AP Psychology : Studying Developmental Psychology

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Psychology

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Example Questions

Example Question #41 : Studying Developmental Psychology

Sammy is a middle-age adult who has been diagnosed with a terminal illness. He understands his prognosis, but he continues to ask his doctors and nurses about alternative treatments, which he will pay for no matter the cost. According to Kubler-Ross' theory regarding the stages of dying, which stage best describes Sammy?

Possible Answers:

Depression 

Denial

Bargaining

Acceptance 

Correct answer:

Bargaining

Explanation:

Based on research conducted by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, five stages of death/dying have been identified: 

  1. Stage One—Denial (i.e. the person does not believe that he/she is dying)
  2. Stage Two—Anger (i.e. the person is mad and frustrated and lashes out at others because he/she is dying)
  3. Stage Three—Bargaining (i.e. the person tries to make deals with his/her doctors, family, or even God in order to extend his/her lifespan)
  4. Stage Four—Depression (i.e. the person begins to acknowledge that he/she is dying and becomes very sad with the situation)
  5. Stage Five—Acceptance (i.e. the person comes to peace with his/her fate but may withdraw from family and friends)

Sammy is attempting to bargain. 

Example Question #42 : Studying Developmental Psychology

Lexi is a very active and mischievous 5-year-old. She often cries or throw things when she does not get her way. Her parents often take away her privileges or give her time-outs as consequences. According to Bronfenbrenner's ecological systems theory, the parent-child interaction described above best characterizes which of the following systems? 

Possible Answers:

Microsystem 

Mesosystem 

Exosystem 

Macrosystem 

Correct answer:

Microsystem 

Explanation:

Lexi's direct interaction with her parents is an example of the “microsystem.” Children's direct experiences with those in their daily lives can be impacted by the child's temperament and personality (e.g. family life or school life).  While intriguing, the other choices are incorrect. The “mesosytem” includes bidirectional influences of multiple microsystems on a child's development. For example, if Lexi's parents and teachers actively communicate and are involved with Lexi's education, then this would describe the home-school connection. The “exosystem” includes influences that indirectly impact the child's development. For instance, Lexi's parents' employers may support paid time leave off in order for her parents to attend parent conferences at school. Employee benefits, work hours, and social support can act as risk or protective factors. The “macrosystem” includes the broader society such as the healthcare laws or social programs available, which can also influence a child's development.

Example Question #43 : Developmental Psychology

Which of the following stages of Erikson's psychosocial theory characterizes birth to the first year of life? 

Possible Answers:

Identity vs. role confusion 

Intimacy vs. isolation 

Autonomy vs. shame/doubt 

Basic trust vs. mistrust 

Correct answer:

Basic trust vs. mistrust 

Explanation:

Erikson proposed that individuals must positively resolve certain conflicts throughout their lifespan, which impacts their personality development and social-emotional well-being. During the first year of life, babies are primarily concerned with having their basic needs met (e.g. food). They look to their caregivers for consistent protection and provision of those basic needs. If babies resolve the conflict successfully, then they acquire trust toward their caregivers; however, if babies resolve the conflict negatively, then they acquire mistrust toward their caregivers. 

The other choices represent different stages mapped onto different ages in Erikson's theory (intimacy vs. isolation—early adulthood, autonomy vs. shame/doubt—1-3 years, identity vs. role confusion—adolescence). 

Example Question #381 : Individual Psychology And Behavior

Charlene is 69-years-old and retired from teaching three years ago. She recently lost her husband, but she is trying to find new roles and activities to keep her busy. Which social theory of aging best describes Charlene's current life? 

Possible Answers:

Disengagement theory

Activity theory

Continuity theory

Socioemotional selectivity theory

Correct answer:

Activity theory

Explanation:

"Activity theory" best describes Charlene. Since she has retired, she no longer fulfills the "teacher" role for work. Since her husband recently passed, she no longer fulfills the "spouse" role in her marriage. As a retiree and widow, Charlene must find other avenues in order to feel as if she is still active in her life with a sense of purpose. 

Example Question #382 : Individual Psychology And Behavior

John is 88-years-old. He wakes up every morning at 6 a.m. and he goes to the local diner to eat breakfast and read the paper. He then takes a walk in the park and volunteers at the local library every afternoon. John has done this routine every day since he retired. Which social theory of aging best describes John? 

