University of California, Berkeley

Department of Psychology


Psychology 164

Spring 2014


Final Examination


Scoring Guide

In what follows I provide the scoring guide given to the GSIs.  These are simply intended to be samples of adequate (3-point) answers.  Other good answers were, of course, possible.  For example, we expanded the scope of a "good" answer for Items #4 and 7.  

Given the three-hour exam period, there was no problem with exam length.

Scoring the Exam

The initial scoring of the exam yielded a mean raw score of 87.06 (SD = 10.31), which included 3 points for everyone on Item #11, which we had already determined was a "bad" item.  Nobody got a perfect score of 100.  The reliability of the exam (Cronbach's alpha) was .83, which is pretty good.

The item analysis to identify any additional bad questions (remember, Item #11 had alrady been identified and rescored).  With a standard multiple-choice exam, in which everybody must answer every item, the statistical standards for a bad item are pretty clear: a low item pass percent, and a low item-to-total correlation, is a pretty good indication that the item in question doesn't belong on the test.  But with a short-answer (or essay) exam, with continuous (rather than dichotomous) scoring of items, there are analogous standards.  

First, I examine the individual item scores, to see if any items were especially difficult -- that is, if the mean score on an item was more than 2 SDs below the mean score for all items (thus following the statistical "Rule of 2" for identifying possible outliers). 

  • The mean score for the 3-point items in the Noncumulative Portion was 2.47, SD = 0.41.
    • So, items with mean scores < 2.06 were more than 1 SD below the mean.
    • And items with mean scores < 1.65 were more than 2 SDs below the mean.
  • The mean score for the 10-point items in the Cumulatie Portion was 9.16, SD = 0.60.
    • So items with mean scores < 8.56 were more than 1 SD below the mean.
    • And items with mean scores < 7.96 were more than 2 SD below the mean.

Item #6 clearly met this criterion, and Item #9 came very, very close.

Then I examine the item-to-total correlations for each item, and identify any item that has an item-to-total r < .20.

  • Item #7 came close.
  • Item #12 was < .20, but it had a mean score within "normal limits".

So there weren't any bad items, which met the dual criterion.  Still, I was bothered by #s 6 and 9.  So any student who did not get full credit for either of those items got 1 extra point for each such item (for a maximum of 2 extra points).

With those points added, the corrected mean score on the exam was 88.50, SD = 10.05). The exam scores reported on the bSpace gradebook reflect the rescoring of the exam, as described above.  

Establishing Final Grades

In assigning final letter grades, we summed the individual scores listed in the Gradebook to yield a final total score, based on a total possible 225 points, and then applied the "industry standard" cutpoints described in the syllabus.

  • A, 93% = 209 (actually, 209.25, but rounded down here and in what follows); 39% of the class received As.
  • A-, 90% = 202; 21%.
  • B+, 87% =  195; 15%.
  • B, 83% = 186; 9%.
  • B-, 80% = 180; 4%.
  • C+, 77% = 173; 6%.
  • C, 73% = 164; 2%.
  • C-, 50%+1 = 113; 3% (remember, I guarantee students who achieve > 50% of the available points "some kind of C").

For students taking the course on a Pass/Fail basis, a total score equivalent to a C- is sufficient for a Pass.

In checking your scores, remember that we go by points, not percents (bSpace calculates percentages strangely, and so its figures may be misleading; but the total points are accurate).

In upper-division courses in the Biological and Social Science divisions of the College of Letters and Sciences, 50.5% of students received "some kind of A" as a final grade.  The percentage of students in this course falling in this range was actually 60%, somewhat higher than the local standard, so no downward adjustment of the cutpoints was desirable.

In what follows I provide information on the item analysis, as well as some additional commentary, as appropriate.

Be sure to print your name and UCB Student ID on every page of the exam.


Your responses should be very concise.  Write your answers in the space provided.  If absolutely necessary, you may continue on the other side of the page.  Write legibly in the space provided, and please use ink.  Exams written in pencil will not be eligible for regrading.


A scoring guide will be posted to the course website by noon on Tuesday, May 13.  Exams should be graded and scores posted by Monday, May 19.




Noncumulative Portion


Answer all 16 questions.  You should need fewer than five (5) sentences to answer each question.  Questions 1-15 are worth 3 points each.  Question 16 is worth a total of 5 points. 



