Volume 2 - AP Psychology - Diagnostic Quiz - Answers & Explanations

1.        Rocco is a fun-loving, easygoing fellow. He rare-ly gets angry or upset and never seems to be in a rush. Rocco would best be described as having

(A)        an internal locus of control.

(B)        a Type B personality.

(C)        an Oedipus complex.

(D)        an introverted temperament.

(E)        self-actualized.


 B) Easygoing, slow to anger, and relaxed are qualities of a Type B personality. If Rocco had an internal locus of control he would believe that he controls what happens to him. The Oedipus complex is the Freudian idea that boys desire their mothers and see their fathers as rivals for their mothers’ love. Temperament is one’s inborn style of relating to the world, and someone with an introverted temperament would be shy, unlike Rocco. Maslow and other humanistic theorists believe people have self-actualized when they have reached their full potentials.


2.        Learned taste aversions generally result from

(A)        negative reinforcement.

(B)        shaping.

(C)        insight learning.

(D)        classical conditioning.

(E)        operant conditioning.


( D) A learned taste aversion typically occurs when a novel taste (CS) is paired with an unpleasant reaction such as nausea (US). Negative reinforcement and shaping are terms generally associated with operant conditioning (learning by associating one’s behaviors with certain consequences). Insight learning typically occurs when one has a sudden realization about how to solve a problem


 3.        Dr. Li thinks that Tony’s anxiety is due primarily to unresolved issues with his mother from his youth. Dr. Li would best be labeled a

(A)        psychoanalyst.

(B)        biomedical psychologist.

(C)        behaviorist.

(D)        cognitive psychologist.

(E)        humanistic psychologist.


( A) Psychoanalysts stress the pivotal role of childhood experiences and how they can manifest themselves later as anxiety and other types of problems. Biomedical psycholo-gists are more likely to focus on the importance of biological factors such as hormones and neurotransmitters. Behaviorists believe that experience would have an important impact on anxiety, but they would not credit events from one’s youth as being particularly powerful. Cognitive psychologists emphasize the influence of the way people process information, while humanistic psychologists stress the effect of people’s needs and how they feel about themselves.


 4.        Daniel is learning that five pennies spread out on his desk are the same number of coins as five pennies in a pile. According to Piaget, how old is Daniel likely to be?

(A)        1 year

(B)        2 years

(C)        4 years

(D)        8 years

(E)        13 years


(D) Daniel is learning conservation of number, a skill that Piaget believed children learn in the concrete operational stage (ages 8–12).


 5.        Which structure is found in the middle ear?

(A)        stirrup

(B)        auditory nerve

(C)        cochlea

(D)        organ of Corti

(E)        pinna


(A) The stirrup is one of the ossicles, the three bones in the middle ear. The auditory nerve connects the cochlea to the brain. The cochlea is the structure in the inner ear in which the organ of Corti can be found. The pinna is the name for the fleshy part of the outer ear.


 6.        An extra chromosome on the twenty-first pair is associated with

(A)        Alzheimer’s disease.

(B)        Down syndrome.

(C)        Tay-Sachs disease.

(D)        Klinefelter’s syndrome.

(E)        fetal alcohol syndrome.


(B) Down syndrome is caused by an extra chromosome on the twenty-first pair. Klinefelter’s syndrome results when a boy has an extra X chromosome (XXY). Alzheimer’s and Tay-Sachs are due to genetic (not chromosomal) abnormalities. Fetal alcohol syndrome is caused by a mother drinking during her pregnancy.


 7.        Jenna invited Mari to a Ben Folds concert. Mari loves Ben Folds but loathes Jenna. What type of conflict is Mari experiencing?

(A)        approach-approach

(B)        avoidance-avoidance

(C)        approach-avoidance

(D)        multiple approach-avoidance

(E)        None, she should just go to the concert.


(C) An approach-avoidance conflict is when one is attracted to and repelled by different features of the same thing. In this case, Mari is attracted to the idea of seeing Ben Folds but repelled by spending the evening with Jenna. In an approach-approach conflict, one must choose between two attractive alternatives. In an avoidance-avoidance conflict, one must choose between two unattractive alternatives. In a multiple approach-avoidance conflict, one must choose between several options each of which has an attractive and unattractive feature.


