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Psychology & the MCAT: Resources & Tips

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John Ranney

on 9 February 2016

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Transcript of Psychology & the MCAT: Resources & Tips

Psychology & the MCAT: Resources & Tips
Behavior & Behavioral Change
Individual Differences
Perception, Thinking, & Responses to Environments
Basic Sensation
Psychophysics- Understanding the psychological experience of sensory information
Thresholds - weakest stimulus someone can detect
Applies to all types of sensation
Weber's Law - Change Dectection
Signal Detection Theory - Ability to detect a signal among noise
Social Psychology
Perception
Responding to Stimuli
Motivation
Underlying drives that initiate and sustain behavior
Instinct
Arousal
Feedback
Biological
Environmental
Social
Need Hierarchy
Attitude
Formulations

Attitudes predict behavior

Behaviors predict attitudes
Self-Concept & Identity
Attributions of Behavior
Well-being
Theoretical Perspectives
Psychological Disorders
Societal Organization
Socioeconomic Status
By Dr. John Ranney
Very Brief Survey of Human Behavior
Types of Sensors

Vision

Hearing

Other Senses
Parallel Processing
Interpret stimuli of varying quality
Feature Detection
Sorting through complex stimuli for pertinent information
Somatosensation
Pain
Acute
Chronic
Neuronal fatigue
Psychosomatic pain disorders
Smell/Taste
Chemoreceptors
Memory aid
Kinesthetic sense
Muscle memory
Need training to obtain and unlearn
Vestibular sense
Balance
Emotional consequences
Gestalt
The conscious experience of an object or situation is different than just the sum of individual stimuli.
Based on experience
Brain fills in
Makes sense of the world
Emergence- Forms "pop out"
Reification- Similar objects perceived together
Multistability- perceptions of ambiguous stimuli jump back and forth
Invariance- objects remain unchanged regardless of rotation
Organization of Perception Systems
Depth


Form


Motion
Depth
Relative Size
Size and expected distance processed together
Retinal Disparity
See the scene at two disparities
Overlap
Clarity
Hazy objects perceived as farther away
Form
Figure Ground
Grouping
Closure
Continuity
Proximity
Constancy
Context
Motion
Apparent motion
Detecting change in luminance
Integration
Objects moving in the same direction perceived together
Parallax
Objects farther from fixation move faster
Cognition, Consciousness, Memory, & Language
Attention
Selective Attention
Divided Attention
Cognition
Piaget
Four Stages

Sensorimotor (Birth to 2)

Preoperational (Age 2 to 7)

Concrete Operational (Age 7 to 11)

Formal Operational (Age 12+)
Cognitive changes late in life
Explicit memory: declines
Implicit memory: unchanged
Social Constructivist

Interactions with adults determine cogintive development
Cultures prioritize different abilities & behaviors
Zone of Proximal Development
Scaffolding
Socioeconomic Status
Higher = Better Cognitive Adjustment
Problem Solving
Abstraction
Analogy
Brainstorming
Divide & conquering
Hypothesis testing
Lateral thinking
Means end analysis
Trial and error
Reduction
Cognitive Biases
Fundamental attribution error
Confirmation bias
Self-serving bias
Belief bias
Framing
Hindsight bias
Schema & Heursitics
Availibility
Representativeness
Anchoring
Familiarity
Stereotyping
Primacy
Recency
Intelligence
Holistic Theories
Spearman's (g)
Cattell
Fluid intelligence, Crystallized Intelligence
Sternberg's Triarchic Theory
Analytical, Creative, Practical
Multifaceted Intelligence
Gardner
9 intelligences
Consciousness
Awareness of internal and external stimuli
Sleep
Stages
Awake
Drowsy
Rapid Eye Movement (REM)
Dreaming
NREM-1
NREM-2
NREM-3
B
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W
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Cycles
Weekly
Monthly
Yearly
Lifespan
Individual Differences
Sleep
Hypnosis
Intense susceptibility to others' suggestion
Meditation
Intense awareness of one's own bodily functions
Drug Use
Psychoactive drugs
Chemical Substances
small
dissolve in fat
Types
Diminish Central Nervous System Activity
Increases Central Nervous System Activity
Hyper Sensation
Senses Dulled
Reward Pathways
Memory
Encoding
Levels of Processing
Superficial characteristics processed quickly & forgotten quickly
Stimuli connoting meaning encoded more efficiently
Elaboration-linking new information with previous knowledge at the time of encoding
aids encoding & memory
Interference-the presence of extraneous information inhibiting encoding
Serial Position Effect-tendency to remember information at the beginning and at the end of a particular experience
3 seconds or less storage
20 second storage without rehearsal ~ a few minutes with rehearsal
Limitless
Storage & Retrieval
Neural Plasticity
Allows encoding new information
Semantic Networks accessed to record and recall information
Broader activation =increased coding and retrieval
Powerful emotional contexts
Aids memory through encoding, storage, & retrieval
Forgetting
Memories decay
Shallow encoding
Restricted semantic networks
Long time periods
Lack of reactivation
Deeper activation protects memories natural decay associated with aging
Disorders
Neuronal decay or injury
Language
Theories of Language Acquisitions
Empiricist - Language is acquired through observation & reinforcement
Nativist - Humans are biologically preprogrammed to acquire language
Interactionist - Innate ability to acquire language is enhanced or inhibited by their observations & reinforcements from their environment
Linguistic abilities associated with enhanced cognition & memory
Aids in expanding semantic networks
Increases in deep & complex information processing
The Neurons
Brain lateralization
Neuroendocrine system
Biological Basis
Brain Organization


