You are on page 1of 23

Psychology G544

Revision Notes

Psychology G544 Section A Revision Notes
Experimental hypothesis – predicts the effect of the IV on the DV.
Operationalised hypothesis – shows how variables are going to be tested, by describing them.
Null hypothesis – states that there will be no effect of the IV on the DV.
One tailed hypothesis – predicts the direction in which results are expected to occur (directional) ie, revision
improves exam performance.
Two tailed hypothesis – states there is some kind of difference between two events (non-directional) ie,
revision will affect exam performance.

Independent variable – the variable that you manipulate (cause)
Dependent variable – the variable that you measure (effect)
Experimental design
Repeated measures
Explanation Performance of participants in
one condition compared with
performance of the same
participants in another

Independent measures
Performance of participants in
one condition compared with
performance of different
participants in another


Avoids participant
differences, as the same
participants are used

No order effects, as different
participants used in each


There could be order effects
– person may gain practice,
become bored or tired

Problem of participant
differences because different
participants are being used
and everyone’s different, so
there could be differences in
performance of participants.

Type of experiment
Explanation Conducted in highly controlled
conditions and usually in
laboratory settings
There are high levels of
control (objective), so
extraneous variables are
avoided, and the IV can be
isolated to measure the effect
on the DV, and therefore we
can infer cause and effect

Conducted in the participants’
own environment
High in ecological validity,
because it is conducted in the
participant’s natural
environment, so therefore
they will act normally, and the
results will be representative
of everyday life and can be
generalised to other settings.

Matched pairs
Participants in each condition
matched to eac other on
variables, such as age, sex, IQ,
etc (so it’s like they are the
same person in different
Overcomes problems of
individual differences and, as
they are matched on traits and
also overcomes problem of
order effects, because
different participants are
Can be costly and timeconsuming because there
needs to be some technique of
matching the participants.

Quasi (natural)
The independent variable is
naturally-occurring, and
therefore not manipulated
The IV is not manipulated, so
there is less control, making
the situation more ecologically
valid, so it is more
generalisable to other

The participants may not know they are being studied. The researcher has to wait for the conditions to happen naturally. Not very reliable. There could be ethical issues to do with consent and withdrawal. Self-Report Self-report method Explanation Strengths Questionnaire Interview Psychometric test Questions where the participant gives a written response or responds on the computer Data can be collected from a large number of people quickly and cheaply. we cannot really infer cause and effect as we cannot be sure that the IV is effecting the DV and that it is not another variable.Highly reliable because of the high levels of control and these high levels of control produce a standardised procedure. People may be more willing to give away personal information on paper than they would face- Structured interviews can easily be repeated as there is a pre-determined set of questions. it may be hard to generalise results to other situations. which are not as controlled. so it will be hard to find the same findings again. and therefore it is reliable and standardised. because there is not a lot of control and no complete standardised procedure. The researcher cannot isolate the IV to measure the effect on the DV as they cannot fully control the situation. making it easy to repeat to look for consistent or similar findings. what type of person someone is or how they learn best Provides lots of quantitative data. Task could be low in mundane realism. as the situation is full of control. such as an extraneous variable. Questions asked face-to-face or over the phone Questionnaire that measures a psychological variable ie. and not representative of a task completed in everyday life. and it would lower the validity if they did know they were being studied. so will be less likely to respond to demand characteristics. Therefore. High levels of control could produce an artificial situation. Therefore. Weaknesses Low in ecological validity because laboratory experiments do not relate to everyday life. it is harder to replicate in exactly the same way. which makes the study more valid (because you’re measuring what you’re supposed to measure). which is easy to analyse and compare with other participants. Detailed information can be Data can be collected from a large number of people quickly . Therefore. because the participant often does not know they are being studied. as the participant could behave differently in a controlled situation. and therefore the participants could show demand characteristics or respond to social-desirability bias if they guess the aim from the controls. they could be waiting a long time or they may not have that many participants. because they are not allowed to manipulate the IV. Therefore. so the sample isn’t representative of the target population.

to-face. What do you think of the current issues facing England today? + In-depth qualitative data can be gathered as the participants can give reasons for their answer and explain themselves. Rating/likert scale. because they cannot be bothered. Designer bias because the designer interprets the data and they could interpret it differently to another person. which is easy to analyse and easy to compare with other results as no interpretation of the researcher is needed . especially if the questionnaire is anonymous. including structured. Observation Type of observation Explanation Naturalistic Controlled Participant Participants’ behaviour recorded in their own Participants’ behaviour recorded in a situation created Researcher pretends to be a participant to observe them . On a scale of 1-5 (1 being very happy and 5 being very sad). There could be interviewerbias or social-desirability bias because the participant may respond in a way they think the interviewer wants them to. so no in-depth information gathered. where you do not plan the interview at all and let it flow freely or semi-structured. but with unstructured. without reading the question properly. so researchers do not know why the participants rated themselves at a particular level Fixed choice response. It is also harder to compare responses from open-ended questions because it is not quantitative data Interviews. and cheaply because it is easy to give out.Participants’ choices limited. These different types of interview all have their advantages and disadvantages. as the same questionnaire can be given out again (standardised). (closed question) Are you male or female? (Please circle) Male Female + . where you partially plan the questions but then let it flow naturally. Labelling somebody as a particular person could encourage them to behave in that way and cause harm (ethics).Same strengths and weaknesses as above Open ended question. You can have different types of interviews. how happy are you with your life? 1 2 3 4 5 + Quantitative numerical data collected.Researchers may interpret a participants’ answer in the wrong way or differently from how another researcher may interpret it. With structured interviews. and only ask those questions to obtain responses. you only obtain the information you have set out to obtain. People may just tick any box. Sample filling in questionnaires could be biased because only literate people with time would fill them in. Weaknesses Questionnaires are reliable. unstructured. where you pre-plan the questions you will ask. and therefore the data is not completely accurate. you can get lots of information which may not be completely relevant to what you are trying to find out. gained if it is unstructured because the researcher can dig deeper. This gives the participant freedom to write what they want and to gain their opinion .

