Introduction to psychology/Psy102/Assessment/Essay/General feedback/Exercise

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Essay question[edit | edit source]

What are the short and longer-term psychological effects of physical exercise and what causes these effects? Discuss with reference to psychological theories and research.

Feedback about the exercise topic essays[edit | edit source]

The psychological effects of physical exercise essay topic was the second most popular (out of 7 topics), with 51 essays (out of 215 submitted) in Psychology 102 in 2009. ("Why do we dream?" was the most popular topic).

Good essays tended to[edit | edit source]

  1. Define exercise in some way
  2. Distinguish between different types of exercise e.g., aerobic/anaerobic, intensity, duration, frequency etc. and consider whether these types have differential psychological effects
  3. Differentiate in some meaningful way between short-term and long-term psychological effects of exercise (this was part of the question) - these could include but are not limited to: depression, anxiety, stress, self-efficacy, self-esteem, mood, body image, social inclusion
  4. Consider whether the psychological effects are "always good" (a critical, objective perspective is needed) - weaker essays tended to be more simplistic in their answer about the psychological effects of physical exercise
  5. Explain what causes exercise to illicit/produce these psychological effects (could include: increase/decrease in certain neurotransmitters, catharsis, distraction, mastery/self-efficacy, group sports impact on social aspects, etc.).
  6. You were also required to use theory to support these ideas (some theories you could have mentioned include and are not limited to: thermogenic hypothesis and monoamine hypothesis in relation to depression, cerebral lateralisation hypothesis in relation to anxiety, Bandura’s self-efficacy theory, social-cognitive theory, theory of planned behaviour, and many more!).
  7. Use peer-reviewed research, preferably from journal articles to support all these points.
  8. Finally, many essays failed to use critical evaluation. (so comment and critique the literature you present, what are the flaws and strengths etc.)

Less good essays tended to[edit | edit source]

  1. Not answer the essay question.
  2. Lack sufficient evidence of reading and understanding of peer-reviewed research and review articles

Sample essay[edit | edit source]

Short and long term psychological effects of physical exercise - Sample essay.pdf

See also[edit | edit source]