Social psychology deals with topics that are familiar to most of us yet its questions still must be answered scientifically.  Sometimes these questions are answered through the use of somewhat mundane laboratory experiments.  Ultimately, however, social psychologists also seek to use their research to help society.


Assignment:  Please write an essay addressing the following issues:

1.  What does it mean when we say “Psychology is a science”?  Why is it important that psychological questions are approached scientifically, and not through intuition or common sense?   (25 points)


2. Discuss 3 social psychological principles that we have discussed this semester.  (25 points each) For EACH one…

  • Define the theory/concept/principle.  Explain the theoretical background and laboratory research that supports this principle. (15 points)
  • Explain how knowledge gained from this research program has been (or could be) applied in some useful way to our society.  (10 points)
    • For ONE of the three you may come up with a way you think the research could be applied even if you have no knowledge that such application has ever been tried.  For at least 2 of your concepts, however, you must present evidence (gained from lecture or the book) of how such research has been applied (successfully or not) in a real world situation.



Technical Requirements:  We have covered 12 chapters in this course.  Each of the 3 concepts that you discuss should come from a different chapter.   You may NOT use the examples from the applied social psychology textbook chapter (the idea is for you to realize that most of the concepts we have discussed this semester have been applied in some way).  Your essay should be typed, 3-5 pages, double-spaced, 12-point font with 1 inch margins.  Submit your essay (saved as a WORD document) via Blackboard by midnight on Sunday May 4th.  You will lose 5 points for each day it is late.



Grading Rubric:

Cumulative Essay Grading

Possible Points            Earned

Psychology as Science                        25

Concept 1:       Theory                         15

Application                 10

Concept 2:       Theory                         15

Application                 10

Concept 3:       Theory                         15

Application                 10




Example:  As a completely made-up example, let’s say that Drs. Smith and Jones discovered the “Three strikes theory”.  This theory suggested that after being punished 3 times very severely, laboratory rats learned to run through a maze more quickly than if not punished.  For the exam, you would explain this theory and research that supports it.  You would then talk about actual research that used the three strikes theory – perhaps to encourage learning in children (again – remember this is a bogus example – I do not recommend this!).  If no such research existed, you could discuss how you suspected such research could be applied in the real world.


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