MP 27 : Answering Psych-Social MCAT Discrete Questions

Session 27

Last week we covered a psych-soc passage and this week we will break down some MCAT discrete questions to help you maximize your score.

Full show notes coming soon!



Dr. Ryan Gray: The MCAT Podcast, session number 27.

A collaboration between the Medical School Headquarters and Next Step Test Prep, The MCAT Podcast is here to make sure you have the information you need to succeed on your MCAT test day. We all know that the MCAT is one of the biggest hurdles as a premed, and this podcast will give you the motivation and information that you need to know to help get you the score you deserve so you can one day call yourself a medical student.

I always say, ‘Call yourself a physician,' but getting through this test is really to call yourself a medical student. Maybe I'll change that. Alright, welcome back to The MCAT Podcast if this is your first time here, or if it's not your first time- no, if it's not your first time. If it is your first time, welcome to The MCAT Podcast. Usually I know what I'm saying so I apologize for being a little scatterbrained today. I hope you are having a great week and I'm thankful that you're taking some time to listen to us here today on The MCAT Podcast. Let's go ahead and jump right in.

Alright Bryan, this week we're going to see how much we can continue to bang our heads on the tables with questions to see how smart we are.

Question One

Bryan Schnedeker: There you go, we're going to do some psych / social discrete questions, independent questions this time around to wrap up this batch of practice question podcasts. So as always get the handout, go to the show page, if you read along it will be a lot easier to work with. If you're listening I'm going to go ahead and read the question for you. So we'll start with number twelve here. ‘A psychiatrist performing a mental exam shows a list of ten unrelated images to the patient and asks the patient to memorize them. The exam continues and a few minutes later the psychiatrist requests that the patient describe as many images as he can recall. If most of the remembered images come from the beginning and end of the list, this is an example of.' Okay list of ten images, most remembered come from the beginning and end. Okay so what does it mean for our memory when we can remember things at the beginning, or we can remember things at the end? The answer choices are the recency effect, the serial position effect, the cognitive bias effect, the primacy effect. And so beginning and end of a list, in other words what position you are in a list has an effect on your ability to remember it, well that's the classic example of the serial position effect. Now the trap here is the answer- the wrong answers the recency effect and the primacy effect. So in this case the recency effect is your ability to remember the thing you heard most recently, meaning the thing at the end of the list, so answer choice A is only like half of what the question described, the thing at the end of the list. And the primacy effect, answer choice D, that's your ability to always remember the very first thing. The first impression you had of a person, the first shot in a movie, the first item in a list is the primacy effect. So notice A and D are kind of there but they only describe half of it. To really capture both the beginning and end of the list you need the serial position effect.

Dr. Ryan Gray: Alright, that's an easy one.

Question Two

Bryan Schnedeker: There you go. Okay number thirteen, another long one here, I'll read it for us. So we have a physician accepts a job as a hospitalist and finds that for the first several months of work most of her effort is spent in coming to understand the mechanisms by which doctors, patients, insurance companies, the government at federal and local levels, health insurers interact to deliver and pay for care. She particularly notices the influence by the hospital's legal department often supersedes that of other important administrators who hold MDs. Her experiences and observations most closely reflect what theory of sociology? Functionalism, conflict theory, feminist theory, symbolic interactionism. So again the question, several months understanding the mechanisms by which doctors, patients, insurance companies, the government and health insurers interact to deliver and pay for care, and the influence of the legal department. So I really like this question because most- a slight polarity of our students actually picked conflict theory, which is not the right answer. So I think by throwing in that little bit of a trick there about the legal department at the end, and how maybe premeds don't have the best view of kind of lawyers and the legal system, they think kind of negative-

Dr. Ryan Gray: It's not just premeds. It's not just premeds.

Bryan Schnedeker: Sure, right there you go. So you've got to look really though at the situation being described is multiple interacting systems; insurance companies, doctors, patients all working together to deliver care, and that's functionalism. The sociological theory that examines social structures as a series of interacting mechanisms to achieve whatever function they're trying to achieve.

