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PSY 2012 - General Psychology

Frequently Asked Questions

THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD

  1. What is the difference between Experimental and Correlational Research?
  2. What is the difference between an Independent Variable (IV) and a Dependent Variable (DV) in an Experiment?
  3. When we conduct research why is it important to randomly select a representative sample?
  4. Which experiment first brought to our attention the need for Ethics?
  5. What is the difference between a theory and a hypothesis?
  6. In an experiment, what is the difference between a control group and an experimental group?
  7. What are the 5 items that all fields of psychology have in common?
  8. What is Naturalistic Observation and what are the potential advantages and disadvantages?
  9. What is the scientific method?
  1. What is the difference between Experimental and Correlational Research?
    Experimental Research includes the systematic manipulation of 1 or more variables and how that manipulation of 1 variable affects other controlled variables studied. Experiments illustrate cause and effect relationships. Correlation Research uses statistical methods to examine the relationship between 2 or more variables and illustrates relationships (not cause) between variables which allow us to make predictions.
  2. What is the difference between an Independent Variable (IV) and a Dependent Variable (DV) in an Experiment?
    In an Experiment, the IV is the variable that is manipulated to test the effects on the DV. In an Experiment, the DV is the variable that we measure to see if the manipulation of the IV changed the DV in any way.
  3. When we conduct research why is it important to randomly select a representative sample?
    It is important that the sample of participants that we select represents the characteristics of the population we want to study and we should randomly select from the representative sample to insure that each participant has an equal chance of being selected to eliminate bias.
  4. Which experiment first brought to our attention the need for Ethics?
    Stanley Milgram’s Obedience Experiment. The APA implemented strict guidelines in research such as: 1. Participants must consent and be fully informed; 2. Any risks, possible adverse effects, and limitations on confidentiality must be disclosed; 3. Deception in research is only used when it is absolutely necessary for the integrity of the research and participants are not deceived about any of the research that may cause them risk or unwanted emotional experiences.
  5. What is the difference between a theory and a hypothesis?
    A hypothesis attempts to answer questions by putting forth a plausible explanation to be rigorously tested. A theory has already undergone extensive testing various scientists and is generally accepted as being an accurate explanation of an observation. This doesn’t mean the theory is correct; only that current testing has not yet been able to disprove it, and the evidence as it is understood, appears to support it. A theory will often start out as a hypothesis (educated guess).
  6. In an experiment, what is the difference between a control group and an experimental group?
    The experimental group is subjected to the change or manipulated variable (IV). The control group does not receive any treatment or manipulation and is used for comparing it to the experimental group outcomes.
  7. What are the 5 items that all fields of psychology have in common?
    Nature-Nurture: How the interaction of genes and environment influence individuals.
    Person-Situation: Are our behaviors the result of traits or environment
    Stability-Change: How much and/or what changes and/or stays the same throughout the lifespan
    Diversity-Universality: How do individuals differ and/or are similar in thoughts and actions across cultures.
    Mind-Body: What is the relationship between internal experiences and biological process.
  8. What is Naturalistic Observation and what are the potential advantages and disadvantages?
    Naturalistic observation is used to study participant’s behavior in their natural setting. Advantages include low interference by the researcher, behaviors observed are spontaneous and more varied than in a lab setting. Disadvantages include the potential for observer bias. Observer bias occurs when the researcher ’s expectations or biases influence the outcome of the research.
  9. What is the scientific method?
    It is an approach to knowledge that relies on data collection, generating a theory to explain the data, producing testable hypotheses based on the theory, and empirically testing hypotheses.

BIOLOGY AND BEHAVIOR

  1. How does experience change the brain?
  2. What is the difference between genotype and phenotype?
  3. Why is the spinal cord so important?
  1. How does experience change the brain?
    Research illustrates that experiences in the environment can produce changes in our brains, the principle of neural plasticity.
  2. What is the difference between genotype and phenotype?
    Our genotype is our genetic make-up and our phenotype are our unique characteristics determined by both genetics and experience/environment.
  3. Why is the spinal cord so important?
    The spinal cord enlarges into the brain stem. It has a complex cable of nerves that connects the brain to the rest of our body. It is responsible for movements and carries messages to/from the brain.

