Studies for January Exam

Studies needed for the january exam

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Maguire et al. (Taxi Drivers) (AS)

Aim: To find out whether changes in the brain could be detected in people with extensive navigation experience.

Sample: 16 male, right handed taxi drivers, passed "the knowledge", mean age of 44, used control group of 50 non-taxi drivers.

Method: informed consent was given, and ensured they were all psycholigcally healthy. MRI scans of the brains of 50 healthy non taxi drivers were analysed to establish a comparison database of "average hippocampi". The analysis was carried out using VBM. Then MRI scans of the brains of 16 taxi drivers and of 16 matched controls were analysed by VBM and compared to the database.

Results: Taxi drivers had greater volume in the posteria hippocampus but non-taxi drivers had greater volume in the anterior hippocampus including a redistribution of grey matter in the hippocampus.

Conclusion: Hippocampus is involved in spatial awareness.

Used in: Physiological Approach, 

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Brunner et al. (A2)

  • 5 males from a large family in the Netherlands, affected by borderline mental retardation and abnormal violent behaviour
  • Average IQ of 85
  • Crimes comitted = arson, attempted **** and exhibitionism
  • Analyse their DNA, urine was analysed over 24 hours
  • Mutation in the gene that codes for an enzyme, monoamine oxidase A (MAOA)

Used for: Physiological Approach, High Reliability, High Validity, Reductionism, Nature, Supports Psychology as a science, Usefulness.

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Loftus & Palmer (Eyewitness Testimony)(AS)

Aim: To investigate how information supplied after an event influences a witness' memory for that event.

Sample: 195 students from the University of Washington: 45 took part in exp. 1 and 150 took part in exp. 2.

Experiment 1: Watched 7 video clips (5-30 seconds), write an account and answer a question, used a different verb in the question "how fast were the cars going when they (bumped, hit, contacted) each other? (5 groups of 9 participants for question)

Results 1: Smashed (40.8mph), Collided (39.3mph), Bumped (38.1mph), Hit (34mph), Contacted (31.8mph).

Conclusion 1: The speed of the car could be distorted by the use of the different verb.


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Loftus & Palmer (Eyewitness Testimony)(AS)

Experiment 2: Broken glass question, 1 week after watching a 1 minute clip.

Results 2: The majority of participants said no in all verbs.

Conclusion 2: The verb used in the original question influenced whether the particpant thought they had seen broken glass.

Overall Conclusion: The verbal labels attached to the event by the subsequent questions have resulted in the cognitive amendment of participants memory of that event.

Used for: Cognitive Approach, Supports Psychology as a Science

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Yochelson & Samenow (Criminal Thinking Patterns)

Aim: To understand the make-up of criminal personality

Method: Longitudinal study spanning over 14 years, conducting interviews over 7 years. No control group was used.

Participants: 255 male offenders with roughly half confined to secure hospital due to reasons of insanity and the rest in prison from a wide range of backgrounds

Results: They found 40 thinking biases such as; restlessness, dissatisfaction, irritability, need for excitement, habitually angry, lack of empathy, jump to conclusions and judge situations poorly. Of the 255 participants only 30 completed the program and only 9 genuinely changed as a result of taking part.

Conclusion: Criminals do think differently to non-criminals, and these thinking patterns led to the person committing crime as they do not judge the behaviour as inappropriate.

Used for: Cognitive Approach, Low Validity, Freewill, Individual

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Milgram (Study of Obedience)(AS)

Aim: To investigate the level of obedience participants would show when an authority figure told them to administer electric shocks to another person.

Results: Participants continued up to 300V (100%)(40p's), % participants stopped at 300V (87.5%), Continued up to 450V (65%).

Some participants were found to; sweat, tremble, stutter, bite their lips, groan, nervous laughter, 3 participants had uncontrollable seizures.

Conclusion: The strenght of obedience observed in participants was very surprising to milgram. Based on his findings, he concluded that the obedience can be elicited from any individual in the right circumstances.

Used for: Social Approach, Experiments, Observation, High Reliability, High Validity, Snapshot, Quantitative Data, Low EV, Reductionism, Situational

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Farrington et al. (Delinquent Development)(A2)

Aim: To see if Delinquent and criminal behaviour can be predicted, why it begins and why adult crime often ends when the men reach their 20s.

Sample: A total of 411 boys were recruited from 6 state primary schools in South London, mostly white, urban and working class from UK origin.

Method: A longitudinal study, which beagn in 1961. Farrington took a sample of 411 boys who were all born in the East End of London in 1953/4; they were identified from the registers of 6 primary schools in the district. He interviewed the boys, their parents and teachers when they were age 8-9 and interviewed them through their life over the next 40 years. He collected data on their school achievment, criminal and medical histories, personalities, jobs and home relationships. Some subject attrition occured as by the age 50 only 343 participants were available to be interviewed.


