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AP Psychology Question Review 2 - Incentives

AP exam season is weeks away. Therefore, it only makes sense that we continue with making these question reviews. This post finds us revisiting AP Psychology. The first post dealt with the REM sleep cycle. However, this post covers the topic of incentives and how that affects the decisions we make. Let's go ahead and look at the question below:

Suppose you are walking through a food court in the mall and you see a new cafe offering an Indian food buffet. At first glance the food looks delicious, and as you get closer you can smell the wonderful aromas of the food. The sight and smell of the food is referred to as a(n)

  • incentive
  • intrinsic motivation
  • instinct
  • need
  • drive

Incentives are those external "pulls" used by restaurants and many other businesses to tempt you and motivate you to buy their products and is the best answer here. Intrinsic motivation is not the answer because you did not intend to go to this restaurant before looking at the food. Instinct is not a good answer either because it was a conscious decision to go to the food court. Need is too strong a word to be used in this case, and is not even a psychological vocabulary term. Drive is not the best answer either because it wasn't hunger or some inner force that prompted you to go to this particular restaurant.

Another way to frame explain this is that while needs, drives, and instincts would all be involved in important life processes, an incentive might motivate you to do something unnecessary, such as eating when you might not be hungry. Intrinsic motivation, refers to internal and personal reasons that motivate you, as opposed to external rewards. Each of the other choices is part of motivation but does not involve the enticement that is evoked by an incentive.

Incentives play such a powerful external influence, which is so highly represented by the sight and smell of food, that it clearly is the best answer choice.


Are you an AP teacher? Check out more AP Psychology questions on Omninox and assign them for practice to your students.

Image Source: http://blog.trupay.com/blog/bid/196517/Motivating-Employees-with-Short-Term-Incentives