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Chapter: Exam1

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Name: __________________________ Date: _____________

Essay


1. When your best friend hears that you are taking a psychology course, she asserts that psychology is simply common sense. Explain why your awareness of both the limits of everyday reasoning and the methods of psychological research would lead you to disagree with your friend's assertion.

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2. Speaking at a college graduation ceremony, Professor Robson compared college graduates with adults who are less educated. She correctly noted that college graduates pay more taxes, vote more frequently, engage in more volunteer activities in their communities, and are less likely to go to jail than less-educated adults. The professor concluded that colleges obviously do great things for society. How might you reasonably challenge the way the professor reached her conclusion?

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3. Five students received the following test scores: 7, 11, 5, 6, and 11. Calculate the mode, median, mean, and range of this distribution of scores. Which measure of central tendency would change the most if an additional test score of 2 was included in the distribution?

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4. The ancient Greek physician Hippocrates believed that four basic body fluids (blood, black bile, yellow bile, and phlegm) influenced human behavior, emotions, and personality. Use your understanding of the body's rapid and slower chemical communication systems to support or refute the general logic of Hippocrates' theory.

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5. After suffering a head injury in an auto accident, Alyssa says that she remembers what her mother looks like, and she can accurately recall many of her mother's distinctive facial features. However, when she is shown pictures of her mother, Alyssa is unable to recognize who it is, even though she can see clearly. Use your understanding of the functioning brain to account for Alyssa's strange pattern of experience.

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6. Describe how an understanding of both a normally functioning brain and a split brain enables us to better appreciate the fact that most information processing takes place outside of conscious awareness.

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7. Many would consider it ironic that men are more likely than women to feel comfortable about having casual sex with multiple partners and yet at the same time more likely to feel jealous rage over a mate's having sex with someone else. How would an evolutionary psychologist explain these gender differences? What are the strengths and weaknesses of this evolutionary explanation?

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8. Mr. Firkin is a shy and reserved person who often feels tense and nervous. In therapy, he recalled that he had an unhappy childhood, feeling that he did not receive enough attention from his mother and resenting the conservative family discipline and life style enforced by his father. He blames both parents for his current anxiety, unhappiness, and loneliness. In light of your understanding of the interactive influences of nature and nurture, explain why Mr. Firkin's complaints about his parents may be somewhat unfair and unhelpful.

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9. Discuss how gender differences in both aggression and social connectedness are influenced by nature and nurture. Describe and justify the approaches that you would recommend in order to reduce the current gender differences in each of these two specific areas.

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10. Three-year-old Dimitri frequently takes other children's toys from them, showing little concern for their feelings, even when they cry. When he does this, his mother tells him to “imagine how other kids feel when they lose their toys.” Use your understanding of cognitive development to explain Dimitri's antisocial behavior. Why is his mother's comment unlikely to influence his behavior? How would you encourage Dimitri to stop behaving this way?

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11. Mr. and Mrs. McDonald believe in the importance of stern discipline; they impose strict rules which they expect their children to obey without question. They penalize misbehavior harshly, frequently with a spanking. Mr. and Mrs. Reynolds use milder forms of punishment to enforce their rules. They also have regular family meetings in which their children help them to establish household rules and penalties for breaking them. What do you see as the advantages and disadvantages of these two disciplinary approaches? Explain the reasons for your answer.

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12. At the age of 30, Angela hesitates to commit herself to a lifelong marital relationship, primarily because she believes that the personalities of marriage partners often change in surprising and unpredictable ways during their lifetimes. What professional advice could you appropriately provide to Angela in light of the research on marital happiness and adult personality development.

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13. Use your understanding of absolute thresholds, sensory adaptation, and pain control to argue that sensation is often influenced by our motives, expectations, and psychological states of mind.

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14. In what sense is there a correspondence between the experiences of hue and pitch? Discuss how the Young-Helmholtz theory of color vision and the place theory of pitch perception are conceptually similar or different.

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15. You have been asked to paint a picture that includes buildings, fields, a river, and a mountain. Describe how you would use at least five monocular cues to give your painting a sense of depth.