LIFE SPAN DEVELOPMENT

  1. What are the most common methods used to study development?
  2. What is the prenatal period of development?
  3. What are teratogens?
  4. How does language develop?
  5. What are the 2 common fallacies in adolescent thinking?
  6. What is identity formation during adolescents?
  7. Which parenting style is most successful?
  8. What is a midlife crisis?
  9. What is Alzheimer’s disease?
  10. What is the order ofKubler-Ross’ stages of dying?
  1. What are the most common methods used to study development?
    Cross-sectional studies involve different age groups of participants at the same time. Longitudinal studies involve the same group of participants at different times in their life. Biographical studies involve a participant reconstructing their past using interviews.
  2. What is the prenatal period of development?
    It is from conception to birth.
  3. What are teratogens?
    Disease producing organisms or harmful substances such as drugs that can pass through the placenta and cause irreparable damage during the prenatal period.
  4. How does language develop?
    Language begins with cooing. Eventually a baby will babble, which are repetitive speech-like sounds. Usually children say their first word around 12 months of age. Eventually building their vocabulary beginning with one-word sentences called holophrases.
  5. What are the 2 common fallacies in adolescent thinking?
    Imaginary audience occurs when teens believe that they are constantly being observed and judged by others. Personal fable occurs when teens believe that they are uniquely exempt from negative things occurring to them and that only ‘bad’ things happen to other people.
  6. What is identity formation during adolescents?
    It is the process in which a person develops a stable sense of self. Identify formation usually follows intense self-exploration called an identity crisis.
  7. Which parenting style is most successful?
    Authoritative parents provide firm structure and guidance without being overly controlling. They listen to children ’s opinions and explain decisions. The parents clearly make and enforce the rules. This parenting style produces children who are self-reliant and socially responsible.
  8. What is a midlife crisis?
    Midlife crisis occurs when Middle-aged adults feel unfilled in their jobs or personal lives and attempt to make changes in their career or lifestyle. Midlife crisis is not typical for all middle aged adults.
  9. What is Alzheimer’s disease?
    It is a neurological disorder that occurs mostly in late adulthood. Symptoms include progressive memory an cognitive loss, as well as changes in personality. It usually begins with forgetting names and words or where you placed an item.
  10. What is the order ofKubler-Ross’ stages of dying?
    Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY

  1. What is social psychology?
  2. What do we use social cognition for?
  3. When do we use schemas?
  4. What is the self-fulfilling prophecy?
  5. What are attitudes?
  6. What is prejudice?
  7. What is discrimination?
  8. What is racism?
  9. What is altruistic behavior?
  10. How can we explain prejudice?
  1. What is social psychology?
    The scientific study of the way thoughts, feelings and behaviors of an individual are influenced by the real, imagined, or inferred behaviors/characteristics of others.
  2. What do we use social cognition for?
    Social cognition is the process of taking in and assessing information about others. We use social cognition to form impressions, explain other ’s behaviors, and experiencing interpersonal attractions.
  3. When do we use schemas?
    We use schemas when we form impressions of others. Schemas are a set of explanations and beliefs about categories of people.
  4. What is the self-fulfilling prophecy?
    It is a process where an individual’s expectations of another person will elicit/bring about the other person to behave in the way we expect, thus confirming our expectations.
  5. What are attitudes?
    Attitudes are relatively stable organizations of beliefs, feelings, and tendencies toward something. Attitudes influence behaviors.
  6. What is prejudice?
    Prejudice is an unfair, intolerant, or unfavorable attitude toward a group of people.
  7. What is discrimination?
    Discrimination is an unfair act or series of acts taken toward an entire group of people or individual members of a group.
  8. What is racism?
    Racism is prejudice and discrimination directed toward a particular racial group.
  9. What is altruistic behavior?
    Altruism is the selfless concern for the welfare of others. It focuses on a motivation to help others or want to do good without reward.
  10. How can we explain prejudice?
    The Frustration-aggression theory states that people who feel exploited and oppressed displace their hostility toward the powerful onto ‘scapegoats’, people who they believe are ‘lower’ on the social scale than they are.

