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Approaches exam style qs
AQA Psych B Approaches
12th Grade

Additional Psychology Flashcards




Psychologists, such as Bandura, have found that children learn by observation.
Explain how a psychologist might use the experimental method to investigate
observational learning of tidying the classroom after an art lesson. (4 marks)
Exposure to a model-live or other eg video/TV (1)
Use of different conditions/groups eg an experimental group exposed to model tidying a
classroom and a control group not exposed to such a model (1)
Some form of measurement of behaviour eg the number of ‘tidying’ acts performed (1)
Random assignment of participants to conditions (1)
Reference to manipulation of IV (1)
Measurement of DV (1)
Control of variables relevant to this study (1)
Helena is always late for her psychology lessons. Her teacher has decided to apply
operant conditioning to improve Helena’s punctuality.
Explain how the teacher might use positive reinforcement to change Helena’s behaviour.
(2 marks)
Award up to two marks for the correct application of positive reinforcement to Helena eg
the teacher gives Helena something she likes, wants or needs such as an extended
break, praise, attention, reduced homework, after the appropriate response (attending
on time).
Helena’s geography teacher is proud of the high levels of punctuality shown by his
students. His students know that unless they arrive on time, he will phone their parents
and keep them behind after school.
Explain how a behaviourist might account for the high levels of punctuality shown by the
geography students. Refer to reinforcement of behaviour in your answer. (2 marks)
Up to two marks for an explanation which is accurate and identifies negative
reinforcement. Such answers should refer to the students repeating the desired
response (being punctual) in order to avoid the unpleasant consequence of parent’s
being phoned or an after school detention.
Credit avoidance learning ie arriving on time to avoid punishment.
Examiners must take care not to accept answers which apply punishment to the
students rather than negative reinforcement.
Cognitive psychologists have investigated internal mental processes using a range of
techniques and methods.
Outline two examples of the techniques or methods they have used. (4 marks)
Up to two marks for each technique or method.
One mark for an appropriate way identified plus a further mark for elaboration.
Possible answers: experiments/laboratory based studies; computer programs which
mimic the processes and outputs of human cognitive processes; computer models eg
face recognition programmes, problem solving programmes (GPS), language
programmes, diagnostic programmes; case studies - studying brain processes in
patients with damage to their brains; scanning techniques and electrical recording,
Credit elaboration by example.
Credit other relevant answers.
The following conversation took place between two psychology students.
Frank: “The psychodynamic approach is not scientific and is of little value.”
Amy: “I disagree. It’s theories and concepts have been applied to several topic areas in
Briefly discuss how at least one feature of the psychodynamic approach has been used
to explain any one behaviour. (4 marks)
Up to four marks for application and explanation.
One mark for merely identifying one or more features.
Most likely features are: the unconscious mind; instinctual forces; childhood
experiences; psychosexual stages; fixation; Oedipus complex; personality structure;
superego; psychodynamic conflict; defence mechanisms; repression.
Up to two marks for explanation of the feature(s) in relation to the behaviour.
Behaviours selected for explanation will probably come from topic areas such as gender
identity, anxiety, moral development, offending behaviour, but accept any plausible
behaviour eg aggression.
One mark for comment, evaluation in relation to the stem/usefulness of explanation.
Exemplar answer: The Oedipus Complex (1) has been used to explain gender identity.
According to Freud, boys have to overcome the Oedipus Complex (love of mother,
hatred and fear of father) by indentifying with him (1). This means adopting his
behaviour, values and morals. In this way the boy becomes like the father and therefore
‘male’ (1). However this explanation does not explain why boys from single parent
(mother) families, develop a healthy gender identity (1).
Explain two ways in which psychologists have investigated the genetic basis of
behaviour. (4 marks)
Up to two marks for each way/method.
Award 1 mark for outlining a way/method. Possible answer: concordance
rates for monozygotic (MZ) twins reared together compared with MZ reared
apart; dizygotic (DZ) twins together compared with MZ together; DZ together
compared with MZ apart; family studies and relatedness; adoption studies
comparing children with their biological and adoptive parents; adoption
studies comparing adopted and biological children with their natural parents;
genetic engineering; selective breeding; gene mapping. Accept any other
plausible explanations.
Accept description of specific studies.
Plus 1 mark for rationale of each way that is outlined.
Sue had been a successful city banker for many years, earning a large salary and
bonuses. After seeing a programme on television about a developing country, she
decided to resign from her job and offer her services as a voluntary worker. After a few
months of voluntary work in the developing country, Sue, at last, felt fulfi lled.
