Social psychology at the movies

Social Psychology Paper: Social Psychology at the movies

Your assignment is to analyze, from a social psychological perspective, the events and behaviors in one of the movies listed below. Warning: Critiquing the film in terms of its art or entertainment value is not part of the assignment doing so will result in a loss of points.

            Choose one of the films listed below. View the film and take notes (two viewings is probably a good idea). After reviewing your class notes and the text, select and apply three (3) social psychological principles or theories that appear to be operating in the behaviors depicted in the movie. You must select non-trivial theories. In other words, you must select theories that have a significant level of complexity in order to allow you to demonstrate your ability to apply complicated ideas to examples (See list below).

            There are several ways to apply theory, principles or research findings. For example, you could select a theory and explain how it predicts the events that were depicted in the movie. You could also explain how a director/screenwriter makes use of the principles in a theory to steer the audience in a particular direction (i.e., liking a character, expecting a particular behavior, etc). Finally, you can describe how two opposing theories differ and explain which one accounts for the behavior depicted in the film. This assignment is meant to be comprehensive so your three theories should come from at least two different chapters in the text.

            Your paper should begin with a brief overview of the movie. Do not waste a lot of paper describing the film – you may assume that I have seen the movie. Two or three sentences should do it. You should then give an introductory paragraph that gives an outline or overview of what you will be doing in the paper. There should be a clear statement of purpose near the beginning of your paper that informs your reader of your intentions in the paper. Your paper should then follow the general outline that you have provided. Choose theories that you know well poor theory explanations & weak applications will lose points. Originality and clear, less than obvious applications of complex principles missed by other students will earn higher scores. This paper should be instructive as well as analytic – after reading it, readers should understand the theory or principle that youve applied as well as how it works in the movie.

For each principle:

a) Introduce the social psychological principle/theory and the scene in which it applies
b) Describe in detail the relevant social psychological principle
c) Briefly describe the relevant scene
d) Explain and analyze how the selected scene conforms to or contradicts the social psychological theory, or research findings you have selected. Be as detailed as possible in your application of the theory. If you leave out important details or supporting evidence from the text it will weaken your score.
Your paper should end with a critical evaluation of how well each theory fit the scene in question and a conclusion about the effectiveness of your applications.

            Your application should be instructive, precise and concise. Clear, specific, and precise wording demonstrates a clear understanding and will result in higher scores. To earn the maximum possible points, your application and analysis must show creativity, originality, and a complete comprehension of the major points and subtleties of principles used. After reading your paper, an uniformed reader should understand the three theories you have selected

Approved movies (you must use one of these movies):

Crash (2004) 2. Million Dollar Baby; 3. A Bronx Tale  4. Hidden Figures  5. Green Book  6. When Harry Met Sally

Approved theories (you must choose three of these theories and only two can be from the same chapter):  Here is a list of theories & principles that are acceptable for use in your paper. Choose any three, but be sure they are not all from the same chapter. 1. Kelleys covariation theory (CH 6) 2. fundamental attribution error including causes covered in class and in the text, (CH 6)3. self-fulfilling prophecy (CH 12) 4. social identity theory (CH 4 &12) 5. contact hypothesis & critical conditions,(CH12) 6. theory of planned behavior (CH 5) 7. dual process model of persuasion (CH 5) 8. cognitive dissonance & methods of reducing it (CH 5) 9. conformity (you must include informational vs normative influence & public vs private analysis in your application) (TBA)10. one of the sequential request techniques (foot-in-the-door, low-balling, thats-not-all, door-in-the-face) with explanation of why it worked (CH 5 & TBA). (CH 10)  14. stereotype-prejudice-discrimination analysis must clearly define and apply all three elements (Ch12)

General Guidelines

Your paper should be word-processed, double spaced, with one-inch margins and essay formatting. Each page should be numbered. Your paper should have a title page, which is the only place where you should indicate your name. The Title page does not count toward your page total!
This is an individual assignment. There should be very little overlap between student papers. Because you are graded on creativity and originality, it is best not to discuss your ideas with classmates. Under no circumstances should you share your paper with another student this is a violation of the school code of ethics.
DIRECT QUOTES ARE NOT ALLOWED. NO OUTSIDE SOURCES SHALL BE USED. I am not interested in your ability to transcribe the words of others. I want to read your thoughts, your ideas, and your ability to paraphrase principles. Put EVERYTHING into your own words.

Your paper should be free from grammatical and spelling errors. It should also be free from slang, colloquialisms, and contractions. Remember to spell check, butt ewe can knot reel-eye on spell check two catch awl of youre missed stakes.
Late penalties. Each twenty-four hour period that a paper is late will result in a 5-percent penalty this includes weekends (I find subtracting late points very unpleasant so please, for my sake, submit your work on time). I will not accept papers more than 5 days late, after 5 days scores automatically become zeros.
A word about A papers:  Generally speaking, an A paper is marked by clarity and originality. It is rich in content and analysis. The application of theories and principles selected is insightful and non-obvious. Every sentence is necessary and relevant to the argument at hand. There is no filler writing. There are no digressions. The title and introduction should capture the readers interest. The transitions between ideas and different theories should be smooth and contribute to the arguments and analysis. The quantity and quality of the analysis is such that a reader should feel significantly educated by the author. The organization of the paper should contribute to its clarity and the overall strength of its arguments.

Here is how the points for the paper will be distributed. (I will use this form to grade your papers)

Area                                                                                    Pts       

Overview and introduction (13 pts)

Introduction & movie summary                    3
Overview & Statement of purpose          10
Theory application and analysis (99 pts)

Principle 1
scene overview                                                    3
principle/theory explanation                    15
theory application/analysis to movie  15
Principle 2
scene overview                                                  3
principle/theory explanation                  15
theory application/analysis to movie  15
III. Principle 3

scene overview                                                3
principle/theory explanation                  15
theory application/analysis to movie 15
Summary and conclusion (20 pts)

evaluation of analysis                                  15
Conclusions/ analysis effectiveness    5
Organization, style, mechanics (18 pts)

Mechanics (Grammar, etc)                        5
Transitions & flow                                        3
III.  Clarity                                                                  10

Spelling (-1pt per word)                          -_______             

                                                      Total =                              /150

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