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1. Cognitive psychology and research methods 1) Define own-age bias ‘Own-age bias’ describes the superior recognition abilities people have for the faces of people…
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  • 1. Cognitive psychology and research methods 1) Define own-age bias ‘Own-age bias’ describes the superior recognition abilities people have for the faces of people from their own age group as opposed to people from a different age group. (1 mark) 2) Complete the following table using the words below with reference to Loftus’ research. Loftus gave participants either a leading question or a neutral question and asked participants how fast a car was going. Type of question Verb Speed leading Smashed 40.8 neutral Contacted 31.8 40.8, 31.8, smashed, contacted (2 marks) 3) Trevor is a police officer. He is concerned that eyewitness statements he has taken have often proven to be incomplete and some contained false elements. When he interviews witnesses he generally asks lots of short, closed questions. Because he is quite busy he avoids asking general questions and tends to interrupt if witnesses don’t recall what he wants to know immediately. He claims his habit of asking questions “in no particular order” ensures he keeps witnesses on their toes and stops them elaborating on what really happened. Identify the problems with Trevor’s current method of interviewing witnesses and suggest changes he could make to improve the accuracy of eyewitness testimony. Candidates are likely to compare & contrast ‘Trevor’s’ current technique with the cognitive interview. They should consider: • Trevor’s use of short closed questions, avoidance of general questions and tendency to interrupt witnesses is likely to lead to poorer recall. The cognitive interview, in contrast, asks participants to “report everything” that they remember of the events, and will first encourage them the “mental reinstatement of the original context”. • Trevor’s asking of questions in no particular order is also likely to lead to poorer recall. In contrast, the cognitive interview encourages witnesses to take many different routes through the timeline in a structured way designed to encourage improved recall of events. Candidates may receive 6 marks Accurate and reasonably detailed Accurate and reasonably detailed outline of the cognitive interview that demonstrates sound knowledge and understanding of both structure and processes. 5 - 4 marks Less detailed but generally accurate Less detailed but generally accurate outline of the cognitive interview that demonstrates knowledge and understanding of structure and/or processes.
  • 2. 3 - 2 marks Basic Basic outline of the cognitive interview that correctly identifies the main structures and/or processes, but further detail may be muddled. 1 mark Very brief/flawed Very brief or flawed outline of the cognitive interview demonstrating very little knowledge. 0 marks – No creditworthy information. (6 marks) 4) Explain what ‘misleading information’ is and outline its impact on eyewitness testimony. For 3 marks candidates should: 1) Define misleading information 2) Give an example, e.g. of a leading question 3) Link it back to eyewitness testimony by explaining that this often results in less accurate recall for events (2 marks) Total for this question: 13 marks 5) One lab experiment explored recall either in an anxiety inducing situation, or a neutral situation. 20 male and 20 female participants were recruited from a university to take part. Half were wired up to electrodes and told these electrodes would administer random electric shocks (although no shocks were actually given). They then watched a video of a staged crime. The other half watched the video but were not wired up to electrodes. Following the video participants were asked to recall events using a questionnaire. 5) a) What were the IV and DV in this study? IV = The independent variable is anxiety level – neutral, or anxiety. Given this is for 1 mark it is acceptable to say ‘electrodes or no electrodes’ although if this were a 2 mark answer this would not be sufficient. DV = The DV is recall of events from the video. (2 marks) 5) b) Write a fully operationalised directional hypothesis for this study Correct statement of the hypothesis in this study. Participants will have less accurate recall on a questionnaire for events in video of a staged crime in an anxiety inducing situation (electric shocks) rather than a neutral situation (no shocks) One mark for “memory will be better for anxiety inducing situation” or a non- directional hypothesis. Two marks for a directional operationalised hypothesis as above. (2 marks)
  • 3. 5) c) What experimental design was used in this study? Independent groups or independent design (1 mark) 5) d) State one limitation of this design Individual differences Or – need more participants (twice as many) (1 mark) 5) e) Participants responded to an advertisement on the university website. What sampling method is this? Volunteer sampling or ‘self selected’ (1 mark) 5) f) What’s one problem with using the sampling method above? One mark for stating that the group is likely to be biased Two marks for stating how i.e. that they’re likely to be more motivated &/or have more time on their hands so they’re not representative of the population. (2 marks) 5) g) What’s one problem with the validity of this research? The research we’ve studied is based on lab experiments and Lab experiments lack ecological validity and/or mundane realism. For the 2nd mark: This is a problem because you may not be able to generalise the results of an experiment to the real world. OR The research we’ve studied is based on student populations, using only students might lead to a lack of population validity because students may have particular characteristics. Therefore the study might not be generalisable to the population. (2 marks) 5) h) In the research above, although the ethical guideline to ‘protect participants from harm’ was not breached because no electric shock was actually given, there may be other ethical concerns with the study. Explain one concern and what the researchers must do as a result of this concern. (2 marks) For one mark candidates should identify either the lack of fully informed consent or the corresponding deception involved in the study. For the second mark candidates should identify the full debrief as a requirement for the researchers. It is acceptable to state that watching the video of a crime might cause distress for 1 mark. For the second mark candidates should identify informed consent and/or debrief.
  • 4. Total for this question: 12 marks 6) Outline two factors that influence the accuracy of eyewitness testimony. Evaluate these factors in relation to the related research evidence. Misleading information is one factor influencing the accuracy of ewt. Outline two other factors that influence the accuracy of EWT. Evaluate these factors in relation to the related research evidence. Answers are likely to include: A definition of EWT, statement of two factors influencing the accuracy of EWT. For higher band answers candidates will be expected to explain the impact of the factor rather than simply stating it. ----- Answers are likely to include two of: Impact of anxiety – Yerkes-Dodson law; age & the own-age bias effect; weapon focus. Answers should outline (AO1) the factors & support using one or two pieces of evidence. This evidence may be evaluated (AO3) Anxiety – low and high anxiety – less accurate recall on Yerkes Dodson law (best answers will use this as a critique of research showing high anxiety situations have best recall). Weaker answers will simply state that moderate anxiety is best for recall without considering Yerkes Dodson effects. Candidates will refer to research suggesting moderate anxiety is best, briefly outline the research and explain why the research supports their premise (moderate anxiety). Age – younger people better recall, older people poorer recall. Best answers will consider the impact of own-age bias on research into age and EWT and that this might suggest recall in older adults is not as poor as prior research had suggested. Candidates will refer to research suggesting older adults have poorer recall, briefly outline the research and explain why the research supports their premise. They may refer to research suggesting smaller differences in recall between ages, although they should not suggest that recall is equivalent in all ages. Weapon focus – candidates define the weapon focus effect and relate it to a high anxiety situation. Candidates refer to one piece of research into weapon focus (e.g. cheque v. gun at fast food restaurant) and its findings linking both back to the issue of eye witness testimony and its accuracy. Answers may include EWT research (question reworded above to avoid use of this a second time in the same exam) Candidates should provide a brief outline of one (possibly two) pieces of research into misleading information. Most will chose Loftus & Palmer (1974) (speed estimate with smashed v hit); some may also consider the later study (did you see broken glass + smashed v hit) or Loftus et al (1978) (stop v yield sign). Exceptionally candidates
  • 5. may consider Bekerian & Bowers (1983) & their conclusion that post-event information affects retrieval not storage. Candidates will relate these studies to EWT in terms of the strength of their support. Higher band answers may consider external validity of the studies. Some may mention Yuille & Cutshall (1986).
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