5th edition


This edition published 2010 by John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd 42 McDougall Street, Milton, Qld 4064 First edition published 1992 Second edition 1996 Third edition 2000 Fourth edition 2005 Typeset in 10/12.5 pt ITC New Baskerville LT © J. Grivas and L. Carter 1992, 1996, 2000, 2005, 2010 The moral rights of the authors have been asserted. National Library of Australia Cataloguing-in-publication data Title: Edition: ISBN: Notes: Target audience: Subjects: Psychology for the VCE student: Units 1 & 2. 5th ed. 978 1 74216 020 7 (pbk.) 978 1 74216 206 5 (web). Includes index. For VCE students. 1. Psychology Textbooks. 2. Interpersonal relations Textbooks. I. Carter, Linda, 1957 . Title. Grivas, John 658

Other authors/ contributors: Dewey number:

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Preface ................................................................................................................... vii About eBookPLUS ........................................................................................ ix About eGuidePLUS ...................................................................................... x Acknowledgements ......................................................................................... xi Step 2: construction of a hypothesis ..................... 51 Step 3: designing the method ................................... 52 Step 4: collecting the data ............................................ 52 Step 5: analysing the data ............................................. 53 Step 6: interpreting the data ...................................... 53 Step 7: reporting the research ndings.............. 53 Research methods .................................................................... 55 Experimental research .......................................................... 56 Independent and dependent variables............... 56 Extraneous variables......................................................... 57 Experimental and control groups .......................... 58 Sampling procedures ....................................................... 60 Descriptive research ................................................................ 65 Case studies............................................................................. 65 Observational studies ....................................................... 67 Qualitative and quantitative data................................... 71 Qualitative data .................................................................... 72 Quantitative data................................................................. 72 Qualitative and quantitative descriptive research ................................................................................ 73 Making sense of data.............................................................. 74 Percentages ............................................................................. 74 Tables .......................................................................................... 75 Graphs ........................................................................................ 76 Pie charts .................................................................................. 78 Ethics and professional conduct in psychological research ........................................................... 81 Roles and responsibilities of the experimenter .................................................................... 82 Participants rights ............................................................. 82 Professional conduct ........................................................ 84 Use of animals in psychological research ................ 85 Chapter test .......................................................................................... 90

Unit 1

1 Nature of psychology............................................... 3
Defining psychology ................................................................... 4 Behaviour and mental processes ...................................... 4 Distinction between psychology and psychiatry ..... 7 Psychology as a profession.................................................... 9 Areas of specialisation within psychology ......... 10 Origins of contemporary psychology ......................... 16 Philosophical roots of psychology .......................... 16 Scienti c roots of psychology..................................... 18 Classic perspectives and theories in psychology ...................................................................................... 19 Structuralism Wilhelm Wundt ............................ 19 Functionalism William James .............................. 20 Psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud .......................... 21 Behaviourism John B. Watson ................................ 22 Humanism Carl Rogers ........................................... 23 Contemporary perspectives and theories in psychology ...................................................................................... 26 Biological perspective ...................................................... 26 Behavioural perspective ................................................. 29 Cognitive perspective ....................................................... 31 Socio-cultural perspective ............................................. 33 Scientific nature of psychology ....................................... 37 Scientific versus non-scientific explanations ......... 39 Psychics and psi abilities ................................................ 39 Astrology ................................................................................... 42 Chapter test .......................................................................................... 46

3 The visual perception system .................. 94
Roles of the eye in visual perception ......................... 96 Characteristics of the visual perception system ................................................................................................ 98 Reception ................................................................................. 98 Transduction .......................................................................... 99 Transmission ....................................................................... 100 Organisation and interpretation .......................... 100 Visual perception principles .......................................... 105 Gestalt principles ............................................................. 105

2 Research methods 1................................................. 49
Steps in psychological research ...................................... 50 Step 1: identi cation of the research problem ................................................................................ 50

Depth principles............................................................... 113 Perceptual constancies................................................. 120 Perceptual set and visual perception ....................... 124 Perceptual set ..................................................................... 125 Distortions of visual perception by illusions ...... 133 M ller-Lyer illusion ........................................................ 134 Ames room illusion ........................................................ 138 Chapter test ...................................................................................... 142

4 Lifespan development ........................................145
Defining lifespan development .................................... 146 Stages of lifespan development................................... 147 Areas of lifespan development .................................... 149 How development proceeds .................................... 151 Interaction of hereditary and environmental factors in shaping psychological development .............................................................................. 155 Role of maturation in development................... 160 Sensitive periods in development ........................ 161 Developmental psychology from different perspectives................................................................................ 164 Research methods for studying development .............................................................................. 165 Longitudinal and cross-sectional studies ........ 166 Twin studies ......................................................................... 167 Adoption studies .............................................................. 169 Selective breeding experiments ............................ 169 Ethics associated with studying development .... 173 Chapter test ...................................................................................... 175

Erikson s theory of psychosocial development................................................................... 224 Criticisms of Erikson s theory ................................. 234 Psychological changes in the very old ..................... 235 Cognitive changes ........................................................... 236 Psychosocial changes..................................................... 237 Successful ageing ................................................................... 238 Baltes Selection, Optimisation and Compensation theory .............................................. 239 Chapter test ...................................................................................... 243

6 Mental illness across the lifespan..........................................................................................246
What is mental illness? ....................................................... 248 Psychotic illness................................................................. 249 Non-psychotic illness ..................................................... 249 Incidence of mental illness in Australia .......... 251 Classifying mental illnesses ....................................... 254 Labelling someone with a mental illness............... 256 Disruptions to normal development ........................ 258 Autism Spectrum Disorder ....................................... 258 Attention-De cit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)............................................................................. 263 Eating disorders ................................................................ 266 Anxiety disorders ............................................................. 271 Schizophrenia .................................................................... 275 Dementia ............................................................................... 281 Chapter test ...................................................................................... 287

5 Theories of psychological development........................................................................177
Gibson’s theory of perceptual development...... 179 Emotional development .................................................... 184 Attachment theory .......................................................... 184 Harlow s experiments on attachment in monkeys ............................................................................. 195 Cognitive development ...................................................... 200 Key principles of Piaget s theory .......................... 201 Piaget s four-stage theory of cognitive development................................................................... 203 Criticisms of Piaget s theory..................................... 213 Moral development .............................................................. 215 Kohlberg s theory of moral development ...... 215 Criticisms of Kohlberg s theory ............................. 222 Psychosocial development ............................................... 224

Unit 2

7 Research methods 2..............................................291
Research methods ................................................................. 292 Qualitative and quantitative research ............... 292 More on experimental research ........................... 295 Correlational studies ..................................................... 301 Descriptive statistics ............................................................. 305 Frequency distribution ................................................ 305 Measures of central tendency ................................. 307 Variability............................................................................... 310 Reliability and validity in research ...................... 315 Reporting conventions ....................................................... 317 Research report ................................................................ 317 Chapter test ...................................................................................... 322

8 Attitude formation and change ........325
Attitude formation ................................................................ 326 Tri-component model of attitudes ...................... 327 Attitudes and behaviour ............................................. 329 Factors in uencing attitude formation............ 333 Attitudes towards people .................................................. 337 Stereotyping ........................................................................ 337 Prejudice and discrimination.................................. 340 Factors contributing to the development of prejudice ..................................................................... 346 Factors that may reduce prejudice...................... 349 Measurement of attitudes ................................................ 359 Observational studies .................................................... 359 Self-report methods ....................................................... 360 Advantages and limitations of attitude measurement devices ............................................... 365 Ethics in conducting research on attitude measurement ................................................................. 366 Chapter test ...................................................................................... 370

Altruism......................................................................................... 430 Factors influencing reluctance to help.................... 432 Diffusion of responsibility ......................................... 432 Audience inhibition....................................................... 434 Cost bene t analysis ..................................................... 435 Ethical considerations in studies on pro-social behaviour ............................................................. 435 Anti-social behaviour ........................................................... 437 Aggression............................................................................. 437 Bullying ................................................................................... 449 Chapter test ...................................................................................... 454

11 Intelligence..............................................................................457
Ways of describing intelligence .................................... 458 Binet intelligence as an age-related set of abilities ................................................................. 459 Wechsler intelligence as verbal and performance abilities ............................................... 460 Gardner s theory of multiple intelligences .................................................................... 461 Sternberg s triarchic theory of intelligence ...................................................................... 466 Cattell-Horn-Carroll model of psychometric abilities .............................................. 468 Salovey and Mayer s ability-based model of emotional intelligence ...................................... 473 Measuring intelligence ....................................................... 476 Binet s test of intelligence ......................................... 476 Stanford Binet test of intelligence ..................... 477 Wechsler s tests of intelligence .............................. 478 IQ and its calculation ................................................... 481 Does IQ = intelligence? ............................................... 482 Variability of intelligence test scores.................. 484 Test validity and test reliability ............................... 486 Test standardisation and test norms .................. 488 Standardised testing procedures .......................... 488 Culture-biased and culture-fair tests .................. 489 Strengths and limitations of intelligence tests and IQ scores ..................................................... 492 Ethical standards for intelligence testing .................................................................................. 493 Factors that influence intelligence ............................. 495 Interaction of genetic and environmental factors .................................................................................. 495 Chapter test ...................................................................................... 504

9 Social influences on the individual ..................................................................................373
Social influence........................................................................ 374 What is a group?...................................................................... 374 Status and power within groups................................... 376 Types of power ................................................................... 376 Effects of status and power within groups ..... 378 Zimbardo s Stanford Prison Experiment ....... 378 Ethical issues in Zimbardo s experiment........ 381 Obedience ................................................................................... 384 Milgram s experiments on obedience ............. 384 Factors affecting obedience ..................................... 387 Ethical issues in obedience studies ..................... 390 Conformity ................................................................................. 394 Asch s experiments on conformity...................... 394 Factors affecting conformity .................................... 396 Group influences on behaviour ................................... 404 The peer group................................................................. 404 Peer pressure ...................................................................... 406 Risk-taking behaviour ................................................... 409 Chapter test ...................................................................................... 413

10 Pro-social and anti-social behaviour .................................................................................416
Pro-social behaviour............................................................. 417 Factors in uencing pro-social behaviour ....... 419

12 Personality ..............................................................................507
Ways of describing personality ..................................... 508 Theories of personality...................................................... 510 Psychodynamic theories of personality ............ 511 Trait theories of personality ..................................... 523 Humanistic theories of personality ..................... 535 Influence of genetic and environmental factors ............................................................................................ 539 Longitudinal studies ...................................................... 539 Twin studies ......................................................................... 540 Adoption studies .............................................................. 542 Neurobiological factors and personality ......... 542 Measuring personality......................................................... 547 Personality tests ................................................................. 547 Use of personality and aptitude inventories in vocational selections ............... 550 Projective tests.................................................................... 559 Validity and reliability of personality tests ........... 562 Test validity ........................................................................... 562 Test reliability ..................................................................... 563 Ethical guidelines for personality testing ............. 565 Chapter test ...................................................................................... 568 Answers ........................................................................................................... 571 Glossary ......................................................................................................... 573 References ....................................................................................................... 584 Index ................................................................................................................. 603


The fth edition of Psychology for the VCE Student Units 1 & 2 has been written to speci cally address the VCE Psychology study design accredited for the period 1 January 2010 to December 2014. In preparing the material for this edition, we were mindful of the diverse interests and capabilities of students who undertake Units 1 and 2, most of whom are studying Psychology for the rst time. We have endeavoured to develop a text that is accessible to all students, regardless of speci c needs, interests, abilities and socio-cultural background. We have also taken the opportunity to address teacher feedback by further developing the Australian content of the book in more direct and explicit ways, enhancing its graphical content and visual appeal, providing answers to all learning activity questions and chapter tests, and providing digital resources that have been speci cally developed for use with the text. The digital resources are available through the innovative eBookPLUS (for students) and eGuidePLUS (for teachers) that accompany and interface with the text. The fifth edition also provides Units 1 and 2 students with knowledge and skills that will thoroughly prepare them to successfully undertake Units 3 and 4 Psychology, particularly research methods. Most of the content, learning activities and assessment tasks have been successfully trialled with year 11 students over many years. We hope students enjoy working with this edition of the text as much as we enjoyed developing the material. text, they will nd that it mostly follows the study design very explicitly both in the use of terminology and in the sequencing of material. However, in some instances the order in which information is presented varies from the study design in order to maintain a logical learning framework. The two specially prepared grids preceding chapters 1 and 7 provide an overview of the sequencing of the study design s key knowledge and skills in relation to each chapter in the text. Research methods are addressed in two separate chapters and, where more relevant, integrated within the appropriate chapters. We do not, however, advocate that all research methods be studied as a block , in isolation from relevant psychological contexts. Best practice teaching and learning would suggest that research methods be broken up and integrated at appropriate points throughout the course. Each chapter has a similar format. Key knowledge and skills are presented in the central text, which provides a clear pathway to achieving the outcomes speci ed in the study design. Additional high-interest information or relevant research punctuates each chapter in the forms of boxes, tables, newspaper articles, cartoons, colour photographs, charts and other graphic material. These features are intended to complement the central text by providing a more detailed exploration of aspects of particular topics, and to show the many different and interesting ways in which psychology can affect our lives. In addition, the text is rich in suggestions for learning activities, which are abundantly and strategically located throughout each chapter. The learning activities support a variety of relevant and worthwhile ways of learning about psychology. They also provide suitable opportunities to challenge students to apply their understanding of concepts in a range of real-life contexts. A rich variety of assessment tasks that are consistent with the speci cations of the study design is another key feature of the text. Each assessment task is linked explicitly to one or more of the outcomes, and accords fully with VCAA assessment specifications. All the assessment tasks have been designed to serve a dual purpose the assessment of satisfactory completion of the task requirements and of level of performance of the task requirements. The assessment criteria have been modelled on those typically speci ed by the VCAA for Units 3 and 4 Psychology. This further

Using the book
We have attempted to produce an all-inclusive textbook that is suitable for independent student use and from which students can ful l all requirements of the study design without needing to refer to other resources, apart from the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority s (2009) VCE Psychology Study Design and the relevant assessment memoranda and notices in the VCAA Bulletin. The text systematically and comprehensively addresses all the areas of study, key knowledge and key skills speci ed in the study design. We have provided a theoretical framework that addresses each outcome, with a diverse range of everyday examples and applications to elucidate theories and concepts. As students work through the

assists students in their preparation for schoolassessed coursework and exams in Units 3 and 4. In order to provide choice, chapters usually include more assessment tasks than students are required to complete to meet the assessment requirements. An exciting innovation in this edition is the inclusion of the eBookPLUS and eGuidePLUS electronic resources. eBook and eGuide icons throughout the text ag a variety of additional ideas for learning activities, as well as digital resources and worksheets that are accessed online at the Jacplus website. Another new feature is the inclusion of chapter tests, each of which

is like a mini VCE exam , with multiple-choice and short-answer questions and a user-friendly marking guide, all of which are based on VCAA assessment models. An extended glossary of key terms, which are identi ed in bold in the central text, is also provided. This can be used to reinforce students understanding of key knowledge and to assist in their preparation for tests. Linda Carter and John Grivas November 2009


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To access your eBookPLUS resources, simply log on to There are three easy steps for using the JacarandaPLUS system. Step 1. Create a user account The first time you use the JacarandaPLUS system, you will need to create a user account. Go to the JacarandaPLUS home page ( and follow the instructions on screen. An activation email will be sent to your nominated email address. Click on the link in this email and your activation will be complete. You can now use your nominated email address and password to log in to the JacarandaPLUS system. Step 2. Enter your registration code Once you have activated your account and logged in, enter your unique registration code for this book, which is printed on the inside front cover of your textbook. The title of your textbook will appear in your bookshelf. Click on the link to open your eBookPLUS. Step 3. View or download eBookPLUS resources Your eBook and supporting resources are provided in a chapter-by-chapter format. Simply select the desired chapter from the drop-down list. The student eBook tab contains the entire chapter’s content in easy-to-use HTML. The student resources tab contains supporting multimedia resources for each chapter.

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This book features eGuidePLUS: a variety of electronic resources for the teacher. It is available for you online at the JacarandaPLUS website (

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To access your eGuidePLUS resources, simply log on to There are three easy steps for using the JacarandaPLUS system. Step 1. Create a user account The first time you use the JacarandaPLUS system, you will need to create a user account. Go to the JacarandaPLUS home page ( and follow the instructions on screen. An activation email will be sent to your nominated email address. Click on the link in this email and your activation will be complete. You can now use your nominated email address and password to log in to the JacarandaPLUS system. Step 2. Enter your registration code Once you have activated your account and logged in, enter your unique registration code for this book, which is printed on the inside front cover of your text. Your title will then appear in your digital bookshelf. Step 3. View or download eGuidePLUS resources Your eGuide includes digital teacher resources, a digital copy of the student book and digital student resources. Simply select the desired chapter from the drop-down list. The student eBook tab contains the entire chapter’s content in easy-to-use HTML. The student resources tab contains supporting multimedia resources for each chapter. The teacher resources tab contains targeted resources to support your teaching.

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John and Linda are indebted to their families and friends for their continued patience and ongoing support throughout the preparation of this book. In particular, Linda would like to thank Graeme for his encouragement and his belief in the worth of this project. John and Linda would also like to thank Dr Max Jory of Monash University. Max has had a long association with VCE Psychology as an examiner, vetter and assessor. His ongoing support as a research consultant and insights on key concepts were invaluable. The authors also sincerely thank the text s editor, Catherine Spedding, for her enthusiasm, diligence, close attention to detail and invaluable contribution to the nal look and feel of the text. Likewise, we greatly appreciate Shukla Chakraborty s editorial management of the project, which ensured the book met all its deadlines without compromising quality, as well as the contributions of many other editorial and production staff at John Wiley & Sons for their expertise, guidance, commitment and dedication to the publication of this text. Many of the text s eBook and eGuide digital resources have been devised or reviewed by teachers from various schools and colleges throughout Victoria. We greatly appreciate and value their contributions, and also extend our sincere thanks to Vanessa Rule, who, as the text s digital publisher, competently coordinated the production of all aspects of the exciting and innovative eBook and eGuide. Finally, the authors and publisher wish to thank the following copyright holders, organisations and individuals for their assistance and permission to reproduce images and text in this book.
Stanley Milgram by Eric Kroll, reprinted with permission of Alexandra Milgram, 385 (middle right)/From the lm Obedience, © 1968 by Stanley Milgram, copyright renewed 1993 by Alexandra Milgram, distributed by Penn State Media Sales; reprinted with permission of Alexandra Milgram, 385 (top right)/Photo of Stanley Milgram as a young man leaning against his shock generator. Reprinted with permission of Alexandra Milgram • American Psychiatric Publishing, Inc.: page 254/Reprinted with permission from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, © 2000, American Psychiatric Association • American Psychological Association: page 237/From The fate of cognition in very old age: six-year longitudinal ndings in the Berlin Aging Study (BASE) , by Singer et al., Psychology and Ageing, 18, p. 324, 2003, American Psychological Association, adapted with permission • Archives of the History of American Psychology: pages 20 (left), 23, 351, 394 (right)/The University of Akron, 460/David Wechsler Collection • Auspac Media: pages 40 (top), 308/© Creators Syndicate • Austral International Press: pages 261 (right)/Austral Images, © 2006 by Revolution Films, 18 September 2006, 261 (top left)/Austral Images, © 2008 by Black Balloon Productions, 6 March 2008, 279 (bottom)/Russell Crowe, A Beautiful Mind, Universal, Dreamworks, via Fotos International, 464 (top)/Austral Images, photo by United Artists/ZUMA Press, © 2006 Courtesy of United Artists • Australian Bureau of Statistics: page 251 (left)/Sourced from p. 7 of the National Survey of Health & Wellbeing: Summary of Results , 2007, ABS Cat. 4326.0, 251 (top right)/Sourced from p. 9 of the National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results , 2007, ABS Cat. 4326.0, 271/Sourced from p. 9 of the National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results , 2007, ABS Cat. 4326.0 • Australian Made: page 108 (Australia made logo)/© Australian Made, Australian Grown Campaign • Australian Psychological Society: pages 14, 82 (left)/ Reproduced with permission • AAP Image: pages 70/AP via AAP/Jean-Marc Bouju, 249 (right)/PA/Andrew Milligan, 334/Julian Smith, 382 (bottom)/AFP/The Washington Post, 382 (top)/AP Photo, 390/AP, 391/AP Photo, 441 (right)//NBC news handout/EPA, 538/AP Photo • page 180 (right)/G.E. Schmida • Banana Stock: pages 187, 194 (bottom) • Berry Street: page 15/Reproduced with permission • Brand X Pictures: pages 301, 409 (b) • The Bridgeman Art Library: page 94 • British Psychological Society: page 129 (bottom)/From Readiness to perceive violence as a

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OUTCOME 2 • describe a range of psychological development theories and conduct an investigation into one stage of the lifespan of an individual. . and explain visual perception through these perspectives.Unit 1 INTRODUCTION TO PSYCHOLOGY On completion of this unit the student should be able to: OUTCOME 1 • describe how research has informed different psychological perspectives used to explain human behaviour.

use of animals in research. voluntary participation. including the relationship between psychology and psychiatry human behaviour N AT URE O F P S YCH O LOG Y • differences between contemporary psychological research methods and non-scientific approaches to investigating and explaining • major perspectives (biological. construction of tables. debriefing. questionnaires statistics: calculation of percentages. informed consent procedures. bar charts. observational studies. behavioural. cross-sectional. pie charts. adolescence. middle age and old age the interaction between heredity and environmental factors (‘nature versus nurture’) in influencing psychological development techniques of data collection: longitudinal. generalisation of findings to other populations (external validity) • ethics and professional conduct: the role of the experimenter. confidentiality. MEN TAL I LLNESS AC ROSS T H E LI FESPAN . childhood. as informed by Paul Baltes’ work. line graphs and frequency polygons. withdrawal rights. that govern how psychologists approach their research into human behaviour. twin and adoption studies research methods and ethics associated with the study of lifespan psychology. CHAPT ER 6 • the nature and incidence of mental illness in the population across the lifespan. role of ethics committees. identification of independent. dependent and extraneous variables identification of control and experimental groups sampling procedures in selection of participants: random sampling and stratified sampling techniques of qualitative and quantitative data collection: case studies. protection and security of participant’s rights.UNIT 1 CHAPT ER 1: KEY KNOW LEDGE • scope of psychology including specialist career fields and fields of application and their contribution to understanding human behaviour • classic and contemporary theories that have contributed to the development of psychology from philosophical beginnings to an empirical science. early adulthood. CHAPT ER 3: • application of psychological perspectives to explain visual perception: T H E VI S UA L P ERC EPT I O N S YST EM CHAPT ER 4: – characteristics of the visual perceptual system and the visual processes involved in detecting and interpreting visual stimuli – the effect of psychological factors on perceptual set – distortions of visual perceptions by illusions • research methods and ethics associated with the study of psychology. surveys. cognitive and socio-cultural). use of deception in research. • classic and contemporary theories that contribute to an explanation of psychological development including: THEORIES OF PSYCHOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENT – perceptual development: Eleanor Gibson’s work on infant perception – emotional development: John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth’s work on attachment theory with reference to Harry Harlow’s work on attachment in monkeys – cognitive development: Jean Piaget’s four-stage theory – psycho-social development: Erik Erikson’s eight-stage theory – moral development: Lawrence Kohlberg’s six-stage theory • cognitive and psychosocial changes in the very old: successful ageing. histograms. CHAPT ER 2: RES EARC H MET H O DS 1 • • • • • experimental research: construction of hypotheses. LI FESPAN D EVELO P MEN T CHAPT ER 5: • • • • stages of the lifespan: infancy.

................... 26 Biological perspective .............................................................................CHAPTER 1 NATURE OF PSYCHOLOGY De ning psychology ............ Watson................................... 39 Psychics and psi abilities ........ 42 ..................................... 4 Distinction between psychology and psychiatry ......... 21 Behaviourism John B............................ 39 Astrology ... 10 Origins of contemporary psychology ....... 29 Cognitive perspective ... 18 Classic perspectives and theories in psychology ................................ 16 Philosophical roots of psychology ............................................... 37 Scienti c versus non-scienti c explanations ....................................................... 26 Behavioural perspective ............. 33 Scienti c nature of psychology ......................................... 20 Psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud ....... 31 Socio-cultural perspective ................................................................. 16 Scienti c roots of psychology ........ 9 Areas of specialisation within psychology ......................................... 7 Psychology as a profession ............ 4 Behaviour and mental processes ........................... 22 Humanism Carl Rogers ................................................................... 19 Functionalism William James.............. 19 Structuralism Wilhelm Wundt ....... 23 Contemporary perspectives and theories in psychology .........................................................................

and philosophy involves the study of concepts such as the meaning of existence. feelings and behaviour? What ethical standards must psychologists follow when undertaking research with people? Questions such as these will form the basis of your study of psychology this year. your daydreaming when awake and what motivates you to do something are all examples of mental processes. as well as differences between individuals and within different cultures. The term mental processes refers to an individual s thoughts and feelings that are personal and cannot be directly observed. sociobiology involves the study of the social behaviour of people and animals and how this is related to biological factors (for example. feelings and behaviour that people have in common across different cultures. feelings and behaviours are associated with mental illness? Why do we often behave differently in the presence of others? When are we more likely to help someone in distress? What causes some people to behave very aggressively? Why do we hold the attitudes we do? Why are some people racially prejudiced? How can we prevent prejudice? What is intelligence? How is intelligence measured? What is personality? Why do personalities differ? What do personality tests reveal? Are career selection tests useful? How do psychologists study and explain human thoughts. DEFINING PSYCHOLOGY The term psychology originated from two Greek words psyche. The term behaviour refers to any observable action made by a living person. the relationship between our mind and body. or eld. for example. generally taking more of a historical and comparative approach than sociology. dressing in a particular way. However. blinking. There are also other disciplines that study people and/or animals. People are the main subject matter of psychology. your attitudes towards war and sexual discrimination. What you think about. and logos. psychologists seek to understand thoughts. feelings and behaviour? How do we change throughout our entire lifespan? What factors shape our development into the person we are at any given time in our life? How does our understanding of the world develop? When do we learn to distinguish between right and wrong behaviour? How do we see? How do we make sense of what we see? What is normal behaviour? What is abnormal behaviour? What types of thoughts. eating. sociology involves the study of society. biology involves the study of life and living organisms. how you visually perceive the world. These are private. playing a computer game. watching television. particularly the structure of human societies and the behaviour of individuals and groups in society. However. how you go about understanding something. control and explain thoughts. mental processes are often interpreted by observing behaviour. BEHAVIOUR AND MENTAL PROCESSES Psychologists usually distinguish behaviour from mental processes.What factors in uence an individual s thoughts. The main goals of psychology are to describe. a person who is observed chanting anti-war statements at an anti-war rally may be considered to have a negative attitude towards war and rapid eye movements observed in a sleeping person indicate that they are likely to be dreaming. meaning mind. your choice of words in a conversation. genetics) and the survival of the species. hugging. unlike mental processes that cannot be seen as they take place. and whether we are truly free to control our own destinies. However. of psychology today focuses both on the thoughts. All these activities involve actions that can be seen as they occur. animals and plants. predict. It includes activities such as walking. how you interpret relationships with others. helping someone and so on. talking. talking. The discipline. helping and bike riding. unable to be used because of the potential risk of psychological or physical harm. For example. collecting money for a charity. feelings and behaviour and the factors that both underlie their development and in uence them. This is mainly done when suitable people are not available for a study of research interest or when human research participants are 4 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology . including people. your mood. The study of psychology involves the investigation of human behaviour and mental processes using scienti c research methods. your emotions. feelings and behaviour. over time this de nition has broadened to include behaviour. interacting with others. This is also the de nition used in VCE Psychology Units 1 and 2. anthropology involves the study of human origins and cultures. animals may also be used in psychological research. your dreaming when asleep. Currently. one widely accepted de nition of psychology is that it is the scienti c study of behaviour and mental processes in humans. trembling. your interpretation of body language. internal events that cannot be seen by others in the way that we can see actions such as smiling. crying. Psychology was therefore initially de ned as the study of the mind. That is. meaning study or knowledge.

learning. Although psychologists distinguish between behaviour and mental processes. playing Thinking.Psychology Behaviour interrelated Mental processes Walking. C h a p t e r 1 Nature of psychology 5 . eating. feeling angry about the way someone has treated you may affect what you think about the person and the way you behave towards them when you next meet them.2 Behaviour refers to any observable action made by a living person. blinking. For example. mental processes can also in uence each other. pacing the corridor and talking quickly. remembering. crying. Furthermore.1 Psychology is the scienti c study of behaviour and mental processes in humans. Similarly. interpreting Directly observable as it occurs Indirectly observable. private and internal Figure 1. trembling. in reality. talking. Figure 1. thinking you have not adequately prepared for an exam may cause you to feel anxious which may result in behaviour such as sweating. feeling. and often study them separately. perceiving. behaviour and mental processes are closely interrelated and in uence each other continuously.

1. and the more diverse and complex those thoughts or feelings are likely to be. they can think and feel. For example. Unlike humans. However.1 Do animals think and feel? All humans undoubtedly think and feel. the more likely it is to think and/or feel. psychologists believe that the closer an animal is to the human species in terms of its biological complexity. indeed. animals cannot tell researchers what they are thinking or feeling if. Consider each activity listed in the left-hand column in table 1. table 1. Behaviour Mental process Reason Activity Whistling aloud Deciding whether to shoot for a goal or pass to a team mate Starting to feel excited about going to a party Looking at yourself in a mirror Experiencing a toothache Singing a song in your head Experiencing a nosebleed Worrying about giving a speech Planning an excuse to get out of a date Watching a DVD movie alone at home Writing an email Adding numbers Experiencing butterflies in the stomach Scratching an itch Looking at the time on your watch 6 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology .1 2.1 Distinguishing between behaviour and mental processes 1.BOX 1. Figure 1. Which of the activities were the most dif cult to classify as either a behaviour or a mental process? Explain why. Explain the relationship between behaviour and mental processes with reference to one of the activities in table 1. However. Generally. Give a reason for each answer.1. a mammal such as a chimpanzee probably does think and feel. it is unclear whether all types of non-human animals do. A worm doesn t have a brain and therefore it probably does not think or experience feelings as we do. 3. tick (✓) the appropriate column to indicate whether you think it is a behaviour or a mental process. For each activity. a worm is a very simple animal in terms of its biological make-up.3 Do these orang-utans think and feel in ways that humans do? learning a ctivity 1. even though its thoughts and feelings may not be as diverse or complex as those of a person.

Post-graduate training in psychiatry takes a further ve years. Post-graduate studies are usually undertaken in a specialist Master s degree. In all. The work may be paid. A psychiatrist is a quali ed medical doctor who has obtained additional quali cations to become a specialist in the diagnosis. they are able to arrange for admission to a hospital. do have the legal authority to hospitalise involuntary patients. for example. depending on the quali cations achieved. Options and variations DISTINCTION BETWEEN PSYCHOLOGY AND PSYCHIATRY Many people believe that psychology and psychiatry are the same thing. research and supervised training in relevant work settings. gaining experience in dealing with a broad range of mental health problems. Master s degrees usually involve course work. they have completed at least 13 years of study in medicine. Some psychiatrists. C h a p t e r 1 Nature of psychology 7 . the psychology course must be recognised to be formally registered as a psychologist. in human resource management in a large corporation. Having quali ed as a medical doctor. In most states and territories in Australia. This enables them to become fully registered as medical practitioners. they do not have any legal authority to hospitalise someone who has a serious mental illness and who will not agree to being hospitalised. Furthermore. Because psychologists are not trained or quali ed to perform medical procedures or prescribe medications. The initial studies may be in a specialist psychology course (for example. or personnel services in a small company or a public service department. the doctor works under the supervision of quali ed psychiatrists in hospitals and mental health services. they must complete at least one further year as a Resident Medical Of cer. psychological (focused on the mind). treatment and prevention of mental illness and emotional problems (RANZCP.learnin g activit y 1. They then work as an intern in a general hospital for a further 12 months to gain practical experience in medicine and surgery. Individuals who seek to obtain general registration by undertaking two years full-time supervised training may do so in any one of a wide range of areas or workplaces in which they apply their psychological knowledge. a Bachelor of Psychology) or as a part of another course (such as a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science). Treatment methods can be physiological (focused on the body). they use counselling and various types of psychological therapies to assist their clients. their views about mental health problems and treatments. a Master of Clinical Psychology or a Master of Forensic Psychology. the equivalent of six years of full-time study and training in psychology is required by law to become registered as a psychologist with a state or territory psychologists registration board. voluntary or a combination of both. during which their suitability to train as a psychiatrist is assessed. and the kinds of services they provide. such as working with people who experience mental health problems. During this period. 2009). 2 visual presentation behaviour and mental processes Using an A3 sheet of paper. A psychologist completes the equivalent of four years of full-time study in a recognised psychology course at a university and an additional two years of full-time (or equivalent) post-graduate study in psychology at a university. This year must include experience in psychiatry. Importantly. or may be a combination of these approaches (RANZCP. If a psychiatrist believes that a patient requires hospitalisation. Following their internship. there are also signi cant differences between these professions. For example. Registration can be obtained in a general category (such as psychologist) or a specialist category (such as clinical psychologist). prepare a poster with relevant graphic material in which you clearly show: • the meaning of the term behaviour • the meaning of the term mental process • the relationship between behaviour and mental processes in everyday human activities • relevant examples of both behaviour and mental processes which are not referred to in the text. Psychiatrists rst undertake six years of university study and training to gain their basic medical quali cations as a doctor. 2009). it is illegal for a person to start work as a psychologist or call themself a psychologist unless they are registered. however. a psychiatrist is able to perform medical procedures and prescribe medications to treat or control symptoms of mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and depression. they may work at Centrelink providing counselling to unemployed people. surgery and psychiatry (RANZCP. While many aspects of psychology and psychiatry are shared. or two years full-time (or equivalent) training under the supervision of a quali ed and registered psychologist. The main differences between psychologists and psychiatrists employed in Australia are their education and quali cations. When a psychiatrist is quali ed. 2009). sometimes more.

Medicare also reimburses the fees of registered psychologists. the person agrees to their hospitalisation for treatment.4 Psychiatrists can perform medical procedures. the patient is given a short-acting anaesthetic and muscle relaxant before a series of half-second electric shocks are delivered to the brain to trigger a mild seizure. As psychiatrists are quali ed medical specialists. that is. However. a second opinion must usually be obtained from another psychiatrist who has special authority under state or territory legislation to make such decisions.5 Unlike psychologists. During ECT. However. A ow chart is a diagram that can be used to summarise a sequence of steps or events in a simple way that is easy to understand and explain. learning activity 1. a person with a serious mental illness may need to be admitted to a hospital for treatment because their own health and safety is at risk or for the protection of others. psychiatrists are medically quali ed and can prescribe medications such as Prozac. which is commonly used to treat patients suffering from depression. depending on state or territory legislation. As an alternative to hospitalisation. Your eBookPlus includes an example of a ow chart format that may be used to complete this learning activity. Under these circumstances. Options and variations . with all patients who are hospitalised involuntarily. 8 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology Figure 1. which is sometimes used to treat severe depression. but they either refuse or are unable to give consent for their hospitalisation. there is a limit to the number of psychologist consultations (sessions) that will be reimbursed to a client in a calendar year (usually 12 consultations).3 visual presentation pathways to becoming a psychologist or psychiatrist Prepare two ow charts next to each other that summarise the educational quali cations and training required to become a registered psychologist and a quali ed psychiatrist. Medicare reimburses (rebates) part or all of their fee for a consultation. psychiatrist or paediatrician. in some cases. depending on how much is charged for the consultation. Furthermore. such as electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). the psychiatrist can arrange for them to be treated as an involuntary outpatient while they continue to live in the community.Figure 1. if an authorised psychiatrist believes that a person who does not consent to be hospitalised is well enough to live in the community while receiving treatment. admission is voluntary. but only those psychologists who are endorsed by Medicare and if the client has been referred by a GP. often with patients who do not respond to antidepressant medication. a psychiatrist has the legal authority to decide that the person will be hospitalised involuntarily. In most cases of hospitalisation for a mental illness.

adolescents. in a private practice. (c) Comment on the extent to which the portrayal accurately re ects what psychologists or psychiatrists actually do. the defence forces. Psychologists help them to nd ways to deal with the problem and to function more effectively in their everyday lives. Basic psychology is the study of psychological topics in order to seek knowledge for its own sake rather than for its practical application or use. basic psychology may involve studying whether a non-human animal such as a chimpanzee can learn sign language or how children. a family or a large group. or studying how our understanding of right and wrong behaviour can be used to prevent crime. for example. (b) In Girl Interrupted (1999). In these settings. for example. within government departments in the public service. adults. which is often referred to as pure research because there is not a focus on applying the research ndings in a practical way. Most psychologists engaged in applied psychology work in clinical and counselling settings. in schools. What a psychologist does can be classi ed in terms of whether they are engaged in basic psychology or in applied psychology.6 Options and variations . Clinical and counselling settings include an of ce in a private practice. opportunities exist in industry. correctional services. studying whether techniques used to teach a non-human animal to communicate with sign language can be used to help a brain-damaged person to communicate. Good Will Hunting is a movie that features a psychologist and Girl Interrupted features a psychiatrist. (a) Name the media item and its source. For example. Some psychologists work by themselves. the of ce of a school counsellor. they may assist people to develop strategies for managing stress or to manage personal. Matt Damon plays a janitor with a gift in maths. with reference to three distinguishing characteristics. adolescents and adults differ in their understanding of what is right and wrong behaviour. Others choose to work as part of a team in a bigger organisation. 4 Media response media portrayals of psychologists and psychiatrists 1. most psychologists engaged in applied psychology are registered psychologists. (b) Describe how the psychologist or psychiatrist is portrayed. For example. such as in a movie. For example.learnin g activit y 1. a television program or a novel. Find an example of how a psychologist or psychiatrist is portrayed in the media.or work-related problems. This typically involves research. Applied psychology is the study of psychological topics that can be applied in a practical and relevant way. a couple. PSYCHOLOGY AS A PROFESSION The study of psychology can lead to opportunities in a range of careers that involve working with children. 2. community mental health services. emergency services. Registered psychologists tend to work with mentally healthy people who are experiencing a problem with which they need assistance. relationship. Figure 1. Explain the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist. He is discovered by a psychologist who tries to help him with his gift and the rest of his life. a room or ward in a hospital and a treatment centre in a rehabilitation clinic. C h a p t e r 1 Nature of psychology 9 (a) In Good Will Hunting (1997). family or school. Importantly. families and communities in a variety of work settings. For example. they interact directly with people in providing assistance. Angelina Jolie plays a young woman who spends 18 months in a psychiatric hospital after a suicide attempt. A psychologist s clients may be individuals. with sports teams or in a university as a lecturer and/or researcher.

g. however. mental or physical disadvantage. Community psychology: mainly concerned with community issues and helping people to achieve their goals in areas such as community health and welfare. diagnosis. Many also work in private practice. undertake research and also work in a private practice in the wider community. surgery. paediatrics. Some psychologists. especially if there is a relationship or overlap between the areas. forensic psychology and sport psychology. Most psychologists choose to specialise in only one area. psychologists who have specialised in a particular area may apply their skills and expertise in a combination of work settings. Clinical psychology: concerned with the assessment. The Australian Psychological Society (2009) has identi ed and described the following specialist areas or sub-disciplines of psychology. Many community psychologists work with local government (e. 10 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology . for example. often working with other health professionals. As in medicine. as is the case with doctors who specialise in an area such as psychiatry. treatment and prevention of a wide range of mental health problems. or lecturing in psychology at a university and undertaking research on a topic of interest.7 There are different areas of specialisation within psychology. speech therapists and occupational therapists. clinical psychology. physiotherapists. Similarly. in developing and implementing speci c programs to help the person cope in their everyday life. such as doctors. there are many different areas of specialisation in psychology. nurses. personality psychology. epilepsy or drug abuse. such as social psychology. For example. choose to specialise in more than one area. a clinical psychologist may offer psychological services to clients through a private practice and also work in a psychiatric unit or hospital for a government health authority or department. an academic psychologist may teach psychology at a university. A clinical neuropsychologist may also become involved with the rehabilitation and management of people with brain impairment. including serious and/or life-threatening problems (see box 1. councils and shires) or other community organisations on speci c projects that improve the wellbeing of community members and address social problems such as homelessness and social. through head injury. In many cases. stroke. such as with clinical psychology and counselling psychology. Clinical neuropsychology: specialises in the assessment of changes in behaviour and thinking that may arise from brain damage or irregularities in brain function.areas of specialisation within psychology What a psychologist does on a daily basis depends on their area of specialisation.2). Clinical neuropsychologists often work in public hospitals and rehabilitation centres. gynaecology or dermatology. Figure 1.

Sessions are usually up to one hour in length. diagnosis and treatment of mental illness and psychological problems. and alleviate the presenting problems. teaching and evaluation Research. general medical practices. (Adapted from the APS pamphlet The APS College of Clinical Psychologists) 1. strategies and therapies known to be effective in treating mental health problems. they often work together with general medical practitioners.8 Melbourne clinical psychologist Dr Elizabeth Cosgrave specialises in the assessment. Research. diagnosis and treatment of mental illnesses and psychological problems. but assessment sessions may be longer. Located in hospitals. community health centres and private practice. memory. judgement or reasoning) • chronic pain • couple and family dif culties • depression and depressive illness • eating disorders • educational functioning • intellectual disability • loss. teaching and evaluation are all part of the role of clinical psychologists. Psychological assessment and diagnosis Clinical psychologists have specialist training in the assessment and diagnosis of mental illnesses and common psychological problems. school counsellors and other health professionals. Some clinical psychologists also specialise in particular types of assessment such as neuropsychological. children. obsessive compulsive disorder. phobias. Through their specialist training. Clinical psychologists work with infants. Skills and competencies Figure 1. psychiatrists. Treatment Clinical psychologists are trained in the delivery of a range of (non-drug) techniques.2 Clinical psychologists Clinical psychologists are specialists in the assessment. 3. grief and bereavement • medical conditions caused or aggravated by stress • parent child relationships • personality problems • post-traumatic stress disorder • relationship dif culties • sexual disorders • sleep disorders • stress and chronic stress disorders • suicidal thoughts and behaviour. The psychologist then works with the client in a variety of ways.BOX 1. including: • assessing the emotional. eBook plus Interview with Dr Cosgrave on her work as a clinical psychologist C h a p t e r 1 Nature of psychology 11 . adolescents. Research is often conducted on the prevention. The number of sessions required varies and is usually negotiated between the psychologist and the client. adults and the elderly designing and implementing a wide range of prevention and mental health promotion programs. and specialise in those particular areas of clinical psychology. diagnosis. assessment and treatment of mental health problems. Consultation Consultation with a clinical psychologist involves detailed discussion of speci c issues of concern to the client. psychiatric and rehabilitation centres) are designed and implemented and the treatment outcomes are evaluated. intellectual and behavioural functioning of the client • exploring the thoughts. Speci c problems assessed. emotions and behaviour of the client and tracing their origins • helping the client develop effective ways of controlling and coping with these dif culties • helping the client to implement changes that enhance wellbeing and awareness. panic attacks) • attention de cit disorders • behaviour disorders • brain injury (resulting in problems with attention. compensation. Treatment strategies in various settings (such as primary care. diagnosed and treated by clinical psychologists include: • adjustment disorders • alcohol and drug misuse • anxiety disorders (for example. forensic and educational assessments. 2. universities. educational and legal cases. Addressing a range of areas Many clinical psychologists develop expertise in speci c areas. clinical psychologists are quali ed to provide expert opinion in clinical.

or the organisation as a whole. Personality psychology: studies people s characteristic and enduring (long-lasting) ways of thinking. guidance of cer. or for a health or welfare service. how we perceive. An organisational psychologist may work with individuals. often as part of a group of sportrelated professionals (see box 1. Sport psychology: applies psychological theories and ideas in helping elite-level. intervention and research in the legal system and correctional services. . not life-threatening) than those dealt with by clinical psychologists. intervention and counselling services relevant to the management of developmental and educational issues across the lifespan. how personality develops. advising parents and teachers on specific teaching and behaviour management programs. attitudes and prejudice. learn. Areas of expertise include staff recruitment. work teams. cognitive development ( thinking ). selection and review. obedience to authority. A health psychologist may work with clients in developing and maintaining behaviour associated with good health. process. educational or vocational settings. to become more effective and productive while maintaining the wellbeing of individual employees. A sport psychologist may work with individual athletes. recreational and other athletes achieve peak performance and develop personal wellbeing and life adjustment skills. or work in forensic settings such as prisons and detention centres developing and implementing treatment programs for offenders or detainees and undertaking risk assessments of prisoners or detainees to determine their eligibility for parole or release. Educational and developmental psychology: this area is a combination of educational psychology. which is concerned 12 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology with illness prevention. feelings and behaviour can change in different social situations and the in uence of others (real or imagined). Their work may involve assessing children with learning dif culties and recommending individual learning programs. the endocrine (hormone) system. factors that in uence its development and ways of assessing personality. Educational and developmental psychologists provide assessment. such as communication. Cognitive psychology: focuses on how people acquire. which essentially focuses on learning in an educational setting. Organisational psychology: focuses on ways of assisting organisations. peer pressure. They may focus on health promotion. feeling and behaving that collectively make up personality. conformity. professional. and developmental psychology which studies the ways in which behaviour and mental processes change throughout the lifespan. such as private companies and government departments. departments. remember. rather than working directly with clients. A forensic psychologist may provide expert opinion to the courts on such matters as criminal behaviour. the prevention and treatment of psychologically based illnesses. Biological psychology: focuses on biological. Social psychology: studies how people s thoughts. An educational and developmental psychologist often works in a school in a position such as the school psychologist. think. systems and activities that are associated with behaviour and mental processes. coaches and teams. job redesign. and analysis and improvement of the healthcare system. or child and adolescent counsellor. emotional development and social development. and use language. helping someone to manage stress and con ict at home or work and assisting couples to improve their relationship or parenting skills. Health psychology: specialises in understanding the effects of psychological factors related to physical health and illness. or bodily. for example. problems dealt with by counselling psychologists are less serious (for example. how being in a group can in uence an individual s behaviour. for example. Forensic psychology: applies psychological knowledge to assessment. These specialist areas include the following. for example. teamwork and stress management.3). for example. management teams. which is concerned with diagnosis. Generally. There are also other specialist areas or sub-disciplines of psychology which tend to be more focused on research. or clinical health psychology. A counselling psychologist may work in private practice. assisting people with career choices and assisting people in adjusting to life changes. industrial relations. structures. remember and use information. career planning. treatment and rehabilitation. and advising and training staff in workplaces about work practices and issues of concern that can affect work performance. immune system and genetics. how we solve problems and make decisions.Counselling psychology: focuses on assisting individuals and groups to deal effectively with all kinds of personal and relationship issues that impact on their mental health and wellbeing. for example. such as the roles and in uences of the brain and the rest of the nervous system. different theories (explanations) of personality. child abuse and custody disputes.

personal development and wellbeing counselling. in adult education centres (mainly VCE Units 3 and 4).au/community/specialist/sport) Video — interview with a leading sport psychologist BOX 1. whether working with an individual athlete or with a team. many national sporting organisations as well as professional athletes and teams such as AFL teams and the Australian cricket team use the services of sport psychologists on a regular basis to achieve maximum performance in training and competition. team organisation and management and program development are all areas where sport psychology plays an important role. physical tness and mental skills. goal setting. at the Distance Education Centre Victoria (VCE Units 1 4) and in universities (mainly in science and arts faculties). In each of these states or territories. Tasmania. are increasingly using the services of a sport psychologist. such as a Doctorate in Psychology (PhD). Sport psychology focuses on the third element the ability of the participant(s) to understand and effectively control the competition that goes on in their mind. A range of ser vices Sport psychologists provide skill programs that offer a range of services such as: • performance enhancement and mental skills. but enrolments are not as high as they are in Victoria. management and athletes. Similarly. Sport psychologists apply their skills in consultation with the coach. social interaction. Most would qualify for registration as a psychologist. as well as those seeking health and exercise Teaching psychology as a profession In Victoria. psychology is taught in schools in years 9 to 12 (but mainly in years 11 and 12). Hence there are many psychology teaching positions in Victorian schools.psychology. challenge. with some of these teachers combining classroom teaching with student welfare and counselling roles (for example. (Adapted from the APS pamphlet The APS College of Sport Psychologists and Sport Psychologists. Most school-level psychology teachers do not have the quali cations necessary to become registered psychologists according to the requirements set down by legislation such as the Health Professions Registration Act. applied research and teaching. This greater understanding means that much more information and assistance is now available to athletes and coaches.3 Sport psychologists The Australian Olympic and Commonwealth Games teams. the professional body to which most registered and practising psychologists belong. the sport psychologist is part of the coaching group and medical team. exercise. Almost all of these teachers have successfully completed at least two full-time years of study in psychology at a university. imagery. personal success. in TAFE institutes (mainly VCE Psychology). the Northern Territory and the ACT. con dence • • • • • • • • • • • anxiety management and relaxation concentration and mental preparation stress and time management team building and leadership communication skills travel skills debrie ng and program evaluation recovery and restoration injury rehabilitation psychological assessment video analysis of sporting emotions and performances. 2008 (Vic). Sport psychologists also advise and plan recreational and physical activity programs for adults. Currently in Victoria. over 30 000 students are undertaking school-level psychology courses throughout more than 500 schools. TAFEs or learning centres across the state. if they choose to apply. School-level psychology courses are also taught in South Australia. other sports science and health professionals. for example. retrieved from http: www. crisis intervention and personal adjustment services. children and community groups. university-level study in psychology.BOX 1. Western Australia. Teachers of psychology in universities (that is. The sport psychologist has numerous roles. The role of sport psychology Success and enjoyment in sport is based on three elements technical skills. C h a p t e r 1 Nature of psychology 13 . and usually combine their teaching with research and supervision of post-graduate students who are furthering their quali cations in psychology. An increasing number of school psychology teachers have successfully completed three or more years of full-time. Teachers of school-level psychology courses (such as VCE) usually have tertiary quali cations in psychology as well as in teaching. including performance enhancement. lecturers and tutors) typically have post-graduate quali cations in psychology. student welfare coordinators). Individuals or teams Ideally. relaxation or simply enjoyment sport psychology offers a professional perspective. clarify and explain more clearly the mental aspects of sport. Amateur and recreational sports participants. few qualify for full membership of the Australian Psychological Society. psychology is one of the more popular subjects. Individual counselling. Whatever the goals of the athlete winning. helping the individual or the team to participate successfully and with enjoyment. organisational and management psychology. mental skills training. The signi cant contribution of the sport psychologist has been to de ne.

sport psychologist 2. for example. All members of the APS are required to observe the Society s Code of Ethics. FAPS (Fellow of the APS) or Hon FAPS (Honorary Fellow of the APS) after their names. The purpose of the APS is to advance psychology as a science. feeling and behaving (c) helps people deal with all kinds of personal and relationship problems (d) works with individuals. It is possible to join the APS as a student while gaining quali cations. Membership of the APS is not compulsory. to become a full member of the APS it is necessary to have completed an approved four-year course of full-time study in psychology at a university. treatment and prevention of mental health problems (k) works with people in legal and correctional service settings (l) helps people in workplaces Match each area of psychology on the left with its correct description on the right. social psychologist specialist areas of psychology Description (a) helps rehabilitate people with problems arising from brain damage or irregularities in brain function (b) focuses on people s characteristic and enduring ways of thinking. as well as either a twoyear or more approved post-graduate coursework degree. Psychologists who are members of the APS can be recognised by the letters MAPS (Member of the APS). such as a Graduate Diploma in Psychology. personality psychologist 10. 14 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology . health psychologist 11. It was formed in 1966 and currently has over 17 500 members. There are different categories of APS membership. as a profession and as a means of promoting human wellbeing. forensic psychologist 5. learning a ctivity 1. but it is highly regarded and is often required by employers. However.5 The Australian Psychological Society The Australian Psychological Society Ltd (APS) is a national professional association that represents. organisational psychologist 6. clinical psychologist 12. by encouraging the practice of psychology in all areas to the highest standards. clinical neuropsychologist 9. biological psychologist 4. full membership is not granted to individuals who are not fully quali ed. which sets guidelines about the professional conduct and responsibilities of psychologists.5 Matching exercise Area 1. advances and promotes the interests of the psychology profession and psychologists. works on improving the healthcare system (f) focuses on how behaviour can change in different social situations (g) helps athletes to develop mental skills to achieve peak performance (h) helps people with issues that affect learning or with life changes (i) focuses on bodily structures. educational and developmental psychologist 7. a Master of Clinical Psychology. community psychologist 3. or a two-year post-graduate research degree in psychology. community groups and organisations to help improve health and welfare of people in the community (e) promotes and maintains health-related behaviour. systems and activities associated with behaviour and mental processes (j) focuses on the diagnosis. counselling psychologist 8.BOX 1. Generally.

com. Using the position description. use a search engine such as Google and key in the name of the organisation advertising the job. • • • • • Check the employment section of the Saturday papers over a few weeks and locate at least three job vacancies for a registered psychologist (like the examples below).careerone. For 6 Media response analysing a job advertisement for a psychologist Who is advertising the position? What type of duties or work does the position involve? What is the salary (if mentioned)? What qualifications are required? What specialist area of psychology is being advertised? • Why is this psychology position the most appealing or interesting to you compared to others you considered? 2. 1. look for a job or employment advertisement link and use this to search for the position description. Alternatively. Present the advertisement and your answers in the form of a written report. www. you could use the internet to search for job advertisements and descriptions by starting at job search sites such as and www. answer each of the following questions. you may copy or paste your preferred job advertisement to a blank sheet of A3 or A4 paper and present your answers in a poster format. Then use the internet to obtain the position description for one of the jobs that is most appealing or interesting to you. Options and variations C h a p t e r 1 Nature of psychology 15 . Include the position description and at least two other relevant job advertisements in an appendix to your report.learnin g activit y 1. When you get to the organisation s website.

or does our personality gradually develop after birth through the experiences we have when we interact with others? Options and variations 16 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology . or views . Conduct some research to provide a detailed description of the area chosen. as well as numerous other aspects of the human psyche (mind). This is primarily because many issues relating to human behaviour and mental processes that have been and continue to be important and controversial in psychology. For example. whether humans were born good or evil. However. have their roots in questions rst debated by philosophers. feelings and behaviour (via our genes). the Greek philosopher Socrates (470 399 BC) and his followers Plato (428 337 BC) and Aristotle (384 322 BC) wrote extensively about all kinds of human thoughts. or whether they are acquired through life experiences. sleep. your eBook video or through an interview with a psychologist practising in the area. 7 choosing a psychologist Consider each client problem listed below and name the specialist psychologist who may be best quali ed to help with the problem. and human nature in general. are we born with a set of personality characteristics that remain relatively unchanged throughout our entire lives. desire. We consider two key issues prominent in psychology that originated in philosophy. whether humans were born with or without knowledge. written text and sound • outline the type(s) of work performed by psychologists in the specialist area • outline the type(s) of work settings in which a psychologist specialising in this area would be employed • give examples of questions of interest to psychologists working in the specialist area • Identify a typical course of study a student would undertake to successfully complete appropriate quali cations as a psychologist in this specialist area • organise the information in a logical way • express your information in a clear and concise way • accurately cite and reference all material. or what makes people tick . you may obtain information from texts. It is possible that they were just as curious as we are today about why people think. and whether humans were born to be rational or irrational beings. they theorised about memory. PowerPoint would be a suitable medium for your presentation. in uence contemporary psychologists as they approach their research into human behaviour and mental processes? Answers to these questions can help us understand why there is such a diverse range of topics that can be studied in psychology and why psychologists today go about studying them as they do. feelings and behaviour. pleasure and pain.learnin g activit y 1. These great philosophers also debated many of the questions that psychologists continue to debate today. For example. dreams. feel and behave as they do. Philosophical roots of psychology More than 2000 years ago. In your presentation. the earliest origins of psychology are usually traced back to the writings of the great philosophers in ancient Greece. (a) A primary school student with a reading disability (b) An adult experiencing memory loss after sustaining a head injury in a car accident (c) A manager concerned about high stress levels of many staff in the workplace (d) A university student experiencing symptoms of depression (e) A married couple who argue constantly (f) A police prosecutor who needs a personality assessment of a repeat offender (g) A teenager with an eating disorder (h) A train driver who has been on leave for eight months following a level crossing fatality and needs support in returning to work ORIGINS OF CONTEMPORARY PSYCHOLOGY When did psychology begin? How did psychology begin? Who founded or started psychology? Who has in uenced the development of psychology in a signi cant way? How has psychology changed over time? What perspectives. 8 Oral presentation specialist area of psychology Choose a specialist area of psychology of particular interest to you. imagination. ensure that you • use two or more data types. for example. still or moving images. For example. One important question was whether we are born with our thoughts. References may be used in obtaining information for your presentation. The desire to understand ourselves and others has probably existed since our early ancestors developed the ability to re ect on human nature. the senses. Options and variations learnin g activit y 1. the internet (such as the Australian Psychological Society website).

or the body part of the mind? If our mind and body are distinct and separate. However. Psychologists now rmly believe that both nature and nurture have very important in uences on the development of our behaviour and mental processes. therefore I am . spiritual entity. He is probably best known for his saying. whereas the body is a physical. but interact through the brain. psychologists focus on trying to explain how hereditary and environmental factors interact in in uencing human behaviour and mental processes. In his version of a theory called dualism. eshy structure. A second important question debated by the Greek philosophers is called the mind body problem. Plato and Aristotle debated many of the questions about behaviour and mental processes that psychologists continue to debate today. This view was popular for almost 2000 years until it was challenged by French philosopher Ren Descartes (pronounced Day-Cart) in the seventeenth century. He reasoned that the mind is a non-physical. For instance. the problem involves the question of whether our mind and body are distinct. this question on the in uence of the genes we inherit from our biological parents compared with that of our various life experiences is referred to by psychologists as the nature versus nurture or heredity versus environment debate. I think. This involves the relationship between the human mind and body. Descartes agreed that the mind and body are two different things. Still not fully resolved.Figure 1. More specifically. but the body could not in uence the mind.9 The ancient Greek philosophers Socrates. As you will learn later in the unit. according to Descartes. Figure 1. how do they interact? And which of the two is in control? Generally.10 French philosopher Ren Descartes (1596 1650) proposed that the human mind and body are separate. separate entities or whether they are one and the same thing. a tiny structure located deep in the brain. do they interact? If they interact. the focus of contemporary psychology is not on which of the two is more important. However. This enabled C h a p t e r 1 Nature of psychology 17 . is the mind part of the body. as was the case with the early philosophers and even many psychologists throughout much of the twentieth century. most of the Greek philosophers believed that the mind and body were separate entities and that the mind could control the body. the mind and body come into contact through the pineal gland.

that is. Hermann von Helmholtz (1821 94) developed a method for measuring the learning a ctivity 1. Their ideas were mostly limited to personal observations.9 review questions 1. However. Scientific roots of psychology Philosophical discussions on nature versus nurture and mind body (mind brain) have contributed signi cantly to contemporary psychology s understanding and interpretation of these very important issues. that is. including our own existence. speculation and reasoning. However. it is likely that the rapidly advancing discipline of neuroscience will eventually lead psychologists to a better understanding of the relationship between conscious experience and brain activity. which is the study of living things. In the nineteenth century. Some philosophers were sceptical (very doubtful) that scienti c methods were relevant to the study of mental processes. or origins. is our mind separate from our brain? Is our mind basically brain activity or is it our inner. the relationship between what our brain does and our awareness of our own existence and activities. This is because their approach to understanding behaviour and mental processes did not enable them to properly test their ideas to obtain evidence to support their arguments. (b) What three key ideas proposed by Descartes changed thinking about the relationship between the mind and body? (c) Brie y describe the mind brain problem. Although philosophers were good at reasoning. Of particular interest was the work of German scientists who were trained in the discipline of physiology . Options and variations 18 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology . The different views on the mind body problem exchanged among philosophers throughout many centuries laid the groundwork for a contemporary version of the problem that has not yet been satisfactorily resolved by psychologists. Although his understanding of the brain and the roles of its various structures was limited and. intuition. It is clear that the mind and body are intertwined and that mental processes may be triggered by events in the brain. (d) What do you believe is the relationship between the mind and brain? Give an example that helps explain your belief. the mind body problem now tends to be more speci cally described in psychology as the mind brain problem. trigger brain events and therefore in uence our behaviour. whatever we are aware of at any point in time. Descartes also argued that the mind could affect the body and the body could affect the mind. is our mind dependent on brain activity in order to become aware? Does our brain trigger conscious experience? Is conscious experience a by-product of brain activity? What comes rst. Why is it generally believed that contemporary psychology has its roots. Descartes brought the mind and body closer together in a way that others had not previously considered possible.the mind and brain to interact to produce sensations. For example. measured or manipulated scienti cally. at times. However. (b) Which do you believe has the greater in uence on behaviour and mental processes heredity or environment? Give an example that helps explain your belief. or that mental processes may. for example. other philosophers began to look more and more to science for guidance in the study of psychological topics. scientists were making progress in answering questions about human behaviour and mental processes that philosophers could not. in philosophy? 2. The mind brain problem essentially involves questions about the relationship between brain activity and conscious experience. Physiologists tend to specialise in the structure and function of living things. emotions and other conscious experiences. re ection. in the way that physicists study the nature of light or gravity through systematic observation and experimentation. they rarely settled their differences of opinion. physiologists began studying the brain and other psychologically relevant structures such as the nervous system and sensory organs. wrong. (a) Brie y describe the mind body problem. and of objects and events in the external world. arguing and documenting their ideas. For instance. in turn. brain activity or conscious experience? Although there is no universally accepted solution to the mind brain problem. personal experience of what our brain does? Is consciousness just one aspect of our mind? Does our mind become aware of what our brain does? If so. By the nineteenth century. 3. philosophers could advance understanding of human behaviour and mental processes only to a certain point. (a) Brie y describe the nature versus nurture debate. They believed that the mind was not a physical object and could therefore not be directly observed. thoughts. mostly humans.

The difference between these reaction times allowed him to estimate how long it took a nerve impulse to travel to the brain. historians generally credit the of cial emergence of psychology as a separate discipline to his research assistant. He recorded his participants reaction time (the amount of time taken to respond to the speci c stimulus) after the stimulus had been applied. Each perspective had its own theories of behaviour and mental processes. This was very radical at the time because consciousness can t be directly observed. often trained in both philosophy and science. Gilbert & Wegner. For example. theories. along with messages from hormones (chemical substances). they intensively studied the individual bits and tried to nd out how they are organised and interrelated. As suggested C h a p t e r 1 Nature of psychology 19 Figure 1. In so doing. CLASSIC PERSPECTIVES AND THEORIES IN PSYCHOLOGY Although Helmholtz s contributions were important. the year in which the rst psychology research laboratory was established by Wundt. Nerve impulses. sounds and other sensations that people may be aware of. you don t feel your hands move a fraction of a second before you see them. Helmholtz found that people generally took longer to respond when their toe was stimulated than when their thigh was stimulated. when you move your hands in front of your eyes. The starting date of psychology as a science is considered to be 1879. Wundt adopted a similar approach that involved trying to understand and explain consciousness by breaking it down into parts such as thoughts. Helmholtz provided evidence that this wasn t true. their method of study: whether to undertake research by having research participants report what was in their conscious minds or whether to undertake research by observing and recording behaviour as it occurs 3. behaviourism and humanism. Helmholtz adapted his method to enable the study of humans. feel and behave as we do. They included structuralism. Then. which was called structuralism. These perspectives were known as schools of psychology or schools of thought.speed of nerve impulses in a frog s leg. psychoanalysis.11 German physiologist Hermann von Helmholtz conducted scienti c research to accurately estimate the speed of nerve impulses in the human body. someone observing you can t actually see whatever it is that you may be thinking about. he also demonstrated that experimental methods could be a useful way to study the brain and mental processes (Schacter. These results astonished nineteenth century scientists because at that time it was widely believed that mental processes occurred instantaneously. Wilhelm Wundt. However. 2009). For example. Scientists assumed that the neurological (nervous system) processes underlying mental events must be instantaneous for everything to be so closely synchronised. Generally. the schools differed in three main ways: 1. functionalism. The real world doesn t appear like a webcast in which the onscreen image and sound are out-of-sync by a fraction of a second or so. their theories: how behaviour or mental processes are best described and explained. His perspective. Each school had a leader. . feelings. Wundt noted that scientists such as chemists and physicists often tried to understand something of interest by breaking it down into its elements or bits . Structuralism Wilhelm Wundt Wilhelm Wundt (1832 1920) was a German physiologist trained in medicine who was speci cally interested in the scienti c study of human consciousness. if you focus your attention on your thoughts right now. are the means by which information is communicated throughout our bodies to enable us to think. scienti c research ndings and articles on the structure of consciousness led to the establishment of the rst school of thought in psychology. Helmholtz trained research participants to respond when he applied a stimulus consisting of a harmless electrical current to different parts of the leg. their focus of study: whether to focus on studying the unconscious mind or on behaviour that can actually be observed 2. Following successful testing with frogs. sights. The early growth of the new discipline of psychology was marked by the emergence of different perspectives.

For example. Psychology (7th ed. 1979). He then published the results of his experiments on the speed of mental processes in a scienti c journal. Functionalism William James William James (1842 1910) was in uential in establishing psychology in America. perceptions and feelings can all be studied experimentally. be established as a separate scienti c discipline that used experimental methods to study mental processes. one of his courses was called The Relations between Physiology and Psychology . (Adapted from Bernstein & others. If you can do this. over time his lectures began to focus more on psychology than medicine. which he also established. they might take as long as 20 minutes to report their inner experiences during a 1. sensations. Nearly 200 students from around the world travelled to the University of Leipzig to study experimental psychology and earn doctoral degrees (PhDs) under Wundt s supervision. Boston. how the parts are organised and how they are interrelated. 2001).com/permissions) Figure 1. Figure 1. try to describe your conscious experience. Over the years. Eventually. Wundt had a strong in uence on the development of psychology as a science.5 second experiment (Lieberman. As a consequence. Inc. which often included demonstrations of devices he had developed to measure mental processes (Hockenbury & Hockenbury. Wundt approached the study of conscious experience experimentally. which until this point in time had not been recognised. Through his the term. © 2006 Wadsworth. Wundt de ned psychology as the study of consciousness. Wundt tried to measure precisely how long it took participants to consciously detect both the sight and sound of a bell being struck or to look at a block of twelve letters for a fraction of a second and immediately report as many letters as they could remember. Reproduced by permission. p. The photo above shows Wundt (third from left) in one of his experiments on the speed of mental processes. Instead. Once trained. you would have been an excellent research assistant in Wundt s laboratory. He also promoted his belief that psychology should 20 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology . Wundt established a laboratory at the University of Leipzig in Germany where he and his students conducted many experiments on consciousness.). cengage.13 Look at this object and try to ignore what it is. His participants were required to undertake 10 000 practice introspections before they were allowed to participate in an actual research study. Massachusetts: Houghton Mif in. the basic parts or building blocks that make up consciousness. Introspection requires participants to re ect on their thoughts and other mental experiences and then report these to the researcher who would analyse them. which is widely regarded as one of the most important centres of psychological research in the world. For example.12 Wilhelm Wundt established the rst psychology research laboratory and the approach to psychology called structuralism. Although appointed to Harvard University in Massachusetts as a lecturer in medicine. structuralism focused on the structure of consciousness. and how intense and clear the sensations and images are. that is. In 1879. such as redness. www. a part of Cengage Learning. Wundt also used a data collection technique called introspection to study consciousness. Wundt demonstrated that attention. his ideas spread throughout the world. James graduated from university as a medical doctor and became interested in the emerging science of psychology after reading one of Wundt s articles in the late 1860s. he lectured exclusively in psychology. 14. brightness and roundness. some 17 000 students attended Wundt s lectures on various aspects of psychology.

Figure 1. His writings in uenced many psychologists and psychology students. James s book is still available in a condensed version. our behaviour would be socially unacceptable. Psychoanalysis focuses on the roles of unconscious conflicts and motivations in understanding and explaining behaviour and mental processes. he disagreed with Wundt s approach to separating consciousness into its different elements. According to Freud. and examined how psychology could be applied to areas such as improving teaching and learning in schools and devising programs for children with special learning needs. James published a widely acclaimed twovolume textbook called Principles of Psychology. This approach was very different from the other perspectives. In this sense. Like Wundt. con icts arise between our attempts to satisfy our impulses and urges. and what is acceptable in the real world. Freud believed that the unconscious contained instinctive sexual and aggressive needs. James also recognised the potential bene ts of psychological research to the community and humankind. His description of consciousness as a never-ending. it was developed by the Austrian doctor Sigmund Freud (1856 1939). he stressed the importance of the adaptability of consciousness and our ability to change our behaviour when necessary to function effectively in a constantly changing environment. C h a p t e r 1 Nature of psychology 21 . the relationship between conscious experience and the body. feelings and sensations is still accepted as an accurate description of consciousness. constantly changing stream of thoughts. However. the instinctive needs are motivators or triggers of behaviour. sensation. perception. a new perspective in psychology that focused on unconscious experience challenged the theories and methods of both structuralism and functionalism. call # HUPSF Psychological Laboratories (BP2) ) In 1890. As suggested by the term. individual differences in people. James presented many original ideas on a wide range of topics such as consciousness. James de ned psychology as the study of consciousness. including several students who went on to become famous psychologists in their own right. In it. Although James agreed with Wundt s views on the value of introspection and importance of experimentation.14 William James in his laboratory at Harvard University. We are not usually aware of what is going on inside our unconscious because it is hidden from our conscious awareness. our unconscious is a part of the mind below our level of normal conscious awareness. at the turn of the twentieth century. James established the approach to psychology called functionalism and was in uential in establishing psychology in America. Instead. Psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud Prominent early psychologists such as Wundt and James focused on the scienti c study of conscious experience. (Harvard University Archives. memory and emotion. if we acted on the urges and impulses created by the instinctive needs. Essentially. Consequently. However. James believed this approach misrepresented the wholeness of consciousness and its role (functions) in our lives. However. functionalists are interested in how and why our thoughts and feelings lead us to behave as we do. he believed that psychological research did not have to be restricted to the laboratory and could include direct observations of people and animals in their natural environments. These instincts are accompanied by urges and impulses to behave in a way that enables the needs to be met. functionalism focuses on studying the functions or purpose that mental processes serve in enabling people to adapt to their environment. Called psychoanalysis. This approach was called functionalism.

Unlike Wundt and James. His theory that mental processes can occur below the level of conscious awareness is now widely accepted in psychology. are very important in the development of our personality and behaviour. understand and control behaviour. Freud developed his psychoanalytic theories mainly from his work with patients who sought his help with mental health problems they were experiencing. we tend to repeat behaviours that we nd rewarding in some way and avoid or not repeat behaviours we associate with punishment. Watson The theories and work of American psychologist John Broadus Watson (1878 1958) are still evident in the study and practice of psychology today. memory blocks. He also drew on observations of his family and re ections on his own personal thoughts. we get glimpses of our unconscious impulses. predict. feelings and behaviours. they are beneath and hidden away from our normal awareness of ourselves. Freud was very thorough in recording his methods and results. we may do or say things without realising why or the true motives that prompted these behaviours. we need to successfully resolve these con icts or emotional events if we are to have a healthy personality (see chapter 12). in order to nd the source of our conscious thoughts. the founder of psychoanalysis These con icts. he viewed consciousness and the unconscious as impossible to observe and contributing little to a scienti c approach to psychology. slips of the tongue and even the jokes we tell. According to behaviourists. Behaviourism involves understanding and explaining how behaviour is learned and moulded by experience. Freud also devised a psychoanalytic theory of mental illnesses. However. However. they may be revealed in everyday life through dreams. . occur often and can cause a great deal of anxiety. Another important aspect of psychoanalysis as described by Freud is that our past experiences. However. feelings and behaviour. However. he proposed that psychology should focus on the scienti c study of observable behaviour that could be objectively measured and con rmed by other researchers. Behaviourists believe that almost everything a person (or animal) does is in uenced by rewards and punishments in everyday life. Freud s description of the unconscious and how it in uences our conscious thoughts. feelings and behaviour has little in common with the views of most contemporary psychologists (Gazzaniga & Heatherton. He also promoted the idea that the goals of psychology should be to describe. the unconscious mind. we are controlled by our environment because this is the source of rewards and punishments. Watson (1913) rejected the emphasis on consciousness promoted by Wundt and James and the emphasis on the unconscious promoted by Freud. Some of his theories continue to in uence psychologists. instead. Watson did not reject the existence of consciousness or the unconscious. psychiatrists and other mental health professionals. Freud s theories were in uential at the time and he attracted followers. 22 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology Many of Freud s theories were controversial. Watson s perspective and approach to studying psychology came to be known as behaviourism.15 Sigmund Freud. 2006). According to Freud. The lack of scienti c basis has prevented psychoanalysis from achieving widespread credibility at any time since it was rst proposed. or mental struggles. In this sense. especially early childhood experiences.Figure 1. Watson had a huge impact on the development of psychology as a scienti c discipline by in uencing many psychologists to change from studying conscious experience to studying behaviour. Behaviourism John B. This led him to devise the rst theory in psychology on how personality develops. Instead. a psychoanalyst would need to probe. This means that. For example. because they occur at the unconscious level of our mind. and published many books on his theories and techniques. sometimes. or dig into . His theory of mental illnesses included descriptions and explanations of a set of treatment methods that were also based on psychoanalysis. he did not conduct scientific research such as laboratory experiments to test his theories because psychoanalytic theories and ideas are extremely dif cult to test using scienti c methods. According to Freud. Freud s theory describes different types of con icts or emotional events that arise in each of ve different stages of personality development. In addition to his explanation of the structure and workings of the mind and his theory of personality development.

is an approach to understanding and explaining behaviour and mental processes that focuses on the uniqueness of each individual person and the positive qualities and potential of all human beings to ful l their lives. Rogers focused on the positive aspects of people who sought his help. or determined. for example. Rogers (1961) emphasised our free will. Furthermore.16 John B. if he had enough control over the environment. changing along the way if we choose to. Rogers was a psychologist who had trained in. however. the emphasis is now on the thinking that accompanies learning. In his experiments. Rogers also rejected behaviourism. He believed that the psychoanalytical approach was far too negative in its view of human behaviour. C h a p t e r 1 Nature of psychology 23 . like psychoanalysis. This was because its theories were mostly based on case studies of unhappy patients plagued by con icts who presented with mental health problems to psychoanalysts. rather than by our own choices. Following the publication of research ndings by Watson and other behaviourists in the 1920s. Unlike Freud. a lawyer or even a criminal. Like Freud. Watson also studied people. Watson s research focused on the roles of rewards and punishment on learning. Instead. Watson s theories and ideas have since been modi ed and extended by other psychologists. psychoanalysis. were easy to obtain. whatever that might be. He believed that behaviourists focused too much on experimental evidence and observable behaviour. primarily with animals in carefully controlled laboratory conditions. we are all individuals who freely choose to behave in whatever way we desire and act according to those choices. According to Rogers. Drawing on the meaning of the term humane . that is. Behaviourism dominated psychology until about the 1960s when other approaches attracted attention. however. Furthermore. greater control could be exercised over the learning experiences of animals in laboratory experiments. Rogers primarily developed his ideas and theories from case studies of his work with people who sought his professional assistance. Behaviourism continues to be a major perspective in contemporary psychology. humanism is based on the assumption that all people are born good and that. When one or more life experiences prevent ful lment of our potential. American clinical psychologist Carl Rogers (1902 87) was one of the founders and leaders of humanism. At one time he boasted that. Rogers proposed that our personality develops as we strive to overcome the various hurdles that we face in our attempts to reach our full potential. but later rejected. behaviourism became very popular and has been an in uential perspective in psychology ever since. Humanism carl rogers Humanism emerged in the 1950s as an alternative to psychoanalysis and behaviourism. This means that we also control our own destinies. a doctor. this can usually be overcome with a little guidance. such as rats and pigeons. the founder of behaviourism Watson and his colleagues conducted research on learning. In his view. However. which became prominent in the 1960s. inner awareness and understanding of themself and the world. Rogers agreed with the views of Wundt and James that psychology should focus on the study of conscious experience. also called humanistic psychology. it was widely accepted that psychology was about the study of behaviour rather than of conscious experience. Rogers emphasised the importance of focusing on the whole person and studying each individual s unique. this was far too narrow a focus as it did not enable a full enough understanding of what it means to be human. each individual strives to reach their full potential. One reason for using animals rather than humans with was that animals. throughout their life. Watson. behaviourism presented a negative view of human behaviour through its belief that our behaviour is controlled by rewards and punishments external to ourselves. he could create learning experiences that would turn any infant into whatever he wanted. By the middle of the twentieth century. Humanism. behaviour is not caused. preferring to call them clients rather than patients .Figure 1. Rogers also believed that we are all born with the potential to become great in our own (however small) way. In his person-centred theory of personality. by things outside our control.

the needs to respect yourself.BOX 1. Today.17 Carl Rogers. As shown in gure 1. Consequently. Client-centred therapy became a popular alternative to psychoanalysis and behaviourism and many of its basic ideas have been adopted in the various approaches to therapy used today. Towards the end of his career. be respected by others and feel good about yourself and how others perceive you. Rogers did not support the use of experiments to study people.6 Maslow s theory of self-actualisation American psychologist Abraham Maslow (1908 70) is regarded as another founder and leader of humanism. When our need for love and belongingness is met. all people are motivated to ful l a hierarchy of needs which is inborn. then the individual is at the point of ful lling their true and full potential. particularly those conducted by behaviourists. Maslow is best-known for his theory of self-actualisation and his hierarchy of needs motivation theory. develop and ful l all their potentials. Self-actualisation cannot be achieved until all the lowerlevel needs have been at least partly satis ed. Those who rejected humanism tended to regard it as a philosophy of life rather than a particular approach to psychology. In addition to his person-centred theory of personality. The basic needs cause a person to choose to grow. Despite its lack of scienti c evidence. esteem becomes important. Selfactualisation involves the full use of all our potentials and abilities. Consequently. our basic physiological needs must be met before we can move up the hierarchy to meet the need for personal safety. . which focuses on the positive potential of human beings For most of his career. 24 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology Figure 1. to become self-actualised. However. or self-actualising. This is mainly because many psychologists nd humanistic ideas too vague to be tested scienti cally. Figure 1. Rogers developed an approach to helping people with problems called client-centred therapy. Rogers regretted that he did not conduct a wider range of scienti c research studies. these needs range from survival needs (basic needs) up to those that will enable a person to ful l their potential (growth needs). He believed that the experimental methods borrowed from other sciences such as physics and chemistry were inappropriate for studying people. that is. but with guidance from the therapist.19. many psychologists adopted the humanistic approach and many others were in uenced by its theories. therefore achieving its maximum potential in life. According to Maslow. If we achieve a sense of security we are then motivated to love and be loved. one of the founders of humanism. the clients are viewed as having the power and motivation to help themselves. In this therapeutic approach. they are given the responsibility to solve their own problems. the impact of the humanistic approach to understanding behaviour and mental processes is limited. that is. research shows that very few people reach self-actualisation. as doing so may have led to humanism having a more widespread and longer lasting impact on psychology. If all these needs are met.18 Abraham Maslow According to Maslow (1954). Rogers and other humanists did relatively little scienti c research to test their theories and ideas.

Explain the meaning of the phrase perspective in psychology . status learning activity 1. If the individual s basic physiological and safety needs are satis ed in childhood.Gro t needs asic needs Sel actualisation needs: fulfilment of all potentials and capabilities steem needs: self-respect. Perspective: Leader: (c) Psychology should experimentally study the elements of consciousness. When became prominent Examples of theories Perspective Structuralism Functionalism Psychoanalysis Behaviourism Humanism Leader Focus of study Method(s) of study Options and variations C h a p t e r 1 Nature of psychology 25 . caring and accepting environment or they may develop into an adult who is anxious about having basic physiological needs met. then they have begun the journey to self-actualisation and will also be more likely to achieve love and esteem needs and therefore develop a healthy personality. Perspective: Leader: (d) Psychology should scienti cally study observable behaviour that can be objectively measured and not focus on consciousness. and so on through to self-actualisation. water. air and sleep Figure 1. no fear in one s life P siological needs: food.19 Maslow s hierarchy of needs. Needs at the base of the pyramid must at least be partially met before the individual is able to deal with needs at the next level. learnin g activit y 1. high self-esteem. (a) Psychology should study how behaviour and mental processes allow organisms to adapt to their environments. Alternatively. Perspective: Leader: (e) Psychology should study how unconscious con icts in uence behaviour and mental processes that occur at the conscious level. As a result. a child must be raised in a supportive. the individual may not be able to progress to the next levels and deal with issues of a more complex nature such as love and selfesteem.1 1 review questions 1. you may complete the table online in your eBookPLUS then print a copy and include it in your workbook. group membership Sa et needs: security. 10 Summarising classic perspectives in psychology Complete the following table to summarise ve classic perspectives in psychology that shaped the development of contemporary psychology. respect by others. protection. Perspective: Leader: (b) Psychology should emphasise each person s uniqueness as they strive to reach their full potential as a human being. how they are organised and how they are interrelated. Identify the perspective and leader associated with each of the following statements. Perspective: Leader: Love and belongingness needs: close relationships with other people. According to Maslow. 2.

each of which plays one or more critical roles in human behaviour and/or mental processes. cognitive and socio-cultural perspectives. as were the classic perspectives. which communicate messages between nerve cells (called neurons) within the brain and the rest of the nervous system. Dopamine is also used in medications for people suffering from Parkinson s disease. feelings and behaviours are associated with underlying bodily activities and processes. Though not strictly organised into schools of thought. the immune system and genetics. Each perspective has its own assumptions. the endocrine (hormone) system. questions and explanations of behaviour and mental processes. medical scientists and psychologists have identi ed many of these neurotransmitters and their functions. behavioural. psychologists have been able to develop new techniques to study the link between genes and how we think. Although it was long believed that no more than several neurotransmitters were involved in brain activity. According to American neuropsychologist Michael Gazzaniga (2006). Four perspectives that are prominent in contemporary psychology are called the biological. the basic genetic code or blueprint for the human body. depending on whether they lack or have the gene. feel and behave. electrical impulses shoot along your nervous system and hormones will be released into the bloodstream and travel throughout your body to signal your organs to respond. psychologists have been able to breed mice that either lack a speci c gene or have new genes inserted. there has been a dramatic improvement in understanding of how biological processes in uence behaviour and mental processes. each contemporary perspective represents a different point of view about human behaviour and mental processes. A major assumption of the biological perspective is that all our thoughts. Since 2003. These mice subsequently show either impaired memory or improved memory. Biological perspective Physiology played an important role in in uencing psychology when Wundt established psychology s rst laboratory. These determine the topics chosen for study. And the neurotransmitter called seratonin (pronounced sair-ah-toe-nin ) is involved in the onset of sleep and the moods we experience. That in uence is now seen by the many psychologists who take the biological perspective. three signi cant developments during this recent period have enabled this growth in understanding and the associated growth in interest by psychologists in the biological perspective. psychologists conducted experiments that found that the neurotransmitter called dopamine (pronounced dope-uh-mine ) is involved in complex bodily movements and in regulating emotional responses. depending on what you think about. when you think. Interest in the biological perspective grew in the latter half of the twentieth century along with advances in medicine for treating mental illnesses and the development of sophisticated research equipment for studying the living human brain. to conduct experimental studies on the effects of a gene on memory. a speci c area of your brain is active. speci c areas of your brain are activated to trigger the appropriate muscles and tendons into action and to coordinate all the required movements. Each perspective has also contributed to the development of contemporary psychology in signi cant ways. By identifying the genes that are involved in memory. The second major development is the enormous progress in understanding the in uence of genes on human behaviour and mental processes. how research is conducted and the type of evidence that is considered important.CONTEMPORARY PERSPECTIVES AND THEORIES IN PSYCHOLOGY Each of the classic perspectives or schools of psychology in uenced the thinking of psychologists throughout the world at the time they were prominent. The rst major development is the enormous progress in understanding brain chemistry. For example. who assisted in the Nobel Prize winning split-brain surgery (see box 1. It is also used in medications to treat people suffering from severe depression. The brain works through the actions of chemicals called neurotransmitters. During the last 30 years. and the area differs. In order to voluntarily scratch your nose or turn the page of this book. following the mapping out of the human genome. Understanding the chemical processes of the brain has provided many new insights into behaviour and mental activities and has also been useful for developing treatments to help people with brain and nervous system disorders. We now consider some of the more recent developments in psychology and describe the major perspectives and theories in psychology today. particularly our experience of pleasure and excitement. For example. For example. it is now known that there are hundreds of different neurotransmitters.7). including the brain and the rest of the nervous system. When you experience fear. In the last 30 years or 26 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology so. which is characterised by muscle tremors and dif culty in initiating movement. The biological perspective focuses on the biological (physiological) influences on behaviour and mental processes. psychologists may soon be able to develop .

Sperry conducted experiments with patients who had undergone split-brain surgery for medical reasons. (c) The split-brain operation involves cutting the strands of nerve tissue to disconnect the two hemispheres. actions and various disorders. that the patient could recognise a picture of an object but not name it. or racist attitudes. the methods now available to psychologists to study the in uence of genetic processes have provided new insights into behaviour and mental processes. 1974). BOX 1. many of our physical and mental characteristics are. the idea that a single gene causes a speci c behaviour is too simplistic. This indicated that one hemisphere is primarily responsible for visual recognition of objects and the other for verbal language (naming objects). However. disconnecting the hemispheres usually reduces the incidence and severity of epileptic seizures.7 Split-brain surgery (a) (b) Corpus callosum (c) American neuropsychologist Roger Sperry (1913 94) was awarded a Nobel Prize for his research on the role of the brain in behaviour and mental processes. the split-brain operation is only performed in very serious cases of epilepsy where drugs and other medical procedures have not been effective. In one of his experiments. Figure 1. Mapping the human genome has provided psychologists and other scientists with a knowledge base from which to study how speci c genes affect thoughts. Nonetheless. the patient could not link information in the brain about the image of the object received in the right hemisphere with information in the brain about the name of the object because language is primarily a function of the left hemisphere (Sperry. or shyness. Assisted by his student Michael Gazzaniga. Consequently. For reasons that still remain unclear. Epilepsy is a condition involving spontaneous bursts of electrical activity from areas of neurons (nerve cells) in the brain.20 (a) The human brain has two almost symmetrical halves called cerebral hemispheres. It seemed that cutting the nerve pathways between the two hemispheres prevented the exchange of this information. The split-brain operation involves surgically cutting the strands of nerve tissue which connect the two hemispheres (halves) of the brain. people experiencing an epileptic seizure lose consciousness. The seizures typically involve the sudden contraction of the entire body s muscles. thereby preventing them from interacting and communicating with each other as they normally do. feelings. for example.therapies based on genetic manipulation that will assist people who have memory problems. people suffering from Alzheimer s disease. These bursts disrupt the normal electrochemical activity of the brain and result in seizures that occur unexpectedly. Sperry gave a split-brain patient a series of tests to measure the effects of having disconnected hemispheres on speci c thoughts and behavioural responses. No one speci c gene is solely responsible for memory. to some degree. The split-brain operation has the physiological effect of separating the two hemispheres of the brain. (b) The hemispheres are connected by strands of nerve tissue. C h a p t e r 1 Nature of psychology 27 . followed by a period of alternating jerks and relaxation of the body. inherited. Although many of the possibilities for correcting genetic defects are probably decades away. In some cases. evidence is accumulating that genes are involved in many behaviours and mental processes. Almost all psychological and biological activity is affected by the actions and combined effects of a number of genes. Sperry found. for example. It is often an effective treatment for patients who suffer from severe epileptic seizures. that is. The largest of these is called the corpus callosum. However.

