ESSAY QUESTIONS BASED ON ARONSON’S (2012) BOOK, THE SOCIAL ANIMAL, 11th EDITION, FOR SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY STUDY.
As you read each chapter in this book, look for information that will help you answer the following questions. The questions may not match up exactly with each chapter, but they should follow the general order of topics covered in your book (question #1 – chapter 1, #2 & 3 – both chapter 2, #4 – chapter 3,
#5 – chapter 4, #6 – chapter 5, #7 – various chapters, check the index at the back of the book for “self-fulfilling prophecy”), #8 – chapter 6, #9 – chapter 7,
#10 – chapter 8, and #11 – chapter 9).
Please submit one or two essay answers at a time, definitely not all of them at once, as you should receive feedback from the mentor and have time to consider it and incorporate that feedback into the remaining essays. Do not just provide definitions or examples from the book. Explain the concepts and issues in your own words (no quoting), give your own opinions, and cite your own original examples from real life (not just the same ones that are discussed in the book). Each essay should be approximately two typed pages, double-spaced. There is no special format for these assignments – just to include your name, our study, and the date as some type of heading. Thank you.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact the mentor at: Margaret.Clark-Plaskie@esc.edu or (607) 463-2390 x3384 (Corning office).
**You are required to answer 10 of the following 11 essay questions (your choice). You may choose to answer all 11 questions, though, for extra credit.
- What do you think social psychology is about? Do you think, make decisions, or behave differently when you’re with other people (or believe that other people are around) versus when you are alone? Why? Discuss specific examples from your own experiences.
- Describe Milgram’s famous research on obedience. Exactly what did he do in these experiments and why? What did he find out? Discuss the use of deception in psychology research – pros and cons. Would it be ethical to do this type of research today or not? Why?
- What is the bystander effect? What factors might influence this phenomenon? Have you ever seen this happen in your work or personal life? What about in the news lately? Discuss specific examples.
- Think of an original example of persuasion from your own life. That is, describe an instance when you were persuaded to form a certain opinion or to buy a particular product, or when you persuaded someone else in this way. Use specific information from the reading to explain specific strategies used or factors that facilitated the persuasion. If you or the other person were not successfully persuaded, then apply specifics from the reading to explain why not.
- When we try to explain other people’s behaviors, what is the fundamental attribution error? Give specific examples, and explain how they illustrate this error. What is the self-serving bias? Give specific original examples, and explain how they illustrate this bias.
- What is cognitive dissonance? Explain it and then give specific original examples and discuss how they illustrate this concept.
- What is the self-fulfilling prophecy? Explain and give specific original examples and discuss how they illustrate this concept.
- Is aggression due to nature (what we are born with) or nurture (what we learn/environmental factors)? Discuss specific theories and evidence for both sides. What do you conclude and why?
- What are stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination? How and why do they occur? How could we prevent or combat them? Get specific, using theories and research to support your ideas.
- Based on social psychological theory and research, if you want someone to like you, what specific things can you do to increase the likelihood of them liking you? Explain why these particular things should make a difference.
- How is an experiment different from other types of research? Give a specific original example of an experiment (you could make one up) and explain the hypothesis, independent and dependent variables, experimental and control groups, and the conclusion.
Again, you are required to answer 10 of the above essay questions (you choose which ones). You may choose to answer all 11 of them for extra credit.