Study Guide for 101b Final Exam


The format of the final is similar to that of the midterm (and to the questions on the problem sets). There are a number of short answer questions (more than we had on the midterm) and two essay questions. We will provide all of the paper that you need (no blue books necessary). Although the final is somewhat longer than the midterm (though it does takes time to write out those essays), you should have plenty of time to finish the exam.

Essay Questions

As noted above, there are two essay questions on the exam where you are expected to write 2-5 paragraphs.  Here is a sample essay question:
Characterize the difference between the concept of STM as in the store model of memory and the modern conception of working memory. Give at least two reasons why psychologists used to think that STM and LTM involved fundamentally different memory systems. For each of the reasons you mentioned, give a modern account of the relvant phenomenon.

A  bad essay  makes a number of unconnected statements, brings up buzzwords without defining them, and ends up not saying much at all. A  good essay  starts by succinctly answering the question, presents relevant information in an organized fashion, and ends by briefly summarizing the argument. It's also important to back up your statements with evidence. In the good essay this was done by pointing to relevant experimental evidence, describing what was found and what the implications of the study were. Note that even in the good essay, a lot of details about the experiment were left out. The important thing is that you convey the gist of the study: what was manipulated, what results were observed, and what it implies about cognition.

Potential Essay Questions

Cognitive Development

List and describe the Piagetian stages of development.

What is object permanence?

What task has traditionally been used to assess object permanence? How else has object permanence been assessed in infants?

Describe the possible/impossible event paradigm (Baillargeon). How has this paradigm been used to investigate how infants' knowledge about support phenomena changes over time? How does infants' knowledge about support phenomena change over time? What about collision phenomena?

How did DeCasper and Fifer use infants' propensity to suck on an artificial nipple to demonstrate their ability to discriminate between human voices, and their preference for their own mother's voice?

What is habituation? What is dishabituation?

What is the habituation-dishabituation paradigm and how is it used to test infants' cognitive abilities? Name 3 problems with interpreting results from the habituation/dishabituation paradigm.

Describe the conjugate reinforcement paradigm. (Hint: Rovee-Collier)

What does the conjugate reinforcement paradigm suggest about memory development from birth to age 2?

What finding suggests babies encode information about the context of learning in this paradigm?

What is the deferred imitation paradigm? What kind of memory is thought to be assessed with this paradigm?

What is infantile amnesia?

Some people argue that infantile amnesia reflects normal decay and interference. What argues against this suggestion?

What are some possible causes of infantile amnesia?


What is conservation and failure of conservation? At what stage are children in when they (first) succeed on conservation tasks?

How is failure of conservation demonstrated experimentally?

What is a neo-Piagetian (alternative) explanation of failure of conservation? What experimental evidence supports the alternative account?

What is ego-centrism?

What is the 3 mountain problem? What claims has it traditionally been held to support? What is the main criticism of the 3-mountain problem?

What is habituation?
What is sensitization?
Describe the sequence of events in classical conditioning.What is the conditioned stimulus, the unconditioned stimulus, the conditioned response, and the unconditioned response?
What did Pavlov argue about what is learned in classical conditioning?
What is the preparatory response/compensatory response account of what is learned in classical conditioning? How is conditioned drug tolerance explained on this account?

What is stimulus generalization? Can this be modeled with a neural network?  If so how? If not, why not?
What is extinction?
What is spontaneous recovery?
How does discrimination training proceed?
Describe blocking.
What is overshadowing?
What is latent inhibition?
Co-occurrence and contingency are both important in determining whether conditioning will occur. Which factor is more important? Describe at least one experimental finding that supports this claim.
Characterize the Rescorla-Wagner model of conditioning?
Could this model be implemented in a neural network model?
Describe the sequence of events in operant conditioning.
What's trial-and-error learning (Thorndike's puzzle boxes)?  What is Thorndike's law of effect? law of exercise?
What's a Skinner box?
What's the difference between a primary reinforcer and a secondary reinforcer?
What's the difference between negative reinforcement and punishment?
What's the difference between a ratio and an interval reinforcement schedule?
Does a fixed or variable interval reinforcement schedule result in learning that is more resistant to extinction?
What is learned helplessness?  What does it suggest about operant learning?
What is equipotentiality and what evidence suggests that it doesn't hold?
What is universality and what evidence suggests it doesn't hold?
How did Tolman's research with rats argue against the idea that rats only learn associations and don't have any internal representations?
What is the Garcia effect and why does it argue against equipotentiality?

