three having seizures) they all delivered 300 volts, and 65% went all the way to 450.

C) People are prepared to obey quite extraordinary orders if they think that the person giving them is in a position of authority.

E) Very unethical, not fully informed, may have felt right to withdraw taken away. Demand characteristics but then do a bounce back and say its a vital part of the experiment. Child of its time that changed public opinion.

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Social Influence: Obedience

Hofling et al. (1966)

A) To see if people would follow an unreasonable order in their normal work environment.

M) Hofling contacted 22 nurses individually by phone. Claiming to be a doctor he instructed them to give a patient twice the maximum dosage of a drug called Astrofen.

R) Of the 22, 21 were prepared to follow his orders, despite the max dosage being clearly marked on the bottle.

C) Nurses are likely to obey the instructions of a doctor even when there may be bad consequences for the patient.

E) Study lacked ecological validity as the nurses were not allowed to discuss the orders with anyone and the drug was not real, also nurses may be asked to give patients more than the max dosage quite regularly by trained doctors without questioning it. Also no one was fully informed of the exp.

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Social Influence: Obedience

Bickman (1974)

A) He wanted to know if people were more likely to obey an order if it came from someone in a uniform.

M) He had actors dress as either a security guard or just in a casual jacket. They then asked people sitting in a park to pick up some litter.

R) What he found was that 80% obeyed the ‘guard’ whilst only 40%  when the actor was wearing casual clothing.

C) Wearing a uniform will increase the sense that a person is a legitimate authority figure.

E) No informed consent, too many uncontrollable variables. May not apply to most situations as the asks are so minor.

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Social Influence: Obedience

Reasons for obedience:

  • socialisation: we are taught at a young age to obey authority figures -parents /teachers and it becomes a normal thing for us to do.
  • legitimate authority figure: Yale professor/white coat and clipboard-have superior knowledge to the learner eg. you dont question doctors are teachers
  • Gradual Commitment:eg.general increase in the shocks in Milgram-difficult for ppt to know when to draw the line- given someone 150 v already why not 165v
  • Buffers:shielded form the reactions and consequences of action-easier to deal with
  • not feeling responsible: Milgram suggested the situation caused people to loose their sense of responsibility.Here the ppt were acting on behalf of someone-they were just doing what they were told-stopped them feeling they would be blamed for their actions.
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Social Influence: Deindividuation

Key Terms

  • Deindividuation; The state of losing our sense of individuality and becoming less aware of our own responsibility for our actions
  • Anonymous:being able to keep our identity hidden
  • Closed-circuit television (CCTV): a television system often used for surveulnce
  • Mundane realism:an everyday situation, that is life like and not artificial

Festinger(1952) first used the term deindividuation- people lose snes of right and wrong and therefore lose sense of responsibility for actions.

Most people act in socially acceptable ways because if they didn't there would be punishment-but this can only occur if it is clear who is responsible

Fetsinger suggested that deindividuation will most likely take place in a crowd because we become anonymous-reason why mobs behave differently from people on their won.

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Social Influence: Deindividuation

Zimbardo (1969)

A) To see if people in a big city behave in a more antisocial way than people in a small town.

M) He parked a car in each place with its bonnet up, as if it had broken down, and observed what people did as they passed by.

R) Immediately people began stealing parts of the car in NYC and within two weeks there was very little left of it. However in Palo Alto the only time someone touched the car was when someone lowered the bonnet to protect the car's engine from the rain.

C) The deindividuation caused by living in a big city leads to an increase in antisocial behaviour. 

E) Over concludes, the method does not lead directly to the conclusion. Also there are too many methodological issues and the data is probably more of an indication of socioeconomic demographics.stealing for survival/cannot be generalised to other countries only in USA

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Social Influence: Deindividuation

Zimbardo (1969)

A) To see the effect of hiding the identity of ppts on the size of electric shocks they are prepared to give.

M) Female uni students were put into one of two groups when playing the role of the teacher. The first had to wear lab coats with hoods and and weren't introduced to each other. The second wore their own clothes and badges.

R) The shocks given by the first group were twice the size of the shocks being given by the second group.

