AP Psychology : Classifications and Procedures

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Psychology

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Example Questions

Example Question #104 : Research And Testing

A researcher wants to test if people memorize lists better while listening classical music or when there is silence. She has a list of people who have signed up for the study and flips a coin for each name. If the coin lands on heads, then that person will be told to go into the room where classical music is playing on the day of the study. This is an example of which of the following?

Possible Answers:

Random selection

Random assignment

Double-blind study

Correlational research

Experimenter bias

Correct answer:

Random assignment

Explanation:

When researchers assign study participants to different groups based on chance, such as by using a random number generator or flipping a coin as her, this is an example of random assignment. A method that is not random assignment would be something like assigning all men to one group and all women to another. Random assignment is sometimes confused with random selection, which means choosing study participants at random from the population being studied.

Example Question #105 : Research And Testing

Which of the following is a major disadvantage of experimental research designs?

Possible Answers:

They establish correlation between variables, but not causation.

They make it harder for participants to give or deny consent.

They are hard to replicate.

They accommodate fewer feasible variables than other designs.

Correct answer:

They accommodate fewer feasible variables than other designs.

Explanation:

Experimental research designs allow researchers to carefully control each variable measured. This level of control allows researchers to establish causal connections between variables and allows other researchers to know exactly how to repeat the study on their own; however, this control also confines the study to variables that can be observed in a laboratory setting. Unlike descriptive studies, in which participants might not always know they are being observed, experiments force researchers to brief their participants on how they will participate, and allow participants to decline or leave.

Example Question #106 : Research And Testing

Dr. Andrews recruited a group of 50 American, 30-month-old children from English-speaking homes. After acquiring parental permission, he tracked their acquisition of language using various tasks and observational methods. He saw each child every 6 months for three years after the initial session: 3 years (36 months), 3.5 years, 4 years, 4.5 years, 5 years, 5.5 years, and 6 years. Based on the data he collected, he hopes to determine the universal sequence in which all children acquire certain phonemes.

Which of the following best describes Dr. Andrews research design?

Possible Answers:

Time-insensitive design

Cross-sectional design

Longitudinal design

Sequential design

Correct answer:

Longitudinal design

Explanation:

We know that Dr. Andrews used a longitudinal design because the question tells us that he tracks the same group of children’s progress at regular intervals. This is the definition of a longitudinal study design: the same group of individuals is observed, measured, tested, etc. on the same dependent variable at regular time intervals. This allows the researcher to see how a certain measured trait changes in individuals over time; however, longitudinal studies take a long time to carry out and are quite expensive. As a result, many researchers use an alternative cross-sectional design, which uses two or more different groups of subjects that are relatively similar except in age and measures them just once. 

Example Question #107 : Research And Testing

In order to be able to determine cause and effect, which of the following is most important for a researcher to incorporate into a planned study?

Possible Answers:

Confidentiality measures that ensure subjects’ personal information is not distributed

A thorough consent form for subjects to sign prior to participation

A measurable dependent variable

An independent variable directly manipulated by the researcher

Correct answer:

An independent variable directly manipulated by the researcher

Explanation:

While all of these are things that a good experiment should possess, the one that is most important for a study’s ability to generate conclusions about causal relationships is the presence of a true independent variable. The fact that the researcher manipulates this variable directly allows him or her to conclude that any changes in the dependent variable are related to the changes in the manipulated independent variable alone. Causal relationships could still be inferred from a study that does not have a consent form or proper confidentiality practices; however, this study would certainly be unethical. Even research studies that do not focus on causal relationships involve the measurement of dependent variables.

Example Question #108 : Research And Testing

Which of the following terms is incorrectly matched with its definition?

Possible Answers:

Independent variable: factor manipulated by the researcher

Random assignment: each member of a group has an equal chance of being selected for a study

Dependent variable: factor that is measured

Control group: comparision group that receives no treatment or a placebo

Correlation: strength of a relationship between two variables

Correct answer:

Random assignment: each member of a group has an equal chance of being selected for a study

Explanation:

Random assignment is the only term that is incorrectly matched. Random assignment involves assignment to experimental and control groups. It ensures that each participant has an equal chance of being assigned to a group. On the other hand, random selection refers to each member of a group having an equal chance of being selected for the study. 

Example Question #109 : Research And Testing

A(n) __________ research design involves studying a sample over a period of time. A(n) __________ research design involves studying a sample of people who differ on a characteristic at one point in time.

