PSY 3200 Term Paper (Virtual Person Paper) Suggestions & Examples
To get a good grade on your term paper, you’ll want to follow these suggestions:
1. Throughout the paper, discuss how the 3 domains of development (physical,
cognitive & psychosocial), interact, and how events in at one stage of development
might influence outcomes at later stages.
a. For instance, a paper might describe a child who is born with low birth weight
(physical development in infancy). The paper may then continue to note that
because the parents were aware of the risks of LBW, they took steps to manage
those risks—for instance, perhaps they became highly engaged with the child;
holding him frequently, talking to him, and later reading and playing with the
child (social development in infancy & early childhood). The paper may then
discuss how this social interaction helped the child to develop a larger
vocabulary, which allowed him/her to do well in school (cognitive development
in early and later childhood).
2. Discuss how environment and genes affect development, and how they interact.
a. For instance, a paper might describe a child with a genetic predisposition to
having a difficult temperament, emotional reactivity and aggression. The paper
may describe how as this child ages, he/she seeks out violent video games,
television shows, and activities in which aggression is involved—and seeking out
these environments further strengthens the child’s genetic predisposition to
aggression (this would be an example of an active gene X environment
3. Throughout the paper, be specific in your descriptions, use terms from the textbook
appropriately, and base your descriptions of developmental process on what we’ve
learned in class and from the textbook (and not your own assumptions).
a. For instance, a good paper might do this by describing how a child’s regular
interactions with siblings, peers and others helps them become less egocentric,
and develop theory of mind abilities—which allow the child to experience more
complex emotions such as empathy and guilt. A non-specific paper might simply
say something vague such as “Brian’s social interactions impact his improving
cognitive skills, which allow him to experience more complex emotions.”
On the next page, you’ll see an example of a section from a good term paper. On the third page,
you’ll see an example of how the same sections might have been written in a poor paper.
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