AP Psychology Practice Test: Motivation & Emotion

This AP Psychology practice test covers motivation and emotion. You will need to know the biological bases and theories of motivation and emotion. Other key topics include hunger, pain, thirst, sex, social motives, and stress. Our AP Psychology motivation quiz questions are designed to help with your exam prep.


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Question 1
A starving rat will lose all interest in food if what part of its brain is destroyed?

A
Lateral thalamus
B
Ventromedial thalamus
C
Lateral hypothalamus
D
Ventromedial hypothalamus
E
Association areas
Question 1 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (C). There are two areas of the hypothalamus that control hunger, the lateral hypothalamus and the ventromedial hypothalamus. The lateral hypothalamus, when stimulated, causes the feeling of hunger. If the lateral hypothalamus is destroyed, an organism will no longer experience the feeling of hunger. Destruction of the ventromedial hypothalamus results in an ongoing feeling of hunger, even after eating.
Question 2
What is said to be a gauge of how we feel about ourselves as well as how socially accepted we feel?

A
Set point
B
Homeostasis
C
Reproductive potential
D
Self-esteem
E
Belongingness measure
Question 2 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (D). Self-esteem is determined by a number of factors, the largest of which is social acceptance. It is a person’s evaluation of self worth.
Question 3
According to the two-factor theory, the two basic components of emotions are __________ and ____________.

A
Cognitive labels; physical arousal
B
Emotion-arousal; overt behavior
C
Facial expressions; cognitive labels
D
Emotion-arousing events; physical arousal
E
Attributions; psychological responses
Question 3 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (A). The Schachter-Singer theory, or two-factor theory of emotion, describes emotion as a combination of 2 factors. According to the theory, emotion begins with a physical arousal before the arousal is cognitively labeled.
Question 4
The universally understandable language of human emotion consists of:

A
Body postures.
B
Facial expressions.
C
Hand gestures.
D
Music and dance.
E
Tone of voice.
Question 4 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (B). While body posture, hand gestures, music and dance, and tone of voice vary across different cultures and countries, facial expressions are universally understood in their expression of emotion.
Question 5
About seven months ago, 15-year-old Katie went on a drastic weight-loss diet that caused her to drop from 110 to 85 pounds. Although she is now dangerously underweight and undernourished, she continues to think she looks fat. Katie most clearly suffers from what psychological disorder?

A
Abnormally low set point
B
Anorexia nervosa
C
Bulimia nervosa
D
Hypermetabolism
E
Obesity
Question 5 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (B). Anorexia nervosa is a serious, potentially life-threatening eating disorder characterized by self-starvation, excessive weight loss, fear of weight gain, an extreme desire to be thin, and poor body image. Regardless of physical appearance, sufferers of anorexia believe themselves to be overweight.
Question 6
During an emergency, increased levels of emotional arousal are likely to be accompanied by which of the following physiological symptoms?

A
Constriction of pupils to increase visual acuity.
B
Decreases in blood sugar levels.
C
Decreases in respiration rate.
D
Increases in salivation.
E
Slowing of digestion.
Question 6 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (E). When the sympathetic nervous system activates, commonly called the ‘fight-or-flight response,’ it is accompanied by a number of physiological manifestations, including the slowing of digestive processes, designed to help the organism survive the emergency.
Question 7
Jack has just eaten a huge meal but gets the urge to eat when he smells fresh popcorn at the movie theater. Psychologists would most likely consider Jack to be:

A
an external eater.
B
morbidly obese.
C
suffering from reverse anorexia nervosa.
D
suffering from anorexia nervosa.
E
suffering from bulimia nervosa.
Question 7 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (A). An external eater is one who becomes motivated to eat after being exposed to the sight or smell of food.
Question 8
Leptin is a chemical secreted by fat cells and recognized in the brain as a signal of satiety. It has been shown in laboratory experiments that if leptin receptors in the hypothalamus are blocked, then the animal will:

A
Avoid novel foods
B
Be unable to break down carbohydrates into glucose
C
Eat excessively and develop obesity
D
Gradually starve to death
E
Suffer from low blood sugar levels
Question 8 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (C). If an animal has deficient levels of leptin, or if the brain fails to recognize leptin, the negative feedback system that normally causes the animal to stop eating will fail. As a result, the animal will eat excessively and is likely to develop obesity.
Question 9
Which of the following statements best depicts the concept of incentive theory?

A
Chelsea was extremely thirsty and drank two bottles of water after running two miles.
B
Despite low grades, Fred continues to study because he is interested in the material.
C
Kim has not eaten all day; therefore, he daydreams about pizza.
D
Michael says that he is constantly hungry and eats at least four meals a day to reduce his hunger.
E
Sabrina studies hard because her parents reward her by paying $20 for each superior grade she brings home.
Question 9 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (E). Incentive theory is based on the idea that behavior is primarily extrinsically motivated. It argues that people are more motivated to perform activities if they receive a reward afterward, rather than simply because they enjoy the activities themselves. In this case, Sabrina’s good behavior is motivated, or incentivized, by the $20 reward for each good grade.
Question 10
Which of the following concepts provides the best explanation for why people seek to put on warmer clothing when they start to feel cold?

A
Set-point theory
B
Homeostasis
C
Self-serving bias
D
Assimilation
E
Accommodation
Question 10 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (B). Homeostasis refers to the tendency to restore internal conditions to an original baseline. Homeostasis is the process of returning to the original balance. In this case, when a person experiences cold, there is an internal drive to seek warmth and return to homeostasis.
Question 11
A public awareness campaign that shows parents hitting a pillow instead of their child in response to anger demonstrates an aggression theory known as:

A
Catharsis
B
Diffusion
C
Distraction
D
Reassociation
E
Rumination
Question 11 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (A). Catharsis relates to the draining of one’s negative emotions, in this case anger, by venting or “blowing off steam.”
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