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Short-Answer Questions on Psych 290 from the book: Psychology, themes and variations, 3rd Canadian edition

Identify the Piagetian stage of cognitive development of the main character(s) in each of the following illustrations. Support your answers.

1.     Jennifer is shown two short beakers of the same size filled with equal amounts of water. She agrees with the experimenter that both beakers contain the same amount of water. The water from one of the short beakers is poured into a tall, slender beaker, and Jennifer is asked whether the short and tall beakers contain the same amount of water. She says, "Yes." When Jennifer is asked how she knows that both beakers contain the same amount of water, she says that if you pour the water from the tall beaker back into the short beaker, you will see that they contain equal amounts of water.

2.    Maria and her daughter Brianna were playing together with Brianna's dolls. Maria placed one of the dolls under her daughter's blanket as Brianna was watching. Brianna looked at her mom and retrieved the doll from under the blanket.

3.    Jeremy wanted a drink. His dad filled two glasses with juice: a tall, narrow cup and a short, wide cup. Jeremy hesitated briefly, and chose the tall cup because he thought it had more juice in it.

4.    Nikki is asked, "Suppose you are at Grandma's house and she is baking cookies. Roger comes in and starts to eat all the cookies. What would you do?" Nikki replies that she would ask Grandma to make Roger stop.

5.    Steve goes to the freezer to get several ice cubes for the lemonade he is pouring for himself and his younger brother Tim. He puts the cubes into two glasses, but before he can pour in the lemonade, his mother calls. She asks the boys to run down to the corner store and buy some things she needs for dinner. They leave their glasses on the counter. When they return half an hour later, Tim exclaims that somebody has taken the ice cubes out and put water in their glasses. Steve, however, knows the cubes have simply melted, and he goes to get a few more.

6.    Jack is taking a walk in the forest just behind his family's campsite. Eventually, he comes across a stream that is too wide for him to jump across. On the other side is what looks like a small cave. Jack would love to explore the cave, but first he must find a way to get to it. He looks around for a narrower section where he might jump, but doesn't find one. Then he looks up and down the stream for a bridge, but he cannot see one. Then he discovers a fallen tree that would probably support him if he could swing it across the stream. Jack swings the log into position and walks across it to the other side of the stream.


Identify the stage of personality development, as proposed by Erikson, in the following scenario. Based on the information given, indicate what type of personality is likely to emerge. Provide support for your answer.

7.    Twenty-five-year-old Josephine feels very insecure about some of the personal and career choices she has made so far. Consequently, at this stage of her life, Josephine is unwilling to search for someone with whom she could have a serious, committed relationship.

Identify the Freud and Erikson stages of development of the main character in the following illustrations. Provide support for your answer.

8.   Robyn was fearful when she started school. She cried on the first day, and her parents noticed that she was clingy in the evenings. Robyn's anxiety decreased quickly, however, partly because her teacher was sensitive and highly motivating, and partly because she made many new friends at school. Now Robyn cannot wait to get to school, and she frequently brings her work home to show her parents.

9.    Mike's mother had been extremely pleased when he had become toilet trained at an earlier age than she had anticipated. Unfortunately, Mike was hospitalized for a month shortly after that time. Now, over a year later, Mike continues to soil his pants several times a week. Obviously, both Mike and his mother are frustrated and somewhat embarrassed by this setback.


Research on early emotional development has identified three primary patterns of attachment. Identify the pattern of attachment in each of the scenarios below. Provide support for your answer.

10.   Melissa takes her one-year-old daughter Kathleen to visit a daycare centre in which she plans to enrol her. Kathleen appears very anxious and is unwilling to explore the playroom, even though Melissa is close by. When Melissa leaves the room to fill out some forms, Kathleen becomes extremely upset. When she returns, Kathleen clings to her leg and continues to sob.

11. Mercedes takes her one-year-old son Justice to visit a daycare centre in which she plans to enrol him. Justice eagerly explores the playroom as long as Mercedes is present. When Mercedes leaves the room to fill out some forms, Justice becomes somewhat upset, but he quickly calms down when she returns.

Identify whether the following vignette is an illustration of a person-oriented or trait-oriented approach. Provide support for your answer.

12. At the case conference on new patient, Bob T., Dr. Hawkins explained that he anticipated that Bob's hospitalization might be lengthy. He based his views on the fact that Bob had exhibited personality characteristics that Dr. Hawkins knew were very resistant to change. In addition, on his psychological test scores, Bob had scored high on the paranoid scale and on measures of aggressive tendencies, both of which suggest that Bob T. might be dangerous.


Identify which of Freud's three structures of the mind is represented in the following illustration, and explain what interactions may be occurring between the structures.

13. Irene is attracted to an older man. She is inwardly impelled to speak to him, and has even begun to have dreams about him. However, every time they are together socially, she feels like her infatuation is immoral and unacceptable, and she is unable to act on her desires.



Conceptual Questions

1.     Upon first learning about the different theoretical perspectives on personality, many people prefer the views of the humanistic theorists. Why do you think this is true? Do the reasons for this preference represent sound, scientific criteria for evaluating a theoretical perspective on personality?

2.    How would an operant theorist, such as Skinner, explain defence mechanisms? Give several examples.

3.    Research indicates that there are genuine (although often small) gender differences in verbal ability, mathematical ability, spatial ability, aggression, nonverbal communication, and tendency to be influenced. Discuss why each of these gender differences and their consequent behavioural differences might exist from a practical, evolutionary perspective.

4.    Several criticisms have been levelled at Piaget's theories of cognitive development. Which two criticisms do you think are most damaging to the theory? Why?


Identify which personality theory is illustrated in the following example. Note that more than one theory may apply. Support your answer.

5.    Dr. Phillips is trying to discover why some teenagers steal from their parents. He frequently talks to teens who have been reported to have stolen from their parents. He asks them about their earliest memories of their relationship with their parents and the extent to which they felt loved and accepted by their parents.

Identify the stage of personality development, as proposed by Erikson, in the following scenario. Based on the information given, what type of personality is likely to emerge Provide support for your answer.

6.    Sergio just turned 53. He feels he is not making any real contributions through the career he has chosen. As he sits at his desk each day, Sergio fails to find meaning in his life. He feels he has no purpose or direction

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