STATES OF CONSCIOUSNESS

  1. What is a “circadian rhythm?”
  2. Is it bad to daydream too much?
  3. What is a “sleep cycle?”
  4. If I can’t remember my dreams, am I really dreaming at night?
  5. Why is the REM stage called the “paradoxical sleep?”
  6. What is the purpose of muscle paralysis in REM sleep?
  7. Can you die from “sleep apnea?”
  8. What is “narcolepsy?”Is that the same thing as fainting?
  9. What is the difference between a nightmare and a night terror?
  10. What is it like to go through a drug withdrawal?
  1. What is a “circadian rhythm?”
    Everyone has their own circadian rhythm, also known as your biological clock. It is your body ’s way of adapting your sleep/wake cycle to the 24-hour solar cycle of light and dark. Your brain receives information from your eye about how light or dark it is outside. Based on that information, your brain releases neurotransmitters that will either make you feel drowsy or alert.
  2. Is it bad to daydream too much?
    Daydreams are spontaneous shifts in attention away from the here and now into a world of make-believe. Daydreams can be useful in providing an escape from the real world or helping you work out your problems. However, they can be harmful if you daydream too much to the extent that it replaces human interaction and/or interferes with your responsibilities (e.g. work or school, etc.).
  3. What is a “sleep cycle?”
    Unless you have a sleep disorder, almost everyone goes through the same 5 stages of sleep each night (Stage 1, Stage 2, Stage 3, Stage 4, and REM). Each stage is different in terms of brain activity, muscular activity, blood pressure, and body temperature. One sleep cycle (Stage 1 through REM) lasts about 90 minutes. Then, this sequence repeats itself all night. If you are a typical person who sleeps around 8 hours at night, then you will go through approximately 4 – 5 cycles per night.
  4. If I can’t remember my dreams, am I really dreaming at night?
    Yes. Most vivid dreaming (the kind that ’s easiest to remember) occurs in REM sleep. As long as you don ’t have a sleep disorder that prevents you from hitting REM sleep, then you will reach the REM stage and start dreaming about 4 – 5 times per night (assuming you allow yourself a full 8 hours of sleep). Of course, the last dream you had before waking up is easiest to remember. Even so, some people still find it difficult to remember their dreams. The dream content will begin to fade from memory the moment you wake up. If you want to try and remember your dreams, it ’s helpful to keep a journal and pen by your bedside and start writing the minute you wake up.
  5. Why is the REM stage called the “paradoxical sleep?”
    The REM stage of sleep is different than the other sleep stages because your brainwaves more closely resemble those when you’re awake, heart rate and blood pressure are increased, but your muscles are completely relaxed. In addition, you ’re difficult to awaken at this point and your eyes will move rapidly under closed eyelids, probably responding to whatever dream you are having at that moment, since most dreams occur in REM. However, this stage is a “paradox” because even though your brain activity and physiological functions look the same as when you’re awake, you are actually in a deep sleep with your body essentially paralyzed.
  6. What is the purpose of muscle paralysis in REM sleep?
    Most of your vivid dreaming occurs in REM sleep. Your brain activity looks the same as when you ’re awake because you’re mind is active and dreaming at this stage. Our bodies are designed to let us dream without hurting ourselves or others. If our bodies were not paralyzed during sleep, then we would all be sleep walking and “acting out” our dreams.
  7. Can you die from “sleep apnea?”
    Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that involves having breathing difficulties at night. As your oxygen levels decrease throughout the night, your brain will recognize that something ’s wrong and arouse you to a level just short of consciousness. So, even though you may not be fully awoken, you will be exhausted during the day because of the lack of deep, restful sleep during the night. Sleep apnea can range from being mild to severe. Those with a mild case will primarily suffer from exhaustion, while those with a severe case (although rare) may actually stop breathing all together and must typically sleep with an oxygen machine at night.
  8. What is “narcolepsy?”Is that the same thing as fainting?
    Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder marked by falling asleep without warning during the day, even when you’re engaged in an alert activity (e.g. having a conversation). Typically, an emotional change (e.g. laughing, anger, sexual stimulation, etc.) is the trigger that causes the narcoleptic episode. An episode is characterized by muscle paralysis (which causes the person to fall down, and may be mistaken for fainting), and immediately falling into REM sleep, which causes hallucinations (which are actually dreams that are occurring while the person is still partly awake).
  9. What is the difference between a nightmare and a night terror?
    Both nightmares and night terrors involve having a bad dream. However, a nightmare occurs in REM sleep, and the sleeper can be awoken during a bad dream and typically can remember the dream the next day. In contrast, a night terror occurs in any stageexcept REM. The dreamer will typically sit up in bed, screaming in fear. The dreamer cannot be consoled or woken up. If you try and restrain the dreamer, it will only play into their dream and make it worse. An episode can last anywhere from a few minutes to a half hour. The dreamer will eventually calm down on their own, return to a restful sleep, and won ’t remember the dream the next day.
  10. What is it like to go through a drug withdrawal?
    “Withdrawal” is defined as a set of physical and psychological symptoms that are experienced when you quit a drug that you were addicted to. The duration of the withdrawal and the severity of the symptoms will vary depending on the type of drug and the strength of the addiction. Symptoms can vary from mild (e.g. headaches, sleep disturbances, anxiety, vomiting, sexual dysfunction, etc.) to severe (e.g. hallucinations, paranoia, suicidal thoughts, pain sensitivity, convulsions, and even death).

MEMORY

  1. What’s the difference between an episodic memory and an emotional memory?
  2. Why is short-term memory also called “working memory?”
  3. What is the difference between rote rehearsal and elaborative rehearsal?
  4. Why is it so hard to focus my attention on just one thing?
  5. If long-term memory has unlimited capacity, then why do I forget things?
  6. Where are memories stored?
  7. Is flashbulb memory the same thing as photographic memory?
  1. What’s the difference between an episodic memory and an emotional memory?
    Episodic memories are personal memories about a specific event that occurred. An example of an episodic memory would be your memory of prom night. An emotional memory is a learned emotional response to a specific stimulus. If you lovingly remember your grandmother every time you smell an apple pie, then that is an emotional memory.
  2. Why is short-term memory also called “working memory?”
    Short-term memory holds the information that we are thinking about or are aware of at any given moment so that we may work on, or further process, that information. Therefore, short-term memory is sometimes called working memory to emphasize the active or working component of this memory system.
  3. What is the difference between rote rehearsal and elaborative rehearsal?
    Rote rehearsal involves repeating something over and over to keep that info in short-term memory longer. However, once you stop repeating it, the information will quickly fade away. If you want to retain information longer, you ’ll need to use elaborative rehearsal. This is a technique used to move information from short-term memory into long-term memory for permanent storage. It involves linking new information in short-term memory to old information already stored in long-term memory. For example, if you are learning a new concept in school (e.g. the definition of episodic memory), then you may want to think of your own example of an episodic memory.
  4. Why is it so hard to focus my attention on just one thing?
    Broadbent’s (1958) filter theory suggests that we have the ability to filter out most sensory data so that we can actively focus on something specific. For example, most people can filter out (or ignore) other people ’s conversations around them, so that they can pay attention to their own conversation. However, this is not an on-and-off switch. Rather, it ’s a variable control (e.g. such as the volume control on a radio) that can “turn down” unwanted sensory information. The “volume level” will be different for everyone. Some people can ’t help but pick up many sensory details around them, while others can effectively tune out just about everything. Even one individual can have different volume levels on any given day for various reasons (e.g. fatigue, anxiety, etc.).
  5. If long-term memory has unlimited capacity, then why do I forget things?
    Long-term memory does, in fact, have unlimited capacity and the information remains there forever. However, your brain stores information like a computer. If you don ’t save the information correctly, you may not be able to find it again. Therefore, forgetting isn’t about losing data, it’s about not properly encoding it in the first place, which makes it hard to find it when you need it.
  6. Where are memories stored?
    Not all memories are stored in one place. However, different parts of the brain are specialized for storing different types of memories. For example, semantic memories (e.g. general knowledge, such as 2 + 2 = 4) and episodic memories (e.g. personal memories of an event, such as your wedding day) are stored in the frontal and temporal lobes of the cortex. Procedural memories (e.g. skills and habits, such as how to drive a car) are located in the cerebellum (an area needed for balance and motor coordination).
  7. Is flashbulb memory the same thing as photographic memory?
    No. Photographic memory (also called eidetic imagery) is the ability to remember an unusually high level of detail of something you’ve seen just briefly. For example, if you see an operation room for just a few seconds, and are able to remember an extraordinary amount of detail about the room, then you may have a photographic memory. In contrast, flashbulb memories are vivid memories of a certain event that last long after the event has passed. For example, most people can vividly remember the image of the planes flying into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City on September 11, 2001.

