After completing this assignment, you will be able to:
1) Use the scope and diversity of psychology as a discipline to assess the strengths and weaknesses of various explanations for a given topic.
2) Explain how the Integration and/or competition between explanations from various perspectives helps psychology advance our understanding of human behavior and mental processing.
Learning Outcomes: This assignment is connected to the following learning outcomes for the course (listed in the table
on your syllabus: 1) knowledge of psychology; 2) information literacy; 3) personal and professional growth
Completing this assignment will strengthen your skills in these areas.
Your task is to select ONE psychological topic you have found particularly interesting this semester. This may be a topic we covered in the class or a psychological topic you discovered as a function of taking the course. You will then examine this topic from three different philosophical or theoretical perspectives within psychology, including: physiological, behavioral, cognitive, social, humanistic, evolutionary, psychoanalytic, developmental, etc). Alternatively, you could opt to examine your topic more specifically using three different theories, which may or may not differ in their philosophical perspectives. For example, imagine that you choose “bullying” as your topic. You could examine how bullying is explained from a biological, behavioral, and social perspective (three different philosophical perspectives). Alternatively, you could choose to examine how three different theories attempt to explain bullying. Two of these theories might be theories from a “social” perspective and one might be a theorist from a “biological” perspective.
In either case, you must utilize and cite original sources for those perspectives in your analysis/discussion. This means that you must research your topic to find three different explanations for your topic. Your analysis cannot be based on personal opinion alone.
Write-up: Your write-up should begin with a general overview of your topic and the reasons why it is particularly interesting or relevant to you. This introduction should be followed by an analysis of your topic from three different philosophical or theoretical perspectives. Your analysis should demonstrate a general understanding of your topic and the fundamental principles used by each philosophical or theoretical perspective to explain that topic (using at least three academic sources outside of your textbook as source material). In addition, you should discuss whether the explanations offered by the different perspectives are complimentary to one another or contradict one another. Finally, your analysis should include your own personal reflection of these perspectives and an informed assessment of what you see as the strengths and weaknesses of each based on your research of them.
Review the grading criteria for this assignment on the attached grading rubric (see page 3) to understand what you need to address in your case study to earn points on this assignment.
Your Completed Assignment MUST Include:
1) Identification and description of ONE psychological topic that interests you.
2) A 2-3 page write-up (12 point font, double-spaced and 1 inch margins) in which you examine this
topic from THREE different philosophical or theoretical perspectives within psychology (e.g., cognitive, behavioral, social, physiological/neuroscience, evolutionary, psychoanalytic, etc).
3) Full citations (in text and in a Reference list) for all research sources used in this assignment in APA
4) A copy of the grading rubric (found at the end of this assignment). Be sure to sign the academic
integrity statement before submitting your assignment.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION FOR THE ASSIGNMENT:
Throughout the semester you have been introduced to a wide range of topics, demonstrating the diverse nature of psychology. You have also been exposed to a variety of philosophical and theoretical perspectives used to examine and explain those topics. Different philosophical and theoretical perspectives make different assumptions about human behavior and mental processing. Consequently, they often seek to understand human behavior by focusing on different aspects of that behavior and/or different causal variables.
The purpose of this final assignment is to help you better appreciate the scope of psychology by examining how different philosophical and theoretical perspectives seek to explain a given psychological topic. Doing so will help you understand how psychologists working from different philosophical and theoretical perspectives make different contributions to our understanding of particular psychological topics and how the integration and/or competition between these explanations helps the discipline (at large) advance its understanding of human behavior and mental processing.
REMEMBER: Your write-up should consist of complete, understandable sentences with proper grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Carefully proof-read your paper before submitting it to avoid losing points.
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