Using images such as these. their brains showed far greater activity than those of participants who were led to believe that their pain would be minimal. 28 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology . However. The f MRI images shown in gure 1. the parts of the brain that are least active (or inactive) are indicated by violet and blue. the PET images in gure 1. when participants were led to believe that the water would be very hot and therefore painful. The use of neuroimaging techniques has enabled psychologists to address some of the most important questions about human experience. probably because of the discomfort involved. red and white. whereas blue indicates the brain areas that are least active. For more than 100 years psychologists and other scientists have disagreed about whether mental processes such as thinking.23.21 show different areas of the brain that are all involved to some extent when we listen to speech.Technology for studying the living human brain in action has been the third major development that has led to the prominence of the biological perspective. both can produce images that use different colours to indicate different levels of activity in the various areas of the brain. perception and emotion are located in speci c areas of the brain or distributed throughout the brain. These brain scanning and imaging devices. have allowed psychologists to scienti cally study the brain at work . Figure 1. When participants were asked to put a hand into moderately hot water. such as how different (a) listening to speech (b) listening to music (c) resting Figure 1. the researchers can determine those areas of the brain that are active and therefore involved when a speci c task is performed (and vice versa). a participant in an experiment on the areas of the brain involved in language may be required to perform a task such as listening to someone talking or listening to music while any changes that occur in one or more areas of their brain are observed and recorded using a PET or functional MRI (f MRI) scanner. even though the water was the same temperature for all participants. For example.21 PET scans of people with normal brain activity participating in different tasks. called neuroimaging devices. For example.21 and 1. In the f MRI images. memory. and those areas of the brain that are least active are indicated by violet and blue. The development of advanced versions of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET) scanners in the late 1980s enabled psychologists to answer these questions with considerable accuracy.23 were taken during an experiment on how our expectations of whether or not an experience will be painful can in uence the brain. Red indicates the greatest level of brain activity. such as those shown in gures 1. These scanners also enable the production of computer-generated images. Although PET and f MRI are different types of scanners. those areas of the brain that are very active are indicated by orange. as compared with when we listen to music and when we are at rest. The areas of the brain that are most active are indicated by red and yellow.22 A PET (positron emission tomography) scanner detects and produces images of activity in the brain. part of the brain became active.

. the behavioural perspective focuses on how behaviour is acquired or modi ed by environmental consequences such as rewards and punishments. or may be linked to mental illnesses such as depression and schizophrenia. occurs in your environment and in uences whether or not you do something. Skinner conducted numerous. your behaviour. Skinner placed a hungry animal in a Skinner box and allowed the animal to explore it. doing something has a consequence. an example of a psychological research study for which it would be used. Skinner focused on explaining how rewards and punishments in an individual s environment shape. Skinner s classic experiments involved the study of bar or lever pressing by rats and pecking by pigeons in an operant conditioning chamber that became widely known as a Skinner box (see gure 1. In a typical experiment. you probably answered yes to each of these questions. The behavioural perspective has its origins in Watson s behaviourism. (b) shows the brain of a participant who expected only mild discomfort. Like Watson. In all of these examples.12 visual presentation technology for studying the brain Undertake library or internet-based research to locate an example of a neuroimaging device that may be available for or used in psychological research on the brain. Watson suddenly gave up psychology altogether in the 1920s. However.24).The brain of someone expecting pain is shown in (a). the name of the device 2. such as being praised or getting a good mark? Are you more likely to clean your room when one of your parents is nagging you and you want them to stop? Are you more likely to get home from a party at the agreed time to avoid an undesirable consequence. as well as the effects of medications on the brain and changes in the brain that may be linked to various types of disease. and how conscious experience involves changes in brain activity. Find an example of a device other than an MRI or PET scanner. Contemporary psychologists who take the behavioural perspective emphasise the importance of studying environmental in uences on observable behaviour. how various types of memory (such as short-term and long-term memory) are similar or different. He applied the results of his experiments to humans.23 MRI images taken during an experiment on pain expectation. arguing that people in real life would probably behave like his experimental animals. maintain and change their behaviour through a type of learning that he called operant conditioning. carefully controlled laboratory experiments with animals to develop and test his theories. such as being grounded or having your allowance stopped? Like most people. More speci cally. red and white. learning activity 1. which emerged as a major in uence in the early twentieth century. American psychologist Burrhus Skinner (1904 90) modi ed and extended the basic principles of behaviourism. from the 1930s until his death in 1990. The consequence.brain areas interact to produce perceptual experience. He also argued that mental processes were of little or no value in understanding and explaining behaviour. His theories have had a long-lasting in uence on psychology in general and many of his ideas are still evident in the contemporary behavioural perspective. which may or may not be desirable. Skinner believed that mental processes should not be scienti cally studied as they were not directly observable. Areas of high activation of the brain are indicated by yellow. Prepare a brief report in which you outline: 1. such as Parkinson s disease. features of the image(s) that can be produced 3. C h a p t e r 1 Nature of psychology 29 (a) Figure 1. that is. (b) Behavioural perspective Are you more likely to study for a test if there is a desirable consequence. Alzheimer s disease and motor neurone disease. A key assumption of the behavioural perspective is that all behaviour can be explained in terms of learning processes. Instead. Neuroimaging techniques have also enabled psychologists to explore other aspects of normal brain functioning. Present your report in a poster format and include a copy of an image(s) produced by this device.

Skinner did not restrict the application of these principles to animal behaviour in a Skinner box. such as pressing a lever to get a food pellet. it would soon stop its barpressing behaviour altogether. Skinner concluded that the food acted as a reward for the bar-pressing behaviour. In Skinner s view. such as turning on a light switch. the chicken learns that looking in a certain direction results in food and that part of the nal pattern of target behaviour has become established. it is always rewarded. Skinner identi ed different types of reinforcement. the rate of bar pressing would increase dramatically and remain high until the rat was no longer hungry. the electric current is automatically switched off. When the rat presses the bar. As soon as it does so. If a rat is placed in the box it can be given a mild shock to its feet.24 Burrhus Skinner demonstrates the Skinner box in which rats (and other small animals) were used for experiments on a type of learning that Skinner called operant conditioning. he demonstrated that punishment could be used to stop a particular behaviour altogether. For example. Figure 1. a Skinner box has a wire grid on the oor through which a mild electric current can be passed. The use of shaping is evident in many of the tricks that have been taught to performing animals in captivity. He found that if a rat received a shock after it pressed a bar. Through other experiments. the chicken is not rewarded until it takes a step towards the toy xylophone. taking a step towards the toy piano becomes established through the use of reinforcement. Consequently. pressing a bar to remove or avoid a shock. riding a bike. The procedure is repeated for successive behaviours until the chicken pecks one of the keys. then another key and so on. In this way. or getting dressed. The removal of the shock is the negative reinforcement that has a desired consequence. for example. He explained numerous examples of everyday human behaviour in terms of reinforcement and punishment. Shaping involves giving positive reinforcement (a reward) for a speci c behaviour that ultimately leads to the nal pattern of a target (or desired) behaviour. Furthermore. which he called positive reinforcement and negative reinforcement. a chicken could be taught to play a tune on a toy piano through the shaping procedure. this was evidence of an operant conditioning principle that he called reinforcement. The chicken is rst placed near a toy xylophone.Sooner or later the animal would accidentally press a bar that would immediately release a food pellet. After that happened a few times. Skinner was able to demonstrate and provide scienti c evidence of how reinforcement increased the likelihood of behaving in a particular way and how punishment decreased the likelihood of behaving in a particular way. the shock is unpleasant and therefore an undesirable experience. As soon as the chicken looks towards the xylophone it is rewarded with a food pellet. even when it was very hungry. The principle of reinforcement states that the consequences of a behaviour determine whether the behaviour will be more or less likely to be repeated. negative reinforcement can have the effect of increasing the likelihood of doing something. Skinner also explained how operant conditioning principles could intentionally be used to change a person s or animal s behaviour in some desired way through a procedure called shaping. Though harmless. . Whenever it looks that way again. Next. it is rewarded again. Positive reinforcement increases the likelihood of doing something by providing a desirable consequence. Eventually. but there is no reward for looking in the direction of the xylophone. Skinner also experimented on the effects of punishment on behaviour. Eventually. For example. but it involves the 30 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology removal or avoidance of something that is unpleasant. Negative reinforcement also increases the likelihood of doing something for a desired consequence.

Today. behavioural perspective also recognises the important role of mental processes and is commonly called the social-learning or social-cognitive perspective. toilet train infants and acquire better study habits. or on speci c de ning features of dogs that are stored in their long-term memory. then Y will follow ) and the value we place on different consequences (such as the importance of getting good grades). Figure 1. however. In sum. drawing on their general knowledge of dogs. primarily mental processes that involve thinking. the contemporary behavioural perspective focuses on observable behaviour and the role of learning in in uencing that behaviour. For example. quit smoking. learning-based. Piaget s theory describes and explains how our thinking develops from birth. Cognitive behavioural therapy focuses on changing unreasonable thoughts that underlie unwanted behaviour. most psychologists have come to believe that Watson s and Skinner s traditional behaviourism is too simplistic or limited to explain complex human behaviour. C h a p t e r 1 Nature of psychology 31 . One of the best-known cognitive theories was developed by Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget. cognitive perspective Can you take in information from your environment if you don t pay attention? How does your brain process incoming visual information so that you know what it is that you are looking at? How does your memory work? Could you learn if you couldn t remember? Why do you forget? How do you understand a sentence? What is the relationship between language and thought? How do you comprehend.26 How do people recognise this abstract object as a dog. but also by thoughts such as our expectations about the consequences of behaving in a particular way (e. The term cognition comes from the Latin word cognoscere which means to know or to recognise . If I do X. solve problems. This re ects the recognition given to extensive research ndings that our thoughts about the environment and consequences are just as important in in uencing behaviour as the environment itself. rather than changing the behaviour itself. Behaviour therapy involves using learning principles to eliminate unwanted behaviour and bring about the desired changes. However. Figure 1. such as rewards and punishments. people categorise an object that resembles a dog by comparing it to examples of dogs. many clinical and counselling psychologists use an extension of behaviour therapy called cognitive behavioural therapy. form opinions and make decisions? These questions about mental processes are just some of the topics of interest among psychologists who adopt the cognitive perspective. Few psychologists today describe themselves as behaviourists.g. The rst cognitive theories appeared around the middle of the twentieth century. His theory is still in uential today. This broader. The behavioural perspective led to the development of a particular style of therapy called behaviour therapy. Behaviour therapy techniques have been used successfully to help people overcome extreme fears. it is now widely accepted that behaviour is shaped not only by environmental factors. given that it does not look anything like a real dog? According to cognitive psychologists.25 Operant conditioning was used to teach this chicken to play a tune on the xylophone. lose weight. Psychologists use cognition to refer to mental processes.The emphasis is now on both environmental and cognitive factors.

Although the human mind is much more sophisticated than a computer and differs in many ways. the main subject matter of cognitive psychology has not changed greatly since the rst cognitive theories were proposed. store and retrieve information. such as to solve a maths problem. Psychologists who have adopted the cognitive perspective emphasise the need to study mental processes using scienti c methods. how memory works. Cognitive psychologists still focus on mental processes that take place inside our brain. we may choose Microsoft Word to write an essay and PowerPoint for a multimedia presentation. feel and behave as we do. There is little reliance on self-re ection and verbal reports from research participants. the emphasis is on understanding how we take in information and how we treat the information in order to think. how we learn. the connectionist approach recognises that different parts of the brain are interconnected by networks of neurons and are more or less active at the same time when processing information. The information processing approach explains mental processes by making comparisons between the human brain and a computer. the cognitive perspective focuses on how we acquire. Basically.27 Memory as an information process system. we then select and use the appropriate mental operations or programs to get the required solution or output . process. (3) decides that the other person s action was inappropriate. As with the computer. as shown in gure 1. 2006). (2) retrieves information stored in memory about appropriate social behaviour. For example. (6) decides that shoving the person is the best response. the following describes the various mental processes that may occur during an aggressive incident outside a movie theatre. Theories that use a computer analogy are said to take the information processing approach. how we go about solving intellectual problems. The information is then stored in the brain in a way that enables it to be easily retrieved when needed. psychologists taking the cognitive perspective have moved away from using the information processing approach to explain mental processes. A major assumption of the cognitive perspective is that internal mental processes are important in their own right. For example. how we acquire 32 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology language. For example. There is now an increasing tendency to use the connectionist approach. This is because both our brain and the computer can receive. the information is converted into a form that can be handled by our brain. This is like our choice of a software program to complete a speci c task. such as how we form perceptions or view the world as we do. we receive information as data inputs from the environment. how we react to social situations and how we make decisions. Incoming sensor in ormation ncoding Converted or storage Storage eld in memor Retrieval Recovered en needed Figure 1. However. thinking has been likened to the way in which the computer deals with information. the information processing approach describes memory in a sequential. This approach considers how the brain actually works when performing different mental processes. The information processing approach has also been used to explain mental processes accompanying observable behaviour. psychologists who adopt the cognitive perspective have found the information processing approach useful. as well as important in uences on observable behaviour. particularly well-controlled experiments. (8) shoves the person (Bernstein & others. More recently. When it is being received. Many cognitive psychologists have explained mental processes by making comparisons between the human brain and a computer. When we need information for thinking purposes. The aggressive person (1) perceives that someone has pushed their way into the ticket line. we locate and retrieve it from where it is stored in the brain. For example. When the information is retrieved. The information processing approach has been used to develop theories to explain a wide range of mental processes. (4) uses language to label the person as rude and sel sh. That is. it is essential to know what is actually going on inside their brains.Generally. step-by-step way. In contemporary psychology. . (7) initiates that response. The connectionist approach also describes information as being distributed throughout entire networks within the brain rather than being located in one speci c area of the brain. remember and use information about ourselves and the world around us. (5) considers possible responses and their likely consequences.27. process. in order to understand what makes people tick and do what they do. This is like the way in which we save information in the computer s hard drive.

Culture is the way of life of a particular group of people. Lebanese Australians. the beliefs. there are different subgroups within a country. age or income level can affect how we think. These subgroups are usually formed by people of various racial or ethnic origins. age. C h a p t e r 1 Nature of psychology 33 . they may have strict rules for social behaviour. Also consider gure 1. 13 visual presentation information processing approach Consider the text example on how the information processing approach explains mental processes underlying an aggressive person outside a movie theatre (see page 32). are males better than females in maths and females better than males in reading and writing? If so. but not in others. This theory describes and explains how the vast amount of information stored in our long-term memory is organised so that we can ef ciently retrieve it when needed.27. 2006). which are shared by most members of a group of people. Some cultures seek dominance over those with different religions. The cultural part refers to the study of similarities and differences in how people think. That area of the network is then activated. For example. not having enough money to go on a schoolies trip planned for the end of year 12. a search commences in the part of the network where the required information is likely to be. forms of expression and so on. They might place great value on achievement or on self-understanding. race. Most countries. for example. do Anglo-Saxon Australians perform better on intelligence tests than Aboriginal people? If so.The semantic network theory is an example of one of the earlier connectionist theories. values. For example. It is assumed that socio-cultural factors such as sex. attitudes. Ensure your ow chart or diagram provides an example of the information processing approach. the population of Australia includes Aboriginals whose ancestors rst settled Australia. does this apply to people throughout the world? Are there racial differences in intelligence? For example. for example. ways of behaving. others seek a peaceful co-existence. whether children s education will focus on hunting or reading. Sudanese Australians. In each of these subgroups. Cultures can differ in many ways. feel or behave. Draw a ow chart or another type of diagram to illustrate a sequence of underlying mental processes that may occur in either of the following incidents: 1. showing a ow chart of memory as an information processing system. Vietnamese Australians and Australians whose families came from numerous other countries throughout the world. Greek Australians. example and stories rather than by genes. bits of related information are clustered together and these are spread throughout an interconnected network. how close people stand during a conversation. Culture can also determine. for example. When we need to retrieve some information. how they perceive visual illusions or how their personality develops? Does a person s view of what is normal or abnormal behaviour differ according to their cultural background? Do people in all cultures experience depression in the same way? These are some of the questions of particular interest to psychologists who have adopted the socio-cultural perspective. A culture is often associated with a particular country. The closer the relationship between different bits of information. that is. customs. The socio part of the term refers to the study of in uences within a society or culture. It is passed from one generation to the next by tradition. income level and the culture in which people grow up are important in uences. attitudes and the like based on their cultural heritage or background. being put down by a member of your friendship group 2. how sex. are actually multicultural. The socio-cultural perspective focuses on the roles of social and cultural in uences on human behaviour and mental processes. race. Anglo-Saxon Australians whose families came from English speaking countries such as Great Britain. along with other areas with bits of information that are closely related to the speci c bit we are retrieving. Ireland and New Zealand. feel and behave across different cultures. Punctuality and respect for elders are of great importance in some cultures. values. According to the theory. such as requiring every adult woman to cover her face and hair in public. however. Socio-cultural perspective Are there sex differences in some of our cognitive abilities? For example. learnin g activit y 1. how can this be explained? Are younger people more likely to be in uenced by peer pressure than older people? Does the amount of money a person earns affect their view of themself or their expectations of what their children will achieve in life? Does a person s cultural background in uence whether or not they will obey someone in authority. whether they make eye contact during a conversation and whether or not they form queues or lines in public places (Bernstein & others. the individuals who identify with the culture they inherited through birth tend to share beliefs. or loose rules. each with their own culture. the closer they will be in the network (and vice versa).

What is true of people in one culture is not necessarily true of people in another. Many other socio-cultural studies have also obtained different results when they repeated studies with people from different cultures. personality development and mental illnesses have produced results about all people or a particular group of people (Westen. In Western cultures such as Australia and North America. have families. . whereas facial expression of basic human emotions and the ability to recognise these facial expressions do not (Schacter. Gilbert & Wegner. it is likely that each family has their own set of beliefs. eat. Males and females throughout the world are also alike in many ways. There are aspects of human behaviour and mental processes that may be entirely determined by culture and others that seem to be entirely unaffected by culture. Although the families shown here live next door to each other and have much in common. social loa ng has been a common nding in many experiments conducted with American and European research participants. 2006). 1993). although depression is observed in nearly every culture. visual perception. Taylor & Wright. It was too often assumed that ndings of research studies based on these groups could be applied to other groups who have extremely different life experiences (Nevid. They tend to live in groups. Much of the past research in psychology has used groups of white. For example. values. For example. Burton & Kowalski. use language. attitudes and the like based on their cultural heritage or background. But when similar studies were conducted with Chinese participants during the 1980s. male university students as participants.28 Culture is the way of life of a particular group of people and helps shape almost every aspect of our behaviour and mental processes. The socio-cultural perspective highlights the diversity of human beings. However. they discovered that some well-established ndings from experiments may not have been able to be applied as widely as rst thought. People around the world are alike in many ways. depressed people tend to think less of themselves. sleep. the opposite was found to apply. the symptoms associated with it can vary signi cantly from one place to another. child-rearing practices and the age of a person s earliest memory differ dramatically across cultures. seek happiness and worry. 34 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology 2006). For example. Chinese participants worked harder on a task when they were part of a group than when they were working alone (Moghaddam. educate their children. one well-established research nding was that people tend to exert less effort on a task when working as part of a group than when working alone. obedience. 2006). middle class. have religious beliefs. As psychologists started studying people of different cultures in different countries. as is their recognition of a smile (Bernstein & others. Many psychologists are now wondering whether research studies on topics such as cognitive development. First described in the 1970s. 2009). Nerve cell activity and reactions to a sour taste are the same in men and women everywhere. many aspects of human behaviour and mental processes are affected by sociocultural factors. This is called social loa ng.Figure 1. peer pressure. whereas depressed people in Eastern cultures such as Japan and Iran are less likely to do so.

Each perspective enables almost any topic in psychology to be looked at in a number of different ways. This is primarily because each perspective raises its own speci c questions about behaviour and mental processes. Many psychologists today do not adopt a single perspective. it should be noted that no single contemporary perspective is necessarily right and the others wrong . For example. For example. all emphasise the scienti c study of behaviour and mental processes. leading to a broadening of the outlook of each perspective and of psychology in general. Instead. A psychologist with a cognitive perspective may ask questions on the thought patterns of people with schizophrenia and how they mentally process information and subsequently act on the information. each perspective has informed the others with its theories and ideas. how research is conducted and the type of evidence that is considered important. Rather. they take an eclectic perspective. that when undertaking psychological research. Collectively. the cognitive perspective broadened the outlook of the behavioural perspective by demonstrating the roles of cognitive processes in learning. A psychologist with a biological perspective may ask speci c questions on how genetics or brain function and chemistry could explain the illness. It s like a mix of perspectives made up of what the psychologists believe to be the best of from each perspective and which suits their speci c professional interests and work as a psychologist. This means ch. the different perspectives have contributed to the diversity of contemporary psychology. A psychologist with a behavioural perspective may ask questions on how environmental factors can reinforce symptoms of schizophrenia. feel and behave. C h a p t e r 1 Nature of psychology 35 . The eclectic perspective draws on theories.The socio-cultural perspective has helped ensure verlook that psychologists do not underestimate or overlook nces the importance of social and cultural in uences on s human behaviour and mental processes. consider the mental illness called schizophrenia. which has symptoms such as disorganised thinking. Although each contemporary perspective offers a different approach to understanding and explaining the ways in which we think. the research samples need to be broadly representative of the populations to which the researchers want to apply their ndings. The different contemporary perspectives do not represent psychologists who are in opposing or competing teams . which determines the topics chosen for study. When considering all the perspectives. A psychologist with a socio-cultural perspective may ask questions on speci c life experiences that are more likely to trigger or aggravate the illness. ideas and research methods from different perspectives. bizarre or disturbed thoughts and disorganised behaviour. Nor are there neat boundary lines between each perspective.

then print a copy and include it in your workbook. Psychological research should focus on underlying bodily processes associated with thoughts.learning a ctivity 1. A copy of the photo can be printed from your eBook. feel and behave as they do. Psychological research should focus on how reinforcers and punishers lead people to behave as they do. punishers and mental processes that lead people to think.16 visual presentation explaining aggression through different perspectives The text describes questions that may be asked about schizophrenia by psychologists from each of four contemporary perspectives (p. 4. 5. 1. process and use information. 3. eBook plus Matching exercise on perspectives learnin g activit y 1. Present your answer in point form on a chart or diagram. Give an example of two or more questions from each perspective that may be asked to explain the aggressive behaviour shown in the photo at right. 2.14 review questions Identify the contemporary perspective in psychology associated with each of the following statements about the focus of research. Alternatively. Psychological research should focus on how people. 15 Summarising contemporary perspectives in psychology Complete the following table to summarise four contemporary perspectives in psychology. acquire. Psychological research should focus on social and cultural in uences that lead people to think. feel and behave as they do. 35). feelings and behaviour. Options and variations 36 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology . you may complete the table online in your eBookPLUS. Psychological research should focus on reinforcers. Perspective Biological Behavioural Cognitive Socio-cultural Focus of story Major assumption(s) Method of study Examples of theories learning a ctivity 1.

then ask a number of observers to look at photographs of different males and females. There may be a number of reasons for the inaccuracy of these conclusions. and why in other situations. The source of the information may not be dependable. They might call for volunteers to be participants in their research. the causes of phobias. a psychologist wanted to nd out whether or not it is true that you can t judge a book by its cover (that is. often based on what they ased have heard from others or their personal experience with people who look or act very differently from themselves. Empirical evidence is data (information) collected directly by observation. If the descriptions closely matched the pro les and stood C h a p t e r 1 Nature of psychology 37 . often leads to inaccurate conclusions. to develop our own opinions on such issues as how children think. However. why people use illegal drugs. they would plan and conduct scienti c research to collect empirical evidence in order to test the accuracy of this saying. chemistry and physics. then describe the personality of each person in the photographs. how to improve memory and the capabilities of people with intellectual disabilities. many people do not critically evaluate their beliefs and change them if con icting information is presented.29 Do opposites attract? If these two people formed a relationship. This involves the use of scienti c method to study questions such as why people engage in behaviour that they otherwise would not have performed (such as helping or aggression) in some situations. more frequently in psychology. particularly our observations of the way in which we and others do things. The term scienti c method refers to the systematic approach for planning. you can t judge someone s personality by their looks ). Furthermore. Essentially. In fact. people do not engage in behaviour that they otherwise would have performed (such as helping or aggression). In everyday life we often use commonsense judgements in trying to ying understand behaviour and mental processes. If. for example. why people join cults. conducting and reporting research which involves collecting empirical evidence. research findings suggest that males and females are more likely to choose long-term partners who are similar to themselves and that marriages between similar people are more likely to last. which are more likely to be free from personal biases. Many students are surprised at the results of scienti c research that has found both males and females males are more likely to be drawn to individuals who have similar ar looks and attitudes to their own. commonsense psychology . or. through experimentation. would the relationship be long-lasting? same method used in other sciences. They may then give a valid and reliable personality test to each person from whom a photograph was obtained to generate personality pro les (results of the personality test) which could then be compared with the descriptions provided by the research participants.SCIENTIFIC NATURE URE OF PSYCHOLOGY Is the popular belief that opposites attract a fact or a myth? To answer this question. whereby people collect information about behaviour and mental processes informally or non-scienti cally. many people rely on commonsense. We use our life experiences. research studies have found evidence to suggest that people tend to collect information that supports their beliefs and ignore evidence that suggests that their beliefs may not be true. the scienti c method used by psychologists is the Figure 1. such as biology. the effects of stress on exam performance. Similarly. Psychologists approach the study of behaviour and mental processes in a scienti c way. Collecting data through empirically based research allows psychologists to draw accurate conclusions.

psychologists strictly follow scienti c procedures to help ensure their personal biases do not in uence their interpretation of the research ndings and to help minimise human error. cultural background. the use of scienti c method helps ensure that the data collected are accurate and reliable. 2. Brie y explain why psychology is regarded as a science. !LLæRESEARCHæPARTICIPANTSæINDEPENDENTLYæVIEWæEACHæPHOTOGRAPHæFORææSECONDSæAND RECORDæJUDGEMENTSæABOUTæDIFFERENTæPERSONALITYæTRAITSæTHATæCANæBEæVALIDLYæANDæRELIABLY ASSESSEDæBYæTHEæPERSONALITYæTEST Anal se t e results. thus reinforcing the nding. Alternatively. Like all people. learning activity 1. Thus. Explain the importance of replication in science. scienti c research is not completely free from error. sæ #OMPAREæJUDGEMENTSæBYæTHEæRESEARCHæPARTICIPANTSæWITHæPERSONALITYæPROFILESæOBTAINEDæ æ FROMæTHEæPERSONALITYæTEST sææ5SEæSTATISTICALæTESTSæTOæDETERMINEæTHEæSIGNIFICANCEæOFæTHEæRESULTSæFORæEXAMPLE. if the descriptions differed considerably from the pro les. replication of the study on judging someone s personality from their looks using participants and observers from a different age group. Alternatively. sæ 3AMPLEæOFæDIFFERENTæMALESæANDæFEMALESæTOæBEæPHOTOGRAPHEDæANDæGIVENæAæPERSONALITYæ æ TEST sæ 3AMPLEæOFæRESEARCHæPARTICIPANTSæTOæJUDGEæPERSONALITYæTRAITSæFROMæPHOTOGRAPHSæANDæ æ RECORDæOPINIONS Conduct t e researc to collect empirical evidence.17 review questions 1. sex and so on may provide similar results to the original study. However. In conducting research. Researc question. It is important therefore that the research is repeated to ensure the results are accurate or nd out if they can be applied in other similar situations. psychologists who conduct research can make mistakes. (a) What is empirical evidence? (b) How is empirical evidence obtained? (c) Why do psychologists prefer to use descriptions of behaviour and mental processes that are based on empirical evidence rather than descriptions based on commonsense? 4. the psychologist may conclude that the saying is correct based on the results obtained. For example. and that the conclusions drawn from the data are valid and can therefore be trusted.up to statistical tests for checking the results. #ANæYOUæJUDGEæANæINDIVIDUALSæPERSONALITYæFROMæTHEIRæAPPEARANCE Plan scienti ic researc . (a) De ne the meaning of the term scienti c method. if replication of the study using participants with different backgrounds produces different results from those obtained in the original study. and are therefore reliable and able to be generalised to apply to other people across a range of situations and settings. then the psychologist may conclude that the saying is incorrect based on the results obtained from the research study. Replication involves conducting a study again to establish whether the results obtained can be duplicated. (b) What are two main bene ts of using scienti c method? 3. the conclusion made about looks and personality may need to be re ned so that it is applied only to the actual participants in the study and the larger group from which they were selected.

$OæTHEæRESULTSæOBTAINEDæFROMæTHEæRESEARCHæINDICATEæTHATæRESEARCHæPARTICIPANTSæCOULDæ ACCURATELYæJUDGEæPEOPLESæPERSONALITYæTRAITSæFROMæTHEIRæPHOTOGRAPHS Figure 1. æ WHETHERæTHEæRESULTSæAREæMEANINGFUL Dra a conclusion rom t e results.30 Application of the scienti c method to study a research question of interest 38 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology .

as compared to the ndings obtained from scienti c psychological research. Some of these approaches claim to be scienti c but are not. Consequently. feel or behave. 2. Astrology describes the belief that the movement of the stars and planets in uences our personality. feelings and behaviour. (b) Most people use only about 10% of their brain. (a) A fully quali ed hypnotist can hypnotise anybody. (h) You can t fool a lie detector. graphology and palmistry. (e) Having someone read study material to you while you are asleep results in better recall of the material when you awaken. Graphology involves interpreting handwriting to judge an individual s personality and identify signi cant issues in their lives. SCIENTIFIC VERSUS NONSCIENTIFIC EXPLANATIONS Psychology uses a scienti c approach when conducting research. psychologists and other scientists also hold a view that commonsense. On the basis of commonsense . Psychologists and other scientists generally believe that the methods and results. (c) Out of the billions of people on Earth. pseudoscience means fake or false science. (i) Intelligence is entirely inherited from your biological parents. (f) You can tell quite accurately what emotion a person is experiencing by observing the expression on their face. numerology. Similarly. There are many other ways of explaining human thoughts. they seem to be based on science. (d) People suffering from schizophrenia have two or more distinct personalities. Pseudo is a pre x used to indicate that something is fake or falsely imitates something else. feelings and behaviour. (g) Many people have one psychic ability. Among these non-scienti c explanations are astrology. These kinds of alternative approaches are often called pseudosciences. as well as to predict future events in their lives. Consequently. events in our lives and so on. or determining whether or not something is true. therefore. This enables psychologists to draw valid and reliable conclusions about the behaviour and mental processes they study. decide whether each statement is true or false. Numerology involves examining signi cant numbers in an individual s life (for example. feelings and behaviours (and other events) because the conclusions are based on faulty or insufficient evidence resulting from unsystematic study (if any).18 is commonsense good psychology? 1. Psi abilities are abilities that are said to enable the mind to act in a way that is C h a p t e r 1 Nature of psychology 39 Options and variations . The non-scientist is likely to draw inaccurate conclusions about human thoughts. the claims. Palmistry involves examining the lines on the palm of a person s hand and using these to describe aspects of the person s thoughts. and. behaviour.learning activity 1. moods. Go to page 571 and compare your answers with those that have been obtained through scienti c research. feelings and behaviour that are not based on science. birth date. faith or personal beliefs cannot be used as the sole basis of explaining thoughts. Some have scienti c-sounding names and use very elaborate systems to explain how we think. Psychologists using scienti c research have studied the accuracy of each of the statements below. Write a conclusion about the accuracy of commonsense psychology . These alleged powers are called psi abilities. of pseudoscientists are often inaccurate as they are not based on true science. house address or phone number) to predict future events or describe in uences on an individual s life. there is probably someone else who is exactly like you. Psychics and psi abilities A psychic is someone who claims to have supernatural powers associated with the mind. (j) Absence makes the heart grow fonder.

The three types of ESP are said to be: • telepathy the alleged ability to mentally communicate with another person ( mind to mind ) without using any standard means of communication. It is said that Nostradamus made numerous predictions. Extrasensory perception (ESP) is the alleged ability to perceive events through means other than the known human sensory systems. who is said to have predicted events occurring centuries after his death. such as various natural disasters and the Holocaust (the extermination of Jewish people during WWII) (see box 1. The laws of nature cannot explain these abilities. or telekinesis as it is also called. abilities as a prophet or any other kind of supernatural abilities. hence the term supernatural is used in relation to them. it is uncertain as to whether he was actually medically quali ed.beyond its known capabilities. Much of his adult life was spent as a medical doctor at a time when there were deadly plagues throughout Europe. physical event or object through thought processes alone. bending a spoon.32 Engraving of Nostradamus 40 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology . He is said to have been educated by his grandfather who taught him Latin. Psychokinesis. Figure 1. it would be likely that a few would come true as a result of chance factors alone. of the remaining 500 or so predictions. He is also said to have been a friend and consultant of the French nobility of his time. Nostradamus made more than 1000 predictions in a book he called The Centuries. Many people who support Nostradamus believe that. Greek. Psychologists and other scientists are not convinced that Nostradamus had psychic abilities. He is reported to have married twice and had several children. This is the ability presumed to be possessed by fortune tellers and prophets such as Nostradamus.8 Nostradamus the psychic? Michel de Nostradame. present or future. Some people believe that about half of his predictions have already come true. • clairvoyance the alleged ability to perceive physical objects or events occurring in the past. a girl holidaying in Lorne sees that her boyfriend in Melbourne is going out with another girl. Figure 1. is the alleged ability to in uence or control an external. such as seeing and hearing (hence the term extrasensory. most will happen within the next 20 years. but it is not a form of ESP. mathematics and astrology.31 BOX 1. that is. There is a group of three psi abilities known as extrasensory perception. for example. • precognition the alleged ability to know about events that will occur in the future. mentally transferring thoughts or reading someone s mind . Hebrew. stopping a watch or moving an object across a room through concentration alone. If he had made 1000 predictions.8). at a distance or through physical barriers and without the use of known senses. without touching the object. but it is highly doubtful that many predictions other than the general. for example. was born on 14 December 1503 in France. vague ones have come true . However. commonly known as Nostradamus. Psychokinesis is another commonly described psi ability. which refers to an additional sense ).

general statements. they refer to the technique used by Edward as cold reading. Uri Geller is a self-proclaimed psychic who tours the world performing psi abilities involving phenomena such as spoon-bending. It is claimed that Edward has accomplices who sit in the studio with cameras and microphones turned on to record people naturally discussing what they hope to discover and which dead people they hope to contact. Cold reading is a term used to describe the tactic of reading a person s body language. Despite convincing many people that he has true psychic powers. More speci cally. Then he asks the audience a series of questions. detecting hidden objects and mind-reading. Geller has been exposed by both psychologists and magicians as using deception or illusion throughout his performances. likely alternative explanations have been found. They agree with the view of many sceptics that Edward is basically an expert trickster and manipulator. the magician bends the spoon while it is held with two hands. often because the research method used has so many errors that replication is not worthwhile. then extracting information. A volunteer member of the audience is then asked to hold the other end of the spoon. One of his more popular presentations involves a volunteer from the audience drawing a picture. While the audience is distracted. John Edward Figure 1. magicians explain the secret to bending spoons very simply you do it when nobody is looking. usually relatives. When results that were interpreted by researchers as being due to psychic abilities have been examined closely. psychologists have raised concerns about the research methods used and/or the validity of results. For example. In virtually all cases. For example. 1996). C h a p t e r 1 Nature of psychology 41 . moving pencils on a table without touching them. The magician distracts the audience through a movement such as standing up or sitting down. dressing it up with details and offering it back to the person. convincing them that they have been told things they couldn t possibly have known (Hyman. Many of the studies of ESP and other psychic abilities cannot be replicated. Some appear on television and perform in front of live audiences. I m getting an S or an SA? Does anyone have a Sara who Psychologists have found no evidence to con rm Edward s paranormal ability. starting broken watches.34 Self-proclaimed psychic and medium. Some critics also claim that Edward has organised electronic eavesdropping on his audience before he meets them. Many empirical research studies have been undertaken on ESP and other psychic abilities. even with the same research participants. recently crossed over? Someone from the audience inevitably responds and Edward proceeds to pin down facts from vague hints. Geller is then observed to correctly describe the drawing without opening (or even touching) the envelope. Edward claims to have the paranormal ability of a medium who can connect individuals with spirits of dead people. The bend is then covered with one hand and the other hand is released. waves their free hand above the centre of the spoon and slowly uncovers the bend made previously. the results have typically been far from remarkable. Figure 1. At the start of each show. Most psychologists and other scientists remain unconvinced that any type of psychic ability is possible. When studies with results showing remarkable psychic abilities have been replicated. offering them sweeping. The magician then gradually transfers all the weight of the spoon to the volunteer.33 Self-proclaimed psychic Uri Geller John Edward is another self-proclaimed psychic who regularly appears on television in his internationally syndicated shows called Crossing Over and Cross Country. posing questions in a way that manipulates someone into giving him information. then sealing it in an envelope.There are many examples of psychics throughout history. he stands before a small studio audience and picks up vibes from the spirit of someone on the other side .

STARS with Katinka de Strunker Aquarius (Jan. Statements in horoscopes are usually vague (such as mistakes could cost you time and money . The small percentage found to be correct tend to be very general. even if they don t believe them or take them seriously. The Barnum effect is the tendency to believe that a personality description or a prediction about the future is accurate if it is stated in a vague or very general way. A trip later in the month may see you in contact with family members or friends you haven t seen for some time. There may be an unexpected boost in your income. friend or family member may become more involved as complications arise.35 An example of a horoscope 42 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology . Make sure to leave the communication channels open. you can only discuss plans or argue points so much and if you re patient you should be able to achieve a great deal ) and highly applicable to most people. This will require all of your diplomatic skills. the public s exposure to astrology and astrological predictions has increased and there also appears to be an increase in the number of believers. Figure 1.35. Studies have also found that many astrological descriptions of personality and behaviour tend to be made up of desirable. Psychologists have conducted numerous empirical research studies to test astrology. You may pursue a course of study in a subject you ve always been interested in. with astrological beliefs going back at least 2500 years. named after the American circus showman Phineas T. A new direction at work will bring fresh challenges and excitement. feel and behave on the basis of the positions of the planets and the stars at the time of a person s birth. The determination of the ram will push you through any problems you encounter. 23 Nov. systematic procedures used by psychologists to check astrological predictions have repeatedly found that the predictions are usually wrong. Leo! Beware of impulsive spending. Planning for the future will see your hearts and souls aligned. injecting passion into your relationship. Leo (July 23 Aug. Taurus! Flexibility and openness are needed when problems arise. 20 Feb. Aries (Mar. 18) Plans with a colleague. It uses scienti c-looking astronomical charts and technical terms and is often confused with the real science of astronomy. as unexpected outlays may dent your savings. These scientific studies have repeatedly found that astrology is nonscienti c and lacking in valid evidence to support its claims. Be prepared for challenges. as evident in the statements in gure 1. tarot card readers and the like has been called the Barnum effect. but take care. 21) Your creativeness will be put to good use when you redecorate your home or work space. so be prepared obstructions may come your way. statements such as you will meet someone new in the next 12 months and there will be a political crisis in Australia during this year . whose success and fame was reportedly built around the principle Always have a little something for everybody . as extra funds will be needed towards the end of the year. This will be a passionate time for Sagittarians! Capricorn (Dec. 22) Someone close to you may be going through a rough patch. Working with your mate to achieve a common goal will strengthen your bond. creating a pleasant and happy place to be. uncaring. Capricorn! A romantic interlude with your mate will inject sizzle into your relationship. for example. 20) A relationship may change significantly. Extra commitments may prove more expensive than you initially thought. 19) Mars is yet to transect your sector. causing you to relate differently to that person. These statements describe events that are more likely to happen than not happen under the ordinary circumstances of everyday life. 22) A short trip or visit from a friend or family member will happen in the near future. particularly your partner s! Taurus (Apr. so spend quality time with them. especially when they involve work colleagues or friends. 21 Apr. 22 Jan. Our willingness to accept the descriptions of ourselves made by astrologers. Astrology and its horoscopes currently enjoy wide appeal and many people read their horoscopes. Pisces (Feb. Astrology has been practised in different cultures for many centuries. A friend may need extra attention. but take care not to tread on other people s toes. Cancer (June 21 July 22) Something important is about to happen to you or to a family member. such as you are insensitive. 19 Mar. attering statements. irrespective of their birth sign. so the opportunity to make extra money will be welcome. Singles. palm readers. 23 Oct. 22) Your mate will add sparkle to your relationship with a romantic interlude or surprise. A statement of confidence that will come through a work colleague or reference will thrill you. Barnum (1810 91). 22 Dec. Furthermore. Libra (Sept. In more recent times. 23 Sept. Be open with your partner to encourage good communication. unfriendly and hard to get along with . 20 May 20) Beware your bullheadedness.astrology Astrology is a system for explaining and predicting how we think. Music may also feature this month. particularly given the regular inclusion of horoscopes in the media. Virgo (Aug. Scorpio (Oct. 21) The budget may be strained by recent large outlays. a sudden call or invitation to a fun social outing may have happy results when a charming new person enters your life. 19) Passion is in the air for you. Sagittarius (Nov. Gemini (May 21 June 20) Unexpected complications on the home or work front require ingenuity and discretion. This increases the tendency to accept the description because people are less likely to accept negative and undesirable statements about themselves.

4. . the star signs chart (table 1. you will need the list of astrological birth sign personality trait descriptors (table 1. you should consider the procedures used for the experiment and the results that may be obtained. Although you have some personality weaknesses.3) and the rating scales for zodiac descriptors (table 1. testable.2 Astrological birth sign personality trait descriptors Star sign . . . You pride yourself on being an independent thinker.4). . you are generally able to compensate for them. 3. . 7. Customisable versions of the research materials can be download from your eBook. You have a tendency to be critical of yourself. (continued) C h a p t e r 1 Nature of psychology 43 . . table 1. . precise. You will be required to present a personality description to someone who is led to believe that the description provided to them is based on their star sign. You should also construct a research hypothesis for the activity. You prefer a certain amount of change and variety in your life and become dissatisfied when hemmed in by restrictions and limitations. concrete. To complete the activity. 6. 2. . . . . The use of deception is an ethical issue that needs to be considered prior to undertaking the activity (see page 84). The person (or participant) will be required to rate (score) how accurately the astrological description matches their view of their own personality. . . . .2). . . . .BOX 1. measurable terms challenges existing beliefs does not fully accept a conclusion unless there is supportive empirical evidence looks for and considers evidence that contradicts own findings or beliefs does not withhold information that does not support the claims made seeks criticism from others with expertise in the area avoids emotional reasoning and relies on logic Scientist ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ Nonscientist ✗ ✗ ✗ ✗ ✗ ✗ ✗ ✗ ✗ ✗ ✗ ✗ ✗ ✗ learnin g activit y 1. . . 1. When doing so. The activity involves deception because the participant needs to be misinformed about the information they receive so that they believe that the information is speci cally relevant to them. Dates . 8. . . 5. The description provided is actually a general description that is not related to any particular star sign. You have a great deal of unused ability that you have not used to your advantage. . Some of your goals in life tend to be quite unrealistic. . 19 Practical activity evaluating astrological descriptions of personality This practical activity enables you to explore people s belief in personality descriptions based on astrological star signs. You have found it unwise to be too frank in revealing yourself to others. . how they were tested and what the results were replicates studies to test results or apply results to different situations identifies and defines what is being studied in clear. At times you have serious doubts as to whether you have made the right decision or done the right thing.9 Scientists versus non-scientists: some key differences Approach and method develops hypotheses ( predictions ) that can be tested through empirical research uses research procedures to minimise the influence of personal biases relies on systematic data collection assesses claims on the basis of supporting evidence or reasons openly considers other interpretations of results obtained reports to others how ideas were obtained.

22 Nov. Very accurate Instructions 1. ask the participant to rate each descriptor individually. The research hypothesis 3.2) which correspond to this date. Explain that astrologers believe that every person is in uenced by a particular star sign. you should ll in separate zodiac star signs and corresponding dates for each one in the space provided at the top. depending on the person s birth date. 21 Mar. ask for their birth date. Tell the participant that your class is investigating how accurately astrology can describe an individual s personality. Give the participant a copy of table 1.4. Combine your data with those collected by other students.table 1. 23 Aug. Very inaccurate 2. 22 Dec. Very inaccurate 2.3).4 Rating scales for zodiac descriptors Overall rating (circle the most appropriate description) The description given was 1. Other relevant information that may be requested by your teacher. 20 Apr. If the 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 participant is unsure. 19 Apr. 23 Sept. Sign Aquarius Pisces Aries Taurus Gemini Cancer Leo Virgo Libra Scorpio Sagittarius Capricorn Symbol The water bearer Fish The ram The bull The twins The crab The lion The virgin The scales The scorpion The archer The goat table 1. 20 May 21 May 20 June 21 June 22 July 23 July 22 Aug. Mildly inaccurate 3. then nd the birth sign descriptors (table 1. (d) What explanation can you give for the results for this investigation? (e) What conclusion(s) can you draw about the accuracy of astrological signs as indicators of personality characteristics? (f) Describe one major limitation of the procedures used for this investigation. 4. Marrickville. (1991). Prepare 12 copies of the astrological birth sign personality trait descriptors (table 1. (It is important that the person believes that the descriptors relate only to their particular star sign. Mildly inaccurate 3. and Lawrie. 22 Oct.2). (c) Record the ratings of individual descriptors in the appropriate section of table 1. as stated in the top half of table 1. Neither accurate nor inaccurate 4.) 2. A. 3. Psychology: Experiments and Activities. for example. P. Your report should include the following. Obtain the consent of a volunteer willing to participate in this research activity. 18 Feb. Ask the participant for their star sign. This is done by circling a description ranging from very inaccurate to very accurate. Do not let the participant see that all the birth sign descriptors are identical. 20 Mar. Answers to the following questions: (a) Which speci c descriptors were judged by most participants as most accurate? (b) What percentage of participants identi ed that the overall rating was either very accurate or fairly accurate? (c) Did most participants believe the speci c descriptors were accurate? Explain with reference to the data collected. Fairly accurate 5. Report Prepare a brief report on the research activity to include in your folio of practical activities. (Adapted from Grivas. 1. NSW: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. A potential extraneous variable(s) that may be relevant 6. A summary of the class results using appropriate descriptive statistics 4. Neither accurate nor inaccurate 4. J. identify their star sign (table 1. (b) Next. Very accurate Descriptors Rating for each descriptor 1.3 Star signs chart Dates 20 Jan. Although all copies of the descriptors are identical. 21 Nov. 21 Dec. an extraneous variable that may have affected results in an unwanted way. 22 Sept. A statement of the aim of this experiment 2. 19 Feb.4. 23 Oct.4 and a copy of the personality descriptors that correspond to their astrological star sign.) Options and variations 44 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology . 5. Fairly accurate 5. (a) Ask the participant to read the eight items in the list and then to rate the accuracy of the descriptors overall. Calculate the mean (average) ratings for the overall description as well as for each individual descriptor. 19 Jan.

trU e/FalS e Q UiZ Indicate whether each item is true or false by writing T or F in the blank space next to each item. John B. _____ 6. _____ 3. William Wundt established the rst psychology laboratory in 1879. _____ 9. _____ 7. 1. Skinner developed his theories primarily through experiments with animals. _____ 4. The term perspective is used in psychology to refer to philosophy. _____ Psychology involves the study of behaviour as well as mental processes. Psychoanalysis focuses on the role of conscious experiences in understanding and explaining behaviour and mental processes. _____ The answers to the true/false questions are in the answer section at the back of this book and in eBookPLUS. C h a p t e r 1 Nature of psychology 45 . _____ 8. the equivalent of ve years of full-time study and training is required to become registered as a psychologist in Victoria. Watson became prominent in psychology through his research on the function of consciousness. _____ 10. In all. _____ 5. Humanistic psychologists emphasise the uniqueness of individuals. 2. The contemporary behavioural perspective has a broader view of observable behaviour that includes consideration of the mental processes in learning. Clinical psychologists are permitted to prescribe medications.

A major difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist is that A. there are fewer areas of specialisation in psychology than there are in psychiatry. data collected through the commonsense approach. B. B. No marks will be given if more than one answer is completed for any question. a psychiatrist is allowed to perform medical procedures. 46 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology 6. 1. Clinical neuropsychologist B. Burrhus Skinner C. such as being excused from tests? D. Do anxious people often think about the future in distorted ways? C. the data to be collected can be both directly and indirectly observed. C. Replication helps ensure that A. behavioural C. Behavioural perspective C. William James B. data collected directly by observation or through experimentation. Which of the following psychologists would specialise in the treatment of problems arising from brain damage? A. Which psychologist established the rst psychological research laboratory? A. Anxiety may be described as a condition in which a person feels worried or uneasy that something is wrong or something bad is about to happen. Who led a move in psychology away from the study of consciousness to the study of observable behaviour? A. Cognitive psychologist 5. similar situations. Does Australia s emphasis on achievement and success promote anxiety? B. evidence with which all psychologists will agree. pseudoscienti c. Health psychologist C. personal mental experiences that can be directly observed by someone else. D. Wilhelm Wundt 10. Marks will not be deducted for incorrect answers. 4. Watson D. Mental processes are best described as A. A correct answer scores 1. likely to be specialising in A. Watson D. Which contemporary perspective in psychology focuses on the role of learning processes? A. D. Carl Rogers C. relied upon in non-scienti c explanations of behaviour. clinical D. Cognitive perspective 8. C. personal mental experiences that cannot be directly observed by someone else. the results of research can be tested for accuracy or relevance to other. a psychologist is allowed to perform medical procedures. D. 9. biological B. William James B. Sigmund Freud 3. John B. whereas a psychologist is not. cognitive 2. human or animal experiences. The psychologist is most psychology. the data to be collected can be directly observed. B. C. the results of research are free from errors. a psychologist is allowed to prescribe certain types of drugs only. B. D. Empirical evidence is A. What unconscious con icts and motives produce anxiety? 7. Clinical psychologist D. whereas a psychiatrist can prescribe all types of drugs. John B. Do anxiety symptoms result in hidden rewards.C H A PT E R TES T SectiOn a Multiple-choice questions Choose the response that is correct or that best answers the question. an incorrect answer scores 0. Socio-cultural perspective D. C. Biological perspective B. whereas a psychiatrist is not. . Which of the following questions about anxiety is most likely to be asked by a socio-cultural psychologist? A. A psychologist explains thinking in terms of information processing.

He wants to ensure he has a well-balanced life and makes the right kind of personal adjustments in his life after football. scienti c explanations of behaviour and mental processes are always accurate. whereas non-scienti c explanations are not. Organisational psychology C. Behaviour is everything a living organism does or thinks about doing. C h a p t e r 1 Nature of psychology 47 . Which of the following statements best describes behaviour? A. Health psychology 15. Which of the following statements best describes Descartes philosophical explanation of the mind body problem? A. D. An AFL footballer realises that he could get seriously injured and no longer be able to play or earn an income from football. community psychologist. Behaviour involves thoughts and feelings but not actions. B. whereas non-scienti c explanations are always inaccurate. 13. thoughts and feelings. D. C. B. The mind causes problems with the body and the body causes problems with the mind. health psychologist. D. 12. sport psychologist. Behaviour is any action made by a living organism. C. The AFL footballer is best advised to consult a A. D. non-scienti c explanations of behaviour and mental processes always take longer to gain acceptance among the general public. scienti c explanations of behaviour and mental processes are based on the results of systematic research studies that can be replicated. The player decides to plan for the future. C. The mind and body are in constant harmony unless they interact through the brain. Clinical psychology D. Behaviour involves actions. The mind and body are different and constantly battle for dominance. B. Which specialist area in psychology explains behaviour and mental processes in terms of underlying physiological systems and activities? A. social psychologist. A major difference between scienti c and nonscienti c explanations of behaviour and mental processes is that A. scienti c explanations of behaviour and mental processes do not involve the use of any commonsense. The mind and body are different but interact through the brain. B.11. C. Biological psychology B. 14.

Note that you can complete Section A of the chapter test online through eBookPLUS and get automatic feedback. 1 mark Question 3 Describe two major developments in psychology that have contributed to our understanding of how biological processes in uence behaviour and mental processes. 3 marks eBook plus The answers to the multiple-choice questions are in the answer section at the back of this book and in eBookPLUS. 2 marks Question 4 Describe three characteristics that distinguish psychology as a science. 3 marks Question 5 Explain with reference to an example how behaviour and mental processes can in uence each other. 48 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology . a minimum of years of approved full-time (or equivalent) years of study in psychology is required. Brie y explain the meaning of the phrase perspective in psychology . The answers to the short-answer questions are in eBookPLUS.SectiOn B Question 1 Short-answer questions Answer all questions in the spaces provided. 1 mark Question 2 In order to be registered as a psychologist. A quali ed psychiatrist must complete a minimum of approved full-time (or equivalent) study in medical and psychiatric training.

........................................................... 51 Step 3: designing the method ................. 81 Roles and responsibilities of the experimenter .. 53 Step 6: interpreting the data ...................... 52 Step 4: collecting the data .................. 57 Experimental and control groups ............ 55 Experimental research .................... 76 Pie charts ........................................................................... 50 Step 1: identi cation of the research problem ...... 74 Tables ......................... 75 Graphs ...... 58 Sampling procedures .......................................................................................................................................................... 65 Case studies . 56 Extraneous variables ..... 72 Quantitative data ........................................................................................ 84 Use of animals in psychological research ........................ 78 Ethics and professional conduct in psychological research .............................. 85 ....................................................... 74 Percentages ..............CHAPTER 2 RESEARCH METHODS 1 Steps in psychological research ...................................... 82 Professional conduct ....................................... 60 Descriptive research ...................... 82 Participants rights ............................................................... 53 Step 7: reporting the research ndings .......................................... 50 Step 2: construction of a hypothesis ....................................................................................................................... 71 Qualitative data ............. 73 Making sense of data ..................... 72 Qualitative and quantitative descriptive research ........ 53 Research methods .... 52 Step 5: analysing the data ......... 56 Independent and dependent variables ............................................................ 65 Observational studies .............................. 67 Qualitative and quantitative data ................

USA. loneliness and depression. Vol. To investigate this topic. 50 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology Step 7: reporting the research findings Research published in American Psychologist (September 1998). He wanted to know whether use of the internet was bene cial to people by improving their psychological wellbeing. 53(9). the participants reported a decrease in both the number of social activities in which they were involved and in the amount of social support they felt.1 Flow chart of steps in psychological research using a scienti c method . Step 6: interpreting the data The results support the hypothesis. similar data are likely to be obtained if the research study is repeated). as internet use increased. Kraut was aware that internet technology has allowed people to keep in closer touch with distant family members and friends. nd information quickly and to develop friendships with others from all over the world. American psychologist Robert Kraut and his research colleagues (1998) used a scienti c method to study the effects of using the internet on psychological wellbeing. resulting in feelings of isolation. there was a decrease in the amount of social support felt by participants and the number of social activities they were involved in. for example. both at the beginning of the research. justi ed by the data) and reliable (that is. Develop a way of accurately measuring time spent on the internet and obtain or construct valid and reliable rating scales to measure each participants estimation of their social activity and emotional wellbeing. then again after one or two years. Step 4: collecting the data Data on internet use and each participant s ratings of their social activity and emotional wellbeing were collected from 169 people in 93 households in Pittsburgh. a computer can t give you a hug or laugh at your jokes . They also asked each participant to rate their level of social activity and emotional wellbeing on a rating scale. They also reported feeling more depressed and lonely. Participants also reported feeling more depressed and lonely.1. Using a scienti c method helps ensure that data (information) are collected and analysed in an appropriate way. Step 3: designing the method Decide who the research participants will be. The results of this research indicated that. It also helps ensure that the conclusions drawn from the data are valid (that is. Time spent on the internet may replace important day-to-day human contact. Scienti c method is a series of systematic and orderly steps which researchers use to plan. Why would spending time on the internet affect people s emotional wellbeing? According to Kraut. For example. using an electronic recording device. As shown in figure 2. one possible reason is that time spent on the internet replaces important day-to-day human con tact. conduct and report research. the number to be used and how they will be selected.STEPS IN PSYCHOLOGICAL RESEARCH Much of what psychologists know about behaviour and mental processes comes from psychological research that has been conducted using a scienti c method. Kraut s research team studied 169 people from 93 households over a two-year period. 53 9 Figure 2. a researcher might be interested in ways of reducing the number of accidents caused by red P-plate drivers. Step 1: identification of the research problem The rst step in conducting psychological research using the scienti c method is to identify the problem or topic of interest to be researched. Step 5: analysing the data As internet use increased. Step 1: identification of the research problem Does use of the internet benefit people by improving their psychological wellbeing? Step 2: construction of a hypothesis Increase in internet use (as measured by a recording device) decreases social activity and emotional wellbeing (as measured by self-report rating scales). They measured the time spent by each person on the internet. over a two-year period.

Look for a position on the road that ensures other drivers can see you. Look at the total driving picture (don t focus your eyes on one area of the road). A research arch hypothesis is a testable prediction of the relationship between two or more events or characteristics. This is why it is referred to as an educated guess. such as Does training red P-plate drivers with the Smith System help to reduce the number of accidents they cause? 1. For example. 5. they may conduct what is known as a literature search to look for published research reports that have already been conducted on this topic. A research hypothesis usually has the following characteristics: • it is prepared as a carefully worded written statement (rather than a question) • it is expressed clearly and precisely (rather than vaguely and generally) • it is written as a single sentence • it is stated in a way that can be tested (it matches and re ects the procedure used to conduct the research study for which it has been prepared).2 The Smith System involves ve rules to identify what is important when driving.To do this. 3. The hypothesis is essentially an educated or thoughtful guess about what the results of the research will be. It also enables them to re ne their ideas and propose a relevant research question that can be tested. C h a p t e r 2 Research methods 1 51 . they may consider research that has been conducted on defensive driving programs such as the Smith System. 2. Aim your vision high (to steer accurately and anticipate problems). Figure 2. • Aim your vision high (to steer accurately and anticipate problems) • Keep your eyes moving (avoid staring and stay alert) • Look at the total driving picture (don t focus your eyes on one area of the road) • Look for and leave yourself a way out • Look for a position on the road that ensures other drivers can see you. 4. The Smith System involves ve rules to train the eyes to identify what is important when driving. The hypothesis is constructed prior to actually conducting the research study and provides a focus for the research. Conducting a literature search enables the researcher to become more familiar with their topic of research interest. It is usually based on knowledge of other research ndings or theories on the topic being studied. for example. a prediction about the relationship between red P-plate driver training with the Smith System (one event) and the number of accidents when driving (another event). Look for and leave yourself a way out . Keep your eyes moving (avoid staring and stay alert). Step 2: construction of a hypothesis The second step in psychological research is to construct a hypothesis for the research.

physiological ( bodily ) recordings and examination of archival les ( records ) to obtain their information. The data collection technique(s) used depends on the research question under investigation. standardised tests.For example. Step 4: collecting the data The fourth step in psychological research is to collect the required data. to obtain information based on their experience as to which of the two methods resulted in better driving skills. it refers to the research procedure or speci c method that will be used to collect data. Another option would be to conduct an experiment and interview the research participants. In some studies it is appropriate to use a combination of research methods. Step 3: designing the method The third step in psychological research is to determine how the hypothesis is best tested. Victoria as participants in the study. Half the participants would receive a defensive driving training session(s) using the Smith System method and the other half would not. and researchers conducting surveys observe the written or verbal responses of their participants. whereas if a survey were used. At this stage of the research. coded or summarised in a meaningful way. rating scales. Psychologists use a variety of data collection techniques. how many participants there will be. to different groups that may be used in the study. This hypothesis is a speci c prediction based on theory and previous research ndings. interviewers observe the spoken responses of their participants.3 Research hypothesis: red P-plate drivers who receive defensive driving training willl make fewer driving errors than red P-plate drivers who have not received defensive driving training. Alternatively. interviews. These are summarised in table 2. and is stated in a way that can be tested. the data are referred to as raw data because they have not been processed. although this is also considered when the hypothesis is being constructed. the researchers may decide to conduct a survey whereby they give a questionnaire to a number of driving instructors who have taught young people. In the driving study. if an experiment was conducted. observational studies. experimenters observe the responses of their participants. the psychologist may decide to conduct an experiment using a number of male and female red P-plate drivers with a similar amount of driving experience and from a range of areas across 52 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology Fig 2. There are advantages and disadvantages of each type of research method and some methods are more suited to particular research questions or hypotheses than others. questionnaires. how they will be selected and how they will be allocated. in a single sentence. the researcher must decide which participants will be studied. Generally. . When designing the research method. or assigned. It also has all of the other characteristics described. including participant and non-participant observation. all psychological research methods involve observation of responses. the data collection technique would be through a questionnaire and/or an interview with the instructor. It is written as a clear and precise statement. psychologists also need to determine the procedures that will be used to collect the data. There are a number of different research methods available from which researchers can choose. Participants are the people who take part in the research. the data collection technique would be direct observation. In the driving study. Based on their plans. These include experiments. with and without using the Smith System. longitudinal studies. The responses of the participants form the data (results) for the research. a hypothesis for the research problem on driving could be red P-plate drivers who receive defensive driving training will make fewer driving errors (as measured by a practical driving test in a driving simulator) than red P-plate drivers who have not received defensive driving training (as measured by the same driving test) . When designing the research method. researchers organise the participants to be involved in the research and conduct their study. For example. cross-sectional studies and correlational studies. that is. surveys. case studies.1. Furthermore. The research method used will depend on the speci c topic and hypothesis of research interest. one-toone or group interviews. There are a number of different procedures to collect data.

External validity means that the conclusion(s) made from the research can be generalised to the population from which the sample in the study was drawn. may sometimes be conducted over the telephone or via the internet Using a scientifically developed test to assess characteristics such as personality. rather than all red P-plate drivers.Table 2. study. a PET scanner or electrodes for brain activity. then the researcher would interpret the results as providing support for the hypothesis. One type of conclusion that is drawn relates directly to the hypothesis used in the research. the results for the experiment indicated that the red P-plate drivers who were trained with the Smith System made signi cantly fewer errors than the drivers who did not receive the training. the red P-plate drivers in the study) can be extended to apply to the entire group of red P-plate drivers. the researcher may also tentatively (cautiously) conclude that the nding may be generalisable to all red P-plate drivers. then the research study is said to have external validity. If the ndings can in fact be generalised more widely. opinions. for example. 315). Statistical testing involving mathematical procedures is used by the researcher to help them decide what the results collected from their research mean. educational and census records Questionnaire Interview Psychological test Recording physiological responses Examining archival files Step 5: analysing the data Once the data have been collected. to green P-plate drivers or even all drivers. intelligence and other mental abilities Using an instrument to detect. The focus of this conclusion is on whether or not the results support the hypothesis (rather than prove or disprove it). ECG for heart rate Examining files kept by an organisation (archives) such as medical. presenting raw data summarised into a table or graph) or even a single number or two (e. a mean (average) or a percentage). Step 6: interpreting the data Once the data have been analysed. beliefs and aspects of behaviour Usually a face-to-face meeting to obtain information about a participant s thoughts. On the basis of this conclusion. A conclusion is a judgement about what the results of a research study mean. They allow the researcher to know what conclusion(s) can legitimately be drawn from the results and what generalisations can legitimately be made about the results obtained (research ndings). The researcher is then able to determine whether the hypothesis is supported or rejected on the basis of the results obtained. A generalisation is another type of conclusion.1 Data collection techniques commonly used in psychological research Technique Direct observation Behaviour Watching and recording behaviour as it happens. organise and represent the raw data in a logical way to help determine whether the hypothesis is supported or not supported. if. With reference to the driving study. Instead.. following statistical testing. This usually involves breaking down a large set of numbers into smaller sets (for example. A generalisation is a judgement about how widely the findings of a research study can be applied. feelings or behaviour. for example. monitor and record a specific physiological (bodily) response of a participant. 10 male and 10 female red P-plate drivers aged between 18 21 years. This includes drawing a conclusion from the results obtained in the research Step 7: reporting the research findings The final step of psychological research involves reporting the research ndings to others who may be interested in the research. p. a checklist may be used to record and count the number of times specific behaviours occur or recording devices such as videos and cassette tapes may be used Using a set of written questions to obtain information from participants about thoughts. researchers prepare a report that is presented to other psychologists at C h a p t e r 2 Research methods 1 53 . the data are analysed and summarised in an appropriate way. attitudes. Raw data are rarely included in psychological research reports. feelings. They would conclude that using the Smith System to teach defensive driving techniques to drivers reduces the likelihood of red P-plate drivers having an accident.g. A researcher usually studies a relatively small number of participants who are selected from the bigger group of interest. Typically. Of particular interest to the researcher when considering a generalisation is whether the ndings obtained from a limited number of cases (that is. the next step in psychological research is to summarise. the data need to be interpreted and explained. External validity is discussed in more detail in Unit 2 (see chapter 7.

to check the accuracy of the ndings and to consider alternative conclusions that may be valid. the background information of the research. (a) Explain the meaning of the term conclusion in relation to an empirical research study. It also enables the general public to bene t from the ndings of research.a conference and/or submitted to a professional journal for publication. researchers and even the general public. Ensure your hypotheses have all the characteristics referred to in the text. Reporting the research and its ndings is a very important part of the research process. Importantly.4 Two of the journals in which psychologists publish their research reports learning acTiviTy 2. Does the number of passengers in a car driven by a red or green P-plate driver affect the way in which the P-plater drives? 4. (b) When is the research hypothesis constructed? (c) List six characteristics of a well-constructed research hypothesis. It is the way other researchers nd out about research which has been conducted and the way scienti c progress is achieved. 1.2 constructing research hypotheses Consider the following list of research topics. for example. The reports prepared by psychologists for publication in a journal follow a strict format. Does exercise reduce stress? Choose two topics and construct a research hypothesis for each one. any relevant problems encountered in conducting the study which may have affected the ndings. A journal is a publication that contains reports of research. (d) Explain two possible limitations of the following question if it were to be used as a research hypothesis: Does excessive use of a mobile phone by teenagers cause sleep loss? (e) Rewrite the question above as a testable hypothesis. How does the amount of sleep before an exam affect exam performance? 3. 2. and a list of references used in preparing for the study and writing the report. the way in which the research study was conducted. in detail. the ndings (results and conclusions) of the study. What are raw data in research? 4. Does use of good study techniques bring about an improvement in grades? 2. how the ndings can be interpreted and applied. Options and variations 54 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology . (b) What is the rst type of conclusion the researcher will seek to make? 6. What are two potential bene ts of publishing a research report in a psychology journal? Figure 2. What does data analysis involve? 5.1 review questions 1. reporting research in an appropriate way enables replication by other researchers. (a) De ne the meaning of the term hypothesis when used in a research study. The report describes. learning a cTiviTy 2. What does design the method mean? 3. (a) Explain the meaning of the phrase generalising from the research ndings . (b) What does external validity mean in relation to a research study? 7. Reporting on research places the speci c study and its research procedures under the critical eye of other psychologists.

5 A motor mechanic selects the best tools to solve a mechanical problem. The questions may be asked using a questionnaire for which participants respond to a written set of questions. Are physically attractive people more popular? 2. Are males more likely to help a female or a male in need of assistance? 4. the various research methods have many features in common. feelings or behaviour. The choice of research methods made by the researcher depends on which method is most appropriate for the speci c topic of research interest.learnin g acTiviT y 2. A research method is a particular way of conducting a research study or investigation to collect data. In some cases it may be appropriate to use a combination of research methods to investigate and collect data. For example. Figure 2. Their selection of tools will depend on the speci c engine problem in need of repair. For example. the most appropriate way of collecting data may be to ask participants about their thoughts. For some research topics. Undertaking experimental research enables the researcher to test for a cause effect relationship. How well do newborn infants see? Options and variations RESEARCH METHODS Psychologists can choose from a range of different research methods to scienti cally collect data on a topic of research interest. Each tool will have a speci c use and way of being used.1. a researcher may conduct an experiment to nd out whether learning a list of previously unseen words by repeating the words and their de nitions aloud three times improves performance on a test of those words. each research method has a particular logic underlying its use and how it is used. You may create ctitious results to assist your explanation. an experiment and a survey are different research methods. How in uential is a friendship group in the behaviour of adolescents? 7. However. One common feature is they all use scienti c principles ( rules ) and procedures. 3 visual presentation steps in psychological research Select one of the following research questions and outline the steps that could be used to conduct psychological research on the topic in a scienti c way. or by interviewing participants and recording their verbal answers in writing or electronically. Does hairstyle affect success in a job interview? 3. for example. such as that in gure 2. a researcher conducting an experiment on different learning techniques used by students when studying for an exam may also conduct a survey to nd out what motivates students to study. a survey would be used to ask a large number of participants questions about their attitudes towards school and the reasons for their attendance and absences. just as the researcher chooses the best research method(s) to solve a research problem. despite their different approaches. Does the presence of other people affect how well someone performs a task for the rst time? 6. whether repeating previously unseen words and their de nitions aloud three times (rote learning) or learning the words and their de nitions by writing them down three times (meaningful learning) causes the most improvement on a test of these words. Another feature is their use of a sample of participants who provide data for the research. This is not unlike the choice made by a motor mechanic when selecting tools to repair a car engine. Does level of stress affect performance on an exam? 5. C h a p t e r 2 Research methods 1 55 . For example. the researcher manipulates and controls a research participant s experiences in some way to measure whether this causes a particular predetermined response from the participant. In an experiment. compared with learning the words and their de nitions by writing them down three times. For example. Similarly. These are just some of the many research methods available to psychologists. This is when a survey may be used. Present your research proposal as a ow chart. Research questions 1.

in psychological research they are still considered to be variables. that is. EXPERIMENTAL RESEARCH One of the most scienti cally demanding and controlled research methods in psychology is the experiment. the IV would be the anger management technique. in order to test the effect(s) of the technique on the incidence or extent of road rage-related behaviour. However. Essentially. for example. However. All experiments. blood type and ethnic background do not change. The experimenter would have control over which participants would learn the anger management technique and which participants would not. in uences or causes a change in another variable (or thing ). have a number of common features. There are different ways of designing an experiment and some experiments have a simpler or more complex design than others. An experiment is used to test whether one variable (or thing ). for example. the IV is said to be the cause of any changes that may result in the other variable of research interest. For example.The different research methods that may be used by psychologists are often classi ed into different categories based on whether or not they involve experimentation and/or the type of data that are collected. Two categories of research methods are experimental research and descriptive research. the two variables being tested would be the anger management technique and the incidence of road rage. independent and dependent variables In a research study. The variable that is manipulated or changed is called the independent variable (IV). It is called an independent variable because the experimenter can independently vary it in some way. however. an experiment enables the researcher to investigate and nd out the causes of things. Does anger management technique reduce the incidence of road rage in people previously convicted of road rage? IV (what is manipulated) Group 1 Learn anger management technique Group 2 Do not learn anger management technique DV (what is measured) Incidence of road rage Figure 2. if talking on a hand-held mobile phone while driving actually causes drivers to react more slowly (and therefore increases the likelihood of an accident). In terms of cause and effect. in the road rage experiment. Although characteristics of a person such as biological sex. one variable is manipulated or changed by the experimenter to observe whether it affects another variable and what those effects are. If the research study involved testing whether a particular anger management technique reduced the incidence of road rage in people who had previously been convicted of road rage. whether talking on a hand-held mobile phone while driving (one variable) in uences or causes a change in driver reaction time (another variable). and why the experiment can be used to investigate causes of behaviour and links between behaviour and mental processes. the dependent variable. rather than by manipulating and controlling participants experiences in one or more ways. A third category called correlational research is considered in Unit 2. a variable is something that can vary (change) in amount or kind over time. the speci c designs differ in terms of their complexity and how they are actually conducted. the anger management technique and the incidence of road rage are two different types of variables called independent variables and dependent variables.6 Distinguishing between the IV and DV in experimental research investigating a way to reduce the incidence of road rage 56 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology eLesson Experimental research . Descriptive research includes all the research methods that focus on studying aspects of behaviour and mental processes as they occur in a given time and place. Experimental research includes all the different types of experimental research designs. Each type of experimental design involves the manipulation and control of research participants experiences. We consider the basic characteristics of the psychological experiment independent variable In an experiment.

In a eld setting. extraneous variables In an experiment to test whether sleep deprivation causes headaches. It is called the dependent variable because whether or not it changes and the way in which it changes depends on the effects of the independent variable.1 Experimental settings Experiments can be conducted under strictly controlled laboratory conditions in a laboratory setting (called a laboratory experiment ) or outside the laboratory in a eld setting (called a eld experiment ). Thiinking positively when goal shooting improves accuracy in a match. the DV is the effect(s) caused by manipulation of or exposure to the IV. the conditions of the experiment are usually less strictly controlled. C h a p t e r 2 Research methods 1 57 . Too much stress causes stomach ulcers. Daydreaming occurs more often when a person is engaged in a simple task than when they are performing a complex task. Table 2. but it has the advantage of being able to make observations of participants behaviour in a real-world environment where their behaviour occurs more naturally. 3. Brain wave activity changes during sleep. 4 identifying independent and dependent variables Identify the independent variable (IV) and dependent variables (DV) in each of the following examples.2. 10. 7. In the road rage example. Marijuana use impairs performance on a memory task.7 (b) A field setting where behaviour is observed in the realworld situation of a singles bar.Dependent variable The variable that is used to observe and measure the effects of the IV is called the dependent variable (DV). Listening to a radio broadcast of a sports event while studying for a test decreases performance on the test. (a) A laboratory setting where behaviour is observed in a controlled situation established by the researcher Figure 2. the IV. 6. 4 People will behave differently in a crowd from the way they behave when alone. 5. The results of this research are described in table 2. In terms of a cause effect relationship. Reaction time to a visual stimulus is quicker than reaction time to a sound stimulus. the IV is the amount of sleep obtained and the DV is the frequency of headaches reported. 8. but where less control of conditions is possible learnin g acTiviT y 2. the DV is the measured change in the amount of road rage behaviour displayed by participants as a result of using or not using the anger management technique. Smoking cigarettes while driving a car increases driver alertness. 2. The dependent variable is often the response(s) made by a participant(s) in an experiment and it usually has a numerical value. 9. Drinking red cordial increases hyperactivity in children.2 Frequency of headaches reported and amount of sleep Frequency of headaches reported Hours of sleep ≥8 7 ≤6 Never 40 38 15 Sometimes 18 20 35 Often 2 6 7 BOX 2. 1.

the IV is present. as many of these unwanted or extraneous variables as possible. At other times. A second group of participants. Experimenters try to predict what these might be prior to conducting their experiment. motivation. However. the extraneous variables that may have resulted in headaches developing or not developing could include the amount of stress in the person s life. In this experiment. they can make it dif cult to conclude with con dence that changes which have occurred in the DV have resulted because of the IV and not because of some other variable. In an experiment. that is. individual differences in personal characteristics among research participants such as age. chapter 7.5 review questions 1. consider an experiment to investigate whether alcohol consumption affects driving precision. social skills. Thus. Often. If the driving performance of the experimental group is signi cantly worse than the driving performance of the control group. identify the (a) IV. the greater likelihood of experiencing a headache may not have been a result of insuf cient sleep if one or more extraneous variables were present. mood and so on) and experimenter variables. The control group provides a standard of comparison against which the experimenter can compare the performance of the experimental group in order to determine whether the independent variable has affected the dependent variable. When one or more extraneous variables are present in an experiment. expectations. potential extraneous variables can be identi ed prior to the research. then design the experiment to control. called the control group. or minimise the in uence of. In the sleep study described previously. an extraneous variable is a variable other than the IV that can cause a change in the DV. intelligence. the IV which the experimenter will manipulate is the amount of alcohol consumed by research participants and the DV which will be measured is driving precision. the experimenter may conclude . is exposed to the control condition. ill ness (for example. Extraneous variables may include participant variables (that is. they become apparent as the experiment progresses and. or the use of particular medication. For example. called the experimental group. or participants who had six or less hours of sleep were also experiencing considerable stress in their lives? There are many variables other than the IV that might in uence the DV in an experiment. mood. in some instances. or participants had different de nitions of what a headache is. (a) What is an extraneous variable? (b) Why do researchers minimise or control the potential effects of extraneous variables? (c) When is it best to identify potential extraneous variables? Explain your answer. The experimental group would be tested on their driving skills in a driving simulator after having consumed alcoholic drinks (the experimental condition) and the control group would be tested on their driving ability in the driving simulator after having consumed non-alcoholic drinks (the control condition). Extraneous variables are considered in more detail in Unit 2. such as personal characteristics of the experimenter. cultural background. that is. 58 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology learning acTiviTy 2. For each of the following research topics.The results seem to suggest that the frequency of headaches is likely to increase if people experience six or less hours of sleep. In order to conclude that the frequency of headaches will increase as a result of a reduction in the amount of sleep obtained. intelligence. 2. in the group who had six or less hours of sleep. the experimenter may be totally unaware of their in uence. a virus). the IV is absent. extraneous variables must be controlled or eliminated. One group of participants. sex. (b) DV and (c) three potential extraneous variables that could affect the results. what would happen if participants who had eight or more hours of sleep also took sleeping pills which reduced the likelihood of headaches occurring. (a) The effect of shyness on the ability to make new friends at school (b) Whether meditation can improve performance on a VCE English exam (c) Whether males are more aggressive than females in the schoolgrounds (d) Whether students who have breakfast concentrate better in class (e) Whether having a pet in an aged-care nursing home improves happiness for elderly people who live there experimental and control groups In a simple experiment. cultural background. previous contact with participants and experience in conducting an experiment are all examples of experimenter variables that may unintentionally affect the results. eye strain. the participants are often divided into two groups. is exposed to the experi­ mental condition. The experimenter s age. sex. religion.

the experiment has several advantages when compared to other research methods. especially if the experiment is conducted in a laboratory setting. Conclusion: Alcohol consumption causes more driving errors. Experimental group: 50 students (25 male. the researcher can be more con dent in concluding that the IV probably caused the change. 25 female) who consumed non alcoholic drin s Use of driving simulator to test precision of driving skills DV: number of driving errors made Results: Participants who consumed alcohol made many more driving errors than participants who did not consume alcohol. the experimenter may conclude that the IV (use of the study technique) affected the DV (exam performance of participants). the researcher also attempts to minimise or eliminate the in uence of unwanted extraneous variables to concentrate entirely on the effect the IV has on the DV. The participants would then complete an exam (for instance. If the exam performance of the participants when in the experimental condition is signi cantly better than their exam performance when in the control condition. One advantage of the experiment is that the IV can be manipulated in order to observe the effect on the DV. As well as controlling the IV.8. but material that is similar in type and dif culty to that of the control condition. Generalisation: Alcohol consumption causes impaired driving ability in all drivers. In the control condition. For example. In some experiments.that the IV (consumption of alcohol) affected the DV (driving precision). It is also important that both groups are treated the same. all participants would learn material that they have not previously seen ( novel material) using the study technique they normally use. Figure 2. Elimination of all extraneous variables is not always possible. all participants would be given additional previously unseen material to learn using Supastudy . The results of the two exams would then be compared. Equal numbers of male and female participants. eld setting. advantages and limitations of experimental research A key feature of an experiment is the researcher s attempts to control the conditions in which a behaviour of interest or other event occurs. a set of multiple-choice questions) on the material. The participants would complete an exam on the material. except for the time when the experimental group is exposed to the IV. but control is usually greater than in other research methods. resulting in impaired driving ability in third-year university students. All participants would then be taught to use Supastudy . therefore making it possible to test if there is a Hypothesis: Alcohol consumption impairs the driving ability of university students Participants: 100 third-year university students who responded to an advertisement for research participants. A ow chart summary of this experiment is shown in gure 2. Consequently. all participants are required to be in both the control condition and the experimental condition. in the experimental condition. which is also similar in type and dif culty to that of the control condition (that is. Ages range from 20 40 years. a set of multiplechoice questions). whether the experiment occurs in a laboratory setting or in a reallife. The experimental group and the control group need to be as similar as possible in the spread of personal characteristics of participants that can cause a change in the DV. In this experiment. consider an experiment to test the effectiveness of a new study technique called Supastudy on exam performance.8 A ow chart of the experiment testing the effect of alcohol consumption on driving skills C h a p t e r 2 Research methods 1 59 . the IV which the experimenter will manipulate is the use of Supastudy and the DV which will be measured is performance on an exam. 25 female) who consumed alcoholic drin s IV: alcohol consumption Control group: 50 students (25 male. Both of these conditions are necessary so that if a change occurs in the experimental group and does not occur in the control group. Then.

For the following research samples. The term population refers to the entire group of research interest from which a sample is drawn. Alternatively. bringing someone into the unfamiliar environment of a psychology laboratory can change their behaviour to the point where it is not appropriate to generalise or apply the observed behaviour to situations outside the laboratory. are called the sample. all female VCE Psychology students. (b) Why is it important for the experimental and control groups to be similar in personal characteristics that may affect DV? (c) What is the purpose of using a control group in an experiment? (d) Suggest a reason to explain why the experimental group is sometimes called the treatment group . Brie y describe two advantages and two limitations of experimental research. Sampling procedures Psychologists conduct experiments with people and. all Catholic school educated boys. (a) 20 year 10 girls and 20 year 10 boys (b) 40 teachers who have been teaching for more than 10 years (continued) 60 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology . For example. Furthermore. all admissions at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. Explain the main difference between the independent variable and the dependent variable in an experiment. there are several limitations of the experiment. (a) Distinguish between an experimental group and a control group. for example. all VCE exam results in English in 2009. hate or love. It may be dif cult for participants to express these emotions naturally or very realistically in a laboratory setting. The ability to more strictly control variables is an advantage of the laboratory setting. The participants being studied in an experiment. all calls to the Kids Help Line telephone number. it is often dif cult to strictly control all variables because of the unpredictability of real-life settings.6 review questions 1. 4. all VCE Psychology students. in a country. to measure the effects of family separation. A population of interest may be all preschool children. A sample is a subsection. Researchers therefore select a sample with whom they conduct their research. because controlled conditions are known conditions. 2. there can be greater con dence in the reliability and validity of the results obtained. some things cannot be measured in a laboratory. (a) De ne the terms sample and population as they are used in research. Replication is very important because when a study is repeated and similar results are obtained. A population in a study doesn t always refer to living things. learning acTiviTy 2. 2. or smaller group. animals. or in any type of research. the experimenter can report the conditions of an experiment in such a precise way that others can replicate the experiment and test the results. all brands of runners. Despite its precision. called the population.7 review questions 1. (b) Draw a diagram to show the relationship between a sample and a population. all days of school missed by year 9 students. in some cases. The researcher cannot break up families. If the sample is selected in a scienti c way. it is often arti cial and too dissimilar to real life. Furthermore. or all male chimpanzees born in captivity. or even in a particular city or area. Although a eld experiment occurs in a real-life setting and therefore has a relationship to the real world. the results obtained for the sample can then be generalised to the larger group of research interest. however. it would be impractical to test every preschool child who attended a childcare centre and every preschool child who did not. all blonde-haired females. For example. 3. Nor would the laboratory be the best setting for testing variables such as grief. the experimenter can set up the experiment a second time and repeat it to test (or check ) the results. the population does not necessarily refer to all people (or animals) in the world. learning a cTiviTy 2. A population being studied could also be measurable things such as all community health centres in the Goulburn Valley region. identify two different populations from which each sample may have been drawn. In experimental and any other scienti c research. What is an experiment? Explain with reference to three key characteristics that distinguish an experiment from other research methods. if a researcher is interested in conducting an experiment to nd out whether children who attended a childcare centre during their preschool years are better at basic English and maths skills than preschool children who didn t attend a childcare centre. or any other speci c source of data.cause and effect relationship between the IV and DV. of research participants selected from a larger group (called a population) of research interest.