MOTIVATION AND EMOTION

  1. Why do I eat when I’m not hungry?
  2. Why do I get sleepy when I’m bored?
  3. I play soccer. If I’m not getting anything out of it, why do I play?
  4. Can you learn to be motivated?
  5. What did Maslow mean by the need for “self-actualization?”
  6. How strong is the human need for contact?
  7. Can aggression be a motive?
  8. How is the James-Lange theory of emotion different than the Cannon-Bard theory of emotion?
  9. Sometimes when I say things, my words are misunderstood.Why does this happen?
  1. Why do I eat when I’m not hungry?
    Hunger is a motivation that drives you to eat. But, hunger is influenced by several factors. First, when your body requires fuel, then your brain will send out the message that you’re hungry. But, sometimes you can feel hungry when your body doesn’t necessarily need any food. For example, you can feel hungry just by smelling something good (e.g. chocolate chip cookies). Or, if you typically eat dinner at 6pm every day, then you may feel hungry at 6pm, even if you had a late lunch (because your body is used to the routine of eating at the same time every day). Also, your culture and upbringing will influence your desire to eat, as well. For example, if you learn that eating is a social event, then you will most likely become“hungry” when visiting with friends, etc. Finally, your state of mind can also impact your level of hunger. Some people eat when they’re tired, bored, lonely, depressed, etc. No wonder we tend to overeat when we have all these external influences!
  2. Why do I get sleepy when I’m bored?
    Arousal theory suggests that each of us has an optimum level of arousal that varies over the course of the day from one situation to another. A certain amount of arousal is needed to perform most tasks. Simple tasks require some arousal to stay alert and productive, while difficult tasks are accomplished better with little to no arousal. For example, if you were studying for a chemistry final, you would not want to be distracted with loud noises because you are trying to concentrate. However, if you are trying to stuff envelopes at work (which is very boring), then you may want to turn on a radio to increase your level of arousal so that you ’re more alert and less sleepy.
  3. I play soccer. If I’m not getting anything out of it, why do I play?
    An extrinsic motivator is something you do to obtain an external reward. For example, most people don ’t love their jobs, but they stick with it because they are expecting an external reward (e.g. paycheck, promotions, etc.). In contrast, an intrinsic motivator is something you do simply because of the enjoyment you get from doing it. In your example, playing soccer is an intrinsic motivator because you play just for fun.
  4. Can you learn to be motivated?
    Some motivators, called primary drives, are not learned. Rather, they are based on a physiological state, such as hunger. However, most other drives, called secondary drives, are learned. Examples include ambition, aggression, giving 100% effort in everything you do, etc.
  5. What did Maslow mean by the need for “self-actualization?”
    Abraham Maslow (1954) was a psychologist who believed that our motives can be arranged in a hierarchical order. Motives on the bottom of the hierarchy consist more of physiological needs, such as hunger. As you move higher in the hierarchy, the needs become more subtle, like the need to make meaningful connections with other people. According to Maslow, higher motives only emerge after lower motives have been satisfied. For example, someone who is starving will be more motivated to find food than to make friends. The highest motive in the hierarchy is the need for self-actualization, which is the drive to reach your full potential.
  6. How strong is the human need for contact?
    Harry Harlow demonstrated the importance of contact in a classic experiment with new born monkeys. They were separated from their mother and provided two surrogate mothers. One was made of wire, heated, and provided a bottle of milk to feed. The other surrogate was made of soft terry cloth and heated, but did not provide food. The baby monkeys often gravitated towards the terry cloth mother, especially when frightened, which shows that the need for contact was typically more important than the need for food. Also, research has shown that premature human infants who are held and massaged regularly gain weight faster, are calmer, and display more advanced sensory and motor skills at 1 year than those babies who are seldom touched.
  7. Can aggression be a motive?
    Yes. Aggression is defined as any behavior that ’s intended to inflict physical or psychological harm on another person. So, if hurting someone is your intention, then aggression is the motive behind your actions.
  8. How is the James-Lange theory of emotion different than the Cannon-Bard theory of emotion?
    The James-Lange theory claims that emotions are a result of awareness to physiological changes that are produced by a stimulus. For example, seeing a stimulus (big scary spider), would produce physiological changes (heart racing, shallow breathing, etc.), and emotions arise from the awareness of those physiological changes. In contrast, the Cannon-Bard theory claims that we process emotions and physically respond at the same time, not one after the other. For example, you see the spider, and you experience physiological changes and fear at the same time.
  9. Sometimes when I say things, my words are misunderstood.Why does this happen?
    Although we can express ourselves in words, much of our communication comes from nonverbal forms of expression (e.g. facial expressions, body language, tone of voice, etc.). The way your words are expressed can impact how those words are received by your audience. Things like sarcasm can cause many misunderstandings. And, the less you say verbally, the more assumptions your listener will have to make about your message, using more ambiguous clues like body language, tone of voice, etc., which leaves a lot of room for misunderstandings.

