Questions and Answers
Part 1: Relationship between Terms
a. Serial position effect and recall – Serial position effect describes a scenario in which a person recalls the first and last items in a series better than they recall other items in between. It can also be referred to as the primacy effect
b. Double blind research – bias – In the double blind research process, neither those who are collecting research data nor those who participate in the study are aware of the group receiving treatment. The process prevents research bias by eliminating the probability of preferential treatment through lack of information. The research data can therefore not be influenced by either the participants or the data collectors.
c. Myelin sheath – neural impulse – the myelin sheath is responsible for increased neural impulse speed. The increased speed comes about because the myelin sheath enables the neuron to send signals more quickly. Loss of the myelin sheath results in a reduced neural impulse speed.
d. Twin studies – nature/nurture debate – Twin studies have fostered an understanding of how nature and nurture contribute to intelligence, and other traits such as disordered behavior. Nature, through genes in biological twins, result in similarities in some traits such as physical appearance, while nurture, can result in differences in the traits of biological twins bred in different environments.
e. Attachment – strange situation experiment – Attachment is described as the emotional tie created with another person or situation. The loss of a physical proximity with the object of attachment can result in distress as observed in the strange situation experiment where monkeys experienced distress when their blankets were taken from them.
f. Rods and cones – transduction – Rods and cones are the cells in the retina, which together with photosensitive ganglion cells, convert light into electrical signals, in a process called transduction. The rod cells are more sensitive to faint light while cones are sensitive to color and detail.
g. Stages of sleep – dreams – Sleep occurs on five distinct stages, classified as non-rapid eye movement (NREM) or REM. During the different stages of sleep, dreams are experienced. However, more than 80% of people only remember dreams when they are awakened during REM sleep. When awakened during NREM sleep stages, people rarely recall their dreams or even having dreamt.
h. Perceptual blindness – perceiving – Perceptual blindness is a phenomenon in which a person fails to see an object in plain sight due to reasons that are not related to visual defects or deficits but rather due to failure to perceive an unexpected stimulus even when the stimulus is in plain sight.
i. Extinction – spontaneous recovery – Spontaneous recovery refers to the reappearance of a conditioned response to a stimulus, after a period of lapse in response. Extinction normally follows easily after a period of spontaneous recovery. When the response disappears, spontaneous recovery provides evidence that it is not forgotten. However, extinction reflects a process of unlearning, following which spontaneous recovery cycles result in increasingly weaker responses, which would raise the need for further conditioning.
j. Cochlea – retina – As the retina responds to the light stimuli in the eye, the cochlea responds to sound stimuli in the ear. Both parts are responsible for transforming the attracted stimuli into the intended information through conversion into electrical signals.
k. Inattention blindness – sensory memory – inattention blindness describes failure to notice something that is directly in line of sight. It is an essential phenomenon to demonstrate the short life of sensory memory, and mostly occurs when one is focused on a specific task.
l. Learning – bobo doll experiment – The process through which children learn by observing adult behavior was demonstrated through Bandura’s bobo doll experiment. The experiment allowed researchers to demonstrate aggressive behavior on bobo dolls and to observe children’s reactions through how the children treat others. Te results showed that children mimic adult behavior.
2. Contributions of Psychologists to the Field
a. John Watson – Played an essential role in the development of behaviorism through his scientific theory of behaviorism.
b. BF Skinner – Was one of the leaders in behaviorism through his studies on operant conditioning, reinforcement schedules, and the use of the response rate as a dependent variable in psychological research.
c. Jean Piaget – Piaget developed the theory of cognitive development and is recognized for his role in early childhood development. He also did a lot of studies on epistemological views.
d. Ivan Pavlov – He is recognized for his work on classical conditioning, in which he experimented using dogs.
e. Erik Erikson – Formulated the theory of psychosocial development, in which distinct stages of development are provided.
f. Albert Bandura – Bandura developed the theory of social learning, in which he agreed with the concepts of classical and operant conditioning.
g. Harry Harlow – Harry Harlow used monkeys to experiment and develop conventions on dependency needs, maternal separation, and social isolation. He proposed the importance of companionship and care giving to cognitive and social development.
h. Phineas Gage – Through a railroad accident, Phineas Gage became the most famous patient in the history of psychology, particularly through a behavioral study on his case, conducted before and after the accident.
i. Mary Ainsworth – Mary Ainsworth is known for the design of the strange situation classification assessment as well as the development of the theory of attachment.
j. Lawrence Kohlberg – From the early development theories of Jean Piaget, Lawrence Kohlberg developed the moral development theory. He is thus known for the expansion of Jean Piaget’s theory.
Part 3: Nature and Nurture Application
a. Critical periods – critical periods in human life refer to those periods in which children learn easily through observation. It is the period in which nature is exhibited through innate behaviors and experience or observation (nurturing) provides information necessary for development and for permanently altering performance.
b. Homosexuality – Homosexuality forms a central subject in the nature versus nurture debate. The first theory of homosexuality is the nature theory which posits that specific genetic compositions make people gay, hence homosexuals are born. The nurture theory posits that people learn homosexuality.
c. Classical conditioning – classical conditioning supports the principle of learning as in nurturing. The theory of classical conditioning posits that it is important to learn from the environment, hence supports nurture over nature.
d. Innate processes vs behaviorism – innate processes provide an accurate reflection of the concept of nature, Innate processes are a result of natural predispositions while, behaviorism is learnt, or a result of the nurturing process.
e. Perceptual sets – the tendency of an individual to notice certain aspects of sensory data while letting the other data go. In the context of the nature versus nurture discourse, perceptual sets can be described as the brain’s natural construction to recognize certain stimuli. At the same time, this perceptual capability has to be used in life or lost (nurture).
f. Causes of amnesia – Studies conducted on the causes of amnesia show that there are certain genes that predispose individuals to amnesia (nature). At the same time, other studies have shown that the environment and lifestyle factors could also cause amnesia.