Possible Answers:

double-blind experiment. . . cross-sectional

longitudinal. . . cross-sectional

cross-sectional. . . longitudinal

meta-analysis. . . experimental

experimental. . . meta-analysis

Correct answer:

longitudinal. . . cross-sectional

Explanation:

Cross-sectional and longitudinal studies are both types of correlational studies that allow researchers to predict or draw conclusions from data. "Cross-sectional" studies allow researchers to examine how a sample differs on a specific characteristic at one point in time. "Longitudinal studies" involve following a sample over time. On the other hand, "experimental studies" include random selection, random assignment, and an independent variable that is manipulated. Causation can only be concluded from true experiments. In "double-blind experiments," both the researchers and participants are unaware of which groups are assigned as the experimental and control groups. Last, a "meta-analysis" allows researchers to look at several research studies and draw statistical conclusions. 

Example Question #110 : Research And Testing

A researcher plans to divide a sample into two groups. One group will receive a new depression medication. The other group will receive a sugar pill. Both groups' depression scores will be measured using the Beck Depression Inventory. What is the dependent variable in this study?

Possible Answers:

Drug vs. sugar pill group

Experimental group

Depression scores

Control group

Random assignment 

Correct answer:

Depression scores

Explanation:

The independent variable is the specific group that participants are assigned to (i.e. drug vs. sugar pill group). The experimental group is the group that receives the intervention (i.e. new depression drug), while the control group is the group that receives no treatment or a placebo. The dependent variable in a study is what is being measured, which in the case of this study is depression scores. The term random assignment refers to each participant having an equal chance of being assigned to the experimental and control groups. 

Example Question #31 : Classifications And Procedures

Which of the follow is not true about projective and objective personality tests?

Possible Answers:

The Rorschach Inkblot test is an objective test

The Thematic Apperception Test is a projective test

Objective tests are scored in a standardized, predetermined way

Projective tests involve interpreting responses to ambiguous stimuli

Correct answer:

The Rorschach Inkblot test is an objective test

Explanation:

The key difference between projective and objective personality tests is the way they are scored. Objective tests, which often involve self-report methods and “true/false” or multiple choice questions, are scored in a standardized, predetermined way. For example, if Joe and Anne both bubble in the exact same set of answers for a certain personality test, their score reports will show the exact same results. Contrastingly, projective tests generally don’t use a hard-coded method of scoring participant responses. Instead, the psychologist interprets a freeform response to an ambiguous stimulus and attempts to infer meaning from it, sometimes using guides created for this task as a reference. Both the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) and the Rorschach Inkblot Test are projective tests. The TAT uses ambiguous, uncaptioned scenes as the ambiguous stimuli, while the Rorschach uses monotone, symmetrical inkblot splatters as the ambiguous stimuli.

Example Question #32 : Classifications And Procedures

Which of the following is the best example of naturalistic observation?

Possible Answers:

Counting the number of trials it takes an infant child to successfully grip a ball and put it in a basket (from behind a two-way mirror)

Sitting on a park bench and tallying the number of times a parent tells their child to be careful versus to have fun

Giving one group of subjects a piece of chocolate and one group a sour candy and seeing who performs better on cognitive tasks

Asking a participant to give a short speech about a dream job, recording it, and later noting how many seconds she paused while speaking

Correct answer:

Sitting on a park bench and tallying the number of times a parent tells their child to be careful versus to have fun

Explanation:

Naturalistic observation refers to watching individuals in their “natural habitat” when laboratory observation would be cost-prohibitive, impossible, or otherwise unrealistic. The defining feature of naturalistic observation is watching individuals and recording data about their behaviors in the normal, unaltered environment. This can be useful when the individuals might change their behavior when they are aware they’re being watched (i.e. a phenomenon sometimes called the Hawthorne effect). The example involving sitting at a park is naturalistic observation, because the researcher is observing the behavior of parents of children at play in their natural environment, as opposed to bringing the parent-children pairs into a lab and then observing the parents’ behavior. The other examples all involve bringing human subjects into a lab setting, which by definition is not naturalistic observation.

Example Question #33 : Classifications And Procedures

Which of the following processes is known as the brain imaging technique that involves amplifying electrical impulses recorded from electrodes on the scalp?

Possible Answers:

Electroencephalography (EEG)

Positron emission tomography (PET)

Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)

Electrocardiography (ECG)

Correct answer:

Electroencephalography (EEG)

Explanation:

The correct answer is "electroencephalography (EEG)." In EEG, the researcher applies electrodes to the participant’s (or patient’s) scalp and records the electrical signals emitted by the brain. Recall that neurons communicate with one another using electrical impulses. The electrodes are placed in specific places that allow the researcher to measure activity in different areas of the brain. This technique is often used in sleep research.

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