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Example Answers for Section B Cognition & Development Topic Paper 3 June 2018 (AQA)


Last updated 13 Aug 2018

Here are a series of suggested answers for the Cognition & Development topic questions in AQA A Level Psychology Paper 3 (Section B) in June 2018.

Question 17: (2 marks)

Class inclusion refers to the ability to understand that an object can belong to both a global category (e.g. animals) and a sub-category (e.g. dogs).

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Question 18: (6 marks)

Theory of mind (ToM) refers to the ability to understand the desires, intentions and beliefs of others and typically develops between 3 and 5 years of age. However, it seems to be impaired in people with autism who are very egocentric and have difficulty understanding the mental states of others, sometimes referred to as ‘mind-blindness’. Deficits in theory of mind are believed to be responsible for the social-communication difficulties shown by those with autism.

One strength of this explanation is that there is evidence to support it. For example, Baron-Cohen used the Sally-Anne task (false-belief task) where children were told a story about Sally placing a marble in a basket. Anne then moved the marble from the basket to her box when Sally was not looking. The children were then asked where Sally would look for the marble. Only 20% of the autistic children were able to say that Sally would look in the basket, compared to 85% of the control group. This supports the idea that ToM deficits are a valid explanation for autism as the autistic children were not able to understand that Sally would not know the marble had been moved.

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Question 19: (4 marks)

The strata in the sample are the four different schools and the researchers could need to calculate the correct proportion from each school based on the number of students at each. For example, if the school A had 100 students, school B had 200, school B had 300 and school C had 400 students. Then the sample would be 10 from A, 20 from B, 30 from C and 40 from B. They would then select that number of students at random from each school by giving each student a number and using a random number table to select the required amount.

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Question 20: (4 marks)

“Your data will be kept confidential. The individual results will not be shared with anyone and your name will not be included in the report.”

“If you feel that you have been upset by any of the questions in the survey then please let us know as we can arrange counselling for you”.

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Question 21: (8 marks)

Vygotsky viewed the child as an apprentice developing cultural tools (e.g. language). He believed cognitive skills developed as the child interacted with others and suggested that each child has a zone of proximal development, which can be defined as the difference between what a child can achieve unaided in problem solving and what can be achieved with the help of an adult or peer. Scaffolding refers to the context provided by an adult or other knowledgeable other which helps the child to develop his or her cognitive skills and an important aspect of scaffolding is that there is a gradual withdrawal of support as the child’s knowledge and confidence increases.

In the study the students might say that they learn better when they are given help (scaffolding) from their teachers. They may also say they learn better when working in pairs or small groups. A strength of the theory is that it is supported by evidence. For example Connor and Cross conducted a longitudinal study of mother’s use of scaffolding. They found that over time the mothers used less direct intervention and more hints and prompts, showing their gradual withdrawal of support. However, Vygotsky has been criticised for underestimating the role of maturation, as young children may not be ready to learn certain things, no matter how good the instruction. Also children’s rate of cognitive development is determined by their level of motivation and interest, as well as the social support they receive

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