Department of Behavioral Sciences

The University of Michigan-Dearborn

 

Department of Behavioral Sciences

 

PSYC 320/SOC 382/CRJ 382

 

Paper Assignment

 

You may choose either of these two options:

 

1) Write a social psychological analysis of an event in your personal life. That is, you are to apply concepts and theories that you have learned in the course, either from lecture, the text, or both. You may make the event as “juicy” and detailed as you like. In fact, for those of you whose lives are not psychologically interesting (a common complaint among many college students), you may want to be a bit more creative and “borrow” an event from a book or movie for application to concepts from the course. The major objective in doing this project is to demonstrate to the reader (me!) that you understand, and can apply the theories. In doing so, you must:

 

–use at least seven different concepts

 

define each concept in textbook fashion

 

–show how the definition applies to the event

 

In other words, don’t simply state that an event is “an example of cognitive dissonance” and forget to explain why. You must first define/explain/discuss the term “cognitive dissonance” in detail IN A SEPARATE PARAGRAPH. Then, demonstrate that the description of the term applies directly to the event or some part of it IN A SECOND PARAGRAPH. For the more anal– compulsive among you, this would mean that your analysis MUST BE at least 14 paragraphs long (two paragraphs for each term you apply).

 

Some tips: Unless it’s interesting, please don’t write your paper on love and attraction. I think I’ve read enough of those to write a TV script for the Hallmark Channel (and it’s not pretty). If all else fails, use the story you find easiest to apply.

 

I think that you will find this paper easier to do if you first discuss the event as you would relate it to a friend (2-3 pages). Then, in the second part of your paper, break down the event into its component parts and discuss each part in terms of how it fits into the concepts you want to apply.

 

CAUTION: Do not use this assignment simply as an opportunity to vent. The purpose of the paper is to apply terms, concepts, and theories. If you have a story that needs to be told, by all means, tell it. But, remember: your grade will depend mostly on your ability to analyze the events in the story–not on the story itself.

 

2. If the first option does not appeal to you, you may want to write a more traditional paper consisting of research on a topic that may or may not have been covered in the course.

 

If you choose this option, you must first clear the topic with me to make certain that it is appropriate and sufficiently narrow to allow you to finish it. You must:

 

–use at least five sources

 

–avoid textbooks (e.g., Social Psychology) as they are inappropriate

 

–avoid layperson-type magazines (e.g., Time, Newsweek) and internet sources (e.g., Wikipedia) as they too are inappropriate

 

In other words, you should make great use of such sources as topical books and scholarly journals (e.g., Journal of Personality and Social Psychology).

 

Possible topics (or come up with one of your own):

Cognitive dissonance (beyond course material)

Interpersonal attraction (beyond course material)

Attributions of causality (beyond course material)

Sex roles

Stereotyping

Personal space

Conflict and cooperation

Selective exposure and selective memory

Social facilitation

Aggression (beyond course material)

Communication/Persuasion (beyond course material)

 

Although I think this option is more difficult than the first one, you may not want to do option 1 since you may have to disclose something that may be too personally sensitive for you.

 

CAUTION: Literary plagiarism is considered cheating by the University of Michigan. Should I catch you lifting the words of someone else, and presenting them as your own: Heaven help you!!!

 

In any event, the paper is due Wednesday, December 4. It must be at least 6-8 pages in length (but more is better!). As an incentive to turn it in on time, please be aware that I will drop your grade by a ‘+’ or a ‘-‘ every school day that it is late. Yes, an “A” will become a “B-” if it is only four days late !!! I am also counting your elements of English–if I cannot understand what you’ve written, it will lose points.

 

NOTE: E-Mailed papers will NOT be accepted.

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