How might humanistic psychologists explain Sue’s change in career. (2 marks)
Up to two marks for applying the humanistic approach to Sue. Likely
answers: reference to self-actualisation/innate drive for personal growth and
self fulfilment; Maslow’s hierarchy of needs; self-esteem; ideal v perceived
self; holism; congruence; conditions of worth; free will.
1 mark for relevant humanistic explanation(s) and 1 mark for explicit link to
Sue (answer must go beyond the stem).
Outline one problem with humanistic explanations of behaviour. (2 marks)
Up to two marks for outline of a problem with humanistic explanations of
behaviour. Allow one mark for identifying a relevant problem, plus one mark
for an expanded description.
Relevant answers include: lack of empirical evidence/rejection of the scientific
approach; vagueness of concepts; explanations based on subjective
experience; explanations based on culture-bound concepts/ideas; free will;
lack of comprehensiveness; explanations based on positive/conscious
motives only. Accept any other plausible explanations.
Markers should be aware that some of the above problems may overlap and
should look for a coherent answer for full marks.
Explain why some psychologists regard Freud’s investigations into the unconscious mind
as unscientific. (4 marks)
Up to four marks for the explanation(s). Full marks can be obtained for one
reason fully explained and linked to scientific enquiry or several in less detail.
Likely content: the ‘unconscious mind’; information based on recollections
about childhood; retrospective/memory distortions; methodological issues:
difficulty with control; replicability; objectivity; falsifiability; theoretical issues:
hypothetical constructs; irrefutable; reification.
One mark for briefly noting a reason(s).
Outline one similarity between the theories of Freud and Erikson. (2 marks)
Up to two marks for outlining a similarity. Allow one mark for briefly
identifying a relevant similarity, plus one mark for elaboration.
Likely content: both accepted the tripartite theory of personality and the mind;
stage theory common to both; conflict to be resolved at each stage of
development; belief in strong instinctual forces common to both.
Outline one difference between the theories of Freud and Erikson. (2 marks)
Up to 2 marks for outlining a difference. Allow one mark for briefly identifying
a relevant difference, plus one mark for elaboration.
Likely content: Erikson was more interested in the development of the ego;
put more emphasis on social factors than did Freud whose main concern was
the unconscious effects of the sex instinct; stages of development throughout
life and not just through childhood; conflicts in later stages not confined to the
family; Erikson’s theory presents a positive and optimistic view of the human
condition vs. Freud’s negative view of human conflict.
When investigating the conditioning of behaviour, Behaviourists such as Pavlov and
Skinner collected quantitative data.
Outline what is meant by quantitative data. Give an example of quantitative data
collected by a psychologist who has studied conditioning. (2 marks)
One mark for knowledge of what is meant by quantitative data: data in numerical form; data representing how much there is of something.
The second mark is for an example of a specific behaviour: such as Pavlov - a measure of the amount of saliva produced by the dog; or Skinner, the time taken to respond to a stimulus (to peck a button/press a lever/jump over a barrier/reach a goal box etc) or number of responses to a stimulus (pecks, lever presses in a given time period).
Give two reasons why Behaviourists do not collect qualitative data in their investigations.
(2 marks)
One mark for each reason applied to the behaviourist approach. For two valid points only - allow 1 mark. Likely answers will probably include: subjectivity of qualitative data/open to interpretation; cannot be replicated; not open to quantification and statistical analysis; specific so not amenable to generalization; not associated with the scientific approach.
Credit relevant comparison to quantitative data collection.
Give two assumptions of the cognitive approach. For each assumption, illustrate
your answer with reference to a topic in psychology. Use a different topic for each
assumption. (4 marks)
AO1 Up to two marks for two assumptions of the cognitive approach. One mark for each assumption clarified. Allow one mark for two identified. Likely content: thought acts as meditational processes between stimulus and behavioural response; mental processes can be regarded as information processing; computer analogy/mind operates a similar way to a computer; the use of models to represent mental processes; mental processes can be scientifically studied; the brain affects cognitions and cognitive processes; the findings and methods of cognitive psychology can be applied to other areas of psychology.
AO2 Up to two marks for applying the two assumptions to two topics. One mark for each application. Accept a wide range of topics.
For ‘thought acts as meditational processes between stimulus and behavioural response’ relevant topics might be: trial and error learning vs. observational learning or insight learning; depression.
