Assignments for PSY 133 - Dr. Scharff

Spring 2007

Assignments will be posted as they are assigned. Return toPsy 133 Front Page.


Personality demo instructionsand assignment


Class memory demo #1

Class memory demo #2

Assignment 6

Please response to the following questions. Make sure to answerall parts of each question in order to receive full credit. Papersshould be typed, proofread carefully, and turned in no later than thebeginning of class on Thursday, April 26.

There are many approaches to understanding personality. Someapproaches are descriptive, while others attempt to explain howpersonality developed.

Part I. There are thousands of descriptive personality testavailable, some of which are serious (have practical use, andinformation about reliability and validity), while others should beconsidered less seriously. The sensation seeking scale in your text(p.493) is descriptive. Answer and score the questions (scoringinstructions given at end of chapter).

What was your score and what does that score indicate as far asyour level of sensation seeking? Do you agree with this descriptionof yourself? Why or why not?

The above test was a standardized test. What does that mean?

Why is it useful to have descriptive scales? Give at least onespecific application / example illustrating how it might be useful tohave the results of some descriptive personality scale.

Part II. While descriptions tell us something current abouta person, personality theories try to explain why a person developstheir specific personality characteristics. Four of the generaltheoretical approaches are the genetic / biological approach, thebehaviorist approach, the cognitive / humanistic approach, and thepsychodynamic approach.

Briefly define each so that it is clear how they each explainpersonality development.

Consider these four approaches. Think about what you know aboutyour own life and personality. Explain how you think your personalitydeveloped. Refer to all four of the above theories when developingyour explanation and address why or why not you think each of thetheories is applicable in some way.

**Note: The key when taking any personality test is that you musthonestly answer the questions -- i.e. don't answer the way you "thinkyou should" or the way that you think someone else would want orexpect you to answer. When reviewing the results of a personalitysurvey (especially a non-standardized version such as in a magazine)you should keep the results in that perspective, and realize thatmany of the things that these tests supposedly reveal may not befixed, permanent aspects of yourself.

If you are interested in completing other personality tests, thereare links to several on my web page: /interest.html.On this page, click on "Miscellaneous Topics Related to Psychology"or scroll to the bottom subsection.

Assignment #5 Memory

The purpose of this writing assignment is to get you to thinkabout your study methods, and hopefully to determine ways to improvethem based on what you learn about memory. (So maybe your grades willbenefit more than just from your grade on this assignment!)

I. First, briefly explain (define) each the following influenceson memory. Use complete sentences and be sure not to plagiarize fromthe book or your notes. You may number the items.

  1. state dependent memory
  2. context dependent memory
  3. the serial order effect and how that relates to distributed v. massed practice
  4. proactive and retroactive interference and how they are influenced by content similarity
  5. the von Restorff effect
  6. the use of mnemonics
  7. the influence of sleep

II. Now write down your entire method for learning the material inthis class. For example, do you attend lectures?, when do you readthe chapters?, do you highlight or outline the chapters?, where doyou study?, do you study alone?, what techniques do you use when youstudy?

III. Finally, compare what you do with what you've learned aboutmemory. Are there ways you could improve your study habits? In otherwords, for each of the seven items above answer either A or B:

A) You DO use this memory influence to your benefit: explain howspecifics of your study methods do use this influence on memory tohelp you remember,


B) You DO NOT take advantage of this memory influence: explain howyou might change your study habits so that you do use it.

Note: Parts I and III of this assignment should each have sevenparts. You can number them 1 through 7. Just be sure to use complete,grammatical sentences (and, of course, check your spelling!). As withall papers, it should be typed using 12-point font and doublespaced.

This assignment is due on Tuesday, April 10th at the beginning ofclass. Penalties will be given for late or incompleteassignments.

Assignment #4 Behavior Modification

Part I. Pick a behavior of your own that you would like tochange. It can be a behavior that you would like to increase or abehavior that you would like to decrease. Describe the currentbehavior and describe the desired new behavior.

Part II. Make a chart with the following information. Makea separate column for each of the 4 types of information.

  1. List ten specific consequences of successfully changing your behavior (i.e. consequences of the final outcome, NOT consequences of the current behavior).
  2. Label each consequence as positive or negative.
  3. For each of the ten, indicate if the consequence would probably occur immediately, in the short short term or in the long term long term.
  4. For each of the ten, indicate if the consequence is certain or uncertain.

The above chart helps outline possible motivations (or deterrents)for changing your behavior. We will discuss these more in class. Now,you need to think about HOW you might use behaviorism principles tomodify your behavior to be what you

Part III. For each of the following types of reinforcementor punishment, first define the behavior modification principle, andthen give a specific example of how you could use it to changethe behavior you described above. If you use the definitions from thebook be sure not to plagiarize!

