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Philine Everts

FINAL PSYCHOLOGY YEAR 1 STUDY GUIDE


BIOLOGICAL LEVEL OF ANALYSIS
Outline principles that define the biological level of analysis
- OR Explain how principles that define the biological level of analysis
may be demonstrated in research (that is, theories and/or
studies)
At the BLA, researchers take a reductionist approach, break down
complex human physiology and behavior into its smallest
components to study
There are three underlying principles:
1. Patterns of behavior can be inherited; behavior can be innate
because it is genetically based
Specific brain processes, neurotransmitters, and
hormones can play a role in behavior
If this principle is accepted it is logical to believe that
evolution plays a key role in behavior
Study: Bouchard et al. (1990)
2. Animal research can provide insight into human behavior
Only feasible method at times
Can be generalized to huimans to some extent because
we share a common ancestor, and we have 97% similar
DNA to apes and >>> to rats.
Study: Rosenzweig and Bennett (1972)
3. There are biological correlates of behavior; emotions and
behaviors are products of the anatomy and physiology of the
nervous and endocrine systems
Study: Walderhaug et al. (2007)
CONCLUSION
Sufficient support for the principles of the BLA
These principles help to guide studies from a biological perspective.
It can be seen that in all three principles, other factors need to be
taken into account before determining these principles as the sole
influences of human behavior.
Views from all levels of analysis need to be taken into account
before reaching a determined decision on influences on human
behavior.
Discuss how and why particular research methods are used at the
biological level of analysis (for example, experiments,
observations, correlational studies)
BLA: States that all cognitions, emotions and behaviors have a
physiological basis
Research methods: Researchers need to have a method for
collecting and analyzing data, they are ways that researchers use
and manipulate to conduct their studies

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Experiments: This method involves a researcher manipulating an


independent variable and measuring its effect on a dependent
variable while controlling other variables, researchers want to
determine a cause and effect between the IV and the DV.
Experiments usually gather quantitative over qualitative data.
o Strengths:
Cause and effect relationship can be measured.
Other variables can be tightly controlled
Experiments are easily replicated
It is often cheaper and less time-consuming than other
methods
It allows researchers to use complex equipment
o Weaknesses:
Demand characteristics may occur: participants try to
guess the aims of the research and act accordingly
Hawthorne effect: participants act in a way that might
sabotage the researchers aims
Low ecological validity
Confirmation bias may occur
Researcher bias may occur
o Study: Rosenzweig and Bennett (1972)
Case Study: It is an in-depth study; it usually follows a single case,
usually over a longer period of time. Usually it is longitudinal. Can
be a single person or a specific group that has the same
characteristic that is rare. Sometimes involve natural observations,
and includes psychological testing and interviews. Most often
qualitative data. Often focuses on a limited aspect of behavior.
o Strengths:
Can gather rich data from qualitative methodology
To obtain rich data
It can be used to study a particular variable that cant
be produced in a laboratory
Extensive qualitative and quantitative data
Researchers can investigate a topic in more detail
Researchers can adopt different perspectives
Helpful in understanding rare cases
More relevant data can be collected since it is done over
a long period of time
Exposes participants to real life situations
o Weaknesses:
Only involves the study of one case, cant really be
generalized
Time consuming, can take a long time and there can be
a lot of data collected that needs to be interpreted and
analyzed.
Since it is mostly qualitative data, it can lead to
researcher bias, especially if just one researcher is
involved.

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Researchers may develop more personal relationships
with participants
Cant be replicated so there is low reliability
Social desirability bias may occur
o Study: Ogden (2005)
Correlational Studies: Used to determine if a relationship between
two variables exists and if so, what the relationship is. Correlation
can describe a relation but it cannot determine a cause and effect
relationship. In a positive correlation, both variables increase at the
same time. In a negative correlation, one variable increases while
the other decreases.
o Strengths:
Allows the researcher to investigate naturally occurring
variables that may be unethical or impractical to test
experimentally
It allows researchers to easily see if there is a
relationship between variables
o Weaknesses:
Bidirectional ambiguity
Correlation is not causation. It means that there may be
other factors in play and a cause and effect relationship
cant be established.
o Study: Bouchard et al. (1990)
DISCUSS: In the BLA, experiments are the most effective research
method because they allow a direct cause and effect relationship to
be established. The others are bidirectional, which gives room to
assume that other factors are in play, so it doesnt allow this direct
relationship supporting the idea of the BLA to be established.

Discuss ethical considerations related to research studies at the


biological level of analysis
Ethical considerations: Researchers must follow ethical
considerations to ensure that the research respects the dignity of
the participants. This not only applies to humans, but animals also
have guidelines that apply to them.
Timeline: human guidelines were created in the 1970s and animal
guidelines in 1990s
Thesis: Ethical guielines have been created to protect participants
in psychological research, both human and nonhuman. However,
due to the need for important data to explain behavior, some
guidelines may be breached.
3 main categories:
o Human:
Informed Consent: Informed about the nature of the
study and agree to participate
Deception: Not informing participants of the exact aim,
sometimes slight deception can be used if it doesnt
cause stress to the participant

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Debriefing: At the end of a study, the true aims and
purposes must be revealed to the participants.
Withdrawal from a study: Participants should be told
they have the right to leave the study at any given time
Confidentiality: All the information that is obtained in
a study must be confidential
Protection from physical or mental harm: It is
important to make sure that no harm is one to
participants
Studies:
Schachter and Singer (1962)
Maguire et al. (2000)
o Animal
Studies:
Rosenzweig and Bennett (1972)
Matsuzawa (2007)
o Genetic
Anonymity confidentiality
Informed consent and the right to refuse or withdraw
Studies
Caspi et al (2003)
o Bouchard et al. (1990)
Mental harm: There are ethical concerns with the way
twins were reunited as it was not done in a planned
process and there could have been some emotional
issues with this. The researchers should have been more
careful.
Followed all guidelines
DISCUSS: Ethics panels are now in place

Explain one study related to localization of function in the brain


(for, Wernicke, Broca, Gazzaniga, and Sperry)
Localization of function: the theory that certain areas of the brain
correspond to certain functions; in that specific areas of the brain
control different functions carried out by the brain. Therefore,
damage to relevant areas of the brain can cause drastic loss of that
function and even more, depending on the individual.
Study: Maguire et al. (2000)
o Looks at the localization of the function of spatial awareness
o This study relates to localization of function in the brain
because it shows how spatial awareness is related to both the
left and right sides of the hippocampus as well as the
posterior and anterior hippocampus.
Using one or more examples, explain effects of neurotransmission
on human behavior (for example, the effect of noradrenaline on
depression)

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Neurotransmitter: natural chemical messengers produced by our


body that transmits information from neuron to neuron.
Neurotransmitters have different effects on human behavior and
underlie behaviors such as mood, mental illness, pleasure, and
memory amongst others.
o Serotonin: neurotransmitter produced in Pineal Gland that is
responsible for emotion, sleep, and mental wellbeing.
Study: Walderhaug et al. (2007)
o Shows how the effects of the deprivation of serotonin on both
men and women

Using one or more examples, explain functions of two hormones


in human behavior.
Hormones: chemical messengers produced by the endocrine
system, a collection of glands, and they affect behavior. Since they
enter directly into the bloodstream, changes in behavior take longer
to occur, in comparison to neurotransmitters where the changes are
more instantaneous.
o Oxytocin: Baumgartner et. al (2008)
Oxytocin is stimulated by the pituitary gland, and then
produced by the hypothalamus. It plays a role in social
behavior such as trust; higher levels of oxytocin are
correlated with higher levels of trust.
o Melatonin: (2001)
The production of melatonin by the pineal gland is
stimulated by darkness and inhibited by light and is
responsible for the regulation of sleep. It inhibits other
hormones in the body that are associated with
wakefulness

Discuss two effects of the environment on physiological processes


(for example, effects of jet lag on bodily rhythms, effects of
deprivation on neuroplasticity, effects of environmental stressors
on reproductive mechanisms)
Humans constantly interact with the environment and process
information, stimulating different physiological processes.
Physiological processes: Physical and chemical functions in the
body such as structural development of the brain, distribution of
grey matter in brain structures, hormonal levels
Effect #1: The environment can have an on brain plasticity:
o Brain plasticity: refers to the brains ability to rearrange the
connections between its neurons, the changes that occur in
the structure of the brain as a result of learning or experience.
o High levels of stimulation and numerous learning
opportunities at the appropriate times lead to an increase in
the density of neural connections.

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o Localization of function is true to a certain extent, pats of the
brain are dedicated to a certain function however, and these
can be redistributed according to environmental demands.
o The more a person performs a certain activity, the more
neural connections are formed in the area of the brain
responsible causing a physical change in the brain.
o Dendritic branching: neurons connecting to create a new
traces in the brain every time we learn something new,
because the dendrites of neurons grow in numbers and
connect with other neurons
o Study: Rosenzweig and Bennett (1972)
Investigates the effects of a deprived or enriched
environment on neuroplasticity
This study showed the effect of the environment on
physiology because more enriched environments helped
develop neurons in brains of the rats.
However, lacks ecological validity, because the findings
cannot be generalized to humans as the brain and
environmental inputs differ between humans and
animals such as rats.
Effect #2: The environment can have an effect on hormonal
levels
o Study: Avery 2001
Melatonin release correlates with the circadian rhythm
(the biological clock that is based n a 24 hour day/night
cycle)
Investigates the effects of higher levels of melatonin on
SAD
The study shows the environment (which in this case
was different light situations) impacts hormonal levels,
and that a dawn simulation (which is the presence of
light) was an effective treatment, which means it had an
effect on the levels of melatonin
However, SAD cannot yet be fully explained by one
single cause, so other factors might be in play.
DISCUSS: The environment plays a key role in physiological processes and
it is clear that a relationship exists between the environment and
physiological processes. Both studies show the effects that the
environment has on physiological processes however Rosenzweig and
Bennett shows this more clearly because there is a more direct
relationship. SAD cannot be explained by just one cause and it might also
be due, to a certain extent, to genetic influence, although there is a
relationship with light exposure and hormonal levels.
Discuss the use of brain imaging technologies (for example, CAT,
PET, fMRI) in investigating the relationship between biological
factors and behavior.

