Department of Psychology
Midterm Examination 2
The initial item analysis identified three "bad" items:
#9, #30, and #39.
These items were rescored correct for all responses. If you got any of these items incorrect, give yourself one additional point for each such item.
In addition, the item analysis revealed that two items had been incorrectly keyed due to a transcribing error:
#12, the correct answer is A not B.
#25, the correct answer is C not B.
These items were rescored accordingly, and you should adjust your scores as well.
On the initial scoring, the mean score was 31.75, or about 63% correct, which is a little lower than my customary range, which is about 65-70% correct.
With rescoring, the mean score on the exam increased to 35.43, or 71%, which is more in line with expectations.
For each item, I give the percentage of students getting the answer right, and the item-to-total correlation (rpb)
Fairly soon, I'll post final feedback with commentary on each of the questions.
Choose the best answer to each of the following 50 questions. Questions are drawn from the text and lectures in roughly equal proportions, with the understanding that there is considerable overlap between the two sources. Usually, only one question is drawn from each major section of each chapter of the required readings; again, sometimes this question also draws on material discussed in class. Read the entire exam through before answering any questions: sometimes one question will help you answer another one.
Most questions can be correctly answered in one of two ways: (1) by fact-retrieval, meaning that you remember the answer from your reading of the text or listening to the lecture; or (2) inference, meaning that you can infer the answer from some general principle discussed in the text or lecture. If you cannot determine the correct answer by either of these methods, try to eliminate at least one option as clearly wrong: this maximizes the likelihood that you will get the correct answer by chance. Also, go with your intuitions: if you have actually done the assigned readings and attended the lectures, your "informed guesses" will likely be right more often than they are wrong.
Be sure you are using a red Scantron sheet.
Fill in the appropriate circles with a #2 pencil only.
Be sure you put your name on the front of the red Scantron sheet.
Be sure you put your Student ID# on both sides of the red Scantron sheet.
Indicate Exam 002 (use all three digits) on the reverse side of the red Scantron sheet.
Retain this exam, along with a record of your answers.
1. According to the doctrine of specific nerve energies, why do we experience differences in the sensory quality of the taste of iced tea, the sound of birds singing, and the sight of a fireworks display?
A. Because of our past experiences with these particular stimuli
B. Because different sensations excite different nervous structures*
C. Because there are physiological differences in the conduction speed of the neurons that are associated with different sense organs
D. All of the above
74% of the class got this item correct, item-to-total rpb = .38. The Doctrine of Specific Nerve Energies says that each modality of sensation (like vision and audition) -- and each quality of sensation within a modality, like red vs. blue hue -- is associated with the activity of a particular set of neural structures. This is different from defining sensory modality in terms of the nature of the proximal stimulus, like electromagnetic radiation for vision and mechanical vibrations for audition. Modality of sensation isn't determined by the stimulus: it's determined by the neural structures that process the stimulus. If we could connect the retina of your eye to the auditory projection area of your temporal lobe, you'd hear colors instead of seeing them.
2. Most psychologists believe that there are at least _________ different skin sensations. They are __________.
A. three; pressure, temperature, and pain
B. three; pressure, warmth, and cold
C. four; pressure, itch, temperature, and pain
D. four; pressure, warmth, cold, and pain*
57% correct, rpb = .33. This is an application of the doctrine of specific nerve energies. You'd think, logically, that hot and cold would be opposite ends of a single continuum, with warm somewhere in between, like high and low auditory pitch, with Middle C in the middle. But that's not how the skin senses work. Instead, there are separate receptors for warm and cold stimuli, responsive to positive and negative temperature differentials between the stimulus and the skin; the sensation of hot is generated by the simultaneous activation of the warm and cold receptors.
3. Which finding is inconsistent with the place theory of pitch?
A. High-frequency tones cause peak deformations close to the oval window, while low-frequency tones have their peaks farther away from this structure.
B. For high-frequency tones, the site of peak deformation along the basilar membrane does not correspond to stimulus characteristics.
C. Normal adults can discriminate the frequencies of tones considerably higher than 500 hertz.
D. For low-frequency sounds, the basilar membrane is deformed almost equally along its entire length.*
31%, .28. Auditory pitch corresponds to the frequency of the soundwave. At low frequencies, the basilar membrane vibrates as a whole, and the pitch is determined by the frequency with which it vibrates against the hair cells that perform transduction. At high frequencies, however, the basilar membrane can't vibrate fast enough -- it maxes out at about 1000 hertz. So, at high frequencies, the frequency principle is replaced by the place principle: the basilar membrane deforms more in one portion than the others, and the particular hair cells stimulated by that point of maximal vibration generate the neural representation of pitch. Low frequencies generate low pitches by the frequency principle; high frequencies generate high pitches by the place principle.
