Final paper (100 points)
We will not have a final exam and will instead have a final paper that will be due December 16th by 11:59pm. I will select a list of topics on complex cognition and learning that students can chose from to write an essay about (these will be posted on blackboard shortly after the second exam). This paper should be between 1200-1500 words and must follow APA 7th edition formatting guidelines. A minimum of 5 citations will be required (although more can be used) that can be loosely related to cognitive psychology/science.
Important: Avoid directly quoting from the text if possible (quotations should be used very minimally and avoided if possible). I am interested in how well you understand and can describe the ideas from our readings and so paraphrase any points from the readings in your own words and then cite the source instead of using quotations. I will deduct points very heavily from papers that use excessive quotations or any quotations that are used to explain an idea (instead, explain any ideas in your own words). Also, do not rely on or use the wording of my PowerPoint slides to explain any ideas in the paper, I immediately recognize my own wording when I see it in responses in the quizzes and exams (every single time) so use your own wording. Failure to follow these guidelines will result in large point deductions, which may result in a low or failing grade on the paper.
The paper will be graded on the following criteria:
The extent to which the paper guidelines are followed (e.g., following APA format, including the minimum citations specified in the instructions)
APA formatting: 10%
Minimum citations: 10%
The extent to which the selected topic and corresponding questions are addressed in the paper: 20%
The extent to which the student can demonstrate an understanding and mastery of the topic that they are writing about: 20%
The extent to which the student can demonstrate an understanding of the research articles that they cite in the paper: 20%
The extent to which the primary points that are advanced in the paper are supported by the research articles that are cited in the paper: 10%
The extent to which the paper’s conclusions follow from the arguments that are laid out in the paper: 10%
Important: When asked to describe or review theories or ideas below, I am looking to see the extent to which you understand this content. When you write up your papers, write them for a target audience that is completely unfamiliar with any of this content, meaning that you should fully and thoroughly explain these theories/ideas and provide examples to convey your points clearly. When you finish, someone who is completely unfamiliar with this content should be able to have a relatively strong grasp of the content that you wrote about.
What is the importance/function of similarity in human cognition and how do we determine similarity among objects and scenarios? To answer the second part of this question, review two models from our similarity readings from earlier in the semester (Week 4), compare and contrast them, discuss their strengths and weaknesses, and propose a hypothesis in which you either pick one or propose your own idea on how we determine similarity (e.g., a completely novel idea, or some combination of the models, or situations where one model might apply best and other situations where another model might work better). Regardless of which position you take, defend it, ideally by citing research/papers from our readings or external papers that we did not cover but that are relevant to the topic.
One fundamental issue with creativity and the generation of novel ideas is that novel ideas are influenced and ultimately founded on existing ideas (those of others and our own). This raises the question of how we are able to generate creative ideas and solutions from ideas that already exist. Provide a thorough review of each of the creativity theories covered in the “Cognition and Generation of Ideas” readings (Week 8) and discuss each of their pros and cons. Take a position and either pick one of these theories as the one that you think best accounts for how we generate creative ideas or propose your own idea on how we generate creative ideas (e.g., a completely novel idea, or some combination of the theories, or cases where one theory might apply best and other cases where another theory might work better). Regardless of which position you take, defend it, ideally by citing research/papers from our readings or external papers that we did not cover but that are relevant to the topic.
This is a two-part question and both parts must be addressed:
Provide a thorough review on the types of categories that are considered to be in the category of genius from the “Genius” readings (Week 9) and take a position on whether you agree with the criteria used for defining each of these categories and also take a position on whether these categories are sufficient to capture genius achievements or whether more categories should be added or whether some should be removed (i.e., should not be considered genius accomplishments). Regardless of your position, make sure to carefully and thoroughly defend your idea.
Next, thoroughly review each of the perspectives on genius discussed in the “Genius” readings (Week 9) and discuss each of their pros and cons. Take a position and either pick one of these perspectives as the one that you think best accounts for how we achieve genius level accomplishments (e.g., a completely novel idea, or some combination of the perspectives, or cases where one perspective fits best and other cases where another perspective fits better). Regardless of which position you take, defend it, ideally by citing research/papers from our readings or external papers that we did not cover but that are relevant to the topic.
In our readings on expertise in Week 10, Anders Ericsson argues very strongly against the idea of innate talents determining our future success or placing a realistic upper limit on what we can achieve. In agreement with Ericsson, in the Howe et al. (1998) article (also from Week 10), they provide extensive evidence against the idea that we are born with innate talents. First, thoroughly review the most important ideas and research discussed in the Howe et al. (1998) paper. Next, provide a thorough review of the primary points from the Ericson paper. Lastly, take a position and state whether you agree with Ericsson and Howe et al. or argue against them or take some middle ground position or propose your own idea on these matters. Regardless of which position you decide to take, it is critical that the extensive evidence they site in their papers is accounted for in your argument. For example, if you decide to argue against them, you must either be able to explain the reason behind the extensive evidence they find in support of their ideas. For this question in particular, I will be looking for you to cite empirical evidence to back up your position, because the position by Ericsson and Howe et al. is strongly supported by empirical findings.
Pick your own topic, but I have to approve it and detail the specifics of what will be required.
Extra Credit (up to 30 points)
For those interested in extra credit, you can pick a second question to write a second paper on for up to 30 points of extra credit. Note: Going with this option will not guarantee that you will receive the full 30 points of extra credit. I will grade this second paper by the same criteria I will use for the first paper (it will just be out of 30 points, instead of 100). If you decide to go with this option, please make sure to indicate which of your papers is for extra credit and which is your final paper.
Final paper (100 points)