The memory paper will test your ability to think, generate hypotheses, and, in general, apply psychological science. The task will be to take a position in a current debate in memory science. You will then have to support your position by drawing on the data that are available on the topic. The goal is to convince readers that the position you take is correct by presenting the relevant data on the topic. Writing that both positions are correct will automatically result in a deduction of points. Think of this as a debate in which your job is to argue one of the positions. This paper will require you to go beyond the textbook. You will need to refer to journal articles, book chapters, and if you must, websites. Each student must read journal articles for the paper. At least three journal articles must be referenced. If you use websites, you are responsible for any misinformation you get from the website (the best websites to use are those of the researchers themselves). Your view in the reaction paper must be supported by psychological science (including neuroscience, social psychology, neurobiology). Your feelings and impressions are not relevant in this paper; rather it is scientific data that you must draw upon. You do not have to be balanced. Choose arguments that support your position and refute arguments that may support the other position. You will be graded on your ability to do both. You may email me questions on how best to do this. APA style is encouraged but not required. Choose one topic from the list below. If the topic is pre-approved by your professor (that is, from the list below), you do not require the professors pre-approval. However, if you wish to pursue a topic not on the list below, please obtain your professor’s permission first. This is to ensure that the topic is appropriate for memory science. Approval cannot occur after the paper has been handed in. You must also answer the question in approximately 1,000 words (about 3 pages). Papers will not be read if they contain fewer than 900 words, nor will they be read if they are more than 1100 words (I am serious about this; there has to be a limit somewhere, so the bounds will be enforced) You must craft your arguments to fit into the word limit. The word limit refers to the body of your paper and does not include a title page, references, and any supplementary material you add. I want students to learn to evaluate scientific argument and come to their own conclusions — based on scientific facts. Often in a college class, we fall into the routine that the goal is to assimilate a large body of facts. However, in psychological science, like any science, the important thing to learn is how to evaluate that science and/or move it forward. This project allows you to evaluate an area of scientific controversy and make your own arguments as to why one view is better than another. Thus, for this project, my pedagogical goal is to have each student evaluate an area in memory science in which groups of scientists may agree on the facts, but disagree on the interpretations of those facts. So, for each of the so-called “pre-approved” topics, there is controversy among memory scientists as to how to best explain the facts. For example, for the topic of tip-of-the-tongue states, there are scientists who think the best explanation for tip-of-the-tongue states is that a lexical representation is not strong enough to be recalled, immediately triggering a tip-of-the-tongue states, whereas other researchers think that tip-of-the-tongue states are metacognitive states that occur when lexical retrieval fails. Your goal in the paper is to argue for one scientific view of the other. Also, note that you are writing about the science, not its cultural implications. Thus, for example, intuitively almost everyone sees tip-of-the-tongue states as the first view. However, scientists who work in this area are quite divided in what the best interpretation is. So, your goal for this paper is to tackle scientific disagreement, not how the general public might view the memory phenomena but as scientists do. For an analogy here, you might think of the human contribution to global warming — this might be hotly debated topic among non-scientists, but among scientists, there is no debate — its happening, so it would not be a good topic for such an assignment. This paper requires: 1. A thesis statement (somewhere in first paragraph) stating what the issue of the paper is and what the writers position is. 2. This thesis statement should be a specific position on a current debate in memory science. This requires additional reading beyond any descriptions in the textbook. 3. Discussion of data from actual experiments 4. The paper needs a summary/conclusion 5. At least three references from journal articles. 6. No more than one quote or 40 words of quotes. Your paper should begin with a thesis statement where you assert what side of an argument you are going to present. It should be clear and not ambiguous. Once you make your thesis statement, your job will be to present data from actual experiments that support the position you are arguing for. So, should you choose working memory, the thesis might be that visual and auditory working memory arise from a common system of short-term memory (or the that they are different systems, one or the other). You would then describe experiments that support that view and refute opposing views. The experiments you present must be published in journal articles. This is because journal articles go through peer review, meaning other scholars in the field have read, criticized them, and approved the methods.
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