MCAT Behavioral Sciences Quiz

Once you’re familiar with the behavioral sciences that will be tested on the MCAT, try out this MCAT behavioral sciences practice test!

Question 1
The ability to sense stimuli against one’s own skin is known as:
A. somatosensation.
B. kinesthetic sense.
C. vestibular sense.
D. chemoreception.

A: Somatosensation refers to the various modalities of touch: pressure, vibration, temperature, and pain. Kinesthetic sense, choice (B), refers to the ability to tell where one’s body is in space. Vestibular sense, choice (C), refers to the detection of linear and rotational acceleration in the middle ear. Finally, chemoreception, choice (D), refers to sensing chemicals in the environment.

Question 2
A rat is trained to press a lever to obtain food under a fixed-interval schedule. Which of the following behaviors would the rat most likely exhibit?
A. Pressing the lever continuously whenever it is hungry.
B. Pressing the lever exactly once and waiting for the food pellet before pressing it again.
C. Pressing the lever slowly at first, but with increasing frequency as the end of the interval approaches.
D. None of the above; the association formed by fixed-interval schedules is too weak to increase behavior.

C: In a fixed-interval schedule, the desired behavior is rewarded the first time it is exhibited after the fixed interval has elapsed. Both fixed-interval and fixed-ratio schedules tend to show this phenomenon: almost no response immediately after the reward is given, but the behavior increases as the rat gets close to receiving the reward.

Question 3
Which type of conflict is associated with the LEAST amount of stress?
A. Approach–approach conflict
B. Avoidance–avoidance conflict
C. Approach–avoidance conflict
D. Avoidance–escape conflict

A: Approach–approach conflict is one in which both results are good outcomes. While one must be chosen, neither choice results in a negative outcome: for example, choosing between two desserts. Avoidance–escape conflict, choice (D), is not a recognized form of conflict; these two terms are related to types of negative reinforcers.

Question 4
A physician is attempting to diagnose a patient’s mental disorder based on a set of symptoms. The confirmed symptoms currently include appetite disturbance, substantial weight change, decreased energy, a feeling of worthlessness, and excessive guilt.
What two disorders could these symptoms indicate?
A. Major depressive and bipolar disorders
B. Dissociative amnesia and depersonalization/derealization disorder
C. Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease
D. Specific phobia and panic disorder

A: The symptoms listed indicate a major depressive episode. However, depressive episodes can be a part of bipolar dis-orders, which also contain manic episodes. Thus, if manic episodes have not yet been asked about, one cannot choose depression or bipolar disorder as the correct diagnosis yet.

Question 5
Which of the following is NOT a dimension of the system for multiple level observation of groups (SYMLOG)?
A. Friendliness vs. unfriendliness
B. Dominance vs. submission
C. Conformity vs. contrast
D. Instrumentally controlled vs. emotionally expressive

C: SYMLOG is a method for analyzing group dynamics and considers groups along three dimensions: dominant vs. submissive, friendliness vs. unfriendliness, and instrumentally controlled vs. emotionally expressive.