2004. religion. going beyo But for a small proportion there were prob ement and insight. 3. For example. age. (a) Are people who wear uniforms at school or work more likely to be obedient to an authority gure? (b) Are children who regularly play violent computer games more likely to behave aggressively? (c) How can people with a fear of ying be assisted to overcome their fear? (d) Are children born to mothers aged over 40 years at greater risk of developing a mental illness? (e) Is it easier for men or women to give up smoking? family background and cultural background could be assumed to be important. Selecting a sample A sample has to be selected in a scienti c way so that the results obtained for the sample can be legitimately applied or generalised to the population from which it was selected. personal characteristics of participants such as their sex. performance g The study is part of a doctoral thesis bein opsychologist employed written by a neur by Southern Health. no longer feel comfortable any time if they Southern Health. Study seeks older drivers onded Hundreds of older drivers have resp to take part in a major study to a call ing into the influence of ageing on driv . When a researcher selects a sample that represents its population. There are several different ways of obtaining a sample that is considered to be representative. learning acTiviTy 2. 5. looking for more of Health and the RACV. the y older drivers. Two ways are called random sampling and strati ed sampling. type of school attended. Identify the population from which the sample will be selected. Personal characteristics that are considered to be important are those that can in uence the results of the study. the sample is called a representative sample. being part of the research. C h a p t e r 2 Research methods 1 61 . t their the confidence of man time talking with each volunteer abou researcher expressed concern at the The es and selves driving history and current experienc number of them who have taken them the research in detail. 4.(c) 100 employees on leave from work because of stress-related reasons (d) 30 adults diagnosed as having a type of schizophrenia 3. 1. in a study on how friendships form among adolescents.8 Media response a driver study sampling for Read the newspaper advertisement shown below and answer the following questions. The process of selecting participants for a sample is called sampling. 24 January. she said. Is it possible that people who respond to the advertisement and are selected to be in the sample may behave or respond differently in the study. ‘ageing and driving’ on the road and observing their drivi rch will contribute to maintaining researcher will spend the resea Before doing this. A key goal of sampling is to ensure that the sample closely represents its population. It must re ect its population in all the personal characteristics of participants that are important in the research study. A representative sample is a sample that is approximately the same as the population from which it is drawn in every important participant characteristic. as compared with participants randomly selected from a relevant group targeted for the research study? Explain your answer. What is the speci c topic of research interest? 2. For the following research topics. identify a sample that might be used to conduct the research and a population from which the sample could be drawn. lems with judg rs The original appeal — for drive rThe research project is being unde over — has attracted more has aged 50 or is taken through La Trobe University and 500 responses but the researcher support from both Southern than funding and . at off the road Participants can decide to pull out Source: The Age. es The researcher stressed that recent studi n that most older drivers were safe had show avoid and ‘self-regulated’ their driving to nd their capacity. Identify an important personal characteristic of the sample required by the researcher. In addition to clarifying a number lves taking older drivers The project invo issues. will explain unnecessarily. it is hoped that ng. (a) What is a representative sample? (b) How representative is the sample obtained using the advertisement likely to be? (c) Will the researcher be able to generalise her results from the study described in the advertisement? Explain your answer.

unpredictable or hitor-miss . one at a time. Then. it has the opposite meaning. if a sheet of paper had all the names of the people in the population on it. then the ninety-third person in the sampling frame is selected. when the term random is used by researchers in relation to a sample. names of sample members (or research participants) could be drawn out blindly . or the telephone numbers of all the people in a particular location may be used. an electoral roll may be used as a sampling frame. random sampling The dictionary de nition of the term random is something which is haphazard. If you were conducting a research study in your school. After the sampling frame is obtained. 62 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology Figure 2. the likelihood that the sample is representative of the population is increased. As a result of this procedure. and so on until the required number of participants have been selected.9 This sample is a subset of the population of people working for a particular company. Random actually means using a planned. Random sampling is a sampling procedure that ensures that every member of the population of research interest has a genuinely equal chance of being selected as a participant for the research study. and so is the ability of the researcher to generalise the results to the population. This list is commonly called a sampling frame. The names would then be thoroughly mixed in the box to help ensure their distribution throughout the box. Strati ed sampling In some research studies it is important to ensure that particular groups in a population of interest are represented in their known proportions in that population. If the rst number in the computer-generated list of random numbers is 22. Sample Figure 2. systematic procedure to obtain a sample.Population The lottery procedure could involve drawing names out of a box . This can be achieved in a number of different ways. For example. but only those with the names of students in the population of interest. Each participant in the sampling frame is given a number from 1 through to however many are in the population of interest. class rolls could be used. When a large number of participants is required. For example. if the second number in the computer-generated list is 93. the sheet would be cut up into slips of paper equal in size. then the twenty-second person in the sampling frame is included in the sample. researchers often use a computer-generated list of random numbers. However. with one name on each slip of paper. One way is to obtain a complete list of all the people in the population. . the researcher could obtain a random sample using a simple lottery procedure to select the required number of names.10 The lottery procedure of drawing names of research participants from a box is an appropriate random sampling procedure because each member of the population being sampled has a genuinely equal chance of being selected.

or strata. educational quali cations and ethnic or cultural background are examples of personal characteristics that may be used as the basis of dividing a population into strata. Socio-cultural factors such as residential area. You expect that attitudes may differ among students in different year levels so you want to ensure each year level (stratum) is proportionally represented in your sample of 20 students. Random allocation The method of selecting the sample is important in ensuring it is unbiased and representative of the population being studied. In reality.For example. For example. Figure 2. income level. then your sample would consist of about 10% year 12 students and about 15% year 11 students. For example.11 An example of strati ed sampling for an attitude study learning acTiviTy 2. some participants will be more or less C h a p t e r 2 Research methods 1 63 . the researcher must rst obtain accurate lists of all the people within each stratum. they could reasonably expect that attitudes may differ depending on whether someone lives in the city or in a rural community. suppose you were going to undertake a research study on attitudes of students in your school towards teachers use of rewards and punishments. The strati ed sampling procedure is commonly used to study behaviour and mental processes that tend to vary greatly among different subgroups of a population. In an ideal research world. Strati ed sampling involves dividing the population to be sampled into different subgroups. sex.9 visual presentation comparing random sampling and stratified sampling Draw two simple ow charts or diagrams that show the difference between random sampling and strati ed sampling. You could rst obtain separate lists of the students in each year level and then randomly sample from each list. everything about the experimental and control groups would be identical except for the IV. All students in a school 100% Population Y7 20% Y8 20% Y12 10% Y11 15% Y10 15% Strata (% in each year level) Y9 20% 4 2 3 Stratified sample (number of participants from each year level) Random-stratified sampling When random sampling is used to select a sample from each stratum. This would ensure students from each year level are represented in about the same proportions in the sample as they are in the population (the school). for example.11 shows an example of a stratied sample that could be obtained for the attitudes study. the researcher would want to ensure that each of these groups was represented in the sample in about the same proportions that they were known to exist in the adult population. then selecting a separate sample from each subgroup (called stratum) in the same proportions as they occur in the population of interest. In order to obtain a random-strati ed sample. if a researcher wanted to study the attitudes of adult Australians to arsonists who deliberately light bush res. 4 4 3 Figure 2. abilities and backgrounds that may affect the results in an experiment. Equally important is the way in which research participants are allocated or assigned to either the experimental or control group in an experiment. Using the random-strati ed sampling procedure would ensure that the sample is representative of the population and therefore not biased in a way you consider to be important. age. this is called random-strati ed sampling and the resulting sample is called a random­ strati ed sample. If. Consequently. it is to be expected that the participants in an experiment will have differences in personal characteristics. The researcher will then draw a random sample of proportionate size from each of the strata. about 10% of all students in your school are enrolled in year 12 and about 15% in year 11. however. This can be achieved by using the sampling procedure called strati ed sampling.

With random allocation of participants to the experimental and control groups. With a suf ciently large number of participants. also called random assign­ ment. eye hand coordination and nger dexterity. as well as physical abilities such as strength. the sample is said to be a biased sample. age.12 A simple experimental design using random sampling and random allocation learning acTiviTy 2. One way of minimising differences in the composition or make-up of the experimental and control groups is to randomly allocate participants to the groups. then it most likely had something to do with the effect of the IV. is based on the same principle as random allocation and helps ensure that every member of the population of research interest has an equal chance of being selected as a participant. (a) What is random allocation? Why is it used in an experiment? (b) Explain the difference between random sampling and random allocation. De ne the meaning of the term sampling when used in a research study. each group would be expected to end up with relatively even numbers of participants who are good and bad drivers. (a) What is a strati ed sample? (b) Give four examples of participant characteristics that may lead a researcher investigating parental attitudes toward using a childcare centre to consider using a strati ed sampling procedure. Furthermore. For example. random allocation is an important means of experimental control. In random allocation. anxious or motivated than others. Random allocation is used to place participants in groups whereas random sampling is one of the methods which can be used to select participants for an experiment. in an experiment on alcohol consumption and driving ability. 5. Population Random sampling Sample (participants) Random allocation Experimental group (IV present) Control group (IV not present) Measure effect on DV Measure effect on DV Is there a difference? Figure 2. participants selected for the experiment are just as likely to be in the experimental group as the control group. athleticism. if the experimental group has a larger proportion of bad drivers than the control group and the experimental group makes significantly more driving errors in the driving simulator. This can be achieved by using some kind of lottery method in which chance alone will determine the group to which each participant will be allocated. Random sampling. The problem is that the participants in the experimental group may make more driving errors than the control group even when not under the in uence of alcohol. If everyone does not have an equal chance of being selected. memory.easygoing. Consequently. 2. they will differ in such factors as sex. Through random allocation of participants to the experimental and control groups. eBook plus Interactivity on random and stratified sampling . it is important to ensure that personal characteristics or abilities of participants that might affect the results of the experiment are evenly spread in the experimental and control groups. however. Suggest another way of obtaining a representative sample. it will be dif cult for the researcher to isolate the effect of alcohol (the IV) on driving ability (the DV). 4. 3. reading comprehension and problem-solving skills. They will also differ in a wide range of mental abilities such as intelligence. it is reasonable to assume that each group will end up with the same kind of spread of participant characteristics. This means that every person who will be a participant in the experiment has an equal chance of being selected in any of the groups used. cultural experiences and religious beliefs. ethnicity. learning. drawing names out of a box or ipping a coin are both appropriate ways of randomly allocating participants to groups. The purpose of random allocation of participants is to obtain groups that are as alike as possible in terms of participant characteristics before introducing the IV. For example. researchers can more con dently conclude that if two groups responded differently in the experiment in terms of the number of driving errors. Name and describe a procedure for obtaining a representative sample for a within-class research investigation. Consequently. 64 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology Random allocation is different from random sampling. abilities and backgrounds that may affect the results.1 0 review questions 1.

case studies Sometimes a researcher will collect detailed information on only a small number of people. If your class is small in number. In this section.11 Practical activity testing random allocation This practical activity enables you to test whether random allocation actually produces groups that are alike in participant characteristics. Similarly. many of the early language researchers started out by keeping detailed diaries on the language development of only a few children.learning acTiviTy 2. A case study is an intensive. Alternatively. as with experimental research. For example. When this is done. small group or situation. recording their answers on a card or sheet of paper. Sigmund Freud often used the case study method. This type of research provides a snapshot of how people may be thinking. Some were treated for many years during which Freud met with them several times a week. Such case studies can also suggest hypotheses that could be tested using other research methods. while blindfolded. descriptive research does not explain cause effect. large group or a crowd. However. How equivalent were the groups? 3. The means of the different characteristics for each group should then be calculated and a pro le produced for each group in terms of the characteristics. the researcher may be interested in describing the behaviour of a small group. distributing them into two different groups. questionnaires. a month. twin studies and adoption studies. For example. . feelings or behaviour of an individual or group without manipulating or investigating relationships between speci c variables. Report Prepare a brief report of this activity to include in your folio of practical activities. Each class member should describe themself in relation to each characteristic. Swiss psychologist Jean C h a p t e r 2 Research methods 1 65 DESCRIPTIVE RESEARCH Sometimes the aim of psychological research is to describe the thoughts. feeling or behaving as they are. Each of these methods can be used on its own or in combination with one another. record then describe speci c ways in which a particular animal species behaves in its natural environment without interfering with the environment in any way. Freud studied his patients in great depth. Descriptive research refers to a research method that focuses on studying and describing one or more aspects of thoughts. the research method used is likely to be a case study. How close were the means for each characteristic (or colour)? 2. self­reports. perhaps an individual or a small group of two or three. a researcher might be interested in describing the behaviour of one particular individual. Descriptive research methods include case studies. This type of research is called descriptive research. feelings or behaviour as they occur at a given time and place. such as Smarties. rating scales. interviews. a year or many years. we examine case studies and observational studies. place all the Smarties in a bowl. Your report should contain answers to the following questions. behaving at some particular time in a certain situation. The time may be a speci c moment. longitudinal studies. Social psychologists have also learnt about behaviour in small friendship groups by conducting case studies in which they observe and record social interactions within the same group of people in different situations over a period of time. An assumption is that patterns of behaviour observed within the group may apply to other friendship groups made up of people of similar ages and backgrounds. in-depth investigation of some behaviour or event of interest in an individual. cross­sectional studies. The place may be a laboratory. eye colour and left-handed versus righthanded. so that the equivalence of the groups can be compared. You will need to determine easily observed and measurable characteristics of class members. sex. The descriptions are then collected and distributed into two groups using a random allocation procedure. without necessarily explaining why they may be thinking. 1. In some cases the researcher may study an individual and one or more groups to make comparisons. for example. a researcher may observe. feeling. observational studies. then. Would equivalence increase if the size of the group increased? Explain your answer. A descriptive research study does not necessarily use a large number of participants. complete another version of the activity using coloured lollies. surveys. Unlike experimental research. draw Smarties out of the bowl one at a time. The detailed written records Freud kept on his patients were used to develop his psychoanalytic theories of personality and everyday behaviour. clinic or a real life everyday setting. a case study may involve interviews and observations and a survey may involve a questionnaire made up of questions and rating scales. hair colour. a day. For example. Start with a sample of equal numbers of each colour. descriptive research may be used to study animal behaviour. for example.

the different brain areas probably interacted with language and memory in different ways. Figure 2. Other sources of information can include extensive psychological testing and observations of the person s behaviour. cars and so on without dif culty.T. They have also enabled researchers to pinpoint brain areas and structures that interact in facial recognition.T. most eccentrics are happy. Whenever S. then tested using other research methods. one early case study reported by a neuropsychologist involved a rare disorder called face agnosia (Bodamer.T. For example. questioning and testing his own children. Gene Pool. neuropsychologists were able to conduct experiments with individuals suffering from face agnosia.T. well-adjusted people who are strange but sane . advantages and limitations of case studies Case studies provide a useful way of obtaining detailed and valuable descriptive information on behaviour and mental processes. S. She was referred to as S. was asked to speak in front of the mirror and make gestures such as a nod or a shrug. friends. This suggested that the area of the brain involved in facial recognition was different from 66 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology that involved in recognising objects. also had dif culty recognising animal faces. eccentric behaviour has been studied using the case study method.T.13 Case studies are commonly used when large numbers of participants are not available. trees. she described a dog s face as a human face with funny hair .T. a case study is often referred to as a case history or a clinical observation. but her face was always completely new to her. Eccentric behaviour refers to a pattern of human behaviour that is viewed as very odd or unusual within the particular society or culture in which it occurs. S. to study individuals with a rare or unusual disorder or ability. In one series of tests. 1947). Much of what was rst known about the role of the brain in behaviour and mental processes has come from case studies. and teachers or co-workers. Many other researchers have also constructed hypotheses from Piaget s descriptive reports. S. is one of the eccentrics they studied. For example. Although unable to recognise faces.Piaget developed a comprehensive theory of children s thinking which was mainly based on case studies. For example. Clinical psychologists and other mental health professionals routinely use case studies to develop a detailed pro le of a client. Case studies are often used when large numbers of participants are not available for study. Information may also be collected through interviews of family members. The person in this photo. These case studies became a rich source of information from which hypotheses were developed. articles of clothing. The hypotheses were subsequently tested using controlled experiments to nd out if Piaget s conclusions were accurate and if they could be applied more widely to other children with different backgrounds. The case study involved a young female who was also unable to recognise her own face. for example. often recognised her own voice and occasionally recognised gestures. memory and language. Furthermore. For example. However. There is usually no manipulation or . People with this disorder have dif culty in recognising the faces of family and friends or famous personalities. When used in a clinical setting for therapeutic (or treatment ) purposes. The case study may involve a combination of data collection methods. looked in the mirror. S. Face agnosia is the inability to recognise faces. Two American psychologists completed 1000 case studies on eccentrics over a 10-year period and identi ed characteristics common to them. she saw a re ection of a stranger. in the case study report to protect her identity. They concluded that despite the deviant behaviour. knew what a face was and could recognise and name everyday objects such as furnishings. Such experiments over the past 30 years con rmed the conclusions of early case studies.T. knew that she was the strange looking person because she was the only person in front of the mirror. When neuroimaging devices such as PET and f MRI scans became available. His case studies often involved observing. object recognition. The client s medical records and school reports may also be considered. S. the client may be interviewed at length.

in an experiment the researcher observes the behaviour of their participants. and omit other points that may be just as relevant and could have been included by another researcher interpreting the same information. all research studies involve observation. What is descriptive research? 2. (a) What is a case study? (b) Give three examples of research ndings or theories that have been derived from case studies in psychology. then observe and record who starts the discussion. Consequently. observation occurs in a systematic way and is undertaken according to predetermined procedures. A major limitation of case studies is their sample size. they precisely describe the behaviour to be observed. such as a place where the group normally meets and interacts (for example. It is possible that the researcher sees or hears what they expect or hope to see or hear. For example. case studies can provide a snapshot of the actual experience of one or more individuals at a particular time in a particular situation. and do not jump to conclusions about attitudes. in a case study the researcher observes the behaviour or verbal responses of their participants. however. personality characteristics. case studies cannot be used to test hypotheses unless combined with the results of other case studies of similar participants or another research method that is suitable for testing hypotheses. Another advantage of case studies is that they can be a valuable source of hypotheses for further research. and so on. case studies are usually conducted by one researcher. Observational studies In our everyday lives we observe the behaviour of other people and draw conclusions about them from their actions. Similarly. Generalising is a bigger problem when the case study involves someone with a rare or unusual disorder or ability. In all research studies. Some participants may not remember clearly what they actually experienced. feel or behave under similar circumstances. prefers to sit by themself and blushes when asked a question. Case studies also have the limitation of being susceptible to biased information from the participant or the researcher. including the data that represent a phenomenon. if we notice that someone is always quiet in class. who speaks. who changes the topic. case studies usually rely on the individuals under investigation to provide a great deal of the required information. . They are commonly based on the experiences of only one individual or a very limited number of individuals. the school canteen or an area of the school grounds). In writing up the case. For example. the researcher is also responsible for deciding what to include in their descriptions and what to leave out. Furthermore. In what way does descriptive research differ from experimental research? 3. the term observational study is used to refer to the speci c approach to or way of collecting data. For example. how often and for how long these occur. generalising or applying the results to others in the population cannot be done with any certainty. lacking in con dence or withdrawn. Describe three advantages and three limitations of case studies when used for research purposes. In naturalistic observation. This study could occur in a controlled laboratory setting or in a eld setting. An observational study involves collection of data by carefully watching and recording behaviour as it occurs. Furthermore. 2001). such as scores and spoken or written responses. we might conclude that the person is shy. In contrast to the term observation. in a study on the development of social C h a p t e r 2 Research methods 1 67 learning a cTiviTy 2. or they may intentionally change or omit information that they do not wish to reveal for personal reasons. This can in uence the accuracy of the information that is obtained and conclusions that may be drawn. For example. when investigating roles and hierarchies ( pecking orders ) in groups. In psychology. motives or other factors that may underlie the observed behaviour. One type of observational study is called naturalistic observation. and in an analysis of medical or school records the researcher observes the written information with which they are working (Banyard & Grayson. the researcher may select information that supports key points or conclusions they wish to make.12 review questions 1. the term observation refers to any means by which a phenomenon (an observable event) is studied. Psychologists. psychologists distinguish between observation and an observational study. This means that they can usually provide only weak support for drawing scienti c conclusions.control of variables. 4. use observation in a more precise and planned way. a researcher might ask the members of a friendship group to discuss a controversial issue. Consequently. For example. For example. a naturally occurring behaviour of interest is viewed by a researcher in an inconspicuous manner so that their presence has no in uence on the behaviour being observed. Case studies can also provide insights into how others may think. Psychologists use observational studies to collect data in research when the behaviour under investigation is clearly visible and can be easily recorded. However. Furthermore.

15 A one-way mirror allows a researcher to observe children in a playgroup situation. When researchers try to conceal their presence while making observations. The baby resists being put down by the adult by crying or trying to climb back up. From the observations of each child s interactions. a researcher might observe children at play in a playgroup situation from behind a one-way mirror so the children are not aware that they are being observed. The infants behaviour in different situations ( episodes ) was rated ( coded ) on a 7-point scale according to fear categories. The infants were observed playing in a room with two adults the infant s mother and a stranger. On the basis of these observations. hits or squirms to be put down from the adult s arms. then leaves again Stranger tries to play with baby Mother re-enters and picks up baby The coding categories are: Proximity Maintaining contact Resistance Avoidance Proximity 1 4 1 1 4 1 6 Contact 1 1 2 3 2 3 6 Resistance 1 1 3 1 1 1 1 Avoidance 1 1 1 1 2 1 2 The baby moves toward. whereas older children tend to interact more in their play with other children. A rating of 1 meant The infant makes no effort to engage in the behaviour and a rating of 7 meant The infant makes an extreme effort to engage in the behaviour (Ainsworth & others). In other situations. the researcher might make assumptions or inferences about children s social behaviour. grasps or climbs on the adult. For example. it is called non­participant observation. For example. a researcher might sit on a nearby bench Coder name Olive pretending to be absorbed in a book in order to observe people s reactions to a group of street kids . Figure 2. The baby pushes. stranger plays with baby Mother re-enters. Figure 2. Coding categories Episode Mother and baby play alone Mother puts baby down Stranger enters room Mother leaves room. The baby turns away or moves away from the adult. 68 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology . When observations of behaviour are made in a eld setting. the researcher may observe that younger children tend to play alongside other children but not actually interact with them. psychologists will often conceal their presence by watching from the sidelines . greets and may comfort baby. without the children being aware that they are being observed. the usual or real-world surroundings in which the behaviour occurs. that is.14 This checklist was used to observe and record the behaviour of 12-month-old infants in an observational study of attachment behaviour (as indicated by responses to strangers). the researcher may assume that there are different types of play in which children may engage and that these types of play are age-related or age-dependent. psychologists might use a hidden video camera or cassette recorder to record events.behaviour.

psychologists engage in participant observ­ ation. for example. digital video cameras can be used to record then analyse rapidly changing behaviour. 1973). The more she learnt about the behaviour of gorillas. and by imitating their actions. Their record-keeping behaviour was regarded by the hospital staff as being a symptom of their mental illness (Rosenhan. a researcher might observe how many times a participant rehearsed a list of words (process) and then how many words the participant remembered on a nal test (product). By waiting for the gorillas to approach her. After they had been admitted.Figure 2. In one study that used participant observation. Fossey changed her method to use participant observation and started to behave like a gorilla. for example. whose work is featured in the movie Gorillas in the Mist. in studies of the way subtle changes in facial expressions of mothers and their babies become synchronised and similar over time. the researchers had themselves admitted to several different psychiatric hospitals by imitating the symptoms of a severe mental illness. Or the researcher might observe products of behaviour from the past. some researchers focus on the prod­ ucts of behaviour. by avoiding actions that might threaten them. Figure 2. In another obervational study. She imitated their feeding and grooming behaviours and even attempted to copy their vocalisations. diaries. For example. action sequence can be analysed. the more she was able to act like them. Observations have become more accurate as new technology permits more precise measurement. researcher Dian Fossey used both non-participant and participant observation.17 C h a p t e r 2 Research methods 1 69 . After rst using non-participant observation to learn about key aspects of gorilla behaviour. Even a single frame within a long. Fossey. in an experiment on learning. such as autobiographies. letters. This technology can be used. While observational studies usually focus on the process of behaviour. they kept records of their observations while in the hospital. They actually participate in the activity being observed and may deliberately try to be mistaken by the participants as being part of the group or situation being observed.16 Sometimes. lived among gorillas in their remote African highlands habitat. personal documents. drawings and speeches. Fossey gradually became accepted by them and was able to collect valuable data about their behaviour. For example.

Some kinds of human behaviour can only be studied as they naturally occur using observation in a eld setting because it would be unethical (inappropriate) or impractical to study them in a laboratory situation. it sometimes requires a lot of patience to wait for the behaviour of interest to occur. We discovered that in certain circumstances the chimpanzees may kill and even cannibalise individuals of their own kind (Goodall. For example. for example. This often results in a more complete and accurate set of data than one observer could obtain alone. a researcher could not determine why chimpanzees become aggressive towards one another when their social group breaks into factions. some behaviours cannot be realistically reproduced in a laboratory. because there are many factors which may in uence the observed behaviour in a natural environment.18 Researcher Jane Goodall used naturalistic observation in her studies of chimpanzees. Jane Goodall spent over 25 years studying patterns of behaviour among chimpanzees in Africa. when using observation. Figure 2. This means that the observed behaviour is likely to be more true to life. A major problem relevant to any observation procedure is observer bias. Researchers must be trained to observe and record accurately in order to minimise the in uence of their personal biases. For example. psychologists may neglect to record certain behaviours which they either judge to be irrelevant or do not actually see. for example. Since the observer doesn t directly in uence the behaviour being observed. naturalistic observation often enables researchers to gain more accurate information about the typical behaviours of organisms than do other methods of gathering data. However. She believed that if she ended her research after 10 years. it would be unethical to severely deprive children in their 70 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology early life in order to observe the effect of deprivation on behaviour in the future (Zimbardo. however. It is possible. You can t. or subgroups. The aggressive behaviour may be in uenced by factors which the researcher has no control over such as habitat. Because we were able to continue beyond the rst decade. Another problem with naturalistic observation in a eld setting is that it can be dif cult to determine the causes of observed behaviour. 1992). she shifted from using participant observation to nonparticipant observation. food supply. In such circumstances. as originally scheduled. We would have been left with the impression that chim­ panzees were far more peaceable than humans. . Finally. the participants usually do not know that they are being observed in any special way. For example. There is. that researchers sometimes unconsciously distort what they see so that it resembles what they hope to see. researchers may use a team of trained observers who collate their notes. Furthermore. Thus. or a combination of these. availability of partners. expect to obtain valid information about how people usually behave when they are in love by bringing a pair of participants into a laboratory situation and asking them to be in love so that observations can be made. For example. climate. To overcome this limitation. In time. she would not have drawn correct conclusions. the observer may assume that the animal was looking for food when the behaviour actually observed was simply increased activity. we could document the division of a social group and observe the violent aggression that broke out between newly separated factions. Naturalistic observation in a eld setting does not require the cooperation of participants being observed.advantages and limitations of observational studies When studying behaviour in a laboratory setting. after observing an animal which has been deprived of food for a long time. a psychologist might prefer to observe in a laboratory setting. in making detailed notes as part of the observation process. a researcher is unable to observe the long-term effects that an organism s natural environment has in shaping complex behaviour patterns. a related disadvantage of this. 1986).

2. Brie y describe what the study is about. according to the research. p. 1. foun in girls bullied each other over their interest or music tastes. and I would where the nse’. What is a potential limitation of the research? Part B Locate a newspaper. the world class Observation of a primary school instigated online bullying. person from interacting in an online uerade to terrorise a Girls used masq classmate using a different identity. How is observation de ned in psychology? Explain with reference to examples.’ sion about what to do if it happens to Ms Slocombe said. the information which is collected is called data. QuALITATIVE AND QuANTITATIVE DATA All psychological research involves collection of information. found both sexes girls but boys were more aggressive and were subtle and indirect. ‘Whereas with the girls. The type of data collected is determined by the speci c kind of research method used. they don’t know and it’s who it is. Describe the sample and sample selection procedure (if stated). magazine or internet article that reports a psychological experiment. fault ‘The main thing is it is not their up with being hurt — nobody has to put or teased.’ be Dr Maher said teachers needed to to understand interactive technology. learnin g acTiviT y 2. Make a copy of the article and then answer the questions in part A about the article. whic intimidation and excluding another involves chat. In research. say it should be a community respo he said. n As thousands of Victorian students retur nts are to school today or on Monday. interviews often provide data in the form of words. should and She said internet bullies felt brave and might not realise their anonymous actions have caused harm. from d boys ney’s University of Technology. Identify the type of research method used. rting Children should be told that repo ombe bullying is not ‘dobbing’ Dr Sloc said. 14 evaluation of research media report Part A Consider the newspaper article on bullying. Generally. and have a discusnot all children are them. 30 Janua 28. If not stated. What is the main difference between participant and non-participant observation? Give an example of each method.learnin g acTiviT y 2. They were right in they heckled each each other’s faces’. more Alannah and Madeine Foundation CEO cially Dr Judith Slocombe said parents. 2009. s ‘It’s worthwhile to say that sometime nice. For example. there acceptance’. and then they s up and they are mates. trained ally ‘It is very unclear in law and ethic responsibility lies. h Boys were seen using flooding. while experiments usually provide data in the form of numbers. how to s ‘Flooding’ and ‘masquerade’ technique among the grade 5 and 6 were observed students. suggest what the research method is likely to be. he said. SydResearcher Dr Damian Maher. What is an observational study? 3. Source: Herald Sun. of prep students. case study or observational study. it working pick was often very quick. espe talk about bullying. 2. 13 review questions 1. 4. (a) Describe two advantages and two limitations of the different types of observational studies when used for research purposes. are ‘When boys have a problem or they out who will be the alpha male. Gender bias in bullying By Emily Power cs in GIRLS and boys have different tacti of cyber-bullying. ry. so it is unsettling for them an ongoing process’. What are the more important ndings of the study? 5. e in ‘The boys were much more aggressiv that their use of the language and the way other. 3. C h a p t e r 2 Research methods 1 71 . Data can take different forms. 4. The data may be considered as evidence that will form the results of the study and be the basis of the conclusions that will be made. because themselve is that whoever has become top dog. then answer the following questions. pare about being urged to talk with their children handle bullying. (b) What is observer bias? Describe two ways in which it may be controlled. psychologists distinguish between two types of data qualitative and quantitative data.

how much of some thing there is.19 In this survey. . pictures. career inventories and various ability and interest tests are also provided as quantitative data.20 In this experiment involving animal learning. Sometimes psychologists use audio or video tapes to record data in research. personality tests. that is. such as lengths or weights of prematurely born infants. or as descriptions of behaviour observed and recorded by the researcher. The use of numerical data makes it easier to summarise and interpret information collected through research. or percentages of participants who respond with Yes or No to survey questions. These data can describe any aspect of a person s mental experiences or behaviour. as quantities or numbers. the researcher is collecting qualitative data through open-ended questions on how the participant feels about closure of the local primary school. They may be raw data that have not been analysed in any way. Quantitative data The majority of studies referred to in this text use quantitative data. rather than qualitative data. texts and so on. For example. words. Figure 2. in a survey. This is why quantitative data are often preferred to qualitative data. a question might ask participants to use a ve-point scale to rate their feelings on issues such as compulsory school uniform or the persuasiveness of a particular advertisement. In addition. psychologists studying selfesteem in young children may collect qualitative data by asking children open-ended questions related to their self-esteem. what something is like. For example. 72 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology All types of mental experiences and behaviours can be described in quantitative terms. and so on. that is. meanings. Quantitative data are numerical information on the quantity or amount of what is being studied. This re ects the preference for quantitative data in most psychological research. more speci cally. Information about individuals scores on a range of psychological tests such as intelligence tests. They may be collected as written or verbal statements made by participants. or how something is experienced. data collected during experiments are typically collected in a numerical form and are therefore usually quantitative. an electronic recording device is used to collect quantitative data on the frequency of responses made by the rat.Qualitative data Qualitative data are information about the qualities or characteristics of what is being studied. Figure 2. although this does not mean that qualitative data are less important or less useful than quantitative data. a researcher interested in learning about the factors that enable some people to cope better than others with personal trauma may collect qualitative data through a survey involving participants responses about how they felt in a speci c traumatic situation and how they dealt with their feelings. Likewise. They may be descriptions. or the mean reaction time of participants when a light is ashed onto a screen in an experiment.

The questionnaire guides how the participants may answer in ways that are predetermined by the researcher. feel or behave. Determining why someone with great potential gave up their career for a job they don t really like so that they can spend more time with their family 2. learning acTiviTy 2. Its goal is to capture and describe the richness of what is observed. and extracts from a participant s diary records on how they felt at some point in time. rich form. the number of marriages identi ed as being successful as a result of marrying at an older age compared with those who married at a younger age (d) Records of whether people who wear glasses can read more quickly than people who do not wear glasses (e) A prisoner s description of the psychological effects of time in solitary con nement (f) Age at which infants are reported by their mothers as saying a recognisable word for the rst time (g) Mothers descriptions of changes in their children s behaviour after their children began attending child care Qualitative and quantitative descriptive research One distinction that is commonly made with descriptive research relates to whether it has a qualitative or quantitative focus. audio recordings of what a participant says about how they think. Explain your answers.Although qualitative data are typically expressed in the form of words. Quantitative descriptive research is descriptive research that is focused on using more formal and structured methods which enable the data collected on a topic of interest to be statistically analysed. De ne the terms qualitative data and quantitative data with reference to an example that is not used in the text. the researcher s notes or video recordings of events as they actually unfold during an observational study. Both qualitative and quantitative research methods are considered in greater detail in Unit 2. Determining if people would obey a person in authority who ordered them to hurt another person 5. 1. decide which research method experiment. learning acTiviTy 2. feel or behave during a case study. An example of quantitative descriptive research is an observational study in which the researcher uses a checklist of speci c behaviours to be observed and a questionnaire in which participants answer speci c questions on how they think. Determining whether boys and girls in preschool have different preferences for play activities C h a p t e r 2 Research methods 1 73 . 2004). Determining how teenagers behave on their rst date 3. participants responses to open-ended interview questions about their thoughts and feelings when they are anxious could be summarised as numbers based on the frequency ( how often ) or intensity ( how strong ) with which certain feelings are reported. The data collected in a qualitative descriptive research study are in their original. researchers report quantitative data along with qualitative data to provide a fuller and more informative description of what has been studied (Strangor.1 6 Selecting an appropriate research method For each of the following topics. Indicate whether the data collected in each of the following research studies are qualitative data or quantitative data.1 5 review questions 1. In many cases. for example. However. they can be converted into a quantitative form. (a) Tape recordings of a student s description of the effect of background noise on their ability to learn previously unseen material (b) A student s ratings on a seven-point rating scale used to assess how much background noise affected their ability to learn previously unseen material (c) In a videotaped recording of a group discussion by married couples. it does not use statistical analysis and is more vulnerable to biased data and conclusion than is quantitative descriptive research. case study or observational study would be the most appropriate for undertaking a research study and brie y explain why. The main advantage of qualitative descriptive research is that it enables behaviour and other experiences to be described vividly in their original form. Determining if watching violent cartoons on television will cause aggressive behaviour in children 4. felt or experienced at the time and place of interest. For example. without missing the kinds of detail that may be overlooked by more formal studies concerned with describing and interpreting data using numbers. Qualitative descriptive research is descriptive research that is focused on capturing and describing the details of what is actually taking place or being thought. 2.

2. If an approximate answer is required. 100% of 100 something means all of it.2 Finding percentages using a calculator A scienti c. The term per cent means per hundred . 74 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology . The results are then interpreted so they can be understood. On the basis of these results. so you work out a list of observable behaviours that you consider to be aggressive. more boys than girls were aggressive. the results are summarised and described so they can be interpreted. A percentage is calculated using the formula subtotal 100 %= × total 1 It is easy to calculate a percentage when the original amount is 100. reasons are suggested about why the particular results were obtained and what they mean. A percentage is a statistic that expresses a number as a proportion (or fraction) of 100. We start with a basic descriptive statistic with which you are already familiar. and four of 16 girls observed are judged as aggressive. such as calculating the probability of results being due to the IV. They include calculations such as percentages and means ( averages ).MAKING SENSE Of DATA When their research study has been conducted and results obtained. Finding a percentage of an amount Enter the percentage as a fraction with a denominator of 100 and multiply by the amount. Type the fraction on a Calculator page by using the fraction template. or for every hundred . graphics or CAS calculator can be used to calculate percentages. Descriptive statistics are used for summarising and describing results. researchers generally do three things with the results. The 1 3 screen at right shows 8 and 1 4 expressed as percentages. The screen at right shows 8% of 280 and 12.65. you record your observation with a tick and shift your attention to another child. For example. you need to work out whether 25 is more 4 than or less than 16 .5% of 8. six use an aggressive act and are therefore judged as aggressive. In order to reach a 6 conclusion. Units 1 and 2 Psychology focus on descriptive statistics. and preparation of tables and graphs. Statistics are essentially mathematical procedures. You want to obtain quantitative data. more boys than girls were also observed. Two examples using a CAS calculator are: 1. However. Finally. if you complete a 100 item speed and accuracy test and correctly answer 90 items within the time limit. They will also assist you in writing reports on investigations you conduct as part of your study of VCE Psychology. then your percentage score is: 90(subtotal) 100 90 × 100 900 × = = = 90% 100(total) 1 100 100 For the data obtained in the observation study described above: 6(subtotal) 100 6 × 100 600 boys: × = = = 24% 25(total) 1 25 25 girls: 4 (subtotal) 100 4 × 100 400 × = = = 25% 16(total) 1 16 16 BOX 2. such as pretend ghting and intentional pushing or shoving. then making a comparison. Two main kinds of statistics are used in psychology descriptive statistics and inferential statistics. It is shown using the per cent sign (%). press CTRL ENTER . then ensure your calculator is set in either Exact or Auto mode. Whenever you see a boy or girl demonstrating one of the aggressive behaviours on your list. Of the 25 boys you observe. Inferential statistics are used for interpreting and giving meaning to results. This can be achieved by calculating the percentages of boys and girls who were aggressive. If a fraction rather than a decimal is required. Researchers use statistics to summarise and interpret the results obtained from research. that is. 65% is equal to 65 and means 65 parts out of 100. Use brackets with mixed numbers so that the correct order of operations is followed. the results are explained. Multiply this by 100 to change it to a percentage and press ENTER . Percentages Suppose you conduct an observational study to nd out whether boys are more aggressive than girls during lunch time in the prep area of the school grounds at a local primary school. Changing a fraction to a percentage Ensure the calculator is set in Exact or Auto mode. These will assist you to read and understand the descriptions of psychological research referred to throughout this textbook. First. For example.

age. The title should be a clear statement which explains what the table is about without being too long. Table 2) • each table should have an individual title (in journal articles the title is in italics and each word is italicised). for example. Some conventions. C h a p t e r 2 Research methods 1 75 . ratings) about the body image of participants in different age groups. How can the researcher make sense of all these different bits of information so that meaningful conclusions about body image and age can be drawn? The rst step would be to use descriptive statistics to organise. categories of scores.g. changes or trends in scores. What percentage live at home with their parent(s)? 2.3. for tables used in psychology are: • all tables should be numbered (e. in order to compare the body image ratings of the seven different age groups to determine whether there is a change with age. There were 28 fathers and 44 mothers in the sample. with 1 being equivalent to very unattractive. Tables Suppose that a researcher is interested in studying whether body image (a person s view of their body) changes during puberty and adolescence. Calculate percentages for the following raw data. Percentages are commonly used in psychology to describe data. Complete the table by calculating each percentage to the nearest whole number. This is shown in table 2. Round your answer to the nearest whole number. ten 12-year-olds. The main problem in making a comparison of the boys and girls based on the raw data is that the two groups were of unequal size. summarise and describe the data so that they can be interpreted. A researcher gave parents a 50 item questionnaire on child-rearing practices. 17 calculating percentages 1.. income level. (a) Sixteen out of 62 participants observed in the library broke a rule at least once during a 10 minute observation period. ten 16-year-olds. Fathers Scores 0 9 10 20 21 30 31 40 41 50 Total Raw score 4 9 10 3 2 28 100% Per cent (%) Mothers Raw score 4 7 10 12 11 44 100% Per cent (%) Age group (years) 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 5 7 9 6 4 6 8 2 3 7 7 1 8 7 8 6 5 4 7 7 4 Participant ratings 7 7 5 3 2 8 7 5 5 3 8 3 2 7 6 4 1 2 8 9 7 10 2 1 1 6 7 8 3 8 4 9 1 8 6 6 4 2 4 9 7 8 7 1 9 2 4 7 8 A table is an orderly arrangement and display of data in columns and rows. or standards. Table 1. It is dif cult to draw conclusions about whether (and if so. The researcher might give a body image rating scale to ten 10-year-olds. how) body image changes with age by looking at 70 individual ratings. the percentage of people who respond in a particular way (such as correct or incorrect. agree or disagree. 5 to neither attractive nor unattractive and 10 to very attractive. Calculating a percentage for each group overcame this problem and enabled comparison of the scores for boys and girls.3 Raw data participant ratings learnin g acTiviT y 2. The raw data were rst organised in a table (shown below) to enable comparison of scores achieved by fathers and mothers. ten 20-year-olds and ten 22-year-olds. What percentage of participants broke a rule at least once? (b) Survey data show that 52 out of 75 students watch TV before school. In all. do something or do not do something) and the percentage of people in a socio-cultural group (such as gender. scores on a test. 199 400 live at home with their parent(s). there would be 70 bits of data (that is. Of these. Thus. educational quali cations and ethnicity). ten 14-year-olds. What percentage of students watch TV before school? What percentage do not watch TV before school? (c) There are 498 500 Australians aged between 20 and 24 years of age. Table 2. the data for each group could be summarised and presented in a table. Each research participant would be required to make a judgement about their physical appearance using a rating scale ranging from 1 to 10.This means that the proportion of boys (calculated out of 100 ) who were aggressive in the school grounds is slightly less than the proportion of girls. ten 18-year-olds. The columns and rows are usually identi ed by names (or headers ) that assist in making comparisons.

the researcher could calculate the mean rating for each age group. • the reader should be able to quickly work out what the table is about and comparisons of data should be easy to make. how often.9 4. for example. Figure 1.9 7. Figure 2) • each graph should have an individual title. The type of play in which children engaged was categorised according to American psychologist Mildred Parten s (1932) system for classifying play behaviour.21 shows an example of a bar chart.g. other children. sex.4. weight) is plotted along the X axis. Bar charts One type of graph is called a bar chart (or bar graph). the number of cases or amount of something) is plotted on the Y axis. type of response) and the other category is used to show the frequency with which each category occurs (e. for example. The mean is another type of descriptive statistic. There are various types of graphs that express data in different ways. For this study. A graph is a pictorial representation of data. Researchers who studied the type of play in which four. The kind of graph used depends mainly on the type of data collected.0 graphs The saying A picture is worth a thousand words has also been applied to numbers a graph is said by some researchers to be worth a thousand numbers . A bar chart is a graph which uses a series of discrete (separate) bars or rectangles adjacent (next) to. age. To enable the ratings of different age groups to be compared. Figure 2. However. (In journal articles the title is italicised and each word is italicised) The title should be a clear statement that explains what the graph is about without being too long.• each column should be identi ed using a descriptive header. the frequency (for example. comparison of ratings across the age groups is still dif cult because the data have been inadequately summarised. chapter 7. Generally. The mean scores could be used to describe the average body image rating for each age group and would enable the researcher to compare the different age groups. line graphs and frequency polygons. to enable comparisons of different categories of data. each row should be identi ed using a descriptive header. but not with.g. The point where the axes intersect is called the origin (0). Table 2. This is shown in table 2. The rst letter of each header should be capitalised. As with ve-year-old children engaged recorded the type and amount of time children spent participating in each type of play at a kindergarten over a one-week period. The bars can be positioned horizontally or vertically.g. pie charts. • where appropriate. • both the horizontal and vertical axes must be labelled clearly and indicate what is plotted • the reader should be able to quickly work out what the graph is about. a single number that summarises all the data for each age group would be calculated. One important feature of a bar chart is that each of the categories shown in the graph is separate or distinct and there is no continuation between one category and the next.4 Mean body image ratings of each age group patterns or trends in the data collected. One axis is used to show the types of categories (e.7 4. there are conventions for presenting graphs in psychology. how much). histograms. when the child plays alone and independently. Each bar is the same width and has a small space between it and the next bar.6 4. Age group (years) 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 Mean scores 5.6 4. Parten described four main types of play: solitary play. there would be separate bars for data about female participants responses and male participants responses. Pictures that present numerical data are called graphics. Among the more commonly used kinds of graphs in psychology are bar charts.3 provides some order to the data on body image ratings by organising the ratings into different age groups. The horizontal line is the X axis and the vertical line is the Y axis. The most commonly used picture or graphic is a graph. Graphs show 76 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology . This is discussed in more detail in Unit 2. Table 2.5 6. Graphing or plotting data typically involves the use of two lines (axes) drawn at right angles to one another. The unit of measurement (for example. how often a response is made. The rst letter of each header should be capitalised. time. but not touching one another. how aspects of behaviour change over time or as a research participant s experience changes. when the child plays alone and independently alongside. parallel play. These include: • all graphs should be numbered (e.

and cooperative play. when the child plays with other children in a similar activity. The raw data are described in table 2.5 below. age groups) plotted on the horizontal (X) axis and the frequency (how often each score occurs) plotted on the vertical (Y) axis. A histogram usually has the types of categories (for example.5 Types of relaxation techniques used 15 Amount of time hours Participant 1 Relaxation technique Meditation Drinking coffee Drinking coffee Listening to music Exercise Meditation Sleeping Listening to music Exercise Listening to music Exercise Sleeping Meditation Drinking coffee Exercise Exercise Meditation Sleeping Sleeping Listening to music 10 2 3 5 4 5 0 associative play solitary play parallel play cooperative play unoccupied behaviour 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Male Female Types of play Figure 2. sex. when the child plays with other children at the same activity. and (b) in a bar chart.1 8 representing data using a bar chart A researcher obtained data from a group of university students on the relaxation techniques they found to be most effective for minimising anxiety experienced prior to exams. gure 2.22 shows mean scores on a test of memory (recall) obtained by males and females of different ages.21. Present these data (a) in a table that summarises the raw data. Results of the research are shown in the bar chart in gure 2. when the child did not engage in any play at all for a period of time. Table 2. The researchers who were testing the relevance of Parten s theory among children today added a further category called unoccupied play.22 Scores on a test of recall obtained by males and females of different ages . 20 18 16 Score on test of recall 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 0 10 14 15 19 70 74 Age group 75 16 17 18 19 20 Histograms Histograms look like bar charts.21 Example of a bar chart Sometimes a bar chart is used to present values or scores for two different categories within each bar. 20 learning acTiviTy 2. but in their own way.associative play. C h a p t e r 2 Research methods 1 77 Figure 2. For example. A histogram is a graph which shows the frequency with which a particular score (or range of scores) occurs in a set of data. except the bars touch.

In this way. how quickly male and female participants responded to a red light appearing among written text on a computer screen. as shown in gure 2. such as age.5 1 1. Thus. a pie chart doesn t use a set of axes to plot data and the data are usually shown as percentages.Rectangular bars are used to indicate the frequency of a particular score and each rectangular bar is the same width. as shown in gure 2. it is possible to see how something is divided up according to categories. is a circular diagram that shows the proportions of values or scores for different categories of data. The different-sized slices represent the differences between categories. Each portion ( slice of the pie ) within the circle represents a part of that 100%. or pie graph. A histogram could be used to describe data obtained in the following research. A researcher interested in nding out sex differences in how quickly information passes from the eye to the brain then on to the hand conducted an experiment to test reaction time. in histograms the bars touch. Score on test of problem-solving 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 Score on test of problem-solving 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Score on test of problem-solving 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 Frequency 0 2 4 0 3 6 3 Frequency 5 10 12 12 13 11 15 Frequency 12 17 11 10 15 4 3 78 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology . the X axis of a histogram can be plotted as individual numbers or as intervals.23.23 Example of a histogram learning a cTiviTy 2. Graph the data using a histogram. Participants were asked to press the space bar on the keyboard as soon as they saw the red light. Each category is shown as a slice of the pie .5 3 Reaction time seconds 3.23. second. The time taken from the appearance of the red light to pressing the space bar was electronically recorded. that is.19 representing data using a histogram The following scores were obtained by research participants on a test of problem-solving ability.24. the type of information or variables described on the X axis is continuous and usually numerical. Histograms differ from bar graphs in two main ways rst.5 4 4.5 2 Data for two groups of participants can be described on the same histogram using a different colour or pattern to identify the responses of different groups. Pie charts A pie chart. A pie chart is best used to compare different parts of the same whole. Female Male 2. time or the amount of something. Fre uency num er of participants 100 80 60 40 20 0 0.5 5 Figure 2. The circle of a pie chart represents the whole. or 100%. As shown in gure 2.

6 . 72 would be a slice equivalent to 20% of the whole area of the pie.6 = 72 ). four people and so on. with the numerical value of the data increasing from left to right along the axis. there is a series of progressively increasing values that can be listed.2 0 2 . . The data show activities most frequently reported in dreams. A pie chart such as the one in gure 2. Activity Movement (walking. particularly when there is a relatively small number of categories. in intervals. then three.2 Age (years) 20 24 25 34 35 44 55 64 65 and over line graphs A line graph is another way of describing data. or X.learning acTiviTy 2. For example. In gure 2. or group size and time taken to complete a task. or two variables in an experiment. or similar software.) 34 11 7 7 6 5 4 4 4 3 3 12 100 1 . or Y. the omission of data will arti cially increase the percentage values of the other parts that are included. that is. The horizontal.24 An example of a pie chart showing the age of people employed as psychologists in Australia A pie chart can be drawn by hand using a compass to construct the circle and a protractor for each portion of the circle. Figure 2. axis usually has the dependent variable (the measure of performance) plotted along it. if 20% needs to be represented in the pie chart. running. The vertical. for example. A line graph that describes the relationship between group size and time taken to complete a task would list the group size in terms of the number of members of the group on the X axis. reaction time and a person s age.25 can be constructed with Microsoft Excel . Within the pie chart. representing data using a pie chart The following data were obtained from a research study on the content of dreams. Graph the data using a pie chart. The circle is equivalent to 360 and each portion of the pie chart is calculated as a percentage of 360 . . axis usually has the independent variable plotted on it. 1 2 . One important feature of a line graph is that the variable plotted on the X axis is continuous. then 20% of 360 is 72 (or 20 3.2 Figure 2. beginning at two. 1 . with 1% being equivalent to 3.25 An example of a pie chart constructed with Microsoft Excel software A pie chart is effectively used to show proportions of data. jumping) Talking Sitting Watching Socialising Playing Manual work Striving Thinking Relationship Quarrelling Acquiring Total Percentage (approx. A line graph is a pictorial representation that indicates the relationship between two factors. However. A line graph that described the data from the experiment on group size and time taken to complete C h a p t e r 2 Research methods 1 79 2 . for example. to clearly show each category and its respective percentage. Age (years) 20 24 25 34 35 44 55 64 65 and over 1 2 .24. . a key is used to indicate each category ( slice ) of the graph and the percentage for each category is clearly shown. it is important to be aware that if one or more parts of the whole are left out.

80 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology .0 4.5 3. a broken line and a dotted line). as shown in gure 2. the mid-point is two. 21 representing data using a line graph Construct a line graph by plotting the data shown below.0 1. for example.0 6. For example.26 Example of a line graph istance et een t o people metres Figure 2. the scores are represented on the graph by the value of the mid-point of the range of scores. if groups of scores are plotted on the X axis.0 Number of words spoken 3 22 272 446 896 1222 1540 1870 2072 2562 In a frequency polygon. 15 Fre uency of eye contact 12 9 6 3 0 less than 5 5 9 10 14 15 19 20 Figure 2. four and ve minutes where ve minutes is slightly higher than the maximum time ever taken by any group to complete the task ( gure 2. You may consider using Microsoft Excel software to assist accuracy and save time. Dots are plotted at the intersection of the X and Y axes to indicate individual scores and a line is drawn to connect the dots and is brought down to 0 on the X axis at either side of the polygon ( gure 2. These data can be presented on one graph. which makes comparison easier. The intersecting point can represent a corresponding IV/DV score on the two variables by one research participant. in intervals.5 4.27 Example of a frequency polygon learnin g acTiviT y 2. 35 40 years. researchers could use different kinds of lines for each set of data (such as a solid line.0 3.a task would record the amount of time taken along the Y axis. For example. then one. if the interval of scores ranges from 0 4. three. purple and orange) or different shapes to identify the point of intersection between the X and Y axes (such as triangles. beginning at zero (which is a convention or rule for graphs).0 2.27). Ensure you give the line graph an appropriate title.5 5. axis 5 Amount of time minutes 4 3 2 1 0 2 3 axis 5 4 roup si e 6 7 8 Frequency polygons A frequency polygon is a graph showing the frequency ( how often ) of data using a line graph. Frequency polygons graph only the frequency of particular responses (or scores). circles and squares). To identify the results of the different groups on one graph. The dot to indicate the score of that range would be placed in line with the score of two. Construction of a frequency polygon involves plotting the scores on a task (or groups of scores) on the horizontal (X) axis against the frequency of the scores (or groups of scores) on the vertical (Y) axis of a graph.5 2. two. One advantage of the frequency polygon over the histogram is that more than one set of data can be plotted on the same graph. or the mean score of a group of participants. 55 60 years). Line graphs can be used to demonstrate a relationship between any two variables being studied.28. suppose a researcher collected data on the effects of sleep deprivation on problemsolving ability across three different age groups (15 20 years. Various points on a line graph represent the score on one axis that corresponds with a value on the other axis. Age (in years) 1.26). or different coloured lines (such as blue.

20. 12. desirable or acceptable conduct. 7. 2. ethical standards help us to make judgements about which behaviours are appropriate ( right ) and inappropriate ( wrong ) (NHMRC. 1. Essentially. 7. 20. 12. 6. All societies and cultures have ethical standards that guide the behaviour of members of that society or culture. running down a passageway that led to a deadend). In addition to the ethical standards of a society or culture. 10. 10. 18. 14. The second 10 scores were offspring from a pair of rats that had inferior maze-running abilities. regardless of the reason? What if the researcher has gone to great expense to conduct the research? What if the research has important bene ts for humankind? Such questions raise important ethical issues that need to be considered by researchers whenever they undertake research. The rst 10 scores were from the offspring of a pair of rats that had superior maze-running abilities. 2007). The term ethics refers to standards that guide individuals to identify good. 18. most professions have their own standards C h a p t e r 2 Research methods 1 81 .28 Frequency polygon showing several sets of data learnin g acTiviT y 2.15 20 years old 100 35 40 years old 55 60 years old Mean percentage of correct responses on a pro lem solving tas 80 60 40 20 0 1 3 5 7 9 11 13 15 17 Sleep deprivation hours Figure 2. 22 representing data using a frequency polygon A researcher collected data on maze learning by rats. What conclusions could be drawn from the frequency polygon? ETHICS AND PROfESSIONAL CONDuCT IN PSYCHOLOGICAL RESEARCH Is it appropriate for a researcher to in ict pain on a person in order to study mental experiences associated with pain? Does your answer depend on the amount of pain. or is any amount of pain unacceptable? Does it matter if the pain is psychological rather than physical? Should a participant know exactly what an experiment will involve before they participate? Should a participant be allowed to withdraw from an experiment whenever they want to. 5. 15. 12. The researchers measured the animals learning by counting the number of trials each rat took before it could run through the maze from start to nish without making an error (that is. 14. 3. Represent these data as a frequency polygon so that comparisons can be made between the scores for the two groups. The rats were required to run through a maze to reach a goal box which contained cheese. 5. Summarise these data as a table. 15 and 12 trials. The results for 20 rats were: 6.

However. The Australian Psychological Society (APS) has a Code of Ethics (2007) that provides guidelines which must be followed when working with people (and animals) in research situations (and all other areas of professional practice). the Australian Research Council and the Australian Vice-Chancellors Committee. The way human participants in experiments are to be treated is determined by ethical guidelines. con dentiality Participants have a right to privacy. so any information that may identify details of their involvement in a study . These guidelines help ensure that the wellbeing and rights of research participants are protected during their involvement in psychological research and following the research. For example. so too would it be unethical for a psychologist to reveal information discussed in a counselling session or the results of a psychological test to anyone apart from the client. This ensures that participants are provided with the respect and protection that is due to them. It also encourages researchers to undertake research studies that will be of bene t to the community (NHMRC. particularly the roles and responsibilities of the experimenter and the wellbeing and rights of research participants. Participants rights As well as ensuring that no psychological or physical harm is caused to participants. an experimenter must also respect participants rights as individuals. The experimenter is responsible for ensuring that the research is conducted in such a manner that the wellbeing of research participants is the main concern and that participants are not placed at risk of injury or harm in any way. These guidelines are called the National State­ ment on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (2007). or the guardians of the client if the client is a child or someone else under a guardian s care.29 The APS Code of Ethics and NHMRC National Statement The ethical guidelines for psychological research cover all aspects of the research. Ethical standards and considerations also apply to experimental and other research situations. the National Statement has been prepared to help ensure researchers meet the requirements of all Australian Government Acts of Parliament related to research involving people. Under no circumstances is the experimenter allowed to conduct research which causes participants severe distress. This means that all researchers are legally required to follow all ethical guidelines specied by the National Statement. Importantly. the experimenter (or researcher) must take into consideration the ethical issues involved. The experimenter must be aware that in all scienti c research with human participants. there is a need to balance the bene ts to society from the ndings of the investigation against any discomfort or risks to the research participants. not just psychological research. just as it would be considered unethical for a medical doctor to discuss a patient s condition with anyone apart from the patient or people responsible for the patient. In addition. The Code of Ethics has been devised with reference to a national set of ethical guidelines that are intended to cover all research involving human participants. The National Statement has been co-issued by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).of ethical conduct that must be followed. the purpose of the National Statement is to promote appropriate research values ( what is important ) and procedures for ethical rather than legal reasons. 82 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology Figure 2. the guidelines help prevent unnecessary research and promote research that is or will be of bene t to the community or humankind. roles and responsibilities of the experimenter When planning research. 2007).

The experimenter must also ensure that prospective participants do not experience negative consequences if they choose not to be involved in the study. participants must be appropriately informed of what the study is about and the reason(s) it is being conducted. In addition. The con dentiality requirement applies to the access of research data by others. or to withdraw from a study at any time should they choose to do so. for example. the experimenter must ensure that participants suffer no negative consequences as a result of withdrawing from the study.(for example. Remove negative after-effects. Balance benefits of the research and risks to participants. Take responsibility for your research. decline to participate. Figure 2. Wherever possible. Protect participants from psychological and physical harm. Debrief your participants thoroughly. Maintain and retain confidentiality. Such informed consent must be appropriately documented. Participants must not be pressured to take part in a study. informed consent procedures Wherever possible. the procedures for establishing con dentiality must be explained to participants before the experiment is actually conducted. Use willing participants. through completion of a consent form. and to the storage and disposal of research data. Be honest with your participants.30 Some important ethical guidelines that must be followed when undertaking research in psychology C h a p t e r 2 Research methods 1 83 . Withdrawal rights The experimenter must inform participants of the nature of the study and that they are free to participate. Benefits Risks Ensure participants consent is based on knowledge and understanding. test results or personal data) cannot be revealed unless their written consent is obtained. Do not exploit your participants. voluntary participation The experimenter must try to ensure that participants voluntarily consent to be involved in the study.

au/publications/synopses/ e72syn. obtain the participants consent and/or obtain appropriate consent from the persons who are legally responsible for participants wellbeing ( the experimenter must inform participants about the nature of the experimental procedures to be used and the physical and psychological effects that could be expected. This advice includes the following: ETHICAL CONDUCT OF EXPERIMENTAL INVESTIGATIONS As part of this study teachers and students will be involved in teaching and learning activities which include experimental investigations using human Debrie ng Debriefing involves clarifying participants understanding of the study after it has been conducted. the experimenter must provide an opportunity for participants to obtain appropriate information about the study. This includes correcting any mistaken attitudes or beliefs that participants may have about the study. BOX 2. children and intellectually disabled people). there are ethics committees or review panels which examine research proposals to ensure ethical guidelines will be followed. http://www. In addition. the experimenter must consult with colleagues and ethics committees as appropriate. If unexpected. and provide information about services available to treat any unnecessary distress that results from their participation. Deception Sometimes. Teachers should ensure that students have opportunities to consider topics systematically and objectively. the experimenter must provide an appropriate explanation. Once the entire study has been completed. To help decide whether or not an experiment requires informed written consent of research participants. Teachers and schools have a legal and moral responsibility to ensure that students follow ethical principles at all times when undertaking such investigations. they have a responsibility to ensure their research colleagues agree to follow the ethical code of conduct and guidelines prior to conducting the research. They must not behave in a manner that brings disrepute to the psychology profession. For example. If experimental procedures involve stressful conditions. In all cases involving deception. potentially harmful stress occurs. Professional conduct At all times throughout the research. For participants who are legally unable to give informed consent (for example. and to become aware of the diversity of views held on such matters.e.privacy.3 Ethical practices and conduct in VCE Psychology Advice and ethical practices and conduct that must be followed by VCE Psychology students and teachers is contained in the VCE Psychology Study Design. the experimenter must ensure that participants do not suffer distress from the research procedures. when it is necessary for scienti c reasons to conduct a study without fully informing participants of the true purpose of the study prior to its commencement. such as biologists or medical practitioners. they must not use a position of authority to put pressure on people to agree to participate in research. researchers are expected to conduct themselves in a professional issued by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) in accordance with the NHMRC Act 1992 (Cwlth). including its procedures. SAFETY AND WELLBEING This study may include potentially sensitive topics. http://www. http://www. Students should not be asked to disclose personal information about their own or others health status and behaviours nor should they feel compelled to volunteer this • the Code of Ethics of the Australian Psychological Society (APS). giving participants information about a study may influence their behaviour during the research and affect the accuracy of the results. Teachers should refer to the following documents for detailed advice: • the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (2007). the experimenter must immediately end the participants involvement in the study and ensure the participants reactions are treated. In these instances. 84 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology . results and conclusions. where most psychological research is planned and conducted. if psychologists are involved in conducting research with colleagues who are not psychologists.When the study necessarily involves participants in activities that produce physical or mental stress. parent or guardian). In universities.htm • the National Privacy Principles in the Privacy Amendment (Private Sector) Act 2000 (Cwlth).psychology. The experimenter must anticipate the possible effects on participants of being involved in the study. the experimenter must ensure that no psychologically vulnerable person participates. participants must be debriefed at the conclusion of the study. or to scienti c research.

As part of this study teachers and students will consider different assessments of intelligence. and copyright). • animals have practical advantages over people for use as research participants. sensitivity to cultural differences and personal beliefs. personality. therefore. pastoral care and health issues should be pursued in accordance with the school s pastoral care policy (for example. It is expected that the choice of learning activities undertaken will vary across schools. • when certain experiments require large numbers of participants who have. depending on the individual needs of the students as determined by the teacher. a rat can be raised from birth in a cage. student health records. The rat can then be used in a learning experiment and the psychologist will have a good idea of what it has already learned before the experiment is conducted. • participant expectations can in uence the results of an experiment. adherence to community standards and ethical guidelines (for example. the provisions of privacy and copyright legislation. About 5% of the animals used are monkeys and other primates. LEGISLATIVE COMPLIANCE When collecting and using information. mental health. the same genetic background. For example. respect for persons and sensitivity to issues arising (for example. compared with rats which have a life expectancy of two years. For example. legislative compliance (for example. rats produce a new generation every three months and can be used to study the development of certain behaviours over successive generations within a relatively short period of time. sensitivity to student views on the use of animals in research (for example. prejudice and bullying). • the behaviour of animals can usually be controlled to an extent not possible with human participants. when discussing topics such as intelligence. if learning activities require a component of deception). must be met. some issues to consider include: duty of care in relation to health and safety of students in learning activities. students should be given information about sourcing available treatment services within and outside school. • bodily systems and/or behaviours of some animals are similar to humans. uSE Of ANIMALS IN PSYCHOLOGICAL RESEARCH Although psychology is primarily interested in human behaviour and mental processes. • some studies cannot be conducted with humans due to the risk of psychological and/or physical harm that may be caused. As with any aspect of teaching. hamsters and pigeons. for example. In doing so teachers should adhere to the highest standards of professional practice. information privacy. SENSITIVE ISSUES The study of VCE Psychology requires teachers to develop courses that include appropriate learning activities that enable students to develop knowledge and skills identied in the outcome statements in each unit. debrie ng students after completing learning activities (for example. such as the Victorian Information Privacy Act 2000 and Health Records Act 2001. including standardised psychological tests which are designed to be administered only by trained psychologists. For example. and the Federal Privacy Act 1988 and Copyright Act 1968. The main reasons animals have been used in research are: • some psychologists are genuinely interested in studying animal behaviour. students should be speci cally advised that they: (a) should not necessarily interpret their own experiences as signs of pathology (b) are not in a position to diagnose problems or offer any counselling or therapy. Another advantage is that some animal species breed a lot faster than humans. rats. animals are more easily obtained than humans. One argument is that it is not possible to apply (generalise) the C h a p t e r 2 Research methods 1 85 . about 10% of research involves non-human participants. It is important to note that this course of study provides an academic overview of psychology and does not have any clinical or diagnostic intent. in the provision of alternatives to dissection). or because suitable human participants are unavailable (see page 197). Animals can also be kept for long periods of time in captivity in laboratories and it is easier to observe their behaviour under these conditions. In addition. using animals can be a starting point for learning more about human behaviour. Within this group. referring to the school s counsellor). Animals don t usually have expectations and they are not able to guess the purpose of an experiment. studying the effects of ageing from birth through to old age is not generally practical in humans because most people live until 75-plus years. Many arguments have been presented against the use of animals in psychological research. practical work and excursions. maintaining con dentiality of personal details). Teachers limit access to such tests and ensure students understand that such tests are valid only if administered by a quali ed psychologist. When developing courses. This eld of study is commonly referred to as ethology.When dealing with sensitive mental health matters. most are mice.

g. the animals must be given the appropriate anaesthesia so they do not experience pain. It is also suggested that humans do not have the right to dominate other species. If surgery is to occur. social interaction. and care of laboratory animals must be directly supervised by a person competent to ensure their comfort. humanely treated and experience minimal pain and suffering. According to the NHMRC guidelines. but does not fully inform them of the true purpose of the research before the study begins because it may in uence the participants behaviour? 4. What is meant by the statement participants must be appropriately informed about the type of study and the reasons for the research ? 6. The use 86 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology Prepare a poster that clearly illustrates one (or more) of the ethical guidelines for psychological research.2 3 review questions 1. illness and pain to animals used in research. sensory stimuli). If laboratory animals die after prolonged sleep loss. If an animal is to be subjected to pain.results of animal studies to humans because the species are not the same even though there may appear to be similarities.31 Psychologists must ensure that research animals are well cared for. including research activities in schools. can be performed only if the research can be justi ed. health and humane treatment. research may only occur if no other alternative is available. Why are ethical considerations and guidelines necessary for psychological research? 3. . should it be banned for human use? Another argument is that humans should respect animals and protect them from harm rather than use them in research. stress or deprivation (e. ethical guidelines have also been established for the use of animals in research. According to the Australian Psychological Society ethical guidelines. any research with animals. Justi cation involves weighing the predicted scienti c or educational value of the research against the potential effects on the wellbeing of the animals. An issue for researchers is how far they can generalise about human mental experiences and behaviour from the results of animal studies. Brie y summarise three ethical guidelines that must be followed when planning to use animals in psychological research. it must be done quickly and painlessly. The care and use of animals in research must follow the NHMRC Australian code of practice for the care and use of animals for scienti c purposes (2004). if a research participant became distressed during the research. would humans? If a drug causes a brain disorder in animals. learning acTiviTy 2. What is the ethical responsibility of a researcher who conducts research with human participants. 2. what should occur? 5. visual presentation in research ethics In order to ensure that all reasonable steps are taken to minimise the discomfort. The emphasis of the poster should be on a visual representation of the ethical guideline(s) as well as key points (rather than detailed descriptions). De ne the meaning of ethics in relation to research. food.2 4 Figure 2. learning acTiviTy 2. When an animal s life is to be terminated.

the true purpose of the study will be explained. Pairs of experimenters should collect data using three volunteer participants who each give informed consent. 12. which is very widely used in schools. she intends to pose as a parent who has recently lost a child and participate in discussions in several chat rooms. In addition. H. gives misleadingly low scores to students under stress. Discussing Ethical Issues in Psychological Research . At the end of the experiment. All participants will take a fake pretest and will be given their results . Each participant should attempt or imitate a series of tasks like those listed below.) Options and variations learnin g acTiviT y 2. In order to obtain realistic qualitative data. ensure that you: • accurately de ne all key terms. Your task is to evaluate the proposals in terms of whether they meet the standards. ethical standards and psychological research • use appropriate examples • cover a range of relevant issues • structure the information in a logical sequence • express your information clearly and concisely • accurately cite and reference all source material. or 2. Proposal 1 Danielle Foster is a clinical psychologist who is interested in how parents cope with the death of a young child. left (L) or either (E). she will raise issues for discussion and make judgements about the quality and usefulness of chat room support. all students will be debriefed and told that the pretest was not real. Dr Jones hypothesises that the experimental group will not do as well on the IQ test as the control group. Proposal 2 Dr Jones is interested in the effect of stress on performance on the McCord IQ Test. nor was the feedback following pre-testing. Foster is particularly interested in chat rooms dedicated to parents who have lost a young child. ethics. right (R). All of the students will then be given the real McCord IQ test. References may be used in obtaining information for your essay. Psychology Teacher Network. He feels that the test. The experimental group will be told that they failed the test and that it is surprising that they were able to do well enough at secondary school to make it through to VCE. In your essay. p. He wants to divide his participants (VCE students) into two groups. (1996). with 20 participants in each group. on the basis of which ethical standard(s) it is rejected. In the course of her chat room participation. Nov Dec.2 7 Practical activity determining consistency in hand preference Conduct an experiment to determine whether the dominant writing hand is consistently used for a variety of other tasks. Experimenters should record hand preference for each task on a pre-prepared data sheet. Tasks could include: • writing your name • using scissors • shuf ing a deck of cards • threading a needle • throwing a ball • brushing teeth • using a fork • unscrewing a lid. for example. The control group will be told that they passed the test with ying colours. C h a p t e r 2 Research methods 1 87 .learnin g acTiviT y 2. Why are ethics important in psychological research? Explain with reference to relevant ethical standards and examples not referred to in the text. Should it be permissible to use animals in psychological research? Discuss with reference to advantages and limitations of using animals in psychological research and to relevant ethical standards. that is. She proposes to obtain qualitative data through research on grieving parents use of sources of support available through the internet. 1. 25 applying ethical standards to research Suppose you have been asked to sit on an ethics committee. (continued) Write a 300 400 word essay on one of the following topics. 26 essay ethics in research learning acTiviTy 2. commenting on: (a) whether the committee approves or rejects the proposal as it is presented (b) if the proposal is rejected. then write your recommendations. The task of the committee is to approve or reject proposals for research. The following proposals have been presented to your committee for approval. (Proposal 2 adapted from Herzog.

a Results section with the data collected summarised in a table and a graph 4. or shortly after. Your report should include: 1. Unless we wake up during the dream. When we recall a dream. such as walking. an Introduction section with a brief outline of previous research ndings. Generally. running and jumping. females are more often pursued or endangered in their dreams • physical activities most frequently reported in dreams involve movement. consistent right all tasks were conducted using either right (R) or right and either hand 2. Data for each participant should be tallied and each participant should be categorised into one of the following four groups. logically structured and very realistic. a dream is a story-like sequence of visual images or thoughts that usually occurs during sleep. very few involve the sensations of taste. The data collected should be combined and summarised using an appropriate graph. but 88 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology . construct a short questionnaire of about four to six items to collect data on one or more of the research ndings described here. A description of the key characteristics of the population from which the sample was taken 6. Dreams are sometimes a vague or disjointed collection of seemingly unrelated events or thoughts. This helps explain why sometimes when a dream is in progress it makes perfect sense. At other times they are vivid.You should construct a hypothesis before you conduct the research. The independent and dependent variables in the experiment 3. right mixed R for writing and L for other tasks 3. Report Prepare a brief report on the experiment which you include in your folio of practical activities. Some of the common ndings of dream content studies are: • most dreams are about routine. however. 28 research investigation what people dream about are also more likely to involve ghting. the dream seems illogical and strange. we are likely to forget important aspects of the dream. A table and graph describing the results 7. This research activity requires you to collect data on dream content and compare the results with those of previous research. A description of any extraneous variables that may have substantially affected the results obtained from the experiment 9. depending on their responses to the tasks. A description of the sample used to obtain the results and how the sample was selected 5. 1. left mixed L for writing and R for other tasks Data from pairs of experimenters could be combined with those from other class members. complex. acquaintances and family members rather than with strangers • monsters and the boogie man rarely appear • about half our dreams occur in colour and about half in black and white • while most dreams are lled with visual sensations. A number of psychologists have conducted research studies on what people dream about. Report Prepare a brief report to include in your folio of practical activities that includes the following: 1. a descriptive title 2. more frequently with friends. although some people are more able to recall their dreams than others. A statement about whether the raw data were qualitative or quantitative data 4. Working as a member of a small group. construct a hypothesis about the content of dreams. learnin g acTiviT y 2. A statement about whether the results of the experiment be generalised (applied) to the population? Explain your answer. we usually are able to remember only a portion of the total dream. Each group member should collect data from three or four participants who can recall a recent dream. everyday personal matters usually involving familiar people in familiar places • the dreamer has company in most of their dreams. smell or pain • males and females tend to dream about different things males dreams are more active and more friendly. A statement of the hypothesis tested by this research 2. when we awaken. Prior to conducting the research. consistent left all tasks were conducted using either left (L) or left and either hand 4. A conclusion in which you state whether or not the hypothesis seems to be supported on the basis of the results obtained 8. an aim for your research and a hypothesis 3. as compared with the ndings of previous research. a Conclusion section in which you brie y describe your group s results. Almost everyone dreams several times each night. or even be unaware that we have dreamt at all.

A control group is used for comparison purposes. Random sampling involves the assignment. A testable research hypothesis is usually based on theory and/or previous research ndings. C h a p t e r 2 Research methods 1 89 . _____ 8. a generalisation is a judgement about how widely the ndings of a study can be applied. In psychological research. _____ 4. the extraneous variable is manipulated by the experimenter to observe its effect(s). _____ In research. the population refers to the people who take part in a research study. A case study is a type of descriptive research. observation refers to any means by which a phenomenon is studied. 2. In research. _____ The answers to the true/false questions are in the answer section at the back of this book and in eBookPLUS. 1. _____ 9. of people (or animals) into one of the groups under investigation. In an experiment.TrU e/FalS e Q UiZ Indicate whether each item is true or false by writing T or F in the blank space next to each item. _____ 6. _____ 7. or placement . _____ 10. _____ 5. _____ 3. In an experiment. the independent variable is the responses made by the participants under investigation. Qualitative data are numerical.

5. 50 C. Testing a child s ability to do algebra even though the child s ability to do algebra is already known D. An extraneous variable is best described as a/an variable. protect the welfare and rights of the participants. it was decided to summarise the data using a table which showed the number of times certain anxiety-related words. 90 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology 4. Choosing only volunteers as participants in an experiment B. descriptive data. B. When the researcher replayed the tape of participants responses to the questions asked in the experiment described in question 3. 45. D. descriptive data. A hypothesis is A. C. 20. C. qualitative data. 45. The 20 mothers (and infants) were selected from a group of 45 mothers at the RWH who had all volunteered to participate in the experiment. 95 D. were used. A psychologist interested in the effects of anxiety on exam performance asked research participants to describe how they feel during an exam when they come across a question they know they will get wrong. No marks will be given if more than one answer is completed for any question. there were mothers (and their infants) in the sample. B. There were another 50 mothers with newborn infants at the hospital. such as worried and scared . even though the experiment has started 7. A psychologist studied differences in the behaviour of newborn babies who are breastfed and newborn babies who are bottle-fed. A. These types of data are best described as A. quantitative data. Which of the following procedures would be considered to be unethical when conducting research? A. A correct answer scores 1. Disclosing a participant s extraordinary test results to the media without obtaining written consent to do so from the research participant C. keep problems with the research participants to a minimum level. experimenter C. C. a testable prediction about the results of a research study. B. the main purpose of ethical standards is to A. statistical data.C H A PT E R TES T SecTiOn a Multiple-choice questions Choose the response that is correct or that best answers the question. ensure that the research proceeds smoothly. Marks will not be deducted for incorrect answers. Allowing a participant to discontinue being in the experiment. A. 1. but these mothers did not volunteer to be in the experiment. a statement about the accuracy of the results of a research study. D. participant B. D. an incorrect answer scores 0. dependent D. qualitative data. mothers (and their infants) in the population. 95 3. and non anxiety-related words such as nothing and didn t care . 2. B. . quantitative data. a statement about whether the results apply to the population of research interest. ensure that the results will not be disputed. 20. 45 B. D. C. In psychological research. The type of data obtained by the researcher is best described as A. The participants responses were taperecorded so that they could be analysed at a later time. unwanted 6. The psychologist conducted the research with 20 mothers and their newborn infants at the Royal Women s Hospital (RWH). formulated after the results have been obtained. In this experiment. quantitative and qualitative data.

whereas in a 80 60 40 20 0 Female Male 0. restricting the conclusion(s) to the results. are vertical 15. report ndings D. To generalise from the results of research means A. the results can reasonably be generalised. D. frequency distribution. Researchers collected data for a study on the amount of vacation time employees had and their happiness at work. The data were described in the following graph. C. 9. report ndings C. D. do not touch B. a conclusion is drawn on the basis of the results obtained. the distribution. D. all ethical requirements approved by an ethics committee have been followed. of responses. B. do not touch. means have been calculated. collect data. do not touch D. 100 Fre uency num er of participants appiness at The type of graph they used to show the results is called a A. overstating the results. D. A.5 2 Reaction time seconds This type of graph is called a A. report ndings B. C h a p t e r 2 Research methods 1 91 . are not vertical C.8. 100 80 or 60 40 20 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 um er of ee s vacation per year 11. collect data. C. applying the results to the population. percentages have been calculated. are not vertical. D. C. D. interpret data. 12. histogram. B. 14. interpret data. analyse data. the bars . analyse data. analyse data. Design research method. collect data. design research method. frequency polygon. The most important feature of a table is that A. C. stating whether the results can be replicated. interpret data. B. Consider the following graph. design research method. construct a hypothesis. how responses changed over time. A pie chart would be appropriate to show A. the percentages of responses by different groups. frequency polygon. C. B. C. touch. histogram. 10. B. Construct a hypothesis. 13. how responses changed in relation to the IV. analyse data. are vertical. line graph. an experimental design has been used. interpret data. construct a hypothesis. the bars bar chart. Which of the following series of steps is the most appropriate sequence for conducting psychological research using scienti c method? A.5 1 1. In a histogram. collect data. the data are displayed in an orderly arrangement of rows and columns. line graph. report ndings . Construct a hypothesis. frequency distribution. or spread . Design research method. B. all raw data are included and accurately re ect participants responses. A research study is said to have external validity when A.

1 mark (b) Is the researcher collecting qualitative or quantitative data? 1 mark 92 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology . smoke ten. The results showed that Group 1 took a mean (average) time of 43 minutes to fall asleep. Both groups were carefully observed from outside the gym by two research assistants through a monitor hooked up to infra-red cameras. speci cally sleep loss resulting from spending more time trying to fall asleep. participants in this group were not permitted to smoke any cigarettes in the one-hour period before being asked to go to sleep in one of the beds. However. In order to test this belief. 8 mg cigarettes during a 90-minute period while listening to classical music.00 pm on Tuesday evening. 2 marks Question 3 A researcher wanted to nd out whether the presence of nicotine in the bloodstream is linked to sleep loss. one group of 15 volunteer students who were smokers and enrolled in the rst year of the Psychology course at a Victorian regional university (Group 1) were required to attend the university s gym at 9. The research assistants recorded the precise time when each participant was observed to fall asleep. the procedure was repeated with another group of 12 volunteer smokers who were also enrolled in the rst year Psychology course (Group 2). and then go to sleep as quickly as they could in one of the standard single beds at the other end of the gymnasium. (a) Identify the population for the experiment. Question 1 What is a scienti c bene t of reporting psychological research in a journal or other professional publication? 1 mark Question 2 Explain what a psychological experiment is with reference to two key features that distinguish the experiment from other research methods.SecTiOn B Short-answer questions Answer all questions in the spaces provided. On Friday evening later that week. whereas Group 2 took a mean time of 41 minutes to fall asleep. The researcher concluded that neither smoking nor the presence of nicotine in the bloodstream cause sleep loss.

IV: DV: 2 marks (d) Identify the experimental and control groups. Note that you can complete Section A of the chapter test online through eBookPLUS and get automatic feedback. experimental group: control group: 2 marks (e) Explain whether the conclusion made by the researcher is justi ed. The answers to the short-answer questions are in eBookPLUS. 1 mark eBook plus The answers to the multiple-choice questions are in the answer section at the back of this book and in eBookPLUS. C h a p t e r 2 Research methods 1 93 .(c) Identify the IV and DV.

........................... 98 Reception ................................................................... 100 Visual perception principles ....................... 98 Transduction .........CHAPTER 3 THE VISUAL PERCEPTION SYSTEM Roles of the eye in visual perception ........................ 124 Perceptual set ................................ 96 Characteristics of the visual perception system .............. 120 Perceptual set and visual perception ............................................. 105 Gestalt principles ......................................................................... 138 .. 133 M ller­Lyer illusion ....................................................................... 99 Transmission ............................................................................................. 134 Ames room illusion ........................ 100 Organisation and interpretation ... 105 Depth principles ............................................................................ 125 Distortions of visual perception by illusions ....... 113 Perceptual constancies ..............................................

It does not work like a camera or digital recorder. pain and kinaes­ thesia (which provides information about our body s position and movements). What we see. When we sense something. Most of the processing in the brain involves organising and inter­ preting the information in a meaningful and useful way. it is not perfect. Psychologists often distinguish between sensation and perception. hear. This includes all the parts of the eyes. per­ ception is not a passive process. smell. regardless of how long we look at the illusion (see gure 3. You would not be able to smell the fragrance of a ower or taste Vegemite. touch. We have a number of different senses. C h a p t e r 3 The visual perception system 95 . Sensation is the process by which our sense organs and receptors detect and respond to sensory information that stimulates them. and the areas of the brain that process visual information. Perception is an active process. There is actually no clear boundary that identi es where sensation ends and where percep­ tion begins. Your life would be in complete darkness and silence. Although perception is accurate most of the time. such as from muscle tendons and joints (for kinaesthesia). And standing or moving around would be a problem as you would never know whether you were upright. Most of the sensory information ( stimuli ) comes from our external environment. air vibrations (for hearing) and chemicals (for smell). All human perceptual systems have many character­ istics in common. Other sensory information comes from sensory receptor sites which are within our body. This allows us to adapt to the environment and function in everyday life as we do. For example. Most of the time we process the information automatically. You would not be able to feel the warmth of heat or the coolness of ice. They also involve a similar sequence of processes in detecting and responding to stimuli. The visual perception system consists of the complete network of physiological structures involved in vision. taste. we are actually physiologically responding to information which is in the form of a speci c kind of energy and has stimu­ lated a sense organ or sensory receptor. is the result of brain pro­ cesses that actively construct interpretations of reality from sensory information.Imagine what it would be like to have no senses. In VCE Psychology. laying down. regardless of how long we look at the illusion. mechanically capturing information. The sensory information is meaningless until it is sent to the brain for processing. our experience with many visual illusions indicates that we can sometimes become confused by what we see and struggle to make a meaningful interpretation. This is mainly done for the purposes of study. the nervous system pathways that connect the eyes and the brain. smell and so on. including vision. the visual perception system is pre­ scribed for study as an example of a perceptual system and of processes involved in perception. Perception includes sensory processes and involves the entire sequence of events that begins with the detection of a stimulus (sensation) through to interpretation of the stimulus. Figure 3. moving a leg or the direc­ tion in which you were facing. Each of these senses pro­ vides information in the form of a different kind of energy. However. for example. hearing.1 Visual illusions such as the impossible triangle and three-pronged widget illustrate that we can sometimes become confused by what we see and struggle to make a meaningful interpretation. light (for vision). Perception refers to the process by which we give meaning to sensory information. without realising that we are doing it. Never feeling pain means that you would always be vulnerable to physical harm.1). resulting in our personal interpretation of that information.

Light initially enters the eye through the cornea. ex­ lens. the pupil may bec become as big as the diameter of a pencil. Its shape is changed by the ciliary muscles attached to each end of the lens.roles oF THe eYe In VIsual percepTIon The eye is the sense organ for vision. enabling the lens to automatically bulge to focus nearby objects onto the retina and atten to focus distant Optic objects onto the retina. The lens plays a major focusing light onto the retina. ible. After passing through the cornea. which surrounds the pupil. the pupil contracts and becomes smaller to restrict the amount of light entering the eye.2 The structure of the eye uid which helps to maintain the shape of the eyeball and provides nutrients and oxygen to the eye. The aqueous humour is a watery Vitreous humour Cornea Pupil Lens Ciliary muscle Iris Aqueous humour Figure 3. These muscles expand and contract. the order to fo lens adjusts its shape according to the dis­ tance of the object being viewed. In a place where there is dim light. such as a darkened movie theatre. When it is extremely dark. but an opening in the iris that helps to control the amount of light entering the eye. The iris is a ring of muscles which expand or contract to change the size of the pupil and control the amount of light entering the eye. light then passes through the aqueous humour which lls the space between the cornea and the lens. The iris. is the col­ oured part of the eye. In role in focu focus light onto the retina. convex­shaped (curved outwards) covering which protects the eye and helps to focus light rays onto the retina at the back of the eye. such as at the beach on a clear summer day. in a place where there is bright light. Light enables sight to occur. Having passed through the pupil. Conversely.3 The pupil is the opening in the centre of the iris which has the appearance of a black spot. 96 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology . It contracts in bright light (left) and expands in poorly lit conditions. a transparent. the pupil dilates (expands) to allow more light into the eye. Blind spot nerve Retina Figure 3. The pupil is not a structure in itself. light then enters the len which is a transparent. In a place where it is extremely bright. An important function of the eye is to collect light that has been re ected or given out by objects in the environment. The passage of light continues through the pupil which looks like a black disc in the centre of the eye. convex structure located immediately behind the pupil. the pupil may be no larger than a pinhead. as well as carrying away waste products.

it is sent along the optic nerve to an area at the back of the brain called the visual cortex for further processing. returning the focal point fo the retina. or myopia.g. the image on the retina is not focused and is therefore blurry. For this condition. Again.4). the lens focuses the image at a point beyond the retina. leaving an unfocused.4 The retina is located at the back of the eye. Vitreous humour is a jelly­like sub­ like stance which helps to maintain the shape of the eyeball yeball and also helps focus light. (c) Partially blurred vision due to astigmatism. or hyperopia. After the visual information is processed in the retina.g. either the eye itself is misshapen (e. enabling us to perceive erceive the object as it is in reality. but can usually be achieved by spectacles with special lenses which are designed to correct the asymmetry of the lens or cornea. occurs if the distance between the lens and the retina is unusually long. blurry image on the retina. too short or too long). the cornea or the lens). Farsightedness. This happens when the distance between the lens and the retina is unusually short. The retina receives and absorbs light and processes images. called presbyopia. it continues through vitreous humour. The lack of symmetry of the lens or cornea is corrected by lenses in spectacles which allow all parts of the object to be focused on the retina. C h a p t e r 3 The visual perception system 97 . The brain rearranges this information. may be present from birth and often occurs because the actual shape of the eye does not allow the lens to bulge enough to focus close images onto the retina. Corrective convex lenses are usually required to bring the focus of the image forward to the retina.5 (a) Farsightedness due to hyperopia. Correction for astigmatism is more dif cult. Another visual problem. This type of farsightedness is commonly associated with ageing. the light reaches the retina at back of the eye. The image focused onto the retina is an n inverted (upside­down) and reversed (back­to­front) nt) image of the object being viewed (see gure 3. part is not Convex lens Concave lens Non-symmetrical lens Figure 3. which consists of several layers of nerve tissue and light­sensitive visual receptor r cells called photoreceptors. occurs when the lens is unable to bend enough to focus at close (a) Farsighted eye (hyperopia) Near point range. This causes the focal point for distant objects to fall short of the retina. Convex lenses increase refraction of light.1 Visual problems Some visual problems develop because of structural abnormalities of the eye. and also processes images. a structural part is misshappen (e. concave lenses are prescribed for long distance viewing in order to extend the distance between the lens and the retina (focal length). This results in the retinal image being only partially focused because the light rays do not meet at a single focal point. The retina is connected to the brain by the optic nerve. The retina receives and absorbs light. These are quite common visual problems that can be corrected by spectacles and contact lenses. (c) Astigmatic eye Misshapen cornea (b) Nearsighted eye (myopia) Distant point Misshapen lens Part of image is focused. In particular. BOX 3. (b) Nearsightedness due to myopia. or a structural part lacks exibility. As a result. Figure 3. Concave lenses extend the focal point to the retina. Astigmatism occurs if either the lens or cornea is not symmetrical. regardless of the lens elongating (or attening ) to its maximum length. Nearsightedness. Finally.After incoming light passes through the lens. It contains several layers of nerve tissues and the light-sensitive photoreceptors.

lens 5. These characteristics can be considered as a sequence of processes. retina.6 Reception is the process by which the eye receives incoming light from the external environment and incomin focuses it onto the retina where an image of the visual stimulus is captured. transduc­ A tion cannot occur without reception having occurred. photoreceptors 6. they do not all occur independ­ ently of one another. As shown in gure 3. identify the following structures on the diagram below: cornea. light sensitive visual receptor cells learning acTiviTy 3.3 visual presentation of light pathway Draw a ow chart or another type of diagram which shows the pathway of light as it travels from the cornea to the retina. lens. opening which helps regulate the amount of incoming light f. iris. the sequence starts when visible light is detected and received. absorbs and processes light d. pupil 3. by the eyes (reception). focuses light onto the retina c. or features. eBook plus Interactivity on eye structure 2. protective cover on the eye and helps focus incoming light e. pupil. Additional processing in the brain mostly involves arranging speci c features of the visual image into a arrangin recognisable or meaningful form (organisation) and making sense of this visual information (interpretation) so that we can understand what we are looking at. receives. Structure 1.7. a round band of muscles which expand and contract to control the amount of incoming light b.1 review matching eye structures and functions Match each of the structures identi ed in the left-hand column with the correct function in the right-hand column. retina cHaracTerIsTIcs oF THe VIsual percepTIon sYsTeM learning a cTiviTy 3. D Psychologists have identi ed a number of charac­ teristics. which take place within the visual perception information pro­ cessing system . transduction must occur o B before visual sensory information captured on b C the retina can be transmitted to the brain for t further processing. of the visual perception system which also tend to be common in other perceptual systems. For example.learning a cTiviTy 3. F reception E Figure 3. iris 4. cornea Function a. optic nerve. we will consider each process separately. Photoreceptors in the retina cap­ ture this incoming light and convert it into another form of energy (transduction) to enable it to be sent to the brain (transmission) for further processing. Identify the various anatomical structures through which light passes and brie y describe the role of each structure. However. for the purpose f of studying visual perception.2 review identifying the structures of the eye Without looking at the diagram of the eye on page 96. Similarly. Present your diagram as a poster on an A3 sheet of paper. Although these processes can be distinguished from Althoug one ano another in terms of the speci c roles they have in visual perception. The retina contains millions of specialised neurons (nerve cells) that detect and 98 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology . or activities .

it is necessary to convert this energy into a form that can be sent along the optic nerve to the brain. and for detecting ne detail and colour vision. They are very poor at detecting the ne details in an image and are not involved in colour vision. use the anatomy of the retina weblink. a range of photographs and an animation on the pathway of light. Rods and cones respond to light in different ways.8 This image. For a detailed anatomy of the retina. This is why everything on a dark.Enters eye Stimulus energy (electromagnetic energy/visible light) Reception Photoreceptors in the retina detect and receive Transduction Converted from electromagnetic to electrochemical energy Transmission Sent to the brain via the optic nerve Brain (visual cortex) (Organisation and Interpretation) Figure 3. shows rods and cones in the retina. Rods respond to very low levels of light and are primarily responsible for night vision. Therefore. it arrives in a form of energy which cannot be sent to or processed by the brain. moonless night appears as shades of grey. When rods and cones detect light. For a relatively simple description of the retina and some activities concerning vision. called rods and cones. identi able by the shapes after which they are named. learning acTiviTy 3.4 internet activity on the retina Use the following weblinks in your eBookPLUS to complete the activities. These specialised neurons are called photoreceptors. Click on the link at the bottom of the page that says. Transduction When light reaches the photoreceptors. This energy conversion process C h a p t e r 3 The visual perception system 99 . use the retina weblink. cones respond to high levels of light (and do not respond well to dim light). taken through an electron microscope. You will nd a number of interesting learning activities to do. They are primarily responsible for our vision in well­lit conditions. Figure 3. try some experiments to test your sense of sight . they respond by changing the light energy into a form of energy that can be sent to the brain for further processing. In contrast to rods. There are two types of photoreceptors.7 Visual perception as a visual information processing system respond to light.

we tend to organise the individual elements or parts of a visual image by assembling them into a meaningful whole object or shape because they belong or go together . Organisation and interpretation When visual information reaches the brain. we know that an aeroplane doesn t get physically smaller as it takes off from the runway and ies into the sky even though it appears to shrink. De ne the meaning of visual perception. neuro­ psychologists have investigated the roles of speci c parts of the brain by conducting experiments using brain imaging technology such as PET scanners. which we tend to apply automatically without consciously thinking about it. light would travel no further than the retina and visual perception would not be possible. walls. windows. we may construct and test a per­ ceptual hypothesis about what the object could be. such as our past experience with objects. In what way can visual sensation and visual perception be distinguished? 3. learning acTiviTy 3. roof.5 review questions 1. This partly involves drawing on existing knowledge. How we actually go about organising visual information partly involves the use of visual perception principles. Organisation assists our interpretation of objects and events. In visual perception. the processing of incoming visual information does not occur only in the visual cortex. organisation involves assembling or arranging the features of a visual image in a meaningful way. (a) What does the process of transduction involve in visual perception? (b) Brie y describe the main role of photoreceptors in transduction. if we are uncertain about what an object is. (c) Suggest why electrical impulses are also referred to as neural impulses . 5. Transduction is the process by which the photoreceptors change electromagnetic energy ( light ) into electrical impulses ( signals ) which can travel along the optic nerve to the brain. or rules . transmission involves sending information in the form of electrical impulses along the optic nerve to the brain. For example. the brain can receive and process the information. to put a name to it. For example. Interpretation is the process of assigning (or giving ) meaning to visual information so that we can understand what we are looking at. such as knowing that an object doesn t actually change its physical size when it moves away from us. The optic nerve carries the visual information from the retina to the visual cortex which is located at the back of the brain. We may also draw on other perceptual principles. The visual cortex is an area of the brain that specialises in receiving and processing visual information. Researchers have identi­ ed a number of psychological processes involved in interpretation. These nd­ ings have been supported by case studies of patients with damage to these areas of the brain who have dif culties with spatial abilities or object recognition (see box 3. Similarly. enabling it to send information elsewhere for additional processing. Researchers have also identi ed physiological pro­ cesses involved in interpretation. visual information is sent to a dif­ ferent area of the brain so that we can determine what an object is. Once there. These types of studies have found that the visual cortex sends information to another area of the brain to enable us to interpret where an object we are looking at is located in space. However. 2. out what the object could be. to work 100 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology .is called transduction. chimney .2). For example. For example. (a) What does the process of reception involve in visual perception? (b) Why is reception considered to be the rst process in visual perception? (c) What are photoreceptors? (d) Prepare two lists that summarise the different functions of rods and cones in responding to light. it is organ­ ised and interpreted so that it is meaningful and can be understood. The visual cortex is connected to other areas of the brain. This is why we perceive a house rather than doors. Where does visual information go after transduction and how does it get there? 6. that is. Transmission In visual perception. but it does not always explain how we actually make sense of visual information. If transduction did not occur. (a) What do the processes of organisation and interpretation involve in visual perception? (b) What role does organisation play in interpretation? (c) What role might interpretation play in organisation? (d) Give an example of a psychological and a physiological process involved in organisation and/or interpretation. 4.

