Essay Questions

Select one of the following 11 topics for your essay.  It is recommended that you select your topic by Week 4 at the latest, to allow a minimum of 3 weeks to work on your outline, which is due in Week 7.
  1. Attitude Change.
    What factors determine the success of attitude change programs?  Theoretical bases and research evidence about key elements underlying attitude change programs should be critically analysed and synthesised, with recommendations put forward about the key considerations for creating effective attitude change programs.  Use examples from at least three social change programs (e.g., SUNSMART, anti-smoking initiatives, and exercise promotion).
  2. Australian Identity.
    What is the nature of Australian identity according to social psychological theory and research?  Several additional questions should be considered in attempting to answer this question.  For example, how do the scientific findings about Australian identity differ from the stereotypical depictions of Australian identity?  In what ways has Australian identity changed?  How does Australian identity impact on our relations with non-Australians?
  3. Peace Promotion.
    According to social psychological theory and research, how can peace by promoted and developed between conflicting groups?  Note that your answer should address the gamut of relations in which peace might be considered desirable, e.g., dyads, within groups, and between groups and cultures.
  4. Social Competence.
    According to theory and research, what skills, attitudes and behaviours are exhibited by people whom we understand to be socially competent?  To what extent can social competence be learned and to what extent is it innate?  What are the most effective methods for training people in social skills and enhancing social competence?  Answers to this question are recommended to make use of meta-analytic studies.
  5. Critical Mass.
    What is "critical mass" in social psychological terms?  What theories and research are able to explain and predict human social critical mass phenomena?  How can critical mass concepts in social psychology be applied to understanding social chaos (e.g., mass riots) and prosocial events (e.g., mass psychological flow at concerts)?
  6. Genocide.
    What social psychology elements and principles cause, contribute to, and are caused by, acts of genocide?  Your answer should refer to relevant social psychological theory and research and include examples from at least two 20th century genocides (e.g., Holocaust, Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, Darfour).
  7. Marketing.
    It has been claimed that when you buy a can of Coca-Cola for $1, you are paying 10c for the product and 90c for the image (source unknown).  What is marketing and how are social psychological principles used in marketing, advertising and branding?  What are the social psychological consequences of marketing?  Explain how social psychological theory and research can be applied to both marketing strategy and understanding social psychological effects of marketing.
  8. Long-term Intimate Relationships.
    Approximately 50% of marriages in Western culture currently end in separation (source unknown).  What are the secrets of a "good marriage" and what are the warning signs that intimate relationships will not last?  How effective are scientific matching tools?  How effective are relationship training programs?  Utilise social psychological theory and research in your essay.
  9. Negotiation and Conflict Resolution.
    Negotiation and conflict resolution skills appear to be in greater demand than ever.  What social psychology principles and techniques can be used to create effective negotiation processes which lead to conflict resolution?  In constructing your answer, make sure to utilise relevant social psychological theory and research, and provide a spectrum of examples, ranging from dyads (e.g., an intimate couple) to groups (e.g., school environment) to cultures (e.g., international relations).
  10. Culture of Fear.
    Is our culture becoming increasingly fearful, risk-averse, suspicious, even paranoid?  What social psychology theory and research evidence speaks to this question?  What are the trends, where are we going, and what do you think should be done?
  11. Restorative Justice.
    What are the social psychological principles of restorative justice and how is it being applied?  What does the research evidence suggest about the effectiveness of restorative justice in different settings?  What are the prospects for restorative justice in the future?