Synapse reaction


1. Select a Learning Psychology topic of interest.

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– Find at least 6 academic journal articles on the topic.

– Articles must be different from materials used in the course (i.e., textbook, lecture add-on materials).

– For suitable articles, visit the SMU library website for academic search engines that contain academic, peer-reviewed journal articles.


2. Combine information from your articles to answer these questions:

Purpose: Why is the topic that you chose important to study?

Research methods: How is the topic studied?

Results: What are the results of the research studies?

Discussion/conclusion: What are the future directions of the research?

Limitations: What are the limitations of the findings and how can future research overcome them?


3. Complete your paper in Microsoft Word.

– The written portion of your paper is to be at least 10 double-spaced pages. Title page, reference list, graphics (i.e., pictures, figures, tables) are extras that DO NOT COUNT as part of the 10-page minimum.

– Please use headings and subheadings to organize your paper.

– Use 12 point font, 1 inch borders, double spacing, and standard line and character spacing.

– Do not have extra/unnecessary space between paragraphs/sections.

– Do not use quotes.

– You must reference information in the paper and include a reference list at the end of the paper in APA format.


Tips for Finding Research Articles

Past students have asked for assistance with finding peer-reviewed research articles. Generally, a regular Google search is not scientifically rigorous, based on the expectations of this course. Below are tips and steps to help.


To use Google Scholar: Type Google Scholar into your internet browser and select Google Scholar from the list. When it takes you to Google Scholar, it will look just like Google, except it will contain mainly peer-reviewed articles.

Problem with Google Scholar: The main issue with Google Scholar is that you likely will only get full articles if you pay for them. Many current, peer-reviewed articles can cost $30+ each, if you are not a member of an organization that has access to the given journal in which the article is published. Although students do not always realize this, access to journals with full articles is a benefit you receive as part of your student fees at SMU.


To use SMU search engines:

1. click the following link:

2. Select Databases A-Z.

3. For relevant psychology articles, look under E for EBSCO Academic Search Premier or under P for PsycINFO/PsycARTICLES.

4. When you click on the search engine of choice and are prompted to login, use your S# and password, just like when you login to Brightspace.

5. Once logged in, use words/terms to complete your search, just like a Google search (be specific).

6. Narrow your search in Advanced Settings (e.g., check off ‘journal articles’, ‘full article’, ‘year range’, etc.).

7. When ready, click Search to be presented a list of relevant articles to review.


The text book for the course:

brain & behavior: introduction to behavioral neuroscience (5th ed.) by Bob Garet, Gerald Hough II

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