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  1. 1. 1 A2 Psychology Specification and Exam Information for PSYA4 Psychology in Action (Media Psychology),
  2. 2. 2 Specification for Media Psychology Media Psychology Students need to develop knowledge, understanding and critical thinking in relation to one of the following contemporary applications of media psychology Students need to apply their knowledge and understanding of research methods to unfamiliar situations. Students need to develop an appreciation of the relationship between research, policy and practices in applying psychology in everyday life. Media influences on social behaviour • Explanations of media influences on pro- and anti-social behaviour • The positive and negative effects of computers and video games on Behaviour Media and persuasion • The application of Hovland-Yale and Elaboration Likelihood models in explaining the persuasive effects of media • Explanations for the persuasiveness of television advertising The psychology of ‘celebrity’ • The attraction of ‘celebrity’, including social psychological and evolutionary explanations • Research into intense fandom, including, celebrity worship and celebrity Stalking Questions in this section are generally in 3 or 4 parts. They generally have stimulus material to accompany them. Make sure your answers are relevant as general answers will gain nothing, even if they use the correct terminology and theories, they must be applied. The idea behind this section is that it investigates Psychology in our everyday lives, you may be able to apply your own knowledge and experience here, if relevant to illustrate something you have written.
  3. 3. 3 Past Paper Questions for Media Psychology Up until 2012 all questions gained 25 marks – from 2012 questions will gain 24 marks in total. Topic: Media Psychology January 2010 4 (a) ‘Content analysis has shown that many video games have violent themes. Many of these games are aimed at adolescents. There is a growing concern that such games encourage violent behaviour in the young people who play them.’ (i) Explain some of the difficulties of conducting research into the effects of playing video games. (5 marks) (ii) Discuss what psychological research has told us about some of the effects of video games on young people. (5 marks + 5 marks) (b) Discuss how social psychology explains the attraction of celebrity. (4 marks + 6 marks) June 2010 0 7 ‘It has been suggested that people who watch violent media images may be encouraged to imitate the violence. Television and film producers frequently reject this view.’ Discuss what psychological research has told us about some of the media influences on anti-social behaviour. (5 marks + 6 marks) 0 8 A group of students has been asked to produce a short film to encourage more school leavers to apply for science degree courses at university instead of arts-based courses. Using your knowledge of psychological research into persuasion and attitude change, identify some of the factors which the film-makers might take into account. (4 marks) 0 9 Explain how factors such as those you identified in your answer to 0 8 might help to persuade young people to apply for particular courses. (10 marks) January 2011 0 8 Outline and evaluate one psychological explanation of media influence on pro-social behaviour. (4 marks + 4 marks) 0 9 In a study, researchers investigated celebrity worship in young people. They sent two questionnaires to several hundred university students. One questionnaire measured attitudes to celebrity and the other questionnaire measured self-esteem. The researchers analysed the completed questionnaires and found a significant correlation between low self-esteem and high levels of celebrity worship. Explain one methodological and one ethical issue that might have arisen in this study. (2 marks + 2 marks) 1 0 Discuss one or more explanations for the effectiveness of television in persuasion. (5 marks + 8 marks)
  4. 4. 4 June 2011 0 5 A local school head teacher wants to produce a leaflet for parents about the possible effects of video games and computers on young people. Suggest what information should be included in the leaflet. Use your knowledge of psychological research in this area to justify your advice. (10 marks) 0 6 Outline the Hovland-Yale model of persuasion. (5 marks) 0 7 Outline and evaluate findings of research into intense fandom. (4 marks + 6 marks) January 2012 0 6 Outline the Elaboration Likelihood model of persuasion. Explain how a mobile phone company might use knowledge of this model in a campaign to market a new phone. (4 marks + 6 marks) 0 7 Researchers conducted a study of media influences on anti-social behaviour. The researchers asked child participants to name their favourite TV programmes. Fifteen years later, the researchers assessed the same participants for levels of anti-social behaviour. Two measures of adult anti-social behaviour were obtained for each participant. Measure A: The researchers interviewed a person who knew the participant well and asked them about the participant’s behaviour. Measure B: The researchers studied official records of the participant’s criminal convictions. The researchers concluded that there was a link between watching violent TV programmes as a child and levels of adult aggression. Other than ethical issues, explain two methodological problems involved in the study described above. (4 marks) 0 8 Outline and evaluate research into celebrity stalking. (4 marks + 6 marks) June 2012 0 6 Discuss psychological research into media influences on pro-social behaviour. (4 marks + 6 marks) 0 7 A company is about to launch a new perfume aimed at young career women and wants to devise a television advertising campaign to promote the perfume. Using your knowledge of the persuasive effects of television, what advice would you give to the company so that it could make the television advertising campaign as effective as possible? Refer to psychological research to justify your advice. (10 marks) 0 8 Outline one or more evolutionary explanations of the attraction of ‘celebrity’. (4 marks)
  5. 5. 5 Jan 2013 0 8 Discuss one or more explanations of media influence on pro-social behaviour. (4 marks + 6 marks) 0 9 The Government wants to reduce the number of accidents caused by drivers exceeding the 30 mph speed limit in built-up areas. An advertising company is asked to create a television advertisement to persuade drivers to reduce their speed. Suggest some possible features of the television advertisement. Justify your suggestions with reference to the Hovland-Yale model. (10 marks) 1 0 Outline findings of research into celebrity worship. (4 marks) June 2014 Eleven year-old Matt often watches 18 certificate films with his older brothers. He invites his friend John round to play and they watch a violent film together. John isn’t allowed to watch violent films at home and he finds some of the scenes frightening. John’s heart races and he feels sick. Matt isn’t upset at all by the film and finds the violent scenes amusing. Teachers have noticed that Matt sometimes gets into fights in the playground but John avoids fights. 06 Using your knowledge of explanations of media influences on anti-social behaviour, explain the different behaviours shown by Matt and John. [10 marks] 07 Outline the Elaboration Likelihood Model of persuasion. [4 marks] 08 Discuss research into celebrity stalking. [4 marks + 6 marks] See Moodle for mark schemes for Media Psychology questions- these will have detailed information to help you answer each of the above questions.
