Describe the methods that researchers have used to assess mindreading in children and explain what the research has revealed about whether mindreading abilities follow a ‘developmental trajectory’

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TMA 01 THE ASSIGNMENT

Important: these pages provide guidance on how to write your assignment. Please ensure you read this information right through until the checklist at the end.

Before you start work on this assignment, please ensure that you have read the Assessment Guidance  specific to this module and are familiar with the advice in Social Sciences Assessment Information. These sources contain support and guidance that you may need in writing your TMA including, for example, advice on plagiarism, referencing and the marking system. Note that failure to comply with relevant guidance could result in the loss of marks or other penalties.

There are two parts to this TMA. Please note that you must complete both Part 1 (essay question) and Part 2 (short-answer question).

This TMA contributes 9% towards your overall module result.

Part 1: Essay question (60% of the mark for this TMA)

Describe the methods that researchers have used to assess mindreading in children and explain what the research has revealed about whether mindreading abilities follow a ‘developmental trajectory’.

Word limit: 1000 words

Part 2: Short-answer question (40% of the mark for this TMA)

Answer the following short-answer question:

Explain the concept of ‘strong AI’ and outline how Searle’s ‘Chinese room thought experiment’ has been used to refute it.

Word limit: 500 words

On the following pages you will find:

·         a list of learning outcomes addressed by this assignment

·         student notes for each part of this assignment

·         a checklist to ensure you have done everything required for this assignment.

Learning outcomes

The module learning outcomes assessed by TMA 01 are as follows:

Knowledge and understanding

·         Understanding a wide range of basic psychological concepts and an appreciation of how they apply to everyday life.

·         Understanding a variety of approaches to psychological research, including different methodologies.

·         Understanding how psychology addresses issues of diversity, difference and social functioning.

Cognitive skills

·         Ability to describe a range of key concepts in psychology.

·         Ability to construct arguments based on psychological theories and research findings.

·         Ability to identify the strengths and weaknesses of different theories and methodologies in psychology.

Key skills

·         Ability to communicate psychological knowledge in a variety of formats suitable for traditional academic audiences.

·         Ability to apply an appropriate referencing system.

Practical and/or professional skills

·         Use practical and information and communication technology (ICT) skills that are highly transferable to the workplace and other settings.

Student notes for Part 1

Focus

The focus of this essay question is on the methods used to assess mindreading in children and, in particular, the evidence that mindreading follows a ‘developmental trajectory’. Make sure you select relevant examples of different methods and fully explain what these have shown.

Command words

The command word describe requires you to ‘give a detailed account’, in this case of some methods that have been used to assess the mindreading abilities of children.

The command word explain requires you to ‘give details about how and why’ the methods described have led to certain conclusions about the development of mindreading; in other words, what they have revealed about whether mindreading follows a ‘developmental trajectory’.

Tips for writing

For this part of the assignment you should aim to write a coherent, clear, concise essay within the constraints of the short word count (1000 words). To achieve this, you will need to select carefully from the range of material available.

You are asked to produce a descriptive essay (‘describing’ some methods that have set out to address a particular topic or question). However, you also need to clearly address the second part of the question, which asks you to ‘explain’ how and why the methods described have led to particular conclusions about the development of mindreading abilities. Describe the methods that researchers have used to assess mindreading in children and explain what the research has revealed about whether mindreading abilities follow a ‘developmental trajectory’

You are likely to want to explain key terms relevant to the question (e.g. ‘mindreading’, ‘developmental trajectory’) before you move on to present relevant examples. You won’t be able to describe lots of methods in detail within the word limit. Instead, you might want to describe a few examples in detail, and mention other relevant examples more succinctly if you have space to do so. Your examples should be well chosen, so that they demonstrate not only how researchers have attempted to assess mindreading in children, but also what the research has revealed about the development of these abilities.

You should finish your essay with a suitable conclusion, summing up what your answer has shown.