4. What does the Young-Helmholtz theory fail to explain?
A. How many color receptors humans have
B. How we discriminate between lights of different wavelengths
C. Why yellow looks like a primary color but is not considered to be one*
D. The Young-Helmholtz theory is remarkably comprehensive; with regard to its scope, no questions remain unanswered.
61%, .42. The Young-Helmholtz theory suggested that all visible hues were generated by three "primary" colors, red, green, and blue, and that there were receptors in the retina of the eye specialized for the corresponding wavelengths of light. The problem is that yellow also seems to be a primary color, not decomposable into some combination of RGB. So where does yellow come from? This problem was solved by the opponent-process theory of color vision. Yes, there appear to be three types of receptors, roughly corresponding to red, green, and blue. But these feed into a set of opponent processes corresponding to red-green and yellow-blue. It's the yellow-blue opponent process that gives yellow the status as a primary color.
5. Suppose you look out over a football stadium. You can see the people nearby as individuals, but in the distance you see only a solid "sea" of blue and white. This example shows how we use _________ to judge distance.
A. shape constancy
B. linear perspective
C. texture gradients*
87%, .30. This is a pretty clear example of texture gradients -- distant stimuli have less texture, less detail, than nearby ones.
6. In a dark room, all that is visible is a luminous triangle surrounding a luminous dot. What will happen as the triangle is moved upwards?
A. The triangle will appear to move up.
B. The triangle will appear to move down.
C. The dot will appear to move up.
D. The dot will appear to move down.*
91%, .26. If there's no other information available, the visual system assumes that smaller stimuli are figures, and larger stimuli are ground; and that figures move against stable backgrounds. Therefore, even though it's the triangle that moves, it's the dot that appears to move. Things would be different if the triangle, in turn, were presented against its own background, like a rectangular frame. Then it would be clear that it's the triangle that's moving, and the dot is stable.
7. A research subject is asked how she perceives the following stimulus: �* �* �*. She says she perceives it as three pairs, each containing a dash and an asterisk. On the basis of which Gestalt grouping factor of perceptual organization has the subject grouped the stimulus?
C. Good continuation
43%, .38. In similarity, similar stimuli are grouped together. But dashes and asterisks don't look similar, so that can't be the principle. However, the dashes and asterisks are right next to each other, permitting grouping based on proximity. Now, it's true that once you've grouped the stimuli based on proximity, the three groups all look alike. But the subject doesn't perceive the six stimuli as a group. She perceives them as three pairs. So they're not being grouped based on similarity; just proximity.
8. Tamara has visual agnosia. She often fails to recognize objects, even very common ones. What type of damage is she most likely suffering from?
A. Damage to her right frontal lobe
B. Damage to her left frontal lobe
C. Damage to her occipital-parietal pathway
D. Damage to her occipital-temporal pathway*
42%, .25. Visual agnosia is a failure to recognize familiar objects -- as opposed to cortical blindness, which would entail an inability to see them in the firs place. And object-recognition seems to be mediated by structures located at the boundary between the occipital and temporal lobes. Remember the occipital involvement in vision, and the temporal involvement in memory. It's an example of functional specialization: apparently, neural structures in the occipital-temporal pathway are specialized for object-recognition.
9. What type of search does one perform when the visual search target differs from other array items by only one feature?
A. A parallel search*
B. A serial search
C. A search that can vary greatly in the time it takes depending on the number of items in the array
D. Both b and c
43%, .19. A bad item, if just barely.Searching for a target (figure) in an array (ground) can proceed quickly, in parallel, or more slowly, serially. When the target differs from the rest of the array on only one feature, such as a red O in an array of green Os or a red O in an array of red Vs, search proceeds very quickly, in parallel, and the odd item "pops out". But searching for a red O in an array consisting of green Os and red Vs is much harder, because each item in the array has to be inspected serially, one by one.
10. In a dichotic listening task, which of the following is most likely to be noticed in the unattended ear?
A. A shift in the speaker's language
B. A change in the speaker's gender*
C. Discussion of a controversial topic
D. All of the above are equally likely or unlikely to be noticed.
47%, .26. In dichotic listening, people most easily notice changes in the physical properties of the stimulus, such as whether the voice is male or female. Other, more "meaning"-related properties, such as whether the message is spoken in English or Russian (both spoken by a male voice), or a story about fishing versus a story about typing, tend not to get noticed. That is because attention "filters" stimuli at a very early stage of information-processing, before meaning analyses take place. At least in theory. In fact, some aspects of meaning do leak through the filter -- such as the subject's own name. But that is an exception, and that's not one of the response options in the question.
11. Objects A and B both cast the same size image on your retina, yet distance cues indicate that A is closer to you. Which of the following will you perceive to be true?
A. A is larger than B.
B. A is smaller than B.*
C. A and B are objects of the same size, at different distances from you.
D. A and B are objects of the same size, at the same distance from you.
74%, .32. Remember the size-distance relation. At equal distances, a large object will cast a relatively large image on the retina. But for equal sizes, the closer object will cast the larger image. So, if two images are the same size, but distance cues indicate that A is closer, then B will be perceived as larger.