and you do . The researcher could alter the group in some way when they join. which is where the researcher is not part of the group. Covert observation – where the researcher doesn’t inform the participants that they are being observed and doesn’t gain permission to study them. + No behaviour is missed. Observer-bias. which include. As well as participant observation.Strengths Weaknesses environment High ecological validity. and can be repeated again in the same way (standardised procedure) If participants realise they are being watched. lowering the validity. Overt observation – where the researcher informs the participants that they are being observed and gains permission to study them. so the observation is reliable. every minute. so therefore extraneous variables are controlled. + Less intensive as there aren’t many behaviours displayed at one time . they may respond to demand characteristics. and observes them from outside of the group. as the situation is manually created by the researcher. especially if they become a trusted member of the group. because the observer is only recording what they want to see. because they are in their own natural environment. There are two more different types of observation. and report observations in a subjective way. lowering the validity. therefore you cannot say there will be a significant difference between … You cannot infer cause and effect.Behaviour that occurs outside of the time intervals cannot be recorded and are therefore missed Correlation Correlation Hypothesis Alternate hypothesis (two-tailed [non-directional]) – There will be a significant correlation between the … Null – There will be no significant correlation between the … One-tailed (directional) – There will be a significant positive/negative correlation between the … REMEMBER … correlations are NOT experiments. There could be access to data which is unobtainable by other methods. Event sampling – recording behaviours every time a particular behaviour occurs. and so won’t respond to demand characteristics or socialdesirability bias due to high levels of control (as it isn’t highly controlled) by the researcher Levels of control quite high. and is therefore high in validity. which could create demand characteristics or social-desirability bias. As it is in the participants’ own environment. or they could become emotionally involved with the group. so a full set of data is gathered . making it less valid. there is non-participant observation. Participant is likely to know they are being observed because the situation is controlled. and therefore will be harder to replicate. the environment is not controlled. Adds to richness of data. so we cannot infer cause and effect. No manipulation of the IV (as it is not an experiment).Difficult to record behaviour if many behaviours are displayed at once Time sampling – recording behaviours at particular time intervals ie. so more indepth information is discovered. as one variable does not cause the other.

Positive Correlation Negative Correlation No Correlation Sampling Type of sampling method Explanation Strengths Weaknesses Volunteer Opportunity Random Made up of people who have volunteered to take part. remember to include the following. No problems with ethics because the participants have put themselves forward Made up of participants who happen to be in the right place at the right time. 1. Therefore. Made up of a random group of participants. Researcher publicises the study and waits for people to put their name forward. which may or may not have some sort of relationship.not isolate the IV to measure the effect of the DV. what sex? Will you have equal numbers of each sex? Why? (more generalisable) o Why are you using the particular sampling method you are using? 2. money) Not very representative because you simply take the first participants you see. as it includes lots of different people Difficult to obtain this type of sample because of the large population of people. In effect. will you test the same participants in different conditions (repeated measures) or will you test different participants in different conditions (independent measures OR matched pairs)? o Will you carry out a pilot test? . as it is quick and efficient to ask people Unlikely to be representative of the target population because they have volunteered and could be motivated in some way (ie. some people could miss out on the opportunity or you may only select people who are similar in some way (ie. psychology students that were out of their lesson early) Very representative because it is a random sample and is likely to cover the target population. Sampling method you are going to use o How many participants? o Where will you find them? o How will you approach them? o What age range. What will you do when you have your participants? o Will you brief them and ask for consent or will this affect the results? o Will you ask them to meet you somewhere at a particular time or will you ask them to come with you now? o Will you take them to a room? What will the room be like? Or will you test them in the place you are currently at? o Will you test them separately or in a group? o Will you split them into groups or if it is an experiment. you have two variables which you measure. usually by picking names out of a hat Very easy to obtain. Researcher approaches the people and asks them to take part. In the b) question of Section A (13+6 marker).

How are you going to test the participants? o Self-report method of questionnaire/interview (make sure you tell the examiner some questions) o If it is an experiment. what is the IV and what is the DV? o What controls will you use to avoid extraneous variables? Will you use any controls? Why? o If it is a self-report.3. Will you debrief the participants or tell them the full aim at the end? [ETHICS] Remember to think WHAT? WHEN? HOW? WHY? Make sure you MINI-EVALUATE and explain your reasons for why you have chosen to do what you are doing. how will you give the questions to them? In what order and why? o If it is an observation. . How will you collect the data? 5. what behaviour will you record? o Will you split the behaviours up into categories and tally them? 4.

in the paper. frequency of how many said yes) Ordinal data – involves numbers that can be put in order but do not have any mathematical properties. minutes or seconds) Independent Measures Design Chi-squared Repeated Measures Design Correlation Nominal Data Sign test N/A (categories) Ordinal Data Mann Whitney Wilcoxon Spearman’s Rho (numbers) Usually. Make sure you tell the examiner the exact statistical test you would use.Statistical Tests (Non-parametric tests) Nominal data – involves data being in categories or frequencies (for example. and tell them you would use it because your project uses either nominal or ordinal data and because it is either independent measures. It is like a ranking order (individual scores and not necessarily equal units) Interval data – involves using a scale that has equal intervals between the units (for example. like rating scales. and you do not need to tell them how you use the test! NICK IS COOL NOMINAL INDEPENDENT MEASURES CHI-SQUARED NICK RIDES SCOOTER NOMINAL REPEATED MEASURES SIGN TEST OLLIE IS MAD ORDINAL REPEATED MEASURES MANN WHITNEY OLLIE RUNS WILD ORDINAL REPEATED MEASURES WILCOXON OLLIE CAN SWIM ORDINAL COLLERATION SPEARMAN’S RHO . repeated measures or a correlation study. This is all that you can say. you will get a question asking you what statistical test you would use for the practical project you have designed and why.

