How well did you or your student do on the Psychology A-Level May/June 2023? -PAPER 1 (Model Answers)

Check how well you did on paper 1 of the May/June 2023 Paper 1 in Psychology AQA. 

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Paper 2 Model Answers (For revision) 


Social Influence

1.) Which two of the following best describe Zimbardo’s prison study? ( 2 marks)

Model Answer

A- Controlled Observation

E-Participant Observation 


Students Natasha and Tanya are buying food in the supermarket on their way home from school. As they are paying, they notice their psychology teacher. Mr Boat, at the far end of the queue. They both smile and wave.

Mr Boat shouts “Hey, you two! I think you owe me homework. Wait there so we can have a quick chat.”

Natasha and Tanya finish paying, glance at each other giggling and hurry out of the supermarket.

2.) Using your knowledge of obedience research, explain possible reasons why the students failed to obey their teacher. ( 6 marks)

Model Answer

The presence of another disobedient person or social support is one reason why the students failed to obey their teacher. According to Mailgrams variation study of obedience, he found that individuals are more likely to disobey an authority figure if there is another person supporting the disobedient. In this variation study, the real participant was paired with two additional confederates, who also played the role of teachers. In this variation, the two additional confederates refused to go on and withdrew from the experiment early. In this variation, percentage of real participants who proceeded to the full 450 volts, dropped from 65% (in the original) to 10%. This shows that if the real participant has support for their desire to disobey, then they are more likely to resist the pressure of an authority figure. Tanya and Natasha both had each other for support so felt confident to disobey their teacher.

The lack of a perceived authority could be another reason why Natasha and Tanya disobeyed. Obedience research, such as Stanley Milgram's experiments, has shown that individuals are more likely to comply with authority figures who are perceived as legitimate and have a clear position of power. This is demonstrated in a study by Bickman as well that found that people were more likely to obey orders from those in a uniform which acts as a symbol of authority.  In this situation, Mr. Boat is their psychology teacher, not their direct authority figure. Therefore, the students may have perceived his request as less authoritative, leading to their failure to obey.

3.) Discuss research into minority influence ( 16 marks)

Model Answer 

Research into minority influence focuses on how individuals or small groups can influence the attitudes, beliefs, and behaviours of the majority. In one of the most well-known studies on minority influence, Moscovici and his colleagues conducted an experiment known as the "Blue-Green Study." Participants were shown a series of slides that varied in shades of blue and were asked to identify the colour. The researchers manipulated the presence of a confederate who consistently labelled the blue slides as green. The study found that the consistent minority influenced a significant proportion of participants to conform and give incorrect responses, suggesting that the minority's consistent position influenced the majority's perception of reality. As well as this, Moscovici proposed Conversion Theory, which suggests that minority influence is most effective when the minority can create internal cognitive conflict in the majority group. By presenting a consistent and alternative viewpoint, the minority can challenge the established norms and stimulate critical thinking among the majority members. This process can lead to deeper processing of information and consideration of the minority's perspective.

Moscovici’s study provided empirical evidence for the phenomenon of minority influence. By manipulating the presence of a consistent minority opinion (confederate labelling blue slides as green), the study demonstrated that the minority's position influenced a significant proportion of participants to conform and give incorrect responses. This finding supports the notion that minorities can exert influence on the majority. However, it is important to be cautious of the methodology used in this study. The study used a controlled experimental design, allowing for the manipulation of variables and the establishment of cause-and-effect relationships. This strengthens the internal validity of the study and increases confidence in the findings, however, The Blue-Green Study has been criticised for its artificiality and lack of ecological validity. The task of identifying the colour of slides in a laboratory setting may not fully reflect the complexities of real-world social influence situations. Therefore, the generalisability of the study's findings to real-life settings may be limited.

Furthermore, Conversion Theory has faced criticism for its limited scope in explaining the complexity of minority influence. It does not account for factors such as power dynamics, social identity, or social norms, which can also influence the effectiveness of minority influence.

The theory primarily focuses on the cognitive processes involved in minority influence, neglecting the role of emotional and social factors. Emotions and social dynamics can significantly impact the success of minority influence efforts but are not adequately addressed by Conversion Theory. However, what it does do is highlight the significance of consistency in minority influence. By consistently presenting an alternative viewpoint, the minority can challenge established norms and promote critical thinking among the majority. Even though this theory can be deemed to be reductionist, due to not taking into accounts other factors that may affect minority influence, it opens up the floodgates for further research into this area.


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Two groups of participants took part in a memory experiment. The researcher read 20 words to the participants.

