brief description of studies and results

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Aim: To provide evidence to support the maternal deprivation hypothesis in a sample of children attending the tavistock child guidance clinic. Procedure: A retrospective study comparing experiences of prolonged seperation from the mother in a group of 44 thieves and 44 mal adjusted young people. Unstructed interviews were used with the boys and mothers.The boys took IQ tests. Findings: 32% were affectionless psychopaths, of these 86% had experienced early seperation and 0% of the mal adjusted youngsters were affectionless but 17% of them had experienced early seperation. Conclusion: Maternal deprivation can have severe and potentially long term effects of emotional development. Criticisms: The details about early life of the thieves were gathered from their Mothers retrospectively and relying on someones memory is unreliable as it can be inaccurate. Social desirability basis: Mothers may have only recalled what they deemed as acceptable to say, so the more deviant of the memories recalled may have been missed out purposefully. The research was correlational and non-experimental-as for ethical reasons seperation can't be manipulated. so causes and effect can't be inferred. So it can't be said that seperation causes affectionless psychopathy.

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Aim: To see if introducing TV to children who had not previously seen it effected anti social behaviour. Procedure: They introduced TV to St. Helena island. They observed the play ground behaviour of 3-8 year olds. The also observed the play ground behaviour of the children before the introduction of TV. The study was naturalistic. Prosocial and antisocial behaviour were coded and the amount each behaviour appeared in the play ground was counted. Results: The amount of antisocial behaviour stayed the same. The amount of prosocial behaviour increased. Conclusion: Exposing children to media violence doesn't increase their antisocial behaviour and introducing TV has no effect on behaviour in general. Strengths: As behavious was recorded on videos, it meant parts could be replayed to verify category of behaviour was shown and this helps to eliminate bias and improve reliability. High ecological validity as children were in there natural setting and researchers made sure that behaviour wasn't effected by the cameras as they only started filming when children's attention was elsewhere, away from the cameras. Weaknesses: St. Helena is an isolated setting and it is a close knit community with high parental supervision which makes it difficult to generalise the results to urban, inner city communities. The most aggressive of childrens programmes e.g teenage mutant ninga turtles were not available for the children to watch, decreasing it's validity.

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Loftus and Palmer

Aim: To see if leading verbs would have an effect on estimation of speed of cars in a car crash. Procedure: 45 students were placed in to 5 groups. They were all shown a video clip of a car crash. One week later they were all asked 'How far were the cars going when they...? The gap being filled with one of 5 verbs: Smashed, bumped, hit, collided and contacted. Results: The verb smashed had the highest average estimation of speed: 41.8 mph. The verb contacted had the lowest estimation of speed: 31.8 mph. Conclusion: The verb distorted the way the memory of the car crash was represented in the mind. Strengths: The study was well controlled, thus it was replicable and therefore reliable. E.g all participants watched the same film. The study provided quanititative data and no interpretations were used, therefore the data was objective and eliminated any bias. It allows statistical analysis. The aim of the study was discuigsed by 'hiding' the leading question amongst others, which reduced the amount of demand characteristics. Weaknesses: The study lacked ecological validity, as it was a laboratory experiment and the clips were watched on video. The participant's would have felt more stressed if they were watching a crime face to face. This means the results can't generalise to real life situations and the study lacks mundane realism. Loftus used her own students. Students tend to be youngs and their memories are different to other age groups. This means the results can't generalise to different age groups.

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Yulle and Cutchall

Aim: To test the effectiveness of eye witness testimony to a real event. Procedure: Out of 21 witnesses to a gun crime 13 agreed to take part in research interviews. The interviews were conducted 4-5 months after the event. The interviews followed the same style as the police interviews, but one leading question was added either asking about a non existent 'broken headlight' or a non existent 'yellow pannel on car'. The participant's self rated their stress levels. Results: overall accuracy of witness recall was the same as in the police interviews. Only one person was affected by the leading question. Those with a central view point recalled more accurately and those with higher stress levels also recalled more accurately. Conclusion: Eye witness recall is very accurate and eye witness testimony shouldn't be dismissed- just because one fact is recalled inaccurately doesn't mean the whole account is. Strengths: The study had high ecological validity as they were real witnesses to a real crime. The scoring procedure was precise making the study more reliable, the data was quantitative and so excluded any researcher bias. Weaknesses: The results from the study are ungeneralisable as the crime was very severe and stress levels would have been extremely high, however most studies aren't this severe i.e robberies and stress levels would be lower so eye witnesses may not recall as accurately. The event was one off and unique making it difficult to replicate and acheive the same results, lowering it's reliability.

