Free Response Questions List 2009-2010

01. Design an experiment to study how the consumption of garlic affects the ability to kiss someone on a date. Explain in detail how you will conduct the experiment and why you will conduct it with this procedure. Be sure to include each of the following in your explanation: hypothesis, operational definitions, independent variable, dependent variable, experimental group, control group.
02. A New York Times writer reported a massive survey showing that “adolescents whose parents smoked were 50% more likely than children of nonsmokers to report having sex.” He concluded that the survey indicated a causal effect – that “to reduce the chances that their children will become sexually active at an early age” parents might “quit smoking.” What is the difference between causation and correlation? Explain the mistake the New York Times writer made.
03. Billy, a straight “A” high school student and football star, takes his position on the line of scrimmage. The game is tied 14–14, with only 10 seconds left. It’s fourth down, and the ball is on the 12 yard line. Tomorrow morning Billy has to take his SATs. Having spent the night studying for the all-important exam, Billy is working on 4 hours of sleep. As the play begins, Billy runs his passing route, but instead of running a post corner route, he runs out of the back of the end zone, and into the traffic filled street. His injuries end his football career and postpone his dream of college. List and briefly explain 6 different perspectives of psychology. Then explain which one best explains why Billy freaked out.
04. Draw and label a neuron. Then explain (in extreme detail) how neurons transmit a message. Be be sure to discuss how neurons are activated, how the message travels through the neuron, how the message is delivered to the next neuron, and how drugs can affect the neural transmission process.
05. Read the following story and describe which parts of the nervous system are activated in the individual described below.

Captain Thesaurus arrives at a building that is on fire. He first looks at the colorful, raging fire and says, “Wow! Look at that fire… that inferno… that blaze.” He raises his right hand to shield his face from the heat of the fire, saying, “That fire is hot… it’s blistering… it’s ovenlike… it’s scorching.” He hears cries for help, and his heart starts to beat faster. “Someone inside that building needs my help… my assistance… my aid!” After pausing to plan the best course of action, Captain Thesaurus rushes into the burning building and races up the stairs to save the day. As he enters the top room, he sees a young child and hears her crying. As he reaches out with his left hand, he says, “Take my hand. There’s not much time left. We must hurry… dash… hustle… make haste… rocket… scoot… rush… zip!” They make it out of the burning building safely. As he walks way and calms down, Captain Thesaurus voices, “All that rescuing sure makes a super hero hungry… famished… ravenous… starved… voracious… edacious.”
06. Describe the differences between the left and right hemispheres of the brain, explain the “problems” of split brains, and how researchers study split brain patients (detailed information is highly recommended).
07. Draw and label a detailed picture of an eye. Then explain in writing how an eye receives information and transmits it to the brain. Finally, explain depth perception.
08. Draw and label a detailed picture of an ear. Then explain in writing how an ear receives information and transmits it to the brain. Finally, explain how we hear pitch, how we locate sounds, and the different types of hearing loss.
09. Explain selective attention, the different ways our mind groups stimuli, and perceptual constancy. Use examples.
10. Nature vs. nurture is one of the overarching themes of psychology. Explain the nature and nurture of the following (be sure to give examples):
  • motivation
  • gender
  • how we see and interpret the world around us
11. Explain how emotions involve physiological changes in the body. Be as specific as possible by naming parts of the brain/nervous system, theories of emotion, etc.
12. You have been named the CEO of an international company. How would you use your amazing psychological knowledge of motivation and emotion to make your business successful?
13. Using what you know about observational learning and psychology in general, explain what observational learning is and how television can influence sexual behavior, drug use, and violent behavior.
14. You’ve started your own psychology consulting business. Explain to each of the following customers how operant conditioning can be used to help them. Be sure to include at least one detailed original suggestion (not from the book) for each customer.
Customer 1: High school principal and coach.
Customer 2: Owner of a small coffee shop with several employees.
Customer 3: Mother of two children and homemaker.

15. As a world renowned psychologist, you’ve been asked to give a presentation about memory construction and false memories to a group of law students. What information will you present to them?

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