Many of us enjoy playing games, in part because it’s fun to compete with other people but also because we gain knowledge in the process. This knowledge includes information we didn’t know before as well as information about ourselves and how our own minds operate. Knowing that people often learn best when they’re motivated, psychology instructors also have a strong propensity for creating games that we use to teach, and entertain, our own students.
Over the course of my teaching career, I’ve invented my own share of psychology-themed games, often incorporating well-known TV games shows, such as Jeopardy! and Who Wants to be a Millionaire? I’ve also incorporated a number of psychology websites into my teaching, both in class and in online assignments. In gearing up for the Fall semester, I rediscovered many old favorites and added a few new ones. I thought I would share them here for psychology teachers, students, and just fans of the field. Since we can’t do automatic calculations on this website, you’ll have to do a little work to arrive at your scores. I hope you’ll find the process was worthwhile!
We’ll start with concepts from everyone’s “favorite” (slash most confusing) area in basic psychology— conditioning. Taking this quiz will help you polish up your mastery of the terminology as well as give you insight into some of the behavioral factors that motivate you in your everyday life.
How is conditioning affecting you in your daily life?
See if you can answer these questions about common situations involving learning through conditioning.
How did you score? These were tough questions but the answers suggest ways that you gain unwanted emotions and can change your habits.
How good is your attention to detail?
This next quiz should be easy, but it probably won’t be. I use this quiz to demonstrate the principle that if you don’t encode, you can’t retrieve. To play this game honestly means that you promise not to open your wallet.
All of these questions concern a U.S. dollar bill. If you don’t have any in your wallet (or are from a country using different currency), you can make up your own version of this game.
We handle money all the time, but we rarely pay attention to the details of the currency we pull out of our pockets. How many of these facts about the U.S. dollar bill can you get right?
Maximum score is 7 plus the bonus (no half points). If you’re like most people, you probably got only 1 or 2. If your score was 1-2 (or 0), it means you need to start looking more closely at what you’re doing on a daily basis.
How do you cope?
This next quiz allows you test both your ability to reduce stress through effective coping strategies and your knowledge of how these coping strategies work. In emotion-focused coping, we try to reduce stress by making ourselves feel better but we don’t change the situation. In problem-focused coping, we try to change the situation.
Start by thinking of a recent stressful event. This can be either a major life event or just a hassle (running late, losing something of value). Then rate yourself from 0 (not used) to 3 (used a great deal) on each of the following items.
____ 1. Tried to get the person responsible to change his or her mind.
____ 2. I tried to keep my feelings to myself.
____ 3. Criticized or lectured myself.
____ 4. Changed or grew as a person in a good way.
____ 5. Stood my ground and fought for what I wanted.
____ 6. I knew what had to be done, so I doubled my efforts to make things work.
____ 7. Found new faith.
____ 8. I made a plan of action and followed it.
____ 9. Refused to believe it had happened.
____ 10.Came up with a couple of different solutions to the problem.
Items 1, 5, 6, 8, and 10 represent problem-focused coping.
Items 2, 3, 4, 7, and 9 represent emotion-focused coping.
In general, there’s no one best way to cope. Emotion-focused coping works better in situations that you can’t change, and problem-focused when there’s something you can do to fix the situation. If you’re using problem-focused coping for unchangeable situations, you’ll be frustrated and disappointed but if you use emotion-focused coping where you could fix the problem by taking action, you stand to lose out.
(Source: The “Ways of Coping” scale from Folkman, S., & Lazarus, R. (1984). Stress, appraisal, and coping. New York: Springer.)
Can you name the psychological disorder?
The DSM-5 lists in detail the many symptoms required for diagnosing psychological disorders. This brief quiz tests your knowledge of the main features of a number of common diagnoses. Don’t diagnose yourself from these symptoms, but use the quiz to see how much you know about this very important field within psychology:
Scoring at 8 or above shows that you have considerable mastery of the range of disorders found in the field of abnormal psychology. Now you’re ready to move onto the final challenge, which is to test your knowledge of psychotherapy models.
What’s My Favorite Psychological Theory?
Psychotherapists are trained in all the major psychological models and typically integrate several approaches when working with a given client. Consequently, as part of their training, they become skilled in using specific interventions derived from different theoretical models. In this quiz, I’ve taken prototypical phrases from each of the major perspectives that a therapist might use with a given client. See how well you can match the phrase with the theory:
How were your scores? The average psychology undergraduate gets between 60-75% correct. Several are fairly obvious (e.g. #15) but others require more training (e.g. 13, which taps the idea of “resistance”). If you received a better score, it doesn’t mean you’re necessarily ready to open your own practice, but it does show that you’re well-read and thoughtful about the many fascinating theories in this very fascinating field.
I hope you enjoyed taking these quizzes and that the answers gave you an understanding both of yourself and some of the main concepts in psychology. Now you’re ready to test your friends!
Follow me on Twitter @swhitbo for daily updates on psychology, health, and aging. Feel free to join my Facebook group, "Fulfillment at Any Age," to discuss today's blog, or to ask further questions about this posting.
Copyright Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D. 2013