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GCSE Psychology – Edexcel

Revision Guide
Topic A – How do we see the world? Tick
1
a the biological structures involved in perception: including the role of
i the eye (retina, rods, cones, optic nerve, blind spot)
ii the brain (-optic chiasma, visual cortex)

b cues to depth: superimposition, relative size, linear perspective, stereopsis, texture gradient, height
in the plane; and size constancy

c Gestalt laws: figure-ground, continuity, proximity, similarity, closure

d visual illusions: fictions (colour after-effects and illusory contours), ambiguous figures (Necker cube
and Leeper’s lady), distortions (Muller-Lyer and Ponzo)

e explanations of illusions (Gestalt theory and Gregory’s work on perspective theory), including
evaluation of each

f the influence of schemas on how we interpret our world and evaluation of such influence drawing on
Palmer (1975), Bartlett (1932) and Carmichael, Hogan and Walter (1932).

2
a the following terms, and their use when referring to methodology:
i independent variable
ii dependent variable
iii experimental hypothesis
iv experimental (participant) design: repeated measures and
v independent groups
vi descriptive statistics (mean, median, mode, range)
vii bar chart
viii control of variables
ix informed consent
x right to withdraw

b the ethical issues in laboratory experiments of informed consent and the right to withdraw, and how
these may be dealt with

c the laboratory experiment as a research method including evaluation

d the aims, procedure, and findings (results and/or conclusions) and evaluation of
i Palmer (1975) The effects of contextual scenes on the identification of objects
ii Bartlett (1932) War of the Ghosts
iii Carmichael, Hogan and Walter (1932) An experimental study of the effect of language on the
reproduction of visually perceived forms.

3
a how eyewitness memory can be influenced by schemas drawing on two studies; and the importance
of these influences for society and/or the individual.

GCSE Psychology – Edexcel


Revision Guide
Topic B - Is dreaming meaningful? Tick
1
a Freud’s (1900) dream theory including the concepts of manifest content, latent content and
dreamwork (displacement, condensation and secondary elaboration), and their evaluation of the
theory

b the basic structure and function of a neuron: axon, impulse, neurotransmitter, synaptic transmission

c Hobson and McCarley’s (1977) activation-synthesis model including the concepts of random
activation, sensory blockade and movement inhibition

d explanations of dreaming offered by Freud, and Hobson and McCarley, by comparing and evaluating
them.

2
a the following terms, and their use when referring to methodology
i aim
ii case study
iii qualitative data
iv quantitative data
v privacy
vi confidentiality
vii generalisability
viii reliability
ix subjectivity and objectivity

b the ethical issues in case studies of humans of privacy and confidentiality and how they can be dealt
with. (NB: The ethics of animal studies are discussed in Topic D.)

c the case study as a research method including evaluation

d the dream analysis of Little Hans in Freud (1909) Analysis of a phobia of a five-year old boy including
evaluation of dream analysis as a research method.

3
the role of the psychoanalyst including:
i who they might work for
ii what they do
iii skills required
iv qualifications required
v accreditation status
vi how they might use dream analysis to help someone.

b how psychological sleep disorders (including REM sleep disorder) are treated at a sleep disorder
clinic.

GCSE Psychology – Edexcel


Revision Guide
Topic C - Do TV and Video games affect young people’s behaviour? Tick
1
a causes of aggression including:
i biological (limbic system and amygdala, hormones)
ii social learning including from TV and video games (Social Learning Theory: role models, vicarious
reinforcement, modelling, observational learning, identification)

b biological and social learning explanations of aggression by comparing them, including an evaluation
of each

c the nature-nurture debate in relation to understanding aggression

d the evidence for individual differences in aggression drawing on Ramirez et al (2001) and Anderson
and Dill (2000).

2
a the following terms, and their use when referring to methodology:
i sampling and generalisability issues in a content analysis
ii identifying categories and tallying
iii reliability of content analysis

b the ethical issue of protection of participants and how this may be dealt with

c the aims, procedures and findings (results and/or conclusions) and evaluation of
i Anderson and Dill (2000) Video games and aggressive thoughts, feelings and behaviour in the
laboratory and in life
ii Ramirez et al (2001) Cultural and sex differences in aggression
iii Charlton et al (2000) Children’s playground behaviour across five years of broadcast television: a
naturalistic study in a remote community
iv Williams (1981) How and what do children learn from television.

3
a the effects of television on aggression using the findings (results and/or conclusions) of Charlton et
al’s (2000) study and Williams’ (1981) study; including comparing them

b the role of an educational psychologist including:


i who they might work for
ii what they do
iii skills required
iv qualifications required
v chartered status
vi what they might do to help a child with anger management problems.

4
a the role and effectiveness of censorship including;
i the role of the 9 pm watershed
ii arguments for and against censorship.

GCSE Psychology – Edexcel


Revision Guide
Topic D - Why do we have phobias? Tick
1
a causes of phobias including:
i the evolutionary explanation of preparedness
ii Social Learning Theory (modelling and vicarious reinforcement)
iii classical/Pavlovian conditioning (association and generalisation)

b the nature-nurture debate in relation to understanding phobias.

2
a the following terms and their use when referring to methodology:
i questionnaire
ii open-ended and closed questions
iii rank scales (eg Likert style questions)
iv standardised instructions
v response bias
vi social desirability.

b questionnaires as a research method including evaluation ethical issues of laboratory experiments


using animals including social isolation, number and choice of species

d practical issues of laboratory experiments using animals including three practical issues

e the aims, procedures and findings (results and/or conclusions) and evaluation of
i Cover-Jones (1924) The case of Little Peter
ii Bennett-Levy and Marteau (1984) Fear of animals. What is prepared?

3
a flooding and systematic desensitisation as therapies used to treat phobias

b the ethics of flooding and systematic desensitisation as therapies used to treat phobias, including the
guidelines of distress and right to withdraw

c the role of a clinical psychologist including:


i who they might work for
ii what they do
iii skills required
iv qualifications required
v chartered status
vi what they might do to help a person with phobias.

4
cultural issues in the development of phobias using Heinrichs et al, (2005) Cultural differences in
perceived social norms and social anxiety.

GCSE Psychology – Edexcel


Revision Guide
Topic E - Are criminals born or made? Tick
1
a causes of criminal behaviour including:
i biological explanations of criminality (genetics, XYY chromosome abnormality, twin studies)
ii social explanations of criminality (family patterns, childrearing
strategies, self-fulfilling prophecy)

b biological and social explanations of criminality, by comparing them

c the nature-nurture debate in relation to an individual’s tendency toward criminality.

2
a the aim, procedure and findings (results and/or conclusions) and evaluation of
i Sigall and Ostrove (1975) Beautiful but dangerous: Effects of offender attractiveness and nature of
the crime on juridic judgments
ii Madon et al (2004) Self-fulfilling prophecies: the synergistic accumulative effect of parents’ beliefs on
children’s drinking behavior
iii Theilgaard (1984) A psychological study of the personalities of XYY- and XXY

b the ethical and practical problems associated with biological and social research into criminality, and
the gathering of information from convicted offenders.

3
the purpose, process and effectiveness of offender profiling as a method used to help catch criminals

b the use of offender profiling in the case of John Duffy (David Canter)

c the role of a forensic psychologist including


i who they might work for
ii what they do
iii skills required
iv qualifications required
v chartered status
vi how they might help to treat offenders.

4
the effects of race, accent and appearance/attractiveness on decision making.

GCSE Psychology – Edexcel


Revision Guide
GCSE Psychology Topic A
How do we see our world?

1) Vision and perception


Key terminology Perception:
 Perception – the way the brain makes sense of the visual image detected by the brain.
 Retina – the light-sensitive layer at the back of the eye. It is made up of nerve cells called rods and cones.
 Rods – light-sensitive cells in the retina that respond even in dim light.
 Cones - light-sensitive cells in the retina that can detect colour.
 Optic nerve – bundle of nerves that leads out from the retina at the back of the eye. It carries information
from the rods and cones to the brain.
 Blind spot – the area of the retina where the optic nerve leaves. It has no rods or cones so cannot detect
light.
 Optic chiasma – the cross-shape where some of the information from the left and right eye crosses over
to pass into the opposite side of the brain.
 Visual cortex – the area at the back of the brain that interprets visual information.

Revision notes:
 Vision and perception are different – vision is the biological process of seeing and perception is the
psychological process of making sense of the image.
 The light reflected from an object enters the eye and makes an image on the
retina (at the back of the eye). It is here that nerve cells called rods (light-
sensitive cells that respond even in dim light) and cones (light-sensitive cells
that can detect colour) help us to perceive objects.
 The optic nerve carries the nerve impulses from the rods and cones to the
brain.
 The blind spot is found in each eye. It is the area in the retina where there is
no space for rods and cones therefore the area is ‘blind’ as there are no light-sensitive cells. We often
don’t notice our blind spot because our two blind spots don’t overlap so if one eye can’t see something,
the other one can.
 The optic chiasma is needed because information from each eye goes to both sides of the brain; some
from the left eye goes to the left side of the brain and some to the right side.
 The visual cortex allows us to understand shapes and distances and fills in the gap left by the blind spot
in each eye.

Task 1: True or false?


1. The retina is made up of rods and cones. TRUE FALSE
2. Cones cannot detect colour. TRUE FALSE
3. The blind spot only exists in the left eye. TRUE FALSE
4. The visual cortex is the cross shape where information from the left and right
TRUE FALSE
eyes cross.
5. The optic chiasma is the light sensitive layer at the back of the eye. TRUE FALSE
6. The area at the back of the brain that interprets visual information is the
TRUE FALSE
retina.
7. Vision is the biological process of seeing. TRUE FALSE
8. Perception is the biological process of seeing. TRUE FALSE
9. Rods can respond even in dim light. TRUE FALSE
10. The blind spot contains no rod and no cones. TRUE FALSE

GCSE Psychology – Edexcel


Revision Guide
2) Depth cues
Key terminology Depth cues:
 Depth cues – the visual ‘clues’ that we use to understand depth or
distance.
 Monocular depth cues – information about distance that comes from one
eye, such as superimposition, relative size, texture gradient, linear
perspective and height in the plane.
 Binocular depth cues – information about distance that needs two eyes,
such as stereopsis.
 Size constancy – we perceive an object as the same size even when its
distance from us changes.
 Relative size – smaller objects are perceived as further away than larger
ones.
 Texture gradient – an area with a detailed pattern perceived to be nearer than one with less detail.
 Height in the plane – objects closer to the horizon are perceived to be more distant than ones below or
above the horizon.
 Superimposition– a partly hidden object must be further away than the object covering it.
 Linear perspective – parallel lines appear to converge (meet) in the distance.
 Stereopsis – a binocular depth cue. The greater the difference between the view seen by the left eye
and the right eye, the closer the viewer is looking.

Task 2: Annotate the picture showing the monocular depth cues used by the artist. Make sure you
demonstrate your understanding of each depth cue.

Revision notes:
 We can judge depth in the real world (in 3D) and we can understand depth in
pictures (2D) by the use of depth cues which are pieces of visual information
that trigger or ‘cue’ our understanding of distance.
 Monocular depth cues use one eye while binocular depth cues require the use
of both eyes.

GCSE Psychology – Edexcel


Revision Guide
 When we look at an object that is close our brain scales it down so that it looks normal sized and when
an object is further away we scale it up so it looks normal rather than tiny. This reminds us that the size
of the object remains constant but helps us to make sense of our world.
 We perceive bigger objects as being closer than smaller objects (which we perceive as further away) by
using the depth cue of relative size.
 We use the depth cue of texture gradient when looking at cobblestones or a sandy beach we see that
close up the surface is very detailed while further away the texture is less clear.
 When we look at pictures that include the horizon, objects lower in the scene appear closer than those
objects higher up which appear further away. This is the depth cue of height in the plane.
 Superimposition reminds us that objects in front of (or partly covering) other objects are closer to us.
 Very long straight roads and railway lines appear to converge in the distance (even though we know
they don’t) – this is an example of linear perspective.
 Stereopsis is a binocular depth cue that allows us to see one image when we are presented with two
images side by side (one image from the right eye and one image from the left eye). When we look at
an object with both eyes open, our brain forms one perception from the two images. The image on the
right retina and the image on the left retina are combined. When we are looking at something far away
the two images are very similar but when we are looking at something closer the two images are very
different – this helps us to judge depth.

Task 3: Unscramble the following anagrams:


cmnularoo ptdhe usce
terlaeiv zesi
ghhtei ni hte pelan
tourimpoepssiin
teeropsssi
utrexet diengrat
earinl cpprstiveee

3) Gestalt laws
Gestalt laws – perceptual rules that organise stimuli.
 Figure-ground – a small, complex, symmetrical object (the figure) is seen as separate from a background
(the ground).
 Similarity – figures sharing shape, size or colour are grouped together with other things that look the
same.
 Proximity – objects which are close together are perceived to be related.
 Continuity – straight lines, curves and shapes are perceived to carry on being the same.
 Closure – lines or shapes are perceived as complete figures even if parts are missing.

Revision notes:
 “The whole is worth more than the sum of its parts”. We organise these parts of what we can see (the
stimulus information) to give us a more complex perception.
 We look for patterns to help us make sense of our world.
 We use the Gestalt law of figure-ground to see a more complex, symmetrical and smaller object from
the ground.
 We tend to group things that are similar in size colour or shape – this is the Gestalt law of similarity.
 Objects that are close together are seen as a group because of the Gestalt law of proximity.
 Gestalt law of continuity says that we link things that follow a predictable pattern and see them as
continuous even if they are not.
GCSE Psychology – Edexcel
Revision Guide
 We tend to perceive objects as a whole – our brains ‘fill in the gaps’ – this is the Gestalt law of closure.

Task 4: For each picture state which Gestalt law you are using.

4) Illusions
Key terminology Illusions:
 Visual illusion – a conflict between reality and what we perceive.
 Fiction – an illusion caused when a figure is perceived even though it is not present
in the stimulus.
 Illusory contour – a boundary (edge) that is perceived in a figure but is not present
in the stimulus.
 Motion after-effect – an illusion caused by paying more attention to movement in
one direction and perceiving movement in the opposite direction immediately afterwards.
 Colour after-effects – an illusion caused by focusing on a coloured stimulus and perceiving opposite
colours immediately afterward.
 Ambiguous figure – a stimulus with two possible interpretations, in which it is possible to perceive only
one of the alternatives at a time.
 Distortion illusion – where our perception is deceived by some aspect of the stimulus. This can affect
the shape or size of an object.

Revision notes:
 Visual illusions occur when our perception conflicts or disagrees with reality;
we are not seeing the world as it really is. We see an illusion when we
misinterpret the stimulus, so the physical reality and our perception
disagree.
 For ambiguous figures swapping between the two interpretations is quite
difficult.
 Some common geometrical illusions only work when seen on paper. If you
see the object in real life and walk around it, the illusion goes away.

Gestalt theory of illusions:


 For fictions such as the Kanizsa triangle when we see a figure as incomplete, our perception makes a
‘whole’ shape. This is the figure of the figure-ground relationship.
 When explaining distortions – the Muller-Lyer illusion - in perceiving the figure as a whole we tend to
‘add’ fins or circles to the central lines. When pointing out the fins drag out the line and make it look
longer.

GCSE Psychology – Edexcel


Revision Guide
 Gestalt theory explains ambiguous figures by saying that we normally identify the figure or ground but
in ambiguous figures it could be either figure or ground because we cannot tell whether the black or
white area is the figure.
 Gestalt theory provides a good explanation for ambiguous figures however it cannot explain any
illusions other than the Muller-Lyer illusion.
 Gestalt theory explains fictions well but in the case of the Kanizsa triangle Gestalt explanation says we
would use closure to organise this figure which means we should see a six pointed star, but we don’t,
we see two triangles.

Task 5: Answer the following questions:


a) What type of illusion is this?

b) Which laws/cues would Gestalt use to explain how we are fooled by this illusion?

5) Gregory’s perspective theory of illusions

 Remember size constancy and monocular depth cues? We maintain the relative
size of objects regardless of their distance from us.
 In the Hering illusion the radiating lines look like a linear perceptive cue so we use
constancy scaling as if the scene really had depth. The person who appears
furthest away would be scaled up so they look bigger and the person who appears
closer would be scaled down, and look smaller.
 The Ponzo illusion (the top bar looks bigger than the bottom bar) – if the railway tracks were used as
cues to linear perspective, the top bar would seem further away. As it is perceived to be more distant,
it is scaled up so it seems bigger than the bottom bar.
 The Muller-Lyer illusion can be explained using the ideas of linear perspective and constancy scaling. On
the left hand photo the front of the shop is closer than the back. We scale things down that are near us.
In the picture on the right the middle vertical line looks further away as it is scaled up.

 Evaluating Gregory’s theory - it is a good explanation of distortions. If angled lines are used as depth
cues, this explains many illusions.
 However, Gregory’s theory cannot explain some versions of the Muller-Lyer illusion.
 Gregory’s theory can explain some ambiguous figures when the two alternative figures are perceived
using depth cues. e.g. On Leeper’s Lady the nose of the young woman looks further away than the wart
on the old woman’s nose.
 Depth cues can also explain some fictions as the background lines appear closer to the horizon and so
further away.
GCSE Psychology – Edexcel
Revision Guide
Task 6: Answer the following questions:
a) What type of illusion is this?

b) Which laws/cues would Gestalt use to explain how we are fooled by this
illusion?

6) Schemas and perception


Key terminology Schemas and perception:
 Schema – a framework of knowledge about an object, event or group of people that can affect our
perception and help us to organise information and recall what we have seen.
 Perceptual set – the tendency to notice some things more than others. This is caused by experience,
context or expectations.
 Independent variable – (IV) – the factor which is changed by the researcher in an experiment to make
two or more conditions.
 Dependent variable – (DV) – the factor which is measured in an experiment.

Revision notes:
 What we expect to see influences what we think we see.
 Palmer (1975) wanted to find out whether context would affect perception. He used a laboratory
experiment and showed participants visual scenes such as one of a kitchen. They were then shown an
object (a mail box, a drum, a loaf of bread) which they were asked to identify. There were 4 conditions
in the experiment (the IVs – appropriate, inappropriate-similar, inappropriate-different and no context).
It was a repeated measures design as all participants participated in all aspects of the experiment.
 The number of correctly identified items was the dependent variable (DV). The participants correctly
identified the most objects after seeing an appropriate context and the least after seeing an
inappropriate context therefore Palmer concluded that expectations affect perception.
 People have a perceptual set based on context which affects how accurately they recognise objects.

Strengths  Controlled how long participants saw the object for


 Clear instructions so they knew exactly what to do
 Data from two participants was not used as they had forgotten their glasses (poor
vision, which could have affected the results).