Brunner’s study into a family in the Netherlands who had slight mental retardation and who showed violent behaviour. The exam papers are set out in a structured way. Ensure that you choose a topic you are confident talking about if you have the choice. simply looked at a urine sample and found they had a deficit of an enzyme which caused a rare disorder. genes and biological molecules. The b) question usually asks you to mention and describe two synoptic examples of the approach/issue/debate. with high levels of control. The independent variable is isolated and manipulated to measure the effect on the dependent variable. as it is scientific and therefore says that everyone is determined by their biology. The c) question will usually ask you for strengths and weaknesses of the issue. and simply explains behaviour as a result of our biology. Sometimes they give you the topic to compare it with. there is often a standardised procedure with highly scientific equipment. 1. but they ignore other factors. The last question e) is very open. and that no other factor can play a part in their behaviour. As it uses laboratory experiments and high levels of control. you will have to answer one question out of the two. Strengths Very scientific and objective. issue or debate. and is therefore influenced by our DNA. you will get at least one approach/perspective question. Make sure you show the examiner that you have knowledge of studies from both the AS and A2 parts of Psychology. All behaviour has a genetic basis. Usually. but be prepared to get any type of question. with the a) question asking you to describe the approach/issue/debate or to give the assumptions (if it is an approach/perspective). Approaches Physiological/Biological Approach Assumptions. which you should contextualise to the question. and often uses laboratory experiments. and also make sure you again use synoptic examples. and it is either focused on an approach/perspective. causing human behaviour. You will need to look at exam papers to get the gist of these questions. as the approach simplifies complex human behaviour down to one simple factor. as it will increase your mark. such as the environment and how their upbringing could have affected their behaviour. as they can be tricky to tackle at first. so the approach is very Very deterministic. It ignores the interaction of elements. The best way to do this is to choose one study from AS illustrating the topic and then one from A2. such as the environment.Psychology G544 Section B Revision Notes In this section of the paper. For example. Don’t forget to give synoptic examples to back up your points. Weaknesses Very reductionist. and could ask you how the topic helps everyday life or how it influences something. D) asks you to compare the approach/issue/debate with another approach/issue/debate in psychology. but sometimes they don’t. so cause and effect can be inferred. .

For example. This is not representative of everyday life. and therefore doesn’t relate to everyday life. who looks at the brains of split-brain patients. and an experimental group (gun) and control group (cheque) are the IV and the DV is measured by a questionnaire and by eye fixation data. 1. which means cause and effect can be established. For example. as scientific methods are used. in Loftus and Palmer’s experiment. as the situation and task is too controlled (low mundane realism) and therefore does not reflect everyday life. which are highly controlled and objective. interprets and responds to information. so it is difficult to generalise the findings. so the independent variable can be isolated and manipulated to measure the effect on the dependent variable. the participants could have guessed the aim and changed their . because participants may guess the aim and respond to demand characteristics or social-desirability bias. For example. Maguire’s study into the effect of the number of years of knowing the knowledge on the size of the hippocampi of the brain. the study conducted by Sperry. he wanted to be simplistic to find out more information on the roles of each hemisphere and what a person can do in different situations (ie. However. For example. Strengths Tends to use laboratory experiments. as we use both eyes so information goes to both sides of the brain.reliable. The human brain is like a computer. There could also be demand characteristics or socialdesirability bias because of the high levels of control. if the participants are not showing their true unbiased behaviour in the situation. Supports the nature side of the nature/nurture debate. It is not normal for a person to be woken up at regular intervals either and may have been hard for them to sleep with electrodes attached to them. making it less valid. it receives. The study used highly scientific equipment of MRI scanners which looked at the structure of the brain. Weaknesses As laboratory experiments are often used. Can be low in validity. 2. Peoples’ problems often arise due to faulty or irrational thinking. which can be traced and often remedied using cognitive therapy. so we cannot be sure they got a normal night’s sleep and that they dreamt how they would usually. so cause and effect can be inferred. Dement and Kleitman’s research into REM sleep and brain activity on dream content. because the situation is too controlled. and were continuously woken up by a doorbell throughout the night. Loftus’ experiment into weapon focus uses a laboratory experiment with a standardised procedure. For example. so we need to be careful when generalising the results. Research tends to be low in ecological validity. as we can check for consistency by repeating it. where the participants had to sleep in a laboratory. because of the levels of control. He makes the patients look at things with one eye covered. Great application to real-life. and had electrodes attached to their scalp and eye lids. research is low in ecological validity. This is not representative of how a person normally sleeps. Fisher’s cognitive interview showed that the cognitive interview elicits much more information than normal interview techniques. and therefore we cannot be sure we are measuring what we are supposed to be measuring. and provides good strong evidence for ‘psychology is a science’. as there are no extraneous variables. so they were able to come to this conclusion. being able to pick out an object) Cognitive Approach Assumptions. and research has had a big influence on everyday life in the real world. so information is only going to one hemisphere of the brain. For example.

