Tuesday, December 4, 2012

One heck of a final exam!

Cedar Riener is one of my favorite psych teacher/bloggers, and if you are on Twitter, follow his feed (@criener) and/or read his great blog (http://cedarsdigest.wordpress.com/) for = great info. He's a thoughtful psych. teacher who comments on teaching pedagogy, psych topics, and he's darn funny and insightful. We've posted about Cedar's experiments with re-organizing his psych class on this blog before.

Cedar recently shared his final exam for his Sensation/Perception class and check out this great set of writing prompts! It's a doozy! I love the variety, and it's a good reminder that the AP Psych Free Response Question isn't the only model we can use when designing written response questions for psych assessments:

"You are welcome to use your own books, notes, and lecture slides, but do not seek or give help to your classmates on this exam.  I strongly suggest that you start early and give yourself ample time to complete it.  Normally, you might spend a certain amount of time studying, and then take a 3 hour exam.  Since this exam is open book, open notes, and untimed, I would expect it to take that time which would combine studying and taking an exam, which would be considerably longer than 3 hours.  I think allotting 8-9 total hours to complete the exam is likely a good estimate.  You may skip one question, leading to a total of 15 questions.
  1. Why is it not quite accurate to say that we have 5 senses? Pick one of your senses and describe how we might consider it more than one sense. Describe two sensory experiences in which it seems that we are experiencing the same sense, but in fact there are separate biological detectors and pathways in the brain.
  2. Compare the processes of transduction for hearing and for taste.  How are they similar?  How are they different? (2-3 paragraphs)
  3. The first chapter draws the distinction between “perception” and “recognition.”  Describe a time when you “perceived” something without “recognizing” it.  Did you recognize it eventually? Use some of the knowledge you have learned in this class to apply to your recognition process in this case.  (2 paragraphs)
  4. Our perception of color is similar in many ways to our perception of pitch.  Describe at least 4 similarities and 4 differences between these two different perceptual dimensions (and no, the fact that one is seen and the other is heard does not count as a difference).    Focus on both the physical qualities of the energy in the world, as well as the biological and psychological aspects of the sensations and perceptions. (3-4 paragraphs)
  5. Watch the video of the cheetah running here: http://vimeo.com/53914149  Describe the optic flow field for this cheetah. Why might it be advantageous to the cheetah (considering again the optic flow field) to hold its head as steady as it does? Compare the optic flow field of the cheetah running to that of a human running. What might be different between the two? Use elements of the optic flow field from the book and those that you’ve learned in class.
  6. Take the Magic School Bus book and make your own set of full facing pages (two pages in the book).  They should include two little lined notebook pages, with fun facts, and text in the style of the rest of the book.  To give you some idea, I think we have covered a fair amount between pages 15 and 17 (more on rods and cones, or receptor activity in the retina) that you could fill in, or after page 19 (depth perception?  Object perception?), or you could fill in our spatial localization of sounds (the headphones and ringing bells demonstration), or something on speech.  You get the idea.  I would prefer that you draw yourself, but you are welcome to use computer collage techniques, but do not simply cut and paste from the textbook.  I won’t grade on your artistic ability, but I want you to put some thought into summarizing what you know on a topic and putting it into an accessible and fun format.
  7. Draw a figure explaining how lateral inhibition leads to Mach bands.  Draw a neural diagram that would NOT result in our perception of Mach bands.   Which two kinds of cells in the retina, if removed, would lead to a reduction of lateral inhibition?  (2 drawings, and two words)
  8. Why is the sky blue? Without getting into more detail than the physics of light that we have described in class, why do we see the sky as blue? Describe the wavelengths of light and the relative activity of photoreceptors. How is this related to the pictorial depth cue of atmospheric perspective?
  9. Pick a photograph from the National Geographic Photo Contest at the following website: http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/photo-contest/2012/entries/gallery/nature-week-12/ or from the selections at this website:http://www.theatlantic.com/infocus/2012/11/national-geographic-photo-contest-2012-part-ii/100414/ For this photograph pick four (4) pictorial depth cues and describe how they help to arrange the objects in depth. Also, describe the depth of field in the photograph, how depth of field is changed in a camera, and how it is different for our eyes (2 paragraphs)
  10. Pick another photograph from one of those sites and describe how 4 Gestalt principles of perceptual organization apply to specific elements of the photograph. (1 paragraph, at least 4 sentences)
  11. In one movie clip shown in class describing an experiment by Dan Simons, an unknowing participant was asked for directions.  While they were giving the directions, the person listening to the directions was changed, and the directions-giver did not notice.  This video shows another example of inattentional blindnesshttps://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=UGR7hh0se2k .  Can you explain this referring to the relative density of cones in the fovea (how tightly the cones are packed) vs. the peripheral retina?   If you can, explain using the density of cones in the fovea.  If not, explain why this happens.
  12. Describe your Thanksgiving dinner, in terms of taste, smell, and flavor.  First, start with the preparation.  How do the smells go from the cooking in the kitchen to your nose, and then to your brain? (describe the pathway in one paragraph)   When you sit down to eat, how do the foods activate your taste buds?   Can you account for the flavor of the food just by the activity of the taste buds?  Let’s say that there is a special family recipe that uses hot sauce to flavor the stuffing.  What kind of receptor activity accounts for the spicy flavor of the stuffing?
  13. Watch the following video: http://vimeo.com/33480080  Describe how this video was made (you may google, but also use concepts covered in class).  Is this real motion?  Is anything on TV motion?  How is this video similar to a normal TV show, in terms of the process of visual perception of motion? (2-3 paragraphs)
  14. Below is an illusion of brightness.  The front face of the words “black” and “white” are each the same color (they are shown to the right without the rest of the picture).  How does this illusion work?  You may want to make a drawing and refer to luminance, illumination, and reflectance.
  15. What was your favorite demonstration, movie, or activity from the class?  How did the particular aspects of this demonstration illustrate the relevant concept (please be specific)?
  16. Briefly describe what you learned from your favorite student presentation.   What made this presentation or topic particularly interesting or memorable?  (1 paragraph – 5-6 sentences)"

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