Psychology unit 2

  • Created by: Raeesa
  • Created on: 02-04-13 18:14

Psychodynamic Assumptions

The psychodynamic approach is about the development of the mind and energy. Poor mental health can result in neurosis or psychosis. One key assumption is of the unconscious mind. The 3 parts of the mind are conscious, preconscious and unconscious. The iceberg analogy represents the 3 parts of the mind. The unconscious is above the surface. The unconscious is deep below the water.

The conscious mind represnts the small amount of mental activity we know about. The preconscious is where memories which can be recalled under particular circumstances. The unconscious contains material that can never be recalled to consciousness.  

Repression can lead to mental health problems in later life because we use psychic energy to keep these thoughts hidden, problems can be solved if we make the unconscious conscious by talk therapies. 

The second key assumption is the importance of early childhood. Personality develops in the first 5 years. Children move through developmental stages. Fixation can lead to children staying in certain parts of development which can cause them to take on ccertain personality traits in adulthood.

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Personality Structure.

Frued believed that our personality is made up of 3 components which interact, each plays a different role in deciding on a course of action.

The id is present from birth, it is the pleasure seeking principle. It needs to achieve instant gratification and satisfaction. It doesn't distinguish between reality and fantasy and is linked to unconscious thought.

The ego develops shortly after birth. We soon realise that not all desires are immediantly gratified. The reality principle. It uses defense mechanisms to protect itself. It balances the needs of the id and the superego, niether should be overpowering. It tries to satisfy the neds of the id in socially acceptable ways and is linked to conscoious thought, 

The superego develops at about 4 years. It is the morality principle. It helps us to gain our morals from society/parents. It gives us a guilty conscious. 

The 3 personality structures must be balanced in order for positibe mental health. If the id overpowers then psychosis can occur, if the super ego over powers then neurosis can occur. To maintain balance defence mechanisms are used to stop some thoughts from becoming conscious.

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Defence Mechanisms

Repression: Preventing unacceptable desires or emotions or traumatic memories from becoming conscious. 

Displacement: Diverting emotions from their original source towards something or someone else.

Denial: Refusal to believe events or certain experiences, refusing to acknowledge threatening thoughts altogether.  

Projection: Attribution of your own unacceptable, faults or wishes to someone else. Refers to saying that threatening thoughts of emotions are someone elses thoughts or desires.

Regression: Engaging in behaviour characteristics of an earlier stage of development.

Reaction-formation: The chaning of unacceptable wishes and desisres into the opposite in the conscious mind. 

Rationalization: Finding excuses to justify actions which have unacceptable unconscious motives.

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Psychosexual Stages of Development

There are 5 stages eveyone passes through: oral, anal, phallic, latency and genital. At each stage libido is focused on this one area. If the stage is not resolved there is fixation, which occurs when there is frustration of overindulgence. 

The oral stage lasts from birth to around 18 months. The mouth is the focus of pleasure. If fixated at the oral stage because of frustation either if not nursed or nursing stops too soon, the adult is characterised as envious, pessimistic and sarcastic. If the child is overindulged, then the adult is characterised as optimistic, admiring of others and gullible. The oral character can be either of these things.

The anal stage lasts from around one and a half to two and a half years old. Toilet training brings pleasure. If parents are too lenient and the child gets pleasure from making a mess, the adult will form an anal expulsive character, messy, reckless and disorganised. If the child refuses to go and not overcome, the adult will develop anal retentive character because the child has gained pleasure from holding back. An anal retentive character is obstine, careful and precise.

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Psychosexual Stages of Development

The phallic stage is where the erogenous zone is the focus of pleasure. This lasts from around 3-5 years. In this stage the oedipus and electra complex is experienced where gender behavious is adopted. An adult fixated at the phallic stage would be self assured, reckless, vain and proud. They might also be incapable of loving someone. 

The latency period is where children form same-sex friendships and focus on school and sport and there is a repression of desires.

The genital stage starts with puberty. There is a formation of heterosexual friendships and relationships. If there is little libido energy being taken up by unresolved conflicts in the eaarlier three stages then there is enough energy in the genital stage for normal relationships to be formed. If the person is fixated at the phallic stage they will have difficulties with relationships because of repression and defence mechanisms. 

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The Oedipus Complex

The oedipus complex comes from the boys natural love for his moth. The libido focuses on the genital area and so this natural love becomes sexuall. Freud held that the father then stands in the way of the boy's feelings, because of the fathers relationship with the mother, so the boy feels aggression towards the father and love for the mother. All this is at an unconscious level.

