FREE WILL + DETERMINISM (Issues and Debates Model Answers) (Paper 3 Model Answers)

Jonny is 25 years old. He is a very anxious person. Colleagues tease him at work because he chews his pen all the time and spends hours tidying his desk. He finds it difficult to make friends and has never had a girlfriend.

Use your knowledge of psychic determinism to explain Jonny’s behaviour.( 4 marks)

Model Answer

Jonny's behavior can be explained using the concept of psychic determinism, which suggests that adult behavior is determined by both childhood experiences and innate, unconscious drives or motives. According to this perspective, Jonny's behavior, such as his anxiety, pen-chewing, tidying, and relationship problems, is not a result of free will but rather influenced by early experiences and unconscious motivations.

Psychosexual development may play a role in shaping Jonny's adult behavior. Unconscious experiences during different stages of psychosexual development may have unconsciously influenced his behavior and experiences. For example, his pen-chewing behavior may be linked to an oral fixation, which can be related to unresolved conflicts or experiences during the oral stage of psychosexual development. Similarly, his excessive tidying behavior may be connected to anal retentiveness, reflecting unresolved conflicts or experiences during the anal stage. Additionally, his difficulties in forming relationships could stem from challenges or conflicts arising during the genital stage of psychosexual development.

It is important to note that Jonny may not be consciously aware of these early experiences, as they might have been repressed or pushed into the unconscious mind. However, these experiences manifest themselves symbolically in his outward behaviors. Jonny becomes a "slave" to his unconscious, as he engages in behaviors driven by unconscious conflicts or drives that he is unaware of.

 

Most early psychologists focused on causal explanations and argued that behaviour was determined by either internal or external influences. In the 1960s, some psychologists chose to focus more on the role of free will in behaviour. More recently, there has been a broad shift back to more deterministic thinking, but this time with the focus on biology and cognitive processes.

Referring to the text above, explain what is meant by a paradigm shift.( 4 marks) 

Model Answer

A paradigm shift refers to a significant change in the shared assumptions and beliefs held by a scientific community regarding how behavior or thought is studied and explained. In the context mentioned, a paradigm represents an established way of understanding and approaching a particular subject matter, such as the study of behavior.

During a paradigm shift, members of the scientific community move away from one established paradigm and adopt a new one, typically prompted by new evidence or contradictory findings. In this case, the shift involved a move from focusing primarily on causal explanations of behavior to considering the role of free will in behavior during the 1960s.

This shift in perspective can lead to what is often referred to as a "scientific revolution." It involves a fundamental change in the approach, theories, and methodologies used within a field of study. For example, the cognitive revolution in the 1970s brought about a renewed emphasis on the study of mental processes, such as memory, attention, and problem-solving. More recently, there has been a shift towards deterministic thinking, with a focus on biological and cognitive processes, such as the influence of genetics, brain function, and cognitive mechanisms on behavior.

 

Dancho is a talented and famous musician. He was taught to play the piano by his father who was a concert pianist. From the age of four years Dancho attended a specialist music school where he spent many hours each day practising the piano.

In a recent TV interview Dancho said, ‘My earliest memories are of notes and melodies, so music is a part of me. To hear the applause in the concert hall is what I live for. Even if I wanted to stop playing, I could not.’

Discuss two or more types of determinism. Refer to the case of Dancho as part of your discussion.

(Total 16 marks)

Model Answer

Genetic determinism suggests that an individual's behaviour and characteristics are primarily influenced by their genetic makeup. In Dancho's case, his talent and proficiency as a musician could be attributed to genetic factors inherited from his father, who was a concert pianist. It is possible that Dancho possesses certain genetic traits or predispositions that contribute to his musical aptitude. These genetic factors may influence his cognitive abilities, motor skills, and auditory perception, providing him with a natural inclination and talent for playing the piano.

Environmental determinism, on the other hand, emphasises the role of the environment in shaping an individual's behavior and development. Dancho's upbringing and exposure to musical influences from an early age played a crucial role in his musical journey. Being taught to play the piano by his father, who was a concert pianist, provided him with early guidance and instruction. Additionally, attending a specialist music school from the age of four and dedicating many hours each day to practicing the piano exposed him to a highly focused and immersive musical environment. The combination of parental influence, formal education, and extensive practice contributed to the development and refinement of Dancho's musical skills.

It can be argued that genetic determinism oversimplifies the intricate nature of gene-environment interactions. Genes do not act in isolation; they interact with the environment in complex ways. Epigenetics, for example, explores how environmental factors can modify gene expression. Environmental conditions, such as stress, diet, and exposure to toxins, can activate or deactivate certain genes, thereby influencing an individual's health and behavior. Additionally, the field of behavioural genetics has revealed that genetic predispositions interact with environmental influences to shape complex traits like intelligence and personality. The heritability of these traits is not fixed but varies across different environments, suggesting that genetic factors alone cannot fully explain individual differences. This recognition of gene-environment interactions highlights the limitations of genetic determinism and emphasises the importance of considering environmental factors in understanding human development.

