Adolescent Cognition

To complete this assignment, you will read one article related to adolescent cognition and submit a written critique of the article (2-3 pages minimum). While you are welcome to discuss the article with your classmates in online discussion boards, the written critique must be completed independently. Plagiarism and unauthorized collaboration (“copying”) will result in a grade of zero on the assignment.

The articles you may choose from are attached to this assignment. Remember, you will read and write about ONE. They are:

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  • Peers increase adolescent risk taking by enhancing activity in the brain’s reward circuitry
  • (Im)maturity of judgment in adolescence: Why adolescents may be less culpable than adults

Your written critique should contain the following sections (be sure to address all points in each section):

  1. Complete & proper APA style citation (5 points)
  2. Purpose & Design (10 points) In this section you should describe the author’s general purpose for conducting this study.
  3. What were the research questions and hypotheses that the author(s) presented? (Note that some authors are very explicit and list research questions & hypotheses; others will provide them in summary format, typically at the end of the introductory section).
  4. Provide a briefdescription of the study design – was it correlational? Experimental? Qualitative? A case study? That is, provide a brief description of how the authors intended to test their hypotheses.
  5. Participants (5 points) In this section, you should provide a description of the participants recruited for the study. Include descriptive information about:
  6. The participants themselves (age, gender, race). Some studies do not provide this information—that is important to state and is a major weakness of the study (something you could discuss in your critique section)
  7. Where they were recruited from (organization, geographical location)
  8. Any other information that might be important to the study’s purpose. (ex. if the study examines adolescent smoking behavior after watching a film featuring tobacco use, it would be important to note if participants in the study reported consistent tobacco use prior to participation)
  9. Measured Variables (5 points) Here you should:
  10. Name the independent variables (or predictors) and dependent variables (outcomes),
  11. Discuss how they were measured. (ex. teen’s smoking behavior measured with self-report tobacco use questionnaire).
  12. Results (10 points) In this section, you should:
  13. Briefly describe the most important results of the study. You do NOT need to provide the statistics
  14. Note whether these results supported the researchers’ hypotheses.
  15. Critique (15 points) In this section, you should provide a thoughtful analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the research design, analysis, and interpretation of the results. In other words, if you were to run this study yourself, what would you do differently to make the study better? Why? Note that this section is worth the most points! Try to spend at least 1-2 paragraphs discussing your thoughts on the study.

Hint #1: You should consider some of the following factors as you make this assessment: demographic characteristics of the participants, recruitment strategies, how the variables were operationalized and measured, data collection procedures, and statistical or thematic analyses performed.

Hint #2: Some articles will include a limitations section, and reference to these in your papers is allowed, but be sure to describe these weaknesses or limitations in your own words in addition to incorporating some of your own thoughts.

 

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