Freud also felt that as parents tell a son off for masturbating this causes anxiety and fear. A boy at this age will notice women don't have a penis, and the fear is focused on castration fear as the boy fears his father will castrate him.Castration fear is stronger than the desire to possess the mother, so the desire is repressed.

The love and fear can be reconciled if the boy identifies with his father as if becoming the father. The boy therefore does that his father does and in absorbing his fathers approach to social rules the boy develops the super ego. The boy learns to be male by identifying with his father and becoming him. Once the oedipus complex is resolved the latency period begins. 

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The Electra Complex

Girls learn their gender behavious by identifying with their mothers but freud was more vague about conflict for girls, which is called the electra complex. At the same age women find out they have no penis.

This is penis envy, which is similar to the castration fear experienced by boys. The girl identifies with her mother and learns her gender role in that way because she can then possess her father. However, Freud thought that this process is never complete and is not resolved as the Oedipus complex is resolved for boys. Freud believed that a girl always remains a little fixated in the phallic stage, thought she does pass into the latency period once she has identified with her mother, and she develops the superego in the phallic stage as a boy does.

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Evaluation of Freud's Theory

  • It was the first theory to force society to focus on the unacceptable (the sexual instict). 
  • The theories are unscientific so can't be measured/proven e.g. the unconscious mind.
  • He rarely studied children directly, so data is secondhand or retrospective so are unreliable.
  • based on a small and biased sample so it is difficult to generalise. (consisted mainly of viennases women with mental health issues)


  • Yarrow 54 showed that those who spent the shortest time being fed during the first 6 months of life sucked their thumbs most later. This shows support of the oral stage.
  • Maltby and Price 99 found a positive correlation between anality and political conservatism. (Fixation in anal retentive personality makes people orderly).
  • O'Niell 92 found a positive correlation between anality and enjoyment of toilet humour.
  • Development may occur more continuoslt rather than in distinct stages.
  • There is little support for the oedipus complex as much of this came from Freud's own experiences and his study of little hans was Freuds own interpretation.
  • He has underestimated development in the latency stage, other theories have shown this stage to be of more importance.
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Evaluation of Freud's Theory


  • He successfully described being pulled in different directions when making decisions. 
  • some aspects of our personality are very selfish and inconsiderate, this fits with the idea of the id.
  • other theories support his idea of the id, ego and superego. e.g. Erikson.
  • it is a complete model of human experience the 3 structure account for instinct, logic and society.
  • it is an abstract concept and again difficult to prove/measure the id etc. so is unscientific.

Defence Mechanisms:

  • They seem to make sense and are generally believed to occur (e.g. we have all slammed the door instead of hitting someone. Known as displacement.) and so the theory has face validity.
  • Adams '96 has shown evidence for reaction formation - found that homophobic men were aroused by bay scenes.
  • Defence mechanisms are hard to proove/test as soon as they became conscious they are no longer unconscious behaviours/thoughts.
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Little Hans

Aim: Freud studied the case of little hans to try to understood the 5 year old boys phobia of horses and to treat it.

Procedure: Freud used a case study, including dream analysis to research the case of little hans, his information came came from Hans's father not from hans himself.


  • One theme is that Little Hans had an interest in his own and others widdlers and bottoms. He denied this interest. This is evidence of repression. 
  • Hans said he was afraid that a white horse would bite him. It appeared he heard the father of a girl staying with them tell her not to put her finger on the horse that was drawing the cart to take her to the station. This reminded him of being told off for touching his widdler, so it relates to castration fear.
  • Hans also said he was afraid of black on horses mouth and things in front of their eyes. This could really be a fear of adult men with moustaches and glasses.
  • Hans was playing with dolls and having children . His father commented that boys couldn't have children and Hans said his mother was the childrens mother and Hans is the father and Hans's dad is the grandfather. This prooves the Oedipus Complex.
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Little Hans Evaluation

  • Freud gathered information form Hans' father rather than form Hans directly. However he did try to work on information gained directly form the little boy when Hans talked freely about his problems, so the data was valid to that extent. The data was comprehensive, covering dreams, events, ideas and feelings.
  • Freud focus on sexual matters and unconscious processes has led to psychoanalysis and other psychotherapies being developed. The ideas of the talking cure and the listening cure have been built upon as is evident in modern counselling techniques.
  • Writing out a case study is likely to involve subjective interpretation. If data is interpreted subjectively, it may be interpreted differently by another analyst or researcher so would not be reliable. 
  • The parents followed Freuds teachings, so the data may be biased.
  • There are other explanations. One comes from ideas from bowlby 1973, who said that a child needs their mother as an attachment figure in their early years of their later development is affected. Perhaps Hans clung to his mother because she had threatened to leave the family.
  • Freud's methods are said to be not scientific because his concepts such as the unconscious and castration fear are not testible. Conclusions are not scientifically shown and not easily repeated so are unlikely to be reliable.
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Aim:To help Dibs unlock whatever was troubling him and help him to interact with others.

