Psych/Soc Series: Erikson, Kohlberg and More

Session 86

This is our third week of Psych/Soc for the MCAT and we’re covering more very nuanced models of stages and development. Back in Sessions 84 and 85, we talked about this section and next week will be our final week of Psych/Soc.

Bryan from Next Step Test Prep joins us once again as we dissect these questions for you. Meanwhile, also listen to all our other podcasts on MedEd Media.

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[02:00] Strategies for Studying Definitions

Bryan says that although you can reason through conversational english definition of the words, you still want to be technical. Psych terms are strictly and tightly defined so part of it is repetition. Don’t take it for granted. Students often think this section is easier since there’s no math involved. But you have to give it due respect and give the time to memorize all these things.

Lastly, if you find it hard to memorize abstract words is to give it some context. Try to connect it with people you know, memories, and experiences in your life. And build mnemonics that you know are going to mentally stick in your mind. These can be emotional or outrageous. Whatever it is, try to use a number of techniques to make sure you’re able to thoroughly memorize the content rather than just passing familiarity.

[04:10] Erikson’s Stages of Development

Question 3: According to the model articulated by Erik Erikson, which example demonstrates an individual in the industry versus inferiority stage of development?

  • (A) A 30-year-old male gets married and struggles to align his goals with his partners.
  • (B) A 50-year-old female that dedicates her life to a nonprofit organization in an effort to feel like a contributing member of society.
  • (C) A happy, healthy 8-year-old male leads his soccer and goals, scored, and excels in Mathematics class.
  • (D) A 16-year-old female feels awkward in her body and questions her sexual identity.

Bryan’s Insights:

Erikson likes to split the human life cycle down based on social relationships. If you look at his answer choices, (A) deals with intimacy vs. isolation, so this doesn’t apply. Answer (B) would refer to adulthood or later adulthood from 40-64. 50-year-olds resolve the crisis of generativity vs. stagnation. Answer choice (C) is school age deals with industry vs. inferiority, so this is the right answer. Answer choice (D) is the adolescence stage where they deal with identity vs. role confusion.

[07:05] Kohlberg’s Stages of Moral Development

Question 4: Which of these situations involves a person whose view of morality falls within the conventional stage of Kohlberg’s Stages of Moral Development?

  • (A) A teenager refuses to join his friends painting a graffiti on a public building because he’s afraid he’ll get caught.
  • (B) A college student believes every woman should have the right to an abortion because she thinks that control over one’s body is a fundamental human right.
  • (C) A young man never speeds when driving his car because he thinks that people should abide by the rule of the law. And if everyone drove too fast, the roads would not be safe.
  • (D) A man participates in a gay pride parade even though he does not identify as gay because he believes that everyone has the right to express and be themselves.

Bryan’s Insights:

Kohlberg’s whole idea was that you can pose people moral questions. There’s that classic one of somebody who needs to to save his wife’s life but didn’t have the money to buy the medicine. So is it okay for him to steal the medicine or does he have to let his wife die? And for Kohlberg, he didn’t care what the answer was. Instead, he was interested in why and how you reasoned your way to that answer.

In this case, for answer choice (A), the teenager was afraid of getting caught. So his moral reasoning isn’t about right and wrong. It’s just about fear of getting caught. And Kohlberg calls this pre-conventional. The most basic level of moral reasoning was, what can I do to avoid getting caught or what can I do to get a reward? So it’s about getting punishment vs. reward.

Answer choice (B) suggests reasoning at the level of universal rights. Whether xyz is moral or not because of an overall universal, abstract human right. The same thing with (D) in that even though he doesn’t identify as gay, but he believes that everyone has the right to be themselves. Kohlberg would call this post-conventional reasoning. This is the highest or most advanced stage of moral reasoning. You don’t care about social convention anymore. You’re not just looking at your peers or worried about being punished or rewarded. You’re thinking on an abstract level of universal, ideal human behavior.

Answer choice (C) is the correct answer here where it’s just about getting along with your peers or society. A man thinks he shouldn’t be driving fast because he thinks he should obey the rule of law. That person is not concerned about abstract universal rights. He’s not even concerned about getting punished. But the person thinks it’s the right thing to do to obey the law. So his moral reasoning is just based on the conventions of the society he lives in. What’s morally correct is obeying the law. That’s classic conventional moral reasoning.

[12:24] Demographic Transition Model

Question 1: Which of these descriptions accurately characterize stage 1 of the demographic transition model?

  1. The fertility rate is higher than would be expected for the same population in stage 3.
  2. The overall population is shrinking due to the high mortality rate.

III. Education for children is typically mandatory.

  1. The population size tends to fluctuate moderately due to disease and catastrophe.
  • (A) I only
  • (B) I and IV only
  • (C) !, II, and IV only
  • (D) All of them

Bryan’s Insights:

The demographic transition model is how you transition from a third world rural country into a fully developed industrialized nation.

In stage 1, fertility rates are very high so are mortality rates. That tends to mean that the population fluctuates. So the first thing that happens is the mortality rate goes down because medicine gets better. You start taking care of babies better so the mortality rate drops.

Then in stage 3, the fertility rate starts to drop as well. And this is where you start getting things like educating children. There’s clearly a link between the more educated women are in the country, the lower the fertility rate is.

Then finally in stage 4, both fertility and mortality are really. So if the baby gets born, there’s a good chance the baby is going to make all the way to old age. So the right answer is (B).


MP 84: Psych/Soc Series: Hearing, Weber’s Law and More

MP 85: Psych/Soc Series: Visual Pathway, Piaget and More

Next Step Test Prep

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