Weaknesses  Because the participants were told what they were doing it might have made them
try harder in some conditions. They might have been trying to please
the experimenter.
 As data from some participants couldn’t be used, this means there were fewer
results.

Task 7: What is meant by the word ‘schema’?


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GCSE Psychology – Edexcel


Revision Guide
7) Bartlett (1932)
Key terminology Bartlett (1932) Schemas and remembering stories
 Serial reproduction – a task where a piece of information is passed from one participant to the next in
a chain or ‘series’. Differences between each version are measured. (‘Chinese Whispers’)
 Repeated reproduction – a task where the participant is given a story or picture to remember. They
then recall it several times after time delays. Differences between each version are measured.

Revision notes:
 Bartlett (1932) wanted to investigate how information changes with each reproduction
and to find out why the information changes.
 He deliberately chose ‘The War of the Ghosts’, a North American Indian folk tale from
another culture and unknown to the participants.
 The first participant read the story twice themselves (serial reproduction) then after 15-
30 mins told the story to a second participant. Each participant repeated their story to the next person
in a chain of participants.
 For the repeated reproduction task each participant was tested separately after reading the story to
themselves twice, 15 minutes later they gave their preproduction of it. Later reproductions were done
at 20 hours, 8 days, 6 months and 10 years for different participants. Participants did not know the aim
of the study.
 Very, very few participants recalled the story accurately – Bartlett found the following pattern of errors
– form (the order of events), details (names and numbers were lost), simplification (details are left out
or made more familiar) and addition (inaccurate details were included).
 Bartlett concluded that unfamiliar material changes when it is recalled. It becomes shorter, simpler and
more stereotyped- this may be due to the effect of schema on memory.

Strengths  Both the repeated and serial reproduction tasks were done many times to show that
the changes to the story followed the same patterns.
 Other stories were also used and showed similar results.

Weaknesses  By choosing unfamiliar material, Bartlett could not be sure that the changes he
found would happen with familiar information.
 Bartlett did not always test the repeated reproduction participants after the same
time intervals, so the changes over time cannot be compared fairly.

Task 8: Answer the following questions:


a) What is the difference between serial reproduction and repeated reproduction?
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b) Procedure: - describe:
The participants
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GCSE Psychology – Edexcel


Revision Guide
The materials used
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c) the Independent variable (for both conditions)


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d) the Dependent Variable


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e) the procedures for each of the conditions (serial reproduction and repeated reproduction)
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f) Findings: - How many patterns of changes did Bartlett find?


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g) Describe each category of change and give an example of your own.


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h) Conclusions: What 2 conclusions did Bartlett find?


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GCSE Psychology – Edexcel


Revision Guide
8) Carmichael (1932)
Key terminology Carmichael (1932) Do words affect recall?
 Reconstructive memory – recalled material is not just a ‘copy’ of what we see or hear. Information is
sorted and when it is remembered it is ‘rebuilt’, so can be affected by extra information and by ideas
(like schemas) we might already have.

Revision notes:
 Carmichael, Hogan and Walter (1932) wanted to find out
whether words shown with pictures would affect the way the
pictures were remembered.
 He used a laboratory experiment (with independent groups
design) in which 95 participants were shown 12 pictures (the
stimulus material). The independent variable (IV) was which
word they heard. Between each picture the experimenter
said, ‘The next picture resembles…’ followed by a picture
from list 1 or list 2. The participants were then asked to draw
the pictures they had seen and their drawings were compared
to the original. This was the dependent variable (DV).
 The drawings produced by people who heard words from list
one were very different to list 2. The drawings looked like the
words they heard. Carmichael et al. concluded that memory
for pictures is reconstructed and the verbal context in which
the drawings are learned affects recall because the memory
of the word alters the way the picture is represented.

Strengths  By using a control group Carmichael et al. could be sure that people’s drawings
weren’t always distorted in the same way.
 By using 2 different lists they showed that the verbal labels affected people’s
drawings.
 Having 12 pictures and many participants gave them lots of evidence, so they could
be sure their findings weren’t just a fluke.

Weaknesses  In real life things are not generally ambiguous as the stimulus figures shown.
 Prentice (1954) tested the effect of verbal labels on recognition rather than recall and
found that verbal labels didn’t affect recognition, this means Carmichael’s findings
did not apply widely.

Task 9: Answer the following questions:


a) Evaluate Carmichael (1932), including strengths and weakness.
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b) Why was using a control group a strength?


GCSE Psychology – Edexcel
Revision Guide
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c) Why was using 2 different word lists important?


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d) How much data did they have? Is this a good thing?


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e) What type of stimulus are these?


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f) Does the experiment represent real life? Why? Is this a strength or weakness of the experiment?
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g) What do Prentice’s findings suggest about Carmichael at al’s findings?


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9) Designing and understanding experiments


Key terminology Designing and Understanding experiments
 Experiment – a research method which measures participants’ performance in two or more conditions.
 Experimental (participant) design – the way that participants are used in different conditions in an
experiment. They may do all conditions or different participants may do each condition.
 Independent groups design – different participants are used in each condition in an experiment.
 Repeated measures design – the same participants are used in all the conditions in an experiment.
 Hypothesis – a testable statement of the difference between the conditions in an experiment. It
describes how the independent variable will affect the dependent variable.
 Controls – ways to keep variable constant in all conditions of an experiment.

GCSE Psychology – Edexcel


Revision Guide
Revision notes:
 An experiment is a way to find out whether one factor affects
another.
 Sometimes participants need to participate in all conditions of the
experiment (repeated measures), other times they only participate
in one (independent measures).
 Hypotheses are written to say what an experimenter expects will
happen in an experiment. They always operationalise the IV and DV and say how the IV will affect the
DV.
 The controls are what the experimenter does to keep variables the same in all conditions.

Task 10: Write a hypothesis for each of the following:


a) Do girls talk more than boys?
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b) Does lack of sleep affect reaction time?


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c) Do higher temperature make tomatoes grow faster?


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d) Does age affect short term memory?


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Key terminology Dealing with descriptive statistics


 Mode – an average that is the most common score or response in a set.
 Descriptive statistics – ways to summarise results from a study. They can show a typical or average
score or how spread out the results are.
 Bar chart – a graph with separate bars. Usually there is one bar for each condition in an experiment.
 Median – an average that is the middle number in a set of scores where they are put in order from
smallest to largest.
 Mean – an average that is calculated by adding up all of the scores in a set and dividing by the number
of scores.
 Range – a way to show how spread out a set of results is by looking at the biggest and smallest scores.

GCSE Psychology – Edexcel


Revision Guide
Revision notes:
 Averages tell us how most people responded. This gives us a general
picture of the findings.
 Different kinds of experiments produce different kinds of data and for
each kind of data there is an average.
 Bar charts are a way of displaying results - the conditions of the
experiment (the IV) go along the x-axis and the total or average score
goes on the y-axis. There would be as many bars as there are conditions
in the experiment.

Key terminology Ethics in psychology experiments


 Ethical issues – potential psychological or physical risks for people in experiments.
 Informed consent – an individual’s right to know what will happen in an experiment, and its aims, before
agreeing to participate.
 Right to withdraw – a participant’s right to leave a study at any time and they ability to do so.
 Ethical guidelines - advice to help psychologists solve ethical issues.

Revision notes:
 Wondering about what will happen in your experiment, being concerned about how good your answers
were, making sure your participants are not harmed are all examples of ethical issues.
 One problem for experimenters is that ethics sometimes conflict with the need for controls.
 When conducting experiments in psychology you need to ensure you meet all ethical guidelines before
you begin your research. Participants must understand the nature of the study and agree to participate
(this is fully-informed consent) and if they want to leave the study they can at any time and have the
right to take their data with them (the right to withdraw).
 The BPS (British Psychological Society) has a ‘Code of Conduct’ to help psychologists conduct their
research in a way that will meet ethical guidelines.
 Psychologists often give participants a summary about what will happen in a study although this is
difficult in public places.

Task 11: Read the descriptions of the following studies. Which ethical guidelines have been broken? Explain
your answer.
Study A: A group of experimenters wants to find out if the media has an impact on levels of aggression on
children. They measured the amount of TV watched by the children and then compared it to the level of
aggression shown in the playground by observing them at playtime.

The ethical guideline that is being broken is:


_______________________________________________________________________________________

because________________________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________________________

GCSE Psychology – Edexcel


Revision Guide
Study B: In a busy underground train station, an experimenter pretends to collapse, bleeding from the
mouth. Members of the public who see the event are secretly observed by another experimenter to see
what kind of person helps and how long they take to help.

The ethical guideline that is being broken is:


_______________________________________________________________________________________

because________________________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________________________

10) Evaluating experiments

Revision notes:
Strengths of experiments:
 In laboratory settings it is easy to gain consent because you can tell participants exactly what is
happening and they can give their fully-informed consent. If they are told why they are doing the
experiment this can cause problems because they might change their behaviour, which would alter the
results.
 When the participants come to the laboratory their right to withdraw can be explained.
 The experimenter can control other factors that could change the DV. By controlling other variables,
the experimenter can be certain that differences in the DV have been caused by the different conditions.
 The DV can be measured accurately.

Weaknesses of experiments:
 Sometimes we need to avoid giving participants full information about a study. This is because knowing
the aims of the study might alter the way they behave. This is called deception. Not knowing the aims
of the study may upset participants but sometimes researchers need to deliberately deceive
participants. When deception is used psychologists minimise harm by: avoiding deception unless it is
absolutely necessary, avoiding other ethical problems such as embarrassment, explaining the real
purpose as soon as possible and allowing participants to withdraw their results at the end.
 Experiments should try to represent real life as much as possible.

Task 12: Explain how each of the following applies to experiments and whether they would be strength or
a weakness:
a) Deception:
_______________________________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________________________

b) Representing real life


_______________________________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________________________

c) Lack of controls:
GCSE Psychology – Edexcel
Revision Guide
_______________________________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________________________

d) Demand characteristics
_______________________________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________________________

11) Schemas and eyewitness memory


Key terminology Schemas and eyewitness memory
Eyewitness – somebody who sees a crime or aspects of a crime and who helps the police to find out what
has happened or to catch whoever was responsible.

Revision notes:
 Schemas are useful because they help us to predict what might happen but in the case of eyewitness
memory we might think we see something based on our perception. e.g. stereotypes such as black
people are violent and are likely to have committed the crime (Allport and Postman, 1945, the black man
in the suit and the white man with the razor – people remembered the black man holding the razor in a
threatening way.

Task 13: Explain how each of the following might affect eyewitness memory:
a) Reconstruction over time
_______________________________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________________________

b) Context/situation
_______________________________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________________________

c) Unfamiliar material
_______________________________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________________________

d) Rebuild memories using schema


_______________________________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________________________

GCSE Psychology – Edexcel


Revision Guide
GCSE Psychology Topic B
Is dreaming meaningful?

1) Freud’s dream theory


Key terminology:
 Manifest content – what the dream is said to be about by the dreamer
– the story the dreamer tells.
 Latent content – the meaning underlying the dream. If the symbols
from the manifest content are translated by an analyst, they can reveal
unconscious thoughts.
 Condensation – when many thoughts and elements from the
unconscious are represented in the dream in one symbol.
 Displacement – when something that seems to be unimportant in the dream is made central, to shift
attention from what is really important.
 Secondary elaboration – how the dreamer builds a story when telling what the dream is about, adding
to and changing things, which makes the analysis hard.
 Psychoanalysis – Freud’s therapy, designed to help release unconscious thoughts.
 Free association – a method used by Freud in psychoanalysis where the patient is encouraged to
express a flow of consciousness. The process helps to uncover links which can then be interpreted.
 Slip of the tongue – when someone uses the wrong word for something. Freud analyses these slips to
help uncover unconscious thoughts.
 Dream analysis – a method used by Freud to help uncover unconscious thoughts, by analysing dreams
and uncovering symbols.
 Qualitative data – data involving stories or attitudes.
 Valid – refers to findings of studies and means that they are about real-life situations, real-life
behaviour or feelings that are real.
 Subjective – where the researcher is somehow affecting the information that is gathered, perhaps by
their interpretation.
 Objective – where the researcher’s views do not affect the information that is gathered.

Revision notes:
 Freud is the name you need to remember when talking about dreams having
meaning. Over 100 years ago Freud thought that dreams were a very important part
of a person’s life because through dreams unconscious wishes and desires could be
understood.
 The unconscious is the large part of the mind that is hidden completely (like
the majority of an iceberg is under the water) – some of what is in the unconscious is
repressed (pushed back) because it is too hard to deal with.
 The conscious mind is what we are aware of, can remember, discuss
and deal with. These unconscious thoughts guide our behaviour.
 Freud thought that the mentally ill needed help because nothing was
being done for them. He realised the mind was powerful and could
cause mental health problems.
 Freud is very well known because he focused on how important sexual
issues were, he often talked about repressed unconscious thoughts
being repressed sexual wishes and desires.
 Freud said dreams have a manifest (the story the dreamer tells) and latent (the underlying meaning of
the dream) content and used the term dreamwork to describe what the mind is doing whilst dreaming
GCSE Psychology – Edexcel
Revision Guide
to keep unconscious thoughts hidden and repressed. This protects
the individual from undesirable thoughts.
 Dreamwork includes condensation, displacement and secondary
elaboration. An analyst can help to interpret a dream by unpicking the
dream and considering how one idea might represent condensation of
themes. They might look to see how displacement has changed the
focus of the dream on to an unimportant theme, or they might unravel
secondary elaboration to get the original experience of dreaming.
 Freud said that symbols in dreams meant different things to different individuals as everyone’s
unconscious is a personal thing.
 Falling is often seen as the manifest content of a dream and is interpreted as ‘losing control’. Snakes
can be a sign of trouble or a phallic symbol.
 Dreams can be analysed through a process called psychoanalysis. The analyst listens to a description
of the dream (manifest content) then the latent content can be uncovered by analysing the symbols in
the manifest content. Unconscious desires ‘leak’ into the dream via symbols to protect the sleeper.
Freud believed that mental health comes from uncovering unconscious desires and dream analysis can
be part of the therapy.
 Up until the late 1800s very little was known about mental health issues and people with mental
illnesses were put in asylums mainly because no one knew what to do with them! Psychoanalysis aims
to reveal unconscious wishes, desires and emotions to the patient, once they know the content of
their unconsciousness, will no longer have psychological problems. As their desires are no longer
hidden, they can be dealt with.
 Psychoanalysis uses three main methods – slips of the tongue, free association and dream analysis to
help gain a lot of information to work with and to use as evidence for conclusions about unconscious
wishes.
 Psychoanalysis takes a long time because many dreams have to be related and many sessions
undergone before the analyst can start to suggest what the dream might symbolise.

Task 1: For each of the following sentences, circle true/false.


1. Freud focused his work on the conscious. TRUE FALSE
2. Freud thought that the mind was the cause of mental health issues. TRUE FALSE
3. He focused on sexual issues because he thought they represented
TRUE FALSE
unconsious thoughts and desires.
4. Freud said that dreams have a latent and manifold content. TRUE FALSE
5. Snakes in dreams can be a sign of giving birth. TRUE FALSE
6. Psychoanalysis is made of dream analysis, free association and slips of the
TRUE FALSE
mind.
7. Freud agreed with other theorists, saying that everyone’s dreams had the
TRUE FALSE
same meaning.
8. The unconscious is unreachable. TRUE FALSE
9. Freud said that mental health can be improved by uncovering unconscious
TRUE FALSE
wishes and desires.

Strengths of Freud’s theory


 He used unique methods (free association, slips of the tongue, dream
analysis) to find data that was difficult to access.
 He gathered in-depth and detailed information about individuals
(qualitative data about real life (valid data). He listened carefully to
his patients.
GCSE Psychology – Edexcel
Revision Guide
Weaknesses of Freud’s theory
 His sample was biased (mostly middle-class Viennese women) so his
results are not generalisable.
 His concepts were unmeasurable (if you cut open a skull, can you see
the unconscious?) and can’t be called ‘science’.
 He interpreted his findings, (he was subjective) so they might be biased.
Science needs to be objective.
 There is an alternative biological theory - activation-synthesis.

Task 2: Fill in the gaps:


A strength of Freud’s theory is that he used ___________________________methods to gather his data
such as __________________________________________________________________________________.

Another strength is that he gathered ___________________________ data about


___________________________life which made the data___________________________.

However, a weakness of Freud’s theory was that his ___________________________was biased because
______________________________________________________so his results aren’t
___________________________.

Also, he ___________________________his findings and was ___________________________whereas


science needs to be _____________________________.

2) How the brain send signals


Key terminology
 Neuron – a cell in the body, including the brain, which sends information using both electrical and
chemical processes.
 Axon – the ‘cable’ that leads from a cell body of a neuron down to the terminal buttons that hold the
neurotransmitter.
 Impulse – the electrical signal that travels from the cell body of a neuron to the terminal buttons,
where it releases a neurotransmitter.
 Neurotransmitter – a chemical at the terminal button of a neuron, which is released by the impulse
and then goes into the synaptic gap.
 Synaptic gap – the gap between the dendrites of one neutron and the next.
 Synaptic transmission – what happens when a neurotransmitter released by an impulse of one neuron
goes across the synaptic gap and is taken up at the dendrites of another neuron.

Revision notes:
 Neurons respond to stimuli from the environment or inside the body and communicate within the
nervous system.
 Messages in the brain are sent using electrical impulses and chemicals called neurotransmitters.
 An electrical impulse is triggered from the cell of one neuron which travels down the axon to the end.
 At the end it releases a neurotransmitter that is found in the terminal buttons at the end of the axon.
 The neurotransmitter has to cross the synaptic gap to get to the dendrites of the next neuron to
continue the message.
 The neurotransmitter, released by the impulse, goes into the synaptic gap – where it could be taken up
by the dendrites or could be lost.
GCSE Psychology – Edexcel
Revision Guide
 If the receptors at the end of the dendrites of the next neuron are ‘suitable’ to receive the
neurotransmitter that is in that gap, then the chemical gets picked up.
 The neurotransmitter sets off an electrical signal (by changing the chemical balance at the receptor)
and then it drops back into the synaptic gap where it can be taken back up to be used again.
 The change in the chemical balance (from the receptors) triggers an electrical impulse from the cell
body, which then travels down to the end of the axon…the process starts again.
 The process of a neurotransmitter passing from one neuron across the synaptic gap and being picked
up by the next neuron is called synaptic transmission.
 Receptors at a dendrite will be a shape (‘lock’) to take up only a certain neurotransmitter (‘key’) and all
other neurotransmitters will not be taken up.

