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  • 1. The body’s response to stress AO1 (Q1 specimen paper; Q1 additional) • SAM – short term response • Gets body ready for fight or flight • Sympatho Adrenal Medullary system • Adrenaline and noradrenaline released • Body reactions – INCREASE IN ENERGY – INCREASE IN BLOOD FLOW – INCREASED HEART AND RESPIRATION RATE – REDUCED ACTIVITY IN DIGESTIVE SYSTEM – RELASE OF CLOTTING FACTORS INTO BLOODSTREAM – INCREASE IN BLOOD PRESSURE – NOT ONLY FOR STRESS, ALSO FOR EXCITEMENT
  • 3. Body response to stress – AO2 • Selye found that when rats were exposed to noxious agents they went through three stages of symptoms: alarm, resistance and exhaustion. • Since the symptoms were the same for each agent then the symptoms must be due to a general state which he called stress. This is known as the General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS). • This suggests that the idea of a physiological response to stress has wider academic credibility. • Baxter (1981) found that people who did not have adrenal glands cannot produce enough cortisol and therefore needed to be given additional quantities if stressed in order to survive. This suggests that the idea of a physiological response to stress has wider academic credibility. • A final strength of HPA and SAM comes from further empirical support from Brady’s executive monkey research. He found that stress affected the production of digestive hormones causing stomach ulcers that eventually resulted in death. This suggests that there is wider academic credibility for the idea of stress being governed by the release of hormones.
  • 4. AO2 (continued...) • One weakness of the physiological approach to stress is that it ignores individual differences. • Mason (1975) found that hormone levels (adrenaline and noradrenaline) were different in individuals even though they had been exposed to the same stressors meaning that individuals may deal with stress in different ways. This suggests that the physiological response to stress cannot be generalised. • A second weakness of the physiological approach to stress is that it is reductionist. • A person’s response depends on a number of different factors. These include the type of stressor involved and the way the person interprets the threat. • This suggests that the physiological approach to stress may be an oversimplification.
  • 5. Problem-focused vs emotion focused David has unexpectedly been made redundant. David sits down and considers the options open to him and their likely outcomes. He decides on his priorities and acts directly to deal with the stressful situation. David has adopted a problem- focused approach to coping with stress. Jon has unexpectedly been made redundant. He feels angry and frustrated, and he vents those feelings. He then tries to keep up his hopes about the future, and he works hard to control his emotions. Jon has adopted an emotion-focused approach to coping with stress.
  • 6. Problem and emotion focused • Endler and Parker (1990) devised the Multi-dimensional Coping Inventory to describe three major coping strategies: – Task-oriented or problem-focused strategy: obtain information about the stressful situation – consider alternative courses of action and their likely outcome – decide on priorities – put plan into action. – Emotion-oriented or emotion-focused strategy: remain hopeful – try to control emotions – vent feelings of anger and frustration as safety valve, especially when it is difficult to see the way ahead. – Avoidance-oriented strategy: bury head in the sand – deny or minimise the seriousness of the situation – consciously suppress stressful thoughts – replace negative thinking by self-protective thoughts.
  • 7. Which kind of coping strategy is best at reducing stress? • Generally-speaking, problem-focused strategies work best when the individual has the resources and means to resolve the situation. • In contrast, emotion-focused strategy may be preferable, at least on a temporary basis, when the individual lacks the means to resolve the situation. • However, individuals with the Type A behaviour pattern, including an overriding need to achieve, often rush to the problem-focused approach even when it is not appropriate.
  • 8. Folkman (1986) • PROCEDURE: PPs indicated the coping strategies they had used to handle stressful events. They were also asked to rate the extent to which the outcome had been satisfactory. • RESULTS: planned problem solving was associated to satisfactory outcomes. Emotion-focused coping such as confrontative coping (eg expressing anger) and distancing (eg trying to forget the problem) were associated with unsatisfactory outcomes. • CONCLUSIONS: there is evidence favouring the use of problem-focused coping (main effect hypothesis).
