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PSYC100 Introduction to Psychology
Week 1 Discussion
Introducing Psychology
There are several steps to your assignment this week.
STEP 1: Watch “Distracted Driving: One Call Can Change Everything” video.
Transcript for Distracted Driving: One Call Can Change Everything Video
One goal of psychology is to conduct controlled experiments that let us understand the effects of something on an outcome. The research showing that distracted driving is a cognitive issue – not a motor issue – is important. If distracted driving were a matter of not being able to physically control the wheel while holding an object, then hands-free devices would solve the problem. But there is a cognitive issue involved–an important perceptual process known as “selective attention”. This is the ability to focus on some sensory inputs while tuning out others. Of course, the part we tune out while momentarily looking at our cell phone or talking on our cell phone–is our driving. This is why talking while driving is a problem, even if you’re not holding a phone. Our attention is divided. We know this because of experimental data. This is one way that psychological research helps society.
STEP 2: Review the Research Summary.
Research on Distracted Driving
In a 2008 study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, researchers Drews, Pasupathi, and Strayer examined the effects of talking on a cell phone while driving. Pairs of friends signed up for the experiment. Within each pair, one person was randomly assigned the role of “driver” and the other the role of “conversation partner.”
Participants assigned the role of “driver” were placed in a driving simulator. The simulator was designed to replicate the inside of an actual car. However, instead of regular windows and a windshield, high-fidelity graphics presented a simulated highway, including multiple lanes, overpasses, and on-and off-ramps. The graphics included other cars on the highway that could change speed or lanes, or try to pass other cars, thus requiring the driver to attend not only to the roadway but also the surrounding traffic. The driver’s task was to safely navigate to a rest area, where the driver should exit the highway. The rest area was located about 8 miles from the start of the drive, requiring about 10 minutes of driving time.
The driver completed the navigation task while simultaneously holding a conversation with the conversation partner. The conversation was about a close-call story that had not been previously shared. For example, a friend might share a close-call story about almost being caught cheating on an exam, or almost being hit by a car while on a bicycle. The conversation partner knew the driver also had a task of exiting the highway when arriving at a rest area.
By random assignment, half of the pairs held the conversation in-person, with the conversation partner seated as a passenger in the car (“passenger” condition). The other half of participants held the conversation via cell phone, with the conversation partner in a different location from the driver. In addition, all drivers also completed the driving task while not holding a conversation to provide a baseline measure of performance on the task. Order of the two tasks (while holding a conversation or while only driving) was counterbalanced across participants. During the driving task, a number of measures were collected to assess driving performance.
The figure below presents the main findings from the study.
figure shows that passenger conversation yield higher accuracy than cellphone conversations
Figure 1.1 Percent of participants in each group successfully completing navigation task (exiting at the correct location) while conversing.
Data adapted from: Drews, F.A., Pasupathi, M., & Strayer, D.L. (2008). Passenger and cell phone conversations in simulated driving. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 14, 392-400.
STEP 3: In your discussion post this week, first answer the following questions based on the study described in Step 2:
Based on the Research Summary on Distracted Driving:
What was the research question that guided the work by Drews, et al.? What was their hypothesis (specific prediction)?
The Independent Variables (IV) is/are:
The Dependent Variable (DV) is/are:
Were the participants randomly assigned to conditions? What is the purpose of random assignment?
What kind of research design did this study use, i.e., descriptive, correlational, or experimental? Explain your answer.
What can you conclude from looking at Figure 1.1?
Based on the Research Summary on Distracted Driving, develop your own research question and hypothesis that is related to the topic. This should be something that researchers could study next to learn more about the topic of Distracted Driving. Tips: The research question identifies what the study will focus on and guides the research process. The hypothesis is based on the research question. It is a statement that makes a prediction about the relationship among the variables in the study (you can use If-Then statements).
STEP 4: In a 200-400 word essay, how would you use the data from the Drews, et al. study to address the issue of Distracted Driving (feel free to be creative, you can create a plan or campaign)?
 Use APA-style citations in your response. Here is a library tutorial that shows you how:
STEP 5: At the end of your summary, post an open-ended discussion question, one that cannot be answered with a simple “yes” or “no”, about what you learned this week and solicit feedback from your classmates.
For example, “How would you conduct an experiment on…? Why do you think this may or may not work? What other issues might you address?”
STEP 6: Post responses (75-100 words each) to the questions of at least two of your classmates.