without the issue of individual differences. and try to generalise the findings to other cultures. ignoring other factors such as a person’s social situation (friends) and their biology. and can influence everyday life. Samuel and Bryant’s study into the age at which children can conserve has changed education in terms of how teachers teach children and what methods they use to teach them. The approach looks for general patterns of development based on non-representative samples. For example. and to tackle the situation. such as the chances of a person reconvicting if they start offending at a younger age than someone else. when in fact the problem could be much deeper and involve an interaction of factors to overcome it. some children work instead of getting an . Some studies under the developmental approach have very limited samples. This provides in-depth rich qualitative data of one person over a period of time. because they cannot be repeated in the same way to check for consistent results. Yochelson and Samenow looked at the criminal thinking patterns of criminals.speed estimate to suit the independent variable of the verb. Very effective as a therapy. and of the 255 criminals. Changes occur over a person’s lifetime as a result of inherited factors or lifetime experiences (both nature and nurture). Freud tries to generalise the findings from the case study of Little Hans’ and he assumes that all children go through the psychosexual stages. It also assumes that a person’s problems can be solved by changing the way a person thinks. 2. Meichenbaum’s stress inoculation therapy uses cognitive therapy to change the person’s thinking patterns to overcome their stress. This shows how longitudinal studies can be a problem because of these high attrition rates. as people may drop out or die. It would be hard to replicate Farrington’s study because he looks at people for 40 years of their life. Reductionist and deterministic. when the traditions and values are different in other place. such as education. The development of a person or a group of people can be studied. people need to be studied for a long period of time. and therefore uses a longitudinal study. they are not reliable. because there is absolutely no way it could be repeated in the same way as the original study. However. as they only look at children from one area/culture. The approach simplifies complex human behaviour to a person’s thoughts. They can also be ethnocentric. For example. In order to make valid comparisons. Strengths Often studies behaviour over a long period of time. Developmental Approach Assumptions. only 30 completed the programme. Therefore. For example. For example. 1. Research in this area provides us with an understanding of how humans develop and change over the whole of their lifetime. Weaknesses It is difficult to replicate longitudinal studies. For example. so it would be very time consuming and also very unreliable. this is not always possible because there are high attrition rates. from which researchers want to generalise results from. All behaviour in adulthood is affected by experiences in childhood. because the same person is being followed. For example. Farrington looks at offending behaviour of boys from the age of 8 to 48 and comes to conclusions about offending. supporting the assumption that people’s problems are due to faulty or irrational thinking that can be remedied. as it is expensive and extremely time-consuming.

and change their behaviour. In some social approach studies. This has helped to improve many issues. which had high ecological validity as it was set in the participants natural environment on the New York subway. as it assumes that all children go through the same stages. Milgram uses a laboratory experiment to look at the effect of authoritive figures on a person. Therefore. Therefore. For example. Piliavin’s study was a field experiment. the participants are subjected to psychological harm and physiological harm For example. Waxler-Morrison’s study on social networks influencing breast cancer survival shows how important social networks are in enhancing a woman’s life and enabling them to cope better. Very deterministic. at a young age. as the results relate to everyday life. For example. even when nobody else is present. Samuel and Bryant with stages of conservation. and couldn’t have responded to demand characteristics or social-desirability bias in terms of helping behaviour. so extraneous variables cannot be controlled. The participant could experience harm in some way. and look at how a person’s behaviour can be influenced. the studies are not that reliable because they cannot be repeated in exactly the same way. Piaget assumed younger children do not have the ability to think in the same way as older children. the participants are told they have the right to withdraw but the experimenter technically doesn’t allow them to. Strengths The approach often uses real life situations to study the social context of situations. Weaknesses There is a huge problem with ethics in these types of studies. Very reductionist and deterministic. They also are not given the right to withdraw because they do not know they are being studied in the first place. Behaviour is influenced by the people around us and the society they have created (the situation). For example. As field experiments are often used. from field experiments to laboratory experiments to look at the effects of social situations on behaviour. as the participants usually do not know they are being studied. and also ignores cognitive factors. the social approach is often high in ecological validity. Freud with psychosexual stages. the participants wouldn’t have known they were being studied. the participant is in their own environment. Therefore. Social Approach Assumptions. because some of them shocked people at a rate that would kill a person many times and may not have thought they would be able to do this. so they cannot give their consent. 2. There is no completely controlled standardised procedure. It uses a wide range of methods. but there is a lack of control in the study. Piliavin uses a field experiment. 1. Samuel and Bryant generalise their findings to other cultures about conservation. For example. All behaviour occurs in a social context. because someone could have a cognitive problem or physiological problem (ie. in Milgram’s experiment. For example. downsyndrome) which causes them to act differently in social situations. when the research was only based on children from one town in the UK and therefore ignores cultural differences in regards to how children may learn differently in different parts of the World. It is deterministic because it assumes that people will act in accordance to the situation. It ignores factors such as the physiological side of things. Individual Differences Approach . and can be generalised to other situations. Field experiments are good because they are high in ecological validity. It simplifies complex human behaviour by only looking at situational factors such as the environment. and hence people can be studied in their natural environment without demand characteristics and social-desirability bias so the results are applicable to real life situations. This approach tends to look at very relevant and useful situations.

