GRE Subject Test: Psychology : Learning

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GRE Subject Test: Psychology

varsity tutors app store varsity tutors android store

All GRE Subject Test: Psychology Resources

105 Practice Tests Question of the Day Flashcards Learn by Concept

Example Questions

← Previous 1

Example Question #1 : Classical Conditioning

Generalization refers to the tendency for stimuli similar to the __________ to elicit the conditioned response.

Possible Answers:

None of these

conditioned stimulus

spontaneous stimuli

unconditioned response

conditioned reinforcer

Correct answer:

conditioned stimulus

Explanation:

Generalization refers to the tendency for stimuli similar to the conditioned stimulus to induce the conditioned response. For example, a dog’s owner rings a bell when he feeds his dog. Over successive occurrences, a dog might begin to salivate to bells of a slightly different timbre. 

Example Question #1 : Classical Conditioning

A researcher notices that each time she makes a loud noise her research subject jumps. The researcher then shines a bright light before making a loud noise. After a few pairings she notices that her research subject jumps when only the light is flashed. In this case the light is considered to be which of the following?

Possible Answers:

Unconditioned stimulus

Conditioned response

Conditioned stimulus

Unconditioned response

Correct answer:

Conditioned stimulus

Explanation:

The light is considered the conditioned stimulus because it results in the conditioned response only after it is paired with the unconditioned stimulus (i.e. the loud noise). Prior to learning, the conditioned stimulus does not elicit the learning response. On the other hand, the unconditioned stimulus always causes the response, even without learning. The unconditioned and conditioned responses are the subject's jumping behaviors.

Example Question #1 : Classical Conditioning

In classical conditioning, the order that the unconditioned stimulus and conditioned stimulus are presented impacts learning. What form of conditioning results in the fastest and most resistant form of learning?

Possible Answers:

The unconditioned stimulus and conditioned stimulus are presented at the same time

The conditioned stimulus is presented first, stops, and then the unconditioned stimulus is presented

The unconditioned stimulus is presented before the conditioned stimulus

The conditioned stimulus is presented before the unconditioned stimulus, and briefly overlaps

Correct answer:

The conditioned stimulus is presented before the unconditioned stimulus, and briefly overlaps

Explanation:

Forward conditioning is an effective form of classical conditioning. Forward conditioning includes both trace and delay conditioning. In trace conditioning, the conditioned stimulus (CS) is presented first, is then stopped/removed, and then the unconditioned stimulus (US) is presented. While this can be effective, it is not the most effective of the choices. The most effective form of forward conditioning is delay conditioning, where the CS is presented and then overlaps with the US. In backward conditioning the US is presented before the CS, and does not result in any learning. Simultaneous conditioning occurs when both the US and CS are presented at the same time. 

Example Question #1 : Learning

In Pavlov’s experiments, the dog’s salivation triggered by the sound of the tone was considered to be which of following?

Possible Answers:

Conditioned response

Conditioned stimulus

Extinction

Unconditioned stimulus

Unconditioned response

Correct answer:

Conditioned response

Explanation:

The dog was conditioned to expect food after hearing the bell or sound, which caused him to salivate before eating. After many repetitions, even before the food arrived, the dog expected to be fed soon after hearing the bell; therefore, the salivation was conditioned to happen after hearing the sound. 

Example Question #2 : Learning

Your dog loves to go on walks around the neighborhood. You begin an experiment by clapping your hand 3 times before getting the least to walk your dog. Soon every time you clap your hands the dog comes running. This is an example of what concept?

Possible Answers:

Positive punishment 

Classical conditioning

Negative reinforcement

Positive reinforcement

Operant conditioning

Correct answer:

Classical conditioning

Explanation:

The correct answer is classical conditioning. In classical conditioning you can train an animal to have a response to an unrelated stimuli. Originally clapping was not associated with going for a walk. Because you associated them together the dog is now conditioned to think clapping means he is going for a walk. On the other hand the rest of the choices are incorrect. Operant conditioning is training a certain desired behavior by reinforcement. Negative reinforcement is an example of operant conditioning. This is when you take something good away to create a desired behavior. Such as taking away a child's cell phone until they clean their room. Positive reinforcement is another example of operant conditioning. This is when you give something good to create a desired behavior. An example of this is giving a child a cookie because they cleaned their room. Last, positive punishment is when you add something bad to decrease a behavior. An example of this is if you spank a child for misbehaving.