C) Being able to hide their identity leads people to behave in crueller ways than they otherwise would because the person on the receiving end does not know who they are. This means there are less likely to be any consequences for what they do.

E) Over concludes, many many ethical issues. Child of its time. /lacks mundane realism/eco val

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Social Influence: Deindividuation

Fcators affecting deindividuation

  • Being able to hide ones identity

allows for anonymity and decreases threat of punishment

  • Wearing uniform

uniforms encourage us to be like everyone else who wears te same uniform-expected to behave a certain way-may even have written guidelines like a code of conduct-in such situations we don't make our own decisions about how to doctors and policeman we expect them all to be the same and not individual

  • Being part of a gang or clearly identifiable group

people expect us to behave like others in the group eg. dress like a goth people expect us to act like a goth-Deindividuation occurs when we act like a group and not individuals

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Social Influence: Deindividuation

Practical Applications

  • prevent situations in which people can remain anonymous-CCTV cameras used o monitor peoples behavior-being able to identify individuals would decrease anti social behavior-as threat of punishment increases.

Practical Implication

  • when wearing uniforms people do not act like individuals but rather as a member of a firm or organisation.People are made to wear uniforms so that they are easily identifiable and are less likely to be different form others -this is one reason why children are made to wear school uniform-it makes it harder for them to act independently and so it is easier to control.
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Social Influence: Social Loafing

  • social loafing: putting less effort into doing something when you are with others doing the same thing
  • Culture: a group of people who share similar customes, beliefs and behvaiuors
  • In a group task you are unable to idnetify an individuals performance as every person is being helped by others.

Latane et al. (1967) A) To see whether being in a group would have an effect on how much effort ppts put into a task.

M) Researchers asked 84 ppts to shout and clap as loudly as they could whilst alone or in groups of 6. Each wore headphones so they couldn't hear others.

R) The larger the group size, the less noise the ppts made.

C) People put less effort into doing something when they know others are contributing to the same task than they do when they are the only one.

E) Lacks ecological validity, trivial task so the ppts may have acted differently in any other situation/cultures are differnt/may be unsure/embarrassed

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Social Influence: Social Loafing

Earley (1989)

A) To see if culture makes a difference to social loafing.

M) Ppts from China and from the US had to complete tasks alone and in groups. The level of social loafing was measured by how much effort was put in to the task in each condition by ppts.

R) The US ppts reduced the amount of effort they put in to the task when they were in groups, but the chinese did not.

C) Social loafing does not exist in all cultures. In some, people are prepared to work just as hard for the good of the whole group even when they do not need to.

E) Cannot be generalised to other cultures, there may have been demand characteristics/only holds the extreme ends of the spectrum/does not take into account the general population

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Social Influence: Bystander Intevention

Kitty Gneovese:

  • 1964-young woman was attacked in NY, only yards from her home and the attack contnued for over 30 minutes before she died.Only afterwards did domeone call the police-arrived 4 minutes later.38 neighbours were able to say what happened and give a description of the attackers-this means one of them could have prevented a murder

Latane and Darley (1968) A) To see if people are less likely to react in an emergency when there are others present.

M) They had ppts sit in a room either alone or in threes while completing a questionnaire. While the ppts were doing this, smoke began pouring into the room.

R) Of the ppts, 75% of those sitting alone went to tell someone about the smoke within six minutes, whereas only 38% of those in groups of three did.

C) If there are other people around you, it will make it less likely that you will react in an emergency.

E) Unethical, no informed consent.hard to dtermine what is an emergency if noone reacts

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Social Influence: Bystander Intervention

Key terms:

  • Diffusion of responsibility: in a group of people there is less need for the individual to act because someone else who is present could also do something.
  • Empathy:being able to put yourself into someone else's position psychologically and understand how that person is feeling.
  • Altruism:helping someone without thinking of yourself.
  • Bystander apathy:doing nothing in an emergency when someone is in need of help

Angel Torres

  • 78 paralyzed below the neck after being hit by a car and left 1:30 minute while nobody did anything.10 cars passed but did not stop to help and 2 others turned around. 4 people did call 911 but no one rushed over to help immediately. It was a cruiser that finally passed by and helped.
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Social Influence: Bystander Intervention

Piliavin (1972)

A) To see if the appearance of the victim would influence helping behaviour.

