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Chapter 05 - answers

Further questions for chapter 05 - suggested answers

Q. The Stevens Law represents how intense people perceive various stimuli. Explain why the Stevens Law will probably not lead to explanatory unification in psychology.

A.  The main problem with the Stevens Law is that it is predictive but does not appear to be explanatory. It can capture various statistical regularities, but it does not explain why those regularities occur. It only tracks the effects of various stimuli.

Q. Describe the process of functional decomposition with a non-psychological example of your own.

A.  Bodily processes work well. Blood circulation can be broken down into functions of the heart, arteries, veins, and so on. Different valves in the heart have their own functions. There are further chemical and physical components of blood that can be broken down further.

Q. Explain why memory provides a good example of functional decomposition.

A.  Memory itself is a functional capacity within the brain. It can be broken down into its own functions (e.g. registering, storing, and retrieving information). Then there are further functions that can be identified, such as short and long term memory, episodic and semantic memory, and many others.

Q. Explain what a double dissociation is (when talking about cognitive abilities).

A.  A double dissociation exists when two different cognitive abilities can exist and operate independently of each other. Short term and long term memory is one example used in the book.

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