1992. As a consequence of this damage. The where pathway enables us to locate the position of objects in space. draw a diagram which shows the relationship between the structures and processes in the visual perception system. draw a ow chart which shows the terms in an appropriate sequence for the visual perception process. D. This means that there is also a where pathway in the visual cortex and that this has not been damaged in D. She does this from memory of voices and her past experience with objects using touch and other senses.F. D. The non-damaged parts of D. her conscious perception of objects is impaired. D. cannot identify or re-draw it.9 The visual cortex is connected with other areas of the brain to enable visual perception. affects . that is. s brain. she can do so from memory. Brie y explain the role of each of these structures and processes in visual perception by ruling lines between each term and using link words to identify the relationship(s). Thus.F. where pathway Primary visual cortex what pathway Figure 3. leads to . She can also reach out and shake hands as ef ciently as we all do.F. Similarly. depends upon in uences . she cannot tell you what she is going to pick up. common objects. The what pathway enables us to identify what we see. These connections occur through nerve pathways. Her condition was diagnosed as object agnosia.F s visual cortex allow her to use information about the size and location of objects despite her lack of awareness (Goodale & Milner. For example. However.F.F. when presented with a drawing of an apple.BOX 3. This pathway is sometimes called the what pathway as it links two areas of the brain involved in recognising objects. she can usually say what they are. has no awareness that she is taking in any visual information about objects she sees. Other tests and experiments conducted by neuropsychologists found that D. D. D. A3 size) Options and variations 1. learnin g acTiviT y 3. OR 2. The following terms all relate to the visual perception system and processes: transmission photoreceptors organisation light optic nerve visual sensation brain reception visual perception interpretation neural activity electrical impulses retina transduction eye visual cortex C h a p t e r 3 The visual perception system 101 . or even a drawing of a square or circle. D.F. or how big it is. The poisoning damaged a nerve pathway that connected the visual cortex to an area of the brain near the temple. shape and orientation ( position ) of objects to control visually guided movements. cited in Gazzaniga & Heatherton. contributes to . can walk across a room and step around things without any dif culty. But if asked to draw an apple. causes . However. suffered carbon monoxide poisoning at the age of 34 years. can reach out and grasp a block.g.F. can use visual information about the size. can recognise people by their voices and if you place objects in her hands. with the exact correct distance between her ngers. other aspects of her visual processing are unaffected. For instance. which is the inability to recognise objects.2 Case study of a brain-damaged patient who cannot recognise objects Case studies of patients with brain damage provide evidence that visual information received by the visual cortex at the back of the brain is sent to a different area of the brain so that we can determine what an object is. is no longer able to recognise the faces of her friends and family.F. to track their movements and to move in relation to them. Despite major problems with the visual perception of objects. 2006). a patient referred to as D. Two pathways to upper and lower areas of the brain are commonly called the what and where pathways. assists with and becomes (see page 160). Link words may include determines . 6 visual presentation perception processes visual On a large sheet of paper (e.F.

This was demonstrated in research conducted by American psychologist John Ridley Stroop. When you have stated the ink colour of the last word. Stroop (1935) asked participants to read words and identify colours where the information was sometimes contradictory or mismatched . Consequently. the word red printed in purple ink). State the colour of each word as quickly as possible. you are required to turn the sheet of paper/card. Working with a partner. When 102 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology . When we are confronted with competing information requiring our attention. Condition 3 (colour blocks) When I say start . All materials can be downloaded from your eBook. Condition 2 (mismatched words) When I say start . condition 2. When you have read the last word. Lindsay & Jacoby. Stroop found that participants took longer and made more errors when the meaning of a word (e. you will need to develop the stimulus materials shown in table 3. shows examples of the words. It will contain a list of words written in different coloured ink. In addition. The ndings of this research have become known as the Stroop effect. beginning at the top of the series. Generally. you should ensure that you clearly understand the Stroop effect and the experiment s procedures. our automatic response is to rst read the information. beginning at the top of the list. beginning at the top of the list. All participants should be volunteers. you are required to turn the sheet of paper/card. In preparation for the experiment. This will enable you to collect data on the time taken and the number of errors made when participants are required to identify different types of visual input or stimuli. This initial response interferes with our attempt to name the colour of the ink. completing the latter task of colour identi cation requires greater attention and mental effort. When you have identi ed the last block. which also takes more time (Macleod. such as when we have to read a word that names a colour and identify the colour in which it is printed. our brain manages this either by responding to more than one input (stimulus) at a time (such as reading this introduction and listening to someone talking). you are required to turn the sheet of paper/card. Participants should be provided with separate instructions for each condition as follows. give their informed consent and be tested individually. It will contain a list of words written in different coloured ink. State the colour of each block as quickly as possible. Condition 4 (familiar words) When I say start . A stopwatch should be used to record precisely the response time of each participant. our automatic response is to read the word. our brain has dif culty ef ciently processing competing inputs of sensory information. This enabled him to observe the effects of competing information on visual perception. beginning at the top of the list. Condition 1 (black print) When I say start .1) should be placed face down on a table in front of the participant in the order of presentation required. This practical activity is based on Stroop s experiment. 1997. or by ignoring some inputs (such as the pressure of the oor against your feet) and listening to others. 7 Practical activity the Stroop effect doing so. when we are presented with a word. The stimulus material for the rst condition of the experiment containing lists of words (see table 3. a data sheet will be required to record each participant s responses. the stimulus material for the next condition should be placed face down on the table in front of the participant. At the conclusion of each condition. you will conduct the experiment with four participants (i. The Stroop effect is the observation that individuals are more likely to make errors and will take a longer time to name the colour of the ink in which a word is printed when the meaning of a word is different from the actual colour in which it is printed. 1994). It will contain a series of coloured blocks.g. Table 3. Read aloud the words on the sheet as quickly as possible. Sometimes. say stop to indicate that you have completed the task. In a well-known word colour experiment. Psychologists believe that the Stroop effect occurs because. such as that in table 3. say stop to indicate that you have completed the task.1. you are required to turn the sheet of paper/card.e.learnin g acTiviT y 3. It will contain a list of words. You should construct a research hypothesis related to the Stroop effect before conducting the experiment. say stop to indicate that you have completed the task. the word red ) was different from the actual colour of the printed word (e. two participants each). say stop to indicate that you have completed the task. State the ink colour of each word as quickly as possible. The effect has been observed in numerous experiments that have replicated Stroop s original research study. however.2. (continued) Our brain constantly receives and responds to many different inputs of sensory information. Your data will be combined with the data collected by other pairs of experimenters in your class.1.g. When you have stated the colour in which the last word is printed.

the research hypothesis 3. Finally.Table 3. (Adapted from Grivas. record both the time taken (in seconds) and the number of errors made by each participant. each participant should be thanked for their involvement in the experiment and debriefed. J. (1991). including an explanation of why it may be relevant 6. Marrickville. P.2 Data sheet for participants responses Condition 1 Participant 1 2 3 4 Time Errors Condition 2 Time Errors Condition 3 Time Errors Condition 4 Time Errors For each condition. a summary of the class results using appropriate descriptive statistics 4. a potential extraneous variable(s) that may be relevant. a conclusion(s) based on the results and referring to the hypothesis 5. • calculate means for the class results • graph the class data to show the mean time taken for each condition and the mean number of errors for each condition. Psychology Experiments and aActivities.1 The four conditions of the Stroop effect task Condition 1: Colour words in black print Task: Read the word red green blue purple brown green brown red purple blue Condition 2: Mismatched colour words Task: State the colour of the ink red purple green brown blue green red brown blue purple Condition 3: Blocks of colour Task: State the colour of the block Condition 4: Familiar words in colour print Task: State the colour of the ink truck store couch table shirt store couch truck shirt table Table 3. When all class members have conducted the experiment. 134 7. NSW: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. combine your data with data obtained by others in the class. and Lawrie. Then. Report Prepare a brief report on the research activity to include in your folio of practical activities. Your report should include: 1.) eBook plus Weblink Stroop effect 103 C h a p t e r 3 The visual perception system . a statement of the aim of this experiment 2. other information that may be requested by your teacher. pp.

nervous system and brain are seen as an integrated and interdependent system. and how rewards and punishments may in uence our interpretation of events. the way in which we interpret visual information is often based on our past experience. One thing the perspectives have in common is their recognition of the importance of undertaking research on visual perception in a scienti c way.BOX 3. as you turn to the next pages of this book. any failure in visual perception is likely to be the result of damage or a defect in one or more anatomical (physiological) structures somewhere in the visual system. Although approaching an understanding of visual perception in different ways. The illusion is based on an almost rectangular shape which looks like a window with horizontal and vertical bars. Zulus living in remote.11 Visual perception can be explained from different perspectives. each of which respond to different forms of energy. The eye. visual perception can be described and explained from a range of different perspectives. you are actually looking at the only part of the brain that we can see from outside the skull (Gazzaniga & Heatherton. The socio-cultural perspective focuses on the roles of social and cultural in uences in visual perception. When this window is revolved in a circular pathway. emphasising the importance of past experience. you will not see cake recipes or long lists of Chinese characters. Since we continually receive information from all our senses. For instance. The perspective taken in uences the topics of research interest and the focus of the research studies that are undertaken. It is one of a number of specialised and relatively independent perceptual systems. Figure 3. Thus. From the biological perspective. However. Research studies have found that people living in cultures without rectangular windows were less likely to experience the illusion. For example. the perspectives have much in common and have all made valuable contributions to the body of knowledge psychology has built about visual perception. it can look like a rectangular window moving backwards and forwards. The different perspectives consider visual perception from different viewpoints paying more or less attention to different aspects of visual perception. For example.10 There are cultural differences in the perception of the illusion created by this rectangular shape. 104 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology . If you shine a light in someone s eye so that you can see their retina at the back of their eye. you can probably recall an occasion when you needed to think about what you heard in order to make sense of what you saw. because you know from past experience that this is a psychology book written in English. or Europeans living in towns. From the biological perspective. There is an emphasis on how our personal circumstances or our experience within a culture can in uence the way in which we process and interpret visual information. the eye is considered to be an extension of and therefore a part of the brain. The behavioural perspective focuses on the role of learning in visual perception. which was designed to look like a window. visual perception is primarily a physiological process which starts at the eye and mostly occurs through a complex series of neural events involving extensive interactions between billions of brain cells (neurons). Cognitive perspective Socio-cultural perspective isual perspective Biological perspective Behavioural perspective Figure 3.10. exchanging perceptual information when required. to see a rectangle moving backwards and forwards (Allport & Pettigrew. For instance. rural communities in Africa were less likely than African Zulus living in towns. and vice versa. which was used in an experiment to study the experience of visual illusions in different cultures. For example. the various perceptual systems function alongside or parallel to one another. 1957). which can also in uence our expectations when identifying incoming sensory information. but not necessarily ignoring expectations of perceptual processes from other perspectives. 2006).3 Visual perception from different perspectives As with many of the topics studied by psychologists. along with the specialised systems for our other senses. consider gure 3. the brain coordinates all their activities. The cognitive perspective focuses on how we acquire and process the visual information that reaches our brain from our eyes. Cognitive psychologists often describe the visual perception system as an information processing system that specialises in dealing with visual information.

which is its surroundings. Figure ground organisation Figure ground is used when you read this sentence the words printed in black ( gure) stand out against the white paper (ground) on which they are printed.12 In 1915. closure. depending on whether we view the faces or the vase as the gure. Designers of road signs may also use visual perception principles to help ensure that the signs stand out in an often cluttered environment so that they can be interpreted and understood quickly. Gestalt means organised whole . This means that we can perceive either faces or a vase. many artists make use of visual perception principles to give the impression of three­dimensional depth and/or dis­ tance on a canvas or piece of paper. in order to make sense of what is being observed. Viewed as a whole.12. In this way. We tend to auto­ matically use these principles. if part of what we are looking at is hidden or covered. the Danish psychologist Edgar Rubin produced an image like the one shown at left. For example. the painting on the chapter opening page by Giuseppe Arcimboldo (1527 93) is a face. Visual perception principles can be classi ed into three broad categories: Gestalt principles. When we use gure ground. Gestalt principles help us construct a meaningful whole object from an assortment of parts that. the contour belongs to the vase and this separates it from the ground. a symbol such as an abstract eye might be used as a company logo for a vision restoration clinic in order to draw our attention to it (through its novel or unusual form) and to consider the clinic whenever we see the symbol. your teacher is perceived as the figure against the background of the rest of the classroom. Artists experimented with the concept of parts which make up the whole long before Gestalt psychol­ ogists considered the principle scienti cally. similarity and proximity. when considered as individual bits. Figure ground organisation is generally achieved when we separate the gure from the ground using a line or boundary between the gure and ground. then. This can be seen in the work of artists. This line of separation between the gure and ground is known as a contour. which stands out from the ground . When we focus our attention on the vase. complete form. For example. we organise visual infor­ mation by perceptually dividing a visual scene into a gure . . For example. which may or may not exist in the scene. Figure 3. These include gure ground organisation. while all other visual information becomes the (back)ground. Symbols are also used by advertisers to attract atten­ tion to their products and services or to try to in u­ ence our interpretation in a certain way. Visual perception principles can also be intentionally used. C h a p t e r 3 The visual perception system 105 gestalt principles Gestalt is a German word for which the closest English trans­ lation is form or shape . However. without any conscious effort or being aware that we are doing so. By making an object the centre of our focus it becomes the gure. It is called an ambiguous gure because it can be perceived as either two silhouetted faces in front of a white background or as a white vase against a black background. The differing interpretations of the image occur with shifts in attention and how we perceive the contour. Similarly. In gure 3. Psychologists have identified numerous Gestalt principles that are used in visual perception. When used in psychology. This is usually done in the simplest possible way. The contour is always perceived as belonging to the gure. It is also called a reversible gure because it can produce alternative perceptions based on whether we identify the faces or vase as the gure or ground. which is a two­ dimensional medium. they own the contour and the vase becomes the ground. Gestalt principles of visual perception refer to the ways in which we organise the features of a visual scene by grouping them to perceive a whole. When we focus on the two faces. lack any real meaning. we simply construct a whole or complete form by mentally lling in the parts that we cannot see. the con­ tour can belong to either the faces or the vase.VIsual percepTIon prIncIples Visual perception principles are rules that we apply to visual information to assist our organisation and interpretation of the information in consistent and meaningful ways. This image is commonly referred to as an ambiguous gure or a reversible gure. depth principles and perceptual constancies. designers of road traf c signs and advertisers. the individual features consist of fruit and vegetables. These principles help us to organise and make sense of visual information that is some­ times inconsistent or incomplete.

All rights reserved. are designed so that the gure stands out from the back­ ground. Some artists make clever use of figure ground in their works by presenting artworks that have an ambiguous contour. Similarly. 106 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology . M. make use of black numbers against a contrasting white background. For example. making them the gure against the white background. Dutch artist M.C. signs indicating speed limits that need to be seen quickly and clearly.Signs are frequently designed so that the gure stands out clearly from the back­ ground. Normally. the letters on the STOP sign in gure 3.C. The confusion occurs because the artworks make it possible for us to perceive the contour as belonging to either the gure or the ground. we can quickly perceive the contour as belonging to the gure. Escher (1898 1972) used gure ground reversal to create an ambiguous gure from which two interpretations are possible.14 are written in white to stand out as the gure against a contrasting red background. Visual stimuli that enable gure and ground to be perceived as legitimate alternatives are commonly called reversible gures. Escher s Winged Lion  2004 The M.C. and the rest of the scene is perceived as the ground. Artists such as M. Figure 3. Escher (see gure 3. Road traffic signs in par­ ticular. depending on our focus of attention.13 In this artwork.C. The contours are attributed to the numbers.14 These two road signs use the gure ground organisation principle to support quick perception of their messages.13) have produced many artworks that deliberately confuse the observer into making alternating interpretations of the same scene. Figure 3. Escher Company Baarn Holland.

For example. Asked to describe what they saw. which is shown in gure 3.15 Can you nd 13 faces hidden in this artwork? Can you explain why they are hidden ? The Forest Has Eyes  1984 by Bev Doolittle. Nisbett and Japanese­born American socio­cultural psychol­ ogist Takahiko Masuda (2006) showed students from Japan and the United States an animated under­ water scene. but blend together. Japan. learnin g acTiviT y 3. C h a p t e r 3 The visual perception system 107 . whereas people from Eastern cultures tended to focus on the entire scene rather than speci c features. 8 applying figure ground Consider the artwork The Forest Has Eyes. In a more recent research study. Using participants in the United States. either by design or unintentionally. Camou age occurs when the gure and ground are not easily sep­ arated. When shown various visual images. The researchers found many differences between Westerners and Easterners. with reference to gure ground and contours. the Japa­ nese participants were much more likely to begin by describing the details of the whole scene (the ground). Inc. When this happens. There are 13 faces hidden in the painting. military uniforms are designed to use the colours of the surrounding environment so that the gure (sol­ dier) is dif cult to separate from the ground (environ­ ment) in which the soldier is located. reproduced by permission of The Greenwich Workshop. Westerners tended to focus on single objects or elements in the foreground (the gure). the researchers com­ pared how white Americans (Westerners) and East Asians (Easterners) perceive and think about the world. whereas Easterners are more likely to be in uenced by both the gure and the ground. it creates camou age. This suggests that Westerners are more likely to isolate a gure from the (back)ground. Options and variations A series of research studies conducted by American social psychologist Richard Nisbett and his colleagues (1991) found that there are cultural differences in the use of gure ground. Camou age restricts our ability to separate the gure from the background because the colour(s) and pattern (or design) of the gure are similar to the background.15. China and Korea. Explain how the artist has achieved this. Figure 3.The importance of being able to attribute a contour to part of the stimulus (the gure) in order to separate it from ground is highlighted when we have dif culty in doing this. The scene featured one big sh in the foreground swimming among smaller sh and other aquatic life. including a differ­ ence in the use of gure ground.

ll in or ignore gaps in a visual image and to perceive objects as complete ( whole ).17 This image is similar to one used in the Ishihara test for colour blindness. we use closure to organise then interpret the shape in the Australian alian Made. sports teams. players in opposing sports teams. emergency services and defence forces personnel. shape. the standard sign for disabled people s facilities requires the use of closure to reach the interpretation of a person in a wheelchair. Australian Grown logo as a kangaroo. Over all. For example. Similarity is applied by the designers of uniforms for school. .16 Company logos and signs often require the use of closure to mentally complete an incomplete gure. with the IBM logo. the American participants tended to begin their descriptions with the big sh (the gure). For example. supermarkets and petrol stations so as to identify people as belonging to a particular group. The Ishihara tests for colour blindness examine whether we have normal colour vision by requiring us to use the principle of similarity to group sections of the images in the test items to visually perceive numbers.In contrast. or even teenagers dressed in particular clothes that are typical of their subculture (such as Goths ). as well as to those worn by employees of commercial organisations such as fast food chains. Japanese participants in the study made 70% more statements about aspects of the background environ­ ment than Americans. and the shapes in the Liquorland logo as bottles. These numbers will remain hidden if we are unable to group the dots accurately on the basis of colour. the principle of similarity is used when we group people wearing the same uniform and identify them as belonging to the same team. texture or colour 108 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology Figure 3. Similarity The principle of similarity involves the tendency to ncy perceive parts of a visual image that have similar features such as size. as belonging together in a unit. we visually group those who are dressed similarly and perceive them as belonging to the whole group. For example. we ll in the gaps between each of the horizontal lines to mentally form solid letters and/or ignore the gaps that prevent solid letters. Closure is also applied to non­verbal infor­ mation (written).16 illustrates how we mentally include lines where there are none. For example. Figure 3. school or workplace. group or whole . gure 3. Similarly. Whether it is students from different schools at a bus stop. An example of an image used in the Ishihara tests is shown below. closure Closure refers to the perceptual tendency to mentally close up .

Proximity The principle of proximity (or nearness) is the ten­ dency to perceive parts of a visual image which are positioned close together as belonging together in a group. For example. whereas in gure 3. Figure 3. That is.Figure 3. Figure 3.19(b) we perceive four vertical columns of blocks.19 shows two examples of the principle of proximity. a series of letters located physically close (a) (b) together might be grouped to be perceived as a word. In gure 3.19 The proximity of the elements (parts) which comprise these two diagrams determines whether we perceive rows or columns. C h a p t e r 3 The visual perception system 109 . we group the separate bits into a whole based on how close they are to each other. or a series of musical notes grouped together on a score may become a melody.19(a) we perceive four hori­ zontal rows of blocks.18 Individuals in this photo can be perceived as belonging to different groups when you apply the principle of similarity based on similar-coloured uniforms.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 Figure 3. the formally educated female students (group 5) were the only ones who identi ed each items using the correct term. and many were still barely literate. Active kolkhoz (collective farm) workers and young people who had taken short courses. For example.BOX 3. however. had acquired a much broader outlook than had the isolated peasants. groups 1 and 2 had no formal education and were illiterate. had attended school only brie y. In sum. plate. He believed that such a formal situation would be too far removed from the real life experiences of many participants and may therefore in uence the results in unwanted ways. For example. proximity and similarity. In what is regarded by many psychologists as a classic study. When asked if items 12 and 13 were alike. or even an apricot-drying board .20. Peasants in remote villages who were illiterate (and self-supporting). 5. This one s not like a watch. 4. and the square was called a mirror. house. groups 3 and 4 were semi-literate. and group 5 had been formally educated and were literate. Women who attended short-term courses in the teaching of kindergarten children. Instead. Luria (1976) conducted experimental research using ve groups of participants which he described as follows: 1. a circle was called a watch. As a rule. 2000. an incomplete line (item 2) or a solid colour (item 3). 2. were still fairly low. No.20 Luria s visual stimuli Options and variations 110 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology . They actively involved themselves in running the farms. From this perspective. he conducted a eld experiment during which he tested participants in what he described as their habitual (or normal) environments.4 Socio-cultural research findings on the use of Gestalt principles Prominent Russian neuropsychologist and developmental psychologist Alexander Luria (1902 77) was a pioneer of socio-cultural psychology. Price & Crapo. However. they re not alike. items 1 3 were all identi ed as a circle. 1999). Luria suggested that Gestalt principles may only be relevant to people who have studied geometrical concepts in a formal education system. Many of the Gestalt principles had been developed from experimental research by German psychologists using participants who were university educated and lived in big cities such as Berlin and Munich. most of the participants in groups 1 4 named the shapes according to the objects they resembled. or moon. Women students admitted to a teachers school after two or three years of study. regardless of whether it was made of a solid line (item 1). such as in a school or university. he described a part of his procedure as follows: As a rule our experimental sessions began with long conversations (sometimes repeated) with the subjects in the relaxed atmosphere of a tea house where the villagers spent most of their free time or in camps in the elds and mountain pastures around the evening camp re. Luria was concerned that an experiment in a laboratory setting would be entirely inappropriate. Their educational quali cations. they still had no formal education and almost no literacy training. He was particularly interested in studying people who lived in rural areas and did not have any formal education. Based on his research ndings. Luria and his research assistants tested participants with the visual stimuli shown in gure 3. one group 1 participant answered. Luria was interested in nding out whether the Gestalt principles were also relevant to people from other socio-cultural backgrounds. Ichkari women living in remote villages who were illiterate and not involved in any modern social activities. he queried Gestalt principles of perceptual organisation such as closure. but that one s a watch because there are dots . When asked to name the shape in each stimulus. Contemporary sociocultural psychologists have suggested that experience with two-dimensional drawings on a sheet of paper may also be a factor that explains the results (Matsumoto. In his research report. 3.

one of the examples should be your own. with reference to two Gestalt principles. 9 review questions 1. Explain. Explain the meaning of the phrase Gestalt principle of organisation . Consider the image in gure 3. 10 application of gestalt principles 1. how someone who is not colour blind (or colour weak) would visually perceive the number within the visual stimulus. When tested for colour blindness. including its ndings. For each of these principles: • describe the area of the gure to which you are referring • name the relevant principle • explain how it contributed (or could have contributed) towards your interpretation of the whole gure.21 Figure 3. 2. 3. The Ishihara tests are used to diagnose colour blindness. Do you perceive a young woman with her head turned away. people are required to visually perceive a number located within the stimulus gure. Figure 3. or an old woman with a large nose. in semi-pro le? Explain the alternate perceptions of the image with reference to gure ground. that provides evidence of socio-cultural in uences on the use of Gestalt principles. Write a de nition of each principle and give two examples of artworks. Consider gure 3.17 on page 108.21 below. which is like those used in the Ishihara tests. For each principle. Principle Figure ground Closure Similarity Proximity 3. Identify two Gestalt principles used to organise and interpret the gure shown in gure 3.22 Options and variations C h a p t e r 3 The visual perception system 111 .learnin g acTiviT y 3.22 shown below. Complete the table below (also available in your eBook) to summarise four Gestalt principles of visual perception described in the text. Definition Artworks Signs Symbols learnin g acTiviT y 3. Name and brie y describe a research study. 2. signs and/or symbols that illustrate the principle.

BOX 3.5 Research on the Gestalt approach to visual perception
Israeli psychologist David Navon was intrigued by the Gestalt approach to visual perception. In particular, Navon was interested in whether we rst perceive the elements (parts) of a visual scene and build them up to a whole, complete image, or whether we perceive the whole rst and then perceive the elements through further visual processing. In order to conduct an experiment on this topic of research interest, Navon (1977) distinguished between local and global features of a visual stimulus. The 14 participants were required to brie y observe a large letter (global feature) that was made up of many small letters (local features) such as those shown in gure 3.23. Each participant was required to make responses under two different experimental conditions. The conditions required their attention to be focused either globally ( the whole ) or locally ( the parts ). In the globally focused condition, the participant had to indicate whether the global letter was the letter H or the letter S. In the locally focused condition, the participant had to indicate whether the local letter was the letter H or the letter S. On half the trials the global and local letters were the same letter of the alphabet, and on the other half they were different, as shown in gure 3.23. The participants were asked to identify the letters as quickly and accurately as possible. They were paid a monetary bonus for their responses. The amount paid depended slightly on speed, but more on accuracy. Navon recorded the speed and accuracy with which participants could recognise the same or different global/local letters. The results indicated that the type of local letters used (whether the same or different from the global letter) had no effect on the speed with which the global letter was recognised. However, identi cation of the small, local letters (that is, accuracy) was less accurate when the global and local letters did not match. From these results, Navon concluded that we mentally process the whole before we analyse the parts (or detail); that is, we perceive the entire global letter before we start to analyse its composition of local letters. Drawing on the results of Navon s experiment, some psychologists have argued that it may be virtually impossible to avoid perceiving the whole (Eysenck & Keane, 1990).

Figure 3.23 (a) Global and local letters that are the same (b) Global and local letters that are different

learnin g acTiviT y 3. 11 evaluation of research navon (1977)
Summarise and evaluate the experiment by Navon (1977) in box 3.5 on how research participants mentally processed local and global features of a visual stimulus. 1. What is the aim of this experiment? 2. Identify the independent and dependent variables in the experiment. 3. Identify the two conditions of the experiment. 4. Brie y state the results obtained by Navon. 5. Brie y state the conclusion(s) that was drawn from these results. 6. Identify any extraneous variables that may not have been adequately controlled and suggest why they may have affected the results. 7. To what extent can the results be generalised to visual perception by people in everyday life?

learning acTiviTy 3.1 2 Oral presentation principles gestalt

Prepare a PowerPoint presentation on Gestalt principles of organisation. Use two or more data types; for example, still or moving images, written text and sound. Your presentation should: 1. describe and give examples of three Gestalt principles 2. include an introductory slide which brie y outlines the meaning of Gestalt principles of organisation 3. include at least one image which illustrates each principle in your presentation 4. include at least one image which illustrates an application of each principle in your presentation 5. include one slide that outlines socio-cultural factors that may in uence use of Gestalt principles, with reference to research evidence 6. include one slide which shows an ambiguous or reversible gure and a brief explanation of alternative visual perceptions. If possible, you should use a gure that has not been included in this text.


U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology

Depth principles
One of the most important tasks of our visual per­ ception system is to locate objects in space. Without this ability, we would nd it dif cult to navigate and interact with our world. In order to locate objects in space, we need to judge whether one object is above, below, or to the left or right of another. We also need to judge how far away objects are from each other and ourselves. We need to make these judgements automatically and rapidly or our interaction with the world would be something like being in continual slow motion. Judgements about where objects are in space enable you to ef ciently reach for a pen on your desk. They are also vital for your survival. For example, when crossing a street you need to judge where approaching vehicles are in relation to yourself and judge the dis­ tances between you and the vehicles so that you safely reach the other side. Locating objects in space involves depth perception. Depth perception is the ability to accurately esti­ mate the distance of objects and therefore perceive the world in three dimensions. Many psychologists describe our depth perception as a remarkable ability because objects in our world are arranged in three dimensions length, width and depth but our retinae hold only two­dimensional images of the world around us. Depth cues provide the information that enables us to translate the two­dimensional images on the retinae into three­dimensional reality. Depth cues are sources of information from the environment (external cues) or from within our body (internal cues) that help us to perceive how far away objects are and therefore to perceive depth. Depth cues can be categorised into two groups binocular (requiring the use of both eyes) or monocular (requiring the use of only one eye).

eyeballs turning in slightly towards their nose. If they held the object right up near the tip of their nose, their eyeballs would turn inwards ( converge ) like the girl s eyeballs in gure 3.24.

Figure 3.24 Convergence involves the two eyes turning inwards to focus on objects that are very close.

Binocular depth cues
Binocular depth cues require the use of both eyes working together in order to provide information to the brain about depth and distance. Binocular depth cues are especially important in determining the dis­ tance of objects that are relatively close. Consequently, if for some reason our vision is limited to the use of only one eye, tasks requiring us to focus on detail over short distances can be dif cult to accomplish.

Imagine you are watching someone approach a small, round, shiny object on the footpath. If you could watch their eyes as they picked it up and brought it in close to their eyes to work out what it is, you would see their

Convergence involves the brain detecting and interpreting depth or distance from changes in ten­ sion in the eye muscles that occur when the two eyes turn inwards to focus on objects that are close. The brain interprets greater tension in the eye muscles as an object gets closer and less tension as an object gets further away. Convergence is particularly useful when the object we are looking at is within about six metres. Beyond this distance, the lines of sight from our eyes to the object are virtually parallel and there is no need for our eyes to converge to keep the object in focus. For example, fully extend one of your arms in front of you and point a nger upwards. Slowly move the nger towards your nose. You should be able to feel the muscle tension associated with the convergence of your eyes, particularly as your nger gets very close to your nose. Your eye muscles relay this information to your brain, enabling you to make judgements about how far away your nger is as you focus on it.
C h a p t e r 3 The visual perception system 113

Retinal disparity
Because our eyes are about six or seven centimetres apart, each retina receives a slightly different visual image due to the different angle of view from each eye. The difference in the visual image cast on each retina decreases as the object we are viewing moves further away from us. Beyond about 10 metres or so, there is hardly any difference in the image cast on each retina.

Retinal disparity refers to the very slight difference ( disparity ) in the location of the visual images on the retinae (due to their slightly different angles of view), which enables us to make judgements about the depth or distance of an object. When the two different retinal images are fused (combined) in the brain, the images received from each eye are compared. Any disparity or difference between the two images provides infor­ mation about the depth of the object or its distance from the viewer.

Figure 3.25 Magic Eye images take advantage of retinal disparity. Hold the centre of the image right up to your nose. It should be blurry. Stare as though you are looking through the image. Very slowly move the image away from your face until you begin to see depth. Now hold the image still and try not to blink. Most people eventually see the three-dimensional image. © 2009 Magic Eye Inc.

learning a cTiviTy 3.13 Demonstration of retinal disparity
To see how retinal disparity changes with distance, hold a pencil vertically about 10 centimetres in front of you, then close one eye and notice where the pencil is in relation to the background. Next, open that eye, close the other one and notice how much the pencil shifts . These are the two different views of the pencil received by each eye. If you repeat this procedure while holding the pencil at arm s length, you will notice less disparity or shift because there is less difference in the angles at which the two eyes view the pencil.


U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology

Monocular depth cues
Monocular depth cues require the use of only one eye to provide information to the brain about depth and distance, but they also operate with both eyes. Most depth cues are monocular, so we can still perform many of our daily activities without dif culty if we lose vision in one eye. Monocular depth cues include accommodation, and pictorial cues such as linear perspective, interposition, texture gradient, relative size, and height in the visual eld. Pictorial cues are commonly used to create depth and distance in artworks.

Pictorial cues
Many monocular depth cues are referred to as pictorial cues. Pictorial cues are so named because artists use them to create depth and distance on two­dimensional surfaces such as paper and canvas. Pictorial cues include linear perspective, interposition, texture gradient, rela­ tive size, and height in the visual eld.

Linear perspective
When you are travelling in a car on a long, straight highway through the countryside and you look ahead, the view through the front windscreen is one of a road that appears to be narrowing. In fact, if you look all the way to the horizon, it will look as if the two parallel edges of the road have come together to a single point. This illustrates the depth cue called linear perspective. Linear perspective is the apparent convergence of parallel lines as they recede ( go back ) into the distance.


The size of the visual image of a large object viewed at close range would normally be too large to t onto the retina. The lens in each eye plays a key role in enabling images of close, large objects to t onto each retina. The exibility of the lens enables it to bulge to t ( accommodate ) close objects on the retina and to elongate ( atten) when looking at objects that are further away. The closer (and therefore larger) the object, the more the lens needs to bulge to t the object s image on the retina. Accommodation involves the automatic adjustment of the shape of the lens to focus an object in response to changes in how far away the object is. The brain monitors the movement of the ciliary muscles that con­ trol the shape of the lens. The ciliary muscles contract to enable the bulging of the lens, and expand to allow it to elongate ( atten), as shown in gure 3.26. Information about how much the lens bulges or elongates is used by the brain to determine the depth and distance of the object in focus. For example, as you watch a golf ball leave the club head and travel 200 metres down the fairway, the lens quickly elongates. Alternatively, as you watch a basketball come towards you, the Figure 3.27 lens quickly bulges.
(a) (b)

Figure 3.26 (a) The lens bulges to focus the light rays re ected from a nearby object such as the owers. (b) The lens elongates ( attens) to focus the light rays when the object is further away. C h a p t e r 3 The visual perception system 115

When we see two footballers racing for the ball from a front­on perspective, it s sometimes dif cult to tell which player is going to get there rst. However, when one player starts to block our view of the other, we know that the partially covered player is behind the other player and therefore further away. The image received on the retina of one footballer overlapping the other provides the brain with infor­ mation about which player is closer and which player is fur­ ther away. Interposition, or overlap as it is also called, occurs when one object par­ tially blocks or covers another, and the partially blocked object is perceived as further away than the object that obscures it (and vice versa).

Texture gradient
When we look down a long pathway made of pavers, the amount of detail that we can perceive in the pavers reduces more and more the further we look. For example, at our feet we can see individual pavers that make up the pathway, whereas if we look 30 or 40 metres further along the pathway, it looks like a single sur­ face, with little detail. Texture gradient refers to the gradual reduction of detail that occurs in a surface as it recedes into the distance, compared with a surface that is close and perceived in ne detail. Thus, our judgement about depth and distance is in uenced by the extent to which we can detect ne detail. We per­ ceive objects for which ne detail is clear as being closer and those that lack detail, as being further away.

Figure 3.28 Interposition is clearly evident in this photograph where the red umbrella blocks the blue umbrella and where the motorbike blocks the legs of the pedestrian. What other instances of interposition are evident? 116 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology

Figure 3.29 Texture gradient is apparent in this photo where the pavers closest to us can be seen in detail. As the pavers recede into the distance they become a blur and less detail is apparent.

Relative size
Imagine sitting at home watching a cartoon about outer space. The cartoon shows a huge explosion of a planet and pieces ying through space in all directions. Some of the pieces appear to be hurtling towards you. How does the artist who draws each separate image that makes up this scene lead you to perceive how far away the pieces are? The pieces that appear to be coming towards us are drawn as larger in each image than those going away or sideways from the exploding planet. The size of the pieces in relation to each other provides us with information about distance from us. As we move around in the real world, we use this information about the size of

objects in relation to each other to judge depth and distance. Relative size refers to the tendency to visually per­ ceive the object that produces the largest image on the retina as being closer, and the object that pro­ duces the smallest image on the retina as being fur­ ther away. However, the objects being perceived must be expected to be about the same size in real life. For example, we do not necessarily perceive that a car is further away than a truck because the car is smaller. We take into account what we know about their size, which is learnt through past experience, and enables us to become familiar with the size of different objects in our environment.

Figure 3.30 The photo on the left shows a young woman in the foreground and her work colleagues in the background. Our familiarity with the relative size of objects enables us to perceive the largest image on the retina (the young woman) as closer than the smaller images on the retina (her colleagues). The photo on the right has been manipulated. The retinal-sized image of one of the young woman s colleagues has been placed next to her so that both the young woman and this colleague are the same distance from the observer. If you measure the height of the image of the colleague you will see that she is exactly the same size in both photos. C h a p t e r 3 The visual perception system 117


Height in the visual eld
When we draw a picture, objects that are in the sky, such as clouds, birds and planes, will be perceived as further away when they are drawn near the horizon. When we draw objects on the land, such as trees, ani­ mals and cars, they will also be perceived as further away when they are drawn near the horizon. Height in the visual eld refers to the location of objects in our eld of vision, whereby objects that are located closer to the horizon are perceived as being more distant than objects located further from the horizon.
Interposition Height in the visual field


Ground Figure 3.32 The hot-air balloon that is higher in the visual eld is perceived as closer than the other balloon as it is further away from the horizon. The car lower in the visual eld (but also below the horizon) is also perceived as closer, as it is further away from the horizon.

Relative size

Texture gradient

Linear perspective

Figure 3.31 This photo illustrates the use of all ve pictorial depth cues. 118 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology

BOX 3.6 Socio-cultural differences in pictorial depth cues
Look at the picture of the hunting scene in gure 3.33. This picture was used to test the ability to respond to pictorial depth cues. Which animal is closer to the hunter, the elephant or the antelope? Using pictorial depth cues (monocular), you probably chose the antelope. The picture was shown to tribal Bantu indigenous people in Africa, who had little or no formal education and lived in isolated areas. Many of these participants selected the elephant, which is physically closer to the tip of the spear in the picture. The researcher classi ed this answer as a two-dimensional response. The Bantu people had not used the interposition depth cue, nor had they taken into account what they know about the relative size of the animals; that is, that an elephant is bigger than an antelope (Hudson, 1962). This socio-cultural evidence indicates the importance of past experience in visual perception. It is possible that the Bantu who made incorrect perceptual judgements did so because they had limited opportunities to see threedimensional representations in two-dimensional forms. Therefore, they have dif culty judging distance from pictures (Deregowski, 1989).

Figure 3.33 Which animal is closer to the hunter?

learnin g acTiviT y 3. 14 Summarising depth cues
Complete the table below (also available in your eBook) to describe and classify each depth cue listed, and give an example of when each cue is used. Depth cue Retinal disparity Convergence Accommodation Linear perspective Interposition Texture gradient Relative size Height in the visual field Description Monocular (M) or Binocular (B) Example

C h a p t e r 3 The visual perception system


learning acTiviTy 3.15 review questions
1. (a) Brie y describe a task that would be dif cult for a person with sight in only one eye. (b) Which depth cues would this person be unable to use? (c) How would the inability to use both eyes affect the person s performance on this task? 2. The lens can alter its shape for near or distant objects. (a) Name the depth cue that uses information associated with change in lens shape. (b) Explain how and why the lens would change shape as a jeweller looks on a shelf for a tiny part to repair a watch, then closely inspects the part. 3. The retina receives a two-dimensional image, yet we visually perceive a threedimensional environment. Explain how this occurs, with reference to depth cues. 4. Examine the Renaissance painting shown in gure 3.34 at right. Identify three depth cues that are evident in this artwork.

Figure 3.34 The Annunciation by Crivelli, c.1430 95. © The National Gallery London

learnin g acTiviT y 3. 16 visual presentation using depth cues to perceive depth and distance
Prepare a poster that identi es, describes and explains the use of pictorial depth cues in an artwork. The poster should be suitable for display in a classroom and should include a copy of the artwork. You could use an artwork in this chapter or an artwork of your own choice, including one you may have created yourself (such as a painting or photograph). When selecting the artwork, ensure that at least three of the following pictorial cues can be identi ed: linear perspective, interposition, texture gradient, relative size and height in the visual eld. Figure 3.31 shows a way of organising your poster.

Perceptual constancies
As we move around, the images that are cast on our retinae are constantly changing. Despite this, we usu­ ally perceive the world as a fairly stable place. Objects such as trees, houses and people are not perceived as changing in size, shape or brightness from one minute to the next. Despite the stable nature of the real world, visual information received at the retinae is constantly changing. For example, as you move away from an object, such as a tree, the size of the image it casts on the retina becomes smaller. But you do not perceive the tree to be shrinking. Similarly, a car is not perceived as changing in shape as we walk around it and view it from different angles, despite the fact that different shapes are produced on the retina. These are examples of what is known as perceptual constancy. In vision, perceptual constancy refers to the tendency to perceive an object as remaining stable and unchanging ( constant ) despite any changes that may occur to the image cast on the retina. Three perceptual constancies involve size, shape and brightness.

Options and variations 120 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology

Size constancy
Size constancy involves recognising that an object s actual size remains the same, even though the size of the image it casts on each retina changes. For example, when you are on a railway station platform watching a train coming towards you, the image it casts on each retina gets progressively bigger. However, you do not perceive the train as actually increasing in size. Simi­ larly, when you watch a train depart into the distance, the size of the retinal images become progressively smaller. Despite this, you still perceive the train s size as remaining constant. You know it hasn t shrunk. This indicates the role of learning in size constancy. Past experience with objects has enabled you to become familiar with objects of different sizes and you now know that they don t necessarily change size if they appear smaller.

move around in our daily lives, the angles at which we view objects change. Consequently, the image of the object that is cast on the retina also changes. If we interpreted the image in terms of how it actually occurs on the retina, the object would be perceived as constantly changing shape. However, by automatically using the principle of shape constancy we know that the object hasn t changed shape and we perceive it as remaining stable (constant).

learning acTiviTy 3.1 7 Demonstration of size and shape constancy
Look at the gure below. Try to imagine whether you could t a ve cent, 10 cent, or 20 cent coin on the top surface of this gure. Which coin(s) do you think would t? Now use real coins to see which (if any) t on the top surface. What did you nd? Explain your answer in terms of the concepts of size and shape constancy.

Shape constancy
As you move around a room which has a round clock on the wall, the angle from which you view the clock changes. Consequently, the image of the clock cast on the retina also changes. It might change from a circle when viewed face­on to an ellipse (oval shape) when viewed from side­on. Despite these changes to the ret­ inal image, your perception is still of a clock that is circular in shape (see gure 3.35). Shape constancy is the tendency to perceive an object as maintaining its shape despite any change in shape of the image of the object on the retina. As we

Figure 3.35 We tend to perceive this clock as maintaining its shape despite the changes in the image it produces in the retina when we view it from different angles. C h a p t e r 3 The visual perception system 121

BOX 3.7 Strategic deception involving size constancy
Deception of distance by changing the real size of a familiar object was a strategy employed by the Allied Army against the German Army in World War II. To deceive the Germans, the Allies dropped life-like dummies with self-releasing parachutes from aircraft. When the dummies hit the ground, they set off explosions to simulate ground re. These dummies were actually about one-third the size of an average man, but German observers would have perceived them as life-sized from a distance. Being familiar with the form of a human gure, the Germans would have used size constancy to estimate the distance of the dummy paratroopers. This was the key to the deception. Assuming that the Germans maintained size constancy, the Allies predicted that the Germans would incorrectly estimate the distance between themselves and the paratroopers.

learning acTiviTy 3.1 8
Practical activity size constancy

This experiment enables you to test for the effect of size constancy. You should construct a hypothesis before collecting your data. You will need two sets of 10 square pieces of white paper (or cards) increasing in size from about 2.5 centimetres square to 10 centimetres square. Label each square using a different letter of the alphabet. Make sure that each square of the same size on both sets of squares has the same letter on one side of it. You will need a record sheet for each participant with trial numbers 1 10 down the left column and space to insert a letter (that is, the letter on the back of the card) next to each trial number. An example of a record sheet is shown below.
Record sheet for participants responses

Trial number 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Participant s response (letter)

The real Allied troops were situated between the Germans and where the dummies landed. The Germans, believing they had plenty of time to plan their assault, were taken by surprise when they were soon attacked by the Allies at close range. Given that the dummies were only one-third life-size, the Germans probably overestimated the Allied paratroopers distance by a factor of three.

Ten volunteer participants should be tested, one at a time, each using the same set of materials. 1. Seat the participant at a distance of about six metres from you. There must be a clear line of vision between you and the participant. Give your participant one set of squares. 2. Instruct the participant as follows: I am going to hold up a card (or sheet of paper) and announce a trial number, such as Trial 1 . You are to look through your set of cards and select the card you believe is exactly the same size as the one I am holding up. Write the number of the trial and the letter that appears on that card on the record sheet (for example, Trial 1: G). There will be 10 trials altogether. Show the cards one at a time, ensuring the letter on the set of cards used by the experimenter is not revealed to the participant. Note that there should be no pattern to the size of the cards as they are presented mix the cards up so that the sizes are randomly presented.


U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology

As you hold up each card, say Trial 1 , Trial 2 and so on. When the participant has selected the card they believe to be the same size as the one you are holding, say to the participant: Record the letter on the card you have chosen next to this trial number on the record sheet. Repeat this process for each of the 10 cards held up. Be sure you record the correct trial number and corresponding letter on the card you hold up each time, so you can check the accuracy of the participant s responses. 3. After each participant has completed the 10 trials and left the room, compare the trial numbers and letters on their record sheet with those on your record sheet. Record the number of correct responses for each participant in a table like the one below. 4. Calculate the percentage of correct responses for each participant, and then total the data for all participants. Calculate the mean percentage of correct responses.
Data sheet for responses of participants to 10 trials.

Brightness constancy
Suppose you are seated in a room at dusk with over­ head lighting on. Suddenly, the electricity supply is cut off. Despite the changed lighting conditions, you still perceive the objects around you as remaining the same colour. You know, for example, that the cover on the lounge chair hasn t suddenly become dull even though there is a reduction in brightness ( light intensity ) on the image produced on the retina and it looks duller. Because everything in your immediate environ­ ment has been reduced in light intensity by the same amount, the colours of all objects are perceived with the same brightness as they were before the lights went off. In this situation, your visual perception system has maintained brightness constancy. Brightness constancy is the tendency to perceive an object as maintaining its level of brightness in relation to its surroundings, despite changes in the amount of light being re ected from the object to the retina.

Responses Participants Participant 1 Participant 2 Participant 3 ... Participant 10 Mean Report Prepare a brief report on the research activity to include in your folio of practical activities. Your report should include: (a) a statement of the aim of this experiment (b) the research hypothesis (c) a summary of your results using appropriate descriptive statistics (d) a conclusion(s) based on the results and referring to the hypothesis (e) a potential extraneous variable(s) that may be relevant, including an explanation of why it may be relevant (f) other information that may be requested by your teacher.
Adapted from Grivas, J. and Lawrie, P. (1991). Psychology: Experiments and Activities. Marrickville, NSW: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, pp. 141 3.

Number of correct responses

Percentage of correct reponses


Figure 3.36 Look at the two inner rectangles. Most people perceive the inner rectangle in (a) to be lighter than the one in (b). If you cover the outer surroundings of each rectangle, you will see that they are of equal brightness. The brighter surrounds of (b) lead you to perceive the inner rectangle as relatively darker.

learning acTiviTy 3.1 9 review questions
1. (a) What is size constancy? (b) Give an example of the role of learning or past experience in the use of size constancy. 2. (a) What is shape constancy? (b) Suggest how we might perceive objects or events if we did not use shape constancy. 3. (a) What is brightness constancy? (b) Explain how you use brightness constancy when you look at the colour of your bedroom wall under different lighting conditions in the middle of a sunny day and at night. 4. Provide an example to show how one or more sociocultural factors may in uence use of perceptual constancies.

C h a p t e r 3 The visual perception system


name. Arrange the ve squares in a sequence of shading from black to white. include an example of how socio-cultural factors may in uence our use of principles and/or constancies. brie y outline the meaning of the concepts of depth principle and perceptual constancy 2. alter the light intensity on the isolated standard grey square (and its immediate surrounds). but maintain the same light conditions for the sequence of squares. These will be used as standard squares. Figure 3. You may wish to study a socio-cultural variable by using. other information that may be requested by your teacher. a summary of the results using appropriate descriptive statistics 4. Next. However. Your report should include: 1. 124 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology . then they have demonstrated an ability to maintain brightness constancy. through several shades of grey.21 visual presentation depth principles and perceptual constancies Prepare a poster or PowerPoint presentation on depth principles and perceptual constancies.37 until you can identify the woman on the left handing the man on the right a hat. What do you see? Obtain about ve sheets of art paper ranging from black. for example. 6. the research hypothesis 3.37 You may have identi ed a seal balancing a ball on its nose with its trainer on the right holding a sh in one hand and a stick in the other. Report Prepare a brief report to include in your folio of practical activities. how would you then have described it? Would your percep­ tion of the same illustration have been different? Look again at gure 3. a statement of the aim of your investigation 2. describe and give two or three examples of depth principles 3. including an explanation of why it may be relevant. have them select from the sequence of squares the one which correctly matches the isolated standard grey square. ages or ethnic backgrounds. a conclusion(s) based on the results and referring to the hypothesis 5. name. 20 Practical activity constancy brightness percepTual seT anD VIsual percepTIon Look closely at the illustration of a seal act for a circus in gure 3. if you had been told that this picture was of a costume party. Your presentation should 1.learnin g acTiviT y 3. Then cut one square from each of the other sheets. He has a sword in his right hand. participants of different genders. A relevant research hypothesis should be constructed prior to collecting data. despite the difference in light intensity. Using 10 volunteer and/or randomly selected participants. Light intensity can be altered by using a lamp which is easily moved closer to or further away from the standard square. ensuring that they are of the same size as the standard squares. a potential extraneous variable that may be relevant. The second standard grey square should be placed about a metre to one side. If participants can still match the standard shade of grey from the sequence. Cut out two squares of the same size from one of the grey sheets. learning a cTiviTy 3.37. include examples of the application of depth principles and perceptual constancies in everyday life 5. describe and give two or three examples of perceptual constancies 4. to white.

you may be predisposed to look for the person walking fastest in the approaching crowd. Given the busy setting (context). Our expectations of what something might be may cause us to notice only the information Figure 3.The ambiguous illustration demonstrates that an individual can arrive at entirely different perceptions from the same visual information. emotions and so on. what if she has sprained her ankle. what if you rush to greet a fast­moving young woman who resembles your friend to nd that you are totally mistaken? There are several factors that can in uence or bring about perceptual set. past experience and cultural back­ ground. A perceptual set. such as the context. and today is no exception. socio­cultural background. Your past experience with this person tells you that she walks faster than most people.37 in the way that you did each time you were asked to look at it. you per­ ceive the total message more quickly than if you had to try to work out what the word rember meant before interpreting the whole message. thinking. You also know from past experience that she is always late. a perceptual set may enable you to interpret a misspelt word such as rember as a meaningful word (remember) in order to make sense of what is being written. memory. such as one based on these factors. emotional state. The two of you have arranged to meet there and go to a movie. Most of these involve personal characteristics of the perceiver. Visual perception can be assisted by perceptual set when we correctly anticipate what something is and therefore interpret it more quickly. Consider the situation of waiting for a friend on a busy corner in the Melbourne CBD. Although the diverse range of in uences on visual perception can be classi ed in this way. and is now hobbling slowly to meet you? Or. Perceptual set Perceptual set is the predisposition. because various psychological factors such as prior experience. Sometimes. In the same way that sensation and perception are closely interrelated.38 Consider this photo of Angelina Jolie. because you expect your friend to be in a hurry. these can be categorised into two groups called physio­ logical and psychological factors. Generally. Perceptual set is often referred to as expectancy. You would eliminate all the people in your eld of vision who are not walking quickly. nervous system and brain process visual information. It was perceptual set that led you to perceive the illustration in gure 3. This can lead to a misinterpretation of an object or event. as your teacher writes on the board. this does not mean that a neat line or boun­ dary can be drawn between physiological and psycho­ logical factors. or readiness . such as their motivation. so too are physiological and psychological factors inter­ related. language. motivations. C h a p t e r 3 The visual perception system 125 . to perceive something in accordance with what we expect it to be. often enables you to visually perceive information quickly. we focus on an example of one of the most widely researched psychological factors that in uences visual perception perceptual set. Thus. However. then turn to page 126 and complete the simple activity. motives and context create an expectation to perceive information in a particular way. Physiological factors involve the ways in which our eyes. For example. Why is it that our perceptions of the same visual scene can sometimes be different? Why is it that you could be led to perceive the same visual scene in two different ways? Many factors in uence visual perception. however. Other factors that affect perceptual set involve what is being perceived or the conditions under which it is being perceived. In this section. that is consistent with our expectations and ignore or overlook information that may be relevant. Our expectations of what an object or event will be make us more likely to interpret the object or event in the predetermined way. The interaction of physiological and psycho­ logical factors is responsible for the unique personal realities we each construct of the world around us. Psychological factors involve mental processes such as our past experiences. To do so would be like trying to draw a line between sensation and perception. perceptual set can lead to mis­ takes in perception.

40 The Mt Erebus be can lead us to perceive the object see. Most people name Angelina Jolie as the person in the photo when previously shown the photo in gure 3. then it can lead to misquently. Most people expect the photos to be normal because of perceptual set. The condition called white out . Day argued that the at. snow-covered mountains did this happen? become invisible. This led to the pilots failing to see the proposed that the pilots saw what they expected to see and mountain that actually was there. Referring to research ndings. they had no expectation that there takes in perception. can you identify anything that clearly distinguishes the two photos? Now turn the book upside down. killing everybody on board. is visually perceived as an endless white Yet they failed to notice the 3794-metre space with unlimited visibility. Conseare mistaken. if expectations metres away from the mountains.8 Expectations can be disastrous Our expectations of what something will didn t see what they never expected to Figure 3. barren. White out cockpit voice recorder recovered from occurs when white. BOX 3. In November 1979. Day looking for mountains.38. How background. Perceptual set has predisposed them to answer in these ways. The pilots believed they were ying plane disaster or event in accordance with what we over a vast. the ndings of a Royal Commission that white landscape provided few visual cues investigated an aeroplane disaster that to the pilots. were seeing what they expected to see. but there was enough percepresulted in the deaths of 257 passengers tual information to assure them that they and crew. at ice shelf hundreds of kiloexpect it to be.39 Consider the photos above and answer the following questions. an Air New Zealand The pilots couldn t see the mountain in ight slammed into Mount Erebus in Antfront of them because of a polar weather arctica. Who is in the photo? Other than being of the same person. the pilots were identihorizon disappears and the white out area fying and talking about visual landmarks. However. In some cases. Most people also expect the photos to be of Angelina Jolie smiling. Against this mountain directly in front of them. thick clouds merge. It is also impossible to Australian psychologist Ross Day appeared before the accurately judge distance. height and the size of objects. For example. Commission as an expert witness and gave an explanation Not expecting to see any mountains. The before impact. 126 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology .Figure 3. consider ight path. snow-covered terthe crash site revealed that just minutes rain and white. this would be mountains anywhere near their can be disastrous. the pilots weren t that was accepted.

have you ever bumped into someone who seems familiar but found you can t recall their name or where you know them from? The person may have been one of your primary school teachers. 5. M. Results from Group A (who saw the letters rst) indicated that 92% of the participants perceived the visual stimulus as a B . Melbourne s Yarra River on New Year s Eve 5. 3. Another group of observers (Group B) was shown the same visual stimulus for the same exposure time after viewing the series of numbers 16.41 Our perception of a bright light with a tail streaking across the night sky is likely to be in uenced by the context in which it is observed. or expectancy.43) for 80 thousandths of a second using a tachistoscope after viewing the series of letters L. one group of participants who were assigned the role of observers (Group A) was shown a visual stimulus ( gure 3. When organising and interpreting visual information. Consider the experiment on context conducted by Bruner and Minturn (1955). your interpretation may also have changed from: (1) a meteorite. How would you interpret this visual stimulus if you observed it in the sky over: 1. Cape Canaveral. For example. Identify the independent and dependent variables in the experiment. outback central Australia? 2. (5) a distress are. 1. In this experiment. had been established by the time the ambiguous gure was shown. Would a perceptual set have been established by showing one number/letter prior to showing the ambiguous gure? Explain your answer. Florida? 4. Y. For Group B (who saw the numbers rst). a ship at sea? As the context of the visual stimulus changed. A.42 The ambiguous B/13 stimulus gure used by Bruner and Minturn (1955) learning acTiviTy 3. we take account of the setting and pay more attention to those aspects of the setting that are immediately relevant. 12. In this way. in a different situation from that in which you have known them) you were unable to readily identify them. Observers expected the next symbol to be one that was consis­ tent with the established context. 4. (3) a rocket headed for outer space. (4) a skyrocket. Context can also lead us to make slower or inac­ curate interpretations. 83% of the participants perceived the visual stimulus as a 13 . The task given to each group of observers was to identify what they saw and to draw it. Figure 3. Bruner and Minturn concluded that the context of either letters or numbers set . C h a p t e r 3 The visual perception system 127 . Construct a possible hypothesis for the experiment. consider the different interpretations that could be made of a fast­moving bright light in the sky that has a tail streaking behind it. 17. context refers to the setting or environment in which a perception is made. 10. 2.22 evaluation of research Bruner and Minturn (1955) Figure 3. A perceptual set. Brie y state a conclusion for the experiment based on the results obtained. context has a focusing role in visual percep­ tion and usually assists us to make a quick and accu­ rate interpretation of what we are looking at. but because they were out of context (that is. Evaluate the research by answering the following questions. Brie y state the results that were obtained. or predisposed the observers to interpret the ambiguous symbol in accord­ ance with the type of symbols that had preceded it. (2) a missile. a war zone? 3. The importance of context in visual perception was rst demonstrated in an experiment by American cog­ nitive psychologists Jerome Bruner and Leigh Minturn (1955). For example.context In visual perception.

23 Practical activity of visual stimuli the effect of context on the interpretation Condition 2 Participants should be: • informed that a series of ve cards containing a word related to sports will be ashed in front of them for a very brief period of time • shown each card containing the stimulus word for the shortest amount of time possible • asked to identify the word on the card. a potential extraneous variable(s) that may be relevant. You should test four participants.learning a cTiviTy 3. Participants should be individually tested. Each card will be shown to each participant. the research hypothesis 3. such as the data sheet shown below. by rst name or a number) in the space provided at the top of the data sheet and circle the condition to which they have been assigned. a conclusion(s) based on the results and referring to the hypothesis 5. They should be thanked for their involvement in the experiment and its purpose explained to them. This experiment enables you to investigate the effect of context on the interpretation of various words. You should construct a hypothesis before conducting the experiment. They should be thanked for their involvement in the experiment and its purpose explained to them. Identify the participant (e. then calculate the percentage of participants whose interpretation of the visual stimulus was affected by the context in which it was presented. You must follow all ethical standards and practices for psychological research when planning and conducting the experiment. Table 1 below includes the interpretations relevant to each context. each containing one stimulus word (see table 1). Combine your data with the data collected by others in the class. Prepare a data sheet for recording each participant s responses. Data sheet for participants responses Participant Stimulus words boll rar loin squed swin Condition 1 or 2 Response Stimulus words boll rar loin squed swin Report Animal interpretation bull ram lion squid swan Sporting interpretation ball ran line squad swim Condition 1 Participants should be: • informed that a series of ve cards containing a word related to animals will be ashed in front of them for a very brief period of time • shown each card containing the stimulus word for the shortest amount of time possible • asked to identify the word written on the card. The hypothesis should be based on your reading of possible effects of context on visual perception. Participants responses should be recorded on the data sheet beside the relevant stimulus word.g. Participants responses should be recorded on the data sheet beside the relevant stimulus word. a statement of the aim of this experiment 2. including an explanation of why it may be relevant 6. Prepare a brief report to include in your folio of practical activities. other information that may be requested by your teacher. Your report should include: 1. Table 1: Stimulus words and interpretations based on context. 128 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology . The data sheet and all other materials can be downloaded from your eBook and customised. Prepare ve cards. two for each of the conditions described below. a summary of the class results using appropriate descriptive statistics 4.

we see what we want to see. The Toch and Schulte experiment involved the use of binocular rivalry. Past experience Past experience refers to our personal experiences throughout our lives. Physi­ cally. In each pair. ambitions and desires) or physiological factors (such as bodily responses associ­ ated with hunger or thirst). Motives can be in uenced by psychological factors (such as interests. For example.44 Figures such as this pair were presented to participants in the experiment conducted by Toch and Schulte (1961). In the Toch and Schulte experiment. but the in uence of their respective motivational states to see their team win brings about perceptual differences which can be so great that they may appear (to the impartial observer) to be watching two different games. C h a p t e r 3 The visual perception system 129 . or set us to per­ ceive information in a particular way. Visual perception can be in uenced by our motives when. for example.Motivation Motivation can also influence perceptual set. emotional state Our emotional state how we are feeling can also in uence the way in which we perceive visual infor­ mation. Such experiences also predispose.44. both intentionally and uninten­ tionally. but participants rarely see both.43 Opposing football fans will arrive at a game with perceptual sets established by the motivation to see their respective teams win. one illus­ tration was of a violent scene and the other was of a neutral (neither violent nor non­violent) scene. the difference in their per­ ceptions of the same event may be considerable. the images cast upon their respective retinae are almost identical. Motivation refers to processes within us which activate behaviour that is directed towards achieving a par­ ticular goal. a child who is afraid of being in their darkened bedroom may interpret the shadow of their dressing gown hanging on the back of the bedroom door as a ghost. Usually one image or the other is seen. Binocular rivalry occurs when a dif­ ferent visual image is brie y and simultaneously pre­ sented to each eye. Our unique combination of past experiences can lead to many individual differences in perception. Figure 3. or the teddy bear sitting on the end of the bed as a monster. The participants were Figure 3. A well­known experiment on the effect of past experience on perceptual set was conducted by Hans Toch and Richard Schulte (1961). rather than what is actually there. One of the pairs of illustrations used in this experiment is shown in gure 3. all participants were presented with nine pairs of illustrations. The illustrations were delib­ erately drawn to be somewhat ambiguous in order to maximise the potential in uence of the participants training on their perceptions. When supporters of opposing teams are sitting side by side at a football match. Different emotions can set us to perceive information in a particular way which is consistent with the emotion being experienced. The researchers hypothesised that past experience (de ned as type and stage of training ) in uenced which illustration would be perceived more readily when two illustrations were brie y presented to participants. This includes everything we learn through experience.

music and food. attitudes. (a) What does context mean in relation to visual perception? (b) Give an example of how context may lead to a perceptual interpretation of having seen a UFO. 2.2 5 review questions 1. Brie y state the conclusion drawn by Toch and Schulte from their results. draw a diagram such as a ow chart. a group of them were shown a black and white photograph of a dog. Even when the various features of the dog such as the head. Identify the experimental and control conditions of the experiment.24 visual presentation factors influencing perceptual set Using pen and paper or software. many of the Malawi people still had dif culty interpreting the photograph as a dog and.drawn from three different backgrounds: Group 1 had completed police­style training at the School of Police Administration and Public Safety at an American university. 1. (b) Suggest why perceptual set is sometimes referred to as expectancy . recognising and managing potentially violent and dangerous situations) increased the prob­ ability of perceiving the violent pictures. The results indicated that Group 1 participants per­ ceived the violent pictures on 52% of the trials. or groups. how each of the following can in uence perceptual set. learning acTiviTy 3. Group 2 had just begun their police­style training at the same school. Before the Malawi people had access to photo­ graphs. in some cases. 2. learning a cTiviTy 3.2 6 evaluation of research and Schulte (1961) Toch Evaluate the experiment on the in uence of past experience on visual perception conducted by Toch and Schulte (1961). This could be explained by the possibility that. cultural factors Culture refers to the way of life of a particular com­ munity or group that sets it apart from other com­ munities and groups. such as the paws and tail (Deregowski. (a) Explain the meaning of perceptual set. 1980). Toch and Schulte concluded that the past experience of police training (which had involved considerable time discussing. Despite the fact that many of the observers owned dogs or had experience with dogs. Identify the independent and dependent variables in the experiment. the Loch Ness monster or a similarly rarely sighted phenomenon. rules about what is right and wrong. beliefs. a remote village community in Tanzania. the Malawi people had little. Ensure each factor is named and brie y described using words or images. 6. with reference to relevant examples. Culture includes such things as the customs. (c) In what way is context an explanation of the results obtained by Bruner and Minturn (1955) in their experiment? 4. This was demonstrated in a study with Malawi people. Brie y explain. they had little or no experience with photographs or two­ dimensional drawings of dogs on paper. Brie y state the results that were obtained. if any. 5. they may not have been able to use relevant visual perception principles to identify the features and the overall image of the dog. being a remote tribal community. Identify three ethical guidelines relevant to the experiment. values. Experience with or in a particular culture can in u­ ence the way we process and interpret visual infor­ mation. 130 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology . and Group 3 were univer­ sity students with no police­style training of any kind. Explain how past experience can lead to errors in visual perception. (a) motivation (b) emotional state (c) past experience (d) culture 5. 3. as well as any other features of that community or group which distinguish it from other communities. com­ pared with Group 2 on 26% and Group 3 on 22%. learning acTiviTy 3. 3. When they were shown a two­dimensional photograph. the speci c features of the dog. which shows three key factors that can in uence perceptual set and therefore interpretations of a visual image. Give an example of how physiological and psychological factors may interact in in uencing perceptual set. Construct a possible hypothesis for the experiment. ears and tail were pointed out to them. traditions. exposure to picture books. 4. Africa. Your summary and evaluation should include responses to the following. they were unable to identify the subject of the photo­ graph as a dog. Consequently.

Participants should be tested individually. out of the sight and hearing of other participants and away from distractions. you will need a complete set of the pictures in gure 3. Participant 1 2 3 (continued) C h a p t e r 3 The visual perception system 131 . Participants are then presented with the ambiguous stimulus card (e) which can be interpreted as either a man or a rat (or mouse). Participants are asked to describe what they see and their response is recorded. Your hypothesis should be based on your reading of perceptual set and possible effects of past experience on perception. in order. Report Prepare a brief report on the research activity to include in your folio of practical activities. You should test three participants. Condition 1 perceptual set for animals The participants are shown each of the cards (a) to (d) in set 1. a conclusion(s) based on the results and referring to the hypothesis 5. You should construct a hypothesis before conducting the experiment. in particular. by the establishment of a perceptual set. The purpose of this is to Data sheet Experimental condition 1 or 2 Set 1: animals + card (e) Set 2: faces + card (e) Control condition 3 Ambiguous stimulus only card (e) Response to card (e) M = Man R = Rat (or mouse) O = Other develop a perceptual set for faces based on the participant s immediate past experience with the four pictures of faces. Your report should include: 1. and. a potential extraneous variable(s) that may be relevant. Participants are asked to brie y describe what they see in each of the pictures. You should also prepare a data sheet on which to record participants responses.learnin g acTiviT y 3. one for each of the three conditions. All materials can be downloaded from your eBook and customised. Participants should be thanked for their involvement in the experiment and its purpose should be explained to them. Note that a participant response of mouse is to be recorded as a rat interpretation in either of the conditions.45 with each illustration reproduced on separate cards. The purpose of this is to develop a perceptual set for animals based on the participant s immediate past experience with four pictures of animals. the research hypothesis 3. You must follow all ethical standards and practices when planning and conducting the research. for one second each. Participants should be thanked for their involvement in the experiment and its purpose should be explained to them. Condition 2 perceptual set for faces Participants are shown each of the cards (a) to (d) in set 2. other information that may be requested by your teacher. Participants are again asked to describe what they see and their response is recorded. divided into two sets animals and faces. Combine your data with the data from the rest of the class. in order. for three seconds each. Participants are then presented with the ambiguous stimulus card (e) which can be interpreted as either a man or a rat. Participants should be thanked for their involvement in the experiment and its purpose should be explained to them. It is based on a well-known experiment conducted by Bugelski and Alampay (1961). but their responses are not recorded. As the experimenter. Participants are again asked to describe what they see and their response is recorded. compared with the total number of participants for each group. Then participants are asked to brie y describe what they see in each of the pictures. 27 Practical activity the effect of past experience on the interpretation of an ambiguous stimulus This experiment enables you to investigate whether the interpretation of an ambiguous stimulus is in uenced by immediate past experience. a statement of the aim of this experiment 2. a summary of the class results using appropriate descriptive statistics 4. including an explanation of why it may be relevant 6. Calculate the number and percentage of participants in condition 3 whose interpretation of the ambiguous gure was either a rat (including mouse) or a man compared with the total number of participants in this condition. Condition 3 control Participants are presented with only the ambiguous stimulus card (e) which can be interpreted as either a man or a rat (or mouse). but their responses are not recorded. Calculate the number and percentage of participants in conditions 1 and 2 whose interpretation of the ambiguous stimulus was probably in uenced by their immediate past experience for each condition.

Set 1 (a) animals (a) Set 2 faces (b) (b) (c) (c) (d) (d) (e) (e) Figure 3.45 Stimulus cards for the experiment eLesson on perceptual set experiment 132 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology .

48.46 below are parallel.47 The moon illusion is a naturally occurring illusion. consider the real life moon illusion.DIsTorTIons oF VIsual percepTIon BY IllusIons Most of the time. You can con rm this with a ruler yet. Psychologists have enhanced their understanding of visual perception by examining the conditions under which it fails. One of the most widely studied illusions is called the M ller­Lyer illusion. It is an experience in which there is a mismatch between our perception and what we understand as physical reality. some of which are shown in gure 3. The moon does not actually change in size. 140. Gener­ ally. whereby the moon appears larger when it is low in the sky near the horizon than when it is high in the sky. How­ ever. Figure 3. Every time we view the same sensory information (such as gure 3. Why does the moon look so much larger when on the horizon than when it is high in the sky? (See box 3. Even when we know that we are looking at an illusion and have an understanding of why the illusion occurs. Psychologists have identi ed over 200 visual illu­ sions. our perception of the world closely matches the physical environment around us. For example. whenever you look at the pattern. we continue to see the illusion as powerfully as when we rst saw it. we have the same illusory experience. Visual illusions demonstrate cases in which reality is misperceived. A visual illusion is a misinterpretation (distortion or mistake) of real sensory information.9 on p. we cannot avoid per­ ceiving the moon as bigger. visual illusions demonstrate the important role our brain plays in constructing our view of the world. the horizontal lines in gure 3.46 Are the horizontal lines parallel or do they slope? Similarly. this does not mean that visual perception is error free.) C h a p t e r 3 The visual perception system 133 . it is impossible to perceive the horizontal lines as parallel. the illusory effects are unavoidable. Distortions or mistakes in visual perception sometimes occur. They also demonstrate the effect of perceptual principles and factors such as learning (past experience) and context on the formation of our perceptions. Yet when the moon illusion is apparent.47). Figure 3. For instance.

each of which has opposite shaped ends. A ruler placed on the line can confirm that the line is perfectly straight. For example. Measure the two vertical lines to con rm that they are identical in length. Orbison illusion: The smaller inner circle appears misshapen when placed in the spokes of the larger circle.48 Visual illusions Hering illusion: All four horizontal lines are parallel although the middle two appear to bow around the central point where all the diagonal lines meet. eBook plus M ller-lyer illusion Are the vertical lines in gure 3. 134 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology Weblinks illusion sites Psychologists have proposed a variety of explanations for the M ller­Lyer illusion. the M ller-Lyer illusion is a visual illusion in which one of two lines of equal length. Named after Franz M ller­Lyer (1857­­1916) who originally described it in 1889.49 the same length? Since illusions are being examined in this section. Look again at the two lines. Despite the fact that you know they are of equal length. this is actually a picture of a series of concentric rings. Poggendorf illusion: The diagonal line running from bottom left to top right appears to exit the vertical bar too high. it lengthens the eye movements required to view the line. Therefore we perceive this line as longer.49. you probably realise that they are the same length and therefore answered Yes . Figure 3. is incorrectly perceived as being longer than the other.Fraser spiral: Although we perceive a spiral. one of the earliest biological theories proposed that the M ller­Lyer illusion was caused by the eye itself and explained the illusion in terms of eye movements and a failure of the visual perception system to properly process differing information about eye movements. nervous system and/ or brain when we view the illusion. We consider explanations from four contemporary perspectives. As shown in gure 3. Z llner illusion: The vertical lines are all parallel but do not look parallel because of the changing direction of the small diagonal lines crossing them. Horizontal vertical illusion: Although the two lines are equal in length. Explanations from the biological perspective empha­ sise the role played by our eyes. they still don t look equal. Because the entire feather­ tailed line in the illusion is longer. Another version of the eye movement theory is that we perceive the feather­tailed line as longer because it takes more eye movements to view a line with inward pointing arrows than it does a . the line with the feather tail at each end (b) is perceived as being longer than the line with the arrowhead at each end (a). Your distorted perception has been caused by the con guration of lines that make up the M ller­ Lyer illusion an illusion that has attracted a great deal of research by psychologists. But do they appear to be the same length? The answer is No . the vertical line appears to be longer. Eye movement theory proposes that the arrowheaded and feather­tailed lines require different types and/or amounts of eye movements.

the socio-cultural perspective. Therefore. the arrowheaded line looks like the nearer. More recent biological theories have been based on studies using brain imaging technologies. The results showed that the white American children were more likely to perceive the illusion than were the Zambian children living in urban areas. It may be the case that we have an inborn tendency to misperceive simple geometric pat­ terns when they are viewed in a two­dimensional form. it has been pro­ posed that we experience the illusion because it con­ tradicts what we have learned throughout life about physical reality.49(c) and (d)). eye movement theory was rejected by psychologists when researchers found that the M ller­Lyer illusion continues to be seen even when there is no eye movement at all. Since the rural Zambian children were much less exposed to rectangular structures. As a consequence of this experience. genetic tendency to do so. outside. these Zulus are more likely to view the lines in their actual two­dimensional forms and therefore perceive the lines as equal in length. Research studies conducted from a third approach. it seems C h a p t e r 3 The visual perception system 135 . whereas the feather­tailed line looks like the farthest. even after the illusion is explained to us. the line that appears further away (feather­tailed line) is perceived as longer. Therefore. A second approach to explaining the M ller­Lyer illusion is from a behavioural perspective. One learning­based explanation of the M ller­Lyer illusion that created a lot of interest is known as the carpentered world hypothesis . We may experience the illusion because we inherit the tendency to experience it. These studies have identi ed speci c brain areas that are active and inactive when we view the illusion but they have not been able to satisfactorily explain why we perceive the illusory effects. if any. These studies have also provided evidence for the role of learning and past experi­ ence in perceiving the illusion. the Zambian children living in urban areas were more likely to perceive the illusion than the rural Zambian children. people have spent most of their lives in non­carpentered worlds (see gure 3. For example. When shown the M ller­Lyer illusion. in some societies or cultures. the two vertical lines appear to be at different distances from the observer the feather­tailed line appears further away.49 The standard M ller-Lyer illusion line with outward pointing arrows. A socio­cultural study has also been conducted to compare responses to the M ller­Lyer illusion by white American children and Zambian children in Africa. experience of angles and corners in their three­dimensional worlds and are consequently less likely to perceive the illusion. for example. One such group are Zulus who live in tribal commu­ nities within remote areas of Africa. The study included a comparison of Zambian children living in tribal communities in rural areas and Zambian children living in urban areas such as towns or cities. we can t make sense of the illusion whenever we view it. corners and edges of our Western three­dimensional world. vertical corner and roof­ line of a room or building.(a) (b) (c) (d) Figure 3. For example. These Zulus live in circular houses with roundish doors and domed rooves without all the familiar angles. or that we have a particular inborn. Consequently. have focused on the role of social and cultural factors in the perception of the M ller­Lyer illusion. Despite these dif­ ferent interpretations of eye movements. we have grown accustomed to seeing corners everywhere and often use these and other angles and lines to judge depth and distance. inside corner (including ceiling and oor) of a room. Our brain overrides information from the retinal images showing the two vertical lines as equal in length. Furthermore. This explanation pro­ poses that the M ller­Lyer illusion occurs because of its similarity to familiar architectural features in the real three­dimensional world we experience as part of everyday life (see gures 3.50(b)). They have only limited. scanning the brain while participants with or without brain damage are looking at the illusion. Explanations from this perspective emphasise the role of learning and past experience. In our three­dimensional world.

which are also shown in gure 3. the M ller­Lyer illusion can be said to result from inappropriate use of perceptual processes involved in maintaining size constancy. Furthermore. However. there was little difference. but rather what it represents. Other researchers have found little difference in perception of the illusion between groups living in different environments. Many psychologists have also developed theories by drawing on the theories and research nd­ ings of other perspectives. Critics of this misapplication of size constancy theory for explaining the M ller­Lyer illusion have questioned why the illusion works equally well when the two lines are horizontal rather than vertical. when we know from depth cues (same­ sized retinal images) and past experience. psychologists from all perspectives mostly agree that there is not yet any single explanation of the M ller­Lyer illusion that is entirely satisfactory. Segall & others. Campbell & Herskovits.that experience associated with the environment in which we grow up is a relevant factor in perceiving the M ller­Lyer illusion (Segall. assuming that a smaller line is further away than it actually is. then the line which appears further away (the feather­ tailed line) must be longer. 1966. On the basis of these nd­ ings. In sum. that objects appearing to be at different distances can be of iden­ tical size or length. The two Aboriginal groups did not differ in perception of the M ller­Lyer illusion. For example. Both groups were also com­ pared with a group of European Australians. our perception of the M ller­Lyer illusion suggests that we sometimes don t interpret a retinal image as being what it really is. Again. Psychol­ ogists from each of these perspectives have constructed and tested many hypotheses through experimental research. they have been very important in demon­ strating the relevance of socio­cultural factors and per­ sonal experience in the perception of visual illusions. Our incorrect interpretation of the length of the two lines is said to occur because we incorrectly use the principle of size constancy.51. each of the different perspectives offers useful insights into factors that may in uence whether or not we perceive the M ller­Lyer illusion. These variations of the M ller­ Lyer illusion are equally effective in producing the illusion as the original gures. For example. One group lived in a carpentered environment and the other group lived in a non­carpentered environment. 1990). This leads us to make an interpretation that when two lines appear to be at dif­ ferent distances. for example. A fourth approach to explaining the M ller­Lyer illusion is from a cognitive perspective. the researchers suggested that race or education and training. may be relevant factors in experiencing the illusion (Gregor & McPherson. one explanation from the cognitive per­ spective suggests that the perceptual error we make with the M ller­Lyer illusion may be due to using inappropriate mental strategies when interpreting the incoming visual information. in very basic housing in a remote outback region. (a) (b) Figure 3. one study com­ pared two groups of Aboriginal people. Furthermore. Although the ndings of socio­cultural studies have not provided speci c explanations of the M ller­Lyer illusion.1965). Explanations from this perspective emphasise how we take in and process visual information in order to perceive the illusion. rather than an individual s speci c environment. psychologists have produced other variations on the M ller­Lyer illusion which use different shapes on the ends.51. as shown in gure 3. and cast retinal images of equal size. The incorrect interpret­ ation leads to the illusion.50 (a) Carpentered and (b) non-carpentered worlds 136 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology . In this way.

(b) (a) (continued) C h a p t e r 3 The visual perception system 137 . learnin g acTiviT y 3. Note that variables relating to either the participant or the stimulus can be tested. again making sure that the participant does not know the measurement.51 Variations of the M ller-Lyer illusion. Push the slide (b) through the square (a) until the arrow on it touches or nearly touches the left-pointing arrow on the square (a). draw a horizontal line with arrowheads on both ends. On the (b) rectangle draw a long horizontal line with a reversed arrowhead placed as shown. alternately. The participant should make these judgements. Stimulus variables include the length of the horizontal line in the M ller-Lyer illusion and the angle made with the horizontal by the arrowhead or feather-tail. 28 Practical activity measuring the M ller-lyer illusion This practical activity enables you to produce and measure the magnitude of the M ller-Lyer illusion.52 How to make a M ller-Lyer apparatus. (A more durable apparatus could be constructed using timber. You will need to construct a M ller-Lyer apparatus. Participant variables include age (younger and older participants) and gender (male or female). measure the horizontal part of the line shown on the slide (b). Participants should be tested. These gures work just as well to produce the M ller-Lyer illusion without the depth cues said to cause the illusion in the original vertical gure. one at a time. Fasten the two (a) squares together so that the (b) rectangle can slide back and forth between them. Make two cardboard squares (a) and one long and narrow rectangle (b).Figure 3. as shown in gure 3. Do not allow the participant to know the measurement. using the M ller-Lyer apparatus. Figure 3. 10 times to the right and 10 times to the left. Present the M ller-Lyer apparatus to the participant. The size of the sample should be about 50% of the target population so that there are about as many experimenters as there are participants.52 below. You should construct a relevant hypothesis before conducting the experiment. Ask the participant to move the slide (b) by pushing it to the left until the horizontal line on it appears to be equal in length to the horizontal line on the square (a). Another variation is presenting the gure to participants in either a vertical or a horizontal position.) Using a ruler. Measure and record the horizontal line on the slide (b). Ask the participant to move the slide (b) by pushing it to the right until the horizontal part of the line marked on it appears to be equal in length to the horizontal line on the square (a). Record the measurement. Participants should be volunteers who are chosen randomly from the target population the whole class (or possibly all VCE Unit 1 Psychology classes if there are more than one). On one of the large squares.

