AP Psychology : Defining Abnormalities and Disorders

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Psychology

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Example Questions

Example Question #151 : Defining Abnormalities And Disorders

Randall is complaining to his doctor of very strange episodes in which he "blacks out" and cannot remember where he is or what he is doing for large chunks of time. During these episodes he often regains his awareness miles away from where he last remembered being. Based on these data, Randall most likely suffers from a(n) _______________ disorder.

Possible Answers:

anxiety

mood

dissociative

psychotic

Correct answer:

dissociative

Explanation:

Randall's episodes are most likely a feature of a rare class of disorders called dissociative disorders. Dissociative disorders are a class of disorders in which people lose contact with portions of their consciousness or memory, resulting in disruptions in their sense of identity.

Example Question #152 : Types Of Disorders

Which of the following are identifying clues in speech that suggest a person may be a psychopath?

Possible Answers:

The excessive use of the past as opposed to present tense

An absence of remorse

All of these

A focus on basic needs such as food and drink

Many cause and effect statements ("because", "so that")

Correct answer:

All of these

Explanation:

There are many aspects of speech that could indicate a person is a psychopath. A combination of psychological and linguistic research has pointed to several factors that indicate psychopathology. The excess use of causatives in sentences are indicative of a psychopath's need to create a logical justification for their acts. The use of the past tense instead of present indicates a psychological detachment from the world as if they are looking in instead of a participant. Psychological factors such as a lack of remorse or an obsession with basic needs also point to psychopathy. 

Example Question #152 : Defining Abnormalities And Disorders

Which of the following personality disorders possesses the highest suicide rate?

Possible Answers:

Obsessive-compulsive disorder

Borderline personality disorder

Schizoid personality disorder

Antisocial/ psychopath disorder

Narcissistic personality disorder

Correct answer:

Borderline personality disorder

Explanation:

While borderline personality disorder (BPD) does not have the highest suicide rate of any psychological disorder, it has the highest of the personality class. Some reports estimate that up to 10% of diagnosed patients carry through with suicide. The exact number depends on the study, but BPD holds the highest rate under any account.

Example Question #153 : Defining Abnormalities And Disorders

What is the most common type of dementia?

Possible Answers:

Alzheimer's disease

Dementia with Lewy bodies

All of these

Vascular dementia

Parkinson's disease

Correct answer:

Alzheimer's disease

Explanation:

Alzheimer's disease accounts for somewhere between 60 to 80% of all dementia cases. "Alzheimer's" and "dementia" are sometimes used interchangeably, but this is an error due to the great overlapping in cases. All Alzheimer's patients have dementia, but not all dementia patients have Alzheimer's disease.

Example Question #154 : Defining Abnormalities And Disorders

Which of the following types of dementia have known causes:

I. Parkinson's disease

II. Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome

III. Huntington's disease

Possible Answers:

II & III

III only

II only

I & III

II only

Correct answer:

II & III

Explanation:

Exact known causes of Parkinson's disease are still unknown, but researchers are working towards a better understanding. On the other hand, a gene on chromosome 4 has been identified to cause Huntington's, and a thiamine deficiency has been identified to cause Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. These reductionist explanations suggest that Huntington's and Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome are caused by singular processes, but it is probably much more complex.

Example Question #1 : Theories Of Abnormal Psychology

What does the cognitive model postulate as the cause of unipolar depression?

Possible Answers:

Cognitive theorists believe that people with unipolar depression persistently view events and situations in life in negative ways. As a result of these defeatist perceptions, people sink into feelings of gloom, helplessness, and depression.

None of these answers represent the cognitive model for explaining unipolar depression

Cognitive theorists believe that unipolar depression results from significant changes in the number of rewards and punishments people receive in their lives.

Cognitive theorists believe that, due to over-active neurotransmitters in the brain, people gradually begin to experience stronger and stronger depressive thoughts.

