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1. AO2/AO3 AO1: Knowledge and understanding of science and of How Science Works Candidates should be able to: (a) recognise, recall and show understanding of scientific…
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  • 1. AO2/AO3 AO1: Knowledge and understanding of science and of How Science Works Candidates should be able to: (a) recognise, recall and show understanding of scientific knowledge (b) select, organise and communicate relevant information in a variety of forms. AO2: Application of knowledge and understanding of science and of How Science Works Candidates should be able to: (a) analyse and evaluate scientific knowledge and processes (b) apply scientific knowledge and processes to unfamiliar situations including those related to issues (c) assess the validity, reliability and credibility of scientific information. AO3: How Science Works – Psychology Candidates should be able to: (a) describe ethical, safe and skilful practical techniques and processes, selecting appropriate qualitative and quantitative methods (b) know how to make, record and communicate reliable and valid observations and measurements with appropriate precision and accuracy, through using primary and secondary sources (c) analyse, interpret, explain and evaluate the methodology, results and impact of their own and others’ experimental and investigative activities in a variety of ways. Approaches The Biological approach believes us to be as a consequence of our genetics and physiology. We become ill, medically and/or psychologically, because of physiological or genetic damage, disease, or accident. It is the only approach in psychology that examines thoughts, feelings, and behaviours from a medical/biological, and thus physical point of view. The Behavioural approach assumes all behaviours are learnt (operant and classical conditioning *see Pavlov’s dog experiment), and that our experiences and environment make us who we are. The Cognitive approach in psychology is a relatively modern approach to human behaviour that focuses on how we think, with the belief that such thought processes affect the way in which we behave.
  • 2. The Psychodynamic approach proposes that our behaviour is influenced not just by our conscious experience but by experiences and processes buried in our unconscious. Our personality is made up of three components; ID(Pleasure complex as it is a reservoir of basic inherited instincts such as sex and aggression). SUPEREGO (represents our moral conscience which develops during childhood. EGO tries to protect us from anxieties using defence mechanism such as repression into the unconscious. Issues and debates An important part of the specification for Unit 3, Topics in Psychology, requires you to develop an appreciation of issues and debates in Psychology. In studying Psychology you have across various specific theories, approaches and research studies. At A2 level you will be expected to show an understanding why an issue is important for a particular topic, and why it might influence our thinking about a particular approaches and studies. Psychology as a science Science is a particular approach to studying the world that emphasises objectivity i.e. the experimenter is clearly separated from what they are studying. Objectivity: psychologists are people doing experiments usually on other people. The psychologist may have beliefs and expectations which in turn may influence the findings of an experiment. Alternatively the participant may react to the presence of the experimenter in unexpected ways. Reductionism in Psychology In psychological terms, Reductionism is the belief that our behaviour can be explained entirely by one factor or group of factors. For example, a common criticism of Evolutionary Psychology is that it does not consider either our conscious thoughts nor external influences; it only explains our behaviour in
  • 3. terms of genetic or biological factors. Similarly, the Behavioural approach only considers external stimuli and not evolved, predetermined behaviours. Free will and determinism In this sense most approaches in psychology are ‘deterministic’. If we can explain someone’s behaviour fully then there is no room for free will. We assume that individuals take responsibility for their own actions and therefore have the free will to choose whether to do wrong or right. However, if behaviour is fully by factors outside the person’s control, then they do have free will and cannot be responsible for their own actions. Nature and nurture The central question is the extent to which our behaviour is determined by our genes we inherit from our parents versus the influence of environmental factors such as home school and friends. The extreme position is that behaviour entirely determined by genes or conversely by our environment. Topics which are hotly debated under the nature vs. nurture argument: IQ Attachments Aggression Ethical issues Virtually all psychological studies involve ethical issues such as deception, privacy, psychological and physical harm It is therefore important that BPS has strict guidelines that psychologist should follow when conducting research to protect participants from any harm. The use of non human animals in psychological research Psychology has a long tradition of using non human animals in a variety of ways. The basic principles of behaviourism were largely based on Skinner work with rats and pigeons.
  • 4. Gender bias This form of bias in psychological theories and studies is not the same as gender differences. In committing this form of biasness there are a range of consequences including: o Scientifically misleading o Upholding stereotypical assumptions o Validating sex discrimination o Avoiding gender bias does not mean pretending that men and women are the same • Alpha bias – Theories that acknowledge real differences between men and women. These can be promoting or devaluing either sex i.e. Freud’s theory of psychosexual development view that women in many respects are ‘failed men’. Pop psychology-‘Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus’ • Beta bias – Theories that ignore or minimise and difference between men and women. For instance a study which only uses male participant’s findings then applied to females’ as well. In the attachment theory ignores the role of fathers. • Androcentrism o Similar idea to ethnocentrism o Taking male thinking/behavior as normal, regarding female thinking/behavior as deviant, inferior, abnormal, ‘other’ when it is different. Cultural bias Psychology is predominantly a white, Euro-American enterprise • In some texts, >90% of studies have US PPs • Samples predominantly white middle class Emics are the constructs particular to a specific culture i.e. an example of cultural relativism. Etics are constructs that are universal to all people so therefore cultural differences can be ignored. An example could be western based psychiatric diagnosis to non western ethnic groups.
  • 5. Ethnocentrism This occurs when a researcher assumes that their own culturally specific practices or ideas are ‘natural’ or ‘right’. Good examples of ethnocentrism include early theories of relationship formation, such as social exchange theory which are heavily influenced on Western capitalist ideas of personal possessions and worth.
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