Frequently Asked Questions - Psych 202
updated 21 May 2007
Brain and Biology
Studying, Test-taking, and General Course Information
your discussion of one trial learning, you talked just about taste and nausea.
I was wondering, if you gave a child a taste of something new, and then scared
them with a loud sound, as in the Watson/Albert experiment, would the new
taste be associated with fright?
I'm confused. What's the same, what's different?
finding all this material about positive punishment and negative reinforcement
was wondering if you could elaborate more on the differences between Fixed
Interval, Fixed Ratio, Variable Ratio, and Variable Interval. If
you could give me examples of each that would
be very helpful also.
Stress and Coping
Studying, Test-taking, and General Course Information
do I pass your exams?
- The advice I give to students
is pretty simple, and is based on what worked for me when I was an undergraduate
taking psychology courses:
- Attend class and take notes
(I actually rewrote my notes after each class as a study technique). Then
use these notes as a guide to studying material in the book. You will
find that most exam questions are related to material that has been presented
in class. There are some questions that are on material that is only presented
in the book. However, I tend to talk about topics that I think are important,
and I tend to test on topics that I think are important, so lecture material
and test questions tend to overlap, but not completely.
- Read the book twice. The first
time through read throughly and highlight those sections that seem important.
The second time through review the highlighted sections. Each chapter
has a summary and key questions at the end; make sure you understand them.
- Both the text web site and
the study guide have practice questions. Practicing with these questions
is a good way to review and reinforce what you have learned. Because these
questions are written by the same folks who produce the testbank for the
text (which I use for about 1/3 of the exam questions), they also give
you an idea of the style of exam questions you might find on the exam.
- Don't try and cram all the
information into your head in just one try. Research shows that people
learn more if they have repeated exposure to the material they are trying
to learn, and if you break it into small pieces you will be better able
to consolidate the material in your memory.
- If you can explain a
concept to someone else than you probably have a good understanding of
- The folks at ARCH have these suggestions about taking
multiple choice exams, and I pass them along unedited .
- Answer each question in
your head before looking at the choices.
- Pay attention to varying
- Mark questions you can't
answer immediately and come back to them.
- "None of the above" is often
not the answer. (writing ALL wrong answers takes a lot of work) Back to top
There was material covered in class that was not mentioned on the list
of exam topics. I was just wondering if this info is still fair game for the
- Yes, this material is fair game
for the exam. The list of exam topics comes off the top of my head, and
I sometimes forget things. Thus I have the caveat that the list is not exhaustive.
The bottom line is that if I talked about a topic in class, you should assume
that it is fair game for the exam. Back to top
The material presented in lecture is not the same as the material in the
book, which should we study for the exam?
- You should study both sets of
material. I present additional material in class because I feel that
I am not doing my job if I simply present material that you could get on
your own by reading...what would the point be in coming to class then?
Back to top
have been told that I am simply wasting my time by taking notes on material
presented in the book. Is my friend correct?
- Your friend is mistaken.
There is material in the text, not presented in class, that will be on the
exam. While I do tend to emphasize material presented in class, I don't
have enough time to cover all of the material that I would like, as a result,
students need to read the book. Back to top
should I study for your exams?
- Obviously I would like you to
study material that is in the book as well as material that has been presented
in class. My exams tend to emphasize material that has been presented
in class, if only for the fact that I talk about topics that I feel are
important for you to know about, and I tend to test students on topics that
I think are important. However, this does not mean you can skip reading
the book. I am not a big stickler for dates or numbers, like the speed
of an action potential or when the first psychology lab was established.
I do expect that you will be familiar with the names that I discuss in class.
However, what I feel is most important is for you to know are the concepts
and I would like you to be able to apply them. So if you read a description
of someone who has problems maintaining body temperature and who has a loss
of appetite, you would be able to deduce that they have damage to their
hypothalamus and not their thalamus or their hippocampus.
Back to top
I have been trying to sign up for extra credit studies, but whenever I
check there are no available openings. Are there any particular times when
the sign up sheets get put out?