they are not reductionist in any way. Strengths Many useful applications to real life and allows us to understand human behaviour as we can find causes for some disorders. as well as using qualitative and quantitative data. For example. To understand the complexity of human behaviour. from looking at the unique characteristics of the individual. to do with the ethics of the study. and her mental side. His phobia of a horse which reflected his phobia of his dad is unique. in Thigpen and Cleckley’s study. It explains individual differences as resulting from a person’s own characteristics and ignores the situation a person is in. This provides data which is easy to analyse and compare. 3. because the symptoms are so wide-ranging. All behaviour is the result of learning (conditioning) from the environment. It looks at factors as a whole. Psychologists should only study directly observable and measurable behaviour. and is objective. as they found out that ‘labelling’ could have serious effects with their health. 1. Therefore. A much more holistic approach than any other approach that we study (ignoring the humanistic approach). it is necessary to study the differences between people. as they changed the way that they diagnosed and treated them. etc. Perspectives Behaviourist Perspective Assumptions. there are very few participants. Quantitative data is obtained from psychometric tests. There is use of both quantitative and qualitative data. Weaknesses As case studies are used. and therefore we cannot really generalise the findings to other people/groups. This shows that they assume people experience similar symptoms and that it is down to the illness. For example. However. and trying to get out hospital) when in fact it was a result of the hospital environment and the fact that they weren’t real patients. even if they didn’t relapse. and do not assume anything [not deterministic]. For example. the behaviour of the pseudopatients in Rosenhan’s study was misinterpreted as being part of the illness (constant writing. as it is not reductionist in any way. and his problems reflect his experiences. as the label stayed with them forever. Rosenhan’s study led to the improvement of people’s lives who had mental health disorders.Assumptions. which could bias the findings and cause other problems. where differences between personalities and other traits can be found between people. For example. It does not simplify any complex disorder down to its phenomenon. and it is unlikely someone else would have this exact problem because they would have different experiences and a different upbringing. especially as it is to do with individual differences – people experience different symptoms. her cognitive side (from the interviews). 1. and uses a variety of methods to come to a conclusion. rather than by looking at the similarities between people. Conditioning involves associative learning – association between stimuli and responses which did not exist before learning took place. and not the environment. Freud’s case study on Little Hans is individual. The approach tends to rely on dispositional explanations rather than situational ones. . and look at her experiences from the past. was Eve’s case of MPD real or was she just a good actor?? For example. Tend to use case study method to gain a more holistic approach. so we can’t generalise the results to other people. 2. Behaviour which deviates from the norm is seen to be abnormal. the researchers in the case study can become too emotionally attached with the individual. we can question if it is useful to real life. 2. which sticks to looking at one person at a time.

Strengths Often uses the case study method. support that upbringing (environment) can cause a person to turn to crime – if the role model of a person is a criminal. so he could not give his consent and the experiment could have caused him psychological harm because he was taught by associative learning (CLASSICAL CONDITIONING) to not like objects which were once his favourite. Provides support for teachers when bringing in teaching methods. which is a mechanism for learning in the classroom. DVDs. For example. which has helped to get rid of some behaviours. so the IV can be isolated to measure the effect on the DV. this is a weakness of the approach because it is reductionist. as it usually uses laboratory experiments in very controlled conditions. It assumes that everyone will learn in this way. Little Albert was only a baby. and also helps parents to shape their child. and can influence our thinking and physical well-being. etc. For example. Weaknesses As laboratory experiments tend to be used. Weaknesses As case studies are used. there is a direct link between aggressive and non-aggressive/no role models on a child’s behaviour. For example. Skinners’ study shows how rats can press a lever (reinforcement) and they will get food. so extraneous variables are avoided. with schizophrenia. Bandura’s experiment shows how role models are highly influential on young children. It is a strong and highly influential perspective in psychology as it thoroughly explains behaviour. This issue could cause demand characteristics or social-desirability bias. Childhood experiences have an effect on our behaviour in later life. which could cause them to miss out very important factors. it is often not observable because it occurs in the persons mind. It only focuses on observable behaviour. having a good role model in the family. as it assumes behaviour will be learnt by classical or operant conditioning. and studies them over a long period of time. and therefore cause and effect can be inferred. who cannot really give their full consent. It doesn’t look at other explanations for why behaviour may be there. Huge practical application to real-life. such as behavioural therapies. unconscious and conscious. and that behaviour cannot take place in any other format. with one participant. the samples are extremely small and so the results or information obtained cannot be generalised to other samples. because it is not representative. because there is support for classical and operant conditioning. Case studies are also very . Therefore. The mind is split into 3 –the preconscious. and is therefore reductionist. etc. 1. Many therapies have come out of it. the studies are very low in ecological validity. so in-depth rich qualitative data can be gathered into the experiences of one person. so we have to be careful when applying the findings to everyday life. which can help parents with their children in terms of video games. Farrington. 2. Huge problem with ethics. The unconscious forms a large part of our mental life. as shown by Bandura.OPERANT CONDITIONING – uses reinforcement and punishment to strengthen or weaken behaviours (SKINNER) CLASSICAL CONDITIONING – uses association to learn behaviours (PAVLOV) Strengths The approach studies behaviour in a very scientific way. as they are very important in shaping our adult personality. Psychodynamic Perspective Assumptions. For example. Very deterministic. because children or animals are generally used.