  • 9. Collins et al (1983) Three Mile island • Studied people living close to Three Mile Island shortly after a major nuclear incident. • FINDINGS: those using problem-focused coping strategies were significantly more distressed than those using emotion-focused strategies • Goodness of fit hypothesis: problem-focused more effective if stressor is perceived as controllable, BUT emotion-focused is better when perceived as uncontrollable
  • 10. Stress related illness (Q2 specimen) • Hypertension • Coronary Heart Disease (Friedman & Rosenman) • Ulcers (Brady) • Type B diabetes • Viruses (Cohen)
  • 11. Stress and illness • Jemmot (1985) - students during examination periods had lower counts in antibodies concerned with fighting respiratory disease • Glaser (1987) found similar results • Brady (1958) – in stressed individuals, the high levels of adrenaline can lead to stomach ulcers, especially if stress is prolonged
  • 12. Environmental factors affecting stress (Q3 specimen; Q2 additional; Q4 additional; Q3 further) – Life changes (Holmes & Rahe, 1967) and SRRS (Social Readjustment Rating Scale) with evaluation + study – Daily hassles (DeLongis, 1982) hassles and uplifts + evaluation – Workplace stress studies • Johansson et al. (1978) work related stress in highly mechanised jobs • Warr (1996) major workplace stressors • Marmot et al (1997) low control at work and stress
  • 13. Work-related stress • Social isolation. In some work situations, workers are isolated from each other for long periods of time. This often happens on production lines where machines control the work operations. Workers have few opportunities to communicate socially with each other. Social isolation is related to various indicators of stress, for example, high levels of adrenaline and noradrenaline. Work should be organised so that workers have regular opportunities for social contact with each other. • Work overload. One way of identifying work overload is in terms of the number of hours worked per week. A number of studies suggest a link between long hours, stress and ill health. For example, a study of workers under the age of 45 in light industry found that those who worked more than 48 hours per week were twice as likely to develop coronary heart disease than those who worked 40 hours or less (Breslow & Buell, 1960). The amount of work done by workers should be regularly checked and adjusted to ensure mental and physical health. • Other stressors in the workplace may include: – 1. Working conditions (environmental stressors such as noise, temperature, overcrowding, risk & danger). – 2. Roles at work (e.g. role conflict, role ambiguity, levels of responsibility) – 3. Relationships at work (e.g. with immediate line manager) – 4. Career development (job security, redundancy, retirement) – 5. Organisational (e.g. the feeling of involvement & belonging) • It is important to remember that is the perception of work overload by a worker rather than simply the number of hours worked. In this sense, work overload is a perception • held by a worker that he is required to work too long/hard. Something only becomes a stressor when the individual perceives it as such. Therefore, every individual is making transactions with the environment around him throughout his life.
  • 14. Exam question • Psychological research has provided evidence to support the view that stress can be caused by life changes. It has also provided evidence of individual differences in response to sources of stress. Discuss the view that stress is environmentally determined (12 marks)
  • 15. Mark scheme • AO1 – Life changes – Daily hassles – Work-related • Physical: crowding, noise, temperature • Job-related – Role conflict – Lack of control – Workload
  • 16. Mark scheme • AO2 – Supporting research evidence – Usefulness and application of findings – Methodological issues in research – Contradictory evidence – Individual differences and personality factors – Alternative explanations to stress (personality types)
  • 17. Discuss the view that stress is environmentally determined (12 marks) • • Holmes & Rahe found that life Rahe (1970) found that there was a significant correlation of +0.118 between changes affected well being life changes and illness. PPs were 2500 • Eg death of spouse, new job, marriage male US navy personnel (anything involving change) – SRRS • implications: awareness of the need of • DeLongis states daily hassles, in the stress management techniques when long run, are more harmful (and experiencing life events. common) than life changes • correlation: it is not possible to establish • Stress at work can be due to physical causality or job-related issues • DeLongis got PPs to complete • Job related stress: mainly due to lack hassles, uplifts and life changes + health of control, opportunity to use questionnaires for a year and found that skills, money, role conflict, social frequency and intensity of hassles were associated with illness isolation and work overload • • Marmot et al (1997) found that there is a Physical issues may include negative correlation between job control crowding, the physical looks of the and stress and illness environment, noise and temperature • Also PERSONALITY FACTORS could be involved in stress response (eg type AB and hardiness)
  • 18. Personality factors affecting stress + evaluation (Q3 specimen; Q5 additional) • Type A and Type B (Frienman and Rosenman) • Hardiness (Kobasa)
  • 19. Q5 additional: Discuss psychological evidence that suggests personality can affect our experience of stress (6 marks) • Characteristics of Type A include an overriding need to achieve, a highly competitive nature and a tendency to show anger and hostility. • In contrast, Type B individuals tend to be more relaxed and are far less hostile and aggressive. • Research has shown that Type A individuals respond more actively to stressors; they are more easily “wound up”, tend to overreact, and are often at “boiling point”. This may cause excessive wear and tear of their bodies, especially the cardio-vascular system. • The Type A personality has been associated with hypertension, chronic high blood pressure. Chronic hypertension puts strains on both the heart and the arteries.
  • 20. Personality factors affecting stress (continued) • Friedman & Rosenman (1974) found evidence for the role of individual differences in men’s ways of dealing with stressful situations. • They concluded that men who displayed Type A behaviour were far more likely to develop CHD than other men. • Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the biggest single cause of death in modern industrialised societies. In Britain, almost 50% of all deaths result from CHD. Around half of these deaths may be related to stress, and stress may be related to individual personality types. • Friedman & Rosenman (1974) assessed the personality types of 3500 healthy middle-aged men as part of a 12 year longitudinal study. Participants were asked questions relating to impatience, competitiveness, motivation for success, frustration at goals being hindered, and their feelings towards being under pressure. • High scorers were described as ‘Type A’ personalities while low scorers were described as ‘Type B’ personalities. More than twice as many of the Type A personalities went on to develop cardiovascular disorders than did Type B personalities. • They concluded that men who displayed Type A behaviour were far more likely to develop CHD than other men. • Further research revealed that angina sufferers tended to be Type A personalities who were impatient with other people and susceptible to feeling pressure at work. Those with heart failure tended to comprise Type A personalities who rushed through life with hasty personal habits and over-loaded schedules.
