Psychology: Final Examination, Essay Example

Fundamental attribution error

Latisha’s history teacher asked her why so many German people complied with Hitler’s orders to systematically slaughter millions of innocent Jews and others. Latisha suggested that the atrocities were committed because the Germans had become unusually cruel, sadistic people with abnormal twisted personalities. Use your knowledge of the fundamental attribution error to highlight the weaknesses of Latisha’s reasoning and then propose an alternative explanation.

The essay question selected for this study is question 3 which is based on the issue of fundamental attribution error to highlight the weaknesses of Latisha’s reasoning. It is not surprising to for Latisha to indicate that Germans complied with Hitler’s orders to kill millions of Jews and others due to their cruelty and sadistic characters. The reasoning supposed by Latisha is propagated by attribution theory as an aspect of assigning characters to different mode of behaviors. According to the theory, individuals explain their own behavior and the behavior of other people by giving their attributes to the behavior of the people (Heider, 2011).

It is therefore evidence that according to Latisha people can only kill others if they become cruel, sadistic and show abnormal change in personalities. The character did not reason beyond the boundaries of her individual opinion and character. Therefore, the best answer that Latisha could have given the teacher was that Hitler and the Germans were discriminative against the Jews and other people in the country.

Heuristic to boost sales

You are the commissioner of a state lottery system that sponsors daily and weekly drawings. Lottery tickets have not been selling well over the past few months. Describe at least two ways you could take advantage of people’s use of the availability heuristic to boost sales. Explain why you would judge your tactics to be fair or unfair to your customers.

Application of heuristic methods to boost sales in the case of Lottery tickets is very fair especially where the aspects of age and social class are applied. In this regard, more consumers who have reached the stated age limits will be eager to buy the lottery. The aspect of is segmentation which will utilize the social class of various consumers. This approach will enable the commissioner to target particular class of consumers who are willing to buy more tickets and pay more.

Andy’s behavior

Andy, a high school sophomore, lacks self-discipline, fails to plan ahead, and is excessively anxious. He is quickly frustrated by challenging tasks and frequently becomes overly critical of others. Use the psychoanalytic, humanistic, and social-cognitive perspectives to give three contrasting explanations of Andy’s behavior.

Psychoanalytic, humanistic, and social-cognitive perspectives to give three contrasting explanations of Andy’s behavior

Andy’s behavior can be explained by three different perspectives; the human perspective is the first facet which according to Maslow emphasizes on self-actualization. In this case if Andy could fulfill his basic human needs then he is likely to strive towards attainment of higher goals.

The other perspective is cognition perspective which influences social behavior and learning as manifested by Andy. The combination of cognition elements and environmental factors makes Andy to be overly critical of others (Wulfert, 2009).

Trait perspective also gives an insight into Andy’s behavior as the theory asserts that a person’s behavior may vary from one situation to another depending on emotional stability of the individual. Other elements that are related to emotion include the following conscientiousness, openness and extraversion.

Geraldo’s case

Geraldo, a second-year college student, is so fearful of   medical procedures that he has avoided routine dental checkups for over three years. He has recently decided to seek help in overcoming his fear. Compare and contrast (what are the similarities and differences) the methods that would be used by (a) a behavior therapist and (b) a psychoanalytic therapist.

The similarities between the methods used by a behavior therapist and psychoanalytic therapist include the following; both individuals listen to the patient; they talk to the patient and relate well with the patient. They also look at motivational or discouraging factors that are associated with every problem.

The differences are that; psychoanalytic therapy relies on the feelings, judgments and thoughts of the patient. This approach also relies on things such as interpretations of dreams, and role plays between the patient and the care giver. Behavior therapists on the other hand use four important tools which include internal responses, environmental trigger and consequences of the behavior (Goldfarb, 2006).


Heider, F.  (2011). “the Psychology of Interpersonal Relations”. New York, John Wiley & Sons.  ISBN 0-471-36833-4.

Gleitman, H. (2009). Psychology webBOOK: Psychology Fifth Edition / Basic Psychology Fifth Edition. W. W. Norton and Company.

Goldfarb, R. (2006). Operant Conditioning and Programmed Instruction in Aphasia       Rehabilitation. SLP-ABA, 1(1), 56–65 BAO

Wulfert, F.  (2009) Can Contextual Therapies Save Clinical Behavior Analysis? The Behavior   Analyst Today, 3(3), 25