  • Participants in Group A had to write down the words immediately after they had heard them.
  • Participants in Group B had to write down the words after they had read a book for one minute.

The researcher noticed that:

  • Participants in Group A generally recalled words from the beginning and the end of the list.
  • Participants in Group B generally recalled words from the beginning of the list only.

4.) Outline what is meant by standardisation and suggest one way standardisation could have been used in this experiment.

Model Answer

Standardisation refers to the process of establishing consistent and uniform procedures and conditions in research to ensure reliability and comparability of results across different participants and settings. It involves setting a standard protocol that is followed consistently by all participants.

One way to standardise the procedure for the above study was to provide clear instructions to participants in both Group A and Group B regarding the task requirements, time limits, and recording methods. This would have ensured that all participants received the same instructions and understood the task in a consistent manner.


Two groups of participants took part in a memory experiment. The researcher read 20 words to the participants.

  • Participants in Group A had to write down the words immediately after they had heard them.
  • Participants in Group B had to write down the words after they had read a book for one minute.

The researcher noticed that:

  • Participants in Group A generally recalled words from the beginning and the end of the list.
  • Participants in Group B generally recalled words from the beginning of the list only.

5.) Outline what is meant by randomisation and suggest one way randomisation could have been used in this experiment. ( 2marks)

Model Answer

Randomisation refers to the process of randomly assigning participants to different groups or conditions in a study. It helps to ensure that any individual differences or extraneous variables are equally distributed across the groups, reducing the potential for bias and increasing the validity of the study.

In the given memory experiment, randomisation could have been used to assign participants to Group A and Group B. By randomly assigning participants, the researcher can distribute potential individual differences, such as memory abilities or prior knowledge, equally across the groups. This reduces the likelihood that any pre-existing differences between participants would systematically affect the results.


Two groups of participants took part in a memory experiment. The researcher read 20 words to the participants.

  • Participants in Group A had to write down the words immediately after they had heard them.
  • Participants in Group B had to write down the words after they had read a book for one minute.

The researcher noticed that:

  • Participants in Group A generally recalled words from the beginning and the end of the list.
  • Participants in Group B generally recalled words from the beginning of the list only.

6.) Explain the results of this experiment with reference to the multi-store model of memory. ( 4 marks)

Model Answer

The results of this memory experiment can be explained with reference to the multi-store model of memory, which suggests that memory is composed of three main stores: sensory memory, short-term memory (STM), and long-term memory (LTM).

In Group A, where participants were asked to immediately recall the words after hearing them, the pattern of recall aligns with the primacy and recency effects observed in the multi-store model. The primacy effect suggests that items presented earlier in a list are more likely to be transferred to LTM because they have had more opportunities for rehearsal and encoding. Therefore, participants in Group A recalling words from the beginning of the list is consistent with the primacy effect, indicating that the initial words were successfully transferred to LTM.

On the other hand, the recency effect suggests that items presented later in a list are still present in STM and are more easily recalled due to their recent presence in memory. In Group A, participants also recalled words from the end of the list, which corresponds to the recency effect. These words were still actively maintained in STM and thus were readily accessible for recall.

In Group B, where participants had a delay before recalling the words, the absence of recall for words from the end of the list indicates that the recency effect is diminished. The one-minute delay likely led to a decay of the information in STM, resulting in a reduced ability to recall the most recent words. However, participants still recalled words from the beginning of the list, reflecting the primacy effect, as these words had the opportunity for rehearsal and encoding, leading to their transfer to LTM.

7.) Discuss research into the effects of anxiety on the accuracy of eyewitness testimony ( 16 marks)

Model Answer 

Loftus and Palmer. (1987) reported on the findings known as the "Weapon Focus" experiment. Participants witnessed a crime where either a weapon was present or not. The study found that the presence of a weapon led to reduced accuracy in identifying the perpetrator's features due to increased attentional focus on the weapon itself. This phenomenon is known as the weapon focus effect and highlights how high levels of anxiety can impair the encoding and recall of relevant details.

Another area on how anxiety affects anxiety is called the Yerkes-Dodson law. This law posits an inverted U-shaped relationship between arousal (including anxiety) and performance. Moderate levels of anxiety may enhance memory and attention, leading to more accurate eyewitness testimony. However, too high or too low levels of anxiety can impair memory and recall accuracy. This theory suggests that optimal levels of anxiety are necessary for optimal performance.

One strength of Loftus' study is its experimental design, which allowed for the manipulation of the independent variable (presence of a weapon) and the measurement of its effects on eyewitness accuracy. The study provides empirical evidence for the weapon focus effect, highlighting the impact of anxiety-inducing factors on eyewitness memory.