12. When you smell a cake baking in the oven, the chemicals that are dissolved in the mucous membrane of your nose constitute the:
A. proximal stimulus.*
B. distal stimulus.
C. transduced stimulus.
D. projected stimulus.
76%, .34. In the initial posting of the scoring key, this item was mis-keyed. But A is obviously the correct answer. The distal stimulus is the cake. The proximal stimulus consists of the airborne chemicals, "leaked" by the cake and dissolved in the mucous membrane of the nose. The proximal stimulus is transduced into a neural impulse by sensory receptors that are sensitive to the chemicals in question. And then this neural impulse is carried over a special nerve, the olfactory nerve, to the appropriate projection in the brain -- which, in this case, is the subcortical olfactory bulb .
13. According to Gibson's ecological view of perception:
A. the information in the environment is sufficient to allow us to perceive the world as it really is.*
B. because the environment is vague and ambiguous, perception is subject to illusions.
C. information in the stimulus environment must be supplemented with inferences based on other knowledge.
D. perception involves mostly "top-down", and very little "bottom-up", processing.
84%, .43. It's called the ecological view because all the action is in the environment -- in the ecology. According to Gibson, the perceptual system has evolved in such a way that we can perceive the environment the way it really is, without recourse to "higher" mental processes of judgment and inference, and without need to retrieve information from memory or form expectations. In other words, for Gibson, perception is unmediated, or immediate, not mediated by cognitive processes.
14. Which depth cue is provided by the eyes, rather than the distal stimulus?
75%, .28. Accommodation, like convergence, is an ocular cue, meaning that the information for perception is provided by the movements of the eyes. Unlike convergence, however, accommodation is a monocular cue, meaning that it is available to an organism that has only a single eye. Elevation, superposition, and shadowing are (monocular) optical, or pictorial, cues, meaning that the information for perception is provided by the distal object: they reflect how the optics of the visual system create "pictures" on the retina.
15. Although the perceptual constancies appear to contradict the ecological view of perception, they may be compatible with this view provided that we:
A. allow unconscious inferences to take place.
B. consider the stimulus as including both the object and its background.*
C. take into account Gestalt principles like proximity and good organization.
D. consider disparities between information provided by the mango and parvo cells in the visual cortex.
54%, .21. Remember that Gibson defines the stimulus environment broadly, to include both figure and ground. So, in the case of size constancy, the availability of depth cues in the environment allow size to be perceived accurately. But, in the Gibsonian view, all this information is in the stimulus environment; it doesn't really require any inferences or judgments, conscious or unconscious, on the part of the perceiver. All the information necessary for perception is just there, "in the light".
16. In the perceptual cycle, action by the observer:
A. modifies the information provided by the stimulus.*
B. produces a mismatch between the object and the schema.
C. occurs prior to the onset of a surprising event.
D. leads to the development of expectancies concerning the object.
54%, .21. The perceptual cycle is one of assimilation and accommodation. The perceptual cycle begins with a stimulus that is surprising or unexpected -- it doesn't fit into the perceiver's current cognitive schema. Then the perceiver acts on the stimulus to bring it in line with expectations -- in other words, assimilates the stimulus to the schema; and also acts on the schema to bring it in line with information provided by the stimulus -- in other words, accommodates the schema to the stimulus. The cycle of assimilation and accommodation continues until a satisfactory representation of the world has been constructed. But when a new unexpected stimulus appears, generating a new mismatch between object and schema, the perceptual cycle starts up all over again.
17. In the ambiguous (reversible) figures:
A. perception changes with new stimulus information.
B. the same stimulus can be perceived in two or more different ways.*
C. perception is guided by unconscious inferences.
D. the perceiver's "effort after meaning" creates illusions of various sorts.
92%, .32. In ambiguous figures, such as Rubens' vase and the Necker cube, the stimulus remains constant, but the perception changes. The vase can reverse into profiles, while the Necker cube can reverse so that it appears in a different orientation. It's not a matter of unconscious inferences. And there's nothing illusory about the percept involved. But it does mean that there's something involved in perception that can't be accounted for by the extraction of information from the stimulus.
18. If you "can't think of it now" but do remember it later, there was an initial failure of
97%, .23. This kind of temporary forgetting is a matter of gaining access to information available in memory storage. So, the forgetting isn't a matter of acquisition (encoding) failure, and it's not a matter of retention (storage) either. It's a matter of retrieval. Another illustration is when you can't recall something, but recognize it when someone else tells you about it. Recognition tests provide more cues than recall tests, and thus permit people to improve their access to available information at the retrieval stage of memory processing.
19. The capacity of working memory seems to be about _________ items.
99%, .21. Remember "the magical number seven, plus or minus two". This is the capacity of short-term or working memory: somewhere between 5 and 9 items of information. Of course, the capacity of short-term memory can be increased by chunking items together. So, for example, the general information number for UCB is 510-642-6000. That's 10 items of information. But if you code the first three digits as a "chunk" representing East Bay area codes, and the next three digits as another chunk representing the university's telephone exchange (all UCB numbers begin with either 642 or 643), then you've got just six items of information to keep in memory: 510, 642, and 6-0-0-0.
