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PSYC 221, Introduction to Cognitive Psychology (Andrea Hughes): The Assignment

Assignment Objectives

  • Introduce psychology journals as sources of research studies
  • Introduce library (print and electronic) resources and searches in psychology
  • Provide an opportunity to explore a topic in the field of psychology that you find interesting
  • Encourage you to express your own thoughts about your topic

Overall Goal: To increase appreciation of psychology and the role of research.

Sample Topics

Following are some examples of possible topics (i.e., not too broad, such as "memory" or "cognitive psychology"):

  • False memory
  • Change blindness
  • Cell phones & driving
  • Age differences in memory
  • Eyewitness testimony
  • The Mozart effect
  • Dementia & memory - caution
  • Time perception
  • Amnesia
  • Memory for faces/prosopagnosia
  • Imagery
  • Synesthesia
  • Mnemonics
  • Reasoning & Decisions

Assignment Instructions


The paper is to be on a topic of your choice, selected from the materials covered in this course.  You must have your topic approved by the instructor prior to draft submission – it is highly recommended that you do this within the first 3-4 weeks of class.  This will allow you plenty of time to do a good job and will give you time to consult with me should you run into any difficulties.  The paper will be a literature review of current research on a topic of interest to you.

The paper should be approximately 2500 words (including title, references etc), must include at least 4 original sources and should follow APA guidelines.  If you are uncertain of what constitutes an original source, or are not familiar with APA guidelines, I will be happy to advise you.  The Academic Success Centre also has handouts available to help with APA guidelines.

The penalty for late papers is 1 mark (out of 25) per day (including weekends).

A Research Study or Not?

A research study means that data have been collected and analyzed. Look for paragraph headings within the article like Methods, Results, Conclusions (or Discussion). The article may also contain tables, graphs and statistics.

Theoretical or review articles are not empirical because the authors have not collected their own data. They are summarizing the data that other researchers have found.

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