However, environmental determinism also has its limitations. The evidence against it is that genetics play a crucial role in shaping our traits and behaviors, and it would be reductionist to solely attribute everything to the environment. Twin studies, adoption studies, and the emerging field of behavioural genetics have provided substantial evidence for the influence of genetic factors. For instance, studies on identical twins raised in separate environments have revealed that they often share more similarities in personality and intelligence than fraternal twins raised together. Additionally, research on specific genetic markers has identified associations with traits such as risk-taking behavior or propensity for addiction. These findings suggest that genetic factors interact with environmental influences to shape human characteristics. Therefore, while the environment is undeniably influential, it is essential to consider the interplay between genes and the environment in understanding human traits and behaviours.

 

Which two of the following statements describe a strongly deterministic view? 

Shade two boxes only.

( 2 marks) 

 Model Answer

C and E

 

Name two types of determinism.( 2 marks) 

Model Answer

Biological determinism

Environmental determinism

 

 

Read the item and then answer the questions that follow.

Extract from a newspaper article

Coping with Life’s Pressures

Depression often runs in families, but many depressed people have serious social problems or have experienced traumatic events in the past. However, many people find ways to cope. What we need is the will to overcome our problems.

(a)     With reference to the item above, explain what is meant by ‘determinism’. Refer to three types of determinism in your answer. ( 6 marks) 

 Model Answer

Biological determinism asserts that our behaviour is primarily controlled by biological factors, such as our genetic makeup, brain chemistry, or other physiological aspects. In the case of depression running in families, it implies that there is a genetic predisposition to the disorder. This perspective suggests that individuals are more likely to experience depression due to the influence of inherited genes, which can increase their vulnerability to the condition.

Environmental determinism, on the other hand, posits that our behaviour is controlled by external influences such as our upbringing, social environment, or life experiences. In the context of depression, it acknowledges that many depressed individuals have serious social problems, implying that adverse social circumstances can contribute to the development or exacerbation of depressive symptoms. This perspective highlights the impact of external factors, including family dynamics, socioeconomic status, and societal pressures, in shaping an individual's mental health.

Psychic determinism suggests that our behaviour is controlled by unconscious fears, desires, and motivations. It implies that past traumatic events can have a profound influence on an individual's current psychological state and behavior. In the context of depression, psychic determinism suggests that the experience of trauma may contribute to the development of depressive symptoms. Unresolved trauma and underlying psychological conflicts can shape an individual's emotions, thoughts, and behaviors, influencing their susceptibility to depression.

 

(b)     With reference to the item above, identify one influence of nature on our behaviour and one influence of nurture on our behaviour. ( 2 marks) 

In the item above, one influence of nature on our behavior is the genetic predisposition to depression. It suggests that certain individuals may have an inherent vulnerability to developing depressive symptoms due to their genetic makeup.

On the other hand, one influence of nurture on our behavior is the experience of traumatic events in the past. Traumatic experiences are considered a product of our environment and upbringing, highlighting the impact of external factors on our behavior. 

 

Read the item and then answer the questions that follow.

A researcher studied the effect of light intensity on visual memory. He carried out a controlled experiment. Participants in Group 1 viewed a drawing in extra bright light for 60 seconds then had to recall the details. Participants in Group 2 viewed the same drawing in normal light for 60 seconds then had to recall the details. The researcher recorded the number of details correctly recalled in the two conditions.

Referring to the item above, explain what is meant by the scientific emphasis on causal explanations. ( 3 marks) 

Model Answer

The scientific emphasis on causal explanations, as demonstrated in the given item, refers to the focus on identifying and understanding the cause-and-effect relationships between variables. In this experiment, the researcher manipulated the independent variable (IV), which was the light intensity, to determine its effect on the dependent variable (DV), which was the number of details correctly recalled by participants.

By controlling all other variables except for the light conditions, the researcher ensured that any observed changes in the participants' performance could be attributed to the manipulation of light intensity. This control is crucial because it enables the researcher to make inferences about causality or cause and effect.

 

With reference to a behaviour, explain the distinction between hard determinism and soft determinism. ( 3 marks) 

Model Answer

The distinction between hard determinism and soft determinism lies in their perspectives on the causes of human behavior. Hard determinism asserts that all behavior is caused by forces outside a person's control. It suggests that individuals have no genuine free will or personal agency, and their actions are entirely determined by external factors or coercion. In contrast, soft determinism acknowledges that behavior is still caused but not necessarily by external coercion or forces. It recognises the influence of internal factors such as an individual's wishes, conscious desires, or internal motivations in shaping their behavior.

