PSYC 100 – Essay #2

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PSYC 100 – Essay #2
Your younger brother has recently read (and was fascinated by) the book One Brain, Two Minds,
and he has decided that some people are “left-brained,” while others are “right-brained.”
[Note: The book title is fictitious. This book does not exist. Do not try to find it.]
The authors of the book reviewed valid previous research (conducted and published by others)
that studied “split-brain” patients, whose epileptic seizures had been treated surgically. Each
patient’s corpus callosum was cut. The patients were then tested on visual information that was
sent to either the right or left hemisphere of their brains. When only the left hemisphere received
the visual information, these patients were able to identify words and solve logical problems with
no difficulty. However, when the same information was presented to only the right hemisphere,
they were incapable of talking or reasoning about it. They were able to copy drawings and
recognize faces, however.
The authors of One Brain, Two Minds concluded that people who are right-handed, and therefore
left-hemisphere dominant (i.e., “left-brained”), generally are more logical and scientific than lefthanders,
who are right-hemisphere dominant (i.e., “right-brained”) and therefore less logical but
more creative. Because your brother is left-handed, he has decided to abandon his goal of
becoming a science major in college, and he is quitting school to become a rap musician.
Discussion and Critique – DEADLINE: Sunday, April l, 2018, at 11:59 PM.
Note: When considering the questions below, your answers will be worth more points if they are
more informative than a mere “yes” or “no,” or a few sentences. Each essay is worth 5% of your
course grade. A response limited to just a couple of sentences is very unlikely to earn credit. So
first, think very carefully about the question that is being asked, determine what information is
needed to construct a good answer to that question, and then compose your answer in essay
form.
IMPORTANT: You should pay very careful attention to the Stangor text’s description and
explanation of the nervous system, the endocrine system, and their influences on experience,
cognition, and behavior (chapter 3), as well as the Dr. Tom’s notes (especially the notes on the
“split-brain” studies), posted under “Content” on LEO, before attempting to answer these
questions. Failing to do so will result in your submission of a suboptimal essay and receiving a
low grade on the assignment.
In your essay, answer all of the following questions to the best of your ability. Remember that
this is an essay assignment. Therefore, do not number your answers.
1. The authors of the book One Brain, Two Minds presented several assertions (i.e., hypotheses)
about proposed relationships between variables. You should begin by listing as many of those
assertions as possible.
– How well specified are the authors’ hypotheses? In other words, how clearly do they describe
The exact relationships they claims exists between the independent and dependent variables?
– Can you restate any of their hypotheses in more specific terms?
PSYC 100 – Essay #2
2. Keep in mind that the authors of the (nonexistent) book One Brain, Two Minds have argued
that some (valid) scientific research (i.e., the split-brain research) conducted by others provides
evidence that supports their assertions. In other words, what they have done in their book is to
provide an interpretation of prior research findings. So now you will be evaluating the validity
of their interpretation (i.e., you will not evaluate the validity of the original research).
– To what extent has any (or all) of their hypotheses been adequately tested by the (valid) prior
research they reviewed? In other words, how much support do their hypotheses receive from
the (valid) scientific findings from studies of split-brain patients?
– Have the authors adequately defined all the important concepts and terms used in their book?
(Note: This is not a question about the original split-brain research.)
– Did they use operational definitions?
– Would you have defined the important terms, variables, etc., differently? Be specific.
– Does their interpretation make sense based on the evidence from split-brain research?
(Note: Here, you get to explain whether the authors are guilty of “arguing past the data.”)
– Are there any alternative explanations that could adequately explain the split-brain evidence?
– Has the split-brain research ruled out any of these alternative explanations?
– How well would the alternative explanation be supported by the split-brain evidence?
3. Finally, how would you design an experiment to properly test your alternative explanation
against the one proposed by the book’s authors? Please describe your proposed study by
answering the following:
– What are your (proposed) independent and dependent variables?
– What is your hypothesis (i.e., your predicted relationship between the independent and
dependent variables?
– How will your proposed study rule out the interpretation proposed by the authors of the book
One Brain, Two Minds (i.e., by using the appropriate experimental controls)?
– What kind(s) of results would support your hypothesis?
– What kind(s) of results would disconfirm (i.e., cause you to reject, or rule out) your hypothesis?
Rubric for Brain Lateralization Essay
Correctly ID Hypothesis (H) 10%
Valid Analysis of H 10%
Correctly ID Evidence 10%
Valid Analysis of Evidence 10%
Correctly ID Explanation 10%
Valid Analysis of Explanation 10%
Valid Alternative Hypothesis (H’) 10%
Valid Analysis of H’ 10%
Valid Proposed Test of H’ 10%
On- time submission 10%

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