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Example Answers for Section B Gender Topic Paper 3 June 2018 (AQA)

Level:
A-Level
Board:
AQA

Last updated 13 Aug 2018

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

Question 12: (2 marks)

A gender schema is a cognitive framework that contains beliefs and expectations about gender. Once developed through experience gender schemas direct a child’s behaviour.

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Question 13: (6 marks)

Social learning theory suggests that children develop gender through observation and imitation of role models. Children identify with people that they see as being like them, for example their same sex parent, and imitate their behaviour. For example, a little girl might imitate her mother cooking or putting make-up on. Reinforcement can be indirect or vicarious, where the child sees the same sex parent being praised or rewarded for gender-appropriate behaviour. It can also be direct, where the child is rewarded for performing a gender-appropriate behaviour. The ways that children are encouraged to show gender-appropriate behaviours is known as differential reinforcement.

One strength of this explanation is that it is able to explain the changes in gender roles in Western society. Nowadays there is less distinction between stereotypical male and female behaviours as there once was. This can be explained in terms of changes in social norms regarding how males and females should behave, leading to less stereotypical gender behaviour being positively reinforced. Therefore social learning theory is better able to explain these changes than the biological approach as there have been no changes to biology during this time period.

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Question 14: (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 15: (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 16 (8 marks)

Androgyny refers to showing a balance of masculine and feminine characteristics and Bem developed a rating scale to assess this that included 20 characteristics that would be seen as masculine, 20 seen as feminine and 20 neutral. A sample of over 1,000 students had to rate themselves on a 7-point scale according to how much they felt the characteristic was true of them. Scores were then classified as masculine (high masculine, low feminine), feminine (high feminine, low masculine), androgynous (high masculine, high feminine) and undifferentiated (low masculine, low feminine).

In this study we would expect to find that a number of the students would be classified as androgynous and that they would have higher self-esteem and better relationships. This is because Bem found high androgyny to be related to psychological well-being as it means they are better equipped to deal with a range of situations and contexts.

A strength of the scale is that it appears to be reliable as Bem conducted a follow-up study a month later with a smaller number of her original sample, and found they showed similar scores. This suggests the scale has high test-retest reliability. However, some psychologists have claimed that gender identity is too complex to be reduced to a single score as it is much more of a global concept and therefore Bem’s methods may not be valid as broader issues such as the person’s interests and perceptions also need to be considered.

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