AP Psychology : Cognition and Consciousness

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Psychology

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Language

How can syntax influence the meaning of what we say?

Possible Answers:

In English syntax, the overall structure of a sentence can be used to convey the emotions of the speaker. For instance, sentences with fewer words and less structural complexity indicates anger, sadness, or boredom. If someone asks "How are you doing?" and the person replies "Okay," they are more likely experiencing negative emotions than if they replied with a more detailed and structurally complex sentence such as "I'm doing alright today."

None of these.

In syntax, certain sounds and pitches are used to convey a particular meaning. For instance, high pitched tones are often used to convey affection, particularly from mothers to their children.

In English syntax, we know the verb comes after the subject in a setence. Hence we know in the sentence "The cop carded the student" that "carded" isn't used as the noun "card," but instead is being used as a verb, as in the cop demanded the student for their card.

Correct answer:

In English syntax, we know the verb comes after the subject in a setence. Hence we know in the sentence "The cop carded the student" that "carded" isn't used as the noun "card," but instead is being used as a verb, as in the cop demanded the student for their card.

Explanation:

Syntax is primarily concerned with the ordering of words and phrases, and their respective grammatical functions. That said, it assists in conveying meaning but is not the singular mode to express meaning. For instance, independent of whether or not the word "cat" is ordered in a particular way in a sentence, we know the word refers to a small fluffy feline animal. This is semantics.

However, if we place "cat" at the beginning of the sentence—"the cat sniffed the pigeon"—we know the cat is performing the action of sniffing. But once we reverse the order so that the sentence is "the pigeon sniffed the cat," we know the cat is being sniffed by the pigeon. The order of the nouns, verbs, and objects is determined by the syntactic rules of a language thus assists in conveying meaning.

Example Question #2 : Language

Which of the following is a phoneme of the English language?

Possible Answers:

"im-", since this can be added to words to create new meanings (impossible, improbable, etc.)

"C", because it is a sound that is able to distinguish meaning between two words

The "a" in "cat" and "crate" since it manifests as two different sounds in different phonetic contexts

None of these

Correct answer:

"C", because it is a sound that is able to distinguish meaning between two words

Explanation:

The "C" sound—represented phoenetically as [k], a voiced velar stop—is a phoneme of the English language. Phonemes are units of sound that can distinguish meaning in a language. Another example would be "G" and "B." Since "boat" and "goat" would sound exactly the same if it weren't for the first consonant, we know the first consonant is used to distinguish between the meaning of these two words. Therefore, we know that both "B" and "G" are phonemes of English.

 

Example Question #2 : Language

What is the holophrastic stage of language acquisition?

Possible Answers:

When babies begin to acquire syntactic rules, but overgeneralize them

When babies speak in single words

When babies babble

When babies combine words to form simple commands

Correct answer:

When babies speak in single words

Explanation:

At this particular stage of language acquisition, babies are transitioning away from babbling and beginning to develop communication using whole words. They can only say simple words and cannot combine them, even into simple commands, which is the next stage of acquisition.

Example Question #11 : Language

Which area of the brain is responsible for speech comprehension?

Possible Answers:

Corpus callosum

Broca's area

Cerebellum

Amygdala

Wernicke's area

Correct answer:

Wernicke's area

Explanation:

Wernicke's area, located in the upper temporal lobe, contains motor neurons involved in the comprehension of speech. A person with a malfunctioning Wernicke's area will have difficulty understanding what others are saying. Broca's area is involved in producing speech, and none of the other answer choices are directly involved in speech-related processes.

Example Question #11 : Language

Which theorist coined the term language acquisition device (LAD)?

Possible Answers:

Lev Vygotsky

Noam Chomsky

Jean Piaget

B. F. Skinner

Correct answer:

Noam Chomsky

Explanation:

Noam Chomsky's theory of language development suggests that children possess the inherent ability to acquire language. When exposed to any given language, children pick it up easily because they have a kind of "universal grammar" that allows them to understand the commonalities between all languages.

Example Question #53 : Cognition

Which is the following is true about the process of learning language?

