Test 1 “Sample Questions”
Let me give some examples of the types of questions you can expect on Test 1, so you
can plan to "deeply" rather than "superficially" study the materials for the test, and to
reinforce the need to study well in advance, rather than cramming.
The questions illustrate that you need to well understand the meanings of the concepts
covered in the textbook, or in class, in order to be able to apply those correctly to real-
world examples. They also illustrate that some questions will be based on the lecture
notes or what we have discussed in class. An important lesson from these questions also
is: You are not being tested on your opinions or common sense; you are being tested on
what you have learned in the book and in class. They additionally show that you should
approach ANY multiple-choice test by first ruling out what are obviously the wrong
answers and only then rule in the absolutely best answer. There truly IS only one
right/best answer for each question. Finally, they illustrate that I will give examples on
the test that might be fictitious – that is, they do not necessarily refer to a real study, but
they illustrate concepts you need to know and understand. Read each question & answer
carefully. Students sometimes goof because they don’t see words like “NOT” in the
question or answer alternatives.
I do NOT give you the correct answers to these sample questions. I would like you to
figure out what the right answers are. You all should be able to if you have been
studying your book, your lecture notes, and attending class. Rikki during SI (or during
her office hours) will give you the practice you need regarding these sample questions –
remember, though, she will not simply release the right answers. IF you can answer these
types of questions correctly, then you should be in good stead for Test 1. Remember,
though, do not lull yourself into thinking that this sample test is the ONLY material you
should study. This would be unwise, since you are responsible for all material we have
covered and the sample test does not canvas all of that material.
Remember that ALL of the chapters we have studied, all of the lecture notes, and all of
our class discussions are fair game for the test.
Researchers investigated the relationship between amount of smoking and the likelihood
of dying of cancer. They found that as the amount of smoking increased, the chances of
dying of cancer increased. Another way to put their finding is: As the amount of
smoking decreased, the likelihood of dying of cancer decreased as well. Which of the
following correlation coefficients is most likely to reflect the relationship found between
smoking and dying of cancer?
Which of the following "observers" is most likely to make the fundamental attribution
error when explaining someone else's behavior?
(a) Reed, who was distracted while observing the behavior.
(b) Pamela, who was focused on the situation.
(c) Angie, who was not distracted while observing the behavior.
(d) Sirajul, who is an adult in India.
Joyce expected that her new roommate, Chrissie, would be somewhat cold and
unfriendly. Because of this expectation, Joyce did not welcome Chrissie into her room
very warmly. In turn, Chrissie did not act very warmly toward Joyce, and Chrissie even
began to be unfriendly toward Joyce and Joyce's friends. This best illustrates the
operation of the:
(a) negative effects of counterfactual thinking.
(b) self-fulfilling prophecy.
(c) false-consensus effect.
(d) theory of cognitive dissonance.
Marty has small eyes, low eyebrows, a small forehead, and an angular chin. Victor has
large round eyes, high eyebrows, round cheeks, a larger forehead, smooth skin, and a
rounded chin. According to actual research findings regarding social perception, Victor
should have the greatest advantage over Marty when:
(a) they apply for jobs as computer software programmers.
(b) they are each on trial for an intentional wrongdoing.
(c) they audition to play the part of a cousin in a theater production.
(d) they are each on trial for an accidental, but negligent act.
Carly was given complete freedom in what paper to write for her Speech Debate class.
She came up with the idea, on her own, to argue in favor of the death penalty for people
convicted of murder (even though Carly has always been strongly opposed to the death
penalty). After Carly writes the paper, what will her attitude be toward the death penalty,
according to cognitive dissonance theory?
(a) Carly is likely to favor the death penalty more.
(b) Carly is likely to favor the death penalty less.
(c) Carly's attitude toward the death penalty will not change.
(d) Carly will have conflicting attitudes toward the death penalty.
Researchers first observed kids in two different day-care centers. They saw that the kids
in both day-care centers really liked drawing pictures using colorful magic markers.
They knew this, because all kids would choose these materials and activities during free-
play. The researchers then executed a study at the two centers over a three-week period.
