Describe the basic functioning of a neuron beginning with receiving signals from other neurons or sense organs and ending with the transmission of a signal to another neuron. Explain how a pattern of neuron firing is related to behavior.

Basic functioning of a neuron

The Midterm Essay Examination will cover the material we have studied in Modules 1 – 4. You will need to answer four essay questions, each question requires a three to five paragraph (250 – 500 word) answer. Each answer should be clearly labeled with the question number and a copy of the question. Your answers need to be supported with information from the textbook or other appropriate sources. Do NOT use wikipedia or other encyclopedias, dictionaries or online sources such as Ask.com.

  1. Describe the basic functioning of a neuron beginning with receiving signals from other neurons or sense organs and ending with the transmission of a signal to another neuron. Explain how a pattern of neuron firing is related to behavior.
  2. Describe one personality trait that you believe to be highly heritable (mostly a product of genetics) and another trait that seems to be much less so. Provide reasons for your answer, and explain why you would expect genetics to exert a much greater impact on some personality traits than on others.
  3. You have been hired by a large public school system to construct a musical aptitude test. Describe what itmeans to standardize a test and the methods you would use to assess its reliability and validity. Explain why it might be more difficult to develop a valid musical aptitude test than a reliable one.
  4. Ray was assigned to barracks in a very old building with old plumbing. While showering for the first time, he heard the toilet flush and then, a few second later, was scalded when the water suddenly became much hotter. He screamed in pain. The next time he took a shower, when he heard the toilet flush, he immediately jumped out of the stream of water and screamed before the water became hotter. Name and describe the process of learning that took place. Be sure to use the correct terminology associated with all of the components involved in the process. For example, originally the sound of the toilet flushing was a (an)____________ and it later became a (an) __________ because of the process of learning.
  5. Mr. and Mrs. McDonald believe in the importance of stern discipline; they impose strict rules which they expect their children to obey without question. They penalize misbehavior harshly, frequently with a spanking. Mr. and Mrs. Mendoza instead use milder forms of punishment to enforce their rules. They also have regular family meetings in which their children help them to establish household rules and penalties for breaking them. What is the name of each of these two approaches to parenting and what do you see as the advantages and disadvantages of each. Explain the reasons for your answer.
  6. When your friend hears that you are taking a psychology course, she asserts that psychology is simply common sense. Explain why common sense is not the best way to understand human behavior. Describe the methods of science and explain why they are superior to common sense in understanding human behavior.
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