Procedure: Axline wrote up a case study about Dibs play therapy sessions. During these sessions he was observed whilst engaging in various types of play. Other researchers recorded and made notes on the sessions.


  • In the first session, Dibs painted and demonstrated that he was quite a gifted child. 
  • In the next session, he played with a doll's house. He drew a lock on the front door.
  • He said, 'a lock that locks tight with a key.'
  • In a later session, Dibs sang 'I hate the doors that lock and the people that shove you in.'
  • I hate the angry words and I'll kill them all with my hatchet and spit on them.'
  • In another session, Debs said he was glad to come to therapy but sad to leave at the end. When asked if he took any gladness home, he buried three toy soldiers in sand and said this makes them unhappy. 
  • Dibs then uncovered them and said this is papa and then punched it to the ground repeatedly.
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  • Dibs had been an accident and his birth had ruined his mum's career and annoyed her husband.
  • His parents resented him and found it hard to relate to him.
  • His parents sometimes responded to his anger by locking him up.
  • His behaviour resulted form severe relationship difficulties with his parents.
  • Dibs displaced his anger towards them on to other children, this becoming violent.


  • During therapy, Dibs behavious at school gradually improved. 
  • Once he had expressed his anger through play and developed a relationship with his therapist, he was able to make better relationships, with his parents.
  • It supports the idea of defence mechanism such as displacement .
  • Dibs id may have been expressing itself through play as his superego had been overpowering due to the expectations from his parents.
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Dibs Evaluation

  • The data is in-depth because it is qualitive so it increases validity.
  • Notes weren't made by axaline so the results aren't bias, so they are more reliable/valid because other researchers more objective.
  • The data is qualitive so can be interpretted differently.
  • There was only one participant, so the study is harder to generalise.
  • They used observations and interviews and got information from other sourses, this increases validity.
  • The study isn't replicable because it is a case stuy so its harder to generalise the results and test for reliablity.
  • PP observation: Axaline could have affected Dibs behaviour so reduced validity.
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Biological Approach

This approach combines psychology & biology. It gives us physiological explanations for human behaviour. It's fairly new, it uses scientific research methods.

Our behaviour is a result of the genes we possess from conception.

Our behavious is controlled by our central nervous system. 

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Synaptic Transmission

Electical activity called an action potential in the first cell triggers the release of a chemical called a neurotransmitter from vesicles in the terminal button of the pre-synaptic neuron into the synaptic gap.

The neurontransmitter travels across the synapse to the next neuron.dendrite where the neurotransmitter binds to a special of protein molecule called neurotransmitter receptor.

This neurotransmitter receptor changes its shape in response to binding to the neurotransmitter.

This shape change results in a serier of subsequent changes in the second cell. These further changes result in alternations in electrical activity in the dendride of the post-synaptic neuron.

Excess neurontransmitter is taken up by the pre-synaptic neurone. This process is called re-uptake.

The post-synaptic neuron does not always fire, in which case the message stops at the synapse before it and doesn't continue. Because excitatory or inhibitory.

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Gender Development (Genes)

Sex is determined by chromosomes and you cannot change it. Gender is the behaviour or appearance you chose to adopt.

Genes: Up to six weeks every foetus develops identically, the only difference is the sex chromosomes inherited. At six weeks the gonads develop. In males this is called the wolffian system, in females it is called the mullarian system. Boys gonads develop in to testicals because the SRY gene produces a protein called testis determining factor, which turns the developing gonads in to testicles.

Girls gonads develop into ovaries because they don't have the y chromosome, so no SRY gene, so no TDF is produced, so the gonads develop into ovaries. The defult sex for all foetuses is female.

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Gender Development (Hormones)

After 3 months if testes have developed, they produce anti-mullerian hormones. This prevents further development of female sex organs.

The testes then produce androgens, to masculise the male.