Imagery & Spatial Knowledge

What is a representation? 
What's the distinction between internal and external representations? 
Outline Pavio's dual coding theory. 
What is a logogen
What is an imagen
What evidence supports dual coding theory? 
Compare and contrast the properties of analogue and propositional representations. 
Describe the design and outcome of an experiment that suggests people use analogue representations in 'mental rotation' tasks. 
Describe the design and outcome of an experiment that suggests people use analogue representations in 'mental scanning' tasks. 
How did Pylyshyn argue that mental imagery was epiphenomenal? 
How does evidence from cognitive neuroscience bear on the debate about the status of mental imagery? 


Long-term Memory

orienting task
levels of processing
congruity effect
distinctiveness hypothesis
material-induced organization
subjective organization
clustering in recall
self-relevance effect
generation effect
associative strength
encoding specificity
episodic memory
semantic memory
procedural memory
declarative memory
implicit memory
explicit memory
recognition memory
recall memory
two-process theory (generate-recognize model)
repetition effect
proactive interference
retroactive interference
state-dependant memory

Describe the design and outcome of an experiment that supports the levels of processing theory.
What is one explanation of why congruity (or congruency) effects occur? 
What is the encoding specificity principle?
What evidence supports this idea? 
What is the transfer appropriate processing hypothesis?   What evidence supports this idea? 
What's the difference between intentional versus incidental learning paradigms? Which one leads to better memory? 
Besides depth of processing, name two other factors that lead to increased memorability of to-be-remembered items. 
What evidence is there that elaboration aids memory? 
What evidence is there that distinctiveness of processing affects the memorability of an item? 
How does expertise affect memory for information related to the expert's speciality
Describe an experiment that could (or did) demonstrate the self-relevance effect. 
What evidence is there that the self-relevance effect has to do with the way in which it allows people to organize the to-be-remembered information? 
What is the difference between the self-relevance effect and the self-generation effect? 
Name some tasks that assess implicit memory.
Name some tasks that assess explicit memory.
How do the memory abilities of amnesics legitimate the distinction between implicit and explicit memory systems?
How do the memory abilities of amnesics legitimate (somewhat) the distinction between semantic and episodic memory?
In retrograde amnesia, what is impaired?
What is a temporal gradient (discussed in the context of amnesia)?
In anterograde amnesia, what is impaired?
Why do people forget? For each forgetting mechanism explain the sorts of evidence that support it.
Do different stages of sleep seem to be related to the consolidation of different kinds of memories? Explain.

Everyday Memory

What is a flashbulb memory?
How did Brown & Kulik characterize the cause of flash bulb memories?
What factors argue against the original idea of flash bulb memories?
What factors known to be at play in the maintenance of normal memories would lead to memory for events that might be dubbed 'flashbulb' memories?

What is the misinformation effect?
What evidence is there to support the idea that people can remember events that never happened?
What factors promote the elicitation of these false memories?
How does this bear on recovered memory therapy?