In Center A, they would always reward the kids every time they chose to play with the
magic markers (by giving them treats). In Center B, the researchers did not introduce any
reward -- in other words, they did not introduce anything new. In the 4th week, they then
observed how often the kids would freely choose to play with the magic markers. They
found that the rewarded kids (Center A) played with the magic markers a LOT LESS
than the kids who received no extra reward (Center B).
Which school of thought, or perspective, in psychology would be totally surprised by the
"day care study" finding, since the finding contradicts their predictions?
(c) humanistic psychology
(d) cognitive psychology
The day-care study is an example of a(n) _____________ study, in which at least one
_______________ variable is ______________?
(a) laboratory, dependent, measured.
(b) field, dependent, measured.
(c) experimental, independent, manipulated.
(d) correlational, independent, measured.
The day-care study also is an example of a study conducted in a ___________
research setting and using a(n) _______________ data-collection method?
(a) field, experimental.
(b) field, test.
(c) laboratory, self-report.
(d) field, observational.
Pretend that two women were interviewed by a potential employer for a job. The two
women are known to differ in physical attractiveness – with one being super beautiful
and the other being average in attractiveness. Besides that difference, their resumes are
identical, and they act the same and dress the same during the interview. The findings
show that the interviewer later reported that he believed the more attractive candidate to
be more objectively qualified for the job, and he assertively declared several examples of
her better qualifications. He flat out denied relying on the candidates’ physical
attractiveness to make the decision to offer the beautiful woman the job and offer her a
salary that was $5,000 higher than the maximum salary that was advertised. The male
interviewers' comments reveal, directly or indirectly, the:
(a) problems with using self-reports as a valid data-collection method.
(b) problems in relying on introspection as a data-collection method.
(c) problems with the structuralists’ prime and preferred method for identifying elements
(d) "what is beautiful, is good" stereotype.
(e) all of the above.
Researchers who report strong correlation coefficients between two measures that have a
positive (+), this means _________________, and when they find strong correlation
coefficients having a minus (-) sign, this means ___________________:
(a) the scores on both measures increase (or decrease) in the same direction; the scores on
the two measures are inversely related.
(b) the scores on the two measures are inversely related; the scores on both measures
increase (or decrease) in the same direction.
(c) the researchers have found a good or beneficial relationship; the researchers have
found a bad or harmful relationship.
(d) the plus or minus sign doesn't make a difference in interpreting either relationship,
since we need to know more about the size of the coefficient.
A researcher finds that there is a strongly positive, and statistically significant, correlation
between the number of churches in a community and the amount of alcohol sold in that
community. What is the most reasonable conclusion to draw based on these results?
(a) drinking alcohol probably causes people to feel guilty, which increases their church
(b) the researchers did not have a big enough sample to justify reporting this result.
(c) there is probably something about church attendance (or what happens during church)
that drives people to drink.
(d) there probably is a "third" variable that explains the relationship (e.g., size of
Another researcher finds that children who frequently watch TV shows with positive
messages (like Mr. Rogers; shows emphasizing sharing, caring, helping) also are
observed to be much more altruistic at school. Point(s) illustrated by this finding are:
(a) we might be wise to expose children to positive TV shows because this brings about
increases in altruism.
(b) children who are altruistic might not need any extra exposure to these types of TV
(c) we can predict how often these shows will be watched by knowing how altruistic
(d) our values and hopes can interfere or bias interpretations of correlational results.
(e) all of the above deserve further study to find which ones are valid.
A high school teacher is worried about gender biases of the students. For example, the
teacher observes the students to frequently express beliefs that girls are more emotional
and more easily upset than boys. The teacher wants to eliminate these beliefs and thus
makes the students write down 100 times "girls are not more emotional, girls are not
more emotional, girls are not more emotional..." The teachers also criticizes the class for
holding these beliefs, since they are wrong and can be harmful -- thus telling the class to
stop thinking these things! What are these types of beliefs called: ___________?; What
is the most likely effect of the teachers’ behavior toward the students?
(a) primed beliefs; decrease the students' behaviors.
(b) stereotypes; increase the students' behaviors.
(c) negative attitudes; enhance student guilt which then decreases their behaviors.