In females the development of full female sex organs is due to the absense of male sex hormones.

Testosterone stimulates the hypothalmus, which controls the pituatory gland. It tells it to produce male hormones. e.g MIS. If teestosterone is not present, the brain will instruct the other glands to produce female hormones e.g. FSH

AIS= Androgen insensitivity syndrome. Maale XY babies appear female.

Androgenital Syndrome= A female foetus exposed to high levels of androgens, male sex organs develop instead of female. Baby appears male but has ** chromosomes.

Klinefelter Syndrome= A male xxy foetus, Small male sex organs develop, female pubic hair patter, no male baldness, poor beard growth, breast development.

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Brain Lateralisation

Males and females have different brains. Females show less laterilisation than males. This means their brains are less one sided for certain tasks or abilities.

Females show less brain lateralisation for language abilities than males do (males have a much more active left brain in this case)

Females show less brain lateralisation for spatial tasks than males do (males have a much more active right brain in this case)

Research is mostly done on baby rats. tHey are born at 22 days. This is the point where hormones stop influencing their gender development and start influencing their brain development. 

In 1936, Pffeifer experimented on newborn rats. He removed their sex organs (testes, ovaries). All rats grew to be adults that had female hormone release patterns from the pituatory gland. Some rats then had testes transplanted onto them. The testosterone they produced made the hypothalmas tell the pituatory gland to produce male hormones

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Twin Studies

This is where psychologists look at pairs of twins to see what behavioural traits they share, or don't share. 

We can calculate concordance rates, which is the likelyhood that if one twin has a condition, the other twin will have it. For schizophrenia, MZ twins have 48% of having it, DZ twins have 17%. If you have no relative with schizophrenia, your likelihood of having it is about 1%.

We can also look ath the twins behavious, if they've been brought up together but they behave differently, the behaviour is due to nurture and the environment, not their genes. 

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Gottesman and Shields 1966 Description

Aim: to investigate the relationship between genetic makeup and schizophrenia, by looking at whether twins of schizophrenics are also likely to develop schizophrenia.

Procedure: There were 57 pairs of MZ and DZ twins, where at least one twin had schizophrenia. They then decided if the participants were schizophrenic using several methods including hospital notes and personality testing. 

Results: Concordance rate of schizophrenia is 48% for MZ twins. DZ twins 17%. General public 1%. 

Conclusion: There is a genetic component in the cause of schizophrenia. 

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Gottesman and Shields Evaluation

The study influenced schizophrenia research, this can help biological treatments.

It can be applied to the general population because their target population and sample population were the same.

The procedure was standardised for diagnosis, so it is replicable and can be tested for reliability.

Twins share a pre-natal environment, what the mother does can effect them, for example smoking. This could be the cause for them both developing schizophrenia. 

They may have grown up in the same environment, so this could be the cause of them developing schizophrenia.

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Adoption Studies Description

An adoption study looks for similarities between children who are adopted, their adoptive parents and their biological parents.

If the children show similarities with their adopted parents, with whom they share no genes, it may be assumed that the child has learned this behaviour form the adoptive parents.

However if the child shows more similarities to their biological parents, with whom they share genes, than they do to they adoptive parents, then we might assume that the behaviour in question is genetically-determined.

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Adoption Studies Evaluation

The traits they share could be due to the fact that adoption agencies try find similar families to bring up twins who are seperated, to make their development experiences similar.

The number of twins raised apart is small. Since sample sizes are small, so it may be difficult to generalise results.

Many PPS in twin and adoption studies are gathered using advertisments asking for suitible people to volunteer to take part in research. This may result in bias in the sampling as the type of people who would come forward to take part may be different to those who don't.

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Brain Scanning Techniques

MRI: For seeing all different kinds of body tissue types. They can be used to look for tumours. Patients lie in a scanner and electromagnetic waves are passed through their head. These waves cause the nuclei in him hydrogen atoms to spin a certain way. When they spin the nuclei emit radiowaves. The scanner picks up the radio waves. Hydrogen concentrations vary in different parts of the brain. This is how the scanner can distinguish between those parts and construct an image of the brain.

PET: You can see brain laterilisation, the working brain and brain malfunction. Patients lie in the scanner. They are injected with water or glucose solution with a radioactive tracer in it. When the substance gets to the brain, brain cells start to uptake the oxygen in the water/glucose. The tracer starts to decay and emits positrons. The more oxygen in the glucose/water that is used up, the more positrons are emitted. Positrons collide with electrons and form gamma rays, the scanner detects these. The scanner can then produce an image of the active areas in the brain.