Philine Everts

Brain imaging technology: extensively used in neuropsychology


since it allows researchers to see specific brain structures, where
certain brain processes take place, and can study the localization of
function. These methods are useful to researchers because they are
able to study the brain of living people, in a non-invasive manner. It
also allows them to see the relationship between structure and
function however cannot establish a cause and effect relationship.
CT (Computed tomography) scans: use a computer to construct
images of the brain from a series of differential absorption x-ray
scans. The computer reconstructs images from a series of X-ray
scans taken from various angles. The different angles are useful
since it allows researchers to remove shadows from the image. The
images that are made depend on the absorption of the beam by the
tissue it passes through; bone and hard tissue absorb x-rays well,
while air and water absorb very little, and soft tissue is somewhere
in between. Some patients may have to be injected with or drink a
dye to increase the contrast between normal and infected tissues.
o Strengths:
Provide doctors with a three-dimensional view of both
bone and soft tissue in one image
Can detect tumors and lesions at early stages
Scans are quick and non-invasive
o Weaknesses:
Researchers cannot view brain processes or activity,
which makes it hard to study the relationship between
biological factors and behavior and localization of
function (researchers were only able to detect the tumor
and reach conclusions from that, but they could not see
what processes were taking place in the brain limiting
Janets vision.
Scan requires breath holding
Possible risk of causing childhood cancer and leukemia
in expecting mothers due to high exposure to radiation
Expensive
Not accessible everywhere
o Study: Ogden (2005)
Used CT scans to perform a case study on Janet. The
scan was useful because it was able to detect her brain
tumor and she was then diagnosed with Hemineglect
PET (Positron emission topography) scans: Scans monitor the
metabolism of a radioactive substance in the brain, which is injected
into the patient. The radioactive mixture starts to decay, in a
process that emits two gamma rays. A set of detectors, placed
around the persons head, measures the pairs of gamma rays
emitted. Computers use this data to reconstruct a complete image
of the brain and its most active areas, which are where there is high
activity (more radioactive substance metabolism).
o Strengths:

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Result in images with good color contrast
Detect tumors and blood clots
Can be used to determine the metabolic use of
particular substances on the brain (such as
neurotransmitters)
Able to record ongoing activity in the brain by tracing
movement
o Weaknesses:
Incredibly expensive
Quite innaccesible since substances must be produced
on site
Involve exposure to ionizing radiation (gamma rays)
Radioactive material may cause allergic reactions in
certain people
Participants are limited to one injection per year
Images cant be complete without MRI scans
o Study: Tierney et al
Evaluated bilingual language compensation following
early childhood brain damage using PET scans. PET
scans were used while participants produced speech
and signs
fMRI (Functional magnetic resonance imaging scans): provide
three-dimensional images of brain structures through the use of
magnetic fields and radio waves. The fMRI shows actual brain
activity and which areas of the brain are active when engaged in a
behavior. This process works by detecting the changes in blood
oxygenation and blood flow levels that occur in response to neural
activity. When the brain is more active, it consumes more oxygen
and to meet these greater demands, blood flow increases to these
active areas, displaying this on the image. T
o Strengths:
Displays actual brain activity and clearly indicates which
areas are engaged in certain behavior, while still
displaying the structure of the brain in a high resolution
image
Researchers can relate anatomy to function and further
study localization of function
o Weaknesses:
Scans cannot establish a cause and effect relationship
Patient must remain very still
Limited accessibility
Extremely expensive to purchase and maintain
o Study: Maguire et al. (2000)
Used scans to compare the brains of London taxi drivers
to non-taxi drivers. Using fMRI scans, Maguire was able
to observe the structures in the brain and find a
correlation between environmental enrichment and
neuroplasticity, particularly around the hippocampi

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region, which then in turn affects behavior in terms of
memory.
DISCUSS: Although they each have their own strengths and limitations,
fMRI scans are the most effective brain imaging technology since they
show actual brain activity while also showing structure, with the highest
resolution image. This makes it the best brain imaging technique to
investigate the relationship between biological factors and behavior.
While all scans are non-invasive and can display brain structure, the fMRI
also shows actual brain activity and indicates what areas are active when
engaged in certain behavior. Although, this can also be achieved through
PET scans, fMRI scans do not require the injection of radioactive materials
or dyes. fMRI scans allows researchers to see the localization of function
in the most efficient and least harming manner while still producing high
quality resolution images.
With reference to relevant research studies, to what extent does
genetic inheritance influence behavior?
- Refers to the principle; human behavior is strongly influenced by
genetic make-up and genetic inheritance, however, the environment
also plays a part
- Behavioral genetics: deals with understanding how both genetics
and the environment contribute to individual variations in human
behavior.
- Genes: determine and shape us; they are passed down from
parents to offspring, and for this reason it is said that people have a
genetic predisposition. A single gene however, is not responsible for
complex behaviors. Instead, genes are the building blocks that
bring about this behavior.
- Concordance rates, the idea that due to the higher the genetic
relationship between twins, the more similar the results should be if
the characteristic being investigated is inherited
- To study the effects of genetics on behavior, researchers looked at
its influence on intelligence, a type of behavior; which is
operationalized to participant IQ scores.
- Genetics influence behavior to a great extent, however since there
is no single cause and effect relationship between genes and
behavior, other factors such as the environment also have a slight
influence (nature vs nurture).
- Study: Scarr and Weinberg (1977) and Horn et. al (1979)
o Environment plays an important role on our behavior as well,
it isnt all inherited
- Study: Bouchard et McGue (1981)
o Intelligence was influenced by genetics; any similarity
between their IQs must be due to genetics rather than the
environment.
- Study: Minnesota Twin Study (Bouchard et. al 1990)
o In order to investigate the role of genetics by itself, identical
twins that are raised separately from birth must be studied.
Identical twins have a 100% genetic relationship, but if raised

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in separate environments, any similarity (beyond that
expected by chance) in IQ must be due to similarity in
genetics.
o Behavior was influenced to a certain extent by genetics, but
environment also played a role
DISCUSS: These studies are an effective way of studying the influence
because they depend on concordance rates. The studies show that there
is not one single relationship between genes and behavior and that both
genetics and environment play a role. The influence is viewed differently;
some studies indicate that genetics have a greater influence while others
indicate that environmental factors have a greater role, which is why the
influence on behavior cant only be attributed to genetics. None of the
studies deny the influence of genetics.

Examine one evolutionary explanation of behavior.


Intro/ Thesis:
o Evolutionary psychology is founded on the principle that as
genes mutate, those that are advantages are passed down
through a process of natural selection.
o They aim to explain how certain human behaviors are
testimony to the development of our species over time.
o Evolutionary psychologists believe that our behaviors can be
explained by survival of the fittest which means that
advantageous genes are passed down through natural
selection. These psychologists believe that disgust is a
behaviors that has been genetically passed down through
evolution from parents to offspring in order for them to
survive.
Paragraph 1: Charles Darwin
o Research in the Galapagos Islands and studied the beaks of
beards
o this lead him to believe in the theory of natural selection,
survival of the fittest, and adaptation.
o He stated that those who have characteristics which are
better suited to their environment will be more likely to breed
and thus pass on their traits.
o He wrote a book called On the Origin of Species in 1859
where he wrote about his beliefs of evolution.
Paragraph 2:
o What is disgust?
o Some who believed that disgust allowed our ancestors to
survive long enough to produce offspring and who in turn
passed down that emotion to us.
o STUDY: Fessler (2006)
Fessler concluded that the emotion of disgust is more
prevalent in women in their first trimester for their
immune system has weakened to accept the new fetus
into their body. The emotion of disgust seems to

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diminish the risk of disease and therefore protect the


mother and her child.
Paragraph 3:
o STUDY: Curtis et all 2004
DISCUSS:
o Disgust seems to play a role in breeding and ensuring healthy
offspring
o Evolutionary explanation seems to explain why our disgust
decreases with age and why it is happening unconsciously, at
a genetic bases, and therefore we cannot force ourselves to
be disgusted.
o However: it is difficult to prove the force of evolution as
evolutionary arguments often underestimate the role of
cultural influences in shaping behavior and therefore it is
difficult to establish a cause and effect relationship
o statements from homo-sapiens are hypothetical because little
is known about them

Examine one interaction between cognition and physiology in


terms of behavior
Biological level of analysis: states that all cognitions, emotions
and behaviors have a physiological basis
Information:
o To examine the interaction between cognition and physiology
in terms of amnesia, one must first understand that:
o Cognition is the mental process of acquiring and processing
knowledge and understanding through thought, experience
and the senses. Cognitive processes include perception,
attention, language, memory and thinking.
o Physiology is the internal, biological mechanisms of living
organisms the way the organism functions
Behavior: Amnesia
STUDIES:
Rosenzweig and Bennett (1972)
Type of study: Experiment
Aim: Measure the effect of an enriched environment (IV) or a
deprivation environment (IV) on development of neurons in the
cerebral cortex (DV)
Method:
o The IV was operationalized by placing interesting toys in the
cage for the enriched environment and no toys for the
deprived environment
o Rats were placed in one of the two environments and then
spent 30 or 60 days in the cage
o Rats were then sacrificed and post mortem studies took place
Findings:

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o Rats in enriched environment had increased thickness in the


cortex, the frontal lobe was also heavier than those in a
deprived environment
o Rats in a social environment also showed changes in the brain
opposed to the isolated rat
Evalutation:
o Strengths:
Rigorously controlled lab experiment so it was possible
to establish a cause and effect relationship
The research is reliable because it has been replicated
many times
o Weaknesses:
Human brains may not necessarily respond the same as
rat brains despite the similar DNA (84-87%) and the
similarity of physiology
Ethics: Were the rats euthanized in a painless manner?

