Skills in Applying Psychological Theory and Research Paper



The purpose of this assignment is to practice your skills in applying psychological theory and research to specific relationship situations. The assignment will require you to analyze two relationships, point by point. Every numbered statement requires a specific answer. There may be more than one answer that is acceptable for each statement, but you need only give one. Be concise and try to fit your answers for both scenarios into 500 words or less. Submit only your answers (A1, A2, etc.)—no need to include the given scenarios in your submission.

  • Scenario A: Tim and Kristen (PDF)
  • Scenario B: Anna and Melissa (PDF)

A sample scenario and responses, as well as some tips for your analysis, have been provided for you below. Please note that although the sample answers are brief, they demonstrate understanding of the theories, rather than just describe the theories. You will be graded on your ability to integrate the concepts covered in the textbook and lectures.

Tips for Analyzing The Scenarios

How Do I Analyze The Relationships?

To succeed, try to think like a social psychologist, marshalling evidence to support your claims and deducing hypotheses about what might be happening from theories in the course. Ask yourself what each point tells you and how it relates to what you’ve learned in this course. For full marks you must 1) name a specific concept, theory, or research finding and 2) justify how it explains the scenario. Show what you have learned from the course, rather than explain what’s happening in a way that any random person could come up with simply by reading the scenario!

How Much Detail Should I Use To Describe The Theories?

It isn’t necessary to explain class material in detail. Show that you understand the theories and findings by the way you use them in the assignment, not by describing them extensively. See sample questions below for an idea of what is expected from you. There is no need to use formal essay format; just respond to each question one-by-one.

What Material is Relevant?

You are expected to incorporate material from Modules 1-8 and associated readings.

Sample Scenario and Answers

A. After they moved in together, Kim began to worry that Lenny may not be right for her. The butterflies in her stomach were almost never there anymore, and she didn’t feel as excited when he touched her. It almost felt more like they were friends than anything else.

  • The passion is decreasing, as it does in many relationships, and Kim is uncomfortable with the lack of sexual passion. Most relationships that last have companionate love, not necessarily passionate love. Kim may also find their relationship now affords fewer opportunities for self-expansion, which has made her feel bored.

B. Worse, Lenny argued with her almost once a week. She didn’t like arguing or talking about personal things at all. She liked her privacy, and it seemed to her Lenny was always in her space, making her feel claustrophobic.

  • Kim may be high in attachment avoidance. She prefers to be independent, not to depend on anyone else or get too close. Lenny’s attempts to increase closeness may actually be making Kim feel more avoidant and pushing her away.

C. Lenny was also going through a really hard time in general—he had come down with multiple colds and flus this winter, and normally he was never sick, so the trouble with Kim was really bothering him and making his mood even worse.

  • The greatest stressors are interpersonal in nature, and relationship problems make people more likely to become sick. Lenny’s illnesses are an example of this. Lenny’s general stress may also be negatively affecting Kim’s perception of the relationship, which is an example of stress crossover.