PSY331 Social Psychology of Emotion Final Paper
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PREAMBLE for PSY331 Social Psychology of Emotion Final Paper
In this age of greater access to information, as well as the increasing access to and influence of
popular culture, it can be difficult to decide what to believe. Do we give more credence to the
greater sheer amount of and access to the personal testimonies and anecdotal evidence available
to us via social media or the findings from empirical studies, which few members of the public
may have the access or the requisite skills/knowledge to understand? Do we give more credence
to information about which there seems to be general or public consensus (e.g., popular beliefs)
or information that has been carefully explored, examined, compiled and disseminated by
credible researchers? In this age which puts a premium on “fact-checking”, who bears that
responsibility? The disseminators of information or the consumers of information?
One area in which there exist thousands of popular beliefs is emotion. Questions (and answers)
abound, both general questions regarding the nature of emotion (e.g., what it is, what it looks
like, what it does, etc.) and specific questions about aspects of emotion and their relation to
functioning as well as within the context of public discourse (including the internet), academics
across several disciplines, and even at the level of individuals themselves. Popular culture is
teeming with all sorts of depictions, news & advice on how emotion. Who has the answer(s)?
Your task for this assignment is to choose a popular belief related to emotion that is depicted in
popular media and examine the veracity of that popular belief using the available empirical
evidence from Psychology. In this task, you as a student of psychology with access to and
knowledge of psychological principles, theories and empirical research, will bear the
responsibility to “fact-check”.
PSY331 Social Psychology of Emotion Final Paper is due on: April 1st by 11:59pm on Quercus (emailed submissions or hardcopies will not be accepted
unless the instructor has granted permission)
• The instructor is able to grant an extension UP TO 5pm on April 23. To request an
extension, use the Absence Declaration from academic work tool on ACORN, record
your confirmation # and complete the “Term Work Extension Request (Instructor)” form
on Quercus (include any supporting documentation (e.g. medical certificates, accident
reports, screenshot of absence declaration confirmation #), etc.).
• The instructor CANNOT accept term work submitted AFTER 5pm on April 23. To
submit term work AFTER 5pm on April 23 you must petition your college Registrar.
Please see the syllabus & Quercus for final paper submission AFTER 5pm on April 23.
• If you encounter any problems submitting your final paper via Quercus, contact the
instructor ASAP with your final paper as an attachment. Do not delay in contacting the
instructor as you will be required to provide evidence of submission problems (e.g.
screen shots, error reports, etc.). Remember that Quercus provides confirmation of
• To avoid delays in grading and academic dishonesty, please note the following:
o The final paper will be submitted via Quercus as a MSWord document with no
o Emailed papers will not be accept unless the instructor permitted this form of
o You will have 3 attempts to submit your final paper and the most recent attempt
will be graded.
o Since you have 3 attempts to ensure the correct file is submitted and since
Quercus allows students to preview submissions, the following will be
automatically assigned a score of “0” (no exceptions):
Non-MSWord or .pdf files
Papers for a different course
o Final paper grades will be posted approximately 2 weeks after the due date.
WEIGHT: 24% of your final grade
LATE PENALTY: 5% reduction in mark per day (including weekends)
PSY331 Social Psychology of Emotion Final Paper Format:
1. Paragraph form with complete sentences and formal language
2. No more than 6 pages double-spaced (This does not include title page and reference
3. 1-inch margins (all sides)
4. 12pt Times New Roman font
5. APA format 7th edition (student paper) for: title page, page numbers, in-text citations,
direct quotes, reference list, any headings/subheadings (the use of headings/subheadings
a. Note: an abstract is NOT required (See FORMAL REQUIREMENTS section
b. Make use of the UTM library’s APA resources for information regarding APA
• from the Library’s Psychology Resources:
PSY331 Social Psychology of Emotion Final Paper Instructions:
1. Choose a popular belief relevant to the social psychology of emotion. Your chosen
popular belief does not have to be related to a topic that we have covered in class (you
may choose a popular belief related to topic that we have covered in class if you want),
but it must be relevant to the social psychology of emotion.
• Example: “Expressions of anger reduce relationship quality”
2. Find one (1) popular culture/media source that provides an example of your chosen
popular belief. You can use any non-scholarly popular culture, popular media, social
media source (print or online) as long as you cite that source correctly using APA
format (this includes Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, blogs, online videos, YouTube
videos, etc. posts – See this link for more information on how to cite social media in
3. Find two (2) original, empirical, scholarly journal articles relevant to your chosen
popular belief that provide empirical evidence that helps you to determine the veracity of
your chosen popular belief.
