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A. In this assignment, you are going to consider a time when you overreacted. The goal here is to learn ways to respond more skillfully, sensitively, and proportionately to events and people in our lives.


1) Think of a recent time you over-reacted to a situation. Don’t include some major life event. Rather, think of some “dust-up,” or some irking episode, which, upon reflection, is not that big a deal in the long run. Write down a very brief description of what transpired, and be sure to include the feelings you felt.

2) Now, take a look at the attached file. It describes a series of steps that some therapists use to help clients re-structure affect is that is disproportionate to a given event. Read over the whole document, and consider especially which of the irrational beliefs may pertain to you.

3) Next, create a catastrophe scale. It’s easy. Draw a line, and mark 0, 25, 50, 75, and 100 on the line. Then, underneath the line, provide an example of an event that would consitute each score (a 25, a 50, a 75, and a 100). Now, events scoring a 100 are the worst events you can imagine. Events closer to 0 are events of little consequence (so little in fact, if you had not had an assignment like this, you may quickly forget they even happen). These are not events that actually have happened (they could be, but they don’t have to be). Just consider, on your subjective scale of life’s possible events, what would constitute for you a 25, a 50, a 75, and a 100 (or something approximating each of those numbers– you can describe what a “15” is if you prefer, rather than a 25, for example. The idea here is to flesh out the relationship between types of events that could conceivably bring you stress. The handout attached here walks you through a version of this.

4) Now the fun part: think back to that event in step 1. On a scale of 1-100, with 100 being the worst thing ever, and with 1 being something so minor you may not have even noticed it, what score would you assign to that event IN THE MOMENT in which it occurred (so NOT what you would assign it now, in the cool light of rationality and distance, but rather what did it feel like in that moment in terms of a score)? Then, situate it where it truly should belong on the scale (e.g., it felt like a 73, but afterwards, like right now, it probably would only constitute a 10 on your scale). The objective is to see how events present in terms of feeling, and to see how they feel much later, with the idea being that it would sometimes really benefit us if we could “cognitively restructure” a disproportionate feeling in the moment to something much more warranting of its true score on our scale.

5) Some theorists argue that we often have an irrational belief somewhere in our internal schema, and that such beliefs are largely responsible for the disproportionate reaction. If we know what our “button” is, sometimes we can have more control over it (or our triggers) in moments of stress. Write a paragraph summarizing your irrational belief (the idea here is that we all have one, and that indeed it’s typically the same irrational belief that triggers us again and again), and how it affected you in this instance, and what you might have told yourself instead, as a result of this exercise. Can you recall other times in your life when this irrational belief has reared its head? How did it affect you, and the subsequent situation?

Please submit your answers in an MS Word doc, to this file folder.

B. In this Forum, please answer the following questions, and respond to at least one other colleague’s post (total of 2 posts). Your answer to the following questions should be around 200 words (per question).

Question: 1.

The Implicit Association Test (IAT) is a measure of the automatic association between two concepts. When two concepts are associated, it’s easy to give the same response to examples of two related concepts, such as flower and pleasant. When two concepts are not associated (such as insect and pleasant), it’s more difficult to give the same response. The best way to understand the IAT is to try it for yourself, for example at Project Implicit®.

The IAT has been widely used to study implicit biases for race, age, gender roles, and other social constructs, but it’s not without its critics. Most obviously, people who take the IAT and are told that they have a bias against one race or one gender often protest that they do not. “What do you mean?” they say, “I don’t believe that men should work and women should stay home! I know plenty of women who work, and I totally respect a man’s choice to stay home. This test is not measuring my beliefs.” What reasoning might psychologists use to counter this argument?

What do you think? Read some of the Background on the Project Implicit website, then describe which arguments for and against the IAT’s validity you think are convincing. Can you think of a situation in which having a group of people take the IAT might be useful, and when it might be detrimental?

Question 2. Consider a time when you worked together with others in a group. Do you think the group experienced group process gains or group process losses? If the latter, what might you do now in a group to encourage effective group performance

In this Forum, please answer the following questions, and respond to at least one other colleague’s post (total of 2 posts). Your answer to the following questions should be around 200 words (per question).

Question: 1.

Consider a time when you were helpful. Was the behavior truly altruistic, or did you help for selfish reasons?

Question 2. Is conformity a “good thing” or a “bad thing” for society (this is a poorly framed question!)? The real issue is: What/who/when determines whether it is “good” or “bad?” Put some thought into this, and provide some of the varying factors which give rise to where conformity is seen as positive or negative?

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