The behaviour of a person choosing to pursue a particular career path, from a hard determinist perspective, this decision would be seen as entirely determined by external forces, such as societal expectations, family influences, or economic circumstances. On the other hand, soft determinism acknowledges that while external factors may exert some influence, the person's conscious desires and wishes play a significant role in their career decision.

 

Joel has learned to get his own way at school by having fights with other children. His two older brothers were both excluded from school for injuring other children. Recently, Joel has also been excluded from school for attacking another child.

Explain what is meant by determinism. Refer to Joel’s aggressive behaviour in your answer.( 4 marks) 

Model Answer

Determinism refers to the philosophical concept that events, actions, and outcomes are determined by pre-existing causes or factors, implying that our choices and behaviors are influenced by factors beyond our control. It suggests that our behavior is shaped by a combination of biological and environmental, factors that can determine the way we act and respond to situations. In the context of Joel's aggressive behavior, determinism suggests that his actions can be attributed to a combination of these factors, rather than solely being a result of his own conscious choice.

Joel's aggressive behavior can be examined through the lens of determinism. Firstly, biological determinism may play a role in his aggressive tendencies. It is possible that Joel has inherited genetic predispositions or temperament traits that make him more prone to aggression. Genetic factors can influence the development of aggressive behaviors, as certain genes and genetic variations have been associated with an increased risk of aggressive tendencies or impulsivity.

Secondly, environmental determinism is another aspect to consider. Joel's older brothers being excluded from school for injuring other children suggests that he has grown up in an environment where aggressive behavior is either witnessed or reinforced. Observing his brothers' actions may have served as a model for his own aggressive behavior, as children often learn through observation and imitation. The social dynamics within his family and potential exposure to violence or conflict in his environment can contribute to the development of aggressive tendencies.

 

Outline what is meant by soft determinism. ( 2 marks) 

Model Answer

Soft determinism, suggests that our behavior, actions, and traits are influenced by both internal and external forces to some extent. It recognises that various factors, such as our genetics, environment, and personal motivations, can shape and dictate our behavior.

However, despite the influence of these determinants, soft determinism asserts that we still retain an element of control over our behavior, actions, and traits. It acknowledges that while our choices and actions may be influenced by prior causes or factors beyond our control, we can still exercise some level of agency and volition.

 

A psychologist investigated the effect of the presence of a friend on mood. She used a controlled laboratory experiment. She asked a group of participants to rate their happiness on a scale.

In Condition 1 (Alone Condition), participants completed the scale after sitting alone in a room for 30 minutes.

In Condition 2 (Friend Condition), the same participants completed the same scale after sitting for 30 minutes in a room with a friend.

The conditions were counterbalanced.

The psychologist analysed the results of the study using a Wilcoxon test. The analysis showed that happiness ratings were significantly higher in the Friend Condition.

Explain two reasons why it was appropriate to use a Wilcoxon test in this situation. Refer to the description of the study in your answer. ( 4 marks)

Model Answer

The Wilcoxon test is useful when the data collected doesn't have a typical distribution. In this case, the psychologist asked participants to rate their happiness on a scale. Since happiness can vary from person to person and may not follow a predictable pattern, the data might not fit a normal distribution. The Wilcoxon test is a type of statistical test that can handle this kind of data and still provide reliable results.

The psychologist wanted to see how the presence of a friend affects mood, so she compared two different conditions: the Alone Condition and the Friend Condition. Each participant experienced both conditions, and the order of the conditions was switched around to make sure it was fair. The Wilcoxon test is designed specifically for situations where you want to compare related data from the same group of people. It can help determine if there's a significant difference between the happiness ratings when participants were alone versus when they were with a friend.

 

A psychologist investigated the effect of the presence of a friend on mood. She used a controlled laboratory experiment. She asked a group of participants to rate their happiness on a scale.

In Condition 1 (Alone Condition), participants completed the scale after sitting alone in a room for 30 minutes.

In Condition 2 (Friend Condition), the same participants completed the same scale after sitting for 30 minutes in a room with a friend.

The conditions were counterbalanced.

The psychologist analysed the results of the study using a Wilcoxon test. The analysis showed that happiness ratings were significantly higher in the Friend Condition.

The psychologist claimed to have demonstrated a causal explanation for happiness.

