Study Guide

Field 132: Psychology/Sociology 
Sample Selected-Response Questions

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General Test Directions

This test consists of two sections: 1) a section with selected-response questions and 2) a constructed-response section.

Each question in the first section is a selected-response question with four answer choices. Read each question and answer choice carefully and choose the  start uppercase ONE end uppercase  best answer.

Try to answer all questions. Even if you are unsure of an answer, it is better to guess than not to answer a question at all. You will  start uppercase NOT end uppercase  be penalized for guessing.

The second section of this test consists of one constructed-response assignment. You will be asked to provide a written response to the assignment. Directions for completing your written response to the constructed-response assignment appear immediately before the assignment.

You may  start uppercase NOT end uppercase  use any type of calculator or reference materials during the test session.

Sample Selected-Response Questions

Competency 0002 
Apply knowledge of the tools and methods of inquiry in psychology.

1. Psychological research is commonly published in a form that permits others to repeat the research for which of the following reasons?

  1. to enable other behavioral scientists to determine whether a researcher examined the most relevant issues
  2. to provide a means of checking for bias and other distortions of evidence in a study
  3. to provide a means of ensuring that researchers respect the privacy and dignity of the people being studied
  4. to enable other social scientists to determine the scholarly perspective that informed a study

correct response: b. the reproducibility of research results and the transparency of experimental findings are important components of the scientific method, regarded as a necessary condition for establishing a fact across all realms of empirical science. reproducibility ensures that the original study or experiment can be repeated, or the data can be analyzed again, to determine whether the same results will be obtained. transparency of methods gives other researchers confidence that the research was conducted in a sound manner.

Competency 0004 
Apply knowledge of characteristics of sensation and perception.

2. New parents notice that when they are anxious about their baby, they are closely attuned to every sound the baby makes. However, when they are relaxed, the baby's sounds seem to blend into other environmental sounds. Which of the following statements best explains this phenomenon?

  1. The brain processes stimuli in the order in which they are perceived.
  2. The perception of anxiety involves a learning process.
  3. Outside distractions can impair the ability to process sensory input.
  4. Sensory selection is dependent on a person's emotional state.

correct response: d. attentiveness to environmental stimuli in humans is influenced by certain chemicals. for example, during the fight-or-flight response, the level of cortisol rises and people become more alert. under more relaxed conditions, a different chemical environment in the brain leads to much less attention being paid to environmental stimuli such as a baby's sounds.

Competency 0005 
Apply knowledge of lifespan development from conception to end of life.

3. Which of the following behaviors best illustrates the impact of culture on the development of personal identity?

  1. An adolescent begins to value the sense of belonging to a specific community.
  2. A young adult frequently reflects on the complexity of interpersonal relationships.
  3. A child makes a conscious effort to secure the approval of parents and teachers.
  4. An adult regularly applies notions of right and wrong that transcend self-interest.

correct response: a. culture includes the beliefs, social interactions, and technologies of human societies. humans are highly social animals and seek relationships with other people. as young people are educated about and integrated into the belief system and social structure of the community, they develop a personal identity that reflects the values of the culture, and they receive affirmation by belonging to and being accepted by social, educational, and community groups.

Competency 0006 
Apply principles and processes associated with learning.

4. Theories of cognitive learning emphasize the idea that learning:

  1. involves the organized processing of material.
  2. is principally a passive process.
  3. is influenced by past experiences rather than future expectations.
  4. depends principally on reinforcement processes.

correct response: a. cognitive learning theory posits that learning involves the active processing of information in an organized manner by means such as making comparisons and forming associations between existing knowledge and new information. in contrast to behavioral approaches, which present learning as conditioned responses to stimuli through external reinforcements, cognitive learning theory asserts that learning is a purposeful process that requires active involvement by the learner.

Competency 0010 
Apply knowledge of concepts of personality and methods for assessing personality.

5. Which of the following is a major criticism of the humanistic theory of personality developed by Carl Rogers?

  1. Any reliable theory of human behavior should focus on the stable components of personality.
  2. What people tell therapists about themselves is sometimes distorted by various types of deceptions.
  3. Biological and hereditary factors are not significant determinants of behavior.
  4. The interpretation of dreams is an extremely subjective method of analyzing human behavior.

correct response: b. based on the concept of self-actualization, the person-centered theory of personality developed by carl rogers seeks to help clients become fully functioning by creating a caring and empathic atmosphere in which they freely explore the sources of their anxiety. critics maintain that client deception—both conscious and unconscious—seriously detracts from the reliability of the self-reports on which person-centered therapy relies.

