(Copy & pasted from the actually page)
Each week, you will be presented with a series of critical thinking prompts and application prompts.
Please copy/paste the prompts into an offline document (Word, for example) and compose your responses offline (be sure to save your work). Then click on the “Submit Assignment” button, copy/paste your work into the text box (please be sure to include the prompts prior to your responses), and click “Submit Assignment” at the bottom of the page.
Each question is generally worthy of at least 150 words (2 – 3 well-written paragraphs) in response. Be sure to connect with (and informally cite in-text) the applicable readings / videos from the module’s learning materials.
A note on in-text citing and connecting with the learning materials: As a student, it’s very important that you offer perspectives and arguments that are grounded in the literature – NOT personal opinion or anecdotal evidence. I don’t want a works-cited page, but I do want you to clearly cite your sources in-text for the various connections you’ll be making between the learning materials and your application thereof. For example, one might write, “While I marveled at the uncanny ability of the psychic to tap into my true personality, the Barnum Effect (Aronson, Chapter 2) could have well explained my feelings…” Be sure to use these informal in-text cites to make your arguments and to support your perspectives.
Critical Thinking Prompt 1: What does Aronson mean by the statement: “People who do crazy things are not necessarily crazy”? Do you agree or disagree? What are the broader implications of explaining unpleasant or bizarre behavior as primarily the result of individual “craziness” or “badness”? Why, in your opinion, is this kind of interpretation of behavior so common in our society? On the other hand, what issues regarding individual responsibility would be raised if we were to explain all problematic behavior as the result of situational pressures and influences?
Application Prompt 1: Suppose you are an attorney representing a woman who broke her leg in a department store and was suing the store for $100,000 in damages. Knowing only what you do about perceptual contrast, what could you do during the trial to make the jury see $100,000 as a reasonable, even small, award?
Application Prompt 2: Consider an important decision you recently made (in your personal or professional live). Ideally, when we make important decisions in our lives, we try collect all of the relevant information in order to assess all the possible alternatives so that we can carefully evaluate those alternatives and make the right decision.
Briefly describe the decision and discuss the extent to which you were evenhanded about the ways in which you collected the relevant information. How might some of the cognitive biases discussed in this module have influenced your decision-making process? How might some of the cognitive biases discussed this week color your perceptions of the efficacy of your decision now that it’s been made?
Application Prompt 3: Depressed individuals are typically caught in a vicious cycle of negative thinking, which leads to self-defeating behavior, which leads to negative experiences, which increases negative thinking. What characteristics of “social cognition” help us explain this phenomenon?
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