Psychology Unit 2 Key Studies

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  • Created on: 04-06-13 18:10

Watson & Rayner (Learning)

Aim - to see if the emotional response of fear could be condidtioned in a human being.

Method - Albert was 11 months old. He liked a white lab rat and had no fear of furry white objects. In conditioning trails, Albert was shown the white lab rat and as he reached to touch it a large metal bar was hit loudly behind his back, This was repeated several times.

Results - After seven times, the rat was presented again, Albert screamed and tried to get awat from the rat. He did this although the bar was not hit behind him and there was no loud noise. Albert also screamed when he was shown a Santa Clause hat and a fur coat.

Conclusion - Waston and Rayner concluded that fear responses could be learnt in very young children and learn in the way suggested by classical conditioning.

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Skinner's Box (Learning and Reinforcement)

Aim - to see if behaviour can be learnt from consequences of that behaviour.

Method - Skinner placed a hungry rat in a box and the rat produced a variety of actions such as sniffing, grooming and exploring, By accident the rat would press a lever that dropped food out immediately. The rat was soon repeating this several times.

Results - the rat had learnt that when the lever was pressed, food dropped out. This is an example of operant conditioning. The rat had been positively reinforced by the food pellet dropping out.

Conclusion - Skinner concluded that behaviour can be learnt from consequences of that same behaviour such as the rat learning to press the lever to get food.

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Asch (Conformity)

Aim - Asch wanted to find ouit if people could be influenced by other people's opinions and beliefs, and therefore give an answer they knew was wrong.

Method - participants were shown sets of four lines. For each set, the participant had to say whether A, B or C was the same length as the test line. When tested alone, the participants rarely made a mistake (the error rate was less than 1 per cent). However, participants also had to give an answer as part of a group. The rest of the group were confederates and insturcted to give the incorrect answer for some of the tests.

Results - only 32% of the trials where the rest of the group gave the wrong answer, the participant gave the same wrong answer as the rest of the group, rather than the correct answer. In fact 74% of the participants gave at least one wrong answer.

Conclusion -  Asch concluded that the only reason of 32% error rate was hearing the previous wrong answers given. Those who gave inoccent answers told Asch that they only said the answer the gave as they did not want to go against the rest of the group. This demonstrates normative social influence

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Milgram (Obedience)

Aim - to find out how far people will obey an unreasonable order.

Method - 40 male participants were made to believe they were giving a 'learner' an electic shock when they got a question wrong. The learner was an actor and the shocks were not real. The participant was sat in front of a 'shock generator' that went from 15 volts to 450 volts. The leaner had to remmeber pairs of words and the participant had to deliever shocks that increased in voltage each time the learner got an answer wrong. The learner acted up and when the participant asked to stop, the experimenter used verbal prods such as 'The experiment requires for you to continue'. 

Results - Psychitrists believed that only 1% of participants would deliver a 450 volt shock. However, despite participants suffering distress (three had a sezuire), they all delivered 300 volts and 65% delivered 450 volts.

Conclusion - people are prepared to stay obidient to quite unreasonable orders if they percieve the person giving the orders to be of higher authoirty. 

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Zimbardo (Deindividuation)

Aim - to see if people in a big city behave in a more antisocial way than those in small towns.

Method - he parked a car in each location with the bonnet up and observed what people did as they walked by.

Results - in New York City, people immediatley began stealing from the car and within two weeks, very little of the car was left. In the small town, the only time the car was touched was when someone lowered the bonnet so prevent the engine getting wet.

Conclusion - deindividuation caused by living in a big city leads to increase in antisocial behaviour.

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Latane et al (Social Loafing)

Aim - to see whether being in a group would have an effect on how much effort particpants put in.

Method - researchers asked 84 participants to shout and clap as loudly as they could while alone or in a big group. Each participant wore headphones so they couldn't hear the others.

Results - the larger the group size, the less noise each participant put in. 

Conclusion - people put less effort in when they are participating in large groups, because they know other people are putting in the same amount of effort.

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Latane and Darley (Bystander Intervention)

Aim - to see if people are less likely to react to an emergency when others are present.

Method - particpants sat in a room together whilst smoke poured through vents, the participants were completing a questionare either alone or in groups.

Results - 75% of people who were sitiing alone got up to tell someone within 6 minutes. But 38% of people sitting in groups did.

Conclusion - if there are others around you, you are less likely to react to an emergancy situation.

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Freud (Psychodynamic Theory of Gender Development)

Aim - to investigate Little Han's phobia.

Method - Han's father wrote to Freud to tell him about Han's development. Han's had developed a fear of horses at the age of 4. He was frightened the horse may bite him. He was paticularly afraid of large white horses with black around their mouth. Freud analysed this information.

Results - Freud claimed that Han's was experiencing the Oedipus Complex, Han's unconciouslly sexually desired his mother and saw his father as a rival and feared castration. He dsiplaced this fear onto horses.The large white horse with black around the mouth represented his father who had a black beard. His fear of being bitten represented his fear of castraion. 

Conclusion - this supports Freud's idea about the Oedipus Complex.

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Perry and Bussey (Social Learning Theory of Gender

Aim - to show that children imitate behaviour carried out by same sex models.

Method - children were shown films of role models carrying out activities that were unfamiliar to children. In one condition, all male models were playing one actitivy while the females were playing another. In the other condition, some males and some females played with one activity while the other male and female models played with the other.

Results - In the first condition, the children imitatted what they had seen the same sex role model doing. Boys chose the male role models while girls chose the female role models. In the second condition, there was no difference in the activites the boys and girls chose.

Conclusion - when children are in unfamiliar situations they will observe the behaviour of same sex role models. This gives them information about whether the activity is apporopriate for their sex, the child will imitate that behaviour.

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Martin (Gender Schema Theory of Gender Development

Aim - to show that childrens understanding  

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