(d) implicit beliefs; decrease the students' behaviors.
Chapter 1 devoted a lot of space to discussing debates that raged between philosophers
about the mind-body problem. Stated in layperson's terms, what IS the mind-body
(a) under what conditions observable behavior causes vs. does not cause changes in the
(b) how a small clump of brain tissue creates thoughts, consciousness, creativity, etc.
(c) how the brain sometimes causes, and other times does not cause, changes in
observable behavior, etc.
(d) why some people's thoughts don't match their behavior, but other people's thoughts do
match their behavior, etc.
The majority of Americans believe in the "soul." Many Americans believe in a "Ghost in
the Machine" -- that we possess an ethereal, nonphysical "something" that is directing our
brains to do things. In fact, many Americans also think that many mental problems (such
as depression) reflect a weakness of the person's soul or will and that the depressed
person could just "snap out of it" if the person “really wanted” to. These intuitions or
beliefs best align with which philosophical roots of psychology?
Twice as many women than men, worldwide, are diagnosed with clinical levels of
depression. The greater incidence of depression in women than men is consistent with
which school of thought or perspective in psychology?
(a) a biological perspective best accounts for the difference.
(b) a learning perspective best accounts for the difference.
(c) a socio-cultural perspective best accounts for the difference.
(d) a psychodynamic perspective best accounts for the difference.
(e) any or all of above could best account for the difference.
People can suffer from several different, distinct episodes of depression throughout their
lifetime. For example, a person could be clinically diagnosed as suffering from
depression during their teenage years & recover; the person could again become
depressed in young adulthood & recover, and then the person could suffer a third bout of
depression in old age & recover. Which statement reflects the best way of explaining or
approaching this person’s three episodes of depression?
(a) the cause of all three is likely a risk factor that is biological in nature (e.g., hormonal
factors, neurotransmitter deficits, and/or genetic predispositions).
(b) the cause of all three likely reflects some consistency in the person’s environment that
creates a repeated risk for depression (e.g., continued stress, continued reinforcement for
(c) the person has some deep-seated, unresolved, psychodynamic issue (like a secret
loathing of the mother) that is creating a repeated risk for depression.
(d) the person has developed thought patterns or habits that create a risk for repeated
depressive episodes (e.g., the person consistently attributes negative outcomes to
something about their personality as opposed to the situation).
(e) each depressive episode could reflect only one of these different causes or a
combination of them.
We know from scientific research that a variety of biological factors contribute to the
development of a disorder, like depression. We encounter a person who is clinically
diagnosable as depressed. The best way of seeking to help this person is:
(a) definitely referring the person to an interdisciplinary team to assess the factors
specifically contributing to this episode of this person’s depression.
(b) definitely referring the person to a physician to prescribe a drug treatment, like
(c) definitely using a combination of drug therapy and psychotherapy.
(d) definitely using psychotherapy alone, since drugs have as yet unknown negative side
Chapter 3 is dedicated to the genetic and evolutionary foundations of behavior. Which
historical figures from Chapter 1 would resonate most to this chapter?
(a) Sigmund Freud and Carl Rogers.
(b) Lev Vygotsky and Jean Piaget.
(c) B.F. Skinner and J.B. Watson.
(d) Konrad Lorenz and William James.
Your book discusses one of Freud’s most impressive and long-lasting contributions to
psychology. What was this?
(a) his recognition that unconscious processes affect conscious thought and action.
(b) his discovery of the psychoanalytic method for use in treatment and understanding the
(c) proving that physicians, and not just psychologists, could offer considerable insights
into mental health processes.
(d) his development of dream analysis and the method of free association to help people.
Research actually shows that (a) female humans seek to mate most frequently around the
time of ovulation and (b) male humans seek out females to mate most often around the
time that females ovulate or when they are “tricked” into perceiving that a female is
ovulating by scenting the female with pheromones (scents emanating from the female
body that are strongly correlated with ovulation). What is the most plausible ultimate
explanation of these preferences?; What is the most plausible proximate explanation of
(a) Humans have evolved signals specific to their species to tell each other when it is best
to mate; Culture and the Lamarckian processes contributing to acquired cultural
characteristics have evolved to fine tune this signaling system.