Walderhaug et al. (2007)


Aim: to investigate the effects of decreased serotonin levels in the
brain
Method:
o Used a technique called acute tryptophan depletion to
decreases serotonin levels in the brain.
o The technique calls for injection of amino acids that limit the
transport of tryptophan across the blood brain barrier, which
in turn, decreases serotonin neurotransmission.
Findings:
o Men became more impulsive, but did not experience any
mood changes in response to the induced chemical changes.
o Women reported a worsening of their mood and they became
more cautious, a response commonly associated with
depression.
o Significance: Women and men appear to respond differently to
neurochemical changes.
o First study to identify sex differences in the way that men and
women react to reductions in serotonin function, specifically in
terms of their mood and impulsivity.
Evaluation:
o Strengths:
o Weaknesses:
Maguire et al. (2000)
Aim: To investigate if there were any differences and changes in the
brains of London taxi drivers and to investigate the function of the
hippocampus in spatial memory.
Method:
o Used an fMRI scans to compare the brains of London taxi
drivers versus non-taxi drivers using a matched pairs design.

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Sample: 16 right-handed fully licensed male London taxi
drivers (mean age 44 years) participated with average
of 2 years of job experience
o MRI scans investigated volumes of hippocampus structure in
brain and its distribution of grey matter
Findings:
o The posterior hippocampi of taxi drivers were significantly
larger in comparison to those of control subjects, the non-taxi
drivers.
o In control subjects, the anterior hippocampus was larger than
in taxi drivers.
o It also showed that the hippocampal volume correlated with
the amount of time spent as a taxi driver, the more time being
a taxi driver the larger the right posterior hippocampi was and
the smaller the right anterior hippocampi was.
Evaluation:
o Strengths:
No ethical implications
Were able to establish cause and effect
o Weaknesses
Only studied males
Was a smaller sample of 16 matched pairs

Baumgartner et al. (2008)


Aim: To investigate the role of oxytocin after breaches of trust in a
trust game
Method:
o fMRI scans were carried out on 49 participants. They received
either oxytocin or placebo via a nasal spray and were then
told to act as investors in several rounds of a trust game with
different trustees.
o The investor (player 1) receives a sum of money and must
decide whether to keep it or share it with a trustee (player
2). If the sum is shared the sum is tripled. Then player 2 must
decide if this sum should be shared (trust) or kept (violation of
trust).
o The procedure was divided in a pre-feedback phase and in a
post-feedback phase, and feedback was given in between the
two
The feedback was that about 50% of their decisions
resulted in poor investment because their trust was
broken. Participants didnt know that this wasnt true.
Results:
o Participants in the placebo group were likely to show less trust
after feedback on betrayal so they invested less.
o Participants in the oxytocin group continued to invest at
similar rates after receiving feedback on a breach of trust.

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o Researchers hypothesized that oxytocin may have a role in
decreasing fear reactions (via the amygdala) that may arise as
a consequence of betrayal and our reliance on positive
feedback that can influence future decisions (via caudate
nucleus)
o Higher levels of oxytocin correlated with higher levels of trust
since oxytocin decreased fear reactions that usually come
from broken trust or betrayal
Evaluation:
o Strengths
Establish a cause and effect relationship
Highly controlled variables
o Weaknesses
Does not reflect natural hormone processes
Some ethical considerations
Ogden (2005)
Aim: to study a patient named Janet in order to study a condition
known as hemineglect.
Method:
o Used CT scans to perform a case study on Janet, a woman
with a brain tumor in the parietal lobe of her right hemisphere.
Findings:
o The CT scan was effective because it was able to detect this
tumor and therefore scientists were able to diagnose her with
Hemineglect; a disabling condition in which patients are
unable to see items to one side of space. For Janet, she
couldnt see to her left.
o The study suggests that the hemisphere did not display any
plasticity after the injury and the brain didnt compensate.
Evaluation:
o Strengths
Ogden was able to obtain large amounts of data with
producing no harm to anyone
The patients anonymity was secured
o Weakness
Low ecological validity
Cannot be generalized
Tierney et al (2001)
Aim: to evaluate bilingual language compensation following early
childhood brain damage using PET scans.
Method:
o A 37-year-old man with normal speech functions was found to
have a lesion in his left frontal lobe. This had probably
happened as a result of encephalitis (brain swelling) he
suffered when he was 6 weeks old but had no significant longterm effects. Both of his parents were deaf so he had been
using sign language from a very young age.

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o Researchers wanted to study was if this had something to do


with his ability to speak despite the brain damage (which
supposedly should have impeded him from doing so, he
should have had Brocas aphasia)
o The man was compared to 12 control participants who were all
fluent in sign language.
o PET scans were used while participant produced speech and
signs.
Findings:
o Mans right hemisphere was more active than the controls for
both speech and sign language
o Shows that his brain adapted to the damage and language
function developed in the right hemisphere.
Evaluation:
o Strength
Able to gain large amounts of data
o Weakness
Not able to generalize due to it being one person

Bouchard et al. (1990)


Type of study: Longitudinal twin study since 1979, approximately
8000 twins were used
Aim: To determine how much of our intelligence is attributed to
genetics and environment
Method:
o MZAs (identical twins raised apart) were compared to MZTs
(identical twins raised together)
o Each twin completed approximately 50 hours of testing and
interviews sot that researchers could study IQ concordance
rates
Findings:
o Determined a heritability estimate of 70%, so 70% of
intelligence can
Same
person
tested
twice
87
be
attributed to
%
genetic
inheritance
Identical twins reared
86
o 30% of together
intelligence can
%
be
attributed to other
factors Identical twins reared
76
o
Behavior was
apart
%
influenced to a
55
certain Fraternal twins reared
extent by
together
%
genetics, but
environment also
Biological Siblings reared
47
played
a role
together
%
Evaluation
o Strengths:

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Most cross-cultural study to date, participants from all
over the world
Mean age of the MZAs was 41 years old
Reliable, lots of research has supported his findings
Large sample size
o Weaknesses:
Used media coverage to recruit participants
There was no control over how many times the twins
had come in contact before the study
Relied on media coverage to recruit participants
Ethical concerns with the way twins were reunited; not
done in a planned process and there could have been
some emotional issues with this.
Equal environment assumption: study assumes that the
twins raised together experienced the same
environment

Bouchard et McGue (1981)


Type of study: Family study
Aim: To investigate the role of genetics in intelligence
Method:
o Conducted a meta-analysis: the statistical synthesis of the
data from a set of comparable studies of a problem that yields
a quantitative summary of the pooled results
o Reviewed 111 studies of IQ correlations between siblings on
intelligence from around the world
Findings:
o The closer the kinship, the higher the correlation for IQ- the
closer the siblings were the more similar their IQ
o Intelligence was influenced by genetics; any similarity
between their IQs must be due to genetics rather than the
environment.
Evaluation:
o Strengths:
Large study, so it can be generalized
o Weaknesses:
Siblings are raised in the same environment, so
influence may not be purely genetic, and it is difficult to
differentiate between the influence of genetics and
environment
Age: It is expected that the further apart the siblings are
in age, the less correlated their IQs
Scarr and Weinberg (1977) and Horn et. al (1979)
Type of study: Adoption study
Aim: to investigate if the intelligence of the adopted child is
correlated with the intelligence of the adoptive parents
Method:

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o Studied parents that had raised both adopted and natural
children
Findings:
o There was no significant difference in the IQ correlation
between the adopted children and the parents and the natural
children and their parents
o Environment plays an important role on our behavior as well,
it isnt all inherited
Evaluation:
o Weaknesses:
The study assumes that all the children had the same
upbringing, with the same environments and the same
parents
Adoption agencies use selective placement, matching
the children to their foster parents
Study cant be generalized since adoption studies dont
really represent the general population.
Caspi et al. (2003)
Type of study: longitudinal study
Aim: to investigate the possible role of the 5-HTT gene in depression
after experiences of stressful events
Method:
o Compared participants with a normal 5-HTT and a mutation of
the gene with shorter alleles (Both types are quite frequent
but the long allele is slightly more with 57%)
Findings:
o Found that the participants who carried a mutations of the 5
HTT gene and who had experienced many stressful events
were more likely to become depressed after stressful events
than those who carried the normal gene.
Conclusion:
o Being genetically predisposed to depression does not mean
that a person will automatically develop depression
o The results of genetic screening for depression could cause
personal distress and have a negative impact on someones
life.
Evaluation:
o Ethics:
No genetic ethical guidelines were broken during this
study
Newcomer (1999)
Type of study: experiment
Aim: to investigate how different levels of cortisol affect verbal
declarative memory
Method:
o Sample was 51 self-selected healthy people from the age of
18-30

