Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Reading Ahead: Save Yourself Some Frustration

Let's say you're one of those organized, prepared-types and you're looking ahead to what we'll be doing once we get back from Thanksgiving Break. First, great job! Chance favors the prepared mind!

Our next unit is on Learning and Memory and will cover content from Chapter 8 and 9 in your textbook. Note: this means we are temporarily skipping Chapter 7. Don't worry, we'll come back to that at the end of December (who would want to skip States of Consciousness altogether?!).

However, be aware that if you just dive into the next chapter in our book (Chapter 7), you may be frustrated when you come to class and realize you still have 2 chapters to read before you are prepared for our next quiz. If you're starting your reading early, Read Chapter 8 (Learning) next!

PsychSim: Visual Illusions

If you were gone last week Friday, you may have missed the instructions for the PsychSim Visual Illusions, which I collected today.

Just as a reminder, you can access the module by clicking here OR by heading over to the link for "PsychSim 4.0" found on the left hand menu bar in our "Commonly Used Course Links" widget. Choose the module "Visual Illusions" from the menu.

Here's the link for the accompanying worksheet, as well. Deer hunters and Floridians will need to get this to me when you return on Monday.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Friday's Psych Club Meeting

Disappointed that you missed the Psych Club meeting on Friday? You should be. We had a marvelous time making cutesy dragon optical illusions. We also snapped photos of ourselves wearing our fetching new Psych Club T-Shirts. Don't we look awesome!?

We also set the date for our first Movie Night of the year. Pending availability of space (which Mrs. Welle will check into on Monday), our Movie Night will be Thursday, December 10th at 7:00 PM. The tentative plan is to watch Memento, a film about a guy who is suffering from anterograde amnesia (yet is trying to solve his wife's murder. Tricky.). It will fit very nicely with what we'll be learning about in class at the time, since we'll be in the middle of a unit on learning & memory.

We will have to have signed parent permission slips for this one, since it is rated R. I'll get that information posted soon.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

"Telepathic Message" Coming Your Way!

This weekend, you have two chances to receive a telepathic message that can earn you extra credit on next week's test!

At 10:00 AM Saturday and 8:00 PM Sunday I will "send" a telepathic message out to my students (and whoever else is listening). If you "get" it, there is hefty extra credit in your future. In part because we may have to alert the scientific community if it turns out this is an ability you can reliably demonstrate.

This will dovetail nicely with our class discussion on Monday, which will examine the evidence for the existence of ESP.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Promised Links: Visual Illusions, Change Blindness Video

I apologize for the delay in getting this posted, but (per usual) life has been getting in the way lately.
This week in class I took students to Neural Correlates site to view 2009 Finalists in their Visual Illusion Contest. We looked at the 2009 Winner, the "Break of the Curve Ball," as well as others.
Another link I promised was the YouTube video of a Change Blindness Experiment, conducted by Daniel J. Simons. This is the one where subjects fail to notice a person swap when reporting for participation in research.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Cyclist Who Doesn't Stop...

Yesterday in my sixth hour class, this gentleman came up. At the time, I couldn't remember his name, which is Jure Robic. Nor did I correctly recall his home country, though I knew it was formerly Soviet: it was Slovenia.

Anyway, many of my students seemed to interested in his case, as we were using it to discuss the role of pain in restraining physically damaging behavior. The here's the link to the New York Times article about him from February 2006: That Which Does Not Kill Me Makes Me Stronger.

What makes him such an interesting figure? He doesn't stop...even when he should. Take the excerpt below as an example:

"Around Day 2 of a typical weeklong race, his speech goes staccato. By Day 3, he is belligerent and sometimes paranoid. His short-term memory vanishes, and he weeps uncontrollably. The last days are marked by hallucinations: bears, wolves and aliens prowl the roadside; asphalt cracks rearrange themselves into coded messages. Occasionally, Robic leaps from his bike to square off with shadowy figures that turn out to be mailboxes. In a 2004 race, he turned to see himself pursued by a howling band of black-bearded men on horseback."

