Psychology Essay Questions

1. Choose one person from the following list whom you feel played an important role in the history of psychology: Freud, Pavlov, Skinner, Maslow, or Piaget. Describe what that person did, the approximate time that this person lived, what makes their contribution important, and criticisms of their work or theoretical position (10 points).2. David’s history teacher asked him why so many German people complied with Hitler’s orders to systematically slaughter millions of innocent Jews. David suggested that the atrocities were committed because the Germans had become unusually cruel, sadistic people with abnormal and twisted personalities. But this is wrong.  Your task in this question is to use your knowledge of “the fundamental attribution error” and especially of Milgram’s research on obedience to highlight the weaknesses of David’s explanation and to offer a more likely explanation for the slaughter of millions of Jews during World War II.  This question is to evaluate your understanding of the fundamental attribution error and Milgrim’s research on obedience.  (10 points).3. Choose a behavior that you would like to modify or change using the principles of operant conditioning. Be sure to use and explain the following terms: operant conditioning, positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, punishment, schedules of reinforcement, shaping and extinction.  (10 points).4. Imagine that you were involved in a legal case in which an eyewitness claimed that he has seen a person commit a crime. Based on your knowledge about memory and cognition (see textbook to bolster your knowledge for this question; attend to research by Loftus especially), discuss some of the problems of eye-witness accounts.  (10 points).

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