- There is no one time of day
when extra credit folders go out. It is just whenever the experimenters
decide that they need to recruit subjects. Researchers in the Psychology
Department will be recruiting subjects throughout the semester, and I don't
think that people will have difficulties getting the extra credit points
that they want. It just happens that at the start of the semester everyone
is looking for extra credit points and that demand exceeds the supply of
subject openings. That demand slows down as the semester progresses If you
are concerned about getting all of you points, it may be a good idea to
take the extra credit quizzes that are offered. There are 3 quizzes, and
you can get all of your extra credit points from quizzes. I would especially
recommend the quizzes for students that are non-native English speakers,
because a number of studies limit recruitment to native English speakers.
Back to top
I'm appalled at how poorly I did on our first exam. Is there any hope of
my still getting a decent grade in this class?
- No, you are not doomed by the
results of the first exam. Final grades are determined on the basis of the
total points earned on the four exams. The curves posted with each of the
four exams are only approximate curves. Those letter grades are not used
in the computation of your final grade. The total number of points earned
on the four exams are used to determine the curve for the class. After the
curve has been set, then the extra credit points are added in, and a final
grade is determined for each student. So if you did poorly on this first
exam, all you have to do is improve your grades for the next three exams
and you can pull your grade out of the pit in which it currently resides.
Back to top
Any truth to the rumor that you drop our lowest grade?
- I'm sorry to disappoint you
on this one, but all of your test scores count towards your final grade.
I should note that I find that 85%-95% of students would get either a lower
grade or the same grade if I were to drop their lowest grade. Back to top
Can you explain what I am supposed to do with the little blue cards that
I get when I do an extra credit study, and is there a sheet that I am supposed
to be using too?
- The extra credit handout that
you got at the beginning of the semester has a form for you to tally your
extra credit points. You don't have to use that, but many students do, and
turn that sheet in with their point cards at the end of the semester. When
you participate in a study, the experimenter turns in a point card to Dr.
Ahl. This then gets recorded in the extra credit database. At the end of
the semester, all the extra credit points are posted in the lobby, where
are grades are listed. You will check your point listing and if it matches
what you think you earned, you turn your cards in and you are done. If the
database is incorrect, you will hold on to your point cards and get in touch
with Dr. Ahl so that the error can be corrected. Back to top
Given the literature on context-dependent memory, aren't I at a disadvantage
if I am taking the final exam in a different location?
- A very good question and a reasonable
concern. The literature would suggest that students who take the final
in a different classroom are at a disadvantage relative to students who
take the exam in the same classroom. However, an examination of test
scores from December 2000 found no differences between students taking the
exam in room 105 and students who took the exam down the hall in room 113.
So I don't think you need to be worried. Back to top
I am really enjoying psychology, can you recommend any other courses to
- The Psychology Department surveyed
graduating seniors in the spring of 2001. These students identified
a number of classes and professors to whom they gave high marks. In
this list, I have not included any course or professor who got more than
two negative comments from other students. Highly rated instructors
include Hayden, Glenberg, Saffran, Coe, Livingston, Reinholtz,
Curtin, Harackiewicz, Caldwell, Gernsbacher, Berridge, Goldsmith, Van Rybroek,
Moore, and Senko. Frequently mentioned courses were Autism, Abnormal
Psychology, Emotions, Clinical, Developmental, Cognition, Social Prejudice
and Stereotypes, and Child Psych. You might also want to check out
ASM's collections of
faculty evaluations. You can also check out ratemyprofessor.com, though
take these ratings with a grain of salt, one student, for instance, commented
that they questioned my ability to teach any subject. If you are thinking about majoring in psychology, you may want to explore the UW Psychology wikispace which aims to provide resources and support for psych undergrads.
Back to top
- I am interested
in getting experience working in a psychology lab, any suggestions?
- Faculty have different requirements
for their undergraduate research assistants, so you might not be able to
work in some labs if you haven't taken 225 or if you aren't a psychology
major. However, if a particular research group is doing work that
interests you, check with the professor to see what opportunities are available.