20. Two groups hear a list of 20 unrelated items and are tested for immediate recall a few seconds after they hear the last word. In group I, the items are presented at the rate of 1 second per item; in group II, they are presented at 2 seconds per item. Which of the following should we expect?
A. The same primacy effect for both groups; a greater recency effect for group I
B. The same primacy effect for both groups; a greater recency effect for group II
C. The same recency effect in both groups; a greater primacy effect for group I
D. The same recency effect for both groups; a greater primacy effect for group II*
60%, .36. Remember the serial-position curve: the first and last items of a list tend to be remembered better than items in the middle. In theory, the primacy effect -- better memory for the first items -- reflects the operations of "long-term" memory, while the recency effect -- better memory for the last, or most recent, items - -reflects the operations of "short-term" memory. Any manipulation that affects long-term memory, such as presentation rate, will influence the primacy effect: thus, slow presentation rates permit more elaborative and organizational processing. Any manipulation that affects short-term memory, such as distractors which prevent maintenance (rote) rehearsal, will influence the recency effect. Group I gets a slower presentation rate, and thus, has more opportunity for elaborative and organizational processing; this will affect the primacy effect, but not the recency effect. If subjects had to count backwards after presentation of the list, that would wipe out short-term memory, and affect the recency component but not primacy.
21. Melissa is going on a sea cruise for the first time in seven years. She cannot remember much about her first Caribbean voyage before setting sail on her new trip, but as soon as she feels the ship roll and she smells the salty air, she recalls several details about her original trip. The rolls and smells have acted as
A. mnemonic devices.
B. autonomic nervous system stimulants.
C. retrieval cues.*
D. episodic memories.
95%, .29. Yeah, they're retrieval cues. The rolls and smells are cues for the retrieval of episodic memories, but they're cues, not the memories themselves. Mnemonic devices make use of retrieval cues, but these have to be set up at the time of encoding, and are deliberately referred to at the time of retrieval. There's nothing deliberate about this effect: it just happens that rolls and smells are effective retrieval cues for these memories.
22. Subjects have been tested for forgetting after long intervals spent awake or asleep. These experiments find that subjects who sleep during the retention interval remember more than those who are awake. These results pose a problem for the _________ theory of forgetting.
66%, .43. This is, essentially, the design of a classic experiment testing the decay versus interference theories of memory, performed by Jenkins and Dallenbach in 1924. In this experiment, the retention interval for the two groups is the same, and so the opportunity for decay (which occurs merely as a function of time) is also the same. But the group that slept showed better memory than the group that stayed awake. What do you do when you stay awake? You acquire more memories that will interfere with the old memories -- what is known as retroactive interference. So the fact that staying awake harms memory, even though the retention interval stays constant, is a problem for the decay theory of forgetting, which holds that memory diminishes merely as a function of time.
23. Brent studied Russian during his first three years in college, between the ages 18 and 20. When is Brent likely to forget the most Russian?
A. During his senior year and the first year after college*
B. Between the ages 25 and 35
C. Between the ages 40 and 50
D. Between the ages 50 and 60
61%, .34. Even though forgetting is time-dependent, forgetting is most rapid at the beginning of a retention interval. So, if Brad studied Russian in his junior year, he will forget the most during the summer between junior and senior years, and during the senior year itself. He'll continue to forget during the later time periods, of course, but the rate of forgetting will be less. This is why, for skills like math and foreign languages, it's important that students continue to practice their skills, and not take years "off". In high school, for example, students show significant deterioration in math and foreign language during the summer recess, so that substantial time in the fall has to be devoted to remedial learning of material learned the previous spring. And it's even worse if, for example, students don't take math in their fourth year of high school, and then try to take a math course as college freshmen. Such students are at a significant disadvantage, compared to students who took math all four years. It's too late for you, but tell your younger brothers and sisters: if you're going to take math in college (and you should), make sure you take math all four years of high school, even though it's not strictly required.
24. H. M., the famous neurological patient who has serious and permanent amnesia, can remember some things. For the most part, these things are
A. aspects of declarative memory acquired prior to his surgery and procedural memory of things learned both before and since his surgery.*
B. procedural memory for most things acquired prior to his surgery and episodic memory of things learned both before and since his surgery.
C. procedural memory for most things acquired prior to his surgery and semantic memory for events that have happened since his surgery.
D. verbal memories prior to his surgery and episodic memories since then.
80%, .43. H.M. suffers from an anterograde amnesia, which means that he cannot remember events that occurred after his brain was damaged by the surgery. His pre-surgical memories, however, are largely intact -- especially for "generic" memory, meaning procedural memory and the semantic component of declarative memory. And, he can acquire new procedural knowledge -- and maybe new semantic knowledge as well (this is somewhat controversial). It's just that he doesn't remember these learning experiences, as episodes; and he doesn't know that he has this knowledge, so he can't deliberately retrieve it.