For ‘mental processes can be regarded as information processing’ relevant topics might be: memory; cognition and law eg holistic form theory.
For ‘mental processes can be scientifically studied’ relevant topics might be: stress eg locus of control; memory.
For ‘the brain affects cognitions and cognitive processes’ relevant topics might be autism: forensic psychology.
For applications to other areas of psychology, relevant topics might be: child development eg schemas /moral reasoning; social cognition.
Referring to two assumptions of the humanistic approach, explain why humanistic
psychologists have rejected the scientific method. (4 marks)
Up to two marks for two assumptions of the humanistic approach. One mark for each assumption which will probably be embedded in the explanation.
Up to two marks for explaining why each assumption is at odds with the scientific method. One mark for each explanation. Likely content:
Each person can exercise free will - explanation might focus on principle of determinism in science.
Each person is a rational and conscious being and not dominated by unconscious primitive instincts- explanation might focus on the principles of determinism and reductionism in science.
A person’s subjective experience and understanding of the world is of greater importance to understanding the person than objective reality- explanation might focus on empiricism in science.
Humans should be viewed as a whole and not reduced to component parts- explanation might focus on reductionism in science.
Humans strive towards achieving self-actualisation- explanation might focus on the need for objectivity in science eg operational definition vs. subjectively defined; hypothetical construct; no objective measure.
Each person is unique- explanation might focus on general laws of behaviour/nomothetic approach.
Accept other valid answers such as unconditional positive regard/congruence/fully functioning person/client centre therapy/focus on the self.
Martha was telling her friend Sanya about her recent frightening experience.
‘I was walking home by myself in the dark. Suddenly, I heard footsteps behind me
and I realised that someone was getting closer to me. I saw a bus at the bus stop and
decided to run. I don’t think I have ever moved with such speed. I leapt on the bus –
shaking, sweating and my heart was beating so fast I nearly collapsed.’
Outline the role of the central nervous system and autonomic nervous system in
behaviour. Refer to Martha’s frightening experience in your answer. (4 marks)
AO1 Up to two marks for outlining the role of the CNS and the ANS in behaviour. One mark for each. This will probably be embedded in the application to Martha.
For CNS, possible points might include brain and role in life functions/ psychological processes/higher mental functions and spinal cord and its role in transmitting information to and from the brain. Controls reflex behaviours.
For ANS, possible points might cover that it controls life-maintaining processes such as heart rate; transmits information to and from internal organs; sympathetic division of ANS prepares body for action; parasympathetic division conserves / stores energy.
AO2 Up to two marks for application of the role of the CNS and the ANS to Martha. One mark for each.
Likely answers for CNS:
Brain/cerebral cortex in higher mental functions/ conscious awareness (I realised that...); decision making (...I decided to run.); auditory cortex/temporal lobe in processing auditory information (... I heard footsteps behind me...); visual cortex /occipital lobe in processing visual information (I saw a bus...).
Less likely but accept:
Cerebellum in regulating movement and sense of balance - ‘walking’ and ‘...leapt on the bus’.
Likely answers for ANS will relate to the sympathetic division of ANS and to fight/flight response: increased heart rate in emergency action ( heart was beating so fast...);
increased action of adrenal glands and energising effect (...moved with such speed/shaking);blood vessels to limbs dilate (... sweating).
A psychology student made the following observation to his teacher.
‘The behaviourist approach has been presented to us as helpful in understanding human
behaviour. However, most of the data have been obtained from research using animals.’
Briefly discuss the value of behaviourism in helping us to understand human behaviour.
(5 marks)
AO1 Up to two marks for knowledge of assumptions of the behaviourist approach, behaviourist research and concepts. Content might include: behaviour learned from experience/blank slate; classical and/or operant conditioning; unconditioned stimulus; unconditioned response; conditioned stimulus and response; pairing/association between the two stimuli; focus on stimulus-response associations; consequences of behaviour; reinforcement (positive and negative); punishment; repetition of response; scientific approach/experimental approach.
These may be embedded in the discussion.
AO2 Up to three marks to be awarded for discussion based on detail.
Has value because: success of behaviour therapy, including aversion therapy, systematic desensitization; behaviour modification; scientific approach to understanding human behaviour, etc.
Limited value because: human behaviour is more complex than animal behaviour; consciousness, reflective thought and/or emotions affect how humans think and behave; mechanically responding to a stimulus, effects of reinforcement and punishment on behaviour may be more characteristic of animals than humans; references to reductionism and determinism.