Highly rated labs are those run by Richard Davidson, Hill Goldsmith, Judy
Harackiewicz, and Morton Gernsbacher. The Psychology Department maintains
a listing of research positions available for credit and for
pay . Back to top
In class you talked about different approaches to psychology, which approach
- No single approach is better
than any other. It all depends on the type of questions that you wish to
ask and on what particular level you want to understand a particular behavior.
While it is useful to know that the experience of pleasure is associated
with a release of a particular neurochemical, this does not give us a complete
picture of the experience of pleasure. It does not tell us how the pleasure
of biting into a good piece of pizza is similar to or different from the
pleasure of waking up on a Saturday morning and knowing that we don't have
to go to work. I think it is like the story of the blind men and the elephant:
the different approaches help us to achieve a complete picture of the beast
(behavior). Back to top
Which psychologists we should be familiar for the exam? I understand that
there are a few big names we definitely should know, but must we also know
which psychologist made every major observation pertaining to learning and
- I tend to ask questions about
concepts rather than names. A lot of my learning had to do with names and
dates, but when I think about what I want students to take away from a course
like this, it is the ideas rather than names and dates. So for instance,
rather than asking a question about what is Albert Bandura noted for, I
would ask a question about Bandura's study with the Bobo doll, and ask what
he demonstrated with that study. This doesn't mean that I don't ask about
names, but they are much rarer questions. Back
If correlation is not causation, what good is it?
- Correlation allows us to determine
if there is a relation between variables, to see if they vary together.
There are some situations where we want to investigate behaviors or disorders,
but we can't do experiments because it would not be feasible or would not
be ethical. For instance, in studying brain function in depression it would
be unethical to induce a depressive episode in a group of subjects, so instead,
we look at the brain functioning of people who are already depressed. This
design is a correlational design because we have not manipulated their depressed
mood. They were already depressed when they entered our study, and thus
we can't say that the differences in brain function are caused by
depression only that those changes are associated with depression. Back
I am having difficulty understanding the writing in research articles;
it is very confusing
- Here is some guidelines for
understanding the organization of a journal article, and most research papers
that you read will follow this same general format. The article begins
with an abstract. This is the condensed summary of what the writers
did with their research study and what their important findings were.
The abstract will give you a general idea about the paper, but you will
most likely need to read the whole article to fully appreciate what the
authors did or did not do. The introduction is the authors
lay out the background of their research; reviewing what has and hasn't
been done in the area that they are investigating. The introduction
ends with a paragraph or two where the lay out the basics of "the current
study." The methods section follows the introduction.
The methods section, which is broken down into different parts, describes
who participated in the study (subjects), what they did (procedures),
what sort of data was collected (measures) and finally how the data
were analyzed (analysis). Ideally, the authors should present their
methods section with enough clarity and detail that another researcher could
go out and replicate the current study after reading this section.
As you think about variables, independent and dependent, the measures describe
the dependent variables, which you will recall is the measured outcome,
and the subjects and procedures will provide information about the independent
variables. Next comes the results section, and this is where
the authors report their descriptive and inferential statistics. (Please
note that I do not expect students to understand the statistics presented
in these papers.) Finally, the paper ends with the discussion
section. This is where the authors talk about what they found
and what it all means. Typically, authors will acknowledge any limitations
in their findings as well as discuss directions for future research.
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I was wondering if you could clarify the differences in representative sample,
population and sample.
- The population is the
group that we are interested in making statements about, for instance,
undergraduates at the UW. A sample is a subset of the population,
which we use to make inferences about the population. A representative
sample is a sample that is selected to have the same characteristics as
the population on a number of variables. So if I was drawing a representative
sample of UW students, I might try and get a sample that had the same
breakdown of males and females, that had a similar distribution of ages,
that had the same breakdown of instate vs out of state students.
Back to top
Brain and Biology
was wondering why you omitted to talk about the potassium and sodium channels
oopening in the stages of the action potential. I was wondering if we needed
to know how they repolarize and depolarize, with the potasium and sodium channels.
- I didn't talk about that in
class because I didn't want to overly complicate the mechanisms involved
in the generation of an action potential. I've found that some students
find the whole process of neural communication to be confusing and intimidating,
and my goal in lecture is to present it in a manner that students can understand.
