Application journal

Application journal

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 aIDitional 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 aIDitional 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.

Due date

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

Option 1

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.


Option 2

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

Option 1

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.

Option 2

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:

  1. Place a pad and paper near your bed so you can write down your dream as soon as you awake.
  2. 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.
  3. 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

Option 1

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.

Option 2

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)

Option 3

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


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