Present your diagram on an A3 sheet of paper or a PowerPoint slide. The illusion is named after American psychologist Adelbert Ames (1880 1955) who intentionally designed the room to distort visual percep­ tion. other information that may be requested by your teacher. Psychology: Experiments and Activities. The room s unusual shape and being restricted to the use of monocular vision to view it provides the basis for the illusion. particularly the shape of the back wall. a statement of the aim of this experiment 2. This explanation is commonly called apparent distance theory. a summary of the class results using appropriate descriptive statistics 4. It is based on the unusual construction of the room. and Lawrie. This increases the height of the ceiling from right to left. The mean length of the line on the slide (b) should be calculated and compared with the actual length of the line on the square (b). In point form. As a result of these deliberately constructed decep­ tions . Marrickville. Although other items in the room such as windows. clocks and furniture may add to the illusory effect. so their sizes are perceived as different. Ames was able to make people appear small or large. The Ames room illusion involves a trapezium­shaped room that is longer and higher on one side than the other. Ensure you include a copy(s) of the M ller-Lyer illusion and any other relevant graphics. When viewed through a peep­ hole at the front of the room using only one eye.29 review questions 1. In each photograph. The apparent distance theory states that when two retinal images are the same size. The back wall looks parallel to the front wall and the two back corners there­ fore appear to be exactly the same distance from the observer. 6. a conclusion(s) based on the results and referring to the hypothesis 5. However. Report Prepare a brief report on the research activity to include in your folio of practical activities.The data collected for each participant should be combined with data from other class members and summarised in a table. the person on the right appears to be much bigger than the person on the left. ames room illusion Examine the photograph in gure 3. these items are not essen­ tial for the illusion to occur. both people are actually of normal size. Your report should include: 1. J. which also helps ensure the illusion occurs. Adapted from Grivas. 138 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology .53. Give an example of how socio-cultural factors may in uence perception of an illusion. In addition. When we view the inside of the room through the peep­ hole. then the one that appears fur­ ther away will be interpreted as bigger or larger. depending on where they stood in the room. depending on where they are standing. The cognitive perspective provides a widely accepted explanation of the Ames room. pp. In what way can the study of visual illusions enhance understanding of visual perception? 3. but one image appears to be at a greater distance. the image of that person which is cast on the retina is larger because the person is twice as close to the observer (compared to a person standing in the back left corner). the ceiling slopes upwards from the right upper corner to the left upper corner of the room. the research hypothesis 3. Information may be written in point form. 145 6. using appropriate descriptive statistics. NSW: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. learning a cTiviTy 3. P. in this situation. the room appears rectangular. (1991). outline the explanation of the M llerLyer illusion in terms of a misapplication of size constancy . Why are visual illusions often referred to as distortions of visual perception ? 2. one person casts a smaller or larger retinal image than the other.30 visual presentation M ller-lyer illusion Prepare a diagram which graphically shows and summarises approaches to explaining the M ller-Lyer illusion from four different perspectives. However. A crucial aspect of the illusion is that the back wall is actually slanted away from the observer (from right to left). The Ames room appears to be a normal rectangular room when viewed through a peephole located in a cen­ tral position on the front wall. a potential extraneous variable(s) that may be relevant including an explanation of why it may be relevant. 4. This results in the far left corner being double the distance of the right corner from the peep­ hole. particularly the size of objects in the room. When observing a person standing in the right corner at the back the room. This illusion involves people appearing smaller or larger. learning a cTiviTy 3. our past experience with rectangular rooms leads us to expect that the people in the room are all the same distance away from us.

8 metres Figure 3. which is actually slanting away from the observer.2.3 metres Peephole 3 met res 1.53 There is a distortion of the size of objects within the Ames room. 2 e . A crucial feature of the room that creates the illusory effect is the back wall.2 m s tre C h a p t e r 3 The visual perception system 139 . but appears to be a normal rear wall of a rectangular room.

Coren and Aks (1990) have found that people sometimes perceive the horizon moon as closer. Explain why you would perceive the person to be shrinking. and Suzuki (1991) found that the illusion can still occur even when the moon is projected at different points in the sky without the presence of depth and distance cues. which are arti cially created. 2. The illusion is more obvious with a full moon.3 2 visual presentation illusions visual Prepare an A3 size annotated poster or PowerPoint presentation on the M ller-Lyer or the Ames room illusion. and the moon does not actually change its size as it moves across the sky ( gure 3. The moon illusion occurs when the moon appears considerably larger on the horizon than when it is high up in the sky. but not consistent with the room s real shape. Size constancy fails because the retinal information (that is. Brie y describe the Ames room illusion.47). They found that when research participants viewed the moon at the horizon over a visible surface (for example. brie y describing and explaining the illusion. the perceived rectangular shape of the room is consistent with the retinal image.31 review questions 1. BOX 3. The Ames room illusion also illustrates our inability to maintain size constancy when our use of depth cues is restricted or the depth cues are misleading. as in the total darkness of an indoor planetarium. learning a cTiviTy 3. The most widely accepted explanation is called apparent distance theory. not more distant. whereas the sky offers no depth and distance cues. 3. when the terrain was kept out of vision by observing the moon through a hole in a sheet of cardboard. trees and buildings). In sum. 1995).9 The moon illusion Unlike the M ller-Lyer and Ames room illusions. Socio-cultural factors can also in uence perception of the illusion (see p. no difference in size between the horizon and zenith moons was reported. the equal­sized retinal images of the corners are interpreted as equal in size. Explain the illusory effects in point form. they are likely to appear to shrink. even though the observer knows that this is not possible in the real world. it appeared on average 1. This produces an illusion of a rectangular room. For example. the moon illusion is a naturally occurring illusion. ensuring that you refer to speci c features of each illusion. Kaufman and Rock (1962) proposed that viewing the moon over a visible stretch of terrain such as a landscape makes it appear further away. Kaufman and Rock concluded that the terrain offers many depth and distance cues that provide evidence to allow us to perceive the moon as more distant. even though the retinal image is equal in both situations.3 times larger than the moon seen at its highest point in the sky (its zenith). the changing sizes of the people as they cross the oor) cannot be corrected due to the lack of accu­ rate depth information.In the Ames room. Why is the observer s view restricted to using monocular cues? 4. with reference to a relevant theory. Ensure your presentation includes an example of the illusion and a brief description of its illusory effects on the observer. Reed and Krupinski (1992) have found that the illusory effect cannot be created when the visual stimulus is a star rather than the moon. learning acTiviTy 3. This phenomenon has intrigued people for many centuries and various theories have been proposed to explain it. Because the observer does not have the depth cues available to work out the real difference in distance between the two cor­ ners. The back cor­ ners on either side of the room actually produce equal­ sized retinal images because the vertical length of the further left corner is double the length (but twice the distance from the observer) of the nearer right corner. The illusion is so strong that a person observed walking from the right corner to the left corner is perceived as shrinking . The main criticisms of this explanation of the moon illusion are based on the results of other empirical research studies. However. a completely satisfactory explanation of the moon illusion has yet to be proposed (Kassin. Explain the Ames room illusion with reference to apparent distance theory. so we misperceive distance and underestimate the moon s size. 136). Options and variations 140 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology . If you watch a person walk from the back righthand corner of the Ames room to the back left-hand corner of the Ames room. This theory is based on the results of research conducted by American psychologists Lloyd Kaufman and Irvin Rock. Therefore the visual angle is the same for both cor­ ners from the observer s view.

Visual perception is an active process.33 essay visual perception from different perspectives Write an essay of about 400 500 words in which you explain visual perception with reference to different perspectives. TrUe/Fa lSe Q UiZ Indicate whether each item is true or false by writing T or F in the blank space next to each item. The use of camou age is an application of the gure ground principle. In your presentation. _____ Assessment task and criteria learning a cTiviTy 3. complete forms into parts. _____ Visual perception involves detecting and assigning meaning to visual information. _____ 7. _____ 9. concepts and processes • use appropriate examples to demonstrate your understanding of key concepts and processes • organise the information in a logical way • express your information in a clear and concise way. Rods and cones change shape to focus an image onto the retina. 6. The use of perceptual constancies helps ensure the environment is perceived as relatively stable and unchanging. ensure that you: • use two or more data types. _____ 5. In your essay. Gestalt principles of visual perception enable us to automatically organise whole. concepts and processes • use appropriate examples to demonstrate your understanding of key concepts and processes • structure your information in a logical manner • express your information in a clear and concise way. for example. rather than a passive process. Interposition involves sending visual information along the optic nerve from the retina to the visual cortex.learning a cTiviTy 3. _____ 4. Perceptual set is the tendency to perceive something in accordance with our expectations. _____ 3. Organisation and interpretation occur during reception. _____ The answers to the true/false questions are in the answer section at the back of this book and in eBookPLUS. still or moving images. ensure that you • de ne visual perception • describe key concepts and processes in visual perception • describe approaches to explaining one or more aspects of visual perception from at least two different perspectives • accurately de ne and explain all key terms. _____ 8. Assessment task and criteria C h a p t e r 3 The visual perception system 141 . 2.34 Oral presentation visual perception from different perspectives Prepare an oral presentation in which you explain visual perception with reference to different perspectives. References may be used in obtaining information for your essay. Misapplication of size constancy is an explanation of the M ller­ Lyer illusion from the cognitive perspective. _____ 10. 1. written text and sound • de ne visual perception • describe key concepts and processes in visual perception • describe approaches to explaining one or more aspects of visual perception from two or more different perspectives • accurately de ne and explain all key terms. References may be used in obtaining information for your presentation.

closure. This is an example of the effect of A. interposition. D. accommodation. closure. B. B. Which of the following is a depth cue for visual perception? A. A white shirt looks just as white when you are ironing in conditions of arti cial light as it does when you hang it on the clothes line in the sunlight. transduction. information travels from the retina via the optic nerve to the brain in a process called A. transduction involves A. 8. D. it is most likely due to an inability to A. 6. reception 2. B. 1. gure­­ground perception. The M ller­Lyer illusion demonstrates that when the retinal images of two lines are identical. When one object in a visual stimulus partially blocks another. transmission D. B. B. 11. conversion of electromagnetic energy into electrical impulses. In the visual perception system. binocular cues. C. organisation. C. 10. constancy. D. B. thereby resulting in a meaningful perception. the object at the back which is blocked from full view is perceived as being further away than the object in front of it. 9. relative size. interpretation of sensory information when it reaches the brain. will usually interpret the two lines as being of the same length. can nd themselves making errors of judgement by ignoring carpentered world cues. C. D. reception. reception. C. we are using A. use linear perspective. Which of the following sequences has visual perception processes in the correct order? A. transmission. D. perceive the contour lines which belong to the gure.C H A PT E R TES T SecTiOn a Multiple-choice questions Choose the response that is correct or that best answers the question. shape constancy. cannot be fooled. retinal disparity. When we have dif culty separating a gure from the background in a picture or in an everyday setting. we are using the perception principle called A. sending information from the eye to the brain. retinal disparity. convergence. feature detection. A correct answer scores 1. B. similarity C. accommodation D. can make perceptual errors unless a ruler is available. C. texture gradient. 4. reception. The difference in the images on the retina of each eye when an observer is viewing something is called A. C. D. B. B. convergence. transmission. C. height in the visual eld. gure­­ground organisation. use retinal disparity. interpretation. 3. 142 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology 7. brightness constancy. . proximity B. D. This is an example of A. Marks will not be deducted for incorrect answers. When we mentally complete a visual stimulus which has missing information. use monocular cues. accommodation. No marks will be given if more than one answer is completed for any question. people who grew up in carpentered worlds A. C. C. interpretation. conversion of light into electromagnetic energy. D. gure­­ground organisation. transmission. When our brain monitors the muscles used to change the shape of the lens. transmission B. D. In visual perception. an incorrect answer scores 0. transduction. closure 5. transduction C. retinal disparity.

Milan skips an English class because he hasn t completed an essay. context C.12. cornea. A visual illusion is best described as A. cornea. convergence D. 18. lens. cones D. D. As you drive a little further. cognitive D. viewing objects over a stretch of visible terrain can distort perception. When his teacher walks in behind him and asks if he needs any assistance. cones C. B. Which of the following is a binocular cue for depth perception? A. pupil. retina. 13. accommodation. retina. He is anxious about seeing his English teacher. 14. motivation. fovea. On his way to another class he sees his English teacher walking towards him scowling. cognitions. An explanation of an illusion in terms of mis ring neural impulses is likely to be based on the perspective. lens. physiological condition. consistent misinterpretation of real sensory stimuli. C h a p t e r 3 The visual perception system 143 . in colour and in bright light. Driving through central NSW on your way to Queensland you notice the red light on your fuel gauge that indicates you are low on fuel. Milan breathes a sigh of relief. perceptual set. accommodation 15. The assist us to see in conditions of dim light. D. lens. B. objects and events encountered throughout our lifetime are referred to as A. A. visual problems C. rods. if two people (or objects) appear to be the same distance away from an observer but cast retinal images indicating that they are different sizes. 19. pupil. a trick involving the visual perception system. motivation B. optic nerve. D. D. socio­cultural 17. B. Which of the following best explains your perceptual error? A. then perceived size is determined by retinal image size. pupil. B. visual cortex. we always maintain size constancy over shape constancy. C. biological C. optic nerve. B. optic nerve. iris. visual cortex. retina. past experience. C. iris. C. D. cones. In the study of perception. retina. Milan disappears into the closest classroom to avoid him. texture gradient C. a false belief despite obvious proof that what is being looked at is incorrect. C. visual cortex. whereas the assist us to see ne detail. A. a perception that occurs without external stimulation of the eye. lens. behavioural B. pupil. When you get closer to the sign you discover that you had misperceived the sign which actually reads food ahead . Milan s misinterpretation of his teacher s facial expression is probably due to his A. past experience D. cultural background 20. visual cortex. lens. perception is more accurate when we use monocular cues as well as binocular cues. lens 16. rods B. you notice a sign that says fuel ahead . The correct sequence of the pathway of light through the eye and eventually to the brain in another form is A. perceptual set. The Ames room illusion demonstrates that A. linear perspective B. rods.

2 marks Question 5 Explain the role of perceptual set in visual perception. we tend to use the visual perceptual principle of to distinguish between supporters of opposing teams. Question 1 At sports matches. 144 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology . 2 marks eBook plus The answers to the multiple-choice questions are in the answer section at the back of this book and in eBookPLUS.SecTiOn B Short-answer questions Answer all questions in the spaces provided. 1 mark Question 2 Explain the difference between visual sensation and visual perception. The answers to the short-answer questions are in eBookPLUS. Note that you can complete Section A of the chapter test online through eBookPLUS and get automatic feedback. 2 marks Question 3 Describe three roles played by the eye in visual perception. 3 marks Question 4 Give an explanation of visual perception in terms of the cognitive perspective.

................. 165 Longitudinal and cross­sectional studies .... 155 Role of maturation in development .. 146 Stages of lifespan development ........... 160 Sensitive periods in development ...................................... 151 Interaction of hereditary and environmental factors in shaping psychological development ........................ 161 Developmental psychology from different perspectives ........................................................ 167 Adoption studies ................................... 166 Twin studies .................................... 147 Areas of lifespan development ........ 149 How development proceeds ................. 164 Research methods for studying development ............................................................................... 169 Selective breeding experiments ........... 169 Ethics associated with studying development ........................................................................ 173 ...................CHAPTER 4 LIFESPAN DEVELOPMENT De ning lifespan development .............................

a pregnant female who regularly consumes alcohol or is highly stressed for a considerable part of her pregnancy can adversely affect the development of her fetus. For example. 2008). both in utero and subsequently after birth. psychologists focus mainly on the develop­ ment of psychological characteristics after birth. Lifespan development covers both relatively perma­ nent changes which are common to all individuals. for example. Knowing the kinds of changes that might be expected at different times helps us understand what is normal . Both of these are changes. Sudoku puzzles and the like. into and during old age. You tell the time. the in uence of your family. What psychological characteristics do we share with others and what characteristics are unique to each one of us? What aspects of who we are remain the same for all of our lives and what aspects change? These are some of the many questions considered by psychologists who study lifespan development. through studying language development in many chil­ dren. Psychologists who study lifespan development aim to understand. A change must be rela­ tively permanent or lasting to be considered a developmental change. as well as changes which differ between individuals. a three­year­old who has a vocabulary of about 100 words may need professional assistance. acquaintances and others and wonder about whether something is right or wrong . Psychologists also use the results from their research on human development to suggest how desirable changes can be best achieved and how undesirable changes can be avoided or overcome. what is not normal and consequently when pro­ fessional assistance may be helpful. a short­term loss of memory as a result of a sporting injury. and there are also things about us that are unique to each one of us. friends. 146 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology Figure 4. feelings and behaviour change throughout our lives. 1994). That doesn t mean that in utero experiences do not affect the development of psychological characteristics. psychologists have learnt that at about 18 months of age most infants have a vocabulary of between ve to 20 words. doing crossword puzzles. For example. throughout a person s life.1 Research ndings in lifespan development assist our understanding of what psychological characteristics should be expected in various stages of the lifespan and how undesirable changes may be avoided or overcome. Consequently. When you were born. and like no others. but they are only temporary and are therefore not developmental changes. describe. interact with friends. send a text message. research evidence with older people has shown that by keeping mentally active through regular reading. For example. many chil­ dren can understand and correctly use about 2600 dif­ ferent words (Child Development Institute. you were unable to do any of these. the cultural group to which you belong. defInIng LIfespan deveLopment Psychologists use the term lifespan development to refer to age­related changes that occur from birth. By two years of age their vocabulary has increased to about 270 words and by age six. Many changes also occur during the nine months the fetus is developing in the uterus (in utero). or an improve­ ment in mood after receiving good news are not con­ sidered to be developmental changes. explain and predict the many ways in which our thoughts. . there are things about each of us that are like some others. However. So how did you acquire the knowledge and skills to engage in these activities and the many others of which you are capable? What role do biological processes such as your genetic make­up play in being able to engage in these activities? What role do environmental factors play.Consider some of the things you do almost daily. may assist them to maintain their mental alertness as they age (Schaie. make plans. and society in general? There are things about each of us that are like all other human beings. For example. use your imagination. buy something.

Middle age encompasses the period from about 40 to 65 years. 2. In terms of psychological development. feeling or behaviour would be considered a developmental change (D) or would not be considered a developmental change (ND). state whether the thought. decreasing strength and stamina. Give an example of a change you have experienced which would be considered a developmental change and a change that you have experienced which would not be considered a developmental change. a person doesn t suddenly move into the older age stage on their sixty­ fth birthday. start a family and take on the role of parenting. much time is spent in play and social learning. for example. Early adulthood extends from about 20 to 40 years of age. For example. advancing a career. children s cognitive skills develop and they also begin to develop an understanding of what is right and wrong. writing and maths. perceptual abilities. During adolescence the individual moves from child­ hood to adulthood. Adolescence begins at around 10 to 12 years of age and continues until the age of approxi­ mately 20 to 24 years. the adolescent s thought processes are more logical. During this stage. while others may psychologically still be in the stage of childhood at 12. • An eight month old infant who cries whenever her mother leaves the room • A six-year-old boy who has learned to play chess • A 50-year-old person who cannot remember anything while anaesthetised during surgery • A 10-year-old girl who now feels con dent about sleeping away from home without becoming homesick • A 70-year-old woman who learns how to send an email • A 28-year-old male who believes he is ready to move out of his family home and live independently away from his parents. death of relatives and friends. During this stage. it is a stage of estab­ lishing personal and financial independence and establishing and consolidating a career. It is a period of expanding social and per­ sonal involvements and responsibilities. Friends and peer groups exert considerable in uence on the developing ado­ lescent and social contact outside the family becomes very important. For each of the following individuals. complex and idea­ listic. The stages and their approximate ages are: infancy birth to two years childhood two years to 10 years adolescence 10 years to 20 years early adulthood 20 years to 40 years middle age 40 years to 65 years older age 65 years and beyond. this does not mean that each stage starts and ends pre­ cisely at the ages shown. In most Western cultures. Adolescence is dominated by seeking independence from parents and developing one s own identity. research or to describe age­related changes. Childhood extends from approximately two to 10 years of age.learnin g acTiviT y 4. Adolescents also have a greater capacity to reason. it is also the stage in which individuals select a partner. declining health. develop an ongoing intimate relationship. problem solve and understand abstract concepts. Infancy is the stage that extends from birth to approximately two years of age. The onset of puberty marks the start of adolescence. Compared to the child. Apart from acquiring the basic skills of reading. particularly after starting formal education. development concepts stages of LIfespan deveLopment eLesson on key Developmental psychologists often divide the lifespan into age­based stages. 1 identifying a developmental change 1. this can also be a very liberating time when they no longer have the day­to­day responsibility of looking after their offspring or paid work. use of language and social skills. such as retirement from paid work. While the infant is dependent on adults for most things during this stage. During this stage. It is a period of considerable adjustment to changes in one s life and self­perceptions. The age range for each stage provides a general idea of when each stage begins and when it ends. and an acceptance that you can t do all that you used to . This is mostly for the purposes of study. some individuals may be considered to be in the stage of adolescence at 10. Individuals differ in terms of the age at which they move from one stage of development into the next. However. Give a reason for each answer. and supporting offspring in their development to independent. psychologically mature individuals. ways of thinking. children become increasingly independent from their parents as they learn to do things for themselves and gain more self­control. Puberty is associated with many physical and psychological changes. Many older people enjoy the freedom of planning each day to suit themselves without the C h a p t e r 4 Lifespan development 147 . many psychological characteristics are rapidly developing. For many older people. Older age begins in the mid to late sixties and extends until the end of one s life. For many adults. the bond that develops between the infant and their primary caregiver(s) is important in terms of the infant s later emotional development.

give an example of a developmental change in a psychological characteristic that is likely to be common among individuals in that stage. De ne lifespan development as it is used in psychology.2 Stages in development Middle age: 40 to 65 years Older age: 65+ years 148 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology .pressure of meeting the demands of others.2 review questions 1. through travel.1 Stages in lifespan development Psychologists often divide the human lifespan into developmental stages based on age. should the human lifespan be de ned in psychology as starting at conception or at birth? Explain your answer. In your view. individuals lives cannot be so neatly and precisely divided up. Ages for the beginning and end of each stage are only approximate. 4. For each stage of development. It is also a time when people take on new social roles. their lives are busier than in earlier stages of development. learning acTiviTy 4. While describing human lifespan stages in terms of labels and age ranges can assist understanding of when in the lifespan particular changes tend to occur. voluntary work and participation in hobbies and sports. BOX 4. although changes in Australian society indicate that this may also occur at an earlier stage. some psychologists consider the age­related stages of limited relevance. 2. the kinds of changes that occur in each stage may also vary considerably in different cultures and sub­cultures. but not all. Outline a potential bene t and a potential limitation of organising and describing the development of human psychological characteristics in terms of age-related changes. Infancy: birth to two years Childhood: two to 10 years Adolescence: 10 to 20 years Adulthood: 20 to 40 years Figure 4. Explain the meaning of developmental change compared to other types of change. 3. such as grandparenting. They believe that individuals differ too much in their psychological development and that categorising psychological development into age­related stages does not re ect this. it is important to keep in mind that the changes identi ed for each stage apply to many individuals. Often. Because development is a continuous process. 5. social activities. In learning about the various changes that occur in each stage of the lifespan. for example. In addition.

Figure 4. it is important to consider the historical and cultural context of an individual when thinking about developmental stages. it was not uncommon in many Western societies. problem solving and decision making. for example. 2005). With the emergence of new technologies. Emotional development involves changes in how an individual experiences different feelings and how these feelings are expressed. This provided them with more opportunity to spend time with peers of their own age.2 Adolescence as a developmental stage The concept of childhood as a separate stage in the lifespan dates back to the 1700s. cog­ nitive and emotional. researchers make observations of behaviour believed to be associated with thoughts or C h a p t e r 4 Lifespan development 149 . Until this time. the age range for adolescence has been rede ned. Many of the changes associated with physical devel­ opment. Since the end of World War II in the late 1940s. such as growth (height and weight). and extend until about age 18.BOX 4. language. and the hor­ monal changes of puberty and menopause. Once at work. despite their age. a more educated workforce was needed and greater importance was placed on children staying at school longer. interpreted and dealt with. separated from the exclusive in uence of adults. move­ ment (crawling and walking) and changes in physical appearance (such as pimples and body hair). the young person had begun working and was considering leaving home to live independently. in recent times. they assumed many of the roles and responsibilities expected of an adult in the workplace. bones and muscles. can be directly observed. Generally. cognitive and emotional development involve thoughts and feelings that cannot actually be seen . Many have also gone on to do further study at a TAFE or university. thinking. 1977). the delayed entry to fulltime work and an increase in the age of leaving home. The Australian Medical Association now de nes adolescence as extending between the ages of 10 and 24 years (Carr-Gregg. Cognitive development involves changes in an indi­ vidual s mental abilities. By this time. such as perception. but were not yet ready to take on adult responsibilities. For example. including Australia. Eventually adolescents came to be viewed as a distinct subgroup of society who were more developed in many ways than children. it is not uncommon for a person to enter the workforce for the rst time in their mid to late twenties. moral reasoning. Laws were passed at the start of the twentieth century restricting children from working and making schooling compulsory (Kett. However. such as development of the brain and nervous system. In contrast. such as the ability to form close relationships and interact with others in a group situation. Adolescence is not viewed as a distinct lifespan stage in all cultures. motor skills (movement). as a result of continuing in education longer. adolescents developed their own peer culture which set them apart from both children and adults. In 2008. When adolescence was rst identi ed as a separate stage. a child is considered to become an adult as soon as puberty is reached and a series of initiation rituals has been performed. In contemporary Australian society. behaviours associated with social. learning. In time. 2009). Physical (or biological) development involves changes in the body and its various systems. it was considered to begin at age 12 at around the onset of puberty. more adolescents have stayed at school longer. However. Social development involves changes in an indi­ vidual s relationships with other people and their skills in interacting with others. in some Aboriginal cultures. for children to go to work when they reached the age of 10 or so. it was not until the early 1900s that adolescence was identi ed as a separate lifespan stage (Hall. a child becomes an adult following the onset of puberty and participation in traditional rituals. social. 74. compared with a 16­year­old and a 50­year­old person. 1904).2% of eligible Australian students completed their year 12 studies (Australian Bureau of Statistics. with the earlier onset of puberty for many children. areas of LIfespan deveLopment There are many different kinds of developmental change that occur throughout the human lifespan. Thus. the way in which anger is expressed by a two­year­old. cognitive and emotional development are mental processes that occur within the individual and are therefore not directly observable or measurable. and they were generally considered to be adults outside the workplace. psychologists classify changes which take place in terms of four main areas: physical. Instead. For example. memory.3 In some Aboriginal cultures.

when you are feeling tired or stressed you may snap at a friend or at a teacher in response to criticism. In VCE Psychology. Physical development Figure 4. you need to keep in mind that. You may need to interview relatives or friends about the timing of these milestones . cognitive. textbooks such as this one usually present different areas and stages of development separ­ ately. psychologists often distinguish between psychological and physical develop­ ment. Development is a life­long process. People don t stop developing in any area just because they reach a certain age or are old . social and emotional characteristics. However. On the timeline. Consequently social. This is intended to help simplify the study of how and why individuals change. in reality. underlying cognitions and emotions. (social ) • able to count to 10 (cognitive ) • slept away from home for the rst time without feeling homesick (emotional ). When referring to development. consider people with the eating dis­ order anorexia nervosa. and make inferences (assumptions) about inner . These examples highlight the complexity of human development. who may control their diet in dangerous ways because of their thoughts and feelings about their body image. The consequences of behav­ iours resulting from their thoughts and feelings about their body image can potentially have a harmful impact on their physical wellbeing. Physical development and psychological development do not occur independently of each other.feelings. the focus is on psychological development. Although the different areas of 150 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology Figure 4.3 visual presentation timeline personal Construct a timeline that shows the total number of years of your life. identify six key developmental changes in your life two relating to each area of psychological development. divisions between different areas and stages of development are not so clear cut and that you are studying aspects of a whole person. cognitive and emotional development are referred to collectively as psychological development. For example. .4 Human development is in uenced by simultaneously occurring changes in physical. Similarly. What can be inferred about the cognitions or emotions being experienced by each child in this photo? learning acTiviTy 4. psychologists often focus on speci c areas and/or stages of development for research purposes. how you think and/or feel can in uence your physiological state in both subtle and more obvious ways. There are also times when your physical con­ dition in uences your thoughts and feelings. For example. both in the short term and long term. including how you think and feel about other people. adolescence and adulthood into old age until death. this does not mean that changes in one area or stage of development are more or less important than those in any other area or stage. Consider also cases involving people with physical disabilities and how having a disability may affect one s thoughts. for example: • developed a friendship with .5 Psychologists make inferences about underlying psychological processes from observable behaviour. which you wouldn t do at a time when you weren t feeling tired or stressed. While developmental changes and processes peak in childhood and again during puberty. which begins at birth and continues through childhood. feelings and social behaviour. Social development is also inferred from observing social behaviours assumed to be associated with underlying psychological processes. Consider using colour codes to distinguish between the different areas of development. However. Emotional development Cognitive development Social development development are interdependent and many changes occur simultaneously.

Some view development as a discontinuous process. like the slow.How development proceeds There are a number of different theories about the way in which development proceeds throughout the lifespan. feeling or behaving may seem to appear suddenly. (a) Adulthood Infancy (b) Adulthood Infancy Figure 4. whereas others describe development as discontinuous. continuous versus discontinuous development Think about your own development for a moment. with different kinds of abilities occurring in each stage. continuous growth of a seedling into an enor­ mous gum tree? Or did you experience sudden.6 Is development a slow. although some types of thinking. Developmental psychologists generally agree that development occurs in an orderly way and in dif­ ferent areas simultaneously.7 Some psychologists describe development as continuous (a). in the same way a caterpillar changes into a but­ ter y (Santrock. However. the development of certain abilities in each stage. continuous development might be represented as a single. it is likely that these have been developing gradually for some time. 1992)? Psychologists who support the view of continuous development believe that development involves gradual and ongoing changes throughout the lifespan without sudden shifts. There remain. Psychologists who support the view of discontinuous development believe that development involves distinct and separate stages. not all psychologists agree that develop­ ment is a continuous process. On a graph. as shown in gure 4. smooth line. such as speci c ways of thinking. However.7(a). continuous process or are there sudden and distinct changes? Figure 4. feeling or socially interacting have identi able start and end points. C h a p t e r 4 Lifespan development 151 . with abilities in the earlier stages of development providing the basis of skills and abilities required for the next stages. Did you gradually become the person you are. however. dis­ tinct changes in developing into the person you are today. differing views on whether development is continuous or discontinuous. involving distinct and separate stages (b). According to this view.

feelings or behaviours and progress to more complex ones. whereas you now understand and can probably accurately describe these concepts. This is useful to professionals such as psychologists. socio-economic backgrounds. Developmental norms are compiled by measuring a characteristic or ability in a large representative sample of the population with which the study is concerned. paediatricians and teachers who monitor the physical and psychological progress of individuals. Norms are averages. They merely describe development. development generally follows a par­ ticular order. are then determined. Sequences of development usually begin with simple thoughts. For instance. mathematical calculation of the 16-year-olds would be measured and the average IQ calculated for each age group. Unlike quantitative changes. Small variations should not be a cause for concern. Quantitative changes are variations in the quantity. norms provide a way of comparing an individual s development with that of others in the same age group. For example.3 Developmental norms Based on extensive research ndings. their usefulness for assessing the developmental progress of an individual is limited because of variations which occur due to the uniqueness of each individual. but there is no average child. based on a simple. mobility. Though a useful guide for comparison purposes. They are changes that make the indi­ vidual different from the way they were before. Quantitative norms. it would be inappropriate to compare the language development of children of non-English speaking backgrounds with norms based only on a sample of children with English speaking backgrounds. the number of words spoken in relation to age is a quantitative change. Only large variations should be discussed with a doctor or psychologist. language. comparisons may not be valid. Comparison can give information on the progress of development in relation to what is the average for people in an age group.1 Language development norms Age / Years 1 2 3 4 5 6 Average number of words 2 6 150 300 900 1000 1200 6000 1500 8000 2500 10 000 Source: Child Development Institute (2009). Norms do not tell us what is ideal development . An orderly sequence of change is observable in many areas of psychological development. For example. kind or type . For example. to establish the norms for intelligence of Australians aged two to 16 years old (the target population). Care must be taken to ensure the composition of the sample is representative of all Australian two. as is the increase in the amount of knowledge children acquire about the world around them as they develop.Sequential nature of development The development of many thoughts. Table 4. nor do they explain 16-year-olds. For example. If the normative sample is not representative. schooling experiences and other relevant characteristics in proportions similar to the target population from which the sample is drawn. you must remember that deviations from the average are not unusual. the IQ of large samples of two. or amount of a thought. walk. 152 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology . psychologists have described the usual development of various human characteristics and abilities such as physical development. the sample for each age group would include people of different sexes. feeling or behaviour. ethnic backgrounds. Developmental norms typically show the patterns of development and the approximate ages at which a characteristic or ability appears in the average child. or mean. Although it is possible (but unusual) to skip a step in the development of a par­ ticular ability. The general types of descriptions are called developmental norms. speak in sentences and so on. For example. As well as describing patterns of development which re ect average developmental trends. such as in the use of language (from gurgling and squealing through uttering individual words to using sentences) and in the development of social play (from playing alone to playing alongside other children to playing cooperatively in a group). at four years of age you probably had very little understanding about concepts such as justice and honesty . qualitative changes are more dif­ cult to describe precisely and are usually described in words rather than in numbers. Qualitative changes are those that vary in quality . feelings and behaviours occurs in an orderly sequence. such as average vocabularies. geographical areas. Quantitative and qualitative changes Psychologists often describe developmental changes in both quantitative and qualitative terms. a person will usually be able to count before they can add numbers. These changes are usually expressed as numbers. When you look at normative charts with ages for when children crawl. emotional expression and social abilities at speci c ages or stages in the lifespan. BOX 4. indicating what is the average developmental tendency for a large number of people.

At rst. but experi­ ence dif culties in expressing emotions verbally and in inter­ acting socially with others. (b) Which areas of development are considered to make up psychological development? (c) In what main way is psychological development distinguished from physical development? 2. then suddenly become con dent and out­ going during early adulthood or middle age. shaping their par­ ticular course of development throughout their lifespan. 1933) compared the development of their newborn son and a seven-month-old female chimpanzee they adopted called Gua. In the right column write a list of developmental changes you have experienced that could be described as qualitative. which illustrates the sequential nature of development . Construct a table such as that below. (a) Describe the four main areas of development and give an example of a developmental change that occurs within each area. This case study indicated that the process of development is systematic and unique for each individual species. They wanted to nd out to what extent the two infants varied in their development. they expected the human infant would develop more quickly. drink from a cup and obey her adopted parents commands earlier than their son could. There are many differ­ ences between individuals in their development. Or an individual may have relatively well­developed cognitive abilities.learnin g acTiviT y 4. except in physical strength. Figure 4. BOX 4. no two individuals develop at exactly the same rate or in exactly the same way. Your rst entries in each column could be the examples given in the text. For example. However. Give an example. or all areas of development. most. Some individuals develop more slowly or more quickly than others in some. Each person has a unique genetic make­up and set of life experiences which interact continuously.8 No two individuals develop at exactly the same rate or in exactly the same way. The researchers suggested that the rate of development may be determined by how mature the speci c organism will eventually be.4 Case study: comparing chimps to humans A husband and wife team of researchers (Kellogg & Kellogg. What is meant by the view that developmental changes occur simultaneously in different areas ? Explain with reference to an example different from that used in the text. 5. 3. 4 review questions 1. In the left column write a list of developmental changes you have experienced that could be described as quantitative. other than one used in the text. an individual may be very shy as a child and adolescent.9 C h a p t e r 4 Lifespan development 153 . even if they are identical twins. There are also many differences within individuals in their development. The researchers treated the two infants as identically as they could (as far as physical restrictions would allow). Quantitative changes Qualitative changes individual differences in development Although there are similarities among people in pat­ terns of changes experienced in different areas of devel­ opment. the situation was reversed and the boy was more advanced in his development across a wider range of abilities than the chimp. The chimp progressed faster than the human infant. by the time both infants were two years old. the investigation produced results different from those expected. Change in different areas occurs at its own pace within an individual. In what way do continuous and discontinuous views of development differ? 4. She developed the abilities to feed herself. However. Figure 4.

primary or secondary school. • Select about ve of these events. • Form a small group with others in the class and compare the data you each recorded. your rst day at kindergarten. a childhood illness. Milestone First social smile First word First cried in response to mother being out of sight First counted First sang a song Played interactively with another child Read independently Annabelle 4 months 8 months 9 months Habib 2 months 10 months 11 months learning acTiviTy 4. In your report. social and emotional. 1. Would it be accurate to explain the differences in terms of gender? Give a reason to explain your answer. for example. as compared with quantitative data. learnin g acTiviT y 4. For example.7 Practical activity variations in development within individuals This practical activity involves collecting. for example. 5 Data analysis individual differences in development The following table contains data on the development of two individuals. the arrival of a younger brother or sister. (a) Categorise the data into the three areas of psychological development cognitive. learning to play a keyboard may have improved your self-con dence. playing tennis may have improved your social skills and built friendships. What are some possible explanations of differences in terms of socio-cultural factors? 5. objects and events important in your life. • Re ect on your lifetime. What do the data indicate about the variations in psychological development between individuals? 3. What conclusions might be drawn when comparing each child in terms of cognitive. 6 visual presentation development nature of Use an original example presented as a diagram. photographic sequence or model to illustrate one of the following theoretical views of development: • continuous vs discontinuous development • sequential nature of development • qualitative and quantitative changes • individual differences in development 154 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology . a timeline showing key events in chronological order • a summary of the differences between your results and those of other students • a conclusion that refers to your hypothesis • a brief discussion on what the results suggest about how development can vary within individuals • a brief comment on the usefulness and limitations of qualitative data. an illness which kept you in hospital for a period of time may have led you to identify people. but not events which you do not wish others to know about. going out for the rst time without adult supervision. an argument with a close friend. (a) Which developmental milestones did Annabelle reach rst? (b) Which developmental milestones did Habib reach rst? 2. You should construct a hypothesis relevant to this theoretical view. or choosing your VCE subjects. 18 months 2 yrs 3 yrs 10 months 4 yrs 6 months 22 months 2 yrs 2 months 3 yrs 4 months 5 yrs 6 months Answer the following questions with reference to the data. moving house. It enables you to test the theory that development varies within individuals. from as early as you can remember until now. Try to include in your selection events which occurred in different stages of development (see page 147). ensure you include: • an aim for the activity • a statement of your hypothesis • an outline of the research method used and a statement about the type(s) of data collected • a summary of the results. These data show ages at which various developmental milestones were identi ed by the parents of each child. • Arrange the events and the explanations of the in uence of each event in chronological order from earliest to most recent. (b) Compare the data of the two children. Discuss similarities and differences in the data and how development varies within individuals. recording and interpreting qualitative data on development. social and emotional development? 4. being a member of a club.learnin g acTiviT y 4. • Write a brief description of how each of these events may have in uenced your psychological development. playing in a sports team. Make a list of some early and some more recent experiences which you consider may have in uenced your psychological development in some way. Report Write a brief report on the activity to include in your folio of practical activities.

body shape and the likelihood of developing certain physical illnesses or disorders. at least partially. the sperm and ovum combine to form a new cell (zygote) with a unique combination of genes (see box 4. your religion. Our genes also in uence less obvious aspects of our physical development. such as the rate at which our brain and nervous system will mature ( physically develop ). At conception. Those who adopted the biological perspective believed that heredity primarily deter­ mined our psychological development. musical ability. Environmental factors also play an important role in shaping psychological development. drug and alcohol depen­ dence. Some environmental factors that influence psychological development include whether you have brothers and sisters. schizophrenia. Given the important roles our brain. whether you have a partner.InteractIon of heredItary and envIronmentaL factors In shapIng psychoLogIcaL deveLopment Human psychological development is a complex process that is subject to many different in uences throughout the entire lifespan. occupation. eye and hair colour. this does not mean that a child born to a parent with schizo­ phrenia will inherit schizophrenia. It is well established that the genes we inherit from our parents in uence many aspects of our physical development. This suggests that these ill­ nesses may have a genetic component. and other personal and socio­cultural factors. Figure 4.5). what you are exposed to in the media. for example. and when certain hormones will be produced. like physical development. feelings and behaviour. As with physical illnesses and disorders. ethnic origins. For example. objects and events to which we are exposed throughout our entire lifetime. Heredity involves the transmission of characteristics from biological parents to their offspring via genes at the time of conception. essentially who we become was considered to be locked in by our genes at the time of conception. C h a p t e r 4 Lifespan development 155 . schooling. The in uence of some of these factors is less obvious or signi cant than others. Some even believed that. brain chemistry and brain functioning are. For example. our brain s chemistry and functioning. conception has occurred. Many of the early psychologists believed in either the biological (hereditary) or the environmental view of development. compared with someone who does not have a biological parent with schizophrenia (Taylor & others. every aspect of our psychological development was determined by our genes. genetically determined. the various factors in uencing the development of our psycho­ logical characteristics can be classi ed into one of two broad areas heredity (nature) and environment (nurture). nervous system and hormones play in our thoughts. the male s sperm cell fertilises the female s egg cell (ovum). it is evident that our genes also in uence our psychological development. 2008. research evidence suggests that having a biological parent with schizophrenia will increase the likelihood of developing this illness. And. our blood type. Generally. Although some acknowledged that environmental factors could in uence development of psychological characteristics. genes are also thought to in uence the onset of some psychological illnesses and disorders. there is considerable research evidence that psychological characteristics such as intelligence and personality have a genetic component and are therefore in uenced to some extent by heredity. for example. and depression have all been linked to changes in brain chemistry and brain functioning. In psychology. However. Both the sperm and ovum contain structures called chromo­ somes which carry the genes from each parent. inherited their social skills. income level. such as those that trigger the onset of puberty. the term environment is used to refer to all the experi­ ences. Rather. how you are brought up.10 When one of the many sperm that surround the ovum penetrate it. but all can impact both individually and collectively on the kind of person we become and the psychological changes we experience during our lifetime. During fertilisation. They believed individuals. your friendship groups. whether you experience a major stressful life event. serious illnesses. Plomin & others 1997). personality and intelligence.

However. the technology available to researchers is not able to detect exactly how much of a particular psycho­ logical characteristic or behaviour may be attributable to either heredity or environment. Almost every experience a person has in their life has the potential to impact in some way on their psychological development. Psychologists are in general agreement that our indi­ vidual development begins with the genetic instruc­ tions that we inherit at conception and that these instructions provide the building blocks or blueprint for the development of our psychological (and physical) characteristics. a genetic predis­ position towards antisocial behaviour may lead an ado­ lescent to seek the company of others who engage in antisocial behaviour. For example. Through their research. For example. irrespective of genes and given the right environment. Burton & Kowalski. Discuss your list with other class members. Watson and others who adopted the behavioural perspective almost totally ignored the in uence of genes in devel­ opment. 1995). anyone could develop the creative ability of Mozart or the athletic ability of Leisel Jones. was primarily responsible for determining what they would become. Any differences between people were seen to be the result of differing environmental experiences. 2006).8 identifying the influence of heredity and environment on psychological development Construct a table with two columns. What amendments did you make to your answers on the basis of your discussion? . a person who loses a loved one and does not have a genetic predisposition for depression. list several psychological characteristics which you think are more likely to be in uenced by either heredity or environment. some environ­ mental factors exert a greater in uence at some stages of the lifespan than in others. Some psychologists have also suggested that a person s genes can in uence the kind of environmental experiences they have. In each column. The experiences that may in uence one person s development may also have little or no impact on another person s development. one with the heading Heredity and the other with the heading Environment . for example. Most behaviourists believed that.11 Most behaviourists believed that. 1998). Nor do psychol­ ogists know the speci c environmental factors required to interact with genes to produce a particular psycho­ logical characteristic or behaviour. irrespective of their genetic make­up. which includes all their experiences. anything was possible. a person who has the genes that may contribute to the onset of depression (called a genetic predisposition for depression) may not actually develop depression until they experience a stressful life event. As yet. they do know that what was the nature versus nurture debate is now the nature and nurture debate which considers the extent of the contribution of both nature and nur­ ture to development (Plomin & others. However. such as the loss of a loved one (Kendler & others. 156 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology Figure 4. feelings and behaviour. psychologists and other scientists are also trying to establish how much heredity and environ­ ment each contribute to the development of particular psychological characteristics (see box 4. For many years psychologists debated whether it was heredity or environment that determined how we devel­ oped. Their basic assumption was that the mind of a newborn is totally empty and the development of all thoughts. someone with the abilities of Mozart or Leisel Jones could be produced. Watson supported this view. They focus on trying to understand how hereditary and environmental factors combine or interact in in u­ encing our thoughts. in turn. is less likely to develop depression. This became known as the nature (heredity) versus nurture (environment) debate. encouraging further anti­ social behaviour (Westen. The behav­ iourist John B. Over time. The environment interacts with our inherited potential to determine how the genetic plan unfolds. Similarly. learning acTiviTy 4. feelings and behaviour could be explained in terms of a person s learning throughout their life. given the right environ­ ment.6). research evi­ dence has consistently shown it is neither one nor the other that is solely responsible for shaping development both hereditary and environmental factors interact to shape human development. They believed that the environment in which an individual is raised and lives.Another group of psychologists believed that heredity had little to do with the development of psychological characteristics. Psychologists now con­ sider the nature versus nurture debate to be resolved.

Chromosomes come in 23 pairs (i.13 The nucleus of each of the trillions of cells in your body contains 46 chromosomes. complex molecule containing genes) Figure 4. an individual receives only half of each parent s total genes and which genes an individual receives from each parent is a matter of chance. personality. with males having an X and Y chromosome (shown) and females having two matching X chromosomes. for most characteristics. However.BOX 4. Psychological characteristics such as temperament. Each ovum and sperm cell contains structures called chromosomes ( gure 4. 46 chromosomes). Genes provide the blueprint or plan for our development. C h a p t e r 4 Lifespan development 157 . The genes contain the instructions for the development of characteristics. For some characteristics.12). One of each pair of chromosomes comes from the mother via the ovum and one of each pair comes from the father via the sperm cell.12 Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes. Males and females differ only on the 23rd chromosome pair. Genes are the basic unit of heredity. ene (segment of DNA containing the code for a particular protein. the ovum (egg cell) from the mother and the sperm from the father unite to form a zygote. Each chromosome contains a coiled chain of the molecule called DNA. The zygote receives chromosomes from both the mother and the father. only one pair of genes determines the characteristics. When conception takes place. as in the ability to roll your tongue. Thus. intelligence and musical ability are believed to be in uenced by the interaction of many gene pairs. ucleus (the inner area of a cell where chromosomes and genes are located) Figure 4.5 Genetic inheritance The inheritance of genetic information begins at conception.e. determines our individual biological development) Chromosome (threadlike structure made largely of DNA molecules) Cell (the basic structural unit of a living thing) (a spiralling. Each chromosome consists of a string of smaller structures called genes. Genes also normally come in pairs one gene of each pair comes from the ovum chromosome and the other from the sperm chromosome. A chromosome is a threadlike structure found in the nucleus of almost every cell in the body. Genes are segments of DNA which contain a code that directs the production of proteins the building blocks of development. a number of pairs of genes work together..

creating a genetic map . (a) Describe the sample used by Dr Frampton in his research. Female donors contributed only blood samples. 158 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology . Knowing in advance that there is a risk of developing an illness or disease enables health care professionals to provide speci c strategies that may delay their onset. The aim of the project was to identify and develop a complete map and understanding of all the human genes.9 review questions 1. To what extent is your answer dependent on the type of psychological characteristic? learning acTiviTy 4. particularly in trying to understand the speci c function of each gene and which combinations of genes may interact in the development of certain characteristics and illnesses. 1. What evidence is presented for the in uence of hereditary factors on anorexia? 2. the same number as mice! They have also identi ed which chromosome and speci cally where on the chromosome particular genes are located. and for various kinds of cancers and other diseases. What argument does Dr Frampton present against environmental in uences on anorexia? 3. how hereditary and environmental factors can in uence psychological development. Although each human being has a unique combination of genes. Figure 4. While we are much more advanced in our understanding of how genes work. genes has also been identi ed. for developing a predisposition to schizophrenia. Rather. the data published from the ndings of the HGP does not represent an exact map of each individual s genetic make-up. Every cell in the body (including blood and sperm cells) contains a complete set of our genetic information. researchers have been able to determine that humans have about 20 500 genes.6 Human Genome Project The Human Genome Project (HGP) began in 1990. Understanding how genes express themselves will provide clues as to how diseases are caused and perhaps how they can be prevented and/or cured. 2008). 3. 2. whereas male donors contributed either sperm or both sperm and blood samples. Using the information contained in the article. much more is now known about which genes are involved in the memory loss associated with Alzheimer s disease. 2008). Which do you believe has the greater in uence on psychological development heredity or environment? Give a reason for your answer. One of the bene ts of the HGP is that it has enabled researchers to develop more than 1000 genetic tests that enable us to nd out whether we are at risk of developing a particular illness or disease that is in uenced by one or more speci c genes. by managing diet or providing early medical intervention (National Institute of Health.BOX 4. De ne heredity and environment as used in psychology. The publication of the complete genome in 2003 has stimulated considerable further research. answer the following questions. The information obtained from the HGP can be thought of as the basic set of inheritable instructions for the development and function of a human being (National Human Genome Research Institute. For example. The function of many. Brie y explain. By collating data from these samples. there is still much more to be learned.14 Part of the map of the human genome learning a cTiviTy 4. Our combination of genes is known as our genome. it provides an overall picture of the genetic map of the human species. but not all. What case does Dr Frampton make for the interaction of both hereditary and environmental factors on anorexia? 4. for example. with reference to an example. (b) Could this sample be described as representative ? Explain your answer.1 0 Media response Read the article Wired to be anorexic . Researchers from various countries throughout the world collected blood and sperm samples from large numbers of donors. What is the main focus of contemporary psychologists interested in the role that heredity and environment play in shaping psychological development? 4.

26. You can use words such as shapes .’ of very skinny women and bad pare Dr Frampton said. learnin g acTiviT y 4.15). 7. 1. selves for their child’s were She said it showed that some people genetic vulnerable to anorexia because of ‘trying factors and brain chemistry not them ring a to look like celebrity models or suffe atic event’. (c) Rearrange the in uences until you are satis ed with their placement. exia. ity The chief of eating disorders char wood. A concept map is a diagram consisting of different ideas which are linked in particular ways (see gure 4. learning to solve a maths problem. developing trustworthiness or honesty. (b) Place linked factors close to each other and nonlinked ones apart. contain logical flaws because only a everyone is exposed to them. after and asthma. you are required to select a particular psychological characteristic and construct a concept map to indicate the way in which different inherited and environmental factors interact to affect development of the characteristic. contributes . Most were females aged betw 12–25. 11 visual presentation interaction of heredity and environment In this learning activity. such weight girls feeling under pressure to lose in the to look like high-profile women almost media. You may nd it helpful to follow these steps in constructing your concept map. as ‘Arguments that social factors. write the arrangement on the paper or construct the concept map on your computer. can lead to .’ girls One in 100 adolescent Australian lop anorexia.Wired to be anorexic sed to MOST anorexic girls are predispo brains the condition because of how their nary developed in the womb. Susan Ring themwould help parents to stop blaming anorexia. changes in the be One in every few hunderd girls may way. Select a speci c psychological characteristic of particular interest to you. . involving gene some young people and science. affects and assists . 2009. ‘Those things are important but there tics must be other factors. 6. for example. not poor maternal diet random condition or environmental factors. 31 March. similar to depression or hyperactivity. feeling or behaviour that re ects psychological development. developing a skill in art. that make much more vulnerable than others. 200 His team tested more than Britain. It Eating Disorder Foundation of Victo most common chronic illness is the third obesity for adolescent Australian girls. pressure to s Charities say the findings mean drug loped to treat anorexia and could be deve r-old that doctors could screen eight-yea girls to assess risk. according to the will deve ria. write H if you think it is mainly in uenced by heredity. being shy or outgoing. kids’ ‘Our research shows that certain makes brains develop in such a way that known them more vulnerable to commonly as risk factors for eating disorders such te. Dr Frampton said. or H & E if you think the factor is both hereditary and environmental. in uences . the US and anorexia sufferers from een Norway. The study. correct answer . major traum – DAILY MAIL p. a revolutio study claims. Beside each factor. E if you think it is mainly in uenced by environment. yet anorsmall percentage of young people get ’ Dr Frampton said. 3. 4. 2. determines . media representations the size zero deba nts. Make a list of as many potential factors as possible which you think may in uence the development of this characteristic. They found about 70 per cent had dam smitters — which help aged neurotran subtle brain cells communicate — or other structure of their brains. Eating disorder blamed on genetics is The ‘imperfect wiring’ of the brain that seen in people with dyslexia. Source: Herald Sun. said the research Beat.) Construct a concept map of the factors by arranging the pieces of paper in a layout which you believe best shows their relationship. C h a p t e r 4 Lifespan development 159 . led by Dr Ian Frampton at London’s Great paediatric psychologist will be Ormond St Hospital for Children. Write each factor (including its H. (There is no one. affected in this by He said the condition was caused s. E or H & E label) on a separate small piece of paper or Post It note (This will allow you to move around the factors as you think about the ways in which they have interacted in shaping development of the characteristic. (a) Write the speci c characteristic in the middle of an A3 size sheet of paper.) Stick the pieces of paper onto the A3 sheet. Draw lines between linked (related) factors and write on each line what the relationship is. The characteristic you select as the topic for your concept map could relate to the development of any thought. 5. by It denies anorexia is primarily caused emulate size zero models. unveiled this week.

Happy parents (H&E) Social skils H&E influence Friends E allow create Opportunities to party result in Brain makes influences Good school results (H&E) result in (H) produces may influence produces Being organised (H&E) influences Feeling happy result in Feel good brain chemicals (Endorphins) (H) produces Physical exercise (H&E) enables influences Personal appearance (H&E) enables influences Clothes (E) enables affects Money (E) produces Casual job (E) enables Figure 4. in language develop­ ment. By about two years of age we are usually able to construct short sentences and by three years of age we can construct and use gram­ matically correct sentences. barring signi ­ 160 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology cant interference from environmental factors. we all go through predetermined. Maturation refers to the orderly and sequential develop­ mental changes which occur in the nervous system and other bodily structures controlled by our genes. our brain must be maturationally ready. For example. then the ability to string two or three words together into a phrase such as I want biscuit . In order to speak using sentences. or . We then develop the ability to say individual words. maturationally dependent stages. This suggests that the development of all individuals follows the same process or pattern. the ability to talk starts with sounds that are unrecognisable as meaningful words.15 A concept map which illustrates the way in which some of the environmental and inherited factors can interact to in uence an individual s feeling of happiness role of maturation in development Genes also play an important role in shaping the course of development through a process known as maturation. That is. Maturation is a developmental process which is automatic and internally programmed.

The principle of readiness is used by the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Devel­ opment in determining the age at which it is appro­ priate for children to start formal schooling. the muscles in our mouth. such as in emotional development (e. a child must be at least four years and nine months of age or older when they begin Prep. children must now be ve years of age or older by 30 April of the year they start school. only when an individual is maturationally ready that development of these behaviours will occur. In addition. then no amount of practice will produce the particular behaviour. however. Many developmental changes are affected by mat­ uration. be they muscles. In sum. that is. draw shapes before recognisable objects and count before they can apply a mathematical formula.developed suf ciently to process sounds and enable us to understand words. as well as in many aspects of physical development. It is . For example. the same environmental in uences need to be stronger to pro­ duce the same positive or negative effects. that if disruption to development occurs during a sensitive period. sensitive periods tend to last for relatively short periods of time. However. the order in which these milestones occur seems connected to the process of maturation. Some psychologists have also identi ed sen­ sitive periods in the post­natal period (after birth) when developmental changes are not as rapid. while there are undoubtedly individual variations as to when each developmental milestone occurs. Similarly. periods in development. in cog­ nitive development (e. In the past. particularly the tongue and lips must also be suf ciently developed so that we can move and coordinate them in the manner required to form and speak words. C h a p t e r 4 Lifespan development 161 Figure 4. puberty occurs for most people at around 10 12 years of age and most people peak in their physical strength in late adolescence or early adult­ hood. The principle of readiness states that unless the necessary bodily structures. However. that maturation creates the readiness which determines the onset of particular behaviours and abilities.g. Generally. language). most children sit before they stand. Outside this period of time. These periods are particular times when environmental factors are more likely to have a greater impact on development.16 An individual s physical development lays the foundation for the onset of many aspects of psychological development. Sensitive periods in development Many developmental psychologists believe that there are sensitive.7). This does not mean. bones or nerves. For example there seems to be a sensitive period in the development of psychological characteristics. on the basis of psychological research evidence on the maturational readiness of children to learn in a school environment. Sensitive periods occur frequently during pre­natal development when the individual is going through rapidly occurring changes in growth and develop­ ment. Sensitive periods are periods of rapid change when individuals seem to be more vulnerable to in uences from their environment. are suf ciently mature. or critical. either negatively or positively. parents could enrol their child at school after they had turned four years of age the age at which they were believed to be maturationally ready to learn in a formal teaching situation. attachment). any damage will necessarily be permanent and can never be made up (see box 4. then this begins to decline in middle age. This re ects the principle of readiness.g. any positive or nega­ tive environmental in uence which occurs during this time can have long­lasting effects on the individual s development.

no matter how much help they get. did not speak to her. sometimes uttering only a word or two. who was deaf. with one year of intensive language practice. propose that the sensitive period is between late infancy and puberty. her father hit her with a large piece of wood. psychologists worked intensively with Genie and she made rapid progress. She can say many words and put them together into sentences. Assessments by a psychologist indicated that her cognitive development was below that of a normal two-year-old. It shows one of Genie s favourite pastimes listening to psychologist Susan Curtis play classical music on the piano. Gradually. barely cared for Genie. Generally.7 Case studies provide insights into language learning For many years. She had as little interaction with her as possible. Her abusive father rarely spoke to her except for occasional screaming or to bark at her because he considered her to be no more than a dog . developing uency in speaking one s native language is dif cult to achieve. 2006. If Genie made the slightest sound. Isabelle had been given the opportunity to learn language during the sensitive period. psychologists have debated the existence of a sensitive period for learning language whether our brain is especially sensitive to learning language during a speci c period in time. her tested intelligence was normal for her age and she started attending a normal school. However. A way around this is to study the cases of children who have been abandoned or isolated by their parents and have therefore been deprived of opportunities to learn language until they were rescued. Thus. Her mother. Psychologists believe that after age 12. At the age of six. She understood only a few words. 162 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology . When she was rst tested by psychologists. and if language is learned. There was no television or radio in the home. But within a year Isabelle had learned to speak. Genie was initially placed in a hospital rehabilitation clinic and then a foster home. Figure 4. They argue that a child who fails to learn a language during this sensitive period will be unable to catch up completely at a later stage. Isabelle was hidden away by her mother and given only enough care to stay alive. When Isabelle was found. Throughout this period. Her mother. a battered wife who lived in terror of her husband. it appears to be processed in different parts of the brain than it is when language is learned during early childhood. she had no language. psychologists who believe that a sensitive period for learning language exists. Genie s use of language continues to remain abnormal after many years. all of whom had about seven years of practice (Gleitman. Isabelle at seven years. it seems that language learning is much more dif cult. Compared with Genie.17 This picture was drawn by Genie. she began to understand words and use short sentences such as Genie go . spoke about as well as other children in her grade at school. She drooled uncontrollably and often spat on anything that was nearby. including herself and other people. Genie developed physically and learned some basic rules of social behaviour. Psychologists reported that Genie hardly seemed human when she was found.BOX 4. How can psychologists test whether a sensitive period exists? One way would be to place children in solitary connement until adolescence and then expose them to language for the rst time. Genie s drawings were used with other case study material to describe and explain her psychological and social development. Isabelle was discovered by other adults and brought into a normal environment. During each day she was usually tied to a chair. Wade & Tavris. Of course. the only sounds she could make were high-pitched whimpers. who lived in isolation and was mistreated for many years. She did not know how to chew or stand up straight and she was not toilet trained. Evidence from case studies of children such as Genie indicates that there may be a sensitive period in language learning. Fridlund & Reisberg. authorities discovered 13-year-old Genie whose parents had locked her in a tiny room from the age of 20 months. sometimes after many years of solitude. In 1970. One of the best-known case studies involved a child known as Genie . but she still has problems with pronunciation and can t form sophisticated sentences as most adults her age can (Westen. it would be unethical (and illegal) to do this. Comparison with a case study of another isolated child provides additional evidence. At night she was con ned to a sleeping bag that was like a straitjacket. probably learned shortly after she was discovered. Burton & Kowalski. 2000). No more eat soup and Another house have dog . If the child misses the opportunity to learn language during that time. 1990).

Participants should be selected from different lifespan stages. Options and variations learnin g acTiviT y 4. Ask each participant to rank each of the four environmental factor(s) from most in uential (1) to least in uential (4) in terms of their own development. Describe why maturation is necessary in each of your examples. For this activity student experimenters should work in pairs. C h a p t e r 4 Lifespan development 163 . A conclusion on whether the results support your hypothesis. construct a hypothesis to predict which environmental factor will be identi ed as being most in uential in the area of psychological development you have chosen to investigate. ensure you provide the age ranges for each lifespan stage on their response sheet. The negative team argues against the statement. Explain what is meant by the term sensitive period in development with reference to an example. Combine your data with your partner s data to calculate a mean score for the ranking of each environmental factor. A conclusion on whether environmental factors in uence the area of psychological development you investigated 5. the more important the factor is considered to be in shaping development. Prior to conducting the activity. 12 review questions 1. 6. What is meant by the term principle of readiness in relation to maturation? 3. You may ask the participants to give reasons for their answers (qualitative data). Construct a response sheet for each participant that enables them to rank (rate) each of the four environmental factors in order from most in uential (1) to least in uential (4) based on their experiences. A table showing the mean rankings of each factor and enabling comparison of the different lifespan stages 3. A description of one major limitation in conducting your research. ask each person to identify their lifespan stage. (a) What is maturation? (b) Give examples of two different psychological abilities which are in uenced by maturation in their development. The af rmative team argues in favour of the statement. Collection of the data is done individually from two participants each. What advice about maturation would you give to Stan who is shown in gure 4. from adolescence to older age. social development. for example. A statement of your hypothesis 2. 1. learnin g acTiviT y 4. Comment on whether data from four individuals is suf cient to generalise to the wider population about environmental in uences on psychological development. Give a reason for your answer. 2. The lower the score. Explain to each participant the de nition of the area of psychological development you are investigating. Each team should: • collect evidence (including research ndings) in support of the view they are debating • develop arguments in line with the view to which they have been assigned • elect three speakers.learnin g acTiviT y 4. ensuring you refer to the results 4. identify four environmental factors that you believe may be most in uential in the area of psychological development you have chosen to investigate. Comment on how this limitation may have impacted on your results in an unwanted way. with your partner. To ensure you have selected participants from different lifespan stages. 13 Debate heredity and environment Topic: The environment is much more important in in uencing psychological development than heredity . Each participant should be interviewed separately.16? Will experience help the child to walk earlier? Why? 5. To enable this. Report Write a brief report on the activity to include in your folio of practical activities. Thank the participants for their participation in your research and explain to them the purpose of the investigation. Explain with reference to the principle of readiness why some students may have dif culty understanding an algebra formula in year 7 but may understand the same formula in year 10. 4. emotional or cognitive. Ensure your report includes the following. Before collecting any data. Data from both experimenters (four participants) is then combined. The class should be divided into two teams the af rmative and the negative. 14 Practical activity environmental influences on psychological development The purpose of this activity is to investigate the perceived in uence of environmental factors on one area of psychological development social.

such as adolescence. so it is a stage in which there is limited research interest for developmental psychologists. and show little interest in their children s activities and lives. socially withdrawn. are curious learners and are happier within themselves. develop into more self­controlled individuals who are open to trying new experiences. that is. personality or a particular mental illness. they may investigate how hormones in uence psychological changes during and after puberty. The perspective adopted influences the speci c topics or areas of development the psychol­ ogist studies. brain chemicals or other systems within the body which may in uence development. They are primarily interested in whether there are cognitive changes (either posi­ tive or negative). such as whether watching agressive or violent videos or TV programs may in uence a child s thoughts and behaviour. They may also choose to study a particular kind of learning.deveLopmentaL psychoLogy from dIfferent perspectIves Psychologists study development from different per­ spectives. Importantly. children whose parents are controlling. they may investigate the changes in the brain on the ability to problem solve or think logically. It is believed that during adulthood. Alternatively. remember and use information throughout the lifespan. particularly learning. such as cog­ nitive. Figure 4. reluctant to show initiative and have more dif culty with social relationships. they may consider the role of parenting styles on the psychological development of children. In contrast. the stages in which cognitive abilities essentially develop. there is more interest among psychologists in uenced by the cog­ nitive perspective in the changes in cognitive abilities in this later stage of life. They focus on how heredity and other biological factors in uence the development of psycho­ logical characteristics. For example. The behavioural perspective is illustrated in research studies which have found that children whose parents are encouraging but rm. social or emotional development. For example. they may study the role of the brain. what those changes are and why the changes occur. As the population ages and the number of older people increases. They may focus on a particular stage in development. Alternatively.18 Behavioural psychologists may investigate how observational learning can in uence development. Early cognitive development includes the lifespan stages from birth to the end of adolescence. such as observational 164 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology learning. they may conduct research to nd out the extent to which genes in u­ ence the development of intelligence. Developmental psychologists who adopt the biological perspective focus on the biological or physiological bases of development. tend to be shy. For example. much attention is currently being directed towards how to minimise the age­related deterioration of cognitive abilities. For example. . They may investigate the way in which learning occurs during this stage and how learning may affect sub­ sequent development. It also in uences how they conduct their research and the type of evidence they consider impor­ tant and therefore seek to collect. and whether the kinds of behaviours parents reward or punish in uence observable behaviour or thoughts and feelings under­ lying the behaviour of the children. there are relatively few developmental changes in cognitive ability. Psychologists who adopt this view study the in uence of speci c environmental factors on psychological development. They are particularly interested in how cognitive development proceeds and the factors that in uence cognitive devel­ opment. Psychologists who adopt the cognitive perspective focus on changes in how we acquire. Psychologists who adopt the behavioural perspective may also focus on one particular stage of the lifespan. In developmental psychology. they may focus their study on a speci c area of development. whether behaviour changes as a result of watching someone else s actions. process. The behavioural perspective focuses on how behaviour is acquired or changes as a result of environmental in u­ ences. the cognitive perspective focuses on two main areas of research early cognitive development and cognitive decline in older age.

They may also research the impact of living in a retirement vil­ lage compared with living alone in a house on an older person s happiness. psychologists have used a number of different research methods to assist in their investigations. While adopting a speci c perspective is a useful way to study develop­ ment. It is impossible to iso­ late an individual from all environmental in uences to investigate the in uence of genes on a character­ istic. Perspective Biological Behavioural Cognitive Socio-cultural Description Topic of research interest in developmental psychology C h a p t e r 4 Lifespan development 165 . Even keeping a person locked in a bare room without any outside human contact. Figure 4. learnin g acTiviT y 4. income and culture. there are a number of different ways of examining the development of a person. Each of these perspectives offers one view or one approach to studying development. 15 Summarising different perspectives in developmental psychology Use the table in your eBook to summarise the four different perspectives in developmental psychology. A developmental psychologist taking the socio­cultural perspective may also study differences within societies and cultures. race. still provides an environment of kinds. more and more contemporary psychologists are adopting a broader eclectic perspective.The socio-cultural perspective emphasises the roles of social and cultural in uences on human behaviour and mental processes. and selective breeding experiments. such as gender. The eclectic view draws on different perspectives in understanding. In the third column. For example. describing and explaining development. For example. Each face of the cube has a different colour and presents the object in a different way.19 Does living in a retirement village impact on an older person s happiness? Questions like this interest developmental psychologists who adopt the socio-cultural perspective. age. cross­sectional studies. give an example of a topic of research interest that may arise from each perspective and which is different from those described in the text. Using the eclectic approach to studying development is like looking at a Rubik s cube. such as the ways in which cultural background and experi­ ences can shape an individual s development. despite being unethical and illegal. research methods for stUdyIng deveLopment Investigating the relative in uences of heredity and environment on the development of a psychological characteristic is often dif cult. Developmental psychologists who adopt this view focus on the effects of speci c environmental factors on development. Likewise. They have found that differences in many aspects of psycho­ logical development are linked to cultural experiences. studying similarities and differences between twins and between adopted children and their parents. a researcher may compare the effect on adolescent con dence of living in the city compared with living in an isolated community. if a newborn infant were placed in isolation for an extended period of time and seemed to be withdrawn when they were later assessed. would this indicate that being withdrawn is genetically deter­ mined or could it be the result of the unstimulating environment? In an attempt to understand the relative in uences of heredity and enivronment. These include longitudinal studies. Of particular interest are cross­cultural differences in development.

Longitudinal studies provide information to help psychologists understand long­term changes in thoughts. They may behave differ­ ently from 50 year olds not because of chronological age differences. 1991). to study the use of rules in games played by children. For example. The cross-sectional study selects and compares groups of participants of different ages over a short period of time. groups of children rep­ resenting each age group from three to seven years inclusive can be selected and observed at about the same time. There are advantages and limitations of both longi­ tudinal and cross­sectional studies. 1990. it can be expensive and take a long time to get results. speech and reading ability (La Trobe Twin Study. Research ndings such as these can also change atti­ tudes towards older people held by medical and mental health professionals. their siblings and cousins) in 1978 to nd out about the development of twins and how twins may be dif­ ferent from single­born children. 2010). The researchers followed a large sample of par­ ticipants ranging in age from 25 to 81 over a 28 year period. that older people lose their ability to think and to make sound decisions. Even after age 60. For example. move to another location where they are unable to be contacted. differences found between age groups may be due to factors other than age such as the particular backgrounds of participants in each age group. 1994.g. 1996). feelings and/or behaviour that occur at different ages. and not too time­consuming. the same participants are tested at different points in time over a number of years (e. observing any changes in their thoughts. researchers from the Department of Psychology at La Trobe University began studying 2000 children (twins. Participant s age Longitudinal study Year of testing 1990 1995 2000 5 years 10 years 15 years 166 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology . groups of people selected at ten­year intervals from 10 to 80 year olds could be tested and the results compared. The results indicated that most people show no decline in their cognitive abilities until after age 60 (Schaie. One factor that cannot be controlled is called the generational in uence. However. discovering if intelli­ gence test scores change with age or remain stable. for example. Some longitudinal studies are rela­ tively brief. Keeping in touch with the same group over a period of time can also be dif cult participants may lose interest in the study. 2005. for example. the same group(s) of participants is studied and restudied at regular intervals. people who are currently in their eighties experienced childhood during the 1930s Depression. the cross­sectional method is relatively inexpensive. for example. age of parents. and schools attended. Usually. easy to undertake. For example.g. Longitudinal studies such as this one have provided psychologists with evidence to challenge long­held beliefs. about 70% of the participants tested continued to show little or no cognitive decline by age 81. Or. the Seattle Longitudinal Study conducted in America has provided useful infor­ mation about changes in cognitive functioning over time. For example. lasting for one to two years. others can last a lifetime. This factor shows up when psychologists measure behaviours in people who were born at different times. 1990. or even die. The children in the study were assessed periodically at different ages on aspects of their development such as language acquisi­ tion. they also allow psychologists to study ways in which early development may affect later development. the longitudinal study is a relatively useful way of examining consistencies and inconsistencies in behaviour over time. For example. The longitudinal research method is particularly useful in developmental psychology. number of siblings. 2010). 1995. or whether memory declines with age.longitudinal and crosssectional studies A longitudinal study is a long­term investigation that follows the same group (or groups) of people over an extended period of time. In the crosssectional study. For example. as well as by people in the wider community. but because of that particular life experience.20 In the longitudinal study. Because longi­ tudinal studies use the same group(s) of participants. feelings and behaviour. Cross-sectional study Participant s age 5 years 10 years 15 years 20 years 20 years 2005 25 years 2010 Figure 4. to study age differences in how much information can be held in short­term memory. How­ ever. Every seven years the researchers administered the same ve cognitive tests to identify changes in the cognitive abilities of participants. The longitudinal study also has disadvantages. 2000. different participants in different age groups are tested at the same time (e.

(d) The effects of retirement from full-time work on the happiness of 65-year-olds. The combined data showed that identical twins living in the same 16 18 Crosssectional comparisons 16 18 20 16 18 20 22 Longitudinal comparisons Figure 4. or cohorts . their environment. If a characteristic is mainly in uenced by heredity. Every two years. However. it provides longitudinal data over an eight­year period. 2. this group is tested on risk­taking behaviour. For example. Their genetic similarities are comparable to other brothers and sisters. involve research using identical and non­identical twins as par­ ticipants. if a characteristic is in uenced more by the environment. Furthermore. Identical or monozygotic twins are formed when a single fertilised egg (zygote) splits into two in the rst couple of days after conception. Provided the conditions in the uterus are right. every two years a new group of 14­year­olds is added to the research study (see gure 4. Fraternal or dizygotic twins develop when the female produces two separate ova (eggs) which are indepen­ dently fertilised by two different sperm cells. even though the study spans only a four­year period. Explain the difference between the longitudinal and cross-sectional methods for studying development with reference to an example. (a) The effects of preschool children viewing Roadrunner cartoons on their level of aggressive behaviour in middle childhood.and 15-year-olds. The two different types of twins are formed in different ways. then monozygotic twins could show signi cant differences in that character­ istic. 16 review questions 1. until the 14­year­olds have turned 18. of ado­ lescents aged 14. adolescence and early adulthood. 3. It also provides a comparison of ado­ lescents who were the same age (14. 30 and 35 on how long the marriage lasts. 10. monozygotic twins are likely to be similar in that char­ acteristic. But the study is also cross­sectional in that it provides data from three different groups that can be compared directly. 16 and 18 years) at three different times. Should a cross-sectional or longitudinal study be used to collect data for developmental norms. for example the language development norms shown in box 4. 16 and 18. (e) The effects of being married at age 20. eBook plus Video on Australian longitudinal study C h a p t e r 4 Lifespan development 167 . (c) The reading habits of 5-. (b) The effects of using a paci er (for example. 25. They can be the same or opposite sex and are not genetically identical.21). called cohorts. In ve research studies across different countries. 24 000 pairs of identical twins were compared on two personality traits extroversion (outgoingness) and neuroticism (psychological stability). who overlap in age.3? Explain your answer.Another research method called the cohort sequential method combines the cross­sectional and longitudinal study. the characteristic of research interest. a dummy) throughout infancy and early childhood on emotional stability during adolescence. These children will have identical genes since they developed from the same sperm and egg combination. In addition. This method involves two or more groups of participants. In this sense the study is longitudinal in that it spans a four­ year period. Age cohort comparisons Time 1 14 (2008) Time 2 14 (2010) Time 3 14 (2012) Twin studies Twin studies. Studies of monozygotic twins can provide valuable information to psychologists because any differences which later develop between them can be attributed to differences in their upbringing and experiences that is. Which method longitudinal or cross-sectional should be used for each of the following research topics? Explain your answer. 4. two zygotes will develop. as suggested by the name. a study might begin with three groups. It has some of the advantages of each method and eliminates some of the disadvantages of both.21 Key features of a cohort sequential method learnin g acTiviT y 4. Twin studies have been used to conduct research on the development of personality and intelligence as these characteristics can be easily measured using per­ sonality or intelligence tests. This third comparison enables psychologists to identify social and historical factors that may in uence age­related differences. Describe one advantage and one limitation of both the longitudinal and cross-sectional methods of studying development.

as identical twins may often be exposed to the same environmental factors. 168 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology . therefore. as being a unit and they are often treated in a similiar manner.environment were more alike on these characteristics than were fraternal twins living in the same environ­ ment. fraternal twins are no more alike than siblings. each of the monozygotic twins exhibited almost identical strengths and weaknesses in their intellectual abilities. at least. From the start. by the time they began school. but signi cantly less than identical twins (McGue & others. Identical twins may also be more inclined to do things together than fraternal twins. In a longitudinal study of 400 pairs of twins (both monozygotic and dizygotic) in America researchers followed the intellectual development of twins from birth to the early school years. 1992). Thus. Figure 4. and others with similiar ndings. to say that any differences between identical twins are de ­ nitely the result of hereditary factors is risky. Through studying twins. the monozygotic twins were very similar to one another and. This led researchers to conclude that heredity played a signi cant role in the development of these characteristics (Loehlin. Fraternal twins were also similar to one another. psychologists have been able to gain a better understanding of which charac­ teristics are more likely to be in uenced by environ­ mental factors.23 In terms of both their appearance and genetic make-up. It also seems that monozygotic twins who share similar environments as well as their identical genetic structure achieve similar scores on intelligence tests. could also be attributed to environmental factors. there are a number of issues to consider before accepting these ndings without question. 1993). partly determined by heredity. and sometimes by themselves. While twin studies seem to provide a sound basis for judging the differences between the in uences of heredity and environment on development. Identical twins are often viewed by parents. Some of their similarities. suggest that intelligence is. This study.22 Monozygotic twins have an identical genetic make-up. Figure 4.

creativity and schizophrenia have a genetic basis. Yet. the likelihood that the offspring will have these same characteristics. sociable. They show that the scores on intelligence tests (called IQ scores) achieved by adopted children are much more similar to the IQs scores of their biological par­ ents than with those of their adopted parents even though their adoptive parents had raised them since birth. Similarities between children and their adop­ tive parents would suggest environmental in uence is greater. for example. or even intelligent (as measured by their ability to run through a maze). Psychologists have also conducted selective breeding experiments in laboratory settings. they mate males and females from family lines with desired characteristics to increase Selective breeding experiments with humans would be unethical. Using a process called selective breeding. mice have been bred to be aggressive. Studies of adopted children have provided considerable support for the view that inheritance plays a signi cant role in an individual s intelligence. Through selective breeding. These results have led some psychol­ ogists to believe that almost any characteristic can be genetically transmitted. So. animal breeders have achieved a great deal of success in pro­ ducing certain physical and psychological character­ istics. with one being the pair you would consider to have the most similar genetic make-up and ve the pair with the least similar genetic make-up: • a parent who lives with his or her child • two unrelated children who were raised together • two unrelated children who were raised separately • identical twins raised together • identical twins raised separately. the environment can alter the course of development. the most likely expla­ nation for the similarity in IQ scores involves heredity (Santrock. \ adoption studies Psychologists also use information from research with children who have been adopted. For example. by looking for patterns of the inheritance of particular character­ istics through different generations of a family (see gure 4. dogs. 17 estimating genetic similarities Rank the pairs of people listed below from one to ve. a dog may be bred with genes for being passive.25).learnin g acTiviT y 4.24 Burmese cats have been selectively bred for their affectionate and sociable nature and their intelligence. but the way in which it is treated by its owners can in uence its actual temperament. By examining the similarities and differ­ ences of adopted children and their adopted and bio­ logical parents. to learn about the in uence of heredity and environment on development. psychologists often study family trees. and therefore have no genetic similarity to their adopted parents. psychologists can gain an insight into the relative in uences of heredity and environment on a range of behaviours and psychological character­ istics. C h a p t e r 4 Lifespan development 169 . Because the children did not spend time living with their biological parents. some horses have been bred to be sprinters. For example. timid. some dogs to be aggressive and particular breeds of cats to have a certain temperament. 1992). Although desirable characteristics may be transmitted genetically. birds. whereas similarities between adopted children and their biological parents would indicate inherited in uence is greater. in order to establish the inheritance of particular characteristics in humans. Figure 4. and can result in it displaying aggres­ sive behaviour. Selective breeding experiments Animal breeders selectively mate horses. some birds to be yellow feathered. cats and all kinds of other animals. For example. Investigations using family trees suggest that some characteristics or illnesses such as shyness. Compare your rankings with those of other class members and give reasons for your rankings. this does not necessarily mean that heredity is more important than environ­ ment in shaping the development of psychological characteristics.

Which do you think was more responsible for their ability heredity or environment? (Source: Kasschau. (1980). New Jersey.ohann amuel ohann acob ohann Christian ohann ohann ohann e idius ohann Christoph icolaus ohann icolaus ohann riedrich ohann e idius ohann Christoph ohann ernhard ohann Christian ohann nther ohann rnst ilhelm Hieronymus ohann oren ohann Valentin eor Christoph ohann Christian ohann eor obias riedrich ohann Christoph ohann acob ohann ernhard ohann Christoph ohann Heinrich Veit ach Hans ips Christoph ohann mbrosius ohann ndreas ohann lias ohann Heinrich ilhelm riedman ohann Christoph ife irst ohann ebastian ohann Christoph ohann rnst ohann Christoph Christoph s t in sister Carl Philipp mmanuel ottfried ernhard eopold u ust Heinrich ohann Christoph ohann icolaus ottfried Heinrich Christian ottlieb ife rnst ndreas ohann Christoph ohann riedrich ohann ohann ichael ichael econd Christoph riedrich ohann u ust braham ohann ud i aria arbara first ife of ebastian ohann Christian and ei ht dau hters ohann nther Figure 4. Psychology: Exploring Behaviour. All those listed in black type are known to have been musicians.A.25 This family tree shows the unusually high number of musically talented people in the Bach family. USA: Prentice Hall. R.) 170 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology .

8 Experiments as a research method in developmental psychology Experiments are commonly used to study the development of psychological characteristics.5 months) Conditions of the experiment All infants were in a laboratory setting with their mothers. and left the room. or other body parts. Condition 1. touched the baby s hand. clothing. Conclusions Wariness was the typical response to a stranger. wariness did not require self-recognition. Participants Twenty-seven infants in three age groups: 9 12 months (average 10.8. the following experiment was designed to investigate the relationship between the ability of infants to recognise themselves and their ability to experience certain emotions (Lewis & others. The infant s mother placed the child in front of a one-way mirror. ensure that you: • de ne psychological development • describe how heredity in uences psychological development • give one or more examples of how heredity in uences psychological development • describe how environmental factors in uence psychological development • give one or more examples of how environmental factors in uence psychological development • discuss the interaction between hereditary and environmental in uences on psychological development. The infant. 1. embarrassment did require self-recognition. For example. The infant was again placed in front of the mirror.BOX 4. learnin g acTiviT y 4. whereas infants who are unable to recognise themselves as having blush on their nose when looking in the mirror will not show these emotions.5 months) 15 18 months (average 17 months) 21 24 months (average 22. C h a p t e r 4 Lifespan development 171 . Which infants were in the experimental group and which infants were in the control group? 5. Suggest a reason to explain why infants of different ages were used as participants. They all experienced three conditions. Older infants were signi cantly more likely to touch their noses than younger infants. Condition 3. However. Eight of the 10 who showed self-recognition also showed signs of embarrassment. with reference to an example and research ndings • accurately de ne and explain all key terms • express your ideas in a clear and concise way • accurately cite and reference all material. On the other hand. What ethical considerations might this raise? Write an essay of about 400 500 words in which you discuss the in uences of heredity and environment on psychological development. One of the emotions the infants were expected to show was fear. 3. 1989). turned. Identify the IV(s) and DV(s) of the experiment. Hypothesis Infants who recognise themselves as having blush on their nose when looking in a mirror will show the emotions of embarrassment or fear by looking away (embarrassment) or through certain facial expressions and vocalisations (indicating fear). face. Could these research ndings be generalised to all infants? Explain your answer. Ten infants touched their noses when they saw the dab of red blush. 18 learning acTiviTy 4. Write a possible aim for the experiment. 2. Infants who did not show self-recognition did not show embarrassment. No infants showed a wary face when placed in front of the mirror. 7. seated in a high chair. Variables The infant s facial expressions were videotaped through the one-way mirror and coded. Condition 2. What do the research ndings suggest about selfrecognition and emotions? 6. Observers measured the following behaviors: • self-recognition de ned as nose touching • fear/wariness/crying de ned by certain predetermined facial expressions and vocalisations • embarrassment de ned as smiling followed by the infant looking away and moving their hands to touch their hair.1 9 evaluation of research & Stiers (1989) lewis essay heredity and environment Read the summary of the experiment on self-recognition and emotional responses in box 4. not fear. was approached by a female stranger who walked slowly toward the infant. 4. References may be used in obtaining information for your essay. The infant s mother applied a dab of nonscented blush on the infant s nose while pretending to wipe the infant s face. In your essay. Evaluate the research by answering the following questions. Results Tweny-three out of 27 infants showed a wary face when approached by the stranger.

Below average ability can perform only in a very limited way on an instrument or vocally 3. Rating scale 1. Almost no ability can neither play an instrument nor carry a tune vocally 2. Describe one major limitation in conducting this research. What is your hypothesis? 2.26 You learning a cTiviTy 4. 3. (b) Based on ethical considerations. Do your individual ndings support your hypothesis? Explain your answer. In collecting your family data. Average ability can play an instrument with some ability or join group singing without being off-key 4. duets or karaoke with skill 5. complete the family tree for musical ability by writing the number of each person s musical ability in the circle representing each family member (see rating scale).20 Practical activity investigating the influence of heredity and environment on musical ability Is musical ability an inherited ability or is it mainly in uenced by environmental factors? To investigate this question. Ensure your report includes answers to the following questions.21 Summary of research methods Construct a table to summarise research methods that can be used by psychologists to study development. What conclusion(s) can you draw about the heritability of musical ability and whether it is inherited or mainly in uenced by environmental factors? Describe the evidence that leads you to this conclusion. construct a relevant hypothesis to be tested. 4. Research method Brief description Limitation(s) Example 172 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology . randparents 1. Above average ability can play a musical instrument with skill.learning a cTiviTy 4. Parents aunts and uncles Father Mother ou and your siblin s Figure 4. Compare your data with three other class members. Prior to conducting the research. or sing solos. Superior ability outstanding instrumentalist or vocalist Report Write a brief report on the activity to include in your folio of practical activities. Are data from four individuals suf cient to generalise to the wider population about whether musical ability is in uenced more by heredity or the environment? Explain why or why not. is there a need to debrief your family members at the completion of this practical activity? Explain your answer with reference to ethical standards. limitation(s) and an example. How might this limitation impact on your conclusion(s)? 6. 5. The table should have four columns: name of the research method. brief description. (a) Should you have obtained informed consent from your family members before conducting this practical activity? Explain with reference to ethical standards for human research. you will need to collect data from as many members of your extended biological family as possible.

and therefore have the same rights as an adult with respect to research. Furthermore. Throughout the research procedure. the psychologist must ensure that any participant. For example. When determining the research method. whether the par­ ticipant is an infant or an older aged person. These standards and practices also apply with older aged research participants who are not capable of making their own decisions about their involvement in the research study.ethIcs assocIated WIth stUdyIng deveLopment In order to improve their understanding of lifespan development. Often. While these requirements may seem restrictive. the ethical standards and practices described in chapter 2 apply to all human participants. In developmental psychology. regardless of age. parents or guard­ ians may be present if they wish and they have the right to withdraw their child from the research at any time.27 A parent may choose to be present during research in which their child is a participant. they exist to protect participants of all ages from potential harm. parents or guardians of infants and children must give their informed consent for their child to participate. Con dentiality must be maintained and participation in the research must be voluntary. will not be exposed to any physical or psychological harm. would it be ethical to deceive children by telling them they performed poorly on a test in order to create a sense of failure? Is it an invasion of a fam­ ily s privacy to ask adolescents questions about con­ versations they have had with their parents about sex? Would there be a need to debrief an older person with dementia about the outcomes of research in which they were a participant? The ethical standards and practices must be followed when any psychological research is undertaken. Figure 4. Developmental psychologists face the same kind of ethical decisions as psychologists who specialise in other areas of psychology when undertaking research. Research studies in developmental psychology often involve infants and children. This person would also have the right to terminate the participation of the older person in the research should they wish to do so. research often involves participants who are too young to understand what it means to be a voluntary participant. These rights must be respected. However. regardless of age or mental capacity. The parents are debriefed if deception is necessary for the research. psychologists need to be able to conduct research with human participants. C h a p t e r 4 Lifespan development 173 . such as an individual with dementia. the parents will receive a copy of the ndings after the study has been completed. permission for participation in the research would be obtained from the person who is the legal guardian. In this situation. either in the short or long term. In this situation. they are still a person. regardless of their age or lifespan stage. Par­ ticipants rights must be respected at all times.