Credit use of relevant evidence/examples of behaviours/topic areas.
The question does not ask for reference to the stem. Full AO2 marks can be awarded without reference to the stem and research using animals.
A psychodynamic psychologist wished to investigate the function of dreams. He asked
five friends to keep a ‘dream diary’ for a week by writing a descriptive account of their
dreams as soon as they woke up in the morning. He interpreted the content of their
dreams as an expression of their repressed wishes.
Referring to the study above, explain why psychodynamic psychologists have often been
criticised for neglecting the rules of the scientific approach. (3 marks)
Up to three marks for explaining how the psychodynamic approach as depicted in the stem neglects the rules of science. Students may offer a brief elaboration on two or more rules of science identified in the study as ‘neglected’ or may choose to elaborate on a single one. Likely answers: interpretation of content of dreams open to bias and subjectivity; no verifiable evidence; small sample; opportunity sample of friends and implications for generalizability; qualitative data collected and implications for statistical analysis; retrospective data/memory distortions – reports written on waking; dreams are private experience and covert; problem of replicability. Credit other possible answers if made relevant to the scenario, eg no reference to a testable hypothesis.
Markers should be aware that some of the above points may overlap and should look for a coherent answer for full marks.
A researcher believed that there is a biological basis to aggression in males. She
predicted that there would be a significant difference between the levels of the hormone
testosterone in aggressive males and the levels of the hormone testosterone in
non-aggressive males. In order to test her prediction, the researcher statistically
analysed the levels of testosterone in saliva samples from 20 aggressive males and
20 non-aggressive males.
Outline three ways in which the study described above could be considered to be
scientific. (3 marks)
One mark per outline of a way: each identified feature of the scientific approach explained in relation to the study.
Possible features from the study: measuring levels of hormones; use of saliva samples; sample of 40 participants; prediction based on theory; statistical testing.
Accept other features that can be inferred eg replication.
Explanations might refer to: empirical method; factual, verifiable, objective measures; precision/measuring on interval/ratio scale; operational prediction/testable hypothesis derived from theory; theory amenable to scientific testing; possible to replicate the procedure; theory capable of refutation; sample size.
Markers should be aware that some of the above scientific principles may overlap.
1 mark for two or more features and/or scientific principles named but not explained.
Explain one way in which social learning theory overlaps with one other approach in
psychology. (2 marks)
Up to two marks for explaining one way in which social learning theory overlaps with one other approach.
One mark for identifying a way in which SLT is similar to another approach. Likely answers will refer to overlap with the behaviourist approach – learning of behaviour and role of reinforcement; overlap with cognitive approach – mental processes in learning. Accept any other possible answers such as overlap with the psychodynamic approach – role of identification in gender/moral development.
One mark for elaboration/further detail or explaining limits of the similarity and/or difference between the SLT and chosen approach.
Credit description of evidence or reference to topics as elaboration.
Mr Benson is a primary school teacher. He has noticed that some of the children in his
class push to the front of the queue when it is time to leave the classroom.
Suggest how Mr Benson might use vicarious reinforcement to alter the behaviour of
these children. Explain your answer with reference to social learning theory. (3 marks)
One mark for a suggestion. Answers must include a role model and the opportunity of seeing:
• positive consequences for the model(s) for performing the desired behaviour, eg allowing the children in the queue to exit first and/or praising them /giving them privileges/stars/edible rewards, in front of all the class, for their orderly conduct.
• negative consequences for undesired behaviour eg show the class a video of children being punished for pushing to the front of the queue.
Two marks for explaining the suggestion in the context of social learning theory. Behaviour seen to be rewarded/reinforced will be repeated; or behavior seen to be punished will be avoided; child learns by observing a model and consequences for the model; child thinks that the consequences will apply to him/her on a future occasion; role of cognitive processes, eg perception of a reward and expectation of similar.
Sophie has made new friends at her 6th Form College. She has recently passed her driving test and has the use of her parents’ car. Her parents are concerned because Sophie stays out until after midnight during the week, even though she has promised to be home by 11 pm.
Explain how Sophie’s parents could use two different types of reinforcement to encourage Sophie to be home by 11pm. [4 marks]
Credit for application of knowledge of positive and negative reinforcement, although some candidates might refer to partial reinforcement schedules/vicarious/primary/secondary reinforcement etc.
Note that one mark can be given for each of two identifiable types of reinforcement outlined (not simply named).