  6. 6. 6 Media Psychology (a partial question exemplar) (a) Outline the Hovland-Yale model of persuasions. (5 marks) (this would be 4 now) (b) Discuss explanations for celebrity worship. (4 marks + 8 marks) Candidate response (a) Hovland argues that persuasion and attitude change depend on the interaction between the source, the message, the medium, the receiver and the situation. (1) Messages that provoke moderate fear can persuade if there is information about how to avoid the fear but when the message causes strong fear the receiver is overwhelmed and my ignore the message. If the receiver is well educated and intelligent then the message content needs to be justified and give both sides of the argument if it is to persuade. If only one side is given the receiver thinks they are not being told the whole story so become suspicious. If we think that a person is trying to persuade us we tend to put up barriers and not take in the message. Physically attractive people similar to ourselves who are credible and speak fairly fast tend to be more persuasive. Often adverts use these factors for example they often use experts in white coats to make the source seem credible. Most people in adverts are reasonably good looking and if not actually like us they are like what we aspire to. (2) Point-by-point comments (1) Useful, succinct introduction. (2) This elaboration of the first paragraph is accurate and detailed, reflecting knowledge of a range of research evidence. Examiner comments (a) This answer is reasonably accurate and certainly very detailed, but covers only part of the theory. The absence of any mention of stages in the process of attitude change prevents the answer from being thorough. The question is only worth 5 marks, therefore this candidate should have provided less detail about the effect of varying the source, message and receiver, and should have mentioned the stages in the process. AO1: 4/5 Candidate response (b) There are various explanation for celebrity worship they differ in terms of whether they view the behaviour as adaptive. McCutcheons absorption-addiction model argues that people develop these para-social relationships with celebrities because of inadequacies in their real life. They attempt to escape from reality and cope with their situation by developing relationships with celebrities. The relationship can provide an identity and give a sense of purpose. Para-social relationships are seen as addictive. The individual needs an increasingly strong involvement with their celebrity and once a relationship reaches a certain intensity the stronger the relationship the poorer psychological health. (5) One of the strengths of this theory is that it reflects the three levels of celebrity worship. Most fans stay in the harmless ‘Level One’ stage social entertainment, those with a weaker sense of personal identity or coping skills become absorbed in a celebrity’s life and the third level is reached by a few people who have the poor mental health and social adjustment. Maltby in a study of students found that individuals at each successive level of the CAS showed higher levels of social dysfunction and anxiety providing support for the pathological view of
  7. 7. 7 celebrity worship but because of the correlational design causal inference cannot be drawn. One issue of relevance here is that the manifestation of celebrity attraction seems to be a culturally specific phenomena typical of individualist cultures. (6) Evolutionary explanations challenge this view (7) arguing that the tendency to look up to and imitate successful individuals could have had powerful advantages in the past and is a more efficient way of learning than trial and error. However the more extreme 2nd and 3rd levels of celebrity seem to go beyond imitation and are associated with dysfunction According attachment theory, the tendency to form para-social relationships starts in early childhood. Insecure attachment types show more intense attraction to celebrities because the celebrity makes no demands and there is no risk of being criticised, or rejected as in real relationships. Anxious-ambivalent attachment types tend to be needy and clingy in real relationships and are more likely to try to make contact or stalk a celebrity. (8) Attachment theory is deterministic in that attachment style is established in childhood. It suggests treatment of boarder-line pathological relationships would require intense therapy to resolve childhood problems. (9) McCutcheon in a correlational study of university students found no relationship between insecure attachment and para-social relationships with celebrities. Whilst other studies have supported this view Roberts found evidence of attachment style being linked to stalking. Both attachment and absorption models are pathological models. In contrast to these, positive models eg Jenkins argue that celebrity worship helps to create social networks rather than substitute para-social relationships for real relationships and we are in danger of pathologising the behaviour – the daily mail articles talk about it as a syndrome Point-by-point comments (5) A fairly succinct and reasonably accurate description of the theory. (6) Some useful evaluation in terms of methodology and issues, though the point about culture needed to be evidenced, as there are contradictory views on this. (7) This reference to evolutionary theory is used to counter the reference to CW being culture- specific and as commentary on addiction absorption theory/pathological view of CW. (8) Clear summary of the main point of the theory. (9) An attempt here to consider implications of determinism. Examiner comments (c) The candidate provides a clear outline of two explanations and uses other theories as commentary/alternative explanations for the evidence. The description is reasonably thorough, accurate and detailed, given the time and marks available. The discussion is focused and reasonably well developed, though more thorough methodological evaluation of the research cited as evidence would have been useful, as would elaboration of the issues raised. Effective use of psychological terminology with ideas well structured and clearly presented. AO1: 4/4, AO2: 7/8

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