Possible Exam 3 Questions


1. a) Describe how anticipation is important in classical conditioning.

b) Describe how anticipation is important in operant conditioning. Do NOT use any examples in your answers to a) or b).

2. In the modern world, processed foods are highly available and have been engineered to be highly palatable and reinforcing. Discuss how classical and operant conditioning can work together to explain why people often eat too much. Be sure to use the terminology of each form of conditioning in your answer.

3. The primacy/recency effect occurs when someone is asked to retrieve a series of pieces of information from memory immediately after hearing them. Which pieces of information from the series of information do you think would be remembered best if the person were asked to retrieve the information an hour after he/she heard the information instead of immediately? Use the concepts of short-term memory, long-term memory, and elaborative rehearsal in your answer.

4. How is real-life amnesia different than amnesia that is typically portrayed on TV and in film?

5. You are armed with a bowl of M&M's. You are ready to do some shaping. All you need now is a subject. You notice a little boy sitting off to the side not interacting at all with anyone. How could you use shaping to get him to interact freely with others? Why is shaping a likely strategy in this situation?

6. a) Choose a specific theory of forgetting discussed in class or the text. In terms of that explanation, explain why hearing a good example of a concept in class will help with retrieval of that concept at a later time.

b) In terms of what the brain likes best for processing information, why would generating your own example be even more effective than hearing someone else's example?

7. a) My semantic memory is much better than my episodic memory. How about you? Tell me if your episodic memory or semantic memory is stronger, and tell me how you can recognize that.

b) Use the principle of distinctiveness to explain why emotion plays a strong role in the encoding and storage of information in memory.

8. A student comes to PSY 100 and passes out sign-up sheets for a study she is conducting. Students who signed up come to a room and are first asked to fill out some personality assessments. Then subjects are taken two at a time to a room where they are asked to have a conversation with each other on any topic they choose. The student running the study is careful to give all the students the same assessments and give each pair the same length of time for their conversations. The results tell her that people who are more extroverted tend to keep the conversation going better than people who are more introverted. Did this student conduct an experiment? Explain. What goal(s) of science does this study attempt to address? Explain.

9. a) If someone has learned a behavior through classical conditioning, what likely needs to be done to extinguish that behavior? Explain.

b) If someone has learned a behavior through operant conditioning, what likely needs to be done to extinguish that behavior? Explain.

10. As a researcher I want to find out if people with more fiber in their diet engage in more physical activity than those with less fiber in their diet. For this type of question

a) what goal(s) of science am I addressing? Explain.
b) what kind of systematic observation(s) am I likely to employ? Explain.
c) what type of conclusion (e.g., causal, correlational, descriptive) could I possibly reach? Explain.

11. a) How can generalization (learning) occur with operant conditioning?

b) How can discrimination (learning) occur with classical conditioning?

12. a) Describe how you personally use maintenance and elaborative rehearsal to prepare for tests.

b) What do you do to make sure you have sufficiently consolidated the information you are studying? Explain.

13. Name an inappropriate behavior children sometimes engage in.

a) Explain how a child might have first learned to exhibit that inappropriate behavior by being negatively reinforced for it.

b) Explain how a parent could negatively punish that behavior to reduce it.

c) Explain how a positive punisher could be administered to reduce that behavior.

14. Your roommate tells you that she is doing poorly on the essay tests in her history course because there is a lot of material to read and the questions ask for a deep understanding of the course concepts. You ask her how she has been studying for the tests. Your roommate says that she reads the material when it is assigned, rereads it and her class notes the two days before the test, and goes over her notes with another student in the class the day before the test.

a) Using course concepts, explain to your roommate two weaknesses with her study strategy.

b) In terms of what the brain likes for information processing, suggest a new study plan for your roommate.

15. I identified three types of elaborative rehearsal the brain likes best for moving information into long-term memory. Use each of those three strategies to explain why outlining of your notes would be an effective study technique.

16. I mentioned in class that each of the four types of learning we discussed involved the forming of an association. Pick two of the types of learning and explain what association is formed in each of those two types.

17. a) Using the terminology of classical conditioning, describe or diagram how a student might come to experience considerable joy each time she enters her Wentz Science Center classroom.

b) Using research on memory, explain why a student who learned concepts in a specific WSC classroom might perform better on a test over those concepts if the test is also taken in the same WSC classroom.


Possible Terms

generalization (learning)

discrimination (learning)


spontaneous recovery


negative reinforcement

positive punishment

maintenance rehearsal

elaborative rehearsal


retroactive interference

proactive interference

misinformation effect

discriminative stimulus


anterograde amnesia

declarative memory

episodic memory

semantic memory