Task 3: Label the following diagram


with the following terms:
 Cell body
 Axon
 Terminal buttons
 Neural impulse
 Dendrites

Task 4: Define the following key terms:


Neuron

Neurotransmitter

Impulse

Task 5: True or false?


1. A NEURON is a cell in the body that sends information using both electrical
TRUE FALSE
and chemical processes.
2. The TERMINAL BUTTONS are found near the cell body, and receive
TRUE FALSE
messages from other cells.
3. A NEUROTRANSMITTER is the electrical signal that travels from the cell body
TRUE FALSE
of a neuron, through to the TERMINAL BUTTONS.
4. A NEUROTRANSMITTER is a chemical which is released at the terminal
TRUE FALSE
button of a neuron.
5. An IMPULSE releases the neurotransmitter at the terminal button. TRUE FALSE
6. SYNAPTIC TRANMISSION is the cable that leads from a cell body of a neuron
TRUE FALSE
down to the terminal buttons that hold the neurotransmitter.
7. Neurotransmitters are like ‘keys’ that will only fit certain locks – receptors at
TRUE FALSE
a DENDRITE.
8. SYNAPTIC GAP is the space between the dendrites on the neuron. TRUE FALSE
9. Once a neurotransmitter is picked up by a DENDRITE, it sets off an
TRUE FALSE
ELECTRICAL SIGNAL – and changes the CHEMICAL BALANCE of the receptor.
10. A change in CHEMICAL BALANCE in a receptor triggers off an ELECTRICAL
TRUE FALSE
INPULSE from the cell body – which travels down The AXOX…
GCSE Psychology – Edexcel
Revision Guide
3) A biological theory of dreaming
Key terminology:
 Activation-synthesis model – a model of dreaming proposed by Hobson and McCarley where the brain
is active but no sensory information is coming into it. The brain puts the information it has together to
make sense of it and this is the dream.
 Random activation – during REM sleep, when neurons are active randomly but not deliberately.
 Sensory blockade – during REM sleep, when no information enters through the senses.
 Movement inhibition – the state, during REM sleep, when the body is paralysed and there is no
movement.

Revision notes:
 Biologists suggest that dreams are random thoughts which have been put
together by the sleeping brain to make some sense of them.
 Hobson and McCarley came up with a biological theory of dreaming in
1977. It says that dreams are random messages sent to the brain which
are interpreted to make a story. Messages are randomly activated, and
then synthesised into a story.
 Biologists are scientists and use research methods such as experiments
and scanning.
 Hobson and McCarley said there is a dream state generator in the brain
and this part of the brain gives a dream state during REM sleep.
 REM sleep happens around 4 or 5 times a night and is easily recognisable; scientists can measure
electrical activity in the brain during REM sleep using an EEG (electroencephalograph).
 During REM sleep, any incoming information from the senses is blocked – sensory blockade. Physical
movements are also blocked – movement inhibition.
 During REM sleep the neurons in the brain are activated because there are random impulses that ‘give’
information as if it were the senses. This information is knows as random activation and is the
‘activation’ part of the activation-synthesis theory.
 The information that comes from inside the brain itself is known as internally-generated information.
The brain then tries to make sense of the nonsense it has gathered. It is synthesising the information
to make a story; this is the synthesis part of the theory.

Task 6: In the boxes below, draw a picture to illustrate:


Movement inhibition Sensory blockade

GCSE Psychology – Edexcel


Revision Guide
Evidence for the activation-synthesis model of dreaming
REM sleep happens regularly throughout a night’s sleep, and happens regularly
night after night. Sleep labs have shown everyone has regular REM patterns.

As this happens in a regular pattern, Hobson and McCarley looked for an


explanation that would explain this regularity and predictability. Because people
have movement inhibition during REM sleep and there is no input from the
senses (sensory blockade) they felt there must be something happening in the
brain itself to produce dreams.

Development of the activation-synthesis model


Hobson and McCarley’s theory has been developed and added to over the years. Hobson said that he
thought there was ‘meaning’ in dreams, that some ideas generated by the brain from the random ‘firing
off’ of neurons could be useful and give the individual new ideas. E.g. if you wake up with a good idea it
might have come from your dreams.

Hobson also suggested that brain activity is likely to be genetic because it is found in everyone. He thought
it might be there to test brain circuits or the stimulation of the brain during REM sleep must be important
for normal brains to function when awake.

Task 7: Answer the following exam question:


Describe the activation-synthesis model of dreaming. (4 marks)
_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

GCSE Psychology – Edexcel


Revision Guide
Studies giving evidence
Hobson and McCarley tested cats to see which areas of the brain were
active during REM sleep. They found that the pons and the reticular
activating system (RAS) seem to be involved in shutting down physical
movement during REM sleep.

Other evidence they used was that if the neurons activated during REM
sleep are those in the brain that control balance, then the dreamer is likely
to dream about falling. This explains why dreams seem to have some meaning – they come from neurons
that, when activated when the person is awake, have a specific purpose.

Weaknesses of the activation-synthesis theory


Many people recognise parts of their dreams as something that
happened the day before or in their lives. This means that
thoughts are not as random as activation-synthesis suggests.

Activation-synthesis theory is based on the idea that dreams


often show unusual, bizarre situations and do not make full
sense. However, in a study only about 34% of 200 dreams did not make logical sense.

Other studies show that dreams do often make sense. When talking about your dreams you are able to
make sense of them and relate the events in the dream to your life.

Lucid dreaming – when people are dreaming but they know they are dreaming – does not fit with
activation-synthesis, as it means dreams are controllable and not random.

Young children under the age of 5 seem to have very few dreams and their dreams are not yet very active,
yet they have a normal amount of REM sleep. This suggests dreams are not simply linked to REM sleep.

Task 8: Answer the following exam question:


Evaluate the activation-synthesis model of dreaming. (6 marks)
_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

GCSE Psychology – Edexcel


Revision Guide
_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

4) Comparing dream theories


Key terminology:
 Methodology – refers to how psychology works, including how data are gathered. It involves
considering, ‘how do we know?’
 Objective – where the researcher’s views do not affect the information that is gathered.

Revision notes: To compare theories using methodology, list the methodology used in the two theories,
then say how it is similar and different. Try to give some good and bad points for each.
Methodology linked to Freud’s theory Methodology linked to
Hobson & McCarley’s theory
 Case studies  Neurotransmitter functioning
 Little Hans  Animal experiments
 Dream analysis  Brain scanning
 Free association  EEG testing (detecting electrical activity in the
 Slips of the tongue brain)

Case studies are less scientific than animal experiments and brain scanning. E.g. free association needs
interpretation from the researcher, whereas brain scanning, although needing some interpretation, is
much more objective. Therefore Hobson and McCarley’s theory is more objective than Freud’s because of
the methodology used to find evidence for the theory.

The nature-nurture debate refers to how far a characteristic or feature of humans comes from nature
(genetics) or nurture (what they experience growing up).
Nature Nurture
 Biology  Environment
 Genes, hormones, brain structure  Upbringing and parents’ influences
 Hobson and McCarley’s theory is about nature –  Freud’s theory is about nurture because
sleeping and dreaming unconscious desires themselves come from
 Freud’s theory has elements of nature as well – experiences
the structure of the mind, the power of the  But it is in our nature to have repressed wishes
unconscious in our unconscious (it is the wishes themselves
that come from nurture

Task 9: Write down 3 questions you still need to find answers to regarding the nature-nurture debate.
1) _______________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

2)_______________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

3) _______________________________________________________________________________________

GCSE Psychology – Edexcel


Revision Guide
A theory is said to be credible if it is developed using solid scientific evidence. It is also said to be credible if
it agrees with what we usually think. Freud’s theory does not use scientific evidence – the unconscious is
not measurable in any way. Freud’s theory therefore lacks credibility.

Hobson and McCarley’s theory is credible because the evidence comes from scanning and from laboratory
studies using animals; because these methods are scientific and objective research methods we can say
their theory is credible.

Issue Freud’s theory Hobson and McCarley’s theory


Objectivity Subjective, as meaning needs Objective, as it uses scientific
interpreting measures such as scanning and
experiments
Credibility Lacks credibility because of lack of Has credibility because of scientific
scientific methods and unlikely methods and evidence from animal
explanation (e.g. sexual studies
interpretations)
Research methods Uses case studies and dream analysis Uses scanning and experiments
Dreams are meaningful Dreams have meanings with the Dreams have no meaning – they are
story giving symbols as clues to random and meaningless
unconscious wishes
Nature-nurture Both nature and nurture – having a Nature – dreaming is part of the way
powerful unconscious is nature and the brain and body work
its contents are nurture

5) Using case studies


Key terminology:
 Case study - a research method for studying an individual or small group and gathering in-depth and
detailed information using different means.
 Aim - a statement of what the study is being carried out to find.
 Qualitative data - data involving stories or attitudes.
 Quantitative data - data that involve numbers and statistics, such as percentages.
 Generalizability - refers to findings of studies and how far they can be said to be true of people other
than those that were studied. If findings are thought to be true of other people then they are
generalisable.
 Reliability - refers to whether findings from a study would be found again if the study were repeated.
A study is reliable if the findings are replicated (found again).
 Subjectivity - refers to research methods, where the researcher is somehow affecting the results,
perhaps by their interpretation.
 Objectivity - refers to research methods, where there is no bias, for example the researcher’s own
views have not affected the findings.
 Privacy - an ethical guideline for studies that involve people as participants, which ensures that their
names must not be recorded and they must not be identifiable. Privacy is linked to confidentiality.
 Confidentiality - an ethical guideline for studies that involve people as participants, which ensures that
information gained must not be shared with others without permission. There are some occasions
where confidentiality must be broken, however, if there are issues of safety for someone else.
Confidentiality is linked to privacy.

Revision notes:
 A case study is an in-depth study that gathers a lot of detail about one person or a small group.
GCSE Psychology – Edexcel
Revision Guide
 A case study rarely involves just one research method. Case studies use as
many other research methods such as questionnaires, interviews,
experiments, case histories, secondary data from other sources and
observations to gather as much information as possible.
 The aim of a case study is a general idea of what why the study is being done
and what the researcher expects to find out. There is no hypothesis because
a case study looks for detailed information about a person so a hypothesis wouldn’t be suitable.
 Qualitative data refers to rich data which comes from open questions (e.g. Would you please tell me in
as much detail as possible what you think of the present government)
 Quantitative data concerns qualities and numbers and comes from closed questions (e.g. Do you like
the present government? Yes/No) Case studies gather both types of data.
 Case studies aren’t generalisable because they are in-depth studies of an individual or a small group
and we can’t say that the way this individual or small group behaves are true of other individuals in
other situations. For example, if we asked 30 people to memorise a list of words, in certain conditions
be generalisable to the rest of the population.
 Reliability is another weakness of case studies because case studies cannot be repeated to give the
same results. Also, they use many types of research methods to gather data and if the case study was
repeated it would give different results. E.g. if a case study was being conducted on the development
of a 5 year old boy, repeating it when he was 10 wouldn’t give data about the development of a 5 year
old boy!
 Subjectivity in psychology means that the researcher has somehow affected the information that was
gathered; case studies are generally said to be subjective because the researcher is deeply involved in
data collection and the qualitative data has often been selected and interpreted by the researcher.
 Objectivity refers to there being no bias from the researcher and no interpretation involved. This is
difficult in case studies.
 It can therefore be said that case studies are subjective, they lack generalisability, reliability and
objectivity, and the researcher tends to interpret the data.
 Case studies are very detailed and provide information about many aspects of someone’s life and what
they are like. For example, questionnaires are limited to the questions they ask and experiments are
limited to the tasks set.
 Case studies can explore different angles about someone by asking others for their opinions and
asking the person themselves. This detail is rich, and in-depth, which is s strength as new theories and
ideas can develop from it.
 The main strengths of case studies are that they gather valid (real-life)
data and they gather detail that is hard to find in any other way.
 Case studies are said to be valid because they are often about one unique
individual and information comes directly from that one person. As the data are
about real-life situations, the data is valid. Also, many different research methods
can be used to gather other data, making it more likely that the findings are real.

Task 10: Unscramble the following acronyms and write a definition for each:
ecsa eusstdi

autivaqelit

eauiatttqivn

lyficndetiaitno

GCSE Psychology – Edexcel


Revision Guide
davil

busveecjti

coteebjiv

dcoeynasr taad

ewitrvesin

ni phtde

6) Freud’s case study of Little Hans


Key terminology:
 Phallic – term used to refer to anything that is related or said to be represent the male penis, or the
term can refer to the penis.
 Oedipus complex – the idea that a boy from about the age of four years old will have unconscious
feelings for his mother and want his father out of the way, though then fears his father and feels guilty
too.

Revision notes:
 Freud carried out a number of case studies, in order to find out
what was holding his clients back. Some of his clients had some
bizarre dreams or phobias which Freud suggested was due to
problems in the unconscious.
 Little Hans (not his real name) was a boy Freud studied in 1909.
 Background - Han’s parents were supporters of Freud’s ideas and
agreed to log their son’s development and sent it to Freud.
 Little Hans (aged 3) sent messages to ‘The Doctor’ through his
parents’ letters but only met Little Hans once or twice.
 Horse phobia – Hans was afraid to go out of the house, and was
particularly frightened of horses. Freud analysed what Little Hans said, including his dreams, to find
out what it was in Hans’ unconscious that was causing the phobia. This was so that these wishes and
desires could be revealed to little Hans and so cure the phobia.
 Just before Little Hans’ was 5 years old his father reported to Freud that Little Hans had woken up
crying. He said that he thought his mummy was gone and he had no mummy.
 Freud said this was an anxiety dream and showed that he was anxious that his mother would leave
him. This links to Freud’s Oedipus complex.
 Freud thought that Little Hans (like other children his age) was in the phallic stage, the third stage of
development when sexual interest is focused on the genital area for both boys and girls. For boys,
sexual interest is transferred onto their mother.
 Freud thought that a boy wanted to take his mother away from his father, but feared his father’s anger
and also felt guilty about these desires. All of these emotions are unconscious.
 To resolve his feelings, of guilt for wanting to take his mother away and of fear of his father, a boy
would identify with his father and ‘become’ his father.
 Girls go through a similar experience called the Electra complex.
 Little Hans also had a dream about two giraffes, a big one and a crumpled one. The big giraffe shouted
out because Little Hans (in his dream) took the crumpled one away from it. The big giraffe stopped
calling out and Little Hans says that in the dream he sat down on the crumpled giraffe.

GCSE Psychology – Edexcel


Revision Guide
 Freud interpreted this dream as follows: the big giraffe was a symbol for a penis and the crumpled
giraffe was Little Hans’ mother. When the big giraffe shouted at Little Hans it showed Little Hans
wanted to take his mother away from his father. This was taken as evidence for the claim that a young
boy has sexual feelings for his mother and also fears his father and feels guilt.

Task 11: In each example, choose the odd word out and explain why.

1) Little Hans 2) Horses


Hobson and McCarley Fish
Freud Elephants Giraffes

3) Oedipus complex

Activation-synthesis

Phallic Stage

7) Evaluating dream analysis


Key terminology:
False memory – any memory that is not true and can be given by someone else ‘remembering’ an event
and telling another person who then ‘remembers’ it as true. Freud’s definition refers more to a false
recovered memory, where a childhood memory (e.g. of abuse) is suggested by the analyst and accepted,
then later found not to be true.

Evaluation of dream analysis as a research method


Strengths
 It can access hard-to-reach information buried in the unconscious.
 It is usually accepted by the client, helping them to be ‘cured’.
 It uses information from the client directly and can be used as a legitimate part of a case study or
therapy.

Weaknesses
 There may be ethical problems as the interpretation can be wrong which could lead to false memories
which never actually happened.
 It involves interpretation that is subjective.

Task 12: Spot the mistakes. Read the following paragraph and correct the errors.
The strengths of dreamwork is that it can reach information buried in the conscious and clients say they are
still sick when it is finished. It also uses data from the client’s GP. The weaknesses of dreamwork are that it
is always ethical and the interpretation is always correct. Lots of people have false memories that really
happened to them. Dreamwork involves objectivity and is objective.

GCSE Psychology – Edexcel


Revision Guide
8) Ethics and case studies
 Any study in psychology has to be done ethically which means that potential psychological and
physical risks are considered carefully.
 Privacy is about making sure that the identity of the participant is kept a secret. The participant has a
right to have their results kept private.
 Confidentiality is also about privacy and refers to the participant’s name being withheld and their
identity being kept secret.
 Competence Ethical guidelines are given in the UK by the British Psychological Society (BPS) to protect
participants taking part in psychological research such as case studies.
 A researcher must be qualified and capable of carrying out the proposed research. If necessary they
must consult colleagues.

9) The job of a psychoanalyst

Revision notes:
 Most psychoanalysts work with people with mental health issues, such as obsessive compulsive
disorder (OCD), phobias or anxiety. Sometimes they work with someone who is having problems with
their relationships or managing their life, rather than someone diagnosed with a mental illness.
 There are different types of psychotherapy including cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), humanistic
therapy, general counselling, and hypnotherapy, but psychoanalysis is specific to Freud’s ideas.
 The aim of psychoanalysis is to uncover unconscious wishes and desires to find the reasons for the
patient’s problems, which will help to solve them. Some psychoanalysts train other psychoanalysts, so
therefore don’t work with patients.
 Psychoanalysts listen and observe, focusing on the emotions that the patient shows. They look at
both verbal and non-verbal information and record information from each session carefully.
 Having gained the information, the psychoanalyst then helps the person to understand their emotions.
‘Making the unconscious conscious’ aims to release underlying issues, freeing the person from the
behaviour causing the problem.
 The client usually undergoes analysis about 4 times a week, (each session lasts about an hour) which is
a huge commitment!
 The analysis can go on for a long time (months, years even) and takes place in a quiet, comfortable
room, so that the client can relax and speak more freely.
 The client usually sits on a couch with the analysts out of sight so as to no affect the client’s flow of
information.
 Treatment cost at least £50 per session and is not usually available on the NHS.
 During dream analysis the client describes and talks about their dreams (as well as showing emotions
which are noted). The analyst considers the manifest content and then draws out symbols to uncover
the latent content. The psychoanalyst uses other information from free association, which adds detail
to the dream analysis in order to help the client.
 Dream analysis is not always used as the main focus. Transference
and countertransference have more focus, revealing things about
the client just as other methods do.
 Transference describes the way a client will transfer their emotions
– love, hate, anger – on to the analyst, who must be prepared for
this.
 Countertransference is the word that is used for the way an
analyst is likely, in turn; to transfer their own feelings back onto
the client again. Psychoanalysts must be trained to do this!
GCSE Psychology – Edexcel
Revision Guide
 By recognising which emotions are being transferred onto them, the analyst can find out what
emotions are involved in any possible problems that the client has.
 Most psychoanalysts work for themselves in private clinics and are not
employed by the NHS (unlike clinical psychologists). Most psychoanalysts
worked with people with mental disorders before specialising in
psychoanalysis. Many also undergo training in family therapy, psychodrama or
hypnotherapy. They do not focus solely on psychoanalysis; it is one of the
therapies they offer.
 To be a psychoanalyst you need to able to listen carefully to people and
observe them as well as being interested in people are the main skills required. You must be able to
build a strong relationship with your clients without being judgemental about them. You must also be
able to detach yourself from their problems; training helps psychoanalysts to do this.
 To become a psychoanalyst you have a degree or the equivalent of a degree and then undertake
training that is approved by the International Psychoanalytic Association. There are only 2 providers in
the UK. To be accepted on the training course you would have to go through an interview process.
 The training lasts for 4 years and is part time.
 The person being trained must undergo psychoanalysis themselves for 4 or 5 50 minute sessions a
week.
 There are also seminars and theory sessions. In the first year training focuses on general theory and
Freud’s views, for example. Then more theories are explored.
 The final part of the training is the psychoanalysis of 2 patients whilst being supervised by a qualified
psychoanalysis where you see clients for 50 minutes each day for 4 or 5 days a week. This lasts for two
years and starts in the second year. A second client is seen in the third year and the analysis of this
client lasts for a year.
 Like other professional people psychoanalysts must provide evidence of Continuing Professional
Development (CPD) to show that they are keeping up with new issues and practising professionally.