M) Piliavin had an actor pretend to collapse in a train carriage. His appearance was altered several times and the amount of help he received each time was recorded by an observer.

R) When the ‘victim’ carried a walking stick, he received help within 70 seconds, 90% of the time. When he had an ugly facial scar, this dropped to 60%. When he appeared drunk, it dropped to 20%.

C) The appearance of the person needing help will affect whether and how quickly they get help. 

E) various confounding variables/certain kind of people catch the train/ethical no consent/not genuine situation -artificial

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Social Influence: Bystander Intervention

Bateson et al. (1983)

A) To discover if the similarity of a victim to the bystander will affect whether or not they receive help.

M) Ppts watched a woman who they thought was receiving electric shocks. Each ppt was made to think the woman was either like themselves or not like themselves. They were then given the opportunity to take the women's place in order to stop her suffering

R) More ppts were prepared to take the place of the woman they thought to be similar to themselves than dissimilar.

C) People are more likely to offer help to someone they feel is similar to themselves in some way than to someone they cannot relate to. Bateson claimed it is because we feel greater empathy for people like ourselves, and it causes us more distress to seem them suffering. Helping them relieves this distress.

E) Very unethical/may have demand characteristics/lacks eco val/only used as a confederate may have helped due to the stereotype of women being weaker

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Social Influence: Bystander Intervention

Schroeder et al. (1995)

A) To explore different reasons for bystanders not helping.

M) They studied the findings and conclusions from many previous pieces of research.

R) They were able to provide an alternative explanation for why bystanders did nothing to help when others were present.

C) Bystanders are distressed and concerned about victims but, when other people are present, they believe that someone else might be more capable of helping, or can more easily help themselves.

E) Collates studies from a number of different cultures and time periods/meta analysis/different methods/ researcher bias/interpretations are different

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Social Influence implications


  • decision making in juries-it is highly likely that if 11 people believe the defendant to be guilty the final juror will agree whether they disagree privately-difficult to disagree with the majority.

Social Loafing:

  • when people are in a group the individual effort decreases-may occur in team games or in class room presentations-some will do majority of the work while others wil get away with minimal contribution.

Bystander Intervention:

  • research has shown us that people who witness a small boy being dragged through the streets crying for his mother,are unlikely to intervene-James Bulger.Latene and Darley have shown that if there are lits of people present helping behaviour will be reduced. It is also hard to determine whether a situation is an emergency if no one is acting and even if people did realise diffusion of responsibility would affect it as well.
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Sex and Gender Identity

  • Sex Identity: a biological term.A child's sex can be identified by their hormones and chromosomes,this determines whether the child's sex is male or female. Sex identity  is defined the same in all cultures
  • Gender Identity: a psychological term. A child's gender can be identified by their attitudes and behavior,this determines whether the child's gender is masculine or feminine.

Biological Factors:


  • Hormone: testosterone 
  • chromosome: XY


  • Hormone:Oestrogen
  • Chromosomes: **

Gender Identity disorder: people who strong feelings of being born the wrong gender

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Psychodynamic theory of gender development

  • First described by Freud: believed that we have thoughts and feelings we are not aware of because they are unconscious.
  • Phallic Stage: Freud's 3rd stage of psycho sexual development in which gender development takes place
  • Identification: to adopt the attitudes and behavior of the same sex parent.
  • Oedipus complex: the conflict a boy experiences in the phallic stage as he unconsciously desires his mother and is afraid of his father- afraid of castration and so in order to resolve this feeling of anxiety and conflict he gives up his feelings for his mother and identifies with his father
  • Electra Complex: the conflict experienced by a girl as she unconsciously desires her father and is afraid of losing her mother's love- already been castrated and is not as fearful as the boy. In order to resolve the conflicted feeling she gives up her feelings for her father and identifies with her mother and behaves in a similar way.
  • Gender Development in lone parent households:
  • Freud: if a child is brought up in a lone parent house hold he/she will have poorly developed gender identity -did not undergo and resolve the Oedipus/Electra complex-Identity problem
  • Boy raised without father- no development of masculine behaviour as there is no father to identify with during the phallic stage- Freud claimed that bot would be homosexual
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Psychodynamic theory of gender development