PSYC100 Introduction to Psychology
Week 2 Discussion
Image courtesy of (No attribution required)
STEP 1: Select one theory of personality from the following list:
Biological Contributions (This is in your textbook as Behavioral and Molecular Genetics)
Five-Factor Model of Personality
Humanistic Model
Social Cognitive Perspective (see Crash Course Video, Episode #22)
STEP 2: Write a 200-400 word post on the theory of personality you have chosen and why it makes the most sense to you.  Provide an accurate and detailed description of the approach you select. Compare your choice to the other theories. Name and briefly critique the other theories, how are they different  or similar to the theory of your choice? Base your answer on the reading or videos, or you may find additional information in the UMUC library or online. Be sure to cite all sources, including your Saylor (2015) textbook.
STEP 3: After you have posted your initial post, return to the discussion to comment on at least two other posts. Your comments should be at least 75 words or more and help facilitate the conversation. You can kindly agree or disagree with other responses, comment on what insights you learned from their post, or add thoughts to strengthen their analysis.
PSYC100 Introduction to Psychology
Week 3 Discussion
Biological Basis of Behavior
STEP 1: Pick a part of the brain from this week that you would like to learn more about. Do some background research and then find at least one scholarly journal article from the UMUC Library that provides more insight into that part of the brain. From the article choose at least 3 interesting facts about that part of the brain, and explain these in some detail using your own words, either in your poster or in the text box of the discussion.
STEP 2: Pick some aspect of your research and show it off! Pick out some of the details about the part of the brain (Neurotransmitters, Lobes (Parietal, Frontal, and Occipital), Brain Stem (Reticular Formation, Pons, Medulla) Cerebellum, Spinal Cord, Thalamus, The Limbic System (Hypothalamus, Pituitary Gland, Amygdala, Hippocampus), Two Hemispheres, The Cortex (Sensory and Motor Cortex), the result from an experiment, the importance of some research, or pull out some favorite insights, graphs, or charts—whatever you choose (NOTE: You do not have to summarize all of your research).  Your objective is to create an interesting visual (think: infographic or google slides or even a PowerPoint) so that an outside observer could quickly learn more about your chosen topic.
You will need to include the following:
1) At least 2 images (pictures, charts, and graphs all count as images) and
2) Your research reflecting the information you found pertaining to the disorder.  You will need to integrate your research and include in-text citations when referencing your research.
3) Include your reference page in APA format. For in-text citations (in the body of your poster) cite the author’s name and publication date i.e., (Thompson, 2018). Your full reference list can be placed either at the bottom of the visual or in the textbook of the discussion.
You should put effort into this assignment, but please do not feel overwhelmed by creating a visual. There are tools out there to make your information look good and presentable that require no skill or knowledge of graphic design. You can think of it as making a simplified “poster” about either a part of the brain or a study that teaches about that part of the brain. You may design the poster in any medium you desire, including Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Photoshop, or some other program. Suggestions include:
Canva – a really easy to use and convenient tool because it has a lot of free shapes and designs for you to use. This program does not specialize in infographics, however, so you will want to choose the option to create a “poster” or “presentation.”
Infogram – a fabulous tool if you want to include a chart or graph in your infographic. – has some great pre-designed Infographic options to work with.
STEP 3: Following your image post a short paragraph describing the image, summarizing what your research shows, and explaining why you found it interesting.
**** Two samples are provided for your review ******
STEP 4: Post responses (75-100 words each) to at least two classmates. In your response, list a least three things you have learned from your classmate’s visual, relate this to what you learned from your reading in the text or from listening to one of the videos, and tell us why you think this information is important.
Part of the Brain Infographic Assignment. Provided by: Lumen Learning. License: CC BY: Attribution
PSYC100 Introduction to Psychology
Week 4 Discussion
Memory and Cognition
STEP 1: Imagine that one of your best friends is struggling with his classes. He aspires to graduate in exercise science and go on to earn a degree in occupational therapy, but he failed his first two psychology exams. He’s feeling nervous about his performance and comes to you for advice.
During your discussion, you learn that:
he gets easily frustrated while working on psychology problems after approaching them the way he has always approached problems in his other classes;
he is sleeping less than five hours a night;
he works on psychology homework every Tuesday and Thursday night, but not on other days;
he always keeps his phone on vibrate to check if he gets messages while he studies;
he usually studies by re-reading the chapter;
he pulls all-nighters before exams.
STEP 2: Based on this conversation, write an email to your friend (between 200-400 words), explaining to him why his studying habits are ineffective and what steps he might take to improve his learning. Include at least 3 concepts from the course materials in your post. Include appropriate vocabulary from this module on memory and problem-solving. Be sure to cite your textbook or the videos in your response.
STEP 3: Write responses (75-100 words) to at least two of your peers. In your responses, list at least three things that you have learned from your classmate’s post.  See if you can come up with additional strategies you have learned about or tried yourself, that might add to this discussion of how to succeed in school.