Tr Ue/Fa lS e QUiZ Indicate whether each item is true or false by writing T or F in the blank space next to each item. Psychological development is directly observable. The age range of each lifespan stage is xed. 4. Lifespan development includes both changes which are common to all individuals and changes which differ between individuals. Having a genetic predisposition for aggression means that the individual will always behave aggressively. Genes provide the instructions for the development of psychological characteristics. 6. Cross­sectional research studies follow the same participants over an extended period of time. 8. The answers to the true/false questions are in the answer section at the back of this book and in eBookPLUS. 3. A developmental change is a relatively permanent change. 9. Most individuals develop at the same rate. 2. 1. Development can be discontinuous. 7. 174 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology . 5. 10. monozygotic twins are likely to differ in that characteristic. If a psychological characteristic is mainly in uenced by heredity.

longitudinal D. A. Which of the following statements about the effects of heredity and environment on psychological development is most correct? A. Maturation means that A if a child practises any skill they will become competent at that skill. when the newborn cries a lot. D. regularly speaking in public without getting anxious after having learnt a strategy to manage anxiety 4. mental abilities. C. B. C. Genes provide the plan for how development will proceed and environmental in uences determine how that plan unfolds in determining psychological development. when the individual is more vulnerable to in uences from the environment. 10. The environment is more important than heredity in shaping psychological development.C H A PT E R TEST SecTiOn a Multiple-choice questions Choose the response that is correct or that best answers the question. A correct answer scores 1. Cognitive development refers to the development of A. being in a good mood after getting back a maths test result B. The research method used by psychologists to study the same group of participants over an extended period of time is called a study. 9. sequential B. 1. A. The three areas of development referred to collectively as psychological development are A. C. an incorrect answer scores 0. social and cognitive. cognitive. B. social skills. B. when the mother is very responsive to her newborn. D. at conception. B. nature refers to A. physical and social. time delay 2. cognitive. Marks will not be deducted for incorrect answers. B. trying bungee jumping for the rst time C. at birth. emotional. 3. 8. physical development and psychological development occur independently of one another. development does not occur in a sequential way. D. Quantitative change in development refers to . the natural tendency to control one s own development. Heredity is more important than the environment in shaping psychological development. B. statistics C h a p t e r 4 Lifespan development 175 . A sensitive period in development refers to a time A. No marks will be given if more than one answer is completed for any question. during childhood. mental health. whereas qualitative change in development refers to . kind. 7. emotional. A person s genetic make­up is determined A. kind B. C. the in uence of an individual s experiences throughout infancy. 5. C. description D. the in uence of genetic inheritance on development. 6. when psychological development is delayed. physical and social. description. D. C. having a good night s sleep after not having slept well for three nights D. when they reproduce. statistics. D. In psychology. a child s brain and nervous system need to be suf ciently developed before they can perform certain skills. amount. Environmental in uences are stronger than the in uence of heredity in psychological development. D. amount C. cross­sectional C. D. Which of the following is most likely to be considered a developmental change? A. life skills. emotional and physical. C. B. the in uence of an individual s experiences throughout their lifetime.

The answers to the short-answer questions are in eBookPLUS. 1 mark Question 2 Name the six lifespan development stages and the approximate age ranges associated with each stage. 2 marks Question 3 Give an example relevant to each of the three areas of psychological development.SecTiOn B Question 1 Short-answer questions Answer all questions in the spaces provided. 1 mark Question 5 A psychologist is interested in studying the role of heredity in aggression in males. 176 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology . A psychologist is interested in nding out the age at which infants rst recognise their father s voice. Explain why your choice of research method is appropriate. Note that you can complete Section A of the chapter test online through eBookPLUS and get automatic feedback. 3 marks eBook plus The answers to the multiple-choice questions are in the answer section at the back of this book and in eBookPLUS. Describe one ethical standard or practice the psychologist must follow in order to obtain permission to conduct their research. 3 marks Question 4 Brie y explain how heredity and environmental factors may interact in shaping the development of a speci c psychological characteristic or ability. Brie y describe an ethically acceptable research method the psychologist could use.

..... 237 Successful ageing ............................. 200 Key principles of Piaget s theory .. 201 Piaget s four-stage theory of cognitive development .................................... 236 Psychosocial changes .................................................................................................... 184 Harlow s experiments on attachment in monkeys ...................................CHAPTER 5 THEORIES OF PSYCHOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENT Gibson s theory of perceptual development ............................................................. Optimisation and Compensation theory .... 238 Baltes Selection... 239 ............................................................. 215 Criticisms of Kohlberg s theory ........ 222 Psychosocial development .............. 234 Psychological changes in the very old .. 235 Cognitive changes ............ 224 Erikson s theory of psychosocial development ... 224 Criticisms of Erikson s theory .............................. 184 Attachment theory ........ 213 Moral development .................................................................................. 215 Kohlberg s theory of moral development ...................... 195 Cognitive development ............ 179 Emotional development .................................................. 203 Criticisms of Piaget s theory ......

there is more than one theory to explain a particular area of development. a psychologist whose child cries when left at a childcare centre may wonder whether being at the childcare centre is having negative effects on their child s emotional development. A theory can lead to research. and can logically evaluate an argument.1 A newborn infant. uncoordinated and dependent on others for your survival. problem solving. usually on the basis of scienti c evidence.2.5. two theoretical approaches to cognitive development are based on the socio-cultural and cognitive perspectives. self-esteem. Most theories of psychological development focus on one speci c aspect or area of development. A psychological theory explains how and why certain things occur. and perhaps modification of existing theories or the construction of new theories. which can lead to other new hypotheses. theories lead to further thinking about the topic of interest and other hypotheses which may be tested through further scienti c research. For example. You no doubt have a better developed range of social skills and can interact more effectively in a wider range of social situations. describe and explain a set of observations and the relationships between them. modi cation of the theory and even new theories. Rather than draw conclusions based on one experience or a hunch . A theory is a set of ideas which are proposed to organise. although helpless. emotions. As shown in gure 178 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology Conduct research make observations and collect data (evidence) Analyse and interpret data Hypothesis rejected Hypothesis supported Theory construction or modification Figure 5. You have developed in many ways psychologically. emotional and cognitive abilities develop as you get older? Answers to these questions can be found in the many theories developmental psychologists have constructed from their observations and research ndings. and so on. You are now able to perceive the world in more sophisticated ways. In turn. you can think about abstract concepts such as justice and equality of opportunity. psychologists use scienti c methods to test their observations and ideas in order to develop a theory. For example. You have the capacity to understand a broader range of emotional experiences such as empathy and grief. For example. . Construct hypothesis When you were born. There is no single theory of development that is so comprehensive or broad that it can explain all areas of development across the entire lifespan. this leads to new observations. social skills and so on. But what about the future? In what ways will you continue to change? How will your social.2 Stages in the construction of a theory. The person you are today is vastly different. Often. You probably have a better sense of who you are and the kind of person you want to be. you were helpless. In terms of your cognitive abilities. thinking. there are theories on the development of language. is far more capable than its appearance suggests. Observations or research questions Define research problem for testing Figure 5. like all newborns. You better understand the difference between right and wrong and can use this understanding to make decisions in your everyday life.

GIBSon S THeorY oF perCepTUal developMenT C h a p t e r 5 Theories of psychological development 179 . we consider some of the cognitual development a process that involves tive and psychosocial changes that occur continuous modi cation and re nement Figure 5. ment offers an animal (human or non-human) and the greatest changes occur in the early years of life what it provides. events and objects in its world (Gibson. Gibson was that are experienced. and actively searches for and obtains information we consider Jean Piaget s theory. this is percepFinally. We then ties at birth. emotional. According to Gibson. role of social and/or cultural factors such as sex. Gibson theory on moral development is also proposed that these activities are essenconsidered. As the infant s perceptual systems develop. 1988).3 American in very old people and the research of perceptual abilities through experiexperimental psychologist ndings of Paul Baltes on successful ence with incoming sensory informaEleanor Gibson (1910 2002) ageing. These abilities how psychological factors combine gradually develop and are re ned. it learns more and more about people. As the perceptual systems develop. In studying perceptual developaffordance (perceived qualities) of objects or events ment we consider Eleanor Gibson s theory.system. tive development. cognitive. particularly the visual percepand interpret information about the world. to emphasise the importance of mental abilities such Gibson conducted many experiments on different as attention. the social development. consider John Bowlby s and Mary Ainsworth s theories According to Gibson (1983). perception. In VCE Psychology. 1983. These included the role are perceptual. psychological development and examine one or more Instead. Human perceptual systems such as sight. the special bond people (and explorer in the constantly changing environment into animals) develop with their main caregiver(s) during which it is born. or with social experiences to influence. A great deal of this experience is self-initiated by the infant as it actively explores its environment. the brain and nervous the environment that suggest how it should be used. problem-solving. 1991). For cognitive development. which about the environment and itself in the is one of the best-known theories of environment. the infant s Socio-cultural approaches tend to emphasise the ability to take in and use sensory information expands. and it explores its environment more. that there are different theories to describe and Gibson constructed theories to describe and explain explain the same area of development doesn t necesperceptual development. family One of the best-known theories on the perceptual background and race or ethnic background in cognidevelopment was proposed by American psychologist. While percepaffordances of the environment what the environtual development continues throughout the lifespan. in terms of age-related changes. we consider ve key areas of as do many theories in other areas of development. our view of who we are. cognitive theories tend Eleanor Gibson. In contrast. abilities or stages. sound. the infant makes maximum consider Erik Erikson s theory on psyuse of its abilities in actively seeking and chosocial development. and Lawrence Kohlberg s information to guide its actions. moral and psychoof the infant as an active explorer in their world. nely tuned . The fact tion of infants. tion. that is. We also consider Harlow s research on attachously monitors what is happening in its environment ment with infant monkeys. sarily mean that one theory is right and the other(s) Gibson did not describe perceptual development is wrong . we differentiated (selective) with age (Gibson. Gibson emphasised key processes involved theories associated with each area. and the way in which perceptual one of the pioneers of experimental research on perexploration becomes more and more speci c and ceptual development. Affordances are together with the physical maturation and developthe perceived and actual properties of something in ment of the sense organs. the development of our understanding Despite limitations in perceptual abiliof what is right and wrong . The infant then uses this development. time. On the basis of her research ndings. either good or bad. For emotional development. an important feature of pertouch and smell are all functioning at birth and play ceptual development is exploration and search for important roles in the infant s survival. The areas covered in perceptual development. which describes obtaining information. When the infant is awake. Moral development refers to tially what perception is. taste. According to Gibson. thinking styles and memory on the ways in which we process aspects of perception. it continuinfancy. through experience over for example. the infant is an active on attachment.

even in the case of an infant who may not know what spoons are used for. such as a water bug. affordances are not created by the perceiver. affordances tell the animal the speci c properties of something that is relevant to them. then the surface affords support. For example. 180 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology . Since it is perceived as a surface of support. having suf cient length and width (in relation to the size of the animal). at land surface affords support for large land animals. however. An infant simply does not perceive the affordance of scooping (but may perceive affordance of graspability or bangability). Your cat or dog. an apple has its own affordances. a tree may afford food. a hiding place. It is not sink-into-able like a surface of water or a swamp would be for a heavy land-dwelling animal. the animal has been speci cally designed (through evolution) to detect those properties that are speci cally relevant to them. If a surface of land is perceived by the animal as nearly horizontal (instead of slanted). For example. the affordance of support would be different if the surface is water. Figure 5. and therefore walk-on-able and runoverable . rollable. how is it done? According to Gibson (1991). fuel or an obstacle to different animals. Furthermore. catchable and so on. According to Gibson. In turn. nearly at (instead of convex or concave). Through experience. whereas water affords support for this water bug and dragon y. such as giraffes. or from one person to another. the back door at your home affords a passage for you to go through. and is rigid (can hold the weight of the animal). Like the tree. the example of a tree also shows that a single object can have more than one affordance. a resting place. They exist within the object and are there to be perceived. Similarly. pickable. So. you are afforded passage by a smaller door than would afford passage for an elephant or a giraffe. Similarly. shelter. To what extent must the infant learn to perceive affordances? And if they must learn. the infant will eventually learn to perceive the scooping affordance of a spoon. it can be considered stand-on-able . The animal behaves in a way that is consistent with the affordances of the back door or the tree and this depends on the animal perceiving them. It is edible.4 This horizontal. the affordance of something can vary from one animal to another. In the examples of the door and tree. may be afforded passage by a smaller door (a doggy door) than the one which affords you passage. Gibson (1983) illustrates the concept of affordance with an example of the perception of a surface by an approaching animal. graspable. In each of these cases. a spoon affords a means of scooping. Gibson believed that affordance is a two-way relationship between something in the environment and a particular animal (or person). For a different animal. both the animal s behaviour and perception are involved.Both humans and animals use affordances in much the same way because they are closely related through evolution. your back door s affordance is unique to the animal that may approach the door.

the child will eventually discover that rabbits have long ears a distinctive feature that differentiates them from cats. for example. 1992). However. possums and other small. a book has many affordances which can vary from one person to another. that rabbits are different from cats and possums because of their long ears. readable and lean-on-able. Figure 5. those characteristics of the object that make them different from others. a two-year-old child may initially confuse rabbits and cats because they are both furry animals about the same size. Figure 5. According to Gibson (1969.6 Through differentiation. perceptual development or perceptual learning occurs when we actively explore objects in the environment and detect their distinctive features. that is. Differentiation is the ability to selectively perceive differences between things in the environment. 1987. This is done through learning the distinctive features of things. guinea pigs. children learn to perceive differences. furry animals. For example. tearable. For example. this book is chewable. differentiation occurs.5 Like other objects.As affordances are discovered through ongoing interaction with the environment. C h a p t e r 5 Theories of psychological development 181 .

In this sense. However. 1962).and ve-year-olds had dif culty differentiating all variations of the stimulus.2 An experiment by Gibson on differentiation Gibson demonstrated the developmental differences in children s ability to differentiate features in objects through research. the six. you know that the button with a green marking on it affords an action of pushing to switch on the television. Essentially. or better at differentiation. and m and w. You know that the button with a red marking on it affords an action of pushing to switch off your television. You set up the television and look at the remote control in readiness to operate the television. The ability Card 1 Card 2 Card 3 to differentiate between the speci c features of each letter of the alphabet is an important skill that children must have before they can learn to read. With greater experience. These research ndings have been particularly relevant in helping psychologists understand why preschool children can have dif culties when learning how to read. like those in cards 2 7 below. They were also shown several variations in which the stimulus was either rotated or slightly changed. h and d. our ability to differentiate and therefore our perceptual development is agerelated. letters that have similar features ( eight-year-olds were generally able to identify the distinctive features that differentiated the variations from the original stimulus (Gibson & others. most preschool children younger than about ve years of age continue to confuse letters such as b. You won t need a picture. However. You know that a button with a number on or adjacent to it affords an action of pushing to tune into the station corresponding with the number. The older we get. Card 5 Card 6 Card 7 Card 4 Standard Line-to-curve transformation Line-to-curve transformation 45n rotation 90n rotation Left-to-right reversal Same as standard Figure 5. However. that is. we become more ef cient at differentiation through experience and ongoing interaction with things in the environment. places and events in the environment.1 Affordance and design The concept of affordance is often intentionally applied by designers of goods and objects we use on a daily basis. we learn what to look for (the distinctive features of things) and what to ignore (the non-essential features of things). 1983). which enables them to differentiate objects and events. BOX 5.According to Gibson (1992). Parents who continually expose their preschool children to letters and words may help them recognise some letters and words such as their name. we become more ef cient. The four. often judging them to be identical to the original stimulus. the more experience and therefore familiarity we have with objects. BOX 5. She believes that young infants and children are constantly extracting new and more subtle information from the environment. There is no writing on the device other than the brand name and a sequence of numbers from 0 to 10. For example. as shown in card 1 below. a child develops perceptually and increasingly improves their ability to interpret the broad range of sensory information that they encounter. In one experiment. a label or instructions. Gibson has sometimes been described as a differentiation theorist. When affordances are applied in the design of goods and other objects we use in daily life. children between the ages of four and eight years were shown a visual stimulus that looked like a Chinese character. you will inevitably know what to do with an object just by looking. As this differentiation continues. suppose you receive a television set for your birthday.7 Cards with characters like those used by Gibson to test children s ability to differentiate between features of a stimulus 182 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology .

a summary of the class results using appropriate descriptive statistics 4. as either the same or different from the character on the standard card. How does differentiation change as an individual gets older? Why does differentiation change in this way? Brie y describe the part played by differentiation in perceptual development. a statement about whether the results can be generalised. (b) What affordances of a textbook might be perceived by a teenager who uses the book at (c) 4. Report Prepare a formal report on the research investigation based on the reporting conventions described in chapter 7. place all of the test cards in front of the participant. a statement of the aim of this research investigation 2. Then.7. Test each participant separately. These are the same as those shown in gure 5. a conclusion based on the results. (a) (b) (c) school? A teenager who doesn t use the book at school? A crawling infant? A walking infant? A cat? Brie y describe the part played by affordances in the process of perception. both are in the same lifespan stage. Ask the participant to select any card that is identical to the standard card . It is based on the research study conducted by Eleanor Gibson and her colleagues (1962). What is perceptual differentiation? Explain with reference to an example. less perceptually experienced child. This will enable you to study whether an older and more experienced child has more nely tuned perceptual abilities than a younger. including an explanation of why or why not 6. Your report should include the following: 1. the research hypothesis 3. (d) learnIn g actIVIt y 5. Alternatively. other information requested by your teacher. referring to the hypothesis 5. Brie y describe the relationship between affordances and differentiation. 1 review questions 1. you could compare the perceptual abilities of males and females in the same age group. You should construct a hypothesis for the research prior to conducting the study. It is also essential that you obtain informed consent from the parents of the child participants prior to conducting the study and that you follow all other ethical standards and practices described in chapter 2. a description of a potential extraneous variable that may be relevant. that is. You should record whether the participant correctly (✓) or incorrectly (✘) identi es the characters on each test card (cards 2 7). How does Gibson de ne perception and perceptual development? 2. Show the standard character by placing card 1 in a position where the participant can continue to look at it. Make a copy of each character on separate sheets of white paper or cardboard. Note that card 7 is intentionally the same as card 1. According to Gibson. Card 1 is the standard against which participants compare any variations or transformations in the other six cards. including an explanation of how the results may have been affected. Individual data should be combined with data from other members of your class. (a) What are affordances? Explain with reference to an example. and the other child participant aged seven or eight. Note that you can print copies from your eBook. To be certain a participant correctly perceives the features of the characters on the card. One child participant should be aged four or ve. 7. you may ask them to explain why they think a particular card is similar or different to the standard card. 2 research investigation testing perceptual development in children This investigation involves comparing perceptual abilities of two children of different ages.learnIn g actIVIt y 5. (a) what is the role of the individual in perception? (b) what is the role of the environment in the process of perception? (c) what is the role of the perceiving animal (human or non-human) in relation to the environment? 3. Assessment task and criteria C h a p t e r 5 Theories of psychological development 183 . You will need to prepare the materials required for the investigation.

When the infant is . If they did have physical contact. uncomfortable or has other needs. fed or have their clothes changed. Figure 5. Their caregiver. such as to be bathed. 184 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology Bowlby used information from his clients and the ndings from various research studies to construct his theory. infants depend on the people around them for their survival. who is usually a parent(s). The infant will seek attention from and contact with the attachment target more than they do with any other person. tired. there are four key characteristics that all need to be present if a strong attachment is to form between an infant and caregiver. often by crying. that it is hungry. it was for very short periods of time and only for practical purposes. the infant displays predictable behaviour in the presence and absence of the attachment target(s). This is a process called attachment. This boy is now a young adult and may still be experiencing the effects of his early emotional deprivation. has a considerable in uence on a person s emotional development throughout the lifespan. According to Bowlby. The term attachment was rst described as a psychological concept by British psychiatrist John Bowlby. Bowlby (1969) described attachment as lasting psychological connectedness between human beings . some psychologists observed that children who had spent their early years in orphanages where they received minimal care and attention often experienced emotional dif culties in their later years and into adulthood. Observations such as these led psychologists to hypothesise about the importance of the psychological bond. particularly in the rst 12 months of life. cold. According to Bowlby. Their contact was seldom with the same person.8 This photo is of a boy who was left in a Romanian orphanage where he received very little personal care and attention. or attachment. Psychologists now de ne attach­ ment as the tendency of infants to form an emotional bond to another person. An attachment target is the person(s) to whom an infant forms an attachment. For example. These observations stimulated research with children (and animals) on the types of early experience that can in uence emotional development. attachment theory From the moment of birth. Psychologists believe that the attachment(s) formed during infancy. These characteristics are: • proximity maintenance the infant s desire to be near the person(s) to whom it is attached • safe haven the ability to return to the attachment gure for comfort and safety when scared or feeling unsafe or threatened • secure base the ability to perceive the attachment gure as a base of security from which the infant can explore the surrounding environment • separation distress anxiety experienced when the attachment gure leaves or is absent. Since Bowlby s rst description of attachment. between infants and their caregivers in emotional development.eMoTIonal developMenT Around the middle of the twentieth century. responds whenever the infant indicates. the de nition has been re ned to focus on the connections made early in a person s life.9 British psychiatrist John Bowlby (1907 90) Figure 5. usually their main caregiver. the infant develops an emotional connection with the people who respond to its needs. when an attachment has formed. Over time. some of the children in the orphanages had very limited physical contact with a permanent or even a temporary caregiver.

all of which need to be present eBook plus for attachment formation. which. Similarly. an older sibling or grandparent. caregivers get better at both understanding the infant s needs and in responding to them appropriately.11 Infants are capable of developing different and separate attachments with a range of people who have signi cant involvement in their lives. it is not uncommon for an infant to have a stronger attachment to the mother than the father. improves the infant s chances of survival. the infant gradually comes to trust that its caregiver can be depended on to meet its needs. 1988). the bond forms the foundation for healthy emotional development later in life. a grandparent or childcare worker. an older sibling. The main idea of attachment theory is that human infants need a secure relationship with an adult caregiver in order for healthy emotional (and social) development to occur. A close emotional connection with a caregiver keeps the infant and caregiver physically close. Knowing it has a person who it can trust to care for it. according to Bowlby. Furthermore. who was one of Bowlby s students. for example. the infant will more con dently crawl away from the attachment target and play with toys. most commonly the mother. for example. was particularly motivated by Bowlby s work. they will seek comfort and security from the attachment target rst. the caregiver can keep a watchful eye on the infant s safety and intervene if danger threatens (Bowlby. This is usually the main caregiver. However. Over time. Second. or vice versa. In the same way that some infants may smile indiscriminately Bowlby considered the infant caregiver bond to be important in two ways. the infant can then con dently explore its world with the knowledge that it can return to its secure base at any time should it feel unsafe. Infants are also capable of developing different and separate attachments with other people who have signi cant involvement in their lives.10 Bowlby described four key characteristics of attachment. Generally. Many infants develop strong attachments to both parents. thereby increasing the helpless and dependent infant s chances of survival. American psychologist Mary Ainsworth. the bond has an evolutionary function. Adult caregivers provide security when they are responsive to an infant s needs. First.distressed. the infant will con dently explore its environment. For example. She worked with Bowlby for a number of years and further developed his theory. Video on Bowlby explaining the importance of attachment Bowlby s theory stimulated a lot of research interest amongst psychologists who were keen to further understand how an attachment formed and how it impacted on emotional development. C h a p t e r 5 Theories of psychological development 185 . Both the caregiver and the infant play a role in developing an attachment. Figure 5. for example. infants under six months of age do not fully recognise their caregivers on an individual basis. the infant will show visible distress when the attachment target is out of sight. When the attachment target is close by. over time. Proximity maintenance Safe haven Attachment Secure base Separation distress Figure 5. attachment targets Bowlby proposed that infants form attachments with those people most closely involved with them. when the infant is physically close. Their combined views on the role of attachment in emotional development have come to be known as attachment theory.

About a third of the infants formed multiple attachments.12 The security blanket. He suggested that an infant s capacity for attachment is not limited. a dummy. Between about six and eight months of age there is usually a change from the earlier pattern of accepting comfort from just about anyone. their blankie . an infant may start to show negative reactions when their main caregiver leaves or turns their attention elsewhere. they tend to happily accept comfort from anyone who provides it to their satisfaction. and stronger for that person than for others. eBook plus Tips for babysitters 186 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology . has no limits (Schaffer. num num . like a cake that has to be shared out. The infant participants were aged between ve and 23 weeks and were observed periodically until they were about 18 months of age. Most attachments to security blankets develop between about 10 and 12 months of age and they serve an important function of comforting a child when separated from the main caregiver. or teddy are as important in their daily lives as their main caregiver. 1977). nearly anyone who provides the desired comfort or attention will quickly be accepted as a substitute. but this is not necessarily a natural. BOX 5. provides an additional. even in babies. that is. however. However. for example. they formed emotional connections to several people at about the same time. Infants are likely to cry and cling when their main caregiver moves away from them and to react negatively to anyone else who tries to comfort them. In other words. usually the mother. a special bib. which. such as a bibba. For example. British psychologists Schaffer and Emerson (1964) studied the formation of attachment among a group of 60 Scottish infants. research ndings indicate that even when the mother is the person who performs the routine tasks of looking after the infant and spends more time with it than anyone else. Schaffer and Emerson found that even in homes where the mother was the main caregiver. the security blanket does not usually replace the attachment to the main caregiver. A security blanket is also often the rst thing children ask for when they are upset or afraid. a teddy bear or another soft toy for which the child has a special affection. For most children. In Schaffer s view. By 18 months of age. there are many parents who dread the thought of going anywhere with their child without the loved security blanket . Figure 5. this did not mean that the infants had a stronger attachment to one person than another. From about two months of age. Most psychologists also believe that infants may have a preference to form an attachment to the mother. however. unlike the caregiver. However. Love. can be taken with the child wherever they go. In one research study. some infants attached to the father and others to a grandparent or an older sibling. The attachment will be speci c for this person. at this age. It seems to provide reassurance and comfort in mildly stressful situations. One of Bowlby s views on attachment which caused a great deal of controversy is that mothers are the best caregivers for anyone who smiles at them. portable attachment. The term security blanket usually refers in a general way to inanimate ( non-living ) objects like a blanket. infants may show some signs of identifying individual caregivers. It provides an additional attachment. if they were frightened they generally preferred to be with their mother and if they wanted to play they tended to prefer their father. He believed nature intended the mother to be the primary or main caregiver. Each attachment was much the same in quality but the infants seemed to use different people for different purposes. she will not automatically be the infant s attachment target. For example. In fact. when a child goes to bed or is left in the care of a person who is not the main caregiver. Infants tend to develop an attachment to the mother because the mother is usually the person who takes on the role of main caregiver. 87% of the children had attached to more than one person. biologically programmed tendency. This period marks the development of a special attachment to the main caregiver. At this stage infants are in the process of developing their rst meaningful attachment to another person. Bowlby believed females are genetically programmed to be the best and therefore the main caregiver.3 Attachment objects For many children. bibba .

Each team should: • collect evidence (including research ndings) in support of the view they are debating • develop arguments to support the view to which they have been assigned • elect three speakers to present their team s arguments. The negative team argues against the statement. 2. Many fathers become the preferred play mate. Brie y state the conclusion(s) drawn from these results. Describe the four characteristics of attachment proposed by Bowlby. What kind of research method was used in the study? Explain your answer. In the circle closest to you place photos or name the people with whom you have the closest attachments.5 V Visual presentation attachment targets Prepare a poster to show the meaningful attachments you infancy formed in infancy. Use graphics to identify the strength of these attachments. Figure 5. Explain the meaning of attachment. Bowlby s view that an infant s mother is the best person to be its primary caregiver. 4. The af rmative team argues in favour of the statement. learnIn g actIVIt y 5. On the timeline. Brie y state the results of the research. According to Bowlby (1988). Brie y outline two main arguments or evidence for. indicate when and what changes occur in the infant s behaviour to suggest an attachment(s) is formed. Include other attachment targets in the outer circles based on how strong your attachment is to them.6 Debate mothers make the best caregivers The class should be divided into two teams the af rmative and the negative. with a key to indicate the different kinds of attachment you have. Those in the outermost circles are the people to whom you have the weakest attachments. Describe the main idea of attachment theory. you could put a photo of yourself as an infant in the centre of a circle. To what extent could the results be generalised to: (a) all infants? (b) infants in a different cultural group? (c) infants born this year? Explain your answers with reference to the research. Options and variations C h a p t e r 5 Theories of psychological development 187 . 2. learnIng actIVIty 5.learnIng actIVIty 5. What observations rst led psychologists to investigate the effects of early attachment on emotional development? 3. Suggest a hypothesis that could have been used for this study. why is attachment important? 5. You could also use a code.13 Infants attach to different people for different purposes. Draw a timeline to show the rst 12 months of an infant s life. give an example of infant behaviour that illustrates the characteristic. 3. and two main arguments or evidence against.4 evaluation of research Schaffer and emerson (1964) Summarise and evaluate the research by Schaffer and Emerson (1964) on the formation of attachment in infants. 7. 4. 5. learnIng actIVIty 5. Then draw a series of circles increasing in size around your photo. 3 review questions 1. 1. 6. during childhood and into adolescence. For example. Y You may include photos to identify your attachment targets. For each characteristic.

kissing the caregiver burying their face in the caregiver s lap when able to crawl. Bowlby s colleague. who conducted many research studies on attachment. learnIng a ctIVIty 5. smiling and making sounds to greet the caregiver when they return after an absence Lifting arms to be picked up by the caregiver Embracing. When each group performs their role-play. smiling and making sounds lifting arms to be picked up by the caregiver embracing. clothes Raising arms. returning from time to time for brief periods. suggested that infants show attachment through behaviour that promotes closeness or contact with the person to whom they are attached. Attachment behaviours Crying to attract caregiver s attention Crying when held by someone other than the caregiver Clinging physically to the caregiver when a stranger is present Smiling at the caregiver more than at others Vocalising more in the caregiver s presence Looking at the caregiver when separated but in sight Crying when the caregiver is out of sight Climbing on the caregiver. as described by Ainsworth (1978). 188 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology . exploring and playing with the caregiver s face. particularly in the presence of a stranger • smiling at the caregiver more readily and more frequently than at other people • vocalising (making sounds) more readily and more • • • • • • • • • frequently in the caregiver s presence than when with strangers looking at the caregiver when separated but in sight crying when the caregiver can no longer be seen climbing over the caregiver. hugging. hair and clothes greeting the caregiver after an absence by raising arms. the rest of the class ( the audience ) should use the checklist below to indicate which ve attachment behaviours were demonstrated. The role play should demonstrate ve behaviours that indicate the infant is attached to one or more of the caregivers. According to Ainsworth (1978).Indicators of attachment It is possible to observe clues to the developing attachment behaviours in early infancy.7 Visual presentation role play on indicators of attachment Working in a small group. hugging or kissing the caregiver Burying their face in the caregiver s lap Following the caregiver when they leave the room Using the caregiver as a secure base to which to return periodically while exploring the environment Role play 1 Role play 2 Role play 3 Etc. hair. following the caregiver when they leave and approaching them on their return exploring the environment using the caregiver as a secure home base. behaviours that indicate attachment include: • crying to attract the caregiver s attention • crying when held by someone other than the caregiver and stopping when taken by the caregiver • clinging physically to the caregiver. playing with their face. psychologist Mary Ainsworth. prepare a role play of about two to three minutes involving an infant and one or more caregivers.

Some of these behaviours occur more frequently than others and some may not occur at all. Like any other behaviours, individual differences occur. Furthermore, not all of these behaviours are associated only with attachment. For example, infants often cry for reasons other than a caregiver s departure, such as when they are tired, hungry, uncomfortable or unwell. Consequently, the behaviours on their own are not totally reliable indicators of attachment. They are more reliable indicators when considered in combination with one another (Sroufe & Waters, 1977).

types of attachment
According to Ainsworth, infants can form different types of attachment with their caregivers. These can vary in terms of how strong the connection is and the kind of connection. The strength of each of these attachments also depends to a large extent on how sensitive and responsive the caregiver(s) is to the infant s needs. The infant s responsiveness is also a factor in the type of attachment that is formed. Following extensive research on attachment types, Ainsworth and her colleagues (1978) proposed that there are two main categories of attachment secure and insecure attachment. Ainsworth further separated insecure attachment into two types resistant attachment and avoidant attachment. Consequently, when Ainsworth described attachment types, she generally described them in terms of three types secure attachment, resistant attachment and avoidant attachment.

Secure attachment
An infant who has formed a secure attachment shows a balance between dependence and exploration. The infant uses the caregiver as a home , or safe base from which to venture out and explore an unfamiliar environment, but shows some distress and decreases exploration when the caregiver departs. When the caregiver returns, the infant is enthusiastic and seeks physical contact with them. Securely attached infants feel safe and are able to depend on their caregivers. The infant s moderate distress at their caregiver s departure suggests that they feel con dent that the caregiver will return. About 65% of one-year-olds are securely attached.

Figure 5.14 American psychologist Mary Ainsworth (1913 99) Weblink

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video on Ainsworth and the attachment concept

Is attachment target nearby, attentive, responsive and approving?



Infant feels secure, loved and confident.

Infant is uncertain and anxious.

Infant is distant and protective of itself.

Secure attachment Infant is playful, curious, sociable and explores.

Resistant attachment Infant constantly checks caregiver s whereabouts, calling, pleading, tries to re-establish contact, clings, then resists contact.

Avoidant attachment Infant maintains distance and avoids close contact with others.

Figure 5.15 Attachment types and behaviours C h a p t e r 5 Theories of psychological development 189

Avoidant attachment
The infant does not seek closeness or contact with the caregiver and treats them much like a stranger. The infant rarely cries when the caregiver leaves the room and ignores the caregiver upon their return. Research ndings suggest that this attachment style may be the result of neglectful or abusive caregivers. About 20% of one-year-olds are in this category.

Resistant attachment
The infant appears anxious even when their caregiver is near. They become very upset when separated from the caregiver. When the caregiver returns, the infant approaches them, cries to be picked up, then squirms or ghts to get free, as though it is not sure about what it really wants. This attachment style is thought to result from caregivers who are not very responsive to their infant s needs. It is assumed the infant feels they cannot depend on their caregiver to be available to them if needed. About 12% of one-year-olds are in this category. Ainsworth(1982) found that the patterns of behaviour associated with each type of attachment tend not to change over time unless there are signi cant changes in life circumstances for either the caregiver or the infant. However, she believed the nature of the attachment may change if the caregiver substantially changes the way in which they interact with the infant, particularly the way in which they respond to the infant s expressed needs.

Strange Situation test
Ainsworth s descriptions of the different types of attachment were developed from her ndings of research studies with 12 18-month-old infants. Ainsworth s
table 5.1 The stages of the Strange Situation Test

research involved establishing the infant s level of security in their relationship with their caregiver. To do this, Ainsworth and her colleagues (1978) devised a system for assessing an infant s reactions to a series of separations and reunions with their caregiver called the Strange Situation Test. The Strange Situation Test involves an experimenter taking a caregiver and their infant into an unfamiliar room containing toys. Then the infant is exposed to a series of separations and reunions involving the caregiver, the infant and a stranger. An example of the sequence of separations and reunions is shown in table 5.1. The infant s behaviour in each episode is observed and recorded; for example, the infant s willingness to play with the stranger, their behaviour when left alone in the room and their reactions to the caregiver leaving and returning. The Strange Situation Test continues to be used in contemporary child development research and has highlighted more than just attachment types. For example, its use has identi ed other consistent patterns of attachment, such as stranger anxiety and separation anxiety. Stranger anxiety refers to an infant s wariness or cautiousness when a stranger such as an unfamiliar adult is present. Separation anxiety is indicated by an infant s distress when they are separated from their main caregiver (see box 5.4). Psychologists believe that early attachment experiences are an important in uence in an individual s later emotional wellbeing, both in the short term and into adulthood. For example, research ndings suggest that adults who had secure attachments as infants tend to have good self-esteem, seek social support when

Stage 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Time frame Episode 30 seconds Experimenter leaves caregiver and infant to play 3 minutes 3 minutes 3 minutes 3 minutes 3 minutes 3 minutes 3 minutes Caregiver sits while infant plays Stranger enters and talks to caregiver Caregiver leaves; stranger lets infant play, offers comfort if needed Caregiver returns, greets infant, offers comfort if needed; stranger leaves Caregiver leaves Stranger enters and offers comfort Caregiver returns, greets infant, offers comfort, lets infant return to play

People in the room caregiver, infant, experimenter caregiver, infant stranger, caregiver, infant stranger, infant caregiver, infant infant stranger, infant caregiver, infant, experimenter

Attachment behaviour observed

Use of caregiver as secure base Stranger anxiety Separation anxiety Reactions to caregiver s return Separation anxiety Stranger anxiety; ability to be comforted by stranger Reactions to caregiver s return

Source: Adapted from Ainsworth, M.D.S., Blehar, M.C. & Waters, E. (1978). Patterns of Attachment: A Psychological Study of the Strange Situation. Hillsdale, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum.


U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology

they need it, have trusting, lasting relationships and are comfortable sharing feelings with their friends and partners. Those who have had insecure early attachment may experience anxiety, inner turmoil, lack trust in others and are reluctant to form close relationships with others (Bachman & Zakahi, 2000).

learnIng actIVIty 5.8 review questions
1. List ve infant behaviours that indicate an infant may have formed an attachment to a caregiver. 2. Eleven-month-old Madeline cried when picked up by her aunt. She stopped crying when handed back to her father and he cuddled her. Suggest two possible explanations for why Madeline stopped crying. 3. Construct a table to summarise the three types of attachment described by Ainsworth (1978) and the patterns of infant behaviour associated with each attachment type. 4. What are the possible effects on emotional development in adulthood for each attachment type? 5. Distinguish between stranger anxiety and separation anxiety with reference to behaviours associated with each type of anxiety.


video on Strange Situation Test

BOX 5.4 Stranger anxiety and separation anxiety
Two useful clues which assist in recognising if an infant is attached to someone are called stranger anxiety and separation anxiety. Stranger anxiety refers to an infant s wariness when a stranger such as an unfamiliar adult is present. The infant may frown, show withdrawal behaviour, fear or even become distressed. Stranger anxiety is rst evident in infants at around seven or eight months of age. It gradually declines in the second year of life. Whether or not an infant shows stranger anxiety usually depends on factors such as the situation, whether the main caregiver is nearby and how the stranger behaves. Interestingly, if the stranger is a child, rather than an adult, an infant is less likely to become anxious and more likely to react positively by smiling and showing interest in the other child. One explanation for stranger anxiety is that the infant is afraid that either it, or its caregiver, is going to be taken away by the stranger (Davenport, 1988). Most psychologists believe that stranger anxiety is a normal part of development and a sign that attachment has actually occurred. For example, securely attached infants tend to show more stranger anxiety than infants who are less securely attached. Around six to eight months of age, a securely attached infant begins to show signs of distress when separated from the main caregiver. This is referred to as separation anxiety. Separation anxiety peaks at around 14 18 months in most cultures around the world (van ljzendoorn & Sagi, 1999). It becomes less frequent and less intense around age four to ve. However, some older children and adolescents continue to experience anxiety and depression when separated for long periods from their loved ones. (Thurber, 1995). Quite often, the infant experiencing separation anxiety will resist anyone else who tries to provide comfort. The degree to which the infant is distressed usually depends on the situation in which the infant is left. For example, if the infant is familiar with the environment and/or possesses a favourite object, the level of distress tends to be reduced (Turner & Helms, 1987).

learnIng actIVIty 5.9 ethical considerations in ainsworth s research
1. Consider Ainsworth s research studies using the Strange Situation Test. Given her research had the potential to cause psychological distress to infants, what ethical standards would she have been required to address in order to be given permission by an ethics committee to conduct her study? Explain your selection of each standard. 2. Do you think Ainsworth s research should have been allowed to proceed? Explain your answer with reference to relevant ethical standards.

How human attachments form
Bowlby (1969) believed that humans have a biological, or inherited need to form an attachment. He suggested that infants use genetically inherited abilities such as crying, smiling, gazing, vocalising and clinging to get near to their main caregiver, or to get their caregiver s attention. These behaviours, according to Bowlby, bring about attachment responses from the main caregiver who has a biological need to be near to and to protect their infant. For example, the main caregiver responds to the infant s attachment signals by caring for it with nurturing behaviours such as feeding, touching and cuddling. Bowlby emphasised that attachment is a two-way relationship and both the infant and main caregiver play important roles in its formation. He believed infant caregiver interaction promotes close contact and, over
C h a p t e r 5 Theories of psychological development 191

Options and variations

time, strengthens the bond between them. He also suggested that the rst year of life was a sensitive or critical period for attachment formation. During this time, according to Bowlby, the infant is especially receptive to the main caregiver. If a close emotional connection is not developed during this time, or is broken, emotional and social development will be disrupted and there will be signi cant consequences for the infant s emotional wellbeing in later life. Bowlby reached these conclusions from his work as a psychiatrist. He had observed, for example, that many people in psychiatric hospitals and prisons had not formed an attachment during infancy. This provided further support for his view that a warm, intimate relationship between an infant and its caregiver is essential for overall healthy emotional development. More recent evidence on the importance of the infant caregiver relationship on the developing child has been observed in the maladjustment of many children whose early lives were spent in Romanian orphanages in the 1980s and 1990s. These children spent most of their day in their cots rocking back and forth, with little human contact. They were not cuddled, had no opportunities to play and had no daily routine (Fisher & others, 1997).

Follow-up observations at various times after they had been adopted showed that infants who spent eight or more months in the orphanage had many eating, medical and emotional problems. Emotionally, they were withdrawn and seemed overwhelmed by interactions with children in their adopted family or other children (Fisher & others, 1997). In addition, they would often cling to strangers. They had no concept of stranger danger which has the potential to make them vulnerable to being taken advantage of by others (Marcovitch & others, 1997). Although there is evidence for a sensitive period in attachment formation for some species of animals such as ducks, geese, dogs and sheep (see box 5.5), most contemporary psychologists are not convinced that there is a sensitive period for human infant caregiver attachment. Neither is there widespread agreement among psychologists that humans have a biological, pre-programmed need to form an attachment. A more widely held view is that humans inherit a capacity to form an attachment but its development is in uenced by a complex interaction of many different factors; for example, the respective characteristics of the infant and caregiver and the quality of the interaction which takes place between them.

BOX 5.5 Imprinting and attachment
A newly hatched mallard duckling will approach and follow almost any moving, noisy object that it sees after birth. For example, it will follow a talking person, a quacking wooden or mechanical model duck, or a ball pulled by squeaking pulleys. Once the duckling begins following the moving, noisy object, it generally will not follow anything else but that object. After about 10 minutes of following this object, the duckling will have formed an attachment to the object. This kind of behaviour was rst identi ed by Austrian biologist Konrad Lorenz (1937) who rst used the term imprinting to describe it. Lorenz described imprinting as a form of learning rather than an inborn tendency (instinct) to follow a moving object. Under natural conditions, it is the mother duck that is the rst noisy, moving object the young bird encounters. The young bird might learn through observation by watching the mother walking past and eventually doing the same. There appears to be a sensitive or critical period during which imprinting can occur. For example, Hess (1972) found that if a mallard duckling is too young or too old, imprinting will not take place. But if a duckling between 13 and 16 hours old follows a moving object, then imprinting will occur. Moreover, the duckling cannot be imprinted to just anything inborn preferences play a role. These ndings indicate that imprinting, although being an apparently learned behaviour, is in uenced by biological factors. The term imprinting is currently used more generally to describe a form of early learning that occurs in some animals during a sensitive period. Many psychologists also hold the view that imprinting in animals differs from the attachment formed between an infant and caregiver. They believe that the infant caregiver relationship involves a deep emotional connection that in uences the infant s later emotional wellbeing.

Figure 5.16 Ducklings form an attachment to and follow the rst noisy, moving object they encounter after birth. Weblink

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U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology

Factors in uencing attachment
An attachment relationship is reciprocal; that is, it is two-way. Both individuals involved in the relationship play an active role in establishing the bond. Important in the formation and development of the attachment between an infant and caregiver is that their interaction is ongoing. However, infants do not necessarily attach to the person who spends the most time with them. The quality of care rather than its quantity determines the development of attachment (Ainsworth, 1983).

Characteristics of the caregiver
It is not until about 12 months of age that infants start to use recognisable words. Up until that time, they rely on other ways to communicate their moods, feelings and needs. For example, they use body language such as smiling, gazing, reaching, squirming and clinging; and vocalisations such as crying and babbling. An attachment is most likely to be formed with the person(s) who is most sensitive to these signals and responds appropriately. Ainsworth (1983) referred to this factor as the sensitive responsiveness of the caregiver and believes that it is crucial in the type of attachment formed between an infant and caregiver. In one study, Ainsworth (1983) compared how mothers with securely attached infants and mothers with insecurely attached infants responded to signals of discomfort from their infants. She found that mothers with securely attached infants were more sensitive to their infants and responded more appropriately throughout the rst year of their infant s life. They were quickest to respond when their infants cried, and were able to more accurately identify the cause of the crying and the remedy required. Not only were they more responsive in detecting when the infants cried because of hunger, but they were also very responsive to the infants signals in terms of when to stop feeding and how quickly or slowly the feeding should proceed. By contrast, mothers with insecurely attached infants tended to lack awareness of what their infants were feeling or needing. They had less physical contact with their infants and their caregiving activities appeared to revolve more around their own interests and moods than those of their infants. The mothers of insecurely attached infants also tended to be less interested in mothering in general. It is likely that this in uenced their responsiveness and their overall style of parenting. The caregiver plays an important role in the type and strength of attachment which occurs with an infant. Attachment appears to thrive when the caregiver is sensitive and appropriately responsive to the baby s signals. However, not all main caregivers act in

this way. One factor which may account for this is their general attitude towards parenting. This is in uenced by a complex interaction of many other factors, some of which can be traced to the early experiences of the parents. Situational factors can also in uence the infant caregiver relationship; for example, the type of relationship between the parents, involvement of others in the parenting, the number of other children, being in paid employment, and adequacy of the family income and housing. One factor which in uences the characteristics of the caregiver is the caregiver s views of their own early parenting experiences. Bretherton and Waters (1985) interviewed parents of insecurely attached infants and compared their recollections of childhood with those of parents of securely attached infants. They found that many of the parents of insecurely attached infants had failed to form a secure attachment during their own infancy or had experienced a traumatic loss of an early attachment gure. Many also reported being rejected or feeling unloved by their parent(s) and severe loneliness during childhood.

Figure 5.17 A responsive caregiver plays an important role in the type and strength of the attachment formed with their infant.

Characteristics of the infant
Although the caregiver plays an important part in attachment formation, the type of attachment formed also depends to a large extent on an infant s personal characteristics. These can influence a caregiver s responsiveness and the appropriateness of the response made. For example, the main caregiver of an infant who is usually cheerful, relaxed, adaptable and has a regular pattern of eating, eliminating and sleeping will nd it easier to identify the infant s needs and respond appropriately than would the caregiver for an infant who is moody, tense, fussy and has irregular habits. It is also possible that a caregiver s attitudes to an infant will be in uenced by the infant s characteristics. For
C h a p t e r 5 Theories of psychological development 193

example, a caregiver may develop and show less affection for an infant with a dif cult temperament than they would for an infant with an easy temperament. Peterson (1989) examined studies on the links between the characteristics and attachment displayed by an infant. From these studies, she concluded that: beginning life with a favourable disposition undoubtedly boosts the baby s odds of achieving a secure attachment in part because easy, alert infants are so ready and willing to interact, and reward the mother s caregiving efforts so effectively, that a good relationship is easily established even if it starts off by being relatively insensitive. On the other hand, a favourable temperament could also dispose towards secure attachment without any modi cation of the sensitive mother s behaviour simply because alert, cheerfully responsive and adaptable infants are able to be more tolerant than their temperamentally dif cult counterpart of less than optimal (perfect) mothering.

Figure 5.18 Alert infants who are ready to interact develop attachments more easily than infants who are less engaging.

BOX 5.6 Childcare: positive or negative effects on attachment?
Some parents who contemplate childcare for their child worry that their child will prefer the childcare provider to them and that the childcare centre will be harmful to the infant parent attachment relationship. However, most psychologists believe that these early separations do not weaken the attachment relationship between the parent and the infant. A longitudinal study was conducted in 10 different cities in America to investigate the attachment relationship between mothers and their infants at one, six and 15 months of age, some of whom had been attending childcare and others who had not attended childcare. The results supported the view that childcare had no negative effects on mother infant attachment and children cared for out of the home actually appeared less insecure when their mothers were not in sight than did children cared for only in the home. (NICHD Early Child Care Research Network, 1997). The attachment relationship between a caregiver and child seems to be affected more by the quality of the time rather than the quantity of time they spend together. What seems to be most important is that the infants have a consistent and warm relationship with their caregiver(s) (Crockenberg & Litman, 1991). However, if a child is placed in childcare because of family breakdown or the mental or physical health of one or both parents, then a disrupted or insecure attachment may develop (Vaughan & others, 1980). As long as the main caregiver works by choice, provides good quality childcare arrangements and develops a warm and caring relationship during the times they spend with their infant, the fear or anxiety that the infant caregiver attachment relationship will be adversely affected appears to be unnecessary. Some psychologists suggest that good quality childcare can actually enhance the relationship between the infant and caregiver(s).

Figure 5.19 Placing an infant in childcare does not necessarily weaken the infant caregiver attachment relationship.


U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology

learnIn g actIVIt y 5. 10 review questions
1. According to Bowlby, what is the role played by each of the following in the formation of an attachment: (a) biological factors? (b) infant caregiver interaction? 2. What evidence might Bowlby give for a sensitive period in the development of an infant caregiver attachment? 3. What view do contemporary psychologists have about: (a) the genetic basis for the need to form an attachment? (b) whether there is a sensitive period for the formation of an infant caregiver attachment? 4. Describe two characteristics of a caregiver that promote attachment. 5. Describe two characteristics of an infant that promote attachment.

Harlow s experiments on attachment in monkeys
At around the same time Bowlby was developing his theory on attachment in human infants in the 1950s and 1960s, American psychologist Harry Harlow was conducting research on attachment in rhesus monkeys. Harlow conducted a number of experiments to investigate the factors in uencing the development of attachment by infant monkeys to their mothers. In one of his best-known experiments, Harlow (1958) studied the role of breastfeeding in infant mother attachment. He used eight infant rhesus monkeys which had been separated from their mothers at birth.

learnIn g actIVIt y 5. 11 Visual presentation factors influencing infant caregiver attachment
Construct a concept map to show the ways in which different factors interact to in uence attachment. You may nd it helpful to follow the steps outlined below in constructing your concept map. 1. Make a list of all of the factors that may in uence infant caregiver attachment. 2. Write each factor on a separate small piece of paper or post-it note (this will allow you to move around the factors as you think about the ways in which they in uence the development of an infant caregiver attachment). 3. Construct a diagram showing how the various factors in uence attachment by arranging the pieces of paper in a layout which you believe best shows their relationship. (a) Write the word attachment in the middle of an A3 size sheet of paper. (b) Place linked factors close to each other and non-linked ones apart. (c) Rearrange the in uences until you are satis ed with their placement. (Note: There is no right way of arranging the concept map.) 4. Stick the pieces of paper down or write the arrangement on the paper or construct it on your computer. 5. Rule lines between linked (related) factors and write on each line what the relationship is. You can use words such as shapes , determines , can lead to , contributes to , in uences and assists . An example of a concept map is shown on page 160.

Figure 5.20 American psychologist Harry Harlow (1905 81)

The monkeys were individually reared in cages, each of which contained two surrogate mothers. A surrogate is anyone or anything which substitutes for or plays the part of something else. The surrogate mothers were made of wire mesh and were roughly the same size and shape as real monkey mothers. One of the surrogates was covered in terry-towelling cloth and the other was left uncovered (see gure 5.21(a) and (b)). A feeding bottle was attached to one of the surrogates in the same area where a breast would be on a real
C h a p t e r 5 Theories of psychological development 195

mother. Half of the animals were in cages with the feeding bottle on the cloth surrogate and the other half were in cages with the feeding bottle on the wire surrogate. Harlow proposed that if an infant s attachment to its mother was based primarily on feeding, the infant monkeys should have preferred and become attached to whichever surrogate mother had the bottle. Harlow found that regardless of which surrogate provided the nourishment, the infant monkeys spent more time with the cloth surrogate than the wire surrogate. Although the infants in the two groups drank the same amount of milk and gained weight at the same rate, all eight monkeys spent far more time climbing and clinging to the cloth surrogate than they did the wire surrogate. By the age of about three weeks, all of the monkeys were spending around 15 hours a day in contact with the cloth surrogate. No animal spent more than an hour or two in any 24 hour period on the wire surrogate. The monkeys preference for the cloth surrogate was particularly evident when they were emotionally distressed. In order to create a stressful condition, Harlow put various frightening objects in the monkeys cages; for example, a mechanical forward-moving spider (see gure 5.22), or a teddy bear which beat a drum. The frightening object was placed repeatedly in each monkey s cage and set in motion. Harlow found that the majority of infant monkeys sought rst contact with the cloth surrogate, regardless of whether or not it had the feed bottle. The terri ed monkeys were observed to cling to the cloth mothers, rubbing their bodies against the cloth surrogate. Those monkeys who rst sought contact with the wire surrogate through blind terror soon left it for the contact comfort of the cloth surrogate, even if the wire surrogate had the feed bottle. On the basis of these results, Harlow concluded that contact comfort , which was provided by the softness of the cloth covering, was more important than feeding in the formation of an infant rhesus monkey s attachment to its mother. He generalised his ndings to suggest that contact comfort was also likely to be a crucial factor in human infant parent attachment. Although these ndings were based on monkeys, they considerably in uenced the views of psychologists in relation to human infant parent attachment. Formerly, many psychologists believed that infants became attached to their mothers through a simple kind of learning called classical conditioning whereby the mother became associated with food. In Harlow s experiment, attachment of the monkeys was not based on food rewards. Instead, contact comfort emerged as a more important factor in attachment.
196 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology



Figure 5.21 (a) Monkey feeding from wire surrogate mother (b) Monkey clinging to cloth surrogate mother

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Other animal experiments by Harlow
In further experiments, Harlow found that contact comfort was not the only important variable in attachment. For example, Harlow, Dodsworth and Harlow (1965) privated a group of rhesus monkeys to prevent them from having any social contact. Privation involves removing the opportunity to satisfy a need, in this case, the need for social contact. The monkeys were taken from their mothers just after birth and totally isolated in cages. One group of infant monkeys was isolated for three months, another group for six months and a third group for 12 months. There was also a fourth group, a control group of infant monkeys who were normally reared (in cages with their mothers and other monkeys). The use of a control group enabled the three groups who experienced different periods of isolation to be compared with one another and with a group that had not experienced any social isolation. Otherwise the effects of isolation could not be measured accurately. Harlow and his colleagues found that after three months privation, the infant monkeys were emotionally disturbed and their social behaviour was impaired. When released individually into the company of normally reared same-age monkeys daily for 30-minute periods, they crouched in the corner of the cage with their heads buried under their arms, avoiding any contact and social interaction. Gradually, however, their individual and social behaviours improved. After about 12 months, their behaviour was almost the same as that of the monkeys in the control group.

Figure 5.22 When a frightening toy spider was placed in their cage, infant monkeys tended to seek comfort from the cloth surrogate, even if the surrogate didn t have the feed bottle. im To find out whether provision of food or contact comfort is more important in the formation of infant mother attachment

Participants Eight newborn rhesus monkeys separated from their mothers immediately after birth Procedure roup 1 Four monkeys isolated in cages where a cloth surrogate mother provided food and a wire surrogate mother did not roup 2 Four monkeys isolated in cages where a wire surrogate mother provided food and a cloth surrogate mother did not

ndependent variable Provision of food by either a cloth or wire surrogate mother

ependent variable Amount of contact time spent with cloth and wire surrogate mothers

esults All monkeys in both groups 1 and 2 spent far more time with their cloth surrogate than they did with their wire surrogate, regardless of which provided food.

Conclusion Contact comfort is more important than feeding in the formation of infant mother attachment in rhesus monkeys.

eneralisation Contact comfort is likely to be a crucial factor in human infant parent attachment. Figure 5.23 A ow chart of Harlow s (1958) experiment

Figure 5.24 Infant monkeys isolated for three months showed disturbed social and emotional responses when reunited with other monkeys. C h a p t e r 5 Theories of psychological development 197

The monkeys privated for six months were much more severely impaired in terms of their social behaviour. They isolated themselves even more than the three-month group, spending more time crouched in the corner avoiding social interaction. They had also developed self-destructive behaviour such as biting themselves and pulling out clumps of their own hair. Compared to the control group monkeys, they were severely withdrawn and socially incompetent. When released into the company of normally reared monkeys they preferred to be alone and would not join in the playful activities of the other monkeys. Over time, their behaviour improved until it resembled that of monkeys in the control group. But improvement occurred more slowly than that of the group privated for three months. The infant monkeys isolated from all social contact for the rst 12 months of life were extremely socially impaired. They were totally withdrawn, unable to relate socially to other monkeys, self-destructive and completely disinterested in anything going on around them. In the company of the normally reared monkeys they were fearful, rarely moved about and avoided all contact and interaction. When they were housed with normally reared monkeys, their behaviour improved very slowly, but not in all areas. Harlow has also used rhesus monkeys to investigate factors in uencing maternal behaviour in attachment. In a series of experiments, he discovered that female rhesus

monkeys reared in total isolation for the rst 12 months of life and then artificially impregnated (called motherless mothers ) became completely inadequate mothers. Each of these monkey mothers consistently avoided her baby and did not appear to care at all when separated from it. The mother would also violently abuse her baby when it approached her for contact or feeding. For example, one mother sometimes bit her infant and occasionally crushed the infant s face and body to the oor . However, not all of Harlow s motherless mothers behaved in this way. Some reared their infants in an adequate manner. These mothers had experienced some limited contact with other baby monkeys when growing up, whereas the others had not. It appeared that positive social experience with same age mates had limited the potential harmful effects of growing up motherless (Seay, Alexander & Harlow, 1975; Harlow, Harlow & Hansen, 1963). Harlow s experiments with rhesus monkeys have enabled psychologists to better understand factors which in uence attachment, and the effects of different attachment experiences on emotional and social development. Harlow s work also illustrates the advantages of an experimental design in studying behaviour and the advantages of investigating human behaviour through research with animals. However, rhesus monkeys and humans are different in many ways. Care must be taken in generalising about human experience based on animal experiments.



Figure 5.25 (a) Motherless mother monkey pushing her infant s face against the oor; (b) Motherless mother showing disinterest in her infant. 198 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology

BOX 5.7 Harlow s views on using rhesus monkeys in experiments
Harlow elected to use monkeys in his research to overcome the limitations of using human participants. He believed they were a suitable alternative to people because, in his view, they have much in common with the human species and, therefore, results of his experiments could be generalised to people. Harlow speci cally chose rhesus monkeys for what he believed were important practical advantages: We use rhesus monkeys because they were the rst monkeys over which one could have disease control. And they were the rst monkeys that one could breed at will our will, not theirs. Finally, the rhesus monkey is a standardised Old World monkey. New World monkeys are far different creatures and show more variability. And apes pose other problems. The chimpanzee is too big, too expensive, and too dangerous. In defence against criticisms that inducing stress in laboratory monkeys was sadistic , Harlow referred to his experiments on mental illness and use of play therapy to treat these: You will never learn the factors that produce depression and other pathological syndromes in the wild. You will never nd the biochemical variables underlying such syndromes in the wild . . . You will never get de nitive data by observing (in the wild). Take play. You could study play in the eld for millennia and no one would have found its meaning. But our laboratory work gave the basic answer . . . (We found) that play is probably the best therapy (for depression). We know this is true for monkeys and it would probably be true for human beings (if psychologists were prepared to use it) . . . After one study in which monkeys had been totally socially isolated from birth to six months, the monkeys were completely rehabilitated through play therapy. Harlow also attempted to de ect criticism that the caged monkeys used in his studies tended to produce behaviours that do not occur in the wild. In his view, there was little which was so damn good about the wild anyway . . . The feral environment is pretty bad .
(Based on an interview with Harlow in Psychology Today, Tavris, C. (1973). A Conversation by Way of Collision, with Harry F. Harlow, pp. 65 74.)

learnIng actIVIty 5.1 2 evaluation of research Harlow, Dodsworth & Harlow (1965)
Part A Construct a ow chart which identi es the key features and stages in the Harlow, Dodsworth & Harlow (1965) experiment involving infant rhesus monkeys. An example of a ow chart is gure 5.23 (page 197). Part B Answer the following questions. 1. What are the IV and the DV in this experiment? 2. What do the ndings of the experiment suggest about the development and importance of infant caregiver attachment among humans? 3. Outline one advantage of the research design. For example, why did Harlow choose to use the experimental method for this study rather than some other method? 4. What is one advantage and one disadvantage of using animals in psychological research? 5. Would Harlow s experiments be permitted by ethics committees today? Explain with reference to relevant ethical standards and practices. 6. Can the ndings of research studies with animals be applied to humans? Give reasons for your answer.

learnIng actIVIty 5.1 3 Oral presentation an interview with Harry Harlow
Working in a small group, prepare a ve- to 10-minute interview between a scienti c journalist and psychologist Harry Harlow. The interview should cover information on: • what attachment is • why Harlow chose to experiment with monkeys rather than humans • a description of one of Harlow s experiments and the results • what Harlow s ndings showed about the in uence of infant attachments on emotional development • whether Harlow s ndings can be generalised to humans • the ethics of using animals for this kind of research • other points of relevance or of interest. Present your interview using two or more data types; for example, still or moving images, written text or sound.

C h a p t e r 5 Theories of psychological development


learnIn g actIVIt y 5. 14 Oral presentation committee meeting ethics

rst translated into English in the 1920s. Since then, researchers have tested and re ned Piaget s theories, and many current views in cognitive and developmental psychology about how thinking develops are based on Piaget s theories.

Working in a small group, prepare a role play to re-enact a Psychology ethics committee meeting. Harry Harlow has requested a committee meeting to seek permission to conduct one of his experiments on attachment in rhesus monkeys. During the meeting, the committee members should ask Harlow questions about: • the purpose of his research • the procedure he plans to use • potential harm to the animals • alternative research designs • the usefulness of potential ndings in understanding human infant attachments • other relevant points. At the conclusion of the meeting, one member of the ethics committee should explain the ruling of the committee on whether the research can be conducted. Reasons for the decision should be given, with reference to relevant ethical standards and practices. Present the committee meeting using two or more data types; for example, still or moving images, written text or sound.

CoGnITIve developMenT
Young children view the world very differently from adolescents and adults. For example, it is not unusual for a young child to believe that the sun follows them from place to place when they walk outside, or that dreams come through the window at night. As with other areas of psychological development, cognitive development cannot be directly observed. Infants and young children who have not yet developed language skills are unable to report what they are thinking or explain their actions. Therefore, much of what psychologists know about cognitive development, particularly in early infancy, must be inferred from the overt behaviour the individual demonstrates. Many early psychologists believed that infants were not capable of much thinking. Infant behaviours were seen as random and occurring without purpose. Some psychologists saw infants as empty vessels as unresponsive organisms with limited perceptual abilities and little capacity to learn, remember or think. Psychologists have since learnt a great deal about the capabilities of infants and children in many areas of development. The changed view of the cognitive capabilities of infants was mainly initiated as a result of the work of Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget. His theories on the development of cognitive abilities were
200 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology

Figure 5.26 Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget (1896 1980)

Figure 5.27 Because she cannot tell us what she is thinking, should we assume that she is not capable of thought? Weblinks Piaget and cognitive development videos

28 The infant has assimilated the new object of a toy hammer by using it for stirring in the pot. a hammer) by applying existing information (that is. According to Piaget. the child may use the hammer for stirring because the child has assimilated the hammer into an existing mental idea. as she does with a wooden spoon. Whereas the process of assimilation ts new information into an existing mental idea without modifying the information. This is a more advanced process than assimilation because it involves restructuring the way in which existing information is mentally organised so new information may be included. For example. that is. According to Piaget. However. a child uses accommodation if they change Piaget illustrated the related processes of assimilation and accommodation with an example of infants sucking behaviour. using the hammer like a wooden spoon). accommodation Sometimes we cannot assimilate new information into an existing mental idea. For example. accommodation means creating a separate mental category for hammer that is different from that for spoons. accommodation involves modifying existing information (or mental ideas) so the new information may be incorporated. infants try to assimilate the teat in the activity of sucking because this new object (and situation) is like a nipple (and the situation of sucking from a nipple). not all objects can be sucked in exactly the same way. He described adaptation as the continuous process of using the environment to learn and of learning to adjust to changes that occur in the environment. we can t change the information in any way to link it in with what we already know. Figure 5. Therefore. Accommodation refers to changing an existing mental idea in order to t new information. simply because a car is the only vehicle for which the child has an existing mental idea. if the child is given a new toy hammer while using a wooden spoon for stirring in a pot. adaptation involves taking in. both the truck and the hammer have become part of the infant s experience and the infant will be able to recognise them in the future. obtaining milk). These changes demonstrate accommodation. we explain or make sense of new information in terms of our existing knowledge and understanding. Through assimilation. regardless of how hard we try. organising and using new information in ways which enable us to adjust to changes in our environment. occurs as we adapt to the changing world around us. Similarly. Through assimilation. assimilation Assimilation is the process of taking in new information and tting it into and making it part of an existing mental idea about objects or the world. When placed on a nursing mother s breast. or accommodate. This demonstrates the infant s attempt to understand new information (that is. the rhythm of the activity and so on. when presented with a teat on a bottle. On a daily basis. an existing mental idea or develop a new mental idea to categorise truck after realising that trucks do not belong in the category of cars.Key principles of Piaget s theory Piaget proposed that cognitive development. She has assimilated the object of the moon C h a p t e r 5 Theories of psychological development 201 . infants demonstrate assimilation by using a nipple in the activity of sucking. This is a re exive behaviour that is innate. so it does not need to be learnt. In this case. Infants are born capable of sucking. infants have to modify their behaviour by changing the shape of their mouth. processing. a young child may see a truck and call it a car. If they are unsuccessful in achieving the result they require (that is. The sucking re ex is important for survival because it enables the infant to feed from a nipple on a breast. accommodation is the other process by which an individual deals with information about the world. the placement of their gums. It simply won t t. Consider the case of 18-month-old Georgia who points to a full moon and says ball . adaptation occurs through two closely related processes which he called assimilation and accommodation. an existing mental idea to t in the new object or experience. the amount of suction used. or development of mental abilities. we are forced to change. Similarly.

you were required to accommodate new information and thereby change or modify your view of the world or people. to interpret. discover and experiment through interaction with his environment. 2. Importantly. When accommodation is required. she will be able to understand that there are differences between a full moon and a ball. re exes such as sucking. school and cleaning their teeth.1 6 review questions 1. We try to understand and make sense of these experiences by assimilating them into our existing schemata of the world. The rst schemata infants form consist of a small number of actions. (b) In what main way are assimilation and accommodation different? (c) Give an example. including screw-top ones. we encounter new situations and information. In this way. Stefan will realise eventually that his earlier schema does not work every time and that it applies only to certain types of bottles. 202 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology Figure 5. this ongoing process forms the basis for the development of our cognitive abilities. learnIng actIVIty 5. Thus. Describe a situation when. she will have accommodated it. to illustrate the way in which assimilation and accommodation can work together. different from those used in the text. Thus. When she is older. sound. (a) What is meant by the term cognitive development? (b) Give examples of general and speci c abilities which are associated with cognitive development. Children develop schemata for bedtime. as a child.into her existing mental idea of circular-shaped objects which is built mainly around her experience with balls. all behaviour involves assimilation and accommodation. (a) Explain what Piaget meant by the term schema. As children grow older they are able to let one thing such as a word stand for another thing. even though they are both circular. this infant will eventually develop an understanding that rattles only make noise (accommodation). According to Piaget. Stefan must actively explore. (a) What did Piaget mean by the terms assimilation and accommodation? Explain with reference to examples different from those used in the text. that is.29 Trying to drink milk from her rattle (assimilation). we continually modify our existing ideas of the world. These are just some of the numerous schemata that are usually formed in the course of a lifetime. we form schemata through experience. changes occur in a child s behaviour and in what the child becomes capable of doing. the processes of assimilation and accommodation also enable a child to form what Piaget calls a schema (the plural is schemata) a mental idea.1 5 assimilation and accommodation in your life 1. What is adaptation? What role does it play in cognitive development? 3. For example. (b) Give two speci c examples of schemata you have formed. According to Piaget. As part of this process. He has assimilated the schema (pulling at the top of a bottle to open it) and can now apply that schema to all bottles. learnIng actIVIty 5. Give an example of a schema a young infant may have and one an adult person may have. We use schemata in perception. . Cognitive development continues throughout the lifespan. as it often is. or organised mental representation. 1988). Stefan learns that if he pulls the cork off a bottle he can drink the contents. List three recent examples where you have been in a new situation and have been able to assimilate the new information. The interaction of these related processes allows a child to progressively adapt to the world. smell. of what something is and how to deal with it. taste and touch. 4. 2. accommodation involves nding out and modifying an existing schema process (Davenport. If we are unable to assimilate these experiences we are forced to accommodate (or else ignore) them. animals. From the time we are born. When she recognises the moon as being different from a ball. We also continually modify them as we take in new information and adapt to our changing world through assimilation and accommodation. for example. organise and assign meaning to information obtained through our senses such as sight.

30 In the sensorimotor stage. This does not mean that individuals jump from one stage to the next on their birthdays. if they can t see it. they behave as if it doesn t exist. With increasing mobility. some individuals with a severe intellectual disability may never move past the rst or second stage. As well as describing a sequential progression through four stages. Piaget outlined key cognitive accomplishments that individuals achieve in each stage. out of sight is not out of mind . most infants begin to integrate sensory and motor information and can start to coordinate their behaviour to grasp an object or turn towards a noise. Some people may be capable of more advanced thinking than that associated with their chronological age. they discover the concept of object permanence. everyone proceeds through these stages in the same order. but according to Piaget. Figure 5.Piaget s four-stage theory of cognitive development Piaget s theory of cognitive development proposes that we move through four distinct and sequential stages from birth to adulthood in developing our cognitive abilities. out of sight really is out of mind for infants. vision and touch) with motor (movement) abilities. For an infant in the latter period of sensorimotor development. Object permanence refers to the understanding that objects still exist even if they cannot be seen or touched. Piaget also suggested that individuals do not develop the mental capabilities of a later stage without rst having acquired those of an earlier stage. however. the various types of incoming sensory information are not coordinated. what people know is not as important as the way in which they think and how they acquire mental abilities. The infant does not realise that they can reach for a toy or dummy which is less than an arm s length away. According to Piaget. Sensorimotor stage (birth to two years) The rst stage of cognitive development spans from birth to about two years of age and is known as the sensorimotor stage. For example. infants construct their understanding of the world by coordinating sensory experiences (for example. Before object permanence develops. hence Piaget s use of the term sensorimotor . At about the same time as the infant begins to crawl (around seven to nine Figure 5. Each stage in the process is linked to an approximate chronological age range. After the rst three months. In addition. but they may still use mental abilities associated with an earlier stage. He also described the kinds of thinking typical of each stage. Options and variations C h a p t e r 5 Theories of psychological development 203 . infants construct their understanding of the world by coordinating their sensory experiences with motor abilities. In the sensorimotor stage. the infant s perception of the world expands quickly. In the rst months of an infant s life.31 Object permanence is the key cognitive accomplishment of the sensorimotor stage. not all individuals will reach stage four which is the nal stage in his theory. months of age). Furthermore. that is. the rate at which each person proceeds through the stages may vary.

but only after much trial-and-error learning. Dimitrios is not sel sh. When told to hide they cover their eyes. but is always keen to add a new train to his collection. An infant also performs many untried actions and begins to think of new ways of solving problems. once they have acquired object permanence. the infant learns to reach objects on a table by pulling themself up at the side of the table. children in this stage typically are unable to or have dif culty in seeing things from another person s perspective. object permanence is the key cognitive accomplishment of the sensorimotor stage. For example. the infant will follow an object with their eyes. The infant begins to develop this ability towards the end of the sensorimotor stage. This comes with the key cognitive accomplishment Piaget called decentring. Object permanence may explain why a game of peeka-boo is so much fun for infants. Older people take object permanence for granted for example. he will happily share his toys. This further develops their abilities to think in more complex ways. you know this textbook still exists when you look away from it or put it in your school bag. According to Piaget. they will search actively for an object of interest even if they can no longer see it. The sensorimotor infant also develops the ability to carry out goal­directed behaviour. working out various ways to obtain things they want. In Piaget s view. suggest an ethically appropriate way to test whether an infant in the birth to two-year age group has accomplished the ability. According to Piaget. it is as if a whole new object has been created out of nothing. Dimitrios loves trains. In using this concept. For example. When asked what he thought his mummy would like from Santa. . However. He was indicating that preoperational children are capable only of seeing the world from their point of view. it ceases to exist for the infant. Whenever the object reappears. in which a pile of sand can become a turtle. the ability to use symbols can become part of pretend play. Later. The thinking of the pre-operational child is much more sophisticated than that of one. He has many train sets of his own. a box can become a television and endless numbers of make-believe friends can share an imaginary tea party or adventure. a gradual shift from egocentric thought to decentred thought has occurred. they will watch the family dog walk past them. think about and imagine things in their own mind). Three-year-old Dimitrios demonstrates this notion very well. For each of these accomplishments. but they stop following it when it disappears from view. An important development that occurs during this stage is symbolic thinking the increasing ability to use symbols such as words and pictures to represent objects. behaviour which is carried out with a particular purpose in mind. The child progresses through this stage until approximately 204 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology Figure 5. that is.In the early stages of acquiring object permanence. he replied.17 Designing a test for key sensorimotor accomplishments Piaget described two key cognitive accomplishments of children during the sensorimotor stage: • an understanding of the concept of object permanence. seven years of age. a diesel train . By the end of the pre-operational stage. In the next stage of cognitive development. the child is able to think about situations from another person s perspective.32 Egocentric children think others see the world in the same way they two-year-olds. but if the dog goes into another room they show no interest in where it might have gone. Pre-operational stage (two to seven years) According to Piaget. they become increasingly able to internally represent events (that is. Because they can t see themselves they think others can t see them either. Piaget called this egocentrism. For example. he was not referring to sel sh behaviour. they might look towards where they last saw the dog before it moved out of sight. However. at about two years of age each infant moves from the sensorimotor stage to the preoperational stage of cognitive development. As children progress through the pre­operational stage. and • the ability to carry out goal-directed behaviour. places or events. learnIng a ctIVIty 5. Each time the object disappears. he is unable to think about the question from his mother s perspective and consider what she would like from Santa. object permanence is an ability which infants gain through coordinating their sensory input.

decentring Figure 5. The procedure is repeated several times to ensure the child is not guessing. Each time. on themselves that is. the child was asked the question about the doll s viewpoint and was required to select one of the pictures. First. or cartoon gures. What can the doll see? The child was then shown several pictures of the mountains from different viewpoints. The researcher asked the child. Piaget used an apparatus called a diorama. The researcher asks the child what can you see? . According to Piaget. In being egocentric. they see things from only their own point of view and have dif culty seeing things from another person s point of view. One test involves presenting a child with a card which has a star drawn on one side and a circle drawn on the other (see card A below). The researcher shows the child both sides of the card to ensure the child can accurately identify each shape. the child was asked to walk around the diorama and become familiar with the landscape from all sides. they stop being egocentric and can form a mental picture of something else as the centre of attention that is. The process was repeated with the doll in front of the second mountain and then the third mountain. they were required to sit facing the three mountains and a doll was placed behind the rst mountain. C h a p t e r 5 Theories of psychological development 205 . One picture was the view of the mountains from where the child was seated. Card FRONT BACK FRONT Card BACK Figure 5. the child may be asked to give reasons for their answers.BOX 5. different animals (card B). then the researcher asks the child what can I see? . Once the child had done this. the ability called decentring. Piaget found that children up to about seven years of age usually selected the picture which showed what they could see. Different items can be drawn on the cards for example. Sitting directly in front of the child.34 The front and back of cards used in research to assess egocentrism. This consisted of three model mountains made of papier-m ch . the researcher turns the card around several times so the child can see one side of the card and the researcher can see the other. In order to gain more information about the child s reasoning ability. In one experiment to study egocentrism.33 BOX 5. seeing things from a different perspective occurs at a later age when children stop centring. or focusing.8 An experiment by Piaget to test egocentrism Piaget proposed that all children in the pre-operational stage are egocentric in the way they think. shape and colour and each had a different landmark on top. One mountain had a hut. one had a cross (like that of a church) and one was covered in snow.9 Testing egocentrism There are many different tests that psychologists have devised to assess whether a child is egocentric in their thinking and therefore unable to see things from another person s viewpoint. Each mountain was a different size. shapes (card A).

However. This example also highlights another of the key cognitive accomplishments of children in the latter period of the pre-operational stage reversibility. Five-year-old Rick s play with tokens demonstrates this. The boy was asked whether he had a brother. Then. When 12 tokens are arranged into two equal lines of six opposite each 206 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology Figure 5. replied the boy. Rick is incapable of mentally reversing the process he saw. Another key cognitive accomplishment in the latter part of the pre-operational stage is called transfor­ mation understanding that something can change from one state (form or structure) to another. This process is known as centration. Phillips (1981) has provided another example involving a problem of reversibility for a four-year-old boy. While the thinking of a pre-operational child is signi cantly more sophisticated than that of one. he can correctly identify the lines as being the same .35 The snowman has collapsed and the three younger children are concerned about its welfare. another as sore and the other as hurt . In this test. Piaget proposed that animism was linked to egocentric thinking. . Reversibility is the ability to follow a line of reasoning back to its original starting point. Pre-operational children can identify the initial and nal stages of a process. other. Rick believes there are more tokens in the line than in the group. the pre-operational child can focus on only one quality or feature of an object at a two-year olds. They have emotions and can feel pleasure and pain. but the child could not explain or understand the melting process. so they think objects can too. Animism is the belief that everything which exists has some kind of consciousness or awareness. Figure 5. a child presented with an ice-block in a glass could identify both the ice-block in its solid state and the liquid after it had melted. For example. No . but are unable to explain any of the stages in between. earlier in the pre-operational stage. a rusty tricycle may be thought of as sick . One girl described it as sick . Rick appears to be focusing on only the length of the row in judging the tokens and he seems unable to take into account quantity and space. because it looks more . even though he had correctly counted the tokens in both original lines and watched the second line being narrowed into a tighter group. Pre-operational children unable to see things from another person s point of view assume that everyone and everything is like themselves. Yes.36 Children in the pre-operational stage have dif culty taking into account more than one quality of an object at a time. His name is Jim .Children in the pre-operational stage also use a thinking style called animism. when the fouryear-old was asked whether Jim had a brother. the boy answered. For example. a tall tree may be described as old and a child who hurts their knee after bumping into a coffee table may smack the naughty table. when the second row of tokens is bunched up as a group.

After they played with Fluffy for ve minutes.38 Age-related increase in children s ability to distinguish appearance from reality 1. 4. Children who said that the cat had turned into a dog were given a score of 1. Describe the research method used. 7.learnIn g actIVIt y 5. while children who said that the cat only appeared to turn into a dog but could never really become one were given a score of 11. The psychologist was intrigued by her son s apparent confusion between appearance and reality and decided to undertake research to nd out at what age children develop the ability to distinguish between appearance and reality. The psychologist devised an experiment using Fluffy. 6. but they did not always answer the psychologist s questions correctly. Construct a hypothesis relevant to this research. The children were aged from three to six years. Describe the results of the research. the three-year-old focused almost entirely on Fluffy s appearance. having understood that the cat only looked like a dog. At the age of six. 18 evaluation of research experiment on distinguishing between appearance and reality A psychologist observed that her 2 -year-old son became frightened when an older child put on a Batman mask. 2. Her sample consisted of four children of friends and relatives. 5.37). The four. Is this research ethical? Give reasons for your answer.38. What criticisms can be made of the sample in terms of (a) size? (b) representativeness? Is the conclusion valid on the basis of (a) sample size? (b) representativeness of the sample? Can the results be generalised to all children aged three to six years? Explain your answer. Figure 5. another four. The younger child behaved as if the mask had actually changed the wearer into Batman. Fluffy was presented to all the children and they all said that he was a cat. The six-year old was amused by this. with one child aged three. As she removed the screen. 3. the psychologist asked a set of questions to assess the children s ability to distinguish between the animal s real identity and its appearance: What kind of animal is it now? Is it really a dog? Can it bark? The strength of the children s ability to distinguish appearance and reality was measured on an 11-point rating scale.37 Fluffy the cat C h a p t e r 5 Theories of psychological development 207 . Suggest a sample and sampling procedure that would better enable the results to be generalised and have external validity. As shown in gure 5. The psychologist concluded that young children experience confusion between appearance and reality but have a better understanding of the difference between appearance and reality by age ve. At the start of the experiment. and so on. The child said Fluffy had actually become a ferocious dog and might bite them. the psychologist hid the top half of Fluffy s body behind a screen while she strapped a realistic mask of a ferocious dog onto his head (see gure 5.and ve-year olds showed considerable confusion. it is likely that children will be able to distinguish between appearance and reality. They didn t believe that a cat could become a dog. 8. a well-behaved black cat. bilit to distinguish appearance from realit 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0 3 4 5 ge ( ears) 6 Figure 5.

In acquiring this understanding. Piaget: Why not? Child: Because you wouldn t be asleep. thin glass. p. Piaget: Where does it come from? Child: The sky! Piaget: Can you see it? Child: Yes when you re asleep. A B C D Figure 5.39). (1929). Does the child think the dream comes from an internal or external source? Explain your answer with reference to the case study data. the volume (amount) of cordial remains the same ( gure 5. Piaget: What do you dream with? Child: The mouth.39 Conservation of volume. Piaget: Could I see it if I was there? Child: No. who is still in the pre-operational stage. Is the thinking of the preschool child typical of children in this stage of cognitive development? Explain with reference to Piaget s theory. A key cognitive accomplishment for a child in the concrete operational stage is understanding conservation. despite the changed shape of ball 2. This example illustrates the conservation of volume concept. The Child s Conception of the World. wide glass. For example. seven-year-old Jill is in the process of 208 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology Conservation of mass is another aspect of this logical thinking process that is acquired during the stage of concrete operations. London: Paladin. Give evidence from the child s responses to support your view. Piaget : Do you know what a dream is? Child: When you are asleep and you see something. 114. what is concrete. concrete operational stage (seven to twelve years) The concrete operational stage begins at about seven years of age and continues through to about 12 years of age. The thinking of concrete operational children revolves around what they know and what they can experience through their senses. Piaget: Where does it happen? Child: In the bed on the pillow. mass. wide glass has less cordial than does the tall. What kind of thinking is the child using? In your answer refer to Piaget s descriptions of thought processes of pre-operational children. Piaget: Where is the dream? Child: In the night. C and D hold the same volume (amount) of liquid.) acquiring this concept. A child who has attained this accomplishment will recognise that. (Source: Piaget. balls 1 and 2 still have the same amounts of plasticine. 4. What kind of data are collected in the case study? 2.40). believes that a short. Jill s younger ve-yearold brother. that is.learnIn g actIVIt y 5. 19 Data analysis dreaming in pre-operational children The following extract comes from a conversation between Piaget and a preschool child aged six years and six months of age. 5. volume or area when the object changes its shape or appearance.40 Conservation of mass. The data were collected during a study Piaget conducted with children about dreaming. How does the child describe what a dream is? 3. A child who understands this concept recognises at step 3 that. thin glass into a short. children are able to deal with the fact that two identical plasticine balls still have equal amounts of plasticine even if one is changed into the shape of a sausage ( gure 5. . J. However. eBook plus Weblink Step 1 video on children completing conservation tasks A Step 2 A B B C D C Step 3 D 1. despite the different shapes of the glasses. She can recognise that if she pours cordial from a long. Figure 5. Conservation refers to the idea that an object does not change its weight.

Select three different cognitive tasks which children in the most advanced cognitive stage you selected should be able to accomplish. at six years of age and at nine years of age). This research investigation involves comparing cognitive abilities of two children in different stages of cognitive development. conservation of mass (see gure 5. A variation of this research activity could be to compare the responses of males and females. The child sees two identical rows of M&Ms (or other objects) and says there is the same number in each row. 18 of which are brown and two of which are white.41 Other tests to assess conservation Brown beads White beads Wooden beads an example of a Figure 5.9). examining sex differences in cognitive abilities. This is called classi cation. other information requested by your teacher. However. 20 research investigation Piaget s theory testing tasks include conservation of volume (see gure 5. When collecting data. Test both participants on these tasks. The child sees two identical pencils (or other objects) that are equal in length. A B child who is asked to state whether there are more brown beads than wooden beads. Figure 5. A procedure devised by Piaget to assess a child s ability to classify information is outlined in the following task.A B (a) Conservation of number. a description of a potential extraneous variable that may be relevant. and egocentrism (see box 5. A child is presented with 20 wooden beads. including an explanation of why or why not 6. will state that there are more brown beads. They begin to think logically about concrete objects and to understand simple changes in them. Your report should include the following: 1. The pre-operational During the stage of concrete operations. a statement of the aim of this research investigation 2. the research hypothesis 3. One of the pencils is moved slightly and the researcher asks if one pencil is longer than the other. The choice of age groups of participants should ensure the children are in the same lifespan stage but different cognitive stages. the concrete operational child will be able to identify that there are more wooden ones because white beads are also wooden. The M&Ms in one row are spread out and the researcher asks if the rows have the same number of M&Ms. (b) Conservation of length. referring to the hypothesis 5. including an explanation of how the results may have been affected 7. It is essential that you obtain informed consent from the parents of the children participating in the study and conduct the investigation in accordance with ethical standards for research (see chapter 2). children demonstrate the ability to create mental pictures of objects and processes and they begin to move towards abstract thinking the major achievement during the formal operational stage. Report Prepare a formal report on the research investigation based on the reporting conventions described in chapter 7. You should construct a hypothesis for the research prior to conducting the study.39).40). This will assist you in interpreting your observations (results). By the end of this stage. a summary of the results using appropriate descriptive statistics 4. a statement about whether the results can be generalised. Suitable eBook plus eLesson demonstration of Piagetian tests Assessment task and criteria 209 C h a p t e r 5 Theories of psychological development . a conclusion based on the results. This will enable you to nd out whether a child in a later stage thinks in a more sophisticated and logical way than a child in an earlier stage. as described by Piaget s theory (for example. children learn to view the world more accurately and precisely. be sure to record each child s answers AND their explanation for the answer. learnIn g actIVIt y 5.42 Wooden bead experiment task used to assess classi cation Another key cognitive accomplishment in the concrete operational stage is the ability to organise information (things or events) into categories based on common features that sets them apart from other classes or groups (categories).