  • 21. Personality factors affecting stress response • Hardiness (Kobasa) • Hardy individuals have the three Cs: – Commitment: more involved in what they do and have a direction in life. – Challenge: they view potentially stressful situations as a challenge and an opportunity rather than as a problem to treat. – Control: they have a stronger sense of personal control. They feel they can influence events in their lives. • Hardy individuals are healthier because of: – DIRECT EFFECTS: hardy individuals get less stressed; but also – BUFFERING EFFECT: hardy individuals cope better if level of stress increases: they are more resistant to the adverse effects of stress.
  • 22. Q3 additional: stress management evaluation - SIT • Stress Inoculation Training (SIT) was developed by Donald Meichenbaum and his colleagues. • This is a cognitive-behavioural approach to stress management that involves training the individual to recognise stress symptoms (cognitive recognition) and then learn certain skills (behavioural) to reduce the stress. • 3stages – Assessment – therapist discusses nature of the problem with the patient – Stress reduction techniques – patient learns many techniques to reduce stress such as relaxation and self-instruction(COGNITIVE STAGE) – Application and follow-through – patient imagines or role-plays stressful situations with therapist. After that, starts to using techniques in real life (BEHAVIOURAL STAGE) • Meichenbaum believes that people sometimes find things stressful because they think about them in self-defeating ways. He believes that SIT’s ‘power of positive thinking’ approach can successfully change people’s behaviour. • Some behaviourists suggest that focusing on internal thoughts is unscientific, but it has proved successful, especially in reducing exam nerves and the anxiety associated with severe pain.
  • 23. Stress management evaluation • Stress Management programmes have several strengths. Most importantly, they try to equip the individual with skills he can use in a variety of stressful situations; these are transferable skills. SIT in particular has proved effective in the long term as long as the individual keeps on practising the coping skills. • These programmes combine both cognitive and behavioural approaches that usually produce the most lasting changes. • In addition, unlike physical approaches to stress management, such as drugs, they are not invasive, they cannot cause dependency, and they do not have undesirable side- effects. • On the other hand, stress management programmes require time, money and commitment. • They seem to be relevant for the affluent few rather than the stressed-out many.
  • 24. Hardiness training • Suzanna Kobasa and other psychologists have developed hardiness training programmes. • These programmes encourage participants to learn three main strategies: – (1) to recognise and identify the reality and the symptoms of their stress; – (2) to consider how they coped with similar stressful events in the past, and to employ similar coping strategies; and – (3) to take on a fresh challenge in their lives and experience success again.
  • 25. The immune system • The immune system is a collection of billions of cells that travel through the bloodstream. • They move in and out of tissues and organs, defending the body against foreign bodies (antigens), such as bacteria, viruses and cancerous cells. • The main types of immune cells are white blood cells (leucocytes) including T cells, B cells, and natural killer cells. • Cells in the immune system have receptors for various chemical substances involved in the stress response. • When we’re stressed, the immune system’s ability to fight off antigens is reduced. That is why we are more susceptible to infections.
  • 26. The immune system (continued) • NATURAL IMMUNITY: natural killer cells, all- purpose cells that act rapidly attacking antigens (bacteria and viruses) • SPECIFIC IMMUNITY: T-helper cells and B cells involved, much more specific and take longer to work.
  • 27. Segerstorm and Miller (2004) • Meta-analysis to summarise effects of stress on immune system. • Results: – Short-lived stressors increase natural immunity but don’t alter specific immunity – Long-term stress like losing a spouse reduces natural immunity – Stressors such as disasters produce small increase in natural AND specific immunity. – Life events are associated with significant reduction in BOTH natural and specific immunity in individuals over 55.
  • 28. Cortisol and stress • Cortisol is an important hormone in the body, secreted by the adrenal glands and involved in the following functions and more: – Proper glucose metabolism – Regulation of blood pressure – Insulin release for blood sugar maintanence – Immune function – Inflammatory response • Normally, it’s present in the body at higher levels in the morning, and at its lowest at night.
  • 29. Cortisol and stress (continued) • Small increases of cortisol have some positive effects: – A quick burst of energy for survival reasons – Heightened memory functions – A burst of increased immunity – Lower sensitivity to pain – Helps maintain homeostasis in the body • While cortisol is an important and helpful part of the body’s response to stress, it’s important that the body’s relaxation response to be activated so the body’s functions can return to normal. Unfortunately, in our current high-stress culture, the body’s stress response is activated so often that functioning often doesn’t have a chance to return to normal, producing chronic stress.
