GRE Subject Test: Psychology : Construction, Reliability, & Validity of Testing Methods

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Example Question #1 : Construction, Reliability, & Validity Of Testing Methods

Which of the following is not a common difficulty associated with the double-blind study protocol?

Possible Answers:

Researchers may have to settle for a less powerful treatment effect, as a more powerful one would "tip them off" to which group was being treated

Double-blind studies make subsequent meta-analysis of the results more difficult, as it becomes harder to separate the results of the study from the expectations of the hypothesis

If a medical treatment is discovered to be very effective, it might be unethical to continue withholding treatment from the control group

Clinical protocols may make a double-blind methodology impractical (i.e. in treatment effects involving invasive surgery vs. no invasive surgery, where scars would be visible)

Keeping researchers blind to the groupings usually involves significant expenses or time investment that studies often cannot afford

Correct answer:

Double-blind studies make subsequent meta-analysis of the results more difficult, as it becomes harder to separate the results of the study from the expectations of the hypothesis

Explanation:

In a double-blind protocol, both the research participants and the researchers engaging in the study are unaware of which participants are in the control group and which are in the experimental group. This actually makes subsequent meta-analysis of the double-blinded results easier, as a correctly applied double-blindness will remove any of the researcher's biases from the results.

Example Question #2 : Construction, Reliability, & Validity Of Testing Methods

Melanie is a regular customer at a gun range, where she shoots paper targets with three different types of guns: a rifle, a pistol, and a shotgun. When firing the rifle, Melanie notices that her shots nearly always hit the target, but are evenly spread out throughout the paper's surface. When firing the pistol, Melanie's shots are all grouped within a few inches of each other, with the group overlaying the bull’s-eye on the target. When firing the shotgun, Melanie's shots are also tightly grouped, but the groups of shots are all slightly above the bull’s-eye. Which of the following terms is best describes Melanie's performance with the shotgun compared to her performance with the pistol?

Possible Answers:

None of these

Melanie is more reliable with the pistol than the shotgun, but more valid with the shotgun than the pistol

Melanie is not reliable or valid with the shotgun, but is valid with the pistol

Melanie is equally valid with pistol and shotgun, and more reliable with the pistol

Melanie is more valid with the pistol, but equally reliable with both pistol and shotgun

Correct answer:

Melanie is more valid with the pistol, but equally reliable with both pistol and shotgun

Explanation:

Reliability is the ability of a measure, test, or effect to produce the same result upon repeated trials. In this case reliability was analogous to the grouping of shots on the target irrespective of the placement of the group. Validity is the ability of a test to measure what it is intended to measure or of a treatment to produce the effect it is purported to produce. In this case validity was analogous to the placement of shots on the target—the closer to the bull’s-eye, the more valid the shots.

In the scenario, the shots from the pistol—which hit both the target on the bull’s-eye and were grouped closely together—are valid and reliable. On the other hand, the shotgun shots—which are only grouped together but are not accurate to the bull’s-eye—are equally reliable but less valid.

Example Question #3 : Construction, Reliability, & Validity Of Testing Methods

A sample of players on a baseball team are chosen to be drug tested. Which of the following methods could league officials use to ensure that the players are randomly selected?

Possible Answers:

Asking for volunteers and then testing those players

Choosing to test every player over thirty years of age

Choosing to test all of the pitchers on the team

Choosing to test every fifth player on an alphabetically-listed roster

Choosing to test every player with over ten home runs

Correct answer:

Choosing to test every fifth player on an alphabetically-listed roster

Explanation:

Random selection allows all of the players on the team to have an equal chance of being chosen for testing. Choosing to test only players of a certain age or position, or only testing those that volunteer or have reached a certain statistical benchmark, would exclude a number of the players on the roster from having a chance to be chosen.

Example Question #4 : Construction, Reliability, & Validity Of Testing Methods

Dana is participating in a study that asks her to press a red button every time the computer screen in front of her shows a letter X.

The computer screen shows a letter "T." Dana presses the red button. Dana's response is considered to be which of the following?

Possible Answers:

Miss

Hit

Correct rejection

None of these

False alarm

Correct answer:

False alarm

Explanation:

A false alarm is a response that says the target stimulus (in this case, the letter X) has been detected when that stimulus is not present.

Example Question #5 : Construction, Reliability, & Validity Of Testing Methods

Dr. Crawford believes she has invented a pill to help with student memorization. For a trial experiment, she gathered two groups of twenty students. She gave the twenty students in Group A the “smart pill”, and the twenty students in Group B a sugar pill. After waiting five minutes, both groups of students were given a list of forty words, and were instructed to memorize the entire list in any order. The students were given five minutes to memorize the list. The students were then asked to verbally recite all of the words they could remember in any order within three minutes.

Group A recited an average of fifteen words, while Group B recited an average of ten words.

In this experiment, what is the dependent variable?

Possible Answers:

Reciting the list in any order

Number of words recited correctly

Five minutes to study the list

Group A vs. Group B

Students' receipt of the smart pill vs. the sugar pill

Correct answer:

Number of words recited correctly

Explanation:

The dependent variable is the item actually being measured or analyzed the support or reject the hypothesis. The dependent variable measures the effect of the independent variable.