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Farrington et al. (Delinquent Development)(A2)

Results: Total of 40% of the sample was convixted of a criminal offence before they were 40, compared with a national average of 31%. The criminal careers of siblings and partners were similar to the participants, although female relatives had a lower rate of conviction. Participants tended to move from co-offending in their teens to lone offending in their 20s. Reasons given for offending were itilitarian or hedonistic. Farrington et al. identified the following factors as affecting delinquency and later criminality: poor socio-economic status, physical neglect by parents and poor parenting styles, family breakdown, parents or older siblings having convictions, unpopularity with peers and low academic achievement, hyperactive and impulsive personalities and below average height and weight.

Conclusions: Farrington concluded that offenders tend to be deviant in many aspects of their lives. Early prevention that reduces offending could have wide ranging benefits in reducing problems with accommodation, relationships and aggressive behaviour. Most important risk factors are; criminality in the family, poverty, impulsiveness and poor school performance.

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Thigpen & Cleckley (MPD)(AS)

Aim: To provide an account of the psychotherapeutic treatment in the case of MPD.

Participants: A 25 year old woman, known as Eve White, who was referred to Thigpen and Cleckley because of severe and blinding headaches and occassional blackouts.

Procedure & Findings: During the first interview Eve explained how she experienced Blackouts following severe and blinding headaches that her family did not notice, which suggests that she did not lose consciousness during the blackouts.

The therapists recieved a letter from Eve referring to a previous session. The letter appeared in Eve's handwriting except the last written paragraph appeared to be in childs handwriting. During the next session the therapists questioned Eve about the letter. She recalled writing the letter but did not remember finnishing it and presumed she had thrown it away. In the same session she became unusually distressed and asked if hearing voices from time to time made her insane.

Eve White: Serious, conscientious, anxious, IQ 110.

Eve Black: Less anxious, more satisfied with superficial answers, IQ 104.


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Thigpen & Cleckley (MPD)(AS)

It appeared that Eve Black had an independent existence since Eve White's childhood although Eve White had no conscious awareness of it until informed by the therapist. Eve Black, however, maintained conscious awareness all the time and described the emotions, feelings and reactions of Eve White from an outsiders point of view.

During one therapy session, Eve appeared to fall asleep. After a few minutes she opened her eyes and looked blankly around the room and said, "Who are you?" This was a third personality who called herself Jane.

EEG readings of the 3 personalities showed Eve Black to be the most different, showing more signs  of tension, restlessness and possible psychopathic tendencies, described as borderline normal. Eve White and Jane had more normal patterns and were difficult to distinguish from each other.

Conclusion: Thigpen & Cleckley concluded that they had witnessed a case of MPD. They did not suggest a cause for the onset of her condition but their is a growing belief that the condition develops to protect oneself from harmful memories and seems to be common in cases of severe child abuse.

Used for: Individual Differences Approach, Psychodynamic Perspective, Self-Report, Case Study, Holism, Individual

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Gudjohnsson (False Confession)(A2)

Aim: To report a case of a false confession from a young man who was susceptible to the pressure of inerrogation.

Method: This was a review of a case study of a normal 17 year old boy called FC who was accused of 2 murders. He was of average intelligence, suffered from no mental illness and his personality was not obviously abnormal.

The Police Interviews: FC's 1st interview lasted around 14 hrs with no breaks. FC had originally argued he was nowhere near the scene of the crime but after being repeatedly accused for lying he agreed. Many questions used by the officers were leading and accusatory and many suggested that he was sexually impotent, which FC found distressing. In a 2nd interview, he retracted this confession in front of a duty solicitor, only to later confess again under pressure about his failure to have successful relationships with women.


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Gudjohnsson (False Confession)(A2)

Psychiatric Examination: FC underwent psychiatric examination in prison where he showed no evidence of mental illness. He did however score 10 for suggestibility on the Gudjohnsson Suggestibility Scale, making him abnormal in this respect. His IQ score was 94 and Eysenck's Personality Inventory showed him in a stable extrovert.

Conclusion: This is a case of a "coerced compliant" false confession, meaning that FC gave in to pressure during the interviews in order to escape from an intolerable situation. It shows that this can happen to anyone, not just mentally ill or people with below average intelligence. FC was released from jail after serving 12 months of his sentence, when the real culprit admitted to the crime. Following his release, his personality changed, his experiences hardened him and his self-confidence improved.

Used for: Individual Differences Approach, Psychodynamic Approach, Self-Report, Case Study,  Low Reliability, Does not support Psychology as a Science.

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Bandura (Children's Aggression)(AS)

Aim: Aimed to test; Children exposed to an aggressive adult model will show more aggressive behaviour, Children exposed to a non-aggressive adult model will show less aggressive behaviour, Children will imitate same-sex models more than opposite-sex models and boys will imitate aggressive behaviour more than girls.