However, a potential limitation of the study is the artificial nature of the experimental setting. Participants in the study were exposed to a simulated crime scenario, which may not fully replicate the emotional intensity and stress associated with witnessing a real crime. The ecological validity of the study's findings could be questioned, as real-life crime situations may involve additional contextual factors and heightened emotional arousal that could impact eyewitness accuracy differently.

Furthermore, one key strength of the Yerkes-Dodson law is its recognition of the complex relationship between anxiety and performance. It acknowledges that both low and high levels of anxiety can be detrimental to memory and recall accuracy. This perspective highlights the importance of considering individual differences and contextual factors in understanding the effects of anxiety on eyewitness testimony. However, one limitation of the Yerkes-Dodson law is its simplicity in representing the relationship between anxiety and performance.

While the inverted U-shaped curve provides a general framework, it does not account for the variability in individuals' responses to anxiety. Different individuals may have different optimal levels of anxiety for performance, and the law does not capture this variability. Additionally, the Yerkes-Dodson law does not provide a comprehensive explanation for the underlying mechanisms through which anxiety affects memory and recall accuracy. It is a theoretical framework that highlights the general trend but does not delve into the specific cognitive and psychological processes involved.


8.) Outline the learning theory of attachment. ( 4 marks)

Model Answer

According to the learning theory, infants form attachments through classical conditioning, which involves the association of a neutral stimulus with a biologically significant stimulus. In the case of attachment, the caregiver becomes a conditioned stimulus that elicits positive emotional responses in the infant through repeated pairings with primary drives such as hunger, comfort, or relief from discomfort. Operant conditioning suggests that attachment is reinforced through the principles of reinforcement and punishment. When the infant's attachment behaviours, such as crying or clinging, lead to a satisfying response from the caregiver, they are reinforced. This reinforcement strengthens the attachment bond and encourages the repetition of attachment behaviours.


9.) Outline Van Ijzendoorn’s investigation of cultural variations in attachement. ( 4 marks)

Model Answer

Van Ijzendoorn conducted a meta-analysis of data from various studies that used the Strange Situation procedure to assess attachment patterns in infants. The studies included samples from different cultures and countries worldwide.

He analysed the data to determine the prevalence of different attachment classifications across cultures. The attachment classifications used in the Strange Situation procedure are secure attachment, insecure-avoidant attachment, and insecure-resistant attachment. He also examined the presence of a fourth attachment pattern, disorganized attachment. The main focus of the investigation was to identify cultural variations in attachment patterns. By comparing the prevalence of attachment classifications across different cultures, he aimed to understand the influence of cultural factors on attachment.

The research revealed both similarities and differences in attachment patterns across cultures. He found that secure attachment was the most common pattern across cultures, but there were variations in the prevalence of insecure-avoidant and insecure-resistant attachments. Additionally, he discovered that disorganised attachment, which is associated with inconsistent or abusive caregiving, was more prevalent in certain cultures.


Ryan is a 14-year-old boy who spent the first five years of his life in care.

Ryan has a difficult relationship with his adoptive parents and has few friends. His recent school report described him as achieving below average in most subjects. Ryan has also recently been in trouble with the police for antisocial behaviour.

10.) Discuss Bowlby’s theory of maternal deprivation. Refer to Ryan in your answer. ( 16 marks)

Model Answer 

Bowlby's theory of maternal deprivation suggests that the absence or loss of a mother figure during a critical period of a child's development can have long-term negative consequences on their emotional, social, and cognitive development. It posits that a secure attachment to a primary caregiver, typically the mother, is essential for healthy psychological development. Bowlby argued that there is a critical period during the early years of a child's life when a secure attachment with the primary caregiver should be formed.

This critical period is considered crucial for the child's emotional and social development. In Ryan's case, spending the first five years of his life in care suggests a lack of consistent and nurturing maternal figures during this critical period. According to Bowlby's theory, if the primary attachment figure is absent, inconsistent, or fails to provide adequate care and responsiveness, it can lead to attachment disruption and maternal deprivation. Ryan's difficult relationship with his adoptive parents suggests that his attachment needs may not have been adequately met, contributing to a disrupted attachment. Bowlby also proposed that maternal deprivation could result in long-lasting social and emotional difficulties.

Ryan's limited number of friends and his antisocial behaviour may be indicative of his struggle to form and maintain positive relationships. The absence of a secure attachment during his critical period could have affected his ability to trust and connect with others. Bowlby's theory also suggests that maternal deprivation can have cognitive consequences. Ryan's below-average academic performance might be a reflection of cognitive delays or difficulties resulting from the lack of a nurturing and stimulating environment during his early years.

