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PSYC 2302: Social Experience Assignments

In this course, you will write a series of short (no more than two double-spaced pages) Social Experience assignments. The purpose of this assignment is: 

  1. to point out the relevance of social psychology to everyday life 
  2. to stimulate critical thinking about social psychology 
  3. to give you an opportunity to demonstrate mastery of course concepts


You must complete three of these SE papers over the course of the semester. You can do one over any chapter, but you must submit the paper during the week we cover that chapter. I will not accept papers over topics from previous week’s chapters! You should choose one specific major concept that you would like to write about from the chapter we are covering that week. You are free to select any process, phenomenon, theory, or psychological tendency that is relevant to the material we’re currently covering in class that week in class. Your textbook and the material discussed in lecture will be helpful in generating ideas for you to write about. Be more specific than the title of the chapter. For example, if you want to discuss aggression, you need to be more specific.

Once you’ve selected a concept, your assignment is to write about how it relates to a recent event in your life. The body of each entry should begin with a description of an event or experience in your life in four or five sentences. A page-long story about how you spent your weekend is too long, and one line reading, “I went out with my friends” is insufficient. You should pick a specific event or interaction and describe it in enough detail so that your subsequent discussion will make sense to someone who was not there. If you can’t apply the concept to an event in your own life, you can also write about events you’ve heard about from other people, current events in the news, or even interactions that you watched on TV. Next you should describe how the social psychology concept you have chosen is relevant to this event. Once you’ve made the connection between the experience you described and the concept you’ve chosen, the rest of your discussion should address some (but not necessarily all) of the following questions: 

  • How does your current awareness of this psychological phenomenon change the way you interpret what happened during this event? 
  • If you (or others) had been aware of social psychological research about this phenomenon during the event, how might the outcome of the interaction have been changed? 
  • How will your learning about this phenomenon influence your attitudes/behavior/perceptions in the future? 
  • What questions do you now have after considering the event in light of psychological theory? 
  • What type of experiment(s) might help address these issues? Don’t be too formal – just a couple of sentences about research idea will be sufficient. 

You can also discuss an event that seems to be inconsistent with the topic you have chosen to write about.  In such cases, you might also want to consider some (but not necessarily all) of the following questions: 

  • How was this interaction inconsistent with the theory or phenomenon you have chosen? 
  • Why do you think the outcome of this interaction seems to be inconsistent with the phenomenon you chose? 
  • What aspects of the situation, if changed, would have resulted in a less surprising outcome? 
  • What type of experiment(s) might help answer these questions? 


Here are some general guidelines you should keep in mind in order to get full credit for your work: 

  • The top of your entry should list the specific concept you’ve chosen to write about
  • Your entry should be typed, spellchecked, and absolutely no more than one single-spaced page. One shorter paragraph summarizing the experience and one longer paragraph of discussion is a good model to follow. 
  • Don’t change margin widths, font sizes, or line spacing. These are really obvious attempts to make your work seem longer than it really is, and I’m very experienced at spotting them. 

You can use the Sample SE Assignments I’ve posted on Blackboard as a template for your writing. If you’re concerned about formatting issues, reach out to me and I’ll be happy to show you what an acceptable entry should look like. 

Late/Emailed Assignments

You can always turn SE assignments in early (in the week, not weeks ahead of when we cover a chapter), but late/emailed assignments will not be accepted. If your paper is late (or emailed) it will not be accepted. To ensure that you are able to post your assignment before the window is closed, DON’T WAIT TILL THE LAST MINUTE to complete your submission. Keep in mind that the likelihood of technical failures seems to be positively correlated with waiting till the last minute to submit an assignment. If you run into technical difficulties (laptop battery dies, computer crashes, Blackboard is down, etc) at the last minute, you will be unable to submit your assignment. YOU are responsible for getting these turned in and doing what is necessary to ensure that you can overcome any technological obstacles you may face. Late assignments will not be accepted.

Final Remarks 

I look forward to reading about your experiences with social psychology! I encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity to learn more about yourself and about social psychology. Be creative and challenge yourself.These SE assignments will give you a chance to process the course material on a deeper and more meaningful level, which is a good way to practice the critical thinking skills you’ll need to succeed on the exams. 

