We’ve Moved!

I’m starting a new position at Elizabethtown College in Elizabethtown, PA in Fall 2017. The General Psychology course there is 105 instead of 101, so I’ve created a new page to host the student blogs that you can access here. It was a difficult decision to move the main site, as there are many of you who have this site bookmarked or have signed up for the email summary of new content. I would encourage you to update your bookmarks so you continue to see the new content. Unfortunately, you will have to sign up for email notifications again on the new page. I apologize for any inconvenience. I hope to see you all on the new site to keep up with a new round of Gen Psych students exploring psychological concepts.

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Finals Week Blog Prompt – Reflections

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This is the prompt for finals week. You must post by noon Friday, 5/12 to receive credit. This prompt will either replace a non-zero post from earlier in the semester or give you 2 extra credit points (I will apply whatever helps your grade more). Comments will be accepted until noon on Saturday, 5/13  and  will either replace a non-zero comment from earlier in the semester or give you 1 extra credit point (I will apply whatever helps your grade more). Use the tag “Finals” on your post.

Return to your introductory blog post where you described the 3 topics you were most and least excited about for this course, and the one question you wanted to be able to answer when it was over. Reflect on whether your predictions came true in terms of your favorite and least favorite topics, and try to answer the question you posed.

I look forward to seeing what you write!

Header image: CC by Flickr user Caitlinator

 

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Week 14 First Impression Prompts

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Here are the three prompts for this week. Regardless of which prompt you choose, use the tag “Mental Health.”

Option 1

Schizophrenia is often depicted dramatically in the media, and has been the subject of many major films like A Beautiful Mind, The Soloist, and Donnie Darko. Less frequently, however, do people get the chance to think about the daily life of someone who experiences hallucinations and delusions. Watch this video which simulates the experience of a person with schizophrenia, share your reactions, and compare this to how you typically see schizophrenia in the media.

Option 2

People often associate schizophrenia with the homeless population or mental hospitals, but rarely do we think about people who are professionally very successful. One person who is thriving despite her schizophrenia is Elyn Saks, who received her law degree from Yale and is a professor at the University of Southern California. In her TED Talk, she describes how she struggled with her disorder and was eventually able to manage her condition and take control of her life. Share your reactions to the video, discuss how her story compares to the “typical narrative” of schizophrenia, and discuss why you think she turned out differently than other people with this disorder.

Option 3

Television shows like My Strange Addiction, Intervention, True Life, and others have turned some mental illnesses into entertainment. In particular, the shows Hoarders and Hoarding: Buried Alive showcase people with hoarding disorder trying to get their lives, homes, and relationships back in order. What do you think about this type of show? Is it ethical to do? Does it exploit people with mental illnesses? Answer these questions, then watch this clip from Hoarding: Buried Alive and share your reactions and if any of your perspectives changed. Then read the comments and again share your reactions and perspectives.

I look forward to seeing what you write!

Header image: CC by Flickr user Caitlinator
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Week 13 First Impression Prompts – Social Psychology

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Here are the two prompts for this week. Regardless of which prompt you choose, use the tag “Social Psychology.”

Option 1

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

Would you enjoy a task more if I gave you $1 to do it or $20 to do it? Many of you will probably say you’d rather have the $20, but research suggests you will probably enjoy it more if I only give you a single dollar. Watch this footage to see:

Describe a time in your life when you think you experienced a change in beliefs due to cognitive dissonance, and argue whether you think this is a good thing we should promote and utilize or a bad thing we should try to avoid.

I look forward to seeing what you write!

Header image: CC by Flickr user Caitlinator
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Week 12 First Impression Prompts – Stress & Emotion

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Here are the two prompts for this week.

Option 1: Please use the tag “Emotion.”

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, comment on the speaker’s credibility, discuss how reasonable you find its message to be, and discuss ways in which you can incorporate more synthetic happiness into your life.

Option 2: Please use the tag “Stress.”

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, comment on the speaker’s credibility, discuss how reasonable you find its message to be, and discuss how you could implement some of the ideas into your life.

I look forward to seeing what you write!

Header image: CC by Flickr user Caitlinator
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Week 11 First Impression Prompts – Motivation

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**Since we’re still working our way through personality in class, I’ve decided this week we will make a small diversion into talking about motivation for the blog prompt. This material is related to Chapter 11 in the textbook, but we will not be covering this in class. For refinement posts make sure you read Chapter 11 to incorporate material from the text.**

Here are the two prompts for this week. Regardless of which one you choose, please use the tag “Motivation.”