Task 13: In a flow chart show how a person becomes a psychoanalyst (education and training).

Task 14: Julie and Avri are both 17 years old and thinking about future careers. They have both considered
becoming psychoanalysts. Julie is good at getting on with people and listening to them without getting
too wrapped up in their problems. Avri makes snap judgments about people but when he does get to
know people well he can get very involved in their lives. Who would make the best psychoanalyst?
Explain why you think either Julie or Avri would make the best psychoanalyst.
GCSE Psychology – Edexcel
Revision Guide
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10) Psychological sleep disorders


Key terminology:
 Insomnia - The most common sleep disorder. It means someone cannot go to sleep or cannot stay
asleep. It will be diagnosed if it affects someone’s daily life and activities. It is more common as people
get older. Some prescribed drugs can cause this sleep disorder, as can other mental illnesses, or
stressful life events. It is often treated using prescribed drugs. Other treatments include teaching the
sufferer to relax or teaching them to focus on positive thoughts when they go to bed.
 Hypersomnia - This sleep disorder means people feel very sleepy at all times of the day. Conditions
such as narcolepsy can cause this. It can also be caused by not sleeping properly through the night,
perhaps due to breathing difficulties rather than psychological problems.
 Narcolepsy - This is a sleep disorder which means people can suddenly have attacks of sleep in the day.
It is a brain disorder.
 Circadian rhythm disorders - This is a disorder of the sleep wake cycle. It causes problems with the
body clock (24hr rhythm). We usually sleep at night and wake in the morning (sleep cycle), and during
sleep go through 5 sleep cycles. Problems with the sleep-wake cycle bring problems for the body
clock. Problems can occur when people have changing shifts at work as it means they have to keep
changing their sleep times. It can be treated by using bright lights at certain times to reset the body
clock.
 Parasomnias - These disorders occur when someone is asleep such as nightmares, sleep walking, and
sleep terrors. These are more common in children and males.

Sleep walking happens during non-REM sleep, and. Teeth grinding and bedwetting are also examples of
this type of sleep disorder.

REM sleep behaviour disorder (RBD) means that muscle paralysis is not activated, meaning violent
movements occur during REM sleep. Drugs such as benzodiazepines are used to treat RBD.
Psychoanalysis can also be used to help these sleeping disorders.
GCSE Psychology – Edexcel
Revision Guide
Task 15: Answer the following questions:
a) Define insomnia.
_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

b) What can cause insomnia?


_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

c) How can insomnia be treated?


_________________________________________________________________________________________

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Revision notes:
 Research has shown that without REM sleep for a prolonged period of time (about 2 weeks) we
experience disorientation, memory difficulties, illusions, and paranoia.
 Rats that have been kept awake have died! It is the REM part of the sleep cycle that is really important
and so sleeping problems are taken seriously. Sleep laboratories and departments study sleep.
 Problems with sleep can arise from psychological problems, or physiological problems.
 Psychological problems are to do with the brain and mind.
 Physiological problems are to do with body.
 One example of a physiological sleep problem in snoring. This is physiological because it is to do with
breathing which is to do with the body.

Primary sleep disorders are not related to any Secondary sleep disorders stem from
other problem but are problems in themselves, another problem, such as pain or jet lag,
such as going to sleep and problems waking or stress.
up.

 Sleep disorder clinics are involved in the assessment and diagnosis of


sleep problems. Blood testing can be used to see if there is a genetic link
for someone who has narcolepsy.
 Observation and other measures can also help with diagnosis. An EEG
can be used to study a person’s sleep cycles. Researchers watch and
record REM, or watch the restlessness an individual exhibits. The
person’s temperature may also be monitored.
 Many sleep clinics use a holistic approach which means that they take into
account the person’s lifestyle as well to gain an overall picture.
 Medication such as benzodiazepines is prescribed for sleeping behaviour disorders.
 CBT (cognitive behaviour therapy) encourages the individual to look at their thinking and perhaps
change how they perceive things as well as change their behaviour.
 Acupuncture involves inserting needles in certain related parts on the body and can be used to help
the body clock to readjust when the sleep-wake cycle is out of step.
 Hypnotherapy can be used to help clients relax in the case of insomnia and parasomnias.
GCSE Psychology – Edexcel
Revision Guide
Task 16: Answer the following questions:
a) What is a circadian rhythm disorder?
_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

b) What can happen if the sleep-wake cycle is effected?


_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

c) Who are likely to suffer from CRDs?


_________________________________________________________________________________________

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d) How can CRDs be treated?


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11) Is Dreaming Meaningful? Preparing for the exam

Have a go at the questions below - you MUST consider how many marks are available.
1. What is the unconscious? (1 mark)
2. There are two main features of Dreams according to Freud. Describe each with an example. (4
marks)
3. Describe Freud’s Dream theory. (6 marks)
4. Explain what is meant by Dreamwork? (2 marks)
5. What are the 3 features of Dreamwork? (3marks)
6. Explain 3 methods used in Psychoanalysis. (6 marks)
7. Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of Freud’s dream theory. (6 marks)
8. Describe how a brain sends signals using neurons. (4 marks)
9. Explain how lock and key help with brain signals. (3 marks)
10. Describe and explain a biological theory of dreaming. (6 marks)
11. Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of a biological theory of dreaming. (6 marks)
12. What is the nature- nurture debate? (2 marks)
13. Outline two METHODOLOGY differences between Freud’s explanation of dreaming and Hobson and
McCarley’s explanation of dreaming. (4 marks)
14. What does credibility mean? (2 marks)
15. What is a case study? (1 mark)
16. Describe 3 weaknesses of using case studies. (6 marks)
17. Describe 2 strengths of using case studies. (4 marks)
18. Which ethical issues are particularly important when looking at case studies and why? (Try and give an
example!) (4 marks)
19. Describe the case study of Little Hans. (4 marks)
GCSE Psychology – Edexcel
Revision Guide
20. Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of Dream analysis. (6 marks)
21. Describe the job of a psychoanalyst. (4 marks)
22. Explain how you can train to become a psychoanalyst. (4 marks)
23. Explain how a sleep disorder clinic can help someone with a psychological sleep disorder (6 marks)

GCSE Psychology – Edexcel


Revision Guide
Name:

GCSE Psychology Topic C


Do TV and Video games affect young people’s behaviour?

1) The role of the brain in aggression


Key terminology - the role of the brain in aggression:
 Amygdala – a brain structure thought to be involved in aggression.
 Limbic system – an area of the brain involved in emotion.

Revision notes:
 A person can be aggressive because of their biological make up.
 So far scientists haven’t found a gene responsible for aggression as research has focused more on how
the brain functions and how areas of the brain are involved in aggression.
 The limbic system and the amygdala are involved in aggression.
 The limbic system is called the ‘emotional area’ of the brain because it is responsible for the emotions
needed for survival, like fear and aggression
 People with emotional disorders have been shown to have had damage to the limbic system.
 The amygdala recognises emotion, creates emotional responses and produces aggression.
 In animal studies removing the amygdala makes the animal very calm whereas damage to this area
may cause increased levels of aggression.
 Some human case studies offer evidence that the amygdala might cause aggression – e.g. Charles
Whitman who shot 13 people. He left a note saying he was convinced something was making him
aggressive. An autopsy revealed a tumour pressing against his amygdala.
 Human and animal brains are similar, but not similar enough to make direct comparisons however
 We cannot purposely damage human brains to see if it results in aggression because that would be
unethical.
 Therefore it is difficult to tell if the limbic system and the amygdala are involved in aggressive
behaviour or not, as there is limited direct proof.

Task 1: for each of the following statements, identify whether it is a strength or a weakness for
evaluating the link between biology and aggression:
1. Animal studies that have involved damage to or removal of the amygdala
STRENGTH WEAKNESS
offer evidence for its link with aggression.
2. Studying the human brain is difficult and can be very risky, so there is no
STRENGTH WEAKNESS
way of making sure areas of the brain are linked to aggression.
3. Animals and humans are different in many ways, so animal research
suggesting a link between the brain and aggression may not be applicable STRENGTH WEAKNESS
to humans.
4. The case study of Charles Whitman (1966) and the case described by King
STRENGTH WEAKNESS
(1961) are evidence for its link with aggression in humans.
5. Case studies are unreliable, as the reason for an individual’s aggression may
STRENGTH WEAKNESS
be unique to that individual.
6. Aggression could equally be explained by the way children copy the media. STRENGTH WEAKNESS

2) The role of hormones in aggression


Key terminology - the role of hormones in aggression
 Hormones – chemicals produced by the human body that send signals to organs around the body via
the bloodstream.
GCSE Psychology – Edexcel
Revision Guide
Revision notes:
 In almost every culture, males are far more aggressive than females;
could this be because of testosterone (male sex hormone)?
 Testosterone is secreted by the adrenal glands and testes and is needed
to produce sperm, develop the male reproductive system and produce
male features e.g. facial hair, deep voice etc.
 Women also have testosterone but males produce more of it (10 times more!)
 Animal research has shown that injecting testosterone increases levels of aggression whilst removing
the testes decreases levels of aggression.
 Castrating a male animal lowers its testosterone level making it less aggressive.
 If that animal is then injected with testosterone its aggression level is restored to normal.
 This is strong evidence that testosterone is responsible for aggression.
 Can we say the same about humans? It is unethical to deliberately increase the testosterone level in
men.
 Psychologists can take blood from humans to see what level of testosterone they have and compare it
to how aggressive they feel or act. Some correlation studies have found a relationship between high
testosterone levels and questionnaire results showing greater reported aggression. However, it is not
certain whether testosterone causes increased aggression or aggression causes increased
testosterone.

Task 2: For each of the following statements, circle whether it is true or false.
7. In animals, there is no clear cause and effect relationship between
TRUE FALSE
testosterone and aggression.
8. Human studies show a relationship between aggression and testosterone in
TRUE FALSE
correlation studies.
9. All humans with high testosterone levels are aggressive. TRUE FALSE
10. Correlation and animal studies have weaknesses. Animal studies may not
apply to humans, and correlation studies just look for relationships and are TRUE FALSE
not direct evidence.
11. If testosterone is the cause of aggressive behaviour, are all women more
TRUE FALSE
violent than men?
12. This explanation of aggression completely ignores the huge impact of
TRUE FALSE
upbringing and social circumstances on our behaviour.

3) Social Learning Theory


Key terminology – social learning theory
 Observational learning – the process of learning from watching others.
 Modelling – observing, identifying with and copying the behaviour of a role model.
 Identification – a feeling of similarity with a role model that leads to the imitation of their behaviour –
we believe we can be like them.
 Vicarious reinforcement – learning though the positive consequences of other people’s actions rather
than first-hand – we are more likely to copy if they are rewarded.

Revision notes:
 Albert Bandura developed SOCIAL LEARNING THEORY as an explanation for behaviour.
 Children learn through watching other people either directly (family, friends etc.) or through watching
people in the media – these are role models.
 Role models are chosen through the process of identification – people they look up to,
or who are similar to themselves.
 We don’t copy everything we have seen, but we still learn from it.
 Vicarious learning: if we observe another person being rewarded for their behaviour, we
are more likely to copy it. On the other hand if we observe somebody being punished for
their behaviour we are less likely to copy it.
 Bandura's classic STUDY of the Bobo doll showed that when children observed an adult
playing aggressively with the Bobo doll, they copied that behaviour.
 He found that if the adult was rewarded they were more likely to copy.
 He found that if the adult was punished they were less likely to copy.
 He found that boys were more likely to copy male adults than female adults.

Evaluation:
STENGTHS WEAKNESSES
The study is supported with evidence from BUT not all children who observe aggressive
Bandura’s Bobo doll studies because he showed behaviour copy it.
that children copy behaviour. BUT Bandura’s study was a laboratory experiment,
this means it is not VALID
There are many real life aggressive incidents that BUT it may be that aggressive children watch
have been linked to TV and video games, such as aggressive TV rather than the other way around.
the Columbine Massacre, and the James Bulger BUT some studies have shown that watching
murder. aggressive TV can lower aggression in people
because it can act as a release.

Task 3: Radley has been in trouble at school and outside school for bullying other pupils and fighting. His
older brother used to have the same kind of trouble when he was at school.
1. Using social learning theory explain why Radley is behaving aggressively.
2. Describe how you could explain Radley’s behaviour using biological reasons.
3. Which studies would suggest explanation ‘a’ is true?
4. Which studies would suggest that explanation ‘b’ is true.

4) Comparing theories of aggression


Key terminology – comparing theories of aggression
 Nature – what we are born with.
 Nurture – what we learn from the way we are raised.

Revision notes:
 The NATURE-NURTURE debate is an on-going discussion about whether our behaviour is caused by our
biology (NATURE) or the environment around us (NURTURE).
 The biological theory sees aggression as something that comes from our body, something we are born
with WHEREAS social learning theory believes that we learn aggression from the people around us.
 The social learning theory says that we are motivated to be aggressive through vicarious learning from
observing other people, WHEREAS the biological theory says that we are driven to be aggressive
through the levels of testosterone in our body, or damage to our amygdala.
 BOTH theories are SIMILAR because they are difficult to study – we cannot open people’s brains to
investigate their amygdales, and we cannot easily test the effects of observational learning over a long
period of time.
 BOTH theories are SIMILAR because it is difficult to test because of ethical reasons of testing on
people.
 BOTH theories are SIMILAR because they have been criticised as it may be that the reverse of the
theory might be true – e.g. aggressive children might like watching aggressive TV (rather than
aggressive TV causing aggression in children).
 CONCLUSION? Both theories have strengths. Aggressive behaviour is probably caused by a
combination of them both.

Task 4: Go back to task 3 – now try and explain Radley’s behaviour using a combination of both theories
together.

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5) Ramirez et al (2001): Culture and Aggression

Aims: Ramirez and his colleagues wanted to investigate whether aggression varied
between cultures. They were also interested in the different aggression levels
between males and females.

Procedure: Their study involved 400 psychology students who volunteered to


participate – half were at university in Japan, the other half in Spain.

All students were asked to complete a questionnaire that measured different types of aggression: verbal
aggression, physical aggression, anger and hostility.

The questionnaires included Likert-style questions, where participants had to respond by saying to what
extent they agreed with the statement. (1 = extremely uncharacteristic of me – 5 extremely characteristic
of me).

Findings:
1. Ramirez found that Japanese students showed more physical aggression than Spanish students.
2. Spanish students showed more verbal aggression and anger than Japanese students.
3. Males showed more physical and verbal aggression and hostility than females in both cultures.
4. Male and females in both cultures showed the same level of anger.
Conclusions: Ramirez concluded that despite the cultural stereotype of the Japanese culture of being shy
and not showing emotion, Japanese males and females were more physically aggressive than Spanish
students.

The finding that Spanish students are more verbally aggressive is consistent with the stereotype of
Spaniards being expressive of their emotions.

The study supports previous theories that males are more aggressive than females. This could be because
of the way men are raised, as masculine, or because of hormonal differences between the sexes.

Evaluation:
STENGTHS WEAKNESSES
The questions produce quantitative data so cannot Some questionnaires are criticised because the
be interpreted differently by researchers. answers can be interpreted in such a way that they
meet the expectations of the researcher.
All students had volunteered and were fully aware All the participants were psychology students – they
that the results would be published – it was an may have guessed the aim of the study (response
ethical study. bias) or answered questions in a socially desirable
way.
Students may have answered the questions
according to how they think they would act, but in
real-life situations they may be unlikely to behave
that way.

Task 5: Answer the following exam question.


Describe Raimerez et al’s (2000) study into culture and aggression. (4 marks)
_________________________________________________________________________________________

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6) Content Analysis
Key terminology - Content analysis as a research method
 Content analysis – a research method used to measure the number of times something comes up in a
book, newspaper article, television programme, etc.
 Tally – a single mark on a chart to show that a behaviour/category has been found during content
analysis.
 Unrepresentative – limited so that it might not apply to everyone.
 Reliability – refers to whether findings from a study would be found again if the study was repeated.
Revision notes:
If researchers wanted to see how much aggression occurred on
television they could use content analysis as a research method.
They would have to take a number of steps:
1. Decide what aggressive behaviour is.
2. Develop a list of behaviours that could be measured as
aggressive
3. Decide on the sample they need to study (e.g. which TV
programmes or ads, times of the day etc.)
4. Tally (count) the times aggression occurred.
5. Assess the reliability of their results.

Once they have completed their content analysis, they can add up the total number of aggressive acts so
they can decide how much aggression is on television.

This process is quite straightforward but a few things need to be considered:


 The list of behaviours needs to be a good example of that is being measured.
 Good content analysis depends on looking at a good sample of programmes, books or other forms of
media to study. Even the time of the day or type of programme can lead to a biased sample.
 A poor sample means the study’s findings will be unrepresentative, the programmes in the sample
cannot be said to be similar to all television programming or media forms being analysed.

 When a researcher does a content analysis they might record tallies that other researchers would not,
each researcher has their own views, and this means that the results of their study might not be
reliable. This could lead to different researchers coming to different conclusions.
 One way of overcoming this is by getting two or more researchers to do the same study. Everyone’s
results can they be compared and only those that are agreed upon are used as a result.

