| June 19, 2015


To meet the critical thinking and writing requirements in this course, there is a Media Review Paper. The objective of this assignment is to give you practice in and feedback about selected critical thinking and writing skills in the context of the subject matter of this course. Critical thinking involves many different thought and reasoning processes but one of these has to do with the ability to use abstract concepts to accurately explain and understand real-world community situations, which, in the case of psychology, have to do with human behavior in a community setting. In this paper, you should discuss some aspect of the social-psychological models covered in class related to community psychology. The paper itself should be about a social problem of your choice (e.g., homelessness, gangs, domestic violence, etc.) After stating your own hypothesis about the problem and possible solutions, you are to include ideas prevalent in the scientific community. These peer-reviewed research articles in psychological journals or government reports need to be cited in your bibliography. You may use some open Internet sources, however most of your resources need to be scholarly studies about the scope of the problem, causes of the social problem, and successful interventions for the problem. It is also interesting to compare scholarly studies with open Internet sources. One can for example compare scholarly studies with reports found on CNN & FOX news, as they view community issues, e.g. trickledown economics very differently.

After backing up your hypothesis with scholarly studies that have quantifiable data, you are to further support your ideas with a narrative as a case study. You are to choose a short story, novel or film that portrays this community problem and solutions. First, you will summarize the media story, and then you will critically analyze it. This may include (but is not limited to): determining its accuracy, identifying any bias and the contextual/cultural assumptions on which the narrative is based (why did the author/script-writer create this narrative, and take the slant he/she did?), highlighting the implications of the story within the context of the class, and sharing other aspects of the issue that are raised for you. How is this story related to some psychological aspect of human life and behavior? Refer back to the specific course material as appropriate.

**A list of novels or films that may be used is provided at the end of the document**


First, it is important to choose a social issue that you find interesting. For example, you are interested in family violence; you then look for a short story/novel/film that can be used as a case study in the portrayal of this problem. Now you must decide if this short story/novel/film can be used as a case study that will support scientific studies of the same topic. You need to ask yourself if this short story/novel/film is a realistic portrayal of the psychology of this problem or is it just a Hollywood fantasy that doesn?t support scholarly studies on these social problems.

This assignment provides an opportunity to understand psychological theory with the support of a novel/short story or film, which are case studies that can possibly teach as much psychology as a scientific study. Make sure the short storynovel/film has content that can meaningfully support psychological theory and research or possibly even reveal ideas that have not yet been supported by research.

In preparation of your paper, you might want to look at some of the psychological models that deal with emotion, motivation, personality, the development of the individual over the life span, health and stress, and psychological disorders and treatment, so that you have a more complete idea of the different concepts that you might find interesting.

For example, you might be interested in coping mechanisms with the everyday stressors of life. You might discuss the defense mechanisms, or perhaps developmental stages in a person’s life or write about the effects of abuse, alcoholism and addiction, etc. You can approach the subject matter from different perspectives?psychoanalytic, biological, behavioral, cognitive, and/or socio-cultural. You could discuss the role emotion, memory, or motivation play in one?s development, or the importance of the environment, and such influences as racism and sexism.

This is a social-psychological research-based paper and not a book report about a film or novel. The film or novel provides only the backdrop as a case study for your research on some social-psychological topic. Be sure to use psychological, peer-reviewed references in psychological journals in your bibliography.
As a guide, your paper should be 1,200 to 1,500 words. This is approximately 5 double-spaced-pages. The 6th page should just be the references page.

This assignment is worth 30 percent of your total grade for the course. Below you will find the grading rubric and criteria that will be used to grade your paper.
Grading Rubric for Your Media Review Paper
Possible points:
Title – Choose a title that is indicative of your paper.
Introduction of your topic – the purpose of your paper, and the contemporary social issue you will cover.

Content – You might begin after choosing the social psychological topic of your paper with a brief overview of the short story/novel/film as a case study that you have chosen. Name topics or concepts in the novel/film that illustrate these concepts. For example is you are writing about sexism be sure to refer to your textbook or other sources when discussing this social issue. And when describing the psychology of sexism for example it is important to choose a film or novel/short story that has sufficient depth, however, you do not need to get a novel/short story or film approved.