Interested in his recent exploits? Check out his blog.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Tongue Map Myth

Many of my students are shocked to read in their psychology textbooks that the "Tongue Map" is somewhat of a myth, particularly because even some of their current science textbooks continue to print this misinformation. For the skeptical, here are some links to credible information on the subject:

I'd have to agree with Christopher Wanjek, writer for Livescience.com's Bad Science Column:

"The degree of variation is still debated, but the kindest way to describe the tongue map is an oversimplification. Why textbooks continue to print the tongue map is the real mystery now."

Phantom Limbs

Today during our class discussions on sensation, a number of questions came up for which I had no readily available answers. The links I've put together below are an attempt to answer some of these questions.

  1. Many of my students had questions about Phantom Limbs. This is a condition wherein an amputee still "feels" sensations from the missing limb (pain or otherwise). The tricky part about answering questions that relate to phantom limbs is that so much of the research is gleaned from case studies...so the question, "Would someone with a phantom limb feel ______________?" is hard to answer. It may be true of some patients, but not others. Or we might not have documentation of that specific situation within known case studies (but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist). The Psychology Department at Macalester College has a good site for further investigation. It provides a bunch of information on phantom limb patients, and examples of case studies on the phenomenon.
  2. One interesting treatment for Phantom Limb Pain is the use of Mirror Boxes. Below you will find a video featuring Andrew Austin (a treatment provider from the UK) describing the use of Mirror Boxes in therapy. If you have a bit longer, you can check out a 2007 TED Talk by VS Ramachandran which describes the use of mirror boxes to successfully treat phantom pain (as well as two other types of disorders resulting from physical damage to the body).

Why You Should Come to Psych Club this Friday: The Dragon Illusion!

Here's what we're doing in Psych Club this Friday (during Lunch B): making cool dragon optical illusions! Check out the final version:

Friday, November 13, 2009

Hearing, The Ear & Georg Bekesy

Today in class you will be exploring The Ear Pages, a site dedicated to Nobel Prize winner Georg Bekesy and his discoveries about the ability of the human ear to detect frequency (in sound waves).

When you finish, there are number of sites you might choose to explore, including some of the ones I have shown you in class over the past few days. The sound illusions work best with headphones.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Reverse Speech and Backmasking

Today in class I shared with students several examples of supposed "reverse speech" and "backmasking" in popular songs during a lecture on subliminal sensation. Here are the websites for your own entertainment/explorations:

Friday, November 6, 2009

T-Shirts Have Been Ordered!

It's about time!

I've given up on those stragglers who have not paid for the shirts they signed up for. If you had payment in for your shirt as of today, you can expect to get one. If not, well....you snooze you lose.

The order is scheduled to come in by November 20th, which (conveniently) happens to be the date of our next Psych Club meeting! Oh boy! I can hardly wait to see us all decked out in our finest Freud-wear.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Time to Chat with Mrs. Welle

Although it's hard to believe it, we're approaching the end of the first quarter here at Chi-Hi. This makes it a good time to reflect on how things are going so far, and where we are headed this year.

To that end, for the first time this year I am requiring that students meet with me one-on-one for a 10-minute conference. I find, with so many of you (84!), I am having a hard time getting to know everyone individually and I want to make sure we're both doing everything we can to make sure you have a successful year. Basically, we'll just chat about how things are going in AP Psych.

In my room, you'll find a sign-up for available conference times. All time slots listed are during our Lunch & Learn time, though other arrangements may be possible. Given that I have so many to arrange and can only complete about 5 per lunch period (or less, if I have other scheduled meetings), my goal is to get done with all of these by the end of November.

Completing the Pre-Conference Worksheet and attending your scheduled conference will be worth a 10-point project grade (for 2nd quarter). Please make every effort to attend at your scheduled time, as spaces will fill up fast!