Determinism and Free Will

Determinism and Free Will is one of the classic debates in psychology and refers to the extent that psychologists believe human behaviour is influenced by forces beyond our control. Alternatively, do we have personal control over our actions.

Culture Bias In Psychology

Culture Bias in Psychology is when a piece or pieces of research are conducted in one culture and the findings are generalised and said to apply to lots of different cultures. Cultural bias can also be seen when designing research, the process by which data is obtained can lead to culturally bias results. For example, an IQ test measuring Western IQ could be written to ‘favour’ Western cultures. Using this test in Non-Western cultures could cause a bias in the results simply because the test is measuring something from the bench marks of different cultural experiences.

Gender Bias in Psychology

Bias: Bias may be an unavoidable part of the research process, in that all researchers are likely to be influenced by things like the social and historical context in which they live, their own education and training, etc. However, in Psychology we try to find ‘facts’ about human behaviour which are objective and free from bias
Universality: the belief that all humans are alike so what is true for one person is true for everyone (e.g. if low levels of serotonin causes depression in females, it will also cause depression in males).
Gender Bias: Bias refers to a tendency to treat one individual or group in a different way to another. Gender bias therefore refers to the notion that research or theory may offer a view that does not justifiably represent the experience and/or behaviour of men or women individually or specifically.

The Ethological Explanation of Aggression, including reference to Innate Releasing Mechanisms and Fixed Action Patterns. Evolutionary Explanations of Human Aggression.

Lorenz (an Evolutionary Psychologist) observed that fights between animals of the same species resulted in little actual physical damage. Most aggressive encounters comprised of mainly ritualistic signalling (e.g. displaying claws, baring of teeth etc) and rarely reached the point of becoming physical. Typically, intra-species aggressive encounters end with ritual appeasement displays. These indicate acceptance of defeat and inhibit aggressive behaviour in the victor, preventing damage to the loser (e.g. in defeat a wolf will expose his neck to the victor, deliberately making itself vulnerable).

Genetic factors in aggression, including the MAOA gene

Several studies have suggested that heritability accounts for about 50% of the variance in aggressive behaviour. Monozygotic (identical) twins share 100% of their genes, while dizygotic (non-identical) twins share only about 50%, as a result we would expect to find greater similarities in aggressive behaviour between MZ twins if aggression is mostly influenced by genetic factors. Examples of concordance rates for different types of aggression are below.
Physical aggression MZ=50% and DZ=19%, Verbal aggression MZ=28% and DZ=7%.

The role of chromosomes and hormones (testosterone, oestrogen and oxytocin) in sex and gender. Atypical sex chromosome patterns: Klinefelter’s syndrome and Turner’s syndrome

Chromosomes initially determine a person’s sex but most gender development actually comes about through the influence of hormones. In the womb, hormones act upon brain development and cause the development of reproductive organs. At puberty, a burst of hormonal activity triggers the development of secondary sexual characteristics.