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!

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Spotlight Blog 1 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 Monday, 10/9.

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 memory works 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.

I look forward to seeing what you write!

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Week 6 First Impression Prompts – Psychoactive Drugs

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The first impression posts for this prompt will be due by the beginning of class on Wednesday, 10/4. The refinement posts for this prompt will be due Tuesday, 10/10, at noon. Here are the two prompts for this week. Regardless of which prompt you choose, use the tag “Drugs.”

Option 1:

Recently, several states have legalized recreational use of marijuana and even more are considering it. This has lead to both celebration and condemnation depending on who you ask. Medicinal use of marijuana is still controversial as well. In your blog post, take a position on both medical and recreational use of marijuana. Should they be legal or not? Make sure to point out pros and cons to both arguments.

Option 2:

When it comes to treating addiction, two prominent approaches are the abstinence model and the harm reduction model. Most people are more familiar with the abstinence model, which seeks to completely eliminate all use of the problematic substance and prioritizes sobriety (an example would be 12-step programs like AA). The harm reduction model prioritizes things differently, in that the primary concern is preventing negative consequences of substance use (an example would be needle-swapping programs that provide clean needles for drug users to prevent the spread of diseases like HIV and Hepatitis). This is an over-simplification of the models, but you can find a little more background on each approach here. Which approach seems like the better idea to you? Explain which you would recommend if a loved one needed help with an addiction.

I look forward to seeing what you write!

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Week 5 First Impression Prompts – Memory

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Because of the exam this week, the schedule for blog posts is a little different. The first impression posts for this prompt will be due by the beginning of class on Wednesday, 9/27. The refinement posts for this prompt will be due Tuesday, 10/3, at noon. Regardless of which prompt you choose, please use the Tag “Memory” on your post:

Option 1:

 

One of the topics we will discuss related to memory is study habits. For this post, critique your current study habits. Discuss what do you do well and what do you need to improve. In particular, I want you to discuss how you studied for the first exam in this class and share any changes you might make for the second exam to improve your preparation. We will see how closely your ideas reflect what the research says about improving your memory for learned information.

Option 2:

Not all memories are created equal. Some seem to be so powerfully etched in our minds that we can recall them almost perfectly later in life. For example, many people from my parents’ generation know exactly what they were doing when President Kennedy was assassinated. A more recent example would be what you were doing when you heard of the terrorist attacks on 9/11 in 2001. Then there are all the personal life events we remember “like they were yesterday.” Why do you think some memories are so much stronger than others? Explain your theory and propose a way to study how accurate these powerful memories really are.

I look forward to seeing what you write!

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Week 4 First Impression Prompts – Neuroscience

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

For your blog prompt this week, you are to choose one of the following TED talks:

Each talk focuses on a different aspect of the brain. In your response, address the following issues:

  • What drew you to choose the talk you did?
  • Briefly summarize the talk.
  • What did you find most interesting about the talk?
  • How trustworthy did you find the presenter and the information she or he presented? Explain why. (Note: you must go beyond talking about the reputation of TED talks in general)
  • Come up with a research idea of your own based on the information presented in the talk and briefly outline how you would conduct it.

Because of the exam this week, the first impression post will be due by the beginning of class on Friday, 9/22. The refinement posts for this topic will be due at noon on Tuesday, 9/26. For refinement posts, I want you to focus on critiquing the assessment of why the presenter was or was not trustworthy and the research design for the proposed study your classmate creates.

I look forward to seeing what you write!

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Research Design Critique – Bonus Blog Prompt

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In class on Friday we conducted a Coke vs. Pepsi taste test experiment. The research question was “Can people tell the difference between Coke and Pepsi?” Based on the data we collected in class, we determined the answer to the question was no because 3 of the 4 people only got 2-3 guesses correct out of 5 trials. For this bonus blog post, critique the design of the experiment as we conducted it in class. The bonus post will be worth up to 2 extra credit points depending on the quality of your answers (make sure to use the terminology from the chapter whenever possible) and must be posted by the beginning of class on Monday 9/11 with the tag “Bonus Posts” to earn credit. You must use answer the following questions as part of your critique:

  • What were the strengths of the research design?
  • What were the limitations of the research design?
  • What potential confounding variables were present in the study?
  • Was the conclusion we drew valid? Why or why not?
  • What are 5 specific changes you would make to the research design to improve the study?

 

Header image: CC by Flickr user Caitlinator

 

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Week 3 First Impression Prompts: Development

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Regardless of which prompt you choose, please use the tag “Development” on your post. Here are the prompts for this week:

Option 1

Tiger moms, jellyfish dads, and helicopter parents. These terms all refer to various parenting styles and each has been both promoted as an ideal and criticized as “the problem with kids these days.” We will discuss parenting this week, but I’m curious what you think is the “best” way to parent. By “best” I mean most likely to produce children who grow up to be happy, healthy, and productive members of society. Write your post about the ideal way parents should raise their kids.

Option 2

While most developmental psychologists have focused on how we grow and change from birth to early adulthood, Erik Erikson was one of the first psychologists to put forth a theory of development that covered the entire lifespan. He divided the lifespan into 8 stages and in each stage he posited the primary challenge a person had to overcome for each stage. I want you to create your own 8-stage lifespan development theory (make sure to identify the age range for each stage) and identify what you think the main psychological challenge is for each stage. We’ll see how similar your ideas are to Erikson’s.

I look forward to seeing what you write!

Header image: CC by Flickr user Caitlinator
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