The absence of consistent and responsive caregiving may have hindered his cognitive development and learning opportunities. Finally, Bowlby's theory suggests that maternal deprivation can contribute to delinquent or antisocial behaviour. Ryan's involvement with the police for antisocial behaviour might be linked to his early experiences of disrupted attachment and the consequent emotional and social difficulties he is facing.

Bowlby's theory emphasises the critical period and the importance of a secure attachment to a primary caregiver during early development.

For example, Bowlby's study of the 44 thieves revealed that a significant number of the delinquent children had experienced early separations from their mothers or had unstable caregiving environments during their early years. This finding supports Bowlby's argument that disruptions in the attachment bond during the critical period can have long-term consequences. Ryan's experience of spending the first five years of his life in care without consistent maternal figures suggests a potential disruption in the formation of a secure attachment. This aligns with Bowlby's theory, as the absence of a stable and nurturing caregiver during the critical period may have hindered Ryan's ability to form secure attachments and establish a foundation for healthy emotional and social development.

One key limitation with Bowlby's there is it’s deterministic nature of Bowlby's theory.

Bowlby's theory implies that the absence of a secure attachment during the critical period inevitably leads to negative outcomes. The theory emphasises the impact of early experiences and lacks consideration for individual differences or the influence of other factors. While Bowlby's theory provides valuable insights, its deterministic nature is a limitation. Ryan's difficulties in forming relationships, academic performance, and antisocial behaviour cannot be solely attributed to maternal deprivation.

Other factors, such as genetic predispositions, environmental influences, and individual resilience, may interact and contribute to his current challenges. Research (For example by Rutter and the Romanian orphans) has shown that individuals have the capacity to overcome adverse early experiences and make choices that shape their development. Factors such as the adoptive parents' parenting style, peer influences, and societal context play significant roles in shaping Ryan's behaviour and outcomes. Ryan's difficult relationship with his adoptive parents and limited friendships might be influenced by various factors beyond maternal deprivation. His antisocial behavior could be shaped by a combination of genetic predispositions, peer influences, and societal factors. This highlights the role of free will and the interaction between individual agency and environmental influences in shaping Ryan's development.


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Dave wants to achieve what he thinks of as the perfect body and will often visit the gym up to three times a day. He finds it difficult to concentrate in the office as he is constantly thinking about his next workout. Even though his friends tell him he looks great, Dave worries his body shape is inferior compared to the other men at the gym.

11.) Briefly outline the deviation from ideal mental health definition of abnormality. Refer to Dave in your answer ( 4 marks)

Model Answer

The deviation from ideal mental health definition of abnormality proposes that abnormal behaviour is characterised by a deviation from certain criteria of ideal mental health.

Dave's preoccupation with achieving the perfect body suggests a negative self-attitude. Despite his friends' positive feedback, he worries about his body shape being inferior compared to other men at the gym. This negative self-attitude indicates a deviation from the ideal mental health criterion of positive self-attitudes.


Another way of defining abnormality is failure to function adequately.

12.) Evaluate the failure to function adequately definition of abnormality ( 5 marks)

Model Answer

The failure to function adequately definition of abnormality suggests that abnormal behaviour is characterised by an individual's inability to meet the demands of everyday life and engage in normal, adaptive functioning.

The failure to function adequately definition allows for subjective judgments of what constitutes "adequate" functioning, which can vary across individuals and cultures. What may be considered abnormal in one cultural context may be considered normal in another. This subjectivity and cultural relativism limit the universal applicability and objectivity of the definition.

As well as this, the assessment of failure to function adequately relies on the specific context and demands of a person's environment. It considers whether the individual is able to meet societal expectations and fulfil basic responsibilities. However, this definition does not account for individual differences, personal goals, and diverse cultural or situational contexts that might influence the criteria for adequate functioning.

Finally, The failure to function adequately definition primarily focuses on dysfunction and ignores the potential positive aspects of non-traditional or unconventional behaviours. Some individuals may function adequately in unconventional ways that deviate from societal norms but still achieve personal fulfilment and contribute to society in meaningful ways.


Patients with depression were asked to keep a daily diary of their experiences as part of their therapy. Two researchers analysed the same extracts from the diaries using content analysis.

13.) What is content analysis? ( 1 mark)

Model Answer

Content analysis is a research method used to systematically analyse and interpret the content of written, verbal, or visual communication. It involves identifying patterns, themes, or specific elements within a text or data set to gain insights into the underlying meaning or characteristics of the communication. Content analysis is often used to examine qualitative data and can provide valuable information about the frequency, distribution, and context of certain words, phrases, or themes within a given text.


