The assignment consists of short essay questions. Each question must be answered in 50–150 words.
- What are the key distinctions between social psychology and folk wisdom? What are some problems with folk wisdom?
- Imagine you are driving and that a driver in another car cuts you off. You have to slam on the brakes quickly to avoid an accident. If you were using the fundamental attribution error, how would you be likely to explain the driver’s behavior? Compare and contrast how a personality psychologist and a social psychologist would attempt to explain such behavior.
- Compare and contrast the self-esteem approach and the social cognition approach in terms of the motivations assumed to underlie human behavior. Imagine Mary-Ellen was told by a financial advisor that her credit was bad and that she needed to budget her money and spend less. What would Mary-Ellen’s behavior and thoughts be if she were motivated by self-esteem? What if she were motivated by social cognition?
- Take the question, “What is the relationship between temperature and aggression?” How would researchers interested in observational methods, correlational methods, and experimental methods differ in their approach to answering this question?
- What are internal and external validity, and how do researchers accomplish them? Is it possible to design research that is very high in both external and internal validity?
- Dr. Smith conducts an experiment to test the effects of attractiveness on helping behavior. Her hypothesis is that people will help attractive people more than unattractive people. Dr. Smith decides to have either the unattractive person or the attractive person stand outside of a building with many boxes in their arms. The person will struggle to open the door to the building. From 8:00 a.m. to noon, Dr. Smith has the unattractive person needing help, and from noon to 4:00 p.m., Dr. Smith has the attractive person needing help. Dr. Smith will sit on a nearby bench recording how many people help the person to open the door. Identify the dependent variable and independent variable. Does the experiment have good experimental realism? Does the experiment have good psychological realism? Does this experiment have good internal validity? Would you make any suggestions to improve the study?
- What is automatic processing and what are the two major types of automatic processing that people use? What is controlled processing? When do people use these different types of processing?
- What are the benefits and drawbacks to relying on automatic processes?
- Define the availability and representativeness heuristics. Give an example of each.
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