Relevant materials for Part 1

Since this essay question requires you to provide an answer in 1000 words, you will need to select and present your material carefully.

There is a lot of relevant material in Book 1, Chapter 1. It covers developmental perspectives on mindreading and explains the concept of a ‘developmental trajectory’.

·         Section 2.2 explains what is meant by the term ‘mindreading’ (in the context of ‘theory of mind’), so may be useful for defining your terms.

·         Sections 3 and 4 outline a range of studies related to the question, and you may find appropriate examples to draw on in this section.

·         Section 5 considers some theories of mindreading in children, which may also be useful.

You will find some of the online material from Week 2 is relevant to this question.

·         Section 4 has material on the development of mindreading abilities.

·         You may also find it useful to consult Section 5, which discusses mindreading skills in infants. 

Student notes for Part 2

A key challenge in a short-answer question is capturing your understanding in a limited number of words. This involves writing succinctly, and spending the necessary time editing sentences to stay within the 500-word limit. These are the key skills that are being assessed here, together with your understanding of the contribution of key concepts and/or methods in psychology.

Relevant materials for Part 2

The short answer question requires you to provide a concise explanation of the concept of ‘strong AI’ and then outline how Searle’s ‘Chinese room thought experiment’ has been used to refute it. You will find material relevant to this question in Chapter 3  of the textbook, particularly Sections 3.2 and 3.3, and in Week 5, Section 3 of the online material.

Checklist

Have I:

Yes

No, where can I look for guidance?

Made sure I understand the question?

Look at Getting started in ‘Social Sciences Assessment Information’. See also Understand the question in ‘Skills for OU Study’.

Read all of the guidance notes for this assignment?

Carefully read through the student notes that accompany your assignment to check that you have followed all the advice and instructions.

Actively studied the relevant module material and anything else to which I’ve been directed?

See the booklets Reading and Taking Notes and Thinking Critically.

Reflected on my learning, including feedback received on earlier assignments, in order to improve my skills?

See Section 2, ‘Active learning’ and section 4, ‘Being reflective’ of the booklet Develop Effective Study Strategies. See also Learning from feedback in ‘Skills for OU Study’.

Thought about how best to structure my answer and questions of style and language?

 

Further advice on structuring answers is available in the relevant sections in ‘Social Sciences Assessment Information’. See, for example, Skill: Essay writing.

For questions relating to style and language, see the section Presentation and language in ‘Social Sciences Assessment Information’. See also Developing academic English and Writing for university in ‘Skills for OU Study’; and Section 7 ‘Choosing a writing style’ and Section 8 ‘Improving your written English’ of the booklet Preparing Assignments.

Written in my own words?

 

Guidance on writing in your own words is available in the sections on Skill: Understanding plagiarism and Skill: Writing in your own words in ‘Social Sciences Assessment Information’.

Where necessary, used evidence to back my arguments, and referenced correctly?

 

Advice on using evidence to support your arguments is available in the section on Selecting your examples‘ in ‘Social Sciences Assessment Information’. See also Gathering your materials in ‘Skills for OU Study’.

Guidance on referencing is available in the section on Referencing in ‘Social Sciences Assessment Information’.

Checked my word count?

 

The guidance notes tell you the word limit for each part of the TMA. An answer that is shorter than the word length by more than 10% is likely to be too short to have fully answered the question. Describe the methods that researchers have used to assess mindreading in children and explain what the research has revealed about whether mindreading abilities follow a ‘developmental trajectory’ An answer that exceeds the word limit by more than 10% will be penalised. For further information see the section on Word length in ‘Social Sciences Assessment Information’.

Written the word count at the end of each part of my TMA?

 

Check the word count and write that figure clearly at the end of each part of the assignment.

Set out my assignment properly?

 

See Section 3.4, ‘Conventions for presenting work’ in your module’s ‘Assessment Guidance’, which you will find under ‘Assessment resources’ on the module website.

Completed each part of the TMA?

 

Read through these assignment notes carefully to check that you have completed all the necessary tasks.


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