14.) Explain one way in which the researchers could have used content analysis to analyse diary extracts in this investigation. ( 2 marks)

Model Answer

One way the researchers could have used content analysis to analyse the diary extracts is by identifying and categorising specific themes or emotions expressed by the patients. (Thematic Analysis) They could have created a coding scheme with predefined categories, such as positive emotions (e.g., joy, happiness), negative emotions (e.g., sadness, anger), neutral statements, descriptions of daily activities, or expressions of self-reflection. The researchers would then read through the diary extracts and assign each entry to the appropriate category based on the content. By quantifying and comparing the frequency or intensity of different emotional or thematic categories across the diaries, the researchers could gain insights into the experiences and emotional states of the patients over time.


The two researchers’ analyses of the diary extracts were found to be quite different.

15.) Explain how the reliability of this content analysis could be improved. (4 marks)

Model Answer

Providing clear and detailed coding instructions to the researchers is crucial. This includes defining the coding categories, providing examples and guidelines for interpretation, and clarifying any ambiguous or subjective aspects of the analysis.

Consistent and well-defined coding instructions ensure that both researchers have a shared understanding of how to categorize the content. As well as this, before analysing the diary extracts, the researchers should undergo training and calibration sessions.

This involves jointly analysing a subset of the diary entries, discussing discrepancies, and refining the coding scheme and instructions as needed. Through this process, the researchers can develop a shared understanding and reach consensus on how to apply the coding scheme consistently.



One of the diaries included the following extract:

‘Managed to drag myself out of the house yesterday but wished I hadn’t. Went to the shop but dropped my change at the till. Everybody knew I was useless. Why can I not do anything right? No one else I know does such stupid things’.

16.) Ellis proposed an ABC model of depression. Outline and evaluate the ABC model of depression. Refer to this diary extract in your answer. ( 8 marks)

Model Answer A01

The ABC model of depression, proposed by Albert Ellis, is a cognitive-behavioural model that explains how specific beliefs and thoughts (B) about an activating event (A) can lead to emotional and behavioural consequences (C). The activating event refers to the specific event or situation that triggers a person's emotional response. In this diary extract, the activating event is the incident at the shop where the individual dropped their change at the till. Ellis proposed that it is not the activating event itself that directly leads to emotional and behavioural consequences, but rather the beliefs and thoughts associated with it. In this extract, the person expresses negative self-beliefs and thoughts such as feeling useless, believing they cannot do anything right, and comparing themselves unfavourably to others.

The emotional and behavioural consequences result from the individual's beliefs and thoughts about the activating event. In this case, the person experiences negative emotions, such as a sense of worthlessness, and engages in self-critical thinking. These emotional consequences may contribute to the person's experience of depression and influence their behaviour, potentially leading to a withdrawal from social activities and reduced self-esteem.


The ABC model can be criticised as being a simplistic representation of depression. It does not fully account for other factors that contribute to depression, such as genetic predispositions, environmental influences, and physiological aspects.

The ABC model does not explicitly consider the broader context in which the activating event occurs. External factors, such as social support, life circumstances, and cultural influences, can significantly impact a person's emotional and behavioural responses. However, The ABC model does highlight the significance of thoughts and beliefs in the development and maintenance of depression. By addressing and challenging maladaptive cognitive patterns, individuals can potentially reduce depressive symptoms and improve their emotional well-being.

The model also recognises that different activating events can have varying impacts on individuals depending on their beliefs and interpretations. This individualised (ideograph) approach allows for personalised therapeutic interventions that target specific cognitive distortions and negative thought patterns deeming it to have real life applicability.


Paper 2 Predictions 2023

As Psychology teachers, we have been analysing exam questions (especially 16 markers) since 2016 and here are our predictions for the paper 2 exam which will be on Thursday 25th May 2023:



-The 16 marker will most probably be on either the ;

-Psychodynamic or Cognitive approaches. 


-They may also try and slip in comparison between two approaches so make sure you know how the approaches are similar and dissimilar. 


-There may have short answer questions on the biological approach as well. 


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If there is a 16-maker on Biopsychology, chances are, it will be on:

-The Fight or Flight Response including GAS OR

- Biological rhythms: (circadian, infradian and ultradian) 


Research Methods 

As you know research methods can be drawn from either year 1 or year 2 content. But just be sure there will be a 12-marker where you have to design or create a scenario so be ready for this. 


Remember, these are just predictions based on patterns over the year. Please ensure you have covered all material enough. 


Wishing everyone the very best in paper 2 2023. 


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