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Tutor profile: Veronica T.

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Veronica T.
Student Director at New Student Programs, University of Pittsburgh
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Questions

Subject: SSAT

TutorMe
Question:

How can I avoid getting confused on the SSAT analogies questions?

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Veronica T.
Answer:

The analogies are ultimately meant to be a test of vocabulary, so the last thing you want to do is get confused by the relationship and miss a question with words you know. One way I avoid this is to put the words into a sentence that describes the relationship. For example, if the question says "Bison is to plains as cougar is to ____," I will say in my head, "A bison lives on the plains. A cougar lives on the ____." Then I know that the answer should complete that sentence in a way that makes sense. This also helps me to answer the questions more quickly.

Subject: Sociology

TutorMe
Question:

What is a cognitive interview and how can it function to improve survey and interview questions?

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Veronica T.
Answer:

A cognitive interview is a method of screening potential survey or interview questions for comprehension. The researcher seeks out respondents within the demographic they plan to study, and presents these respondents with the questions they plan to use in the data gathering phase of their research. The respondents answer the questions and explain their thought process and understanding of the questions to the researcher. This allows the researcher to identify potential problems with the questions in order to rework them to be more effective. For example, in a cognitive interview I conducted I asked the question, "In times when you did live with a pet, did you feel more or less lonely than you do now?" One of my respondents answered that she felt "about the same" level of loneliness, but then explained that she had only ever had fish or hermit crabs as pets. My survey question was meant to refer to companion animals such as cats and dogs, so I clarified that in the final version of the question.

Subject: Psychology

TutorMe
Question:

What are the basic, superordinate, and subordinate conceptual levels of objects in cognitive psychology? How are these levels explained differently by the differentiation hypothesis and Rosch's explanation?

Inactive
Veronica T.
Answer:

The basic level is the way an object is most commonly described. Let's use "laptop" as an example. The superordinate level of "laptop" would be "computer," because it is a more broad descriptor of the object that also includes other objects as well. The subordinate level would be a specific type of laptop, such as "netbook" or "ultraportable." By the differentiation hypothesis, “laptop” is considered the basic level because it is specific enough to give all the information generally needed about the item, while still being a familiar word for pretty much everyone. Rosch’s explanation for why this is the basic level is that it is the most informative term that requires the least amount of cognitive effort to come up with. By the differentiation hypothesis, the subordinate level is not usually ideal for typical use because it might be so specific that it is an unfamiliar term for some people ("netbook" for example) and therefore doesn’t communicate sufficient information. Rosch’s explanation would say that the subordinate level isn’t preferred because it takes too much effort to think of it - when you look at your laptop, the word “laptop” will likely pop into your head before the name for the specific type of laptop that you have. The differentiation hypothesis and Rosch’s explanation would agree that the reason the superordinate level isn’t preferred is because it doesn’t provide enough information. In this case “computer” could be understood as a desktop computer, which is different from a laptop in some important ways.

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