The main foci of the social psychology week were stereotypes and discrimination, obedience (no General Psychology course is complete without Stanley Milgrim!), and conformity. Students had the choice of examining their own implicit biases toward other groups via the Implicit Association Test or to break down the types of persuasion used in a set of commercials (see here for full prompts). Only one student chose the latter option by breaking down two Taco Bell commercials. The remainder opted to try the IAT and reflect on their results. Check out their posts and leave your thoughts in the comments section.
Link 1, Link 2, Link 3, Link 4, Link 5, Link 6, Link 7
The focus this week was stress: what is it and how can we cope with it? My students had the option for this week’s blog to either watch a TED Talk that might make them think a little differently about stress (Kelly McGonigal’s How to make stress your friend) or discuss their own coping strategies for stress (for full prompts see here). Most students chose the former, though five decided to talk about their coping strategies and how to improve them (read these to get some ideas and leave your own in the comments!).
TED Talk: Link 1, Link 2, Link 3, Link 4, Link 5, Link 6, Link 7, Link 8, Link 9
Stress Coping Strategies: Link 1, Link 2, Link 3, Link 4, Link 5
As the semester draws ever closer to completion, students facing final exams often need a reminder about how to generate happiness and/or explore their motivations (or perhaps lack thereof). Always one to jump to help students out, this week’s blog prompts offered them the choice of watching Dan Gilbert’s fantastic TED Talk entitled The Surprising Science of Happiness or trying to explain their motivation for attending Austin College from different theoretical lenses (see the full prompt instructions here).
In many weeks this semester, one topic has dominated the other in terms of popularity with my students, but this week was much more balanced. Six students chose to explore the idea of “synthetic happiness,” while five students focused inward on their motivations. Check out their posts and share your thoughts via comments!
Happiness posts: Link 1, Link 2, Link 3, Link 4, Link 5, Link 6
Motivation posts: Link 1, Link 2, Link 3, Link 4, Link 5
I have fallen behind in getting these summary posts up, but my students have been working hard so I need to catch up with them! In Week 8 of the semester, we covered consciousness, specifically focusing on sleep and how drugs and alcohol affect the brain. The students had the option of blogging about the debate to legalize marijuana or exploring the theories about the purpose of sleep (see full blog prompts here
). Check out their thoughts via the links below:
The Great Marijuana Debate:
The Meaning of Sleep:
After taking a week off for spring break, we were back at it to learn about learning. We covered the three major learning theories (classical conditioning, operant conditioning, and observational learning) and the blog prompts for this week focused on several applied problems related to learning. Most students chose to take two different online tests that assess preferred learning styles and discuss their results. A few students decided to take a look at evidence for the claim that playing violent video games produces more violent children. Take a look at their posts via the links below and let them know what you think by leaving comments.
Links to posts about video game violence: Link 1, Link 2, Link 3
Links to posts about learning styles: Link 1, Link 2, Link 3, Link 4, Link 5, Link 6, Link 7, Link 8, Link 9, Link 10, Link 11, Link 12, Link 13, Link 14
This week in class we tackled the human development chapter. After discussing Ainsworth’s Strange Situtation Test, Baumrind’s parenting styles, Piaget’s stages of cognitive development, and the moral development debate between Kohlberg & Gilligan, I asked my students to choose between a blog post where they evaluated parenting advice they found online or react to a high school graduation speech from 2012 that went viral. The full prompts for this week are available here. Most students opted to discuss the graduation speech entitled “You are not special” which was delivered by David McCollough, Jr. This attention-grabbing title caught the attention of nine students this week, who shared how they would have reacted to this speech and connected it to some aspect of development. You can view their thoughts at the following links:
Three students opted to critique parenting advice. One put Dr. Phil’s recommendations to the test, another chose a Yahoo! article about how to select a quality nanny, and the third investigated Psychology Today’s 3 things you should never say to your child. For those of you who are parents, share your reactions to these students’ assessments via comments on their posts. My students and I look forward to seeing what you have to say!