reliability. Participants should not be named or identified in the write-up of the study. There are no scientific findings or methods used to back up the data.For example. give strengths and weaknesses of them. and if he did ask for consent. and also quantitative and qualitative data. He explained this in terms of the Oedipus complex. fear. Psychological/Physical Harm. Confidentiality. This ethical issue means deceiving the participants in terms of not telling them the full aims of the study and then using their results when you still haven’t told them the full aim. unhappiness. ecological validity. and also it cannot be repeated because it is longitudinal and is therefore not very representative of the target population. or when showing the results in a graph. In terms of children. individual and cannot be replicated on other people. parental consent should be obtained and the children should be asked for assent (to say whether they are happy to continue) For example. They should be given information about what they will be asked to do during the study and they should confirm verbally or in writing that they understand the study and are willing to take part. it would have taken a long time and would also have affected the results. validity. because of individual differences. To avoid this type of harm. Issues The issues that you need to know about include. and hence are not very reliable. Freud looked at the case of Little Hans who had a phobia of horses and consequently of his father. longitudinal and snapshot. Ethics Ethical issues include. and in a way this offers them the right to withdraw. It is essential that research avoids presenting participants with tasks that might induce unpleasant emotions or states of mind such as anxiety. The participants should also not talk about their performance with anyone. and you should also have synoptic examples to illustrate the issues. ethics. This is to respect their privacy and the individuals should be told that their results and information will remain confidential. and cannot be tested objectively. as people have different experiences in their childhood. This makes them very bias as well. stress. You should be able to describe each of these issues. The perspective is very subjective. so it is not very reliable at all. . For example. Piliavin did not obtain any consent from his participants because it was a field experiment. Consent. researchers could inform the participants of what they might come across in the study that could cause them harm when they obtain consent. Informed consent should always be obtained from participants before starting the study. as the psychologists make their own interpretations. because the participants would have responded to demand characteristics and social-desirability bias to make themselves seem like a better person in regards to their helping (bystander) behaviour. Thigpen and Cleckley’s study on Eve is not generalisable to other people because it is an individual case. etc as well as avoiding physical harm. Deception.

The researcher must tell the participants that they have the right to withdraw from the study when they give their informed consent. research which raises ethical issues (June 2010) Weaknesses The participants of the study are being objected to psychological harm and are being deceived because they are not being told the full aim. it would be said to be low in mundane realism. Strengths and limitations of conducting psychological 2010) Strengths Where ecological validity is low. which was determined by the observation of the participants. . Therefore. if a study is set up in laboratory settings or where this is high control. Participants do not know they are being studied. Strengths and weaknesses of conducting psychological Strengths Sometimes the issue of deception can enhance the ecological validity and (internal) validity of the study. Where the task that the participant is asked to do is not reflective of a normal task a person would do. The participants should be allowed to ask for the results of the study and they should be informed that any discussion or publication of the study will ensure anonymity of the participants. so in future people may be less likely to give their permission to take part or they may be more aware that they could be being studied. they could agree to take part in a study because they have been told a ‘fake’ aim. for example. However. and act differently. Loftus and Palmers’ experiment into the effect of changing a verb in a question on the participants speed estimate of how fast the car was going when it ‘******’ another car research where ecological validity is low (January Weaknesses Research is likely to be reductionist. Right to withdraw. it is not in the participants’ natural settings and does not reflect everyday life. the participants should be told the real aims. Using an environment which is natural or normal to the participant is likely to be higher in ecological validity. and in that way. Ecological Validity Ecological validity refers to the extent that the situation or task in the study truly reflects behaviour in real life settings. Debriefing.In Milgram’s study. there are likely to be controlled conditions. are more generalisable to the target population and to other settings. so cause and effect can be inferred. where the IV is isolated and manipulated to measure the effect on the DV. and only looks at one factor. when in fact they wouldn’t have agreed if they were told the real aim of the study. It does not look at a combination of factors. affecting the ecological validity of the study. as they were sweating a lot. Findings are more useful because participants are being studied in their natural environment in a normal situation and do not know they are being studied. anxious and upset. so they act completely normally. and is more likely to obtain results that represent everyday life. sleeping in a laboratory. At the end of the study. which caused them to become stressed. because the participants do not know the full aim and so cannot react in any particular way. and they should be given the opportunity to ask the researchers questions. so the ecological validity is low. and that they also have the right not to answer any question. The issue of ethical issues could give psychological research a bad reputation. the participants could have experienced psychological harm because they were administering deathly electric shocks to the ‘students’. because it is less likely that there will be demand characteristics and social-desirability bias. as the situation is very controlled. so information which is private could be published by the researchers. It simplifies complex human behaviour by isolating the IV.

because there may be extraneous variables. It is harder for us to generalise/apply the results where there is low ecological validity. natural settings. because scientific equipment is not something we come across every day. As the situation is controlled. This means the not been avoided. and so we and it is less likely that the participant will change cannot be sure we are measuring what we are supposed their behaviour to suit the aim. We need to manipulate the independent variable to measure the effect on the dependent variable. For example. so it is harder to infer results can be applied to everyday life and to other cause and effect. and hence this would lower the ecological validity. and in this way. As there is less control. so the situation is more natural. which used a laboratory experiment with standardised images and composite images. would we find exactly the same or similar findings? The only way we can accurately repeat a study is if we have high levels of control or a standardised procedure. as field experiments are the participants’ natural setting. because there is likely to be demand characteristics or socialdesirability bias. Strengths and limitations of psychological research with low reliability Strengths Weaknesses Low reliability means that the levels of control are not Low reliability infers that the situation is not highly high. and therefore the most reliable method is the laboratory experiment. it is said to be more reliable. A field experiment does not infer high reliability because not all variables are controlled. There will be a lack of qualitative data. If we were to repeat the study. because the study can be repeated in exactly the same way to look for consistencies in results. because the environment could have changed slightly between studies. there are not many controls. where the participants change their behaviour to what they think the researchers want to see. to measure. as you don’t sleep with equipment attached to yourself. which could have affected the results. so we cannot isolate the IV to environment is representative of everyday life. Also. we are not able to repeat the study in exactly the same way. and therefore extraneous variables have has higher ecological validity. there is more likely to be a standardised procedure. where quantitative data can be collected. it can be repeated in the same way to check for reliability.isolated the IV so they could infer cause and effect between the verb and speed estimate. and were woken up continuously throughout their sleep. Therefore. This allows objective measurements to be made. so there is no in-depth rich data which gives us more of an insight into why a behaviour is occurring. Reliability Reliability refers to how consistent the findings are. Dement and Kleitmans sleep laboratory used electrodes connected to the scalp and eye lids. They had electrodes attached to their scalp and eye lids. so they would not have gained a normal nights’ sleep. . Therefore. Therefore. and therefore it controlled. since highly scientific equipment only produces objective data. because if there is low desirability bias because the situation is not artificial reliability. Not representative of how a person normally sleeps. because we need to be able to repeat the study in exactly the same way. Bruce conducted an experiment into recognising faces. and they were asked not to drink any alcohol or caffeine on the day. there is likely to be less We can question the internal validity of this type of chance of demand characteristics or socialpsychological research. so the measure the effect on the DV. This was a standardised procedure as all participants saw the images and had to match the composites to the original. which is easy to analyse and then compare. since the dream content and REM could have been affected. the participant may drink caffeine or alcohol on a normal day. Dement and Kleitman’s experiment into eye movement and dreaming was very low in ecological validity. Highly scientific equipment is likely to be used where the ecological validity is low. because it studied participants whilst they slept in a lab. we cannot gather opinions or reasons for the quantitative data.