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16. The Moon typically appears larger near the horizon than when high in the sky. The height of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis typically appears greater than its width. Explain these two perceptual illusions and show how your explanations for both illusions are similar.

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17. Because he has difficulty falling asleep at night, Professor Hogan doesn't go to bed until very late. Before he retires, he tries to wear himself out by running around the block several times. Then he treats himself to a beer and perhaps a pizza while preparing his lecture for the next day's early morning classes. What specific advice would you give the professor to help him fall asleep?

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18. Franco studied all evening for a college chemistry test scheduled the following morning. That night he dreamt that he accurately copied a female classmate's correct answers to the test questions as they unexpectedly flashed before his eyes. Compare and contrast explanations of Franco's dream that might be provided by Freudian, memory consolidation, and activation-synthesis theories. In what sense is the dream a reflection of Franco's level of cognitive development?

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19. A classmate believes that alcohol, marijuana, and cocaine all have similar effects on behavior and that therefore all three drugs ought to be legalized. Carefully evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your classmate's position.

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20. (a) How would you classically condition an adventuresome 2-year-old to be more fearful of running across a busy street near her house?

(b) How would you classically condition a preschool child who is afraid of dogs to enjoy playing with a neighbor's friendly dog?

Be sure to identify the US, CS, UR, and CR in both answers.

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21. (a) Several days after drinking an excessive amount of alcohol, Kendra becomes nauseated simply by the smell of liquor. The sight of the half-empty liquor bottle from which she drank does not, however, upset her. What does Kendra's pattern of response indicate about the limits of associative learning?

(b) If George is spanked immediately after his baby sister cries, he is likely to become fearful every time she cries. If Ken is spanked immediately before his baby sister cries, he is not likely to become fearful when she cries. What do the different reactions of George and Ken suggest about the role of cognitive processes in associative learning?

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22. Although Mr. Wright often tells his children about the importance of donating time and money to charitable causes, he rarely does so himself. He believes that this hypocrisy will not rub off on his children, however, as long as he has plausible excuses for his lack of charity. Use your understanding of learning processes to explain how Mr. Wright's children are likely to be affected by their father's behavior. What advice would you give to Mr. Wright?

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23. Describe three mnemonic devices that would enable you to remember the following list of grocery items: milk, eggs, margarine, oranges, rhubarb, ice cream, eggplant, and sausage. Explain why each would be effective.

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24. During the process of psychotherapy, Elaine recovered some long-forgotten and painful memories from her childhood. This experience led her to conclude that these memories must have been repressed for many years. Discuss the issues involved in determining the validity of Elaine's claim.

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25. You are the commissioner of a state lottery system that sponsors daily and weekly drawings. Lottery tickets have not been selling well over the past few months. Describe four ways you could take advantage of people's use of the availability heuristic in order to boost sales. Explain why you would judge your tactics to be fair or unfair to your customers.

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26. After returning from a shopping trip with his mother, little Tommy reported, “I goed to the store and eated candy.” Why might a behaviorist such as B. F. Skinner have had some difficulty explaining Tommy's incorrect grammatical construction? What does his error suggest about the process of language acquisition?

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27. Although Susan is a brilliant pianist and highly acclaimed ballet dancer, her high school intelligence test scores were only average. What does Susan's experience suggest regarding (a) the reliability and validity of intelligence tests, (b) the nature of intelligence, and (c) the desirability of “gifted child” education programs?

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28. Juan is the oldest son of Mexican parents who immigrated to the United States less than five years ago. Juan's high school teachers perceive him to be fairly intelligent, but his SAT scores are low, and he is having trouble getting into college. Juan's mother angrily claims that “intelligence tests are biased against Hispanics.” Juan's father sadly counters, “It's not the tests that are biased; it's American education that is biased.”

Carefully explain why you would agree or disagree with the comments made by each parent.