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o The participants were divided into 3 different groups, 2


experimental and 1 control
The first group was given a pill of 160 mg of cortisol to
take daily
The second was given a pill of 40 mg to take daily
The control group was given a placebo
o The participants were instructed to take the pill every day for
4 days
Findings
o Found that group 1 did the worst on the memory test and
group 2 had no memory decrease
o They discovered that there cause and effect relationship
between high levels of cortisol and a decrease in verbal
declarative memory
Evaluation:
o Ethics:
There was no physical harm done since the effects of
cortisol are reversible
There was informed consent present and a double blind
control
o Strengths
Controlled experiment so passible to establish cause
and effect
no harm done since high dosages of coritisol was
reversible
o Weakness
Low ecological validity

Fessler 2006:
Type: Experiment
Aim: to investigate the nausea that women experienced during their
first trimester of pregnancy
Method:
o Fessler gathered 496 healthy pregnant women between the
ages of 18-50 and asked them to consider 32 disgusting
scenarios.
o Before asking the women to rank the scenarios, Fessler asked
them questions to determine whether the women were
experiencing any morning sicknes.
Findings:
o In accordance to his theory, the women in their first trimester
scored much higher across the board in disgust sensitivity
than women in the third or second trimester.
o Fessler concluded that the emotion of disgust is more
prevalent in women in their first trimester for their immune
system has weakened to accept the new fetus into their body.
The emotion of disgust seems to diminish the risk of disease.
Evaluation:

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o Strengths
Easily replicable and highly controlled
Large sample with wide age range
o Weakness
The data was collected through questionnaires and selfreports may not be reliable
This was a quasi experiment as the IV could not be
manipulated
Curtis et al 2004:
Type of study: online survey
Aim: to test whether there were patterns in people\s disgust
responses
Method:
o Used an online survey in which participants were shown 20
images. Among the 20 images there were 7 pairs in which one
was infections or potentially harmful to the immune system
and the other was visually similar but non infectious.
o There were 77,000 participants from 165 countries.
Findings:
o The findings confirmed that the disgust reaction was more
elicited for the images that threaten ones immune system.
They also found that the disgust reaction decreases with age.
In addition, women had higher disgust reactions then men.
Evaluation:
o Strengths
Applicable as it is ecologically valid
Can be generalised
Cost effective
Time effective
Some quantitative data
o Limitations
No cause and effect
No control over variables
Low range of levels
The study was conducted online
The validity of the results is somewhat unreliable
Matsuzawa (2007):
Aim: The aim was to examine special memory in chimps.
Method:
o Took three pairs of young chimps and thought them how to
recognize the numerals 1-9 on a computer monitor.
o Both the chimps and the human participants were seated at a
computer where the numerals flashed briefly on the screen in
a random sequence. The numbers were then replaced with
blank squares and the participant had to remember what
appeared and in which locations and touch the squares in the
correct sequence.

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Findings: The human participants made many errors as the speed


increased however the chimpanzees showed remarkable memory
for the distribution of the numbers, with no differences when
numbers were shown for a shorter time period.
Evaltuation:
o Ethical Considerations: No ethical guidelines were breached.
o Strengths:
highly controlled
o Weaknesses
Cannot necessarily be generalized to humans

Schacter and Singer (1962):


Aim: the aim of the study was to asses the two-factor theory of
emotion
There are two main hypotheses states: If a person experiences a
condition in which emotions are stimulated also called arousal for
which they have no explanations, they will describe this feeling as
best as possible using cognition.
If a person experiences a condition in which emotions are stimulated
and for which they do have an explanation, they will unlikely
describe this feeling using the alternative cognitions available.
Method:
o 184 male college students were injected with either
adrenaline (epinephrine; gives similar effect as to arousal)
o A placebo solution (no side affects) after being told they were
being injected with a vitamin called Suproxin (made up) in
order to see what affect it had on visual skills.
o Each participant was then organized in one of four groups;
The adrenalin ignorant, which meant they were given
adrenaline but not told what affect it would have on the
The adrenalin informed which was when they were
injected with adrenalin but warned of the side effects
The adrenalin misinformed, these participants were
given adrenalin injections but were told to expect
untruthful effects like numbness
The control group, which was injected with placebo,
showing no effects at all but werent told what to expect
o Then the participants continued to be placed in either a
euphoria situation or anger situation with a stooge, who acted
as another participant.
In the euphoria situation the stooge plays with items
such as rough paper, rubber bands, pencils, folders and
hula-hoops and encourages the participant to join.
Whilst in the anger situation the stooge and the
participant are asked to fill out a five-page questionnaire
which started innocently but slowly got more personal,
at random times the stooge would make comments
getting harsher and harsher ending in rage.

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The stooge at no point knew what condition the
participant was in

Findings:
o The participants who were given the adrenalin injections
showed a significant increase in sympathetic arousal,
measured through pulse rate and self-ratings on palpitation,
tremor, numbness, itching and a headache apposed to
participants who were injected with the placebo solution.
o In the euphoria condition the misinformed participants were
the happiest, due to them not knowing why they felt the way
they did.
The informed group felt the least happy because they actually
understood why they felt a certain way.
o In the anger condition the ignorant group felt the most
infuriated, and the second angriest group was the group
injected with placebo.
The least infuriated group was the ones who were informed
about the situation.
Schachter and Singer believe that the findings support their
two-factor theory of emotion.
Evaluation
o Ethical Considerations:
NO informed consent
Deception, not informed on the exact/true aims of the
study
NO protection from physical or mental harm
Study took place before all ethical guidelines were
completely set in place
o Strengths:
Highly controlled procedure
o Weaknesses:
Lacked ecological validity
Sample was all male college students therefore not
representative
No assessment of the mood was made prior to the study

COGNITIVE LEVEL OF ANALYSIS


SAQs:
Outline principles that define the cognitive level of analysis.
OR

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Explain how principles that define the cognitive level of analysis
may be demonstrated in research.
I.

Intro: state principles


a. Mental processes can be scientifically studied
i. It can be done through developing theories and using a
number of scientific research methods.
ii. Loftus and Palmer (1974)
b. Cognitive processes are influenced by social and
cultural factors
i. Factors have the ability to change cognitive process
ii. Kearins 1981 or Cole and Scribner or Rogof and Wadell
c. Mental representations guide behavior
i. These mental representations are images, words, and
concepts. People have different experiences and
therefore have different ideas or mental representations
of the world. These differing mental representations will
influence the way in which they think about the
surrounding world.
ii. Human beings are information processors and
psychologists see the mind as a complex machine.
Mental processes that guide things such as behavior can
have the ability to influence the way we think through
such as stereotyping, false memories, perception, and
the reconstructive nature of memory.
iii. Anderson and Pichert (1978)

Explain how biological factors may affect one cognitive process.


I.

Intro:
a. Memory is complex and sophisticated process that
researchers continuously aim to explore. The herpes
encephalitis virus was responsible for the deterioration of
Wearings hippocampus as indicated by Bigler (1991) who
carried out MRI scans on Wearing.
b. THESIS: Memory, a cognitive process, is affected by the
deterioration of the hippocampus as demonstrated by Wilson
(1995) case study on Clive Wearing.
II.
STUDY: Clive Wearing
III. Conclusion:
a. Due to the damage of the virus that ravaged Wearings brain,
his memory was unable to function properly. While there are
some ethical concerns regarding the confidentiality and
informed consent of this case, Deborah Wearing allowed
publicity of Clives unusual condition and researchers like
Wilson and Bigler to further investigate the cognitive process
of memory.
ERQs to SAQs:

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Discuss how and why particular research methods are used at the
cognitive level of analysis.
I. Intro:
a. THESIS: Researchers need to have a method for collecting and
analyzing data, they are ways that researchers use and
manipulate to conduct their studies using multiple methods
such as experiments.
II.
Experiment:
a. This method involves a researcher manipulating an
independent variable and measuring its effect on a dependent
variable while controlling other variables, researchers want to
determine a cause and effect between the IV and the DV.
Experiments usually gather quantitative over qualitative data.
b. Strengths:
i. Cause and effect relationship can be established
ii. Other variables can be tightly controlled
iii. Experiments are easily replicated
c. STUDY: Speisman et al 1982
Discuss ethical considerations related to research studies at the
cognitive level of analysis.
I. Intro:
a. Researchers must follow ethical guidelines to ensure that all
participants are treated in an ethical manner in order to avoid
harming participants. Not only does this apply to humans, but
also to animals, which have separate guidelines.
b. Guidelines (mention in individual paragraphs):
i. Informed consent: informed about the nature of the
study and agree to participate.
ii. Deception: not informing participants on the exact aim,
sometimes slight deception can be used if it doesnt
cause stress to the participant
iii. Debriefing: at the end of a study, the true aims and
purposes must be revealed to the participants.
iv. Withdrawal from a study: participants should be told
they have the right to leave the study at any given time.
v. Confidentiality: all the information that is obtained in a
study must be confidential.
vi. Protection from physical or mental harm: it is important
to make sure that no physical or mental harm
c. THESIS: Ethical guidelines have been created to protect
participants in psychological research, both human and
nonhuman. However, due to the need for important data to
explain behavior, some guidelines may be breached.
d. STUDY: Speisman et al (1964)
e. Mental and physical harm and deception
i. This experiment questions ethical considerations
because deception was present and it put participants in

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an uncomfortable situation. However, this experiment
was done in a time period where lots of un-ethical
studies were conducted as ethics were not top of mind.
This study, including the latter, did provide very useful
information.

