Psych Short Answer Prep

Psych 100 - Short Answer Prep
16.Give an example of how one could test an absolute threshold (using any sense of your
choosing). Be sure to describe the steps you would use to carry out the testing. Explain how
you would identify the threshold (draw and label a figure to illustrate this part)
Answer : In my experiment, I would have a participant sit in a chair with a pair of headphones
on. In this experiment, I would play sounds varying in Hertz units until the participant could
clearly detect a stimulus. By starting this experiment at very low levels of pitch and increasing
it slightly each interval, the experiment would show the absolute threshold for the perception
of audible sound. Absolute threshold means the minimum intensity required to perceive a
stimulus and in this case, the ear would finally be able to pick up the sound at about 20 hz.
17.How is auditory pitch encoded according to place theory?
Answer : Pitch is encoded by frequency and location in the cochlea. Following place theory, low
frequency waves move and displace hair cells in the cochlea that are near the tip while higher
frequencies displace hair cells near the base. This helps the brain encode auditory pitch and
decide wether it is high or low pitch.
18.For each of the following stimuli, identify whether you would expect habituation or
sensitization to follow stimulus repetition and why:
a. gun shots - I believe that sensitization would follow the repetition of this stimulus because it
is a threatening stimulus. Because it is a threatening stimulus, we can expect an increase in
behavioural response.
b. traffic noise - This stimulus in non-threatening and as a result we can expect to see a
decrease in behavioural response after repeated stimulation.
c. cricket song - This stimulus in non-threatening and as a result we can expect to see a
decrease in behavioural response after repeated stimulation.
d. nearby car alarm - This stimulus has the capability of being threatening and as a result we
can expect to see heightened behavioural response to the stimulus.
19. You regularly eat lunch at exactly 12pm. After months of timing your lunch to noon (based
on your wrist watch), you forget to bring your watch to campus with you one day. When you
feel hunger pangs, you look at a campus clock and discover that it is exactly 12pm. Diagram
out this conditioning scenario, identifying all the pieces of the classical conditioning scenario:
neutral stimulus, unconditioned stimulus, unconditioned response, conditioned stimulus,
conditioned response.
Answer : Hunger (US) —> Eating Lunch (UR)
Noon (NS) —> Nothing
Noon (NS) : Hunger (US) —> Eating Lunch (UR)
Noon (CS) —> Eating lunch (CR)
20. You notice that your pet dragon seems to reflexively breathe fire whenever startled by a
loud noise. Inspired, you decide to create the ultimate smore machine. Harnessing your
dragon’s reflex, you repeatedly present marshmallows immediately before startling the
dragon with loud noises. After many repetitions, the presence of the marshmallow alone
causes your dragon to breathe fire, and voila! Toasted marshmallows. Diagram out this
conditioning scenario, identifying all the pieces of the classical conditioning scenario: neutral
stimulus, unconditioned stimulus, unconditioned response, conditioned stimulus, conditioned
Loud noise (US) —> Breathing fire (UR)
Marshmallow (NS) —> Nothing
Marshmallow (NS) : Loud Noise (US) —> Breathing fire (UR)
Marshmallow (CS) —> Breathing fire (CR)
21. Jimmy wants to teach a chipmunk in his backyard to eat out of his hand. To accomplish
this, he first leaves peanuts on the ground near the picnic table in his yard. Each afternoon, he
sits quietly at the table, watching while the chipmunk approaches the peanuts and disappears
with its treat. Later, he puts the peanuts on the table surface itself, so that the chipmunk must
approach even closer to get access to the food. After some time, when the chipmunk comes
readily onto the table for the peanuts, Jimmy starts putting the peanuts in the flat palm of his
hand, so that the chipmunk must approach his hand to access the food. By gradually shifting
how close the chipmunk must come to receive its reward, what technique is Jimmy employing?
Consider the end phase of training, when the chipmunk is eating out of Jimmy’s hand. Name
the three main parts of the operant conditioning procedure: The discriminative stimulus, The
response, The reinforcing stimulus.
Answer : Jimmy is using a tactic called shaping to make the chipmunk more comfortable with
his presence and finally eating out of his hand. Shaping means small changes to reinforce
closer and closer approximations of the desired behaviour. The small changes, in this
experiment, are moving the peanut closer to his hand with a positive effect each time. This
results in the chipmunk eating out of his hand which is the desired behaviour. The
discriminative stimulus in this case is Jimmy. He represents that a reward or punishment is
available. The response is wether the chipmunk comes and gets the peanut or not and the
reinforcing stimulus is the peanut which is a positive reinforcement.