(b) These signaling systems in humans actually are nonfunctional, since they do not
provide any extra added value in promoting mating since humans have evolved other
ways of ensuring sexual reproduction; Male and female humans are socialized and simply
consciously know that the different moods of females are signs of their reproductive
(c) Pheromones and seeking mating at the time of ovulation are adaptive mechanisms for
ensuring conception and the continuation of their genes; The females’ drive to mate is
triggered by the production of ovulation-specific sex hormones and the males’ drive to
mate is facilitated when they smell pheromones that have been triggered by the
production of certain sex hormones during ovulation.
(d) The male and female humans’ behaviors are fixed action patterns that have evolved
over eons to ensure reproductive success; There are specific environmental (e.g.,
marriage) and hormonal conditions (e.g., progesterone) needed to get males and females
to choose to want to mate.
Human primates and nonhuman primates (such as chimpanzees and bonobos) will
display smiles or smilelike expressions. They also share other types of nonverbal
displays, such as yawning or crying. Nonetheless, these displays are not identical,
humans show a wider variety of displays, and they seem to consciously control them
more. The similarity between the nonverbal displays of human and nonhuman primates
is interpreted as evidence for:
(a) A linear progression of evolution in which humans gradually descended from
apes, with human primates having evolved most recently and being better adapted
to control their nonverbal behavior, probably because they have bigger brains.
(b) A common genetic ancestry reflecting homologous evolution that could have led
to the selection of genes that would produce these signals in both species because
of their adaptive value in the social groups in which both species live.
(c) A common genetic ancestry reflecting analogous evolution that could have led to
the selection of genes that would produce these signals in both species because of
their adaptive value in the social groups in which both species live.
(d) The existence of vestigial characteristics in both species that got passed along
genetically, because both infant human primates and nonhuman primates have no
other way of communicating with their kin.
Imagine that the world underwent a catastrophe of cataclysmic proportions in 2010.
Meteors and asteroids pummeled the entire earth, unleashing a series of natural disasters
on earth. All that remained were underground caves no higher than 4 feet tall, with little
oxygen, little light, little food – many of the resources necessary for survival, as we know
it, were destroyed. Many thousands of years later, scientists observe that most of the
human organisms living in these caves are short in stature; they also have low
metabolism rates, huge lungs, huge eyes, narrow shoulders, hairy bodies, and great
singing voices. Which of these traits most likely reflects genetic drift?
(a) short stature
(b) low metabolism rates
(c) huge lungs & eyes
(d) hairy bodies
(e) narrow shoulders
(f) great singing voices
Researchers asked husbands and wives (who were the only people living in the
household) to keep a log of their contribution to the household over a period of weeks.
The logs were private, i.e., the husbands and wives were told not to discuss the
percentages they estimated. Each husband and wife kept track of their positive
contributions -- what percentage of the household chores each of them did (e.g., laundry,
cooking, cleaning, shopping, paying bills). Each husband and wife also kept track of
their negative contributions -- what percentage of the “messes” each of them left in the
home (e.g., leaving dirty dishes, not using the clothes hamper to dispose of soiled
clothing, not making the bed, failing to update the checkbook). The researchers then
tallied two percentages, making sure to control for the number of chores and number of
husband-wife pairs. That meant that each percentage, from a rationale/mathematical
perspective, should have been 100% (e.g., husbands did 40% and wives did 60% of the
chores; husbands made 40% of the messes and wives the remaining 60%, etc.).
Surprisingly, though, they found that the percentage for the positive column was far
greater than 100% and that for the negative column was far lower than 100%. How can
this be?! A percentage can’t be greater or lesser than 100; it should add to 100! What
effect do these results best illustrate?