COGNITION AND MENTAL ABILITIES

  1. Why is it important to study cognition?
  2. How does language relate to cognition?
  3. Can apes communicate like humans?
  4. What are concepts and why are they important?
  5. What is a prototype in relation to a concept?
  6. What is an algorithm?
  7. How do heuristics help us with problem solving?
  8. How do heuristics prevent us from solving problems?
  9. Is intelligence nature or nurture?
  10. How much does an IQ really tell us about intelligence?
  1. Why is it important to study cognition?
    Cognition refers to thinking and mental processes. It involves acquiring and applying information. Without cognition we would not be able to make simple decisions, use language, recognize people and function normally.
  2. How does language relate to cognition?
    Obviously, without language (oral or symbols) communication would be extremely difficult. According to Whorf’s linguistic relativity hypothesis, our patterns of thinking are determined by language. For example, those who live in cold climates have several words for different types of snow.
  3. Can apes communicate like humans?
    Although it is controversial, there appears to be evidence that chimpanzees and orangutans (who share 98% of human DNA), can answer questions through American Sign Language usage.
  4. What are concepts and why are they important?
    Concepts are mental categories for classifying objects, people, or experiences. Without concepts, our thinking would be chaotic, to say the least!
  5. What is a prototype in relation to a concept?
    Prototypes are the best, most typical example of a concept. Although they are seldom perfect, they point out the most typical features of a concept. For example, a prototype for a bird would probably have the features of a robin or a sparrow, and not a penguin, which is a flightless bird.
  6. What is an algorithm?
    An algorithm is a strategy for solving problems which guarantees a correct solution, when used properly. For example, using certain rules of mathematics will guarantee the correct answer.
  7. How do heuristics help us with problem solving?
    Heuristics are mental shortcuts which help save time in solving problems.
  8. How do heuristics prevent us from solving problems?
    Unlike algorithms, heuristics do not guarantee a correct solution. For example, i before e except after c, is a heuristic to which there are exceptions. Using heuristics can lead to stereotyping, and other errors toward the critical thinking process.
  9. Is intelligence nature or nurture?
    As with most issues in Psychology, it is probably a combination. Of course our environment plays a major part in helping us learn, but genetics are also involved. For example, a person born with Down Syndrome will most likely have challenges with learning.
  10. How much does an IQ really tell us about intelligence?
    On the one hand, it has been demonstrated that those who do well on an IQ test are more likely to succeed in college. However, an IQ test measures a limited amount of skills, and may be culturally biased. IQ tests do not measure motivation, or emotional maturity.

