Psychological Theory

      Your paper should be at least two type-written pages in length, double spaced, with standard one-inch margins, standard fonts (“Courier New” or “Times New Roman”), with numbered pages, and with a separate title page that includes the title of your paper, your name, and your student ID number. In your paper you are to apply a certain area of psychological theory or research (e.g., research on brain injuries and behavior) to you own life and life experiences.  For example, you might attempt to explain a real-life event in your life (how you developed a fear of flying) using principles of classical conditioning (i.e., when you were a child, flying was associated with terrible experiences of turbulence and motion sickness).  You must turn in your paper by the due date provided.

Papers Must Be on One of the Following Topics:

      Theories of Development:  Pick one of the following theories of developmental stages – Freud’s theory of psychosexual stages, Piaget’s theory of stages of cognitive development, Erikson’s psychosocial stage theory – and apply it to your own development.  In this paper you need to briefly describe the developmental theory you choose and its terminology, and you need to apply the theory to you own life.  For example, if you chose to apply Freud’s psychosexual stage theory to your own life, you would describe events that occurred in the oral, anal, and phallic stages of your life and analyze how these events may have influenced your adult personality.

      Analyzing my Moral Behavior in Terms of Kohlberg’s Theory of Moral Reasoning.  After reviewing Kohlberg’s theory of stages of moral development.  In this paper you should present and analyze Kohlberg’s theory and decide what stage of moral reasoning you are currently at.  You might discuss examples that illustrate various stages of moral reasoning you displayed as a child.  What do you think are the origins of your moral beliefs and principles?  What led you to progress from one stage of moral reasoning to the next?  Do you think you behave consistently or inconsistently in relation to moral behavior (e.g., do you never tell lies, or do you sometimes tell lies?  Do you never cheat or sometimes cheat?)  How does Kohlberg’s theory apply to these questions?

      Analyzing my Masculinity (or Femininity) in Terms of Trait Theory and Social Learning Theory: Am I Consistently Masculine (or Feminine)?  In this paper you should describe and analyze your masculine and feminine behaviors (e.g., your hobbies, your abilities, your style of grooming and dress, the way you move your body and your nonverbal behaviors, your ways of interacting with friends, family members, and boyfriends/girlfriends).  Apply trait theories and social learning theories of personality to your M/F behavior.  Do you think you show consistent traits of masculinity or femininity – e.g., Are your masculine or feminine behaviors consistent over time and across situations?  Or, do you think your masculine and feminine behaviors vary a lot depending on the situation you’re in and the people you are with?  Do you think that you can be both masculine and feminine, or are these two kinds of behavior mutually exclusive?  What do you think the origins are of your masculine and feminine behaviors – e.g., do these behaviors result from genes, hormones, brain differences between men and women, imitating your parents, modeling your friends, imitating celebrities in movies and TV, or what?

      Analyzing my Personality in Terms of the Nature-Nurture Debate.  Describe your personality, for example, in terms of the Big Five personality traits.  How much do you think your traits results from nature (i.e., genetics, heredity) and how much do you think they results from nurture (how you were reared, your environment)?  Issues you might consider: How similar is your personality to your parents’ personalities and to your siblings’ personalities?  Why are you similar or dissimilar to your close family members in personality?  Apply behavior genetic research on personality to your discussion of your own and your family members’ personality traits.

      Applying Memory Research to Studying.  How do you study for school and for tests?  Can you apply research and theory on memory (e.g., research on mnemonics, state-dependent memory, order effects, chunking of learned materials) to your study habits?  Have you unknowingly already used certain memory principles when you studied in the past?  Can memory research help you to study more effectively in the future?  Give examples of memory principles you have used when studying and learning material in various classes.

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