Once students feel comfortable with how the process works, they can incorporate
the additional material in the book into their bank of knowledge.
Back to top
Do we need to know about PET, MRI, SQUID, and EEG?
- Yes, you should know about these
different techniques to investigate the brain. You should know that PET,
SQUID, and EEG are techniques that allow you to assess functioning in the
brain, while MRI is a structural measure. EEG can't tell you about the size
of the planuum temporale, but it will allow you to look at the change in
brain activity when a sentence has a bizarre ending, such as "I put on my
pajamas, brushed my teeth, and went to school. Back to top
States of Consciousness
not sure if I understood the answer to the 'in class' question regarding shift
work. If I my notes are corrected it was determined that it would be more
difficult to change from working 3rd shift to working 1st shift. Is this the
- No, it is easier going to a
later shift (stretching out the day) than an earlier shift. This is because
our natural circadian rhythm is slightly longer than 24 hours. So from third
shift, it is easier to go to first shift than second shift.
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Is my sleep any different after I have had something to drink as compared
to other nights?
- Yes, your sleep is different.
Alcohol consumption may decrease the amount of time it takes you to fall
asleep, but it tends to disrupt your sleep during the second half of the
night. This sleep disruption may lead to daytime fatigue and sleepiness,
as well as impaired performance on cognitive tasks. Back
Is their any relationship between consuming alcohol and snoring at night?
- Yes, there is a positive correlation
between the two: the more you drink, the more you snore. See for instance,
Enright et al., (1996). Prevalence and correlates of snoring and observed
apneas in 5,201 older adults. Sleep , 19 , 531-8.
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you please go over the stages of sleep again?
- We go from being awake into
stage one sleep. Our EEG is characterized by beta activity when we are alert
and active. When we are awake and resting, our EEG is characterized by alpha
activity. In stage one sleep, our EEG is characterized by the data activity.
We move from stage one into stage two, and stage two sleep is characterized
by sleep spindles and K. complex waves. From stage two, we move into stage
three and then into stage four. Both stage three and stage four are characterized
by Delta activity in the EEG. Stage four differs from stage three in that
it has more delta activity. Stages three and four are also known as deep
sleep . From stage four, we cycle back into stage three and then stage
two, but instead of going back from two into stage one, we go into REM sleep.
This whole cycle takes about 90 minutes. At the beginning of the night,
we spend more time in deep sleep then we do in REM sleep. However, this
changes as the night progresses until we are spending most of our 90 minutes
sleep cycle in REM sleep. Back to top
Nightmares, night terrors is there a difference?
- Nightmares, which have a story
like quality to them, occur during REM sleep. Night terrors, this undifferentiated
feeling of panic and fear, occur during non-REM (NREM) sleep. Night terrors
occur during deep sleep (stage 3 & 4). Also occurring during deep sleep
are sleep walking and bed wetting. Back to top
Are there any theories that totally eliminate the nature-nurture theory,
or is the nature-nuture theory generally accepted by all?
- I am not aware of any work that
successfully refutes the idea that nature and nurture both contribute to
behavior. This does not mean that everyone accepts the theory. There are
a number of people who accept the medical model, people who believe that
it all comes down to chemical imbalances and there are some, though few,
strict behaviorists who believe that behavior is all environmentally determined.
Personally, I don't see how anyone can take either of those two extremes
given the existing literature, but that's my take, and I hope to present
enough data over the course of the semester that the class will accept that
both nature and nurture play important roles in behavior. Back
In class we were told that prolonged sleep deprivation caused, things like
hallucinations and paranoia, but the book says the opposite: that there are
no real effects of sleep deprivation, p(138) paragraph 1. What do you make
- A quick answer would be that
psychology is an inexact science. There are data in the literature that
will support both positions, and I believe that what I taught in class is
more accurate. While some people are less susceptible to the effects of
sleep deprivation, the prolonged lack of sleep does impair functioning of
the immune system, and has been shown to result in death in animals.
Back to top
Do we naturally wake up during a specific stage of sleep assuming we aren't
woken by external stimuli?