LEARNING

  1. What is the difference between positive and negative Reinforcement and Punishment?
  2. What is the difference between the UCS and the CS in Classical Conditioning?
  3. Isn’t modeling the best way to train behavior?
  4. Are phobias learned?
  5. Why are there different kinds of Learning?
  6. How is motivation directly related to learning?
  7. Styles of Learning vs. Theories of Learning
  8. What is meant by “learning through association”?
  1. What is the difference between positive and negative Reinforcement and Punishment?
    Reinforcement always increases the probability a behavior occurs again. Punishment decreases the probability. Positive means that something is “presented” (ex. Positive Reinforcement: Cookie, gold star, money, etc. Positive punishment: spanking, a glare, pepper spray, etc. designed to decrease behavior.)
    Negative means that something is removed.In Negative reinforcement something “aversive” or bad is removed (e.g., a headache is removed when you take Excedrin or whining stops when Mom gives “Jr” candy at the checkout counter).In both cases the likelihood of taking aspirin and giving Jr. candy are increased because it removed the headache and whining.Negative punishment decreases likelihood of future behavior by taking away something the organism likes (e.g., remove cell phone due to bad grades).
  2. What is the difference between the UCS and the CS in Classical Conditioning?
    First of all, the UCS or unconditioned stimulus always produces a reflex response or UCR (e.g., cold -> shiver; puff of air -> eye blink). The CS, conditioned stimulus) is previously neutral until it is paired with the UCS. This pairing results in the CS signaling that the UCS is coming. The CS then produces a CR (conditioned response) similar to the UCS, but not as strong. For example, a “click” prior to a camera’s flash will produce an eye blink. The bright light (UCS) will always produce and eye blink (UCR) The “click” prior to the light going off becomes a (CS) and it produces an eye blink as well (CR) but it is not as strong as that produced by the actual light/UCS.
  3. Isn’t modeling the best way to train behavior?
    Theoretically, with humans, it is good to demonstrate or model a new behavior. However, you can ’t be sure the subject is paying attention to all aspects of the new behavior. Therefore, modeling needs to be paired with reinforcement to ensure that all parts of the behavior are learned.
  4. Are phobias learned?
    While some objects are biologically predisposed to produce phobic reactions (e.g., snakes and spiders) other phobias are learned through Classical Conditioning. That is, the “object” is accidentally paired with/ occurs with negative events. For example, you are nervous and agitated from having seen a scary movie. Walking to your car from the theatre you hear a noise and jump. When you look to see what made the noise you see a black cat. Voila. . . now every time you see a black cat you will be afraid. The fear will begin to precede seeing the cat and the phobia is born.
  5. Why are there different kinds of Learning?
    Organisms are very complex and they learn in different ways dependent on the situation. It is natural to watch and mimic (modeling) because it is reinforced during childhood. Operant conditioning explains how parents, teachers, etc. shape mastery of skills that have voluntary components. Classical conditioning explains situations where learning occurs automatically like flinching when someone movers their hand or feeling aroused when you smell a certain perfume/cologne because it had been paired with behavior of a significant other.
  6. How is motivation directly related to learning?
    Without motivation, there is no reason to learn or to demonstrate what has been learned. Motivation can be internal (doing something because you find it interesting or challenging) or external, like grades, money, avoiding punishment like losing a scholarship, etc.
  7. Styles of Learning vs. Theories of Learning
    The theories of learning explain the different ways that learning can occur: Classical, Operant, and Social or Modeling. Styles of learning refers to the ways that humans best relate to information such as kinesthetic, visual, or auditory. Kinesthetic is the best approach when behaviors such as gymnastic routines, shooting baskets, artistic techniques, etc. Visual learning suggests that the subject is best able to process information when they look at/read it themselves. Auditory learning is best suited for those individuals who prefer to hear from an authority (instructor) about the material. Then if they read the material it will make more sense.
  8. What is meant by “learning through association”?
    In all three types of learning (classical, operant, and social learning theory/modeling) association is directly linked to learning. In classical conditioning, what is associated is the neutral stimulus and the UCS. Once the organism “associates” the neutral stimulus with the UCS the neutral stimulus becomes a conditioned stimulus (CS) and learning has taken place. In operant conditioning, the subject associates the consequences of their behavior in the circumstances learning which behavior will be reinforced and which will be punished. Lastly, in social learning theory or modeling, the individual associates the consequences of someone else ’s behavior with the consequences (reward or punishment) and learns to either make or withhold similar responses in that same situation.

SENSATION AND PERCEPTION

  1. Why does perception run our lives?
  2. If you lose a sensation due to an accident, will you lose the memory of that sense?
  3. Why do perceptions of the same event by different people differ?
  4. What is the difference between sensation and perception?
  5. If the tongue has so few “tastes” how does food taste different?
  6. Why does food lose its flavor when you have a cold?
  7. Why does the moon look bigger when it is lower in the sky?
  1. Why does perception run our lives?
    Simple. Perception is the brain ’s interpretation of sensory input. Without accurate interpretation of what is occurring around you, you would be wholly unaware and could find yourself in dangerous situations.
  2. If you lose a sensation due to an accident, will you lose the memory of that sense?
    If you lost the sense at a very early age (prior to 3 years of age) it is possible that you would not recall those events. However it is not uncommon for individuals to experience “phantom” sensations even years after losing limbs, etc.
  3. Why do perceptions of the same event by different people differ?
    Each individual has their own history and we bring certain expectations (top down processing) with them. These expectations influence how they see the world and interpret the events. So based on our backgrounds, preconceptions, the state of consciousness we are experiencing it will color our perceptions of events. So each individual would have a different perception of the world.
  4. What is the difference between sensation and perception?
    Sensation is the processing of sensory information. The stimulation is converted in each sense to neural messages that are sent to the brain. The processing of the sensory information in the brain is called perception. This type of perception is called bottom-up processing. When the brain uses preconceptions or expectations to interpret the information it is called top down processing. This is where the brain might fill in missing or ambiguous information.
  5. If the tongue has so few “tastes” how does food taste different?
    While researchers have been able to map 5 different sensations (salt, sweet, sour, bitter, and savory) we are able to experience different flavors.The primary reason is due to the olfactory sense.The sense of smell works along with gustation (the sense of taste).It is the sense of smell that enhances our taste experience.
  6. Why does food lose its flavor when you have a cold?
    While we still technically experience food in terms of salty, sweet, sour, bitter, and savory we do not have the olfactory sense (the sense of smell) to enhance our experience. During a cold the sinus cavities fill with phlegm and block scents from reaching the olfactory bulb. This makes food taste bland.
  7. Why does the moon look bigger when it is lower in the sky?
    There are many explanations for the moon illusion but none of them definitively explains this optical illusion. The moon appears to be much larger the closer to the horizon it is and smaller the higher it is in the sky. Numerous measurements have been taken that confirm the size is not varying as it rises. It is merely a trick of the eye.

