Write a review paper on Social Psychology in The Real World.
Describe your Current Event: The event can be any current event that was reported in a newspaper, magazine, TV, or on the internet since January 1, 2021. The event does not necessarily have to be a serious news story, a pop culture event is fine (e.g., a celebrity breakup or scandal). You may not use a personal anecdote from your own life. Make sure to describe the event in sufficient detail that we can follow the rest of your answer. If you have it, you should include a link to the newspaper or magazine article where you found the event (you should still describe the highlights of the event again in the paper, however).
Describe your Theory, Concept, Research: You can choose any one or more of the social psychological theories, concepts, research findings we have talked about or read about in class. The point of the paper is not, however, to give a long, detailed description of all the ins and outs of some social psychological theory. Rather, what I am looking for is a good, straightforward discussion of the theory, concept, or research you are going to focus on in your paper in sufficient detail so that I know you understand it and its relevance to understanding your chosen social event. Your description should include references to the scientific literature you draw upon (course readings, papers cited in the Gilovich et al text). Outside reading is fine if your paper requires it, but is not essential as the paper is intended to be a thought piece about the relevance of social psychological research to the real world, not a literature review.
Describe How the Theory, Concept, Research Helps Explain the Event: This is the key step. The challenge is to pick an event that illustrates how one or more of the social psychological processes we have talked and/or read really explains how that particular social event unfolded. The best answers will be ones in which the explanation is original (not similar to one used in lecture or the readings) and where details of the event can be used to support your contention that the social psychological phenomenon really played an important role in how the event unfolded. For example, do not simply pick an act of altruism and then describe all the different theories and research findings about altruism. Try to pick an event that can really be understood by invoking (for example) cognitive dissonance theory or informational social influence or the sleeper effect and try to prove it by citing specific aspects of the event (e.g., quotes from eyewitnesses/participants, descriptions in the media).
Grading: Papers should be double-spaced, 12-point font, with one-inch margins. Papers must be a minimum of 4 pages long and a maximum of 5 (longer papers will definitely not earn you extra credit). References should be cited and listed at the end of the paper in the style (APA style) used in the Gilovich et al text.
The major criteria used for grading will be:
How clearly you communicate your ideas.
How well you demonstrate an understanding of theories, concepts, research used.
The plausibility and insightfulness of your analysis: plausible in the sense of being both consistent with the theories/research it is derived from and consistent with the facts of the event you choose, insightful in the sense that you pick an event to analyze that has interesting, nonobvious aspects to it and your analysis really adds something to our understanding of the event.
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