Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Psychology GRE Study Guide Page 13

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.

a. Cognitive dissonance theory states that when an elicited behaviour is inconsistent with an individual’s attitude, tension (dissonance) results and either the behaviour or the attitude is changed as a result of this difference between what one believes and what one does.
b. An exchange is when one person gives something to another person in return for something else (money, protection, food).
c. Self-awareness, or self-perception, theory states attitudes are the result of observed behaviours. For example, if you repeatedly buy unicorn figurines, you might infer that you really like unicorns.
d. Social comparison theory explains why people tend to gain or lose happiness when they make comparisons (to people, ideals, past behaviours).
e. Attribution theory deals with the process of how people assign causes/reasons to another person’s behaviours. An example is a person trying to understand why a cat only scratches at the door when that person is sleeping, and never when that person is awake.

a. Meta-analysis is a statistical technique used to compare findings across different research studies based on some common measure in the studies.
b. Multiple regression analysis is used to calculate the relationship between independent and dependent variables. For example, you could take measurements of the sex, weight, colour, sharpness of claws, and annoyingness of a cat and then look to see if claw sharpness is a predictor of annoyingness.
c. Factor analysis is used to calculate the relationship, or correlation, among test scores.
d. Multidimensional scaling allows one to look at similarities or differences between variables with results displayed visually on a graph.
e. Process research examines the underlying dynamics of a variable.

a. Phenylketonuria (PKU) is a genetic disorder in which the body can not break down the amino acid phenylalanine (Phe). If Phe levels are too high, brain damage and mental retardation can occur. Babies are screened for PKU at birth.
b. Korsakoff’s syndrome is a neurological disorder caused by insufficient thiamine (from malnutrition or alcoholism) and results in memory and cognitive deficits.
c. Turner’s syndrome affects females and is characterised by a missing or defective X chromosome. Besides physical abnormalities, girls may have some learning disabilities, though they are not at risk for mental retardation.
d. Down syndrome is also called trisomy 21 and this extra genetic material inherited at conception causes mental retardation.
e. Fetal alcohol syndrome causes mental and physical disabilities in babies who were exposed to alcohol consumed by the mother during pregnancy.

a. Identical twins are very useful in genetics studies since, if they are raised separately, the behavioural and the biological component of events can be separated.
b. and e. Genetic disorders can appear at different periods of a person’s life. Some disorders manifest at birth while others don’t appear until the later adult years.
c. There are many psychiatric (borderline personality disorder) and neurological (brain trauma) disorders which are difficult to treat.
d. This could provide evidence of a genetic disorder, however environmental factors would need to be taken into account, maybe all of the children were raised in a way that predisposes them to violence whereas the others were raised in a more gentle environment.

a. Test norms reflect the average score of the whole testing group. Individual scores are compared to this distribution to determine relative standing.
b. Reliability measures how consistent a test is by looking at whether or not the test produces similar results from different administrations.
c. Validity is an assessment of how well a test measures what it is supposed to measure. Content validity looks at how broadly the test samples span. For example, if you are trying to measure creativity, different types of creativity (artistic, verbal, …) should be included in the measurement.
d. Predictive validity measures the degree to which a test predicts some future outcome. For example, performance on the GRE should correlate with future performance in grad school.
e. Construct validity seeks agreement between a theoretical concept and a specific measuring device or procedure. For example, a researcher designing a new method for screening for depression might spend most of their time working on the definition of depression. Construct validity has two sub-categories: convergent validity is when there is a demonstrated relationship in agreement with the theory and divergent validity is when no relationship is demonstrated among measures which should theoretically not be related.

88. The mode is the most frequently occurring score. The median is the middle point of all the scores. The mean is the average of a set of scores. Also see GRE Study Guide Page 9, #64.
a. Variance is how much the scores in a set of scores differ from each other.
b. The central tendency is the value around which most scores are clustered.
c. Statistical significance means that a test result was unlikely to have occurred by chance. In psychology, p-values of less than 5% are generally considered to indicate significant results. (This kind of relationship validation can be quite crude and misleading if not interpreted in the context of all other known information).
d. Skewness is the asymmetry of a distribution curve. It tells you if the curve, which is normally a centred bell curve, leans to the left or right. A negative skew has few low values and a positive skew has few high values.
e. Dispersion measures, in addition to the mean, other values such as range, deviation, and variation in order to gain a better understanding of the original measured value. For example, if you have a box of a litter of kittens whose mean age is 10 weeks, this means something different from having another box where the cats mean age is 10 weeks but the box contains cats ranging in age from 1 day to 15 years.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for all the great info in these posts. I'm taking my test in a few weeks and this has definitely been one of the most useful resources I've found!