Example Question #6 : Construction, Reliability, & Validity Of Testing Methods

Dr. Crawford believes she has invented a pill to help with student memorization. For a trial experiment, she gathered two groups of twenty students. She gave the twenty students in Group A the “smart pill”, and the twenty students in Group B a sugar pill. After waiting five minutes, both groups of students were given a list of forty words, and were instructed to memorize the entire list in any order. The students were given five minutes to memorize the list. The students were then asked to verbally recite all of the words they could remember in any order within three minutes.

Group A recited an average of fifteen words, while Group B recited an average of ten words.

What is Dr. Smart’s null hypothesis?

Possible Answers:

There is a significant difference between the number of correct words recited by Group A and Group B.

The number of the words recited by Group A will be greater than or equal to the number of words recited by Group B.

There is no significant difference between the number of correct words recited by Group A and Group B.

The number of the words recited by Group B will be less than the number of words recited by Group A.

The smart pill works.

Correct answer:

There is no significant difference between the number of correct words recited by Group A and Group B.

Explanation:

The null hypothesis suggests that the independent variable has no effect in the experiment. If Dr. Crawford’s null hypothesis is supported, then her smart pill has virtually no effect on student memorization. The goal is to reject the null hypothesis with results from the experiment.

Example Question #7 : Construction, Reliability, & Validity Of Testing Methods

Dr. Crawford believes she has invented a pill to help with student memorization. For a trial experiment, she gathered two groups of twenty students. She gave the twenty students in Group A the “smart pill”, and the twenty students in Group B a sugar pill. After waiting five minutes, both groups of students were given a list of forty words, and were instructed to memorize the entire list in any order. The students were given five minutes to memorize the list. The students were then asked to verbally recite all of the words they could remember in any order within three minutes.

Group A recited an average of fifteen words, while Group B recited an average of ten words.

What sort of experimental design is this?

Possible Answers:

Independent measures

Repeated measures

Independent variables

Counterbalancing method

Separate variables

Correct answer:

Independent measures

Explanation:

Independent measures designs describe an experiment in which there are two or more separate groups. In Dr. Crawford’s experiment, the two groups are the students in Group A and Group B. The students do not overlap groups, and are only exposed to one of the two conditions during the experiment.

Example Question #8 : Construction, Reliability, & Validity Of Testing Methods

Dr. Crawford believes she has invented a pill to help with student memorization. For a trial experiment, she gathered two groups of twenty students. She gave the twenty students in Group A the “smart pill”, and the twenty students in Group B a sugar pill. After waiting five minutes, both groups of students were given a list of forty words, and were instructed to memorize the entire list in any order. The students were given five minutes to memorize the list. The students were then asked to verbally recite all of the words they could remember in any order within three minutes.

Group A recited an average of fifteen words, while Group B recited an average of ten words.

In this experiment, what is the independent variable?

Possible Answers:

The number of words recited

Reciting the list in any order

Students' receipt of the smart pill vs. the sugar pill

Group A versus Group B

Five minutes given to study the list

Correct answer:

Students' receipt of the smart pill vs. the sugar pill

Explanation:

The independent variable is what the researcher manipulates in order to test his or her hypothesis. In this experiment, Dr. Smart gave one group the smart pill and the other group a sugar pill in order to evaluate the smart pill's effect on student memorization.

Example Question #2 : Construction, Reliability, & Validity Of Testing Methods

Dr. Crawford believes she has invented a pill to help with student memorization. For a trial experiment, she gathered two groups of twenty students. She gave the twenty students in Group A the “smart pill”, and the twenty students in Group B a sugar pill. After waiting five minutes, both groups of students were given a list of forty words, and were instructed to memorize the entire list in any order. The students were given five minutes to memorize the list. The students were then asked to verbally recite all of the words they could remember in any order within three minutes.

Group A recited an average of fifteen words, while Group B recited an average of ten words.

Group A is the __________.

Possible Answers:

control group

tester group

independent variable

placebo group

experimental group

Correct answer:

experimental group

Explanation:

The experimental group is the group assigned to measure the effect of the independent variable. Students in Group A were given the smart pill, and thus their results will be analyzed to measure the effect it had on student memorization.

Example Question #10 : Construction, Reliability, & Validity Of Testing Methods

Dr. Crawford believes she has invented a pill to help with student memorization. For a trial experiment, she gathered two groups of twenty students. She gave the twenty students in Group A the “smart pill”, and the twenty students in Group B a sugar pill. After waiting five minutes, both groups of students were given a list of forty words, and were instructed to memorize the entire list in any order. The students were given five minutes to memorize the list. The students were then asked to verbally recite all of the words they could remember in any order within three minutes.

Group A recited an average of fifteen words, while Group B recited an average of ten words.

Group B is the _________.

Possible Answers:

control group

experimental group

placebo group

independent variable

tester group

Correct answer:

control group

Explanation:

The control group is the group assigned to provide a comparison to the experimental group’s results, in order to measure the effect of the independent variable. Students in Group B were given a sugar pill instead of the smart pill to measure the effect on how many words students could properly recite.

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