Posted: January 24th, 2023

Psychology Essay

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Psychology in the News Assignment


This assignment is designed to get you critically thinking and writing about how psychological issues are presented in the popular media. Magazine, newspaper, radio and television accounts of psychological phenomena often are presented more to attract an audience than to provide fully accurate information.

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For this assignment you will compile a portfolio of media objects and reflection papers.

Step 1:

To complete this assignment, you will need to select five recent (within the past six months) media items. These can be magazine articles, newspaper articles, advertisements, commercials, radio broadcasts, or television news stories. For audio or visual items describe the item as closely as possible (e.g., by transcribing the script of a radio ad) or include a link to the item.

Step 2:

For each item, include a brief essay–one to two pages, double-spaced typing–on the connections between the media item and material from the course text or class. It’s essential to focus on the connections between the media item and psychological theories or research evidence.

Step 3: 

For each item, search the 

library database

 using relevant keywords for your topic for at least one 


 article to support your ideas. Psychology cuts across many disciplines so feel free to explore journals in other areas such as business, education, health, and criminal justice.

Tip: When conducting your search in the library include a theory or principle plus a topic (i.e. Body Dysmorphic Disorder and Adolescents). Use alternative key words to improve your chances of finding relevant articles and create a specific search statement to help narrow your results.” The example might be something like “(“Body Dysmorphic Disorder” OR BDD) AND (adolescen* OR teen*)”

Step 4:

Submit final draft to your assignment folder.


Checklist of expectations

In order to be successful on this paper, be sure that you address all of the following:

__ Include an APA style cover page

__ Include summaries of five media objects with links or transcripts as appropriate. Make the media item the focus of each section.

__ Address both the media object and the psychological principles involved in full detail. Use course materials (with appropriate citations) to explain psychological principles for each media item.

__ Include one scholarly research article summary per media object (5 total)

__ Support summaries of media items, course materials, and scholarly articles with in-text citations 

__ Include a conclusion in each section that shows your analysis of how well (or not) the media item portrayed the psychological principle

__ Be sure that your ideas are put together in a coherent and logical way

__ Proofread carefully to ensure that your paper is free of misspellings and typos

__ Proofread carefully to ensure that your paper has proper sentence structure

__ Include references and citations in

APA Style

. This means both in-text citations and an APA-style reference list.

*** Please attached sample. ***




Psychology in the News


Father is to Son

A young boy has blue eyes, brown hair, and sculpted cheek bones, look at him compared

to his parents and notice that he has blue eyes just like his mother and his hair and cheek bones

resemble that of his father; certain traits have always been inherited. The genetics of the parents

affect a child’s IQ. “…multivariate genetic research reviewed above indicates that intelligence is

the level at which genes affect cognitive abilities,” (Plomin & Spinath, 2004, p. 120). IQ is no

exception to genetics.

Nature’s influence

In the article, Older Dads Have Geeky Sons from the CNN website, we learn that a study

was recently conducted on the matter of older fathers having geeky sons. This is a matter of

genetics playing a part in IQ. The article mentions something about older dads having more

geeky sons because they tend to stay in education longer– George Clooney, 55 years old, is

about to have a set of twins (Emanuel, 2017). Will his children be bestowed with high

intelligence? “…overall genetics plays a bigger role than does environment in creating IQ. . . the

correlations between the IQs of parents and their biological children is significantly greater than

the correlation between parents and adopted children,” (Saylor, 2017, p. 9.1). Of course, there

are other factors that have a role with intelligence, genetics is simply more predominant.


While genetics isn’t the only factor in a person’s IQ, it obviously plays a major role.

Think of yourself compared to your parents, or even your grandparents and see if you can find

similarities aside from your physical traits.


Self-understanding in Childhood

If I were to ask you to describe yourself, you would most likely begin telling me how you

see yourself, describing your personality and behaviors. If you ask a child that same question, he

will often begin to describe the more obvious traits about himself, “I’m a boy. I am 7 years old

and I have brown hair,” he might say. What causes that change of self-perception from childhood

to adulthood? It is the influences of the media, people, and things around us that change our

perception, not to mention just general maturing.

