Thursday, April 9, 2009

Psychology GRE Study Guide Page 10

I’m too lazy to link all of the previous pages, but you can find them in the archives and under the label “GRE”. Page 1 has a link to the official Practice GRE from which this guide is developed.

We are now entering the second third of the test. I have high hopes that the questions will be more stimulating from now on.

71. The recency effect refers to having increased recall for items near the end of a list. The primacy effect is improved recollection for items near the beginning of a list. Free-recall is when a subject is asked to recall items without being given any clues. Cued recall…One or the other of the effects is going to be diminished. Memory generally decreases with time. However, in the event of a sustained period of distraction, the subject will be reinforcing the memories they have already built. For example, if a person is asked to remember a string of numbers (1, 2, 7, 5, 4, 9, 3, 2, 6) and the person is able to recall the first six of those numbers at the beginning of the distraction period, as time passes it will become more difficult to recall the numbers at the end of the string. Essentially, as time passes, items are lost from the end of a string.

72. The law of effect states that if a behaviour results in a pleasant experience after a stimulus, that behaviour will be strengthened. The opposite goes for unpleasant experiences. Positive reinforcement refers to an event that when presented after a response, increases the chance of that behaviour occurring again. Negative reinforcement is when the removal of an event strengthens the behaviour. Escape conditioning is when a subject learns to leave an area in order to avoid a negative stimulus. Avoidance conditioning is when a subject learns to prevent negative consequences through association. I just re-read the question and while all those definitions are useful, not so much for this question. All you need to know for this long-winded question is that ECT (electroconvulsive therapy) causes memory damage.

73. Meatacognition refers to self-awareness and the ability to think about cognitive processes.

74. Environmental cues, such as light, are critical in setting our biological clocks. It is hypothesises the brain has a variety of biological clocks each controlling different necessary functions. But these functions are just that, necessary (sleep, internal temperature), and they will continue in the absence of an indicator. Cycles still continue, but without external cues, they are not regulated. It’s like having a slow watch which needs to have its time adjusted each morning; if it’s not checked, the watch will keep running, but it won’t keep time.

75. A positive correlation indicates that both measures increase in proportion to each other. A negative correlation indicates that while one measure increases, the other decreases. Here, as age increases, the number of problems solved increases and as age increases, the time it takes to solve the problem decreases.

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