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1. Contributions to society<br />Syllabus:Describe and evaluate (including strengths and weaknesses) two contributions to society within each approach from Units 1…
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  • 1. Contributions to society<br />Syllabus:Describe and evaluate (including strengths and weaknesses) two contributions to society within each approach from Units 1 and 2.<br />Social approach: reducing prejudice2explaining blind obedience3Cognitive Psychology: understanding the problems with EWT 4the use of cognitive interview 5Psychodynamic approach: the use of psychoanalysis as a therapy 6explanations of the significance of dreaming.7Biological approach: understanding sex assignment and gender behaviour 8explaining criminal behaviour 9Learning approach: systematic desensitisation to treat phobias 10token economy 11<br />Social approach<br />Reducing Prejudice: the Social Approach<br />A prejudice is pre-judgement. It is a biased attitude held towards an individual or a group prior to any direct experience of that individual/people. <br />Tajfel and Turner suggest that prejudice comes for the formation of two groups without any other factors being involved, this was supported by Tajfel minimal group experiment (1970) (AO1). The social identity theory suggests that people see themselves as belonging to groups. Belonging to a group creates a self-categorisation, the individual sees him/herself as a member of a particular group i.e. a supporter of a particular football team (AO1). The next stage of this theory suggests that people identify more overtly with the in-group and adopt their group’s social norms and attitude for example they might wear the colour of their football club and chants (AO1). In the next stage, the individual’s self-esteem becomes involved with the in-group and the individual starts comparing the in-group to the out-group, the out-group is seen as inferior. This enhances the individual’s self-esteem. This leads to in-group favouritism and prejudices and hostility towards the out-group (AO1). <br />Meeting members of the out-group groups can reduce prejudice by reducing the effects of stereotypes however for these contacts to reduce prejudices the members of the groups have to be equal for example if men have more contact with women but during these contacts women are doing housework or taking care of children it will confirm their prejudices rather than reduce them but if they have contacts with women carrying out the same tasks than they do themselves then prejudices are more likely to be reduced(AO1). This is supported by real life observation for example in South Africa the whites had every day contact with black people but they always saw them in a subservient position and their prejudices were confirmed and reinforced by the contact (AO2)<br />When both groups have to work together to achieve a common goal prejudices are also likely to be reduced. This is supported by Sherif et al. (1961) found that two groups where he had instilled prejudice, worked together to solve common problems and then claimed more friends within the opposing group than there had been before. This counts as evidence that working towards superordinate goals helps to reduce prejudice (AO2).<br />However, the application of this is limited to certain situations. Although working co-operatively may be successful in some situations it wouldn’t be applicable to a football hooliganism situation for example. The in and out group in this situation are never going to be pursuing a common goal and this makes it difficult for them to interact successfully and subsequently it’s difficult to reduce prejudice (AO2). But this does occur in real life for example during the recent floods in the Cumbria people worked together to try to restore normal life despite prejudices they might have had (AO2).<br />Prejudice is likely to be reduced when people strongly condemn prejudices openly in society. For example; racism, ageism, sexism and homophobia have been strongly condemned in society and therefore the majority of society has seen how unjust these prejudices are and therefore the number of people who hold these prejudices has been severely reduced. When public norms against various forms of prejudice are more prominent, this can reduce discrimination. Through promoting liberal ideals within wider society, stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination can be reduced within society (AO2). <br />Most of the studies of prejudices are laboratory or field studies i.e. Sherif et al. So they are well controlled and are replicable therefore the results are reliable and cause and effect conclusions can be drawn. However, it may mean that their studies have lacked ecological validity, due to the artificial surroundings they were conducted in, making the participants react differently to situations that they would in a real life situation and subsequently reducing the validity of the studies (AO2).<br />Giving ways to reduce prejudices is an important contribution to society even if these ways cannot overcome prejudices in all its form as it makes society more peaceful and more likely to integrate all the citizens however these ways are also limited for example we can see that prejudices re-occur or are strengthened when there is a shortage of resources for example a shortage of work in time of economic recession (AO2). <br />5AO1<br />7AO2<br />Explaining blind obedience<br />Obedience to authority is as important a social issue now as it was in 1962, when Milgram carried out hisstudies at Yale University. Although we end to think of the example of Eichmann sentenced to death for his role in the Holocaust who pleaded that he was 'only obeying orders', there are more recent examples such as the tortures of Abu Ghraib. It is important that we understand why these people committed these actions so we can prevent it happening again in the future (AO1). <br />Milgram proposed the agency theory to explain blind obedience. He argued that we act in either the agentic or the autonomous state. In the autonomous state we act according to our values and feel responsible for our actions but in the agentic state we carry out the orders of a figure we perceive as being in authority even if they go against our conscience, we do not feel responsible for our actions(AO1). When we act against our values we feel in a state of moral strain. (AO1). Milgram argued that our tendency to obey authority is an evolutionary mechanism which helps to maintain a stable society. He also argued that we are socialise into obeying by parents and school. (AO1).