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Animal Lab Experiment Evaluation

Small animales like rats and pigeons are easy to house and monitor when compared with humans. With animals like rats their gestation period is only 22 days, so large samples can be bred quickly. Ethically, a strength is that researchers are allowed to perform procedures on animals that they wouldn't be allowed to do on humans eg. lesion studies. Animals are said to be naive participants, because they don't understand what is happening. This increases the validity of the experiments, as their behaviour is natural.

Sometimes it can be more expensive to use animals compared to humans as animals have to have the highest level of care and cannot fend for themselves. Human PPs can go home when not participating and can look after themselves. One problem is that human and animal brains are different. Thus, it may be hard to generalise the result from animals to humans, because we don't know that animals and humans would behave the same way.

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Money 1975

  • John money believed that gender is determined by social experience after birth so is the result of our upbringing.  He believed that all children are born gender neutral and are created as males or females.
  • Identical twins Bruce and Brian were sent for circumcision at 10 months old because of problems in urinating. A mistake in the procedure meant that Bruce’s penis was burnt almost completely off. Bruce’s parents contacted Dr. Money and decided to bring up Bruce as a female. Bruce was surgically castrated, his name was changed to Brenda, and his parents began to dress him only in dresses and encouraged him to play with dolls. From the age of 12 Brenda was given oestrogen to encourage female puberty. Money tracked the progress of Brenda over many years as he felt it would be invaluable.  
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Money 1975 Evaluation

  • Brenda’s transition was not easy, she showed masculine traits. At 15 she was so unhappy with being raised as a girl that the decision was made to allow her to live as a boy. He found he was a lot happier. However his brother committed suicide after finding out and this distressed David and caused his marriage to breakdown. David ended up killing himself, it is suggested that his upbringing was a factor leading to his suicide.
  • The study was very unethical; the stress put on the family was seen as a significant factor in both twins’ suicides.
  • It was also unethical to show the twins sexually explicit material to try and strengthen their gender identities. However the study made it possible to compare the behaviour of twins who share the same genetic makeup but have different experiences of gender development.
  • Brian was a good control to brenda.He is identicle so their nature was the same but nurture was different.
  • Case study so harder to generalise. They were MZ twins one had no penis and were raised as a different genders, This is a unique situation and can't be generalised to anyone else.
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Key Issue: Is Autism an extreme male brain illness

Male brain structure different from female brain structure. Males is heavier, grows quicker, has smalled corpus callosum, the amygdala is slightly larger. Austim is extreme of these.

Male brain function is different from females: Males stronger at spatial tasks, develop language slower, show more laterilisation than females. Autism is an extreme of these.

Male hormones effect development: There are 3 times more males with Autism than females. Males have more exposure to male hormones than females do.

Autism may be genetic: Research using twins has found a strong concordance rate of 60-90% for autism in monozygotic twins but only 5% in dizyygotic.

Autism may be the result of a damage caused by undiagnosed phenylketonuria. (PKU).

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Learning Approach

Behaviour is due to experience,

Important factors are our environment and our upbringing. It is the nurture side of the nature-nurture debate.

We learn through stimulus and response. Stimuli are our IV and our response is the DV.

The learning approach suggests that behaviour is learnt in 3 main ways. Classical conditioning, operant conditioning and social learning.

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Classical Conditioning

  • Involves a natural stimulus followed by a reflex response. 
  • Natural stimulus = UCS
  • Reflex Response = UCR
  • In classical conditioing a new association is made. The UCS is paired with a new stimulus which doesn't naturally cause that response, this is called a neutral stimulus (NS).
  • If an association is made between the UCS and the NS, the NS will cause the same response as the UCS.
  • The NS then becaomes a conditioned stimulus (CS). and the UCR becomes the conditioned response.
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Mechinisms of Classical Conditioning

  • Higher order conditioning: Pairing another neutral stimulus with the original neautral stimulus. E.g. Pairing a buzzer with the metranome causes the dog to salivate at the buzzer.
  • Generalisation: Extending the original association to another similar stimuli. E.g. Dog salivates at a telephone ringing.
  • Discrimination: Only responding to the original conditioning stimulus.
  • Extinction: The association between the CS and the UCS is no longer there.
  • Spontaneous Recovery: After the response has extinguised it may suddenly reappear for no apparent reasons.
  • One trial: An association is made after just one pairing of the NS & the UCS. 
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Operant Conditioning

This is learning through consequences. It was devised by skinner, he invented the skinner box.