At least one (1) original, empirical, scholarly journal article should provide empirical
evidence that supports your chosen popular belief and at least one (1) original, empirical,
scholarly journal article should provide empirical evidence that refutes (or qualifies) your
chosen popular belief.
o Article #1 provides empirical evidence that shows that expression of anger
reduces romantic relationship quality and article #2 provides empirical
evidence that shows that expressions of anger do not reduce romantic
relationship quality (this is an example of 2 articles that provide directly
o Article #1 provides empirical evidence that shows that expressions of
anger reduce romantic relationship quality and article #2 provides
empirical evidence that shows that expressions of anger under certain
circumstances reduce romantic relationship quality. (this is an example of
2 articles that provide information that may qualify the chosen popular
belief – i.e., that the popular belief is empirically supported only
regarding certain circumstances, but it is empirically refuted regarding
These are just examples. The main point is that you should not choose original,
empirical, scholarly journal articles that BOTH only support or BOTH only refute
your chosen popular belief.
An original, empirical scholarly journal article is published in a peer-reviewed scholarly
journal and reports detailed information on research conducted by its authors (not a report
or description of research conducted by other authors). This detailed information includes
the purpose of the research, hypotheses tested (not applicable to exploratory empirical
studies – exploratory studies explore/describe some phenomenon and do not test specific
hypotheses – you can use empirical exploratory, just make sure to state that study/studies
were exploratory in your summary.), sample(s), methods used to collect primary data/test
hypotheses, data analyses, results, interpretation/discussion of results, etc. If you are
unsure whether your articles are empirical, email the instructor. Empirical articles can use
a variety of research methods, not just experimental methods. Furthermore, empirical
articles can make use of “panel data”, which is data collected as part of a larger (often
national) longitudinal study. For more information, see the “How To Read A Journal
Article Tutorial” on Quercus.
RESTRICTIONS ON ARTICLE SELECTION: For the PSY331 Social Psychology of Emotion Final Paper:
a. Your articles must be published in the year 1990 or after (Any exceptions must be
approved by the instructor).
b. You cannot use review articles to fulfill this criterion. (N.B. A review article
reviews/summarizes the current research on a particular topic/question and does
not include any data collection or analysis of empirical data).
i. You can use review articles to HELP you find the original, empirical
journal articles (see the “How To Find Articles” Tutorial on Quercus)
c. You cannot use meta-analyses to fulfill this criterion. (N.B. A meta-analysis uses
statistical procedures to analyze the empirical results of several previously
published studies. It does not involve collection of primary data).
ii. You can use meta-analyses to HELP you find the original, empirical
journal articles (see the “How To Find Articles” Tutorial on Quercus)
d. You cannot use dissertations, theses, or articles published in Dissertation
Abstracts International to fulfill this criterion as these sources are not peer-reviewed.
e. You cannot use articles published in non-scholarly sources (e.g. Wikipedia,
popular culture magazine or blogs, etc.) to fulfill this criterion.
POPULAR BELIEF & ARTICLE SELECTION TIPS:
Do not choose a popular belief that is too narrow as this reduces your chances of finding
sufficient relevant articles. The above example examines a major topic within the social
psychology of emotion, which increases the likelihood that sufficient relevant articles
will be found. Most likely you will have to come up with a couple of different popular
beliefs, do your literature search, and chose the popular belief that is best (i.e., has
enough appropriate articles from which to choose).
Similarly, do not choose a popular belief that is too broad as this will generate too many
articles in your search.
Begin with a few possible popular beliefs and conduct your literature search. Aim to
select a popular belief for which you can find sufficient articles that provide empirical
evidence that support and refute the popular belief.
Use the “How To Find Articles” Tutorial on Quercus to help you generate keywords and
use article databases to search for articles.
4. Provide a brief introduction at the beginning of your assignment.
In other words, tell the reader your chosen popular belief (make sure to describe what the
belief entails rather than simply stating it), define the key concept(s) and description of an
example of evidence of your chosen popular belief from some form of non-scholarly
popular culture/popular media (print or online). For example, you can quote and describe
a news article, a blog, a social media post, a book, a video, etc. as long as it is relevant
and properly cited using APA format (See this link for more information on how to cite
social media in APA).