(a) Better-than-average phenomenon
(c) Self-serving bias
(d) Actor-observer discrepancy
(e) Fundamental attribution error
Tamara and her husband drive a long distance to the USU campus. During each trip, they
encounter dangerous and frustrating driving practices on the part of other drivers (not
themselves, of course). Each time someone else makes an unwise driving maneuver,
her husband exclaims something to the effect of “that stupid, jerk, idiot driver needs
driving lessons.” Tamara will point out that “gee, maybe the driver was distracted by
kids fighting in the backseat or maybe the driver just dropped a scalding hot cup of
coffee.” The husband’s tendency best illustrates ___________ and Tamara’s
countertendency best illustrates _________________:
(a) Self-serving bias; a focus on the driver’s dispositions.
(b) Better-than-average effect; a focus on the driver’s situation.
(c) Actor-observer discrepancy; a focus on the driver’s situation.
(d) Fundamental attribution error; a focus on the driver’s situation.
(e) Fundamental attribution error; redefining the goals of attribution.
The suicide rate in collectivist cultures (e.g., Japan) is higher than in individualist cultures
(e.g., the U.S.) among college students who perform consistently and extremely poorly
during their school careers. Research in psychology provides several ways of
understanding this difference in suicide rates. Of the evidence we have studied thus far,
what is one sensible way of explaining the higher rate of suicide of students from
collectivist cultures? Relatively speaking, when compared to collectivist cultures, the
evidence suggests that …
(a) individualist cultures attach less weight to academic achievement and are more
concerned about financial and material wealth.
(b) individualist cultures are more tolerant and forgiving of academic failure, because
these cultures are guilt-based rather than shame-based.
(c) individualist cultures see success as a personal choice, which makes them more
prone to failure-induced cognitive dissonance, which then causes them to reduce
their positive attitudes toward academic success.
(d) individualist cultures define their self-worth less in terms of values that emphasize
how their behavior or performance reflects on the larger social group and duties
or obligations to the group.
Physically fit adult males were asked to imagine that a fire had broken out in a church
building. The fire was intense, out of control, and the smoke had incapacitated all people
in the building. The males saw a slide show, depicting photographs of individuals who
were in the building, in this order: the mayor of the town, the clergy leader, the
respondent’s own older sister, the respondent’s own mother, the respondent’s 30 year-old
wife, a 5 year-old neighborhood girl, a neighbors’ 6-month old infant, and the
respondent’s beautiful adolescent daughter. Each respondent was confronted with a
horrible dilemma, being told that they had the time to save only one person and that they
needed to choose quickly. The majority of males picked their adolescent daughter as the
person they would be most likely to save. A plausible explanation of that preference,
according to your textbook, is that the respondents:
(a) were saving the adolescent daughter as the most certain means of ensuring
continuation of their family’s genes, even though they knew this only
(b) were revealing an unconscious bias that reflects the influence of the “what is
beautiful, is good” stereotype, even in the most harrowing of circumstances.
(c) intuitively felt most attached to the daughter, even though they probably didn’t
even realize this themselves, because of cultural proscriptions against incestuous
(d) picked the last person from the slide show they saw, since this photo would have
been more vivid and salient given the quick choice they were forced to make.
One very likely consequence of saturating magazines, TV, and films with physically
gorgeous or handsome people is that these depictions will:
(a) lead viewers to make social comparisons that will gradually alter standards of
(b) lead viewers to make social comparisons that reduce viewers’ self-esteem.
(c) perpetuate the opposite of the “big-fish-in-little-pond” effect.
(d) increase viewers’ desires to form social rather than personal identities.
Certain ads relevant to the upcoming U.S. presidential election are brief. For example,
some ads meant to promote positive attitudes toward a candidate will show a photo of the
candidate in dashing military garb or standing next to someone in uniform, followed by
the slogan to “Vote Bush” or “Vote Kerry.” End of ad! Which model of attitudes is being
used most heavily in these types of ads?
(a) Getting people to perceive that behavior is controllable even in our 9-11 era,
which is one component of the theory of planned behavior.
(b) Encouraging people in this 9-11 era to systematically think about the candidate’s
qualities as a military leader, which is one component of the elaboration
(c) Cognitive dissonance theory’s prediction that free choice (symbolized by the
military’s role as liberators) produces favorable attitudes.
(d) Classically conditioning favorable views of the candidate to the already favorable
military attitudes that most Americans in the 9-11 era have.
