Possible Questions + Plans for Individual Differences

  • Created by: Molly
  • Created on: 09-06-14 15:18


Outline the individual differences approach to psychology. [4]

The individual differences approach argues that it is what makes us an individual that also makes our behaviour inidividual and unique, and that behaviour which deviates from the norm is said to be 'anormal'. The individual differences approach considers both nature and nerture in contributing to our behaviour. 

Describe 2 pieces of research that use the individual differences approach to psychology. [8]

For this question I would try and use one study from AS and one study from A2. I do think it is difficult though to identify individual differences studies from A2 because there really aren't that many. The ones I would use are:

AS- Thigpen and Cleckley 
A2 - Daly and Wilson. 

Discuss the strengths and limitations of using the individual differences approach to explain behaviour. [12 marks]

I have been taught to use two strengths and two weaknesses for this question, which equates to four paragraphs in total. What I would include is.. 

:) - The approach is HOLISTIC - it considers both nature and nerture as causing behaviour unlike a lot of approaches. Then link this to a study: e.g. Daly and Wilson considers many factors for someone turning to crime, including the life expectancy of their area, whether they are exposed to alcohol, drugs etc. 

:) - Research often uses a CASE STUDY methodology, which allows us to identify changes in behaviour over time. I'd link this to Thigpen and Cleckley, because at first there was Eve White, then Eve Black appeared and then a THIRD voice appeared which showed her MPD was developing as time went on. Or you could use the fact it collects both quant and qualitative behaviour. 

:( - The use of case study methodology means that research uses very small samples that are not generalisable against general populations, e.g. Thigpen And Cleckley. 

:( - The approach can sometimes highlight differences rather than celebrating diversity which is unethical, e.g. Griffiths? 

For section D questions


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