Freud (1909)

A) To investigate the phobia of Little Hans

M) Hans’ father wrote to Freud to explain the case of his son who had developed a phobia of horses: that they might bite him or fall down, particularly scared of large white horses with black around their mouths- this was analysed by Freud

R) He said the boy was experiencing the Oedipus complex, that he unconsciously sexually desired his mother and saw his father as a rival and feared castration, this was displaced onto the horse. Appearance of horse was related to his dad who had a dark beard, fear of being bitten represented his fear of castration and and his fear of the horse falling represented his unconscious desire to see his father dead.

C) This supports his ideas about the Oedipus complex.

E) No hard data to support the theory, only uses one child so cannot be generalised/cannot actually be tested/ no proof

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Psychodynamic theory of gender development

Rekers and Moray (1990)

A) To investigate whether there is a relationship between family background and gender disturbance.

M) Researchers rated 46 boys with gender disturbance and gender identity. Family background also researched.

R) Of the group 75% of the most severely gender disturbed boys neither had their biological father or a father substitute living with them.

C) Boys who do not have a father figure living with them are more likely to develop a problem with their gender identities.

E) Extremes cannot be generalised to the norm/ only males/lack of scientific validation-based on the psycho dynamic theory/not always the case

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Evaluation of Psychodynamic theory of gender devel

  • Gender disturbance: not developing the gender identity usaully associated with one's sex.


  • difficult to test-based on unconscious thoughts and feelings.
  • rise in the no. of lone parent households but no rise in homosexulaity as Freud suggested.
  • Psychologist shown that a range of people affet gender development not just parents.
  • little evidence to support the complexes.
  • suggests that the child’s 
  • gender identity is absent before the age of about three and not fully formed until the age of about 
  • five or six. However, children start to show gender-based preferences for toys as early as one year 
  • old, and usually have clear ideas about their own gender identity by the age of three, which 
  • obviously conflicts with Freud’s theory. 
  • It could also be pointed out that Freud’s theories reflect the prevailing views of the time 
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Social Learning Theory of gender development.

Social learning: gender is learnt from watching and copying the behavior of others usng modelling,imitation and vicarious reinforcement.

  • Modelling: a role model provides an example for the child
  • Imitation: copying the behavior of role model.
  • Vicarious reinforcement: learning from the model's behaviour either being punished or rewarded.
  • media:means of communication.


  • similar to them: friends, same sex parents.
  • powerful: tecahers, older brothers and sisters.
  • loving and caring toward them: parents , teachers.

Vicarious reinforcement means that the child will mean form what happens to a role model when he/she carries out a particular behaviour- behaviour rewarded likely to imitate -behaviour punished the child less likely to imitate.

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Social Learning Theory of gender development.

Perry and Bussey (1979)

A) To show that children imitate behaviour carried out by the same sex role model.

M) Children were shown films of role models carrying out activities that were unfamiliar with the children, in one all males played one thing whilst all females played the other. In the second condition some of the male role models and some of the female models played with one activity while the others played with another.

R) In the first condition they imitated what they had seen the same sex role models doing, boys chose the boys activity and girls chose the girls. In the second condition there was no difference in who played what.

C) In an unfamiliar situation children will observe the behaviour of the same sex role models, this gives them information about whether it is appropriate for their sex, if it is they will imitate it.

E) Demand characteristics, no familiarity with role model which could have changed results/unrealistic situation/watching a film -lacks eco val/

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Media and Gender Development

Macklin and Kolbe claimed that children want to imitate characters on TV because they are physically attractive

TV shows males and females stereotyped in certain ways- women are housewives/men are police officers.

Williams (1986)

A) To investigate the effects of television on the gender development of children.

M) In 1975, Williams studied the effects of television on children living in Canada, at the beginning of the study the town was just being provided with TV. He measured the attitudes of children at the beginning of the study and then two year later.

