GRE Subject Test: Psychology : History

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GRE Subject Test: Psychology

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All GRE Subject Test: Psychology Resources

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : History

"There are ten primary needs which all people have; however, neurotic people possess them in excess." Which of the following theorists would most likely make this statement?

Possible Answers:

Karen Horney

Abraham Maslow

Sigmund Freud

Heinz Hartmann

John B. Watson

Correct answer:

Karen Horney

Explanation:

In addition to her "ten needs" theory, Karen Horney is also considered to be the founder of feminine psychology. Feminine psychology was a direct response to her disagreements with Sigmund Freud's theories of penis envy and the instinct orientation of psychoanalysis.

Example Question #2 : History

Early psychologists depended highly on the concept of phrenology, which of the following statements accurately describes the belief behind phrenology?

Possible Answers:

Severe mental disorders such as schizophrenia could be attributed to lack of adequate nutrition or access to sunlight. 

In females, psychosis was a product of disfunctional female reproductive organs as a result of not bearing children, also referred to as a wandering uterus. 

As the skull takes its shape from the brain, the surface of the skull can be read as an accurate index of psychological aptitudes and tendencies

None of these

The nervous system was composed of long tubes which filled and deflated as the brain's activity occured. 

Correct answer:

As the skull takes its shape from the brain, the surface of the skull can be read as an accurate index of psychological aptitudes and tendencies

Explanation:

Phrenology was used to determine which psychological faculties a person possessed based on the bumps, divots, and shape of their skull. Phrenologists would place a person’s skull in their hand and feel for areas they believed to correspond with the brain’s functions. Phrenologists would also examine the skulls of the deceased and identify patterns in order to determine differences between male and female intelligence.

Example Question #3 : General

Which of the following psychologists is correctly matched with the concept that he/she developed?

Possible Answers:

Albert Ellis—counter-transference

Erik Erikson—hierarchy of needs

Noam Chomsky—language acquisition device

Jean Piaget—actualization

Correct answer:

Noam Chomsky—language acquisition device

Explanation:

Noam Chomsky—a major figure in cognitive psychology and linguistics—challenged behavioral theories of language development, and instead argued for the idea that children possess an innate ability to acquire language. 

Example Question #3 : History

Which of the following theorists is known for studying moral development in children?

Possible Answers:

Kohlberg

Vygotsky

Harlow

Bandura

Erikson 

Correct answer:

Kohlberg

Explanation:

Kohlberg and Piaget are two theorists that studied moral development. Kohlberg described three stages of moral development: preconventional, conventional, and postconventional. On the other hand, Vygotsky is associated with cognitive development and the zone of proximal development. Erikson developed the psychosocial stages of development, which focus on specific crises that people encounter at each stage of life. Harlow studied contact comfort among rhesus monkeys. Bandura studied social learning theory and developed theories on observational learning and self-efficacy.

Example Question #4 : History

Which of the following is best described as the seventeenth century philosopher who believed that the mind is blank at birth—tabula rasa?

Possible Answers:

Wilhelm Wundt

John Locke

Aristotle

Rene Descartes

Plato

Correct answer:

John Locke

Explanation:

"John Locke" was the seventeenth philosopher that created the concept known as tabula rosa.  He believed that the mind was a blank slate and the experiences we have shape who we will become. 

Example Question #5 : History

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) encompasses all of the following except which of the following?

Possible Answers:

Existential therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Modification

Cognitive Therapy

Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT)

Correct answer:

Existential therapy

Explanation:

Existential therapy is a humanistic therapy. It does not have a defined technique and it focuses more on existential questions (What do I want from life? How do I want to live my life? etc.) than changing any sort of cognitions or behaviors. Cognitive behavioral therapies encompass Aaron Beck's cognitive therapy, Meichenbaum's cognitive behavioral modification, and Albert Ellis' rational emotive behavior therapy.

Example Question #6 : History

Which psychologist's theory included the creation of concepts such as the electra complex, the superego, and defense mechanisms?

Possible Answers:

Ivan Pavlov

Sigmund Freud

Carl Rogers

Irvin Yalom

Correct answer:

Sigmund Freud

Explanation:

Freud's theory included the Electra complex (the female version of the Oedipal Complex, where a child is sexually attracted to their opposite sex parent and is furious at their same sex parent), the Superego (one of the three parts of the personality which is the moralistic ideal of personality), and defense mechanisms (unconscious strategies people use to defend against harm, including repression, deflection, and denial). Pavlov is associated with behavioralism (specifically with conditioning in dogs). Yalom is associated with existential theory. Rogers is associated with person-centered therapy (humanistic therapy).  

Example Question #8 : General

Which of the following therapeutic theories are associated with the ideas of "must-erbation" and "should-ing all over yourself"?

Possible Answers:

Solution-Focused Brief Therapy

CBT

REBT

Psychoanalysis

Correct answer:

REBT

Explanation:

REBT holds that problems arise when people believe they SHOULD or MUST be a certain way in order to get other people to accept them. Albert Ellis used crude humor to get his points across. He utilized these phrases as a way to describe these tendencies.

Example Question #9 : General

Which psychologist was the first to record therapy sessions for research purposes?

Possible Answers:

Aaron Beck

Sigmund Freud

Carl Rogers

Albert Ellis

Correct answer:

Carl Rogers

Explanation:

All of these therapists have conducted research on their theories. Freud specifically used case studies to do research. Rogers is known as the father of psychotherapy research for this groundbreaking new way of studying the therapy process. He recorded sessions and used this as material for research.

All GRE Subject Test: Psychology Resources

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