1. How are episodic and semantic self-knowledge represented in memory, and how do we know? [Self; Klein & Kihlstrom]


Mean score = 2.3; item-to-total correlation = .46.  Episodic knowledge about one's own experiences, and semantic knowledge about one's own personality traits and other characteristics, are represented independently of each other.  We know this because amnesic patients retain semantic self-knowledge, and can even acquire new self-knowledge, while lacking episodic self-knowledge.  Moreover, while there is priming within each of these knowledge categories, there is no priming across categories: retrieving episodic self-knowledge does not prime retrieval of semantic self-knowledge, and vice-versa. 




2. How does cultural context affect self-perception?  [F&T, Chapter 5]


M = 2.8; r = .49.  Members of "independent" (mostly Western) cultures emphasize individuality, and distinguishing oneself from others.  Members of "interdependent" (mostly East Asian) cultures perceive themselves in the context of their social relationships.


Beyond this, any two differences drawn from Table 5.3., will suffice for full credit:


  • Independent: unitary, stable; internal, private; uniqueness; social comparison; self-expression. 
  • Interdependent: flexible, variable; external, public; social relationships; fitting in; adjusting and self-restraint.


3. What are "self-guides" and what role do they play in motivation and emotion?  [F&T Chapter 5.]


2.4; .45.  Higgins's self-discrepancy theory holds that people compare their actual self-concepts to two "possible selves": the "ideal self", or what they want to be like, and the "ought self", or what they believe they should be like.  Discrepancies from one's "ideal self" tend to stimulate depression, and motivate efforts to achieve the ideal (promotion focus).  Discrepancies from one's "ought self" tend to stimulate anxiety, and motivate efforts to inhibit one's current characteristics (prevention focus). 




4. What arguments favor the search for specialized brain modules dedicated to various aspects of social cognition?  [Social-Cognitive [Neuroscience]


2.4; .42.  There are both conceptual and empirical arguments to be made.  At a conceptual level, the Doctrine of Modularity implies that if there are modules involved in nonsocial cognition, there might be there might be social modules as well.  Jackendoff has argued that certain aspects of social organization are universal, and thus that our ability to deal with them cognitively might well be mediated by evolved brain systems.  Empirically, Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences is based on the finding that specific intrapersonal and interpersonal forms of intelligence can be isolated by brain damage, as in the comparison of Alzheimer's disease and fronto-temporal dementia.  And, as a further matter of empirical fact, as reviewed by Lieberman, neuroimaging research does appear to have identified certain areas of the brain that are specifically active when subjects perform particular social-cognitive tasks, like face recognition.  The case of  Phineas Gage offers both conceptual and an empirical arguments: phrenologists asumed that there were "social" modules (they called them faculties), and Phineas seemed to have damaged one or two of them. 

5. What are the arguments concerning the localization of face-recognition in the brain?  [Social-Cognitive Neuroscience]


2.8; .44.  Prosopagnosic patients, who have a specific impairment in face recognition, have suffered damage in the fusiform area of the brain, where the occipital lobe meets the temporal lobe.  And when subjects are asked to identify particular faces, they show increased activation in this same area, strengthening the case.  However, it is not yet clear whether the fusiform area is specifically dedicated to face recognition, or whether it is specialized for subordinate-level categorization across a wider range of domains. 



6. According to Lieberman, what are the major categories of socio-cognitive processes identified by brain-imaging research?  (Don't just name them: characterize them briefly). [Social-Cognitive Neuroscience]


1.615; .47.  An "iffy" item, despite the high item-to-total r, but this classification of "core processes" was the major point of Lieberman's article.  Some processes divide into external vs. internal focus, others into automatic and controlled.  Externally focused processes are concerned with the external, physical characteristics of people (including oneself) and situations.  Internally focused processes are concerned with the mental states of both oneself and other people.  Automatic processes are reflex-like, consume little or no cognitive capacity, and operate unconsciously; controlled processes are more deliberate, effortful, and conscious.  Three points for getting them all.  Two points for getting any three.  One point for getting just one or two. 