“Nothing relevant happened to me this week” is not an excuse for not writing. Remember, you can always write about something that happened to you previously or about something that happened to someone you know. If all else fails, watch any TV sitcom or reality TV show for a half-hour and you’re bound to find good material to write about. Fiction is full social psychological material. 

Make sure the topic you choose is specific and interesting enough to be useful to you and your learning about social psychology. Something like “this interaction is relevant because I made an attribution” is not informative or very sophisticated. Writing “in this interaction I made a self-serving attribution that allowed me to maintain high self-esteem” conveys more information, deals with a more specific phenomenon, and is more interesting to read.

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ulture and its mandates regarding what is considered “normal” are very important in society. However, culture and cultural patterns differ over time and between different places (towns, states, countries).

We look at the differences between cultures in two ways, one involves seeing and interpreting the world through our own cultural lens—evaluating other cultures in terms of our own norms, values, beliefs, etc. The other way requires that people suspend their own cultural patterns and view other cultures by considering the unique elements specific to other cultures.

This assignment is designed to help you develop an understanding of how an ethnocentric view of behavior differs from a culturally relative view.


Write your responses in a separate document and upload them to the link in the assignment folder.

Write in full sentences and do not include the questions in your submission.

Cite the sources you choose to define ethnocentrism and cultural relativism.

Provide an ASA formatted reference page.

First, read the following passage:

On October 23, 2014, about 20 activists whom police said belonged to the youth wing of India’s ruling, Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) barged into a cafe in Kozhikode, a city in the southern Indian state of Kerala. The men smashed windows, overturned chairs, and destroyed a television. The cafe, in their view, was facilitating “immoral activities”: specifically, couples holding hands and kissing.

And young Indians have been divided in their response to the incident. The attack, which was caught on film, brought urban students across the country into the streets to stage what have been dubbed “Kiss of Love” protests. Demonstrators have gathered to openly kiss, caress, hug, and otherwise show affection from the city of Kochi in the south to New Delhi in the north, with the explicit aim of challenging the “moral police.” At the same time, student organizations across the political spectrum have spoken out against the protests as contrary to Indian values, and counter-protesters have shouted slogans against Western influence as embodied, for example, in public displays of affection.

Second, read the following:

The topic we consider in this assignment is the contrasting views that Indian citizens express about public displays of affection. We are looking at “Kiss of Love” counter-protestors and thinking about their claim that public displays of affection are a social problem.

For this assignment, students should consider two different viewpoints regarding the protests against public displays of affection in India. You are to analyze the group of Indian citizens who believe that kissing and showing romantic affection in public is morally wrong. You will write about two possible interpretations (ethnocentric and culturally relative) of the actions of those who openly reject the idea of public intimacy and protest against public displays of affection in India.

Address following:

1. Define ethnocentrism (cite your source).

2. Define cultural relativism (cite your source).

3. In two paragraphs, write an ethnocentric interpretation of the counter-protestors actions in rejecting public displays of affection in India (i.e., breaking into the coffee shop and demonstrating against the “Kiss of Love” protests).

4. In two paragraphs, write a culturally relative interpretation of these same protestor’s actions (i.e., breaking into the coffee shop and demonstrating against the “Kiss of Love” protests).

5. Provide a reference page using ASA format.

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1. This assignment is to write a 1,000-word proposal paper (not including the title page or references page), which includes a minimum of 5 scholarly references, not including the textbook or lectures. 2. The content of the Health and Wellness Program Proposal Paper should cover four key areas: • The need for the program – what impacts does the health and wellness issue have on individuals and communities? For example, does it reduce life expectancy? How does it impact functioning and quality of life? Is it expensive for our healthcare systems once individuals are infected? How you describe the need for the strategy will vary based on your health and wellness issue, but you should make a clear case why it warrants immediate attention. • The current state of the health and wellness issue – in other words, what does the issue “look like”? For example, what are the incidence and prevalence rates? Are there disparities by race/ethnicity, geographic location, etc., in risk or outcome? • What is known about the causal nature of the health and wellness issue – what do we know about the issue and what causes it? For example, what is the process between exposure and health outcome (e.g., how does stress lead individuals to get sick)? Does it spread to others? What is known about major causes of the issue? Are there any comorbid (i.e., overlapping; co-occurring) conditions associated with the issue? • What should be done about the health and wellness issue? This is the “program” portion of the proposal. This portion of the proposal is where you will be creative by suggesting how we should try to prevent or eliminate the health and wellness issue. This strategy should make sense given what you describe in the previous three key areas, and especially the third (the causal nature of the issue). The strategy will not be judged by the feasibility of its implementation, but rather on the rationale behind the ideas.  

