This is what a psychology exam looks like at MIT


Hi everyone, today let me show you
through another university exam but this time on the topic of psychology. I have
here with me a introductory psychology exam from MIT and I’ll go through the
paper and have a little look at what the format of questions is and what kind of
topics they’re asking you about. You might find this interesting if you’re
considering studying psychology or you even want to see what you might be
missing out on. MIT make a lot of their course materials available online so
I’ll put a link in the description to this exam as well as a lot of the other
notes and lectures for this course. You might be surprised and think that this
exam actually appears a little bit easy especially considering it comes from MIT
but keep in mind that this is an introductory course and I think that
there are only so many ways that you can teach and examine the fundamentals of a
topic and maybe the difference between universities comes in more as you get
into the later stages and need more advanced concepts in the topic but I
think this course is designed to give students at MIT their first introduction
to the topic it’s probably the first psychology course that they’re taking
and they themselves want to see if they would make a good psychology major. So
let’s have a look at it. The exam tells us that the questions are all from
lectures and from readings from an Oliver Sacks book that book is called
The Man who Mistook his Wife for a Hat and is a bunch of case studies written
by a neurologist. This exam is one of three exams for the course
spread throughout the semester with each exam worth 20% of the final grade so
this exam doesn’t cover everything but it does cover brain structure and
function, methods of research, vision, consciousness, attention, memory and
learning. So let’s have a look at this question for example, “At what point in
the human visual system are neurons or axons that code for the same visual
field from the two different eyes first brought together anatomically?” the answer
I’ve circled is optic chiasm. Going on we’re being asked about
the results of the brain imaging study between men and women, we’re asked about
the major visual cortical pathways and a few facts about things like memory and
recognition. For example here’s an easy one “We read about” well it says 12
letters at a time as the answer. It’s kind of a case of remembering the
details, much of this is really going to be a bit of a memory test. If you haven’t
remembered something, because it’s multiple choice you might be able to
deduce your way to an answer through some kind of logic. Maybe let’s look at
17, “Negative contrast refers to the finding that rat performance in a maze
is worst at the end of the experiment for rats who” the answer is “initially
receive a large reward and then are switched to a small reward”. Maybe that
makes sense even if you haven’t read that particular passage in the notes but
only a casual interest in psychology isn’t going to get you a high score here
a lot of these things involve jargon and concepts that you really need to have
done quite a lot of study to know. “When you watch dogs play in the park or watch
how your professors conduct their classes you are engaging in a form of
what” well it’s naturalistic observation. This
course say is that it’s designed to introduce you to the scientific study of
human nature so we also have some questions that make sure we know about
things like the scientific method and how psychology research would be
conducted we’re asked here “You can use what to eliminate experimenter
expectancy effects?” so that’s obviously something to do with experiment design
the answer is D a double-blind design. Exams like this for a course where there
would be a lot of students taking it are not really designed to be extremely
challenging they’re more designed I think to kind of make sure you’ve been
paying attention, that you’ve done all the readings that you are supposed to do
and that you know what all of the key concepts are in the course. We get down
to quite a funny question here number 38 it says “Take a look at the following
figure if you close your left eye and focus on the X while slowly moving the
paper away from your face what will happen and
why?” I kind of find this a funny question to have in an exam because what you’re
going to have is hundreds of students sitting there with the paper in front of
them holding it up to their face and moving it slowly away. It will probably be
quite a funny sight for the examiners. Well the answer here was B “the picture
will disappear when it lands on the part of your eye where ganglion cell axons
come together to form the optic nerve because there are no photoreceptors
there.” Question 42 references a particular study from the textbook
“Garcia and colleagues discovered taste aversion and rats because” A “the taste of
water and plastic bottles was associated with sickness from radiation.” That seems
like an interesting study to read about. I took one introductory psych course of
my own during undergrad and I’d say it’s pretty consistent with the kind of
questions that were being asked here. This particular exam that I’m showing
you is from 2011 though so some of the topics could be slightly outdated
although it should be pretty much representative of what you’d see in a
first psychology course. After the multiple choice questions we get on to
some short answer questions where I guess you pretty much just need to fill
in the blanks or give some small written answers to the questions like “listing
the four lobes of the brain and for each lobe list one of their functions”. “Give an
example of each of the following positive reinforcement, negative
reinforcement, positive punishment, negative punishment”.
Hopefully that provided a little bit of insight for you into what it would be
like to be in this class but obviously it’s gonna be a bit strange looking just
from the outside you really need to be involved in all of this reading. Reading
the books, the textbooks and looking at the lecture notes before you’ll probably
really be able to do well at this and check out the link in the description to
the course if you want to maybe learn some of it for yourself. So thank you for
watching and I’ll see you next time 🙂

82 thoughts on “This is what a psychology exam looks like at MIT

  1. Always awesome and great seeing you covering a wider choice of the sciences.
    Self-studying the Physics and Math thru Opencourseware but really finding the Math hard and not sure if will ever get it.
    Keep wondering why Einstein placed a limit on how powerful a sun can be and what happens in thermodynamics when you find a one that is twice as powerful? Surely light should then move twice as fast? It seems weird logic to me that he would know how powerful every sun in the galaxy would be to limit the speed of light.
    Especially when outside the limits of a magnetosphere…Been working on a theory of electro-magnetic gravity too but still ironing out the math in my brain or at least the math that should be in my brain. Keep well, my friend…

  2. Just a few hours ago I was wondering what happened to you. I thought YouTube did its thing again by unsubscribing me…as always. I am glad to see you back.

