Psychology Unit one named psychologists

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Loftus and Palmer

Leading Questions 

Aim -  To see if leading questions affect the accuracy of recall.

Method - Participants were shown a film of a car accident. Some were asked "how fast the car was going when it hit the other car" and others were ask "how fast was the car going when it smashed the other car?"

Results - The participants who heard the word smashed gave a higher speed estimate.

Conclusion - Leading question does affect the accuracy of recall. Using the word smashed led the participants to believe it was going faster than it was. 

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Bruce and Young

Unfamiliar Faces

Aim- To see if the familiarity affects the accuracy of identifying faces

Method - Psychology lecturers were caught on security cameras at the entrance of a building. Participants were asked to identify the faces seen on the security camera tape from a series of high quality photographs. 

Results - The lecturers' students made more correct identifications than other students and expeirienced police officers.

Conclusion - Previous familiarity helps when identifying faces

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Facial Expressions and Hemispheres of the Brain 

Aim - To look at relationships between facial expressions and hemispheres of the brain.

Method - Pictures of peoples faces showing different emotions were cut down the middle. New pictures were created with each half face and its mirror image. Then each pair of new faces were shown to the participants. They were then asked which picture they liked better. 

Results - The majority of the participants said they preferred the left side and its mirror image because the picture looked warmer

Conclusion - The left side of the face seems to express more emotion than the right side does. 

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Thomas, Chess and Birch


Aim - To discover whether ways of responding to the environment remain stable throughout life.

Method - They studied 133 children from infancy to early adulthood. The children's behaviour was observed and their parents were interviewed. The parents were asked about the child's routine and its reaction to change. 

Results - They found that the children fell into 3 types : "easy" (Happy, flexiable and regular)  "difficult" (Demanding, inflexiable and cried a lot)  and "slow to warm up" (Did not respond well to change but once they had adapted were usually happy) 

Conclusion - These ways of responding to the environment stayed with the children as they developed so they concluded that temperament is innate. 

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Buss and Plomin


Aim - To test the idea that temperament is innate

Method - They studied 228 pairs of monozygotic and 172 pairs of dyzygotic twins. They rated the temperament of the twins when they were 5 years old. They looked at 3 dimensions of behaviour:

  • Emotionally (how strong the child's emotional response was)
  • Activity (how energetic the child was)
  • Sociability (how much the child wanted to be with everyone else)

Results - There was a closer correlation of the scores between the monozygotic twins.

Conclusion - Temperament has a genetic basis

Monozygotic - Twins developed from one egg (mono = one)

Dyzygotic - Twins developed from two eggs

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Kagen and Snidman


Aim - To investigate whether temperament is due to biological differences.

Method - Studied the reaction of 4 month old babies to new situations. For the 1st minute the baby was sat with the care giver near by but for the next three minutes the care giver moved out of the babies view whilst the baby was shown toys by the researcher.

Results - 20% of the babies showed distress by crying, vigorous movement of the arms and legs and arching of the back. These were classed as high reactive. 40% of the babies showed little signs of distress or emotion. These were classed as low reactive. The others fell somewhere in-between.

Followed up 11 years later there was a difference in  the way the  2 groups reacted to new situations. High reactives were shy whilst the low reactives were calm. 

Conclusion -  These two temperaments are due to inherited differences in the way the brain responds. 

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Type Theory.

Eysenk believed that there are different types of personality. For each personality type there are a set of associated traits. The personality types he identified included extroversion, Introversion and neuroticism. 

Extroverts look to the outside world for entertainment so their traits are sociable, lively and easy going  whilst introverts are content with there own company so their traits are quiet, serious and like a routine.and the neurotics are anxious, irritable and shy

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Biological causes of APD

Aim - To support the theory that abnormalities in the pre frontal cortext cause APD.

Method - MRI was used to study 21 men with APD and a control group of 32 healthy men. All the participants were volenteers. 

Results - The men with APD had an 11% reduction in the prefrontal grey matter compared to the healthy group. 

Conclusion - APD is caused by a reduction in the brains grey matter.

*** How to remember this study Brainy Raine 

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Situational Causes of APD

Aim - To investigate the development of offending and anti social behaviour in males from childhood to the age of 50. 

Method - They carried out a longitudinal study of 411 males. They all lived in the inner city deprived areas of London. They were first studied at the age of 8 and followed up at the age of 50. Their parents and teachers were interviewed. Searched were carried out at the Criminal Records office.

Results - 41% of them were convicted at least once between the ages of 10 and 50. The most important factors for offending were: Criminal behaviour within the family, low school achievement, poverty and poor parenting.

