The objective of these assignments is to give you practice with critical thinking and writing skills in the context of the subject matter of an introductory psychology course. This involves the ability to use abstract concepts to accurately explain and understand real-world events, which, in the case of psychology, have to do with human behavior. A behavior paper consists of the following three sections and can include a concept(s) from any chapter in our textbook even if we haven’t covered it in class. The concept cannot be too broad (like a chapter title), but must be sufficiently elaborate to enable you to have enough to write about. It’s best if you check with me regarding your chosen concept(s) before writing a behavior paper.
Section 1. BEHAVIOR OBSERVATION/DESCRIPTION (10 Points) — Describe the behavior i.e., action, thought, feeling, which you observed and are going to explain. Give enough detail in this description so that I am able to understand what you are trying to explain. This may either be your own behavior or that of another person. (About two thirds to one page long)
Section 2. CONCEPT IDENTIFICATION (5 Points) — State what concepts or principles presented in the textbook are relevant to the behavior/event you described in (Section 1). This does not have to be lengthy. Simply state what course material you will use as the basis for your explanation (Section 3). This must include a citation of our textbook’s name, edition, author(s), chapter and page number(s), and year of publication. (About 1 or 2 sentences)
Section 3. EXPLANATION (15 Points) — in this section you must explain what you described in (Section 1) in terms of the course material referred to in (Section 2). In some cases, this will involve justifying how the behavior/event you observed is an example of a certain phenomenon (e.g., how something is a case of Alzheimer’s disease or an instance of operant conditioning). This will require that you show how the concept(s) you identified in (Section 2) can be said to have “caused” the behavior in (Section 1). This is the most detailed and important section of the paper. It should be detailed enough so that I can see that you clearly did understand the concept/principle in question and how it explains it. (About 1 to 2 pages long)
In sum, each paper should be 2 to 3 pages long, double spaced, 12 point font, 1 inch margins all around.
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