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Cognitive Psychology Quizzes and Answers

Updated on March 2, 2015

Linda: Child Struggling with Reading, Part 1

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Linda: Child Struggling with Reading, Part 1

Linda’s child, John Luca, has a reading problem that was first discovered in ____.


first grade


second grade

Psychologists and educators have shown that a person with a learning disability ____.

generally has a lower intellectual capacity

does not necessarily have an intellectual impairment

is rare

is easy to spot in the educational system

John Luca’s major problem with reading was in ____.


distinguishing the letters B and D

distinguishing the letters M and N


When the reading problems surfaced, Linda ____.

did not have him formally tested

was in denial

had him tested for dyslexia

had him tested for ADD

John Luca had a short attention span in the classroom. Which of the following techniques did his teacher implement?

Keep him in the room, but isolate him from the other students.

Use negative reinforcement.

Take him out of the room to do work that required concentration.

Use a kitchen timer when doing his work.

Although John Luca’s problem was in the area of reading, having difficulty focusing is typically a symptom of which disorder?


Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)

Social phobia


Many children with learning disabilities can overcome their handicaps through ____.

proper testing




Aspects of Language Development That Are Sensitive to Linguistic and Environmental Input: Susan Goldin-Meadow

"1. How did you become interested in psychology?

>> Well, I actually spend my junior year abroad at the University of Geneva at a time when POJ was teaching. So, I had a vague interest in psychology and language. But until I went to Geneva, I really wasn't convinced that I was going to be a psychologist. But I spent that year doing research with the person who does language or did language in POJ's lab, Amy Sinclair, and I got involved in research and loved it. And so I came back to the United States and decided to apply to graduate school.

2. What is your current area of research?

>> I've been interested in language from the beginning, and so the research that I began when I was in graduate school was to look at how much of linguistic input children need in order to develop language. In order to look at that in the most extreme way, I decided to look at children who had no linguistic input at all. So I looked at deaf children who are born to hearing parents, so their hearing losses are so severe they can't acquire spoken language. But the language that they hear all the time is a spoken language, and their not exposed to a sign language because their parents didn't know it. So they don't, they are not able to use the speech they have and they don't have sign language whether they do. It turns out they end up gesturing, and what I have spent the last 30 years on is looking at the gestures that these children produce to try to figure out how much of language is in these gesture. So in other words, how much of language can these children create? So from there, I got interested in gesture. And in order to understand what the kinds of input these children have is I had to look at the gestures that their parents produced. So I started looking at spontaneous gestures that people produce when they talk, and that's lead me into a whole kind of research.

3. How can gestures reflect and create cognitive change?

>> When I began looking at gestures in hearing people that is the gestures that people produce when they talk. We started looking at them in children because we wanted to see first whether the gestures that hearing children produce are comparable or different from the gestures that deaf children produce when they are using it as language. And it turns out they're quite different, they look very different in structure. And we looked at hearing children who are asked to solve problems and we found that sometimes their gestures don't convey the same information as their speech. So, for example, a hearing child might say, "These two containers have a different amount of water 'cause this one is tall and this one is short." And they are indicating in their gestures in their mouth essentially the same information about height. But other children will say, "Well, they don't have the same amount of water because this one is tall and the other one is short." And they indicate width information while talking about height information. It turns out those children, the children who produce this mismatches between gesture and speech are the ones who are ready to learn. So, if you instruct all of these children, none of whom know how to solve the problem, tell 'em how to solve the problem. It's the ones who produce the mismatches who are going to be more likely to learn and to profit from the instruction. So, these gestures at the least reflect the fact the children are in a transitional state and ready to learn what your about to teach 'em, ready to learn that task what they've just talked about. So, in subsequent work, what we've been doing now is trying to figure out why or whether gestures not only reflect what you know but maybe even play a role in changing what you know.

4. Can you explain how gestures can change what you know and therefore change the environment for learning?

>> So what we're now trying to do is to figure out whether the gestures that people produce. And I don't think this is just about children, I think this is about all people, all speaking people that whether the gestures they produce not only reflect what they know but also play a role in changing what they know, and it could happen in 2 ways. So, if I'm the child and I sort of know a little bit more about this problem and I'm expressing that information in my gestures but not in my speech, maybe my teacher will look at me and change the way she interacts with me as a function of the gestures that I produce. And we have some nice evidence suggesting that that's true. So, in a way children are changing the environment that they get, the input they get just by moving their hands in a particular way. Of course, and be announced to them they are not doing it on a purpose. The other way in which gesture could play a role in learning is just by gesturing. So, I gesture and I change what I know either by creating new ideas or perhaps by saving cognitive effort in the same way that if you have a hard math problem, one way to save cognitive effort is to write it down. Well, another way to save cognitive effort is to actually gesture. We have some nice evidence suggesting that if you gesture while you're talking, you save yourself cognitive effort more so than if you don't gesture while you're talking. So, we're currently just trying to figure out whether gesture is playing a role in learning and not just reflecting learning.

