Cognitive psychology is not just represented in a psychology course

Cognitive psychology is not just represented in a psychology course. The topics shows up in many places in everyday life – the news, TV shows, movies, books, conversations, etc. The goal of this assignment is to encourage you to expand your horizons into realms that connect cognitive psychology with common media. Your assignment is to watch an online episode of a TV show, TED talk, or something similar OR listen to a podcast on a cognitive psychology topic. Basically, you’ll summarize the information, read two and summarize original related research articles, and then give your own thoughts about it all.

Step 1: Choosing a topic

I encourage you to choose a cognitive psychology topic you’ve either enjoyed in this class or one that is relevant to your life. Take a moment to scan through the table of contents of your book if you need help and maybe something will jump out at you, or perhaps something this semester caught your interest and you want to know more about it. I think it’s a good idea to find at least two topics just in case you can’t find a good video or podcast on your first choice.

Another way to go about this is to just scan around and see what catches your interest. There are some really great podcasts listed at the end of this assignment and maybe you just want to listen to a few first. You can also just go to and scan through the many interesting TED talks there.

Whatever you do, BE SURE that the topic is a cognitive psychology topic. Don’t choose something like schizophrenia, dreaming, personality disorders, or autism. Although they are psychology topics, they are not cognitive psychology topics. Just because they’re based in brain processing doesn’t mean they’re cognitive. All behavior comes from brain processing! If you aren’t sure if your topic fits the assignment, just email me and I’ll review it for you.

Step 2: Find a podcast, TED talk, or video on your topic

You may not use a fiction movie for this assignment – that defeats the purpose. Instead, scan around and see if you can find a source related to your topic. You can search the database, or any other source you’d like. Radiolab and Hidden Brain both have really nice search features as well.

Please note that the source must be at least 15 minutes (this is not a strict limit but try to get close to that).

Step 3: Watch or listen to your source

It’s a good idea to occasionally pause and take notes. This is because you’re going to be summarizing the video or podcast.

Step 4: Find and read at least two related research articles

These articles MUST be primary source articles and cannot be authored by the person who gave the TED talk, podcast, etc. As you know, a primary source is one in which you read the article with the original data — not someone else’s summary of that research (e.g., a book, website, video, etc.). You can use the library website to search. If you’re off campus, go to the Madden library website, log in with your Fresno State login and password, and then do a search on the library’s website for ‘Google Scholar Proxy.’ Once you click on that you’ll be able to get full text access to all articles.

Step 5: Write your paper

  • You must have a title page. Use a title that is your topic – not “Reflection Paper.”
  • Do not include an abstract.
  • You must have a reference page. (Do not label it “Works Cited.”)
  • You must have AT LEAST five pages of text. This means your paper will have a minimum of seven pages, with the title page and reference page. Anything short of five full pages of text will receive a significant point deduction.

You must have five (and only five) labeled subsections to your paper. These sections are:

  1. Information – Copy, paste, and fill out the following information:

____ Podcast ___TED talk or video

Name of Podcast, TED talk, or video:

URL Link:

  1. Topic Introduction – This section is a brief introduction to the topic covered in the podcast or video. Be detailed about this; don’t just write “memory” as a topic. Don’t discuss research on the topic but rather, use this section to introduce your topic.
  2. Description — A description and summary of the content of what you listened to or watched. Describe what the podcast or video was and what was discussed.
  3. Related Research — A section on relating the content of your podcast/video/TED talk to related research. This must include a summary of research from at least two primary-source journal articles. Remember that your sources cannot be authored by the person in your TED talk/video/podcast. In addition, you can also reference our textbook and other secondary sources if you’d like. This section is to give you an understanding of current research in this area. Do not be shallow about this section. You need to include details, just as if you were summarizing articles in a literature review.
  4. Discussion — A discussion of incorporating everything together. This includes elements of the podcast/video with the related research with your own thoughts about the material (e.g., what you liked, what you questioned, what could have been improved). In other words, incorporate the primary research you found, the content of the podcast/talk, and your own thoughts together.


  • DO NOT USE CONTRACTIONS IN YOUR PAPER (i.e.,. words like isn’t, can’t, shouldn’t, etc.).
  • You must write in APA-style – particularly for in-text citations. See (Links to an external site.) for APA assistance. APA-style states that you can use first-person writing so feel free to do that in the Discussion portion of your paper.

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