AP Psychology : Other Biological Principles

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Psychology

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Other Biological Principles

Damage to Wernicke's area will result in which of the following?

Possible Answers:

A change in personality and temperament

An aphasia in which language comprehension is limited, and so speech thereafter will be nonsensical and difficult to follow

Inability to cope with stress

An aphasia in which language comprehension remains intact, but sentence formulation and execution is limited

An aphasia in which a person cannot process information from a certain part of their field of vision

Correct answer:

An aphasia in which language comprehension is limited, and so speech thereafter will be nonsensical and difficult to follow

Explanation:

Wernicke's area deals largely with understanding written and spoken speech. A patient with damage to this structure will have difficulty understanding what is said, even though they themselves have retained many of their own speech abilities. Due to the problem of misunderstanding most incoming information, the affected person's speech usually carries no meaning, although it maintains the normal inflections and cadence of regular speech.

Example Question #2 : Other Biological Principles

Which of the following allows for color sight?

Possible Answers:

Lens

Cones

Retina

Rods

Correct answer:

Cones

Explanation:

Cones are photoreceptor cells that process color images. Different types of cones process different wavelengths of light. A difficiency in one type of receptor can result in an inability to process certain wavelengths, leading to colorblindness.

Rods are photoreceptor cells that process black and white images; they are also credited with our ability to see in the dark. The retina is a light-sensitive tissue that lines the inner eye and creates the image of what comes through the front part of the eye. Rods and cones are both located in the retina. The lens is a transparent, biconvex structure that refracts light to be focused on the retina.

Example Question #3 : Other Biological Principles

What are endorphins?

Possible Answers:

Neurotransmitters linked to reduced pain and increased pleasure

Drugs that depress brain activity

A research principle designed to make the participants respond in a predetermined manner

Neuronal cells that provide additional support to neurons

Another word for dendrites

Correct answer:

Neurotransmitters linked to reduced pain and increased pleasure

Explanation:

Endorphins are neurotransmitters linked to reduced pain and increased pleasure. They are natural, meaning that they are synthesized and exist in the body, and are released in response to external pain (e.g., endorphins are released when you hit your head). 

Example Question #4 : Other Biological Principles

A patient has suffered an injury to the left hemisphere of his brain. He is able to understand language, but cannot easily form full sentences. What part of the brain did the patient injure?

Possible Answers:

Broca's area

Corpus callosum 

Hippocampus 

Wernike’s area

Basal ganglia 

Correct answer:

Broca's area

Explanation:

Damage to Broca's area causes expressive aphasia, or "Broca's aphasia." People who suffer from this type of aphasia are unable to form grammatical sentences fluidly; their speech is instead labored and halting. Because the patient is unable to form full sentences easily, he likely sustained injury to Broca's area.

We can tell that the patient did not injure Wernike’s area because we are told that he is still able to understand language. People who have Wernike's area injuries suffer from a different kind of aphasia, "receptive aphasia" or "Wernike's aphasia"; these individuals are not able to understand language, though they can form full sentences. One can think of expressive aphasia as a disruption of syntax that leaves semantics intact, and of receptive aphasia as a disruption of semantics leaving syntax intact.

None of the other answer choices are as specifically related to the abilities to produce and understand language as are Broca's area and Wernike's area; the basal ganglia helps to control motor functions and voluntary movements, the corpus callosum connects the left and right hemispheres of the brain, and the hippocampus helps regulate long-term memory.

Example Question #5 : Other Biological Principles

Which area of the brain is responsible for procedural memory?

Possible Answers:

Hypothalamus 

Hippocampus

Midbrain

Pons

Cerebellum

Correct answer:

Cerebellum

Explanation:

The cerebellum, as well as the basal ganglia and motor cortex, are responsible for procedural, or muscle memory. Whereas the hippocampus is associated with semantic, spacial, and episodic memory, the cerebellum, basal ganglia, and motor cortex are associated with motor control. Procedural memory is also known as non-declarative or implicit (rather than explicit) memory because a person cannot say, but can demonstrate their acquisition of skill. For example, if an individual with a driver's license suffers an injury to their hippocampus and suffers from amnesia, they may still retain the ability to drive a car due to muscle memory in the cerebellum.

Example Question #6 : Other Biological Principles

What type of fluid serves to protect and cushion the central nervous system?

Possible Answers:

Cerebrospinal fluid

Water

Hydrochloric fluid

Glial fluid

Platelets

Correct answer:

Cerebrospinal fluid

Explanation:

Cerebrospinal fluid is the fluid in and around the brain and spinal cord (the two components of the central nervous system) that serves as a protective barrier. 

Example Question #7 : Other Biological Principles

In the 1960s, scientist Dmitry Belyaev began an experiment that observed the domestication of the silver fox as opposed to the wild red fox. The red fox is a wild and wary animal, unlike the silver fox. Belyaev selected and mated the tamest individuals of the red fox species.  After 30 plus generations a new breed of fox was established: the silver fox.

Which of the following best explains Belyaev’s process of fox breeding?

Possible Answers:

Artificial selection

Genetic selection

Adaptation

Natural Selection

Mutagenesis 

Correct answer:

Artificial selection

Explanation:

Belyaev's selection may be considered as artificial selection because he was purposefully selecting for a specific behavioral trait—tameness. As a result, natural selection and genetic selection would be incorrect choices. There was no noted mutation observed in the study; therefore, mutagenesis would be an incorrect answer.

Example Question #8 : Other Biological Principles

As a part of a research study, Carlos had a brain scan before and after learning a juggling routine. The scan that showed his brain after he learned the routine showed structural changes in areas that process visual and motor tasks. This is an example of which of the following?

Possible Answers:

None of these

Conditioning

Neuroplasticity

Hemispheric specialization

Correct answer:

Neuroplasticity

Explanation:

Neuroplasticity is a concept that refers to structural changes in the brain that occur because of changes in the person's behavior, emotions, thoughts, or environment. It means that the brain is more flexible and adaptable than once thought, even after fully developing. 

Conditioning can also part of learning a new task, but conditioning involves pairing stimuli together (e.g. classical conditioning) or being reinforced or punished (e.g. operant conditioning). Hemispheric specialization is when one side—hemisphere—of the brain is dominant in controlling a particular function. 

Example Question #9 : Other Biological Principles

Upon seeing a bear, Peter's heart rate increased, his pupils dilated, and he began to perspire. Which of the following systems is most likely affecting Peter?

Possible Answers:

Sympathetic nervous system

Somatosensory nervous system 

Peripheral nervous system 

Parasympathetic nervous system 

Autonomic nervous system 

Correct answer:

Sympathetic nervous system

Explanation:

The sympathetic nervous system is at work in this scenario. Both the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems are divisions of the autonomic nervous system. Unlike the parasympathetic nervous system; however, the sympathetic branch is the "fight or flight" response. In emergencies, the hypothalamus initiates this response which, dumps adrenaline into the blood stream and accelerates bodily functions for either a fight or flight scenario. The parasympathetic branch is the "rest and digest" system and works in opposition to the sympathetic branch.

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