Evaluate schema theory with reference to research studies.


I. Information:
a. A cognitive schema is a network of knowledge, beliefs, and
expectations about particular aspects of the world. These are
built through our own experiences of life, education, and
culture. Cognitive psychology operates on the assumption that
our developing schemas guide our behavior.
II.
STUDY 1: Barlett 1932
a. Founder of schema theory and concluded that people
reconstruct the past by trying to fit it into existing schemas
sometimes offering an inaccurate reconstruction of the
experience.
Explain one model of theories of one cognitive process with
reference to research studies.
I.

II.

Thesis: While both the working memory model and the multi-store
model have strengths and limitations, the working memory model is
superior as compared to the multi-store model for it provides more
insight into the organization of memory in human beings.
The multi-store model: contains three components, which relate to
each other and provides insight on how memory is stored. Atkinson
and Shiffrin (1968) were the first to create and illustrate the model.
Nevertheless, this model is heavily criticized for being too simplistic
and inflexible. This model suggest that memory first enters the
sensory memory which may store unprocessed information for
extremely short periods of time while physical stimuli are no longer
available. From there, if attention is applied, this information may
become short-term memory which holds information for brief
periods of time. When examining short-term memory, it is crucial to
take into consideration 3 areas, capacity, duration and encoding.
Capacity refers to how much information may be held by the shortterm memory while duration makes reference to how long this
information may be stored by short-term memory which has been
proven to be very short. If this information in short-term memory is
then rehearsed, it may be successful to move onto long-term
memory where large quantities of information are stored for long
periods of time. Here in long-term memory is where personal
memories, beliefs and general knowledge are stored. Also, it must
be remembered, that in all stages information may be forgotten
through decay.

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III.

I.

II.

STUDY:
a. Multi-store model: Peterson and Peterson
Discuss how social or cultural factors affect one cognitive
process.
Information needed:
a. Memory is complex and sophisticated process that
researchers continuously aim to explore. Memory is a
cognitive process where information is encoded, stored, and
retrieved
b. THESIS: Our culture, language, upbringing, education and
many other social and cultural factors have an effect on how
we remember and what we remember as displayed by Kearins
(1981).
STUDY: Kearins (1981)
a. Using different memory strategies to access memory.

With reference to relevant research studies, to what extent is one


cognitive process reliable?
I. Intro: A cognitive process is a process that is involved in obtaining
and storing knowledge as well as putting it to use including
perception, thinking, problem solving, attention, and memory.
Memory is a cognitive process where information is encoded, stored,
and retrieved.
a. THESIS: Memory is reliable to a moderate extent because of
its reconstructive nature due to social and cultural schema
and leading questions.
II.
STUDY: Loftus and Palmer (1974)
a. Further research in the field of reconstructive memory and
recall was performed by Loftus and Palmer (1974). They
investigated the role of leading questions in recall.
b. Loftus and Palmer (1974) demonstrate how leading question
can negatively affect the reliability of memory.

I.
II.

Discuss the use of technology in investigating cognitive


processes.
MRI provides us with the most information
STUDY:
a. Clive Wearing
i. We were able to see the damage that was done to his
brain that was causing his anterograde and

To what extent do cognitive and biological factors interact in


emotion?
I. Information:
a. LeDouxs The Emotional Brain (1999) describes two biological
pathways of emotions in the brain. The first is a short rout that
goes from the thalamus to amygdala; the second is a long
route that passes via the neocortex and hippocampus before it
results in an emotional response. The amygdala receives input

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II.

from sensory processing areas in the neocortex and thalamus,


and projects these to areas in the brainstem that control
response systems such as fight or flight. It is the connections
between the different brain structures that allow the
amygdala to transform sensory information into emotional
signals, and to initiate and control emotional responses.
b. According to LeDoux, the advantage of having direct and
indirect pathways to the amygdala is flexibility in responses.
Speisman 1964
a. Supports LeDouxs model of two biological pathways in the
brain in that cognitive appraisal involves the hippocampus.

Evaluate one theory of how emotion may affect one cognition


process.
I. Information:
a. The theory of flashbulb memory was suggested by Brown and
Kulik. Flashbulb memory is a special kind of emotional
memory which refers to vivid and detailed memories of highly
emotional events that appear to be recorded in the brain as
though with the help of a cameras flash.
II.
Intro:
a. Memory, a cognitive process, is not affected by emotion in
relation to flashbulb memories.
b. THESIS: While Brown and Kulik claim that flashbulb memory
has an effect on memory.
III. STUDY 1: Brown and Kulik (1977)
a. FM can be vivid due to emotions, however it is not necessarily
accurate in regards to details of memory, which is why FM has
been challenged.
STUDIES:
Clive Wearing/ Wilson (1995)
o Clive Weairng suffered from herpes simplex encephalitis.
o Wilson studied Wearing after the virus had ravaged his brain
in 1985. The virus destroyed large parts of the left region of
the temporal lobe, specifically the hippocampus, resulting in
both retrograde amnesia, forgetting the memories before the
virus, and anterograde amnesia, forgetting memories after the
virus. The damaged regions were identified by an MRI scanner
and analyzed by Bigler in 1991. The MRI, magnetic reasoning
imaging device that involves the use of magnetic fields, which
exploits the physical properties of matter at the subatomic
level, was able to create images of the Wearings remaining
brain tissue after contracting the virus.
o Findings by Bigler: found that a large amount of the fornix
had wasted away and a smaller corpus callosum was present.
These are both parts of the brain that are associated with
memory. The large parts of the temporal region and the
hippocampus was filled and replaced with cerebrospinal fluid

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and an enlarged ventricular system. Lastly, Bigler found that


there was damage to the inferior frontal lobe, which in turn
caused Wearing to lose control of his emotions. Wearing was
left with a memory lasting ten to thirty seconds. Wearings
condition is unsurpassed, and causes him to lose full function
of his episodic memory and large parts of his semantic
memory. He is unable to interpret and transfer new
information into long term memory leaving him unable to fully
comprehend the events around him. However, Wearing
continues to play the piano, conduct music, and show
affection, which is credited to his intact implicit and emotional
memory.
o This is evidence of a distributed memory system, which
suggests that different areas of memory are correlated with
different locations in the brain.
Bartlett (1932)
o The aim: of the study was to investigate the effect of schema
on participants recall of an unfamiliar story.
o Procedure: He used 20 English students as participants and
asked them to read a Native American story entitled War of
the Ghosts twice. After 15 minutes they had to reproduce the
story from memory. Using a serial reproduction method, these
participants were then asked to reproduce the story a couple
of more times whenever they had the opportunity to come
into his laboratory.
o Findings: Bartlett found characteristic changes in the
reproduction of the story. Firstly, the story became shorter,
from about 330 words to around 180. Secondly, the story
became more conventional and replaced the details that could
not be assimilated with the knowledge of the participants,
such as replacing canoes with boats, replacing seal hunting
with fishing, and often not recalling the aspect of the ghosts.
Lastly, Bartlett found that the story remained a coherent story
no matter how distorted it was compared to the original story,
this he claimed was because people interpreted the story as a
whole both when listening to it and retelling it.
o Conclusion: Bartlett concluded that people reconstruct the
past by trying to fit it into existing schema meaning that
memory is influenced by our existing knowledge. The more
complicated and foreign the story, the more likely it is that
certain elements or details will be forgotten or distorted
because people try to find a familiar pattern in experiences,
past or new ones. According to Bartlett, memory is an
imaginative reconstruction of experience, which is supported
by modern research.
Loftus and Palmer (1974)
o They investigated the role of leading questions in recall. The
aim of the experiment was to investigate whether changing

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one word in critical questions would influence speed
estimates.
o Procedure: The sample was 45 students, who watched a film
of traffic accidents and then were asked to estimate the speed
of the car in the film. The critical question or independent
variable in the experiment was: about how fast were the cars
going when they hit each other. Hit was then replaced by
smashed, collided, bumped, and contacted in
separate trials. Each changed question was asked to 9
students of the 45. The dependent variable in the experiment
was the estimation of speed in miles per hour.
o Findings: The researchers discovered that the speed estimate
was in fact affected by the words, so that smashed and
collided increased the speed. The participants who were
asked with the word smashed had an average speed
estimate of 40.8 mph, while the participants who were asked
with the word contacted had an average speed estimate of
31.8 mph. The other words average speed estimates ranged
between the two extremes.
o Conclusion: The researchers concluded that the use of
different leading verbs activated different schemas in the
memory of the individual participant which showed that
hearing the word smash might actually cause the
participant to imagine the accident as more severe as
compared to participants hearing the word collided.