  • 30. Cortisol and stress (continued) • Higher and more prolonged levels of cortisol in the bloodstream (like those associated with chronic stress) have been shown to have negative effects, such as: – Impaired cognitive performance – Suppressed thyroid function – Blood sugar imbalances such as hyperglycemia – Decreased bone density – Decrease in muscle tissue – Higher blood pressure – Lowered immunity and inflammatory responses in the body, as well as other health consequences – Increased abdominal fat, which is associated with a greater amount of health problems than fat deposited in other areas of the body. Some of the health problems associated with increased stomach fat are heart attacks, strokes, the development of , higher levels of “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and lower levels of “good” cholesterol (HDL), which can lead to other health problems
  • 31. Discuss the use of drugs to manage the negative effects of stress (8 marks) • Benzodiazepines (eg Valium • Rapid action and generally and Librium) well tolerated • Increase GABA • If used for long, can have production, that decreases serious side effects like serotonin activity, therefore cognitive impairment reducing arousal (Stewart, 2005) • Beta blockers reduce heart • Lau et al. (1992) in meta- rate and blood pressure analysis found that beta- blockers reduced risk of • Act by blocking receptors heart failure by 20% for adrenaline and • Lockwood (1989) found that noradrenaline beta-blockers also improved performance in orchestral musicians
  • 32. Conformity – majority influence (Q3a additional) In Psychology, conformity has two meanings. • Firstly, it means that the individual is acting in terms of the accepted behaviour of a social group. – For example, most Sixth Formers will behave like the majority of the Sixth Formers around them to keep their approval and acceptance. • Secondly, conformity means a change in the behaviour of a minority to fit the behaviour of the majority. – For example, in a jury room two jurors who believe the accused is not guilty may change their opinion to guilty simply to confirm with the opinion of the 10 in the majority.
  • 33. Definition of conformity Conformity is sometimes called majority influence and it is where a person adopts the attitudes, beliefs and behaviours of people in a particular group.
  • 34. Describe the aims and procedures and findings and conclusions of one study of conformity (majority influence). Then give two criticisms of the investigation. (SOLOMON ASCH) • Aims: Solomon Asch (1951) AIMED to investigate how far an individual would conform to the responses of the majority even when the majority was clearly wrong. • Procedures: Asch tested 123 American male college students who worked in groups between seven and nine in size. In each group one naïve participant was subjected to pressure when the stooges gave what was clearly the wrong answer. Members of the group were asked to estimate the length of a line in comparison with three others lines. The participants called out the answers one after the other with the naïve calling out last or second last. The stooges called out the wrong answer deliberately 12 times out of 18 trials. Which line is similar to line X? If others tell you it is A, you might not trust your own judgement. • Findings: Conformity was measured by the number of times the naïve participants gave • the same wrong answers as the stooges on the critical trials. Overall, there was a conformity rate of 32%. In other words, the naïve participants conformed to the wrong answers about a third of the critical trials. • Conclusions: individual by subjecting him/her to group pressure. Asch concluded that the majority can have a significant influence on an individual by subjecting him/her to group pressure. • Criticisms – + The task was unambiguous. The answers were clearly right or wrong. Therefore, conformity could be measured in an objective way. – - Participants were stressed. Some participants reported getting quite stressed when the stooges gave the wrong answer on critical trials. This could be considered unethical. Also, the naïve participants were clearly deceived about what was really going on.
  • 35. Research studies investigating conformity have often used laboratory-based experiments. ExplainTWO limitations of laboratory-based experiments into conformity (2+2 marks) • Lack of ecological validity – Asch used a group of strangers: if they had been friends, the influence would have been more meaningful (Abrams, 1990) – Unrealistic setting: not likely to be in such setting when making real life decisions • Lack of mundane realism – The task wasn’t realistic, and was not meaningful – Participants may not have felt involved in the decision
  • 36. Why do people conform? (Q3b additional; Q1 further) • Within any culture, normative and informational influences will play an important role in determining levels of conformity. • Conformity will also depend to some extent on cultural factors. People living in so called collectivist cultures such as China and Japan will conform more readily than those in individualist cultures such as the UK and the USA where individual success are values are regarded more highly than the group success of collectivist cultures. • Group size is also important in determining whether or not a person will conform. Research suggests that as the size of the group increases, so conformity will increase, above all, if opposition to the individual is unanimous. For example, in the jury situation, a person outnumbered 11-1 will find it much harder to resist the majority than a split of 10-2. Therefore, people will often conform in order to preserve group unanimity. • To some extent, conformity can be explained by individual temperament and personality. These personality characteristics can be very influential. People with low self-esteem, a need for approval, feelings of insecurity or anxiety will usually conform more readily than other people. However, the behaviour of the same individuals will vary on different occasions and in different situations.
  • 37. Q3 additional:(b) Identify the type of social influence illustrated in the situation described below. Refer to features of the situation to justify your answer. (3 marks) • Normative social influence means being influenced by others to conform to their behaviour (social/group norms) because of a desire to gain their approval and acceptance. – For example, you join the Sea Cadets – you spend the first few sessions doing what others around you do because you wish to be accepted in their group. In other words, you conform to the social norms of the group you wish to belong to. • Informational social influence means being influenced by others because of the belief they are more knowledgeable in a certain situation
  • 38. Ethics for humans (Q2 additional individual differences) • Briefing and debriefing • Informed consent vs deception • Ethics comitee • Participants’ distress • Right to withdraw • Confidentiality
  • 39. Obedience • Obedience occurs when a person changes his behaviour because he has been given a direct command, instruction or order by another person who he believes has authority over him. • For example, a student may obey the instructions of a teacher only because he sees the teacher as having authority over him.