R) The children who now had tv were more sex stereotyped in their behaviour and attitudes compared to two years previous.

C) Gender is learnt by imitating attitudes and behaviour seen on TV.

E) not solely affected by watching role models/other cultural factors/does not apply now changes in stereotypes/only in Canada

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Evaluation of social learning theory of gender dev


  • Ignores biological differences between male and females.
  • does not explain why children who grow up in lone parent house holds without a string same -sex role model do not have difficulty developing their gender.
  • does not explain why 2 children who grow up in the same household with the same roles models have develop different gender identities.
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Gender Schema theory of gender development

Key terms:

  • Gender stereotypes: believing that all males are similar and all females are similar.
  • Gender Schema: a mental building block of knowledge that contains information about each gender.
  • Gender role: behavior seen as masculine and feminine by a particular culture.
  • Highly genedr schematised: where gender is important way for thinking about the world so information is organised to what is gender appropriate and what is gender inappropriated.
  • Martina and Halverson (1981) believe that gender schema's develope with age - age 2 know whether they are boy/girl and are able to identify other of the same and opposite sex.Once aware of sexes they learn about gender from what they see and experience in the environment- very rigid  and stereotyped ideas.
  • Older- gain more knowledge about the world and gender schema's become more flexible.
  • Age 6- children gained complex and detailed knowledge about own gender but less about the other because they are able to label themselves and learn about appropriate behavior and concentrate on that rather then other information associated with the opposite gender- eg. boy may learn dolls are for girls and therefore avoid them and then not learn much.
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Gender Schema theory of gender development

Martin (1989)

A) To show that children’s understanding of gender becomes less stereotyped and more flexible as they get older.

M) Children heard stories about the toys that males and females played with. Some were described as liking gender-stereotyped activities whilst some were described as liking non gender stereotyped activities. The children were then asked to predict what toy each character would like to and not like to play with.

R) The young children only used the sex of the character to decide what other toys he or she would like. They would say the boy would play with trucks even though they had been told he liked playing with dolls. However the older children considered both the sex of the children and the previous toys they liked to play with when predicting what they would like to play with.

C) Older children have a more flexible view of gender than younger children do.

E) lacks eco -val

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Individual differences in gender development

  • Children who are sterotyped look for examples thay surrporth theri idea and ignore or remenber worngly other information that does not fit their schema.A less sterotypes child would recall all facts about gender accurately.

Levy and Carter (1989)

A) To show that there are individual differences in the way children think about gender.

M) Children were shown pictures of two toys and asked to choose which one they would like to play with. Sometimes the toys were stereotypically masculine and sometimes both were stereotypically feminine, sometime one masc one fem. These pictures were shown to high and low gender schematised children.

R) The highly gender schematised children chose quickly between the pictures if they were shown one feminine and one masculine. If however they  were shown two fem or two masc they took longer as they either wanted both of them or neither. The less gender schematised chose on the basis of personal preference. Therefore it took them the same amount of time to chose each way.

C) Highly gender schematised children choose toys on the basis of whether or not they were appropriate for their sex. Less gender schematised children chose on the basis of their personal preference.

E)lacks eco val/not real life task/ lab setting/does not take into account what causes it.

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Evaluation of gender schemas


  • well supported and has intuitive appeal- it fits with our experience.

does not explain the following:

  • why some children are more highly gender schematised then others.
  • why gender beings to develop at 2.
  • why children chose the same sex friends and gender appropriate toys before they are able to correctly identify their own sexual identity.
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  • Aggression: behavior aimed at harming others.
  • Hormones: chemicals released by our endocrine system that affects how are bodies function and how we behave.
  • Chromosomes: the parts of each cell that carry genetic information form our parents.
  • Limbic system: the part of the brain that causes aggressive behavior.
  • Prefrontal cortex: the very front of the brain that is involved in the social and moral behaviorand controls aggression.
  • Brain disease: damage to the brain caused by illness or trauma.