  3. Psychology is another of many courses I would love to take in the future just out of pure interest. Psychology interests me. Thank you, Tibees.

  4. Really nice to see you expanding your content tibees but is it possible to get a copy of the exam without the highlighted answers?

  5. This introductory exam doesn't show It, but psychology involves much more maths than people often think, specially Statistics. Great review.

  6. I remember a "test" we did in school at about the age of 14.
    It was a test in how to read instructions. Examples of the instructions in the test are,
    draw a circle in the bottom right corner on the back of the sheet,
    go to the corner of the classroom and wait for the next student to come, shake hands and return to the test,
    stand up and state you name,
    make a coughing sound, etc…

    I think you get the clear image, of a classroom in pandemonium as students race to finish first.

    The last instruction was:
    if you read and followed the first instruction, sign your name and hand in the paper.
    The first instruction:
    read all instructions before doing anything.

  7. From what ive seen, modern psychology for the past 20 years is kind of suffering. Everyone has to P-hack to get papers published and implying that a previous researcher could have been wrong or P-hacked is extremely frowned upon. Studies simply trying to replicate a previous study also do not get funded. (replication crisis) They estimate that over 30 percent of studies cannot be scientifically replicated, but its probably much bigger. Many studies that they relied on to teach students have been found to be wrong. Math and AI research seems to encourage the opposite. People like Oliver Sacks and David Huron are amazing though.

  8. How do you know psychology. Are you not a physics person.Did you study it in Bachelors or its out of interest you studied it?

  9. Online exams and lectures are great 🙂 I really get a lot out of the Stanford ones, MIT is great too.

    However sadly missing are tutorials, labs, quizzes and small group work – exams are a required thing that is only however part (sometimes a small part) of a pass mark.

    Most of the experience of university and what to pay for is to be "present" in those other things, and that is what I miss.

  10. Thank you. Hi there lady toby. I am very happy to hear from you. How are you? Please prepare for the covid19. Every thing. Include every thing.

  11. I just loved it, really. I’m on my last year of psychology in Brazil and this exam is very important to understand the basics/introductory subject in American Universities. For sure there’s a lot of emphasizing in Behaviour and Neuropsychology but still a good one. Thanks Tibees! I can’t wait for more Psychology videos.

  12. Come on Toby, physics is way more interesting than psychology. I'm reading up on Quantum Mechanics right now, one of the most difficult parts of a physics major.

  13. Hi Tibees.! Ooooh that's a ruff test.! You mean this test is asking for knowledge of difference between male and female thinking.! Extraordinary.!

  14. The psychology are important to know how the people I and which are they abilities, but… The physics and math are always the best ! :)))

  15. Hello, thanks for your informative videos. I really enjoy them.
    But sorry, I have a question. Studying in which major in American universities is better for a person who wants to work for NASA as a scientist?

  16. You have such a lovely voice. You are such a wonderful woman. Beautiful, pleasant personality and very intelligent. Keep up making your great videos. Thanks!

  17. Some of the question are being taught in highschool regular psychology.. I'm aware this was a decade old exam, but it's quite intriguing how the education system is getting harder

  18. да, this is elementary Psychology questions. Maybe can you get a PHD level one or Masters level final exam to see how I measure, that would be nice ja ja

  19. Please review csir net physics exam in India.it is compulsory eligibility exam for physics students in india to apply research program.

  20. It's probably safe to assume this is the nice MIT paper, and there lurk others in that semester on Statistical methods or MatLab and R programming, along with the inevitable Programming in Java/Javascript.

    I doubt many people would ace that paper just from the Oliver Sach's book, it's a good focal point to begin exploring topics. My old copy had a good reading list at the back.

    There's a lot of interesting stuff in cognitive psychology. Connectionist models of mind, neural networks, psycholinguistics (how language can be processed), how vision gets from spots of light to recognised objects, through edge detection, shape recognition, spatial processing and colour is fascinating.

    In my opinion there's a bit of a risk that cognitive psychology research became driven too much by two technologies, brain imaging scanners and genome mapping. Correlating results between those two incredibly complex systems might ultimately prove to be a rabbit hole.

  21. MIT is in the forefront of research in the psychological sciences. The psychologists and cognitive scientists at MIT have contributed enormously to neural networks, AI, theoretical psychology and mathematical psychology. Thank you very much Tibees.

  22. Human behavior is one of the most complex subjects and the least understood. Although I would say it is mostly instinct and conditioning. Cheers.

  23. Wish I had had access to exams & term papers when I was a college freshman. The problem was mainly to figure out what the professor expected. Honestly, if a professor just handed out a few samples of well-written research papers, and exam essays, pointing out good organization and development, he could have changed lives. The field of writing is vast; what the teacher wants is highly specific … Too often we had to re-discover the wheel.

  24. Tibees, I currently live in the US and am thinking about moving to either Australia or New Zealand. Do you have any advice on this subject?

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