Study Guide Memory Assignment. Provided by: Lumen Learning. License: CC BY: Attribution
PSYC100 Introduction to Psychology
Week 5 Discussion
STEP 1: Your assignment is to choose one of your OWN behaviors that you would like to modify, using the conditioning principles you learned about in the text and from the videos. Consider bad habits you might be interested in changing, such as biting your nails, procrastinating, not exercising, etc. You can utilize principles of classical or operant conditioning, recruit others to help you, employ successive approximations, and shaping and modify schedules of reinforcement in order to improve your life.
You should spend at least 5 solid days devoted to this project in order to see solid results. Please get started right away.
STEP 2: Write a 1- to 2-page paper (300-500 words) about your project that explains your project, the type of conditioning you used, and the methods and procedures used to execute your project. You should explain the process of shaping the behavior and utilize any or all appropriate vocabulary. Finally, include a discussion of the results and an analysis of recommendations for improvement or future changes.
STEP 3: In posts of at least 75 words, respond to the posts of at least two of your classmates. In your responses be sure to offer suggestions that might be useful in helping your classmates succeed in changing the behavior they are attempting to modify.
Conditioning Project. Provided by: Lumen Learning. License: CC BY: Attribution
PSYC100 Introduction to Psychology
Week 6 Discussion
Defining Psychological Disorders
STEP 1: Pick one of the disorders you read about in this module and learn more about it in order to make a “At-a-Glance” poster with details and visuals about the disorder. Visit the National Institute of Mental Health and search for the disorder, read through the information, then scroll to the section on “Research and Statistics” or “Journal Articles or Reports” to find helpful links to outside information. Look elsewhere as well for details about the prevalence, signs, symptoms, details, and research related to the disorder. Keep track of all of your sources as you investigate. Think about why this particular condition might be a considered a disorder. Do you agree with the criteria used for considering this a disorder?
STEP 2: In a format of your choosing (Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Canva,, Photoshop, Google Doc, etc.), create a 1-page “At-a-Glance” poster that includes the following information about the disorder written in your own words:
Causes and Risk Factors
Recent Research (referencing at least 2 research articles)
References – Include your references in APA format. For in-text citations (in the body of your poster), cite the author’s name and publication date, i.e., (Thompson, 2018), Your full reference list can be placed either at the bottom of the visual or in the text box of the discussion.
STEP 3: When creating your 1 page  “At-a-Glance” poster, be sure to add interesting visuals.  In addition, be sure to include the following:
Include in-text citations referencing your research when discussing the disorder
Include a reference page on a separate page in APA format.
**** Two samples are provided for your review*******
STEP 4: In posts of at least 75 words, respond to the posts of at least two of your classmates. In your response, mention a few things you have learned from your classmate’s presentation, and comment on whether you agree or disagree with the criteria used for diagnosis.
Disorder At-a-Glance Assignment. Provided by: Lumen Learning. License: CC BY: Attribution
PSYC100 Introduction to Psychology
Week 7 Discussion
Human Development
STEP 1: In a discussion post of 200-400 words, demonstrate your understanding of concepts learned in this module by responding to the following prompt:
Pick an age: 1, 3, 7, 12, 15, 22, 35, 50, or 75. Think of your own experience or the experiences of those you know at this age. Consider the major developmental theories you learned about in this module (psychosocial, cognitive, and moral), and apply them to the age of your choosing.
Describe either your own experiences, experiences of someone else, or an imagined situation at this age and use appropriate terms and definitions from the module to describe that stage of development. Be sure to identify the stage of development that you are discussing and those who have contributed to it’s development.
Do you agree with the developmental theories that describe this age? Why or why not?
STEP 2: In posts of at least 75 words, respond to the posts of at least two of your classmates. Comment on whether you can relate to these experiences, and offer additional insight into the developmental stages discussed.
PSYC100 Introduction to Psychology
Week 8 Discussion
Social Psychology
STEP 1: In a post of at least 200 words, respond to ONE of the questions below:
Do you ever try to persuade friends or family members to do something? How do you try to persuade them? How do they try to persuade you? Give specific examples and identify concepts from your readings or the videos.
If you were a social psychologist, what would you want to research? Why? How would you go about it?
If you were a college professor, what would you do to increase the success of in-class learning teams? Consider what you learned about group behavior in this module.
Have you ever been part of a group that made a poor decision and, if so, were any of the symptoms of groupthink present in your group? How could that be prevented?
Be sure to include at least 3 concepts from the course materials in your post.
STEP 2: Comment on at least two  other posts in responses of at least 75 words

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