Skip to main content

Summer Assignments for PHS: Psychology - AP


Mr. Cassady
Send email

Book Choices


As part of Advanced Placement Psychology, there is a great deal of material that goes beyond classroom time. As such, readings like the ones listed below, are crucial to getting a full perspective on the scope of the topic and understanding how the many different chapters in the textbook come together to form the human psyche. The three books chosen cover different areas of the course, but handle them in a way which allows for multiple chapters to be addressed comprehensively—something the textbook is not built to accomplish. This assignment is meant to lay foundation for what you will learn this year and provide reference points throughout the year for common examples. Please read the entire book and choose from it how best to complete the specific assignment.

Choose one of the following books and complete the corresponding assignment. Part of the assignment requires the reading of the book, the other requires outside research to learn about a related Psychologist and their relationship to the content of the selected book. The assignment is due the first day of class. If there are any questions, they can be directed to either Mr. Cassady or Mr. Ryan.

Book One: The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog: And Other Stories from a Child Psychiatrist's Notebook-- What Traumatized Children Can Teach Us About Loss, Love, and Healing by Bruce Perry (Author), Maia Szalavitz (Author)

Concepts: Biology, the Brain, and Contact-Comfort.

Prompt: Using the Case Studies from the book (at least three), explain the effects of trauma and upbringing (parenting) on the formation of the brain and development. Use Harry Harlow and his concept of Contact Comfort to explain the outcomes of these cases and the methods of therapy employed.

 Book Two: Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman (FSG, NY: 2001)

Concepts: Dual Thinking, Hueristics, Thinking Biases and Errors.

Prompt: Kahneman makes the argument that the brain is divided into two aspects of processing, explain these two processes (pros and cons for each) and their function (Why do we have multiple?). Using any three of the Heuristics that make up the chapters in his book, explain how Fast Thinking can lead to errors in decision making and why Slow Thinking is preferable. “This book has described the workings of the mind as an uneasy interaction between two fictitious characters: the automatic System 1 and the effortful System 2,” (page 415).

After researching Jean Piaget, explain his concept of cognitive developmental stages and schemas. How might these explain the results in the table above?