Any topic (writer’s choice)

For this assignment, you will choose one of the following two options.

Assignment #3: Option A

Take an event that has happened to you (or that you witnessed personally) and analyze it from the perspective of a social psychologist. Describe the situation in one paragraph. Then, use at least 2 social psychological theories/principles/concepts that we discussed in class to explain the peoples behavior that you observed.

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  For example, if you witnessed a fight between two people, you may wish to discuss 1) attribution (e.g., how the Fundamental Attribution Error was primarily responsible for the initiation of the fight; how other errors in attribution, such as the actor-observer effect, were made during the fight, etc.) and 2) the self (e.g., how people engaged in self-serving cognitions during the fight; what strategies people engaged in to maintain their self-esteem once they lost the fight, etc.). You can, of course, use any other social psychological principles we discussed in class, as long as they are relevant to the event you are discussing.
  Feel free to pick virtually any event you wish, as long as you can relate two social psychological concepts to it. You may also speculate about how these concepts might have been related to the event, even if you do not know for certain whether they actually did. Creativity is encouraged (as long as it is logical)!

            This assignment should be about 2-3 pages long, double-spaced. You will be graded based on how well you relate social psychological ideas/theories/phenomena to this event, and the depth of your analysis. Im looking to see whether you truly understand how to apply these concepts to real life events. Simply saying something like aggression or stereotyping was involved in the event is not sufficient as that does not demonstrate a social psychological understanding of those phenomena.

Assignment #3: Option B

For this assignment, you will watch a movie and analyze the characters motivations in it from the perspective of a social psychologist. In doing so, I want you to discuss two or more social psychological principles that you have learned about in this course. You will write up a paper (approximately 2-3 pages double-spaced) describing the social psychological principles that took place in the movie. For each event, (a) provide a very brief (no more than 1-2 sentences) context of what is happening in the movie, (b) describe (again, briefly, no more than 1-2 sentences) the event in question, and (c) analyze the event using a social psychological principle/theory. For instance, you might discuss how peoples reactions to some occurrence is explained by a social psychology theory, or how people reacted differently than would have been predicted by social psychology.

            As a specific example (which you cannot use for your paper), you may watch Spike Lee’s “Do the Right Thing” and discuss 1) a specific incident of prejudice in the movie, and 2) the specific incidence of rioting that occurs near the end of the movie. When discussing prejudice, you may talk about the outgroup bias that the various ethnic groups in the movie each exhibit, or how John Turturro’s character reduces his cognitive dissonance (that was created by being prejudiced against African-Americans yet liking Michael Jordan) by subtyping. When discussing the riots, you may discuss the deindividuation that the participants experienced as a result of a heightened sense of anonymity, or the situational power of conformity. Be specific link specific events in the movie to social psychological principles. Do NOT just speak generally about aggression, for instance.

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