STRESS AND HEALTH PSYCHOLOGY

  1. How can you alleviate stress without therapy?
  2. What causes stress?
  3. Why can stress cause eating disorders?
  4. How does chronic stress affect the brain?
  5. Does hair grow faster when you are stressed?
  6. Why is acne linked with stress?
  7. How much stress is too much?
  8. Is stress always bad?
  9. What determines how stress affects individuals differently?
  10. Why does stress cause physical symptoms?
  1. How can you alleviate stress without therapy?
    This lesson is simple and a one which will have lasting positive effects on aging as well. There are standard ways such as making sure you follow a proper diet, get adequate amounts of sleep, and exercise on a regular basis. In addition, a support group can be extremely helpful in managing stress as well as a positive outlook.
  2. What causes stress?
    Stress can be caused by a variety of events both major and minor daily annoyances or hassles. Certainly illness, death of a loved one, accidents, careers and family can cause stress. Daily hassles such as running late, traffic, the price of gas, lack of sleep, etc. keep the body on a regular dose of stress hormones. However, even positive events can be stressful such as planning a wedding and preparing for the birth of a child. So stress can come from anywhere.
  3. Why can stress cause eating disorders?
    Different individuals can react differently to stress. Some individuals lose their appetite and can ’t eat during stress. Others tend to eat to calm down. When people eat serotonin is secreted. It is a feel good neurotransmitter so eating relaxes them. The stress returns when the levels of serotonin decrease.
  4. How does chronic stress affect the brain?
    Chronic stress prevents the brain from laying down a new memory or accessing already existing memories. This is because stress damages the hippocampus.
  5. Does hair grow faster when you are stressed?
    No. Actually hair grows more slowly when you are under stress.
  6. Why is acne linked with stress?
    When we are under stress the body secretes various hormones. These hormones increase the oils produced by the skin increasing chances of a breakout. Also, when we are under stress we do not tend to eat well or get enough sleep which can also affect the skin.
  7. How much stress is too much?
    Symptoms of stress differ for everyone and how well they deal with it. Here are some common signs that you are under too much stress: impatience or edginess, lack of enjoyment, sleep problems, and exhaustion. If left unchecked, stress can produce migraines, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcers, high blood pressure, panic attacks, or heart attacks.
  8. Is stress always bad?
    While we talk about the negative long-term effects of stress some individuals tend to be more productive when their schedule is busy. During a stress reaction your senses are keener, memory sharper, and you are less sensitive to pain. It just is not a good idea to make a habit of it.
  9. What determines how stress affects individuals differently?
    Personality style and how we look at life tend to be responsible for how we react to stressful situations. If an individual looks at an event as a challenge then they will not experience stress. That is, an optimistic outlook decreases potential stress reactions. Type B personalities, those that are laid back, spontaneous, and less time oriented also tend not to respond negatively during a situation that others might find stressful.
  10. Why does stress cause physical symptoms?
    Physical symptoms of stress are a manifestation of chronic and acute stress reactions. Some physical symptoms are migraines, ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, high blood pressure, and heart attack. The symptoms are a function of excess cortisol or stress hormones in the system. The symptoms are also a way to force the individual to take a break, which allows the body to attempt to restore an emotion homeostasis, so the physical manifestations are adaptive.

PERSONALITY

  1. What makes studying personality so interesting?
  2. Isn’t Freud and his ideas crazy?
  3. Is Freud relevant today?
  4. My girlfriend/boyfriend doesn’t like to socialize with others. What is their problem?
  5. What’s so great about Carl Rogers?
  6. In a nutshell, what do I need to know about Jung, Adler, Horney (pronounced Horn-eye), and Erikson?
  7. My significant other is always blaming me for his/her problems. Why is this?
  8. Whenever I take a test, I’m lacking confidence. Is there a reason for this?
  9. What is an objective personality test?
  10. What is a projective personality test?
  1. What makes studying personality so interesting?
    Everybody has their own unique personality. It is like your own individual fingerprint. By studying personality, we can learn more about ourselves, and try to understand those people around us.
  2. Isn’t Freud and his ideas crazy?
    Because Freud based his ideas on unconscious processes, many of his theories have been challenged.Yet we find Freudian theories still applicable today. Please refer to the next question.
  3. Is Freud relevant today?
    Yes! For example, when studying Freudian Defense Mechanisms we can recognize these in ourselves and others. When was the last time you referred to someone as “anal”? This comes from Freud’s Psychosexual Stages.
  4. My girlfriend/boyfriend doesn’t like to socialize with others. What is their problem?
    According to the Trait theorists, in which they believe people have different dispositions, you may be an extrovert, in which socializing comes natural for you. Your significant other may prefer being alone. Trait theorists state that there are various dimensions in which people differ.
  5. What’s so great about Carl Rogers?
    Rogers employed active listening in which he would attempt to truly understand his clients’ feelings as part of his personality theory. Unlike other personality theorists, he focused on conscious processes.
  6. In a nutshell, what do I need to know about Jung, Adler, Horney (pronounced Horn-eye), and Erikson?
    Jung-personal and collective unconscious; anima/animus; archetypes
    Adler-inferiority and compensation
    Horney-anxiety and neurotic trends
    Erikson-Psychosocial Stages
  7. My significant other is always blaming me for his/her problems. Why is this?
    He/she may be exhibiting external locus of control (Cognitive-Social learning theory), in which they believe they are controlled by “external” forces. These types of people often do not take responsibility for their own actions. Ex. “The devil made me do it”.
  8. Whenever I take a test, I’m lacking confidence. Is there a reason for this?
    According to Bandura, you may be lacking a degree of self-efficacy. One who has a high degree of self-efficacy believes they will successful in most circumstances.
  9. What is an objective personality test?
    An objective test requires that the participant answer questions in a standard way: “yes” or “no”. It provides objective information relating to personality.
  10. What is a projective personality test?
    A projective test such as the Rorschach or TAT requires that the psychologist use his/her own expertise in “projecting” the type of personality one has.

