Focus Topic Projects

Psychology and Society Course


(C) 1999--Loretta Kasper--All rights reserved

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Research "psychopharmacology." Find the names of 3 important neurotransmitters. You will be researching each of these in more detail for your projects.


Research the benefits of collaborative learning groups--you will be researching and writing about several of these benefits. How does working in and with a group facilitate individual learning? How does the online environment impact the dynamics of the collaborative group (the way in which people relate to each other)?

Computer Science

Research recent developments in the field of Artificial Intelligence, particularly concerning the COG project at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). What is the purpose of the COG project? How does the COG project fit into the field of human-computer interaction?


Research the landmark experiment conducted by Stanley Milgram on "The Dilemma of Obedience." What did Milgram find? What was the significance of these findings?

Diet and Nutrition

Research common eating disorders. Find information on Anorexia Nervosa and on Bulimia. What seems to cause these eating disorders? Who is most likely to develop these eating disorders? Compare and contrast the symptoms, consequences, and prognosis for people suffering from each of these eating disorders. How do doctors treat people suffering from eating disorders? Are these treatments usually successful?

Business and Marketing

Students who have chosen to study business and marketing as a focus topic should use print and/or electronic resources to find information on the following topics:

1. Psychological factors involved in advertising
2. Television infomercials
3. Internet commerce

You should write three papers in which you describe and discuss each of these areas separately as follows:

In your first paper, discuss the psychological factors involved in advertising. How do advertisers use the basic determinants of consumer behavior, needs, motives, perceptions, and attitudes (discussed in the first reading of this unit), in designing product advertisements? What types of ads are most likely to appeal to or change our needs, motives, perceptions, and attitudes?

In your second paper, discuss television infomercials. How and why are infomercials effective in inducing consumers to buy advertised products? How and why is product cost different on an infomercial versus in a retail store? What psychological and/or sociological needs do infomercials appeal to?

In your third paper, discuss the development of Internet commerce. How has the Internet changed the face of sales and marketing? What are the advantages/disadvantages of selling/buying products over the Internet?

In a final research project, bring together all of the information you have gathered to discuss how sales and marketing strategies have changed as a result of developing technology. Do a historical analysis of advertising, beginning with the pre-television days of the early to mid-1900's. What advertising strategies were used at that time? How effective were these strategies? Then analyze how television changed advertising? What were businesses able to do with television that they could not do before? What additional changes occurred in advertising with the development of computer technology? How has developing technology expanded the marketplace for both businesses and consumers? Be sure to include a bibliography in which you cite each of the sources you have used to prepare your research project.