AP Human Geography : Diffusion Patterns

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Human Geography

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Diffusion Patterns

What type of diffusion occurs when people move from their original location to another and bring their innovations with them?

Possible Answers:

Contagious diffusion

Expansion diffusion

Stimulus diffusion

Relocation diffusion

Hierarchical diffusion

Correct answer:

Relocation diffusion

Explanation:

This is the definition of relocation diffusion. Stimulus, contagious, and hierarchical diffusion are all kinds of expansion diffusion. Expansion diffusion is when innovations spread to new places while staying strong in their original locations. For example, Islam has spread throughout the world, yet stayed strong in the Middle East, where it was founded.

Example Question #2 : Diffusion Patterns

Which of the following cities is not an example of a modern cultural hearth?

Possible Answers:

New York City

Los Angeles

Mexico City

Tokyo

London

Correct answer:

Mexico City

Explanation:

A “modern cultural hearth” is defined as a global center of culture and economics with a worldwide influence (i.e. Tokyo, Paris, London, New York City, and Los Angeles). Despite its large population, Mexico City’s culture and economic exports do not match those of cities described as modern cultural hearths. Generally, a modern cultural hearth is a highly populated city in an extremely wealthy and culturally influential country (i.e. the United States, Japan, and China).

Example Question #3 : Diffusion Patterns

A cultural hearth is best described as __________.

Possible Answers:

a place of origin for a widespread cultural trend

a factor that encourages the widespread dissemination of a cultural trend

a society whose cultural traditions are largely drawn from external sources

an insular society whose culture is vastly different than the culture of other nearby societies

None of these answers are correct.

Correct answer:

a place of origin for a widespread cultural trend

Explanation:

A “cultural hearth” is a place of origin for a widespread cultural trend. For example modern “cultural hearths” include New York City, Los Angeles, and London because these cities produce a large amount of cultural exports that are influential throughout much of the modern world. Ancient cultural hearths include, Mesopotamia, the Nile River Valley, and the Wei-Huang River Valley.

Example Question #4 : Diffusion Patterns

The farthest reach of a city’s social and economic influence is known as its __________.

Possible Answers:

breaking point

fracture

cleaving point

outlier

toponym

Correct answer:

breaking point

Explanation:

All cities, particular large metropolises like New York City and Paris, exert a pull on the area around them. This influence is social, economic, and political. People are drawn to large cities because of the abundance of opportunity that comes with having so many people in such a relatively small space. The farthest reach of a city’s social and economic influence is known as its “breaking point.” For example, London’s breaking point is probably the north coast of France, after which the influence of Paris far exceeds the influence of London.

Example Question #1 : Diffusion Patterns

Which of these is not an example of an ancient cultural hearth?

Possible Answers:

Mesopotamia

The Mississippi River Valley

The Nile River Valley

The Indus Valley

The Yellow River Valley

Correct answer:

The Mississippi River Valley

Explanation:

Ancient cultural hearths are places where civilization first sprang up during the agricultural revolution that took place roughly eight to ten thousand years ago. All of these are notable places where the agricultural revolution took place except the Mississippi River Valley, which was not settled in large numbers until much later.

Example Question #2 : Diffusion Patterns

New trends in clothing styles might originate in big cities like Paris, London, or New York. Then, they might spread to smaller cities like Boston, Chicago, or Seattle. From there, they spread to smaller towns.

This would be an example of what type of diffusion?

Possible Answers:

Hierarchical diffusion

Contagious diffusion

Relocation diffusion

Expansion diffusion

Correct answer:

Hierarchical diffusion

Explanation:

While diffusion is the more general movement of ideas, notions, and innovations, it can be broken down in its more specific functions. Contagious diffusion requires direct person-to-person contact, not the influence of trends observed in this question. Expansion diffusion deals with a single population, and so is insufficient for this multi-city movement. Diffusion by relocation is a sequential process in which the ideas are transmitted by their carrier agents (such as immigrants) as they evacuate old areas and relocate to new ones. While more appropriate than the first two, relocation is not quite as accurate an answer as hierarchical: a form of diffusion in which an idea spreads by trickling down from larger to smaller adoption units. Fashion is not being carried by people as they leave the larger cities, but is rather observed and adopted by smaller cities that don't have the means or resources to generate such ideas on their own.

Example Question #7 : Diffusion Patterns

What primarily separates this wave of globalization from previous iterations?

Possible Answers:

Biotechnology and genetic modification

Global diplomatic organizations

All of these answers separate this wave of globalization from previous iterations

Industrialization and commercialization

Instantaneous telecommunication

Correct answer:

Instantaneous telecommunication

Explanation:

Most people understand globalization to be a recent phenomenon - the permeation of American culture and consumerism around the world. However, globalization is a relatively old phenomenon as it only really describes the global homogenization of culture and experience through one dominant cultural tradition. What primarily separates the modern wave of globalization from previous iterations is the instantaneous telecommunication afforded by inventions like the internet. This connects people around the world instantly and has dramatically shortened the time taken to exchange media and ideas.

Example Question #8 : Diffusion Patterns

A religion that started in City A spreads to surrounding regions, but is synthesized with existing spiritual customs. This example is best described in terms of __________.

Possible Answers:

stimulus expansion diffusion

contagious expansion diffusion

relocation diffusion

hierarchical expansion diffusion

Correct answer:

stimulus expansion diffusion

Explanation:

When an idea diffuses from its origin, but is changed or modified as it is adopted in other places, it is characterized as stimulus expansion diffusion, as opposed to being diffused in its original form (contagious expansion diffusion), diffusing from higher levels to lower levels (hierarchical expansion diffusion), or diffused by adherents moving into other regions (relocation diffusion).

Example Question #9 : Diffusion Patterns

A famous celebrity visits a small town in Alabama. During his visit, he only wears Brand X clothing. After he leaves the small town, many of the residents start wearing predominantly Brand X clothing. Which of the following diffusion patterns is described?

Possible Answers:

Independent diffusion

Dependent diffusion

Contagious diffusion

Hierarchical diffusion

Environmental diffusion

Correct answer:

Contagious diffusion

Explanation:

Contagious diffusion involves a form of expansion in which people near the point of origin become adopters of a cultural fad. In the example above, the point of origin is the celebrity, and the townspeople become adopters of the Brand X fad. 

Example Question #10 : Diffusion Patterns

When an idea or concept is spread as people move from one place to another it is called __________.

Possible Answers:

relocation diffusion

hierarchial diffusion

spatial perspective

distance decay

expansion diffusion

Correct answer:

relocation diffusion

Explanation:

Diffusion is the spread of an idea or characteristic over time. When people move, or relocate, they spread ideas along with them. Therefore this is called relocation diffusion. "Distance decay" describes the process whereby interaction between locales decreases as distance increases.

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