AP Psychology P.6
Ch. 10 Objective Questions
1. Describe the nature of concepts and the role of prototypes in concept formation.
We use concepts to simplify and order the world around us. We divide clusters of objects,
events, ideas, or people into categories based on their similarities. In creating hierarchies,
we subdivide these categories into smaller and more detailed units. We form other
concepts, such as triangles, by definition (three-sided objects). But we form most
concepts around prototypes, or best examples of a category. Matching objects and ideas
against prototypes is an efficient way of making snap judgments about what belongs in a
2. Discuss how we use trial and error, algorithms, heuristic, and insight to solve problems.
An algorithm is a time-consuming but thorough set of rules or procedures (such as a
recipe for cookies, or a step-by-step description for evacuating a building during a fire)
that guarantees a solution to a problem. A heuristic is a simpler thinking strategy (such as
running for an exit if you smell heavy smoke) that may allow us to solve problems
quickly, but sometimes leads us to incorrect solutions. Insight differs from both because
it is not a strategy-based solution, but rather an Aha! reaction—a sudden flash of
inspiration that solves a problem.
3. Describe how the confirmation bias and fixation can interfere with effective problem solving.
The confirmation bias predisposes us to verify rather than challenge our hypotheses.
Fixation, such as mental set and functional fixedness, may leave us doggedly pursuing
one line of reasoning and prevent us from taking the fresh perspective that would let us
solve the problem.
4. Explain how the representativeness and availability heuristics influence our judgments.
The representativeness heuristic leads us to judge the likelihood of things in terms of how
they represent our prototype for a group of items. The availability heuristic leads us to
judge the likelihood of things based on how vivid they are or how readily they come to
mind. Either of these two thinking shortcuts can cause us to ignore important information
or to underestimate the chances of something happening.
5. Describe the effects that overconfidence and framing can have on our judgments and decisions.
The main drawback of overconfidence is that our tendencies to seek confirmation of our
hypotheses and to use quick and easy heuristics can blind us to our vulnerability to
error—a fault that can be tragic if we are in a position of responsibility. But on a personal
level, overconfident people tend to live happier lives, make difficult decisions more
easily, and seem more credible.
6. Explain how our beliefs distort logical reasoning, and describe the belief perseverance phenomenon.
We tend to judge conclusions that agree with our beliefs as more logical than those that
do not match our beliefs. This belief bias can lead us to accept invalid conclusions and
reject valid ones. Belief perseverance is clinging to our ideas because the explanation we
once accepted as valid lingers in our mind even after it has been discredited. The best
remedy for this form of bias is making the effort to consider evidence supporting the
7. Describe artificial intelligence, and contrast the human mind and the computer as information processors.
Although it sometimes leads us astray, human intuition can be remarkably efficient and
adaptive, giving us instant help when we need it. As we gain expertise in a field, for
example, we grow adept at making quick, shrewd judgments. Smart thinkers will
welcome their intuitions but check them against available evidence, hoping to avoid
overconfidence and biased and illogical thinking. Mind and computer process input from
the environment, only humans truly think and feel. Computers excel at tasks that require
manipulation of large...
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