Week 13 Blog Prompts: Topic – Social Psychology

Option 1:

As mentioned in class, the Implicit Association Test (which can be accessed through this link) is a tool to identify biases which may be outside your conscious awareness. The results of this test cannot determine whether or not you are racist, sexist, homophobic, etc., but they are useful to help you understand yourself and how you interact with others. For this post, you must take two separate IAT tests from the link above. You do not need to share your results if you don’t want to, but you need to talk about the experience of taking the test and getting the results, comment on whether or not the results were surprising, and discuss how this test can be useful for college students or your future career.

Option 2:

Your textbook gives a good overview of the power of persuasion, but how well do you recognize these effects in your own lives? In advertising, both the central route and the peripheral route are used to persuade an individual. Many commercials use these routes to persuade an individual to buy their product or to buy into their idea. Select one type of product (e.g., cars, cereal, video games) and find a commercial that displays the central route and another that displays the peripheral route of persuasion. Discuss how each route is used, argue which route of persuasion you believe worked best, point out any other persuasion techniques that you noticed, and explain how the commercials could have better displayed the route of persuasion it used. Please put the link to the commercials in your discussion.

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Week 11 Student Blog Spotlight: Topics – Emotion & Motivation

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As the semester draws ever closer to completion, students facing final exams often need a reminder about how to generate happiness and/or explore their motivations (or perhaps lack thereof). Always one to jump to help students out, this week’s blog prompts offered them the choice of watching Dan Gilbert’s fantastic TED Talk entitled The Surprising Science of Happiness or trying to explain their motivation for attending Austin College from different theoretical lenses (see the full prompt instructions here).

In many weeks this semester, one topic has dominated the other in terms of popularity with my students, but this week was much more balanced. Six students chose to explore the idea of “synthetic happiness,” while five students focused inward on their motivations. Check out their posts and share your thoughts via comments!

Happiness posts: Link 1, Link 2, Link 3, Link 4, Link 5, Link 6

Motivation posts: Link 1, Link 2, Link 3, Link 4, Link 5

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Week 10 Student Blog Spotlight: Topic – Personality

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Spring is in the air in Texas, which means the end of the semester is growing near. Students and faculty are scurrying about trying to keep up with deadlines, and I need to get caught up telling you about what my students have been writing! The personality unit is always fun because students get to think about how all these different theories apply to them. It is also when the students complete one of my favorite assignments where they take numerous online personality tests, compare the results and critique the validity of the surveys. The blog prompts this week invited students to think about introversion vs. extroversion with the help of Susan Cain’s TED Talk or delve further into the MBTI by predicting the type of a fictional character (for full prompt instructions please see here).

Most students opted for the TED Talk about the “Power of Introverts,” though one student did an analysis of Rory Gilmore from Gilmore Girls and another analyzed Monkey “Straw Hat” Luffy from the anime One Piece. To see what my students thought about the TED Talk and how introverts vs. extroverts are valued in society and on our campus, check out the links below:

Link 1    Link 2    Link 3

Link 4    Link 5    Link 6

Link 7    Link 8    Link 9

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Week 9 Blogging Spotlight: Topic – Intelligence

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The semester continues on with our discussion of intelligence. We covered a variety of theories related to the structure of intelligence, ranging from Spearman’s 2-factor theory to Gardner’s multiple intelligences to Ceci’s bioecological model. We discussed the difficulty of measuring intelligence in the context of the strengths and weaknesses of traditional IQ tests as well as attempts to use IQ testing as a “scientific” racism despite cultural biases inherent in the assessment. The blogging options for this week were to look at how teachers can affect students’ performance in school or to assess the claim about the Mozart Effect (see full prompts here). My students were overwhelmingly more interested in the former, with just one brave student going against the grain to look at the Mozart Effect. To see my students’ reactions to potential effects of teachers’ expectations on students, check out the links below:
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Week 12 Blog Prompts

Option 1:

Stress is something all too common in college students’ lives, but what if you could change your relationship with stress. Kelly McGonigal discusses doing just that in her TED talk “Making Stress Your Friend.” Watch the video, share your reactions, discuss how reasonable you find its message to be, and discuss how you could implement some of the ideas into your life.

Option 2:

We all have different methods for coping with stress. For this prompt, please discuss your typical strategies for dealing with stress and evaluate how well they have worked for you this semester. Next, list 3 new strategies for coping with stress you could try and discuss how effective you think they would be. Finally, find a website that provides tips for handling stress and discuss how credible you find the site and its recommendations.

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Week 8 Blogging Spotlight: Topic – Consciousness

Microphone stands in spotlight by kjeik, on Flickr
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I have fallen behind in getting these summary posts up, but my students have been working hard so I need to catch up with them! In Week 8 of the semester, we covered consciousness, specifically focusing on sleep and how drugs and alcohol affect the brain. The students had the option of blogging about the debate to legalize marijuana or exploring the theories about the purpose of sleep (see full blog prompts here). Check out their thoughts via the links below:
The Great Marijuana Debate:
The Meaning of Sleep:
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Week 11 Blog Prompt

Option 1:

We all want to enjoy life and seek ways to make ourselves happy. Indeed, we spend much of lives chasing the goal of happiness. But how good are we at actually finding it? Dan Gilbert discusses the ways in which we sabotage our own happiness in his TED talk. Watch the video, share your reactions, and discuss ways in which you can incorporate more synthetic happiness into your life.

Option 2:

Motivation is not a stable force, but often waxes and wanes. Throughout your time at Austin College, your motivation for school will undoubtedly be higher at some times and lower at others. How can we use the principals of motivation we discussed in class and read about in the text to help ourselves push through times of low motivation? Specifically, I want you to discuss why you chose to come to Austin College and use 2 different theories of motivation to explain your decision. I also want you to plan an intervention for yourself for how you can maintain motivation to succeed until graduation.

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Week 10 Blog Prompts

Option 1:

One of the most commonly discussed dimensions of personality is introversion vs. extroversion. In many ways, US society values extroverts more highly, but Susan Cain discusses the Power of Introverts in her TED talk. Watch the talk and discuss my assertion that extroverts are more valued in the US. What about Austin College? Are there advantages to being either introverted or extroverted here?

Option 2:

One popular form of assessing personality is the MBTI. In fact, many of you took the MBTI before you came to AC as part of the process of assigning you dorm rooms. Here is the website for the MBTI. Read through the links describing the dimensions of the MBTI to familiarize yourself with the personality types it produces. Then I want you to choose your favorite fictional character and try to guess what personality type (e.g., ENFJ) he/she/it would have. Find a link to a website that gives a synopsis of your character in case your readers are not familiar with him/her/it and explain your choices for each dimension.

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