  • 40. Q5a specimen: Using your knowledge of factors that have been found to affect obedience, explain why you might obey in this situation (6 marks) • People are more likely to obey when they accept the power and status of the person seen to be in authority. – For example, we are more likely to obey a headteacher rather than a caretaker, regardless of what each is like as an individual person. • People are more likely to obey if they see themselves acting as AGENTS OF A SUPERIOR AUTHORITY – this is called being in an agentic state. – We give up personal responsibility for our actions (the autonomous state) and transfer the responsibility onto the authority figure – “I was only following orders.) • Authority figures often possess highly visible symbols of their power and status – the judge’s robes and wig; the policeman’s uniform; the general’s gold 5 stars. – These make it much more difficult to disobey them. For example, the guards’ uniforms in Zimbardo empowered them, while the prisoners’ dress disempowered them.
  • 41. Q5b specimen: why not obey? • Milgram (1974) variations to original study • 2 ways of reducing obedience: – Increase obviousness of the suffering of the learner • remote feedback (teacher couldn’t hear or see learner): 66% obedience • voice feedback (victim heard but not seen): 62% • proximity (victim 1 metre away): 40% • touch-proximity (teachers had to force learner’s hand into the shock plate): 30% – Reducing authority or influence: • experiment takes place in a run-down office instead of Yale: 48% obedience • orders given by telephone: 20.5% • experimenter is not wearing white coat: 20% • having two confederates who refused to give shocks:10%
  • 42. Q6 specimen: ethical issues in Milgram’s research (4 marks) • Milgram exposed his participants to high levels of distress, which is ethically unacceptable • The PPs believed they had killed Mr Wallace • Even when the PPs were visibly uncomfortable, Milgram insisted they kept giving the shocks • Having been given money, PPs may have felt forced into following orders and felt under a lot of pressure
  • 43. Q4 further: Discuss the methodological difficulties faced by social psychologists conducting their research in a laboratory (5 marks) • Lack of ecological validity due to unnatural setting • Also often the nature of the task is artificial and not relevant to real life • Lack of mundane realism: PPs may not take situation seriously • Risk of demand characteristics: PPs may guess aim of study and act accordingly • Possible issues with sample: not representative
  • 44. Types of conformity (Q2,Q6 further)- GIVE EXAMPLES: • Kelman (1985) 3 types: • Compliance (or group acceptance) – to conform in order to gain positive reaction from group. Private beliefs don’t change. • Internalisation (or genuine acceptance of group norms) – accepting group norms because they are intrinsically rewarding. Adopting group norms because they are consistent with own value system. • Identification (or group membership) – individual accepts influence because he wants to establish or maintain a satisfying self-defining relationship to another person or group (self-image is linked to group identity). It occurs regardless of actual feelings/beliefs.
  • 45. Explanations to independent behaviour (Q7 specimen; Q4 additional; Q3 further; Q7 further) • People may use their cognitive abilities to resist obedience and conformity. If people are reminded of their rights and responsibilities in situations, obedience to repugnant orders decreases. People always have the ability to ask “Why?” though they don’t always use it. • Group solidarity often helps people resist repugnant instructions. For example, when Milgram gave a participant a supporter (a co teacher) who refused to follow the instructions, rates of obedience were drastically reduced. In other words, it is not so easy to “pick a person off” as long as he has support from at least one other person. • Anything that increases our sense of personal responsibility will also increase our resistance to obedience. In Milgram, when the experimenter said, “You have no other choice, you must go on”, many participants stopped obeying. The word ‘choice’ brought home to them that they did have a choice and that they were responsible.
  • 46. Milgram (1974) ways of reducing obedience • 1) Increase obviousness of the suffering of the learner - remote feedback (teacher couldn’t hear or see learner): 66% obedience - voice feedback (victim heard but not seen): 62% - proximity (victim 1 metre away): 40% -touch-proximity (teachers had to force learner’s hand into the shock plate): 30% • 2) Reducing authority or influence: - experiment takes place in a run-down office instead of Yale: 48% obedience - orders given by telephone: 20.5% -experimenter is not wearing white coat: 20% - having two confederates who refused to give shocks:10%
  • 47. Q7 specimen: Discuss research into the influence that individual differences have on independent behaviour (12 marks) • • Confidence Perrin&Spencer (1981) maths/engineering students conformed less because of their perceived expertise • Life experiences • 2 PPs in Milgram’s experiment didn’t go beyond • Personality: people who are likely to conform tend 210volts because they grew up in Nazi occupied to be stable but not open to change Europe • Locus of control: • Personality may be inheritedinnate • Rotter (1966) internal locus of control=less • There have been mixed results from studies that try conformist to link LOC with obedience and conformity. • Miller (1975) found that those with external LOC Situational and other personal factors need to be were more obedient but only when person giving considered too, e.g. level of education. orders was of high status. Whereas those with • How people are socialised can affect indep beh. M’s internal LOC were not effected by status. learn that power is a crucial factor when achieving • Gender: Larsen et al (1979) found that M’s goals but F’s value interpersonal relationships. conformed more in high status gps than F’s who Therefore not conforming has different social costs. conformed more in peer groups. Suggests that • Differences in social norms may make it easier for status is more salient/important for M’s people to resist obeying/pressure to conform. • Cultural factors: individualist cultures are less • Indiv Vs Coll. distinction is too broad. Culture is not conforming than collectivist. static as it changes over time. • E.g. Bond & Smith (1996) looked at 133 studies across 17 countries. • Also Kim & Marcus (1999) compared European Americans and Asian Americans (more conforming).