<br />Milgram’s experiment supports his theory with 70% of the participants willing to administer the highest electric shock to the “learner” even though some showed extreme signs of moral strain by laughing nervously, protesting that they wanted to stop and yet carrying on with the experiment (AO2). However the experiment also showed that further factors influenced the level of obedience for example the influence of the proximity of the authority figure, the rate of obedience was higher when the experimenter was in the room with the participant then when he was not (AO1). Meeus and Raijmaker (1986) showed an even higher rate of obedience (92%) however in this experiment the participants were not made to believe that they were applying a physically harmful stimulus to the confederate (AO2). However these two experiments were laboratory experiments and although they were highly controlled and replicable they lacked ecological validity as the participants knew that it was an experiment and this might have influenced their behaviour (AO2). However, Hofling study took place in a hospital and the nurses who acted as participants were not aware that they were part of a study and the level of obedience was very high with 21 nurses carrying out an order given by a “doctor” over the phone even though it could have been dangerous to the patients (AO2). <br />However they were studies and other factors contributed to the holocaust. The perpetrators of the Holocaust knew that they were harming and killing the Jews whereas the participants in Milgram’s experiment were told by the authority figure that the shocks 'would cause no permanent tissue damage (AO2). Also the concentration camps guards would have themselves been killed if they had refused to carry out orders this obviously was not the case in Milgram’s experiment (AO2). <br />Although the agency theory helps society to understand what happened in the concentration camps it cannot explain the influence of all the factors involved in real life situations, however it is a very important contribution as it can help us to resist obedience by making us aware that we have a tendency to obey unquestioningly (AO2).<br />5AO1<br />7AO2<br />Cognitive Psychology<br />Understanding the problems with eyewitness testimony <br />Many factors can influence eyewitness testimony and make it less accurate. Psychologists have studied these factors and their findings have influenced the way court proceedings are now carried out.<br />One factor is the influence of leading questions. Leading questions are phrased in such a way as to suggest a particular answer (AO1). Loftus and Palmer(1974) showed their participants a film of a car crash they then asked them to estimate the speed of one of the car when the crash occurred. They phrased the questions in different ways for different groups of participants for example they asked one group “what was the speed of the vehicles when the collided?” and to another group “what was the speed of the vehicles when they bumped?” they found that the first group estimated a higher speed than the second group showing the effect of leading questions (AO1). <br />Another factor is reconstructive memory, this is based on Bartlett theory in which he argues that our recall of an event is influenced by our schemas therefore when we witness an event we are not objective in our recall but distort the event in such a way as to fit in with our pre-existing schemas (AO1. This can be a problem for eyewitness testimony as we might recall something which was not there for example we might say was carrying a knife because our schema of a mugger is that they are people who use knives to threatened their victims but it might not in fact have been the case (AO1).<br />A third factor is trace decay. When we form memories we create new neural connections (engrams), they are very fragile and need to be reinforced otherwise the memory disappears, it is no longer stored (AO1). This influences eyewitness memory because if the witnesses are questioned a long time after the event they might not be able to produce an accurate recall as the memory might no longer be present in their long term memory (AO1).<br />However most of the experiments carried out on eyewitness memory are laboratory experiments. This has a positive side because they are replicable therefore the results are reliable (AO2) however the participants are not in the same position than real witnesses, they are aware that their testimony has not consequences but real witnesses know that what they say might send someone to jail therefore they might be a lot more careful in their recall of events (AO2). Furthermore at the time of encoding the participants are under minimal stress whereas real witnesses might have been through a very traumatic time. Their level of stress might have influenced their recall and their emotions might have caused them to repress the most painful details (AO2). However it would be difficult to study eyewitness memory in other ways than laboratory experiment because of ethical considerations. It would be impossible to create a real incident in which people feel really threatened or are hurt to see how people recall the event (AO2). Yuille and cutshall (1986) carried out a natural study of eyewitness testimony although the results were interesting it lacked control and cannot be replicated. (AO2)<br />The study of the factors influencing eyewitness testimony is a very valuable contribution to society as it could help prevent innocent people from being wrongly convicted and spend time in prison for crimes they have not committed but also in countries where the death penalty is still used it could save lives (AO2).<br />6AO1<br />6AO2<br />The Cognitive Interview<br />Eyewitness testimony (EWT) is a term used to describe when a person recalls an incident that they experienced earlier for example a crime or identifying someone in a line-up. A testimony given can and often is relied on in court and therefore accuracy is very important, as is reliability to avoid wrongful convictions (AO2). Tests and experiments into eye-witness testimony have revealed that in fact eye witness testimony can be quite unreliable as many factors can easily influence someone’s account of the situation. A memory can decay over time (trace-decay), be distorted to suit our way of thinking (Schemata) or by how the witnesses are questioned (Leading questions). This presents a problem as EWT (eye witness testimony) is more often than not the only source of evidence or the majority source of evidence used in court (AO1).