MCAT Psychology and Sociology Freestanding Practice Questions: learning, memory, and behavior

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1. Retroactive interference occurs when:

  • A. old information interferes with learning new material.
  • B. new material interferes with recalling old material.
  • C. new information decays over time.
  • D. old information decays over time.

2. Which of the following types of memory does not affect behavior consciously and can be measured only indirectly?

  • A. Nondeclarative memory
  • B. Declarative memory
  • C. Episodic memory
  • D. Explicit memory

3. A five-year-old boy has formed a habit of writing on his parents' living room walls. Based on operant conditioning principles, which of the following types of punishment would be least effective in stopping this behavior?

  • A. Giving the child a time out immediately after he writes on the wall, every time the child writes on the wall.
  • B. Providing the child with a cookie at the end of each day that he abstains from writing on the walls.
  • C. Spanking the child (an intense punishment) every time that the child writes on the wall.
  • D. Punishing the child occasionally, when the parents happen to notice writing on the wall.

4. Jay joins a social media website to lose weight, and he receives points based on the intensity of his daily exercise and praise from fellow website users for each workout he logs on the website. This increases his exercise frequency and intensity. Eventually he stops logging onto the website, but continues to exercise with increased frequency. This is an example of:

  • A. vicarious reinforcement.
  • B. operant conditioning.
  • C. innate behavior.
  • D. classical conditioning.

5. A student cramming for finals memorizes the steps in solving a physics problem early in the afternoon and then studies for his other subjects for several hours before his physics exam. When he arrives at the exam he can no longer remember how to solve the physics equation. This is an example of:

  • A. retroactive interference.
  • B. proactive interference.
  • C. retrieval cues.
  • D. long term potentiation.

6. A researcher studying several patients gives each of them the same maze to solve. Although each works independently on it for 30 minutes – with varying degrees of success - none of them recalls seeing the maze when presented with it the next day. Nonetheless, their overall speed and success in solving it has improved significantly. These patients are likely experiencing impairment in:

I. procedural memory

II. episodic memory

III. echoic memory

  • A. I only
  • B. II only
  • C. I and II
  • D. II and III