- I don't really know the answer
to that question, based on how we spend more and more time in REM sleep
as the night progresses, I would assume that we typically tend to wake during
or following REM sleep. Back to top
is REM rebound?
- REM rebound occurs when an animal
( human or otherwise) is allowed to sleep naturally after having been deprived
of REM sleep for several nights. What happens is that the individual enters
REM sleep faster than normal, and spends a greater percentage of time in
REM sleep during the night. Back to top
does Ecstasy work?
- Ecstasy is an amphetamine that
produces depletion in brain levels of serotonin. While users report
postive moods while ingesting Ecstasy. Feelings of aggression and
depression are common afterwards. Consider this report from a 1998
paper "However 2 days afterwards, ecstasy users felt significantly more
depressed, abnormal, unsociable, unpleasant, and less good tempered, than
the controls. Cognitive performance on both tasks (verbal recall, visual
scanning) was significantly reduced on-MDMA. Memory recall was also significantly
impaired in drug-free MDMA users, with regular ecstasy users displaying
the worst memory scores at every test session. This agrees with previous
findings of memory impairments in drug-free ecstasy users. Animal data have
shown that MDMA can generate long-term serotonergic neurodegeneration in
various brain areas, including the hippocampus, and these deficits are still
present 7 years after MDMA exposure. The cognitive deficits in drug-free
recreational ecstasy users, suggest that MDMA may also be neurotoxic in
humans." Actually, there is quite a lot of research that has found long
term cognitive and memory deficits associated with Ecstasy. Back to top
is happening to your brain when you blackout from drinking too much?
- Moderate to high doses
of alcohol suppress activity of neurons in the hippocampus. This reduction
in neuronal activity leads to anterograde amnesia. I wouldn't
be too concerned about the long term effects of a single blackout.
If someone is having repeated blackouts, that is an indication that they
have a drinking problem, and they should look into getting treatment.
Back to top
people who are hypnotized have a kind of flashback that they can remember
things. Do they relive the moment? I was just wondering because
that is how they portray it in
movies and on television.
- I can't answer that question
with complete confidence. Based on my own experiences being hypnotized
and hypnotizing others, I would say that the dramatic reliving of past experiences
does not typically happen. Your experience is that of an observer
rather than a participant, and actually if you are asking someone to go
back to some traumatic event, you as the hypnotist would want to avoid retraumatizing
your subject. One way that this can be done is to have them imagine
viewing the past events on a television set; this creates some emotional
distance. Back to top
In your discussion of one trial learning, you talked just about taste and
nausea. I was wondering, if you gave a child a taste of something new,
and then scared them with a loud sound, as in the Watson/Albert experiment,
would the new taste be associated with fright?
- Interestingly enough, you would
not get one trial learning if you were to pair a novel taste with a loud
noise. It seems that we are biologically prepared to associate certain
types of stimuli, such as taste and nausea. While it would be possible
to pair taste and noise, it is easier to pair taste and nausea or light
and noise together. Back to top
UCR/CR, I'm confused. What's the same, what's different?
- Your confusion is normal.
This stuff gave me headaches when I took Intro Psych. When a response
occurs in the presence of the Unconditioned Stimulus (US) [presented either
by itself or paired with the CS], that response is an Unconditioned Response
(UR). The response that occurs when only the CS is presented is a
Conditioned Response (CR). The CR can be the same as the UR or it
can be different, and this was the part that confused me. However,
if you look at the stimulus that is eliciting the response, it is much easier
to determine whether the response is a CR or UR. Back to top
I'm finding all this material about positive punishment and negative reinforcement
- In order to determine whether
not a stimulus is punishment or reinforcement, it is necessary to look at
what effect the stimulus has on the target behavior. If it increases the
behavior, then it is a reinforcement. If it decreases the behavior, then
it is punishment. In order to determine whether or not the punishment or
reinforcement is positive or negative, it is necessary to look at whether
or not this stimulus is being taken away the or being presented. For example,
when apparent says to a child eat your peas or you don't get dessert. The
dessert is being given to the child to reinforce the child's vegetable eating.
