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Topics for Final Exam Short Answer Questions
(Psychology 114, Prof. Alex Genov)

1. During a heated argument with his father, 15-year-old Jason developed a paralysis of his right arm.  Medical examinations can find no physical cause for the paralysis.  Use the psychoanalytic perspective to explain how the paralysis may be Jason's attempt to deal with an unconscious conflict between his id and superego.

2. According to a number of distinguished psychologists, a major purpose of the defense mechanisms described by Freud is the protection of self-esteem.  Give an example of how repression, reaction formation, projection, rationalization, displacement, and sublimation could each be used to protect or even enhance a positive self-image.

3. The behavioral psychologist B. F. Skinner emphasized that people are largely controlled by forces outside themselves.  Critique the practical implications of accepting Skinner's position in light of contemporary research on locus of control and learned helplessness.

4. Andy, a high school sophomore, lacks self-discipline, fails to plan ahead, and is excessively anxious.  He is quickly frustrated by challenging tasks and frequently becomes overly critical of others.  Use the psychoanalytic and social-cognitive perspectives to give two contrasting explanations of Andy's behavior.

5. Although Susan is a brilliant pianist and highly acclaimed ballet dancer, her high school intelligence test scores were only average.  What does Susan's experience suggest regarding (a) the reliability and validity of intelligence tests, and (b) the nature of intelligence.

6.  How would you classically condition a preschool child who is afraid of dogs to enjoy playing with a neighbor's friendly dog? Be sure to identify the UCS, CS, UCR, and CR in both answers.

7.  Several days after drinking an excessive amount of alcohol, Karen becomes nauseated simply by the smell of liquor.  The sight of the half-empty liquor bottle from which she drank does not, however, upset her. What does Karen's pattern of response indicate about the biological limits of associative learning (learning preparedness)?

8. The ancient Greek physician Hippocrates believed that four basic body fluids (blood, black bile, yellow bile, and phlegm) influenced human behavior, emotions, and personality.  Use your understanding of the body's rapid (electro-chemical or neural) communication systems and slower (hormonal) communication systems to support or refute Hippocrates's theory.

9. After a mild stroke, Mr. McGeorge showed some signs of aphasia.  What pattern of symptoms would lead you to believe the damage occurred primarily in: (a) Broca's area, (b) Wernicke's area?

10. Tranquilizing drugs that inhibit sympathetic nervous system activity often effectively reduce people's subjective experience of intense fear and anxiety.  Use one of the major theories of emotion to account for the emotion-reducing effects of such tranquilizers.

11. Geraldo, a college sophomore, is so fearful of asking a woman out that he hasn't had a date in over 3 years.  He has recently contacted a psychotherapist for help in overcoming his fear.  Describe how a behavior therapist would treat Geraldo's problem differently from the way a psychoanalyst would.

12. David's history teacher asked him why so many German people complied with Hitler's orders to systematically slaughter millions of innocent Jews.  David suggested that the atrocities were committed because the Germans had become unusually cruel, sadistic people with abnormal and twisted personalities.  Use your knowledge of the fundamental attribution error and Milgram's research on obedience to highlight the weaknesses of David's explanation.

13. While walking through a busy city park, Mr. Smith experiences sharp chest pains that indicate to him the onset of a heart attack.  Describe several things Mr. Smith should do to increase the chances that someone will come to his aid and quickly provide him with appropriate medical attention.  Explain the rationale for your advice in light of research on altruism and the decision- making process underlying bystander intervention.

14. What is social cognition?  Describe Asch’s famous experiment on the social basis of physical reality.  In your own words, state why subjects became upset in this study.

15. How is the reciprocity principle used in bargaining and persuasion?  What are reciprocal concessions?  What is the door-in-the-face technique?  How would you use the door-in-the-face technique to get someone to get what you want? Make sure you define all the terms.