The Floating University

Video Quiz

Take this quiz to test your knowledge of Professor Bloom's psychology lecture. Find the answer key at the bottom, as well as an additional quiz on the assigned reading!

(1.) Which statement best characterizes the difference between Clinical Psychology and the branches of psychology with which Paul Bloom is primarily concerned?

  • (A.) Clinical psychology studies the causes, diagnoses, and treatments of mental illnesses, while psychologists like Bloom investigate the development and characteristics of normal shared human traits, like compassion.
  • (B.) Clinical psychology studies the causes, diagnoses, and treatments of mental illnesses, while psychologists like Bloom study the cognitive operations that the human brain performs that determine our reactions to everyday stimuli.
  • (C.) Clinical psychology investigates the development and characteristics of normal shared human traits, like compassion, while psychologists like Bloom study the causes, diagnoses, and treatments of mental illnesses.
  • (D.) Clinical psychology studies the diagnoses and treatments of mental illness as determined by brain chemistry and cognitive models by early childhood experience and environment, while psychologists like Bloom study the diagnoses and treatments of mental illness as determined by early childhood experience and environment.

(2.) Which of the following statements would Paul Bloom be most likely to agree with?

  • (A.) Children are born with their entire moral capacity hardwired in their brains, and do not learn empathy or compassion from adults or peers.
  • (B.) Children are born with a figurative blank slate, and learn all of their moral behaviors from adults and peers.
  • (C.) Children have a blank state during most of gestation, but in the third trimester develop a moral capacity from receiving in utero sympathy and affection from their mothers.
  • (D.) Children are born with basic moral and emotional tools hardwired in their brains, and then learn how to use these tools through interactions with adults and peers.

(3.) According to Bloom’s description of the universal nature of disgust, which of the following would be the most likely outcome to showing a person photographs of exotic cultures in a room that smelled like vomit?

  • (A.) The subject would report less aversion to the images than a smell-neutral test group, because the disgust instinct activated by the smell of the vomit would make the subject aware of latent outgroup anxiety, and thus the subject would overcompensate for irrational instinctual aversion.
  • (B.) The subject would report a higher aversion to the images than a smell neutral test group, because the smell of vomit would be irritating and put the subject in a bad mood.
  • (C.) The subject would report a higher aversion to the images than a smell neutral test group, because the disgust instinct activated by the smell of vomit would enhance latent outgroup anxiety.
  • (D.) The subject would report less aversion to the images than a smell-neutral test group, because the smell of vomit would nauseate the subject, who would complete the test as quickly as possible to leave the room, and thus spend less time looking at each image and cultivating an anti-outgroup response.

(4.) Based on Bloom’s discussion of persuasion and the expansion of moral circles, which of the following approaches would be most likely to solicit a donation to a charity?

  • (A.) A picture of a distressing slum emphasizing the scale of suffering, accompanied by a narrative paragraph describing the socioeconomic history of the slum’s country.
  • (B.) A picture of a single child, accompanied by a succinct list of statistics emphasizing the scale of suffering in the child’s country.
  • (C.) A picture of a single child, accompanied by a narrative paragraph describing the story of the child’s life and present circumstances.
  • (D.) A picture of a distressing slum emphasizing the scale of suffering, accompanied by a succinct list of statistics emphasizing the scale of suffering in the slum’s country.

(5.) All of the following are potential problems with stereotyping groups of people EXCEPT:

  • (A.) The information sources from which we draw stereotypes from can be biased or unrepresentative of the group in question; drawing generalizations about people from New Jersey based on The Jersey Shore is unlikely to produce accurate results.
  • (B.) Stereotypes are as equally understood by the groups that they encompass as they are by people applying the stereotype; people can unconsciously live up to negative stereotypes through cultural osmosis.
  • (C.) People are naturally inclined to believe positives stereotypes about groups to which they belong and negative stereotypes about groups to which they don’t belong; the existence of ingroups and outgroups leads to systemically biased generalizations when the larger or more powerful ingroup is more politically powerful or culturally visible.
  • (D.) The increasing awareness of the existence of stereotypes leads people to question their instinctual assumptions about outgroups, and to overcorrect in their favor when making decisions in order to appear unbiased and egalitarian.

