English for Psychology


Common topics for classroom discussions and presentations

  • Why do some people engage in activities that most people would consider dangerous? (e.g., skydiving, race car driving, stunt performing) 
  • To what extent is our educational system reducing the intrinsic motivation to learn and replacing it with extrinsic motivation? How should we attempt to change the situation? 
  • If hunger and sex are both biological drives, why is eating behaviour considered normal, healthy and public, while sexual behaviour is often not condoned, it is highly regulated by society and felt to be intensely private? 
  • Do humans have a basic curiosity or exploratory drive? How would you conduct an experiment to test a hypothesis on this topic? What would be some of the problems in carrying out this type of experiment? 
  • Have students discuss examples from their own lives that illustrate the following conflicts: approach-avoidance; approach-approach; avoidance-avoidance; and multiple approach-avoidance. 
  • What do people mean by instinct in everyday language? How do psychologists define instinctual behaviour and which researchers have devoted attention to this topic? 
  • How do we derive our views of the ideal male and female? What approaches are used by social/economic institutions to motivate us to be like those ideals? What possible conflicts or disorders might arise out of this situation? 
  • Who do you know that could be characterized as having high achievement motivation? What can be discerned that could help in the description and explanation of his/her behaviour? 
  • Are there members of the class that feel that they might have changed intrinsic motivation for extrinsic motivation as a result of over-justification? 
  • Explain the biological and social factors that influence eating behaviours. Explain how these factors could contribute to obesity and the eating disorders anorexia and bulimia. 

Design of a successful presentation

Design slides like academic paragraphs using PEE: 

  • Point – As the title of your slides 
  • Evidence – As the points of your slides 
  • Explanation – As your speech in the presentation 

Make the evidence visual: 

PowerPoint is a visual medium; its purpose is to help an audience visualise what the speaker is saying. The purpose of a presentation should not be information transfer, it should be about enabling understanding and encouraging further action or research. 

The best way to make your slides more visual is to use images and diagrams as the evidence to support or illustrate your main point (your slide title). For example, if you want to show the results of a survey, pie charts or line charts are useful figures to display such information. 

Microsoft has offered several templates for academic presentation. They are available at this link

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