If you choose this option you will be completing 10 short writing assignments. These are not research assignments that require going to the library but instead are designed as a way for you to apply what you have learned.
There are 18 options each worth 10 points below. You need to complete any 10 of them. You may complete one additional assignment to earn up to 10 bonus points. They are organized by chapter. I would highly recommend that you complete each assignment shortly after we complete that material rather than waiting to complete all 10 at the end of the semester. If you work on the assignments as we go through the course, you may even finish this journal early.
Please ask Dr. EL Sawi if you have any questions about the instructions for any of the specific assignments.
First, make sure that you avoid plagiarism. If you use a direct quote from the text, you need to use quotation marks and reference the text and page number. I would prefer you try to put the concepts in your own words. If you use additional sources such as other texts or webpages, please include those as well. You may lose points on assignments for not properly referencing sources.
Second, these writing assignments need to be typed and double-spaced. You should use formal writing on the assignments. This means that you should use complete sentences, try not to write like you talk, avoid spelling errors, etc. Proofread before submitting. You may lose points on assignments for poor writing.
Next, make sure that you answer all parts of the assignment. If the assignment asks for three examples make sure that you have three examples.
Finally, the point of the assignments is for me to see that you understand the concepts. Define all psychological terms that you did not know before this course. I know what they mean but I need to be clear that you do as well.
Completed assignments should be compiled in a folder or small binder. Entries should be labeled as to what chapter they go with and should be in order.
Journals can be emailed to the instructor to try to reduce late penalties. The journal is considered to be submitted based on the time it is received. I will send you an email confirming I received it. If you do not get a confirmation from me, I did not get the journal and it is late until I get it
In class we talked about the eight different perspectives in psychology and how each can attempt to explain a problem from a different angle. For this assignment you are going to think about how the different perspectives in psychology might try to understand depression. For each of the seven perspectives in psychology (neuroscience, evolutionary, behavioral genetics, psychodynamic, behavioral, cognitive, and social-cultural), briefly explain the perspective and then describe how it might try to understand depression (Hints: See page 9 in the text for an example of how the perspectives might explain anger. Also be sure to put your explanations of the perspectives in your own words- do not plagiarize the text!) Note: There is an eighth perspective- the humanistic approach- but you will not need to discuss it in this assignment.
Chapter 1: Thinking Critically with Psychological Science
On the evening news you hear a newscaster say “Watching the Simpsons causeshappiness to increase.” This catches your attention. The reporter goes on to say that researchers measured two variables: how many hours people watch the Simpsons per month and their happiness. After having taken this class, you recognize this to be a correlation study- and thus, one that cannot determine cause. You are so outraged that you write a letter to the producer of the show.
For this assignment, you are going to be writing a letter to the producer of the news program. Your assignment should be written in the form of a letter. Your letter should explain what correlation research is and why it cannot determine cause. To illustrate your point, you should explain the three possible interpretations of the finding the reporter gave. (hint: this is similar to a handout we did in class). Then, you should explain how the researcher could have done the study to determine cause. Specifically, you will need to explain how the researcher could have designed an experiment (including the two keys components of experiment) to see if Simpsons viewing does cause happiness.
Describe how a researcher might use a descriptive method (case study, naturalistic observation or a survey) to study depression. Next, describe how a researcher might use the correlational method to study the relationship between exercise and depression. Finally, describe how you conduct an experiment that shows exercise causes depression to change. In your experiment, be sure to specify what the independent and dependent variable are. Include enough detail that a person could take your description of the study and actually conduct it. Then, explain which of these experiments can determine causality.
Chapter 2: The Biology of Mind
In this chapter we learned about several different parts of the brain and how they influence behavior. Pretend you are jumping rope. Explain what at least ten different parts of your brain are doing while you jump rope. Be sure to explain what each brain part does and how it is being used when you are jumping rope.
The brain is made up of neurons. Explain how a message is transmitted within a neuron. Explain how a message is transmitted between neurons. Use your own words! Be sure to define any terms unfamiliar to an everyday person.
Chapter 3: Consciousness and the Two-Track Mind
In this assignment, you will need to try to remember one of your dreams. Below you will find some helpful hints to make this more likely.