 8.        Before you see a question on the AP Psychology exam, it is usually pretested on a group of college students taking an introductory course in psychology. This group of people are referred to as the

(A)        standardization sample.

(B)        validity testers.

(C)        test population.

(D)        basis for comparison.

(E)        trial group.


( A) A standardization sample is a group of people who take a test to help establish norms and therefore standardize it. Introductory psychology students in college are thought to be similar to the high school students taking AP Psychology, so their performance is used to standardize the test. The other choices are made-up distractors.


 9.        ECT is most likely to be used to treat

(A)        schizophrenia.

(B)        phobias.

(C)        depression.

(D)        antisocial personality disorder.

(E)         ECT is no longer an accepted medical treatment.


(C) ECT (electroconvulsive therapy) is most commonly used to treat depression. In some patients, severe depression that has not responded to drug therapy has been found to be relieved by ECT.


 10.        One drawback of cross-sectional research is that

(A)         differences between groups can be due to age or to cohort effects.

(B)         it takes a long time to complete this type of research.

(C)         participants are particularly likely to drop out during the study.

(D)         it is more expensive than most other kinds of research.

(E)         it is only effective with participants in certain socioeconomic strata.


( A) Cross-sectional research seeks to identify the impact of aging by comparing different age groups at the same time. However, while it is possible that twenty-year-olds and fifty-year-olds differ due to the passage of time, it is also possible that they differ because twenty-year-olds were born in the 1980s and teens in the 1990s while fifty-year-olds matured in the 1960s; such differences are known as cohort effects. Choices B, C, and D are drawbacks to longitudinal research, and the effectiveness of cross-sectional research does not seem to be linked to the socioeconomic background of the participants.


 11.        During a typical night of sleep, the average adult spends the most time in

(A)        stage 1.

(B)        stage 2.

(C)        stage 3.

(D)        stage 4.

(E)        REM.


( B) People spend approximately 50 percent of their time asleep in stage 2. Approximately 25 percent is spent in REM, 20 percent in deep sleep (stages 3 and 4), and only about 5 percent in stage 1.


12.        In the early twentieth century in the United States which of the following perspectives was most prominent?

(A)        biological

(B)        behaviorist

(C)        psychoanalytic

(D)        gestalt

(E)        cognitive


( B) During the early 1900s in the United States, behaviorism was the dominant psycho-logical perspective. More recently, with technological advances that have made it possible to study the internal workings of the body and mind, the biological and cognitive perspectives have become increasingly prominent. Psychoanalytic psychology’s heyday was around the turn of the twentieth century, but it never achieved the prominence in the United States that it had in Europe. Gestalt psychology originated in Germany in the late nineteenth century.


13.        Five-year-old Olivia has never been outside of her neighborhood in New York City. Walking home from school one day, Olivia saw a cow standing in the middle of a cement ball field. To recognize the cow, Olivia most likely had to rely on

(A)        signal detection theory.

(B)        perceptual set.

(C)        bottom-up processing.

(D)        difference threshold.

(E)        brightness constancy.


(C) Bottom-up processing is when an object is perceived only by examining the object itself. Signal detection theory and perceptual set are theories about how one’s expectations and past experiences can impact perception. Since Olivia’s experience is limited to the concrete jungle of New York City where cows are unusual and she saw the cow in a place one would not have expected to see a cow, her perception of the cow would have relied on bottom-up processing. Difference threshold is the amount a stimulus needs to change in order for someone to per-ceive that it has changed. Brightness constancy is our knowledge that the relative brightness of objects stays the same even as the level of overhead illumination changes.


 14.        Kelsey is an attractive twenty-something with many friends. She is struggling to make a name for herself in Hollywood as an actress. Although she gets enough work to support herself, she does mostly commercials and small roles in minor films. Abraham Maslow would say that Kelsey is still striving to meet her need

(A)        to self-actualize.

(B)        for safety.

(C)        for esteem.

(D)        to belong.

(E)        for power.


(C) Maslow’s hierarchy of needs begins with physiological needs, moves to safety needs, belongingness needs, esteem needs, and, finally, self-actualization. Since Kelsey can support herself and lives in a relatively safe place, the first two levels of need are probably fulfilled. Her many friends probably fulfill her need to belong. Kelsey is struggling to make a name for herself as an actress, which reflects a need to achieve something and be respected; these are esteem needs.


15.        The typical age of onset for schizophrenia is

(A)        at birth.

