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Connect Education Unit 3 VCE Psychology Suggested Solutions 2012 Adrian Dedic

Suggested solutions for VCAA 2012 Unit 3 Psychology Exam

Written by Adrian Dedic


VCE Psychology Lecturer for Connect Education

Special thanks to Monique for getting me a copy of the exam! Please keep in mind these are suggested solutions. They may contain errors, also not every answer that could earn full marks is included since some questions can utilise many different approaches. Furthermore, the answers and opinions may differ from what the chief assessor decides to allow, so please use them as a rough guide only! Chuck your email on our mailing list to receive special discounts for lectures and be the first to know about the Unit 4 Psychology lecture that comes with 130+ pages of notes, with 100% student recommendation from nearly 200 students! Hope to see you at the Unit 4 Revision Lecture http://connecteducation.com.au/notify.html If you have any pressing concerns regarding the content of the answers please contact me directly at: Adrian@connecteducation.com.au

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Connect Education Unit 3 VCE Psychology Suggested Solutions 2012 Adrian Dedic

General Comments
o The exam this year was much longer than previous years therefore it is likely a number of students didnt finish the exam or had to rush quite a few answers. o Overall, the exam this year was easier than last years exam so the A+ cut off is expected to rise, I personally would estimate it to be roughly at the 75/90 mark. o My personal view on the exam is that it was pretty well written overall and there was a fair coverage of the majority of topics. The number of ambiguous/dodgy questions was really quite small in comparison to other years, which is a good thing! o Tricky Questions: Multiple Choice Q6, 17, 31, 35, 36 and 40. Short Answer Q 4 a & b (ii), 6, 9 a. o A number of students would have done a SAC with an extremely similar lay out to the Section C, so I think quite a few students would have done really well there. But on the whole, I dont think the section C will be well answered by the majority of the state because most people do not learn research methods in enough detail, especially for the mid year exam. o It is interesting to see the number of answers in the multiple choice section that were repetitive. There was a block of three As in a row, three Cs in a row and three Ds in a row. So dont rely on patterns in multiple choice to help you or let them influence your responses, because exam writers seem to make the answer key quite unusual with a number of repetitions. o The solutions provided are in some parts much more detailed than would be required for full marks, do not stress if your answers werent as elaborate as some of the ones features here. In most cases, less detailed answers could still potentially gain full marks. o I think its important to look at the suggested solutions to see where you went wrong in the hopes that it will improve your Unit 4 exam result. Especially all the research methods questions because theyre still examinable for Unit 4, also certain topics are helpful to remember for Unit 4 so its a good idea to not completely forget all of the Unit 3 content. o When you notice you got something wrong you tend to think itll result in a really poor grade, but please keep in mind you can probably lose around 15 marks out of the 90 and still be awarded an A+ so dont fret if you stuffed up a few questions its only human to make mistakes in exams!

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Connect Education Unit 3 VCE Psychology Suggested Solutions 2012 Adrian Dedic

Section A: Multiple Choice


Question Answer 1 D 2 3 A D Explanation The mind is a stream of consciousness; the body and mind are separate entities and are linked to each other via the brain. The first view refers to James, the second refers to Descartes. A controlled process that involves mental effort. Roy was carrying out a controlled process because he was using a lot of mental effort to concentrate and focus on learning the words for his play. Roys thalamus Directed his attention towards learning the words while simultaneously filtering out the sound of the clock ticking. As stated in the VCE study design the thalamus has a key role in directing attention and switching sensory input (e.g. sound) on and off. Quantitative only. The respective number of hours of sleep would be represented as numerical data, which means its quantitative only. Information presented to the right visual field is processed in the left hemisphere. This question is based on the knowledge from the visual pathway diagram that has featured on several past exams. (http://www.mm-theory.com/preliminary/visual%20pathway.jpg) On the day after the seventh night of the study, participants would experience slower physical reactions. Option D is the only other plausible option, however, significant and dramatic mood changes is quite an absolute statement, therefore making this option not the most correct answer. Participants performed poorly on the simple tasks and made many errors. They performed well on the complex tasks and made few errors. The brainwave circled was a K-complex, which typically occurs in response to intense external stimuli. The sharp rise in amplitude and the fact that it was stage 2 NREM should have lead students to pick option B. Deep sleep is indicated by theta and delta waves. As a person progresses through the stages of sleep to stage 4 EEG recordings increase in amplitude and decrease in frequency. During stage 4 deep sleep, a fMRI scan would indicate low activation in the neurons of the RAS. During sleep, the RAS plays a major role in controlling the transition from deep sleep to wakefulness. Agatha is reading a book and the visual sensory information is directed to the primary visual cortex by her thalamus. The diagram of the brain shows the left hemisphere therefore it is responsible for movements on the right side of the body, language and problem solving. The results of study number 1 suggest that the left hemisphere can process words and can also enable words to be verbalised. The results of study number 2 suggest that the right hemisphere can identify the pictured object but the object cannot be named. The results of these two studies together suggest that the left hemisphere appears to make the executive decisions about whether or not an item is present. The correct alternative could be reached through a process of elimination as options A, B and C each had incorrect statements regarding hemispheric specialisation.
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4 5