  • 48. What are the implications for social change of research into social influence • Social influence: majority influence, • Asch(1951) 37% conformed with majority • BUT in USA and in ‘50s • Perrin and Spencer (1980) repeated Asch’s study in England in the late 1970s, and found very little evidence of conformity • findings may also have been influenced because their participants were engineering students who were trained in the importance of accurate measurement
  • 49. Implications for social change (continued) • Smith and Bond (1993) summarised the findings from 20 cross-cultural studies of conformity using Asch’s 1951 design. They wished to investigate if levels of conformity were similar across different cultures. • Findings: – average figure was about 30% for studies carried out in several parts of the world. – The highest figure was 58% wrong answers for Indian teachers in Fiji; – the lowest was 14% among Belgian students. • Smith and Bond (1993) concluded: “Levels of conformity in general had steadily declined since Asch’s studies in the early 1950s.”
  • 50. Implications for social change (continued) • Hogg and Vaughan (1995) have pointed out that we are often influenced by people who are not present at the time we make a decision. • They define social influence as the process whereby attitudes, perceptions and behaviours are influenced by the real or implied presence of other people. • They point out that two or more people who share a common definition and evaluation of themselves will behave in accordance with that definition. • For example, if I define myself as a political Conservative much of my behaviour, including the way I vote, will be influenced by that definition.
  • 51. Implications for social change (continued) • Moscovici et al. (1969), has investigated the conditions under which minority influence will prevail. • Minority influence occurs when a minority of members in a group “rejects the established norm of the majority of group members and induces the majority to move to the position of the minority.” • For example, if there is a jury split of 8-4, but the 4 in the minority eventually get the majority to agree with their verdict, then minority influence has prevailed.
  • 52. Moscovici – conversion theory • Conversion affects PRIVATE BELIEFS (≠compliance) and will occur under certain conditions: – Consistency – Commitment – Flexibility – Relevance
  • 53. Conditions for minority to prevail 1. The minority can show that there is an alternative, coherent point of view. 2. The minority demonstrates certainty, consistency and confidence in their point of view. 3. The minority must try to shake the confidence of the majority and produce doubt and uncertainty into their thinking. 4. The minority must suggest, hint at and imply that harmony within the group will be restored as soon as the majority yields and shifts towards the minority point of view.
  • 54. Describe the aims and procedures and findings and conclusions of one study of MINORITY INFLUENCE. Then give two criticisms of this study • Aims: Moscovici aimed to investigate under what conditions the minority could influence the majority to change its responses even the responses are clearly wrong. • Moscovici et al. (1969), in his Green Colour Slide Experiment (GCSE), predicted that a minority could influence a majority if it consistently called a green slide blue. • Procedures: Moscovici used group of 6 participants. Four of them (the majority) were naïve; two of them were stooges working with the researcher. During 36 trials a slide that was clearly blue was presented on a screen. On 24 of the trials, the stooges called out that the blue screen was green. The number of times that naïve participants agreed with their calls was noted. • Findings: Moscovici found that 32% of the naïve participants gave the green response at least once. • Conclusion: Moscovici concluded that the minority can influence the majority as long as the minority are consistent in their responses. He also observed that minority influence takes time to take effect while majority influence is usually immediate.
  • 55. 2 criticisms • Ethical issues. Naïve participants couldn’t give their informed consent. As with any study involving stooges, participants were deceived as to the true purpose of the experiment. • Artificiality. As with Asch’s experiments, the experimental task was very artificial. So, the experiment may lack ecological validity.
  • 56. Definitions of abnormality + evaluation (Q8 specimen; Q1 additional; Q4 further) • Failure to function adequately • Deviation from social norms • Deviation from ideal mental health • Statistical infrequency
  • 57. Failure to function adequately • A failure to function adequately means that a person is unable to live a normal life, unable to experience the normal range of emotions, or engage in the normal range of behaviour. In other words, the person is not able to cope with life on a day-to-day basis. • For example, a person may become so depressed that he is prepared to label his own behaviour as ‘abnormal’, and then wish to seek treatment to help him cope. • One advantage of this definition is that we don’t have to label a person as ‘mentally abnormal’, which still carries a stigma in many societies. We can focus on treating the behaviour that is hindering the person from leading an adequately normal life, and offer treatment to encourage more adaptive behaviour. • One limitation of this definition is that apparently abnormal behaviour may actually be helpful, function and adaptive for the individual. For example, a person who has the obsessive-compulsive disorder of hand- washing may find that the behaviour makes him cheerful, happy and better able to cope with his day.
  • 58. Deviation from social norms • Social norms are the approved and expected ways of behaving in a particular society. • In terms of social norms, abnormal behaviour can be seen as behaviour that deviates from or violates social norms. In other words, what is seen as socially unacceptable is regarded as abnormal. • The main difficulty with this definition is that social norms vary as times change. • For example, a few years ago it was not acceptable for men or boys in the UK to wear earrings. Fashion has changed and males wearing ear-rings is now socially acceptable. • A more serious example is homosexuality; today being ‘gay’ is acceptable but in the past it was included under sexual and identity disorders.
