Exam-style Questions: Biological Rhythms, Sleep and Dreaming

  1. Describe one research study into biological rhythms that has investigated the role of exogenous zeitgebers.

    (Marks available: 6)

    Answer

    Answer outline and marking scheme for question: 1

    You have probably written about Siffre's cave-dwelling investigation, although there are other possibilities, such as Aschoff's laboratory research on the 'free-running clock'.

    The following table gives a mark scheme:

    5-6 marks Detailed description of aim, method, results, conclusions and implications of study.
    3-4 marks Description of study lacks detail and/or some aspects of study are omitted.
    1-2 marks Basic information about some aspects of the study.

    (Marks available: 6)

  2. Describe one neurobiological theory explaining the functions of dreaming.

    (Marks available: 12)

    Answer

    Answer outline and marking scheme for question: 2

    This question could be answered by describing either Hobson & McCarley's Activation-Synthesis Theory or Crick and Mitchison's Reverse Learning Theory. You must be careful to avoid writing about psychological theories, such as Freud's Wish-Fulfilment Theory.

    The following table gives an indication of mark allocation:

    5-6 marks Detailed description of how the theory explains the process of dreaming.
    3-4 marks Description of theory lacks detail and/or some aspects of theory are omitted.
    1-2 marks Basic information about some aspects of the theory.

    (Marks available: 12)

  3. Describe and evaluate one theory of the functions of sleep.

    (Marks available: 12)

    Answer

    Answer outline and marking scheme for question: 3

    There are two ways to approach this question; either discussing a specific theory (for example, Oswald or Meddis) or a theoretical perspective (for example, 'restoration' or 'ecological' explanations).

    You must make sure that you include a balance of description and evaluation - there are 6 marks available for each.

    The following tables give a mark scheme:

    Description:

    5-6 marks Detailed description of how the theory explains the functions of sleep.
    3-4 marks Description of theory lacks detail and/or some aspects of theory are omitted.
    1-2 marks Basic information about some aspects of the theory.

    Evaluation:

    5-6 marks You have provided a thorough analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of your chosen theory. You have used research studies that provide evidence for or against the theory.
    3-4 marks You have provided a fair analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of your chosen theory. You have used research studies that provide evidence, although they may be limited.
    1-2 marks You have provided minimal analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of your chosen theory. There is only superficial evaluation.

    (Marks available: 12)