It is not until the stage of formal operations that an individual is able to form an accurate understanding of the concepts of time and distance that 210 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology is. A key cognitive accomplishment in the formal operational stage is abstract thinking a way of thinking that does not rely on being able to see or visualise things in order to understand concepts (as the child in the concrete operational stage does). develop the skills of . or the difference between the mind and the brain and why ethical issues need to be considered when conducting research with human and animal participants. As individuals move through this stage. In 1972. Piaget suggested that. unlike earlier stages. make plans and set goals. of what it means to be a truck driver or an astronaut. It seems that irrespective of cultural background and speci c experiences. formal operational thinking may not be achieved at all. an adolescent is able to understand intangible concepts such as What is honesty? . For example. all children (except those who are intellectually disabled). whether God exists).learnIn g actIVIt y 5. they are able to develop strategies to solve problems. or any concept at all. identify a range of possible solutions to problems. at approximately 12 years of age. Nor do they have any understanding of the steps involved in becoming either of these. what it means for something to have happened in 200 BC or how far 4000 kilometres really is. most children. Write the letter corresponding to the correct de nition in the space provided at the left of the correct term. following further research. According to Piaget. adolescents often compare themselves and others to some ideal standard and strive towards being like their ideal person. the ability to think and behave in idealistic ways is also accomplished. During the formal operational stage. While Piaget proposed that most individuals pass sequentially through the four stages. they are usually in Piaget s nal stage of cognitive development the formal operational stage. he revised his thinking on this point. Another key cognitive accomplishment of the formal operational stage is logical thinking. They also develop further their ideas about their own beliefs (for example. volume or area remains the same even if the object changes in appearance (c) following a line of reasoning back to its original starting point (d) seeing the world only from one s own point of view (e) changing an existing mental idea to t new information (f) organising information into categories based on common features (g) taking in new information and tting it into an existing mental idea (h) understanding the process whereby something changes from one state to another (i) believing that every object has some kind of consciousness (j) focusing on one quality of an object at a time Formal operational stage (12 years and over) At about the time many young adolescents enter secondary school. values (judgements about the goodness or badness of things) and morality (such as whether actions are right or wrong ). ___ reversibility ___ egocentrism ___ object permanence ___ conservation ___ animism ___ transformation ___ centration ___ classi cation ___ accommodation ___ assimilation (a) understanding that objects still exist even if they cannot be seen or touched (b) understanding that an object s weight. They are also able to think about the future and what is possible. the formal operational stage is the nal stage of cognitive development and adult thinking is an extension of the abilities that develop or are acquired earlier in this stage. Piaget initially believed that all children would eventually reach the stage of formal operations so there was no point pushing them. develop hypotheses (predictions and explanations) and systematically test solutions. so the age ranges for each stage should only be viewed as a guide. While a child at an earlier stage can identify that they want to be a truck driver or an astronaut. more complex thought processes become evident and thinking becomes increasingly sophisticated. he acknowledged that individuals can progress at different rates. do not have an accurate concept. 21 Matching exercise Match each of the terms listed on the left with a de nition listed on the right. However. For example. In the formal operational stage. prior to reaching the stage of formal operations. mass.

43 In the stage of formal operations. Mathematical training in logic has been identified as enhancing an individual s ability to use the formal operations. but the extent to which they are able to use formal operational thinking could depend on both educational and everyday experiences. the weight to be attached and the height at which the weight should be released. weight or height).10 An experiment by Piaget to assess formal operational thinking One experiment used by Piaget to assess formal operational thinking involved a pendulum problem . The solution involves changing one of the three factors while keeping the other two constant and seeing if it has any effect on speed. children in these stages tend to nd it dif cult to solve the pendulum problem. The problem involved working out which of the three factors (length. Figure 5. someone in the formal operational stage approaches the problem-solving task in a more systematic way and discovers more quickly that the length of the string is the factor that determines the speed of the pendulum (that is. weight or height determine the speed at which a pendulum will swing? C h a p t e r 5 Theories of psychological development 211 . the faster a pendulum swings). determines the speed at which the pendulum will swing. the shorter the string. weight or height). Consequently.44 Does length. adolescents are able to think abstractly and logically. The researcher showed a child several different weights which could be hooked on the end of a piece of string to make a pendulum. rather than changing them or testing their respective effects in a systematic and logical way. Piaget found that children in the pre-operational or concrete operational stages randomly change one or more of the factors (length. this training is not essential for formal operational abilities to develop. There are many individuals who have had very limited or no education who are capable of the most sophisticated and abstract formal operational thinking. The researcher then asked the child to choose the length of the string. BOX 5. Figure 5.concrete operations. Nonetheless. However. or combination of factors.

Think for a moment about how you were taught in primary school compared with secondary school. most students are beginning to enter the formal operational stage of cognitive development. Which two? (b) Which of the remaining witnesses is likely to be the most helpful? (c) Arrange the statements in what you believe to be their order of usefulness . so teaching methods can therefore be quite different. starting with the most informative statements and nishing with the least informative. (b) what is each man s occupation. Frank: I didn t exactly see nothing. (a) All elephants have big ears. Brendan and Pierre fought together in World War II. Brisbane and Hobart. 22 test your logical thinking and reasoning ability 1. without having to physically manipulate or see things. (b) If Alanah sleeps in she will be late for school. Figure 5. In the ship s chess championship. work out the answers to questions (a). This has enabled educators to modify and improve teaching and learning methods in schools. an orange cut into portions when you were learning fractions and books with many pictures to help you understand a story. (b) and (c). Six passengers on a pleasure cruise are from Melbourne. Perth. fewer concrete teaching aids tend to be used. identify: (a) who comes from which city.BOX 5. therefore. Adelaide. A subject that all teachers study during their training involves educational psychology. Marco and the man who comes from Melbourne are doctors. Therefore. Tran: I didn t see everything. A police of cer is questioning witnesses about whether any of them saw a car being stolen. the man from Adelaide and Chris are engineers and Evan and the Perth man are chefs. My teacher has big ears.11 Application of Piaget s theory in educational settings Piaget s theory and the research ndings of many psychologists since Piaget have provided educators with a better understanding of how children at different ages think and learn. come into teaching with a knowledge and understanding of ways in which children and adolescents think and learn. Teachers. This subject focuses on understanding cognitive development in children and adolescents. Identify the faulty reasoning in the following arguments. One man s name is David.) 3. (Note: There may be some statements which mean much the same thing. 212 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology . From the following information. she must have slept in. She is faced with the following statements: Rob: I didn t see anything. 2. Questions (a) The police of cer then dismisses two of the witnesses. while Chris is younger than the man from Hobart. Using logical thinking and reasoning. but the Adelaide man was not in the armed forces. Yiannis: I saw everything. In secondary school. Brendan played the man from Melbourne while the man from Brisbane played Chris.45 Teachers take into account the development of cognitive abilities in their teaching methods. Because students are better able to understand concepts in their heads . You probably used many more concrete aids in primary school. Therefore. and they are expected to take into account principles of cognitive psychology in their teaching methods. Darwin. Alanah was late for school. by contrast. Mark: I saw nothing. Piaget s theory is frequently referred to in these courses. Consider the following information. like beads for counting. my teacher is an elephant. The man from Brisbane is older than Marco. learnIn g actIVIt y 5. Ky-long: I saw something.

rather. 25 Oral presentation an educational toy advertising Select an educational toy that promotes development in an infant or a child aged between 0 10 years. many resesarchers have found gaps in Piaget s research methods and ndings (Bernstein & Nash. Many of these research studies have con rmed various aspects of Piaget s theory or extended Piaget s theories into other areas of development. you should identify the age range of the children for whom it is appropriate. You should also indicate why it would be appropriate for children of that age. It s not that the infants are smarter now. many psychologists now believe that the age ranges for each stage proposed by Piaget vary more widely than Piaget described. For example.2 Summary of Piaget s theory of cognitive development Stage Approx. Include a brief description of each accomplishment. mathematics and other cognitive tasks needs to be considered before giving them such tasks. Present your graphic representation of Piaget s stages in a sequential way with a brief summary of the stage and accomplishment beneath each image. Develop an advertisement to promote the toy. 1992). many child development experts warn that children should not be pushed too early. It has been shown that when conservation problems are presented without distracting information. they have found. On the basis of Piaget s theory. An alternative explanation for a child s answer could be that the child misunderstood the task or did not explain their answer clearly (Donaldson. However. C h a p t e r 5 Theories of psychological development 213 . 2002). Pre-operational children in Piaget s studies may have been unable to do these tasks. before they have suf ciently cognitively matured . In your promotion of the toy. writing. In re ning Piaget s methods. His research ndings and theory stimulated considerable interest in the development of cognitive abilities and provided the impetus for thousands of research studies by other psychologists over many years. and know it sooner. common ways of thinking and key cognitive accomplishments in each stage. Present your advertisement using two or more different types of data (still. since the 1970s in particular. children as young as four and ve years old can consistently complete them accurately (McGarrigle & Donaldson. their attention wandered and they forgot parts of the problems they were given (Kail & Bisanz. written text or sound). criticisms of Piaget s theory Piaget s theory has had a great impact in psychology and his place in the history of psychology is signi cant. leading him to assume that wrong answers came from faulty thinking. that key cognitive accomplishments described by Piaget for the different stages are often achieved by children much younger than the ages proposed by Piaget. Important practical applications also come from Piaget s theory. other researchers have also discovered that infants know a lot more. with reference to Piaget s theory of cognitive development. Some parents try to give their children a jump start in life by enrolling them in academically demanding programs when they are quite young. but because during testing they lost concentration. learnIn g actIVIt y 5. 1979). moving images.learnIn g actIVIt y 5. researchers have found that children are capable of concrete operational tasks such as conservation and classification at younger ages than described by Piaget. not because they lacked these cognitive abilities. age range Common ways of thinking Key cognitive accomplishments learnIn g actIVIt y 5. for example. than Piaget believed they did. A further criticism of Piaget s theory is that Piaget may have overestimated young children s language ability. 1974). table 5. the idea that the developmental readiness of young children for reading. Consequently. 23 Summarising Piaget s theory Complete the table below to summarise the various age-related stages of Piaget s theory. for example. 24 Visual presentation Piaget s stages of cognitive development Draw a picture or take a photo that depicts a key accomplishment of each of Piaget s stages of cognitive development.

A and B. In your essay. They concluded that these fourmonth-old infants seemed to have object permanence. sociability. then moved towards the top as it passed window B. He believes that object permanence involves several visual perceptual abilities which may be innate and this may explain why an infant can demonstrate object permanence from a very young age. personal characteristics of individual children (such as social and ethnic or cultural background. personality. Although qualitative data from observations of his own children provided useful descriptions not easily available using other research methods. memory. A small sample size is rarely representative of the population to which the research ndings will be applied. In the study of cognitive development using children (including infants) as participants. it is more likely that the participants will not match or re ect the population of research interest in personal characteristics that can in uence the results of the study. These variables can also be equally relevant to studies of cognitive development using adolescents and adults as participants. 214 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology . For example.12) and conservation at much younger ages than originally proposed by Piaget. References may be used in obtaining information for your essay. psychologists Mundy-Castle and Anglin placed four-month-old infants in front of an apparatus that had two windows. learnIng actIVIty 5. they would show four-month-old infants The results of empirical research conducted by psychologists suggest that the ability to recognise object permanence can be acquired at a much younger age than that originally proposed by Piaget. Brie y outline three criticisms of Piaget s theory. When a small sample is used. some psychologists have expressed concerns about the generalisations Piaget made from such limited data. temperament. Bower has spent many years studying visual perception and other cognitive abilities of infants and children.2 7 essay Piaget s theory of development Write an essay of about 400 500 words in which you describe Piaget s theory of cognitive development.2 6 review questions 1. The small sample size in many of Piaget s experiments helps explain why researchers who tested his ndings have found that children can acquire such abilities as object permanence (see box 5. Bower found that most of the infants appeared surprised when the screen slid back and the toy was missing. psychologist Tom Bower (1989) showed one-month-old infants an attractive toy. ensure that you: • de ne cognitive development • describe Piaget s stages in cognitive development • describe the key accomplishments in each stage • include examples of key accomplishments in each stage • refer to relevant research ndings that support Piaget s theory • include reference to criticisms of his theory • express your ideas in a clear and concise way • accurately cite and reference all material.12 Experiments that demonstrate object permanence in one. A screen designed to slide in front of the toy could hide it from the infant s view. The toy was either left on the table or removed before the screen slid away again.Piaget s theory has also been criticised for the small number of participants in many of the experiments he used to test his ideas. then placed the toy in front of them on a table. physical competence and so on) can in uence their performance on the experimental task. The researchers observed the direction of the infants eye gaze after the object had been set in motion. In particular. He concluded that infants are capable of object permanence well before the age of about seven months the age proposed by Piaget as generally being associated with the ability to recognise object permanence. In one experiment. The apparatus was designed so that the object inside it travelled in an ellipse (egg-shape) past each window. Bower expected that if the infants had some understanding of object permanence. BOX 5. language. The object went past window A at the bottom. 2. attractive toy could be seen through each window by the infants. They found that after several revolutions. then moved down past window A again and so on. If the toy had been removed. learnIng actIVIty 5. Piaget often referred to examples involving his own children. environmental experiences. A colourful. attention span. Give an example of a research study and its ndings that shows children can perform a cognitive task at an earlier stage than described by Piaget. the infants started to track or follow the object round the ellipse and seemed to anticipate where it would appear next. Results of other experiments have found that even one-month-old infants seem to have some idea of object permanence. then they would expect the toy to still be there when the screen was removed.

religious values. then it was likely that the differences between the groups resulted from age differences. Kohlberg (1969) compared groups of children at different ages. The nurse wondered whether she should respect the wishes of the man s wife. It seems that children cannot make a moral judgement about the rightness or wrongness of an action until they achieve a certain level of cognitive maturity and are able to put themselves in the position of others (that is. The nurse realised that the man had not remembered what the surgeon had told him. they focus on the way in which we develop a sense of what is right or wrong in our socio-cultural environment. A moral dilemma is a social problem which has two or more solutions. Or if an adolescent hits on a friend s boyfriend or girlfriend they may be subsequently ignored by other members of their friendship group for having done the wrong thing. As with other areas of development. constructed theories to describe and explain moral development. Kohlberg (1976) followed the moral development of a group of boys who ranged in age from 10 16 years at the commencement of the study. the best-known theory is that proposed by American psychologist Lawrence Kohlberg. the generally accepted way of doing things according to the rules within a particular society (or culture). the morally right decision would be to hand it to the police. The participants were required to judge the rightness or wrongness of the behaviour of the people involved in each moral dilemma. the man repeatedly asked the nurse who was looking after him about the results of his surgery. Rather. For example.Moral developMenT A man had exploratory surgery to establish whether he had lung cancer. the other players eventually will exclude them from the game. Generally. A number of psychologists. attitudes and beliefs about acceptable and unacceptable behaviour. including Piaget. The word moral comes from a Latin word meaning custom . social attitudes and certain behaviour. C h a p t e r 5 Theories of psychological development 215 . It includes the development of a conscience . Many research studies have found that that moral development depends considerably on cognitive development. Kohlberg presented each participant with various moral dilemmas. At various times in our lives. theories of moral development describe the way in which we learn the social rules which govern behaviour. However. For example. At the time the surgeon spoke with the man. In a longitudinal study which spanned almost 20 years. to shed egocentric thinking). or whether she should tell the man he had incurable cancer. Moral development involves the gradual development of an individual s concept of right and wrong. Over the next couple of days. there are different theories which describe and explain moral development. What would you do? What would you have done ve years ago? What would you have done when you were seven years old? Morals are learned through experience. Of particular interest to psychologists is how our morals develop and what factors in uence their development. As we progress through childhood. To test how people of different ages use moral reasoning. He assumed that if children in the various age groups differed consistently from each other in their moral reasoning for a particular dilemma. This is an example of a moral dilemma. our morals are challenged when we are confronted with a moral dilemma. In these situations we have to decide which one of two courses of action to take. Kohlberg was less interested in whether the individuals involved in the moral dilemmas were judged to be right or wrong or good or bad. and the reasons they gave for their judgements about the behaviour of the individuals involved in the dilemmas. we learn to distinguish between behaviours considered to be good or bad . the doctor told the man and his family that the cancer was inoperable and he could not be cured. and begin to develop our own judgements. He was more interested in the kinds of thinking participants used to arrive at their decisions. We usually use the word in relation to behaviour. both of which can make us feel psychologically uncomfortable. Kohlberg s theory of moral development Kohlberg s theory on moral development is based on studies he conducted using both cross-sectional and longitudinal research methods. each of which is wrong in some way. Moral behaviour is behaviour that is considered proper or ethical according to a society or culture. that is. he was still not fully alert because of the effects of the anaesthetic. This would mean that differences in moral reasoning are agerelated and he obtained evidence to support this. if a child continually breaks the rules in a game of chasey by refusing to admit they have been caught. This is likely to in uence whether or not they do this again. Straight after the operation. The theories do not refer to the laws made by governments. In one crosssectional study. The term moral refers to the distinction between right and wrong. She contacted his wife who asked her not to tell him about the seriousness of his condition. if a person nds an envelope containing $1000 what should they do? Should they hand the money into the police or should they keep it? For many people.

but the pharmacist is charging 10 times what the drug cost him to make. the conventional level and the postconventional level. I discovered the drug and I m going to make money from it. table 5. His theory is focuses on how people think about behaviour involving moral decisions. Kohlberg used this dilemma to identify an individual s stage of moral development.On the basis of his research findings Kohlberg concluded that the development of moral reasoning progresses sequentially through a series of developmental stages. Legalistic-socialcontract orientation 6. Obedience and punishment orientation 2. similar to the progression through the cognitive stages described by Piaget. What should Heinz do? the case of Heinz Figure 5. Consequently. Law-and-social-ordermaintaining orientation 5. goes to everyone he knows to borrow the money. But he still has only about $1000. Good boy/nice girl orientation 4. resulting in six stages in total. rather than what choices they make. But the pharmacist says.13 Kohlberg s original moral dilemma One of Kohlberg s best-known moral dilemmas is the story of Heinz. He paid $200 for the radium but charges $2000 for a small dose of the drug. No. Universal-ethical orientation 10 15 years Conventional 16+ years Figure 5. Below is a description of Heinz s dilemma. There is one drug the doctors think might save her a form of radium that a local pharmacist has recently discovered.3 Levels and stages in Kohlberg s theory of moral development Age 0 9 years Level Preconventional Stage 1.47 Heinz s moral dilemma what should Heinz do? 216 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology . He identied three broad levels of moral development the preconventional level.46 American psychologist Lawrence Kohlberg (1927 87) Weblink eLesson on Kohlberg Postconventional BOX 5. who is the sick woman s husband. Naively egotistical orientation 3. which is half of what the drug costs. Feeling desperate. each of which has two distinct sequential stages. A woman is near death from a particular kind of cancer. Heinz considers breaking into the man s shop to steal the drug for his wife. Heinz. there are no right or wrong answers to the question of what Heinz should or should not do. Heinz tells the pharmacist that his wife is dying and asks if he will sell him the drug at a cheaper price or let him pay later. The drug was expensive to make.

obedience and punishment orientation. rather than doing it because they think it is the right thing to do. Thus. C h a p t e r 5 Theories of psychological development 217 . they may not think it was wrong to cheat. children begin to show the early signs of moral behaviour and start to be able to put themselves in the position of another person. if a child did cheat on a test and didn t get caught. children in this stage of moral development believe that the worse a punishment is. They see rules as something they have to follow because others. I didn t get into trouble . People at the conventional level are considerate of the thoughts and feelings of others. tell them to. In stage 2. they often will do the right thing to please others. In stage 1. For example. For an individual at this level of moral development. A behaviour may not be considered wrong if no-one nds out about it and therefore there is no punishment. the more bad a behaviour must be. whether behaviour is right or wrong depends on its consequences. Individuals in this stage might justify cheating with the remark. Thus. but they are more likely to do the right thing if they think they will get something in return. children start to think that they will be rewarded if they do something right. Furthermore. naively egotistical orientation.Preconventional level (0 9 years) At the preconventional level. For children in this stage. I needed to get a good mark because Mum promised me a new iPod if I got an A on the test . conventional level (9 15 years) By early adolescence. a severe punishment would result in a preconventional child thinking the behaviour that caused the punishment must have been very wrong . For example. By the end of this stage.48 Children in the obedience and punishment stage of moral development might justify cheating with the remark. have internalised many moral values Figure 5. It s OK. what is right is what you can get away with or what is personally satisfying. most people have matured to the conventional level of moral development. rather than on the belief that the behaviour is right or wrong. usually authority gures. The rules are not something they truly believe in. children follow rules to avoid punishment. They have some concern for the views of others. Their behaviour is based largely on fear. someone in this stage of moral development might justify not cheating on a test because of fear of being caught. children have little awareness of the moral behaviour which is socially or culturally acceptable.

to follow the rules of society and the law. by parents. moral behaviour is law-abiding behaviour. Because their behaviour is so dependent on others. just because of what they are. The views of others are clearly recognised and given serious consideration. the pre-adolescent often obeys rules in order to please others and to obtain praise or approval from people who are important in their life. unlike individuals in stage 1. individuals in stage 3 conform or do the right thing to gain social acceptance. the adolescent s focus shifts to social institutions such as the law. In stage 4. what is right or wrong is determined by others. The adolescent seeks to avoid the guilt and shame which come from criticism by authoritative gures such as police. Their motivation to follow the rules is less about avoiding punishment or receiving rewards.49 Individuals in stage 4 are concerned with doing the right thing and conforming to rules and laws. without asking themselves why driving at that lowered speed is important or bene cial. they may criticise their parents if they don t drive at 40 kph around school zones because it is the law. stage 4 reasoning is more advanced than stage 3 because in stage 4. good boy/nice girl orientation. in turn. according to Kohlberg.and seek to obey the rules set down by others. They may criticise their parents if they don t drive at 40 kph in a school zone because it is the law . people are conforming to society s rules rather than responding to their immediate peer group. which. The conforming behaviour eventually leads to an internal awareness of rules and behaviour. friends. Instead of conforming to gain social approval as they do in stage 3. However. they usually accept rules and laws without question. that is. Rather. for example. They generally conform to avoid disapproval from others or to avoid feeling guilty. Having others think you are good or nice is important. not because they are fearful of the punishment if they don t do the right thing. An adolescent in this stage of moral reasoning is more likely to refuse to allow a friend to copy from them during a test because it is not allowed according to the teacher s or school s rules. law-and-social-order-maintaining orientation. According to Kohlberg. According to Kohlberg. as it is for the preconventional moral thinker. teachers and priests. 218 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology . To an individual in stage 4. leads to the development of respect. school or church. individuals in this stage have dif culty saying no to friends and resisting peer pressure. Many people do not develop beyond the conventional level of moral reasoning and some people do not develop beyond stage 3. individuals in stage 4 tend to conform to maintain social order. In stage 3. An adolescent in this stage is likely to be tempted to share answers on a test to help a friend. For example. Like individuals in stage 1. they do this to gain the approval of others. Figure 5. teachers and the government.

an individual s decision to do what is morally right is guided by their conscience. However. They want laws that are best for everyone. A person who argues for euthanasia and would be prepared to carry it through would be considered to be reasoning at the postconventional level. In our society. Stage 6 is the most advanced stage of moral reasoning. In stage 5. For example. regardless of whether the rest of society agrees. However. Euthanasia is the act of ending the life of a person who has a terminal illness or injury. their conscience may con ict with society s laws. each stage grows out of the stage before and represents a more complex way of thinking. Their moral views sometimes con ict with their society s views of what is right and wrong. Stage 5 individuals realise that laws are not completely xed and that laws can be changed to better serve people. The majority of these participants still reasoned in terms of what others would think of them or whether they would be rewarded or praised for their behaviour (that is. According to Kohlberg. It s not what the majority of people want.Postconventional level (16+ years) The postconventional level is the final level of Kohlberg s theory and involves true morality. being careful not to interfere with the rights of others. consider the moral dilemma involving euthanasia. In stage 6. While people move through the Kohlberg s stages sequentially. Once a person has achieved a higher stage. or assisting them to die. A person in stage 4 is unlikely to challenge any law. research ndings indicate that not all individuals go through all stages. Figure 5. At times. a person in stage 5 is more likely to challenge a law that interferes with human rights. one study found that only 10% of Kohlberg s sample of 24-yearolds operated at level 3. Euthanasia is illegal in most countries and unacceptable in many cultures. their arguments for justice for the dying person would con ict with our laws. A person in stage 5 might say this is not a sensible law. after discussion. People in stage 6 follow their conscience.50 At the postconventional level. As with stage 4. the majority agree that changing the law would meet the needs of more people within the society. A person in stage 4 might say the law is the law and it can t be changed . an individual s decision to do what is morally right is guided by their conscience. morally right and legally proper is not always the same thing. individuals choose moral principles to guide their behaviour. level 2). Furthermore. C h a p t e r 5 Theories of psychological development 219 . Just as not everyone achieves cognitive accomplishments in Piaget s stage of formal operations. psychologists now believe that not everyone achieves the moral reasoning of the postconventional level (Colby & others. even if it means getting friends or society offside . According to Kohlberg. individuals in stage 5 tend to follow existing laws. For example. called universal-ethical orientation. Kohlberg eventually questioned whether it was possible to really separate stage 5 and 6. so let s change it . they will not go back to an earlier level of moral reasoning. Stage 5 individuals believe that a law should be changed if. 1983). there are some people who believe that euthanasia should be allowed if the dying person has made the decision to end their life at a particular point in time while they are of sound mind . Individuals in stage 6 have highly individualistic moral beliefs. at the postconventional level. legalistic-social-contract orientation. the individual knows that what is moral is not simply what the majority of people want to do.

too. Kohlberg considered the reasons they gave for whether Heinz should steal the drug rather than their answer of whether or not he should steal it. but he s justified in doing it. In a situation where the choice must be made. The pharmacist is the selfish or heartless one. to make money. he just wants to make a profit. It isn t because he s heartless or that he doesn t love her enough to do everything that he legally can. but it s always wrong to steal. It would be worse if he didn t love his wife enough to save her. Good boy/nice girl orientation Steal it He was only doing something that was natural for a good husband to do. Legalistic and social contract orientation determine what is good Steal it The law wasn t set up for these circumstances. Stage 2 Decision Reason what satisfies one s own needs is good Don t steal it He shouldn t steal it. Stage 4 Decision Reason maintaining social order or doing one s duty is good Don t steal it It is a natural thing for Heinz to want to save his wife. He won t get permission. The chart below summarises the moral reasoning associated with each level and stage of Kohlberg s theory for Heinz s dilemma. It isn t like he didn t ask to pay for it first.14 Kohlberg s moral dilemma the case of Heinz: reasoning in each stage of moral development Kohlberg believed that the responses an individual gives to Heinz s dilemma described in box 5. stealing a very expensive drug and damaging the store.13 depended on their stage of moral development. Stage 3 Decision Reason Conventional level what pleases or helps others is good Don t steal it If his wife dies. If he did nothing he would be letting his wife die. Heinz ought to act not according to his particular feelings toward his wife. Universal ethical orientation Steal it This is a situation which forces him to choose between stealing and letting his wife die. Taking the drug in this situation isn t really right. he can t be blamed. he s not really taking a $2000 drug. Stage 5 Decision Postconventional level Reason values agreed on by society including individual rights Don t steal it You can t completely blame someone for stealing. He has to take it with the idea of paying the pharmacist back later when he has the money. Stage 6 Decision Reason what is right is a matter of conscience and what s best for all people Don t steal it Heinz is faced with the decision of whether to consider the other people who need the drug just as badly as his wife. When determining an individual s stage of moral development. 220 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology . it is morally right to steal. You can t have everyone stealing whenever they get desperate. You can t blame him for doing something out of love for his wife. He knows he will be stealing and taking a valuable drug from the man who made it. Law-and-social-order-maintaining orientation Steal it He should steal it.BOX 5. It s his responsibility if she dies. It isn t that he wants to steal. He has to act to preserve and respect life. but it s the only way he can get the drug to save her. and will use force to break into the shop. physical consequences determine what is good and bad Don t steal it It s a big crime. The pharmacist isn t wrong or bad. The drug he d take is only worth $200. but even extreme circumstances don t justify taking the law into your own hands. He will do a lot of damage. Stage 1 Decision Preconventional level Reason Obedience and punishment orientation Steal it It isn t really bad to take it. but considering the values of all the people involved. That s why you re in business. Naively egotistical orientation Steal it It s all right to steal the drug because his wife needs it and he wants her to live.

Bob Dent. If I was an animal. arduous deaths she actin ss wanting to tell their story riddled with bone cancer. ‘It doesn’t mean make it even beyondblue.’ ld be brave a pro-euthanasia group she had soug after Mr Flounders made his states and territories wou But . she paid for said. law to allow me this week. is had gripped her bones in recent mon While Greens senator Bob Brown d by federal police last year. never felt forcing a change to Australian laws. In which stage of Kohlberg s theory of moral development is Angie likely to be? Explain your answer with reference to Kohlberg s theory. 28 Media response angie s wish: death with dignity Read the newspaper article on Angie s wish. my Dr Nitschke said he was not confiden more relief: ‘The weight was gone or any of the the help of Exit International. 131 114.’ she said. (b) On the basis of the reasons you gave for (a) year. 1. What arguments might a person in stage 4 of Kohlberg s theory put to Angie about euthanasia? 4. After explaining the constant pain Seven. week with the Federal Government ht fear was gone. — and days before she took her own I have been able to think. She the drug could be purchased over morning in her favourite. 2009. one day.’ the right to do? Put us in priso . he By Julia Med feel like a criminal to ducing Mr er being made to the police would arrest Mr After nearly two decades fighting canc laws at present say (that) did not think pursue it. ‘We humans are not humane to our of Ms Belecciu’s death their own laws on this issue. tralian territories to independently deci the case appeared to be closed. or Lifeline on worse from a publicity point of view have it.’ commonly used to euthanase animals. Ms Source: The Age. interlaws. out during her illness. Janet second of the two on Monday. (a) What would you do if you were in Angie s situation? Explain your reasons. ‘What ‘If I had one wish it would be that n? I’m bed-ridden freeze over. which would have to take that choice.’ he In a letter to the founder of Exit t Dr Nitschke said although he migh Dr Philip Nitschke. his After months of meticulous planning Ms Belecciu is the latest in a line some of the costs Mr Flounders and Belecciu. but you shou for Victoria on 1300 651 251. in which stage of Kohlberg s theory of moral development would this type of moral reasoning occur? 5. . Dr Nitschke said I am — Angie Belecciu says Australia reason and make choices all my life. then answer the following questions. Don Flounders. needs even though On his own position. ‘Our life who has mesothelioma. peaceful death Restricted by her illness.’ she carefully executed the where of Australians — including Angelique Ms l to Mexico. Mr Mills and Lisette Nigot — who have found yesterday counter at veterinary clinics.’ he always had legal concerns when to rethink its euthanasia not able to know when l’ve had enou of two. are they going to change is like waiting for bloody hell to was reopened. Flounders. International.’ said. call Suicide Helpline ld in hospital. March 25. them. swift.Angie’s wish: death with dignity in introted law for his organisation’s role means to achieve her goal. was wife lris faced to trave the Flowers. to assisted suicide ly terminally ill man mistakes. to tell her story to Channel enough to change the laws any time ng that joumey public by talki es soon. it wou Flounders said he would said it would be a tiny step in the process. Dr Nitschke On hearing ld own species. said her illne in palliative care units. the also be sailing close to the edge of cciu said she felt blessed to have the Bele learnIn g actIVIt y 5. whose body was g with people who were planning The mother Fearful of the long. Mr be cruel and against the ‘file’ ‘Waiting for politicians or for legislative not be surprised if he and his wife’s to continue my life. without them. Max Bett. In which stage of Kohlberg s theory of moral development is each of the following individuals likely to be: (a) Don Flounders? (b) Dr Philip Nitschke? C h a p t e r 5 Theories of psychological development 221 . his and Ms Belecciu’s hom ths. Ms their deaths and d letting her had watched her because the laws about what constitute had left her with two choices: Belecciu arranged last year with anot remained vague. Ms Belecciu said she had t Ms Belecciu contacted The Age last . ‘One until she was slowly body deteriorate . 3. te were raide she said she wanted to create deba s and trying to introduce a bill to allow AusThe police did not find their drug de about legislative change. everyone will have For help or information visit www t of the time. gh. When pyjamas. It is unclear if she had l last made their deaths public in the hope of softest Flounders arrived with her Nembuta been alone or not. but resen ew Flounders to Ms Belecciu. so it would have to be you mos choose. 57. What moral dilemma did Angie face? 2. I hope we haven’t euthanased in a hospital bed with fami Nembutal — a potent barbiturate can make he dying a obtain and friends around her — or made any mistakes in this regard.

3 0 review questions 1. Studies by other psychologists suggest that females may use different reasoning than males when confronted with moral issues and that their moral reasoning may also develop differently. For example. De ne the terms moral development and moral reasoning with reference to an example different from those used in the text. 4. As females develop morally from being egocentric. individuals may be identi ed as being in a particular stage by their response to various moral dilemmas. Thus. 29 Debate euthanasia should be legalised The class should be divided into two teams the af rmative and the negative.learnIn g actIVIt y 5. one study tested moral reasoning in people from small villages in isolated rural areas of Africa who had limited access to sources of information such as newspapers. This may have led Kohlberg to misjudge the way in which children think about moral issues. the focus is more on how to deal with and respond to events in the environment. they focus on justice (that is. they become more concerned with their own welfare and that of others. research has shown that what people say they will do is not always consistent with what they actually do (Shaffer. This has resulted in a better understanding of the way in which we develop our thinking about what is right or wrong. 1995). Thus. A major criticism of Kohlberg s theory is that it does not always accurately describe moral development of females. 2000). they were unable to hear about the views of others on social and moral issues. Another criticism of Kohlberg s theory is his use of moral dilemmas to judge an individual s level of moral development. The negative team argues against the statement. Describe the moral reasoning people tend to use at each of Kohlberg s three levels. televisions or the internet. and whether there is a link between moral thinking and behaviour. In particular. learnIng actIVIty 5. Other cross-cultural studies have found similar results. the type of data he actually gathered. Valid criticisms have been made of the way in which the data were gathered. Kohlberg s research using moral dilemmas relied heavily on children s understanding of language and on their ability to communicate their thoughts in words. many psychologists have been critical of his theory. Each team should: • collect evidence in support of the view they are debating • develop arguments to support the view to which they have been assigned • elect three speakers to present their team s arguments. How would lying be explained by a person in each of Kohlberg s rst ve stages of moral development? 5. particularly his description of the rst stage. when in reality they may be in a different stage if their moral behaviour was being judged. as males move from being egocentric (thinking about themselves). Kohlberg s theory of moral development seems to focus on American males and may not be very relevant to females or to people in nonWestern societies. some psychologists believe that Kohlberg s theory may not be accurate for all age groups. The af rmative team argues in favour of the statement. Kohlberg s theory was developed using data collected mainly from male participants. radios. For example. 1993). However. how else might psychologists study the development of moral thinking? . Kohlberg s theory stimulated interest in both research and the construction of other theories on moral development. For males. they become concerned with how people will feel about the consequences of speci c behaviours and events. Consequently. on what is fair) and the rights of individuals in society. 222 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology Psychologists have also criticised Kohlberg s method of data collection. 2. Other than presenting participants with moral dilemmas and asking for their responses. Nonetheless. However. 1982. Each dilemma requires the participant to say what they will do when presented with a particular social situation. The researchers found that very few of these individuals showed moral reasoning beyond stage 3 of Kohlberg s theory (Snarey. Females tend to focus on how particular behaviours will affect relationships in deciding on what is morally right or wrong and on the importance of the responsibilities individuals have to themselves and others (Gilligan. some younger children may not have always understood the stories and may not have been able to express what they were thinking. There are also cultural differences in the development of moral reasoning which are not addressed by Kohlberg s theory. criticisms of Kohlberg s theory Although Kohlberg s theory of moral development provides useful information about how moral thinking may develop among people in Western societies. (a) What methods did Kohlberg use to study moral development? (b) Why have Kohlberg s research methods been criticised? 3. In summary.

Response sheet 1. 31 applying Kohlberg s theory For the following moral dilemma. Each participant should be presented with the dilemma separately. ask them to complete the response sheet below in which they give their opinion of what the teacher should do and their reasons for their answer. which was not a pass. Mr Fisher knows that if Jim fails maths. Jill goes shopping one day with her best friend. Do you believe the results may have differed if data was also collected from females? Explain your answer. Jim scored 48%.51 1. 3. Kohlberg (1975) collected data on cheating behaviour at school by students in different age groups. In what ways might the results differ if a crosscultural study was conducted to test Kohlberg s theory. You should construct a hypothesis prior to data collection. one participant could be aged 13 14 years and the other 17 18. After the participant has read the dilemma. He also believes that Jim will end up unemployed. Your hypothesis should focus on the stage of moral development expected for each participant based on Kohlberg s theory. 32 Data analysis Kohlberg s (1975) research on cheating at school In one study. he will not get into the trade course. The procedures of this investigation should be considered when constructing your hypothesis. Sujatha. Explain to each participant that you will give them a brief story to read about a teacher s dilemma. Consider Kohlberg s results and answer the following questions. Mr Fisher wonders whether he should change Jim s mark so that he passes maths. 100 90 80 Cheating behaviour ( ) 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Preconventional Conventional Postconventional Figure 5. followed by three questions about the dilemma. The teacher s dilemma Mr Fisher is a secondary school maths teacher. Thank the participants for their involvement in your research and debrief them about the purpose of the research. Kohlberg collected data from males only. Sujatha tries on a jumper and walks out of the shop wearing it under her jacket. Provide each participant with a copy of the teacher s dilemma to read. Jim is one of his brightest students but has not worked very hard in the rst half of the year. The manager of the store tells Jill she will be in serious trouble if she does not disclose Sujatha s name and address. describe a response which might be given by someone in each of the rst four stages of Kohlberg s theory. Your data will then be combined with those collected by the rest of the class. by replicating the study in an Asian or African city or an isolated community? (continued) C h a p t e r 5 Theories of psychological development 223 . Brie y explain the reason for your decision and how you worked out what Mr Fisher should do. He asked participants questions about whether they had ever cheated and summarised their responses in the graph shown below. In his nal year 11 maths exam.learnIn g actIVIt y 5. Before sitting the exam. but in a different stage of moral development. You are required to present a moral dilemma to two individuals in the same lifespan stage. At which level of moral development are individuals most likely and least likely to cheat at school? 2. learnIn g actIVIt y 5. Jill is left to face the store s security person who insists that Jill names Sujatha and gives Sujatha s address. What should Mr Fisher do? ❑ Change Jim s mark so that he passes maths ❑ Not change Jim s mark which means that Jim fails maths 2. For example.3 3 research investigation testing Kohlberg s theory of moral development This investigation enables you to test Kohlberg s theory and one of his data collection methods. for example. What should Jill do? learnIng actIVIty 5. 4. Do the results obtained from the study support Kohlberg s theory of moral development? Explain with reference to Kohlberg s theory. Jim told Mr Fisher that he needed to pass maths in order to get an apprenticeship and get into the trade course he has always wanted to do.

the nature of the attachment formed between an infant and caregiver(s) is viewed by most psychologists as being vital in emotional development. Denmark. a description of a potential extraneous variable that may be relevant. the research hypothesis 3. Research Exercises for Introductory Psychology. This is why he called his theory psychosocial development. (c) _____ Mr Fisher should consider what action other teachers would approve of. including an explanation of how the results may have been affected 7. Similarly. A rating of 1 means most important and 5 means least important. Each crisis involves a struggle between two opposing tendencies. the media and so on also signi cantly contribute to the development of social behaviour. many of our social skills develop in early childhood through interaction with other children during play. Psychologists also believe this rst social relationship is equally important in social development. particularly their interaction with other people (social). Report Prepare a formal report on the research investigation based on the reporting conventions described in chapter 7. one of which comes from our internal personal needs and the other from the demands of society. including an explanation of why or why not 6. His theory is based on extensive research mainly using case studies. NSW: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. according to Erikson. Assessment task and criteria 224 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology . (Adapted from Hausfeld & others (1983). Experiences with other family members. work. Erikson believed that social development occurs through a combination of the effects of psychological processes which take place within individuals (psycho) and the experiences of individuals during their lifetimes. (b) _____ Mr Fisher should think about the consequences for himself. He also made intensive studies of the lives of important historical gures (such as Martin Luther King who led the freedom movement for African-Americans).3. school. Here are some statements that other people have said are important when thinking about this dilemma. however. other information requested by your teacher. (e) _____ Mr Fisher should consider what action would be most consistent with his own moral beliefs. friends.) pSYCHoSoCIal developMenT There is little doubt that early childhood experiences are important in the development of social behaviour. Erikson viewed psychosocial development as a progression through eight sequential stages. Use this information together with each participant s answers for question 2 to estimate their level of moral reasoning according to Kohlberg s theory. (a) _____ Mr Fisher should follow his professional standards. Erikson studied a range of people living in different cultures (for example. Your report should include the following: 1. North Ryde. wealthy American adolescents and indigenous Sioux Indians). Scoring question 3 In the list below are the moral developmental levels which correspond to the statements (a) to (e) in question 3. These are. adults. our personality and how we interact with others are shaped by how we deal with or resolve the psychosocial crises. (d) _____ Mr Fisher should consider what action will most bene t all people in the school. the individual has to deal with a different psychosocial crisis that is normal for people in that stage of life. A psychosocial crisis is a social dilemma or problem an individual faces in adjusting to society. just some of the early childhood experiences which in uence the course of social development. a conclusion based on the results. with each stage corresponding with a different period in the lifespan. For instance. Key to Kohlberg s stages for question 3 (a) Conventional level (b) Preconventional level (c) Conventional level (d) Postconventional level (e) Postconventional level On the basis of each participant s responses to questions 2 and 3. referring to the hypothesis 5. a statement of the aim of this research investigation 2. assign them to one of Kohlberg s three levels of moral reasoning. In each of these stages. peers. Germany. erikson s theory of psychosocial development One view of the way in which social development occurs throughout the lifespan was described by Danish psychoanalyst Erik Erikson. a summary of the results using appropriate descriptive statistics 4. Rank them in order of importance by giving each statement a number according to how important it was when making your decision. According to Erikson. but both are experienced by the person. a statement about whether the results can be generalised.

A crisis is like a patient being in a serious condition for a period of time. They may also change friends and think about different career paths they could follow in the future. For example. individuals may. According to Erikson. According to Erikson. It can arise again in each successive psychosocial stage. At the same time. As shown in table 5. change as we grow older. friends.4 Erikson s eight psychosocial stages Stage Age 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 birth to 12 18 months 18 months to 3 years 3 to 5 years 5 to 12 years 12 to 18 years 18 to 25 years 25 to 65 years 65+ years Developmental period early infancy late infancy Psychosocial crisis trust versus mistrust autonomy versus shame or doubt early childhood initiative versus guilt middle and late industry versus childhood inferiority adolescence young adulthood adulthood late adulthood identity versus identity confusion intimacy versus isolation generativity versus stagnation integrity versus despair C h a p t e r 5 Theories of psychological development 225 . an individual may fail to resolve a crisis at one time but resolve that crisis in a later stage. In terms of Erikson s theory. In addition. such as parents.52 Erik Erikson (1902 94) Weblink eLesson on Erikson Erikson believed that our internal needs. however. However. Erikson added.Figure 5. Erikson did not believe that failure to resolve any psychosocial crisis will necessarily have consequences which are permanent or irreversible. a con ict between who they are and who they want to be. so it is possible for an individual to be dealing with more than one crisis at any particular time. in the psychosocial stage of development which corresponds with adolescence. depending on the individual s ability to deal with that crisis. that is. Erikson believed that successful resolution of each crisis should be in favour of the positive characteristic. Therefore. experiment with different aspects of who they might want to be by trying out different hairstyles and clothing styles. teachers and society in general also change. that the opposite negative aspect must also exist to some degree if healthy psychosocial development is to occur. the expectations and demands made on us by other people. at the end of which the patient takes a turn for the better or worse. table 5. individuals experience a con ict involving their sense of personal identity. a crisis is not a catastrophe but a turning point in life. One is a positive aspect and the other a negative aspect. involves developing the right mix of trust (to allow intimate relationships) and mistrust (for self-protection). The way in which each crisis is resolved can have either a positive (good) or negative (bad) outcome. or what we want for ourselves. the order in which individuals progress through the stages is xed. He believed that setbacks in any stage can eventually be overcome with proper attention. However. Erikson believed that it is necessary to experience each crisis (but not necessary to resolve each crisis) before proceeding to the next stage. In dealing with the con ict. each of the eight crises involves a con ict between two characteristics which are the opposite of one another. For example. Erikson also believed that different stages can overlap. the crisis of trust versus mistrust in stage one is not necessarily resolved during the rst 18 months of life. the ages at which people go through each of the eight stages can vary because of each individual s unique life experiences. Erikson used the term crisis in the way that doctors do. It is possible to gain basic trust in early infancy then lose it later because of a negative social experience in some later stage in life.4. which puts pressure on us to change too. for example. the psychosocial crisis experienced by an individual is called identity versus identity confusion . Each crisis needs to be resolved if healthy psychosocial development is to occur. care and love. resolution of the trust versus mistrust crisis in stage 1.

if an infant is to grow into a person who is trusting and trustworthy. being able to rely on being fed when hungry or cuddled when they need it. The infant whose needs are met when they arise. being able to rely on being fed when hungry. learnIn g actIVIt y 5. 2. When infants needs are not consistently recognised. mistrust can develop. Regardless of whether a psychosocial con ict is successfully resolved. 226 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology Figure 5. the quality of care they receive is important. caring and happy place. A predictable world also includes the knowledge that a frown or a rm no will be a consequence of inappropriate behaviour. individuals move into the next psychosocial stage because they mature and because of their changing social situations. irregular or even rejecting. this variation should occur in a way which enables the infant to learn to anticipate it and deal with it comfortably. According to Erikson. the infant can anticipate reactions. 4. not being able to resolve a crisis does not prevent the individual from moving into the next stage. if infants develop a strong sense of mistrust. to come out of this stage in the best way. according to Erikson. How often might a particular psychosocial crisis occur in the course of a lifetime? Stage 1: trust versus mistrust (birth to 12 18 months) This stage. They may become fearful and suspicious toward the world and . From such variations. it will have a negative effect on the individual s social relationships. For example. However. When the world is predictable. the infant needs to develop the right balance of trust and mistrust. 34 review questions 1. forms a view of the world as a safe place and of people as caring. their world can become unreliable and unpredictable. for example. whose discomforts are quickly removed. What is meant by the idea that resolution of a crisis should include the right mix of both the positive and negative aspects? Explain with reference to an example. 5. the better an individual deals with a psychosocial crisis in any stage. Sometimes an infant s cry is answered immediately. sometimes it is ignored brie y then answered and sometimes the crying infant can be ignored and left for long periods. According to Erikson. helpful and dependable. for example. While a predictable world is important for the infant to develop trust. which occurs in the rst 12 18 months of life. they will view the world as a predictable. who is cuddled. played with and talked to. if a con ict is not resolved.Erikson s description of the eight psychosocial stages is a picture of what is ideal.53 Infants develop trust when their world is predictable. involves a con ict between trust at the one extreme and mistrust at the other. He believed that when an infant has developed a healthy sense of trust. According to Erikson. 6. they will become anxious and insecure. However. some variation in the way infants experience their world is also both important and desirable. the healthier their psychosocial development. What does the term psychosocial mean? De ne psychosocial development. knowing that a cuddle and care will be given when they are hurt or that help will arrive if they are stuck under a chair while crawling around a room. safe. However. According to Erikson. the infant can learn that experiences are not always predictable but that there is no need to be concerned about this. What was Erikson s main source of research data? What is a psychosocial crisis and why is it said to occur? Give an example of a psychosocial crisis. 3. music can provide regular changes in sounds and variation of food can provide regular changes in taste. When care is inadequate. Erikson used the term trust broadly to refer to the views and expectations that infants develop about their world.

We have autonomy when we are in a position to make our own choices and act on those choices. self-con dence. under certain circumstances. holds and lets go. the family may become more despairing and frustrated. Erikson believed that successful attempts by infants to establish their independence during these years contributes to a sense of autonomy. 1971). For example. self-reliance and competence which accompanies this. It can arise again in later stages. feeding themselves. Erikson believed that a certain amount of self-doubt about our capabilities is appropriate. Like the burned child who dreads the ame. opens and closes things. investigate and do things by themselves. buttoning clothes or ushing the toilet. This is the time when infants gain more and more control over their bodies and aspects of their behaviour. because the inevitable separations hurt too much. Parents and other family members may become impatient with the infant and respond in ways that may cause the infant to become even more irritable and mistrusting. The infant not only talks and walks. In the end he gave up trying to reach out to others. If infants become more mistrusting than trusting. For example. they begin to show their independence. when infants can move about on their own and have discovered that they can cause events to occur. He was indeed a cold and apathetic boy. who had a drinking problem. the conict that occurs involves autonomy at the one extreme and shame or doubt at the other. when we choose to stay where we are or to go somewhere else. Alternatively. They learn to control some of their impulses and to feel pride in their accomplishments. which occurs between 12 18 months and about three years of age. this emotionally burned child shunned the pain of emotional involvement. their anxiety and insecurity can negatively affect relationships with family and others. Autonomy refers to the ability to do things independently and the feelings of self-control. for example. This means that the development of these important early relationships can be caught in a downward spiral. Infants need to know the right balance between what they can do. a sense of being too dependent on others can lead to a lack of self-con dence. Although it is desirable for autonomy to be developed in this stage. Toddlers begin toilet training in this stage and exercise autonomy when they gain some control over their bowel and bladder. They often want to explore. for example. selfconsciousness and feelings of shame or doubt about our capabilities. According to Erikson. It is also possible to gain basic trust in infancy and lose it later. They claimed that he was cold and unloving. now wanted to give him back to the agency. On the other hand. He had trusted his mother. The trust versus mistrust crisis is generally not resolved totally in infancy. learn to trust teachers who take the time to show them that they are trustworthy. parents may believe they have a bad and irritable infant who is too demanding and wants too much attention. Sometimes people who develop a sense of trust in infancy can lose it because of experiences later in life. if a trusted partner betrays you by cheating on you. Initially. the psychosocial crisis of autonomy versus shame or doubt which occurs in this stage is based on the infant s developing motor and cognitive abilities. As infants get better at making themselves understood. pushes and pulls. They take pride in these new accomplishments and often want to do things without help. what s safe to do and what they should do. C h a p t e r 5 Theories of psychological development 227 Data analysis . Stage 2: autonomy versus shame or doubt (12 18 months to three years) During the second stage. children who enter school with a sense of mistrust may. but the relationship never had a chance to develop because he was moved at just the wrong times.people in it and this may continue to later stages of psychosocial development. or when we choose to do some particular thing or not do it. In many respects. but with good reason. Erikson believed that. compared with the activities for which they are not yet ready. who had had him for six months. they feel more powerful and become more independent. Consequently. he was taken away from his mother. During the second year of life. About a year after his illegitimate birth. Language skills are another important achievement in developing autonomy. and was shunted back and forth among several foster homes. Both to toddlers and to caregivers this is an important milestone. over time. Only years of devoted care and patience could now undo the damage that had been done to this child s sense of trust (Elkind. but now he trusted no one. for example. took things and could not be trusted. Clinical psychologist David Elkind provides an example of the loss of trust in the case of a four-yearold boy he was counselling at a court clinic: He was being seen at the court clinic because his adoptive parents. developing a sense of mistrust rather than trust can form the basis of antisocial behaviour later in life. trust in infancy builds the foundation for a lifelong expectation that the world will be a good and safe place. this second psychosocial stage is an all by myself period. he had tried to relate to the persons in the foster homes. but also climbs.

If caregivers recognise the infant s need to do what they are capable of doing at their own pace and in their own time. these infants move further from their caregivers. In addition. the infant who moves through this stage with a much greater sense of autonomy than feelings of shame and doubt is better prepared to be autonomous in later stages of development. inquisitive person. spilling or breaking things). dirtying. The balance between autonomy and shame and doubt set up during infancy can be changed in either positive or negative directions by later events. Having established a sense of trust and autonomy in infancy.54 An infant s eagerness to button their clothing without help demonstrates their increasing autonomy. When the parents and the boy came to realise this and to recognise that a little shame and doubt were appropriate for balancing against too much autonomy. As time passes. initiative involves being able to plan. Stage 3: Initiative versus guilt (three to ve years) The third stage. This is because the caregiver is seen as a safe base from which the infant can explore the world with increasing independence. According to Erikson. the three were able to develop a healthier relationship (Elkind. On those rare occasions when the parents took control and said no! . Erikson believed that infants who have a well-developed sense of trust are also best prepared to become autonomous. which occurs between about three and ve years of age. The boy used this problem to rule the household. According to the psychologist who was counselling the family. Erikson believed that if the infant leaves this stage with less autonomy than shame or doubt. think for oneself and carry out various kinds of activities with purpose. He learned very quickly how terri ed his parents were of any signs in him that he may have been experiencing heart dif culties. their behaviour and their environment they have a sense 228 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology of autonomy. involves a con ict between initiative at the one extreme and guilt at the other. By gently encouraging independence. Autonomy builds on the sense of trust developed in the rst stage. they reinforce a sense of shame and doubt. However. this boy was actually frightened of the amount of power he had and was really eager to give it up. their impulses. consider the actual case of a seven-year-old boy with a heart condition. by not immediately responding to every single request from the infant and by respecting the fact that the infant is an active. 1971). For example. they will nd it more dif cult to achieve autonomy later in life. wetting. The family could not go shopping or for a drive or on a holiday if the boy did not approve. he would get angry. On the other hand. infants can develop an excessive sense of shame with respect to other people and they begin to doubt their own abilities to control the world and themselves. make fun of unsuccessful attempts at independence and criticise accidents (for example. when the infant s caregivers do for the infant what the infant is capable of doing themself. children develop an increasing sense of their own power and now want to try new things and use their power. then the infant develops a sense that they can control their muscles. too much autonomy can be as harmful as too little. often happily playing by themselves with only occasional glances to check that safety and security are nearby. his face would become purple and he made gagging sounds. These reactions would frighten the parents into giving in to him.Figure 5. caregivers promote the infant s development of autonomy. . When caregivers are consistently overprotective and restrict what the infant is permitted to do.

unless they are restricted by feelings of inferiority or inadequacy. children must learn the technology or tools which are important for being an industrious. children have a desire to learn how things are made. Thus. about becoming the wrong kind of person (Morris. it is not until this stage that children are really able to take turns at games that require them to obey rules. They have good language skills. the basic tools required to become a productive. They can therefore initiate and carry out various activities on their own. explore and follow their curiosity. She knows she has the ability to hit her little brother. industrialised societies such as Australia. often just for the sake of being active. 1963). children gain mastery over their bodies. Their mental capabilities are also developing. involves a con ict between industry at the one extreme and inferiority at the other. Sumi also realises that hitting her brother is wrong and that this action would upset her parents. jump. Erikson. the child also learns to be a worker and to earn recognition by producing things of quality. such as monopoly and other board games. they participate in imaginative play. In New Guinea. feelings that may continue through later stages (Elkind. She also realises that she will feel guilty if she fails to control her behaviour. that their questions are annoying or a nuisance. 1990). It is also a period during which they become capable of logical reasoning. Children at this age no longer merely react. weed and harvest. and of playing and learning by rules. wrestle. children will develop a strong sense of industry. productive worker in their society. if children are made to feel that their play is silly and stupid. For example. which corresponds with the primary school years. During this stage of development. For example. 1971. they become aware of rules about what is (and what is not) permitted. and that fantasy is a waste of time. On the other hand. how they work and what they do. both by themselves and with others. whether or not a child leaves this stage with a stronger sense of initiative than guilt depends largely on the way in which caregivers respond to the child s self-initiated activities. According to Erikson. children can be made . Although play continues to be important. According to Erikson. the Arapesh boy learns to make bows and arrows and traps and the Arapesh girl learns to plant. they are inquisitive. school also exposes the child to C h a p t e r 5 Theories of psychological development 229 Figure 5. Initiative is also strengthened when caregivers answer their children s questions (intellectual initiative) and do not discourage or make fun of their fantasies. climb and ride a tricycle. but realises she cannot always do what she wants. about overstepping boundaries. These tools are mainly learned in school. and even questions they should not ask. In Western. as it is in all other stages. Importantly. whereas in this third stage they learn to make themselves feel ashamed. At school. During this period. what will (and what will not) be tolerated. They plan and think for themselves. On the other hand. According to Erikson. this is the period when the child must learn to work and become productive. consider the case of ve-year-old Sumi who feels so angry at her little brother that she wants to hit him. along with initiative comes the potential for feeling guilt about going too far. Stage 4: Industry versus inferiority ( ve to 12 years) The fourth stage. to feel ashamed by other people. children in this age group also become increasingly aware that there are limits beyond which they must not go when showing initiative and using their powers. and they are beginning to understand that other people have different thoughts and feelings from them. For example.Children from three to five years of age (the preschool years) are very active and increasingly have more control over their bodies. They also start to realise they can make things happen. In the autonomy stage (stage 2). act with purpose. industrious worker later in life involve literacy (reading and writing) and numeracy (using numbers). 1971). They can run. about asking too many inappropriate questions. which occurs between about ve and 12 years of age. They no longer just respond to or imitate the actions of other children (Elkind. then they may develop a sense of guilt over selfinitiated activities.55 Initiative involves being able to think for yourself and acting with a purpose. Children who are given a lot of freedom and the opportunity to initiate play activities simply for the sake of doing them will have their sense of initiative strengthened.

skills and abilities. where they belong. achievements and failures. In many respects. However. such confusion is often Figure 5. school is a social world with its own goals. the child regularly experiences failure in academic efforts and this reinforces their sense of inferiority. But parents who see their children s efforts as mischief and making a mess promote the development of a child s sense of inferiority. Consequently. Erikson used the term identity to refer to the overall image individuals have of themselves. When young people do not attain a sense of personal identity.56 In stage 4. 230 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology . therefore. follower. This child may be too bright to be in special classes. it rst comes into focus during adolescence. begin in infancy. children learn the basic tools that will enable them to become productive. rules. During adolescence. sensations and desires that are experienced as a result of bodily changes. a child who has dif culties with schoolwork can have a particularly unhappy school experience. then their sense of industry is enhanced. as a son or daughter. they develop a sense of inferiority. or pulled together. According to Erikson. to whom they belong or where they are headed in life. employee and so on. religions and societies which they can then compare with their own experiences of family. The opposite is true for the person who enters adolescence with considerable mistrust. In addition to the new feelings. the individual matures cognitively as well as emotionally and physically. The adolescents who succeed at this task develop a psychosocial identity. where they have been and where they want to go in life. student. brother or sister. entering school is like entering a new world which is different from home. even when their sense of industry is encouraged and rewarded at home. assemble a jigsaw puzzle. When children feel less adequate than their peers in achievements. musician. but on other signi cant adults in the child s life as well (Elkind. and against whom they measure their abilities and accomplishments. the adolescent develops a variety of new ways of looking at and thinking about the world. leader. On the other hand. into a complete image of the whole person that makes sense and that shows continuity with the past while preparing for the future. Erikson believed that identity is something all people seek and that the search for identity is a lifelong search. sportsperson. whether the child develops a sense of industry or inferiority does not depend solely on the caregiving efforts of the parents (as it does in earlier stages). Erikson believed that the task of this fth stage is for adolescents to use their cognitive abilities to bring together all the things they have learned about themselves in the various roles they have undertaken in life. or construct a cubby house). to do practical things (whether it be to cook. involves resolving the con ict between identity at the one extreme and identity confusion at the other. friend. children who have their sense of industry squashed at home can have it revitalised at school through a sensitive and encouraging teacher. initiative and industry. industrious workers later in their lives. Among other things. preparation for a successful adolescence and forming an integrated psychosocial identity must. The child s school experience also affects their industry inferiority balance. guilt and inferiority. 1971). the psychosocial crisis involves developing a sense of identity. The different images of the self learned through these different roles need to be integrated. are allowed to nish their products and are praised and rewarded for their results. doubt. When children are encouraged in their efforts to get the most out of things they already have. They can also form clear ideas about ideal families. for example. For example. then their chances of developing a meaningful sense of identity are much better. they show a certain amount of role confusion a sense of not knowing who they are. If the person has reached adolescence with a healthy sense of trust. a sense of who they are. autonomy. which occurs between about 12 and 18 years of age. Failure to resolve this crisis produces identity confusion . which corresponds with adolescence. During this period. According to Erikson. shame. To the ve-year-old child. but too slow to compete with children of average ability. religion and society. Therefore. Stage 5: Identity versus identity confusion (12 to 18 years) The fth stage.many peers with whom they cooperate and compete. adolescents can think about how other people think and contemplate what other people think of them.

soldiers who have served together under the most dangerous circumstances often develop a sense of commitment to one another that illustrates intimacy in its broadest sense. 1992. it becomes possible for the rst time to engage in a truly intimate relationship with another person outside the family. Elkind. Failure to establish a clear sense of personal identity during adolescence does not mean that a person is a failure or will never establish a strong sense of who they are. Nor do individuals stop seeking intimacy after the early adulthood stage. According to Erikson. Stage 6: Intimacy versus isolation (18 to 25 years) The sixth stage of psychological development which occurs between about 18 and 25 years of age. 1990). according to Erikson. Erikson s description of intimacy versus isolation may provide some insight into people who say I m not ready for a committed relationship . Isolation refers to the sense of being alone without anyone to share one s life with or care for. 1971). Furthermore. People who do not fully understand who they are nd it dif cult to deal with the complete and open sharing that is required in an intimate relationship.57 Role confusion can cause some young people to adopt a negative identity . as well as adolescents selfconsciousness about their appearance. Intimacy. People who attain a sense of identity in adolescence will still come across challenges to that identity as they move through life (Grotevant. Some young people seek a negative identity opposite to the one that their parents and relatives would prefer them to have. to love another person for their real qualities and not just for the satisfaction that can be obtained from the relationship. If a sense of intimacy is not established with friends or a partner. is a sense of isolation (Elkind. Failure to resolve this con ict results in avoiding interpersonal relationships and experiencing a sense of isolation. Erikson used the term intimacy to refer to the ability to share with and care about another person without fear of losing oneself in the process. for example. a person without a strong sense of identity tends to frequently seek praise. continually changes over time and is in uenced by experiences later in life.seen in delinquent young people. helps explain the inconsistency. 1992. As with other psychosocial crises. Role confusion may also be evident when a young person takes an excessively long time to reach adulthood. People who lack a sense of identity tend to isolate themselves. . and this interferes with the shared commitment and honest communication that are essential for an intimate relationship to develop and last. During later adolescence and the early years of adulthood. an identity as a delinquent . 1990. involves a con ict between intimacy at the one extreme and isolation at the other. of much adolescent behaviour. the result. However. According to Erikson. attery and adoration from others. in Erikson s view. 1971). For example. intimacy does not necessarily involve sex and it includes the relationship between friends. which is opposite to their parents preferences. metal head or a petrol head . this kind of relationship cannot occur earlier in life because a person cannot establish true intimacy without rst developing a strong sense of personal identity and independence and being secure in their place in the world. the development of intimacy does not occur only during the stages of late adolescence and young adulthood. C h a p t e r 5 Theories of psychological development 231 Figure 5. a certain amount of identity confusion is normal and. or form super cial or shallow relationships with others (Grotevant. Harter. like identity. Morris. or changeable nature.

people develop a sense of stagnation. Working creatively. illustrating intimacy in its broadest sense. In all these examples. legal aid. Figure 5. scout or guide leader. BOX 5. with future generations and the nature of the society and world in which those generations will live. Some people in middle adulthood change careers in an effort to nd a job that provides a greater sense of generativity and lasting satisfaction (Morris. scienti c research and engineering. Stagnation refers to boredom. He did not believe. which occurs between about 25 and 65 years of age and corresponds with adulthood. Erikson believed that people go through this psychosocial crisis towards the middle of the seventh stage when they look ahead to the latter half of their lives and feel a need to participate in the continuation of life. 232 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology . such as poverty.15 The Modified Erikson Psychosocial Stage Inventory The Modi ed Erikson Psychosocial Stage Inventory (MEPSI) was developed for research purposes to examine the way in which adolescents resolve crises in the rst six psychosocial stages. however. Following are some sample items which the respondent is asked to indicate as being either true or false. member of a school council or involvement with some other youth organisation. work with community agencies. Generativity is sometimes achieved by becoming involved in activities which promote the development of younger people. According to Erikson. involves a psychosocial crisis of generativity at the one extreme and stagnation at the other. I have a clear idea of what I want to be. will leave a lasting mark on future generations and will make the world a better place in which to live. I usually finish things that I start. the act of helping is in itself satisfying and recognition or reward is not sought. I have a close emotional relationship with another person. Nor did he believe that parenthood guarantees that someone will be generative. I know when to please myself and when to please others. Crisis Trust Autonomy Initiative Industry Identity Intimacy Item My dealings with people usually turn out well for me. Basically. I m an active person who likes to do a lot of different things. for example.Stage 7: generativity versus stagnation (25 to 65 years) The seventh stage. people who achieve generativity build their lives around doing things that help others. that everyone needs to become a parent in order to be generative. This could apply to jobs in elds such as architecture. as a sport coach.58 Soldiers who serve together may develop a sense of commitment to one another that lasts a long time. The MEPSI is a questionnaire with 12 items for each of the six psychosocial crises. Generativity refers to a person s concern with others beyond their immediate family. 1990). volunteer work for welfare groups and service on committees dealing with social or environmental problems provides opportunities for generativity. skilfully or productively in a job that has a lasting in uence on the lives of other people can help develop a strong sense of generativity and a lasting feeling of pleasure and satisfaction. nursing. unemployment and global warming. if this need is not met. According to Erikson. too much concern with personal needs and comforts and a lack of personal growth. having children is an important part of generativity for many people. teaching. Similarly. Generativity can also be achieved by actively participating in groups concerned with social or environmental problems. Many adults also achieve a sense of generativity through their paid work. inactivity. social work.

older workers can lose opportunities for generativity by not being able to pass on the wisdom and skills they have developed over the years (Dacey & Travers. too much stagnation can result in an obsession with oneself. with all its ups and downs. the attainment of generativity can be dif cult in a youth-oriented society that seems eager for older people to step aside and let younger. At the other extreme is the individual who looks back on life with a sense of despair. According to Erikson. Integrity refers to a sense of satisfaction with one s achievements in life and a belief that all that happened in the course of one s life has been useful. The last psychosocial crisis to be faced is integrity versus despair.59 Generativity can be achieved by becoming involved in activities which promote the development of younger people. gains and losses. Furthermore. Box 5. becoming generative is not always easy. 1991). it is the balance of the positive and negative aspects of the crisis which is important. While a person must achieve a greater sense of integrity than despair for the successful resolution of the nal crisis.has been lived and the crisis of integrity involves an examination of that life and a judgement of whether that life. involving lost opportunities. good decisions and mistakes. which occurs after about 65 years of age. It depends on the successful resolution of the crises in each of the previous six stages. However.3 5 MePSI 1. According to Erikson. 2. Figure 5. Thus. comes at a time when most of a person s life s work is nearing completion and there is time for re ection.60 Integrity develops from looking back at achievements in life with satisfaction. The major part of life C h a p t e r 5 Theories of psychological development 233 . learnIng actIVIty 5.15 brie y describes the Modi ed Erikson Psychosocial Stage Inventory (MEPSI) which was developed for research purposes. more technologically savvy workers take over. Then suggest an item which might be suitable for assessing the negative outcome of the psychosocial crisis in each of the rst six stages. the individual may realise with despair that time seems to have run out and it is too late to do all the things they want to do. For example. Read the description and examples of sample items for the positive outcome of each stage. valuable and meaningful. the sense of integrity arises from the individual s ability to look back on their life with satisfaction. he suggested that even if someone felt completely ful lled with their life. mistakes that were made and the sense that life has been meaningless and empty. some stagnation can provide a break that leads to greater generative activity in the future. severe depression or despair in the next stage. Erikson believed that some despair is inevitable. pleasures and pains. Stage 8: Integrity versus despair (65+ years) The eighth stage. was worthwhile. For example. Despair involves bitter feelings of hopelessness. Figure 5. In the latter years of life. Suggest sample items which might be suitable for assessing the positive and negative outcomes of the psychosocial crisis in each of the last two stages. As in Erikson s other psychosocial stages. the fact that other people have suffered throughout their lives may make them feel some despair.

Erikson s theory prompted and continues to stimulate considerable research since it was rst published (Thomas. Criticisms have also been made about more speci c aspects of Erikson s theory. 1994). He explains how each stage of development can have a positive outcome as well as a negative outcome. However. a person who wishes they could relive their working life so they could do it better 7. Erikson s belief that identity is found in adolescence. Another positive feature of Erikson s theory is that it describes how healthy social (and personality) development is achieved. Furthermore. in the past 15 or so years. research which has tested this proposal suggests that this is not the case. especially as Erikson strongly argued about the importance of industry in childhood and the importance of career preparation in adolescence. Erikson recognised other important in uences in the individual s world. such as the father. 36 Identifying erikson s psychosocial stages of development Identify the psychosocial crisis most likely to be unresolved in each of the following examples. Another criticism of Erikson s theory is that it did not consider the way in which socio-cultural in uences have differing effects on males and females.learnIn g actIVIt y 5. some psychologists have studied ways in which speci c life and cultural experiences affect psychosocial development. Australian psychologists Lindsay Gething and Desmond Hatchard (1989) suggest people continue their search for identity well into young adulthood. Bradley & Marcia. In his theory. Unlike many other theories on development. Criticisms of Erikson s theory have been based on the lack of experimental evidence to support it. it is hard to de ne basic trust precisely enough for thorough scienti c testing in a laboratory setting. Erikson recognised that parents (especially the mother) are important in uences on psychosocial development. other caregivers. They also criticise Erikson s theory for overlooking the role of work in identity formation of the young adult. However. both in Western societies and in many non-Western societies and cultures (Costa & McCrae. His theory is developed mainly from case studies of people in several different cultures and on his experiences with individuals he counselled. an adolescent girl who always waits to be asked to join in social activities. a new employee who is reluctant to do a task on their own for fear of making a mistake 2. 2000). It has been found that when and where people are born and grow up can signi cantly in uence psychosocial development . a lawyer who decides to take up politics and runs for a state government seat in parliament because she is passionate about making a difference to the environment 5. a 28-year-old woman who constantly gives others compliments seeking to get compliments in return 3. the wider social environment and the individual s own characteristics. For example. a 10-year-old who misbehaves in class and avoids doing any schoolwork 8. Many recent studies of adult development have shown that undertaking a career during adulthood is a major path in the search for identity. Experimental evidence for Erikson s theory has been dif cult to obtain because of the problems with examining each of the stages under controlled conditions. Erikson s theory states that all people experience a midlife crisis during adulthood. Findings from these studies indicate some empirical support for aspects of Erikson s theory (Marcia. They believe this is a big gap in the theory. experiences at the workplace can affect our social development as much as people with whom we have relationships. Erikson failed to describe female psychosocial development in general and his theory primarily describes male psychosocial development. his theory is different from other theories in its emphasis of the role of individuals in their own psychosocial development. the school. various research attempts have been made to test Erikson s theory using cross-sectional and longitudinal studies. and of the in uences of the social world to which the individual belongs. For example. For example. 234 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology siblings. 1998). an adolescent boy who is reluctant to develop friendships with females after his girlfriend cheated on him 6. Erikson s theory describes changes which take place across the entire lifespan from birth to older age. Explain the person s feelings and behaviour in terms of Erikson s theory: 1. This balanced view of psychosocial development is a feature which made Erikson s theory appealing to clinical psychologists and psychiatrists who sometimes use it in their work with people of all ages. a 38-year-old who has had three broken engagements in the past 10 years 4. Many adults do not experience a mid-life crisis. for example. friends. peers. criticisms of erikson s theory Erikson s psychosocial theory provides a useful outline for understanding aspects of psychosocial development and interpreting some of the major changes that occur at different times throughout the lifespan. 1999. However. rather than scienti cally controlled research.

The increase in life expectancy is mostly due to advances in medical knowledge and improvements in the availability and quality of aged care services. 1998). Why is it important for a theory to be based on experimental research evidence? 3. 2. The average life expectancy has dramatically increased since the 1950s. Many geropsychologists categorise people in the lifespan stage of older age in either of two subgroups the young old and the very old (or the old old )(Baltes. Currently in Australia. when they had very little. whereas the very old are more likely to experience considerable decline of cognitive abilities. pSYCHoloGICal CHanGeS In THe verY old Generally. in psychology. learnIn g actIVIt y 5. the young old experience fewer cognitive. learnIn g actIVIt y 5. were always careful with their money even when they were nancially secure years later. moral or psychosocial development. the psychological changes associated with ageing. a male baby born this century is expected to live to about 79 years of age (barring an accident or life-ending illness).(Elder. such as perceptual. and social and emotional changes as they age. chart or other type of visual organiser in which you summarise Erikson s theory of psychosocial development. and. people who were children during the Great Depression (1929 39). following World War II. trust) and negative (e. In your presentation you should: • make reference to three theories of development • brie y de ne each area of psychological development • show how the different areas of psychological development can in uence each other • brie y describe key accomplishments in each area of psychological development • identify the age(s) at which each of the key accomplishments occur in each area of psychological development • give appropriate examples to illustrate your understanding of the three areas of psychological development and key accomplishments • accurately describe and explain key concepts • present information logically • express information in a clear and concise way.g. The increase in the number of older aged people has stimulated much research on ageing. 2009). Describe three criticisms that have been made of Erikson s theory. emotional (attachment). Psychologists who specialise in the study of older people and the psychological effects of the ageing process are called geropsychologists. 38 Visual presentation of erikson s theory summary Prepare a table. In your presentation you should: • describe psychosocial development • outline the key ideas of Erikson s theory • accurately name and describe the approximate age range for each stage • accurately describe the positive (e. including key accomplishments in three different areas of development. Assessment task and criteria C h a p t e r 5 Theories of psychological development 235 . mistrust) outcomes for each psychosocial stage • describe the main factors that in uence positive psychosocial outcomes • present information in a logical arrangement • express information in a clear and concise way. 1997). cognitive. it is generally accepted that the young old are those people between the ages of about 65 85 years and the very old are those over 85 years. A female baby born this century is expected to live to about 84 years of age (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. This distinction is made because psychological abilities and wellbeing of the very old tend to be different from the young old. What is your view of Erikson s theory? Brie y explain with reference to one or more psychosocial crises.g. people throughout the world are living longer than they did in the past. social and emotional changes when compared with the very old. 39 Visual presentation overview of theories of human psychological development Prepare a poster in which you use a graphic organiser such as a timeline(s) and images to show the development of psychological characteristics across the lifespan. Generally. 37 review questions 1. For example. While these subgroups are not determined only by age. learnIn g actIVIt y 5.

2001). each participant was tested on overall intelligence and four cognitive abilities speed of processing information (perceptual speed). words and possible solutions to a problem ( uency of thinking). drawn from six different age groups to obtain a strati ed random sample. a very old person may focus on an irrelevant detail and miss the main point of what has been said. in 1993. 236 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology Geropsychologists attribute the cognitive decline in most abilities to the ageing brain. . However. for example. 1995 and 1997. In addition. if they are given plenty of time. This may explain why learning how to use new technology. the longterm memory for facts and general knowledge (called semantic memory) tends to be unaffected until about age 90 and then it slowly declines. 2000). Finally. For many very old people. Each participant was rst interviewed to obtain data about their life histories and socio-cultural background. The very old also tend to be much slower at mentally processing information than others who are much younger than them. For example. at a four-way intersection a driver has to monitor where every vehicle is.cognitive changes Various longitudinal studies that have tracked the cognitive functioning of groups of people into very old age have shown that this is the rst period in a person s life where almost all cognitive changes involve decline or deterioration of mental abilities. In terms of speci c cognitive abilities. 85 89. 90 94 and 95+ years. whereas others tend to be more affected by the ageing process. for example their educational quali cations. Then.16 The Berlin Aging Study (BAS) A team of German psychologists conducted a study on the cognitive abilities of very old people living in the city of Berlin. Memory is another cognitive ability that tends to decline among the very old. for example. occupation. many are still able to. Some tend to decline minimally in the very old. Participants were rst assessed in 1990. including information about current sensory functioning. three follow-up interviews and assessments were conducted every two years. Anyone who had an ongoing medical illness was excluded from the study. the long-term memory for various experiences and events in one s life (called episodic memory) tends to decline more.61 Learning how to use new technology is often dif cult for very old people BOX 5. 2001). There were 516 participants. The age groups were 70 74. memory. the long-term memory for skills and thought processes required to do something such as how to use the oven (called procedural memory) is affected to a lesser extent than other kinds of memory. 75 79. come up with the answer to a crossword clue or to solve a problem requiring logical reasoning (Salthouse. 1996). vision and hearing. such as a mobile phone. in a conversation. at times. 1997). Participants were randomly selected using the electoral roll. Lindenberger & Baltes. unaware of others on the road. This may make driving dif cult. Driving involves paying attention to many different pieces of information at any given moment. remember the road rules and use these to make a decision as to which vehicle has the right of way and then decide when they should enter the intersection. 80 84. Figure 5. income level and social class . the very old tend to have dif culty paying attention to more than one thing at a time. the gradual deterioration and loss of brain cells associated with ageing often results in a slowing of the speed at which information is transmitted along nerve pathways throughout the brain (Korten & others. Each group consisted of 43 females and 43 males. and time taken to come up with ideas. Information about each participant was obtained from a series of interviews. For example. in equal numbers for each age group and gender. In addition. a DVD recorder or computer software is often a dif cult task for the very old. Consequently. For example. very old people tend to have dif culty separating relevant from irrelevant information (McDown & Shaw. the nal sample from whom the results were obtained consisted of 132 individuals. Many nd it dif cult to retain information in conscious awareness when thinking about it (Kemper & Sumner. Some participants died or developed illnesses and were unable to continue for the duration of the study. This is a complex cognitive task and may explain why some very old drivers are hesitant with their driving and are. However. the very old tend to experience considerable difculty learning new information (Singer. For example. general knowledge. A medical history was also obtained. There are several different kinds of memory. Various explanations have been proposed for the cognitive changes associated with the ageing process.

a person s psychosocial experiences in older age will depend. to a large extent. and physical abilities such as mobility and strength. events and attitudes to life are also considered important (Ryff. Name the research method used in the Berlin Aging Study. on how they perceive their earlier life when they re ect on it. The very old have relatively unique experiences that can be challenging and often stressful. very old people who are lled with regrets or bitterness about past mistakes. For example.16 and answer the following questions. missed opportunities or bad decisions are likely to feel disappointment. useful and productive they are likely to experience integrity and therefore be more content or happier in their old age. 1989). Construct a hypothesis that might have been used in the research.The results showing changes in general intelligence and the cognitive abilities over time are shown below. Score Score Score Psychosocial changes According to Erikson. 5. What do the results indicate about changes in cognitive abilities among the very old? Explain with reference to the results. 1. (a) Overall intelligence 70 60 50 40 30 20 0 70 80 90 ge 100 110 learnIng actIVIty 5. (a) Explain the meaning of the term random strati ed sample. all decline.4 0 Data analysis Study Berlin aging (b) Perceptual speed 70 60 50 40 30 20 0 70 80 90 ge 100 110 (c) General knowledge 70 60 50 40 30 20 0 70 80 90 ge (d) Memory 70 60 50 40 30 20 0 70 80 90 ge 100 110 100 110 Read the summary of the Berlin Aging Study on cognitive abilities in the very old in box 5. The decline C h a p t e r 5 Theories of psychological development 237 Score (e) Fluency of thinking 70 60 50 40 30 20 0 70 80 90 ge 100 110 Figure 5. However a very old person s re ections and judgements on their past experiences are not the only factors that determine psychological wellbeing among the very old. 2. sight and hearing. These kinds of changes often affect a person s ability to function effectively in everyday life as they once did and therefore their overall satisfaction with their present life.62 Changes in overall intelligence and various cognitive abilities over seven years among participants in the Berlin Aging Study Score . A person s current life circumstances. Many contemporary psychologists believe that psychosocial wellbeing when very old may be only partly determined by satisfaction with past life experiences. Conversely. To what extent can the results be generalised to: (a) all very old people living in Berlin? (b) all very old people living in Germany? (c) all older people in Western societies? (d) all older people in the world? Give a reason for each answer. If they view their life as meaningful. experience despair and therefore be less content or happy. 4. (b) Why was random strati ed sampling used? 3.

Many also experience a loss of independence when they become less mobile or can no longer drive their car. there is also a considerable increase in the number of individuals who develop dementia a progressive deterioration of brain functioning. thereby enhancing their life satisfaction. with reference to examples of the everyday use of cognitive abilities. a very old person who is a skilled writer might continue to read widely. Give an example of how these changes might be observed in everyday life experiences of a very old person. According to Baltes. 2. what could you say to your 75-year-old grandparent about the changes they might expect in their cognitive functioning over the next 10 years? Your 85-year-old grandparent? Explain your answers. which is sometimes called successful development. cognitively and psychosocially (Baltes & Smith. very old age is associated with many losses. In the process of maximising positive outcomes. Many very old people. German psychologist Paul Baltes has been prominent in this area. For example.63 German geropsychologist Paul Baltes (1939 2006) Weblink video of Baltes describing ageing processes 238 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology . this gives the very old person a sense of achievement and worth. successful ageing occurs when a very old person maximises and attains positive (desired) outcomes while minimising and avoiding negative (undesired) outcomes. walking the dog. making them feel even more isolated and lonely. What is a possible explanation for the cognitive changes associated with ageing? 3. This is not only associated with a serious loss of cognitive abilities but often dramatic changes in personality. By continuing to use their skills. 1999). 4. How do the cognitive and psychosocial changes experienced by the very old affect their life satisfaction? Explain your answer. do crossword puzzles and write letters on issues of concern to daily newspapers or write items and newsletter articles for a community organisation with which they may be involved. SUCCeSSFUl aGeInG Some geropsychologists have considered how the psychological impact of the losses very old people experience can be minimised to enable them to be more productive and satis ed in the latter part of their lives. when considering the whole person. for example. going shopping. For many. and social and emotional wellbeing too. also report feeling lonely. their social world shrinks. According to Baltes. Describe three psychosocial changes experienced by the very old. in the past. Baltes introduced the concept of successful ageing. learnIn g actIVIt y 5. putting the bin out or going to appointments. the individual uses strategies to continue to develop their skills to their full potential. Among the very old. with or without dementia. Based on the ndings of research studies. 41 review questions 1. They become increasingly dependent on family for social contact. This restricts their social life even further and many become con ned to their homes or restricted to their local area for outings. When their friends and other peers die. Coping with the unwanted changes to their mental functioning can be a further source of personal dissatisfaction. thinking about these cognitive losses and contemplating a future where these abilities will not be regained can be very cognitive abilities can also be very frustrating for many very old people. the very old person is not only maintaining use of their cognitive abilities. These can occur in all areas of the person s life physically. they have done themselves. but also preventing further deterioration or losses. even when a cognitive loss such as an occasional loss of memory is relatively minor. Associated with this loss of autonomy is a loss of identity as they depend more and more on others to do things which. Figure 5. In sum.

promoting gains and managing losses are the two main ways of ageing successfully.64 Concert pianist Arthur Rubenstein Because very old people experience losses in many aspects of their lives. a very old person who is unable to concentrate on reading for long periods of time may compensate for this by reading for short periods often. This re ects their current priority of building friendships close to home . They may also practise what they plan to cook prior to the special day and prepare as much of the meal as they can in advance. after moving into a retirement village. or substitute . but interrelated processes that are all vital for successful ageing. This gave him more opportunity to practise each piece more often in order to optimise. they may select the village dinner over the family dinner. practised them more often. He constructed a theory to describe and explain how these two goals could be achieved. Using strategies such as these will optimise the likelihood of a successful dinner. resources and opportunities available to achieve the optimal or best outcome. By reducing his range of playing pieces. Figure 5. 2003). If they are invited to attend the Friday night community dinner at the village as well as a family dinner on the same evening. or something they have cooked before. or give his best performance. when a person uses selection. they must develop new strategies to compensate. Baltes Selection. He said that he played fewer pieces of music. According to Baltes. they might choose simple recipes. The following example of 80-year-old concert pianist Arthur Rubenstein illustrates how these three processes work. Optimisation involves making the most of the abilities. for each of C h a p t e r 5 Theories of psychological development 239 . For example. one of their challenges is to maintain a productive life.Successful ageing also involves developing strategies to minimise the effect of losses that have been experienced. Baltes theory is called the Selection. and used variations and contrasts in speed to make it seem as though he was playing faster. an individual s goal might be to develop friendships within the village. Optimisation and Compensation theory (SOC) and describes selection. Rubenstein was being selective. He did this by playing more slowly just before a fast segment so that it seemed as if he was playing the fast section much faster than he actually was (Baltes & Smith. In order to maintain a productive (and enjoyable) life. For example. Rubenstein was asked in a television interview how he managed to remain such an excellent concert pianist throughout his old age. thereby compensating for a skill for which he has experienced loss. He also looked for different ways to overcome the loss of his nger speed when playing the piano. optimisation and compensation as three distinct. they reduce the number of goals they try to achieve. Optimisation and compensation theory According to Baltes. then prioritise the goals. if a very old person wanted to prepare a dinner for a family member s birthday. Rubenstein gave three reasons. For example. which is the desirable outcome.

optimisation and compensation strategies used by George. learnIng a ctIVIty 5. Write each factor on a separate small piece of paper or post-it note. Rule lines between linked (related) factors and write on each line what the relationship is. George writes a checklist which he ticks off as he completes each task. 3. George is always very pleased with himself when he completes the servicing and his Holden starts without any trouble. what are the two main goals of successful ageing? Give an example of each goal.) 4. contributes to . a person who can no longer read due to deteriorated eyesight may compensate for their loss of vision by listening to talking books which have been recorded to CD. You may also include other factors that impact on psychological wellbeing. learnIng a ctIVIty 5. (b) Place linked factors close to each other and nonlinked ones apart.these losses. He still likes to service his own car. An example of a concept map is shown on page 160. determines . someone whose partner dies may have to develop strategies to cope with being on their own. 4. one optimisation strategy and one compensation strategy that Carmella might use to give her con dence that she can successfully speak to the children. Stick the pieces of paper down or write the arrangement on the paper or construct it on your computer. Similarly. She nds it dif cult to stand for long periods of time and her hearing has experienced age-related deterioration. He is still very interested in cars and how they work. 5. You can use words such as shapes . You may nd it helpful to follow the steps outlined below in constructing your concept map. can lead to . 1. (Note: There is no right way of arranging the concept map. What is meant by the term successful ageing? 2. To help ensure he doesn t forget all the tasks he needs to do when he services the car. (c) Rearrange the in uences until you are satis ed with their placement. He always plans to do it when he knows his grandson is available to help. Eighty. in uences and assists . people who select. 240 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology . Construct a diagram showing how the various factors in uence psychological wellbeing by arranging the pieces of paper in a layout which you believe best shows their relationship. Give an example to illustrate each of these processes. Carmella is very anxious about the presentation. Carmella is 87 years old. According to Baltes. His research has shown that very old people who use these strategies generally feel happier and more satis ed with their lives because they are contributing to their own successful ageing (Baltes & Baltes. Carmella doesn t want to embarrass her granddaughter by not speaking well or by not hearing questions. 2. He also sometimes needs help getting nuts and bolts off and on. Describe the three key processes involved in Baltes theory of successful ageing.) 3. For example.43 Visual presentation psychological changes in the very old Construct a concept map or other graphic organiser to show the way in which different psychological factors interact to in uence the psychological wellbeing of a very old person. 5. (b) Is George successfully ageing? Explain your answer with reference to Baltes SOC theory. (a) Write the words psychological wellbeing in the middle of an A3 size sheet of paper. 1990).42 review questions 1. Make a list of all the psychological factors that may in uence the psychological wellbeing of a very old person. He also re-reads the car manual the day before each service to refresh his memory of how it all works . (a) Describe the selection. According to Baltes. optimise and compensate are able to more successfully adapt to the psychological (and physical) changes they experience through ageing. (This will allow you to move around the factors as you think about the ways in which they in uence psychological wellbeing. Describe one selection strategy. They may arrange to have company each day and nd ways to occupy their time so they don t feel so lonely. because he can no longer get underneath the car. but now only reads about Holden cars because he drives a Holden. She has been asked to give a talk to her granddaughter s year 6 class on what it was like when she rst arrived in Australia from Italy at the age of old George was employed as a motor mechanic throughout his working life.