Biological Explanation:

  • hormones: male more aggressive than females due to the presence of testosterone - though to cause aggression in males-supported by the finding that violent crimes have a higher level of testosterone than non-violnent crimes
  • Chromosomal Abnormality: higher then normal proportion of men with an extra Y chromosome amongst violent offenders-XYY-makes men more aggressive than normal.
  • aggression is associated with the limbic system and prefrontal cortex. Brain disease affecting the limbic system and prefrontal cortex may lead to abnormally high levels of aggression

Charles Whitman: 1966,climbed to clock tower at the Uni of Texas and shot 12 people with a high powered rifle.After he was killed it was found he has a tumour pressing on the limbic system which is associated with aggressive behaviour.

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Psychodynamic explantation of agression

  • Thantos: part of our unconscious that causes our aggressive drive
  • Ego Defence mechanism: behaviour strategies used by the individual to protect itself.

Freud-proposed Thanots- an internal instinct driving us towards self destruction. All the time this instinct is building up and causing pressure until we can no longer control it and we do something aggressive.

We protect ourselves from this through ego-defence mechanisms-which redierct our aggression outwardly

  • Displacement:being aggressive towards others.
  • Sublimation: Channelling our aggressive behaviour into suitable activities-painting/sport.

Dollard et al (1939) -argued that we need a trigger for the aggression to spillover.Proposed that the frustration-aggression explanation : as well as having aggression we need something to frustrate us in order for us to release our anger

No actual proof for either explanation/ cannot test this theory

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Social learning theory of agression

  • Vicarious learning: learning by observation
  • Monitoring: judging whether our own behaviour is appropriate or not.
  • Punishment: a stimulus that weakens behaviour because it is unpleasant and we try to avoid it.

Social earning suggest that we learn aggressive behavior by watching others-vicarious learning eg. children swearing because they have heard it else they would not have done it otherwise.

  • children more likely to imitate role models they are familiar with,attractive ,powerful and caring.
  • Reinforcement of aggressive behavior eg. watching a film where a hero defeats the villain by punching and using violent behavior and it then praised for it - the child may learn that it is acceptable and copy it.
  • Bandura (1963) realised that reinforcement is internal as well as external in the form of self satisfaction-we monitor our own behavior and if we feel good about we have done it will strengthen the behavior.
  • Implication: punishment can have the opposite affect on children -parent are role models and are likely to be copied -so if a child is hit he/she will learn to hit others by just experiencing it-teaching the child ,unintentionally, aggressive behavior.
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Development of aggression

Young et al. (1959) ( Biological-hormones)

A) to see what effect hormones have on aggressive behaviour

M) Injected pregnant rhesus monkeys with testosterone and observed the levels of behaviour in their offspring as they developed

R) High levels of testosterone during preg made the females grow up to behaviour more like males, they engaged in rougher activities and challenged the males for dominance

C) Testosterone plays a vital role in aggressive behaviour

E) done on animals does not apply to humans/unethical /

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Development of aggression

Raine (1997) (Biological-brian disease)

A) To investigate the minds of murderers

M) 41 murderers in California given a PET scan and compared to a control group

R) Activity in prefrontal cortex of murderers was lower than that of non.

C) When the pfc and other parts of the brain are not functioning properly it can lead to violent crimes

E) all ppt were violent offenders so we must be acreful about conculsions draw/ does not take into account the social and environmetal affects/background pr personality/

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Development of aggression

Barker (1941) (Frustration-agression)

A)To see the effect of frustration on aggressive behaviour

M) Children were kept waiting a long time before being allowed to play with some toys- behaviour observed

R) More aggressive and destructive than control group

C) Being frustrated does lead to an increase in aggression

E) unethical /lab setting/lacks eco val / demand cahracteristics/

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Development of aggression

Megargee and Mendelson (1962) 

A) To see if there is a link between personality type and aggression

M) People who had committed brutal crimes were interviewed and given personality tests

R) Seem to have been over-controlled and repressed their anger to such an extent that it exploded over something very trivial

C) If aggression is not let out in small doses the build up will be so great it becomes uncontrollable

E ) Generalisation to rest of population, people can lie in interviews, frustration is vague and ambiguous/ what is frustrating for one person may be differnt from another.

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Development of aggression based on social learning

Bandura et al. (1963)

A) To see if 3-6 year olds would imitate the aggressive behaviour they see role models performing towards an inflatable bobo doll.