Development During Childhood

The CNN article, What Media Teach Kids About Gender Can Have Lasting Effects, gives

a perfect example of how the media influences us—specifically as children. Preschoolers will see

characters on TV and in movies: manly, muscular superheroes and beautiful, but frail princesses

(Knorr, 2017). Suddenly, a child associates her gender with that specific stereotype; she wants to

be a beautiful princess and begins to act weak and incapable of doing things on her own based on

this character. “By the end of toddlerhood, children begin to construct cognitive representations

of the self…” (Jacobs, 2003, p. 38). Childhood is the most critical stage of developing self-



“The self-concept is a knowledge representation or schema that contains knowledge

about us, including our beliefs about our personality traits, physical characteristics, abilities,

values, goals, and roles, as well as the knowledge that we exist as individuals (Kagan, 1991),”

(Saylor, 2017, p. 6.2). While this article is a negative example of the self-development process


during childhood, it still demonstrates that the media has a great influence on our development,

most especially as children.


Entertainment Arts

“When you feel my heat, look into my eyes, it’s where my demons hide, it’s where my

demons hide. Don’t get too close, it’s dark inside, it’s where my demons hide,” Dan Reynolds—

the front man of Imagine Dragons—sings. Many of us have heard this catchy song and many

others from this popular, alternative band, but one member is battling with the psychological

disorder of depression. Depression isn’t always easy to notice, but knowing the signs can assist

you in helping the suffers of this disorder cope—or even recognizing the disorder in yourself.

Depressive Disorder

“Major depressive disorder (clinical depression) is a mental disorder characterized by an

all-encompassing low mood accompanied by low self-esteem and by loss of interest or pleasure

in normally enjoyable activities,” (Saylor, 2017, p. 12.3). The article, Imagine Dragons star on

depression: ‘It was lose my life or seek help’ on the BBC website, brings to light the issue of

depression in the band’s leading man, Dan Reynolds. He continued the tour that the group was

currently on, making his way through each of the concerts as if everything was normal, but at the

end of it all, he felt nothing and chose to take a break to deal with the disorder that has afflicted

him since he was a child (Savage, 2017).

Adolescent depression

Dan has suffered from depression since he was a child. From a conversation in the article,

“’When I was younger, in school, I would just let it pass, and ride out the valleys and the peaks

and the ups and downs,’ he says. ‘Then I tried medication and it was too scary for me, because I

felt like it was going to change the music.’” (Savage, 2017). Was Dan subjected to extreme

stressors when he was growing up? Perhaps bullying in school, poverty, or even genetics could


play a role. “…genetically susceptible adolescents who experience chronic peer stress were the

most likely to become depressed over time,” (Hankin, 2015, p. 803).


Depression is one of the more common psychological disorders. Once you know the

signs, you can recognize it and seek help, or assist others who may need help. Anyone can be



Teen Crime

An action occurs, such as an object falling off the table. You watch it fall and stare at it

for a good five seconds, examining the people around you to see if they will pick it up—

assuming someone closer to it will. Turns out, you’re all staring at each other before someone

finally picks it up. “Diffusion of responsibility occurs when we assume that others will take

action and therefore we do not take action ourselves,” (Saylor, 2017, p. 14.2). That is the

bystander effect at its finest.


There is a bit of the desire to conform inside of everyone, others are simple better at

holding that desire off. Perhaps it is because they have a desire to stand out, or even the opposite.

“…conformity, a change in beliefs or behavior that occurs as the result of the presence of the

other people around us,” (Saylor, 2017, p. 14.2). Due to our inner desire to conform, an effect

takes place when an abnormal situation occurs: the bystander effect. In, Teenager Faces Life in

Prison After Pupil’s Murder Outside School, an article on the Guardian website, we learn of the

horrific crime of a fifteen-year-old boy, Quamari Serunkuma-Barnes, being chased and stabbed

three times by another fifteen-year-old. Nobody around him thought to help until it was too late.