Example Question #1 : Learning

Mary is a 4-year-old child who has frequent temper tantrums. Each time she has a temper tantrum her mother takes away her dessert. In this case, her mother's reaction to Mary's temper tantrum is best described as which of the following?

Possible Answers:

Positive reinforcement

Negative punishment

Negative reinforcement

Positive punishment

Correct answer:

Negative punishment

Explanation:

Each time Mary's mother takes away her dessert, she is trying to decrease Mary's temper tantrums by removing something that Mary finds desirable. The key words here are "decrease" and "take away." Any action that decreases a behavior is a form of punishment, and any action that increases a behavior is reinforcement. When something is removed it is considered negative, and when something is added it is positive. In this case, Mary's mother taking away her dessert in order to decrease her temper tantrums is “negative punishment.” 

Example Question #2 : Learning

Weekly paychecks are an example of which of the following types of reinforcement?

Possible Answers:

Variable ratio

Fixed interval

Fixed ratio

Variable interval

Correct answer:

Fixed interval

Explanation:

Weekly paychecks are an example of a "fixed interval" schedule of reinforcement, because the reinforcement (i.e. paycheck) is given each week after the same amount of time has passed. An example of a "fixed ratio" schedule would be if a paycheck were given after a person completed five assignments. "Variable ratio" and "variable interval" schedules provide reinforcement after a variable or changing amount of either time (e.g. variable interval) or number of completed tasks (e.g. variable ratio).

Example Question #3 : Learning

Extinction occurs when a __________ is no longer paired with a __________.

Possible Answers:

US. . . UR

CS. . . UR

CS. . . US

CS. . . UR

UR. . . US

Correct answer:

CS. . . US

Explanation:

When a conditioned stimulus (CS) is no longer paired with an unconditional stimulus (US), then the conditioned stimulus loses its power. In the case of Pavlov, if the bell (CS) is no longer paired with food (US), then the dog will no longer salivate at the sound of the bell. 

Example Question #4 : Learning

Mary is a 4-year-old child who has frequent temper tantrums. Each time she has a temper tantrum her mother takes away her dessert. In this case, her mother's reaction to Mary's temper tantrum is best described as which of the following?

Possible Answers:

None of these

Positive punishment

Negative punishment

Negative reinforcement

Positive reinforcement

Correct answer:

Negative punishment

Explanation:

Each time Mary's mother takes away her dessert, she is trying to decrease Mary's temper tantrums by removing something that Mary finds desirable. The key words here are "decrease" and "take away." Any action that decreases a behavior is a form of punishment, and any action that increases a behavior is reinforcement. When something is removed it is considered negative, and when something is added it is positive. In this case, Mary's mother taking away her dessert in order to decrease her temper tantrums is “negative punishment.” 

Example Question #2 : Learning

Which behaviorist accidentally discovered a form of learning after he noticed that his dog salivated each time he entered the room in anticipation of feeding time?

Possible Answers:

Skinner

Pavlov

Thorndike

Watson

Correct answer:

Pavlov

Explanation:

Ivan Pavlov was the theorist who coined the term classical conditioning after he noticed his dog salivated each time he entered the room, even before presenting food. Pavlov went on to pair the sound of a bell with salivation, which demonstrated learning by pairing a conditioned stimulus with an unconditioned stimulus. The other theorists are incorrect choices. Skinner and Thorndike are associated with operant/instrumental conditioning. Watson is also associated with classical conditioning, but is famous for his Little Albert study.

← Previous 1

All GRE Subject Test: Psychology Resources

105 Practice Tests Question of the Day Flashcards Learn by Concept
Learning Tools by Varsity Tutors