25. Rote rehearsal is good for:
A. maximizing savings in relearning after a long retention interval.
B. encoding items in long-term memory.
C. maintaining items in short-term or working memory.*
D. maintaining the "icon" or the "echo" in sensory memory.
88%, .29. Again, in the initial posting of the scoring key, this item was keyed incorrectly. The correct answer is, of course, C. Rote rehearsal is not good for much of anything, except for the maintenance of information in short-term or working memory. But when you stop rehearsing, as when you're distracted, it's gone -- unless you've engaged in the elaborative rehearsal required for encoding the trace in long-term memory.
26. Category clustering illustrates the importance of the _____ principle of memory.
88%, .06. In category clustering, people reorganize lists, so that they recall category members together, instead of in the order in which the items were initially presented. So, recognition of items' category membership generates retrieval cues, in the form of category labels, that help gain access to available items at the time of retrieval.
27. In long-term memory, time-dependent forgetting is mostly a function of:
C. consolidation failure.
35%, .41. See item #22. Forgetting from short-term memory is mostly a function of decay and displacement, which knock the items out of storage. There may be some cases of forgetting from long-term memory due to consolidation failure, but these are mostly (and thankfully) rare cases of concussive head injury. In long-term memory, forgetting occurs for a lot of reasons, but time-dependent forgetting occurs mostly by virtue of retroactive and proactive interference.
28. A "fill-in-the-blanks" item on an academic exam is analogous to a _____ test of memory.
A. free recall
B. cued recall*
73%, .35. Essay tests, which simply pose questions, are analogous to free-recall tests. Multiple-choice tests, which force students to choose which answer is correct, are analogous to recognition tests. Fill-in-the-blanks questions, which provide more cues than essay questions, but fewer cues than multiple-choice questions, are analogous to cued-recall. Of course, if you think about it, all recall is cued recall -- it's just a matter of how rich and informative the retrieval cues are. But that doesn't make the question tricky, because the principle that all recall is cued recall would lead you to the correct answer.
29. The encoding specificity principle is a qualification of the _____ principle of memory processing.
C. schematic processing
65%, .36. The cue-dependency principle says that retrieval is best when there are lots of cues. The encoding specificity principle qualifies this, saying that retrieval is really best when the cues provided at retrieval match cues processed at the time of encoding.
30. The effects of schematic processing on memory for schema-congruent information is predictable from the _____ principle of memory processing.
C. encoding specificity
13%, .01. A bad item. Schemata (the correct plural for schema, derived from the Greek) affect memory at two points. Schema-incongruent information receives more processing at the time of encoding, because they're surprising and surprising events demand explanation -- illustrating the elaboration principle of memory. Schema-congruent information isn't particularly surprising, but the schema itself provides extra cues at the time of retrieval -- thus illustrating the cue-dependency principle.
So, the answer is pretty straightforward. If there hadn't been an item analysis, I would never have dropped this item, because I, personally, don't think it is a bad question. But it doesn't matter what I think. The objective item analysis tells the tale.
31. Research subjects were shown the letter R rotated by various degrees. Sometimes they were shown normal R's that were rotated; sometimes they were shown mirror image R's. The subjects' task was to decide whether the rotated R's were normal or mirror images. What did the results show about the time that was needed to make this decision?
A. The time required to make the decision was directly proportional to the angle of rotation from the upright.*
B. Time increased with the angle of rotation, but not proportionally; the first ten degrees took more time than the next ten degrees, and so on.
C. Time increased with the angle of rotation, but not proportionally; the first ten degrees took less time than the next ten degrees, and so on.
D. The time required to make the decision was unaffected by the angle of rotation from the upright position.
51%, .38. This question about analog representations -- whether we have something like images, or pictures, in the mind as well as verbal, propositional descriptions. Solving this problem requires that subjects rotate the stimuli, to see which one is a normal R, and which is the rotated one. If the stimuli were physically in front of the subjects, printed on cards, they could manually rotate the cards with their hands -- a process that would take time. But when they're not physically printed, subjects have to mentally rotate their image of the stimulus - -a process that should also take time. The fact that reaction time was directly proportional to the angle of rotation from the upright is evidence that we do indeed have mental images, somehow analogous to physical pictures, in our heads.
32. Research subjects are asked to judge whether or not a string of letters forms a word in English. The first string they receive is the word VIOLIN. On a subsequent list of words, results show that the subjects are substantially faster at answering "Yes" to the word PIANO than to the word TOILET or BASKET. What does this result exemplify?
A. Episodic memory
B. Mental set
D. Semantic priming*
68%, .36. This is a clear demonstration of semantic priming. Violin and piano belong to the same semantic category, musical instrument. Toilet and basket don't belong in that category (OK, you can probably play music on them, but let's not go there!). So, if processing violin facilitates the subsequent processing of piano, the priming effect is mediated by an aspect of meaning.