22. The library wants Corey to return his books on time. To accomplish this, the library can fine
Corey for returning late books. However, the librarians realize they can frame the same
consequence in four possible different ways: For framings a-d, identify the type of
consequence involved (i.e. positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, positive
punishment, or negative punishment)
a. “You will receive a fine, if you return your book late” - This is positive punishment because
in this case, you are applying something negative to reduce behaviour. In this case, the
negative aspect is the fine and the bad behaviour is bringing in books late.
b. “You will lose money, if you return your book late” - This is an example of negative
punishment because it implies that you will lose something good in order to change behaviour.
The good thing you ar elosing is money and the behaviour is bringing books back late.
c. “You will NOT receive a fine, if you return your book on time” - This is an example of
negative reinforcement because it shows that it will remove something bad if the behaviour is
corrected. Negative reinforcement works by taking away something bad if behaviour is
d. “You will save more money, if you return your book on time” - This is an example of positive
reinforced because you are promised something good if behaviour is changed.
23. Explain Thorndike’s law of effect, and how his work with puzzle boxes helped him to
develop it. What aspect of Thorndike’s law of effect did Skinner later reject?
Thorndike’s law of effect states that behaviours leading to a positive consequence are
‘stamped in’ or strengthened within the individual while behaviours that result in negative
consequences are ‘stamped out’. Skinner countered this later on by saying that behaviour
occurs because it is reinforced not just because of the possible consequences.
24. Compare and contrast classical and operant conditioning.
Classical conditioning can be simply defined as when we learn that a stimulus predicts another
stimulus. Operant conditioning is when we learn that a behaviour leads to a certain outcome.
The comparison between these two is that they are both associative learning techniques
meaning that it is the learning of pairings of events. However they do this in different fashions.
25. You decide to train your pet parrot to say “Polly wants a cracker” every time you present
your pet parrot with a cracker. To reward the behaviour, the parrot is given the cracker as a
reward after each successful utterance. Based on this scenario, name the following operant
conditioning components:
a. discriminative stimulus - You training it to say something specific like “Polly wants a
cracker”. You are the stimulus because it presents the possibility of a reward or consequence
b. operant response - The bird saying “Polly wants a cracker”
c. reinforcing stimulus - The positive reinforcement of receiving a cracker.
d. Explain what shaping is and why it might be useful in this context?
Shaping is used to reinforce closer and closer approximations of the designed behaviour. It’s
useful when behaviour is difficult or low probability and will take work to achieve.
26. Name and explain two disadvantages of using punishment.
There are 3 main disadvantages in the use of punishment. I will focus on two. Firstly,
punishment takes constant monitoring. If punishments are not being carried out on a regular
interval when negative behaviour is committed, then the punishment has little effect on the
behaviour. Secondly, punishments cause emotional distress and damage. Punishments cause
fear and anger in the participant and can result in anger towards the one trying to train.
27. Explain the bobo doll study and how it demonstrates vicarious learning.
The bobo doll study was a study to prove vicarious learning which is learning of consequences
(operant learning) without having to experience the consequences oneself. In this study,
children in 3 groups were shown different videos of adults being aggressive towards a bobo
doll. In the first group, children were shown adults being aggressive towards the doll and
receiving treats and praise. In the second group, the children were shown the same aggression
but the adult was scolded and punished for the aggression. In the third video, it was neutral
with no praise or scolding. When the groups were told to interact with the Bobo doll after
watching the videos, group 2 showed much less aggression towards the doll in fear of receiving
a punishment. The conclusion is that people can learn from others without having to learn the
behaviour through consequence or reward themselves.
28. Compare and contrast somnabulism and REM behaviour disorder.
The comparison between somnambulism and REM behaviour disorder is that they are both
sleep disorders. They result in loss of muscle paralysis during sleep and therefore allow the
sleeper to move around. However, they occur in much different ways. Somnambulism is
common with young children and occurs in slow wave sleep. They are able to get up and walk
around which is why it is also called sleep walking. REM behaviour disorder occurs commonly
in older men. Normal REM paralysis does not occur which enables these individuals to act out
their dreams.
29. Explain why extinction is not the same thing as “unlearning” the original association.
Extinction and “unlearning” of the original association are two very different things. The main
reason that extinction is not the same as “unlearning” is because extinction does not mean that
the original association is completely lost and “unlearnt”. Extinction means that the specific
association is no longer used by the individual but still leaves the opportunity for spontaneous
recovery of the association which means that individuals quickly relearn and utilize the early
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