Evolutionary approaches to thought and behavior assert that:
(a) Any naturally evolved tendency (e.g., the capacity to feel spiritual awe or to
reflect on our existence) must at some level reflect an adaptation, which means
that these tendencies are morally superior.
(b) Characteristics shared across species can reflect either common ancestry or
common environmental forces favoring sexual reproduction of organisms with
(c) Genetic factors determine our abilities and behavior more than environmental
(d) Appeals to positive emotions that influence behavior (such as love or compassion)
are not helpful to understanding, predicting, or changing the human condition
(even though they help us feel good).
(e) Recent discoveries in mapping genes will allow scientists to show that human
primates are descendants of nonhuman primates.
Which statement is true of Watson’s or Skinner’s behaviorism? Which statement is true
of evolutionary approaches?
(a) People can exert free choice and will over their behaviors; People cannot exert
free choice and will over their behaviors.
(b) People cannot exert free choice and will over their behaviors; People are
accountable for choices they make regarding their behaviors.
(c) Genetic predispositions have few influences on behavior; Genetic predispositions
are determining influences on behavior.
(d) The mind is not needed to understand behavior; The environment is not needed to
(e) Nurture overrides nature; nature overrides nurture.
Consider a few examples: Dogs have a keen sense of smell. Bats, dolphins, and whales
can navigate using sonar. Elephants have incredible long-term memories. Ravens can
solve unique problems, using insight. Parrots can count and make logical inferences
based on abstract concepts. Chimps and gorillas can learn sign language to communicate
their desires to humans; they act morally in many circumstances; they definitely show
empathy; they definitely grieve. Wasps, bees, and ants are actually more altruistic than
humans. Dolphins also can communicate grammatically correct “sentences,” and they
have self-recognition. Humans have a poorer sense of smell than dogs, they do not
navigate using sonar, but they definitely have all of the other skills, plus they have
language, they appear to be the only organisms uniquely aware that they will die, and
they possess consciousness (although there is evidence that nonhuman primates and other
mammals also possess consciousness & might have a sense of death). What seems to be
the most scientifically valid conclusion to make of these examples?
(a) Each is somehow well adapted to the unique environmental niches in which each
species formed and/or these characteristics are vestiges of successful adaptations
to their distant past environments.
(b) Any of the abilities shown in nonhumans were probably trained or learned,
whereas humans do not need to learn those skills (they simply have them).
(c) Humans show more “higher order” abilities and therefore are higher up on the
(d) Consciousness, and an awareness that we will die, are not all they are cracked up
to be, and are why humans seem to experience more psychological problems than
many other organisms.
The phrase “survival of the fittest” is actually misleading and even societally dangerous,
since it implies that …?
(a) There is one way of being best adapted in all environmental niches.
(b) Characteristics that we value will tend to be seen as the fittest.
(c) Organisms that are the fattest, weakest, dumbest, shortest, etc. would never be the
most adapted to a particular set of environmental constraints.
(d) We could rationalize social policies, such as forced sterilization, based on the
notion that certain organisms are simply unfit.
(e) All of the above.
What is NOT a feature of a scientific theory?
(a) It provides the framework for explaining already existing facts.
(b) It makes logical predictions about new facts that (a) should be found and (b)
should not be found, if the theory is valid.
(c) It is a set of ideas that people should feel free to ignore, because the ideas are “just
a theory” (and any theory can find proof for its validity).
(d) Its hypotheses are specific enough to be testable using the scientific method.
(e) Its predictions are specific enough to actually allow scientific evidence to dispute
or refute the theory.
People attributed all kinds of claims to Darwin. Which claim is a false attribution to
(a) Breeding in nature is selective and can produce changes in living things over
(b) Might is not necessarily “right,” meaning that we should not equate how powerful
or influential organisms are with how evolved or moral they are.
(c) Natural selection occurs because certain organisms will have characteristics that
are adaptive in overcoming environmental obstacles and other organisms will not
have those characteristics.
(d) The fittest survive; therefore: more evolved means more moral or right, and less
evolved means less moral or less right.
(e) On average and over generations, any inherited characteristic that decreases the
number of offspring an organism can produce will probably be “selected against.”