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

A Level

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

Question 07: (2 marks)

Equity theory proposes that relationships are based on perceived fairness. The emphasis is that each partner should experience a balance between their costs and their benefits. If a person puts a lot into their relationship and receives a lot out it will feel fair to them.

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Question 08: (6 marks)

Evolutionary explanations for partner preference focus on sexual selection as those who manage to reproduce successfully will be able to pass on their genes. Sexual selection operates in two main ways, the first being intra-sexual selection where members of one sex (males) compete with each other for the attention of the other sex (females). The winner of the competition manages to reproduce and pass on their genes. For example, men who are tall and strong would be attractive to females and so would be more likely to pass on this ‘sexy trait’. Inter-sexual selection (mate selection) involves one sex having preferences for members of the opposite sex that have certain qualities that are likely to lead to successful reproduction and passing on of genes. For example, males are attracted to females who are young and have a body shape that indicates fertility, whereas females are attracted to males who are able and willing to provide resources.

One limitation of this evolutionary explanation is that it ignores the role of social and cultural factors. Over the past 100 years there have been significant changes in gender equality and women’s independence. This means that females may be no longer be looking for a man who can provide them with resources and this is supported by research by Kasser and Sharma. They analysed preferences in 37 cultures and found that females most valued a mate with resources in cultures where women’s access to education and the workplace was severely limited, strongly suggesting that social and cultural factors are also influential when it comes to partner preference.

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Question 09: (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: 10 (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 11: (8 marks)

Bowlby’s theory of attachment predicts that those who don’t form a secure attachment in early childhood will try to form a substitute attachment in adulthood and forming a parasocial relationship is one way they can do this. Those who would have been classified as insecure-resistant would be most likely to form a parasocial relationship as they would be afraid of the criticism and rejection that can occur in a real-life relationship. Those showing this type of attachment often tend to be clingy in their adult relationships, and may get very upset if their favourite character leaves a TV show.

The likely findings of the study are that those students who reported good relationships with their parents in early childhood would tend to have more friendships and to not engage in parasocial relationships, or if they do they would be at the entertainment-social level. In contrast those who reported inconsistent parents who made them feel rejected would tend to have difficulties in their friendships and to be more likely to engage in parasocial relationships, probably at the intense-personal level.

Evidence to support the attachment theory explanation for parasocial relationships comes from a study by Cole and Lees who found adolescents with insecure-resistant attachments were more likely to form parasocial relationships with TV personalities than those with secure and insecure-avoidant attachments. However, there is also evidence to challenge it as McCutcheon found no link between attachment type and more intense levels of parasocial relationships. The fact that the evidence is contradictory suggests that the attachment theory may not be a valid explanation for parasocial relationships.

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