<br />The Cognitive interview was developed et al. (1985) by Geiselman as a method for improving the accuracy of EWT and is widely used in the US and Europe (AO1).<br />In the first stage of the procedure the witness is asked to recall how he/she felt at the time of the incident thus reinstating state cues, then they are asked to recall the environment in which the incident took place to restore contextual cues which as was shown by Godden and Baddeley (1975) increase the accuracy of recall (AO1). The influence of leading questions shown by Loftus and Palmer (1974) is also taken into account and the interviewer avoids leading the witnesses by asking the witness to free recall and using prompts such as “and then what happened?”(AO1). The witnesses are also asked to report every details even if they seem irrelevant, in reporting these details the witnesses are encouraged not make sense of these details in order to fit them in the story thus minimizing the distortion which occurs when the witnesses are using their schemata (AO1). Other stages in the procedure are to recall the event in different order and to recall the event from someone else’s point of view.<br />This procedure requires the interviewer to be specially trained so it is quite expensive and it is also very time consuming so it is only used in its entirety in serious crimes (AO2). It effectiveness has been shown by Fisher et al. in a study in Florida, they looked at real crimes and found that the witnesses’ performance increased by about 40% in accuracy(AO2) however most other research are laboratory experiments and were well-controlled and replicable so they can be tested for reliability but lack in ecological validity as the witnesses know that they are part of a study therefore their testimony has no consequences whereas in real life someone could go to prison or executed in countries where there is still the death penalty so they might be a lot more careful in the way they recall an incident(AO2). Despite the uses and support for the cognitive interview there are studies which outline flaws or failures with the cognitive interview. Milne (1997) found that the cognitive interview did not seem to lead towards better recall of more material than other techniques. Memon et al. (1997) found no effect when using a technique of the cognitive interview which asks witnesses to recall events from different points in the sequence (AO2). And a flaw in the cognitive interview is that it includes many different features and so it is difficult to draw clear conclusions as to which of them are the most effective and which have little effect on recall (AO2). Furthermore cognitive interview cannot improve recall for memories of very traumatic events if they have been repressed because according to Freud’s theory these memories are placed in the unconscious to protect the ego and cannot be retrieved without the help of a psychoanalyst (AO2).<br />5AO1<br />6AO2<br />Psychodynamic approach<br />The use of Psychoanalysis Therapy<br />According to Freud, mental disorders are caused by unconscious conflicts originating in early childhood therefore the aim of psychoanalysis is to identify these conflicts, bring them to the conscious mind and resolve them (AO1). <br />During the treatment the analysand (the client) sits back and talks freely about their dreams and their lives and the analyst interprets the material(AO1). <br />Freud used three methods for discovering the unconscious causes of disorder. <br />Firstly by using free association, where usually ink blots or specific words are used to trigger responses in the anaysand thus give an insight into the unconscious thoughts(AO1). Dream analysis could identify the problem by unravelling the symbols of the manifest content (the story of which the analysand is aware) of the dream to identify the latent content (the real significance of the dream) could be revealed (AO1). Freud also used slips of the tongue to get to the unconscious mind. He argued that we replace one word by another when our defences are lowered allowing the content of the unconscious to slip out (AO1. Once identified these conflicts could be resolved.<br />Producing improvement can be achieved by Catharsis. This is when the analysand has brought the unconscious conflict to the conscious mind therefore releasing the psychic energy which was used to keep these conflicts repressed (AO1). The unconscious conflict would be brought out into the open for discussion. Transference is the process where unconscious feelings are projected onto the analyst. These feelings provide a basis for identifying, accepting and discussing the analysis’s interpretations of the problem. Freud regarded insight as the crucial therapeutic element since it increases ego control over revealed unconscious causes (AO1). <br />There are strengths of psychoanalysis as proves by Eysenck and Sandell that symptom are reduced significantly even after therapy has stopped (AO2). Psychoanalysis is a safe way of dealing with disorders compared to drugs which can have serious side-effects (AO2). However it may be expensive and time consuming which could disrupt the patient’s lives (AO2). Nevertheless one of the main strength is that it was the first talking cure, up until then the treatment of mental disorders was very primitive and consisted mainly of restraining the patients (AO2). Existing relationships may break down because the patient develops an insight to unconscious reasons behind their difficulties and as they are maily due to early childhood relationships the parents especially the mother is often blamed for the unconscious conflicts (AO2). Another weakness of this type of therapy is that there is no way of knowing whether a particular interpretation is correct as the psychoanalyst could be biased in its interpretation (AO2). <br />Society benefits from this contribution as it has helped to explain and treat mental disorders such as depression, which has improved many lives that had originally suffered from disorders, it also offered a new way to treat mental disorders: through talking. (AO2)<br />6AO1<br />7AO2<br />explanations of the significance of dreaming<br />Freud argues that we place anxiety provoking material in the unconscious mind to protect our ego. Keeping this material in the unconscious requires psychic energy and when we are asleep we relax so some of the content of the unconscious mind “slips out” in the form of dreams. Freud called dreams the “royal road to the unconscious mind”, he believed that dreams give us give us valuable clues to how the unconscio
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