7.  Approximately when does a child acquire a theory of mind? [Social-Cognitive Development; Gopnik & Wellman]


2.7; .20.  Some students remembered that a similar question appeared on an earlier exam, with what appeared to be a somewhat different answer in the scoring guide.  That was then, this is now.  There were things that I lectured on then, but dropped in 2014 (or covered more lightly), and there were things I emphasized in 2014 that I didn't emphasize in the earlier offering.  I wanted to make sure that students were graded on what I lectured on this semester (as well as the reading), but we accepted both answers.  What doesn't change is that it all depends on the criterion.  In terms of Piaget's "egocentrism" milestone or the traditional "false-belief" test, children older than 5 have it, and children younger than 3 don't.  The performance of 4-year-olds is mixed, but, the difference between <3 and >5 is clear (I lectured on this in 2014).  But nonverbal versions of the false-belief test indicate that even infants as young as 15 months pass the test (and this).  And tests that require subjects to handle "higher-order" theory of mind problems may not be passed until age 9 or later (and this). However, it's also true that there are aspects of the theory of mind, such as an appreciation of diversity in individual desires and beliefs, that appear much earlier; and other aspects, such as the distinction between real and apparent emotion, that appear somewhat later (I passed over this only briefly in 2014, and nobody lost points if they didn't mention it).  Similarly, Gopnik & Wellman argue that 2-year-olds have an appreciation of desire, even if an appreciation of beliefs comes in later.  



8.  What do we know about the theory of mind in autistic children?  [Social-Cognitive Development]


2.7; .35.  Autistic children generally perform normally on do not perform as well on the false-beliefs task as "normal" children who are half their age.  But deaf children from hearing families also perform poorly on the FB task, so the ToM deficit is not specific to autism.  Moreover, it is possible that autistic children would pass nonverbal tests of ToM.  The Tom deficit observed in autism may be caused by an impairment in a brain module supporting social cognition, or it may be that deficits in social interaction cause a failure to develop a theory of mind. 



9. How does Olson and Dweck's "blueprint" for social-cognitive development (SCD) differ from the approach taken to the "theory of mind"?  Give an example of the SCD approach at work.  [Olson & Dweck]


1.648; .33.  An "iffy" item.  The ToM approach seeks to understand the development of social cognition itself, as represented by the theory of mind.  The SCD approach takes a broader view, examining the role of social antecedents (e.g., physical abuse or harsh discipline) and cognitive processes (e.g., a "hostile" attributional style) in the development of a wide range of personality traits and social behaviors.  Any of the following examples will do, as will plausible examples generated by the student:


  • Physical abuse or harsh discipline may lead the child to develop a "hostile" attributional style" that leads him to engage in aggressive behaviors.
  • The child's self-theory (that ability is fixed or malleable), rooted in parental rewards (for performance vs. effort) affects achievement motivation. 
  • Children's categorization of themselves as boys or girls, coupled with parental reinforcement of sex-typed play, leads to individual differences in gender identity and role.



10. What makes a cognitive social-learning theory of personality cognitive?  What makes it a social learning theory?  [Social Learning and Personality]


2.4; .47.  The earliest theories of social learning, rooted as they were in social behaviorism, argued that personality was learned as a system of habits, construed as stimulus-response connections, acquired through conditioning and reinforcement.  All cognitive social learning theories, however, place primary emphasis on the person's expectations and values as determinants of behavior.  And all cognitive social-learning theories emphasize the role of observational learning, especially modeling -- that is, learning from others -- as opposed to the direct experience of reward and punishment. 



11. How does Mandler's cognitive theory of emotion differ from that proposed by Schachter and Singer? [F&T, Chapter 13]


A bad item, and we knew that even before the item analysis.  Everyone got 3 points.  The S&S theory is incredibly important, and the Mandler theory fills in an important gap in S&S, but I don't usually like to ask questions about "names and dates".  So, this was just a mistake, and everybody got full credit.  But here's what it was all about: Schachter and Singer proposed that people label their emotional states in accordance with their perception of the situation in which emotional arousal occurs, but they did not seek to explain the source of the arousal itself.  Mandler argued that arousal itself has cognitive origins: it is stimulated by discrepancies between expectations and outcomes, or by interruptions of goal-directed activity.  The nature of the discrepancy or interruption then determines whether the resulting emotional state will have a positive or negative affective valence. 