Positive Reinforcement: When a behaviour recieves a good consequence so you are more likely to repeat the behaviour.

Negative Reinforcement: You persom a desired behaviour and a negative consequence is taken away, so you are more likely to repeat the behaviour.

Punishment: When a behaviour recieves a negative consequence so you are less likely to repeat the behaviour.

Extinction: A behavioural response stops. Generalisation: Learning to respond in the same way to similar stimuli in order to recieve the reward.

Discrimination: Only responding to certain stimuli.

Successive approximations: Rewarding behaviour as it gets closer and closer to the desire response.

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Operant and Classical Conditioning Evaluation

  • Studies use experimental methods and controls. This means they are scientific. This enables conclusions to be drawn.
  • Both classical and operant conditioning can be used in therapies. This means that both types of conditioning have practical applications.
  • Classical conditioning has support from watson and rayner. Who conditioned Albert to be scared of rats through pairing it with a feared stimulus.
  • Studies usually use animals. This reduces generalisability and credibility, because animals and humans have different brains and bahave differently. 
  • The studies carried out on classical and operant conditioning are lab studies, using animals. Therefore, their validity is reduced because they are not testing a real world scenario.
  • Some behaviours may be instinctive. i.e. not learnt at all e.g. fear of loud noises, responding to pain.
  • Classical conditioning cannot explain the acquisition of entirely new behaviours, e.g. fear is not a new behaviour, it is just learnt as a new response to a different stimulus.
  • Although operant conditioning is used to explain language acquisition it cannot explain how children learn grammar, parents will rarely correct/punish their child's poor grammar, so how would they learn this through consequences?
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Watson and Rayner 1920 - Little Albert

Aim: To investigate whether emotional responses, such as fear could be conditioned.

Procedure:A case study conducted in a lab. The participant was little albert, taken from a nurse at a local childrens hospital. At 9 months he displayed interest but no fear to a variety of neutral stimuli. At 11 months he was presented with a white rat, he initially showed no fear. When the researchers loudly struck metal bars behind his head he jumped and buried his head in the matress. Albert was then presented with the rat together with the loud noise. Albert showed distress. The pairing was presented again 5 times a week later. Albert showed distress again. 5 days later albert was showed the rat without the noise and still showed distress. Albert was also presented with other furry stimuli and showed various degrees of fear.

Results: Fear persisited for 7 weeks. Response reduced. Generalisation occured.

Conclusion: It is possible to classically condition fear, response diminishes with time.

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Little Albert Evaluation

It was conducted in a lab. There was high control over the variables so the variables could be replicated and tested for reliability, and it is easier to identify cause and effect relationships.

Albert left the nursery, so there was no time to recondition him. He was not protected and this could cause long-term fear. However it is unlikely that it would have persisted in the absence of further pairing.

It is unethical albert was caused great distress through being scared, so he was not fully protected. He experienced psychological harm, this is against ethical guidellines. Albert was not able to give consent either.

This is a case study so it is difficult to generalise the findings to others. In fact replications have failed to produce similar results.

Measurements of fear were taken quantitatively, fear may be better assessed qualitatively - although this may be subjective.

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Continuous Reinforcement: When behaviour is reinforced every time a behaviour is produced. e.g. recieving a sticker every time you do your homework.

Fixed Interval: Provides reinforcement at set times. e.g. Recieving a sticker monday morning at school if all homework is complete.

Varible Interval: Reinforcement is given after varying time intervals. e.g. Recieving a sticker on Monday morning then the following Wednesday then the following tuesday, then the following tuesday.

Fixed Ratio: Reinforcement is given after a certain number of responses.

Variable Ratio:Reinforcement is given after a varying number of responses.

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Token Economy

Token economy is a treatment based on operant conditioning. It aims to use reinforcement to encourage desired behaviour. It is widely used in psychiatric institutions to encourage self sufficiency. It is used in prisons to encourage non-aggressive, compliant behaviour.

A list of desired behaviours to be rewarded would have to be decided on at the start by those involved. Tokens are given to patients/inmates for desired behaviours, these act as secondary reinforcers.

When a suffiecient number of tokens have been saved they can be exchanged for primary reinforcers.The desirable behaviour is therefore likely to be repeated in order to recieve the reward, it therefore uses positive reinforcement.