M) 96 kids split into 4 groups, three saw aggressive behaviour being shown, own behaviour then observed.

R) Children who had seen agg. behaviour were more so than others.

C) Children will imitate how they see others behave

E) artificial situation/ lacks eco val/ role models are strangers/ demand characteristics -they did what they thought they were supposed to do/ only short term does not show the long term effects

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Development of aggression based on social learning

Liebert and Baron (1972)

A) To see if watching violent shows had any effect on agg. behaviour in children.

M) One group was shown violent show, others shown equally exciting sports show, two groups then observed at play.

R) Violent show group were more agg. than other group.

C) Watching tv violence increases the level of agg. in kids behaviour

E) artificial situation/ lacks eco val / parents are not present to explain why aggressive behavioris wrong- if so then aggressive behavior will not prevail. Child is young so parents are more influential than other role models.

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Development of aggression based on social learning

Charlton et al. (2000)

A) To see if the intro of tv would affect the agg. behaviour of kids

M) For 2 years after island of St. Helena got tv the behaviour of children was monitored

R) Children did not show any increase in agg. behaviour

C) Merely watching agg. role models not sufficient to change children's behaviour

E) parents are available to tell them aggressive behavior is wrong/ parents are more influential than other role models./high eco val due to the 2 year long period-natural behavior .Farily recen so the study applies

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Biological methods of reducing aggressive behavior

  • Attention deficit  hyperactivity disorder ( ADHD) : a disorder characterised by short attention span, poor concentration and uncontrollable outburst.
  • Ritalin:drug used to control ADHD , stimulates the prefrontal cortex which is able to control aggressive behavior caused by the limbic system.
  • Psychosurgery: an operation on te brain to remove or destroy the part of the brain that is causing the abnormal behavior.

Merely covers up the aggressive behavior , the individual is not taught how to handle aggressive behavior. Have not be on medication the rest of life may have side effects. Surgery may destroy parts of the brain that do not cause aggression -can never be grown back. May be social and therefore the drug wont be able to control it and learning would be a better way of controlling it.

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Psychodynamic methods of reducing aggression

  • Catharsis: the process of getting rid of you emotions by watching others experiencing the emotion.
  • Displacement
  • Sublimation -sports/ arts/martial arts
  • Frustration-aggression suggest the best way decrease aggression is to avoid frustrating situations-but you my not have control over this eg. your favourite football team losing.
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Social Learning methods of reducing aggression

Bandura (1965)

A) To see if observing a role model being punished would reduce the chance of aggression being copied

M) Children were shown an adult role model either being punished or reinforced for acting aggressively

R) Those children who saw an adult role model being punished were less agg. themselves than those who saw the model reinforced

C) If children see that agg. brings punishment they will not copy it

E)unethical/artificial stituation/ role models are strangers/ It was found that when the children recieved reinforcment for aggression they all copied the aggression shown earlier-suggest children know some behavior is wrong but will copy it any way when they think there is ni punishment.

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Social Learning methods of reducing aggression

Huesmann et al. (1983)

A) To see if teaching kids to think more carefully about what they see would reduce agg.

M) A group was taught to realise what happens on TV is fake, that the camera depicts things that don't happen and that in real life people rarely solve their problems through violence. The childrens behaviour was compared to a group who had received no training.

R) The children who received training showed less agg. than those who had not.

C) Agg. can be reduced by making children think about how they behave so that tv role models become less influential.

E)parents have difficulyt expalning the psychological ideas to their children /parents do not hvae the training to explain the concepts / parents are not always present when kids watch tv and are not able to discuss afterwards.

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Research Methods

  • Questionnaire: a set of standardised questions about a topic that is geven to all ppt in the survey.
  • Survey: a method used for collecting information from a large no. of people by asking them them question either by questionnaire or interview.
  • Closed Question: a question where the possible answers are fixed- yes/ no 
  • quick and respondents can respond quickly/provide the researcher with data that is easy to collate.
  • little detail given in answer/ respondents don't have opp. to explain answer / respondents not sure between the difference of "sometimes and often" so they may chose it as a safe answer/" don't know option" chose it because they don't understand or don't want to give a definite answer.