Short-term & Working- Memory

memory span task
backwards memory span task
immediate recall task
Brown-Peterson task
rehearsal (rote/maintenance vs. elaborative rehearsal)
proactive interference, release from proactive interference
serial position effects
primacy effect
recency effect
central executive
phonological loop/articulatory loop
visuo-spatial sketchpad
episodic buffer
word length effect
phonological similarity effect
set size effect

What's the difference between the sensory register and the sensory trace? 
Why do we need the sensory register? 
What are three characteristics of the sensory register that help define its functional role? 
How did Sperling test the capacity of the sensory register? 
What's the difference between the partial report and the whole report? Which one is better for establishing the total contents of the sensory register? Why? 
What is one way to measure the duration of information in the sensory register? 
What experimental evidence supports the idea that information in the sensory register is pre-categorical? 
What's the difference between the traditional concept of STM and the more modern concept of WM? 
What evidence is there that the contents of LTM can affect the capacity of STM/WM? 
How have psychologists used the Brown-Peterson task to assess the duration of WM?
What evidence is there that the Brown-Peterson task does not adequately assess the duration of WM? 
What evidence is there that displacement is not the only reason for forgetting in WM? 
What kind of experimental evidence supports the idea that people use an acoustic code on the Brown-Peterson task? 
What experimental evidence supports the claim that retrieval from STM is serial? How else can that evidence be explained? 
What sorts of evidence supports the idea that the phonological loop and the visual-spatial sketchpad are distinct systems in WM?
What is the store model?
According to the store model, how does information get into long-term memory?
How does the store model account for the primacy effect?
How does the store model account for the recency effect?
What evidence argues against the store model?
What does the central executive component in Baddely's model do?
What sorts of evidence supports the existence of the central executive? (What things can't be explained merely by appealing to the two 'slave' systems in WM?)


switch model/filter model
cocktail party effect
split span experiment (split scan experiment)
channel report/order report
dichotic listening
early selection theory
late selection theory
attenuator model
capacity models
dual task paradigm
visual search task
feature search
conjunction search
pop out effects
illusory conjunctions
Stroop effect
cuing paradigm
valid vs. invalid cue

What is the cocktail party effect? What does it seem to suggest about how attention works?
What are early selection models of attention?
What two strategies can people use in the split span experiment? Which strategy is easier to use? Why? What model does this support?
How does the attenuator model differ from the switch model of attention?
What experimental findings suggest that some information on the unattended channel is processed for meaning?
Where in the processing stream do late selection filters operate?
What are the critical differences between early and late selection theories?
How has the dual task paradigm been used to address the issue of early vs. late selection?
What is the hybrid model? What evidence supports it?
What is automaticity? What are the general characteristics of an automatic process? What experimental findings (e.g. by Shiffrin/Schneider) support the characterization of automatic processes? 
What is the Stroop effect? What is the significance of the Stroop effect? 
What factors facilitate dual task performance? What is the critical  factor in  predicting how difficult it is to do two tasks  together?
What evidence suggests talking on the phone while driving can be dangerous? How do the attentional demands in that case differ from talking to a passenger in the car, or listening to the radio while driving? 
What is restructuring? 
What is Logan's account of how automaticity develops? Does it account for any characteristics of automatic processes? If so, which ones, how? 
What is the role of attention in Treisman's feature integration theory? 
When does feature integration theory predict illusory conjunctions will occur?  When does feature integration theory predict it will occur? 
Why does feature integration theory predict the pop out effect will occur? 
What is inattention blindness? Why does it occur? 
Describe an experiment that demonstrated inattention blindness. 
What is change blindness? Why does change blindness occur? 
Name one difference between inattention blindness and change blindness. 

Pattern Recognition

What are some examples of the influence of context on the categorization of sensory information? 
What does it mean to be data-driven? conceptually-driven
What is the phonemic restoration effect? 
What is the word superiority effect? 
What evidence do we have that pattern recognition is not entirely data-driven? 
What factors argue against the simple template hypothesis for pattern recognition? 
What's the difference between serial and parallel processing? 
Name one advantage that the feature hypothesis has over the template hypothesis. 
Describe 3 ways a template model might fail to recognize something it was programmed to recognize. 
How does the IAC model use mutual constraint satisfaction to recognize words?
How can the IAC model account for the word superiority effect?