(6.) Which of the following statements about unconscious biases would Paul Bloom be most likely to agree with?

  • (A.) There is no such thing as a human being with genuinely egalitarian beliefs; despite what some say they believe, and even think they believe, psychology tests routinely demonstrate that people are beholden to negative stereotypes about the opposite gender and different races and cultures.
  • (B.) Most people attempt to cultivate egalitarian beliefs about the equality of gender and race, but are routinely overwhelmed by deep-seated emotional biases that get the better of their rational judgment.
  • (C.) There is a mix in society between people who hold genuinely egalitarian beliefs about the equality of gender and race and people who embrace negative stereotypes; this is balanced out by the egalitarian people being influenced by unconscious biases, and by the stereotype-embracing people being influenced by social pressure to conform to politically correct behavior.
  • (D.) Most people have genuinely egalitarian beliefs about the equality of gender and race, but are nonetheless influenced by unconscious stereotyping that affects their actions without them knowing it.

(7.) Based on Paul Bloom’s description of stereotyping, which of the following scenarios would most likely negate the effects of unconscious biases?

  • (A.) When reviewing soldiers for promotion based on physical performance at a training camp, superior officers are unable to see the name or gender of the candidate.
  • (B.) During tryouts for a competitive choir, singers stand behind a curtain and are not visible to the judges.
  • (C.) On an online job application there is a section where the applicant can choose a racial category, but this section is not mandatory.
  • (D.) On an application for housing in an apartment building, there is no space for gender and the name on the application is not visible to the landlords until after a decision has been made.

(8.) According to the theory of parental investment, why do male animals have larger bodies and smaller sex cells than do females?

  • (A.) Because females have larger sex cells than males, they gestate the offspring, and the energy that they must use to see that their offspring make it to a point of independence from their bodies necessarily makes female animals smaller; males have small sex cells that are always reproducible, leading them to compete with other males for access to scarce female sex cells, and causing them to grow larger and develop aggressive traits to maintain a reproductive advantage.
  • (B.) Because females have larger sex cells than males, they gestate the offspring, forcing females to have greater parental investment in the survival of the offspring; males have small sex cells that are endlessly reproducibly, and thus do not gestate their offspring, allowing their bodies and behaviors to evolve without the biological restrictions necessitated by gestation.
  • (C.) Because females have larger sex cells than males, they gestate the offspring, forcing the female to have greater parental investment in the survival of the offspring; males have small sex cells that are always reproducible, leading them to compete with other males for access to scarce female sex cells, and causing them to grow larger and develop aggressive traits to maintain a reproductive advantage.
  • (D.) Because females have larger sex cells than males, they gestate the offspring, and the energy that they must use to see that their offspring make it to a point of independence from their bodies necessarily makes female animals smaller; males have small sex cells that are endlessly reproducibly, and thus do not gestate their offspring, allowing their bodies and behaviors to evolve without the biological restrictions necessitated by gestation.

(9.) What is the most logical conclusion that can be drawn from the fact that ovulating women prefer more masculine-looking men?

  • (A.) When ovulating, women become consciously aware that they are at a cyclical height of fertility, and thus seek out potential breeding partners rather than potential companions.
  • (B.) The hormones associated with ovulation influence the subconscious mental state of women, making them seek masculine traits as signifiers of strong genetic selection.
  • (C.) Men are able to subconsciously detect when women are ovulating, and thus an ovulating woman is approached by more potential mates than usual. This competition tends to be won by the man with the most masculine traits based on evolutionary pressures.
  • (D.) Emotional states have a strong effect on certain elements of biology, and when women shift preferences toward more masculine men, this triggers their bodies to begin ovulating so as to take advantage of potentially strong genetic material.

(10.) Why can individuals make huge impacts on the field of psychology?

  • (A.) Most of the major breakthroughs in psychology are based on theoretical behavioral models that don’t require advanced math to postulate; an individual psychologist can come up with an innovative hypothesis, and then test it on real people to prove a new axiom using minimal resources.
  • (B.) The way psychological experiments are run is analogous to a film production; while many people are involved, there is a single “director” who takes credit for the result, allowing successful psychologists to develop reputations.
  • (C.) The documentation of mental disorders and irregularities is still in its infancy; individuals expressing novel mental disorders or previously undocumented abilities can jump start entire new areas of study.
  • (D.) Compared to modern medicine, psychology is still in its infancy, and there are a multitude of discoveries waiting motivated individuals, compared to other scientific fields, where all of the low hanging fruit has already been taken.