Competency 0012 
Apply concepts and processes related to social psychology.

6. A person exhibiting correspondence bias or fundamental attribution error would most likely believe that a driver seen speeding and abruptly changing lanes is driving in that manner because the driver:

  1. is transporting an injured passenger to the hospital.
  2. has little experience driving in dense traffic.
  3. is being distracted by children in the car.
  4. has a generally aggressive temperament.

correct response: d. fundamental attribution error is the tendency of people to attribute other people’s behavior primarily to dispositional causes, such as an aggressive temperament in the example of a speeding driver, rather than to situational causes. correspondence bias is the closely related phenomenon of overestimating the importance of dispositions even when aware of evidence that situational influences entirely explain a given behavior.

Competency 0013 
Apply knowledge of the perspective, historical development, and methods of inquiry of sociology.

7. The civil rights movement and other related developments of the 1960s most influenced the study of sociology in the United States by:

  1. encouraging research designed to improve contemporary social life.
  2. providing the impetus for the creation of innovative research methodologies.
  3. focusing attention to the role social relations play in shaping individual behavior.
  4. renewing interest in structural-functional interpretation of social interaction.

correct response: a. the civil rights movement, the anti-war movement, and early expressions of the women's and environmental movements inspired many people to work for social and political change. since university students and faculty were heavily involved in these movements, many academics, including sociologists, conducted research designed to improve society and advocated for actions to effect social change.

Competency 0015 
Analyze the relationship between the individual and society.

8. Conflict theorists would most likely cite which of the following examples as evidence to support their view of how the criminal justice system operates?

  1. Although imprisonment rates have increased dramatically in the United States in recent years, the majority of convicted lawbreakers are either on probation or on parole.
  2. While people from lower social strata convicted of property crimes often receive prison sentences, people from higher social strata convicted of white-collar crimes are generally treated more leniently.
  3. The results of self-report studies in which individuals were asked to provide details of crimes they had committed suggest that more than 90 percent of U S citizens have broken the law.
  4. Although plea bargaining enables legal authorities to save time and money, it sometimes allows people convicted of serious offenses to obtain their freedom in less than a year.

correct response: b. proponents of conflict theory contend that most social rules reflect the values and interests of the dominant social group or groups that possess the authority to impose their will on members of less powerful groups. conflict theorists would thus see differences in the sentencing of people from upper and lower social strata as confirmation of their theoretical construct.

Competency 0018 
Analyze social inequality and its significance for other social problems.

9. Which of the following statements most accurately describes how socioeconomic stratification affects different social groups in contemporary U S society?

  1. The higher one's social position, the more likely a person will suffer from psychological distress.
  2. A decline in national affluence is likely to have a more negative effect on high-income groups than on low-income groups.
  3. The lower one's social position, the shorter a person's life expectancy is likely to be.
  4. An increase in national wealth is likely to benefit low-income groups more than it does high-income groups.

correct response: c. on almost every measurement, people of low socioeconomic status are less healthy than the rest of the population. poor women are more subject to malnourishment and substandard prenatal care, leading to low-birthweight babies. the poor are ill more often, receive less adequate medical treatment, and are least likely to have health insurance. some neighborhoods with high concentrations of poverty also face unhealthful environmental conditions. these and other challenges to good health lead to elevated mortality rates among the poor for several major causes of death including heart disease, respiratory conditions, many cancers, and diabetes.

Competency 0019 
Analyze processes of social change.

10. Which of the following responses best matches a stage in the life cycle of social movements with a distinguishing characteristic of that stage?

  1. Preliminary stage: Leaders frame demands in moderate terms to mobilize support for the movement.
  2. Popular stage: Decision making is divided among different bodies within the movement.
  3. Formal organization stage: Ideologies are formulated to give the movement unity and direction.
  4. Institutional stage: Leadership by strategists gives way to leadership by reformers and prophets.

correct response: c. as the more charismatic forms of leadership that typically characterize the popular state of social movements begin to recede, movements create hierarchical structures and develop set policies and programs. during this formal organization stage, ideologies are also formulated to give the movement greater direction and unity.