AP Psychology : Other Research Principles

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Psychology

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Other Research Principles

Which of the following correlation values represents the strongest correlation between two variables?

Possible Answers:

Correct answer:

Explanation:

Correlations range from  to , with  representing a perfect negative correlation and  representing a perfect positive correlation.

Statistically speaking, a correlation value of  indicates that if one variable is increasing, then the other variable is decreasing. Similarly, if one variable is likely to be present, then the other variable is unlikely to be present. There is a negative correlation between wearing a seatbelt and injury during a car accident.

Statistically speaking, a correlation value of  indicates that if one variable is increasing, then the other variable is also increasing. Similarly, if one variable is likely to be present, then the other variable is also likely to be present. There is a positive correlation between obesity and type II diabetes.

Statistically speaking, a correlation value of  indicates no relationship between the two variables.

Of the given answer choices, a correlation value of  gives the strongest evidence of correlation between the variables, even if the correlation is negative.

Example Question #2 : Other Research Principles

In an experiment, the __________ variable is manipulated to predict the dependent variable.

Possible Answers:

correlative

zero-order

co-existing

independent

experimental

Correct answer:

independent

Explanation:

In an experiment, the independent variable is the predicted cause while the dependent variable is the predicted effect. The independent variable can be manipulated by experimentors to elicit a change in the dependent variable. The dependent variable cannot be directly manipulated.

For example, in a experiment that studies the effect of soda consumption on AP exam scores, the independent variable would be the amount of soda the subject drink (easily controlled by the experimentors) and the dependent variable would be AP exam scores (the unpredictable variable being tested).

Example Question #3 : Other Research Principles

Brenda is told that she is being given a caffeine pill. However, the experimenter simply gave her an empty pill. Fifteen minutes later, Brenda reports feeling more energized. What concept explains Brenda's report?

Possible Answers:

A lack of consciousness

The control effect

The dummy coding effect

Rose-colored glasses phenomenon

The placebo effect

Correct answer:

The placebo effect

Explanation:

Brenda is experiencing the placebo effect, in that she is reporting a positive effect (more energy) when she was given a blank pill. Brenda mentally prepared herself for the expected effects of the pill, and was thus able to mimic the expected outcome despite no actual biological change.

Example Question #4 : Other Research Principles

Which is NOT a measure of variability?

Possible Answers:

variance

standard deviation

mean

range

Correct answer:

mean

Explanation:

Mean is not a measure of variability - it is a measure of central tendency, along with mode and median. Measures of variability show the spread of a data set and describe how different points are from one another, whereas measures of central tendency are representative of the data set as a whole.

Example Question #5 : Other Research Principles

A test subject is participating in an experiment in which he must choose between two buttons. Pressing Button A will reward him with $5, while pressing Button B will donate $10 to a local charity. As a researcher looks on, the test subject chooses Button B. It's possible that the experiment's findings could be affected by __________.

Possible Answers:

confounding variables

the Hawthorne effect

coercion

the placebo effect

Correct answer:

the Hawthorne effect

Explanation:

The Hawthorne effect is also known as "the observer effect." Subjects of a study will alter their behavior if they are aware they are being observed. Because the researcher was watching the experiment, it is possible that the subject behaved differently than he would have if he was not being watched.

Example Question #6 : Other Research Principles

Jessica scored  points on a test. The mean score for the test was  points with a standard deviation of . What is Jessica's z-score?

Possible Answers:

Correct answer:

Explanation:

Jessica's z-score indicates how many standard deviations below or above the mean Jessica's test score was. Jessica's test score of 70 was less than the mean (95), so we know that the the answer must be negative.

We know that the standard deviation was , so

Jessica's z-score is 

Example Question #7 : Other Research Principles

A researcher wants to observe which parts of the brain are active when a person plays piano while reading music and while playing from memory. Which imaging technology should she use?

Possible Answers:

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan

Electroencephalogram (EEG)

Computerized Axial Tomography (CAT) scan

Correct answer:

Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan

Explanation:

A PET scan measures chemical activity in the brain.

An EEG measures brain activity by detecting waves and is typically used in sleep studies.

A CAT scan uses x-rays to take images of the brain and can be useful when looking at the brain's physical structure.

An MRI also can be used to examine the structure of the brain, but uses magnetic resonance to produce images.

Example Question #8 : Other Research Principles

Often called "the father of psychology," Wilhelm Wundt used which of the following methods to study human thought based on social and cultural influences?

Possible Answers:

self motivation 

introspection

behaviorism

externalization

Correct answer:

introspection

Explanation:

Introspection is when a person uses their personal experience to look inward. Wundt believed that a focused practice of introspection could be used to find and study the basic elements of the human mind. Wundt's practice of introspection fell out of favor by the 1930s, and his primary contribution to the history of science was his founding of the first experimental psychology lab, which helped formalize the study of psychology as an academic disciple.

Example Question #9 : Other Research Principles

Which of the following best describes Functionalism's influence on the study psychology?

Possible Answers:

It built on the principles of Structuralism, and was a precursor to Behaviorism. 

Functionalism never became a formalized school of thought, and thus had no influence on psychology as a field of study. 

It acted as alternative to Structuralism, and was a precursor to Behaviorism

It limited the field to study of only behavior. 

Correct answer:

It acted as alternative to Structuralism, and was a precursor to Behaviorism

Explanation:

Functionalism, while it never became a formalized school of psychological thought, had an important impact on the field. Functionalism considered thinking and behavior in terms of functional adaptation to the subject's environment. It is fallacious to say that a school of thought must have been formalized and maintained in order to have influence in a field of study.

Example Question #10 : Other Research Principles

Which of the following characteristics is true for a falsifiable hypothesis?

Possible Answers:

None of these

Should be considered wrong until proven right through experiment

Can be used to prove that another hypothesis is incorrect

Can be proven wrong if the right conditions are met

Is something that might be misrepresented or confounded

Correct answer:

Can be proven wrong if the right conditions are met

Explanation:

Falsifiability is the principle that states that a research hypothesis must be able to be disproven. This does not mean that the hypothesis needs to be disproven in the study; however, hypothesis should be able to be disproven. If a hypothesis is correct under all conditions, then there is no way to scientifically test its validity.

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