B C

7 8

C B

9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17

D D D B A A B B D

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Connect Education Unit 3 VCE Psychology Suggested Solutions 2012 Adrian Dedic

18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27

A A A C A B A B A D

28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35

A C D B A C C D

Sensory memory, Short-term memory, Long-term memory according to the Atkinson-Shiffrin multi-store model of memory. While watching the frightening movie it is also likely that breathing rate increases and the bladder relaxes. When a person wins a prize in the lottery their physiological responses will be similar to those in situation 1, in which the physiological responses are activated by the sympathetic nervous system. Kandels research indicated that memory formation was associated with a strengthening in communication between synapses. The quickest and most cost-effective scanning technique is computed tomography (CT). A significant advantage of CT is that it is the cheapest scanning technique, SPECT is cheaper than PET but not CT. Despite damage to the medial temporal lobe and the hippocampi in both hemispheres, a person is able to continue to form new procedural memories. Alexander putting each word into a sentence in French is an example of Semantic encoding. Susans inability to remember the Geography information she had studied is best explained by a failure of the Geography information to be transferred to her long-term memory. Debriefing of participants most likely includes information about each participants own results in the study. With reference to working memory the correct statement was the visuo-spatial sketchpad to visualise the arithmetic involved in the calculations and the central executive to direct the attention to performing the calculation. The episodic buffer is involved in combining information from elsewhere in working memory and from long-term memory but is not involved in the final decision of how much the customers must pay. Peters pattern of memory loss is typical of anterograde amnesia, since he couldnt form memories after the accident. Peters brain scan would show damage to the medial temporal lobes and hippocampi. Although Peters memory is affected, he should still be able to learn to use a new piece of equipment. A patient about to have brain surgery gives informed consent to participate in a study using direct brain stimulation; this is an example of a case study. The amount of space in the somatosensory cortex that is dedicated to a particular body part increases as the density of sensory receptors for the body part increases. After one hour participants were most likely to have forgotten approximately 50% of the information. To retain a larger number of the nonsense syllables in LTM, participants could learn the list over an extended period of time. The Grivas textbook says that when the initial learning takes place over more extended periods of time, more information is retained. I think the trick here is that nonsense syllables would be quite difficult to put into a narrative using narrative chaining, thus option D is more likely to help achieve a greater retention rate. However, keep in mind that last years exam had two questions where they accepted two answers, so option A might also be accepted.
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Connect Education Unit 3 VCE Psychology Suggested Solutions 2012 Adrian Dedic

36 37 38 39 40 41 42

A B C B C B C

43 44 45

C A B

In a second experiment where participants had to remember names, the rate of forgetting on the test would most likely have been the same as for the nonsense syllables. The DV would have been the rate of forgetting. Visualisation is critical to the peg-word method and the method of loci. The tests were recognition and recall respectively. A savings score of 50% indicates that Mia took 50% less time to study for the second test. According to the decay theory, Andrews forgetting of career-related information is most like due to fading of the chemical or physical memory trace for the information. The fact that Andrew has clear memories of his childhood but poorer memory of career-related information could be considered evidence of the limitation of the decay theory of forgetting, since you would expect childhood memories to be more poorly remembered as they would have decayed over time through disuse according to the decay theory. Old information was inhibiting the retrieval of the new telephone number for Con therefore he is experiencing proactive interference. Information is most likely to be forgotten when similar information is learnt soon afterwards. An important role of ethics committees is to monitor the research through progress reports and inspection visits.

