AP Psychology : Subdisciplines and Approaches

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Psychology

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1823 : Ap Psychology

Martin Seligman is best known for his work in which of the following sub-disciplines of psychology?

Possible Answers:

Positive psychology

Psychoanalysis

Health psychology

Analytical psychology

Correct answer:

Positive psychology

Explanation:

Seligman is best known as a pioneering thinker in the field of positive psychology, or the science of what helps people to thrive. This contrasts starkly with the traditional focus of psychology: on discovering what makes people distressed or unhappy. He is well known for coining the term "learned helplessness," a phenomenon he observed in dogs that also translates to human behavior. 

Example Question #1824 : Ap Psychology

Which of the following influential psychologists is best known for developing the approach known as rational-emotive therapy?

Possible Answers:

Lev Vygotsky

Erik Erikson

Aaron Beck

Albert Ellis

Correct answer:

Albert Ellis

Explanation:

Albert Ellis studied psychoanalysis but eventually broke from that school of thought and developed rational-emotive therapy, a cognitive approach which stresses that negative thoughts lead to mental disorders like depression. Like Ellis, Aaron Beck began as a psychoanalyst but eventually formed a new approach known as cognitive therapy. Lev Vygotsky took a socio-cultural approach to exploring cognitive development, emphasizing that family relationships and culture play key roles in the development of cognition. Erik Erikson was a personality theorist whose 8-stage psychosocial theory of development across the lifespan has been highly influential.

Tip: When studying influential psychologists, focus on understanding the differences between psychologists whose approaches are most similar, such as Aaron Beck and Albert Ellis. 

Example Question #1825 : Ap Psychology

Which psychological perspective does not consider inner mental and emotional states as key aspects of the study of human psychology?

Possible Answers:

Behaviorism

Psychoanalysis

Phemenological

Social-cognitive

Humanist

Correct answer:

Behaviorism

Explanation:

Behaviorism believes that psychology can only be accurately studied through the analysis of objective and quantifiable actions and behaviors conducted by a chosen population. While there is, of course, a wide spectrum of behaviorist thinker who consider inner emotional states to various degrees, in the strictest sense behaviorism studies behaviors and actions exclusively

Example Question #1826 : Ap Psychology

A middle school has been facing a long pattern of bullying. The district has decided to work with psychologists to help control the problem. Which of the choices is the kind of specialization that would most likley be beneficial for the situation?

Possible Answers:

Developmental Psychology

Cognitive Psychology

Comparitive Psychology

Community Psychology

Evolutionary Psychology 

Correct answer:

Community Psychology

Explanation:

Community psychology focuses on studying the interaction between people and their social environments and how social institutions influence individuals and groups. In this scenario, a community psychologist would observe how the school or area promotes bullying. A community psychologist strives to understand the connection between individuals' contexts with regards to the wider society. By doing so, they try to understand the quality of life in terms of the people, the community, and the society. In this instance, there may be some underlying cause in the community or society that is promoting children to instigate and continue bullying at school by affecting their behavior and attitudes. Comparative psychology would not be the correct answer because this specialization focuses on studying the behavior and mental processes of non-human animals as to shed light on evolutionary and developmental history. Cognitive psychology would be incorrect because this specialization pertains to understanding and observing mental processes such as paying attention, learning, language, memory, and the like. Developmental and evolutionary psychology would also be incorrect choices in that these specializations focus on understanding the changes of human mental processes over time or with respect to natural selection. All options excluding community psychology pertain to understanding behavior or mental abilities such as learning. Given that this bullying incident is not localized to one student, a broader approach would best fit the situation. 

Example Question #1827 : Ap Psychology

Bob, a man dealing with general anxiety disorder, is being treated by methods that attempt to uncover his unconscious thoughts and motivations. Which psychological approach is this treatment likely derived from?

Possible Answers:

Psychoanalysis

Behavioral psychology

Humanism

Neuropsychology

Cognitive psychology

Correct answer:

Psychoanalysis

Explanation:

Psychoanalysis, pioneered by Sigmund Freud, focuses on making the unconscious thoughts and motivations of humans become conscious. Treatment based off of this would likely involve methods to expose the unconscious thoughts and motivations of a patient.

Example Question #1828 : Ap Psychology

Freud is known to have mainly influenced which major approach of psychology?

Possible Answers:

Psychodynamic

Humanistic

Biopsychosocial

Cognitive

Behavioral 

Correct answer:

Biopsychosocial

Explanation:

The correct answer is "psychodynamic." In this theory, Freud explains how the unconscious drives human behavior through the id, the ego, and the superego. On the other hand, the "behavioral" approach reasons that behavior is a direct respondent of reinforcement. Watson and Skinner famously contributed to this school of thought. The "cognitive" approach emphasizes the process and storage of information in the brain. Piaget and Chomsky are most well known in this school of psychological thought. The "humanistic" approach studies how environmental influences, such as love, determine human outcome in life. Rogers and Maslow are famous contributors to this approach. Last, the "biopsychosocial" approach encompasses all of the other approaches mentioned in these answers. It stems from the idea that biological, psychological and socio-cultural influences affect behavior and thinking.

Example Question #1829 : Ap Psychology

Which subdiscipline of psychology focuses on designing products for effective human use?

Possible Answers:

Ego oriented psychology

Clinical psychology

Human factors psychology

Humanistic psychology

Applied developmental psychology

Correct answer:

Human factors psychology

Explanation:

Human factors psychology applies information on human behavior to design and evaluate various products. This field focuses on maximizing human efficacy by making the easiest to use and safest products for consumers.

Example Question #1830 : Ap Psychology

Members belong to which of the following professions can prescribe medication?

Possible Answers:

All of these

Social workers

Psychiatrists

Biological psychologists

School psychologists

Correct answer:

Psychiatrists

Explanation:

"Psychiatrists" are medical doctors (i.e. physicians) who are allowed to prescribe psychopharmacological treatments (e.g. antidepressants) to help aid in treating various psychiatric illnesses. All of the other professions cannot legally prescribe medication.

Example Question #11 : Subdisciplines And Approaches

Which subdiscipline of psychology focuses on studying human behavior in the workplace?

Possible Answers:

Applied psychology

Sociological psychology

Environmental psychology

Industrial-organizational psychology

Developmental psychology

Correct answer:

Industrial-organizational psychology

Explanation:

"Industrial-organizational psychology" focuses on applying the scientific study of individuals and groups to optimizing workplace performance. Psychologists in this field typically work for large corporations and help them to improve areas including employee satisfaction, employee retention, and productivity. 

Example Question #12 : Subdisciplines And Approaches

Which of the following professions is not licensed to perform psychotherapy?

Possible Answers:

Psychiatrists

Life coaches

Psychologists

Mental health counselors

Social workers

Correct answer:

Life coaches

Explanation:

Anyone can call themselves a "life coach" without meeting particular qualifications; however, all of the other answer choices require specific schoolwork and appropriate licensure in order to practice psychotherapy. 

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