It is a positive reinforcement, because the dessert is being given to the
child. When a parent says to a child "if you hit your brother again you're
not getting dessert," the removal of dessert is a negative punishment. It
is punishment in that the parent is trying to decrease the hitting behavior
and it is negative because the dessert is being taken away. If the parent
says, "Play nice with your brother and you can have dessert," then this
is positive reinforcement. Can you figure out why?
Back to top
I was wondering if you could elaborate more on the differences between Fixed
Interval, Fixed Ratio, Variable Ratio, and Variable Interval. If you
could give me examples of each that would be very helpful also.
- Interval schedules - reinforcements
are delivered on the basis of time since the last rewarded response. Ratio
schedules - reinforcements are delivered on the basis of the number of responses
since the last rewarded response. Fixed schedules are schedules that
have a set amount of time or number of responses between each reward. Variable
schedules are schedules where the amount of time or number of responses
varies from time to time but over the long run averages out to some set
amount. As an example, Slot machines pay out on a variable ratio schedule.
On average they may pay out every twentieth pull, but sometimes the machine
will pay out after three pulls and other times it may takes as many as forty
pulls before a player gets a reward. An example of a fixed interval
schedule, would be a reinforcement schedule where a pigeon has to wait one
minute after receiving a food pellet before it can earn another pellet. Back to
Could you explain Baddeley's conception of Working Memory again.
- In the traditional information
processing model of memory, short-term memory serves as a holding area,
or short term storage, for information. That information then is either
forgotten or it goes into long-term memory. I think it would be safe
to say that in the traditional model of memory long-term memory as viewed
as the critical piece of the model. Baddeley's model argues for the
importance of short-term memory. Baddeley conceives of short-term
memory as a working memory. Working memory in the sense that all of
the important stuff (i.e., thinking) occurs there: we receive information
from sensory memory, we recall information from long-term memory, and we
manipulate all that information in working memory.
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Stress and Coping
What is the General Adaption Syndrome?
- The General Adaption Syndrome
was described by Hans Selye as the stages that an organism goes through
in response to stress. The first stage is the Alarm Stage and occurs
when an organism is first confronted by a stressor. The sympathetic
nervous system kicks into high gear, triggering the release of adrenaline
and other stress hormones from the adrenal glands. In response to
these stress hormones, heart rate and breathing increase. Activity
in the parasympathetic nervous system slows down at the same time.
This heightened state of arousal cannot continue indefinitely, so the organism
enters the Resistance Stage. The arousal levels decrease, but not
back to pre-stress levels. There is still above normal secretion of
stress hormones and the organism continues to draw on resources at an above
normal rate. Eventually the body's resources get depleted. This
is the Exhaustion Stage. In the exhaustion stage, the organism has
a diminished ability to respond to stress and is more susceptible to illness. Back to top
What is the difference between Construct Validity and Content Validity?
- Construct validity is the degree
to which a test actual reflects the hypothetical construct being measured,
so does an intelligence test measures intelligence as opposed to musical
ability or digit span. In contrast, Content Validity asks whether
the test measures the full range of skills or abilities within the construct.
In assessing the content validity of our intelligence test we would want
to know if our test samples the entire domain of intelligence, as opposed
to only asking questions about mathematical skills or only reading ability.
Back to top
I'm kind of confused about the Two Factor Theory with Charles Spearman.
If you could quickly explain that again, that would be great.
- Spearman believed that there
was a unitary intelligence based on his factor analysis work. This
intelligence factor he labeled g (general intelligence). Thus performance
in one area (e.g., math) was similar to performance in other areas (e.g.,
spelling, science, english). Because there was not a perfect relation
between performance in two areas, Spearman hypothesized that there was also
a specific intelligence factor for each area, which he called s. However,
Spearman believed that only g was of interest.
Back to top
Are there situations where both the mother and father were very responsive,
but the child still became ambivalently attached or even avoidantly attached?
- Certainly, a caregiver's responsiveness
to their child is not a guarantee that the child will become securely attached.
