Psychology Research

Updated 2009-06-04 12:40

Personality Development

Explanations of Personality Development

Freud's Psychodyanmic ExplanationKey study. Personality is made up of three structures: id, ego and superego. The conflicts between these unconcious drives, as well as the defence mechanisms to defend us from them, shape adult personality.
Myers + Brewin (1994)Supports Freud. Those identified as 'repressors' (low anxiety, high defensiveness) took longer to recall childhood memories.
Erikson's Psychosocial TheoryAlternative approach. At set stages, each individual faces a conflict which is resolved through social interactions.
Bandura's Social Cognitive Theory of Personality DevelopmentBehaviour, hence personality, is learnt through vicarious + direct reinforcement.
EyesenckChallenges Bandura. Suggests personality is fixed into types. Freud's psychodynamic approach also refutes the influence of experience.
Mischel's Theory of PersonalityBuilds on Bandura but adds behavioural specifity, ie behaviour is related to specific situation + past rewards/punishments in that situation.

Explanations of Gender Development

Bandura's Social Cognitive Theory of Gender DevelopmentGender development is subject to Modelling, Enactive Experience and Direct Duition.
Whiting + Edwards (1988)Cultural support for Bandura. Found gender stereotype differences in 11 different cultures, which explains cultural differences.
Gender Constancy Theory (Kohlberg 1966)Gender development is due to changes in cognitive capability.
Slaby and Frey (1975)Confirms Kohlberg's stages.
Kohlberg (1966)Confirms Kohlberg's stages.
Munroe (1984)Cross cultural support for Kohlberg - found same sequence in many cultures.
Emmerlich (1977) and Bem (1989)Ages for stages depend on testing methods. Children unable to show gender stability if shown drawings (Emmerlich) but could if real photos used (Bem).
Martin + Little (1990)Questions Kohlberg's stages. Found that knowledge of gender stereotypes came before understanding of gender concepts, not after.
Weinraub (1984)Challenges Kohlberg's theory, supports Social Learning. Parental attitudes are highly influential on child preference for gender-type toys.


Identity Formation

Erikson's Psychosocial TheoryKey Study. Adolescence is a stage of life where an identity crisis is resolved by identity formation.
Smith and Crawford (1986)Supports Erikson. 60% of secondary school pupils reported at least on instance of suicidal thoughts.
Kahn (1985)Supports Erikson. Students who had been assessed as low in identity development had less success in later relationships.
Siddique and D'Arcy (1984) 2/3 of adolescents interviewed showed mild or no psychological distress.
Marcia's theory of identity formationKey study. Built on Erikson's theory by identifying four statuses in identity development, differing in levels of crisis and commitment.
Waterman (1985)Supports Marcia. Found that as age increased, identity diffusion decreased/identity achievement increased.
Kroger (1996)Supports Marcia. Identity achievers functioned better under stress than those still in moratorium, who were more anxious + avoided intimate relationships.
Meilman (1979)Challenges Marcia. Identity achievement comes later on than predicted and may not be permanent (Only 50% by age 24)
Archer (1982)Reported a simplification in the stages. Only 5% in just 1 stage, 90% in two stages.
Coleman's Focal TheoryStress occurs when adolescents have to deal with too many issues at one time.
Coleman + Henry (1990)Most adolescents navigate adolescents by putting some issues on hold.
Eccles (1993)Alternative to Focal Theory. Stress may occur due to mismatch between adolescent's developing needs and the role offered to them in western society.

Relationships with Parents and Peers

Cooper (1998)Autonomy: Adolescents who are securely attached have fewer problems.
Waterman (1982)Identity formation: Parental style affects development of identity. Domineering parents -> identity foreclosure, democratic parent -> moratorium/achievement.
Archer and Waterman (1994)Identity formation: Weak connectedness with parents -> Identity confusion stage.
Steinberg and Morris (2001)Conflict: authoritarian parents have more conflicts.
Montemayor (1982)Conflict: On average, adolescents have conflict with parents every 3 days, for 11 minutes.
Montemayor (1993)Two way process. Fathers less stressed if closer to adolescent children.
Benin (1997)Conflict: Parents may be cause of the conflict - marital dissatisfaction highest in marriage with adolescents.
Larsen (1991)Cultural differences - Indian relationship with parents is closer.
Frey + Rothlisberger (1996)Adolescents have twice as many relationships with peers than parents.
Ainsworth (1989)Peers serve 4 functions: Source of intimacy, feedback on social behaviour, source of social influence, provide attachment relationships.
Piaget (1932)Peer relationships more egalitarian than parent relationships.
Blos (1967)Autonomy: Peers act as a secure base/way station to independence and help adolescents avoid loneliness.
Kirchler (1991)Autonomy: Failure to develop peer relationships may lead to difficulty forming adult relationships in future.
Steinberg + Silverberg (1986)Autonomy of ppts increased with increased peer involvements.
Erikson (1968)Identity formation: Peers help us explore new ideologies.
Brown + Lohr (1987)Identity formation: Adolescents who did not belong to social cliques had lower self esteem.,
BrownPeer conformity: Adolescents reported more pressure to conform to peer norms than family activities.
Bendt (1979)Conformity greater for pro social behaviour.
Ryan and Lynch (1989)Peer relationships: Individual differences - adolescents with democratic parents rely less on their peers.