33. In much of human problem solving, like driving to an airport or making a medical diagnosis, each sub-goal is
A. a failed step toward the solution.
B. usually determined mainly by the original problem.
C. usually determined by both the original problem and by the eventual goal.*
D. usually determined mainly by the eventual goal.
78%, .13. Much of human problem-solving is means-end problem-solving. The Tower of Hanoi and Hobbits-Orcs problems, can be solved, essentially, by repeating the same step over and over again. But in other cases, the final goal can be replaced by a series of intermediate subgoals, achievement of each of which reduces the distance between the initial state and the final goal state. Get into the car; drive to I-80; drive to I-880; get off at Hegenburger; park the car. So, the subgoals are determined by both the original problem (the initial state) and the ultimate goal.
34. In deductive reasoning, the validity of a syllogism is determined by
A. the logical relationship between the premises and the conclusion.*
B. the plausibility of the conclusion.
C. whether or not the hypothesis tests well.
D. Both b and c.
57%, .27. This was a question about normative rationality, which is concerned only with the formal, logical relationship between the major and minor premises and the conclusion. Most who got this wrong chose D, but deductive reasoning isn't interested in the plausibility of conclusions, only the logic of the deduction; and it isn't really about hypothesis testing at all.
35. Last week, Mike heard about five separate airplane crashes on the news. Even though, overall, motorcycle accidents account for more accidents than plane crashes do, Mike decides to ride his motorcycle from Washington to Atlanta instead of flying. What is Mike's reasoning error based on?
A. The availability heuristic*
B. The representativeness heuristic
C. The simulation heuristic
D. The anchoring and adjustment heuristic
75%, .48. Repeated news about airplane crashes, five of them, certainly makes the information about airplane crashes more available in memory. A couple of students have made an argument for anchoring and adjustment, because the news anchors Mike's judgment about the comparative safety of airplane and motorcycle travel. But anchoring doesn't really work, because there's no later-arriving information that might correct the initial information. Mike hears about the first airplane crash; and then he hears about four more airplane crashes. There's no information that would call for any adjustment.
Of course, we could argue the point back and forth ad infinitum, and here's where the item analysis provides an objective way to resolve the dispute. If availability and anchoring were reasonable answers to the question, we'd expect (a) that a substantial portion of the class would choose one or the other of these options; and that those who did so would do relatively well on the rest of the test as well. In fact, 3/4 of the class chose availability, and the item-to-total correlation was very strong. Only 10% of the class chose anchoring, and the item-to-total correlation for that response was a negative -.22, meaning that those who chose D did somewhat worse on the exam as a whole than those who did not. So, the objective psychometrics confirm that A is correct, and D isn't.
36. Carl is the one person Craig has ever met from New Zealand. Carl strikes Craig as being quite friendly and funny. When asked what he would expect to find if he went to New Zealand, Craig says that he would expect the people to be quite friendly and funny. What might he have used to make this judgment?
A. The availability heuristic
B. The representativeness heuristic.*
C. The simulation heuristic
D. The anchoring and adjustment heuristic
85%, .26. Craig is assuming that all New Zealanders -- or, at least, the typical Kiwi (as they're called) is like Carl. That's a judgment based on (assumed) similarity, without paying attention to the actual distribution of funniness and friendliness within that group. That's representativeness -- a judgment based on similarity. Now, some students have argued that this could be an instance of availability; but availability occurs when a judgment is based on the ease of information retrieval, and the question said nothing about ease of retrieval. Similarly, some students have argued that this could of instance of anchoring; but in anchoring judgments are based on initial data returns, ignoring information that arrives later; and, again, the question said nothing about later impressions -- after all, Craig only knows one New Zealander, and that's Carl.
Here again, the item statistics bear out the original scoring. Only 4% of the class went for availability, and the item-to-total correlation for this option was a negative -.14. Similar statistics were generated for anchoring: 9% and -.16.
37. The public may think the economic situation is not as bad as it really is if the government reports employment at eighty-two percent instead of saying that the unemployment rate is eighteen percent. In this situation, what factor is influencing these relatively positive judgments?
A. A confirmation bias
B. Framing effects*
C. Ignoring base rates
D. The availability heuristic
83%, .40. This is a clear example of a framing effect: employment is a good thing, so a focus on employment rates makes the economy look good; unemployment is a bad thing, so a focus on unemployment rates makes the economy look bad. A number of students went for A, confirmation bias, but the question isn't about seeking evidence to test a hypothesis. There's just a government report of a rate. For confirmation bias to be right, we'd have to have a scenario in which a government economist wants to test the hypothesis that the economy is good, and selectively focuses on positive, rather than negative, economic data.
38. What condition is often seen in patients with damage to the prefrontal cortex?
A. They will perseverate.*
B. They will have difficulty hearing.
C. They lose the ability to form visual images.
D. They are better at working on a series of different tasks rather than repeating the same task several times.
30%, .42. Some people didn't know what "perseveration" meant. While that's admittedly an unusual word (it's not even in the MS FrontPage dictionary), it's also a technical term in psychology, referring a tendency of subjects to repeat the same, inappropriate, response over and over while performing a task. It's commonly observed in neurological patients suffering damage to the prefrontal cortex - -evidence which supports the hypothesis that the PFC is involved in executive control. A lot of students chose C, but visual images are likely to be constructed by the visual cortex, which is in the occipital lobe. And a lot of students chose D, but perseveration has to do with performance on repeated trials with a single task, not performance on a series of different tasks.
