Misconception Diary Assignment
Each student will keep a Misconceptions Diary, a written record of misconceptions and changing understanding of psychological fact. In brief, your diary should capture misconceptions you realize you hold and how your understanding of a particular topic changes over time.
There are a number of easy ways to accomplish the creation of such a diary. One simple methods is to come to class and do the assigned reading. A second method is to get into the psychological literature through the internet, the library, and scholarly databases and use material you find to create your diary entries.
1. Readings & Lectures
One method of creating a diary is to record your reactions to the assigned readings and to the lectures. I have chosen topics and readings that many people have incorrect beliefs about. Through lectures and reading, you should encounter ideas and facts that you mistakenly believed to be true. When such an instance occurs, make notes regarding what you originally believed, why you were wrong, and whether your opinions or beliefs are commonly held by others.
Try to discuss the following for each diary entry. One: why you might have believed in a given instance of psychomythology. Cover aspects of your original belief such as where you originally learned about the topic, who or where you learned it from, how you may have found evidence for the belief, and so forth. Second: discuss how your old belief is incorrect according to lectures/readings/research. Third: discuss what you now feel about the validity of the topic. For example, are you now convinced you were wrong? Do you feel the authors might be overstating their case regarding the existence of a myth? Can you think of counterexamples or alternative arguments that might justify your original beliefs?
2. Online Research
Another method is to start search the internet for blogs and online columns about scientific psychology and to read these, looking for instances where new facts challenge what you already believe or where the authors explicitly note how new findings challenge old ideas. Alternatively, if you are more adventurous, you can get into the primary psychological literature by accessing scholarly databases through the Niagara College library portal.
The diary should capture a semester’s worth of engagement in the material. Ideally, I would like to see one entry for each week of the course where we cover a topic area (ideally, six or more entries in total).
Each entry should be word processed and submitted using Microsoft Word or in MS Word/RTF format. Entries should be double-spaced and conform to APA format when citing and referencing sources you may use.
There is no set length for an entry or assignment – simply use your judgment. Ask yourself, ‘Have I covered this topic in detail & answered all of the questions asked of me?’