5. Have you studied children’s gestures in various cultures?

>> Well, we have studied children's gestures in different cultures. Primarily, we study deaf children's gestures in different cultures. And the idea there is these are deaf, again, the deaf children who are making up their own gesture languages. We know that they are not getting a conventional sign language input. They are only getting the spontaneous gestures that people produce. And the question is, do those spontaneous gestures matter? As in the sense what the children are doing or taking the spontaneous gestures that their parents produce and they are transforming them into a language. 'Cause their gestures look much more language like than the gestures, spontaneous gestures that hearing people produced. So the question is then, if a deaf child gestures are being--when they create this new language, are they creating it as a function of the gestures that they see? The way to figure that out is to perhaps look at different cultures where kids are gonna get different kinds of gestures as input to see whether the gestures as they create deeper as a function of the input. So we've looked now in China, in Spain, in Turkey, now were currently doing work in Nicaragua. And we've chosen this cultures, Spain and Turkey in particular because the gestures that hearing people produce when they talk look different or a pattern differently from the gestures that English speaking people produce when they talk and then Chinese speaking people produce when they talk. So that we can see whether the gestures, the children are experiencing or having an impact on the gesture systems, actually found no differences. We found that the gesture systems that children produce across the globe look very comparable suggesting that perhaps they are not making use of the spontaneous gestures that their parents produce. But we have much more work to do, we don't really know.

6. Can you talk about what you hope to learn by comparing gestures of home signers to those from other cultures?

>> The reason that we're going to Nicaragua now is because there are home signers. These deaf children are called "home signers" because they are generating their gestures systems at home. The home signers in Nicaragua are different from the home signers in America, and in Turkey, and in China in that their mothers rarely talk to them. So that in all of these western cultures, the parents are told, "If you want your child to learn to talk, you're gonna have to talk your child." It's true he is deaf but talk to him, talk to him, talk to him and then he'll learn how to speak. So the parents always take talks the deaf child and then they gesture along with their speech. But rural parents in Nicaragua are not told to gist or to talk their children, their deaf children, and its actually little odd to talk to a child who can't talk to you. So what they do is they gesture to their children. But they gesture to their children without speech. We also discover that if you gesture without speaking, that is just shut up. And gesture without speaking, your gesture start to look much more language like. They start to look much more like deaf children's gestures than they look like the gestures you would have produced when you talk. So, the children in Nicaragua are actually getting a different kind of input from the children in America, from the deaf children in Turkey, from the deaf children in Spain. And so again, we're trying to figure out what the input is to these gesture systems to see what's going on. And this hypothesis is that maybe the Nicaraguan children will actually go further, be able to invent the more elaborate gesture system than the children in America because they're getting slightly different kinds of linguistic or gestural input. So, in looking at all of these different cultures and the deaf children along with that we have the spontaneous gestures that children and adults produce and the spontaneous gestures that hearing children produce as comparisons and controls. So that's--those are the cultures that we're looking at that's the reasons for doing it.

7. Are we conscious of our gestures? Can we analyze or deliberately alter our gestures?

>> In fact, recently, we've been making people gesture. And we thought, okay, if you make people gesture, then they are no longer going to say something different with their hands. If I tell somebody to gesture, they can focus on their gestures and they're gonna say, exactly the same thing and hand them out. But it turns out that is not true, it turns out if you tell children to gesture, what happens is that, they start producing new ideas with their hands, ideas that they never expressed with their mouth.

>> And I think what's happening is that you can't really be conscious of your gestures. I can be conscious of moving my hands for a minute, but if I'm really thinking hard about my gesturing, the whole systems is gonna fall apart. It's a little like thinking about breathing. If you think too hard about breathing, you stop breathing or you start breathing in a funny way. So, you can't do it. So you start thinking about your gestures, you can think about it for a few minutes when your hands go up, but after that, your mouth takes over and your hand and your mouth are integrated. And so to your gestures actually are very unconscious, and I think have to be so. Now, that's different from sign language where, you know, you're talking. But the gestures that we produce when we talk, I think are very unconscious. And in fact we have some wonderful anecdotes of people when we run these studies on hearing adults, we come into the lab, they do their studies then at the end we debrief them. We tell them, "We're really interested in the gestures that they produced" and they say, "Oh God, I'm really sorry, I know I didn't gesture at all, I threat your entire study." And meanwhile, they have gesture on every single problem. People just aren't aware of having moved their hands.