For this assignment, begin by describing your dream. You do not have to share all of the content if you do not want to. Then comment briefly if your dream content matches what researchers often find to be the content of dreams (e.g. page 104- contain negative emotions). Then for each of the four theories of dreaming (Freud’s wish-fulfillment, information processing, physiological function, and activation-synthesis), briefly explain the theory of dreaming and then describe how it would explain your dream. (Hints: Be sure to put your explanations of the perspectives in your own words- do not plagiarize the text!) Note: There is a fifth perspective- the cognitive theory of dreaming- but you will not need to discuss it in this assignment.
To make it more likely you will remember your dream:
- Place a pad and paper near your bed so you can write down your dream as soon as you awake.
- Set an alarm for two-hours after you usually fall asleep and every two hours thereafter. Or set the alarm for 15 minutes before you normally get up. Since dreams often occur then, there’s a good chance you will recall one.
- Do not drink alcohol before bed as alcohol interferes with REM sleep.
If you absolutely cannot remember a dream, you may ask someone else to share one with you.
Chapter 4: Nature, Nurture, and Human Diversity
Find the personal ads section of a newspaper. Randomly choose twenty ads (ten for males seeking females and ten for females seeking males). Read each ad and makes notes of how the person describes themselves and how they describe the person they are seeking. Specifically, do the people look for younger or older partners? Are they seeking health and good looks or success? How do they advertise themselves- as young, successful, attractive, etc? Do these ads differ by gender?
For your assignment, explain the evolutionary approach to mate selection and what it hypothesizes men and women look for in a mate. Then summarize the results of your survey of the personal ads. Specifically, summarize how men and women advertise themselves. Then summarize what men and women look for in a mate. Be sure to provide enough detail (e.g. 8 of the 10 males looked for a younger women). Finally, comment on whether or not it was consistent with evolutionary theory.
In class we discussed three different temperaments. For this assignment, explain what temperament is and the three types of temperament. Then, decide based on your current behavior whether you believe you are easy, difficult, or slow-to –warm up and why. Then explain the three temperamental styles to your parent(s). Without telling them what you temperament you currently think you have, ask them to identify which temperament they think you had as an infant. Did your temperament remain stable over time? Comment on why you think your temperament might have remained stable or might have changed (e.g.
environmental influences, etc)
Explain the difference between and individualistic and collectivist culture. Are you from an individualistic or collectivist culture? How does the type of culture you are from impact your attitudes about family? Mate selection? Career choices?
Chapter 5 Developing Through the Life Span
This assignment will give you a chance to see Piaget’s theory in action. Find a child (your child, a niece or nephew, a friend’s child) whose is in Piaget’s preoperational s
tage- preferably on the younger end (age 2, 3, or 4). With their parent’s permission, conduct one of Piaget’s conservation experiments (e.g. tall/thin vs. fat wide glasses, 2 rows of pennies spread out, etc) with the child.
For your assignment, explain what Piaget proposes children in the preoperational stage can do cognitively and define conservation. Then explain the experiment you conducted including the age of the child, what test you did and how(it is not enough to say you did the beaker test), and how the child responded. Comment on if the child was able to or not able to conserve and explain at least one reason why this might be the case (e.g. does not have reversibility).
In chapter 4, you learned several things about prenatal, infant and child development. Imagine that a parenting magazine has asked you to write a brief article to enhance a child s development. Write five tips for new parents. You can address things like prenatal development, sensory capabilities and preferences of newborns, parenting styles, cognitively appropriate language to use with children, etc. Be sure to support each tip with research or theory.
This assignment will attempt to have you simulate what it is like to be elderly. You should set aside a 1 hour period to be old. Then do several of the following things to grow old: put ear plugs or cotton balls in your ears, wrap your knuckles with masking tape, wrap your knees or elbows with elastic bandages to make them stiff, do not use glasses or contacts to impair your vision, use only your left hand to simulate a stroke, dress like an old person, or any other things that you might think of. Then spend the next hour doing your everyday activities- cooking, watching TV, go for a walk, etc. Use common sense- do not drive without glasses, etc. In your paper, you will report your experiences. Your assignment should include an introduction that describes the purpose of the paper is (i.e., to test what it is like to be elderly). Then you should include a description of the impairments you gave yourself including how you created the impairment and what it might simulate. Next, give a description of the activities that you tried to do and your experiences. What did you find hard to do? What impairment was the most debilitating? If you were around other people, how did they treat you? Are there any things in your environment you would need to change? Finally, comment on what you learned from this experience
Chapter 6 Sensation and Perception
For this option, pretend that a 6-year-old asks you “How do we see?” or “How do we hear?” Find a way a creative way to answer one of these questions. You can design a handout, children’s book, a coloring book, a brochure, a video, or power point presentation- anything that can explain to a 6-year old how that sense works. If you have another idea, check with your instructor. Your target audience is children so make sure your explanations are simple but you still use the scientific terminology. BE CREATIVE!