39. Which element is critical to the psychological definition of a problem?
A. A description of the given state of affairs.
B. A description of the goal.
C. A set of transformational operations.
D. A description of one or more obstacles.*
24% .08. A bad item. I mentioned this in class, but it might have gone by too quickly: without an obstacle, a task really isn't a problem. Something becomes a problem if there is an element that prevents the subject from moving immediately from the initial state to the goal state. If you're in room 3333 Tolman, and you want to get to 3210 Tolman, which is just down a long hallway, there's no problem. But now imagine navigating a building like Dwinelle, which has two parts, with levels misaligned, and different room-numbering systems in each part, and you want to get from the Language Center on Level B to the Celtic Studies office on Level F. It's not as simple as taking an elevator and walking down a hallway. You've got to take the right elevator, and turn the right direction, or you run into a blind alley. Navigating Dwinelle Hall is a real problem, because no matter where you are, and no matter where you want to go, there are a lot of obstacles along the way.
40. In a category-verification experiment, subjects take longer to identify a chicken as a bird than they do to identify a chicken as an animal. This finding is most inconsistent with the _____ property of classical category structure.
A. Defining features.
B. Perfect nesting.*
C. Sharp boundaries.
43%, .38. Defining features are those features that are singly necessary and jointly sufficient to identify an object as a member of a proper set. With defining features, there are sharp boundaries between adjacent categories: you're either in one set or another, depending on the features you've got. And proper sets are homogeneous, because all their members share the same set of defining features. Proper sets also are characterized by perfect nesting, because subsets are created by adding defining features to supersets. For that reason, the classical view of category structure holds that, in a three-level hierarchy (such as animal-bird-chicken) objects in adjacent categories will be perceived as more similar than objects in categories that are separated by a level. So, chickens should be judged to be more similar to birds than they are to animals, and this similarity should be reflected in response latencies: it should take less time to make a similarity judgment between objects that are highly similar, compared to objects that are less similar. But that's not the way it works out. It's easier to judge that a chicken is similar to an animal than to judge that it is similar to a bird. That's a violation of perfect nesting.
41. Some people doubt Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection because it is hard to imagine how complex organisms could arise from very simple origins. This belief seems to reflect the operation of the _____ heuristic.
D. anchoring and adjustment
61%, .44. In simulation, judgments are based on the ease with which instances can be imagined. The focus on imagination distinguishes simulation from availability, in which judgments are based on the ease with which instances can be retrieved from memory. In Question #35, Mark is basing his judgment on the ease with which he can retrieve instances of airplane crashes from memory. If he based his judgment on the ease with which he could imagine having a motorcycle accident, he'd be using simulation -- and, frankly, he'd probably choose to ride the airplane.
42. People tend to be _____ when they focus on potential gains, and _____ when they focus on potential losses.
A. risk-averse; risk-averse
B. risk-prone; risk-seeking
C. risk-averse; risk-seeking*
D. risk-seeking; risk-averse
43%, .37. In general, people are risk-averse, and when risk aversion leads them to avoid a high-value risk in favor of a sure thing with a lower value, that is a violation of normative rationality. But it turns out that people are risk averse in the context of potential gains. When the choice is framed in terms of potential losses, people are much more willing to take a chance. In other words, people prefer sure gains, but they prefer risky losses. This is true even when the gains and losses have the same value, as in the Disease Problem.
43. The term "syntax" refers to the
A. meanings of words.
B. sounds of words.
C. rules by which words are combined.*
D. symbols used to designate words.
92%, .31. The study of language has five aspects: phonology, which has to do with the basic sound units of language (like phonemes and syllables, which are made of one or more phonemes); morphology, which has to do with the basic units of meaning (like morphemes and words, which consist of one or more morphemes); semantics, which has to do with the meaning of words; syntax, which has to do with the grammatical rules by which words are combined into sentence-like propositions), and pragmatics, which has to do with how language is actually used in communication.
44. According to the prototype theory of meaning, what defines a prototype of a bird?
A. A list of all the physical features that define birds
B. The one particular feature that makes a bird most bird-like
C. A dictionary-type list of all the attributes that best define birds
D. The most bird-like type of bird*
70%, .48. According to the definitional theory of word meaning, meanings are like dictionary definitions, lists of defining (or, perhaps, characteristic) features. Thus, the meaning of bird is "a warm-blooded vertebrate with feathers and wings". But according to the prototype theory of word meaning, meanings are conveyed by representative examples. Thus, the meaning of bird would be "a creature like a robin or sparrow, which flies and sings".