For example: Positive Reinforcement:
Sophie’s parents could use positive reinforcement by rewarding Sophie each time she arrives home on time (1).
Second mark could be for either a concrete example of a reinforcer eg extra money or clothes or for elaboration of operant conditioning principles eg stamping in of appropriate behaviour (1).
For example: Negative Reinforcement:
Sophie’s parents could use negative reinforcement by warning Sophie of consequences if she arrives home late (1).
Second mark could be for either a concrete example of a negative reinforcer eg she will be ‘grounded’/lose the use of the car, or for elaboration of operant conditioning principles eg Sophie should comply with the expected behaviour to avoid the unpleasant consequence (1).
Do not accept answers that merely describe punishment rather than negative reinforcement.
Explain one similarity between the behaviourist approach and social learning theory.
[2 marks]
One mark for brief explanation of a similarity between the behaviourist approach and social learning theory, a second mark for expansion of the similarity.
Similarities include: reinforcement, learning, S-R approach, use of experiments, position re: nature v nurture, the role of experience etc.
Expect a clearly identified similarity for 1 mark.
If examples are used and you are left to infer the similarity – maximum 1 mark.
For example:
One similarity is that both social learning theory and behaviourists use carefully controlled scientific experiments that generate laws that apply to all/social learning theorists use laboratory experiments to investigate observational learning and imitation and the behaviourists conduct laboratory experiments to investigate learning.
Behaviourists often use animals in their research. Briefly discuss one strength of using animals in research and then applying the findings to human behaviour. [2 marks]
One mark for a relevant strength of the use of animals and a second mark for elaboration/counterarguments.
For example:
Strengths of using animals in research include: controlled research on animals is easier to conduct (smaller, shorter gestation period); some argue animal research is ethically more acceptable.
Answers may also refer to evolutionary similarities between humans etc.
Any animal research can be credited.
Ben’s parents expect him to become a doctor, like his father and grandfather. He has applied to study medicine at university, but he really wants to be an actor. Ben feels that he cannot speak to his parents about becoming an actor because he thinks that they will be disappointed in him, and will not support him financially. Ben is now beginning to feel sad and miserable.
With reference to two features of the humanistic approach, explain how Ben’s situation could affect his personal growth. [4 marks]
Two marks each for (recognisable) features of the humanistic approach linked to Ben’s situation. Knowledge of relevant concept 1 mark, application to Ben 1 mark. Answers are likely to focus on:
Self Actualisation: the need for personal growth and the innate drive towards self-actualisation is present throughout life but as Ben feels restrained by his parents he cannot fulfil his aspirations to become an actor and may never self-actualise.
Incongruence: Ben’s ideal self (his desire to be an actor) and actual experience (he feels compelled to become a doctor to please his parents) are incongruent, which is likely to result in him feeling unsatisfied and unfulfilled.
Conditional Positive Regard: Because Ben is only praised and approved for behaving in ways that his parents think are correct (ie he is given conditional positive regard) he doesn’t feel loved/admired for the person he is. As Ben is not given unconditional positive regard (UPR) he does not feel free to try new things and this will mean he is less likely to thrive.
Other concepts apply eg self-worth, fully functioning person, hierarchy of needs, client-centred therapy (CCT), conditions of worth etc.
To explain internal cognitive processes, such as memory, cognitive psychologists often use an information processing model based on the computer analogy.
Briefly explain why computer analogies are used to help us understand human cognitive processes. [2 marks]
One mark for a brief, relevant point and a second mark for elaboration or example of a similarity between a computer and cognitive processes in humans.
For example:
The computer analogy is helpful because computers and humans process information in similar ways - both humans and computers use coding, have a CPU for manipulating information, and have storage capacity etc.
Answers may make general points about analogies, eg analogies are used to explain something complicated in a simpler way; analogies are useful if the two things being compared are similar in significant ways. Such points should be given credit but for 2 marks answer must refer to computer analogy/human cognitive processing.
Cognitive psychologists often use the experimental method in their investigations. Briefly discuss one strength of using experiments to investigate cognitive processes in humans.
[2 marks]
One mark for a relevant strength of the experimental method and a second mark for elaboration linked to cognitive processes. Credit counterargument.
Likely strengths include: Cause and effect; role of inference; control; replication; general laws etc.
For example:
Experiments allow cause and effect to be established. In cognitive processes like memory psychologists can use experiments and make inferences about properties of memory eg capacity.
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