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All Past Questions For AQA A Psychology Psya4 Anomalistic Psychology

The current A2 specification for AQA Psychology and the Psya4 Anomalistic Psychology topic – this is still valid for students sitting Psya4 in June 2016:

AQA Psychology June 2015 Psya4R Anomalistic Psychology Past Questions

  • Outline one or more methodological issues related to the use of the Ganzfeld procedure in the study of paranormal cognition. (4 marks)

Joe started following his local football team when he was 10 years old. The first four times he went to a match he wore a special scarf knitted by his mum and each time his team won. For the next match that he went to, Joe could not wear the scarf as it was in the wash. The team lost. Joe blamed the defeat on not wearing the scarf.

Joe is now 25 and still follows the same team. Even though they have lost lots of matches over the years he still makes sure he always wears the scarf. He believes it helps his team to win.

  • Use your knowledge of the role of coincidence and/or probability judgements in anomalous experience to explain Joe’s behaviour and his belief in the power of the scarf. (10 marks)

  •  Discuss psychological research studies that have investigated psychic healing (4+6 marks)

AQA Psychology June 2015 Psya4 Anomalistic Psychology Past Questions

  • Outline two methodological issues in the study of psychokinesis (2+2 marks)

Sam and Zara share a flat which Sam thinks may be haunted. Sam occasionally feels a ‘presence’ in the kitchen, and doors seem to open mysteriously during the night. Sam loves risky sports, and friends describe him as outgoing and willing to try anything new. Zara, on the other hand, does not believe the flat is haunted. She prefers more sedate activities, and friends describe her as cautious and reserved.

  • Use your knowledge of personality factors underlying anomalous experience to explain the differences between Sam and Zara (10 marks)
  • ‘Research has revealed a number of scientific explanations for near death experiences’. Outline one such explanation for near death experiences and evaluate this explanation using research evidence (4+6 marks)

AQA Psychology June 2014 Psya4 Anomalistic Psychology Past Questions:

Identical twins often report that they share a special connection with each other. Many twins claim that this connection extends to the ability to read each other’s minds. A study was carried out to test this claim. One member of the twin pair was asked to choose a picture from four images and think about this picture. Their twin partner had to guess which picture they had chosen. The twins were in the same room but separated by a screen.

  • What criticisms would a scientist make of this study of paranormal cognition? (4 marks)
  • Explain how this study would need to be changed to make it more scientific. You should refer to the criticisms that you identified in your answer to question. (6 marks)
  • Outline one explanation for superstitious behaviour. (4 marks)
  • Discuss research into out of body experiences. (4 marks + 6 marks)

AQA Psychology June 2013 Psya4 Anomalistic Psychology Past Questions

  • Outline two methodological issues involved in the study of psychokinesis. (4 marks)
  • Most people have several dreams each night, and a small number of these dreams
    come true a week or so later. Former American president, Abraham Lincoln, is believed to have dreamt of his assassination, two weeks before it happened. Some people interpret dreams coming true as evidence for the paranormal. However,
    others assume that probability or coincidence can explain this anomalous experience.
    Explain why some people see dreams which later come true as evidence for the
    paranormal, whereas other people do not. Use your knowledge of probability
    judgements and/or coincidence in your answer. (10 marks)
  • Discuss what research has shown about psychic healing. (4 marks + 6 marks)

January 2013 AQA Psychology Psya4 Anomalistic Psychology Exam Questions

  • Outline two differences between science and pseudoscience. (4 marks)

Magical thinking is a common type of anomalistic experience. Estate agents have great difficulty selling houses where a murder or other tragedy has occurred, even when the asking price is below what the house is worth. Workers in dangerous occupations, such as deep-sea fishermen, often engage in elaborate rituals before going to sea.

  • How would a psychologist explain the examples of magical thinking shown in the extract above? (10 marks)
  • Discuss one or more explanations of psychic mediumship. (4 marks + 6 marks)

AQA Psychology Psya4 June 2012 Anomalistic Psychology Past Questions

  • Describe one way in which researchers have studied psychokinesis. (4 marks)
  • Harry had a dream last night about his aunt Susan. She emigrated to Canada years
    ago and he has not heard from her for three years. This morning, he received a letter
    from his aunt saying that she was going to visit. He thinks that he might have psychic
    powers. How might psychologists explain Harry’s experience? Use your knowledge of the psychology of coincidence in your answer. (4 marks)
  • Discuss how Harry’s anomalous experience can be explained by personality factors.
    (6 marks)
  • Outline and evaluate research into out-of-body experience and/or near-death experience. (4 marks + 6 marks)

AQA Psychology January 2012 Psya4 Anomalistic Psychology Past Questions

Jo and Frankie are watching a television programme about paranormal action. A stage
performer is apparently using the power of his mind to influence dice thrown by another
person. The person rolls a pair of dice three times and rolls a double six each time.
Jo gets very excited.
Jo shouts: “Wow! That is amazing. I think I could train myself to use the power of my
mind to make things happen.”
Frankie replies: “Calm down. It’s just a coincidence. Nobody can use the power of their
mind to influence events like that.”

Frankie thinks that it is just a coincidence. Jo does not agree.

  • Explain what is meant by coincidence in this context. (2 marks)
  • Jo and Frankie interpret the same experience differently. Use your knowledge of personality factors to explain why people interpret anomalous experiences differently (4 marks)
  • Outline and evaluate the Ganzfeld technique as a way of investigating ESP.
    (4 marks + 4 marks)
  • Discuss what research into exceptional experience has shown us about psychic
    mediumship. (4 marks + 6 marks)

June 2011 AQA Psychology Psya4 Anomalistic Psychology Past Questions

  • Explain issues surrounding scientific fraud in the study of anomalous experience. (5 marks)
  • Leon wore a green T-shirt when he sat a mock GCSE exam and got an unexpectedly
    good result. Since then he has always worn the same T-shirt when he has had to sit an
    exam. This morning he is feeling distressed because he cannot find his T-shirt and he
    has an A-level psychology exam today.
    How might a psychologist explain Leon’s superstitious behaviour? (5 marks)
  • Abbie, Leon’s friend, cannot understand why he is so upset. She has worked hard and
    revised thoroughly and does not feel that she needs a T-shirt or anything else to get her
    through the exam.
    Suggest how personality and/or cognitive factors might explain why Abbie does not have anomalous beliefs. (5 marks)
  • Discuss what research into exceptional experience has shown us about out-of-body
    experience. (4 marks + 6 marks)

January 2011 AQA A Psychology Psya4 Anomalistic Psychology Past Questions

  • What has research shown about personality factors underlying anomalous experience?(5 marks)
  • Some researchers consider that there is a link between poor reasoning skills and belief
    in the paranormal.
    Using your knowledge of research in this area, explain why some researchers might
    think there is a link between poor reasoning and strong belief in the paranormal.
    (3 marks)
  • To investigate this, a researcher asked participants to complete a reliable and
    well-validated scale measuring belief in the paranormal. Each participant was then
    scored on their attempt to solve a set of reasoning problems.
    What is meant by a ‘reliable and well-validated’ scale? Explain why it is important to use
    such a scale when measuring paranormal beliefs. (2 marks + 2 marks)
  • Apart from poor reasoning skills, explain how one other cognitive factor is linked to
    belief in the paranormal. (3 marks)
  • Discuss methodological issues in the study of psychokinesis. (4 marks + 6 marks)

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