Task 6: Answer the following exam question:


Jean wanted to see if aggression was present in children’s television cartoons. Using a tally chart, she
recorded the number of times a cartoon character hit another character. She recorded male and female
characters separately.

Jean’s tally chart Number of times a female hit another character IIIII
Number of times a male hit another character IIIII IIIII

Which gender displayed more aggression? (1 mark)

State one problem with Jean’s investigation. Give a reason for your answer. (2 marks)

Problem _____________________________________________________________________________

Reason _____________________________________________________________________________
7) The ethics of psychological research
Key terminology - the ethics of psychological research
 Consent – permission to take part in a study.
 Right to withdraw – a participant’s right to leave a study at any time and their ability to do so.
 Deception – being lied to.
 Debrief – being told the truth about a study when it is over.
 Competence – a psychologist’s ability to conduct a study.
 Protection of participants – looking after the rights and welfare of participants to ensure no physical
or psychological damage.

Revision notes:
Psychologists are bound by a strict set of ethical guidelines that are
regulated by the British Psychological Society (BPS).

These guidelines help to protect participants of psychological


research and make sure that the research conducted is carefully
considered.

Ethical guidelines are moral rules that prevent us from doing harm.
 Consent – participants should give their consent to taking part in a study, and if possible, psychologists
should try to inform participants about the nature and aim of the study. The purpose of this guideline
is to allow participants to refuse permission if they don’t want to participate in a study.
 Right to withdraw – participants should be able to withdraw their consent at any point in a study. If
they feel stressed, distressed or embarrassed they should be able to leave the study so they are not
harmed.
 Deception – participants should not be lied to unless it is absolutely necessary, because it can make
them feel humiliated when they eventually find out.
 Debrief – participants should be told the real aim of the study when it is over. This is to ensure they are
left in the same state as when they started. However, a debrief is not an excuse for deception!
 Competence – a researcher must be qualified to conduct the study and if they are chartered they
might need approval from the BPS. Researchers might also seek advice from other colleagues if they
are not sure how the study will affect participants.
 Protection of participants – participants of psychological research should not experience any physical
or psychological harm. Psychologists have to consider the rights and welfare of participants and weigh
this up against the benefits or gains of the research. Psychologists also have to consider whether the
study might cause embarrassment, distress, anxiety or concern.

So, how can we protect participants?


 Before research is carried out, we should make sure that all risk of harm is identified, and minimised
where possible.
 Psychologists should seek professional help from colleagues or advisers about the identified risks.
 Researchers should inform participants where possible about risks involved.
 Participants should always be given the right to withdraw at any point in the study. Even if they are
not fully informed about the aim of the study, at least they can chose to leave the study if they begin
to feel distressed or embarrassed etc.
 Counselling or other professional services should be provided if the participants have been affected by
the study. There should be follow-up of all participants to ensure that they have not suffered any long-
term damage.
 When debriefing participants, they should be reassured that their participation will be confidential and
that their participation in the study has been of great value.

Task 7: Why is Anderson and Dill’s (2000) study unethical?


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8) Anderson and Dill (2000): Video games and aggression


Key terminology - Anderson and Dill (2000): video games and aggression
 Independent variable – the factor which is changed by the researcher in an experiment to make two or
more conditions.
 Dependent variable – the factor which is measured in an experiment.

Revision notes:
Aims: Wanted to see whether people who played violent video games became aggressive.

Procedure: Laboratory experiment with 210 psychology students split into 2 groups (= independent groups
design)
 IV = The type of video game played (condition 1= non-violent, condition 2 = violent).
 DV = The level of aggression shown after playing the video game (measured by how loud and long they
gave a punishment to their opponent for).

Participants were told the study was about the development of motor skills so they would not know the
true aims. Participants were instructed to play a video game in a cubicle for 15mins against an opponent
(who didn’t really exist). After 15mins they were told to play a competitive game against their opponent
and the winner would give out a punishment of a loud noise – they could choose how loud to make the
noise. The experimenter measured how loud and long a punishment each participant gave to their
‘opponent’.

Findings: 1) The longest and loudest punishments were given by the participants who played the violent
video game. 2) Women gave larger punishments than men.

Conclusions: Playing violent video games affected level of aggression. Video games made the participants
think in an aggressive way. Long term use of violent video games could result in a permanent change to
aggressive thought patterns.
Task 8: Are the following evaluative points STRENGTHS or WEAKNESSES?
a) The experiment was in a laboratory this means there were good controls and
STRENGTH WEAKNESS
it means the experiment can be repeated.
b) The participants knew they were being experimented on which may have
made them alter their behaviour meaning the experiment wasn’t measuring STRENGTH WEAKNESS
natural behaviour.
c) The experimenters didn’t tell the participants the true aims of the
experiment. They also told them they were playing against an opponent when STRENGTH WEAKNESS
in fact they weren’t.
d) The experiment took place in a laboratory – playing games in a cubical is not
STRENGTH WEAKNESS
a normal activity for people and is not realistic.
e) The findings are really useful for real life applications because we now have
age restrictions on certain games since we can see they may adversely affect STRENGTH WEAKNESS
young people.
f) The experiment may have caused the participants stress knowing that they
STRENGTH WEAKNESS
were punishing people.
g) The participants were all psychology students this means they do not
represent the general population which means we cannot apply the findings to STRENGTH WEAKNESS
other groups of people and situations.

Task 9: Match the following evaluative POINTS up to the descriptions above (a –f)

from harm
Protection
Generalisa
Deception

characteri

Reliability

Useful in
Demand
(ethical

(ethical

real life
Validity
issue)

issue)
blility
stics

POINT

DESCRIPTION C

9) Charlton et al (2000): St Helena study


Key terminology – Charlton et al (2000): St Helena study
 Natural experiment – an experiment where the independent variable is naturally occurring and not set
up by the researchers.

Revision notes:
Aims: To investigate the effects of television on children’s behaviour

Procedure:
 Natural experiment
 IV = television before and after its introduction
 DV = the children’s behaviour on the island

Charlton collected data about the children’s behaviour using a number of methods:
 The researchers collected information on the children using questionnaires and asking parents and
teachers about the behaviour of the children.
 Observations of the children’s behaviour were made in the school playground, particularly the level of
aggression the children displayed.
 The researchers’ content analysed what and how much the children watched on television. They were
particularly interested in how much violence children watched and for how long.
 Video cameras were placed in the school classrooms and playgrounds to watch the children and
measure the level of aggression.

Findings: Charlton found very little difference in the children’s behaviour before and after the introduction
of television. The island had a very low rate of behavioural problems with children before the study, and
this did not significantly increase because of watching TV.

Because the population of St Helena is so small (everyone knows everyone!) and parents have high control
over their children’s behaviour, the effect of TV seems to have been reduced.

Conclusions: TV did not have a significant impact on children’s behaviour. Even if violence was watched it
was not copied.

Task 10: Are the following evaluative points STRENGTHS or WEAKNESSES?


This study is a natural experiment, which means it has greater realism than a laboratory or field
experiment. This is because the researcher does not set up the situation – it is happening naturally.
STRENGTH WEAKNESS

Because of the close nature of the community it might be that the children were more aggressive after
watching TV, but that the parents and teachers were unwilling to report this because of the negative view
researchers would have of the island. Also, if children were aggressive in the classroom or playground this
could have been controlled quickly by teachers to prevent a negative perception of the children.
STRENGTH WEAKNESS

Discreet cameras were used so the children would have acted naturally, because they did not know they
were being watched.
STRENGTH WEAKNESS

Other psychologists have reported that the programmes watched by children contained less violence than
programmes watched by mainland children. Popular programmes with high violent content, such as
‘Mighty Morphin Power rangers’ or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’, were not broadcast to St Helena.
STRENGTH WEAKNESS

Task 11: Answer the following questions:


What was the main finding of Charlton et al’s (2000) study?
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Suggest 2 similarities and 2 differences between the isolated St Helena community and your community.
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Describe one strength of Charlton et al’s (2000) study.


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Describe one weakness of Charlton et al’s (2000) study.
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10) Williams et al (1981): Does TV affect children’s behaviour?

Revision notes:
Aims: Williams wanted to measure children’s behaviour before and after
television had been introduced to the town (a remote town in British
Columbia, Canada) and also to compare the children’s behaviour with that
of other towns that did have TV.

Procedure:
 Natural experiment
 IV = television before and after its introduction
 DV = the children’s behaviour

They measured a range of behaviours before and after the town received TV:
 Aggression of children in the playground and classroom
 Leisure activities the community were involved in
 Intelligence level (IQ) of children
 Creativity and reading ability of children

Two observers watched children in the school playground and classrooms but they didn’t start recording
until the children were used to their presence. This was to make sure the children didn’t behave
differently. They measured the number of physically aggressive acts (e.g. hitting) and verbally aggressive
acts (e.g. teasing).

They called the town ‘Notel’ (not it’s real name) and also studied two neighbouring towns with similar
population and economy – ‘Unitel’ (had one TV channel) and ‘Multitel’ (had many TV channels). All three
towns were studied before TV was introduced in Notel, and for two years after.

Findings:
 The children were twice as aggressive after TV was introduced to Notel.
 Children and adults spent less than half the time they had in the past on leisure activities.
 Children began to see increased gender differences between boys and girls after watching TV
 Children became less creative.
 IQ scores dropped slightly after the introduction of TV.
 Although aggression in all towns increased over the two-year study, aggression in Notel children
increased far more in comparison. Unitel and Multitel were quite similar.

Conclusions: Notel showed increased levels of aggression because of the introduction of television.
Television also reduced time spent on leisure activities, lowered creativity and intelligence slightly.
Evaluation:
STENGTHS WEAKNESSES
Conducted in a real place and TV was introduced The researchers did not control what or how much
naturally. Far greater realism than any other type of TV the children watched, or the adult supervision
experiment. and control of viewing.
Because the same children were followed over a Observations might be biased because the
two-year period, their behaviour before and after researchers see what they want to see. They might
TV could be directly observed. have reported higher levels of aggression because
they expected it to happen after children started
watching TV.
The children were observed in their natural
surroundings; at school in the class and playground.
The researchers also allowed the children time to
get used to them being there.

Task 12: Outline one factor, other than television, that might explain the increased aggression in the
children in Notel.
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11) Comparing Charlton et al (2000) and Williams et al (1981)

Revision notes:
 What do these two studies tell us about the effect of TV?
 Most TV programmes contain violence – even children’s TV!
 Is TV bad for children or not?

SIMILARITIES between DIFFERENCES between


Charlton et al (2000) and Williams et al (1981) Charlton et al (2000) and Williams et al (1981)
Both studies were natural experiments – the St Helena is so remote that it had developed a
experimenters did not control the introduction of unique culture of parental control. Notel was not
TV - TV was naturally introduced. unique in this way because it was a mainland town.
Both studies were conducted in real-life On St Helena most people knew each other – Notel
communities. was a normal town with inhabitants coming and
going; not everyone knew each other well.
The communities of St Helena and Notel had never Notel was on the mainland, so had access to
had broadcast TV (as opposed to videos) and were popular cultural trends whereas St Helena only had
introduced to satellite TV for the first time. ferry visits every month to deliver supplies and so
was isolated from popular culture.
There were variables outside the control of both The adults on St Helena may have been reluctant to
studies: other children or parents’ behaviour. admit the children had aggressive behaviour
because it might create a negative image of the
island. The same reluctance would be unlikely of a
mainland town whose name was never disclosed.
Both Charlton and Williams conducted observations
to measure the amount of aggression displayed.
Both studies used questionnaires to ask teachers
and parents about their children’s behaviour and
viewing habits.

Conclusions:
 Children are affected by watching TV.
 But parents and community can lessen the influence of TV by controlling what their children watch and
how they behave.
 Living in smaller neighbourhoods with a strong sense of community helps.
 However, we should remember that although TV and family are important, aggression occurs for a
number of reasons; friendship groups, biological factors and triggers in the environment can also play
a part.

Task 13: St Helena has taught us how important community can be. If you were the prime minister, how
would you use the research findings of this study to reduce aggression?
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12) The job of an educational psychologist


Key terminology - becoming an educational psychologist
Empathic listening – a way of listening to another person so that there is
real understanding. It also involves responding in a way that shows you
have listened.

Revision notes:
An Ed Psych works with a wide range of issues with young people in schools to help resolve problems of
classroom behaviour or to help with developmental issues such as dyslexia or autism. They work with
children, staff, parents, clients.

The focus is always children these are some of the features of their job:
 Legal assessments of children with special needs – to ensure they get the relevant help and their needs
met –children, parents are involved too.
 Consultation with various schools they are attached too. They talk to teachers, head teachers, special
needs co-ordinators, children, parents – school visits are usually once per half term or more.
 Carries out individual assessments and tests (IQ etc) as well as physical abilities and language. They
test for dyslexia – they collect qualitative and quantitative data from as many sources as possible.
 Communication is important so a child is able to answer questions.. Open questions are more likely to
uncover meaningful information.
 Planning interventions – working with the child and teachers to make changes necessary to help the
child. They usually set up a plan for other people to carry out.
 They can train people to carry out interventions.
 They carry out research and work with many agencies.
An educational psychologist can work with:
 The Local Education Authority (for state schools like ours)
 Private Schools
 Or themselves – self employed

Skills needed: COMMUNICATION SKILLS and EMPATHIC LISTENING, be able to talk with a RANGE OF
PEOPLE (range of pupils, parents, teachers, and other professionals).

Qualifications: Degree in Psychology + Experience in Education + Doctorate in Educational Psychology


(studying a 3 year PhD at University)

Chartered status: To achieve chartered status an Ed Psych must prove they are Continuing Professional
Development (CPD) - doing courses to keep up to date in their area of specialism.
Quick check: Why do you think it is important for an Educational Psychologists degree to be recognised by
the BPS?

Task 14: Imagine you work for the Local Education Authority and you need to recruit a new Educational
Psychologist. Create a job advertisement detailing what the job would involve, who they would be
working with and what skills and qualifications are needed.
13) Educational psychology and anger management

Revision notes:
 An Ed Psych can deal with cases that involve anger management, often following an incident in the
classroom (or a series of incidents).
 The child will not be learning if they are emotionally aroused and other children or adults will be
affected so it is important for the child to be able to control their behaviour.
 The starting point is observation – the Ed Psych may go into the classroom to watch the child to see
what triggers the behaviour and to look for patterns.
 The teacher is also asked to observe and keep records.
 The aim is to try and find out what causes the anger, and how to identify an ‘incident’ before it occurs.
 Often there is no specific trigger for an outburst, so general features of what goes before an incident
need to be identified.
 The Ed Psych needs to gather as much information as possible about what happens in the classroom,
and whether or not the child displays this behaviour at home.
 Parents are invited to the school to discuss issues, and sometimes the Ed Psych will visit the child’s
home to make observations.
 Parents are asked questions about whether or not the child’s behaviour is like anyone else’s behaviour
in the home in an effort to establish patterns.
 If parents say there are no problems at home the Ed Psych tries to establish what triggers the
behaviour at school.
 The Ed Psych will also ask the teacher to note whether there is a particular time of day or lesson when
the behaviour takes place, also teachers are asked if they can tell straight away that they child will have
a bad day – the answer to this is often yes!
 The Ed Psych also talks to the child to see if they can get to the bottom of the problem.
 Helping the teacher to identify when an incident is going to happen can be very useful to stop the
problem before it starts. Teachers can then react appropriate before the situation kicks off.
 The child can also learn what feelings and emotions come before an outburst and taught techniques to
calm down or use relaxation techniques, breathing exercises or ‘relax’ words to bring them down.

Task 15: Exam question: Jonah is having trouble concentrating and completing any of his work at school.
He is described as being aggressive, and seems to have an inability to listen to or follow instructions, and
his behaviour disrupts his classmates. He is underachieving for a student of his age, and so has been
referred to an educational psychologist.

Describe how an Educational Psychologist might help Jonah. 7marks


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14) Censorship and 9 o’clock watershed
Key terminology - introducing censorship and the 9 o’clock watershed
 Watershed – term used to indicate a turning point. When applied to TV programming it is the 9pm
deadline before which programmes (including cable and satellite programmes) that contain certain
levels of violence and/or sex cannot be broadcast.
 Censorship – preventing information from being circulated in some way.
 Moral censorship – deciding what material is suitable for broadcasting or publishing and what material
is not considered moral or suitable.
 Authoritarian – a style of government where society’s members have little input and have to accept
the government’s decisions.
 Paternalistic – a style of government where its decisions are made for the good of everybody else.
This rests on the idea of the head of the household knowing what is best for everybody else in that
household.

Revision notes: Censorship and the 9 o’clock watershed


 In the UK some programmes have to be shown after 9 o’clock because they
are deemed unsuitable due to their content.
 Censorship means preventing the circulation of information what might be
harmful in some way; in this case we are looking at moral censorship.
 Material that is thought to be obscene or objectionable can be censored and this is done by the BBFC,
the British Board of Film Classification.
 The BBFC was set up in 1912 by the film industry to monitor films.
 E.g. a U film has the following censorship guidelines: suitable for children over 4,
some kissing is acceptable, handles themes sensitively without bad language,
some nudity is acceptable but not in a sexual way, mild horror is OK but no
emphasis on realistic weapons or any behaviour that might be dangerous for
children to copy and no reference to illegal drugs.
 However, an 18 categorisation means that you have to be 18 to see the film or
rent or buy the DVD. There are exceptions e.g. when the sex material is
informative and educational.
 The role of the watershed is to protect children from viewing unsuitable material,
such as acts of sex and/or violence.
 There are different types of government and some types are more likely to want strong censorship
than others. Authoritarian or paternalistic governments are more likely to favour censorship although
this can result in a lack of freedom of speech which is considered a basic human right.

For and against censorship and the watershed


Revision notes:
 British TV does seem to have less violent and sexual acts on it than other countries so maybe the
watershed is unnecessary.
 However, counting violent acts might not be a good indication of what is suitable for young children
and what is not.
 Most adults agree with the 9 o’clock watershed which backs up the idea that censorship and the
watershed protect society
Arguments FOR censorship Arguments AGAINST censorship
Censorship protects children from acts they aren’t Takes away freedom to choose, Restricts freedom
ready for of speech, tool of governmental control
Studies show the majority of people are in favour of Might not be necessary – fewer violent and sexual
the watershed acts on British TV anyway
GCSE Psychology Topic D
Why do we have phobias?

