3.1 Introductory topics in Psychology

Students will be expected to:

  • demonstrate knowledge and understanding of psychological concepts, theories, research studies, research methods and ethical issues in relation to the specified Paper 1 content
  • apply psychological knowledge and understanding of the specified Paper 1 content in a range of contexts
  • analyse, interpret and evaluate psychological concepts, theories, research studies and research methods in relation to the specified Paper 1 content
  • evaluate therapies and treatments including in terms of their appropriateness and effectiveness.

Knowledge and understanding of research methods, practical research skills and mathematical skills (see Annex: Mathematical requirements and exemplifications) will be assessed in Paper 1. These skills should be developed through study of the specification content and through ethical practical research activities, involving:

  • designing research
  • conducting research
  • analysing and interpreting data.

In carrying out practical research activities, students will manage associated risks and use information and communication technology (ICT).

3.1.1 Social influence

  • Types of conformity: internalisation, identification and compliance. Explanations for conformity: informational social influence and normative social influence, and variables affecting conformity including group size, unanimity and task difficulty as investigated by Asch.
  • Conformity to social roles as investigated by Zimbardo.
  • Explanations for obedience: agentic state and legitimacy of authority, and situational variables affecting obedience including proximity, location and uniform, as investigated by Milgram. Dispositional explanation for obedience: the Authoritarian Personality.
  • Explanations of resistance to social influence, including social support and locus of control.
  • Minority influence including reference to consistency, commitment and flexibility.
  • The role of social influence processes in social change.

3.1.2 Memory

  • The multi-store model of memory: sensory register, short-term memory and long-term memory. Features of each store: coding, capacity and duration.
  • Types of long-term memory: episodic, semantic, procedural.
  • The working memory model: central executive, phonological loop, visuo-spatial sketchpad and episodic buffer. Features of the model: coding and capacity.
  • Explanations for forgetting: proactive and retroactive interference and retrieval failure due to absence of cues.
  • Factors affecting the accuracy of eyewitness testimony: misleading information, including leading questions and post-event discussion; anxiety.
  • Improving the accuracy of eyewitness testimony, including the use of the cognitive interview.

3.1.3 Attachment

  • Caregiver-infant interactions in humans: reciprocity and interactional synchrony. Stages of attachment identified by Schaffer. Multiple attachments and the role of the father.
  • Animal studies of attachment: Lorenz and Harlow.
  • Explanations of attachment: learning theory and Bowlby’s monotropic theory. The concepts of a critical period and an internal working model.
  • Ainsworth’s ‘Strange Situation’. Types of attachment: secure, insecure-avoidant and insecure-resistant. Cultural variations in attachment, including van Ijzendoorn.
  • Bowlby’s theory of maternal deprivation. Romanian orphan studies: effects of institutionalisation.
  • The influence of early attachment on childhood and adult relationships, including the role of an internal working model.