concurrent validity is used in Baron-Cohen’s study into autistic/asperger’s/tourettes people because he uses the Happes Strange Stories Task to check the measure of the Eyes Task. concurrent. it will ask you about ecological validity or validity itself. Internal External Concurrent Face Ecological Population Content Does the study measure what it’s supposed to within the study itself? Does the study measure what it claims to outside the study? Comparing the measure with an already existing established measure of the same variable to check for concurrent validity (and hence reliability because you are checking the measure works and measures what it is supposed to [validity]) Are you measuring what you want to measure? Does it do what it says it does? Does the study (situation and task) reflect everyday life? The extent to which the results of a study can be generalised to the target population Does the measure cover all the variables it is supposed to cover? These different terms are very confusing – be aware that you don’t need to be able to define all of these different types of validity. If you are going to get a question on validity. so there are no extraneous variables and it can be repeated in exactly the same way. face. which include internal. because if you’re measuring what you’re supposed to measure. It is just good to know about the different types because it shows you are more aware of the issue. Try to learn some of the terms to impress the examiners (ie. so you can’t be sure it is just the independent variable that is having the effect on the dependent variable. then you cannot be sure you’re measuring what you’re supposed to be measuring because extraneous variables could be affecting the measurement and you cannot infer cause and effect because you have not isolated the independent variable. There are many different types of validity.Validity Validity is a wide topic area as it covers many different aspects. Strengths and limitations of psychological research that is highly valid Strengths Weaknesses Research that is highly valid is often highly reliable. ecological. then you are isolating the IV to measure the effect on the DV. external. population and content validity. Longitudinal and Snapshot . The term validity basically means are you measuring what you are supposed to measure? If there are extraneous variables.

and test There is a lack of detailed in-depth rich qualitative participants objectively using scientific methods. especially reasons. Strengths and limitations of psychological research using longitudinal studies Strengths Weaknesses Longitudinal studies are carried out over a long period These types of studies are very expensive and timeof time. Lots of qualitative data can be collected. and therefore it is easy to come to peoples choices or for the participants behaviour. Only looks at easily quantifiable data study as usually quantitative data is obtained in highly and ignores other aspects. conclusions. so does not Hence. because there is no qualitative data to obtained in exactly the same way (by repeating the back up findings. so easy to analyse and therefore very Lack of in-depth rich meaningful data. and then cross compares data to come to a conclusion Refers to the length of time of each participant’s involvement. Therefore. which means conclusions can be drawn straight away. it is useful as good comparisons can be made. as research usually only looks at one they do not go on for a long period of time. Strengths and limitations of psychological research using snapshot studies Strengths Weaknesses Snapshot studies are quick and easy to conduct. Quantitative and Qualitative Data Quantitative data – numerical data expressed as quantities or numbers that can be analysed statistically in order to provide comparisons between groups of participants Qualitative data – descriptive data which is not numerical and is a rich source of information on behaviours and attitudes on what people think or feel and gives reasons for behaviours Strengths and limitations of psychological research using quantitative data Strengths Weaknesses Numerical data. It looks at a person’s behaviour in one moment of time. and therefore down to reasons for behaviours. which means there are no opinions (subjective) type of data is very easy to analyse and compare. because they are ill or they may not want to be part of the study. and also need a high level of commitment individuals. and usually looks at the development of a person and their behaviour (classified as longitudinal if it aims to look at the effect of variables over time) Snapshot – a study conducted on one occasion. which gives Qualitative data is subjective. and also there are no reasons for is numerical data. data can be collected on one occasion. data giving opinions or reasons for choices. culture and then tries to apply it to lots of different participants do not need to be committed. as it data gathered. controlled conditions). and is rich and in-depth. rather than how long it takes for the researchers to collect the data. so researchers can look at the development of consuming. Tend to collect quantitative data. . the interpretation of the researcher. as Ethnocentric. give the opportunity for participants to explain behaviour. Some participants may drop out stages everyone passes through or patterns. so there is no easy to compare and draw conclusions between people.Longitudinal – a study carried out over a long period of time. and this type of study usually looks at many different individuals. It is hard to analyse and also hard to compare with other data. and come to conclusions about particular from participants. This data. Reliable data as it is quantitative and so can be Reductionist. and lots of cultures.

