After a query from a student in our forum, I sent the following question to AQA:
In the AQA A Psychology specification there are several references to ‘neural mechanisms’. In the mark schemes these are explicitly linked to brain mechanisms (e.g. see question 5, June 2011 PSYA3). However the term ‘neural’ is defined as ‘of, relating to, or affecting a nerve or the nervous system’ (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/neural). Should you broaden your use of this term and not limit it just to the brain? The specification does not make this clear.
I received the following answer:
We agree with the definition of ‘neural’ and relevant material on e.g. the peripheral nervous system, would always be credited. For most topics relevant material on neural mechanisms would normally involve the brain ,which is why the brain is emphasized in mark schemes, but in future we will make it clear that ‘neural’ incorporates the whole nervous system and not just the brain.
A few months ago there was an item on this blog about the comments on AQA A markschemes that stated that answers using psychoanalysis as a psychological therapy for schizophrenia would be unlikely to gain high marks. We do not believe this is a justifiable position. However, regardless of whether the board is right or wrong in their position, we plan to update our textbook to include a different therapy – family intervention. We also are providing a copy of this insert free, click family intervention to download.
There are some great savings to be had on revision materials this year. The Complete Companions revision packs for Psychology AQA A, available for both AS and A2 are out now. Each pack contains both the Mini Companion and the Exam Companion, with all the essential knowledge and exam practice you need to succeed in exams, at a special saving on the cost of buying the books individually.
What’s in the packs?
The Mini Companionreduces each spread from the Complete Companion textbook to a single page of no-frills, but essential, information needed for the exam.
The Exam Companion is the ultimate exam preparation resource, including practice questions, model answers and examiner commentaries.
What’s the saving?
The AS pack is priced at £16.00, offering a saving of £6.49 on the RRP of the individual books, while the A2 pack costs just £21.00, a saving of £5.49.
You can get hold of yours on Amazon (AS or A2) or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Hurry though – the packs are limited editions and when they’re gone, they’re gone!
The latest edition (3rd edition) of our A2 Complete Companion has an error on page 285. The two blue boxes under the heading ‘Truth’ are in the wrong order. It should be H1 is correct (There is something going on) first and then H0 (There is nothing going on) second). The true positive occurs when the truth is that H1 is correct and H0 is rejected (H1 is accepted). This is correct on page 106 of The Research Methods Companion, which is shown on the right.
Thomas Szasz died on September 8, at the age of 92. He made a major contribution to the way we view psychiatry and mental illness. Along with David Rosenhan (‘Sane in Insane Places’) and psychiatrist Ronald Laing, Szasz was seen as part of the anti-psychiatry movement of the 1960s, However Szasz felt ‘anti-psychiatry’ was just another label – much like the label ‘mental illness’, and labels oversimplify things. He is particularly known for his book The Myth of Mental Illness in which he argued that it is wrong to label ‘problems people have with living’ as ‘mental illnesses’. The label mental illness is similar to calling some people witches. Neither labels are real; they are human inventions and only obscure our true understanding of the problems that some people have.
At the ATP conference a teacher asked me whether AQA would set an exam question about the chi-squared test where a directional hypothesis had been used. The general view amongst statisticians is that you can only use a two-tailed test with chi-squared.
I put this question to AQA who responded ‘Students would not be required to write a directional hypothesis in the context of a chi-squared test’.
There is no need for students to know about this restriction – so don’t feel you have to tell them. However, if you do tell them be assured that they would not be faced with the dilemma in the exam of having a directional hypothesis which should therefore use a one-tailed test.
And on that note I should mention an error in the Research method book. On page 110 the text says ‘You can only use test a one-tailed (directional) hypothesis with a chi-squared test’. This is wrong for a number of reasons and should say ‘You can only perform a two-tailed test with chi-squared.’
Another fantastic ATP conference was enjoyed by all at Aston University this year – a big thanks to the hard-working team of organisers and congratulations again to all involved with ATP on celebrating the 30th anniversary of providing top-notch support for Psychology teachers.
It was a real pleasure to meet so many enthusiastic teachers, tutors and lecturers. We were rushed off our feet but managed to find the time to take a few snaps over the weekend – please click the link below to take a look at our photos. We look forward to seeing you again next year when the ATP Conference will be held at Keele University.
For those of you who missed Cara’s presentation on covering research methods content practically and effectively at the ATP conference a couple of weeks ago, or would simply like to see it again, please click on the link above.