Psychological Disorders

  1. Why are people “crazy”?
  2. What causes bi-polar disorder?
  3. I have serious test anxiety. Why?
  4. How does a psychosomatic disorder differ from a somatoform disorder?
  5. Isn’t Dissociative Identity Disorder and schizophrenia the same?
  6. What is a fetish?
  7. I have a friend that does bad things, but never seems to be bothered by any of his actions. Why?
  8. What is exactly a borderline personality disorder?
  9. Can’t schizophrenics just “get over it”?
  10. Whenever I have a problem, my friend always seems to ignore me and turn the focus back on herself. Why?
  1. Why are people “crazy”?
    First of all, please let’s try to refrain from using the word “crazy”, as it is offensive and really doesn’t tell anything about a person’s psychological disorder. There are various reasons why someone may have a disorder: it could be biological, like someone who is bi-polar, or it could be learned like certain phobias.
  2. What causes bi-polar disorder?
    Research seems to suggest that it has a biological basis, perhaps relating to lithium levels in the blood.
  3. I have serious test anxiety. Why?
    There could be a variety of reasons. However, many anxious feelings stem from the person making predictions, about the outcome of an event. For example, a student may think that they will be physically or psychologically harmed if they don’t do well on a test.
  4. How does a psychosomatic disorder differ from a somatoform disorder?
    A psychosomatic disorder’s symptoms are real. For example, someone who is constantly stressed-out and worries excessively may develop stomach ulcers. Somatoform disorders have either exaggerated symptoms or none at all.
  5. Isn’t Dissociative Identity Disorder and schizophrenia the same?
    No.DID, also known as Multiple/Split Personality Disorder means the person “dissociates” from one’s true personality. Schizophrenia, in its many forms, means “split from reality.
  6. What is a fetish?
    Using an unconventional or nonhuman object (like a shoe) for sexual gratification
  7. I have a friend that does bad things, but never seems to be bothered by any of his actions. Why?
    It is possible that your friend is an anti-social personality disorder. In other words, people who are diagnosed with this lack a conscience or as Freud would say, a superego
  8. What is exactly a borderline personality disorder?
    People with this disorder live on the “edge of reality”. They often see people in “black/white” terms; e.g. “you’re for me or against me”. They have unstable relationships, sometimes fear abandonment, and may be vindictive.
  9. Can’t schizophrenics just “get over it”?
    No! Most research indicates that schizophrenia has a genetic component.
  10. Whenever I have a problem, my friend always seems to ignore me and turn the focus back on herself. Why?
    It is possible that you friend has a narcissistic personality disorder, in which they have an exaggerated sense of self-importance. Rather than focus on your issues, your friend needs to be the central focus of attention.

Therapies

  1. Isn’t therapy just for “crazy” people?
  2. Can’t most people work out problems on their own?
  3. Does therapy work?
  4. What is the best therapy?
  5. What is psychoanalysis?
  6. How does drug therapy work?
  7. What can behavior therapy do for me?
  8. Why is CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy) so popular?
  9. If I’m having problems in a relationship, why should I tell my problems to a total stranger?
  10. What are the advantages of group therapy?
  1. Isn’t therapy just for “crazy” people?
    No. Therapy can be used for problems such as having difficulty deciding on a college major, or coping with the death of a loved one.
  2. Can’t most people work out problems on their own?
    Some people can, but many people have difficulty seeking therapy because they are in “denial”. For example, a person may deny having a substance abuse problem, when the reality suggests otherwise. I’ve often said: Seeking therapy is a sign of strength, not weakness.
  3. Does therapy work?
    Research reflects that therapy can help people improve the quality of their lives.
  4. What is the best therapy?
    There is no one best therapy. Some people may want to explore unconscious motive, while others prefer to deal with conscious issues. Many therapists utilize an eclectic or a varied approach.
  5. What is psychoanalysis?
    Psychoanalysis, also known as psychodynamic, explores sub-conscious motivations. Dream analysis is one way of doing this. This therapy is often long and expensive.
  6. How does drug therapy work?
    People who suffer from bi-polar or schizophrenia may have genetic components sometimes related to the central nervous system. Hence, drugs are used to ameliorate these conditions. SSRI’s target the neurotransmitter, serotonin, which when not working properly may cause anxiety or depression.
  7. What can behavior therapy do for me?
    Think about a habit you may want to change, e. g. smoking or eating too much. A behavior approach perhaps using a reinforcement schedule, may work for you. Token economies used in institutions such as prisons, have demonstrated some success in modifying behavior.
  8. Why is CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy) so popular?
    CBT is a non-drug therapy that helps people recognize distorted thinking patterns. By modifying certain distorted thoughts, people may be able to function on a higher level.
  9. If I’m having problems in a relationship, why should I tell my problems to a total stranger?
    Obviously, you are referring to couples or marriage therapy. An objective, trained healer can point out relationship challenges that the couple may not see. He/she can also assist with strategies to help couples.
  10. What are the advantages of group therapy?
    Group therapy allows the therapist to observe a client’s interaction with others. Group therapy is less expensive than individual psychotherapy.

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