Brown and Kulik (1977)


o Aim: To suggest their concept of flashbulb memory.
o Procedure: They interviewed 80 participants about their
memories of the assasinations of John F. Kennedy, Martin
Luther King, or Robert Kennedy.
o Findings:

Brown and Kulik found that people said they had very
clear memories of where they were, what they did, and
what they felt about these public occurrences.

The participants recalled the assassination of JFK most


vividly.

People in the study were also asked if they had flashbulb


memories of personal events and of the 80 participants,
73 said they had flashbulb memories associated with a
personal shock such as the death of a close relative.

o Conclusion:

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Brown and Kulik suggested that there may be a special


neural mechanism which triggers an emotional arousal
because the event is important or unexpected.

Speisman et al. (1964)


o Aim: To investigate the extent to which manipulation of
cognitive appraisal could influence emotional experience.
o Procedure: in this laboratory experiment, the participants
watched anxiety-evoking films (film of an aboriginal initiation
ceremony where adolescent boys were subjected to
unpleasant genital cutting). The film was shown with 3
different soundtracks intended to manipulate emotional
reactions. The "trauma condition" was emphasizing on
mutilation and pain; the "intellectualization condition" gave an
anthropological interpretation of the ceremony; the "denial
condition" showed that the adolescents as being willing and
happy in the ceremony.
o Results: the participants in the "trauma condition" showed
much higher physiological measures of stress than other the
participants in the two other conditions.
Anderson and Pichert (1987)
o Aim: to investigate if schema processing influences both
encoding and retrievals
o Type of study: Laboratory experiment
o Procedure:
Participants heard a story about two boys that decided
to not go to school one day and instead go to the home
of one of them because the house was always empty on
Thursdays. The house was described as being isolated
and located in an attractive neighbourhood, but also
having a leaky roof and a damp basement. Various
objects in the house, like a 10-speed bike, colour TV
,and a rare coin collection were also mentioned in the
story.The story that participants heard was based on 72
points. The story had been previously rated by a group
of people based on how important the house would be
either to a potential house-buyer (leaking roof,
attractive grounds) or a burglar (coin collection, nobody
home on Thursdays). Half of the participants were asked
to read the story from the point of view of the housebuyer (the buyer schema) and half from point of view of
burglar (burglar schema), which would affect the
perception of the story. After reading the story,
participants performed a distracting task for 12 minutes
before their recall was tested. After another 5-minute
delay in the experiment, half of the participants were
given a different schema, so that those who used the
burglar schema in first trial were switched to the buyer

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schema and vice versa; and the other half retained their
original schema. Recall was then tested again.
o Findings:
Participants in the group that changed schemas recalled
7% more points on the second recall test compared to
the first recall test
Recall of points that were directly linked to the new
schema increased by 10%, while recall of points that
were important to the previous schema declined
The group that kept their first schema remembered
fewer ideas in the second trial
o Conclusion:
Schema processing must have some effect at retrieval
and at encoding since the new schema could only have
influenced recall at the retrieval stage
People encoded information that wasnt relevant to their
prevailing schema, since those who had the buyer
schema at encoding were able to recall burglar
information when the schema was changed and vice
versa
The second schema activated in the second
retrieval triggered the recall of other details of the
story
Peterson and Peterson (1959)
o Aim: To investigate the duration of short-term memory, and
provide evidence for the multi-store model.
o Procedure: A lab experiment was conducted in which 24
participants, who were all Psychology students, had to
remember trigrams, which are groups of random 3 syllables.
However, since the participants were not meant to be able to
rehearse the memorization of the trigrams, the researchers
asked them to count backwards in threes or fours from a
certain number until told to stop. After counting, participants
were asked to recall the trigrams.
o Findings: Their findings showed that the longer the
participants had to count backwards for, the less trigrams
they remembered. 80% of trigrams were remembered after a
3 second delay compare to 10% remembered after an 18
second delay.
o Conclusion: Peterson and Petersons findings suggested that
short term has a limited duration when rehearsal is prevented.
Because rehearsal is prevented, the information is slowly lost
through decay.

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SOCIO-CULTURAL LEVEL OF ANALYSIS


SAQ
Outline principles that define the sociocultural level of analysis.
OR
Explain how principles that define the sociocultural level of
analysis may be demonstrated in research (that is, theories
and/or studies).
1. Humans are social animals and have a need to belong.
a. Information: The relationship between the individual and the
group is bidirectional, as the individual is affected by the
group, the individual can also influence the behavior of that
group.
b. STUDY
i. Asch 1951
2. Our social and cultural environment influences our behavior.
a. Information:
b. STUDY:
i. Berry 1967
3. Humans have a social self and an individual self.
a. Being a fan of a sports team
4. Humans beings ideas and views of the world are resistant to
change.
a. Stereotypes
Describe the role of situational and dispositional factors in
explaining behavior.
I.

Information:
a. Attribution theory is how people interpret and explain causal
relationships that happen in the social world. In other words,

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II.

people are acting as nave psychologists. Situational and


dispositional factors are frameworks used by people to
understand and come to terms with others behavior.
b. Situational factors are external factors that are not effected or
reflective of the person itself. External attribution is the
process of assigning the cause of behavior to some situation
or event outside a person's control rather than to some
internal characteristic.
c. Dispositional factors are personal factors that are influenced
by the person him or herself. Internal attribution is the process
of assigning the cause of the behavior to an internal
characteristic or factor.
STUDY: Ross et al. 1977
a. The first error is the fundamental attribution error, which is
when people overestimate the role of dispositional factors in
an individuals behavior and underestimate the situational
factors.

Explain social learning theory, making reference to two relevant


studies.
I. Information:
a. Social learning theory: Albert Bandura, a Canadian
psychologist developed the social learning theory, SLT. Albert
Banduras social learning theory suggests that humans learn
behavior through observational learning, through watching
other models and imitating their behavior. According to
Bandura, social learning theory involves the multiple factors
including, attention (the person must pay attention to the
model), retention (the person must be able to remember the
behavior that has been observed), motor reproduction (the
observer has to be able to replicate the action), and
motivation (learners must want to demonstrate what they
have learned). The social learning theory takes into account
thought processes and acknowledges the role that they play in
learning. There are two type of observational learning, pure
modeling, where no one gets rewards or punishments, and
vicarious learning, when others are rewarded or punished in
the view of the learner.
II.
STUDY: Bandura (1961)
III. STUDY: Konijn et al 2007
I.

Define the terms culture and cultural norms.


Information:
a. Culture is a set of attitudes, behavior, and symbols shared by
a large group of people usually communicated from one
generation to the next. Culture is dynamic, meaning that it is
constantly changing and evolving. Attitudes are the beliefs of
a culture, behavior are the norms and customs, and symbols

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II.

are the words, gestures, pictures, and objects associated with


a culture.
b. Cultural norms are behavior patterns that are typical of
specific groups. They are passed down from generation to
generation by observational learning by the groups
gatekeepers. Cultural norms include such things as how
marriage partners are chosen, attitudes towards the rights of
animals, spanking children, and alcohol consumption.
STUDY:
a. Berry 1967
b. This study demonstrates cultural norms and culture for it
shows the differences between two regions and tribes cultures
and how that leads to different behaviors. It also
demonstrates how these traits are passed down and become
cultural norms.

Using one or more examples, explain emic and etic concepts.


I. Information:
a. Lonner defined culture as common rules that regulate
interactions and behavior in a group as well as a number of
shared values. Understanding the role of culture on human
behavior is essential in a diverse, multicultural world.
b. Emic: The emic approach looks at behaviors that are culturally
specific.
c. Etic: Etic approaches to behavior are typically taken with
cross-cultural studies where behavior is compared across
specific cultures.
II.
STUDY: Berry 1967
a. This is an etic study for it refers to cross-cultural studies
looking for universal or nomothetic rules of behavior
III. STUDY: Bartlett 1932
a. Bartlett demonstrated that memory is a universal process and
is cross cultural.
Explain the formation of stereotypes and their effect on behavior.
I. Information:
a. Stereotypes: A stereotype is defined as a social perception of
an individual in terms of group membership or physical
attributes. It is a generalization that is made a group and then
attributed to members of that group.
b. Social Identity Theory:
i. Social identity is a persons sense of who they are based
on their group membership(s). Henri Tajfel (1979)
proposed that the groups to which people belong are an
important source of pride and self-esteem. Groups give
us our sense of social identity, a sense of belonging.
Which can in turn result in stereotypes.
ii. Thinking of ourselves as belonging to one or more
groups is needed for human nature.

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II.

iii. There are three aspects of the social identity theory:


1. The first is categorization. We categorize objects
in order to understand them and identify them. In
a very similar way we categorize people (including
ourselves) in order to understand the social
environment. If we can assign people to a
category then that tells us things about those
people.
2. In the second stage, social identification, we
adopt the identity of the group we have
categorized ourselves as belonging to. There will
be an emotional significance to your identification
with a group, and your self-esteem will become
bound up with group membership.
3. The final stage is social comparison. Once we
have categorized ourselves as part of a group and
have identified with that group we then tend to
compare that group with other groups. If our selfesteem is to be maintained our group needs to
compare favorably with other groups.
iv. This is critical to understanding prejudice, because once
two groups identify themselves as rivals, they are forced
to compete in order for the members to maintain their
self-esteem.
Study: Sherif (1954)
a. This showed that the three steps of the social identity theory
were responsible for the formation of stereotypes.