  • 59. Deviation from ideal mental health • This definition of mental abnormality suggests that there are a number of desirable or ideal characteristics that we need to enjoy ideal mental health. These include the ability to cope with stress, being in control of our environment, and having a grip on reality. If any of these are missing, this may be a sign of mental abnormality. • One advantage of the Ideal Mental Health definition is that it emphasizes positive achievements rather than failure and distress. It gives individuals targets to aim at, which will increase their mental health. • It is practically impossible for any individual to achieve all of the ideal characteristics all of the time. For example, a person might not be the ‘master of his environment’ but be happy with his situation. The absence of this criterion of ideal mental health hardly indicates he is suffering from a mental disorder. • Again, there is the difficulty of cultural relativism, i.e. characteristics will vary between cultures. • For example, women in the West might not regard women in Asia and Africa as having strong sense of personal identities, which would not be the way these women saw themselves. The very concepts of normality and abnormality depend on the norms and values of the society in question.
  • 60. Statistical infrequency • The ‘statistical infrequency’ definition of abnormality refers to behaviour that is statistically or numerically infrequent in a given population. Specific characteristics can be measured and plotted on a ‘normal’ distribution curve. Anybody who deviates from the average is classified as ‘abnormal’. • However, this definition fails to distinguish between desirable and undesirable behaviour. • Statistically speaking, many very gifted individuals could be classified as ‘abnormal’ using this definition. The use of the term ‘abnormal’ in this context would not be appropriate. • One advantage of this definition is that no value judgments are made. The assessment is objective. We measure and quantify the behaviour to determine whether or not it is statistically infrequent or not. • For example, homosexuality – which was defined as a mental illness in early versions of the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of mental Disorders) – would not be judged as ‘wrong’ or ‘unacceptable’, merely less statistically frequent in most populations than heterosexuality.
  • 61. Biological approach (Q9 specimen; Q3 additional; Q1 further; Q2 further; Q3 further; Q5 further) • MAIN ASSUMPTIONS • Assumption 1: The Biological or Medical Model of abnormality assumes that mental abnormality has physiological causes. These abnormalities may be caused by chemical malfunctions in the brain or by genetic disorders. • For example, too much dopamine in the brain is linked with the mental illness called schizophrenia. It is also clear that the eating disorder called anorexia nervosa has a genetic component. • Assumption 2: The Medical Model also assumes that mental disorders can be treated in ways similar to physical disorders. In other words, we can cure the patient by using medical treatments. Treatments include medication (drugs), ECT and psychosurgery.
  • 62. Biological approach-evaluation • Advantage 1: The main advantage of the Medical Model is that it is scientific. The results of treatment can be measured and manipulated until we have a satisfactory outcome. For example, we can vary the dosage of Prozac until the depressed patient is able to function adequately. • Advantage 2: A second advantage is that the patient is not labelled as mentally ill. Unfortunately, the label of mental illness still carries a stigma in our society. It is reassuring to most people to learn that their behaviour has an organic/medical cause that can be corrected by medical treatment. • Limitation 1: The main limitation of the Medical Model is that it may be useful in dealing with the symptoms of mental illness but it may not be effective in resolving the underlying causes. Mental illness may have multiple causes, including cognitive and behavioural causes. The MM does not take these into consideration. It is always dangerous to reduce a complex phenomenon to a single explanation (reductionism). • Limitation 2: A second limitation is that medical intervention may have undesirable side effects. Very few drugs can be used without negative side effects. For example, prolonged use of Prozac is associated with suicidal thoughts. Drugs may also encourage addiction and dependency similar to nicotine addiction. In addition, techniques such as ECT and psychosurgery are invasive, unpredictable and often irreversible.
  • 63. Q9 specimen: One assumption of the biological approach to psychopathology is that abnormality is inherited. Explain ONE way in which psychologists have investigated the genetic basis of abnormality (4 marks) • Family studies - correlational – Adoption studies – Twin studies – Family studies • Identical twins share 100% genetic code • Eg Gottesman (1991) summarised the findings from about 40 twin studies on schizophrenia, finding that the concordance rate was 48% for identical twins but only 17% for fraternal twins • (Another way could be gene-mapping: finding gene involved in mental disorder)
  • 64. Biological approach: exam questions • Q1 further: Describe the use of electro- convulsive therapy in the treatment of mental disorders (6 marks) • Q2 further: Describe the use of drugs to treat psychological disorders (4 marks) • Q3 further: Discuss the use of drugs to treat psychological disorders (6 marks)
  • 65. Behaviourist approach (Q11 specimen; Q4 additional; Q5 further)
  • 66. Discuss the behavioural approach to explaining psychological abnormality (12 marks) • Mental illness can be explained as a pattern of learned maladaptive behaviour • Focus on observable behaviour (as opposed to physiology, emotion or thinking) • Learning of maladaptive behaviour takes place through classical and operant conditioning • Mental disorders can be treated through behavioural therapies
  • 67. Evaluation Weaknesses Strengths • There is no strong evidence to • The basic concepts of the learning approach can be suggest that most mental easily empirically tested and disorders are acquired through have been largely supported faulty conditioning by research • While symptoms can be acquired • Behavioural therapies have in lab conditions, this doesn’t been successful to treat certain maladaptive mean they are acquired in this behaviours way in real life • Gives psychology a scientific • learning approach status as it seeks to find underestimates the complexity general laws to explain human behaviour using the scientific of humans(free method will, consciousness, personality)
  • 68. Explain how systematic de-sensitisation might be carried out to overcome James’s fear of flying. (6 marks) • James would be asked to build a hierarchy of fear (eg going to the airport, getting on a plane, the plane taking off...) • The therapist would teach James relaxation techniques • James is asked to relax whilst visualising an item in the hierarchy in order from the less feared to most feared • Through classical conditioning, James would unlearn his fear and associate flying with a relaxed feeling • The final step would be to actually get on a plane applying the learned relaxation techniques to the once feared stimulus
  • 69. The basic idea is that people with a Wolpe (1958) developed the idea phobia are very anxious but if they of systematic desensitisation. learn to relax, relaxation can replace This theory helps people with the anxiety and it can cure the phobia their phobias. The principals of classical Systematic An example of this is conditioning are used within arachnophobia. this theory. Desensitisation The participant systematically The participant is asked to relax. Once works through small to large relaxed participants are asked to imagine or pictures of spiders, they are checked are shown pictures of spiders. after each picture to see if they are relaxed enough to move on to the It could be difficult for participants next. who imagine the situations to apply Participants need a good the theory to real life. imagination, and are able to learn to relax. Systematic desensitisation has been proven to work but only on small fears not agoraphobias.