Dr. Ryan Gray: Makes sense.

Question Three

Bryan Schnedeker: Yup, absolutely. So again, got to know the names of theories. This one here where the answer choices are literally just names of theories, you know sometimes students feel a little kind of surprised by that when they first see the psych / social section because they think they're so used to the idea of the MCAT being very focused on like lengthy, tricky answer choices that might involve multiple steps of analysis. But the psych / social section is really famous for this. Lots of pure ‘can you recall all the names of these theories? Recall the names of these people?' And so on. So let's do one more that's like that, can you recall the name of a theory. Question number 26. A woman walking to work sees a group of people on the street staring at an open manhole. She stops to join them in staring down at the open manhole. I don't know why that strikes me as funny.

Dr. Ryan Gray: Just picturing it.

Bryan Schnedeker: Yeah it's something I would do. Just walking along, I don't really want to go to work, I'm kind of procrastinating. ‘Oh what's in that manhole?'

Dr. Ryan Gray: What's going on over there?

Bryan Schnedeker: Yeah, right. Okay so her behavior is an example of the bystander effect, deindividuation, conformity, group think. And so here, you see other people doing a behavior and you go right along with that behavior, that would be conformity, answer choice C. These other ones are definitely ones that we need to know though. The bystander effect- the bystander effect is the diffusion of responsibility that happens when there are other people around. So all of you who I'm sure have had to take maybe some CPR classes at some point, you don't say, ‘Somebody call 911,' you pick one person, you point at him and you say, ‘You call 911 right now.' In the dinosaur ages when I was learning before everybody had a cell phone they actually taught you to say, ‘You go call 911 and come back,' because the thought was you'd have to go somewhere to call 911. And then by telling them to come back it created responsibility for that one person, because if you don't the bystander effect says if there's all these other bystanders around, then the responsibility will just be diffused to everybody and nobody will do anything.

Dr. Ryan Gray: Yeah.

Bryan Schnedeker: Yup. Deindividuation is that's the sense of just losing your own individual sense of self and sense of responsibility in a crowd. Think of the kind of mob mentality phenomenon. And then lastly group think is a particular kind of social phenomena where a group starts to view itself as almost completely infallible, and everybody starts thinking the same, and no dissent, no conflict is permitted within the group because everybody places such a high premium on the conformity and supposed superiority of the group that's having group think.

Dr. Ryan Gray: It's almost like Student Doctor Network, but then you talked about the conflict, and there's a lot of conflict within Student Doctor Network.

Bryan Schnedeker: Although there's a whole lot of deindividuation, right? People say things that they would never say in polite company to someone's face because the anonymity of the Internet lets people lose that individual sense of responsibility.

Dr. Ryan Gray: That's true.

Bryan Schnedeker: Yeah like the recent season of South Park, right? Just anonymity breeds a very sort of poor deindividuation sense of responsibility.

Dr. Ryan Gray: That show's still on?

Bryan Schnedeker: Yeah believe it or not.

Dr. Ryan Gray: Wow, crazy. It's up there with the Simpsons I guess.

Bryan Schnedeker: Yeah it's old enough to vote now I think.

Final Thoughts

Dr. Ryan Gray: Awesome, alright Bryan thank you again for another awesome set of questions.

Bryan Schnedeker: Absolutely, I'll see everybody next week.

Dr. Ryan Gray: Okay that wraps up another MCAT Podcast, thanks Bryan for joining me, and thank you for listening. I would love for you to check out everything that Next Step is doing whether it's one-on-one tutoring, checking out their books, their full length practice tests, or their awesome new class. It has a ton of information, live office hours with the people that actually wrote the class and the test, and everything that Next Step has to offer. It's not just a student of the week that's running the class. Go check it out, it's cheaper than the other companies out there and has a lot more to offer. Use the promo code MCATPOD, all capital letters, to save some money. I hope to see you next week here at The MCAT Podcast.

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