1) Classical conditioning and phobias


Classical conditioning A learning process which builds up an association between the two stimuli
through repeated pairings.
Association The link between the neutral stimulus and the unconditioned stimulus that make
the neutral stimulus cause the same response.
Generalisation When a conditioned response is produced to stimuli that are similar to the
conditioned stimulus.
Phobia An intense fear that prevents ‘normal living’ in some way.
Extinction The loss of a classically conditioned response when the conditioned stimulus is
repeated many times without the unconditioned stimulus.

Classical conditioning and phobias revision notes:


 Pavlov was studying eating in dogs by measuring their
saliva. He noticed that some of the dogs started to salivate
(a response) before their food arrived. He thought this
was because they could hear the footsteps (a stimulus) of
the person carrying the food.
 Pavlov tested his idea using a dog that had a tube through
its cheek to measure its saliva. First he rang a bell – it
didn’t salivate. Then he rang the bell and gave the dog some food. This was the conditioning process
which, after being repeated many times leads to the dog salivating at the sound of the bell alone.
 The dog had learned to associate the bell and the food – it had become conditioned to salivate to the
bell. This process has become known as classical or Pavlovian conditioning.
 Learning happens in this way because an association forms between the neutral stimulus (NS) and the
unconditioned stimulus (UCS).
 It usually takes many pairings or trials. During these pairings the neutral stimulus (NS) becomes a
conditioned stimulus (CS) which can cause a conditioned response (CR).

GCSE Psychology – Edexcel


Revision Guide
 With regard to phobias if a real fear is triggered by something when a harmless stimulus is present, an
association may be made between the two things. This can cause a phobia.
 E.g. a little girl is playing on the beach in shallow water. She catches her flip-flop on a stone, trips, and
hurts herself. Her dad picks her up but she is wet and frightened.
 When the girl gets home she is afraid of taking a bath because she has generalized her fear of the sea
to a fear of all water.

Task 1: Complete the following flow chart


Before conditioning
NS (water) → ________________ UCS (_______________) →UCR _______________

During conditioning:
NS (water) + UCS _______________ → (UC_______________) _______________

After conditioning:
(_______________) → (CR) _______________

 Watson and Raynor (1920) conditioned Little Albert to be phobic of a


white rat. Each time a white rat was shown to Albert, a loud noise was
made with a steal bar behind him. The noise frightened him and he
associated his fear with the rat.
 Albert’s fear generalisaed to other white, fluffy things such as cotton
wool and a Father Christmas mask.
 Conditioned responses often take many trials to learn but if the
conditioned stimulus is repeated many times without the
unconditioned stimulus, the conditioned response is lost. This is called extinction.
 However, extinction doesn’t happen very easily. Once a phobia has been learned, it is very hard to
lose. e.g. if a child gets bitten by a dog, they might become afraid of dogs. Even though dogs don’t
often bite and the child is never bitten again, it may be hard to overcome the fear.
 Phobias are generally learned from one event – this is called ‘one-trial learning’. e.g. a person may be
afraid of driving after having one bad car accident.

Task 2: When Lola was younger she had a little puppy. Lola’s puppy was obsessed with buttons. When
Lola used to button up her coat the dog used to jump up and try and bite the buttons. A couple of times
Lola’s hand got bitten. To this day she is afraid of buttons!
Name the:
UCS =
UCR =
NS =
CS =
CR =

Task 3: Jimmy visited the zoo and was looking at the elephants. One of his mates came up behind him
and creamed in his ear. Since then Jimmy has been petrified of elephants. Use classical conditioning to
explain Jimmy’s fear of elephants.
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GCSE Psychology – Edexcel


Revision Guide
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2) Social learning theory and phobias


Key terminology:
Vicarious reinforcement Learning through the positive consequences of other people’s actions rather
than first-hand – we are more likely to copy if they are rewarded.
Modelling Imitating the behaviour of someone.

Revision notes:
 SLT involves gaining new behaviours by watching n imitating a role model – same-sex role models are
more likely to be imitated.
 If the role model is rewarded then the observer is more likely to imitate them –
vicarious reinforcement.
o ATTENTION (IDENTIFICATION)
o MEMORY
o REPRODUCTION
o MOTIVATION = VICARIOUS REINFORCEMENT
 Animals also learn from observing each other – e.g. Coombes et al 91980) let
two rats drink from a spout. One rat had been given an injection to make it sick so later both rats
avoided drinking from the spout. The rat which hadn’t been sick had learned not to drink from the
spout because it had seen the other rat being sick. Learning to avoid something unpleasant is similar
to learning a fear.
 Social learning applies to emotions as well as behaviours.
 Mineka et al (1984) found that their laboratory monkeys that had grown up in the wild were afraid of
snakes. The ones born in captivity were not afraid. The lab-born monkeys
learned to be afraid of snakes through watching the wild-born monkeys being
afraid of snakes. This shows that the fear of snakes can be through social
learning.
 When blackbirds see a predator they give a warning call. Curio (1988) showed
that social learning could explain how blackbirds could learn to give predator
alarms to a non-predator.
 Why do phobias sometimes run in families? Children could be observing and
imitating their parents’ fears. e.g. if parents are anxious about dentists, so are
their children.

Task 4: Ellie has a fear of fur. Every time she’s near it she cries, gets very anxious until her mother
comforts her. Ellie’s younger brother Scott also has a fear of fur.

GCSE Psychology – Edexcel


Revision Guide
How can vicarious learning explain Scott’s fear?
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Identify the four steps explaining Scott’s fear using SLT


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Can you also explain Scott’s fear using preparedness?


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Task 5: Answer the following exam style question: Ben is a toddler in nursery. He bites other children and
gets their toys. Other children see this and start biting other children. Use SLT to explain why this
happens.
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3) Phobias and preparedness


Key terminology:
Preparedness The tendency to learn some associations more easily, quickly and permanently than
others.

Revision notes:
 According to the theory of evolution, if two animals were living in a forest and encountered a forest
fire, the one who ran away would be more likely to survive. This shows some behaviours are adaptive
and being fearful can be useful.
 In this example, fear makes sense because fires are deadly. Sometimes we have irrational fears of
objects or situations that are not dangerous.
 We learn links between some things more easily than others, as evolution has ‘prepared’ us to learn
about things that are threatening.

GCSE Psychology – Edexcel


Revision Guide
 Many phobias are not random – people are afraid of thunder because being struck by lightning was a
real risk for early humans.
 This explains why some phobias are more common than others. e.g. we are more likely to be scared of
snakes (could have been a predator) than clothes.
 One-trial learning – learning to be afraid of something dangerous immediately will keep you alive.

Task 6: According to the idea of preparedness, write in the box on the right which objects a child would
be more likely to be afraid of:
Item More afraid of? Why?
rat car
dog houses
slugs bikes

Task 7: Rokib was carrying out a survey investigating phobias in his school. He found the
following results:
 2 people afraid of the cotton buds
 12 people afraid of dogs
 1 person afraid of balloons
 1 person afraid of flying
Describe how preparedness would explain his set of results
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Why can’t preparedness explain all of the phobias found in Rokib’s survey?
_________________________________________________________________________________________

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Identify an alternative way of explaining the fear of balloons, and explain how that person may have got
that phobia
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4) The nature-nurture debate


Key terminology:
Nature What we are born with.
Nurture What we learn from the way we are raised.

Revision notes:
 Nature – genes can control some physical features but control by single genes doesn’t happen with
psychological characteristics as far as we know. Many genes act together to affect our development.

GCSE Psychology – Edexcel


Revision Guide
 Parents with phobias may have children with phobias because they pass on genes that make them
more ‘prepared’ to be afraid.
 Nurture – do our experiences and our opportunities to learn make us who we are?
 SLT says that our behaviour changes because we observe models in or environment.
 Classical conditioning says we learn by associating two stimuli that are repeated together.
 A tendency to learn phobias might be genetic – as people evolve those who have inherited the ability
to learn to avoid danger would be more likely to survive.
 SLT would say that if a parent has a phobia, the child will see the way the parent behaves as they are
role models to their children. Children will observe and imitate the fear displayed by their parents.

Evidence for the nature argument Evidence for the nurture argument
Preparedness – there is a genetic influence on the Mineka et al (1984) found that monkeys learn fears
kinds of things we learn to fear. Bennett-Levy and through social learning. As monkeys and people are
Marteau showed that more people are afraid of very similar, it is likely that we can learn fears too.
animals with certain characteristics.
Slater and Shield (1969) found that identical twins Watson and Raynor (1920) used classical
were more similar in their phobias than non- conditioning to make Little Albert frightened of a
identical twins. white rat. This shows the environment can produce
phobias.

What does the above evidence tell us?


 Both nature and nurture seem to be important. They may even act together.
 Parents may pass on genes that make their children more likely to learn to be afraid.

Task 8: Answer the following exam style question: Several dogs live on the same street as Muhammed
and Aisha, who are both phobic of dogs. Every time they are approached by a dog (even a friendly one)
they become hysterical. Muhammed and Aisha have three children who are also dog phobic.

Explain why Muhammed and Aisha’s children have a phobia of dogs using the nature argument.
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Explain why Muhammed and Aisha’s children have a phobia of dogs using the nurture argument.
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GCSE Psychology – Edexcel


Revision Guide
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5) Questionnaires
Key terminology:
Questionnaires A research method using written questions.
Open (-ended) question Question that asks for description and detail.
Closed question Simple question with few possible answers.
Likert-style question Question using statements with five choices from ‘strongly agree’ to
‘strongly disagree’.
Rank-style question Question with points either in order that can be chosen or that can be put in
order.
Standardised instructions Guidance for participants that is the same for everyone.
Response bias The patterns that participants fall into when answering a questionnaire, for
example always saying ‘yes’ or trying to guess the aim.
Social desirability bias When participants give the answers they think will be acceptable to other
people, to make themselves look better.

Revision notes:
 Questionnaires are sets of questions that are written down and given to
participants to answer.
 They involve 3 types of questions:
 Closed questions – these have a fixed number of possible answers, and
participants often just tick a box. E.g. are you afraid of spiders? Yes/No
 Open questions – these ask for more detailed answers, participants are
asked for a description. E.g. how do you feel when you see a spider?
 Rank-style questions – these ask the participant to say how much ‘more’
or ‘less’ things are. E.g. give each animal a number from 1 (most scary) to 4 (least scary): Cat, Fish,
Spider, and Hamster.
 Likert style questions - these are a type of rank question that gives a statement and you have to say
whether you agree/disagree.

Task 9: Complete the box below containing strengths and weaknesses of questionnaires.
Strengths of Questionnaires Weaknesses of Questionnaires
Can use standardised instructions: meaning… Response biases means…

This happens due to…

Allow for informed consent: because… Social desirability biases means …

This happens due to …

GCSE Psychology – Edexcel


Revision Guide
Allow for the right to withdraw: because… Deception is a problem because you need to hide
the aims due to…

Can be valid represent real life when …

Task 10: You have been asked to investigate the eating habits of those in your psychology class. Give two
examples of each type of question you would ask on your questionnaire:
Closed question 1)

2)

Open question 1)

2)

Rank-style question 1)

2)

Likert-style question 1)

2)

6) Ethical Issues

Experiments using animals


 When experimenting with animals it is important to consider the following ethical issues: minimising
the amount of pain and fear caused, avoiding social isolation, using the smallest number of animals
possible and using a species that will suffer the least.
 When absolutely essential, only cause minimum pain and fear possible.
 Making social animals (dogs, rate, monkeys) be on their own may cause them distress, so time kept
alone should be kept to a minimum.
 Need to use only as few animals as they can.
 Different species find different things distressing. E.g. A social animal will find social isolation more
distressing than an animal that lives alone.

Revision notes:
Strengths of animal experiments Weaknesses of animal experiments
Humans and animals are similar Although humans and animals are similar, there
Animal behaviour is often simpler than human are important differences, e.g. humans have
behaviour bigger brains and are more complex.
Can use animals for experiments involving deprivation
GCSE Psychology – Edexcel
Revision Guide
as humans are not likely to volunteer
Interesting to find out about animals behaviour,
regardless of whether it is useful for understanding
people
Task 11: Jamila wants to carry out an experiment to find out if large doses caffeine affect behaviour. She
plans to use 12 dogs. One group of 6 will be caged and fed caffeine over 3 days, while the other group
will be fed water over 3 days. She plans to observe and record their behaviour and compare.

Explain any ethical or practical issues you can think of with this experiment:
_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

Jones (1924): Curing a boy’s phobia


Aim: To investigate whether a phobia in a little boy could be KEY STUDY
deconditioned and whether this would generalize to other objects.

Procedure: Peter was 2yrs 10mths old when Jones started the
observations. She watched Peter playing with beads in his cot while the
experimenter showed him a white rat. Peter screamed and moved away.
When the rat touched Peter’s beads he protested but didn’t when another child touched his beads.

Next day – Peter’s reaction to different objects was observed which showed that his fear of the rat had
generalized to other objects. Peter was also shown a rabbit and was more afraid of this than the rat so a
rabbit was used for deconditioning.

The therapy: Cover used both CLASSICAL CONDITIONING & SOCIAL LEARNING THEORY to help cure
Peter’s phobia. Cover developed a TOLERANCE SERIES whereby Peter would gradually get closer to the
rabbit. Food gave Peter pleasure and he felt relaxed (UCS (food)  UCR (pleasure))

As he took steps to moving along the tolerance series he was given food. Cover was aiming to get Peter to
ASSOCIATE pleasure with the rabbit. She was trying to use classical conditioning to reverse the phobia.
Peter also had daily play sessions with 3 children and the rabbit (the others weren’t scared of the rabbit).
He saw the other children being happy around the rabbit, and being praised.
(SLT) New situations were used to get Peter closer to the rabbit.

Results: The changes in Peter’s behaviour were not steady or continuous or


equally spaced in time (see graph below). Peter’s behaviour improved and
worsened e.g. when he was scratched by the rabbit. The tolerance series were
created by six people’s descriptions of the improvement in Peter’s behaviour.
The other children acted as role models which helped Peter move closer to the

GCSE Psychology – Edexcel


Revision Guide
rabbit. He also lost his fear of cotton, the coat and feathers. He also accepted new animals such as frogs,
worms and a mouse.

Conclusion: Both classical conditioning and social learning helped to decondition Peter. The deconditioning
also reduced generalized fears and helped Peter to cope with new animals.

Evaluation:
Strengths: Weaknesses:
Detailed observations over a long period. These The gaps between sessions were variable so
showed Peter’s progress. progress could be due to time rather than
deconditioning.
Jones asked other people to order the tolerance Jones used two different techniques (CC and SL), as
series so avoided bias. well as other people who made Peter feel confident.
Used different ways to help Peter. This makes it difficult to tell which was most
effective.

Can you use GRAVE to evaluate this key study?


G
R
A
V
E

Task 12:Complete the following gap fill:


A…………………..: To investigate whether a ……………………………….. in a little boy could be
………………… and whether this would ……………………………. to other objects.

GCSE Psychology – Edexcel


Revision Guide
Procedure:..………….. was ……….. years and ……… months old when ………………………… began
observing him. He was in his cot playing with ………………… An ……………………………………
showed him a white …………… The boy ……………….. and was removed from the cot, leaving his
…………….. behind.

What happened when the ………… touched his toys in the cot:
What happened when another child touched his toys in the cot?

What else was ………… afraid of?

………….. had daily ………………… sessions with ………………………… other children and a
……………………….. (which the other children were not afraid of). His reactions to the
………………………. ranged in severity.

Conclusion: Both ………………… ………………………………………… and ………………….


………………………… helped to ……………………………. Peter.
The ……………………………… also reduced …………………………. fears and helped Peter to cope
with new ……………………

Bennett-Levy and Marteau (1984): fear of animals KEY STUDY


Aim: To see whether we are more afraid of, or avoid, animals that
move quickly, move suddenly and look very different from people.

Procedure: They used two questionnaires – both asked questions about the same 29 animals. They were
told that none of the animals were dangerous. Questionnaire 1 – fear scale – 1= not afraid, 3 = very afraid
and nearness scale (1-5) where 1 = enjoy picking it up, and 5= move more than 2 metres away.
Questionnaire 2 – how the participants felt about each animal rated on a 3-point scale for each of the
following – ugliness, sliminess, speediness and how sudden they moved. 30 men and 34 women answered
the questionnaires. Some participants were also interviewed.

Results: The most feared animals were: rat, cockroach, jellyfish, spider, slug etc. Some animals were rated
as more ugly and these were quite different in structure from humans. (e.g. cockroaches have antennae,
spiders have 8 legs and are hairy all over).

They found that people were more afraid of some animals and less likely to get near
them. When interviewed, participants described ugly animals as slimy, hairy and dirty,
with antennae, eyes in odd places and a strange number of legs. Men and women judged
ugliness in similar ways. Women were less likely to approach many of the animals.
Overall, people were less likely to approach ugly or slimy, speedy or suddenly moving
animals. They were afraid of ugly, slimy, speedy or suddenly moving animals. People
thought that speedy animals moved suddenly.

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Revision Guide
Conclusion: The features of ugliness, sliminess, speediness and sudden movement all make animals move
frightening. Ugliness is judged by how different an animal is from a human. Many animals which cause
phobias are ugly, slimy, speedy or sudden movers, which supports the idea that preparedness relates to an
animal’s features.

Evaluation:
Strengths Weaknesses
Different participants answered the two The participants were told the animals were not
questionnaires. This helped to make sure they dangerous but still many thought the rats were
didn’t know what the study was about. harmful, so the instruction was not very successful.
They used men and women as their phobias are The questionnaires only asked about 6 factors. In
different, so the findings apply to both genders. the interviews, the participants said other things
The participants did not see the animals so they about what makes an animal scary. Only a few
weren’t frightened by them, thus avoiding ethical people were interviewed, this should have been
problems. added to the questionnaire.
The findings are useful as they can explain why fears
are not always linked to actual experiences with
animals. Few people are scared of rabbits yet lots
of people are bitten by rabbits when they are
young. This is because rabbits do not have scary
features.

Can you use GRAVE to evaluate this key study?


G
R
A
V
E

7) How to treat phobias?


Key terminology:
Anxiety A state of fear or worry.
Hierarchy of fears A list of fears that are arranged from most to least feared.

Revision notes:
 There are a number of possible therapies for treating phobias. We look at 2: flooding and systematic
desensitisation.
 Flooding – an extreme therapy based on classical conditioning.
 It involves confronting your fear directly, as being near the thing you are scared of can help you
overcome it.
 It causes anxiety to begin with, and the participant eventually starts to calm down. Participants learn
to associate their fear or phobia with this feeling of relaxation.
 It has been criticised for not being very ethical.
 It is also not always effective, as far as studies have shown
 Systematic desensitisation is similar to flooding, but less stressful.
 Participant is still exposed to their fear, but it is done in a more gradual way.
 e.g. If someone is scared of spiders, they might first be exposed to a picture of a spider, then a video,
then a toy spider, then a real spider (small), then a tarantula.