If you choose vision, you will need to include the following: light waves, pupil, iris, lens, retina, rods and cones, optic nerve and then can stop your explanation at the visual cortex. You can get extra points on this assignment by also explaining feature detectors and parallel processing.
If you choose hearing, you will need to include the following: sound waves, eardrum, middle ear, cochlea, hair cells, auditory nerve and can stop your explanation at the auditory cortex. You can get extra points on this assignment by also explaining deafness.
This paper will give you a first hand look at sensory interaction. Find a willing partner to help you with this project. Pick several foods- some spicy, some salty, some bitter, some sweet. Try to get some with similar textures – e.g., potato and apple. Have the other person taste them with his/her eyes blindfolded and his/her nose plugged. See how many he/she can correctly identify. Then let the person taste the same foods with his/her nose unplugged but his/her eyes still blindfolded and see how many he/she can identify. Use at least five different foods.
Your assignment should include an introduction that explains what sensory interaction is followed by a brief description of how people smell and how people taste (e.g., molecules in air reach receptor cells in nasal cavity..). Then you should describe the five foods you used in your experiment. Then summarize your results- what your friend could identify with his/her nose plugged and what they could identify with his/her nose unplugged. Finally comment on if your results showed sensory interaction or not.
This assignment will allow you to explore depth perception. For this paper, find a picture of a painting, a photograph, or a magazine ad. Identify fivemonocular cues that give the image a sense of depth. Your assignment should open with a definition of depth perception and monocular cues. Then you should discuss five monocular cues present in the image. For each monocular cue, define the cue and explain how it is seen in the image. Be sure to turn in a copy of the image you analyzed with your assignment.
Find ten friends or family members to volunteer to solve some anagram puzzles. Instruct each participant to solve the anagrams in order!! Give five of them the following anagrams to solve: LULB, CALEM, NUKKS, SEUMO, BAZER, EAP. Notice that the first five can all unscrambled to be animals. Give the other five these anagrams to solve: NORC, NOOIN, MATOOT, PREPPE, TEBE, AND EAP. Notice that the second five can all unscramble to be vegetables. The point of interest in this study is how they unscramble the last word – will it be perceived as pea? Or ape?
Write a one- to two-page essay. First explain the concept of perception and perceptual set. Then explain your mini experiment. Include enough detail so that someone who does not know what you did could figure it out. Then summarize your results (e.g., How many people in the animal group unscrambled the word as ape?). Finally, comment on whether or not your results support the idea of perceptual set.
Chapter 11: Motivation and Work
This assignment involves recognizing examples of motivation concepts in a movie, television show, or book. For your assignment, give a brief summary identifying the movie, television show or book that you chose and its basic plot. Then you should identify four motivation concepts in the movie. This includes defining the concept and then explaining an example of the concept in the movie, show, or book.
This assignment involves testing the catharsis hypothesis. For this paper, choose two television programs (or video games) – one that you would consider to be violent and one that you would consider to be nonviolent. Before watching the show or playing the game, rate your arousal level on a scale from 1 to 10 with 10 being high arousal. Then watch at least ten minutes of the show and make your ratings again. Do the same for the other show but wait at least ten minutes with no viewing between shows.
For your assignment, explain the catharsis hypothesis. Then describe the results of your experiment including a brief description of the shows you watched and its content, and your before and after ratings for each show. Then comment on if the catharsis hypothesis was confirmed or not in your experience. In other words, did arousal go up or down and is this consistent with the catharsis hypothesis? Finally, explain what the consensus of scientific research concludes about the catharsis hypothesis (i.e. do angry outbursts reduce later aggression? Are there better ways to reduce anger? See pages 536, 756)