ERQs to SAQ
Describe one particular research method that is used at the sociocultural level of analysis.
I. Thesis: Although there are many research methods are used at the
socio-cultural level of analysis, experiments are most used because
they are able to establish a cause and effect relationship.
II.
Experiment
a. Based on the scientific method
i. Hypothesis
ii. IV
iii. DV
iv. IV being manipulated
v. Design: Independent samples, matched pairs, and
repeated measures
b. Strengths
i. Control variables
ii. Cause and effect relationship
iii. Less expensive
iv. Easier to conduct
v. Easier to find participants

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vi. Easier to replicate and test
vii. Quantitative Data
c. Study: Bargh Chen Burrows (1996)
Discuss ethical considerations related to research studies at the
socio-cultural level of analysis.
I. Thesis: Although many groundbreaking studies were performed in
the early 1950s-1960s, due to there being no ethical guidelines,
now, with ethical guidelines in place.
II.
List of ethical considerations:
a. Informed consent
b. Limited deception
c. Debriefing
d. Withdrawal from a study
e. Confidentiality and anonymity
f. Protection from mental and physical harm
III. Study: Sherif (1954)
a. No informed consent (parents)
b. Allowed to harm each other
c. Covert observation was going on
d. Confidentiality and anonymity was debatable due to pictures
published
e. No right to withdraw
Explain one error in attribution.
I.

II.

Information:
a. One error in attribution is fundamental attribution error. This
occurs when people overestimate the role of dispositional
factors, internal factors, in an individuals behavior and
underestimate the situational factors, external factors.
b. Attribution is defined as how people interpret and explain
causal relationships in the social world. An attribution is the
end result of a process in which people use available
information to make inferences about the causes of a
particular behavior. Humans have a need to understand why
things happen.
Study: Ross et al. (1977)
a. This study demonstrates that the fundamental attribution
error occurs because participants attributed the behavior of
hosts and contestants to dispositional factors rather than
intelligence.
Evaluate social identity theory, making reference to relevant
studies.

I.

Information:
b. Social Identity Theory:
i. Social identity is a persons sense of who they are based
on their group membership(s). Henri Tajfel (1979)

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proposed that the groups to which people belong are an
important source of pride and self-esteem. Groups give
us our sense of social identity, a sense of belonging.
Which can in turn result in stereotypes.
ii. Thinking of ourselves as belonging to one or more
groups is needed for human nature.
iii. There are three aspects of the social identity theory:
1. The first is categorization. We categorize objects
in order to understand them and identify them. In
a very similar way we categorize people (including
ourselves) in order to understand the social
environment. If we can assign people to a
category then that tells us things about those
people.
2. In the second stage, social identification, we
adopt the identity of the group we have
categorized ourselves as belonging to. There will
be an emotional significance to your identification
with a group, and your self-esteem will become
bound up with group membership.
3. The final stage is social comparison. Once we
have categorized ourselves as part of a group and
have identified with that group we then tend to
compare that group with other groups. If our selfesteem is to be maintained our group needs to
compare favorably with other groups.
iv. This is critical to understanding prejudice, because once
two groups identify themselves as rivals, they are forced
to compete in order for the members to maintain their
self-esteem.
5. PRINCIPLE: Humans are social creatures and have a need to belong.
6. Thesis: Although the theory has a number of strengths in that it
explains how in groups and out groups can be created, it has a
major weakness because it cannot predict behaviour or explain why
people do not stereotype or fall into in-groups and out-groups.
7. Study: Tajfel (1976)
I.

Discuss the use of compliance techniques.


Information:
a. Compliance is where a person carries out a request to do
something under direct pressure even though that person may
not necessarily perceive the pressure.
b. One example of a compliance technique is the door in the face
technique.
This is making a request which is the turned down
because it is obviously too large. Then make a second
smaller request which might well be accepted as the
person will feel that the request has been reduced to
accommodate them.

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II.
III.
IV.

I.

II.
III.
I.

II.
III.

I.

II.
III.

PRINCIPLE:
STUDY: Cialdini (1975)
a. This study demonstrates how this technique may be effective
in compliance.
Thesis: Although compliance techniques are effective means of
influencing individuals to comply with the demands or desires of
others, there are ethical issues and individual, cultural, and gender
differences with using these techniques.
Evaluate research on conformity to group norms.
Information:
o One of the key ways that a society or culture passes down its
values and behaviors to its members is through an indirect
form of social influence called conformity.
o Conformity is the tendency to adjust ones behavior in ways
that are in agreement with those of a particular individual or
group.
PRINCIPLE: Humans are social creatures and have the need to
belong.
Study: Asch 1951
Discuss factors influencing conformity.
Information:
a. One of the key ways that a society or culture passes down its
values and behaviors to its members are through an indirect
form of social influence called conformity.
b. Conformity is the tendency to adjust ones behavior in ways
that are in agreement with those of a particular individual or
group.
PRINCIPLE: Humans are social animals and have a need to belong.
STUDY: Asch 1955
a. Group size influenced the rates of conformity.
Explain the role of one cultural dimension on behavior.
Information:
a. Cultural dimensions are the perspectives of a culture based on
values and cultural norms. Geert Hofstede aimed to identify
traits through the classification of behavior according to ones
culture. To develop his theory, he conducted a survey of
60,000 workers at IBM in 40 countries and then carried out a
content analysis on the responses, focusing on the key
differences submitted by employees in different countries. The
trends he noticed he called dimensions. These dimensions
were operationalized and then measured from a scale of 0100.
PRINCPLE: Social and cultural factors influence behavior.
STUDY: Berry 1967
a. Berry (1967) investigated the cultural dimension of
individualism. The dimension of individualism refers to the

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degree of interdependence a society maintains among its
members. In individualistic societies, the ties between
individuals are loose; everyone is expected to look after him
or herself. In collectivist societies, from birth onwards people
are integrated into strong, cohesive in-groups. Berry (1967)
demonstrates how one of the cultural dimensions suggested
by Hofstede influences the behavior of the people in a society.

TOTAL STUDIES:
Asch 1951
Aim:
Wanted to find out to what extent a person would conform to anincorrect
answer on a test if the response from other members of the group was
unanimous.
Procedure:
The participant entered the room where there were six people and the
researcher. The men in the room were dressed like businessmen in suits
and ties. These men were part of the study, and they were playing a role
unknown to the participants. They were confederates, which helped the
researcher to deceive the participant. The participants were told that they
would take part in a study conducted to investigate visual judgement. The
participants were shown cards with lines on them and were told to pick a
separate line that matched the line of another card. Out of the 18 trials,
the confederates were instructed to answer incorrectly for 12 of the trials.
Findings: About 75% of the participants agreed with the confederates
incorrect responses at least once during the trials. Asch found that the
mean of 32% of the participants agreed with incorrect responses in half or
more of the trials. However, 24% of the participants did not conform.
Conclusion: some argue that this could also be explained in terms of the
need to belong
Asch 1955
Aim: to see the influence of group size on conformity
Procedure: a replication of the Asch paradigm with switching numbers of
confederates giving incorrect answers
Findings: Asch (1955) found that with only one confederate, just 3% of the
participants conformed, with two it rose to 14% and with 3 it rose to 32%.
Groups larger than 5 confederates did not increase the conformity and
with very large groups it even decreased the level of conformity.
Berry 1967
Aim:
Berry 1967 wanted to investigate the differences in conformity in different
cultures.

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Procedure: Berry conducted an experiment, which was a variation of the
Asch conformity paradigm experiment, on the Temne people in Sierra
Leone and the Inuit people in Canada.
Findings:
The researchers found that Temne showed high conformity rates
compared to the Inuit people of Canada.
Conclusion:
They believed that this was because Temne peoples economy relied on a
single crop that is harvested by all people in the community. This requires
cooperation and coordination of a large group of people. This therefore
explains why the Temne culture focuses strongly on consensus and
agreement. Berry found that consensus less important in Inuit culture
because their economy is based on continual hunting and gathering, an
individual activity. It is clear to see that the Inuit society is individualistic
and the Temne society is collectivist, which had an influence on the
behavior, in this case, conformity of the people.
Tajfel 1971
Aim:
The aim of the experiment was to investigate whether placing people in
groups was enough to produce prejudice between groups of very similar
people even when there is no history or competition between the groups.
Procedure:
The study was a laboratory experiment. The participants were 48 boys
from Bristol, aged 14-15, whom knew each other well. The boys were
shown slides of paintings by Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky without
knowing the painter and were asked to express their preferences.
Randomly, the boys were divided into two groups either the Klee group
or the Kandinsky group. Matrices were used which allowed the
experimenters to investigate three variables: the maximum joint profit
(where boys could give the largest reward to members of both groups),
largest possible reward to in-group (where the boys could choose the
largest reward for the member of their own group regardless of the reward
to the boy from the other group), and maximum difference (where boys
could choose the largest possible difference in reward between members
of the different groups, in favor of the in-group).
Findings:
A large majority of the participants in all groups gave more money to
members of their own group than members of the other group. The
experiment clearly demonstrated that the most important factor in
making their choices was maximizing the differences between the two
groups.
Conclusion:
From the results they were able to conclude that even the most minimal
conditions were sufficient to encourage ingroup-favoring responses and
out-group discrimination. Participants picked a reward pair that awarded
more points to people who were identified as ingroup members. In other