8. What has surprised you the most in your research?

>> It's very surprising that children can invent essentially a simple but a real linguistic system without any conventional linguistic input I think is very surprising. So that's one half of my work and then the other half of my work looking at the spontaneous gestures that people produce, the fact that we can express information with our hands that we don't express with our mouths, I think is also surprising. I think probably the most interesting thing that we've discovered recently is that if I make new gesture, if I make a child who doesn't understand the problem gesture, that child is going to start expressing ideas that he's never expressed before and then when we instruct the child, the child is gonna be ready to learn so we've actually changed children, sort of made children into children who are ready to learn just by telling them to move their hands. Now if that turns out to be generally true and not just true in these math problems, not just true of 9 or 10-year-old. That's an amazing result. Because it really suggests that in an educational situation, you could tell your students to explain well--while they're explaining what they're doing to move their hands, to gesture. That may actually make them more open to instruction than telling them to sit still or telling them to draw with a pencil or telling them to just talk. So I think that maybe at the moment, the most surprising thing that I have.

9. What direction do you see your research heading?

>> The work that I'm doing with the deaf children, the home signers is essentially to try to figure out first of all, almost how complex can they get. At some point, these children are not--are gonna fall off. They are not inventing a full blown language, they are not inventing American Sign Language or finish sign language or whatever. So the question is, where do they stop? And we're trying to look at the more complicated other insist that they produce to see whether they're structured. So the children create gestures that express questions, they do indication, they do all these complex things. But, I don't know whether they're doing that in the language like way. So, we're trying to figure out how complicated their systems get. And then we wanna see whether the Nicaraguan home signers actually can go one step further. So, the whole question there is just, where is the follow up? 'Cause if there is a follow up, that suggest that those kinds of properties of language need linguistic input in order to be developed. All of the things that I've looked at this far really don't know need linguistic input. You can develop these kinds of properties even if you have no linguistic input at all. So the clip side is to try to figure out which linguistic properties actually do need linguistic input. So, that's one side of the work. The spontaneous gestures that we're looking at in hearing people above adults and kids, we're now just trying to figure out why it works. Why is it that when you need gesture, you seem to be more ready to learn, more often to instruction? Why does it have cognitive benefits? It looks like it lightens your cognitive load but we don't actually know why it does that. So, we're trying first to continue to figure out the ways in which gesture helps you learn. But then also have to try to explore and figure out why it helps you learn." (Goldin-Meadow, 2014)

Professor Goldin-Meadow's study of gestures

  1. When Professor Goldin-Meadow wanted to study children who had no linguistic input she studied children who were born deaf to parents who did not use sign language. The children compensated by creating their own gesture based language that was not sign language.
  2. The structure that hearing children use when gesturing is in fact very different from the structure that deaf children use when gesturing. Hearing children often use mismatched gestures meaning that their gestures do not mean the same thing as what they are saying. While deaf children who don’t speak are forced to use their gestures to express what they are trying to say; this means that those children do not have the luxury of using mismatched gestures.
  3. When children use mismatched gestures they are believed to be in a transitional state in which they were ready to learn how to solve a problem. One example of mismatched gestures is when a child is talking about the difference of height between two objects. Instead of indicating that one is shorter and one is taller based on how high they put their hands up they instead hold their hands as if they are holding the first object while they are talking about its height; they then move their hands to the right or the left when talking about the next object, but they do not change the height of their hands. A child that is not in a transitional state would gesture based on the height of object thus having their hand movements and speech match each other.
  4. Two subtle, but important ways in which gestures can play a role - One way is that a child in a classroom that knows more about the topic that the teacher is teaching may subconsciously gesture to change the way the teacher interacts with them as a function of the gestures the child is making; in this way the child is changing the environment and input that they get through their gestures. The second way is that by gesturing the child is changing what they know by coming up with a new idea or by saving cognitive effort.
  5. Surprisingly gestures do not seem to vary among different cultures. Deaf children appear to use the same types of gestures no matter what their culture is. However Professor Goldin-Meadow is currently studying gestures in Nicaragua to see if deaf children whose parents gesture at them without speaking gesture differently.
  6. Home-signers are children who were born deaf to parents who do not use sign language. They are called home-signers because they create their own language using gestures themselves at home. They were chosen for the study because they have no linguistic input; this allows Professor Goldin-Meadow to study how much linguistic input children need to develop language.
  7. Professor Goldin-Meadow’s hypothesis is that home-signers from households where their parents do not speak to them will develop a more complex language system then home-signers whose parent do speak to them.
  8. In Professor Goldin-Meadow’s studies where children were instructed to gesture it was discovered that the children were coming up with new ideas that had never occurred to them before they began to gesture with their hands.
  9. People are generally not conscious of their gestures. The only times people become conscious of their gestures is in cases where they are requested to gesture and even then the person does not remain conscious of their gestures for more than a minute. When a person tries to keep track of their speech and their gestures, one or both of them will falter.
  10. If Professor Goldin-Meadow’s research can be verified across other populations then gesturing could in theory be used to improve a child’s ability to learn. Professor Goldin-Meadow’s research up to now shows that when children are asked to gesture when working through a problem they enter a transitional state that makes them ready to learn how to solve the problem that they are working on. If her research becomes verified then teachers could request that children use gestures while they are explaining and talking about problems so as to get the child ready to learn faster

