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Q&A from AQA: Incorrect Humanism Terminology in Approved Textbooks

Below you will find a question and response from AQA in relation to: Incorrect Humanism Terminology in Approves Textbooks.


I am currently teaching Humanistic Psychology and have come across a contradiction in the two approved textbooks … When talking about the ‘focus on the self’ and ‘congruence’ there is disparity in how it is described (which is also different to the attached paper by Rogers)

In the textbooks it talks about the true Self, Ideal self and self-concept whereas in the above article he talks about self-experience, self-concept and ideal self with congruence being the similarity between self-concept and experience. But the textbooks vary saying it’s between ideal self & experience, self-concept and real self, self-concept and ideal self.

What I need to know is what will be acceptable in the exams? What phrasing will be accepted and what are you as the exam board going to accept as correct. Given the disparity between the textbooks (in fact two of the differences are in one sentence in Lawton & Willard) I am inclined to go with the above article.

It may be useful to have the required terminology stated in the specification given the variety in the textbooks. If someone could get back to me ASAP that would be appreciated.

Additionally regarding grade boundaries at A-Level – will this be comparable with the past specifications requirements to achieve an A grade for example on a year 2 paper? Or will it be more in line with this year’s AS exams and their boundaries? There is such a difference some guidance would be appreciated.


"As in many areas of psychology, more than one term can be used to refer to the same idea. Whilst this might seem unhelpful, it probably rather reflects the somewhat nebulous nature of the concept of self and the versatility of the English language.

Most authors consider self-concept as a general term, taken to refer to one’s understanding of oneself, which derives from combination of our experience (what some authors seem to be referring to as the ‘true self’, ‘real self’ or ‘actual self’) and our ideal self or what we aspire to be like.

The key point about incongruence is that it arises when there is a disparity between how we would like to be (the ideal self within our overall self-concept) and how we think we are (our overall understanding of self/our overall self concept/our actual self/our true self/our real self/our experience of self). As long as students make the meaning clear (as underlined above) it really does not matter which term they use in an answer."

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