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Completing an assignment

Download the template for the assignment (e.g., Article Summaries #1.docx for the first assignment) and save it on your computer.

Choose a topic from the chapters covered by the assignment. Make sure you’ve got a solid understanding of the topic based on the textbook before you start looking for articles on the web. If you choose a topic that we haven’t covered yet, you’ll need to read ahead in the chapter(s) where that topic is covered.

I suggest finding your articles on the sites in the Websites for Article Summaries folder. Find three articles about the same topic which expand your knowledge beyond what you’ve learned in class. Your articles should be reports of recent findings on your topic. Don’t use instructional items that are primarily designed to teach about the topic. Make sure each article reports on different findings, though all three should be about the same general topic. Keep in mind that this is a course in biological psychology, so the articles you choose should expand on what you’ve learned about the biological structures and/or functions associated with your topic. When you submit your summaries, if any of your articles are not appropriate for the assignment, I will return it and ask you to replace it with an appropriate article.

Write your summaries by answering the questions on the template. Each summary should be at least 250 words. To see how many words you’ve written, you can select the contents of a textbox and Microsoft Word will show you the word count. Or you can use a free online service like When you’re finished, be sure to save the document.

Websites for Article Summaries 

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In-Class Group Discussion
Among the three individual “accused-narrators”/accused-storytellers (not the journalistic-narrators) in the
videos we viewed, Aaron Beam, Richard Scrushy, and Weston Smith, be prepared to participate in our brief
in-class group (oral) discussion contrasting and comparing each video in your group based upon the
following questions. During our 30-minute in-class group discussion, you should each gather the thoughts
from your group member, and then, using this as your starting point, be prepared to upload your group’s
responsive presentation in PowerPoint format by the beginning of (by 6:00 p.m.) the next class period.
Estimated 7 groups of 5 participants.

Optional Questions

1. Of the three (3) individuals, which of the 3 gave the most comprehensive narrative of the events
surrounding (before, during and after) the accounting fraud?

2. Which one of the 3 was the most believable in telling his story? The next (most believable), the
least believable? Why?

3. Which one(s) was convicted pursuant to a guilty plea versus standing trial?

4. Of the one(s) standing trial what was the outcome of the trial? A hung jury/mistrial declared by
judge/ a dismissal ordered by the judge, an outright conviction by the jury, a retrial, etc.

5. How many individuals testified against each of the narrators?

6. Which one(s) spent time in prison for the offense discussed? And, how much time?

7. Which one(s) express the belief that multiple employees were involved? Approximately how many
employees were implicated in each video?

8. Which one(s) gave a clear picture of how the fraud at HealthSouth was carried out? Summarize the
method(s) explained by/in each of the narratives.

. Which narrator(s) [if any] implicated the outside auditors, accountants/accounting firms, financial
analyst(s), board of directors, or external regulator(s)

10. Which one(s) accepted the personal blame for the fraud the most, next, the least?

11. What does the term “browbeat/browbeating” have to do with the accounting fraud at HealthSouth?
What does it mean, how does “browbeating” work/how was “browbeating” carried out, and by

12. What reason did each give for not stopping the accounting fraud?

13. What does the term “state’s evidence” mean? Why would that have anything to do with the
HealthSouth accounting fraud?

14. Who do you think deserved to be penalized the most among the 3 accused-narrators?

II. PowerPoint Presentation
Using between 6 and 10 slides of content, create a group presentation to compare and contrast the three
perspectives of the same narrative from the HealthSouth case. You may use the questions above as a guide
however they are not required. You will be evaluated on your presentation based upon your ability to use
the facts to present the similarities and differences between the CEO and the two CFOs.

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