PSYC 321: Social psychology


TASK 1: Helping “experiment” (7 points)

For this task, as a conclusion to our scientific exploration of social psychology, you will be putting on your “researcher hats” again and conducting a helping experiment. Please note: due to the nature of the pandemic and the restrictions for social contact, I have modified the original assignment so you can run this online. If anyone is still able to run the study in an actual helping situation, you are encouraged to do so if it doesn’t put you or the others at risk. Otherwise, most of you will likely collect your data online (via email with family/friends etc.).

You first need to think of a hypothesis that is related to helping. For this study, come up with at least ONE independent variable that will affect some helping behavior(s). Be sure to clearly measure both your IV (independent variable) and DV (dependent variable) and as part of that, you need to figure out what type of specific helping you are going to study (to measure helping, if doing this in person, you may be able to measure a specific behavior; otherwise, you will need to create a few items or a short survey – do not go online and find a pre-existing psychology survey but rather, come up with a few items yourself – and make sure to share you items in your discussion). The best approach is to base your hypothesis and variables on some research or concepts you read in the book. You also need to find at least one study related to your hypothesis from a psychology journal in the library (make sure to discuss in your intro and discussion).

As you should know by now, a “true” experiment would involve both random assignment and control where participants are randomly assigned to two groups, one group would be exposed to a factor you think is important while the other isn’t and you would measure if that factor/variable makes a difference in the helping behavior. That would be ideal but is not very easy to do. Thus, a secondary option is for you to set up a “quasi” experiment where you don’t actively manipulate a variable but just select a relevant characteristic that people differ on (for example, gender) and see if that variable makes a difference in helping.

Since this is a non-complicated classroom exercise, you don’t have to give full details for informed consent. I do suggest, though, that you debrief at the end so people know what you were doing (you probably would do this anyway). Also, to simplify things, let’s all agree that at a minimum, you only need two groups/conditions and a minimum of 8 participants/subjects, 4 in each condition. These participants can be strangers or people you know. Note: If you absolutely cannot find any participants, rather than getting a zero, you can write up a simulation of what you would expect etc. for some points.

Come back here and post a write-up of your study (remember, just running a study will not get you high points; it is your write-up of the study that will be graded). Provide each of the following modeled after journal research articles:

1. Introduction (this is a biggie – 2pts) – Discuss the intention of the study. Don’t forget that part of this is to clearly identify your hypothesis and discuss some research that led to this hypothesis. Discuss any theory or observations you have of your own. Clearly identify the independent and dependent variables of your study.

2. Method (subjects, procedure etc. – 1pt) – you can keep this to a short paragraph but you need to explain basics of your study. What was the procedure (what was done)? How did you measure your IV/DV (share any items you came up with etc.)? Who were the participants; some variables to consider – age? gender?

3. Results (like methods, no need for anything elaborate since we only have 8 participants and no complicated data but you need to provide some information about what was found – 1pt). It’s always nice to provide basic demographic info and also include tallies or percentages about how your two groups were different. If you had given a survey or a few questions you had asked, make sure to share your items and find a way to total them or score them and clarify if they were different for the two groups.

4. Discussion (this is the biggie and should be the longest part of the assignment – 3pts) – In this section, consider if the results match your hypothesis and previous research/theory and what they tell us about helping. It is very important to provide depth in your discussion section by considering and applying concepts from your readings but also to consider limitations, implications etc. whether you did or didn’t get the type of results you expected. Remember, you should consider aspects of the concepts (related to helping) but also consider concepts related to your particular study (participants, method used etc.).

Really looking forward to this! 🙂 Note: your grade will depend on the QUALITY of your study, on the thought given, on the execution, and on the depth of your commentary; it does *not* matter if you get the results you were expecting. If in doubt about any of this, please write to me early in the week so we can discuss it.

TASK 2: Aggression Videos (5 points)

For this task, you will be expected to discuss the topic of AGGRESSION. Please go to the following website:

Under the heading of “VIDEO” you can SELECT WHAT INTERESTS YOU. You need to choose at least 45 minutes worth of videos to watch and make sure that you select a MINIMUM of three unique videos rather than one long one. If you want, you may also find some other relevant videos dealing with aggression (don’t veer off too much from social psychology).

For EACH video, provide the following:

1. Note the url and the length (in minutes) of the video and a brief summary (make sure to note some details from the video and not be too vague).

2. Provide your brief reaction to the content.

3. Importantly, analyze and apply various social psychological concepts to points raised in the video (this should be the largest part of the write-up).

Hoping that you’ll find these videos interesting since you had a choice in what you watched.

Please note, ALTERNATE: If watching videos with this type of sensitive information is something you would prefer not to do, you have the option of doing some library research on the topic and providing an essay (minimum 2-page, single-spaced, 1″ margins, 12-point Times Roman Font) on concepts related to aggression (you need to include various concepts/theories/research you learned from the text readings in your OWN words/applications/analysis but included in this, you must also find a minimum of three empirical articles from psychology journals and summarize some of that research in your own words). Importantly, if you choose this option, please note that you *cannot* write your final paper on the topic of aggression.

Look forward to your commentary and insight! Remember, discussion of both tasks should be in one post and once you post, do not edit. Enjoy responding to others as well.

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