Study Questions

Exam 1: 

  1. Describe information theory, and explain how it motivated the basis for Miller’s The Magic Number 7 +/- 2.
  2. Why did information theory not end up being a good way to explain the results that Miller found?
  3. In sufficient detail, describe one of the experiments discussed in Miller’s The Magic Number 7 +/- 2. What were the stimuli, what type of responses were collected, and what did the results tell us about human psychology?
  4. Explain the difference between discrimination and absolute identification. How does this relate to the use of the Zone System in black and white photography?
  5. Why are we able to remember more than 7 +/- 2 human faces?
  6. What 4 structures in light are frogs sensitive to, and what ecologically relevant information does each provide?
  7. Why is the frog not actually alienated from reality?
  8. Describe the ways in which we are both like the frog and different from the frog in our experience of the world.
  9. What is the fovea, and what type of world does it give us?
  10. What is a receptive field?
  11. Describe the geometry of a center-surround receptive field. What type of stimulus does it respond to?
  12. Diagram a zero-crossing as an on-center receptive field crosses from an area of darkness to an area of light.
  13. What are Mach Bands, and why do they occur?
  14. Describe the geometry of a simple cell. What two basic properties does it encode?
  15. Explain the next-to relationships that occur in visual cortex.
  16. What is emergence, and what 3 modalities support it? Give an example in each.
  17. What property of cortex seems to allows for emergence to occur?
  18. Explain how the experience of 3 dots is different for an animal than it is in physics.
  19. Explain what it means to say that we experience things “in the round” and not from our point of view.
  20. Why can psychology not be studied via analysis as other sciences are?
  21. Explain the concept of superposition in the context of human relationships.
  22. What is emergent about the Kanizsa triangle?
  23. Describe at least 3 Gestalt laws of perceptual organization.
  24. Explain how animals employ the Gestalt laws of grouping in camouflage, and distinguish between the two basic strategies in camouflage.
  25. What is the generic sampling principle?

Exam 2: 

  1. Describe Treisman’s Singleton Search Paradigm.
  2. What signature in the data allowed Treisman to distinguish between a serial and parallel search? Make a diagram of the results for both target absent and target present trials.
  3. What is Feature Integration Theory, and how did Treisman’s data provide support for it?
  4. What did Treisman believe to be 2 key qualities of serial processes?
  5. Townsend argued that positive slopes of reaction time versus set size do not necessarily implicate serial search. Explain his ideas about limited and unlimited capacity parallel search.
  6. Townsend thought that multiple target search might better discriminate serial from parallel processing. Why might reaction times be faster when there are lots of targets than when there is just one? How would this happen only if search is parallel?
  7. In reality, people do not search every display exhaustively. This makes sense on target present displays – why? In addition, people do not search target absent displays exhaustively. How do foraging strategies influence target finding in visual search experiments where targets are relatively scarce?
  8. In the end, Gilden found that there were serial searches, but they had nothing to do with conjunctions. What kinds of targets and distractors lead to serial search?
  9. Explain the difference between explicit and implicit methodologies.
  10. What are demand characteristics, and how do Kosslyn’s results from the mental scanning task reflect them?
  11. Describe Shepard’s mental rotation task, and diagram the results. What does this tell us about the imagination?
  12. Why does Shepard’s study provide better insight into the imagination than Kosslyn’s? Explain in the context of explicit vs. implicit methodologies.
  13. The study with four dots on the first frame and the arrow on the next frame also involved mental scanning. Again, using the implicit versus explicit distinction, explain why this is a better scanning experiment.
  14. How did Gilden and Blake determine that the visual imagination uses visual areas of the brain?
  15. How did Hahn and Kramer show that attention can be distributed over nine continous regions of the visiual field?

Exam 3: 

  1. Describe Ebbinghaus’s study. Why did he study nonsense, and what is a possible explanation for using percent savings instead of percent correct?
  2. Describe the 3 components of Baddeley’s model of working memory. What types of information are the two buffers used for?
  3. Explain how the recency effect suggests the existence of a working memory buffer.
  4. Explain the word length effect in the context of the phonological loop. Why would shorter words be better remembered than longer words?
  5. Make a diagram of a serial position curve. Label and describe the primacy, recency, and Von Restorff effects.
  6. Explain Perin’s procedure for the delay of reinforcement gradient, and draw a rough sketch of the results. What is the rat learning in the 30 second condition?
  7. Describe the peak procedure (Catania, Roberts), and draw a rough sketch of the results. Explain the error rates in the context of Weber fractions.
  8. Contrast the peak procedure and delay of reinforcement gradient in terms of implicit and explicit methodologies.
  9. Explain the discrimination procedure (experiment where animals had to respond after 2 seconds or 8 seconds). How does it show us that time is logarithmically encoded?
  10. Describe the pacemaker theory of timing and why it’s not a good way to describe timing in animals.
  11. Describe Margaret Schleidt’s study. What types of behaviors did she measure, and what did she discover about them?
  12. Explain Gerstner’s two studies and how they support Schleidt’s findings.
  13. Give a possible explanation for the effects of ADHD and dopamine dysfunction on time scales. How did Dr. Gilden study this, and what results support this explanation?
  14. How does listening to music imply a form of implicit working memory?
  15. Give examples of both explicit and implicit working memory. How are they different?
  16. What is the gambler’s fallacy? Write out a sequence of heads and tails that a human might generate, and explain how it differs from true randomness?
  17. Provide reasonable values for P(H | T) and P(H | H) for a fair coin, the gambler’s fallacy, and the hot hand. What do they tell us about how humans perceive randomness?
  18. At what regime (easy, medium, hard) do flow states usually occur, and what does this suggest about practicing a skill?
  19. What evidence do we have for a watershed in human timing of about 2 seconds? Give several examples.
  20. What evidence was described in the RadioLab segment that makes it clear that the encoding, storage and retrieval method of conceptualizing long term memory is inaccurate?