GRE Subject Test: Psychology : Social

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

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Gre Subject Test: Psychology

When communicating with others around us, which cues are typically necessary?

Possible Answers:

Auditory or somatosensory

Visual and auditory 

Auditory 

Visual 

Visual and olfaction

Correct answer:

Visual and auditory 

Explanation:

Visual and auditory cues are necessary for communication because communication involves verbal and nonverbal cues. Languages consist of a spoken language and gestures and expressions that are nonverbal. Ignoring the visual components of communication can be just as detrimental as missing a spoken phrase. 

Example Question #2 : Gre Subject Test: Psychology

A choir is headed for a state competition to perform 5 pieces of music. The choir is very strong on some songs (i.e. performs well) and weaker on some songs (i.e. performs less well). If the director wants to order the songs in a strategic way, what might you suggest?

Possible Answers:

Placing the strongest songs in the middle

Placing the strongest songs as the first and last pieces

Alternating between stronger songs and weaker songs

Using random assignment for the songs

Correct answer:
Placing the strongest songs as the first and last pieces
Explanation:

The primacy and recency effects refer to the tendency for our first impressions and most recent impressions to be most important in forming an opinion of groups and individuals. By placing the strongest songs as the first and last pieces, the director would strategically make it more likely that the impressions formed by the judges would be most influenced by the strongest pieces.

Example Question #1 : Social Interactions

Groupthink refers to which of the following?

Possible Answers:

Tendency of decision-making groups to strive for consensus by not considering discordant information

Tendency for decision-making groups to separate and form sub-groups with homogenous opinions

Tendency of decision-making groups to get caught up in different opinions of group members and delay decision making

Tendency for decision-making groups to consider all sides of the matter rather than one perspective (multiple heads are better than one)

Correct answer:

Tendency of decision-making groups to strive for consensus by not considering discordant information

Explanation:

While each of these scenarios may occur when in a decision-making group, groupthink is a specific concept that refers to the tendency of those groups to strive for consensus by not considering discordant information. For example, a group of friends could decide to go to the mall at 4:00pm after school. Although the mall closes at 4:30pm, the group might overlook this detail because it is discordant with their consensus of going to the mall. 

Example Question #1 : Social Perception & Cognition

Consider the following scenario: Heidi is walking down the street when she sees a man on the street covered in blood yelling, "help me!"

According to Darley and Latane's bystander intervention research, then under which of the following circumstances would Heidi be most likely to demonstrate helping behavior?

Possible Answers:

Heidi is walking down a street with no one else around

Heidi is walking down the street by herself, but there are a few other people on the street

Heidi is walking down the street with a group of her friends

Heidi is walking down the street and it is very crowded with many people around

Correct answer:

Heidi is walking down a street with no one else around

Explanation:

Darley and Latane's bystander intervention research suggests that responsibility to help gets diffused (or divided) among the observers. When there are no others around, the responsibility is not diffused with anyone else and Heidi would be most likely to help.

Example Question #1 : Gre Subject Test: Psychology

It has been observed that, over time, the persuasive power of a highly credible source (i.e. a physicist) decreases, while the persuasive power of a low-credibility source (i.e. a supermarket tabloid) increases. Which of the following identifies the term used by social psychologists to describe this odd phenomenon?

Possible Answers:

Delayed-persuasion effect

Sleeper effect

Social learning

Social loafing

Low credibility effect

Correct answer:

Sleeper effect

Explanation:

The sleeper effect is a term coined by Hovland and Weiss (1952), two psychologists who prepared several articles on controversial topics, such as the feasibility of an atomic-powered submarine. American subjects read the articles, and Hovland and Weiss measured their opinions on the subject. They found that communications by high-credibility sources (such as the acclaimed physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer) were more persuasive, but over time its power decreased while the persuasive power of the low-credibility source increased. 

Example Question #1 : Gre Subject Test: Psychology

People tend to believe that shark attacks kill more people than asthma, even though the reverse is true. Which of the following social-psychological concepts could help to explain this phenomenon?

Possible Answers:

Group polarization

The representativeness heuristic

Social facilitation

The availability heuristic

Correct answer:

The availability heuristic

Explanation:

When individuals make decisions based on how easy it is to imagine similar instances, they're using what is known as the availability heuristic. Shark attacks are far more likely to be covered by news sources than asthma-related deaths; thus, stories of shark-related deaths are more available in one's memory.

Example Question #1 : Attitudes & Behavior

Cindy pledges to join a sorority and goes through a series of difficult and challenging events, until she is finally accepted into the sorority. According to Festinger's cognitive dissonance theory, what will happen to Cindy's beliefs about the sorority?

Possible Answers:

She will like the sorority more. 

She will quit the sorority. 

She will like the sorority less.

Her beliefs will not change. 

Correct answer:

She will like the sorority more. 

Explanation:

According to cognitive dissonance theory, Cindy will feel conflicted over her desire to join the sorority and need to complete difficult challenges. After she is a part of the sorority, she will attempt to manage this conflict by liking the sorority more; therefore, justifying her actions. 

Example Question #2 : Social Interactions

Gary passes an accident on the road while driving. He sees that one car has hit another. If he is committing the fundamental attribution error, then he would be most likely to say which of the following?

Possible Answers:

The driver must have been inattentive

The driver has bad luck

I'm a much safer driver

Everyone makes mistakes

The bad weather is responsible for the accident

Correct answer:

The driver must have been inattentive

Explanation:

The fundamental attribution error is the tendency to attribute other people's behaviors to internal or dispositional factors. A person who passes a car accident and commits the fundamental attribution error would attribute blame for the accident to the person. The fundamental attribution error does not say anything about how we make attributions about our own behavior; however, the actor-observer bias says that we tend to make dispositional attributions for the behavior of others and situational attributions for our own behaviors. 

Example Question #1 : Social Interactions

According to the bystander effect, a person would be most likely to receive help during a medical emergency under which of the following circumstances?

Possible Answers:

He is elderly

He is a doctor

He is in a large crowd

There is only one or two other people present

The medical emergency is common

Correct answer:

There is only one or two other people present

Explanation:

The bystander effect is related to diffusion of responsibility, and states that bystanders are less likely to help a victim if other bystanders are present. For example, if a person is having a medical emergency, he will be less likely to be helped if he is in a large crowd. The bystander effect says he would be most likely to be helped if only one or two other people are present, since the bystanders are more likely to feel responsible for helping. 

Example Question #1 : Gre Subject Test: Psychology

Consider the following scenario: Nancy shows up to school wearing a brand new outfit that she really likes. When she arrives at school, Nancy notices that Susan (who Nancy has disliked for a long time) is wearing the exact same outfit as Nancy. Nancy decides that Susan isn't so bad after all.

 This scenario best reflects which social psychological construct?

Possible Answers:

Gain-Loss principle

Diffusion of responsibility

 

Festinger's cognitive dissonance theory

 

Fundamental attribution error

Correct answer:
Festinger's cognitive dissonance theory

 

Explanation:
Cognitive dissonance is the conflict that you feel when your attitudes are not in synch with your behaviors. In order to resolve the dissonance, the theory suggests that individuals either change their attitudes (in this case, deciding that Susan was okay) OR change their behavior (would have occurred if Nancy had stopped wearing the outfit). The fundamental attribution error is the tendency to attribute someone else's negative outcome to their individual character or personality while attributing our own negative outcomes to our circumstances. The gain-loss principle suggests that an evaluation that changes over time has more of an impact than an evaluation that remains constant over time. Diffusion of responsibility occurs when an individual assumes less personal responsibility in a given situation when there are other people present.
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