Possible Exam 2 Questions

1.a) Describe one thing scientists do with an electrode they have implanted in the brain and what purpose that serves.
b) Why might implanting an electrode in the brain be superior to external monitoring for the purpose you described above?
c) Can studying rat brains help us to understand human behavior? Why or why not?

2. Briefly describe an experiment mentioned in class or in the text that studied the development of visual perception. Explain how the results could be interpreted as suggesting an interaction of nature and nurture.

3. "Do deep-voiced men have more kids?"

a) Is that more of a descriptive, predictive, or explanatory question? Explain.

b) Reword the question to make it a different type of question.

c) If you were to read an article about that topic, why would it be helpful to know what type of question was being asked?

4. Your doctor gives you a drug that is a mimic. Will this increase or decrease neural firing at the synapses where that drug has an effect? Briefly explain. What type of drug could she give you to decrease the effectiveness of the first drug? Explain. Why might either of these drugs have more trouble getting into the brain than into the rest of the nervous system?

5. One explanation proposed for why we sleep or dream is that it provides the opportunity to process information from that day. Describe three things that you know about REM sleep that are consistent with this hypothesis.

6. a) You are a 20-year old split-brain patient. You are now wearing headphones. You hear a message in your right ear that tells you to close your eyes and draw a picture of Dr. Mueller with your right hand. What are you likely to draw? Briefly explain.

b) You then hear a message in your left ear to open your eyes (which you do) and look at the picture you drew. Then the message in your left ear asks you to name what you drew. What will you say? Briefly explain.

7. When running in the dark, it is recommended that you never look straight at the ground. Why? What would be a better strategy to avoid obstacles? Use the term "contrast" in your answer.

8. "Historical data show that the candidate who raises the most money before the primary season starts generally wins the nomination."

a) What kind of relationship (e.g., correlational, causal), if any, does the quote describe? Explain.

b) Imagine the quote above is a hypothesis. How could you test it? Explain.

9. a) What, if anything, is wrong with the following statement: "My two brothers are also quite talkative, so it must be how we were raised."

b) What, if anything, is wrong with the following statement: "Since the behavior shows up at birth and in babies across many cultures, we can say that the behavior is primarily influenced by nurture."

10. a) Why is converging evidence the best kind of evidence in the study of brain function?

b) Give an example of how two different techniques used to study the brain could be used to study the same phenomenon.

11. One of many things we do not know about the brain yet is why humans like to listen to music.

a) How might we study that question through internal monitoring of the brain?

b) How might we study that question through external monitoring of the brain? (Use a specific tool in your answer.)

c) Is the question "Why do humans like to listen to music?" an empirical question? Explain.

12. Describe research from class or the text that illustrates the flexibility or adaptiveness of the human brain. Be sure to explain how the research illustrates that quality of the human brain.

13. a) What does it mean to say that someone has a genetic predisposition for violent behavior?
b) If someone has a genetic predisposition for violent behavior, is it likely that the environment also plays a role in causing this person's violent behavior? Why or why not?

14. a) Describe two ways that REM sleep is similar to consciousness.

b) Describe two characteristics of REM sleep that make it clear we are not conscious during that sleep stage.

15. a) Are we more likely to underestimate the role of nature in influencing our behavior or underestimate the role of nurture to our behavior if we only look at behavior within our own culture? Explain.

b) Explain how nature and nurture work together to shape our gender roles.

16. Imagine that Drug X prevents vesicles in certain neurons from releasing their neurotransmitter. These neurons communicate with other neurons in the brain which inhibit the expression of emotion. What effect is Drug X likely to have on the expression of emotions in the patient taking that drug? Explain.

17. The neurological disease multiple sclerosis involves damage to the myelin sheath that covers the axon in neurons. So, why does it make sense that, among other symptoms, individuals with the disorder often have difficulty moving and difficulty with coordination?


Possible Terms




Neural plasticity

Critical period

REM rebound

REM deprived







Blood-brain barrier

Genetic predisposition