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words, they displayed ingroup favoritism. The experiments carried out
demonstrated that it showed SIT, Social identity theory.
Cialdini 1975
Aim: to investigate the effectiveness of the door-in-the-face compliance
technique.
Procedure:
Posing as representatives of the Country Youth Counseling Program, he
and his team stopped university students on campus and asked them if
they would be willing to chaperone a group of juvenile delinquents on a
trip to the zoo. 83% initially refused the offer. Another time, they stopped
studnets and first asked if they would be willing to sign up to work for two
hours per week as counselors for a minimum of two years, no one agreed
to volunteer. But when they followed with the request to take the juvenile
delinquens to the zoo approximately 50% of students agreed.
Sherif 1954
Aim:
Muzafer Sherif wanted to see if it was possible to instil prejudice between
two very similar groups by using real life scenarios to develop group
norms and values and then putting the 2 groups in competition with each
other.
Procedure:
Sample
o In 1954, 22 eleven to twelve-year-old boys took part in a 2-week
summer camp at the 200-acre Boys Scouts of America camp
completely surrounded by Robbers Cave State Park in the
western United States. The boys were screened to ensure they
were well-adjusted - no neurotic tendencies and no record of past
disturbances in behaviour - and came from a similar background
- white, Protestant, stable two-parent families of the middle
socioeconomic level in Oklahoma. None of the boys knew each
other, coming from different schools and neighbourhoods. As part
of the matching process, the boys were rated (including IQ) by
teachers. On arrival they were reassessed and matched for the
split, including sporting ability; they were then allocated to one of
2 groups. The researchers acted as camp counsellors. A nominal
fee was charged to parents for the camp; but they were asked
not to visit on the pretext that it might make the boys homesick.
Design
o Participant observation - a participant observer was allocated to
each group for 12 hours per day
o Observation
patterns such as those in friendship groups were noted
and studied
o Content Analysis
Tape recordings patterns of adjectives and phrases used
to refer to their own group members and members of the
other group were analysed

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o Also considered a field experiment for there were variables that


were manipulated
Procedure
o Each group, initially unaware of the others presence, had their
own cabin and were independent, camping out, cooking,
improving swimming places, carrying canoes over rough terrain
to water and playing various games
o Each group soon developed a distinctive set of ideas and rules
about how to behave. In one group it became the norm to act
tough, swear a lot and not complain about small injuries. The
other group swam in the nude and made any expression of
homesickness taboo.
o Each group had a name - Rattlers and Eagles respectively and a flag for their group. The researchers gave the 2 groups
caps and t-shirts with their group names on to increase this
sense of group identity. They became cohesive groups, with lowranking and high-ranking members.
o After a week the groups were made aware of each other.
o The researchers observed that in-group/out-group terms began to
be used. When they watched a film together, they sat in their
own distinct groups.
o The 2 groups wanted to play each other at baseball which
enabled the researchers to introduce a competition: a grand
tournament comprising ten sporting events, plus cabin
cleanliness awards and acting events. The boys were told that
the best performing group in the tournament would receive a
trophy, 4-bladed knives and medals.
o Even before the tournament began, the groups were insulting
each other - eg: Ladies, first - and even fighting physically with
each other! Soon epithets such as sneaks, cheats, bums,
cowards and stinkers were being used in reference to
members of the other group. (Terms like friendly, tough and
brave were used for their own group members.) The Rattlers in
particular became concerned about encroachment on what they
considered their territory
o The researchers manipulated the points so they could control the
competition. When the Rattlers won a tug of war competition, the
Eagles responded by burning their flag. The Rattlers retaliated by
raiding the Eagles camp (amid scuffles!) and damaging their
property - overturning beds and ripping out mosquito netting.
With some help from the researchers, the Eagles won - but their
prizes, when awarded, were stolen by the Rattlers.
o In written tests at the end of the second week those in the ingroup were considered friendly, tough and brave while those
in the out-group were described in terms such as sneaky,
bums and cowards. (Comparison stage of social identity
theory)
o Other evidence of in-group bias included, during the bean
collecting task, members of one team consistently

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overestimating the numbers of beans collected by boys in their


team and consistently underestimating the amount collected by
the other team.
o The researchers reduced hostility between the two groups by
replacing the competitive goals with goals that could only be
achieved by members of the two groups co-operating together.
First the researchers arranged for the water supply to break
down. (They turned off the valve and then placed 2 large
boulders over it, blaming vandals for the problem.) First
each group explored the pipeline separately; then they
came together and jointly located the source of the
problem. When they restored the water supply, they
cheered together.
Secondly the two groups were told that the camp could not
afford to take them to see a film most boys had high on
their list of preferences. The two groups got together and
worked out how they could get the money together jointly
and see the film.
Finally the lorry due to transport their food on an outing to
Cedar Lake some distance away wouldnt start (by
arrangement of the researchers) - so the boys got the tugof-war rope and pulled together to get it to start.
Findings
An in-group preference shown by the boys in each group
increased substantially when explicit competition between
them was introduced. The introduction of common objectives
over a period of days reduced friction equally substantially.
How well these cooling down strategies worked was
indicated that the boys chose to travel home on a single bus
when offered the opportunity for the two groups to travel
separately. When a stop was made for refreshments, one
group used their last $5 prize money to buy malted milks for
all the boys.

Ross et al 2007
Aim:
Wanted to see if student participants would make the fundamental
attribution error even when they knew that all the actors were simply
playing a role.
Procedure:
Participants were randomly assigned to one of three roles: a game show
host, contestants on the game show, or members of the audience. The
game show hosts were instructed to design their own questions and then
the audience watched the show through the series of questions. When it
was over, the audience was asked to rank the intelligence of the people
that had played a role.
Findings:

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The game show host was consistently ranked the most intelligent, even
though they were aware that this person was assigned the role randomly
and that this person had come up with their own questions.
Conclusion:
The researchers concluded that participants failed to attribute the role of a
persons situation, the fact they had written the questions, and instead
attributed the persons performance to their disposition, intelligence.
Bandura 1961
Aim:
The study aimed to test if children will imitate aggression modeled by an
adult and to examine if children were more likely to imitate same sex
models. Hypothesis: Participants who are exposed to an aggressive model
will show more aggression than participants are exposed to a nonaggressive model. Secondly, participants who observe aggression from a
same sex model will expose greater aggression than participants who
observe a non-same sex model.
Laboratory Experiment
Design: Matched pairs
o participants were ranked on an aggression by parents and
teachers
IV:
o Condition 1: Model hitting and shouting at the bobo doll
o Condition 2: Model stroking and complimenting the doll
o Same sex model and non same sex model
DV:
o The amount of times the participant hit the doll and the
number of times they used verbal insults
Participants:
o 72 participants
36 girls and 36 boys
o Aged 3-6 from Stanford University Nursery school
Procedure:
The children were divided into 3 conditions with 2 subgroups
o Condition 1: Aggressive model
o Each child in condition 1 was exposed for about 10 minutes to
a model showing physical and verbal aggression, shouting and
hitting an inflatable Bobo doll.
Male model- 6 girls and 6 boys
Female Model- 6 girls and 6 boys
o Condition 2: Non-aggressive Model
o Children in condition 2 were exposed for a similar period to a
non-aggressive model who was stroking and complimenting
the doll rather than hitting it.
Male model- 6 girls and 6 boys
Female model- 6 girls and 6 boys
o Condition 3: control group
o Children in the control group did not see any model.

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No model
12 girls and 12 boys
After watching the models, the children were individually placed in a
room with toys but were soon after told that those toys were for
other children to play with, arousing aggression within the children.
They were then placed in the room with the Bobo doll.
The child was allowed to play in this room for 20 minutes while the
researchers observed her/him from behind a one-way mirror.
The researchers marked observations in a span of 5-second
intervals, giving 240 responses for each child.
Findings:
Children exposed to aggressive behavior imitated the same
aggression physically and verbally, with the violent behavior by
boys was influenced significantly more by an aggressive male model
than by an aggressive female model.
Girls were more likely to imitate verbal aggression while boys
showed more physical aggression
Conclusion:
These results support Banduras social learning theory.
Konijn et al 2007
Aim:
Wanted to test the hypothesis that violent video games are especially
likely to increase aggression when players identify with violent game
characters.
Procedure:
112 Dutch adolescent boys with low education ability were randomly
assigned to play a realistic or fantasy violent or nonviolent video game.
Next, they competed with an ostensible partner (seemingly a true partner,
but in reality a stooge) on a reaction time task in which the winner could
blast the loser with loud noise through headphones (the aggression
measure). Participants were told that high noise levels could cause
permanent hearing damage. Habitual video game exposure, trait
aggressiveness, and sensation seeking were controlled for.
Findings:
As expected, the most aggressive participants were those who played a
violent game and wished they were like a violent character in the game.
These participants used noise levels loud enough to cause permanent
hearing damage to their partners, even though their partners had not
provoked them.
Conclusion:
These results suggest that identifying with violent video game characters
makes players more aggressive. Players were especially likely to identify
with violent characters in realistic games and in games in which they felt
immersed.
Bartlett 1932

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Aim: An observational study that documented the extraordinary retentive
capacity of Swazi herdsmen to recall the individual characteristics of their
cattle
He argued that this was not surprising as Swazi life revolved around the
possession of cattle
Procedure: Bartlett told the anecdote of how a Swazi herdsman could
recall details f all the cattle his owner had purchased a year ago but when
asked to recall a message of 25 words he was not able to recall anymore
did typical European youth
Memory is etic but what was most remembered was emic