The intention of the treatment is that more natural reinforcers such as praise for desired behaviour will eventually replace the tokens.

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Token Economy Evaluation

It is hard to show that its the actual tokens that are reinforcing behaviour, it could be the increased attention and praise from staff.

Hobbs and Holt showed that a TEP could work in a boys' correctional facility in the USA. It improved pro social behaviours. This supports that a token economy does increase good behaviours.

It can be unethical because it is deliberately manipulating behaviour, and withholding basic rights.

Behaviour learned through a TEP may not generalise to the outside world, where rewards are often subtle, such as recieving praise, or delayed, such as recieving a paycheck. This means that desired behaviour in the outside world may stop.

Paul and Lentz showed that there was good success in psychiatric hospitals. Self care, such as keeping good hygiene and pro-social behaviour improved. 

Critics claim that tokens could lead to dependancy. People may only produce a desired behaviour for a reward.

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Social Learning Theory

  • The person whose behaviour is observed is called the model. Therefore the term modelling is used.
  • The learning takes place spontaneously, without any deliberate effort on the learner's or model's part.
  • Observational learning takes place without any reinforecemnt; mere exposure is enough.
  • However, the likelihood of that behaviour being imitated is dependent on the consequences of the behaviour, for both the learner and the model. 
  • Vicarious learning is when we learn through the consequences of others.
  • If we see someone being rewarded for their bbehaviour, we are more likely to copy them. If we see them being punished for the behaviour, we are less likely to copy them.
  • Attention: The observer must be paying attention to the model.
  • Retention: The observer must be capable of retaining a memory of the observed behaviour.
  • Reproduction: The observer must be capable of performing the observed action.
  • Motivation: The observer must be motivated to generate the learned behaviour.
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Social Learning Theory Evaluation

  • It is a more complete explanation of learning than OC or CC as it incorporates reinforcement as well as acknowledging cognition and motivation.
  • It explains how we learn through observation, a variety of behaviours such as aggression and phobias and has implications for the effect of media violence on children.
  • It has support from bandura ross and ross, who showed that aggressive behaviour can be learnt through observing and later imitating an aggressive model.
  • It cannot account for the acquisition of entirely new behaviours which have not been learnt.
  • It may be that we have an innate device which allows us to immitate anyway, so not purely learning.
  • It ignores genetic elements which may affect our learning it only focuses on the environmental factors.
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Bandura Ross and Ross 1961 Description

Aim: To investigate whether exposure to a real life aggressive model increases aggression in children.

Procedure: The participants were 72 children, 36 males, 36 females from Stanford University Nursery.

Stage 1: There were 3 conditions, either the subject was exposed to an aggressive model, a non aggresive model, or no model. The children who were exposed to the adult models were further sub divided by their gender, and by the gender of the model they were exposed to. The researchers testing the children for how aggressive they were by rating them. It was then possible to match the children in each group so that they had similar levels of aggression in their everyday behaviour. Matched pairs. 

Stage 2: The children were then individually bought in by the experimenter who then invited the model to come in. THe child was placed in one corner and shown how to design a picture. The model was taken to the opposite corner which contained a bobo doll. The model played with it for a minute then acted aggressively.

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Bandura Ross and Ross 1961 Description Continued

Stage 3: After 10 minutes the children were taken to another room and given toys to play with, which were then taken away. The children were then taken to an experimental room where they were allowed to play with a variety of aggresive and non aggressive toy, including a bobo doll. their behaviour was observed by judges through a one-way mirror.

Results: The children in the aggressive model condition made more aggressive responses than the children in the non-aggressive model condition. The boys in the aggressive model conditions showed more aggressive responses if the model was male than if the model was female. The girls in the aggressive model conditions also showed more physically aggressive responses if the model was male but more verbally aggressive responses if the model was female. Boys made more aggressive responses than girls.

Conclusion: A child exposed to an aggressive model is likely to display aggression and to imitate aggressive acts.

