Topics to choose from:

1.)  Neural Pathway

2.)  Learning Process

3.)  Operant Conditioning and Modifying a Behavior 4.)  Stages of Development: Understanding Yourself

5.)  Psychological Disorders

Critical Reasoning Essay Prompts

Choose any one from the following essay prompts. Essays should be submitted during the term after the appropriate material has been covered in class lectures. No papers will be accepted after the seventh week of the term. Your essay can be submitted earlier than the suggested deadline. Your essay is worth 100 points. Department policy does not accept late assignments; therefore, if the assignment is not turned in on time, you will receive “0” points for that assignment.

1) Neural Pathways Choose any neural pathway you feel passionate about like the visual pathway, auditory pathway, olfactory pathway, etc., and describe how the pathway travels from the stimuli through the nervous system. Then, explain how the environment (experiences) may have an effect on how stimuli may be perceived. Example: If you were to choose the visual pathway and you were raised around snakes as pets, first describe the visual pathway from stimuli to occipital lobe, and how would a picture of a snake (the stimulus) travel from the occipital lobe to other parts of the brain like the limbic system (specific parts of the limbic system) to the cortex and how might your autonomic nervous system react.

2) Learning Process Describe how learning is accomplished from stimuli to processing. Here you don’t have to be specific with the neural pathways if you choose not to, but you do have to identify the brain components responsible for learning. What I am looking for is that you understand the different components, modalities, and how to optimize your time to learn material presented during your academic career.

3) Operant Conditioning and Modifying a Behavior Drawing on personal experience, choose a person whose behavior you want to change. You may select one of your own behaviors for this question. How could you use operant conditioning to change the less desirable behavior into the desired behavior? In a multi-paragraph essay describe your plans to condition the new behavior. Be sure to mention what type of reinforcer and reinforcement schedule you would use and explain why you made those particular choices. Include information from class materials, readings and research on operant conditioning to support your discussion.

4) Stages of Development: Understanding Yourself Psychologists, such as Jean Piaget and Erik Erikson, theorize that humans go through stages in their development throughout life, growing from infancy to old age. Piaget outlined stages of thinking, referred to as cognitive development; Erikson described stages of personality, referred to as psychosocial development. How can you use this information to better understand your own life? What stages of cognitive and psychosocial development have you gone through since you were an infant? Which stages will you encounter during adulthood and old age?

In a multi-paragraph essay describe all the different stages of cognitive and psychosocial development throughout your life span. Be sure to provide examples to illustrate the thoughts, emotions and behavior typical of each stage. Include details from class materials, readings and research on human development to support your discussion.

5) Psychological Disorder Choose any psychological disorder and write how it can be developed from the environment (experiences or biological) or genetics. If it is genetics, what may trigger the gene to synthesize? Then, choose a current media, where someone may be suffering from this disorder and give the main exhibited behaviors that may have led to the diagnoses.

Again, be sure to provide evidence from the person’s or character’s thoughts, emotions and behavior. Include details from class materials, readings and research on personality to support your discussion.

Essay Format

  1. Proper APA citation of article. This includes author/s (last name/s first), date of publication, article title, name of journal, and pages.
  2. Four paragraphs: Introduction— discussion on what the disorder is and state your hypothesis (e.g. bipolar disorder has a genetic factor); support your hypothesis –using the text and any other scholarly material (at least one reference must be other than the text); identify a fictional character, and provide support using the DSM-V criteria for your support; provide a treatment plan.

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