12. How does mood or emotion affect judgment and decision-making?  [F&T, Chapter 14]


2.5; .16, a poor item-to-total r, although the mean score was OK.  You'd think, offhand, that positive moods would facilitate positive judgments, and negative moods would facilitate negative judgments.  Such mood-congruence effects have been observed, but things are actually more complicated than that. From here on, any two will do for full credit:


  • Although positive and negative moods have different effects, the effects of negative moods do not always differ from a neutral control condition.
  • All negative moods do not have the same effects.  For example, anger and fear may have different effects on judgment.  So will anger and sadness.
  • All judgment tasks do not show the same effects.  For example, feelings of disgust seem to have a particular impact on moral judgments. 
  • All subjects don't show the same affect-judgment linkages.  For example, some people are more reactive, emotionally, than others.  And private vs. public body consciousness affects the influence of disgust on moral judgments.
  • Children don't necessarily show the same mood-judgment effects as adults do. 



13. How can beliefs create the reality they are supposed to reflect?


2.3; .21.  There are basically three modes, all related to Merton's notion of the self-fulfilling prophecy: Behavioral confirmation, where the perceiver acts in such a way as to elicit behavior from the target which objectively confirms the perceiver's expectations.  Perceptual confirmation, where the perceiver interprets the target's ambiguous behavior as confirming his (the perceiver's) expectations; and self-verification, where the target acts in such a way as to change the perceiver's beliefs so that they conform more closely to the target's beliefs about himself.  [Social Construction]



14. Explain why "Time is a social construct."  [Zerubavel Chapter 7]


2.9; .41.  In the abstract, time is an observer-independent feature of the physical world.  But we also divide time into observer-dependent, collectively agreed-upon "standard time-reckoning frameworks" such as clock time, the calendar month and year, the division of history into before and after the "common (or "Christian" era).  These are all social constructions, which we collectively impose on a past that already occurred, and therefore is in some sense independent of the observer.    



15. What is the difference between the ontological and the epistemic senses of the objective-subjective distinction, and why should we care about it? [Searle]


2.6; .57.  According to Searle, things are ontologically objective if they exist independent of any observer; they are ontologically subjective if their existence depends on the presence of an observer.  Facts are epistemically objective if their truth value is independent of any observer; facts are epistemically subjective if their truth value is relative to the person who is stating the facts.  There are many features of the social world, such as money, that are ontologically subjective social constructions yet epistemically objective, in that the laws that govern them are observer-independent. 



5 Points for Free, to bring the total for the Noncumulative Portion up to 50 points.




Cumulative Portion


Answer all five (5) questions from the following section.  Each of these questions is worth ten (10) points, so that the cumulative portion of the exam is worth a total of 50 points.



16.  What makes us think that Christopher is autistic?  What makes us think that Christopher might not be autistic after all -- or, if he is autistic, that autism might not entail deficits in social cognition?


9.6; .49.  Good question, because the book never exactly calls him that.  Maybe he has Asperger's syndrome, which is not quite the same thing; maybe he's just some kind of savant.  He is lacking in social skills or even much social interest, he has a lot of trouble understanding other people's motives and attitudes, and he's very interested in mathematics and logic.  So in some ways he fits the profile.  Christopher is odd, no doubt, he's very interested in logic and mathematics, and he has difficulty dealing with people, but that doesn't make him autistic. 


Any one of the following points, among others, will do:

  • Christopher has pretty good language skills, and does OK at school, suggesting that he might have Asperger's syndrome, not classic autism. 
  • He seems to care about Wellington, the dog -- his death isn't just a puzzle to be solved. 
  • During his trip to London, he escapes being detected by police who are looking for him, so he seems to have the ability to think about what other people think. 
  • He cared about his pet rat, Toby, and at the end of the book, he seems to care about his new dog, Sandy, so he does appear to take an interest in animate objects and capable of building social relationships. 
  • Christopher seems to actually get along with his mother. 
  • Sherlock Holmes was odd, too, but that didn't make him autistic.



17.  Summarize the five models of the social thinker described by Fiske and Taylor, and trace their historical evolution.  Then choose one model which seems to fit the research data less well, and one model which seems to fit the research data more closely, and explain your choice.  If you have an alternate model that strikes you as better than any of those described by Fiske and Taylor, briefly describe it and explain why you prefer it to any of theirs.