Likewise, an indulgent or neglectful parent can have a child who is securely
attached. What a parent's style of parenting does is increase the likelihood
that their child will have a particular style of attachment.
Back to top
can breast-feeding improve a child's IQ? I understand that there may
be more nutrients in breast milk than in formula, but does it really make
that much of a difference?
- Breast feeding has been
shown to be associated with small but significant differences in IQ in most
but not all studies that have examined this issue. In my brief review
of this literature, it seems that breast feeding is especially important
with premature/underweight babies who typically have large decreases in
IQ when compared to normal weight children. Here are a couple of citations
with their conclusions. The first paper is a New Zealand study of
over 400 children and the second paper examined over 200 children.
- Horwood et al. (2001)
found that even after control for confounding, there remained a significant
(p < 0.05) association between duration of breast milk feeding and
verbal IQ: children breast fed for eight months or longer had adjusted
mean (SD) verbal IQ scores that were 6 (0.36) points higher than the scores
of those who did not receive breast milk.
- Johnson et al. (1996)
report that controlling for environmental variables and maternal intelligence,
initiation of breast feeding predicted scores on intelligence tests at
age three. Breast feeding was associated with 4.6-point higher mean in
Back to top
Emotion and Motivation
I'm not entirely clear on the differences between the Cannon-Bard, James-Lange,
and the Schachter-Singer theories of emotion.
- James-Lange theory argues that
we have a physiological reaction to an emotional stimuli, we then become
aware of that physiological reaction and have an emotional reaction. So,
I see a bear in the woods, I start running, I notice that I am running and
conclude that I am afraid.
- Cannon-Bard theory argues that
information about an emotional stimulus goes to the hypothalamus and then
goes in two directions 1) producing the physiological reaction and the second
producing the emotional reaction. So I see the bear, that information goes
to the hypothalamus, I start running and feel afraid simultaneously.
- Schachter and Singer argue that
there are two components to emotion: arousal and cognition. When we are
aroused, we become aware of that arousal and look to the environment for
a cause of that arousal, our emotional reaction then comes from that cognitive
appraisal. This is somewhat like James-Lange except that this formulation
goes beyond interpreting the arousal and looks to external factors that
might be causing the arousal. So I see the bear, I start running, I become
aware of my running, I look to see what might have caused my running --
the bear, and conclude that I am afraid. Back to top
was reading the book and it said that if one identical twin is a homosexual
the probability the second is 50% and drops to 22% in fraternal twins.
Our class notes said otherwise. Just curious.
- The reason for the discrepancy
between lecture and the text is that there are several studies that have
looked at concordance rates in twins. The numbers I gave in class
were from an Australian twin study. Although there are differences
between studies in the obtained concordance rates, the take away message
is the same, i.e., there is a genetic component to sexual orientation, but
genetics alone do not explain sexual orientation. Back to top
CCK is a satiety signal, why hasn't it been used as a diet aid?
- Research that has examined
the long term effects of CCK on satiety finds that subjects seem to habituate
rather quickly to it's effects, so within a week the increased CCK is
no longer restricting food intake. Back to top
Would you be willing to post information about the incidence rates for
the listed psychological disorders. I have a sense for many of the rates,
but I don't feel my information is organized well.
- My test questions on incidence
rates are not going to be very specific, usually I do not ask for any numbers.
I do tend to ask about gender differences in incidence rates. I could
also imagine asking a question about the increase in depression over the
last 50 years. I would want you to know the following sorts of things:
- Incidence rate for schizophrenia
is about 1%, no difference between men and women, and same incidence rate
- Anxiety disorders and Mood
disorders are twice as common in women as they are in men.
- Incidence rates for substance
abuse and antisocial personality are higher for men than for women.
- For women, the incidence rate
for some form of eating disorder is around 5%, somewhere between 8-10
million women. Back to top
I was just wondering how in depth we had to know the categories of the
DSM-IV, and specifically, if we had to know Table 12.1 on page 463 of the
book--it tells the diagnostic categories and the examples for the model.
- I look for students to know
that the DSM codes diagnoses on five different axes, and I expect that students
will know what are the different axes. Since I don't live and die
by the DSM, my questions in the past have not been that in depth.
