AP Psychology : Defining Abnormalities and Disorders

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Psychology

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Example Questions

Example Question #11 : Anxiety And Trauma Related Disorders

If someone has an anxiety disorder, what part of the brain would you expect to be especially active?

Possible Answers:

basal ganglia 

cerebellum

temporal lobe

pituitary gland

amygdala

Correct answer:

amygdala

Explanation:

The amygdala is the part of the brain that is most active when you experience fear, so it is especially active in people with anxiety disorders. As for the other answers, the cerebellum controls fine motor skills, the temporal lobe controls hearing and language, the basal ganglia directs intentional movements, and the pituitary gland releases hormones.

Example Question #112 : Psychological Abnormalities

Which of the following is a common environmental contributing factor to developing PTSD?

Possible Answers:

Supportive home environment

Participation in a war

Healthy sexual relationships

Obsession that the environment is filled with dirty germs

Fear of a specific animal

Correct answer:

Participation in a war

Explanation:

PTSD is an anxiety disorder characterized by flashbacks to stressful life events, such as service in a war. The answer choices "supportive home environment" and "healthy sexual relationships" are actually the opposite of two other common sources of PTSD-- child abuse and sexual assault. "Fear of a specific animal" is characteristic of a phobia and an "obsession that the environment is filled with dirty germs" is characteristic of OCD. 

Example Question #11 : Defining Abnormalities And Disorders

What does preparedness theory suggest about the development of phobias?

Possible Answers:

Phobias can help prepare someone to face other fears

People are born prepared to develop phobias of certain things

People are innately predisposed to fear certain things more than others

Even if they are prepared with therapy, phobias cannot be cured

To overcome a phobia, you have to prepare yourself to face your fear

Correct answer:

People are innately predisposed to fear certain things more than others

Explanation:

Preparedness theory holds that some fears, such as snakes and spiders, are more common than others because those stimuli were serious threats to their ancestors. Therefore, people are innately, biologically predisposed to fear these things more than other things (i.e. phobias of snakes are more common than phobias of butterflies). Preparedness theory does not define what makes certain people more likely to develop phobias ("people are born prepared to develop phobias of certain things"); it merely explains why, overall, the human race is more afraid of some things than others. As for the other three answers, preparedness theory does not have to do with phobia treatment, phobias can be cured, and phobias do not help prepare someone for other fears.

Example Question #113 : Psychological Abnormalities

A young girl is bitten on the face by a large dog and subsequently cannot stand to see a dog or talk about dogs. Which branch of psychology is most likely to present this scenario as the way that phobias develop?

Possible Answers:

Developmental psychology

Biopsychology 

Psychodynamic psychology 

Behavioral psychology 

Social psychology 

Correct answer:

Behavioral psychology 

Explanation:

Behavioral psychology is very focused on learned behaviors (conditioning) and would use the girl as an example of a learned phobia. If explaining a phobia, biopsychology would likely talk about chemicals in the brain, developmental psychology about parenting and lifespan factors, social psychology about interpersonal relationships, and psychodynamic psychology about unconscious conflicts. 

Example Question #114 : Psychological Abnormalities

Someone with which of the following phobias might avoid climbing through a narrow cave?

Possible Answers:

Arachnophobia

Mysophobia

Social phobia

Claustrophobia

Agoraphobia

Correct answer:

Claustrophobia

Explanation:

Claustrophobia is the fear of small, tight spaces, so someone with claustrophobia would likely not want to climb through a narrow cave. Agoraphobia is the fear of public spaces, arachnophobia is the fear of spiders, social phobia is the fear of social situations and embarassment, and mysophobia is the fear of germs and dirt.

Example Question #115 : Psychological Abnormalities

Joanne was walking in the middle of Times Square and suddenly felt a rush of anxiety as she was squeezed between hoards of people. She felt the need to escape the situation in fear of an oncoming panic attack. Which of the following is most likely the cause of Joanne's sudden anxiety?

Possible Answers:

Agoraphobia

Social phobia

Obsessive-compulsive disorder

Arachnophobia

General anxiety

Correct answer:

Agoraphobia

Explanation:

Agoraphobia is the fear of being in places or situations from which escape might be difficult or embarrassing. In other words, it is the fear of open spaces.

Example Question #11 : Defining Abnormalities And Disorders

Which of the following behavioral responses is common to most anxiety disorders?

Possible Answers:

Avoidance

Depression

Nervousness

Paralysis

Sweating

Correct answer:

Avoidance

Explanation:

Avoidance of what causes the anxiety is an overarching behavioral response that comes with anxiety disorders. For example, the behavioral response of avoidance in agoraphobia would be not going in to crowded places.

Example Question #11 : Types Of Disorders

Which is not a physiological response of anxiety?

Possible Answers:

Increased heart rate

Increased salivation

Rapid breathing

Sweating

Increased blood pressure

Correct answer:

Increased salivation

Explanation:

Increased salivation is not a physiological response to anxiety. The other four choices are examples of physiological responses that are commonly caused by anxiety.

Example Question #11 : Defining Abnormalities And Disorders

Liz frequently experiences unexpected periods of intense fear and discomfort accompanied by increased heart rate and respiration, shakiness, sweating, and fear of losing control. Liz most likely suffers from which of the following disorders?

Possible Answers:

Social anxiety disorder 

Panic disorder

Depersonalization 

Derealization 

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)

Correct answer:

Panic disorder

Explanation:

Liz frequently experiences unexpected periods of intense fear and discomfort accompanied by increased heart rate and respiration, shakiness, sweating, and fear of losing control. These are the symptoms of a panic attack. Panic can be defined as an extreme sense of fear with an extreme stress response. Panic attacks are periods in which the person feels extreme fear and discomfort and may experience a pounding heart, shortness of breath, shakiness, and sweating. Many times, the person is also afraid that they will lose control. A panic disorder is characterized by frequent, unexpected panic attacks and social limitations to avoid the onset of such attacks.

Example Question #12 : Anxiety And Trauma Related Disorders

In America, social anxiety stems from our fear of public humiliation and embarrassment. In Korea and Japan, taijin kyofusho refers to social anxiety caused by which of the following?

Possible Answers:

Unwanted body contact 

Public embarrassment 

Messy hair 

Body odor and blushing 

Inappropriate emotional response 

Correct answer:

Body odor and blushing 

Explanation:

Taijin kyofusho refers to a culture specific social anxiety in Korea and Japan. A person with social anxiety in these cultures is most likely going to fear that their body odor or the act of blushing will be offensive to others.

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