Genetic


Development
CNS & ANS
Nuerotransmitters
HPA Axis
Behavioral Genetics
Twin/Adoption/Sibling Studies
Heritability estimates
~ 50% of temperament
Temperament/personality
emotionality
activity level
attention
reactivity
Socioeconomic Status
Alters associations
Gene-Environment Correlations

Passive Correlation

Evocative Correlation

Active Correlation

Epigenetics
Physiological Development
Prenatal

Motor

Adolescent
Prenatal Development
Motor Development
Gross Motor




Fine Motor
Gross Motor
Adolescence
Girls
Breasts enlarge
Pubic Hair
Menarche
Boys
Penis & testicles enlarge
Pubic hair
Facial hair
Voice change
Spermarche
Personality
Humanistic
Trait
Biological
Behaviorism
P
s
y
c
h
o
a
n
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y
t
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c
Models of Mental Health
Biopsychosocial
Biomedical model
Health is determined by biological factors
Focus on diagnosing & curing disease
Disorders
Types
Anxiety - 28.8% lifetime
Obsessive-compulsive -1.6% lifetime
Trauma & Stress-6.8% lifetime
Somatoform-21.9% lifetime
Bipolar-3.9% lifetime
Depression-20.8% lifetime
Schizophrenia-1.1% lifetime
Dissociative disorder-2 - 3% lifetime
Personality-9.1% lifetime
Biological Basis
Schizophrenia
Depression
Alzheimer's
Parkinson's
Formulation
Attitudes inferred from behavior
Foot-in-the-door phenomenon
Door-in-the-face
Looking-glass-self
Bio-feedback
Smiling makes you feel better
Cognitive Dissonance Theory
Reasoned Action Theory
Theories
Drive Reduction Theory
Behavior predetermined by biological processes
Strive for homeostasis
Internally rewarding
Incentive Theory
Behaviors are employed to obtain rewards
Rewards are external
Effort is contingent on the desirability of reward
Motivators
Sex drive
Hunger
Social inclusion
Survival
Safety
Addictions
Social Influence
Bystander effect: failure to act due to assumption others in the group will act

Social Norms
Rules for behavior deemed acceptable by a social group
Violations
Taboo- behaviors that are the target of sanctioning from the group
Anomie-Individuals or groups consistently violating social norms
Learning
Classical & Operant Conditioning
Observational Learning & Social Cognition
Feelings & characteristics that are constant & provide a sense of uniqueness & differentiation from others.
Emotional Experiences
Cognitive expereince

Physiological experience

Behavioral experience

Universal Emotions
Common across cultures & have recognizable expressions
Fear
Anger
Happiness
Joy
Surprise
Disgust
Sadness
3 Major Theories
Brain Regions
Stress
Appraisal Process
Event that harms or has the potential to harm
Evaluation of the potential harm
Evaluation of one's ability to overcome the threat
Ability to overcome=no stress
Inability to overcome=stress
Types of Stress
Acute

Chronic

Global (major life event)

Anything that knocks you out of homeostatic balance
Comprehensive look at the stress response if you have time
HPA Axis
Outcomes of Stress
Stress Management
Excercise
Meditation
Relaxation
Organization
Addressing specific challenges
Locus of Control
Personal for success
Environmental for
failures

Self-esteem-Feelings that one is a person of worth with inherent value
Self-efficacy-Feelings of confidence that one can accomplish tasks effectively
Locus of control-Feelings that one is in control of events in their lives
These act as a social barometer
Motivate action
Successes incorporated into self
Failures attributed to environment
Identities
Based on group membership
Optimally Distinctiveness
finding the balance between acceptance and feeling unique
Types:
Gender
Race/ethnicity
Age
Socioeconomic Status
Sexual Orientation
Nationality
Profession
4 Theories of Identity Development
Social Influences
Looking glass self
Society communicates identity to the individual
Imitation
Intentionally patterning one's behavior off another person's
Social role
The roles & behaviors that inidividuals employ incorporate into identity
Fundamental Attribution Error
Predjudice
Stereotypes
Negative generalized beliefes about personal attributes
Social Interaction
Attraction
Aggression
Altruism
1. Proximity
2. Attractiveness
3. Similarity
4. Initial Affect
5. Responsiveness
6. Reciprocation
7. Self-disclosure
8. Arousal
Attachment
Social Support
Perceptions that one is cared for & has assistance available
Reduces HPA Axis activation
Broad social & emotional benefits
Linked with positive health outcomes
Culture
Transmition of Culture
Culture Shock & Lag
Counterculture vs Subculture
Assimilation vs. Multiculturalism
Demographic Structures
Age

Race/Ethnicity

Sex, Gender, & Sexual Orientation
Age
Race/Ethnicity
Sex, Gender, & Sexual Orientation
Demographic Shifts
Globalization
Compression of the world & intensification of consciousness about the world as a whole
Facilitated by
Technology
Travel
Communication
Trade
Territory becomes less relevant
Material Exchange
Power Exchange
Symbolic Exchange
Urbanization

Proportion of people living in cities increases while proportion of people living in rural areas decreases
Urban areas procede through cyclical periods of growth.
Industrialization leads to increased urbanization
Suburbanization leads to decline in urban areas
Gentrification leads to renewal in these areas.
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