General Psych RPU Requirement

Human Research Student Requirements
General Psychology 101


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Since experimentation is a prime source of information for the field of psychology, contact with experimental procedures is required in this course and may be fulfilled through one of the following methods. Non-fulfillment of this requirement will result in a deduction from your final course grade total equal to one-half standard deviation of the class distribution of total points (see textbook for information regarding standard deviations). This could lower your final grade a full letter grade (i.e., A to B, B to C, etc.).

Method 1: Experimental Participation

1. This method requires you to participate in several experiments for a total of 2-1/2 hours, equaling five Research Participation Units (RPU). Each experiment will provide a specific number of RPU, allocated in half-hour units, which will be indicated on the web registration page. You may choose to participate in any number of experiments, provided that you obtain a total of five RPU, e.g, one two-hour experiment and one half-hour experiment, or five half-hour experiments. The last day for participation in one week prior to the last day of classes. As in the past, all students not wishing to participate in research have the option of writing a paper instead. (See METHOD 2.)

2. It will be your responsibility to maintain a list of all experiments in which you have participated. RPU will be given via an online database by the experimenters and will be forwarded to your instructor prior to the final exam. Grade adjustment, penalties for non-participation, missed appointments, etc., will be evaluated by instructors when final grades are computed.

3. Print out or write down the information provided in the registration confirmation page. The sign-up information will be removed from the web page at some point and the Psychology Department does not have the pertinent information.

4. It is your obligation to show up for the experiment on time. If you find that you cannot attend the experiment at the specified time, you must contact the experimenter prior to the experimental session. To contact the experimenter use the phone number or email provided in the "Currently Available Topics " table on the main signup page. Failure to show up for an experiment or to inform the experimenter that you cannot attend will result in the deduction of 1 RPU.

5. Any complaints about an experiment or experimenter (for example, failure of the experimenter to show up for an experiment) should follow the instructions listed in Item 6 on the Frequently Asked Questions page.

6. Participation in an experiment should be an educational experience. Therefore, after you participate in an experiment, the experimenter should provide you with information about the experiment and give you an opportunity to ask questions. You should be aware that when you agree to participate in an experiment, you retain all of your rights and you may withdraw from the experiment at any time without penalty.

Method 2: Paper Summarizing a Psychological Study

The experimentation requirement may also be fulfilled by writing a paper summarizing some experimental work in psychology. This method may be selected by persons unable or unwilling to participate as subjects in experiments. Since the Psychology Department cannot guarantee that there will be a sufficient number of experiments to accommodate all General Psychology students willing to participate in them, Method 2 may be the only option for some people. The paper must be written according to the following specifications:

1. Typewritten, double-spaced, 2 pages in length.

2. Summarize a study reported in a psychological journal that is relevant to this semester of General Psychology such as child development, nervous system and behavior, learning, memory, psychopathology, etc. (NOTE: Psychology Today is not an acceptable source.)

3. Describe the method used in obtaining the results of the study.

4. Make some conclusion regarding the relevance and importance of the results outlined in the article.

5. Indicate the exact source of the article (author, year, title of article, journal name, volume, pages), e.g.: Miller, C. A. (1956). "The magical number seven plus or minus two: Some limits on our capacity for processing information." Psychological Review, 63, 81-97.

6. Attach a Xeroxed copy of the original article to your 2-page summary of it.

(A more detailed guideline for the paper is available in the Psychology Department’s Undergraduate Office.)

Submit this paper to your Teaching Assistant on or before the last official class, if you wish to fulfill the experimentation requirement through this method. Papers submitted after this date will not be accepted. The paper will be graded on a pass-fail basis according to specifications 1-5 above.