8.3; .50.  The models in question are: (a) Consistency-Seeker, (b) Naive Scientist, (c) Cognitive Miser, (d) Motivated Tactician, and (e) Activated Actor.  The best answers will list all five, along with a brief definition or a theoretical example.  Then, for one model, the student should indicate how the available data is (sic) inconsistent with the model; and for the other one, how the available data is strongly supportive.  It doesn't matter which models the student chooses, so long as the answer is adequately defended.  So, for example, the "Naive Scientist" model is undermined by the importance of heuristics, rather than algorithms, in social judgment.  And the "Activated Actor" model is undermined by the evidence, from studies employing the process-dissociation procedure, automatic processes don't dominate controlled processes except under exceptional, restricted conditions.


18.  "Dual-process" theories of social cognition invoke a distinction between automatic and controlled proceses.   What is this distinction?  Give an example of how automatic and controlled processes play a role in social cognition.  What influence does each of them have over social cognition and behavior?


9.6; .43.  Automatic processes are unintentional, uncontrollable, efficient, autonomous, and unconscious.  Each of these properties should be defined briefly.  Although the distinction looks like a dichotomy, full automaticity and full control may be opposite ends of a continuum, such that there may be processes that are unintentionally executed but not uncontrollable, or intentionally executed but not controllable thereafter, etc.  Virtually any "dual process" theory of social cognition will do for the example -- person perception, causal attribution, social inference, attitudes, the self, etc. -- so long as the student characterizes both the automatic and the controlled component.



19. "The self is a person, like any other".  Well, maybe.  Discuss the similarities and differences between mental representations of the self and mental representations of other people.


9.6; .29.  From the cognitive perspective, the self is a mental representation of oneself, and there is no reason to think that it differs fundamentally from mental representations of other people.  On the other hand, it has been argued that causal attributions differ between self and others -- to wit, that attributions concerning oneself tend to invoke external, situational factors, while attributions concerning other people tend to invoke internal, dispositional factors.  Moreover, people tend to perceive themselves as more responsible for desirable outcomes, and less responsible for undesirable ones.  However, the evidence for both the self-other difference and the self-serving bias has always been weak, depending on precisely how these terms were operationalized.  More important, a systematic quantitative review by Malle found no evidence for the actor-observer difference, and little evidence for the self-serving bias (and little evidence for the "Fundamental Attribution Error" either, by the way).  This does not mean, however, that there are no differences between mental representations of self and others. Malle, did find some self-other differences in causal attribution, but these were rather subtle, and not the same as the actor-observer difference, or the self-serving bias.  In quantitative terms, the sheer amount of information associated with the self must be greater than that associated with any other person.  And there is likely more emotional and motivational involvement in the self, as opposed to other people did In qualitative terms, we have direct introspective access to our internal mental states, whereas we can know the mental states of other people only by inference, from their behavior (including speech acts).  On the other hand, if proponents of automaticity are correct, even that difference disappears: if most of our experience, thought, and action is automatic and unconscious, then we don't have direct introspective access to our own mental states, either; we know them only through inference, as if we ourselves were just other people whose behavior we observe from afar.



20.  Compare and contrast cognitive sociology and cognitive psychology, with respect to social cognition.


8.8; .50.  As a science, psychology is mostly concerned with the development of universal principles that govern how human beings, as a species, perceive, remember, reason, and solve problems.  With respect to issues in personality and clinical practice, psychology is also concerned with how individual human beings think, perceive, and remember, as well as what they think about.  By contrast, cognitive sociology is concerned individual thinkers as members of social groups known as "thought communities".  Whereas cognitive universalism focuses on objective knowledge of mental life (like how we categorize objects), and cognitive individualism focuses on intrapersonal subjectivity (such as an individual's repertoire of personal constructs), cognitive sociology is interested in intersubjectivity, or the mental processes that people share in common by virtue of their common group membership  characterizing.  It is particularly concerned with those objects of cognition that have been socially constructed, contingent on the details of history and culture.  While cognitive psychologists are interested in how individuals think, and how individual brains implement various cognitive processes, cognitive sociology is interested in how individual cognitive processes are shaped by the groups, communities, institutions, societies, and cultures to which those individuals belong.