GCSE Psychology – Edexcel


Revision Guide
Hierarchy of fear for flying
Situation Rating of fear
Turbulence whilst on a plane High
Taking off and landing
Getting on the plane
Checking in Moderate
Getting to the airport
Packing the luggage
Booking the flight
Looking at holidays abroad Low

8) The ethics of therapies used to treat phobias


Key terminology:
Distressing When a person is suffering physically or psychologically. They may feel harm,
embarrassment or pain.
Right to withdraw The ability of a person to remove himself or herself from the situation.

Revision notes:
 Flooding is the most traumatic of therapies used to treat phobias
because patients are forcibly exposed to their fears.
 They are not allowed to withdraw from the situation because this
could make their phobia worse in the long run.
 Systematic desensitisation is less extreme than flooding because
the patient has more control over when they move on to the next
level.
 They decide if they are relaxed enough to be confronted with a
more stressful situation, unlike flooding, where they cannot (it would be harmful to) withdraw at all.
 Both flooding and systematic desensitization are therapies that produce distress.
 Flooding creates an enormous amount of distress.
 We must also remember that patients are aware of the therapy they are undertaking, the therapies are
only used for the most serious of phobias and the patients have to be clearly distressed or unable to
carry on with normal activities to access these therapies.
 Because of the ethical issues of distress and right to withdraw, systematic desensitisation is much
more popular therapy than flooding, which is rarely used today.

! Remember as a psychologist all ethical guidelines must be followed at all times. Obtaining full informed
consent would include letting the patient know that they will not have the right to withdraw from flooding
– with an explanation as to what will happen to them and why.

Task 13: Robert Pattinson is afraid of horses! Design two different therapies for him
to choose from if he would like to try to overcome his phobia. Remember to include
ethical issues and show as a therapies which ethical guidelines you will be following.

GCSE Psychology – Edexcel


Revision Guide
9) The job of a clinical psychologist revision notes
 Clinical psychologists work with people who have mental health problems e.g. anxiety, depression,
behavioural problems.
 They work with people who are stressed and distressed.
 They also help people with mood disorders, fears, phobias, problems in coping with a disability.
 They often work in a team and focus on one client. There might be community involvement and other
agencies, such as social services may be involved.
 ClinPsycs make an assessment of a client’s needs, plans interventions (putting forward a solution),
trains others and research. At the end they evaluate the intervention.
 ClinPsycs gather as much evidence as they can through such methods as listening and discussing with
clients, observations, psychometric testing and standardised testing.
 The solutions can involve therapy, counselling or advice.
 They keep a record of assessments and interventions which are kept safely to maintain confidentiality.
 The practicalities of being a ClinPsych may mean that they are under-funded,
which make their working conditions difficult. Time with the ClinPsyc is
often limited due to cost.
 ClinPsycs also train others or undergo research.
 They become chartered and have to maintain Continuing Professional
Development. This is usually done online and must be up-to-date through
the year addressing issues of furthering their own training and working
ethically.

Becoming a clinical psychologist revision notes


 ClinPsyc is the most popular career choice for Psyc graduates if they plan to be a psychologist.
 Most work for the NHS or private practises.
 Some work in private practice or in universities – they can earn between £30,000 and £70,000 a year.
 You will need a degree in psychology recognised by the BPS.
 You will have to undertake relevant work experience.
 You will also need a 3 year full time doctorate course in clinical psychology.
 You must be able to listen, understand and reflect on the situation of others and help with solutions.
 You must have an understanding of diversity.
 You will need to learn to ask open questions.
 It is also useful to be able to look at yourself and your own experiences and how these affect others.
 Other skills include an ability to search for solutions that are not obvious, good communication skills
with both clients, their families and other professionals.

Clinical psychology and phobias revision notes


ClinPsychs use a range of methods to treat phobias. This booklet has already explained flooding and
systematic desensitisation but there are others.

 Hypnotherapy
 This involves helping the client to get into a relaxed state, called an altered state of awareness.
 In this state, they are not concerned by everyday problems but can instead have a heightened
sense of awareness where they can accept suggestions from the hypnotherapist about
overcoming the phobia.

 CBT
 Cognitive behavioural therapy.
 Cognitive means thoughts.
GCSE Psychology – Edexcel
Revision Guide
 Involves identifying negative automatic thoughts and trying to replace them with less negative
thoughts.
 Exposure-based CBT involves changing the client’s thinking patterns as well as lowering the fear
response to the situations that are feared.
 Psychodynamic-based therapies
 These are not often used by ClinPsycs as they feel that the psychodynamic theory is not
scientifically tested and should not be used as a therapy.

10) Culture and phobias


Key terminology:
Custom A longstanding practice of a particular group of people.
Tradition A practice that has been handed down through generations.
Social norm A behaviour or belief that is expected and accepted in a particular culture.
Collectivist Describes a culture that encourages group dependence, cooperation and group
identity, e.g. Japan. People rely on each other to achieve together.
Individualistic Describes a culture that encourages independence, personal achievement,
competition and individuality. E.g. the USA.

Heinrichs et al (2005): Cultural differences in fears


Social anxiety is a fear someone has of social situations – they
might worry about meeting people, public speaking, being KEY STUDY
watched, being teased.

Heinrichs thought that people in a collectivist countries might


suffer greater social anxiety, because if people in collectivist
countries break a social norm, they will experience greater punishment (as the behaviour of individuals
affects the whole group) which in turn makes them more anxious.

Aim: To see if being brought up in different cultures affected social anxiety and fear of blushing.

Procedure: 909 university students were the pps (they volunteered). They were from 8 different
universities in 8 different countries.They were divided into two groups – collectivist or individualist
cultures, based on the cultures they lived in.

They were shown a short description of a social situation and asked to say how they would react. If the
participants said they would speak up, this would be a low social anxiety answer. If they said they would do
nothing, this was a high social anxiety answer. They also completed a social anxiety and blushing
questionnaire which measured their individual fear of social situations and interaction with other people
and their fear of embarrassment.

Results: Participants from collectivist cultures often responded to the descriptions in a way that showed
high social anxiety – they gave answers that avoided public interaction or speaking. They were also more
fearful of blushing.

GCSE Psychology – Edexcel


Revision Guide
Highest Social Anxiety Japan
Korea
Spain
USA
Canada
Australia
The Netherlands
Lowest Social Anxiety Germany

Conclusions: Collectivist cultures show greater social anxiety and fear of blushing than individualistic
cultures. People in collectivist cultures will hold back through fear of letting the group down if they are
wrong. Social norms are important for collectivist cultures as the behaviour of an individual affects the
whole group. In individualistic cultures it is important to stand out from the crowd and shyness could
actually be a burden.

The nature-nurture debate


This study relates to the development of fears and phobias. It is clear that phobias of snakes and spiders
probably originate from classical conditioning or evolutionary preparedness, this study suggests a link to
culture. Culture determines how we think and act; family and friends teach us social norms. Culture can
make us confident or anxious in social situations – this supports the nurture side of the debate.

Task 14: After reading Heinrichs study answer the following questions:
1. Would you expect social anxiety to be higher or lower in China?
2. Why?
3. What was Heinrich’s independent variable?
4. What was the dependent variable?
5. How did he measure the dependent variable?
6. Which experimental design did they use?
7. Which type of research method was used?
8. Is this study RELIABLE? Why?
9. Does this study have useful applications? Why?
10. Is this type of data considered valid? Why?
11. One strength of this study is that it is ethical. Can you explain why?

GCSE Psychology – Edexcel


Revision Guide
GCSE Psychology Topic E
Are criminals born or made?

1) Biological explanations for criminality


Key terminology – biological explanations for criminality
Twin studies Research into the similarity of twins, particularly their criminal similarity, to
investigate genetic links.

XYY A rare genetic pattern said to be linked to aggression and slow learning
ability.

Chromosome abnormality A mutation of genetic material that results as a change in the number or
structure of chromosomes.

Revision notes - biological explanations for criminality


 There are many ways to see if criminality has a biological basis.
 We can compare the family trees of criminals and non-criminals – if many
criminals’ relatives are also criminals, there might be a biological link. Fewer
criminal relatives, the weaker the link.
 Twin studies – monozygotic twins share exactly the same genes. Christiansen (1977) found that from
3586 pairs of twins if an identical twin was a criminal, 525 of the time the other twin was also a
criminal. In dizygotic twins the rate was only 22%.
 We can also look at adoption studies – these people share genes but not environment so in these
cases we can be sure that genetics are the cause of criminality.
 There is evidence to suggest that individuals are more likely to be criminals if their parents are criminal.
 It could be that it is nothing to do with genetics at all. Family members are raised together and treated
similarly so therefore their criminal behaviour could be explained by SLT or observational learning.
 XYY (male) chromosome abnormality – causes increased aggression, being taller and learning
difficulties.
 However, just a handful of murders have been found to have XYY. We cannot find enough samples of
people with the disorder to be certain of the link to violent crime.

Task 1: For each of the following, circle whether the statement is TRUE or FALSE.
1. There is only one way to see if criminality has a biological basis. TRUE FALSE
2. Monozygotic twins share exactly the same genes. TRUE FALSE
3. In adoption studies we are looking at people who share genes and the same
TRUE FALSE
environment.
4. There is evidence to suggest that individuals are more likely to be criminals if
TRUE FALSE
their parents are criminal.
5. The XYY (male) chromosome abnormality causes increased aggression,
TRUE FALSE
makes men taller, have learning difficulties and shows a link to violent crime.

GCSE Psychology – Edexcel


Revision Guide
2) Social explanations for criminality
Revision notes – social explanations for criminality
 Family patterns are the experiences children have during their family life.
 If parents are divorced, individuals are more likely to have criminal tendencies
due to factors such as money difficulties, moving house, arguments in the
home etc.
 If children are separated from their main caregiver before the age of 2 years
old, this can cause problems in later life – maternal deprivation. (Bowlby)
 Family size is also an important factor. More than 6 children in a family can
result in children being more likely to be criminals.
 An Australian study by Western (2003) found only a slight link between parental occupation and youth
crime. It seems a father’s occupation was not an indicator but the mother’s occupation did have an
effect.
 It is difficult to pin down exactly which social factors influence criminal behaviour because family
circumstances are so complex. It seems likely that a combination of factors contributes to criminality.
Deprivation from caregivers and bad childhood experiences seem to be factors.

Task 2: Unscramble the following anagrams


yamfil spaerntt
Maternal deprivation
yamfil zeis
toncapucio
cordediv

Revision notes - childrearing as an explanation for criminality


 The way in which parents bring up their children are known as childrearing strategies.
Dealing with naughty children may involve induction, love withdrawal and power
assertion.
 Induction is where parents explain to their child what they have done wrong and
allow them to think about the consequences. Children can then make the right
decision the next time.
 Love withdrawal is when parents put conditions on their love, they don’t love their children when they
have done something bad. Results in children being confused about their identity, unsure as to
whether they are loved or not.
 Power assertion includes hitting, shouting at children, humiliating them, grabbing them etc. Can lead
to aggression in children.
 Although this theory seems to suggest parents are solely responsible for producing delinquent
children, there are many factors that contribute to delinquency.

Task 3: Draw a picture to help you remember each of the childrearing strategies.

Induction Love withdrawal Power assertion


GCSE Psychology – Edexcel
Revision Guide
3) Self-fulfilling prophecy
Key terminology - Self-fulfilling prophecy as an explanation for criminality
Conform To adjust to expectations made of us.
Self-fulfilling prophecy When the expectations of others influence our behavior.

Revision notes - Self-fulfilling prophecy as an explanation for criminality


 If we are seen as or expected to be criminal, we will behave in that way – this is an example of self-
fulfilling prophecy.
 This is where a behaviour that is expected of someone will come true.
 People conform to the behaviour that is expected of them.
 e.g. If a teacher expects a pupil to do badly in a test, they will not offer them help and focus on others,
resulting in the pupil doing badly in the test (the prediction has come true).
 Rosenthal and Jacobsen (1968) conducted an experiment to test whether achievement could be self-
fulfilling. They gave children an IQ test and then told their teachers which children were going to be
‘bloomers’ and which ones were going to be ‘average’. (This was a lie – it was just a random list of
names!)
 They found that the teachers didn’t expect much of the ‘average’ children and gave all the attention to
the ‘bloomers’.
 The IQ of the ‘bloomers’ rose and the ‘average’ children’s IQ fell.
 Johoda (1954) studied the Ashanti tribe who had a custom of naming their children after the day of the
week they were born on. e.g. Monday boys were called Kwadwo meaning calm and peaceful whereas
those born on Wednesday were called Kwadku meaning aggressive and angry.
 When he looked at the records of boys arrested he found that 22% of boys were born on a Wednesday
with only 6.9% born on a Monday, thus the prophecy became self-fulfilling.
 Those around them (family, friends, teachers etc.) expected the Wednesday boys to be aggressive and
behave badly and treated them differently because of this.
 Jahoda only found a link between the child’s name and criminality by using a correlation. It would be
very unethical to study self-fulfilling prophecy as a cause of crime by treating someone differently and
seeing if it affected their behaviour. It can’t be proved that self-fulfilling
prophecy causes criminality.
 Another weakness of the theory is that many of us reject the way we are
treated by others so the prophecy is not fulfilled.
 It doesn’t take into account the fact that there are many other reasons
for crime, ranging from our biology to the families we are raised in.

Task 4: Complete the APRC table for Jahoda’s experiment.


Aim: Results:

Procedure: Conclusion:

GCSE Psychology – Edexcel


Revision Guide
4) Comparing theories of criminal behaviour

Comparing the biological and social theories of criminality


Biological causes of crime Social causes of crime
Focus on how we are born criminal Focus on how we are made criminal
We inherit the genes that cause criminal behavior Being brought up in a family that makes
criminal behavior more likely
Adoption studies show how crime can be inherited Separation from parents can cause distress and
mistrust that can affect later development
XYY chromosome abnormality may cause aggression The self-fulfilling prophecy explains how
in males, leading to violent crime behavior can be influence by the way we are
treated and expected to behave
This theory is weakened by the confusion between This theory cannot separate the influence of
genetics and upbringing in twin and family studies many social factors that influence criminality,
such as peers and other experiences
Chromosome research is limited, as only small People often rebel against how they are treated
samples have been gathered and studied by others; they do not fulfil the prophecies that
are made.
 In conclusion both sides have evidence but the debate is far from over.
 It is probably safest to talk about having a biological tendency or social vulnerability to criminal
behavior.

Task 5: Answer the following exam question (6 marks): Larry is arrested for shoplifting. Use both
biological and social factors to explain Larry’s behavior.
_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

GCSE Psychology – Edexcel


Revision Guide
5) Theilgaard (1984): The criminal gene
Key terminology - Theilgaard (1984): The criminal gene
Generalised Whether the results can be applied to other people.
Correlation A measure of an association or relationship between two factors or variables. E.g.
family size and crime can be correlated to see if there is a link between the two.

Revision notes - Theilgaard (1984): The criminal gene


Theilgaard conducted a study on XYY chromosome abnormality.
No conclusive evidence was found to suggest that XYY gene KEY STUDY
causes criminality

Aim: Alice Theilgaard wanted to see if criminals had a particular


gene that could be responsible for their criminal behaviour.

Procedure: They took blood samples from over 30,000 men born in the 1940s. Two chromosomal
abnormalities were found – an XXY and an XYY. Out of the 30,000 tested, 16 had the XXY and 12 had the
XYY. They were interviewed by a social worker about their backgrounds and criminal history and given IQ
tests. A personality test was used to see if they displayed aggression more than normal XY males.
Theilgaard used a social worker who didn’t know the aim of the study to conduct the interviews therefore
avoiding interviewing and researcher bias.

Results: It was found that XYY males had slightly lower intelligence than average and were more
aggressive. However, there were far more similarities between XXY males and the XYY males than there
were differences. No solid evidence of a criminal gene was found.

Conclusion: This study provides limited evidence for XYY males being more aggressive than XXY males.
Strengths Weaknesses
All tests and interviews were conducted by an There was only a small sample of men used for the
independent social worker who didn’t know the aim investigation. 1/1000 males are born XYY.
of the study – no researcher or interview bias. Only 12 XYY males were tested – we cannot be sure
that all XYY males are more aggressive or have
lower intelligence – the findings can’t be
generalised.
Used a vast range of tests to measure different The link between XYY males and aggression is only a
aspects of the men’s lives, background and correlation – the XYY chromosomal abnormality
personality. may not have caused the increased aggression at
all!
The most obvious reason for aggression in the
males is lower intelligence and delayed speech – this
could have made school difficult leading to
frustration and therefore aggression.
 What would have happened if the XYY chromosome pattern had been identified as the criminal gene?
Would all males be screened to identify their XYY abnormality?
 How would the results like this be used? Would males with XYY be monitored and because of
expectation would they turn to crime? If so, could this have led them to crime as a result of being
labelled?

GCSE Psychology – Edexcel


Revision Guide
Task 6: Fill in the gaps in the following paragraph:
The aim of Theilgaard’s study was to…

They took ……………………. samples from over …………………….. men born in the 1940s. Two
chromosomal abnormalities were found – an …………… and an …………….Out of the …………….
tested, 16 had the …………. and 12 had the ………….They were interviewed by a ………………… worker
about their backgrounds and …………………….. history and given ……………………… tests. A
…………………….. test was used to see if they displayed ………………….. more than normal
………………… males.
Theilgaard used a …………………… worker who didn’t know the …………….. of the study to conduct
the ………………………… therefore avoiding ………………………… and …………………….. bias.
It was found that ………… males had ………………….. lower …………………… than average and were
more …………………….However, there were far more …………………………… between …………..
males and the ………………. males than there were ………………………………………….No
…………………… evidence of a ………………………. gene was found.
This study provides …………………………. evidence for ……… males being more aggressive than
………… males.

6) Sigall and Ostrove (1975): Attractiveness and jury decision-making


Key terminology – Sigall and Ostrove (1975): Attractiveness and jury decision-making
Controls Ways to keep variables constant in all conditions of an experiment.
Control group A group that does not receive an experimental condition. This group provides
a baseline on which to compare those participants who do experience a
condition of the experiment.
Extraneous variables Any variables that might affect the results of the study that might not be
controlled.
Demand characteristics When we change our behavior to meet the demands of the situation.

Revision notes - Sigall and Ostrove (1975): Attractiveness and jury decision-making
They looked at effect of attractiveness on jury decision-making.
They found that unattractive people are more likely to be sent to
prison for burglary than attractive people. Attractive people are KEY STUDY
more likely to be sent to prison for fraud than unattractive people
(higher class crime)

Aim: To see whether attractiveness affected jury decision-making


and to investigate whether there was a relationship between attractiveness and the type of crime
committed.