Conclusion - Situational causes lead to the development of anti social behaviour. 

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Situational Causes of APD

Aim - To investigate childhood risk factors that can be used to predict anti social behaviour in adulthood. 

Method - Researchers  investigates 225 twins who were diagnosed with childhood disorders and interviewed them 10 - 25 years later. 

Results - They found that childhood hyperactivity, conduct disorders, low IQ and reading problems were all strong predictors of APD and criminality in in adult life. 

Conclusion - Distruptive behaviour in childhood can be used to predict APD in adulthood. 

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Situational Causes of APD

Aim - To investigate childhood risk factors that can be used to predict anti social behaviour in adulthood. 

Method - Researchers  investigates 225 twins who were diagnosed with childhood disorders and interviewed them 10 - 25 years later. 

Results - They found that childhood hyperactivity, conduct disorders, low IQ and reading problems were all strong predictors of APD and criminality in in adult life. 

Conclusion - Distruptive behaviour in childhood can be used to predict APD in adulthood. 

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Authoritarian Personality  as a Cause of Prejudice and Discrimination

Aim - To find out if there is a relationship between a person's personality type and prejudiced beliefes.

Method - Hundereds of people were interviewed using the F-Scale 

Result - They found a relationship between personality traits and prejudiced vvies.

Conclusion - There is an Authoritarian personality and people with these characteristics are highly likely to be prejudiced towards others. 

F-Scale- Questionaire used by adorno to measure personality characteristics.

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 Study of in and out Groups as a Cause of Prejudice and Discrimination

Aim - To show how easily people discriminate against their outgroups.

Method - 14-15 year old boys were randomly assigned to 2 groups. Each boy was given a game to play where he had to award pairs of points, they were told the points could be swapped for pirzes at the end.

Results - The boys awarded points by choosing the pairings that created the biggest difference between the groups, not the pairings that gave them the most points.

Conclusion - People will discriminate against others just because they are members of an outgroup. 

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 Robbers Cave (Cause of Prejudice and Discrimination)

Aim - To find out if prejudice develops when groups are in competition for scarce resources. 

Method - An American summer camp was organised for 22 boys. The boys were randomly split into two teams and the teams were kept away from each other. They were not aware that the other team existed so they could build up a team identity. After a while the groups discovered each other and the staff introduced a series of competitions to win the silver cup. 

Results - Very quickly, the teams began an unpleasant name calling towards each other and tried to attack each other. 

Conclusion - Competition is a cause of prejudice. 

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Reducing Prejudice and Discrimination 

Once Sherif had created trouble between the two groups, his next task was:

Aim - was to get the boys to become friends.

Method - He tried this by arranging joint acctivities for them such as meals and trips out.  However this did not work so he then set up a situation where their bus got stuck in the mud and if they didn't move it they would all miss the dinner.

Results - This was succesfull because the task can not be performed by just one person so they all had to pull together.

Conclusion - Cooporation on an important task is one way of reducing prejudice and discrimination between groups.  

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Reducing Prejudice and Discrimination. (Jigsaw Method)

  •  Aronson was given the task of eliminating prejudice between black and white students in Texas using the jigsaw method.
  •  This involved the students being in mixed groups and each having the responsibility for one part of the lesson.
  • They then had to teach everyone else what they had prepared and learnt.
  •  This technique improved their self esteem,
  •  increased their liking of their classmates and 
  • improved their perceptipons of other racial groups within the group. 
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  Reducing Prejudice and Discrimination.

Aim - To teach her class what it felt like to be victims of discrimination. 

Method - Elliot told her class:

  • Blue eyed children are smarter than those with Brown eyes
  • Blue eyed children are the best in the room
  • Brown eyed children cannot play with the blue eyed children as they are not good enough
  • Brown eyed children cannot use the water fountain

Then the next day the brown eyed children were the favoured children.

Results - The reaction of the brown eyed children on day one were upset, angry and withdrawn where as the blue eyed children became arrogant and vicious. Then the next day their actions and feelings clearly switched with the brown eyed children acting the same and the blue eyed children also feeling sad etc. 

Conclusion - Elliot believed that by getting the children to experience discrimination first hand that these children would grow up being more tolerant towards others.

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Reducing Prejudice and Discrimination

Aim - To investigate children's view of the elderly.

Method - Harwood asked the children and their grandparents about their relationships. The children were also questioned about their views of the elderly in general. 

Results - Children who had regular contact with their grandparents had a more positive view towards the elderly.

Conclusion - Contact with grandparents is a good predictor of a child's attitude towards the elderly. 

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