Answer Key: (1.) A, (2.) B, (3.) C, (4.) C, (5.) A, (6.) D, (7.) D, (8.) C, (9.) B, (10.) D

Reading Quiz

This quiz is based on:

Course Pack: Paul Bloom, How Pleasure Works, 2010. (Chapter 23)

(1.) Which of the following statements would Bloom be most likely to agree with?

  • (A.) Human attraction is heavily influenced by the invisible influence of pheromones, which can make us more sexually responsive to perceptual and     emotional cues.
  • (B.) Human attraction is based primarily on hard-wired perceptual cues, such as clear skin and symmetry, that appeal to us instinctually, though emotional connection or status considerations can sometimes overturn these impulses.
  • (C.) Human attraction is based almost entirely on deep-seated perceptual cues, as evidenced by the universal nature of attractive traits, as preferred by both mature adults and babies.
  • (D.) Human attraction is based on a mix of perceptual cues, familiarity, emotional connection, and pheromones, and how much each is weighted is still unclear.

(2.) According to Bloom’s examination of the anti-incest instinct, which of the following situations would most likely engender an “incest” event?

  • (A.) A 17-year-old boy is surprised when his biological parents announce a new pregnancy. An infant sister is born to the household, and the older boy   observes her nursing on one occasion before moving away to attend college.
  • (B.) Two step-siblings, a boy and a girl, are both babies when their respective parents marry, and are raised to adulthood together under the same roof.
  • (C.) An estranged nuclear family is re-united when the daughter is 9 and the son is 10; both had never previously met, but spend the rest of their time     until adulthood living under the same roof.
  • (D.) A young woman spends most of her childhood away at a boarding school, and doesn't meet her new younger brother until he is a toddler when she is 14. She visits seldom, and moves directly to college after boarding school.

(3.) According to recent psychological thought, all of the following reasons could cause the persistent human obsession with female virginity EXCEPT:

  • (A.) Penetrative sex has a hard-wired status in human psychology because this is the only way to procreate, despite the logical presence of contraceptives in today’s world.
  • (B.) From an evolutionary standpoint, raising a genetically unrelated child is a major disaster, and yet a large percentage of men are cuckolds.
  • (C.) Women almost always know the identity of their offspring’s father, even when they have multiple sexual partners within a few weeks of conception,   while men have no biological certainties.
  • (D.) Babies have an evolutionary tendency to look like their fathers, so when the resemblance doesn’t match men grow aggressive toward and disengaged from children they can’t be certain are theirs.

(4.) Which of the following scenarios best demonstrates the evolutionary practices of costly signaling and hot choosing in human relationships?

  • (A.) A man whom is able to consistently make his girlfriend laugh doesn’t want to risk overwhelming her, and presents her with a plastic toy engagement ring.
  • (B.) A man whom is able to consistently make his girlfriend laugh presents her with an expensive diamond engagement ring to further impress her.
  • (C.) A man whom is not a particularly quick-witted conversationalist nevertheless proves to be an exceptionally compatible sexual partner to his     girlfriend.
  • (D.) A man whom in not particularly quick-witted or sexually gifted manages to woo a girlfriend by studying popular jokes on the internet and undergoing penile enhancement surgery.

(5.) All of the following are psychological explanations for “true love” EXCEPT:

  • (A.) Focusing intently on one individual can be viewed as a seduction strategy; when a person tells you they can’t help loving “you,” it is very     emotionally persuasive.
  • (B.) Human beings develop strong emotional attachments to specific, individual objects; in this way, attaching value to an individual person and not that     person’s traits is similar to attaching value to the genuine version of a painting instead of a perfect duplicate.
  • (C.) Neuroscientists have identified specific areas and pathways in the brain that regulate deep emotional attachment within families, and when this area     is damaged attachments are destroyed.
  • (D.) A person is composed of a set of physical and emotional traits that, in right combination, “click” with another individual, which is why people     usually report being attracted to their spouses’ identical twins.

Answer Key: (1.) D, (2.) B, (3.) C, (4.) B, (5.) A