AP Psychology : Theories and Approaches

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Psychology

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Theories And Approaches

A Rorschach inkblot test would most likely be administered by a psychologist from which of the following schools of psychotherapy?

Possible Answers:

Humanism

Existential psychology

Somatic/biomedical psychology

Psychoanalysis

Behavioralism

Correct answer:

Psychoanalysis

Explanation:

A Rorschach inkblot test presents a patient with an ambiguous image and asks the patient to interpret what they see. This process would be of most use to a psychoanalyst, who aims to help the patient reveal their unconscious thoughts and desires.

Example Question #2 : Theories And Approaches

What does CBT stand for?

Possible Answers:

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Chronic Brain Trauma

Child Bereavement Therapy

Combined Bariatic Tone

Cranial Brain Trauma

Correct answer:

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Explanation:

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a structured, short-term therapeutic technique that aims to change a client's maladaptive cognitions and behaviors into more realistic and/or adaptive ones. CBT is commonly used for those with various mood and anxiety disorders.

Example Question #3 : Theories And Approaches

Which therapeutic approach supports the use of free association?

Possible Answers:

Biological

Humanistic

Psychoanalysis

Cognitive-behavioral

Phrenological

Correct answer:

Psychoanalysis

Explanation:

Free association is a common tenet of psychoanalysis that allows clients to speak for themselves. Free association allows the therapist to figure out the client's unconscious motives and desires. 

Example Question #4 : Theories And Approaches

Which of the following is an example of the biological approach to treating a mental illness?

Possible Answers:

Correcting the behavior of a patient through a system of rewards and punishments

None of these

Refusing treatment and allowing the disorder to run its course

Trying to correct some chemical imbalance in the brain to alleviate the illness

Prescribing two sessions a week with a therapist to overcome the disorder

Correct answer:

Trying to correct some chemical imbalance in the brain to alleviate the illness

Explanation:

The biological approach to treating a mental illness addresses chemical imbalances, lesions in the brain, or some physical illness that may be underlying the psychological symptoms. Most of the time this involves prescribing drugs to stabiliize the patient and restore balance in the brain and body.

Example Question #5 : Theories And Approaches

What would be an example of the cognitive approach to treating depression?

Possible Answers:

Prescribing an antidepressant

None of these

Have the patient undergo hypnosis to identify the subconscious thoughts underlying the depression

Having the patient do a certain calming behavior, such has clapping their hands rythmically, whenever they begin to feel sad

Addressing a negative thought pattern that may make the patient feel negatively, and replacing that pattern with a positive one

Correct answer:

Addressing a negative thought pattern that may make the patient feel negatively, and replacing that pattern with a positive one

Explanation:

The cognitive approach to treating mental illness is designed to find maladaptive and harmful thought patterns and to replace them with healthier ones. This is the most effective in treating less extreme disorders, where ruminating or negative thought patterns may be causing a lot of the suffering. For instance, a person with low self-worth may constantly think people are attacking them personally, but a cognitive therapist may have the patient reframe their thinking so that they don't take everything personally. This encourages the patient to become more holistic in their thinking and stop propagating bad thoughts about themselves.

Example Question #6 : Theories And Approaches

What was the persisting belief about the mentally ill during the Middle Ages?

Possible Answers:

None of these

That they should be purged from society either by execution or exile. These processes were often accompanied by elaborate ceremonies.

That they came from poor lineages whose ancestors may have committed irreparable sins

That they should receive some kind of therapy

That they were possessed by evil spirits

Correct answer:

That they were possessed by evil spirits

Explanation:

The point of view taken towards mentally ill people in the Middle Ages was deeply religous. As such, they were seen as people possessed by demonic spirits who could be treated through exorcism or a process called trephining. In trephining, one made holes in the skull, which were supposed to allow the evil spirits to escape. Other mentally ill people were persecuted and sent to jail. Some observers of the time, mainly philosophers, began to hint at biological explanations for mental illness but this did not become a prominent point of view until much later on.

Example Question #67 : Psychological Abnormalities

Which of the following is the appropriate definition of tertiary prevention?

Possible Answers:

An intervention designed to prevent the symptoms of a current illness from getting worse

None of these

An intervention designed to first understand the way society works, how it may be creating fertile grounds for mental illnesses, and then changing it

An intervention designed to help people from developing specific problems to which they may be particularly predisposed

An intervention designed to prevent an illness before it begins

Correct answer:

An intervention designed to prevent the symptoms of a current illness from getting worse

Explanation:

Tertiary prevention is preventing an illness from getting worse. This kind of prevention is used when the illness is permanent and/or chronic. An example would be an alcoholic who, already having quit alcoholic, keeps attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings since this stabilizes them in periods during which they may be tempted to drink alcohol again.

Example Question #7 : Theories And Approaches

What is the focus of existential therapy?

Possible Answers:

Finding meaning and purpose in one's life, and striving to fulfill and achieve these goals

Discovering hidden traumas in a patient's life

Replacing bad habits with good ones

Helping a patient discover what their spirituality is

Helping a patient discover what their ethical approach to life is

Correct answer:

Finding meaning and purpose in one's life, and striving to fulfill and achieve these goals

Explanation:

The main focus of existential therapy is helping a patient carve out their own meaning in life. This therapy was popularized by Victor Frankl who survived the Nazi concentration camps and wrote Man's Search For Meaning. His main reasoning was that life was full of suffering, and he experienced life's worst sufferings during the concentration camp, but meaning must be found from it. For instance, although there were many cruel guards in the camp, he came to profoundly appreciate the kindness of some who treated him well. He found meaning in his situation, which was that human kindness can be found even in the most hostile of places.

The ultimate aim of existential therapy is to help patients do the same in their circumstances: find meaning from their suffering as well as a general purpose in their life to fulfill.

Example Question #69 : Psychological Abnormalities

A support group for the children of alcoholics is an example of __________.

Possible Answers:

primary prevention

quaternary prevention

secondary prevention

tertiary prevention

None of these answers is correct

Correct answer:

secondary prevention

Explanation:

Because alcoholism is a disease with genetic components, the children of alcoholics are especially at risk for developing the disease in the future. Prevention strategies directed specifically toward at-risk populations are categorized as secondary prevention.

Example Question #8 : Theories And Approaches

Which of the following choices best describes the posits of the diathesis-stress model?

Possible Answers:

That stress can under certain circumstances have a very positive effect on one's overall well-being

That stress has negative effects on one's overall well-being

That only genetics will determine whether one gets a mental disorder or not

That certain people are predisposed to certain mental disorders that can be triggered by stress

Correct answer:

That certain people are predisposed to certain mental disorders that can be triggered by stress

Explanation:

The diathesis-stress model posits that although a person may be genetically predisposed to suffer from a mental disorder; its onset may be triggered by stress. For instance, a person who is genetically disposed to schizophrenia may only ever start to experience symptoms after a significantly stressful event. Otherwise, they may never suffer from the disorder their entire lives.

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