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29. Abraham Maslow suggested that “a person who is lacking food, love, and self-esteem would most likely hunger for food more strongly than anything else.” Conversely, the novelist Dostoyevski wrote, “without a firm idea of himself and the purpose of his life, man cannot live even if surrounded with bread.” Give evidence that would lead you to support both statements.

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30. People often refer to homosexuals as persons rather than referring to homosexual behavior as something persons do. In fact, those who experience homosexual desires or engage in homosexual practices are often assumed to be gay or lesbian in the same sense that they are male or female. Describe the potential advantages and disadvantages of this assumption, and critically evaluate how it might influence research on the origins of differing sexual orientations.

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31. A newspaper advice columnist suggests that thinking can be voluntarily controlled and changed but that emotions are gut-level, biological reactions that can't be voluntarily controlled or modified. Use your knowledge of emotion research and theory to either support or refute the columnist's claim.

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32. Jim, a 42-year-old engineer, is unhappy about his yearly salary although it is the highest salary he has ever earned. His wife, Carla, suggests that he vividly recall how little he earned at the age of 32. She also recommends that he watch a TV program about famine victims in Africa. Use your understanding of psychological principles to explain why Carla's suggestions might help to increase Jim's feelings of economic satisfaction.

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33. A classmate argues that “the best way to handle stress is to work harder and meet life's challenges head-on.” Evaluate both the strengths and the weaknesses of your classmate's position in light of the distinction between coping with stress and managing stress.

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34. Kate, who is 50 pounds overweight, has tried a variety of diets. Although she often loses some weight under each diet, she eventually gains it all back. Explain why Kate most likely has difficulty maintaining her weight losses. What are the advantages and disadvantages of her continued efforts to lose weight?

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35. Carl Rogers believes that most people consider themselves worthless and unlovable. Reinhold Niebuhr, on the other hand, claims that most people suffer from excessive self-love and self-pride. What do you consider to be the strengths or weaknesses of each of these contrasting positions? Use psychological research findings to support your arguments.

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36. Andy, a high school sophomore, lacks self-discipline, fails to plan ahead, and is excessively anxious. He is quickly frustrated by challenging tasks and frequently becomes overly critical of others. Use the psychoanalytic, humanistic, and social-cognitive perspectives to give three contrasting explanations of Andy's behavior.

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37. June is so preoccupied with keeping her house absolutely spotless that she has no time to do anything but clean. After each family meal she not only washes the dishes, she also thoroughly cleans and polishes the kitchen table, chairs, floor, and cupboards. Although these cleaning rituals irritate her family, June is unable to discontinue them without experiencing intense feelings of discomfort. Use the learning and biological perspectives to explain June's behavior.

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38. A guest on a TV talk show claims that “major depressive disorder is not a psychological problem; it's a disease that can be medically treated.” Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of this claim.

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39. Differentiate between dissociative identity disorder and schizophrenia. Compare the usefulness of a medical perspective and a biopsychosocial approach for each of these two disorders.

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40. Geraldo, a college sophomore, is so fearful of asking a woman out that he hasn't had a date in over three years. He has recently contacted a psychotherapist for help in overcoming his fear. Describe how a behavior therapist and a psychoanalyst would treat Geraldo's problem.

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41. Describe how a therapist might use both aversive conditioning and operant conditioning techniques in order to help a client overcome a compulsive habit of smoking more than three packs of cigarettes a day. Be clear about the exact procedures that would be used.

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42. Latitia, a college sophomore, reported: “Although I was not at all sure that I really loved my boyfriend, he coaxed me into sleeping with him. After that, I convinced myself that I really did love him.” Use your understanding of cognitive dissonance theory to explain why Latitia developed such positive feelings for her boyfriend. What could Latitia do in the future to ensure that her sexual behaviors are guided by her own true attitudes and desires?

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43. Research indicates that we often form more positive impressions of beautiful people than of those who are physically unattractive. Explain how advertisements, movies, and children's fairy tales might encourage this tendency. Use your knowledge of the factors that facilitate interpersonal attraction to suggest how people could be influenced to feel more positively about those who are physically unattractive.

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