(B)        during childhood.

(C)        during young adulthood.

(D)        during middle age.

(E)        after age 70.


(C) The age of onset for schizophrenia is usually in the early 20s.


16.        If Artie always seems to act competitively, even in situations where others do not, people are likely to make what kind of attribution about the cause of Artie’s competitiveness?

(A)        fundamental

(B)        situation-stable

(C)        situation-unstable

(D)        person-stable

(E)        person-unstable


(D) If Artie acts competitively in situations where others do not (low consensus), people are likely to attribute his behavior to something in himself (a person attribution) rather than something in the situation. If Artie always acts this way (high consistency), people are likely to make a stable (as opposed to unstable) attribution.


17.        Dr. Kraysin rejects the Big Five model of personality because she believes that people are so different it is impossible to describe them all with a common set of traits. What kind of trait theory would Dr. Kraysin favor?

(A)        cognitive

(B)        psychodynamic

(C)        idiographic

(D)        sociocultural

(E)        individual


(C) There are two kinds of trait theorists: idiographic theorists who believe that we need different sets of traits to describe different people and nomothetic theorists who believe all people can be described with one set of fundamental traits. None of the other choices refer to trait theorists.


 18.        Which of the following is an example of observational learning?

(A)         a girl learns to howl by watching wolves on a television show

(B)         a parrot learns to say “mama” by listening to its owner

(C)         a student learns to type through the process of trial and error

(D)         a kitten learns to chase birds by copying its mother

(E)         a boy learns to make his bed after his parents reward him with money


( D) Observational learning is when one member of a species observes a behavior in another member of that species and then copies it. The same species aspect of the definition means that a girl howling like a wolf and a parrot imitating its owner saying “mama,” are not exam-ples of observational learning. The other two choices involve no observation or imitation.


 19.        Which of the following cognitive tendencies is most closely related to the problem of experimenter bias?

(A)        the availability heuristic

(B)        functional fixedness

(C)        the representative heuristic

(D)        confirmation bias

(E)        overconfidence


( D) Experimenter bias refers to the idea that researchers’ beliefs in their own hypotheses may cause them inadvertently to influence the results of the research so as to confirm those hypotheses. Confirmation bias refers to a similar tendency in all people to pay more attention to information that supports their preexisting beliefs than to information that refutes them. The availability heuristic is the tendency to draw conclusions about the frequency of some-thing based on how easy it is to recall it to memory. Functional fixedness is the tendency not to recognize that a familiar object can be used in a novel way. The representative heuristic is the tendency to reason by similarity and, in the process, to underweight base rate probability. For instance, people might believe that a tall, very thin, attractive woman would be more likely to be a supermodel than a librarian. Overconfidence is people’s tendency to be exces-sively confident in their decisions.


20.        Banu scored 130 on the WISC. What is his

z score and approximately what percentile

is he in?

(A)        –2, 2nd

(B)        –2, 16th

(C)        0, 50th

(D)        2, 90th

(E)        2, 98th


 (E) Scores on the WISC are normally distributed. The WISC has a mean of 100 and a stan-dard deviation of 15. Banu, therefore, scored two standard deviations above the mean: (130–100)/15 = 2. Z scores are a measure of the distance from the mean in units of standard devia-tion, so Banu has a z score of +2, making possible answers D and E. Percentile is a measure of the percent of test takers who scored at or below a particular score. We know that 50 percent of the test takers scored at or below the mean. We know that an additional 34 percent of scores fall between the mean and one standard deviation above the mean, and we know that another 13.5 percent of scores fall between one and two standard deviations above the mean. Adding these numbers together tells us that Banu scored at the 97.5th percentile, making the answer E.



 21.        Which is typical of a positively skewed distribution?

(A)        The mean is higher than the median.

(B)        The mean is lower than the median.

(C)         There are more high scores than low scores.

(D)         The mode is higher than the median but lower than the mean.

(E)         The mode is lower than the median but higher than the mean.


( A) In a positively skewed distribution, there are more low scores than high scores. Typi-cally, one or several unusually high scores, or outliers, skews the distribution. As a result, the mean is pulled up, toward the extreme scores, and is therefore higher than the median. Outli-ers generally have no effect on the mode, the most frequently occurring score, so it is difficult to make a general statement about the relationship of skew to the mode.