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Applying Psychological Principles to Everyday Problems


The purpose of this assignment is to help you identify and apply psychological concepts, especially those associated with attitude and behavior change (Chapter 12), and techniques used to persuade behavior.


Imagine that you have been hired to bring about change in one of the following areas:

  1. Get people to stop discriminating against a particular minority group (e.g., by hiring more people from this group or by changing their attitude toward it).
  2. Get people to adopt one or more conservation or health behaviors (e.g., recycling,wearing seat belts, volunteerism, exercising, drinking water, etc.).
  3. Get people to vote for a particular candidate.
  4. Help reduce violence in society (e.g., prevent mass shootings)
  5. Promote gender equality in the workplace.
  6. Some other problem that interests you (must be approved by your TA).

Your task is to develop strategies for changing one of the above real-world issues.

  • You must incorporate at least 3 specific concepts (research findings or theoretical principles) discussed in lecture, recitation, and/or your text to back up your choices of strategies. 
  • These 3 concepts must be from 3 different chapters. 
  • You must cite these 3 concepts with the page # and paragraph # in your text, or a slide # from lecture and/or recitation. 

In a 2 page, double-spaced paper (12 pt. font,Times New Roman), explain why you are using the various strategies by succinctly answer the following questions:

  1. Describe in detail the problem area have you chosen to work on and why.
  • Describe the specific goals that you have set for this change program (this is like an operational definition!).  In other words, what specific behavior(s) should change as a result of your efforts(e.g., increased number of hours volunteered per week, reduced automobile driving, etc.).
  • What strategies would you use to produce the changes described in question #2, and what are the theoretical principles or research findings on which your strategies are based?  Give specific, concrete examples and cite page #’s in your text. (For instance, if you develop a public campaign, what would your ad look like?  What would you say to people as you conducted your door to door campaign?)
  • How would you know if your program has been successful?  That is, how will you actually measure the amount of change in the behavior(s) you described in question #2?

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