MCAT Monday: Process the Environment - Memory


Foundational Concept 6B: The way we think about the world depends on our awareness, thoughts, knowledge, and memories. It is also influenced by our ability to solve problems, make decisions, form judgments, and communicate. Psychological, sociocultural, and biological influences determine the development and use of these different yet convergent processes.

Biological factors underlie the mental processes that create our reality, shape our perception of the world, and influence the way we perceive and react to every aspect of our lives. (via AAMC)

Practice Videos:

Practice Question:

1. Which of the following statements is an example of explicit memory? Choose 1 answer:

  • A: A teenager remembers her tenth birthday party.

  • B: A dog learns that food is associated with a bell.

  • C: A 30 year-old woman recalling how to ride a bicycle after years of not riding.

  • D: A man forms a habit of checking his email every night right before bed.

2. What type of memory loss is most common during the initial stage of Alzheimer’s disease? Choose 1 answer:

  • A: Short term memory loss

  • B: Semantic memory loss

  • C: Episodic memory loss

  • D: Procedural memory loss

3. Which of the following encoding strategies would be most useful in enhancing long-term memory? Choose 1 answer:

  • A: Rote rehearsal and mnemonic devices

  • B: Rote rehearsal alone

  • C: Self-referencing and mnemonic devices

  • D: Chunking and self-referencing

4. Which of the following statements correctly describes the relationship between node link strength and association in learning? Choose 1 answer:

  • A: As node link strength decreases, the degree of association decreases. This increases the processing time.

  • B: As node link strength increases, the degree of association decreases. This increases the processing time.

  • C: As node link strength increases, the degree of association increases. This reduces the processing time.

  • D: As node link strength decreases, the degree of association increases. This reduces the processing time.

5. Long term potentiation (LTP) is thought to be the physiological manifestation of learning. It involves the strengthening of connections between neurons, and is an example of synaptic plasticity. As these connections strengthen, information is recalled more quickly. By what mechanism does LTP occur? Choose 1 answer:

  • A: Equal levels of presynaptic stimulation result in greater postsynaptic potential

  • B: Greater postsynaptic speed of transmission results in increased neural connectivity

  • C: Greater presynaptic speed of transmission results in increased neural connectivity

  • D: Greater levels of presynaptic stimulation result in equal postsynaptic potential

6. A researcher is interested in fear and explicit memory. He recruits a sample of undergraduate students, divides them into three groups, and shows each group of participants a different video. Group A watches a neutral video that reliably induces boredom, group B watches a video that reliably induces mild fear, and group C watches a video that reliably induces overwhelming fear. The participants are tested a week later to determine how much of the video they are able to remember. Given the design of the study and what you know about emotion and memory, which group(s) probably remembers the most about the video? Choose 1 answer:

  • A: Group B

  • B: Groups A and C

  • C: Group A

  • D: Group C

7. Researchers studying memory utilized a common test called the delayed response task, where a participant must respond to a stimulus that occurred in the past. In this test, the researchers had each participant listen to a sequence of words from a specific category, such as types of fruit, shapes, or colors, and prompted participants to repeat the previous word. After the participant repeated 10 words, the category was changed and the participant was asked to repeat the word that occurred two words previously in the list (researcher: “green, blue, red” – participant: “blue”). After every 10 words repeated by the participant, the delay is increased until the participant can no longer correctly identify the correct word. What type of memory is being tested in this study? Choose 1 answer:

  • A: Procedural memory

  • B: Implicit memory

  • C: The primacy effect

  • D: Working memory

8. James wants to begin a training regimen. He gets up each morning for a few months, runs 2 miles, and then has a nutritious breakfast before work. One morning after months of this routine, he decides he wants to sleep in the next morning. Unfortunately for James, he wakes up at the same time he does every morning and feels like he should take a run. Although James is upset that he can’t go back to sleep, he has created a healthy habit. What type of memory is habit learning and where in the brain is it located? Choose 1 answer:

  • A: He is learning a habit, a type of semantic memory, which is located in the neocortex.

  • B: He is learning a habit, a type of episodic memory, which is located in the hippocampus.

  • C: He is learning a habit, a type of explicit memory, which is located in the medial temporal lobe.

  • D: He is learning a habit, a type of procedural memory, which is located in the basal ganglia.

9. The Mini Mental Status Examination (MMSE) is a tool physicians can use to screen for cognitive impairment and memory decline. A researcher is interested in examining the relationship between the MMSE and another recognized memory screening test which is considered the “gold standard” in clinical practice. He administers both exams to a group of elderly women diagnosed with dementia and compares their scores on the MMSE to the ones they receive on the second screening test. What psychometric property of the MMSE is the researcher examining? Choose 1 answer:

  • A: Interrater reliability

  • B: Content validity

  • C: Retest reliability

  • D: Concurrent validity

10. Which of the following statements about Korsakoff syndrome is not true? Choose 1 answer:

  • A: Most cases of Korsakoff syndrome are caused by traumatic brain injuries.

  • B: Many individuals with Korsakoff syndrome experience symptoms like aphasia.

  • C: Korsakoff syndrome related to severe thiamine deficiency.

  • D: Korsakoff syndrome produces anterograde amnesia and retrograde amnesia.

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