AP Psychology : Interpersonal Perceptions and Dynamics

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Psychology

varsity tutors app store varsity tutors android store

Example Questions

1 3 Next →

Example Question #21 : Interpersonal Perceptions And Dynamics

Which of the following social psychology concepts explains why someone might choose to date a person they have known for ten years rather than someone they just met?

Possible Answers:

Social exchange theory

Equity theory

Mere exposure effect

Comparison for alternatives

The halo effect

Correct answer:

Mere exposure effect

Explanation:

Mere exposure effect is the idea that people tend to like things or people they are familiar with/exposed to more often (e.g. a 10 year partner) rather than things they have only been exposed to a few times (e.g. a partner someone just met). 

While intriguing, the other choices are incorrect. Social exchange theory is the idea that social relationships are an exchange in which a participant tries to maximize benefits and minimize costs; if the costs get too high or the benefits too low, they will end the relationship. Comparison level for alternatives is the idea that people tend to stay in a relationship if they perceive that their relational outcomes would not be better in a different relationship and leave if they believe that their outcomes would be. Equity theory is the idea that people are happier in relationships where there is fair give and take by both people in the relationship. The halo effect is the idea that people tend to overgeneralize one character trait; for example, if someone is handsome, other people might overgeneralize that positive attribute and assume he's also funny and hardworking.

Example Question #81 : Social Psychology

George is going on an interview for a job. The job interviewer finds George to be attractive; therefore, he assumes that George must also be intelligent. The interviewer is most likely being influenced by which of the following psychological phenomena?

Possible Answers:

Halo effect

Cognitive dissonance

Job interview bias

Groupthink

Barnum effect

Correct answer:

Halo effect

Explanation:

The halo effect occurs when a person is influenced by global impressions (e.g. physical attractiveness) and then judges an individual’s specific traits (e.g. level of intelligence). The halo effect can be either positive or negative. In this example the interviewer finds George to be attractive, which impacts the interviewer's impression of his intelligence positively. On the other hand, groupthink occurs when the members of a cohesive group suspend their critical thinking skills in order to remain unanimous. The Barnum effect occurs when people accept vague or general descriptions of themselves, which is common when reading horoscopes. Cognitive dissonance occurs when a person experiences discomfort due to holding two conflicting attitudes. The job interview bias is not a term used in social psychology.

Example Question #22 : Interpersonal Perceptions And Dynamics

A school psychologist is asked to help decrease the conflict between two classrooms of children. Which of the following is considered to be the most effective technique to use?

Possible Answers:

Bring in a third classroom to be a common enemy

Restructure the social hierarchy of each classroom

Give the children rewards for cooperating

Increase competition between the classrooms

Create superordinate goals

Correct answer:

Create superordinate goals

Explanation:

Muzafer Sherif studied intergroup conflict during the 1950’s in the Robbers Cave study. Sherif studied two groups of children at a boy's summer camp, and found that the most effective way to reduce conflict was to introduce a mutual goal that required the groups to work together cooperatively to achieve. The other choices have not been found to decrease intergroup conflict. 

Example Question #21 : Interpersonal Perceptions And Dynamics

Anna, an infant, is carried by her mother into an unfamiliar play room at a relative’s house. When her mother steps out of the room for a moment, Anna does not explore it at all and responds only a little to the cooing of her cousin, who she has not met before. When Anna’s mother returns, Anna does not acknowledge her much, either, and still does not move around to see the new toys. Anna is demonstrating which of the following?

Possible Answers:

Disorganized attachment

Secure attachment

Avoidant attachment

Ambivalent (resistant) attachment

Correct answer:

Avoidant attachment

Explanation:

According to Ainsworth’s attachment theory, an infant’s response to a caregiver’s presence of absence in an unfamiliar environment (a so-called “strange situation”) can be used to characterize the infant’s attachment style. Attachment style is based on an infant’s exploratory behaviors, response to the caregiver’s leaving, and response to the caregiver’s return. The four most recognized attachment styles are summarized in the table below (where “CG” is an abbreviation for “caregiver”). As we can see from comparing the question to the chart, Anna explored very little, seemed apathetic to her mother’s absence and her return, and appeared just as comfortable with strangers (the cousin) as with her mother: avoidant attachment.

Attachment styles

Example Question #21 : Interpersonal Perceptions And Dynamics

Imagine that you are at a party and meet someone new. Which of the following factors is most likely to increase the probability of you employing the "halo effect" in evaluating this new person?

Possible Answers:

Strength

Agility

Kindness

Intelligence

Physical attractiveness

Correct answer:

Physical attractiveness

Explanation:

The halo effect can be defined as the tendency to use global evaluations to make judgments about specific traits. The preponderance of research clearly demonstrates that we are more likely to believe that physically attractive people are automatically better at other things (e.g., baking, playing sports) than less attractive people.

Example Question #21 : Interpersonal Perceptions And Dynamics

Ms. L recently began teaching a college course on psychology. Her students perceive her to be down to earth and likable. What type of authority does Ms. L have over her students?

Possible Answers:

Legitimate power

Psychological power

Expert power

Referent power

Coercive power

Correct answer:

Referent power

Explanation:

French and Raven are social psychologists that described different types of power that leaders may possess. Ms. L is described as possessing positive personality traits. This is an example of referent power because she is seen as likable. Expert power comes from having advanced knowledge or expertise in a subject. Coercive power comes from the ability to punish others. Police officers hold coercive power. Legitimate power is power based on a person's position or status. Ms. L would have legitimate power if she was respected by her students simply because she was a professor. Note that psychological power is not one of the types of power described by French and Raven.

1 3 Next →
Learning Tools by Varsity Tutors