Record the answers to your questions either in writing or using a sound or video recorder. Give reasons for your answer. for example. and psychosocial functioning. how development occurs 3. state whether your research participant is experiencing successful ageing. • describe two limitations of this research design. Report Write a brief report to include in your folio of practical activities. still or moving images. In your report. Assessment task and criteria learnIn g actIVIt y 5. what the theory is about 2. your participants must be fully informed about the purpose of your research and give their consent prior to the start of the interview. possible limitations or criticisms of the theory 7. At the conclusion of the interview. Ensure you also include questions about successes in their life. 46 Oral presentation interview with developmental theorists Working with a partner. Assessment task and criteria C h a p t e r 5 Theories of psychological development 241 . In your interview. optimisation and compensation • state whether your hypothesis is supported. It is important to be sensitive to the feelings of the older person as talking about the losses in their abilities or psychological wellbeing may be distressing for them. everyday examples to describe the theory 5. key concepts in the theory 4. 44 Practical activity interview with a very old person The aim of this research activity is to test Paul Baltes theory of successful ageing. References may be used in obtaining information for your essay. you should construct a relevant hypothesis that could be tested by your research. possible areas for further research 8. research ndings that may or may not support the theory 6. Prior to conducting the interview. ensure you: • state your hypothesis • summarise the losses the participant described in a table using three headings cognitive losses .to 10-minute interview conducted by a science journalist with two developmental psychologists whose theories you have studied. written text or sound. thank the participant for their assistance. In particular. Suggest how each of these limitations be overcome if this practical activity were repeated? learnIn g actIVIt y 5. psychosocial losses and other losses • summarise any strategies the participant uses to overcome their losses in a table using three headings selection . In your essay ensure you should: • de ne the two areas of psychological development • brie y describe the main ideas of the two theories of psychological development • brie y describe relationships between the two theories with respect to psychological development • refer to research evidence on which the theories are based • use appropriate examples to demonstrate your understanding of key concepts • accurately de ne and explain all key terms • express your information in a clear and concise way • accurately cite and reference all material. prepare a ve. and how they manage these losses. You should develop a series of relevant questions to use during the interview. Use two or more data types in your interview. ensure you include one or more questions on each of the following topics: 1. 45 essay theories of psychological development Write an essay of about 500 600 words in which you describe two theories of human psychological development. You are required to interview a very old person to nd out about the changes they have experienced in their cognitive. Explain how these limitations may have affected your results. Ensure you follow all ethical standards and practices when you conduct your research. other relevant information.learnIn g actIVIt y 5. with reference to your results • with reference to Baltes theory on successful ageing.

Bowlby proposed that the mother is the best caregiver. _____ 10. Harlow s research found that attachment in rhesus monkeys depends on privation. Erikson proposed that if we don t resolve a psychosocial crisis in a speci c stage. then our social and emotional development will be permanently ue/Fals e Q uiz Indicate whether each item is true or false by writing T or F in the blank space next to each item. _____ 6. _____ Gibson proposed that perceptual development is a continuous process. _____ 5. _____ 8. _____ 2. Baltes proposed that successful ageing involves maintaining one s strengths and minimising the effects of any losses. Piaget s stages are all linked to chronological age ranges. _____ The answers to the true/false questions are in the answer section at the back of this book and in eBookPLUS. _____ 9. A two-year-old who points at a cat and says doggy has not yet learned to use affordances. _____ 7. 1. 3. Egocentrism is a key accomplishment in Piaget s pre-operational stage. _____ 4. 242 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology . Someone who thinks it s OK to make fun of someone else publicly because everyone else thinks they are a loser is using moral reasoning at the preconventional level. Ainsworth s research found that most children form a resistant attachment type.

According to Kohlberg. sensorimotor. develop strong emotions of issues of concern. they want to avoid being punished. 4. animism. an incorrect answer scores 0. C. 10. 11. perceptual differentiation tends to become A. separation distress. C. pre-operational. identify a moral dilemma. classi cation. concrete operational. egocentrism. formal operational. formal operational. classi cation. more dif cult when too many distinctive features are learned. more ef cient and selective with age. case studies. the teacher tells them to. a child at the preconventional level who does the right thing at school does so because A. D. have good self-esteem. longitudinal studies. people most closely involved with them. Moral development involves the ability to A. less ef cient and selective with age if someone explores the environment too much. concrete operational. Bree and Emma s father bought them a Big M each while out shopping. recognise when someone is telling a lie. C. C. Trinh believes that the clouds look sad today . Emma s glass is much wider than Bree s glass and she complains that Bree has been given more milk than she has. D. attachment. D. distinguish between right and wrong. have dif culty trusting others. B. cross-sectional studies. preoperational. sensorimotor. 8. B. a critical or sensitive period. experiments. sensorimotor. people who spend the most time with them. C. C. D. B. In developing his theory of psychosocial development. 3. are uncomfortable sharing personal information. concrete operational. C. D. classi cation. C. Secure attachment in infancy tends to result in adults who A. are reluctant to move out of the family home. separation anxiety. C.C H A PT E R TEST SectIOn a Multiple-choice questions Choose the response that is correct or that best answers the question. B. conservation of length. D. Marks will not be deducted for incorrect answers. C. 5. D. logical thinking. D. Erikson primarily relied on evidence from A. D. B. 6. a way of perceiving rather than a change in what is perceived. conservation of volume. only one person. they want to follow the school rules. B. D. B. A correct answer scores 1. formal operational. 1. It is likely that Emma has yet to develop an understanding of A. centricism. The correct sequence of the stages of cognitive development described in Piaget s theory is A. Piaget refers to this way of thinking about objects as A. B. infants form the closest attachment to A. 2. The close affectionate bond that forms between an infant and another person is best described as A. C. 9. B. conservation of mass. concrete operational. sensorimotor. animism. No marks will be given if more than one answer is completed for any question. B. transformation. C h a p t e r 5 Theories of psychological development 243 . Piaget s formal operational stage is characterised by the development of A. pre-operational. pre-operational. they want people to like them. 7. formal operational. He decides to pour the milk out of each carton into different glasses and his daughters watch him do this. D. According to attachment theory. people they like. According to Gibson. B.

13. maximisation and compensation. According to Bowlby. A. B. seeks to be close to the caregiver then wriggles to be freed from them. reasoning ability. identi cation. a secure base and proximity maintenance. C. C. B. An infant who demonstrates a resistant attachment pattern of behaviour. attachment targets. 5. 16. loneliness. realisation and compensation. sex-related. C. According to Piaget. C. varied. D. capacity to learn. evolution. 19. According to Erikson. Milan s friend has asked if he can borrow Milan s revision notes that he prepared for a psychology test. identi cation. 4. Psychosocial development refers to changes in a person s A. will not be distressed when separated from their caregiver. motivation and comfort. D. deterioration of brain cells and functioning. a mother. selection. D. the four characteristics that all need to be present if a strong infant caregiver attachment is to form are A. D. optimisation and compensation. selection. C minimising the number of tasks that need to be done. Baltes s theory of successful ageing describes strategies involving A. D. 6. C. B. B. 17. evolution. abstract and logical thinking are not consistently apparent until an individual has reached the stage. concrete operational 244 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology . Milan refused because he considered it cheating. age-related. C. proximity maintenance. B. A. the order in which people go through his eight stages is A.12. loss of mobility. 14. maximisation and compensation. B. D nding different ways of overcoming losses. 15. thought processes in relation to their interactions with other people. Cognitive decline in older age is best explained by A. relationships with others. pre-operational C. emotional development. a safe haven. B. formal operational D. B nding ways to practise cognitive abilities. increasing dependence on family members. a secure base and separation distress. xed. D. a mother. a safe haven and a secure base. 3. 20. compensation refers to A developing strategies to prioritise goals. C. 18. D. Milan s moral reasoning suggests that he is most likely in Kohlberg s stage A. According to Baltes theory of successful ageing. sensorimotor B. feels secure. will not seek to be close to their caregiver.

C h a p t e r 5 Theories of psychological development 245 .SectIOn B Short-answer questions is a vital factor 1 mark Answer all questions in the spaces provided. Question 2 Distinguish between Piaget s processes of assimilation and accommodation with reference to an example. The answers to the short-answer questions are in eBookPLUS. 3 marks eBook plus The answers to the multiple-choice questions are in the answer section at the back of this book and in eBookPLUS. Note that you can complete Section A of the chapter test online through eBookPLUS and get automatic feedback. what role do each of the following factors play in perceptual development? (a) the infant (b) the environment 2 marks Question 4 What are two key in uences on moral development? 2 marks Question 5 Explain what a psychosocial crisis is with reference to one of the crises identi ed by Erikson. Ensure you correctly name the crisis. Question 1 According to Harlow s research. in uencing attachment in rhesus monkeys. 2 marks Question 3 According to Gibson s theory.

............................. 258 Autism Spectrum Disorder . 249 Incidence of mental illness in Australia ............................................ 256 Disruptions to normal development ...................... 249 Non-psychotic illness...........CHAPTER 6 MENTAL ILLNESS ACROSS THE LIFESPAN What is mental illness? ........ 281 ............................. 248 Psychotic illness ........................................ 258 Attention-De cit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) ...... 263 Eating disorders ..................... 271 Schizophrenia ...................................... 254 Labelling someone with a mental illness .................................................. 275 Dementia ........................ 266 Anxiety disorders ................................................................................................................... 251 Classifying mental illnesses ...................................................................

an excruciating pain in your knee may indicate that you have a more serious problem with your physical health. mental health includes various states of wellbeing. ranging from extremely healthy or well. Our physical health or wellbeing can be viewed as being somewhere along a continuum. Mental illnesses. A physical health problem for which your discomfort is severe and/or lasts for an extended period of time will often lead you to see a doctor for a diagnosis and a treatment plan. C h a p t e r 6 Mental illness across the lifespan 247 . when a relationship breaks up. some people experience a mental illness on only one occasion and fully recover. ranging along a continuum from mentally healthy. Rather. Good mental health is re ected in how well we deal with the positive and negative emotions associated with the various events in our lives. For example. For example. someone experiencing symptoms of a mental illness that prevents them from being able to successfully undertake their everyday activities may consult a mental health professional for a diagnosis and treatment plan. however. our bodies are functioning as we know they should and we have no aches. When we are mentally healthy. They may not sleep well or may lose their appetite for a period of time. Most people have times in their lives when they have problems with their mental health. When we are physically healthy or well. through to a short-term mental health problem (such as feeling sad or unhappy about something). The incidence of mental illness has steadily increased in Australia over the past 20 years. At these times.1 A physical health problem primarily involves the body. muscle soreness after having played a sport for the rst time might cause mild discomfort and be considered a problem for a day or so. Like physical health. the illness may recur throughout their lives. mental health problems may last for a short period of time Figure 6. As with physical illnesses. like physical illnesses. most people are able to resume their lifestyle as it was prior to the onset of their problem.For most people. years or even for a lifetime. we are usually able to deal effectively with most issues that arise in everyday life. the distinction between physical health and physical illness is quite clear. symptoms associated with mental health problems do not usually have long-term consequences and. such as months. may explain the recent increase in the incidence of mental illness. to extremely unhealthy or unwell. greater community awareness of mental illness and advertising campaigns that encourage people to recognise and seek support for mental health issues. to a mental illness that may be serious and/or prolonged. a mental illness can be effectively managed or treated with appropriate professional support. Mental health is similar to physical health in many ways. are not uncommon in Australian society. but it would not be considered a serious physical illness. However. some people prefer to be alone for a while and may not socialise. about 45% of the Australian population that is almost every second person experiences a mental illness of some kind at some time in their life (Australian Bureau of Statistics. Like physical health problems. However. a mentally healthy person who is preparing to do their rst of six exams in two days time may feel anxious and be grumpy or shorttempered. lasting for a longer period of time. whereas physical health primarily involves the body. For others. Good mental health doesn t mean we don t have times of sadness. pains or problems that cause us concern or prevent us from doing the things we normally do. whereas a mental health problem primarily involves the mind. 2007). mental health problems develop into a mental illness. remember what to take to the exam. Currently. A problem with mental health can affect the mind and behaviour in much the same way that a problem with physical health can affect the body and behaviour. when we have no physical complaints or concerns. we can quite reasonably expect to experience emotions such as sadness or anger. There are also different levels of wellbeing in between the two extremes. sleep. In most cases. going to your casual job. Furthermore. However. study. after which the unwanted thoughts or feelings begin to subside and eventually a state of mental wellbeing is restored. hold a conversation with friends and laugh when something funny happens. it is unlikely to prevent you from washing the dishes. or having a driving lesson. anger or anxiety. While the muscle pain might remind you of the need to be tter. attending school. mental health primarily involves the mind. they will probably still be able to eat. For example. as with serious physical illnesses. This does not mean there is a mental illness epidemic in our society. as they do with their physical health. after a while. In some cases.

When a person is distressed they are extremely upset. temporary and able to be treated within a relatively short period of time. and thoughts. (c) impaired functioning. Although there are varying de nitions of mental illness among mental health professionals. de ning mental illness by distress alone is misleading. suppose you agreed to go to a party on a date with someone for the rst time. Another symptom of a mental illness is that a person s thoughts. Imagine feeling so anxious and distressed during the entire evening that you were unable to talk to people. mental illnesses are often referred to as mental disorders (Mental Health Institute. As well as being associated with mental illness. it would not be considered dysfunctional for you to be anxious and want to avoid being with them by returning to the safety of your home. For example. A mental health problem can become a mental illness if it is not dealt with effectively. impairment in the ability to cope with everyday life.2 Mental illness is associated with (a) psychological dysfunction. Furthermore. Consequently. they are considered to have impaired functioning. causing variable amounts of stress and suffering to the person involved. feelings and/or behaviour that are not typical of the person or appropriate within their society and/or culture. if a usually friendly. For example. However.(b) WHAT IS MENTAL ILLNESS? Mental health professionals tend to use the term mental health problem when the dif culties experienced by a person are mild. Psychological dysfunction refers to a breakdown in cognitive. If a person is unable to do the kinds of things they normally do on a daily basis. agreed with you that they seemed secretive. For example. feelings and/or behaviour. likely to persist for a relatively long time and likely to require a longer-term treatment plan. and all you wanted to do was go home. Atypical means that the person responds in a way(s) that is not normal for them. 2009). feelings and/or behaviour and (e) socially or culturally inappropriate thoughts. emotional and/or behavioural functioning during which a person s thoughts. if your friends. as with other symptoms. The term mental illness is more likely to be used when the dif culties experienced by a person are more serious. the individual usually experiences considerable distress and dif culties in coping with everyday life experiences. While being shy or lazy might impair their functioning to the extent that it may prevent them from doing some things. Mental illness is often de ned as a psychological dysfunction experienced by an individual which usually involves distress. However. thought processes. some people might be shy or lazy. They are usually resolved when circumstances improve or we nd a constructive way to address them. felt sick. However. . it would be normal for you to be extremely upset or distressed. distress is often present when someone experiences a mental illness. Mental health problems are commonly experienced in response to normal stressful life events. People experience distress for many different reasons in everyday life. A shy person would be considered to have impaired functioning if they were so shy that they found it impossible to mix with others. feelings or behaviour differ from those they normally experience in that situation. were unable to attend school or work and avoided situations where other people are present. if someone close to you dies. 248 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology (c) (a) Figure 6. untrustworthy and suspicious. (b) distress. distress can also be a natural part of everyday life. feelings and behaviour are atypical. Therefore. In this situation. behaviour and perception. mental illnesses are generally considered to be disorders that interfere with emotions. who had met the person you dated. impaired functioning on its own does not necessarily indicate a mental illness. (d) atypical thoughts. it could be said that your thoughts and feelings are dysfunctional. For example. Impairment in the ability to cope with everyday life is another symptom of mental illness. as they are preventing you from having a good time and thereby leading you to behave in a way which is different from how you would normally behave when at a party. this does not mean they have a mental illness.

Losing contact with reality means that the individual has dif culty making sense of their thoughts. For example. enjoying their leisure time and/or having a relationship. the male singer Marilyn Manson wears heavy make-up on stage and behaves unconventionally. C h a p t e r 6 Mental illness across the lifespan 249 . commonly referred to as psychosis. a delusion may involve the false belief of having the power to change someone else s behaviour by blinking at them or by breathing faster or slower. would not be considered to indicate mental illness. However. individuals who experience this state may even be highly regarded as it may be believed that they have direct contact with God. In these cultures. Psychotic illness (d) outgoing person becomes withdrawn. this behaviour. that is. Finally. see. when. no-one is actually speaking to them. involves loss of contact with reality. which we consider in detail later in this chapter. The symptoms they experience cause them considerable personal distress. in some cultures. Likewise. Alternatively. feel and act are culturally appropriate and/ or common in their society. if the ways in which they think. in reality. feelings and behaviour. they may hear voices telling them to do things. A psychotic illness. Therefore. it is important to understand a person s cultural background before judging whether their behaviour is a symptom of mental illness. but this is not atypical behaviour for him when performing. taste or feel things that are not actually present. would not necessarily be considered to be showing symptoms of a mental illness. this behaviour would not be considered unusual or abnormal. 2009a). on its own. they remain in touch with reality despite their dysfunctional thoughts. they may have difficulty going to work. smell. For example. This has become part of Humphries s normal behaviour and therefore would also not be considered atypical of him or a symptom of mental illness. that is.(e) Western cultures a person in a trance-like state who believed they were possessed by the devil would probably be considered to have a mental illness. then they would probably not be considered to have a mental illness. false beliefs that do not match reality. For example. They may experience intense and/or prolonged feelings of sadness. One of the psychotic illnesses is schizophrenia. People with a psychotic illness may also experience hallucinations. they may hear. However. anxiety and fear to such an extent that they have dif culty coping with their daily activities. in many Mental illness is a general term that describes a group of psychological illnesses that negatively affect a person s mental health and functioning. does not talk or interact with others and stays in their bedroom alone for extended periods of time. feelings and behaviour appear to be abnormal. Mental illnesses can be broadly classi ed into two different categories called psychotic and non-psychotic illnesses. someone who behaves in an unconventional or extremely different way. Many people with a psychotic illness experience delusions. Therefore. mood disorders such as depression and substance abuse disorders (Mental Health Research Institute. Each culture or society has its own set of norms or standards about what is considered normal and abnormal behaviour within that culture or society. For example. the individual may live in a reality they have created in their mind. Australian actor Barry Humphries has for many years dressed up and performed as Dame Edna Everage. even if a person s thoughts. they would be considered to be behaving in a way that is atypical for them. feelings or what is actually happening around them. non-psychotic illness When someone has a non-psychotic illness. Examples of non-psychotic illnesses include anxiety disorders such as phobias and obsessive-compulsive disorder. For example. This may be a frightening experience which makes them agitated and distressed.

She has started on her third room and intends to wallpaper her entire house. does not shower often. Hamish has no energy. learning a ctivity 6. Rae is so angry with her brother for using all the hot water in the shower one day that she does not talk to him for six months. While still able to function at school. indicate where you consider each of the following individual is best placed. 3. does not eat much. 3. indicate with the appropriate letter(s) which symptom(s) of a mental illness is apparent. In the 48 hours following his grandfather s death. Stacey is excited about getting into the university course of her choice. Khalid Khalid recently started to feel sad and lonely. For the past three years. For each of the following examples. Distinguish between psychotic and non-psychotic illnesses. stays awake all night and has bouts of uncontrolled crying. (a) psychological dysfunction (b) distress (c) impaired functioning (d) atypical thoughts. including the ceilings. stays in bed for hours 5. she has felt physically sick whenever she goes beyond the front gate. Jan worries about how she looks before going to a party. Kania is so worried about how she looks before going to a party that she doesn t go. she has forced herself to go out in order to maintain contact with her friends and family. feelings and behaviour (e) socially and/or culturally inappropriate behaviour 5. 1. like that shown below but drawn to a full page width. 4. 6. More recently. Explain differences in ratings by class members. stays in bed for hours during the day. She has two rooms completely wallpapered with the newspapers from the last three months. 8. but has recently stopped showering. go to his casual job and ful l other commitments. experiences a constant headache. does not shower. and spends her whole day watching television talk shows. Convert the de nition of mental illness stated in the text into a de nition of mental health. Chrissy Chrissy is a successful businesswoman. Compare your mental health ratings with others in your class. (b) In what ways is a mental health problem different from a mental illness? Give an example of both a mental health problem and a mental illness to highlight the difference. she spends most weekday evenings worrying about whether she will be able to get beyond the front gate in the morning so that she can get to work. feelings and/or behaviour (e) socially and/or culturally inappropriate behaviour. She refuses to leave her apartment or see any of her friends. experiences a constant headache. De ne each of the following general symptoms or characteristics of a mental illness. He worries about what is happening to him. Zophia Zophia is afraid to leave her house. This behaviour has been continuous for three weeks. Jan Jan collects old newspapers and uses them as wallpaper . Ismail has no energy. Give an example of how a mental illness may lead to a physical illness and vice versa. Over a period of four months after her grandfather s death. (a) Explain the meaning of the term mental illness. 4.1 review questions 1. Consequently.2 rating mental health issues On a mental health continuum. does not eat much. Mental wellbeing Mental health problem Mental illness 250 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology . Joe is extremely anxious before a job interview. (a) psychological dysfunction (b) distress (c) impaired functioning (d) atypical thoughts. 2. 6. Khalid feels down most of the time. Visits by her family and friends and the threat of losing her job have failed to bring Chrissy back to reality and she continues to spend her days staring blankly at the television screen. 7. 2.learning a ctivity 6. Mal is angry with his brother for using all the hot water in the shower. during the day. stays awake all night and has bouts of uncontrolled crying.

mental illness can occur in any stage of the lifespan.1. National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing. Furthermore. depression) Female 43 32 14 Male 48 20 35 Total 45 26 25 The ABS survey ndings also indicate that males and females experience similar rates of mental illness.4 Comparison by age group of the percentage of people who reported having experienced one or more mental illnesses in the previous 12 month period Source: ABS (2007). adolescence. alcohol or drug dependence) Affective disorder (e. National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing.1 Gender differences in reported experiences of a non-psychotic mental illness Figure 6. the pattern of increasing incidence of mental illness is occurring not only in Australia. whereas females report experiencing anxietyrelated disorders more than males.4.3 million people) indicated they had experienced a mental illness at some stage in their lifetime. However there is a gender difference in the types of mental illnesses experienced.2 million) people reported they had experienced a mental illness in the previous 12-month period. the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) conducted a national survey on the mental health and wellbeing of Australians aged 16 85.incidence of mental illness in australia In 2007. the survey found that 26% of people aged 16 85 years reported experiencing an anxiety disorder at some stage in their life. such as in childhood. Of the 16 million Australians in that age group.g. Overall. For example. As shown in table 6. more people aged between 16 24 years reported having experienced a mental illness in the previous 12 months than was reported by people in any other age group. Total population aged 16 85 years surveyed 16 million (100%) As shown in gure 6. one in six people (18%) reported a mental illness in the previous 12 month period.g.3 Incidence of mental illness reported by Australians aged 16 85 years in the 2007 National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing % in population Mental illness Any non-psychotic illness Anxiety disorder (e. One in ve (20% or 3.g. almost half (45% or 7. however. males experience substance abuse disorders such as alcohol and drug dependence more than females. 25% reported having experienced a substance abuse disorder and 15% reported having experienced an affective disorder (such as depression). Any mental illness 45% No mental illness 55% Mental illness in past 12 months 20% No mental illness in past 12 months 25% The most common types of mental illness reported by Australians in the survey were those classi ed as non-psychotic. This latter statistic indicates a significant increase in the reported incidence (frequency) of mental illness from a similar survey conducted 10 years earlier. 30 25 Percenta e 20 15 10 5 0 16 24 25 34 35 44 45 54 55 64 65 74 75 85 e rou ( ears) Figure 6. adulthood or older age. In 1997. One explanation of this nding is that young people experience many psychological changes throughout their adolescent years at the same time as they are trying to establish their identity a time of considerable upheaval. though some illnesses tend to be more common in some stages.1. more females are likely to experience depression compared with males. 18 12 15 Source: ABS (2007). table 6. as shown in table 6. but worldwide. According to the World Health Organization (2009). C h a p t e r 6 Mental illness across the lifespan 251 . phobia) Substance use disorder (e.

but can come and go sometimes a person may have just one episode of mental illness and then recover completely. 2009). Fact: Some mental illnesses have been associated with brain damage. a predisposition or tendency to develop the illness may be inherited. particularly in the way certain neurotransmitters work. This can result in worsening symptoms or a longer recovery time. it stays with you for the rest of your life. Myth: Mental illness is a form of brain damage. Other factors that contribute to the onset of a mental illness include stressful life events. as many as one in two people will develop a mental illness at some stage in their lives. such as diabetes. there does not seem to be a genetic link at all. Young adults (18 24) are more likely than older people to experience a mental illness. but it is not a type of intellectual disability. drug abuse. such as schizophrenia and depression. Alzheimer s disease and autism. Myth: Mental illness won t affect me. Like many physical illnesses. However. There are a small minority (about 1 in 1000) who require hospitalisation. but often only for a brief period of time. or negative labelling. This may be linked to changes in thoughts. BOX 6. Myth: Mental illness is a type of intellectual disability. understanding and encouragement are very important to people recovering from a mental illness and can help prevent the feelings of isolation and the discrimination that they may otherwise experience. some mental illnesses. Though some people can become dysfunctional due to a serious mental illness. Fact: Most people with a mental illness do not have family members with the illness. but there are many people who experience a mental illness who have no brain damage. bipolar disorder). Bipolar disorder involves frequent swings in mood from high to low .Psychotic illnesses are less common. Fact: Many people make a full recovery if they are given appropriate treatment at an early stage of their mental illness. mental illness affects people with low. What is Mental Illness? pamphlet) 252 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology . Myth: People can get rid of their mental illness just by getting on with life . patients are no longer required to be isolated or con ned to special wards or psychiatric institutions as they once were. by refusing to employ them on the grounds they have suffered from a mental illness in the past. The overall incidence of psychotic illnesses in Australia is 3%. but this is unnecessary for most people with a mental illness. for example. but there is not a cause effect relationship between speci c genetic backgrounds and speci c mental illnesses. average and high intellectual functioning. are thought to be associated with a change in the biochemistry of the brain. in some instances. Fact: In Australia. Fact: Mental illness can impair thinking. Myth: People with a mental illness should be isolated from the community. for example. treatment can be used to manage mental illness so that the person can function effectively in everyday life. that is often attached to people with a mental illness. However. For others. Fact: It is rarely possible for someone with a mental illness to make the symptoms go away just by adopting a positive attitude.1 Myths about mental illness There are many myths associated with mental illness. One of the greatest obstacles for people in trying to get well is the negative attitudes of others towards their illness. Some people require hospital care. These misunderstandings often lead people to discriminate against people with a mental illness by treating them in inappropriate ways. Everyone is vulnerable to mental health problems. Fact: Hospitalisation is not necessary for most people with a mental illness. About 1% of the population have been personally affected by schizophrenia in their lifetime and 2% of the population have experienced bipolar disorder (Department of Human Services. feelings and behaviour. Mental illness is not necessarily associated with low intellectual functioning. for example. Others require ongoing treatment throughout their lives to prevent recurrences. while males are more likely than females to experience substance abuse problems. the type of mental illness experienced by males and females tends to differ. These myths have also been the cause of the stigma. For those mental illnesses that have been linked to genetic factors. hormonal changes and. Due to recent advances in the treatment of mental illness. Like physical illness. Support. such as schizophrenia and some types of depression (for example. many others are able to lead full and productive lives. genetics are only one of several factors that can contribute to the illness. Mental illness is not always experienced constantly. Myth: Once you have a mental illness. Females are more likely than males to experience anxietyrelated problems and depression. experiencing a very sad or depressed mood then suddenly shifting to an extremely elevated mood of feeling elated and highly active. Myth: Mental illness is genetically inherited. Reluctance to acknowledge that they may be experiencing a mental illness can prevent people from seeking professional treatment early in the illness. sometimes against their will. (Based on Department of Human Services 2007. For some mental illnesses. physical illness. and females and males are equally likely to experience mental illness.

What percentage of the population of 16 85-year-olds report having experienced a mental illness at some stage in their life? 2. Refer to gure 6. what it requires of participants and how the results will be used. 5. Mentally ill people are usually intellectually disabled. The data collected by different pairs of students will then be combined to form the class results. it stays with you for the rest of your life. doctors surgeries and the like. This information is based on the results of research conducted by the Department of Human Services (2007) and is published in a pamphlet distributed to mental health clinics. 2. All participants should be volunteers and give informed consent. When the age groups are decided. Working with a partner. you will each survey three individuals in different age groups using the survey below. other relevant information that may be requested by your teacher. People with mental illnesses usually have brain damage. 4. 6. 6. In order to obtain informed consent. community health centres. (b) What is a possible explanation for the gender differences? 3. Mental illness is quite uncommon in the Australian population. What is a possible limitation of the data obtained in the ABS survey? 7. a statement of the aim of the activity 2. Once you have a mental illness. Questionnaire Age group: _______ Indicate whether you think each of the following statements is true (T) or false (F) by circling either T or F. People can get over their mental illnesses by adopting a positive attitude and getting on with life . The age groups to be surveyed will be determined through a class discussion. (a) Refer to table 6.4 and describe the relationship between age and incidence of mental illness. Describe a sampling method that would be appropriate for the survey conducted by the ABS.learnin g activit y 6. you will need to prepare an appropriate written description of what the research activity is about. Your report should include: 1. a summary of the results using appropriate descriptive statistics 4. Give a reason for your answer. 3 review questions 1. Mental illnesses are inherited from parents. This practical activity involves conducting a survey to investigate how common the myths are in your local community. What is a possible explanation? 5. Report Prepare a brief report on the research activity to include in your folio of practical activities. How might Erik Erikson explain the differences between the two age groups identi ed in your answers to questions 3(a) and (b)? learnin g activit y 6. People with mental illnesses should be isolated from the general community. 3. the research hypothesis 3. you should construct a relevant research hypothesis. a potential limitation that may have affected the results in an unwanted way 6. T/F T/F T/F T/F T/F T/F T/F Options and variations C h a p t e r 6 Mental illness across the lifespan 253 . Some common myths are discussed in box 6.1. 1. 4 Practical activity survey on myths about mental illnesses There are many myths or misunderstandings about mental illnesses in the general community. 7. You must also ensure other ethical standards and practices for research are followed. a conclusion(s) based on the results and referring to the hypothesis 5.1 and describe gender differences in the incidence of non-psychotic mental illness. Which age group experiences (a) the highest incidence of mental illness? (b) the lowest incidence of mental illness? 4.

size and temperature. the mental health professional needs to accurately assess a speci c mental disorder. The next revision of the DSM. they identify important similarities in objects of interest and sort them into categories according to those similarities. It simply names the disorders and describes each in detail. understand its symptoms and also be aware . feelings and behaviour. the prevalence of the disorder (how commonly it occurs). To develop the best possible treatment plan for a particular individual.classifying mental illnesses All sciences classify. botanists classify plants according to species. Text Revision or DSM-IV-TR. Figure 6. called the DSM V. astronomers classify the stars. If. American Psychiatric Association. is known as a classi cation system. the degree of impairment. A list of the categories of mental illnesses or disorders. and the medical profession classi es diseases according to the organ or system affected. with descriptions of the symptoms and guidelines for assigning individuals to the categories. For example. Kraepelin s categories have formed the basis of the two most recognised classi cation and diagnostic systems for mental illnesses used today the International Classi cation of Diseases and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. a description of how the disorder will progress). The DSM-IV-TR provides a system for classifying mental disorders based on recognisable symptoms that are precisely described. the age at which people are more likely to develop the disorder. their symptoms are checked against a range of categories of symptoms to help make a diagnosis of the speci c type of mental illness. is due in 254 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology The DSM requires quali ed mental health professionals to evaluate a client s condition on ve separate scales of information. When people display this particular pattern of symptoms. most recently in 2000. DSM uses the term mental disorder rather than mental illness (which is the term commonly used by mental health professionals in Australia). When certain symptoms regularly occur together and develop or progress in a particular way. The rst comprehensive classi cation system for mental illnesses was developed in 1883 by German psychiatrist Emil Kraepelin. ranging from relatively minor to very serious. whether the disorder is likely to affect others in the family and the relationship of the disorder to gender. or the DSM as it is more commonly called. Likewise. clinical psychologists and psychiatrists classify mental illnesses according to characteristic patterns of thoughts. However. 2011.5 The DSM-IV-TR provides the most commonly used system for classi cation and diagnosis of mental disorders. both terms refer to types of mental health problems. The DSM was rst developed by the American Psychiatric Association in 1952. on the basis of information gathered. The principle behind making a diagnosis in this way is based on a simple assumption. it has been revised a number of times. The International Classi cation of Diseases (ICD) is the classi cation system currently used by the World Health Organization to identify mental illnesses as well as other medical conditions. The current DSM is called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. age and culture. However. they are considered to be typical of a particular mental illness. planets and other astronomical bodies according to colour. Fourth Edition (© 2000). It also provides information on the typical course of each disorder (that is. As indicated in its title. Fourth Edition. An important feature of the DSM-IV-TR is that it does not suggest speci c causes of disorders unless a cause can be de nitely established. that is. mental health professionals. DSM-iv-tr Since the rst DSM was developed in 1952. they are assigned to that diagnostic category. a mental health professional believes a person may have a mental illness. Reprinted with permission from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders. the system most widely used by mental health professionals throughout the world to identify and classify mental illnesses for the purpose of diagnosis is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

DSM-IV-TR. conduct disorder and separation anxiety disorder. the mental health professional develops a treatment or management plan for the illness. phobias. They include major depressive disorder and bipolar disorders. functioning deteriorates until the person reaches a state of psychosis. They include developmental disorders (such as autism). A diagnosis is usually made during an assessment which involves several lengthy interviews. The primary feature of these disorders is dysfunctional response to a stressful event. During the assessment. kleptomania. A diagnosis of a mental illness should always be made by a health professional with training and experience in mental health because some symptoms may also be a part of a person s ordinary experience. The disorders include pathological gambling. somatisation disorder and hypochondriasis. Figure 6. Anxiety is the main disturbance in this group of disorders. such as divorce or business difficulties. They include Alzheimer s disease and Korsakoff s syndrome. that first occurs within three months after the onset of the stressful event. childhood and adolescence Delirium. People with these disorders display abnormal patterns of eating that significantly impair their functioning. dementia. These disorders typically involve impairment in cognitive functioning. The disorders include anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. People with these disorders are chronically unable to resist impulses. DC: Author. People with these disorders display chronic (persistent) sleep problems. They include conversion disorder. In this group of disorders. obsessive compulsive disorder. sleep terror disorder and sleepwalking disorder. These disorders are characterised by physical symptoms that are thought to be caused primarily by psychological rather than physiological factors.of any other factors that may in uence the mental disorder and its management. They include generalised anxiety disorder. attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. These disorders are brought about by the use of substances that affect the central nervous system. the mental health professional talks to the client to nd out what their issues and concerns are and assess their symptoms based on DSM guidelines. Once a diagnosis is made. cocaine use disorders and hallucinogen use disorders. primary hypersomnia. They include alcohol use disorders. drives or temptations to perform certain acts that are harmful to themselves or to others. Washington.6 An assessment of a mental illness usually involves several lengthy interviews with a mental health professional. panic disorder.) C h a p t e r 6 Mental illness across the lifespan 255 . Schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders Mood disorders Anxiety disorders Somatoform disorders Eating disorders Sleep disorders Impulse-control disorders Adjustment disorders (Source: APA (2000). acute stress disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. opioid use disorders. pyromania and intermittent explosive disorder. learning disorders. Disorders in this group are marked by severe disturbances of mood that cause people to feel extremely and inappropriately sad or elated for extended periods of time. or loss of contact with reality. amnestic and other cognitive disorders Substance-related disorders Description These disorders tend to emerge and sometimes disappear before adulthood.2 DSM categories of mental disorders Some of the categories of mental disorders described in DSM-IV-TR are shown below Categories Disorders usually first diagnosed in infancy. amphetamine use disorders. BOX 6. The disorders include primary insomnia.

staff they had been hearing voices. (b) Suggest one or more ways in which the DSM could be misused by non-quali ed individuals. In a follow-up study. It can in uence how they think and feel about themself and the way in which they are viewed by others in the community. all of their subsequent behaviour was interpreted as part of their illness. feelings and behaviour as a mental illness (or mental disorder) can also have a negative effect on the individual being labelled. including psychologists. If a person needs hospital care for a mental illness. Similarly. List the seven kinds of information provided by the DSM-IV-TR about each mental illness. the staff interpreted this activity as part of their schizophrenic behaviour. could not recognise normal behaviour and once a person was labelled as having a speci c mental illness. Once a label has been given to a person. it was on the grounds that they were in remission . Rosenhan (1973) has been used by many psychologists to demonstrate some of the problems of labelling. Explain your answer. None of them was seen as being cured . After Rosenhan s results were published. L. they openly made notes relating to Rosenhan s research study. however. 4. 5 review questions 1. All of the pseudopatients (fake patients) were admitted to the hospitals and diagnosed as suffering from schizophrenia. It is also helpful when mental health professionals communicate with one another about a client s mental health. For example. What is the DSM used for? 3. Labelling can be useful. therapy or support. while the pseudo-patients were in hospital. From the moment they were admitted they behaved as they normally would and no longer faked the symptoms of schizophrenia. However. Labelling can create misunderstandings that may bias our perceptions of a person in terms of the way they do behave or may behave. (a) Suggest why it is important that only quali ed mental health professionals use the DSM to diagnose a client s condition. Their stay in the hospitals ranged from seven to 52 days. in order for this to be a fair assessment. In recent times there has been a shift away from this type of accommodation. it may be there for life and consequently may affect the way that individual is treated by others. What does the abbreviation DSM stand for? 2. Rosenhan and his colleagues set up a situation where eight people who had never experienced symptoms of any serious mental illness presented themselves to various psychiatric hospitals and told the medical 256 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology Figure 6. For example. which are published to improve mental health professionals understanding of these illnesses. labelling patterns of thoughts.learnin g activit y 6. to ensure a common understanding of what is being discussed. When the pseudopatients were nally released. some of the actual patients recognised them as frauds. they should have been warned of the experiment. Rosenhan concluded that medical staff. LABELLING SOMEONE WITH A MENTAL ILLNESS Labelling is a term sometimes used to describe the process of classifying and naming a mental illness following a diagnosis. the hospital staff said that. accommodation is often in a private room as part of a psychiatric unit in a public or private hospital. Rosenhan told staff at one hospital that in the next three months pseudo-patients . None of the medical staff identi ed them as pseudo-patients. suggesting that the symptoms could recur. A classic study by American psychologist D.7 A dormitory room in a psychiatric hospital like that visited by Rosenhan (1973). labelling is useful when describing mental illnesses in journal articles. However. it can help clinical psychologists (and psychiatrists) recognise and speci cally describe a mental illness and assist them in identifying appropriate treatment.

The term mental impairment is now used in legal matters to describe a person who has a mental illness or an intellectual disability (low level of intellectual functioning). C h a p t e r 6 Mental illness across the lifespan 257 . such as the Thomas Embling hospital in Fair eld. They can also be given a non-custodial supervision order where they live in the community under certain conditions. believed that he was on a mission from God to kill the devil when he attempted to take over the plane.8 David Mark Robinson was found not guilty on the grounds of mental impairment after trying to hijack a Qantas jet in May 2003. was not in control of their behaviour. yet one staff member was sure that 41 out of 193 patients were pseudo-patients. There are a range of consequences available to the judge. Which current ethical standards and practices may have been breached by Rosenhan? Give a reason for each suggestion. The legal system argues that an individual who claims to have a mental impairment at the time of committing a crime is innocent because they were unaware that they were doing the wrong thing at the time of doing it. What was the aim of the research? 2. Describe one advantage and one disadvantage of using a mental illness label. Figure 6. Evaluate the research by answering the following questions. such as seeing a psychologist for treatment on a weekly basis. Who were the participants in the research? 5. For example. He also stated that the diagnosis of in remission is a rare one and shows that the staff did realise the pseudo-patients were not behaving completely as expected of a person labelled schizophrenic. insanity describes the behaviour of someone who. Describe one criticism of Rosenhan s procedures. In legal matters. However. What do the research ndings suggest about the effects of labelling someone with a mental illness? 7. when Rosenhan published his study Robert Spitzer (1976) argued that being able to lie and get admitted to a hospital is no proof that the system used to diagnose mental health problems does not work. no pseudo-patients were actually sent. who was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. Not all psychologists agree with Rosenhan s conclusions. In fact. the term insane is no longer used. BOX 6.would present themselves to the hospital. 1. 3. Many have also criticised his procedures. at the time of committing a crime. This term was not used by psychologists or psychiatrists to describe a mental health problem but it was used by the legal profession. If a person is found not guilty of committing a crime due to mental impairment.6 evaluation of research rosenhan (1973) study Read the summary of the research on the problems of labelling conducted by Rosenhan (1973). 8. What type of research method was used? 4.3 What is insanity? The word insane was often used in the past to describe people who had a serious mental illness. it is the judge and jury who decide whether the individual was mentally impaired at the time the crime was committed. In the Australian legal system. 6. learning activity 6. Construct a possible hypothesis for this research. Do you think this is a reasonable criticism? Explain your answer. they do not necessarily go free. Robinson. They can be given a custodial supervision order which involves spending a speci ed period of time in prison or in a secure psychiatric setting. Rosenhan concluded that a system of diagnosing and labelling mental disorders that allowed these kinds of errors to occur was not a very reliable one. He pointed out that hearing voices is a sign of serious psychological dysfunction and rightfully should not have been ignored just because the person then appeared normal . The hospital staff were asked to identify which of their new patients were the pseudo-patients. Clinical or forensic psychologists and psychiatrists are often called to give their professional opinion in court of the individual s behaviour. nor able to know the difference between right and wrong behaviour.

For example. He seemed 258 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology . Furthermore.9 Answer the following questions. Other mental illnesses may occur at any time across the lifespan. He didn’t interact with her in the same way her first child did and he seemed to have no connection with his older brother Sam. Other mental illnesses may be experienced for short or long periods of time. How do mental health professionals diagnose and classify a mental illness? 3. James would often sit in the corner of a room and stare for long periods of time at the lights or the corner of the ceiling. as portrayed in the cartoon. mental health is often affected and a mental illness may result. then never again in their life. For example. In the remainder of this chapter we consider some specific mental illnesses or disorders that either begin during. environmental ‘triggers’ and their personal vulnerability. (a) What is meant by the term labelling? (b) How might labelling a person. Whether someone will be affected by a mental illness depends on a combination of factors — their genetic make-up. others during childhood and still others have their onset during adolescence. For example. Some mental illnesses are more prevalent in certain lifespan stages than in others. adulthood or old age.LEARNING ACTIVITY 6. This can occur in any stage of the lifespan. What kind of message does this kind of cartoon send to the general community about people who seek help from mental health professionals? Autism Spectrum Disorder By the time James was 12 months of age his parents were aware that he was ‘different’ from other children of the same age. or fiddle endlessly with a piece of cloth or scrunched up paper. When psychological development is seriously disrupted.7 Media response — Far Side cartoon Consider the following cartoon showing someone diagnosing a client with a mental illness. dementia is more common during older age. anxiety disorders or depression can be experienced at any stage of the lifespan from childhood to older age. Some mental illnesses or disorders begin in infancy. for example. ‘clap hands’ or ‘blow kisses’. or are more commonly experienced in a particular stage of the lifespan. James seldom responded when Sam tried to play with him or make him giggle. but occasionally occurs during adulthood. His mother commented ‘he doesn’t seem to know us’. 1. He didn’t imitate the behaviour of others as children of his age usually do when they wave goodbye. the symptoms are experienced for the rest of the person’s life. Individuals with autism experience the difficulties associated with the disorder throughout their entire life into older age. DISRUPTIONS TO NORMAL DEVELOPMENT Psychological development does not always follow a smooth course. affect: (i) how they feel about themselves? (ii) how they are treated by others? 4. some mental illnesses have no cure and once acquired. some individuals who experience depression may have only one episode of it during adulthood. autism has its onset in infancy. He made very few sounds and seldom communicated using his voice. How accurately does the cartoon reflect diagnosis and classification of a mental illness by a mental health professional? 2. Other individuals may become depressed during adolescence and experience its symptoms either continuously or occasionally into older age. Figure 6.

which they tend to repeat. they may spend long periods of time spinning around in a circle or rocking back and forth in the same spot. As children they have dif culty making friends. They do not engage in imaginative or interactive play and have a preference for a small range of toys or objects which they always use in the same way. Children with autism also have dif culty showing affection which may explain why they are often alone. always in the same order. Autistic children show little or no interest in others and often do not respond when someone calls their name. and they have a limited range of behaviours.10 Some autistic children can spend long periods of time arranging and rearranging objects so they are in a straight line or a eBook plus particular order. autistic infants seldom seek comfort from a caregiver when they are distressed. Some psychologists believe that autistic children continue this repetitive behaviour because it is comforting for them and has a calming effect on them. In addition. communication and behaviour. Children with autism have a limited range of behaviours. They have a strong need for sameness and become very distressed with change. They can often be seen alone in the school playground at playtime and lunchtime. Most infants with autism do not develop strong attachments. The symptoms of autism fall into three main categories social interaction. such as his Disney gurines. He had very poor sleep habits. If they do respond in a social situation. for example. it was always the same foods. there is no variation in their tone when they speak. Weblink video on autistic behaviour 259 C h a p t e r 6 Mental illness across the lifespan . Autistic individuals either have no language or very limited language skills. This pro le is then compared with the DSM criteria in order for a diagnosis of autism to be made. Some individuals spend long periods of time intently watching their own hands and ngers as if mesmerised by their movements. He would arrange them in neat lines. They make very little eye contact with people and they generally do not respond by snuggling when they are held. Autism is one of the few mental disorders that begin in be in a world of his own. The speech of autistic individuals is formal. If anyone else attempted to rearrange them or direct his attention to something else. over time. Individuals with autism become strongly attached to particular objects and some develop a preoccupation with their hands or ngers. Figure 6. poor communication skills and highly repetitive. Autism is a disorder characterised by extreme unresponsiveness to others. Although her return would stop his tears. Its symptoms are generally very apparent by the time the child is three years of age. This is often rst noticed in infancy. he spent long periods of time playing alone with a few favourite objects. Those individuals who can communicate often have dif culty having a conversation as they seem to have no understanding of the social rules of listening and then talking. James was eventually diagnosed with autism. They nd it hard to form normal social relationships and often respond inappropriately in social situations. he made no attempts to gain her attention and would return to doing what he was previously. He rarely slept during the day and was dif cult to settle at night. However. Communication problems are very evident in individuals with autism. like an echo. that is. they may use the word you to refer to themselves. Autistic individuals also like routine and can spend long periods of time arranging and rearranging objects so they are in a straight line or a particular order. they realised that James s lack of response to noise was selective because loud noises seemed to distress him. He also became distressed whenever his mother was out of sight. individuals with autism use language in an unusual way. James had little interest in food and when he did eat. Autistic individuals often display ecolalia. For example. Individuals with autism have dif culty with social interactions. where they repeat back what someone else says. mechanical and monotone. Infants and children with autism have dif culty interacting with and communicating with others. As James got older. interests and activities. James would have a tantrum. Mental health professionals use observations of the child and detailed parent interviews to establish an understanding of the child s behavioural characteristics. routine type behaviours. His parents thought he might be deaf because he didn t seem to respond to his name. There is no speci c test to diagnose autism. their response is often inappropriate for the situation. such as if furniture is rearranged or if their regular teacher is away and they have a different teacher for the day. If they do speak.

R. Although the majority of symptoms of autistic disorders are present during infancy. Most individuals with autism also have a low level of intellectual functioning. a speci c cause of autism and autistic type disorders has not been identi ed. for example. Thus. Journal of the American Academy of Child Psychiatry. Adapted by permission. However. Australian researcher John Wray (2007) conducted a three year longitudinal study on the incidence of autism in Australia. & Paul. For example. However. (1986).6%) between the ages of six and 12 years have an autistic disorder. Generally. irrespective of the speci c diagnosis. or memorising the order of the names in a section of the phone book. J. Stiff/rigid when held 7. R. Ignored people 2. Unaware of mother s absence Never 0 0 2 11 30 33 6 12 26 30 4 12 14 17 Rarely 4 8 4 11 33 24 30 33 24 34 10 20 30 25 Often 22 23 20 35 17 7 34 29 29 26 22 32 30 25 Very often 29 19 16 26 17 18 11 10 10 4 22 8 14 14 Almost always 45 50 58 17 2 18 19 15 15 6 41 28 12 19 Source: Adapted from Volkmar.table 6. Responsive smile to mother 14. 193. Avoided eye contact 4. However. Accept/return affection 11. D. such as all the C names. Ignored affection 8. some autistic individuals have an exceptional ability in a very speci c area. 25. Autism Spectrum Disorder includes a range of different types of autistic disorders which vary in severity. Contemporary psychologists use the term Autism Spectrum Disorder in relation to autism. Some autistic individuals have normal or above normal intelligence. This is equivalent to more than 10 000 Australian children in that age group and about 125 000 Australian people of all ages.2 Parental reports of the social behaviour of their autistic children before the age of six Percentage of responses Behaviour 1. Seemed not to need mother 13. F. Withdrew from affection 9. No affection or interest when held 5. researchers predict that there are probably more individuals with an Autism Spectrum Disorder which is undiagnosed. 2009).. Asperger s Syndrome is one kind of autistic disorder. someone with Asperger s Syndrome has many of the symptoms of autism. the day of the week of any date in any year. with signi cantly more boys likely to be affected than girls. As yet. Emotionally distant 3. No two people with autism are alike in the speci c symptoms they experience and the severity of their symptoms. within seconds. each individual diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder is delayed in their development. Researchers believe that the incidence of Autism Spectrum Disorder in the community is probably higher than research ndings actually show. Going limp when held 6. but they do not have the same dif culty with language. in being able to tell you. Many individuals are not identi ed as having an autistic disorder until childhood or adolescence when their behaviours are more obviously different from others their age. research evidence suggests that most people with an Autism Spectrum Disorder have some kind of brain dysfunction . Individuals with Asperger s Syndrome are also more likely to have normal or above normal intelligence. it is often only those infants with more severe symptoms who are diagnosed with the disorder at this early age. An Evaluation of DSM-III Criteria for Infantile Autism. Cuddling when held 10. p. His research ndings show that about one in 160 children (0. Cohen. Copyright 1986 by the American Academy of Child Psychiatry. has signi cant dif culties participating in everyday life and 260 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology requires sensitive understanding. but these individuals usually have a less severe kind of autism. The word spectrum is used because of the wide range of individual differences in the experience of autism. specialist support and intervention (Autism Victoria. Looked through people 12.

one kind of behaviour therapy called behaviour modi cation can be used to help an autistic child develop communication and social skills. For example. In Snow Cake (2006). However. This may be the result of either a physical or chemical change in the developing brain. which follows the relationship highs and lows of real-life couple Jerry and Mary Newport. there is no known cure for Autism Spectrum Disorder.4 Autistic disorders in the movies The Australian movie The Black Balloon (2008) is a story of two teenage brothers. For example. the parent of an autistic child might give the child something they like whenever the child makes eye contact with people. Both movie critics and mental health professionals support the movie s realistic portrayal of the disorder. one of whom is severely autistic. For example. Other researchers have proposed that environmental factors primarily contribute to the onset of Autism Spectrum Disorder. p. The movie is based on the book of the same title. C h a p t e r 6 Mental illness across the lifespan 261 . Some researchers consider the cause of this brain dysfunction to be the result of the interaction of several genes involved in brain development.whereby different parts of the brain don t communicate in a normal way. To date. Behaviour modi cation can also be used to manage or control inappropriate behaviour. grew up with two autistic brothers. a child who regularly rocks back and forth or has tantrums may be BOX 6. smiles at others or listens when others speak. Elissa Down. Source: Adapted from American Scienti c Mind. Mozart and the Whale (2005) is a movie about a romance between two young adults who have a form of autism called Asperger s Syndrome. either before birth or in early infancy. This involves consistently reinforcing the child whenever they behave in an appropriate way until they learn this way of behaving. For example. there is some research evidence that suggests contact with rubella (German measles) either before or after birth may be a factor in developing autism. Other movies that highlight an autistic disorder include: • Adam (2009) • Mary and Max (2009) • Killer Diller (2004) • The Other Sister (1999) • I am Sam (1998) • Mercury Rising (1998) • Cube (1997) • Forrest Gump (1994) • What s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993) • House of Cards (1993). Sigourney Weaver plays an independent autistic woman who helps a guilt-ridden stranger come to terms with his issues about love and death. different strategies can be used to treat some of the behaviours associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder. who wrote and directed the movie. The majority of infants and children with Autism Spectrum Disorder remain affected by the symptoms into adulthood and old age. Weaver s performance was praised by many in the autistic community as being a true portrayal of the disorder. April/May 2009. 69.

Watch one of these movies.4 brie y describes movies that feature one or more characters with an autistic disorder. you should include speci c examples of behaviours in each category. (a) Give two examples of behaviours for which parents may have experienced dif culties in making distinctions. Suggest a possible explanation of autism in terms of the interaction between heredity and environmental factors. Give an example of how behavioural symptoms of autism may be treated to help an autistic child function more effectively in everyday life. 9 Data analysis social behaviour in autistic children Consider the data in table 6.1 0 Media response movies about autistic disorders Box 6.reinforced when they do not behave in this way to try to increase the likelihood that they won t behave in this way in social situations. (a) What is autism? (b) Why do mental health professionals prefer to use the term Autism Spectrum Disorder? 2. or another which features an autistic disorder. meal times and going to bed at night. What is the incidence of Autism Spectrum Disorder in Australian children? 5. Which three behaviours were most frequently observed in autistic children? 3. 2. which type of graph would be most appropriate? Give a reason for your answer. Suggest why autism is dif cult to diagnose in infancy. If the data were to be graphed. Children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder usually need a structured environment both at home and at school.2 on behaviours associated with autism and answer the following questions. After you have watched the movie: • develop a pro le of one (or more) of the characters depicted with an autistic disorder. Describe the sample and the population from whom the data were obtained. Autistic children who have severe communication and/or intellectual disabilities may attend a school speci cally for autistic children that provides specialised programs designed to meet their particular learning and behavioural needs. As you record your observations. 3. what are the most common symptoms of autism? (b) To what extent is there consistency between symptoms commonly reported by the research participants and those described in the text? 5. For example. 262 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology . An observation checklist based on the one below should be used. 6. based on the data in your observation checklist • comment on how accurately the autistic disorder is portrayed in the movie. table 6. Behaviour Social interaction Character Character Character Communication Behaviour learnin g activit y 6. Describe the three broad categories of symptoms associated with autism with reference to an example. Which three behaviours were least frequently observed in autistic children? 4 (a) With reference to the data. they need a predictable routine at home in relation to getting up in the morning. 1. with reference to the information in the text. (b) What does your answer to (a) above suggest about a possible limitation of the data? (c) Suggest another possible limitation of the data. 8 review questions 1. 6.3 Observation checklist learnin g activit y 6. eBook plus Weblink Autism Victoria learning activity 6. 4. and record your observations of how the disorder is portrayed. Children whose language problems and intellectual disabilities are less severe are likely to attend a regular school where they may receive additional assistance through an integration program.

They may then start wriggling and turning around to see what the person behind is doing and start talking to them. However. After a referral from the school counsellor to a paediatric psychologist. or poking things into a power point. then move on to another activity. he was very active. tickled the person next to him or just mucked around . It seemed he was always in trouble for doing something he shouldn t have been doing. during story time on the mat at kindergarten. Danny s mother recalls that he progressed from crawling to running and seldom walked anywhere.11 Children with ADHD are often inattentive and easily distracted. though. He annoyed and frustrated his peers because he never followed the rules in games and often walked away halfway through. and hyperactive and impulsive behaviour that is more frequent and severe than in other children of the same age. Inattention associated with ADHD means that the individual usually has dif culty concentrating and listening for longer than a few minutes. They may then get up from the mat to play with the blocks for a few minutes. They appear to have excessive energy and are always doing something. Another symptom of ADHD is hyperactivity. Hyperactive children are very restless. He found it dif cult to sit still to listen to a story and seldom watched a full 30 minute television program without losing interest part way through. For example. and the gap between his learning and that of his peers was signi cant. many parents are aware by the time their child is four or ve years old that there is something different about their behaviour. When he did sit down he constantly jiggled his leg. Danny also had dif culty making and keeping friends. Inattentive children usually have dif culty completing tasks. Danny had dif culty managing his behaviour when he started school. More often. Danny s behaviour at home was no different. On one occasion. tapped his pencil on the table. He always seemed to be on the go . when he was playing in a football match at school. Over time.attention-Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder (aDHD) Danny s mother cannot remember a time when her son was not doing something naughty . He was so active that one night when he was rocking in his cot he almost rocked his cot apart. He could not pay attention for longer than a few minutes and had dif culty following instructions. He had dif culty learning new concepts and skills. His father commented that while he often did the wrong thing. He would react in a similar way in the classroom when reprimanded by his teacher for misbehaving. Danny was often doing things he wasn t allowed to do. he tried to play virtually all the positions on the eld himself. usually before seven years of age. The symptoms of ADHD are sometimes evident during infancy. As a young child. Much of his class time was spent wandering around the room. Attention-De cit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a disorder characterised by inattention. They are easily distracted and have dif culty sticking to the same task for very long. His room was a mess. He did everything quickly and most tasks were only half done. He was unable to stay sitting at his table working on a task for any length of time. swore at his teammates and he sulked when they didn t kick or handball to him or when free kicks were given against him. He was often in trouble with his parents for not doing what had been asked of him. Danny s mother said he was clumsy and accident-prone as a child. They have dif culty keeping still for an extended period C h a p t e r 6 Mental illness across the lifespan 263 . playing with the detergents under the kitchen sink. such as pulling bottles out of the medicine cupboard. the symptoms of ADHD become apparent during childhood. it seemed that he forgot what he was meant to be doing rather than deliberately trying to be naughty. ADHD is the most commonly diagnosed childhood mental disorder. He had more visits to the emergency department of the local hospital than his older brother and younger sister. a child with ADHD is likely to listen for the rst few minutes. his attitude to school became increasingly negative and his mother often had dif culty in getting him to go to school. Figure 6. dgeted with something. eBook plus Danny was diagnosed with AttentionVideo on ADHD De cit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). He refused to follow directions from teachers and his constant back-chatting resulted in him being sent out of the classroom regularly. He was short tempered.

2004. Research ndings suggest that when the senses of children with ADHD are presented with information from the environment. However. One research study has also found that. that is. Impulsive children act before they think. much of the behaviour of ADHD children is outside their control. The third symptom of ADHD is impulsivity. while concentration dif culties persist. Speci cally. research ndings indicate that not all of the symptoms of ADHD continue into adulthood. rubella (German measles). Research studies within families have shown that children whose parents or other close relatives have ADHD are four to ve times more likely than others to develop the disorder (Albayrak & others. over time. Although the symptoms of ADHD may change over time. a child who is very excited about their upcoming birthday party and who has dif culty concentrating. 1995). 1986). if sitting at a table at school. 2000). Murphy & Kwasnik. They do not consider the consequences of their actions before doing them and they are often considered to be risk-takers. The cause(s) of ADHD is also unknown. APA. Typically the goal of medication is to reduce the ADHD symptoms children experience. 2008. Exposure to various environmental factors both before and after birth have also been associated with an increased likelihood of developing ADHD. Children with ADHD are often unable to control the urge to blurt things out or wait their turn in a conversation. However. The statistics do consistently report that about 90% of children who are diagnosed with ADHD are boys and 10% are girls (APA. For example. Other people often interpret the behaviour of ADHD children as naughty. The exact numbers of children with ADHD are not known as it is possible that there are many children with ADHD who have not been diagnosed. However. There are two main kinds of treatment available to help people with ADHD manage their symptoms medication and various behaviour therapies. Other statistics suggest the incidence of ADHD is anywhere from 2. 2000). alcohol. or be touching something. Adults with ADHD are likely to experience dif culty with following directions. their brain responds to it in a different way than that of children who do not have ADHD. many of the dif culties still persist. 1996). Another study found that young adults with ADHD were more likely than their peers without ADHD to have driving infringements such as car accidents and speeding (Barkley. However. the impulsivity diminishes (Hart & others. if this kind of behaviour continued. The pattern of inattentiveness. they seem to need to nd a way to release some of their energy. they will often dget. Hyperactive children are often considered chatterboxes at school. However. and completing tasks within a time limit. This may be another way of releasing their excess energy. hyperactivity is likely to decrease with age. NHMRC. is loud and runs around the house knocking things over would not be considered to have ADHD simply on the basis of this one experience of uncontrolled behaviour. there is general agreement among doctors and psychologists that ADHD has a neurological basis. Despite the view of some people that children with ADHD will grow out of it . maternal stress. or toxins such as lead and mercury. Thus. hyperactivity and impulsiveness must be present for at least six months before a diagnosis of ADHD is given. However. Figure 6.12 Brain scans of children with ADHD (left) differ from brain scans of children who do not have ADHD (right). but the symptoms can be managed. If they are required to remain in one spot for a period of time. For example. it has been estimated that about 7% of Australian children have ADHD (Royal Australasian College of Physicians.3% to 20% in school-aged 264 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology children and adolescents (Parliament of Australia. One explanation may be that adults are more tolerant of hyperactivity among girls. tap their ngers or pencils. activity or game. risk factors include exposure to nicotine. They are unable to control their impulsive behaviour rather than making a deliberate choice to be naughty. remembering information. further investigation for ADHD may be considered. who tend to be less active than boys with ADHD. Like autism.of time. 75% of children with ADHD continue to experience these dif culties into adolescence and often adulthood (Weis & Hechtman. 2008). the reason for the large gender difference is unknown. 2003). ADHD has no cure. while in utero. organisational skills. there is some kind of difference or change in the brain of children with ADHD. Both genetic and environmental factors are thought to play a part in ADHD. In about 70% .

What is the incidence of ADHD in Australia? 5. which assists the child to experience more positive peer relationships.2 82. Behaviour modi cation programs are also used to assist the child to learn to control some of their impulsive and hyperactive urges themselves.1 10. 6. Social skills training might incorporate learning speci cally how to share.4 on the frequency of symptoms in ADHD and non-ADHD adolescents and answer the following questions.0 15. eBook plus Weblink ADHD Coalition of Australia Symptom Fidgets Difficulty remaining seated Easily distracted Difficulty waiting turn Blurts out answers Difficulty following instructions Difficulty sustaining attention Shifts from one uncompleted task to another Difficulty playing quietly Talks excessively Interrupts others Doesn t seem to listen Loses things needed for tasks Engages in physically dangerous activities ADHD. Suggest a reason to explain why ADHD is often not diagnosed until a child starts kindergarten or school.7 16. most ADHD children.6 3.5 10. such as insomnia (sleeplessness). If the data were to be graphed.4 Frequency of symptoms in ADHD and non-ADHD adolescents Children with ADHD generally attend regular schools.6 15. Improved relationships with others give the child more con dence and boosts their self-esteem.1 48. adolescents and adults lead productive and generally happy lives.2 39. 7.9 65. 1.6 37. Despite their disorder.0 65. Why is it important to include data from non-ADHD adolescents? Explain your answer with reference to the data. % 10.6 12. Which three behaviours were least frequently observed in ADHD adolescents? 3. 3.9 80.2 4.1 16. (b) Compare and contrast this de nition with the one given in the text. Describe the three broad categories of symptoms of ADHD. the medication can have unpleasant side-effects.8 43.1 1 review questions 1. The medication can also control impulsive and hyperactive behaviour which improves the child s social relationships.5 62. Describe two ways in which ADHD may be treated. They sometimes have a special program to help manage their behaviour and they may receive additional support from a teacher aide. Training parents and teachers in how to manage inappropriate behaviour of ADHD children is another important aspect of assisting the ADHD child. medication improves attention span and as a result. which type of graph would be most appropriate? Give a reason for your answer. To avoid the side-effects some parents choose not to use the medication with their children. 4.2 12. cooperate and negotiate with peers. behaviours such as staying in their seat in class. What are other possible explanations for ADHD? 8. Behaviour therapies include social skills training and behaviour modi cation programs. Give an example of each. C h a p t e r 6 Mental illness across the lifespan 265 . % 73. 5. table 6. Do children grow out of ADHD? Explain your answer with reference to research ndings. However. particularly if their hyperactivity and impulsivity are dif cult to contain. Du Paul & McMurray (1990).7 7.1 3. What is Attention-De cit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)? 2. For children with ADHD. school performance also often improves. learning activity 6.2 60. (a) Use your answers to question 1 (a) and (b) to write a de nition of ADHD. drowsiness and irritability. 4.0 learning activity 6.4 NonADHD. Explain what is meant by the phrase ADHD has a neurological basis .7 77.1 2 Data analysis frequency of symptoms in aDHD and non-aDHD adolescents Consider the data in table 6.6 6. (a) Which three behaviours were most frequently observed in ADHD adolescents? (b) Which three behaviours were most frequently observed in non-ADHD adolescents? 2.of children.0 83.7 79. not calling out in class or completing a homework task may be the desirable behaviours that are rewarded. Behaviour therapies are often used to assist the ADHD child to control some of their dif cult behaviour. Source: Adapted from Barkley.

written text or sound prepare a presentation that you could give to the teachers of the year 7 class about ADHD and how they might support the new student. With a reduced kilojoule intake and/or excessive kilojoule output there is a signi cant eating disorders Chloe was 14 when she started dieting for the rst time. but believed she wasn t as thin as some of her friends. Anorexics use various means to lose weight and are often fearful of putting weight on once they have lost it. She made the decision to try to lose more weight so she would look more attractive. Many anorexics exercise excessively to burn more kilojoules. was reinforced when she read the latest fashion magazines. Chloe felt fatter and uglier than ever. and subsequently a clinical psychologist and dietician. At about the same time she began dieting. her family was going through a dif cult time. Whenever she looked at the celebrities in the magazines. Chloe s weight loss was gradual at rst. but she de nitely noticed when I lost weight . Chloe s view about how fat she was. An eating disorder is a general term used to describe any disorder involving a severe disturbance in eating behaviour. She had always been a strong distance runner. They often spend considerable time counting kilojoules and thinking of ways to ensure their kilojoule intake is kept to a minimum. At the meeting. Some of her friends were dieting too. and some adults can develop an eating disorder.13 Oral presentation aDHD Imagine you are a teacher. social and physiological functioning. con rmed that Chloe had an eating disorder.5). Chloe noticed him look at the girl. but also about her lack of energy and stamina. The two most common eating disorders are called anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa (see box 6. an individual may severely restrict the amount and type of food they eat. These events reinforced in her mind that she had to continue with her diet and lose a bit more weight. While some children show symptoms of an eating disorder. One day Chloe was out with her boyfriend when an attractive girl walked past. Most anorexics are very focused on food and many talk more about food than any other topic. most people who knew Chloe noticed how thin she 266 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology . To maintain this connection. Eating disorders are more common in adolescence than in other stages of the lifespan. The student with ADHD and their parents have requested that you inform all the year 7 teachers of the class that the new student has ADHD. An individual with anorexia nervosa generally believes that the normal weight range for people their age and gender is too high for them. Her PE teacher was concerned not only about her weight loss. Chloe told herself that she would be happy with her body and others would like her if she lost another ve kilograms. she received compliments from her friends which made her feel good about herself and encouraged her to keep dieting. a diagnosis of an eating disorder means that the person s eating behaviour is no longer within their control and it causes a signi cant change in their psychological. Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder that involves the persistent refusal to maintain body weight at or above a normal level. or they may consume huge amounts of food in a short period of time. She felt losing weight was the only way this would happen. a distorted perception of body image (how their body looks). the absence of menstruation (in females) and extreme concern with body shape and weight. Dieting was the one thing over which Chloe felt she had some control. She convinced herself that if she was thinner. She desperately wanted to look like them. When Chloe lost weight. For example. While one of the main symptoms of anorexia is lack of food consumption. They want the teachers to understand why the student s behaviour may differ from that of the other students in the class. had become. intense fear of weight gain. depending on the disorder. Chloe felt her mother didn t pay her much attention most of the time. When she got home. there are two different types of eating disorders and. this generally doesn t mean lack of interest in food. Chloe said. Your year 7 home group is about to get a new class member who has ADHD. Chloe wanted her mother to say she looked good. We consider anorexia nervosa. Chloe wasn t overweight.learning a ctivity 6. A referral to her GP. No-one at home seemed to notice how fussy she was with food. so they would encourage each other to skip meals. Using two or more data types still or moving images. Chloe felt she needed to keep dieting. They often set themselves a target weight which is usually considerably below the appropriate weight prescribed by the medical profession. Chloe locked herself in the bathroom and cried until she made herself vomit. Chloe thought the girl was really attractive and she started to think about all the qualities the girl had that she didn t. Chloe also said she had restricted her food intake considerably and was now nding it very dif cult to eat. Chloe felt a real connection with her dieting friends . Chloe s PE teacher requested a meeting with Chloe and her mother. She made an excuse to go home. but now was struggling to run 200 metres. According to the DSM-IV-TR. After a couple of months. it is during adolescence that eating disorders most often develop. Chloe admitted that she was exercising strenuously twice a day and that she had stopped menstruating. her boyfriend wouldn t look at other girls.

it is estimated that. Accurate data on the incidence of anorexia nervosa is dif cult to obtain. a female is not considered to have anorexia if they are still menstruating. about 1% of adolescent girls develop anorexia. especially if the symptoms are moderate and/or have not been noticed by others. Of all adolescents diagnosed with anorexia. Biological in uences on the onset or development of anorexia include genetic factors and brain functioning. anorexia is the third most common chronic (ongoing) illness after obesity and asthma (EDFV. C h a p t e r 6 Mental illness across the lifespan 267 . though some studies suggest this gure may be higher (Eating Disorders Foundation Victoria. Furthermore. In one study. 2000). Many have low self-esteem and consider themselves unattractive (Gupta & Johnson. researchers found that relatives of people with anorexia were up to six times more likely than non-relatives to develop the disorder (Stroeber & others.13 One of the criteria for a diagnosis of anorexia nervosa is weighing at least 15% less than the prescribed minimum normal weight for their height and age. growth of ne hair over the body and face. The risk factors for anorexia can be divided into three main groups biological factors. The more of these factors that are present. If a girl develops anorexia before puberty. Anorexics also think in distorted ways. Anorexics are also very focused on their body shape and weight. psychological factors and socio-cultural factors. However. Attitudes commonly expressed by individuals with anorexia include. They have a different perception of their body shape and size compared with the view others have of them. reduced bone density making bones more fragile and more likely to break. in Australia. 2000). hormone production changes and menstruation ceases. making themselves vomit or taking laxatives. Psychologists believe there are several key factors that put an individual at risk of developing anorexia. According to the DSM-IV-TR. Research studies have shown that a certain percentage of body fat is required for the body to maintain proper hormonal functioning. the greater the likelihood that an individual will develop the disorder (Lask. According to the DSM-IV-TR. If they think they have eaten too much. hair loss from the scalp. The distorted thinking of anorexics is also evident in the expectations they have of themselves. menstruation will resume. Starving the body of nutrition can cause a range of medical problems for individuals with anorexia nervosa. they will do all kinds of things to get rid of the kilojoules. Another symptom of anorexia nervosa is loss of menstruation in females. Genes may put certain individuals at risk of developing an eating disorder by contributing to abnormalities in hormone levels and an imbalance in brain chemicals (Kaye & others. 2009). Some of these problems include lowered body temperature which results in them feeling cold even when the air temperature is high. Among children. even if they have all of the other symptoms. The number of boys being diagnosed with anorexia has increased in recent years. 2009). the onset of menstruation will be delayed. Anorexia is a disorder that can be present for a long time without being diagnosed. However. When weight increases and the minimum level of body fat is regained. anorexia is not con ned to girls. genes may also play a role in the development of certain personality characteristics that predispose individuals to an eating disorder. I must be perfect in every way . If the percentage of body fat falls below this level. such as exercising more. Among adolescent girls. Research studies suggest that genes are likely to play a role in determining an individual s susceptibility to anorexia. 2000). or I will become a better person if I deprive myself of things that I love . and other chemical changes in the body that can lead to heart failure or the collapse of the circulatory system. one in four diagnosed with anorexia is male.loss of weight. 2000). They consider themselves bigger and heavier than they actually are. There is no single cause of anorexia nervosa. Figure 6. one in 10 is male and nine in 10 are female. someone cannot be diagnosed as anorexic unless they weigh at least 15% less than the prescribed minimum normal weight for their height and age.

the family s values. many have some of them. the individual is hospitalised and they may be fed intravenously (through a tube) until their body is no longer malnourished. we need to look like these role models . the better the chance of recovery. emotional connections between family members. In addition. called cognitive behavioural therapy . Figure 6. For a vulnerable person who feels that they don t compare favourably to the images portrayed in the media. for example. Cultural background may also in uence the onset and severity of anorexia. However.Psychological factors that may contribute to anorexia include having high personal expectations. One kind of psychological therapy. While there is no typical family pro le for anorexia. how severe it is. psychological therapies and nutritional counselling. The kind of treatment used depends on the severity of the individual s condition. during the illness. cultural background. The most successful treatment deals with both the physical and the psychological aspects of the eating disorder and may include combinations of medical treatment. successful and ultimately happy . The vast majority of people with anorexia are treated as outpatients.14 The incidence of anorexia is higher in cultures where appearance is considered important and where attractiveness is promoted by the media in terms of being slim and having perfect features. one of which might be an anti-depressant. The use of slim female models with clear skin and athletic 268 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology tanned males in the media can create an expectation that. Eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa are very serious. most of which are overcome once eating returns to a normal level. Of the remaining 50%. anorexics are also more likely to be anxious in social situations and have dif culty asserting themselves. each focusing on a different aspect of the illness. and images of attractive physical appearance and size promoted in the media. a range of medical treatments are often required. successful and therefore happy. appealing to others. how ready they are to try to change their eating behaviour. Socio-cultural factors associated with anorexia include family background. feelings of lack of control in some aspects of one s life and dif culty in expressing needs. and whether there has been abuse within a family. This has the dual purpose of improving a person s mood and may also help to stabilise their weight through the recovery process. The earlier treatment is started. anorexia tends to be more common in cultures where appearance is considered important and beauty is de ned in terms of being slim for women and muscular for men. Many physical health problems arise from an eating disorder. For example. Medications are sometimes prescribed. Individuals with anorexia have all types of family backgrounds and experiences. Socio-cultural factors also play a role in the development of anorexia. While not all anorexics have all of these symptoms or characteristics. particularly the importance placed on appearance within the family. Many experience bouts of depression and anxiety. low self-esteem. these constant messages can negatively impact on their self-esteem and in uence them to try to change how they look so they too can be attractive and appealing to others. family support and their age. a high need for approval from others. liver. parents own body image and eating behaviour. The treatment plan for an individual depends on a number of factors such as how long the person has had the illness. vital organ function such as kidneys. in order to be attractive. About 50% of individuals who have anorexia recover completely. there is some evidence that certain family environments may contribute to the onset of anorexia or its severity. They are usually required to remain in hospital until they reach a target body weight determined by their doctor. Treatment of anorexia generally involves several health professionals working together. communication between family members. Mental health professionals use one or a combination of psychological therapies depending on the personality and needs of their client. a psychiatrist and/or a clinical psychologist and a dietitian. perfectionist tendencies. how the family deals with feelings. When an individual s weight loss is extreme. These include overly controlling parents. heart and lungs can be impaired. In this potentially life-threatening situation. about 20% continue to experience issues with food for the rest of their lives and about 20% die in the longer term due to either medical or psychological complications of the disorder.

Both the vomiting and use of laxatives can disrupt the balance of the electrolyte potassium in the body. According to cognitive behaviour therapists. as well as epileptic seizures. with dehydration and heart failure as possible results. Family therapy involves sessions with various combinations of the individual s immediate family. Unlike anorexics who can be skeletally thin.6). Just because I haven t done well on one assignment doesn t mean I have failed this subject or that I can t do well in the future . but it may be due to the bingeing and then purging. instead of thinking. BOX 6.5 Bulimia nervosa Although people with anorexia nervosa may occasionally binge eat. For example. affects our behaviour. This is done through discussion during therapy sessions. when you next get low marks for an assignment for which you made a big effort. The vomitus is acidic and it eats away at the enamel of the teeth. you may think. I am hopeless. thinking in this manner may still result in feeling disappointed. in turn. Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) is based on the idea that emotional or behavioural problems result from unrealistic or irrational thinking about oneself. BOX 6. binge eating occurs at least once per day. The family unit is supported by a mental health professional to deal with the concerns of each family member about the wellbeing of the individual with anorexia. However. change your thinking to. It is not yet known what is responsible for the lower metabolic rate. but it is less likely to lead to feeling depressed and may result in trying harder in the future. if you get an assignment back that contains a number of criticisms and is accompanied by a low mark. With CBT. focuses on the connection between thoughts and feelings. you can change the way you feel by thinking about a situation in a more positive and optimistic way. Urinary infections and kidney failure can also occur.(CBT). eating disorders and depression. I am so dumb. I know I can do better next time. making bulimics prone to tooth decay. Bulimics have an additional problem in that they have signi cantly lower metabolic rates than non-bulimics thus making it easier to gain weight. the mental health professional challenges any of their client s thinking patterns that may lead to unhelpful feelings. The main symptoms of bulimia nervosa are: • recurrent episodes of binge eating (rapid consumption of a large amount of food in a set period of time) • a feeling of lack of control over eating behaviour during the eating binges • self-induced vomiting • use of laxatives or diuretics (to empty the bowel or bladder) • strict dieting or fasting • vigorous exercise in order to prevent weight gain • persistent overconcern with body shape and weight. I am dumb. usually in the evening. bulimics tend to maintain a normal body weight. Working with the family of an individual who has an eating disorder is another important aspect of the person s recovery. the assumption is that the way we think about any event or situation affects how we feel about it and this. I will never do well in this subject . the cognitive therapies have become the most widely used by clinical and counselling psychologists. in turn. siblings or partners. 2004). Family therapy also helps families deal with any con ict or tension between family members. 2009). others and situations. CBT is considered to be a particularly useful therapeutic technique in the treatment of anxiety related disorders. During CBT. I am hopeless. such as parents. Some of the less serious effects include sore throat and swollen glands caused by repeated vomiting. Recent Australian research ndings indicate that about 5% of Australian women (mostly young adult women) will be affected by bulimia at some time in their lives. The client is (continued) C h a p t e r 6 Mental illness across the lifespan 269 . repeated binge eating is called bulimia nervosa. One type of cognitive therapy is called cognitive behaviour therapy. Other kinds of psychological therapies may also be used to help the individual deal with issues that may be relevant to their anorexic condition. About 95% of bulimics are women and about 5% men (EDFV. In many cases of bulimia. I will never be able to do well in this subject . According to the principles of CBT. The goal of CBT is to change how the individual feels by changing the way they think about their circumstances and/or themself (see box 6. This is often done with family therapy. communication problems or dif culties in expressing feelings within the family (EDFV. the repeated bingeing and purging of the body by vomiting and using laxatives or diuretics can have serious physiological effects. may lead to a feeling of helplessness or worthlessness in that subject and may result in you not trying to do well in the future. For example.6 Cognitive behaviour therapy Of the many different therapeutic approaches available. This was a dif cult task. This.

psychological and socio-cultural. I don t need a perfect score to obtain a good result . Construct a table in which you summarise the possible causes of anorexia in point form in three categories: biological. For example. What are ve key symptoms of anorexia nervosa? 3. nature and possible treatment strategies for anorexia nervosa. but everyone else will nd it dif cult too. but their negative interpretation of the event and their thoughts about themselves. Have you ever felt anxious before an important exam? Has your anxiety also been associated with negative thoughts. make no effort on work for this subject in the future Receiving a low mark on an assignment ou ts Fee in s e a iour Figure 6. During CBT. the world and their future (Beck & others 1979). To change this negative pattern of thinking. This exam is going to be so hard. This was a difficult task. Anxious. Disappointed.1 5 visual presentation nature and incidence of anorexia nervosa Use a ow chart.1 4 review questions 1. I am hopeless.5 and write two key points that distinguish anorexia nervosa from bulimia nervosa. (a) How is an eating disorder de ned? (b) Eating disorders are described as being both psychological and physiological. concept map or another diagram to summarise the causes. ou ts learning activity 6. I wish I were better prepared. I know I will forget everything . like. Brie y describe two of the approaches to treating anorexia.15 Using CBT. negative thoughts and feelings can be turned into more positive and optimistic thoughts and feelings. clients also learn that their happiness and emotional wellbeing are things over which they have control. these exaggerated and irrational thoughts are challenged and replaced by more helpful realistic thoughts.taught to identify irrational thoughts and how to replace these with more realistic and rational thinking. It is not the bad event or experience that causes their negative feelings. but not devastated. Relax. 2. a person with an anxiety disorder who hears a news report that a semitrailer has crashed into their neighbour s house may start to worry excessively that this will happen to them and that their whole family will be killed. Encouraging people to change their self-talk is an effective way to change their thinking. such as. Through CBT. I know I am going to fail. More optimistic Try harder in this subject in the future 270 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology . such as this was an accident and the likelihood of it happening to my house and family is remote . clients are also often required to keep a daily journal where they record what they think. eBook plus Weblinks Fee in s eating disorder support e a iour ent I am so dumb. Read box 6. The exam may be hard. The training involves learning how to reframe your thinking by replacing the negative thinking with more realistic thoughts. I know I can do better next time. psychologist Donald Meichenbaum (1997) suggests you do some stress inoculation training . I have prepared for the exam and I do know this work. To practise this skill. (a) What is the incidence of anorexia in Australian adolescent girls? (b) What is the gender difference in incidence of anorexia: (i) in adolescence? (ii) in childhood? 4. You might try this technique next time you nd yourself thinking and feeling negatively. I will never be able to do well in this subject. I m so nervous. worthless Give up. Explain what this means. 5. Everyone else looks con dent and relaxed. how they feel and the behaviour associated with these thoughts and feelings. one bad result doesn t mean I have failed the subject. learning activity 6. 6.

Anxiety disorders are not so severe that individuals lose touch with reality or behave in socially unacceptable ways. some people feel anxious most of the time. our reactions can become faster. behavioural responses such as avoidance of a feared situation. In fact. Mild to 20 15 Percenta e moderate levels of anxiety improve our ability to cope. distress. our understanding better and our responses more appropriate. Anxiety is a state of emotional arousal associated with feelings of apprehension. It is a source of extreme distress and can indicate an anxiety disorder. chest pain and shortness of breath. For these people. 2007). her job and her marriage. impaired speech and movements. The doctor has repeatedly assured Cassandra that she does not have any major physical illness. apprehension. increased heart rate and blood pressure. Cassandra was eventually diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. However. She has always worried about things. diarrhoea. This heightened anxiety began after an argument with a team member at work who she believed to be taking credit for her work. but drops markedly after that into old age. Overall. how she will ever get another job if she is sacked. what the future holds for her. have experienced an anxiety disorder (ABS. phobias. worry or uneasiness that something is wrong or something bad is about to happen. As shown in gure 6. feelings of tension. Since the argument.7). to make accurate judgements. rapid breathing. with a negative effect. The incidence of anxiety disorders is fairly consistent from adolescence through the mid. In everyday life. High levels of anxiety can reduce our capacity to plan. to study for an exam. 2. panic disorder. or about 14. Anxiety is a normal part of our lives. physiological responses including muscle tension. Anxiety has three basic components: 1. diarrhoea and dizziness. All people feel anxious from time to time and in moderate degrees. anxiety is an adaptive response. It is normal to be aroused. dry mouth. 10 5 0 16 24 25 34 35 44 45 54 e rou ( ears) 55 64 65 74 75 85 Figure 6.16. While most people feel anxious sometimes. Cassandra has been unable to stand up to this person. Anxiety disorders are the most frequently experienced and diagnosed of all the mental disorders.anxiety disorders Twenty-eight-year-old Cassandra has been worried about her health. dread and an expectation of not being able to cope 2. nausea. She has begun to lie awake at night. to carry out skilled tasks. The DSM describes ve main kinds of anxiety disorder generalised anxiety disorder. preoccupied with thoughts about how to deal with her dif cult work colleague. tense and anxious before important events.fties. and dif culty completing complex tasks requiring mental effort 3. obsessive compulsive disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder (see box 6. She worries constantly about the quality of her work and that if she makes a mistake she will lose her job. to slow down when running on a slippery surface and to avoid other dangerous situations. They are very rare in infancy. they do interfere with an individual s ability to function normally in everyday life. 2007) C h a p t e r 6 Mental illness across the lifespan 271 . Anxiety disorders are characterised by chronic ( persistent ) feelings of tension. but the anxiety should not become so severe that it impairs performance. nervousness and apprehension or fear about the future. it is anxiety that can prompt us to have a medical checkup. Cassandra has visited her doctor a number of times in the past eight months for various problems including severe stomach cramps. or even to understand information. anxiety is not an adaptive response. They most commonly occur in adulthood but can affect people in any stage of the lifespan. anxiety disorders are more common in adulthood than in other stages. but over the past eight months she has worried excessively and become more nervous and tense. which she felt sure were signs of a serious physical illness. and whether her husband is faithful.4% of the population.5 million individuals.16 The incidence of anxiety disorders in the previous 12-month period by age group (ABS.

and feel less anxious. BOX 6.Furthermore. jittery and pessimistic and to more easily experience guilt feelings (Eysenck. a number of factors combine in in uencing onset. anxiety disorders are more frequently experienced by females than males. often interfere with their everyday functioning. psychologists believe that. in most cases of anxiety disorder. The repetitive behaviours.7 Types of anxiety disorders Type Generalised anxiety disorder Panic disorder Phobia Obsessive compulsive disorder Post-traumatic stress disorder Description The individual worries constantly and excessively about the possibility of everyday. When medication is stopped. Therefore psychiatrists often combine medication with CBT in the treatment of anxiety disorders (Anxiety Disorders Association of Victoria. eBook plus Weblinks 272 U n i t 1 Introduction to psychology list of phobias. People who are highly neurotic tend to be withdrawn. The individual has an excessive. In the 2007 ABS survey. Anti-anxiety medications are commonly prescribed by GPs or psychiatrists for people with an anxiety disorder to help treat the symptoms. such as a fear of spiders. unwanted thoughts that produce anxiety. For example. For example. Relaxation and controlled breathing skills are also often taught to people with an anxiety disorder as a way of keeping their anxiety under control. causes of anxiety disorders Some anxiety disorders can be linked to a single event. fear of flying . William & others. and a need to perform repetitive and rigid actions to reduce their anxiety. CBT aims to change the irrational and unrealistic beliefs. self-conscious. The main forms of treatment for anxiety disorders involve various kinds of behaviour therapy and medication. a post-traumatic stress disorder may be closely linked to an intensely distressing event that was harmful or life-threatening (see box 6. The individual has recurring. persistent and unreasonable fear of a particular object. However.6). 1997). 32% of females indicated they had experienced an anxiety disorder at some time in their life compared with 20% of males. Certain personality traits have also been found to be more common among people with anxiety disorders. For example. insecure. unexpected atta