Research Method: 3 main conditions; aggressive, non-aggressive and control. Children in the aggressive and non-aggressive condition were further subdivided by sex and sex of the role model they were exposed to, creating the total of 8 experimental conditions (6ps in each group) and a control group (24ps). Therefore the study had 3 IVs; the condition children were exposed to, the sex of the role model and the sex of the child. All the children were tested individually.

Participants: Total of 72 children from the Stanford University Nursery School - 36 boys and 36 girls with mean age of 4 years 4 months. Children were matched on the basis of their pre-existing aggressiveness, which was rated on a 5 point scale by the experimenter and nursery school teacher prior to the experiment, so that they had similar levels of aggression in their everyday behaviour. The role models were one male and one female.


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Bandura (Children's Aggression)(AS)


Stage 1: Children were brought to the room by the researcher. The room was set out of play. Watched the designated role model.

Stage 2: Mild aggression arousal. In the room for a total of 2 minutes.

Stage 3: Could play with any of the toys in the room. Observed for 20 minutes through a one way mirror. Observations were made at 5 second intervals therefore giving 240 responses per child.

Type and Measurement of Data: Imitation of physical aggression, Imitative verbal aggression, imitative non-aggressive verbal responses. The results enabled the researchers to consider; which children imitate the models, which models imitate the children and whether the children showed a general increase in aggressive behaviour or a specific imitation of the adult behaviours.


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Bandura (Children's Aggression)(AS)

Results: The children in the aggressive model condition made more aggressive responses than the children in the non-aggressive model condition and boys made more aggressive responses than girls.

Conclusions: Aggression can be learned through observation, boys imitate aggression more than girls and children are more likely to imitate same sex models.

Used for: Developmental Approach, Behaviourist Perspective, Observation, Determinism, Nurture, Usefulness.

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Freud (AS)

Aim: Therapeutic aim was to cure Hans of his phobia and the theoretical aim was to provide evidence to support Freud's psychodynamic theory.

Participants: Hans aged 3-5yrs

Procedure: Hans father wrote letters to Freud in which he described Han's behaviour. Freud would interpret the behaviour and write back. Fear of White horses, fear of bath, dream about giraffes, dream about being his own father.

Results: Freud reported that Hans' phobias subsided at the age of 6 as a result of his resolution of his Oedipus Complex and his feelings towards his mother and father.

Conclusion: Freud believed that Hans' phobias were resolved through interviews, observations and dream interpretation techniques. Freud argued that Hans was experiencing the Oedipus Complex and has used this case to support the notion of infantile sexuality and theory of psychosexual development.

Used for: Psychodynamic Perspective, Self-report, Case Study, Low Reliability, Low Validity, Low Ethics, Longitudinal, Qualitative Data, Nature, Psychology is not a science

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Leyens et al. (Movie Violence on Aggression)

Aim: To investigate the impact of violent media on behaviour of delinquents.

Method: Using a quasi experiment, the boys viewed eithar an aggressive or neutral movie every evening for a week. Behaviour was recorded at 3 intervals. Behaviour was measured using a covert observation that involved time sampling twice a day. During movie week the experimenters manipulated what films the boys watched - 2 dorms were shown aggressive films, the other 2 dorms were shown neutral films.

Participants: 85 high school age delinquent boys living in a residential facility in Belgium. Boys were divided between 4 dorms.

Results: An immediate effect of the violent films was an overall increase of both active behaviours and physical aggression; the effects on verbal aggression were more persistant but limited to 1 of the 2 dorms of the boys viewing aggressive films.

Conclusion: The media can cause young males with particualr positions in the social structure to become more aggressive and therefore increase the likelihood of turning to crime.

Used for: Behaviourist Perspective, Observation, low ethics, high EV, Determinism.

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Loftus (Weapon Focus)(A2)

Aim: To show that witnesses memory is affected by the stress of seeing a gun.

Method: Total of 36 students (18-31) were recruited via advertisement. Half were paid $3.50 for participation and the other half were promised extra credit in their psychology classes. All students were told that the research was about proactive interference. Participants were shown 18 slides of people queing in a restuarant. The control group saw a customer handing the cashier a cheque in one of the slides while, whilst the experimental group saw a person pull a gun at the cashier. All the other slides were identical for both conditions and were shown for 1.5 seconds. The DV was measured by a 20 multiple choice questionnaire, where participants had to rate how confident they were identifying the correct suspect from a set of 12 head and shoulder photos.


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Loftus (Weapon Focus)(A2)

Results: Witnesses in the cheque condition were more accurate 39% made an accurate identification compared to 11% to those in the gun condition. Eye fixation data shoed an average fixation time of 3.72 seconds on the gun, compared to 2.44 seconds on the cheque. Answers on the questionnaire showed no significant difference between the 2 groups.

Conclusion: If a weapon is present during an eye witness event, memory can become distorted resulting in accurate eye witness testimony. This may mean inaccuracies are common due to the likelihood of weapons used in serious crime.

Used for: Experiments, High Ethics, Snapshot, Quantitative Data, Low EV.

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