• Julianna Kearney

MCAT Monday: Individuals and Society - Discrimination



Foundational Concept 8 focuses on the physical, cognitive, and social components of our identity, as well as how these components influence the way we think about and interact with others.


With these building blocks, medical students will be able to learn how to communicate and collaborate with patients and other members of the health care team. (via AAMC)


The content in this category covers the notions of self-concept and identity, along with the role of self-esteem, self-efficacy, and locus of control in the development of self-concept. Identity formation, including developmental stages and the social factors that affect identity formation, is also covered here. Theories are included to provide historical context for the field of identity formation. (via AAMC)


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Practice Questions:

1. Which of these describes a case of individual discrimination? Choose 1 answer:

  • A: A female executive believes that women are superior negotiators because they are better at finding compromise. When a position opened up for a negotiator, she only interviewed women.

  • B: A professor thinks that all girls are bad at math but treats all of his students the same.

  • C: A bartender knows a man who stopped drinking. The man no longer goes out to the bar. This causes the bartender to believe that people who do not drink do not know how to have fun.

  • D: A baseball fan does not like fans of a rival team and believes that they must be less intelligent if they like such a bad team.

2. The broken windows theory is integrated into law enforcement strategies across the United States. Improper implementation of this policy has resulted in discrimination against people of lower socioeconomic status, minorities, and the mentally ill. Many of these individuals obtain criminal records. Most states restrict the voting rights of felons. Which type of discrimination does this scenario describe? Choose 1 answer:

  • A: The restriction of franchise for felons is a result of past-in-present discrimination.

  • B: The restriction of franchise for felons is a result of side-effect discrimination.

  • C: The restriction of franchise for felons is a result of individual discrimination.

  • D: The restriction of franchise for felons is a result of institutional discrimination.

3. A voter will not vote for a politician because he is old and all older people are slower and less competent. How could this voter’s actions be categorized? Choose 1 answer:

  • A: The voter’s actions are ageism or prejudice and discrimination against a person based on age.

  • B: The voter’s actions are ageism or false stereotypes about a person based on age.

  • C: The voter’s actions are ageism or prejudice against a person based on age.

  • D: The voter’s actions are ageism or thoughts and beliefs about a person based on age.

4. Racial steering occurs when prospective homeowners are shown available homes only in certain neighborhoods. Which example would describe the beliefs and actions of a real estate agent, who is an unprejudiced discriminator? Choose 1 answer:

  • A: The agent is tolerant and accepting, but purposely shows houses in a certain part of the city to Asian immigrants.

  • B: The agent believes in accepting people as individuals, but shows African-Americans only certain areas without conscious discrimination.

  • C: The agent believes that people from the Middle East are suspicious and does not show anyone of Middle-Eastern decent homes in neighborhoods with low crime.

  • D: The agent is not tolerant; however, she shows clients every house that is within the client’s price range.

5. A legislator in the United States believes that all illegal aliens from Mexico are criminals and social pariahs. Which term correctly identifies the beliefs of the legislator? Choose 1 answer:

  • A: The legislator is discriminating against illegal aliens.

  • B: The legislator is prejudiced against illegal aliens.

  • C: The legislator believes illegal aliens should be assimilated into the dominant culture.

  • D: The legislator believes the United States should be pluralistic.

6. When the Hutus began attacking the Tutsis during the Rwandan Genocide, a radio station began broadcasting racist propaganda, which described the Tutsis as cockroaches and calling for their extermination. What is the term used by Erik Erikson to describe this characterization of the Tutsis? Choose 1 answer:

  • A: Pseudo-kinship

  • B: Pseudospeciation

  • C: Tragedy of commons

  • D: Reciprocal determinism

7. How would a social scientist phrase the just-world hypothesis as a phenomenon of social exchange theory? Choose 1 answer:

  • A: The world institutions have created a structure that does not allow minority groups to succeed due to institutional discrimination.

  • B: Success is dependent on the motivation to maximize one’s own status in society through proper analysis of costs and benefits of a decision.

  • C: It is a brute fact that certain types of people will succeed while other types of people will fail.

  • D: The conflicts over access to resources in society causes people who work hard to achieve success and people who are unmotivated to lose access to resources and enter poverty.

8. Which of these is NOT a trait of a minority (subordinate) group? Choose 1 answer:

  • A: Represent a small percentage of the population

  • B: Involuntary membership in the group

  • C: Awareness of unequal treatment of the group

  • D: Treatment distinguished by physical or cultural traits

9. Which of these scenarios describes how the bystander effect can affect a school’s attempts to combat bullying? Choose 1 answer:

  • A: A close friend, who witnessed the bullying, did not intervene but contacted the administration after the incident.

  • B: A child witnesses bullying; however, the child does not intervene to stop the bullying, nor does the child come forward to report the incident.

  • C: A close friend of a child that is being bullied hears about the incident and reports it to the school administration.

  • D: A child witnesses bullying, makes a decision based on responses learned in class regarding not being a bystander and aids the child who is being bullied.

10. How does stereotype threat become a self-fulfilling prophecy? Choose 1 answer:

  • A: A football kicker is ‘iced’ before the game winning kick and subsequently misses the field goal.

  • B: A Caucasian man is told that white people are slow before a race. He runs hard and gets a new personal best.

  • C: A young man on his way to the SATs is told that because he is poor, he is stupid. He does very poorly on the test.

  • A: A child is exposed to positive stereotypes about women and math before a test. Due to this exposure, the child performs better than expected.



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