  • 70. Psychodynamic approach (Q8 specimen) • Assumption 1: The Psychodynamic Model assumes that experiences in our earlier years can affect our emotions, attitudes and behaviour in later years without us being aware that it is happening. • Freud suggested that abnormal behaviour is caused by unresolved conflicts in the Unconscious. These conflicts create anxiety, and we use defence mechanisms such as repression and denial to protect our Ego against this anxiety. • However, if defence mechanisms are over-used, they can lead to disturbed abnormal behaviour. • Assumption 2: The Psychodynamic Model assumes that if repressed memories can be recovered from the Unconscious through psychotherapy, and if the patient experiences the emotional pain of these repressed memories, the conflicts will be resolved and the patient will be cured. • Modern psychoanalysis suggests patients must also come to understand these memories cognitively.
  • 71. Psychodynamic evaluation (Q5 further) • Strength 1: One strength of the Psychodynamic Model is that it reminds us that experiences in childhood can affect us throughout our lives. It accepts that everybody can suffer mental conflicts and neuroses through no fault of their own. • Strength 2: The model also suggests there is no need for medical intervention such as drugs, ECT or psychotherapy, and that the patient, with the help of a psychoanalyst, can find a cure through his own resources. • Weakness 1: The main limitation of the Psychodynamic Model is that it cannot be scientifically observed or tested. There is no way of demonstrating if the Unconscious actually exists. There is no way of verifying if a repressed memory is a real or false memory unless independent evidence is available. In other words, most of the theory must be taken on faith. • Weakness 2: Any evidence recovered from a patient must be analysed and interpreted by a therapist. This leaves open the possibility of serious misinterpretation or bias because two therapists may interpret the same evidence in entirely different ways. • Psychoanalysis is time-consuming and expensive. It may not even work: in a comprehensive view of 7000 cases, Eysenck (1952) claimed that psychodynamic therapy does more harm than good.
  • 72. Cognitive approach • People become ill because of negative thoughts • Assumption 1: The Cognitive Model of Abnormality assumes that how we think influences how we feel and how we behave. The ways in which we process information (cognition) directly affect the ways we behave. • The Cognitive Model suggests that disordered thinking can cause disordered or abnormal behaviour. Disordered thinking includes irrational assumptions and negative views about the self, the world and the future. • Assumption 2: The Cognitive Model assumes that cognitive disorders have been learned and, therefore, they can be unlearned. Thoughts can be monitored, evaluated and altered. • Individuals can learn to challenge their irrational cognitions and self-defeating thoughts. So the model assumes cognitive change will lead to behavioural change.
  • 73. Evaluation - Q5 further: explain ONE strength of this approach (3 marks) • Strength 1: A major strength of the Cognitive Model is that it concentrates in current thought processes. It does not depend on the past history of the client, for example, recovering repressed memories from the Unconscious. This is an advantage because details about a person’s past are often unclear, irrelevant, misleading and misremembered. • Strength 2: A second strength is that Cognitive Therapies, especially when used together with Behavioural Therapy, have a good success rate in helping clients. It is a popular and much-used approach. It also empowers the individual to take responsibility for his own thinking processes by monitoring, evaluating and altering self-defeating thought processes. • Weakness 1: Like all other approaches, psychological and medical, the Cognitive Model rarely supplies the complete solution to abnormal behaviour by itself. There may be medical and environmental influences affecting a person’s behaviour. Focussing only on a person’s cognition may be too narrow an approach. • Weakness 2: The Cognitive Model sometimes places the blame for any disorder unfairly on the individual – “It’s your disordered thinking, so you are at fault”. For example, a person suffering from depression may be living in awful circumstances where depression is a perfectly valid and rationale response to the situation. It will hardly be surprising if he perceives the world and his future as a negative and grim.