Thanksgiving Break First Impression Post – Motivation

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**In case you need an additional first impression or refinement post to make it to the required 8 for the semester, the following prompts are available for yout to do over break. This material is related to Sections 10.1 and 10.2 in the textbook, but we will not be covering this in class. For refinement posts make sure you read Chapter 10 to incorporate material from the text.**

Here are the two prompts for break. Regardless of which prompt you choose, please use the tag “Motivation.” The first impression posts will be due by the 10pm on Sunday, 11/26. The refinement posts will be due at noon on Saturday, 12/2.

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.

Option 2

Motivation is not a stable force, but often waxes and wanes. Throughout your time at Elizabethtown College, your motivation for school will undoubtedly be higher at some times and lower at others. I want you to discuss why you chose to come to Elizabethtown College originally and what you do to motivate yourself to do well in your classes currently. 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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Bonus Blog Prompt – Johari Window

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As part of our exploration of personality, each of you completed an online Johari Window. This process helps you learn how similar your self-perceptions are to how others see you. For this bonus blog post, I want you to discuss what that process was like for you, how similar your self-description was to what others selected, how valid of a measure of personality do you think this is, and what, if anything, you learned about yourself in this process. Include a link to your Johari window in your post. This bonus post is due Saturday, 11/18, at 8pm and is worth 1.5 points of extra credit. Be sure to use the tags “Bonus Posts” and “Personality.” I look forward to seeing what you write!

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Week 12 First Impression Prompts – Social Psychology

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Here are the two prompts for this week. Regardless of which prompt you choose, please use the tag “Social.” The first impression posts will be due by the beginning of class on Friday, 11/17. The refinement posts will be due at noon on Sunday, 11/26.

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!

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Week 11 First Impression Prompts – 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. The first impression posts will be due by the beginning of class on Wednesday, 11/8. The refinement posts will be due at noon on Tuesday, 11/14.

I look forward to seeing what you write!

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Week 10 First Impression Prompts – Intelligence

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Here are the two prompts for this week. Regardless of which prompt you choose, please use the tag “Intelligence.” The first impression posts will be due by noon on Saturday, 11/4. The refinement posts will be due at noon on Tuesday, 11/7.

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. In your blog post, reflect on your interactions with educators throughout your school career, and discuss what changes to the school system 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!

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Spotlight Blog 2 Prompts

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. The spotlight post is due by the beginning of class on Friday, 11/10.

Option 1 – Use the tag “Intelligence”

There has been a lot of controversy around the way our educational system works to improve learning outcomes for our children. For this post, you are going to investigate one of these issues and present your conclusions based on the evidence you review. You may select either year-round education (i.e., whether or not there should be a long summer break) or single-gender education (i.e., should boys and girls have separate classrooms). You will need to find two sources arguing for year-round education/single-gender education and two sources arguing against it, review the evidence in each source, and present your conclusion on the issue. Make sure to cite your sources.

Option 2 – Use the tag “Stress”

We’ve discussed a number of different stress management approaches in class, and now I want you to evaluate online resources for stress management. Specifically, I want you to identify three websites that provide stress management tips and discuss how likely you think the strategies they provide are to be successful. Make sure to explain your rationale using what we’ve learned in class and your textbook. Each of the three websites need to be targeted at a different audience but you may select the audiences you want to use (e.g., college students, athletes, parents, artists). Make sure to include links to the websites as part of your post.

Option 3 – Use the tag “Drugs”

One of the largest campaigns to prevent drug use among children was the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program. This federal program sought to provide kids with information about the dangers of using drugs, using things like the slogan “Just say no!” While people had high hopes for the program, it ended up being very controversial largely because of how it ended up impacting the rates of drug abuse among children exposed to the program. Research what the data say about the DARE program and argue whether or not it was a successful program. Then take what we learned from DARE and argue whether or not you think similar abstinence-based programs (e.g., sexual education programs) should be used in schools. Make sure to cite your sources.

I look forward to seeing what you write!

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Week 10 First Impression Prompts – Learning

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Here are the two prompts for this week. Regardless of which prompt you choose, please use the tag “Learning.” The first impression posts will be due by the beginning of class on Monday, 10/30. The refinement posts will be due at noon on Sunday, 11/5.

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. 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!

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Week 9 First Impression Prompts – Stress

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Here are the two prompts for this week. Regardless of which prompt you choose, please use the tag “Stress.” The first impression posts will be due by the beginning of class on Monday, 10/23. The refinement posts will be due at noon on Sunday, 10/29.

Option 1:

Stress permeates American society, and college is a very stressful environment for everyone involved. Stress management is a critical component of academic success in college. Describe your current stress management strategies, assess how well they work, and discuss what other stress management activities you could realistically incorporate into your routine to help you deal with stress more effectively.

Option 2:

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!

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Week 8 First Impression Prompts – Emotion

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Here are the two prompts for this week. Regardless of which one you choose, please use the tag “Emotion.” The first impression post will be due Wednesday, 10/18, at the start of class. Refinement posts for these prompts will be due Sunday, 10/22, at noon.

Option 1:

We all want to enjoy life and seek ways to make ourselves happy. Indeed, we spend much of our 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:

A large portion of communication is non-verbal, including a lot of clues about people’s emotional states. Effective communication involves being able to read others’ emotions and take them into consideration. People express a lot of emotions through their faces. How well do are you able to read these emotional expressions? Take this test to find out.  Discuss whether or not your score reflects how well you thought you would do, how credible you find the test, which emotions were the easiest and hardest to tell apart, and how you could use this information in your daily life.

I look forward to seeing what you write!

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Week 7 First Impression Prompts – Sleep

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Regardless of which option you choose, please use the tag “Sleep” on your post. The first impression post will be due at the start of class on Wednesday, 10/11, and the refinement post will be due at noon on Tuesday, 10/17.

Option 1:

In this TED talk, Russell Foster outlines 3 prominent theories about why we sleep. Watch the talk and argue for the theory you find the most convincing. Make sure to explain your thoughts about the credibility of each of the three theories.

Option 2:

College students are often heavily sleep deprived as they sacrifice sleep in order to study, work, and/or have a social life in addition to their academic commitments. Assess your current sleep habits and how healthy you think they are. What is a realistic goal for amount of sleep per night for a college student and how can you improve your sleep habits?

I look forward to seeing what you write!

Header image: CC by Flickr user Caitlinator
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