I could forsee asking what axis a personality disorder would be coded under.
I do not, however, expect students to be able to tell me in what category
a disorder like major depression falls. Back to top
Why is it that winter babies are at a higher risk for schizophrenia?
- Babies born during the winter
months have a higher risk of developing schizophrenia because during the
fall, when their mothers are in the second trimester of pregnancy, there
are more flu viruses around. During the second trimester there is
a lot of cortical growth occurring, particularly in the frontal cortex and
the hypothesis is that the normal pattern of growth is disrupted putting
the individual at risk for the disorder. Back to top
is the difference between having recurring depressive moods as compared to
being diagnosed as clinically depressed. I realize these are both serious
situations, and I was wondering how the symptoms and treatments of these situations
- I am assuming that by recurring
depressive moods you are talking about episodes of depressed mood that do
not meet diagnostic criteria for major depression. If this pattern
of depressed moods lasts for two years or longer, it is diagnosed as dysthymia.
Dysthymia can be thought of as the experiencing of recurrent episodes of
subclinical depression. Meaning that the person might only have 3
symptoms of major depression instead of 5, or they might be down in the
dumps, blue, or depressed for only several days a week or only part of a
day rather than most days of the week and all day. Dysthymia
is often treated the same way that depression is treated, but the disorder
is more resistant to medication than is major depression. The psychology related links
can direct you to other resources about depression and dysthymia.
If this is something you or a friend are dealing with, there are resources
on campus that are available to students, such as the UW Counseling Center
and the Research and Training Clinic in the department of Psychology. Back to top
missed the definition of trephining in class. Could you please define/explain
it one more time?
- Trephining is a procedure that
involves drilling a hole through the skull. It is thought that this
was done to release "evil" spirits. Much to my surprise, trephining
is still done. I came across information from a group that encourages this
procedure as a path to greater physical and spiritual health...weird. Back
I am confused about Cognitive therapies and Humanistic therapies.
They seem like the same thing to me.
- Humanistic therapies are based
on the idea that people are motivated towards self actualization.
Important principals of humanistic therapy are unconditional positive regard,
empathy, and genuineness. Cognitive therapies are aimed at changing
thought processes. We discussed two cognitive therapies in class:
Beck's Cognitive therapy and Ellis's Rational Emotive Therapy. Both
have the goal of changing irrational belief systems, but Beck is more supportive
and Ellis more confrontational. Back to top
you clarify for me and explain experiments in Festinger and Carlsmith study
in connection with Less-leads-to-more effect described in the book.
- The less is more effect that
they talk about in the book relates to the finding that you will produce
more attitude change if someone does something for a little amount of reward,
e.g., $1 rather than a large reward, e.g., $20. When there is a large
reward, people explain their inconsistent behavior as resulting from the
reward. However, when individuals only receive a small reward, that
is not enough justification for the inconsistency and so they are more likely
to conclude that their attitudes are different than they believed and change
their opinion. Back to top
you explain attribution and the differences between consensus, consistency,
distinctiveness? I wasn't quite sure what you meant by high and low
- When trying to understand
someone's behavior, we are trying to determine whether their behavior
should be attributed to their personality (an internal cause) or to the
situation (an external cause). Consensus, consistency, and distinctiveness
are three dimensions that we consider when trying to attribute a cause
to someone's behavior. Consensus asks "is anyone else
engaging in the behavior?" High consensus, meaning that lots of
others are engaging in the behavior, leads us to attribute the behavior
to the situation. Low consensus leads us to attribute the behavior
to the individual, i.e., it is a reflection of their personality. Consistency
asks "Does this person engage in this same behavior across time?"
If they always act this way in this sort of situation, they are high on
consistency and we conclude that the behavior reflects personality, i.e.,
internal attribution. Distinctiveness asks "Does this
person act this way in different situations?" Behavior that is low
in distinctiveness is behavior that is observed in a wide variety of situations
and so we conclude that the behavior is not reflective of the situation
but of the person. In other words, because it is not distinctive
of the situation it must have an internal cause. Back to top