What is meant by a causal explanation? Explain why it was appropriate to claim that there was a causal explanation in this case. ( 4 marks) 

Model Answer

A causal explanation refers to providing evidence or reasoning that establishes a cause-and-effect relationship between two variables or factors. It suggests that one variable, the cause, directly influences or determines changes in another variable, the effect. In the context of the psychologist's study on the effect of the presence of a friend on mood, claiming a causal explanation means asserting that the presence of a friend caused a significant change in participants' happiness ratings.

The psychologist conducted a controlled laboratory experiment, which allows for rigorous control over variables and manipulation of the independent variable (the presence of a friend). By controlling the conditions and ensuring that participants experienced both the Alone Condition and the Friend Condition, the psychologist was able to isolate the influence of the presence of a friend on mood.

The conditions in the study were also counterbalanced, meaning that the order in which participants experienced the Alone Condition and the Friend Condition was switched among participants. This counterbalancing helps eliminate potential confounding factors, such as fatigue or practice effects, that could impact the results. By counterbalancing, the psychologist strengthens the case for a causal explanation by demonstrating that changes in happiness ratings were specifically linked to the presence of a friend.

The psychologist also used a Wilcoxon test to analyse the results of the study. By applying a statistical test, the psychologist examined the significance of the difference in happiness ratings between the two conditions. The finding that happiness ratings were significantly higher in the Friend Condition suggests a strong association between the presence of a friend and increased happiness. This statistical evidence further supports the claim of a causal explanation.

 


Discuss free will and determinism in psychology (16 marks)

Model Answer

Free will and determinism are contrasting concepts within psychology that address the extent to which individuals have control over their thoughts, actions, and behaviors.

Free will, in psychology, refers to the belief that individuals have the capacity to make choices and decisions that are independent of external influences. It suggests that human beings possess personal agency and the ability to act according to their own desires, values, and beliefs. From a free will perspective, individuals are seen as active agents who have the freedom to exercise control over their behavior and shape their own lives. This concept emphasises the role of conscious deliberation, rationality, and autonomy in decision-making processes.

In contrast, determinism in psychology posits that human behavior is governed by forces outside of individual control. It suggests that all actions and choices are the result of preceding causes and follow a causal chain of events. Determinism argues that various factors such as genetics, environmental influences, social conditioning, and past experiences shape and determine behavior. According to this perspective, individuals are seen as products of these deterministic influences, and their actions are regarded as predictable outcomes of these factors. It implies that human behavior is ultimately determined by the interaction of these external forces, leaving little room for genuine free choice.

One strength of the free will perspective in the debate is its emphasis on personal agency and individual responsibility.  This viewpoint recognises the importance of conscious deliberation, rationality, and autonomy in decision-making processes. It promotes a sense of empowerment, as individuals are seen as active agents who can shape their own lives. This perspective aligns with our intuitive sense of personal control and allows for a sense of accountability for one's actions. It also highlights the potential for personal growth and self-determination, as individuals are encouraged to take ownership of their choices and actively pursue positive outcomes.

However, a weakness of the free will perspective is its potential to overlook the influence of external factors on behavior. While it acknowledges the importance of personal agency, it may downplay the significance of societal, cultural, and environmental influences that can shape human actions. The free will perspective tends to assume that individuals have complete control over their decisions, neglecting the complex web of determinants that can impact choices. This narrow focus on personal agency can oversimplify the complexities of human behavior and undermine the role of external forces in shaping individuals' actions. Additionally, the free will perspective can sometimes lead to victim-blaming, as it holds individuals solely responsible for their actions without considering the broader contextual factors that may have contributed to their behaviour.

On the other hand, determinism offers a strength in its recognition of the multitude of factors that can influence human behavior. By acknowledging the role of genetics, environmental circumstances, social conditioning, and past experiences, this perspective provides a more comprehensive understanding of the complexity of human actions. It highlights the interconnectedness of individuals with their surroundings and emphasises the importance of considering the broader context in which behavior occurs. Determinism also aligns with scientific findings that demonstrate the impact of various factors on behavior, providing a more objective and evidence-based approach to understanding human actions.

However, a weakness of determinism lies in its potential to undermine personal agency and individual responsibility. By suggesting that behavior is determined by external and internal factors beyond an individual's control, it can diminish the sense of personal accountability. This perspective may lead to a fatalistic outlook, where individuals feel helpless and resigned to their circumstances. It also raises ethical concerns, as it challenges the notion of personal freedom and the ability to exercise conscious choice. Determinism's emphasis on causality and predictability may overlook the unique qualities and complexities of individual experiences, reducing humans to mere products of their deterministic influences.

 

Check out GENDER + CULTURE (Issues and Debates Model Answers) (Paper 3 Model Answers)

 

TAKE A LOOK AT THE REST OF THE ISSUES AND DEBATES MODEL ANSWERS FOR PAPER 3 HERE. 

 

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