Option 1

America is currently facing an obesity epidemic that some experts have labeled the biggest public health threat we have today. We have all heard the recommendations to eat healthier and get regular exercise. Some people, however, are taking the message of healthy eating too far. A new mental health disorder called orthorexia nervosa has been proposed, in which eating healthy food becomes an obsession. One set of proposed criteria are available here. Look over the criteria and comment on whether or not you think this is a good way to define the boundary between eating healthy and having a mental disorder. Also find two sources that discuss orthorexia and describe what information they add to your opinion on whether this is really a disorder or not. Make sure to include an assessment of each source’s credibility.

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.

I look forward to seeing what you write!

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Week 10 First Impression Post – Personality

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We all want to know more about our ourselves, and psychological tests are one way to explore our personalities. While the full psychological tests are often long and require a fee to take, there are an abundance of free versions online. Take the four personality tests linked below, discuss how accurately they describe your perception of your personality, and discuss the credibility of each test. Make sure to use the tag “Personality” on your post.

I look forward to seeing what you write!

Header image: CC by Flickr user Caitlinator
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Spotlight Blog 1 Prompt

Regardless of which option you choose, make sure to use the tag “Spotlight” on your post. Also include the tag listed for the option you choose below.

Option 1 – Use the tag “Development”

As divorce has become more and more common in the US, the number of children affected by divorce has increased greatly. The effects of divorce on children are controversial and there are a number of opinions out there on just what is “best” for kids. If you select this option, I want you to find two credible sources that argue divorce is inherently harmful to children and two credible sources that argue children can come through a divorce without serious consequences. Make sure to assess the arguments and supporting data presented in each source, explain what makes the source credible, and state which side of the issue you think is correct based on your reading. Make sure to list all sources at the end of your post.

Option 2 – Use the tag “Memory”

Now that we’ve discussed how learning and memory work and you’ve had a chance to think about your own study skills, I want you to critically evaluate websites that give students advice about how to study. If you select this option, I want you to find three different websites that provide advice for studying: one targeted toward college students, one targeted toward middle or high school students, and one targeted toward parents. Evaluate the advice provided on each and compare it to what you know about how memory works (include sources), making sure to correct anything you think is bad advice. Be sure to include links to the websites you are evaluating.

Option 3 – Use the tag “Drugs”

We covered the biology of addiction as well as basic information about the types of drugs of abuse out there, but we didn’t spend much time talking about treatment. The two most prominent treatment philosophies (arguably) are the abstinence model and the harm reduction model. Find two credible sources that advocate the abstinence model and two credible sources that advocate the harm reduction model. Make sure to assess the arguments and supporting data presented in each source, explain what makes the source credible, and state which model you think is better based on your reading. Make sure to list all sources at the end of your post.

I look forward to seeing what you write!

Header image: CC by Flickr user Thomas Hawk
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Week 9 First Impression Prompt

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Here are the two prompts for this week. Regardless of which one you choose, please use the tag “Intelligence.”

Option 1:

Many people consider intelligence to be largely determined by genetics, but there is substantial evidence that the environment and social processes play a large role as well. Since schools are a place where children try to determine how smart they really are, it is important for educators to understand the impacts of their subtle or not-so-subtle interactions with students. Watch these three videos: Jane Elliott’s classic blue eyes/brown eyes experiment, Claude Steele explaining stereotype threat, and Rosenthal & Jacobson’s discovery of the Pygmalion effect. In your blog post, react to what you saw in the videos, reflect on your own interactions with educators throughout your school career, and discuss what, if any, changes to the school system based on the concepts in these videos could improve students’ performance in the classroom.

Option 2:

In 1998, the Governor of Georgia, Zell Miller, proposed spending $105,000 of the state’s budget to distribute a cassette or CD of classical music to the parents of each new child born in Georgia (see the NY Times article). Governor Miller was a staunch believer in the Mozart effect, a theory that listening to Mozart can increase intelligence. The Mozart effect is highly controversial and has spurred numerous research studies, but was based on one study published in 1993. Read the original journal article by Rauscher, Shaw, & Ky and discuss whether or not the original evidence supports Governor Miller’s decision.

I look forward to seeing what you write!

Header image: CC by Flickr user Caitlinator
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Week 8 First Impression Prompt – Learning

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Regardless of which prompt you choose, please use the Tag “Learning” on your post.

Option 1:

BF Skinner passionately believed in the power of operant conditioning. He thought it was such a powerful influence that it proved free will is an illusion. See Skinner make this claim here. You can read more about “radical behaviorism” at this link. After reading these sources, respond to Skinner’s assertion that there is no such thing as free will. Do you agree or disagree? Why?

Option 2:

Violence in the media has been controversial for decades, but over the last 20 years there has been increasing attention to the amount of violence in video games. The rise of first-person shooters and games with graphic displays of blood and gore has led to criticisms of the video game industry and claims that children are becoming more violent as a result. What is your perspective on violent video games? What do you think about calls to have them permanently banned?

I look forward to seeing what you write!

Header image: CC by Flickr user Caitlinator
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