GRE Subject Test: Psychology : Verbal & Nonverbal Communication

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Verbal & Nonverbal Communication

Adrian is a four-year-old boy. He wants to say, "May I have some juice?", but accidentally says, "May I haves some juiced?" Which type of error has Adrian committed?

Possible Answers:

Lexical selection error

Word-exchange error

Morpheme-exchange error

Spoonerism

Sound-exchange error

Correct answer:

Morpheme-exchange error

Explanation:

In a morpheme-exchange error (morphemic error), two or more morphemes (-er, -s, -ed, etc.) exchange places. These kinds of errors often occur in children or those learning a morpheme-heavy language like English for the first time.

Example Question #1 : Verbal & Nonverbal Communication

The term paralinguistics refers to which of the following?

Possible Answers:

Unspoken features of spoken communication

Languages other than a speaker's first language

Languages of Indonesian origin

Ancient methods of communication such as petroglyphs  

Correct answer:

Unspoken features of spoken communication

Explanation:

It is always of great help to know a large range of prefixes and suffixes when heading into standardized exams. Note that “para” means besides or outside of, therefore, paralinguistics are those vocal (excluding actual words) and non-vocal elements of communication that carry meaning. Elements of paralinguistics include pitch, rate of speech, fluency of speech, volume, and a host of signs and sounds that work to color what we are saying.

Example Question #2 : Verbal & Nonverbal Communication

The term aprosodia most nearly means which of the following?

Possible Answers:

An inability to interpret tone from written language

An inability to understand or utilize emotion in spoken language (flat speech, randomly intoned speech, etc.)

An inability to apply a consistent tempo to speech (inappropriate speed of speech)

An inability to understand the way in which morphemes modify a base word in speech (morphemic errors)

Correct answer:

An inability to understand or utilize emotion in spoken language (flat speech, randomly intoned speech, etc.)

Explanation:

Prosody concerns itself with the elements of speech which are generated from interactions between units of language beyond phonemic elements (syllables, word play, etc.), and covers parts of language like tone, stress, and rhythm. Aprosodia, or the inability to recognize and generate these elements of speech, is often a classic sign of Asperger's Syndrome.

Example Question #4 : Verbal & Nonverbal Communication

The study of kinesics is most closely associated with which of the following psychologists?

Possible Answers:

Ray Birdwhistell

Edward T. Hall

George L. Trager

Charles F. Hockett

Correct answer:

Ray Birdwhistell

Explanation:

Kinesics is the study of all forms of nonverbal communication given by bodily motions and facial expressions, and is generally considered to be founded by Ray Birdwhistell in the 1950's. The common term "body language" was actually never used by Birdwhistell, as linguists of the day would not consider bodily expressions to meet the technical definition of a language.

Example Question #3 : Verbal & Nonverbal Communication

A patient presenting with a complete lack of reaction to violation of their "personal space" would most likely be suspected of damage to which area of the brain?

Possible Answers:

Hypothalamus

Cingulate gyrus

Hippocampus

Amygdala

Correct answer:

Amygdala

Explanation:

Broadly defined as the space around a person which that person regards as psychologically theirs, personal space is a concept under the umbrella of "nonverbal communication" and is thought to be controlled or heavily influenced by the amygdala. Research has shown that individuals with bilateral lesion of the amygdala show little or no reaction when their personal space is violated.

Example Question #4 : Verbal & Nonverbal Communication

Which of the following is an instrument used to assess the tendency of a culture to engage in communicative tasks one-at-a-time versus several-at-a-time?

Possible Answers:

Inventory of Polychronic Values (IPV)

Simultaneity Assessment Index (SAI)

Revised Time Usage Inventory (TUI-R)

Time Facilitation Approach (TFA)

Correct answer:

Inventory of Polychronic Values (IPV)

Explanation:

Developed in 1999, the IPV is a 10-item scale designed to test the extent to which cultures prefer to be engaged in at least two simultaneous tasks. The broader study of the role of time in communication, particularly in nonverbal communication, is known as chronemics.

Example Question #7 : Verbal & Nonverbal Communication

In terms of haptic (touch-based) communication, which of the following is not true?

Possible Answers:

Ritualistic touches, such as greeting and departure gestures, serve primarily to signal the beginning or end of expected communications.

Haptic communication is generally the first type to be perceived by the human body.

High-context cultures, such as the U.S. and Germany, value communicating social rules through verbal exchanges.

Low-context cultures are atypical in South America and Asia, and are more often found in European cultures.

Correct answer:

High-context cultures, such as the U.S. and Germany, value communicating social rules through verbal exchanges.

Explanation:

In high-context cultures, most of the rules of social engagement are assumed to be known by members, and thus much more nonverbal communication is utilized. This type of communication is easier among nondiverse cohorts and in cultures which strongly value tradition and history, which may explain its relative prevalence in the Middle East, Africa, South America and Asia. The U.S. and Germany are examples of low-context cultures, where rules are spelled out more explicitly.

Example Question #5 : Verbal & Nonverbal Communication

Which of the following is an example of an element of verbal communication which is processed non-verbally?

Possible Answers:

Atonality

Changes in pitch of speech

Palilalia

McGurk effect

Correct answer:

McGurk effect

Explanation:

The McGurk effect is a well-known illusion which takes place when a person hears a component of a word while watching (or reading) a visual component for a different word. The overall effect blends the two into a third sound interpreted by the brain. This effect seems to be extremely robust, as even those fully aware it is about to happen still experience the illusion. It is thought to originate from the early age at which we learn to blend visual and auditory stimulus when communicating verbally.

Example Question #6 : Verbal & Nonverbal Communication

A person who hears the sentence "I enjoyed the beer I had with lunch" uttered in a high falsetto voice is more likely to report anxious feelings compared to when they hear the same sentence in a deep baritone voice. This is most closely an example of which of the following?

Possible Answers:

Lexical ambiguity

Semantic marking

Meta-communication

Phonetic discrimination

Correct answer:

Semantic marking

Explanation:

Semantic marking occurs when the clarity of a message and its reception is directly affected by one or more aspects of paralanguage within the message itself. In this case, hearing a reference to alcohol in a voice with childlike qualities is enough of an anomaly to register in the mind of the listener, and the message is "marked" as abnormal.

Example Question #7 : Verbal & Nonverbal Communication

Which of the following is not an example of meta-communication?

Possible Answers:

A teacher elongates vowel sounds when reading aloud a passage to demonstrate irony or disbelief in a text

A politician's stutter is interpreted by others as a sign of weak political conviction in the subject being discussed

A police officer responds differently to the sound of loud laughter at a parade than to the same sound on a street patrol late at night

A speaker delivers a speech both in Spanish and English in order to make it easier for nonnative speakers of either language to understand the message

Correct answer:

A speaker delivers a speech both in Spanish and English in order to make it easier for nonnative speakers of either language to understand the message

Explanation:

Meta-communication refers to any qualities of communication which are designed to impart information about how the message itself should be received, rather than the content of the message. Intonation, cadence, and even the context in which verbal communication occurs are all types of meta-communication, because each of these things can affect how a message is perceived. In contrast, repeating a message in another language does not (generally) change how a message is perceived, but simply expands whom can perceive it.

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