PSYCH 20000: Introductory Psychology

Challenge Question Example

In the text, it is argued that mirror neurons could contribute to the pathophysiology of autism.  “Mirror neurons” is the name for group of neurons in the frontal cortex that have been found to respond to the observation of others’ actions in studies using monkeys.  The book proposes that, because children with autism have trouble understanding other people’s thoughts, these neurons might be important in autism.

Counterargument #1:  Lingnau and colleagues (2009, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) conducted a study that found no evidence of the existence of mirror neurons in humans. Lingnau used fMRI and had participants execute a series of tests designed elicit mirror neuron functioning, and did not find any evidence for mirror neuron activity in her participants.

Counterargument #2:  Hale and Tager-Flusberg (2003, Developmental Science) found that understanding others’ minds is not a primary deficit in autism, and differences can be explained by language deficits.  The authors developed a language training program, and saw improvement in “Theory of Mind” abilities as language improved.

Challege Question

The following is the exact text of the Challenge Question that you will see on your examination.


Take a theory/assertion that has been raised in class or in the text and challenge it.  First, provide an accurate description of the theory/assertion in question (5 pts.), and then make two major counterpoints (5 pts. apiece) that argue against the theory/assertion.  You may use documented research, anecdotal counter-evidence, or intuition, but one of the two counterpoints must be evidence provided by a published research study from a “peer-reviewed” journal.  You must provide the first author, year published, and journal title of the peer-reviewed article. Editorial articles or review articles can be used for one of the counterpoints, but they will not count as a published research study.  If you use anecdotes or intuition, make sure to clarify how you believe that your example applies to a population of people, and not just one person.  Both counterarguments must be novel for this class, meaning you cannot cite the text or Professor Diehl for either argument.

Last Update: February 28, 2011 09:39 | Tagged with: psychology introductory challenge question research paper