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Research Methods In Individual Differences Notes

Psychology Notes > Individual Differences (2nd year) Notes

This is an extract of our Research Methods In Individual Differences document, which we sell as part of our Individual Differences (2nd year) Notes collection written by the top tier of Durham University students.

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Research methods in individual differences
ESSAY PLAN: Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of TWO or more METHODS of assessing and understanding individual differences in personality.
Biological methods
Allow us to identify the role of genetics in human pair bonding
Walum et al., 2008:
Males carrying allele 334 of the VAS receptor 1a gene
 Reported more marital problems
 Less likely to get married
 F partner reports less quality in the rel  particularly affection
BUT correlation does not mean causation 
 More recent study suggests 334 is associated with increased amygdala activity which is linked with high anxiety
 Allele 334 assoc with ASD which is linked with low affection, so no direct link between the gene and pair bonding
 Also perhaps allele 334 actually linked to being argumentative and stubborn which reduces pair bonding
 Ie no direct link and many different interacting factors within it
 genetic studies allow us to identify a risk allele explaining differences in pair bonding, however we must be careful not to assume a direct causal link

Allows us to identify the role of hormones causing individual differences in human pair bonding
Arguably better than genetics in the sense that it allows within subjects tests therefore reducing confounding variables as the Ps can act as their own baseline
Gonzaga, 2006:
F Ps relive a positive emotion regarding love with their M partners present
Blood drawn from Ps during this and earlier baseline condition  tested for OXT content
Non-verbal romantic and sexual behaviour observed
 % romantic displays correlated positively with increase in oxytocin relative to first baseline
Turner et al., 1999: high OT associated with high interpersonal distress
Taylor et al., 2006: negative correlations between OT and marriage quality
 this contradicts other research BUT perhaps this is because OT increases in order to trigger a search for affiliative contact
Nevertheless  hormone studies still good as identify a role of hormones in human pair boding,
regardless of the direction, and reduce effect of confounding variables
BUT again correlational, cannot assume causation
Nagasawa et al., 2009:
Dog owners interacted with their dogs for 30 mins or were told not to look at their dogs directly

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