AP Psychology : Personality Changes and Growth

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Psychology

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Personality Changes And Growth

What is an instance of reaction formation? 

Possible Answers:

When someone reacts in a regressive or infantile way to a situation

When someone consistently displays affection towards another, but unconsciously dislikes them

When someone forms a rationalization of an unpleasant event in order to reduce its stressful impact

Forming an improper reaction due to displacement of certain emotions onto a different object

Correct answer:

When someone consistently displays affection towards another, but unconsciously dislikes them

Explanation:

Reaction formation is one of the more subtle defense mechanisms and can be a bit difficult to define. Essentially, one may feel an emotion unconsciously, and then express behaviors that reflect its opposite. For instance, one may continually express altruistic beliefs, but in actuality be motivated by selfishness. One may feel animosity towards another, but express affection and love towards them. 

Example Question #2 : Personality Changes And Growth

Which term describes the interacting influences between personality and environmental factors?

Possible Answers:

Reciprocal determinism

Repression

Cycle of evocation

Refraction

Regression

Correct answer:

Reciprocal determinism

Explanation:

Reciprocal determinism depicts the interacting influences between personality and environmental factors. Thus, we choose to place ourselves in certain environments based on our personality, and those environments influence our behavior and the way we think. 

Example Question #2 : Personality Changes And Growth

Which of the following is NOT an example of a projective test?

Possible Answers:

Picture arrangement test

Word association test

Thematic Apperception Test (TAT)

Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI)

Draw-A-Person test

Correct answer:

Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI)

Explanation:

Projective tests, such as the TAT, Word association, Rorschach inkblot, and Draw-A-Person, are used to examine hidden emotions and internal conflicts. These methods are rooted in psychoanalytic theories of personality. The MMPI is a widely-used psychometric personality test used for diagnoses, job screenings, or legal reasons. 

Example Question #3 : Personality Changes And Growth

Which of the following is not part of Freud's Psychoanalytic Theory of personality?

Possible Answers:

Ectomorphs

The Superego

Reaction Formation

Penis Envy

Oral Fixation

Correct answer:

Ectomorphs

Explanation:

All of these are part of Freud's theory except for ectomorphs. Ectomorphs are a part of William Sheldon's (largely discredited) Somatotype theory of personality in which there are three body types, each being associated with certain personality traits.

Example Question #5 : Personality Changes And Growth

Sally blames her failing test grade on bad luck. Sally has a(n) __________.

Possible Answers:

external locus of control

internal locus of control

determined locus of control

self-actualized personality

reciprocal locus of control

Correct answer:

external locus of control

Explanation:

When people have an external locus of control, it means that they are likely to believe that luck and outside forces determine what happens. This is the opposite of an internal locus of control, which means that one feels that he/she is responsible for that which happens to him/her. The other answer choices are not terms referring to loci of control.

Example Question #4 : Personality Changes And Growth

Which of the following is true about the id, ego, and superego?

Possible Answers:

None of the other answers

The superego acts as a mediator between the id and the ego

The id acts as a mediator between the ego and the superego

The ego acts as a mediator between the id and the superego

The superego always overrides the id and ego.

Correct answer:

The ego acts as a mediator between the id and the superego

Explanation:

The id desires immediate gratification. The superego accounts for the moral component of a person's personality makeup. The ego mediates between the id and superego.

Example Question #5 : Personality Changes And Growth

Which two personality traits on the Big Five make a person more likely to experience post-traumatic growth? 

Possible Answers:

Extraversion and openness to new experience 

Extraversion and introversion 

Neuroticism and extroversion 

Introversion and openness to new experience 

Correct answer:

Extraversion and openness to new experience 

Explanation:

Extraversion and openness to new experience are personality traits that are often associated with one's ability to achieve post-traumatic growth. Extraversion would theoretically lead someone to seek social support to construct a meaning from their experiences. The openness to new experience disposes someone to accept and embrace change, and while this doesn't necessarily help in negative situations, it allows a person the flexibility to deal with unexpected events.  

Example Question #6 : Personality Changes And Growth

Which of the following is a proper definition for post-traumatic growth? 

Possible Answers:

The term refers to one's ability to not only endure a traumatic event but find the benefits from having gone through it.

The term refers to the innovation that can be found in misery.

The term refers to a disorder that results from going through a severely traumatic event whose symptoms can be panic attacks and depressive episodes.

The term refers to Victor Frankl's theory on finding meaning from suffering even in the most extreme circumstances.

Correct answer:

The term refers to one's ability to not only endure a traumatic event but find the benefits from having gone through it.

Explanation:

Post-traumatic growth is a term that grew from the field of positive psychology. It differs from resilience, which refers to the ability to endure traumatic events and recover, in the sense that the traumatic event can make the person grow in a significant manner. In other words, the person grows and gains from the experience as opposed to simply recuperating. 

Example Question #7 : Personality Changes And Growth

What is the nomothetic view of personalities?

Possible Answers:

That personalities are fully developed and do not change past the age of thirty

None of these 

That individual personalities can be compared to one another according to certain traits

That individuals are unique past the point of comparison and possess certain traits that others will not

Correct answer:

That individual personalities can be compared to one another according to certain traits

Explanation:

The nomothetic view of personalities asserts that people's personalities are highly comparable. The most popular and commonly known extension of this view is the "Big Five" which claims people's personalities are a composite of five different traits measured along a continuum. This view starkly contrasts the idiographic view, which claims that no one individual's personality can truly be compared to the other.

Those who support the nomothetic view often do self-report surveys to collect their data.

Example Question #8 : Personality Changes And Growth

Do people change or stay the same throughout the different developmental stages of life? 

Possible Answers:

They change, though their most basic dispositions do not change 

Their beliefs stay the same throughout life but everything else changes 

Their personalities and habits stay the same 

They change radically throughout every stage, including those in late adulthood 

Correct answer:

They change, though their most basic dispositions do not change 

Explanation:

As humans, we are constantly trying to adapt to our circumstances which disposes us to almost a constant state of change. There are also developmental stages that every person goes through that can and do make marked changes in one's personality, beliefs, values, habits, and physical appearance. This is the field of developmental psychology. 

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