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Psychology 475: Winter 2002
Dr. L. Moses

Final Exam Study Questions

The final on Tuesday, March 19 (3:15-5:15) will be based on lectures and readings from February 20 onwards. You will need to answer 4 of 5 short essay (1/2 page) and 2 of 3 long essay (1 page) questions. The following study questions should be useful in guiding your preparation. Note that these questions are not intended to exhaust all the possible topics that might be covered on the exam.

1) What do young children understand concerning the distinction between the mental world and the physical world? Back up your answer with research evidence.

2) What do young children understand concerning the mental states of belief and desire? Is one of these mental states understood earlier than the other? Provide research evidence in support of your answer.

3) What role might executive function (self regulation, inhibitory control) play in the development of children’s theories of mind? Back up your answer with research evidence.

4) Cite one piece of evidence that autism may be associated with a deficit in understanding the minds of others. Explain why this deficit is not simply a function of mental retardation.

5) What is animism? What stages did Piaget believe that children progressed through in overcoming their animistic attributions? What alternative interpretations of Piaget’s data can be offered?

6) It has been argued that young children's concepts are perceptually-based. What does research on children's inferences concerning natural kinds reveal about this claim?

7) What is the difference between a natural kind and an artifact? What does research on children’s understanding of transformations of natural kinds and artifacts reveal about their developing biological theory?

8) Give four explanations for why older children typically perform better on memory tasks than younger children. Back up each explanation with empirical evidence.

9) What is infantile amnesia and what theories have been proposed to account for it? What does research evidence reveal concerning these theories?

10) How different are children from adults in their ability to distinguish fantasy from reality?

11) Are adopted children more likely to resemble their biological or adoptive parents on measures of cognitive ability? How do these relations change across age? What do these findings suggest about the role of genetic factors in intellectual development?

12) Do young children believe that psychogenic bodily reactions are possible?What about adults? Back up your answer with research evidence.What does this evidence suggest about how independent children’s theories of mind and theories of biology are from one another?

13) Are unconscious insights possible? Back up your answer with research evidence. How is this evidence explained by the unconscious activation hypothesis?

14) Describe some factors that are likely to affect children’s suggestibility in courtroom settings.

15) When do children begin to explain and predict behaviors on the basis of psychological traits?How does children’s use of traits in explanations change with development?

16) Describe two Piagetian contrasts in children’s thinking in early childhood versus middle childhood, and in middle childhood versus adolescence.

17) Describe two ways in which children and even lay adults appear to be flawed scientific thinkers.

18) Explain the difference between a false negative diagnostic error and a false positive diagnostic error. Describe one reason why a false negative error might occur and one reason why a false negative error might occur in assessing children’s cognitive ability.

19) What can enrichment and deprivation studies tell us about environmental contributions to cognitive development?