Choose several research-based, peer-reviewed articles from one of the psychology journals in the databases that support the concepts you will discuss. Include the purpose of the research, and its results. Then mention any limitations of the study and why this study was important and relates to your topic.
Make sure your paper flows logically and is not a patchwork of bits and pieces of information.

Conclusion – End your paper with a concluding paragraph that tells the reader the results of your research and the importance of this short story/novel/film as a case study.

References – Cite novel or film, and 3 other references.

Style – Was APA (American Psychological Association) style followed? (Grammar/errors/ organization / Spell check for errors? Use of complete sentences? Did you provide paragraph breaks? Did your paper flow smoothly?

Additional Criteria for Grading Your Paper:

1) effective writing:

2) critical thinking and don’t forget to express your own opinion or interpretation.

3) distinguish between peer reviewed (scholarly studies) and popular press and support your ideas with empirical evidence. This is a crucial part of any well-written research essay. You may support your answer with statistical information, case studies, or research you encounter from the text, readings, or other references. You may also use your personal experience as supporting evidence when appropriate.


Section headings


Adequate information, i.e. information given does enable reader to understand story/concept
Adequate organization/writing, i.e. details of the description are organized or sequenced properly


Accuracy determined
Biases & contextual/cultural assumptions taken into consideration
Highlighting of the implications of the story within the context of the class, and sharing other aspects of the issue that are raised for you


Explanation adequate, i.e., concept(s) are relevant and you sufficiently demonstrate how the concepts explain some psychological aspect of human life and behavior
List of novels or films that may be used.

Novels and films are always a personal liking, and therefore this list is only to give ideas. You do not need to choose a novel or film from this list, as they are only possibilities. However, here are some ideas: Remember to first pick the psychological topic and then choose a novel or film that supports the ideas in your paper. Novels usually have the advantage of giving more psychological depth and complexity, but there are also many good films.

The Stranger
One Flew Over the Cuckoo?s Nest
The White Hotel
Clockwork Orange
Ordinary People
Girl, Interrupted
The Catcher in the Rye
The Bell Jar
The Lord of the Flies
Of Mice and Men

Clockwork Orange
Ordinary People
Girl, Interrupted
One Flew Over the Cuckoo?s Nest
The Lord of the Flies
The Reader
The Fisher King
From Psychology Today, a list of the Best Picture Winners (and disorders portrayed):
1939: Gone With the Wind: Narcissistic personality disorder
1940: Rebecca: Complicated bereavement
1945: The Lost Weekend: Alcohol dependence
1946: The Best Years of Our Life: PTSD
1948: Hamlet: Major depressive disorder
1950: All About Eve: Dissociative Identity Disorder
1955: Marty: Intellectual developmental disability
1958: Gigi: Pedophilic disorder
1963: Tom Jones: Compulsive sexuality
1968: Oliver: Antisocial personality disorder
1969: Midnight Cowboy: Drug dependence
1970: Patton: Narcissistic personality disorder
1972: The Godfather: Antisocial personality disorder
1973: The Sting: Antisocial personality disorder
1974: The Godfather Part II: Antisocial personality disorder
1975: One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest: Schizophrenia
1977: Annie Hall: Generalized anxiety disorder
1984: Amadeus: Delusional disorder
1986: Platoon: Acute stress disorder
1988: Rain Man: Autism
1991: Silence of the Lambs: Antisocial personality disorder
1992: Unforgiven: Antisocial personality disorder
1994: Forrest Gump: Intellectual developmental disability
1996: The English Patient: PTSD (probable)
1999: American Beauty : Pedophilic disorder
2001: A Beautiful Mind: Schizophrenia
2002: Chicago: Narcissistic personality disorder (Roxie Hart and Billy Flynn) and antisocial personality disorder (Velma Kelly)
2006: The Departed: Antisocial personality disorder
2007: No Country for Old Men: Antisocial personality disorder
2009: The Hurt Locker: Acute stress disorder (or PTSD)
2010: The King’s Speech: Stuttering

Movies based on severely impaired family relationships
1966: Who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf (including Elizabeth Taylor as Best Actress)
1979: Kramer vs. Kramer
1980: Ordinary people
1983: Terms of Endearment


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