“Schoolmates assumed he was joking as he fled through the street, shouting: ‘I’m sorry, I’m

sorry,’ ‘Help’ and ‘I’m getting stabbed’,” (Younge, 2017). This is an extremely unfortunate

situation, but given people’s desire to conform, everyone thought since no one else was doing

anything, it was a harmless situation of some teens joking around. “Research on traditional

bullying and cyberbullying has shown that bystanders often remain passive,” (Van Cleemput,

2014, p. 384).



“At times conformity occurs in a relatively spontaneous and unconscious way, without

any obvious intent of one person to change the other, or an awareness that the conformity is

occurring,” (Saylor, 2017, p. 14.2). The bystander effect is a result of conformity and is a part of

us as human beings—even if unfortunate at times.


Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

An elderly man wakes from his sleep, crying, and yelling for help. Those are the images

we think of when we think of PTSD—veterans. While quite a few veterans do suffer from some

form of PTSD due to combat or horrific incidents, they are not alone. Others suffer as well, even

children. “People who have survived a terrible ordeal, such as combat, torture, sexual assault,

imprisonment, abuse, natural disasters, or the death of someone close to them may develop

posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). . .experience high levels of anxiety along with

reexperiencing the trauma (flashbacks), and a strong desire to avoid any reminders of the event,”

(Saylor, 2017, p. 12.2). PTSD is an anxiety disorder unlike others, it’s victims become trapped in

time after a traumatic event.

Terror Attacks Could Lead to PTSD

In, Children Who Watched Terror Attacks on Social Media Could Suffer PTSD, a recent

article from the Telegraph website, we learn of the possible effect of simply watching a traumatic

event in the form of a video on social media (Donnelly, 2017). While most of us wouldn’t think

of that something of the sort would affect us, children are another story. Recall my mentioning in

a previous essay how easily influenced children are, this includes their memories. Simply

watching a traumatizing video such as the Manchester Bombing, could very easily lead to PTSD

in children, just as watching a horror movie at such a young age could lead to nightmares.

“…four PTSD symptom clusters were examined: Reexperiencing. . .effortful avoidance. .

.emotional numbing. . .hyperarousal (e.g., Being ‘super-alert’),” (Fredman, 2017, p.121). While

these are obvious symptoms, the article warns parents to look for less obvious symptoms in

children. Children’s symptoms manifest themselves differently, perhaps in the form of viewing


others or themselves quite differently: lowered self-esteem, thinking that they are a bad person or

deserve bad things to happen to them, or showing less trust in other people (Donnelly, 2017). It

is important to recognize the signs of PTSD in all ages. If PTSD is caught early enough in

children, perhaps it can be better treated.


No matter who the person is, PTSD is among the worst disorders to have. It traps its

victims in a time loop, causing great anxiety in the patient and causing them not to function well

in certain situations.



The Saylor Foundation. (2017). Introduction to psychology. Retrieved


Emanuel, D. (2017). Older dads have geeky sons.

Knorr, C. (2017). What media teach kids about gender can have lasting effects.


Savage, M. (2017). Imagine Dragons star on depression: ‘It was lose my life or seek help’.

Younge, G. (2017). Teenager faces life in prison after pupil’s murder outside school. The



Donnelly, L. (2017). Children who watched terror attacks on social media could suffer ptsd. The



Van Cleemput, K., Vandebosch, H., & Pabian, S. (2014). Personal characteristics and contextual

factors that determine ‘helping,’ ‘joining in,’ and ‘doing nothing’ when witnessing

cyberbullying. Aggressive Behavior, 40(5), 383-396.

Plomin, R., & Spinath, F. M. (2004). Intelligence: Genetics, genes, and genomics. Journal of

Personality and Social Psychology, 86(1), 112–129.

Saylor Academy Open Textbooks


Jacobs, J. (2003). The self-system during childhood and adolescence: Development, influences,

and implications. Journal of Psychotherapy Integration, 13(1), 33-65.

Hankin, B. (2015). Depression from childhood into late adolescence: Influence of gender,

development, genetic susceptibility, and peer stress. Journal of Abnormal Psychology,

124(4), 803-816.

Fredman, S. (2017). A dyadic perspective on PTSD symptoms’ associations with couple

functioning and parenting stress in first-time parents. Couple and Family Psychology:

Research and Practice, 6(2), 117-132.

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