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Bandura 1961 Evaluation

  • It was a laboratory experiment so extraneous variables could be controlled, such as the length of exposure to the model and the type of aggressive acts, therefore it is easily replicable and its easier to identify cause and effect relationships.
  • The inter-rater reliability was 0.9, so there was a very high agreement on what was aggressive or imitative, so it was a reliable measure of observed aggression. This reduces the issue of subjectivity.
  • However it could be considered unethical because there are issues with the protection of participants. It may be stressful for young children to watch an adult being aggressive. It may also teach children to be aggressive.
  • It may lack ecological validity because the environment was artificial and it isn't usual for children to play on their own in an unusual room. 
  • It may lack validity because a bobo doll is designed to be hit, it may lack validity as you are supposed to hit a bobo doll therefore the children may not be acting aggressively/copying aggression but bay simply be behaving as normal.
  • The children were all from one nursery so the sample is limited and generalisation to other children may be difficult.
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Key issue: Anorexia

It is a mental illness where 90% of anorexics are female. It starts at about 13-18 years of age. It is rare to start before puberty.

Social Learning Theory:

  • Women associate beauty with being thing since models in the media are thin.
  • Girls observe the behaviour of thin models and will want to imitate it.
  • They see these models being rewarded for being thin e.g. being famous, having money, this provides the motivation to imitate the behaviour.
  • This is vicarious reinforcement, where we learn through the rewards others get for their actions.
  • Girls may want to reproduce this behaviour by stopping eating to become thin, hence becoming anorexic. 
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Key issue: Anorexia Evidence

Behar et al: In a group of anorexic patients, 43% of them had a feminine gender identity campared with only 24% in the control group. This suggests that anorexia is linked to being feminine.

Lee et al: In chinese culture, fatness is valued and the greeting "you have gained weight" is a compliment. Anorexia rates are much lower than in western societies. This suggests anorexia is linked to the cultures views of what is attractive and gives support to the SLT.

Garflinkl & Gardner: Provides support for the idea that anorexics have a distorted view of their body image, thinking they are fatter than they really are. The anorexic PPs could adjust photos to look thinner or fatter and only adjusted the images to make themselves look fatter.

Good looks in boys are less associated with being slim so explain why males are less likely to be anorexic than females.

50s ideal was fuller figure now thinness is desired this can explain why anorexia was much less common than it is now, which supports the idea that women imitate role models in terms of their size.

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Gender Development Learning VS Psychodynamic

  • The learning approach sees gender development as a result of observing and imitating same sex parents and models and reinforcement of gender appropriate behaviour. Whereas the psychodynamic approach seees it as identifying with the same sex parent in order to resolve the threat they pose.
  • The learning approach focuses on experiences and nurturing whereas the psycodynamic approach focuses on nature in terms of the sexual instinct.
  • The learning approach believes development is fluid continuously being nurtured through experiences; psychodynamic theory believes gender development is completed on the resolution of the Oedipus/Electra complex.
  • For psychodynamic, parents are the main focus whereas for learning there are other influences such as peers and the media.
  • Both achnowledge the role of parents. Learning theory believes parents are role models for imitation, and the psychodynamic approach believes parents are the fcus of unconscious desires.
  • Both believe that early years are important, learning theory believes early observation and parental choice of toys is important & psychodynamic believes early sexual desires and relationships are significant in development.
  • Same sex parent is vital, identifying ( psychodynamic) or imitating (learning.)
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Gender Development Learning VS Biological

  • The learning approach sees gender development as a result of observing and imitating same sex parents and models and reinforcement of gender appropriate behaviour. Whereas biological believes gender is determines before birth through the passing on of X or Y chromosomes.
  • Learning focuses on experiences and nurturing, biological focuses on nature to explain development. (chromosomes and development of sexual organs.)
  • The learning approach believes development is fluid, continualy being nurtured through experiences, biological theory believes gender is fixed at birth.
  • Learning suggests praise encourages gender behaviour and punishment discourages it. Biological suggests this has no effect.
  • Both acknowledge the role of parents, learning believes parents are role models for imitation and biological explains parents pass on their chromosomes which determines gender,
  • Both acknowledge that the early years are important. Learning theory believes early observation and parental choice of toys is influential and biological says sexual organs develop in the early years
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Gender Development Biological VS Psychodynamic

  • The biological approach believes gender is determines before birth through passing on chromosomes whereas psychodynamic sees it as identifying with the same sex parents in order to repress unconscious desires.
  • Biological focuses on physical determinants, psychodynamic focuses on psychological determinants.
  • The psychodynamic approach looks at nurture to an extent as it acknowledges relationships with parents whereas the biological approach just looks at nature.
  • Both focus on nature biological in terms of chromosomes and psychodynamic in terms of sexual instinct.
  • Both acknowledge the role of parents either in passing on chromosomes or as the focus of unconscious desire.
  • Both believe gender is fixed, either at birth or on resolution of the oedipus/electra complex.
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