*= Correct Answer

Words are _____, and gestures can act as these, too.


symbols *



In the definition of language, sounds and symbols are used to communicate, and gesture is _____.

added as an emotional embellishment

incorporated as a way to convey meaning*

used to create an entirely separate language

combined with sounds to counteract the symbols

It was found that deaf children who had not been formally exposed to any linguistic input or sign language _____, based on research done by Goldin-Meadow and her associates.

tried to use spoken language

gave up on trying to communicate

created their own system of gestures*

figured out how to spell letters in the air

Goldin-Meadow found that when comparing them to those of hearing children, the gestures produced by deaf children _____.

are displayed less frequently and carry less meaning

look much more complex and language-like*

appear to be almost identical in structure

are virtually impossible for others to understand

The deaf children in Nicaragua may be expected to show different types of nonverbal cues and gestures than other deaf children in this research because _____.

people in their culture use very little gesture

their native language has its own unique gestures unlike those anywhere else in the world

their parents and siblings speak more rapidly and more frequently than those in most other cultures

their parents don't talk to them while gesturing *

In her research with hearing children, Goldin-Meadow found that when they are instructed to solve a problem, those who produce "mismatches" between gesture and speech are _____.

developing their own nonverbal language

producing gestures that are consciously created to substitute for speech

ready to learn and profit from the instruction*

demonstrating cognitive confusion and the need for more help

Overall, this psychologist's research over 30 years strongly suggests to her that gestures displayed while we talk _____.

can change our environment and create new ideas *

take up much of our cognitive energy

are structured to create a full linguistic system

are very conscious and deliberate, and need to be so

The idea that there is a _____ foundation that supports the way we acquire language was originally argued by Noam Chomsky, and is a position supported by Goldin-Meadow.


biological *



Confirmation Bias

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Confirmation Bias

What are considered the “gold standard” for avoiding bias in scientific research?

online questionnaires

intercept, or “mall,” surveys

observational studies

double-blind studies

What term is used to describe the human tendency to seek out, notice, and remember information that is consistent with our expectations, while at the same time disregard or not notice information that is inconsistent with our expectations?

academic inertia

confirmation bias

scientific malaise


Which of the following is considered a good demonstration of how we engage in confirmation bias?

the Tolman task

the Wason task

stimulus selection

filtered selection

Simulate the Process: Anchoring and Adjustment

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Simulate the Process: Anchoring and Adjustment

Heuristics can also be called ____.

faulty explanations

rules of thumb



People tend to rely on heuristics when they ____.

have incomplete information

are extrapolating into the future

are in a competitive situation

want to be accurate

Which of the following is an example of using heuristics?

counting the number of times a speaker says “uh”

measuring the height of Mt. Everest

making personality assessments of students based upon their dorm rooms

taking a test which measures personality traits

In the simulation, each question provides an initial estimate, which has the effect of ____ a participant’s estimate.





Anchoring involves ____ the importance of a single factor in making a decision.






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    • m abdullah javed profile image

      muhammad abdullah javed 

      5 years ago

      Very interesting misty. Thanks for sharing. Voted useful.


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