Open Questions:a question where the person answering can give any response they like.

  • answers provide lots of detail/ respondents able to explain answers so they feel less frustrated/ provides researcher with lots of information about behavior 
  • hard to collate  or group together as individual responses are different/researchers must produced categories which means loss of info and depth/words and question should not be emotive or ambiguous.
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Advantages and disadvantages of Questionnaires and

  • large amount of data can be collected quickly
  • ethical- allow people to fully aware of what they are filling in and they know what the question is asking.
  • respondents provide the answers want to give and there si no way of checking the answers are actually true-results of questionnaire could be misleading 
  • Interviews:a method in which a researcher collects data by dirctly asking the question
  • produces a large amount of information
  • provide information about peoples' thoughts and feelings.
  • data form structured interview can be collated and anaylsed easily
  • Data from unstructured interviews are detailed and high in ecological valdity.
  • the reasearcher cannot be sure the interviewee is telling the truth.
  • Structured interviews lack in detail and may be frustrating for the interviewer who wants to ask another question/ interviewee who cannot explain answer qiven
  • Interviewee: the person/respondent who answers the questions in an interview
  • structured interview: an interview which all the questions are pre-set and given in a fixed order and every time the interviewee is asked the same question.
  • Unstructured interview: an interview in which only the first question is set and all other questions are determined by the answers.
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Observational method

  • Natural Observation: watching the behaviour of people who are in their usual environment
  • observation study:a method of collecting information about behavior by watching and recording people's actions.-may lack eco val as ppt are awar they are being watched
  • Categories of behavior:the separated actions that are recorded as examples of target behavior.


  • very high eco val /most sensible way of finding out how people really behave/record real behaviors and full actions/record whole behaviors that people do regularly.


  • do not know behavior occurred/may make a mistake when recording /people who are being watched mya be aware of this and change their behavior effecting accuracy/ ethical /difficult and time consuming

Inter-observer reliability: when this is high thr records made by more then one observer in a study are considered to be accurate because they match each other or are very similar to each other

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Inter-Observer reliability and case studies

solutions to miss recording behaviors:

  • record sheet with suitable behavior categories.
  • 2 observers have a copy of the same record sheet /same behavior watched/location at the same time for the same period of time.
  • observers compare their record sheets

similar or matching record sheets will mean they have established inter-observer reliability.If record sheets are very different they must be discarded as it is not possible to work out which is the accurate one.

Case studies:an in depth investigation of an individual,a small group or organisation.

  • can be taken from interviews details about life-biographical /records/observations/tests
  • carried out to aid in understanding of human behavior in general
  • case study written up as description of the individual and then interpreted by a psychologist using psychological theory
  • used for treatment or to support or challenge a theory
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Advantages and disadvantages sof case studies


  • detailed info about individuals
  • record behavior over time-changes in behavior seen
  • case studies that disprove a theory will encourage researchers to change theory and make it accurate.


  • data can be very subjective-relies in individual's memory and interpretations
  • Interpretations by psychologist my be biased making the study unreliable.
  • info cannot be applied to anyone else-unique
  • ethical issues- confidentiality/right to withdraw and protection form harm.
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  • Relationship:a connection between 2 or more variables
  • variable:factor that can change
  • correlation:a technique used by researchers to establish the strength of a relationship between variables
  • scatter graph: a graph showing correlation
  • positive correlation:a relationship between 2 variables, as the value of one increase so does the other.
  • negative corrolation:a relationship between 2 variables as one increases in value the other decreases.
  • no correlation: no relationship between 2 variables
  • prediction: a statment about what will happen, made before event occurs.

Advantages:allows to see if variable are connected and then allows for researchers to carry out experiment/correlation can be used when it is impossible or unethical to carry out an experiment.

Disadvantages: do not indicate which 2 variable caused relationship/lots of data needed-researcher needs to take lots of measurements so pattern can be seen

  • Heading of graph should always so "relationship between"...
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Thanks so much needed these, do you have revision cards for unit one??

salma begum


Same here, it helped so much. Thank you! do you have revision cards for unit one?

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