IB Psychology SL


Psychology is the systematic study of behavior and mental processes. Ultimately, psychology tries to answer the question of why people behave the way they do. What are the causes, influences, and variables involved in understanding human behavior? At the heart of this exploration rages a debate as old as psychology – which plays a greater role in human behavior: nature or nurture?
Helpful video clips:
�0�Nature Meets Nurture (CBS News)
�4�Psychology's Nature vs Nurture Debate

With this in mind, you will complete a summer assignment that will introduce you to this important debate and the study of Psychology.


Determine which plays a greater role in influencing our behavior, our actions, our attitudes, and/or our choices – Nature or Nurture?

I. After researching online, you will write an effective, tight summary of the Nature vs. Nurture debate. An effective summary is a condensed rewrite of your readings on this topic, reflecting the depth of your understanding of the topic.

Writing an effective summary -
Your summary should condense the main points of your research, preserving in a more concise form its original focus, its most important ideas, and its major emphases, while greatly reducing (or leaving out altogether) its minor or redundant details. This requires careful analysis of the structure and meaning of the original readings: you must accurately identify its topic, the significant points it makes about that topic, and its less important features, and on that basis decide how best to condense the material. Note that your summary must be thorough, clearly written, error free, completely in your own words, with sources cited (bibliography, APA style).

Following these steps will help you produce an effective summary:
1. Read the entire text quickly, noting all titles, subtitles or headings to get a general sense of its overall meaning and to add to your understanding of its structure. Think about its topic: what is it about, and what is its main message? Think about the overall shape of its argument: how does it start, how does it end, and what are the significant points and highlights in between.
2. Read the text more closely, making notes of important main and supporting ideas while you read.
3. Identify the topic sentences of the individual paragraphs, and think about how each paragraph advances the text’s overall message or develops its argument.
4. Pay particular attention to words and phrases that function as “logical road signs:” although, however, but, yet, nevertheless, thus, therefore, on the other hand, and so forth. These often mark important steps in the argument and indicate significant points of emphasis.

Once you have completed your analysis of each of your readings, you are ready to start writing your summary. It is often a good idea to begin with a single-sentence summary, expressing your understanding of the overall meaning of the text “in a nutshell.” Remember that a good summary is in complete sentences, not point form. The goal is an accurate and concise presentation of the most important points of your reading, not a lengthy discussion of those points.You should have, and demonstrate, a complete understanding of what the argument is, why there are differing views, and where does mainstream psychology today stand on this topic.

II. Provide different views of this debate, writing synopses of the two major views based upon the information you were able to obtain. Identify leading advocates for each side and their reasons for each position.

III. Your own conclusion – which has the greater influence, Nature or Nurture? And why?

Writing Effective Summaries�33