PSYC 100 – Introductory Psychology

PSYC 100 – Introductory PsychologyUniversity of Maryland University CollegeMedia Review PaperPopular entertainment media (e.g., magazines, newspapers, tabloids, TV shows, and movies) arethe general public’s primary sources of information of what psychology is (and is not). Thesereports are largely responsible for the negative view of psychology as "not a real science."Recently, science has been increasingly portrayed as useless for understanding our modern worldor for solving real-world problems. To make matters worse, skepticism regarding paranormalclaims, an important part of critical (i.e., scientific) thinking, is often portrayed as a disadvantage(i.e., a handicap). In some TV shows, for example, the paranormal is portrayed as normal, andfantastic events (e.g., alien abductions, spontaneous combustion) are frequent occurrences.Movies have long portrayed scientists as mad, bad, or dangerous.For example, consider the following. Habitual viewers of entertainment television (about onethird of U.S. adults watch more than four hours of TV daily) are more likely than infrequentviewers to believe that science is dangerous, that scientists are odd and peculiar people, and thata career in science as undesirable. After all, on prime time TV, being a scientist is extremelyrisky (because ten percent of scientists on such shows get killed), and being near a scientist isdangerous (because five percent of scientists kill someone). “Mad” scientists account for a higherpercentage of horror movie antagonists than zombies, werevolves, and mummies combined.It should come as no surprise that a negative correlation has been observed between watchingentertainment television and people’s critical thinking about scientific matters. As the amount ofentertainment TV viewing increases, acceptance of pseudoscience increases. In addition, habitualviewers are more likely than infrequent viewers to believe that astrology is scientific. Of course,this correlational evidence does not permit us to conclude that watching entertainment TVcauses anti-science or pro-pseudoscience attitudes. On the other hand, entertainment TV provides a context within which such attitudes are encouraged and can be developed.It is important for you, as a student of psychology, to view these kinds of reports with a healthyskepticism, guided by your developing knowledge of what real psychology is and is not.The primary intent of the assignment is to develop your ability to evaluate one small part of thesteady diet of negative portrayals of science and skepticism. That “small part” will involvepopular misunderstandings and/or misgivings about psychological science. This assignmentprovides an opportunity to apply psychological theory and research in the exploration of abook, a film, a television show, or a newspaper, magazine, or tabloid article.For this assignment, choose a book, a film, a TV show, or an article from a newspaper, magazineor tabloid with content that can be meaningfully explored through application of psychological theory and research. Your main objective should be to clearly present your analysis ofhow well (i.e., how accurately) the book, film, TV show, or article represents both:- science, in general- psychological science, in particularPSYC 100 – Introductory PsychologyUniversity of Maryland University CollegeIn your paper, you should clearly identify the source (i.e., the specific book, film, TV show, orarticle) and write a beautifully organized (and well written) discussion that critically evaluatesthe assertion, the evidence, and the explanation (i.e., the presumed controlling mechanism),including reasoned consideration of the reliability, validity, and exceptions of the purportedfindings contained in the report. You can look at some of the later chapters in the Stangor textthat deal with memory, emotion, motivation, the development of the individual over the lifespan, and health and stress, in order to have a more complete idea of different concepts thatmight apply.Students: Remember that this is a research-based paper; the article, film, book, or TVshow provides only the backdrop for research on a psychological topic. For full credit, youshould use at least one peer-reviewed psychological reference in addition to your textbook.Your paper should be 1,200 to 1,500 words, (i.e., about 5 double-spaced pages). Thisassignment is worth 10 percent of your total points for the course.Grading RubricMedia Review Paper543210CONTENT1. All topics were discussed in clear detail2. Assertions supported correctly3. Ideas were interrelated coherently and logically4. Author creatively enhances the topicORGANIZATION5. An introduction previews main points of reflection6. Body of paper develops and elaborates main ideas7. A conclusion summarizes main pointsWRITING MECHANICS and STYLE8. Paper free of mechanical errors (e.g., misspellings, typos, etc.)9. Paper grammatically sound (proper sentence structure)10. Citations and references in proper APA stylePSYC 100 – Introductory PsychologyUniversity of Maryland University CollegePoints to be Behaviors demonstrated:awarded:paper contains no errors in this area5paper contains limited errors in this area; however, the4overall presentation of the material is readable andappropriatepaper contains limited errors in this area; however, the3overall presentation of the material is difficult to readpaper contains a number of errors in this area; however, the2overall presentation is acceptablepaper contains a number of errors in this area, and the1overall presentation is difficult to readpaper contains numerous errors in this area, which detracts0from the overall presentationAdditional Criteria for Grading Your Paper1. Accuracy. Are your facts or ideas correct?2. Clarity. Are your answers clear and easy to follow? It helps to read your answer aloud toyourself. Using this method, you can catch incomplete sentences or lapses in yourthought.3. Depth. Are the issues and implications thought out and explored?4. Originality. Are your own views present and well-articulated? Use your own words. Donot copy material directly from your text or other sources. If you want to use the author’sexact words, put them in quotation marks and cite the page number from your text orother source material. But don’t forget to express your own opinion or interpretation.5. Supporting Evidence. Support your ideas with empirical evidence. This is a crucial partof any well-written research essay. You may support your answer with statisticalinformation, case studies, or research you encounter from the text, readings, or otherreferences. You may also use your personal experience as supporting evidence whenappropriate.6. References. Did you use appropriate references to support the main points of your paper?You may look in the textbook and find references listed in the bibliography that mightsupport your writing. Be sure you have these references—the complete articles—on handif you use them. Make sure your references relate to the point you are making, or supportyour inferences.7. Form, composition, spelling, etc. Try to make your paper neat and error free. It helps torun your spell checker before submitting your work, or have a colleague or friend readover your paper.8. APA Style. We will follow the formatting rules of the American PsychologicalAssociation. The UMUC Guide to Writing and Research will provide you with somebasic APA guidelines, and you can access this information by visiting UMUC’s libraryweb page.9. DUE date. Please pay very careful attention to the date/time your Media Review Paper isdue, Friday, October 9, 2015 (11:59 PM). That is just two (2) days prior to the date thecourse ends, after which absolutely no work can be accepted (i.e., the course is "over").



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