  1. positive reinforcement
  2. negative reinforcement
  3. positive punishment
  4. negative punishment

Which of the above four reinforcement / punishment approaches doyou think would be most effective for you personally? Why?

This assignment will be due at the beginning of class on Thursday,March 22nd. Other than the chart information, all answers should betyped using complete grammatical sentences.

Assignment #3 Perception

Perception happens so quickly, and seems so accurate and completethat we rarely question it or think about how it directly impacts ourdaily lives. For this assignment please spend some time to thinkthrough the questions and write complete, thoughtful responses.

Type, double-spaced using 12-point font. This assignment will bedue at the beginning of class on Thursday, March 1st.

1. Color vision anomalies are relatively common. The web siteVischeck has some example images portraying how individuals withthree types of color blindness would perceive some visual scenes.( are also more common color vision shifts in "normal" colorvision individuals, plus shifts due to aging, disease, etc. Imaginethat you had a color vision anomaly (or you might actually have one).Think about how that would (or does) impact your life (at school,daily life, career options, etc.) Explain at least 3 specific anddistinct examples of impact.

2. We discussed 6 principles in class that address why what weperceive isn't a perfect match for reality. Pick one of theprinciples that most surprised you or caused you to think about it.Tell me which one, discuss your thoughts about it, and give at leastone unique example from your own life.

3. Give an example of when you or someone you know haveexperienced the Gate Control Theory of pain. Why is it good toexperience pain at all?

4. Pick your favorite perceptual demo from the online collectionat: me which is your favorite (describe it briefly), and why. Whatdo you think perceptual psychologists could be able to or havelearned from that demonstration?

Assignment #2 Neuroscience Article

Read the article, The Science of Anxiety, that is in yourTime Magazine supplement that came with your textbook.

Your summary of the article will consist of responses to thefollowing questions. Some of these questions will require that youthink about and process the reading rather than simply reiterate whatyou read. Summaries which only contain minimal / superficialresponses will not receive full credit. All questions should beanswered with complete sentences, rather than a list or a phrase.

For your summary type your responses (12 pt font, double space);each paper should be about 1.5 pages when completed (without a lot ofspace between questions!). Don't forget to use grammatical sentencesand spell check!

Do not retype the questions; however, please number and word youranswers so it is clear what you are answering.

Be careful not to plagiarize! If you use any phrases or sentencesword-for-word, you MUST use quotations to clarify that it is someoneelse's writing, not yours. It is better to completely reword theinformation. If it is reworded, you do not need direct quotes, but itshould still be clear from where you got the information. Any paperscontaining plagiarism will receive a zero.

This will be due at the beginning of class on Thursday,February 15th. We will use some class time on that day to discussthe article.

I. Your Name: ____________________ Date: ____________________

Title of Article: ____________________________________

II. Briefly state the main idea of this article (1-2sentences):

III. Give two facts that the author uses to support themain idea. (A fact should be considered a statement that can besupported by verifiable data or other facts mentioned in thearticle.)

IV. Give two opinions the author includes concerning theinformation presented in the article. (An opinion should beconsidered a statement of a person's feelings or impressions orsomething not yet supported by data. Indications of opinion are wordslike "may be," "possibly," and "suggests.")

V. Pick three things that you learned from the article(pick separate topics) and relate each to something specific you'velearned from this class during lectures or from the textbook. (But,for example, don't just say "heath psychology"; give a specific thingwithin health psychology that links to the specific point in thearticle.)

VI. Relate something that you learned from this article tosomething outside of class (something personal, or in the news, or ina movie, etc.).

VII. Summarize your opinion of this article. Give an explanationfor your opinion, not just a statement of whether or not you likedit.


Assignment #1 Psychology Thoughts and LearningStyles

Answer each of the following questions using complete, grammaticalsentences. Type, double-spaced, using Times New Roman font. Each ofthe first three questions should be answered using a minimum of foursentences but not more than seven.

This paper assignment is due no later than the beginning of classon Thursday, February 1st. (Late papers will receive a penalty.)

Part I

1. Before taking this class, what were some of your thoughts andopinions about the field of Psychology and what psychologists do?From where / what sources did you get these ideas? Why did you chooseto take this course?

2. What are the two most interesting things that you have learnedso far in this class (either from the lectures or Chapter 1 from thebook)? Explain why for each.

3. What is something(s) that you would like to learn about due totaking this class? Why would you like to learn that?

Part II: Read the Preface: To The Student (pages xxi -xxvii)

1. Complete the Multiple Pathways to Learning survey on page xxiiiand score it using the grid on page xxiv (make a grid on your ownpaper to turn in with this assignment; as long as it is neat, thegrid does not have to be typed). Which area(s) is(are) your greateststrength?

2. For the Note Taking section, Reading section, and the Memorysection, carefully read the advice for your type of learning stylestrength(s). For each, which tip do you think will be most useful toyou and why?