Procedure: They used the crimes of burglary and fraud in their study. 120 Pps were given a piece of card
with a crime written on it and a photograph of a woman known as Barbara Helms. They were split into 6
groups of 20 Pps who each saw an attractive or unattractive photo of Barbara and read about a fraud or
burglary she had committed. (attractive – burglary, unattractive – burglary, no photo – burglary, attractive
– fraud, unattractive – fraud and no photo fraud)
GCSE Psychology – Edexcel
Revision Guide
The Pps rated how attractive Barbara was to ensure Pps agreed. Pps were asked to sentence Barbara –
they gave a range of 1 to 15 years.

Results:
Attractive photo Unattractive photo No photo
Burglary 2.80 5.20 5.10
Fraud 5.45 4.35 4.35

Pps gave Barbara a similar sentence for both crimes with both unattractive photo and no photo. However,
the attractive photo made Pps give longer sentences for fraud but less time for burglary. Attractive people
are associated with crimes like fraud because they use their looks to rip people off. Moreover, unattractive
people are associated with burglary.

Conclusion: Good-looking people seem to get away with some crimes, but if they have used their looks to
commit a crime they are less likely to get away with it.

Strengths Weaknesses
The study used good controls – Pps were all read the same instructions, This experiment is not
similar cases to read and a sentence to decide. There were few extraneous realistic as it is not what a
variables that could have affected their decisions therefore the findings are jury would normally
reliable. experience. A jury member
The control group was useful to show whether the photographs did affect would see the defendant in
Pps decisions or not. real life, listen to the
evidence and testimony
and decide as a group.
Using a photo and only
brief details of a case is not
realistic.
The Pps were less likely to guess the aim of the study because they did not Juries only normally decide
know what the other groups were doing – demand characteristics were whether a defendant is
reduced. guilty or not, it is the judge
The study could be used in real life to inform jurors not to base their that decides the length of
decisions on what a defendant looks like. They should only use the evidence the prison sentence. This is
presented to them. another way in which the
The Pps were asked to rate the attractiveness of the photo. Not everyone’s study is unrealistic.
idea of attractiveness is the same!

Task 7: For each of the following, choose the odd one out and explain why.

Good controls Fraud 5.2


Judge makes Murder 4.35
decision
burglary 7.9
control group

GCSE Psychology – Edexcel


Revision Guide
7) Madon (2004): self-fulfilling prophecy and drinking behavior

Revision notes – Madon (2004): self-fulfilling prophecy and


drinking behavior
Madon found that if parents expected children to drink large KEY STUDY
amounts, a year later they would have conformed to the
expectations even if they didn’t drink as much before.

Aim: To see if a parent’s


expectation of their child’s drinking habits would become a reality.

Procedure: 115 children between 12-13 years were questioned. Parents


were also questioned. Parents were asked to guess how much alcohol
their child regularly drank or would drink in the coming year.
A year later, the children were asked to say how much alcohol they
actually consumed.

Results: Madon found that children who drank the most alcohol were the ones whose parents had
predicted a greater use of alcohol. It took only one parent to have a negative opinion about their child’s
drinking habits to show a relationship with high levels of drinking but the child seemed at greater risk of
higher alcohol use if both parents held negative beliefs.

Conclusion: Parent’s predictions of their child’s alcohol use was very accurate. The parent’s expectations
were consistent with alcohol use after 12 months. The drinking behaviour became a self-fulfilling prophecy
because of what parent expected to come true. Parent’s beliefs can have a massive influence on a child’s
behaviour.

Strengths Weaknesses
Large sample of Pps so Parents may not have influenced their child’s behaviour at all – they were just
the results can be said accurate in judging their child’s alcohol use. It may be an accurate prediction
to be valid and rather than self-fulfilling prophecy.
reliable. Many others influence children – friends, media, role models etc.
Gives a strong warning This study only shows a correlation – correlations have less control the
to parents about experiments and the researchers cannot be sure of a true link between the
holding negative variables they are measuring. In this study, the researcher could not be 100%
beliefs about their certain of a definite link between parents’ predictions and a child’s alcohol use.
children as it could Other factors could have influenced the child rather than parental beliefs.
become a self-fulfilling The questionnaire may have had social desirability bias – children may say they
prophecy. drink more to look tough or say they drink less in case their parents find out.
Parents may predict their children drink more because they think it is a badge of
honour, or predict they drink less because it is not acceptable.

Task 8: Spot the mistakes! Read the following paragraph and correct the errors.
Madon found that if parents expected children to drink small amounts, a year later they would have
conformed to the expectations even if they didn’t drink as much before. 120 children between 14-16 years
were questioned. Madon found that children who drank the least alcohol were the ones whose parents
had predicted a greater use of alcohol.

GCSE Psychology – Edexcel


Revision Guide
8) Is criminal research practical and ethical?

 Revision notes – Is criminal research practical and ethical?


 Practical issues – difficulties accessing and researching criminals
 Ethical issues – problems referring to the moral issues, or the rights/wrongs of this research
Practical problems Ethical problems
In a study with 1000s of Pps, only a It is not ethical to say that having a specific
handful will have XYY supposedly linked chromosome pattern causes criminality if the link
to criminality – lowers validity of is not 100% true. It could become a self-fulfilling
studies due to small sample size. prophecy.
Chromosome abnormalities are very To tell a criminal their behavior was due to a
difficult to detect (no obviously chromosomal abnormality might lead them to
outward signs) – gathering Pps is believe that they are not responsible for their
Problems therefore difficult. actions – they can blame their jeans.
with There are family links to crime and Studies that have been conducted always
biological criminality but there are many different maintain Pps anonymity – they aren’t named nor
research types of crime – a criminal gene can they be identified from the research.
concept is unlikely to be found.
Family, twin and adoption studies rely If psychologists found a genetic link to criminal
on conviction rates but not all criminals behavior, this knowledge could be used to control
get caught so these data will not be individuals with chromosome abnormality before
included in the studies. they even commit a crime. This could be
dangerous and encroach on people’s human
rights.
We cannot carry out an experiment to If there is a link between the family and criminal
make someone a criminal, so any behavior it could be used to blame parents for
research just examines a link between their children’s behavior. Results for these
criminality and social or biological studies should be treated with care and not used
factors – they may be other causes for to hold parents responsible for their children’s
the criminal behavior e.g. child rearing. actions if this is not a certainty.
Research often involves examining why Investigating the self-fulfilling prophecy as an
people have turned to crime. Criminals explanation may create or reinforce existing
and their family are questioned about labels and therefore encourage criminal behavior.
past events that might have caused
Problems
them to turn to crime. There are
with
several practical problems associated
social
with this:
research
Memory is not very reliable after many
years, and the answers given might not
provide an accurate account of what
really happened.
Asking the criminals themselves might
be unreliable because they blame
aspects of their upbringing as a reason
for crime, rather than the true reason/s.
It could be a way for criminals to avoid
taking responsibility.

GCSE Psychology – Edexcel


Revision Guide
Task 9: Answer the following questions:
Why is validity an issue in biological research?
_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

Why are there problems with family, twin and adoption studies?
_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

If you tell a criminal their behavior was due to their genes they might…
_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

If there is a link between family and criminal behavior there is a danger of…
_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

9) Gathering information from convicted offenders


Revision notes – Gathering information from convicted offenders
Convicted offenders are sometimes used in criminal research but there are
problems with this type of research.

Practical problems Ethical problems


They may use the research as a way of gaining early Criminals who are used in psychological research
release from prison by telling psychologists that should not be treated any differently from non-
they are sorry for their crimes or by underplaying criminals, just because they are criminals and are in
the crimes they have committed. This may lead to prison.
false results.
They might try to glorify their crimes to make them Criminals, ex-criminals and prisoners have the same
feel more important than they are. This can lead to human rights as any other member of society.
useless study findings.
They might feel guilty about their crimes and feel Like all participants of psychological research,
uncomfortable talking about what they have done. convicted offenders should have the right to give
consent, be able to withdraw from the study, have
their privacy respected and be debriefed. No
humans should be put at risk for harm or distress.
They may believe the information they give could be Criminals might feel guilt about their crimes and feel
used to convict another criminal – they don’t want uncomfortable talking about them.
to grass them up for fear of their own safety.
They might withhold certain information to protect Criminals may believe that the information they give
themselves, their families or their criminal group. could be used to convict another criminal. They
may fear that the other criminal might look for
GCSE Psychology – Edexcel
Revision Guide
revenge. This could lead to distress.

Task 10: Outline one ethical issue with using convicted offenders in psychological research. (2 marks)
_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

10) Offender Profiling


Key terminology – Offender profiling
Criminal consistency The idea that a person will commit a crime in a way that mirrors his or her own
personality and ability. An organised person will commit an organised crime.
Profile A list of predicted abilities, personality characteristics, occupation, marital status,
etc., that can be sued to narrow down a list of suspects for a crime.

Revision notes – Offender profiling


 Offender profiling is the name of a process used to help police catch criminals. It does not
produce the name of the criminal but helps to narrow the number of suspects that police
should investigate.
 A criminal profile is a prediction of what a criminal is like using evidence and psychology.
 Traditional policing involves the analysis of physical evidence (fingerprints, bloodstains,
show prints, DNA etc.) but psychologists believe that the way in which a crime was
committed gives additional clues about the criminal.
 A criminal will leave clues at the crime scene such as: type of victim, type of crime, location,
time of day or night, specific features of a crime, what is taken or left behind.
 There are often similarities between crimes committed by the same person that can be picked out.
The way in which an offender commits a crime is a reflection of their self – they will do things that they
normally would do in their criminal behaviour - criminal consistency.
 The profile can help the police predict the type of future victims and offenders. The profile can give
clues about evidence that might be found on the criminal, such as souvenirs taken from the crime
scene. It can also suggest very useful interview techniques for the police to use on the criminal. e.g. a
clever criminal will not talk if interviewed in a severe way.
 Creating a profile involves:
 Analysis of the crime – the police make detailed records of the victim, place, photographs, DNA
evidence and time of day.
 Building a profile – a criminal profiler uses this information to construct a list of probable features of a
criminal.
 This can include age, race, sex, marital status, occupation, intellectual ability area lived in, previous
criminal activity.
 Does it work? A handful of profiles have been successful but others have led to victimisation and
entrapment.
 Colin Stagg was arrested for the murder of Rachel Nickell (1992) based on a profile developed by Paul
Brittan. There was no physical evidence against him but because the police thought he was the right
man, he was followed by the media and police and made an outcast.
 In 2008 Robert Napper pleaded guilty and Stagg was given an apology from the police.

GCSE Psychology – Edexcel


Revision Guide
 Many people argue that offender profiling is nothing more than experienced guesswork – some say it
is as accurate as horoscopes!
 Offender profiling is just one of the many links in the chain that police use to catch criminals. It is unfair
to blame the profile for failing to catch the criminal.
 Most police officers believe that profiles are useful, but that they do not always help solve the crime.
Traditional policing is still the most effective way of catching criminals.

Task 11: Answer the following exam questions:

_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

11) The case of John Duffy – ‘The Railway Killer’


Revision notes – The case of John Duffy – ‘The Railway Killer’
David Canter is a famous forensic psychologist who produced profiles of offenders. The
profile of John Duffy was very close to what they offender was actually like. Canter
reasoned that Duffy tied his victims up because he was not a strong man. Because he was
small he was able to approach them without them seeing him as a threat.

David Canter’s profile of John Duffy


David Canter’s profile Facts about John Duffy
Lived in London Lived in Kilburn, London
Was married with no children Married with no children (infertile)
Had problems with his marriage Separated
Was a small man 5 feet 4 inches tall
Physically unattractive Unattractive
Had an interest in martial arts Member of martial arts club
Was a semi-skilled carpenter Trained carpenter with British Rail
Link to British Rail Ex-British Rail employee

GCSE Psychology – Edexcel


Revision Guide
Ages 20-30 years 28 when arrested
Duffy was arrested on 7th November 1986 and convicted of 3 murders and 7 counts of rape and sentenced
to 3 life sentences. He also revealed he had an accomplice, David Mulcahy (his school friend) committed
some of the crimes with him.

Task 12: John Duffy the Railway murderer was arrested, convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for
his crimes. David canter helped the police profile john Duffy. Define the term offender profiling.
_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

12) The job of a forensic psychologist


Key terminology – The job of a forensic psychologist
Psychopath Person suffering from a chronic mental disorder with abnormal or violent social
behavior.

Revision notes - The job of a forensic psychologist


The job:
 Works in the courts to uncover psychological issues
 Looks at psychological aspects of criminal activity
 Sets up treatment programmes and evaluates them
 Making offender profiles
 Working with prisoners to assess the threat to staff etc., working with victims and witnesses
 Research and reviewing data
 Give evidence in court and advise parole boards
 Working with other agencies, assessing problems, coming up with interventions and developing policy.

Examples:
 Advising prison governors about prisons, staff, implementing change or other organisational issues
 Carrying out one-to-one assessments and treatments of prisoners as appropriate
 Assessing the risk of reoffending using one-to-one or psychometric tests
 Carrying out research projects, anger management projects etc.
 Doing crime analysis, such as using offender profiling.
 The problem of psychopathic disorders
 People with psychopathic disorders do not function normally with regard to social norms and rules.
 How can their disorder be treated? They are usually detained in secure hospitals to protect the public
but are not always on a treatment programme. Should they be in a min prison?
 Many psychopaths are unable to show progress after their treatment
 There are also problems with the diagnosis of psychopathic disorder as this may lead to a label being
applied to the individual making the disorder hard to treat.

Qualifications:
 Degree in psychology
 Work experience
GCSE Psychology – Edexcel
Revision Guide
 Masters in Forensic Psychology (step 1 of the Diploma in Forensic Psychology)
 2 years supervised practise (step 2)
 Skills:
 Communication – listen carefully and speak comfortably
 Good writing skills
 Problem-solving skills
 Understand body language
 Be able to work within the BPS ethical guidelines

Who do they work for?


 HM Prison Service
 NHS
 Social Services
 Self-employed
 Chartered status:
 Satisfied all the requirements of the British Psychological Society, and have sufficient qualifications to
be called a ‘psychologist’.

Task 13: draw a flow chart to show how someone becomes a forensic psychologist.

13) How a forensic psychologist might help treat offenders


Key terminology – How a forensic psychologist might help treat offenders
Mandatory Has to be done.
Personal construct therapy A therapy where someone finds their own way of looking at people (their
personal constructs) and uses those constructs, not only to see how they
judge the people they know but also to measure change after therapy.

Revision notes – How a forensic psychologist might help treat offenders


 Forensic psychologists develop rehabilitation programmes. They may use
anger management, skills training or treatments for addiction.
 Personal Construct Therapy.
 A therapy where someone finds their own way of looking at people
(their personal constructs) and uses their constructs to see how they
judge the people they know.
 The psychologist helps the person to understand their own constructs and then repeats the task later
to help them see how they have changed.
 After some intervention by the psychologist, (e.g. social skills training) the individual judges their own
constructs again to see what changes have been made during treatment.
 Treating drug abuse.
GCSE Psychology – Edexcel
Revision Guide
 Prescribing substitute drugs and monitoring the addict’s progress closely and providing support and
counselling.
 Making sure they have adequate housing and funding to prevent them turning back to drugs.
 Treating sexual offenders.
 It is mandatory that sex offenders attend a treatment programme.
 What causes sex offending? If we know what causes it, we can treat it but we can’t be sure what
causes it.
 Medication can be prescribed to reduce sex drive.
 Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) involves helping someone to change how they think about
something and therefore behave differently.
 Negative thoughts are changed to positive ones.
 Intimacy problems – poor childhood relationships can lead to loneliness or a lack of skills in intimacy.
Offenders may have a distorted view of what is appropriate behaviour.
 Social skills problems – child molesters tend to lack confidence and have difficulty mixing socially.
 Problems with empathy – sex offenders seem to confuse fear, anger and disgust, finding it hard to
separate these emotions.
 Cognitive distortions – if the sex offender has distorted thinking, they can justify their behaviour to
themselves.

Task 14: Answer the following exam question:


How might a Forensic psychologist help in convicting and treating criminals? (10 marks)
_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

GCSE Psychology – Edexcel


Revision Guide
_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

14) How defendant characteristics affect jury decision-making


Key terminology – How defendant characteristics affect jury decision-making
Defendant A person who has been accused of a crime and is now in court
Verdict A decision made by a jury. The verdict can be guilty or innocent.
Testimony The evidence given by a witness, expert, or a person the defendant knows well.
Stereotype A general view of a person based on little or no factual information.

Revision notes - How defendant characteristics affect jury decision-making


 Serious criminal offences are dealt with in a court of law, with a judge and a jury (12 randomly selected
people from the local area)
 During the trial the jury listens to the evidence and testimony presented by the defence (those who
are supporting the defendant’s innocence) and the prosecution (those who are trying to prove that
the defendant is guilty).
 The jurors then talk to each other in private before making a decision. A guilty verdict results in the
judge deciding upon a sentence. Sometimes however, innocent people are sent to prison or guilty
people are released due to an imperfect system.
 Can juries make mistakes? Their decision should only be based on what they have seen and hear in the
courtroom – the evidence - but jurors might be affected by other factors.
 How a defendant looks, acts or sounds affect how they are viewed by a jury. We base our decisions on
the stereotypes we hold.
 Race
 There is a higher proportion of ethnic minorities in prison (15%) than in the general UK population (8%)
 If we have a stereotypical view of a black man as more likely to commit a crime, we are more likely to
find them guilty.
 Skolnick and Shaw (1997) found that the relationship between the race of jurors and the race of
defendants were both important in the decision-making process. Both black and white jurors were

GCSE Psychology – Edexcel


Revision Guide
less likely to find a black defendant guilt (this goes against other studies), and that black jurors were
more likely to find a white defendant guilty than a black defendant.
 Attractiveness
 Taylor and Butcher (2007) conducted a mock jury study and found that more attractive people were
judged as less guilty of a crime and given lower sentences than unattractive people. Beautiful people
get away with murder!
 Accent
 If a defendant is well-spoken, we are less likely to find them guilty of burglary.
 A defendant with a strong regional or ‘rough’ accent (e.g. Geordie, Scouser etc.) may be more likely to
commit a crime. (Mahony and Dixon, 2002)

Task 15: Answer the following exam question: Explain how one characteristic of a defendant may
influence jury decision-making. (3 marks)
_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________

GCSE Psychology – Edexcel


Revision Guide