Possible Answers:

Continuity theory

Activity theory

Disengagement theory

Socioemotional selectivity theory

Correct answer:

Continuity theory

Explanation:

"Continuity theory" best describes John. He likes to engage in the same activities each day because they are familiar to him; consistency is appreciated during late adulthood. 

Example Question #43 : Studying Developmental Psychology

Jerry is 85-years-old. He primarily interacts with his close family members and friends. He cherishes his close relationships and rarely engages with acquaintances. Which social theory of aging best characterizes Jerry? 

Possible Answers:

Activity theory

Continuity theory

Socioemotional selectivity theory

Disengagement theory

Correct answer:

Socioemotional selectivity theory

Explanation:

"Socioemotional selectivity theory" best describes Jerry. He likes to interact with individuals who elicit positive emotions and avoid stressful situations with people he does not know as well. Individuals in late adulthood prefer to focus on their close relationships and spend time with those they love as opposed to meeting new people. 

Example Question #44 : Studying Developmental Psychology

Rebecca is 90-years-old. Although she loves interacting with her family, friends, and people in general, she feels that there are fewer opportunities and activities for her to engage in during late adulthood. Which social theory of aging best describes Rebecca? 

Possible Answers:

Disengagement theory

Continuity theory

Activity theory

Socioemotional selectivity theory

Correct answer:

Disengagement theory

Explanation:

"Disengagement theory" suggests that the older individual and society as a whole mutually withdraw and interact less; however, social support and quality interactions are actually protective factors in late adulthood in terms of social-emotional well-being. Rebecca's frustration may be due in part to society's negative view of older individuals and its assumption that it is normal or acceptable for elderly individuals to withdraw from society.

Example Question #46 : Developmental Psychology

Johnny is five years old and cannot learn to properly use the bathroom. According to Freud, in which psychosexual stage has Johnny not developed?

Possible Answers:

Latency 

Genital 

Phallic 

Oral 

Anal 

Correct answer:

Anal 

Explanation:

Freud's psychosocial stages include: oral (ages 0-1), anal (ages 1-3), phallic (ages 3-6), latency (ages 6-12), and genital (ages over 12). The oral stage is when infants use their mouth to find oral gratification. The anal stage involves toilet training and controlling bowel and bladder movements. The phallic stage involves the Oedipus and Electra complex, in which boys are attracted to their mothers, and daughters to their fathers. This is usually the stage in which each gender learns their appropriate social roles. During the latent stage, sexual energy is dormant and children play with other children of the same gender. Last, at the genital stage, sexual instincts are reawakened and relationships are sought. 

According the Freud's psychosocial stages, Johnny has not developed in the anal stage. 

Example Question #385 : Individual Psychology And Behavior

Which level of moral development is marked by the concept that moral choices are the direct outcome of actions?

Possible Answers:

Abstract

Postconventional

Imaginary

Conventional

Preconventional

Correct answer:

Preconventional

Explanation:

Kohlberg's stages of moral development can be characterized as preconventional, conventional, and postconventional. Preconventional stages are common in children. Remember, stages cannot be skipped. In this early stage, the morality of an action is judged by the direct consequence of that action. This stage is considered egocentric (where the self is considered the sole meaning of existence).

Example Question #34 : Theories Of Psychological Development

Five-year-old Jane uses words, images, and symbols to understand her world. She cannot yet reason logically and is egocentric. Which of Jean Piaget's developmental stages is Jane most likely experiencing?

Possible Answers:

Formal operational

Concrete operational

Object permanence

Sensorimotor 

Preoperational

Correct answer:

Preoperational

Explanation:

Jane is in the preoperational stage of development, which occurs between ages two and seven. During this stage a child is egocentric, or unable to understand the perspective of others, and uses imagery and symbols. Sensorimotor is the first stage that occurs from birth to age two. During this stage a child uses the senses and develops object permanence, or the understanding that objects continue to exist even when they are not visible. Note that object permanence is not a stage. The concrete operational stage occurs from ages seven to eleven. During this stage a child develops conservation, where a he or she understands that a substance does not change size just because its form changes. The formal operational stage occurs after age eleven and involves abstract logic and reasoning. 

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