45. A person who simply answers, "Yes!" when you ask, "Could you pass me the salt?" has failed to obey the principle of
A. grammatical structure.
B. language structure.
C. verbal description.
D. conversational inference.*
71%, .26. This is a classic example of the distinction between semantics and pragmatics in language. Interpreted literally, the sentence is a query about the listener's physical capacities. But when asked if they can pass the salt, people usually just pass the salt -- because, applying conversational rules (such as those listed by John Grice, a former UCB professor of linguistics), they correctly infer the speaker's intended meaning -- which is that he wants the salt and can't reach it for himself.
46. Two-day-old babies were exposed to recordings of normal speech and to recordings of speech played backwards. What changes occurred in the blood flow in the babies' brains?
A. When they heard the backwards recording of speech, there was an increase in blood flow to the right hemisphere.
B. When they heard the recording of normal speech, there was an increase in blood flow to the right hemisphere.
C. When they heard the backwards recording of speech, there was an increase in blood flow to the left hemisphere.
D. When they heard the recording of normal speech, there was an increase in blood flow to the left hemisphere.*
40%, .34. In most people, structures in the left hemisphere, like Broca's and Wernicke's areas, are specialized for language capacity. The fact that infants show specific activation in the left hemisphere, even right out of the womb, before they have had any chance to "learn" to talk, is generally taken as evidence that the human capacity for language is innate -- something that babies are born with, not something they acquire through experience. This innate capacity for language is the kind of thing that keeps the nativists going against empiricists.
47. Which of the following sentences is evidence against the idea that children learn language through imitation?
A. "Bye-bye, Mommy."
B. "Grandma and Grandpa live in Iowa."
C. "I goed to the store today."*
D. "We go to Aunt Betty's house for Thanksgiving."
88%, .27. Children often say things like "goed", even though they've never heard any such thing (no adult native speaker of English says "goed", ever). So, far from imitating what they hear others say, children seem to extract from the speech they hear the syntactical rules that govern their native language -- such as that the past tense is expressed by adding the suffix "-ed" to a verb. And then they overgeneralize this rule, so that they make mistakes like saying "goed". Later, they learn the exceptions to the rule, like "went".
48. What is true of American Sign Language (ASL)?
A. ASL is a system of easy-to-comprehend gestures, somewhat similar to the gestures hearing persons use when they play charades.
B. ASL lacks the functional morphemes and grammatical principles that characterize spoken communication.
C. ASL includes morphemes, ways of building up complex words out of simple ones, and grammatical rules for combining words into sentences.*
D. ASL is a manual version of translated English, based on finger spelling and supplemented with charade-like gestures.
82%, .31. ASL is a real language, with its own (manual) phonemes, morphemes, and syntax. It's not gesture or pantomime. It's not finger spelling. It's not some kind of translation of English. It's a language all on its own, like English or Russian -- and in fact, there are different sign languages used by the deaf in other countries.
49. To what does the concept of a critical period for language acquisition refer?
A. The period of transition between one-word and two-word utterances
B. The time in one's childhood in which language must develop if it is to be fully learned*
C. The period that isolated children spend by themselves before someone teaches them language
D. The period from six to ten years of age during which certain complex aspects of syntax are learned
86%, .34. The notion of critical periods is adopted from ethologists, like Karl Lorenz, who discovered that baby ducks will follow pretty much the first object that moves after their hatched (which is usually a parent, but can be a toy duck on wheels) -- a phenomenon that Lorenz called imprinting. However, that object has to appear, and move, within a particular, relatively short, period after the chick has hatched, or imprinting won't occur. This is the critical period. Similarly, there appears to be a critical period for language. If a child is exposed to language before about age 12, s/he will pick it up naturally and automatically. But if the child's exposure to language is delayed much past age 12, the child will never be a fluent speaker. Similarly, young children find it easier to acquire a second language than older children, or adults. Again, there seems to be a critical period for language acquisition -- a period of time when it is easy to become fluent in a language.
50. There is little or no satisfactory evidence to show that chimpanzees can
A. show propositional thought.
B. be taught to communicate.
C. acquire syntax.*
D. learn sign language.
90%, .26. Chimpanzees can learn individual signs for things, and they can be taught to communicate through these word-like signs, and also through other systems in which physical objects serve as symbols for things and actions. They can also show some degree of propositional thought, meaning that they can string signs together to form rudimentary phrases like "give banana". But beyond this, chimpanzees seem to lack what every normal human child has -- a capacity to use grammar to organize complex thoughts like "David give banana to Nim". Chimpanzees have semantics, but they don't have syntax. And because syntax is the key to language, they don't really have language.
Retain this exam, along with a record of your answers.
A provisional answer key will be posted to the course website by 3:00 PM today.
The exam will be provisionally scored to identify and eliminate bad items.
The exam will then be rescored with bad items keyed correct for all responses.
Grades will be posted to the course website.
A final, revised, answer key, and analyses of the exam items,
will be posted on the course website when grades are posted.
Requests for rescoring must be received within
one(1) week of the posting of grades.