Possible Answers:

Children tend to overgeneralize grammatical rules after they first learn them

Children can speak language better than they can understand it

Social interactions do not play a significant role in language acquisition

There is not a innate biological ability to acquire language

The language a child learns does not impact their perception of the world

Correct answer:

Children tend to overgeneralize grammatical rules after they first learn them

Explanation:

The correct answer is that children tend to overgeneralize grammatical rules after they first learn them-- a process unsurprisingly called overgeneralization.

As for the other answers, children understand language better than they can speak it (think about how your dog can understand some english but can't produce it), social interactions and innate biological ability play roles in acquiring language, and the language a child learns does impact their perception of the world according to Whorf's linguistic relativity hypothesis. 

Example Question #51 : Cognition

Regarding language acquisition, Noam Chomsky argued which of the following?

Possible Answers:

Language is a learned behavior through operant conditioning

None of the other answers

Language acquisition is dependent on socio-cultural setting

Language is a learned behavior acquired exclusively through receptive skills (reading and listening)

Humans are born with innate language acquisition devices

Correct answer:

Humans are born with innate language acquisition devices

Explanation:

In opposition to behaviorists such as B.F. Skinner, Noam Chomsky argued that humans are born with the ability to acquire language. He put forth the idea that all humans, regardless of socio-cultural differences, have the same naturally underlying language learning abilities.

Example Question #11 : Language

What is the difference between phonemes and morphemes?

Possible Answers:

Morphemes are the smallest non-recognizable units of sound, whereas phonemes are the smallest meaningful units of sound. 

Morphemes are the smallest recognizable units of sound, whereas phonemes are the smallest meaningful units of sound. 

Phonemes are the smallest recognizable units of sound, whereas morphemes are the smallest meaningful units of sound. 

Phonemes are the smallest non-recognizable units of sound, whereas morphemes are the smallest meaningful units of sound. 

Morphemes and phonemes are synonyms.

Correct answer:

Phonemes are the smallest recognizable units of sound, whereas morphemes are the smallest meaningful units of sound. 

Explanation:

This question requires knowledge of the definitions of phonemes and morphemes-- two elements of speech. Phonemes are the smallest units of sound that are recognizable as human speech and make words distinct from one another, such as the "p" at the beginning of the word "pat" that distinguishes "pat" from "bat" and "hat." Morphemes, on the other hand, are the smallest meaningful units of sound; after all, the sound made by the letter P doesn't really mean anything by itself. Examples of morphemes include the "-ed" on the end of the word "finished."

Example Question #61 : Cognition

In an alien language, there are twenty different names for different shades of red. A study finds that the alien culture can better differentiate between shades of red than other cultures with fewer words for red. What is this situation an example of? 

Possible Answers:

Chomsky's nativist theory

Skinner's reinforcement theory

Whorf's linguistic relativity hypothesis

interactionist theory

Grammar

Correct answer:

Whorf's linguistic relativity hypothesis

Explanation:

This connection between language and perception is an example of Whorf's linguistic relativity hypothesis, which explains that the language we speak (20 words for red) affects our perception (ability to differentiate between shades of red) relative to people who speak other languages (other cultures).

As for the other answers, interactionist theory states that social interactions as well as an innate predisposition for language lead to language acquisition. Nativist theory states that an innate predisposition for language leads to language acquisition. Skinner's reinforcement theory states that systems of conditioning (parents encouraging correct speech and discouraging incorrect speech) lead to language acquisition. Grammar is the system of rules that dictates the correct ways to combine words, clauses, and phrases. 

Example Question #11 : Language

Which of the following is an example of telegraphic speech?

Possible Answers:

I need to send a message, stop

I'm walkin' here

Go go power rangers

Truck go

Blah blah blah

Correct answer:

Truck go

Explanation:

Telegraphic speech is most common amongst toddlers, where nouns and verbs are combined with little to no conjugation, determiners, prepositions or auxiliary words. Hence, the correct answer is "Truck go" since there is no other grammatical categories present except a noun and a verb, as well as no verb conjugation. Although "Go go Power Rangers" seems like a viable answer, this is idiomatic speech as well as technically grammatically correct--the "go"s are used in the imperative sense.

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