You can use lecture slides, textbooks or scholarly journal articles for your definitions as
long as you cite them appropriately.
5. Provide a critique of your two (2) original, empirical, scholarly journal articles. Your
critique should help you decide whether you are more convinced by one article opposed
to the other (or why you find neither article convincing, or both articles equally
convincing) and thus whether you believe your chosen popular belief to be true, false or
• Your critiques can address any aspect(s) of the articles, e.g. theoretical
background, hypotheses, methods, analyses, results, interpretations, implications,
limitations, conclusions, etc.
i. A good critique:
a. Addresses more than one aspect. Therefore, you should address
multiple aspects of the articles (e.g., theoretical background,
methods, analyses, results, etc.). Don’t just focus exclusively on
one aspect (e.g., the sample size of both articles)
b. Points out what aspects are strengths and explains why these
aspects are strengths. For example, if you believe that the use of
both self and informant reports in a study is a strength, you must
also explain why that is a strength (e.g., increased validity once the
same results are obtained using different methods)
c. Points out what are aspects are weakness and explains why these
aspects are weaknesses. For example, if you believe that a small
sample size is a weakness of a study you must also explain why
that is a weakness (e.g., results may be due to chance, etc.).
Sometimes the studies on a particular issue/topic have small
sample sizes because they are interested in a rare disorder/trait/type
of behavior. Thus, a small sample size is typical of that kind of
research and not necessarily a weakness in and of itself.
d. Goes beyond the strengths and weaknesses pointed out by the
authors. While you can, of course, point out and describe the
strengths and weaknesses mentioned by the authors of the articles
(and other authors (see below)), a good assignment will include
your own critique. Here is your chance to be creative and original!
But remember to always give credit to the original sources by
citing the source(s) of any and all ideas that are not your own.
e. A good critique provides well justified/supported points. Thus, you
are allowed (and encouraged) to use additional sources to support
your arguments (i.e. why an aspect is a strength/weakness).
Additional sources include additional scholarly journal articles,
lectures, textbooks, etc.). You can use review articles and meta-analyses (See assignment 1 instructions for descriptions of these
types of articles). You cannot use dissertations, theses, or articles
published in Dissertation Abstracts International.
f. Refers to the concepts of reliability, validity and replicability.
Remember that these are the important criteria by which we judge
the quality of empirical evidence.
• Tip: If you find it difficult to connect your critique point to
reliability or validity, you might want to rethink your
6. Provide a brief conclusion that:
i. States whether you believe your chosen popular belief to be true, false or partially
true based on which of the two articles critiqued you find more convincing
(alternatively, you may state that you find neither of the 2 articles convincing or
that you find them both equally convincing if that is the case).
7. Provide a reference list (APA format). Your reference list should include all of your
PSY331 Social Psychology of Emotion Final Paper FORMAL REQUIREMENTS:
a. APA formatted title page (must include your name, student number, course code)
c. Critique of the two (2) original, empirical, scholarly journal articles
e. APA formatted reference list that includes ALL of your sources
YOU WILL BE GRADED ON THE FOLLOW MINIMUM CRITERIA:
a. Introduction and Relevance/Appropriateness of main articles/sources [15 points]
a. Clearly states the popular belief
b. Clearly describes evidence of popular belief in popular culture/media
c. Clearly defines the key concept(s)
d. Chosen articles are good examples of articles that provide evidence that supports
and refutes the popular belief
e. Chosen main critique articles meet the criteria (see step #3)
b. Format [10 points]
a. Within page limits (no more than 6 pages double-spaced)
• 6.5-7 pages – points deducted from this section (depending on length)
• Beyond 7 pages – the grader will stop reading the paper
b. APA format for any title page, page numbers, any headings and sub- headings if
used, in-text citations and reference list
c. Margins (1” all sides)
d. Font size (12pt Times New Roman)
c. Punctuation, grammar, spelling, and writing style [20 points]
a. Minimal punctuation, grammatical and spelling errors
b. Clearly and concisely written in correct tone
c. Transitions between sentences and paragraphs
d. Organization of ideas and information
d. Quality of Critique [50 points]
a. Good discussion and explanation of strengths of each article
b. Good discussion and explanation of weaknesses of each article
e. Conclusion [5 points]
a. Clear statement of position on chosen popular belief and articles critiqued
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