Like reality TV, except different; your peek directly inside the life of a Harvard Psychology PhD Student . . .
My midterm / partial in-lieu-of-quals exam: 7 essays, 36 hours.
(Yeah, it's pretty laid-back, huh?)
1) Aging is associated with recognition memory impairment in humans and animals. For example, aged monkeys are impaired on the delayed nonmatching-to-sample (DNMS) test of recognition memory. If aged monkeys were tested on some of Buckley et al.'s or Bussey et al.'s perceptual tasks (e.g. discriminations with high feature ambiguity), would you expect them to be impaired on those tasks? If so, would you expect their impairment to correlate with their DNMS impairment? Why or why not?
2) The cognitive functions of the amygdala are difficult to characterize. Can a "non-static"/interactive view of memory systems (or cognitive systems in the brain more generally), like some of the interactive memory systems briefly discussed by Kim and Baxter (2001), be applied to understand the function of the amygdala? That is, does it make sense to think of amygdala function as changeable depending on what the rest of the brain is doing? Does this put us in a better position to understand what the amygdala is doing, than considering it as a center for affect or emotional learning?
3. Provide an example of a structure/process tradeoff and a suggestion about how to circumvent this problem.
4. In what ways can Sternberg's additive factors analysis be related to Marr's approach to characterizing computational systems?
5. Write an essay on Norman and Bobrow's 1975 paper. Considerable choice as to scope and content but it would be useful to cite/describe at least some material covered on visual attention and/or visual surface perception.
Pick two of the following 4 questions:
A. Describe how the visual system uses assumptions about the world in
order to build a representation from sparse or ambiguous visual data. Pick
one example each from motion and lightness domains.
B. Compare and contrast the limits of visual resolution and visual
attention. How might the disparity between the two be beneficial or
detrimental to human perception?
C. Discuss the concept of sprites. How could they benefit our perception
of motion and what are some drawbacks of this theory?
D. Apply signal detection to your own research and discuss some of its