Section B: Short Answer


Question 1 a) REM sleep (because they were interrupted during the presence of beta-like waves). 1 mark b) REM Rebound would occur; whereby participants would spent longer periods in REM sleep on the sixth night of the study due to earlier REM sleep deprivation. 2 marks Question 2 Daydreaming is different from meditation because in daydreaming there are fewer content limitations on the nature of the material that is brought into our awareness. In a daydream people often experience elaborate fantasies with little limitation to how bizarre or unusual the content may be, whilst in a meditative state there are greater content limitations therefore the nature of our thoughts tends to be more organised, normal and controlled. 2 marks

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Connect Education Unit 3 VCE Psychology Suggested Solutions 2012 Adrian Dedic

Question 3 a) One valid characteristic: - Perceptual Distortions - Cognitive Distortions - Emotional Awareness - Changes in Self Control - Time Orientation The selected characteristic needed to be accompanied with an explanation of how Eric could use it to determine Jasons state of consciousness. For example, if you selected time orientation, Eric would expect Jason to have a distorted sense of time. Jasons estimation of time would be disturbed, either it would appear too fast or too slow. 2 marks b) Valid Test: - Galvanic Skin Response - Body Temperature (using a thermometer) - Heart Rate (using a heart rate monitor) The selected test needed to be accompanied with a valid description. For example, if you selected GSR, this technique indicates the change in resistance of the skin to an electrical current, i.e. the electrical conductivity of the skin. Highly emotional reactions sometimes experienced in an ASC can increase the amount a person sweats, which is measured by the electrodes of the machine that are attached to the fingers. 2 marks Question 4 a)

1 mark b) i. Synaesthesia is a neurological condition in which stimulation of one sensory system automatically triggers a perception in a second sensory system. 2 marks
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Connect Education Unit 3 VCE Psychology Suggested Solutions 2012 Adrian Dedic

ii. Synaesthesia, according to one theory, is believed to be the result of an increased number of neural connections that were not properly pruned/eliminated during childhood. The extra neural connections result in multiple sensory systems being linked in atypical ways. 2 marks Note: Some students mentioned the cross-activation theory, however, considering this was not covered in the majority of textbooks I would say mentioning this particular theory is not going to be critical to gain full marks. Simply mentioning a lack of proper pruning during childhood should be sufficient. Question 5 In normal healthy ageing there is a general slowing of the central nervous system, which evidently slows down neuronal processing and transmission. This in effect negatively impacts on a persons long-term declarative memory, in particular their episodic memory. There is also some reduction in the size of the frontal lobe as well as less activity in the prefrontal cortex, which may impact on an elderly persons ability to effectively retrieve the information from LTM. Furthermore, elderly people usually have a lack of motivation and lack of selfconfidence in their long-term declarative memory abilities so these factors also contribute to their decreased memory abilities when compared to normal, healthy young adults who generally have greater motivation and self-confidence in their memory abilities. 3 marks Question 6 The serial position curve depicts improved recall of items at the beginning and end of a list of items, with the middle items being worst recalled. It is believed that these characteristic effects are linked to both short term (STM) and long term memory (LTM) stores. The superior recall of items at the start of a list indicates that this information is likely to have transferred into LTM (Primacy effect), whereas the superior recall of items at the end of the list demonstrates that the information is likely to still be stored in STM when the information is recalled (Recency effect). Therefore demonstrating the existence of these two distinct yet interactive memory stores. 3 marks Question 7 Three key concepts: Nodes, Links and Hierarchical Structure. Any relevant example that incorporated the three above features to describe how semantic network theory explains LTM organisation would have earned full marks. 3 marks

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Connect Education Unit 3 VCE Psychology Suggested Solutions 2012 Adrian Dedic

