Psychology in everyday life personal Essay ap psychology Summer Assignment Ms. Justice 2013-2014

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PSYCHOLOGY in EVERYDAY LIFE Personal Essay AP Psychology Summer Assignment
Ms. Justice 2013-2014

Psychology – the scientific study of why human beings think and behave as we do - is a fascinating subject to examine because it focuses on topics that we can all relate to. Whether you realize it or not, you already have some familiarity with many of the topics we will study in AP Psychology (APP). To get you thinking more about these psychology-related topics, you will do some pondering about ways in which you are already acquainted with 5 of the 14 unit topics from APP in your everyday life. Then, you will write an essay about these ponderings. To write the essay, follow the guidelines below. The essay is due on or before the first day of school: WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 4TH. You may submit the typed essay via Edmodo or e-mail attachment (preferred) –or- you may submit a typed or neatly handwritten hard copy of the essay in class on Sept. 4th

Recommendation: DO NOT wait until the last minute to write this essay. Work on it a little at a time over the course of the summer. Set a timeline for yourself to complete it, and stick to that timeline! You’ll be happy you did  If you have questions please message me on Edmodo or e-mail me at

Essay Guidelines:

  • Your essay should be at least 7 paragraphs: an introduction, a paragraph reflecting on each of the 5 chosen APP unit topics, and a conclusion

  • If typed: 12 pt. font, 1 inch margins, an easy to read font (such as Arial, Times New Roman, etc.)

  • If handwritten: neat and legible (I am not trained in deciphering hieroglyphics! If I can’t read it, I can’t grade it!!)

  • Choose 5 of the 14 unit topics that you can relate to your own everyday life

  • Write at least a paragraph (in your essay) about how you see this topic manifest itself in your life, what personal experiences you’ve had with the topic, how you understand the topic to relate to your life, etc.

  • Use the APP Unit Topics chart below for ideas to get started 

APP Unit Topics

Possible essay topics related to units

1. History of Psychology & Psychological Approaches

Do you know anything about the history of Psychology? From your own studies or a previous class you’ve taken?

2. Psychology Research Methods

What do you know about scientific research methods/the scientific method? Have you taken AP Statistics? Or ever completed a science experiment or a science fair project?

3. Biological Bases of Behavior

Have you studied the brain, nervous system, or genetics in another class (Biology, perhaps)? What did you learn? How do you think genetics affects your thoughts and behavior?

4. Sensation & Perception

Anything relating to your senses and how you perceive the world around you.

5. States of Consciousness

Anything relating to sleep & dreams: Do you ever have weird dreams? Do you know anything about hypnosis?

6. Learning

Experiences related to learning new information. How do you learn best? What do you like learning about? What do you struggle with regarding learning?

7. Cognition

Anything related to memory, language, thinking, or problem solving. How do you remember information? In what ways do you struggle with remembering new information? Do you know/are you learning a second language? What has that experience been like?

8. Motivation & Emotion

What motivates you? How do you motivate yourself when you don’t feel motivated? How emotional are you? What role do emotions play in your everyday life?

9. Developmental Psychology

What has your life been like growing up? What factors do you believe have had the greatest impact on your development as a person? What plans do you have for your future?

10. Personality

How would you describe your personality? What are your characteristic traits and talents (both good and bad)? How do you think others would describe your personality? What factors do you believe have had the greatest influence on your personality?

11. Testing & Individual Differences

How do you view/understand intelligence? What experiences have you had with intelligence testing? What do you think accounts for individual differences in intelligence and abilities?

12. Abnormal Psychology

Do you know someone who has a psychological disorder (depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, OCD, PTSD, schizophrenia, etc.)? How has this affected his/her life? Your life (if you are close to that person)?

13. Treatment of Psychological Disorders

Do you know someone who has undergone treatment for a psychological disorder? What was/is that experience like?

14. Social Psychology

How do your interactions with others affect your thoughts and behaviors? What kind of experiences have you had in school (or other situations) with various groups of people? Have gender, race/ethnicity, religious beliefs, and/or socioeconomic status affected your attitudes and life?

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