Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Psychology GRE Study Guide Page 1

This is for all those psychology students out there who want to be professional psychology students. And since the GRE is required for most graduate programs, I will be going through the practice test page by page explaining not only what the question is asking, but also each of the answer options. I will not be posting the actual answer, but this still may want to be something you look at after you’ve done the practice test, though I won’t be doing it that way. I figure by the time I’ve completed all 31 pages, I will have forgotten the earlier ones and I would rather do a 31 page assessment of my knowledge after studying rather than before.

1. Transformational grammar uses grammar in a logical way to convey meaning and thought behind the sentence rather than just as a structural tool.
a. Roger Brown is an American social psychologist who studied paediatric linguistics, flashbulb memories, and tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon.
b. Alan Turing was a British mathematician, logician and cryptanalyst.
c. Jerry Fodor is an American philosopher and cognitive scientist who philosophised much on language believing that communication was achieved by ‘language of thought’ which states that cognition and related processes are plausible only when expressed as representational systems and that thought follows the same rules as language.
d. B.F. Skinner was an American psychologist who focused on operational conditioning which is when a subject (rat) operates on a mechanical device (lever) and an event occurs (pellets come out).
e. Noam Chomsky is an American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, political activist, author, and lecturer and is known for being the father of modern linguistics.

Also, Noam Chomsky is known for critiquing the beliefs of Skinner saying that there exists a language instinct in each individual and that language learning is more complicated than behavioural teaching citing cases of development of language in the absence of structured or unstructured teaching.

2. A mnemonic device is an association between one object/word/poem and the relevant data.
b. A teaching machine is a mechanical device to aid in learning developed by Sidney Pressey and built again later by B.F. Skinner.
d. The Grecian Method and Illocutionary Force Indicating Devices are used to convey sentence meaning.

3. Countertransference is a Freudian concept describing when a therapist develops an emotional attachment to a patient.
a. Psychodrama is, usually, a group therapy where personal conflicts are acted out.
b. Psychoanalysis is a Freudian technique used to examine a patient’s issues by means of verbal communication (free-associations, dreams…).
d. Client-centred therapy is a non-directive, supportive, and validating approach developed by Carl Rogers.
e. Behaviour modification is the modification of behaviours – reinforcing desired behaviours and punishing negative behaviours.

4.
a. Projection is when a person ascribes their emotions onto another person.
b. Reaction formation is when a person avoids a position by assuming the opposite position.
c. Displacement is the deflection of an effect from one target to another.
d. Compensation is when a person covers up perceived negative aspects of the self by exaggerating the inadequacies in another area.
e. Rationalisation is when a person justifies behaviours/emotions through logical means.

5. Systematic desensitisation is the use an in increasing grade of agitating stimuli to accustom a person to the actual agitation-inducing stimulus.

6.
a & b. Rods are more sensitive to light than cones, are more numerous, and not
sensitive to colour perception.
c. Cones do enable greater visual acuity (but remember, only when the lights are on).
d & e. Foveal acuity is better than peripheral acuity. The fovea also has no rods
and a high density of cones.

7.
a. Equilibrium is when competing forces in a system are balanced.
b. Enervation means to weaken or destroy the strength or vitality of. It also
means to remove a section of or a complete nerve.
c. Myelinisation is the development of a myelin, electrically insulating, sheath
around the axon of a nerve.
d. Sensitisation is the amplification of a response to a stimulus.
e. Hyperpolarisation is when the potential across a membrane increases to greater
than its resting potential. The resting potential is negative therefore the hyperpolarisation potential is more negative. Hyperpolarisation occurs after the firing of a neuron.

8.
a. Preoperational thinking occurs between ages 2 – 6 and is characterised by
language development.
b. Cognitive perspective-taking is theorised to be important in intentional moral and proper social behaviour.
c. Play patterns are methods of social learning during the pre-school years. Boys tend to show more functional play (imaginative) than do girls who display more constructive play (object manipulation).
d. & e. I couldn’t find any gender differences in the literature.

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