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Aim: To measure the types of attatchment formed, and see which is most frequent in America and Britain. Procedure: It is a controlled observation. Mum and baby play in a room- secure base behaviour is measured. Stranger enters room-stranger anxiety is measured. Mum leaves room-seperation anxiety measured. Parent returns-reunion behaviour measured. Stranger leaves. Parent leaves again. Stranger re enters. Parent returns and stranger leaves. Results: 70 % of infants were type B attatchment-secure. 15 % were insecure resistent and 15% were insecure avoident. Conclusion: The behaviour in the strange situation was determined by hte behaviour of the primary carer. Strengths: It has been proved by other studies to have good reliability as similar results are acheived each time. Weaknesses: The strange situation only analyses the type of attatchment formed with the mother, this means it lacks validity as it doesn't measure types of attatchment in general, just mother child relationships. The childs temprement would have effected the results, e.g if the child was hungry it may have been more stressed and cried more when the mother left.

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Wells and Bradfield

Aim: To test the hypothesis that post-identification feedback would lead eye witnesses to recall having been more confident in their line up identification than they really were at the time.

Procedure: 172 student participants were split in to three groups: one which were told they had made the correct identification, one which were told the had made an incorrect identification and one control group which weren't told anything. They all watched a grainy video of a shop where they were told to pay special attention to a particular man as they would be asked questions about him after. They were then informed that the man killed a security guard moments after the video. They were then asked to identify the face of the man amongst five faces, however the actual gunman wasn't one of the photos. After feed back was given interviewers asked participant's various questions about how confident they were with their decision, for example 'How willing would you be to testify in court?'

Results: The participants in the confirming feed back condition felt more confident with their identification and they said they would be willing to testify in court.

Conclusion: The results of this study highlight how serious post identification is and how much of an effect it has. Researchers strongly advocate double blind testing.

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Hobbs and Holt

Aim: To test the effects on the behaviour of boys in a correctional institute by using a token economy programme.

Procedure: 125 males aged 12-15 years who were committed to alabama boys industrial school were used.

Procedure: 3 out of 4 of the cottages were introduced to the token economy programme and the other was used as a control group. Staff in the cottages agreed on a number of target behaviours. When a desirable behaviour was met it was marked on a chart. The boys were aware of the desirable behaviours, and were told the number of tokens they would recieve for each target behaviour. The boys went to a token economy store weekly to exchange tokens for primary reinforcers such sweets and cigarettes. Tokens could also be saved up in a back and exchanged for more desirable rewards such as a day out or a 4 day trip home.

Results: Behaviour increased in all three cottages, for example in cottage A approprite behaviour went from a baseline mean of 66% to 91.6%.

Conclusion: token economy programmes improve behaviour.


It was a large sample, improving it's generalisability and it had a control group to make compare the experimental groups against.

It is reliable as it is supported by many other studies who have found similar results.


Improvement in behaviour could have been to due to the fact that the boys were behaving in accordance to the idea that they could get a 4 day trip home and their actual behaviour hadn't improved.

The results of the study aren't applicable to real life because the institute was a well controlled environment however the boys would have more freedom in the outside world.

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Aim: To assess whether anger-management programmes work within a group of young male offenders.

Procedure: It was a quasi experiment. 50 males prisoners who had completed an anger management course were compared to 37 male prisoners who were assessed as suitable for the course but had not actually completed one. Interviews and self report questionnaires were given to the prisoners in the treatment group before and after they had completed the course, they were given to the control group twice but with no interventions inbetween.

Results: Prisoners who had completed the course rated themselves lower on the anger questionnaire. The was no significant reduction in either of the measures on the control group.

Conlusion: In the short term the treatment seemed effective and prisoners appeared to be helped by the programme.

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Summary of two articles

Aim: To investigate what day care policies the government are introducing and what they think about day care.

Procedure: We chose two articles from the same week and they were from the daily mail, they were both related to day care. We then analysed the articles to understand the message about day care in each of them.

Results: The first article was about government policies to introduce free day care at the age of two, there was a positive attitude to day care through out. The article held a message that children are underperforming in school and day care would help largely with this. The articles correlate with Anderrsons findings that day care improves childrens social and intellectual skills.

The secand article was about the ever increasing rise in children attending day care and after school clubs and about the negative effects it can have on children. This articles correlates with Belsky's findings that over 20 hours in day care can be damaging and can effect the mother-child relationship

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Anger management & Token economy

Anger management programmes are based on cognitive behavioural principles and aim to reduce angry behaviour by enabling idividuals to recognise and control angry emotions.

  •  Cognitive preperation involves indentify what triggers a persons anger.
  • Skills acquisition involves learning behavioural and cognitive coping strategies.
  • Application and practice involves role playing anger triggering situations and positive reinforcement is offered if the offender does well.

Token economy uses operant conditioning principles. To put in place a token economy programme staff should be informed an agreement should be made on target behaviours and punishments and what primary reinforcers should be used. Then prisoners should be informed of the programme and what they must do to be rewarded tokens. When a desirable behaviour is performed a token is given to the prisoner, tokens can be exchanged for primary reinforcers such as sweets or cigarettes or saved up for days out or 4 day trips home. Undesirable behaviours must be punished.

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