As deterministic views are based on scientific information. More holistic than just using quantitative data. Make sure you look at both sides before coming to any conclusion. participants to explain their opinions. when only the Western ways have been studied. it is hard to draw meaningful conclusions from this type of data. Ethnocentrism 5. and so Reductionist. and be able to describe it. Reductionism V Holism 3. These debates include. and compare because of individual differences. Qualitative data is very hard to analyse and therefore because it actually explains things in more detail. because it assumes findings can be applied to all cultures. 1. Usefulness of psychological research For this type of question. which could make it bias. o Hard determinism o Soft determinism Free will – the view that our behaviours are the products of our own choice and will. and effect can be established. This means provides reasons and explanations for behaviours. This affects the usefulness measure the effect on the DV and therefore cause of research because it simplifies human behaviour. Ethnocentric to some extent. as it is heavily scientific and therefore there are high levels ofcontrol. you need to know about the debate. Determinism V Free will 2. Individual V Situational explanations 7. so we have to be careful when applying the . Psychology as a Science 6. and there are often two sides to the debate. Western ways are different from other cultures.Strengths and limitations of psychological research using qualitative data Strengths Weaknesses In-depth rich meaningful data. which provides reasons Subjective data so it is down to the researchers for particular behaviours and also allows the interpretation. Debates There are many new debates in psychology that you have to know for this exam. Strengths and limitations of psychological research that is deterministic Strengths Weaknesses Deterministic views are often scientific views.the view that all behaviours are determined by factors beyond our control. Determinism V Free will Determinism . so research cannot be applied to other cultures. you need to know the strengths and weaknesses of each side of the debate in psychology and also be able to link in synoptic examples that explain and support the debates. Nature V Nurture 4. which avoids only looks at one aspect of complex human behaviour extraneous variables so the IV can be isolated to and ignores other factors. and are in a way determined before we actually do them. research would be low in ecological validity.

It assumes that behaviour is learnt from the environment and that the environment will change our behaviour. and cause Affects generalisability to target population because and effect can be inferred. o It does not break it down into smaller sub-sections. . the researcher. and therefore Low ecological validity. we can’t generalise the results to people living a normal life in a normal World if the study was carried out in an artificially controlled situation. and are not down to any interpretation by descriptive data. o It over-simplifies complex human behaviour down to simple factors Holism – an approach that takes into account a wide range of factors to explain complex human behaviour. and looks at behaviour as a whole Strengths and limitations of psychological research that is reductionist Strengths Weaknesses Consistent with scientific approach. Usually quantitative data is collected from highly Lack of qualitative data so there are no reasons or scientific equipment. It is the inability to think outside one’s own cultural experience and a tendency to assume that what happens in our own culture is common to other cultures. Reductionism V Holism Reductionism – the process of breaking down complex human behaviour into their constituent parts. Nature V Nurture Nature – describes behaviours that are innate (born into us or genetically determined by genes and DNA) Nurture – describes behaviours that are acquired as a result of experience or because of environmental influences Strengths and limitations of the nurture side of the nature/nurture debate Strengths Weaknesses Deterministic because it offers no scope for free will. isolated to measure the effect on the DV. because on a daily basis uses laboratory experiment with high levels of control variables are not isolated to measure the effect of so it avoids extraneous variables. Ethnocentrism The belief that one’s own ethnic group or culture is superior to another ethnic group or culture.findings to everyday life because high controls can cause participants to show demand characteristics or social-desirability bias. which are easy to analyse and explanations to quantitative data. The IV can be them and therefore it does not reflect everyday life. so it lacks in-depth compare.

it wouldn’t be seen as a valid or reliable subject. psychology as a science and individual and situational explanations. Strengths and limitations of the ‘psychology as a science’ debate Strengths Weaknesses Highly controlled. so that the independent variable can High control means the situation will be artificial and be isolated meaning there are no extraneous variables therefore would not reflect a person’s normal which allows us to measure the IVs effect on the environment. how the ethics. and also it doesn’t look at things as a whole. Situational – looks at the situation a person is in and assumes that the behaviour of a person depends on the situation the person is in. Ie. Psychology as a Science Psychology is generally seen as being a Science. determinism and free will. and we would have to be careful about because we are measuring what we are supposed to be applying results because there could be demand measuring – cause (IV) and effect (DV). which is easy to analyse peoples’ behaviour or obtain opinions. because if it wasn’t a Science.o o Sometimes psychologists draw conclusions from studies focused on one culture or group and assume it can be generalised to other groups or cultures. as it does not take into account any No qualitative data is collected when using scientific subjective opinions of people. Usefulness of Psychological Research This is part of the specification but you will be able to evaluate the usefulness of psychological research by looking at all the other factors this booklet has looked at. Reliable. their personality) and assumes that the individual characteristics of a person is consistent across situations. 10% of babies born with difficult temprements – an emphasis on nature. Ie. providing straight forward conclusions. and this characteristic is consistent across situations. nature-nurture. and how the guards failed to develop a strong group identity but the prisoners were the complete opposite. Thomas et al. etc and makes them more replicable. characteristics or social-desirability bias. that a particular behaviour is a cause of something else. reductionism and holism. ecological validity. type of study (longitudinal or snapshot) and quantitative and qualitative data affect the usefulness. with high levels of control. and compare with other quantitative data. ethnocentrism. as standardised procedures are commonly Reductionist and deterministic as it assumes that used. This means it is also highly valid validity. and simplifies complex human behaviour down to very small factors. and you will be able to bring this into whether psychological research is useful or not. We have also looked at the debates. hence it would be low in ecological dependent variable. and only looks at fact. Reicher looked at the way we identify within a group. Objective. . Individual and Situational Explanations Individual – looks at the characteristics of a person (ie. methods and therefore we do not obtain reasons for Produces quantitative data. which therefore everyone will go through the same patterns. This is common when research is based on the Western way.