Cognitive theorists believe that depression results when a person's relationships leave them feeling insecure and unsafe.

Correct answer:

Cognitive theorists believe that people with unipolar depression persistently view events and situations in life in negative ways. As a result of these defeatist perceptions, people sink into feelings of gloom, helplessness, and depression.

Explanation:

Cognitive theorists believe that the mind and patterns of thinking are largely in control of how a person views and responds to life's events. Cognitive theorists believe that people with unipolar depression persistently view events and situations in life in negative ways. As a result of these defeatist perceptions, such people sink into feelings of gloom, helplessness, and depression.

Example Question #1 : Theories Of Psychopathology

Which of the following is not a reason why a person might develop post-traumatic stress disorder?

Possible Answers:

Sexual assualt

Combat

Torture

Natural disaster

All of these answers are likely reasons why a person might develop post-traumatic stress disorder

Correct answer:

All of these answers are likely reasons why a person might develop post-traumatic stress disorder

Explanation:

Any traumatic event can trigger post-traumatic stress disorder. Some of the most likely to do so include combat, disasters, abuse of any kind, victimization, and torture.

Example Question #3 : Theories Of Abnormal Psychology

What do psychodynamic theorists propose to be the cause for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)?

Possible Answers:

Psychodynamic theorists believe that certain people are predisposed to develop this disorder. Essentially, genetics is the determining factor and is solely responsible for this pattern of thinking/doing in certain people and not others.

Psychodynamic theorists believe that abnormally low levels of the neurotransmitter seratonin are responsible for obsessive thoughts and compulsive actions.

Psychodynamic theorists believe that all people have intrusive and unwanted thoughts. Some people, however, blame themselves for such thoughts; these people then start acting compulsively to neutralize the unwanted thoughts. 

None of these answers accurately represents the psychodynamic perspective on obsessive-compulsive disorder

Psychodynamic theorists believe that OCD develops when children come to fear their own id impulses and use ego defense mechanisms to lessen the resulting anxiety. The id impulses usally take the form of obsessive thoughts, and the ego defenses appear as compulsive actions. 

Correct answer:

Psychodynamic theorists believe that OCD develops when children come to fear their own id impulses and use ego defense mechanisms to lessen the resulting anxiety. The id impulses usally take the form of obsessive thoughts, and the ego defenses appear as compulsive actions. 

Explanation:

Psychodynamic theorists are very firm in their belief about the interactions between the id and ego during the early, formative years of a person's life. They propose that there is a battle between anxiety-provoking id impulses and anxiety-reducing defense mechanisms.

Example Question #3 : Theories Of Abnormal Psychology

Which of these cases supports the diathesis-stress model of psychopathology?

Possible Answers:

David's schizophrenia seems to stem from his abuse of psychoactive drugs, rather than a genetic predisposition to the disorder. 

Cara developed OCD at age 10, with a strong predisposition to the disorder and no clear external factors or life events contributing to it. 

Ben has a family history of depression but does not develop it. 

Thomas's family has a history of bipolar disorder, and he developed it after a trauma in his teen years. 

Logan had several stressful life events, but does not develop depression. 

Correct answer:

Thomas's family has a history of bipolar disorder, and he developed it after a trauma in his teen years. 

Explanation:

The diathesis-stress model states that disorders are caused by both a predisposition to the disorder and a life stress that serves as a trigger. The only example that follows that pattern is Thomas's family history (diathesis) and stressful life events (trauma). 

Example Question #2 : Theories Of Psychopathology

Which theory of psychopathology holds that disorders are the result of an imbalance between internal drives?

Possible Answers:

Cognitive

Psychodynamic

Behaviorist

Biological

Developmental

Correct answer:

Psychodynamic

Explanation:

The psychodynamic approach in psychology holds that internal drives for pleasure (the id) is in constant conflict with the rational mind (the ego) and the moral mind (the superego). When these forces are unbalanced, they can manifest themselves as a variety of mental disorders.

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