Question 8 a) The tip-of-the-tongue (TOT) phenomenon refers to the experience of being aware of knowing something and being confident it will eventually be remembered, however, not actually being quite able to retrieve it when the need arises. 1 mark b) The TOT phenomenon supports the retrieval failure theory as it demonstrates that the information is obviously stored somewhere in memory, however, it is inaccessible at that particular point in time due to inadequate retrieval cues. A lack of proper retrieval cues is the basis of the retrieval failure theory. 2 marks Question 9 a) Lizs forgetting is best described by Freuds theory of motivated forgetting, in which Liz receives some benefit from not remembering the traumatic event. Specifically, Liz is displaying suppression, which involves making a conscious effort to forget about the event. Since she preferred not to remember the details of what happened, she has made a conscious decision to avoid thinking about the accident, which is characteristic of suppression. Note: Some students might have thought it was repression because Liz claimed that she could not remember any details about the accident. However, even if Liz did in fact suppress the material, it is likely that she would have difficulty in recalling details of the accident. b) According to Loftus research, Williams eyewitness account a year later would have been a reconstruction of the event and not an exact replica of the event witnessed. William is likely to experience source confusion, many things would have occurred in a year after the accident so any of those memories could be included in his witness account and be attributed to the accident even though the memories where of a different origin. 2 marks Question 10 Theo would need to rehearse the lines of his play in a similar internal physiological and/or psychological condition that he will be in at the time of retrieval on stage. It is most likely he will be nervous when performing on stage, therefore it would benefit his memory to practice learning the lines in a nervous state. Note: You could also justify that because hes a performer he might be calm and relaxed on stage, therefore he should practice when hes calm or relaxed. Furthermore, if you mentioned Theo could be under the influence of alcohol, caffeine, nicotine or marijuana even, these would still aid his retrieval. Although Im not sure if advocating he do illegal drugs would be well received by your assessor, I think you might still receive marks because it is a valid response. 2 marks
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Connect Education Unit 3 VCE Psychology Suggested Solutions 2012 Adrian Dedic

Question 11 The most likely area of damage is the right parietal lobe. One key symptom likely to be displayed is a lack of awareness of objects and stimuli in the left side of the environment and even the patients left side of their own body. 2 marks

Section C: Extended Response


Variables: Independent Variable: Whether a mnemonic device was used by the students or not. Note: It would be best to pick a specific mnemonic, however, since everyone would have picked different ones I wrote the broad statement mnemonic device but it would have been best to include a specific device such as narrative chaining, etc. Dependent Variable: The students memory ability for the words. Operationalised as the improvement in the number of words correctly recalled in the mnemonic device condition as compared to the control condition from a list of 15 words. Note: You could refer to a list of however many words you decided to chose the participants to remember, it didnt need to be 15. However, adding in a specific number to work with would help guide the rest of your response. Research Hypothesis: That secondary school students who use a mnemonic device (narrative chaining/method of loci/peg word method/etc) will have improved memory ability on a memory test. Ethical Considerations: A number of possible answers could have been discussed: - Confidentiality - Informed Consent (would need to be from a parent or guardian if under 18) - Debriefing (must be done after the research) - Adherence to Voluntary Participation - Adherence to Withdrawal Rights - Do no physical/psychological harm principle

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Connect Education Unit 3 VCE Psychology Suggested Solutions 2012 Adrian Dedic

Experimental Design: Any of the three designs could have been used by Maria: Repeated Measures, Matched-Participants or Independent Groups. However, independent groups would have been the easiest one to discuss for most people.

Methods of Data Collection: Quantitative data collection would be most appropriate for Maria to use, i.e. data that is expressed in scores or numbers. Maria could simply count the number of words correctly recalled between each of the conditions (mnemonic device condition and control condition) and represent this data quantitatively. Extraneous Variables and Minimising their Effects: A number of extraneous variables could be discussed, some of which include: - Level of distraction during the experiment. If the students are doing the experiment in the classroom surrounded by others this could provide as a distraction and affect the dependent variable memory ability. To minimise the effect of this extraneous variable it would be best to get each participant to do the experiment individually in the same conditions without distractions. - The level of motivation by the participants. Some participants might not take the experiment seriously and might lack any desire to actually learn the words regardless of whether they had a mnemonic device or not. To minimise the effect of this extraneous variable it would be best to monitor the level of motivation of each participant to ensure each participant has equal levels of motivation when they begin the task.

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