MCAT Monday: Individuals and Society - Social Behavior


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)


Practice Videos

Practice Questions:

1. To test the mere exposure effect on familiar brand recall, researchers asked participants to watch four movies (10 minutes each): two without visible product labels (masked) and two with product labels in the center of the screen. Without previous notification the participants were tested on brand recall and to ensure brand familiarity. Afterwards, the participants rated which brands were preferred. What is a possible confounder to this study? Choose 1 answer:

  • A: When participants are not told they will be tested at the end, they often fail to pay attention.

  • B: The masked labels did not allow the participants to see the product labels.

  • C: Social priming effects from the actors interacting on the videos are highly reliable.

  • D: The participants may have been unfamiliar with the brands used.

2. A link between the color red and attraction has been suggested as representing a physiologically based association. All previous research regarding this association was conducted on Western university students. A researcher traveled to a remote village with little Western contact and negative associations regarding red. The village lacked specific associations between red and attraction. It also displayed extremely conservative societal norms regarding sex. A previous study’s methodology was replicated with villagers of this tribe. Why did the researcher choose to replicate this study with this tribe? Choose 1 answer:

  • A: If the tribe showed an association, it would give weight to a universal human association.

  • B: This tribe will likely be more truthful in responding to questions about sexual attitudes and norms.

  • C: The researchers should have produced their own study, rather than replicating a previous study.

  • D: The tribe would not have been exposed the color ‘red.’


3. In the study shown in the figure above, subjects were injected with testosterone and then shown pictures of faces displaying different facial expressions. A control group was shown the same pictures but did not receive the injection. The heart-rate was recorded for six seconds after injection. Results across subjects are averaged. Neutral control, happy control, and angry control did not receive the injection. Which conclusion is supported by the figure above? Choose 1 answer:

  • A: Testosterone decreases the ability to attribute emotion to happy and neutral faces.

  • B: Testosterone increases the heart-rate when angry faces are shown.

  • C: Testosterone increases anger when compared to the control.

  • D: Testosterone decreases the ability to interpret happy and neutral faces.

4. Which of these factors will cause aggressive behavior? Choose 1 answer:

  • A: A person experiencing frustration, pain, or elevated temperature.

  • B: A person with an increase in testosterone levels throughout the body.

  • C: None of these choices alone is sufficient to cause aggressive behavior.

  • D: A person who belongs to a culture of honor.

5. How would a child that is described as having a secure attachment behave during the Strange Situation? Choose 1 answer:

  • A: The child shows little interaction or desire for proximity with caregiver, even after the reunion episode.

  • B: The child behaves erratic or runs away when the caregiver returns.

  • C: The child shows moderate proximity and contact seeking, desires to maintain contact once engaged, and shows ambivalence toward caregiver after reunion episode.

  • D: The child seeks proximity and contact or interaction with the caregiver both before and after the reunion episode.

6. Which of these studies looked into attachment, comfort, and security as innate needs and the effects of maternal and social deprivation on development? Choose 1 answer:

  • A: Schrodinger’s Cat Experiment

  • B: Harlow monkey experiments

  • C: Skinner’s studies with pigeons

  • D: Bobo Doll experiments

7. Altruistic punishment is the punishment of ‘someone’ for not punishing anti-social behavior. Why is this important for prosocial group functioning? Choose 1 answer:

  • A: To enforce social norms

  • B: To help allow people to maximize profits

  • C: To discourage in-group cooperation

  • D: To show that some people are above the law

8. How would one describe the behaviors of an individual that enhance another individual’s or group’s fitness at a cost to that individual’s fitness? Choose 1 answer:

  • A: Biological altruism

  • B: Genetic altruism

  • C: Psychological altruism

  • D: Reciprocal altruism

9. How does social support affect health? Choose 1 answer:

  • A: Esteem support offers financial assistance to help pay costs after insurance.

  • B: Children with strong tangible/instrumental support through encouragement and constructive feedback show increased interest in school activities.

  • C: People with strong social support networks are more likely to use drugs.

  • D: Emotional support, such as affirmation and affection, reduces the risk of mental and physical health problems.

10. Which of these is NOT a form of social support?

Choose 1 answer:

  • A: Functional

  • B: Tangible/Instrumental

  • C: Emotional

  • D: Esteem

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