Cultural differences in adolescent behaviour

Gilani (1995)Autonomy: Found that in Asian families, family comes first and teenage girls were expected to conform rather than become independent.
Bacon (1963)Achievement: In collectivist cultures eg Mexico, parents place more value on obedience and responsibility than individual achievements.
Mead (1928)'Storm and stress' not universal. In Samoa, rites of passage into adulthood eradicate transitional period so less stress.
White and Burke (1987)Formation of identity is easiest with integration into society.
Duncan (1994)Adolescents who had experienced poverty had lower IQ.

Biological Rhythms

Research into circadian, infradian and ultradian rhythms

Siffre (1975)When spent 6 months in a cave, circadian rhythm extended to 25 hours.
Aschoff + Weaver (1976)Placed ppts in an underground bunker and found that most circadian rhythm lengthened to 24-25 hours, although some were as long as 29 hours.
Folkard (1985)When tried to reduce ppts circadian rhythm down to 22 hours, most people couldn’t get any lower than 23 hours.
Czeisler (1991)Could alter ppts circadian rhythms down to 22 and up to 28 hours with dim lightning.
Czeisler (1999)Huge individual differences occur - circadian rhythm can vary from 13-65 hours.
Folkard (1977)Temperature cycle - STM better in morning, LTM better in afternoon in 12-13 year olds.
Monk + Embrey (1981)Alertness is best when body temperature is lowest, in early morning and early evening.
Hawkins + Armstrong-Esther (1978)Circadian rhythms: Nurses doing shift work took longer to adjust their temperature rhythms than their sleep=wake cycle.
Russel (1980)Infradian rhythms: When sweat from one group of women rubbed onto lips of another group, 4 out of 5 menstrual cycles synchronised to within a day of the donor.
Reinberg (1967)Infradian rhythms: When a woman spent 3 months in a cave, her menstrual cycle decreased to 25.7 days.
Freidman + Fisher (1967)Ultradian rhythms: Observed a 90 minute cycle in terms of eating+drinking behaviour of psychiatric patients.

Research into Endogenous Pacemakers and Exogenous Zeitgebers

Darlington (1998)Endogenous pacemakers: Proteins CLOCK+CYCLE loop opposite with PER+TIM in our biological clock.
Decoursey (2000)Endogenous pacemakers: Destroyed SCN in chipmunks and found that circadian rhythms were disrupted.
Morgan (1995)Endogenous pacemakers: Bred mutant hamsters to have a 20 hour circadian rhythm, then transferred SCN into other hamsters, who also adopted the 20 hour rhythm.
Hall (2000)Exogenous zeitgebers: Other locations of the body besides the eyes contain proteins to detect changes in light.
Campbell + Murphy (1998)Exogenous zeitgebers: Shining light on back of ppts knees shifted circadian rhythms.
Miles (1977)Exogenous zeitgebers: Studied a blind man whose circadian rhythm was 24.9 hours.
Czeisler (1995)Exogenous zeitgebers: Found that some blind people do respond to very bright lights by inhibiting melatonin secretion.
Luce and Segal (1966)Against exogenous zeitgebers: People living within the Arctic Circle, where the sun never sets, still sleep for 7 hours.
Kelly (1991)Against exogenous zeitgebers: US submariners could not adjust to an 18 hour day despite social cues + lighting.

Research into disrupting biological rhythms

Knutsson (1986)Increased risk of heart disease after 18 years shift work.
Czeisler (1986)Bright light can be used to mimic effect of daylight to combat effects of shift work.
Recht (1995)Effect of jet lag: found that baseballers won more games when travelling East to West (phase delay)