Friday, February 19, 2010

Psych Club Meeting - 2/19/10

Today's Psych Club meeting will feature a couple important business items:
  • Publicizing March's guest speaker event
  • Constructing materials for the bulletin board and
  • Taking an EQ test!

Since the test we are taking will be online, we will meet in rm 135 (across the hall from my classroom).

Here's the link to our EQ test.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Just Kidding! Movie Night TONIGHT!!!

Okay, I apologize for the confusion and rescheduling, but Psych Club movie night will be happening TONIGHT. I discussed this with all of my classes yesterday, but figured I'd post a reminder here as well.

We will be watching CAST AWAY, a great movie for analyzing human motivation. Especially Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. :)

Starts at 7:00 PM. The only conflict we should have to contend with is SWAT team excercises also happening in the building. So don't be alarmed by the armed gunmen.

Friday, February 12, 2010

BPS RESEARCH DIGEST: Evidence-based tips for Valentine's

If you're looking for help from psychology in that search for that special sweetie this Valentine's Day, check out this post from the British Psychological Society's blog:

BPS RESEARCH DIGEST: Evidence-based tips for Valentine's

As with any practical application of psychological research, use at your own risk.

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Movie Night...Postponed to 2/18/10

I am bummed to report that I'm postponing Movie Night until NEXT week Thursday.

I apologize for the inconvenience, but I seem to be running into obstacles at every turn with scheduling for tomorrow night. Not only have I had trouble finding the movie I want, but I'm up to my ears in grading/make-up work from being gone on Tuesday.

For my AP students, this will be a good capstone to our unit on you will have taken the test for this unit on that day anyhow.

New York Times Article - DSM V

Thanks to Kent Korek at the Teaching High School Psychology Blog for alerting us to this New York Times article on the upcoming revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

Just last week I was discussing with students the excitement surrounding the newest version of this publication, as it could significantly alter how we talk about particular disorders (as well as define new ones and eliminate old). Interestingly, this article is the first one I've encountered that discusses the possibility of changing the language describing "mental retardation" (the term that spurred our in-class discussion of it to begin with), a change the some feel is overdue.

For more information on the revision process, including proposed revisions, click here.

U of M Semistarvation Study

During World War II, Ancel Keys and his colleagues at the University of Minnesota conducted a landmark study in human nutrition and hunger: the Human Starvation Study.

Keys sought to answer questions that were being raised by the horrible conditions brought about by the war in Europe: the effects of extremely low-calorie diets and cold, for example. The experiences of the participants in the semi-starvation conditions brought to light the psychological effects of hunger, particularly an inability to focus on anything other than food (including sexual relationships and intellectual persuits). His work is usually discussed in relation to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs because the subjects behavior seems to support the idea of the primacy of physiological needs.

Another fun fact: the "K-ration" developed for the US Army is referred to as such because of Keys' role in creating it (K for Keys).

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

We're Famous!

Most of my students already have celebrity status when walking the streets of Chippewa Falls. They're just that awesome. But the newspapers seldom pay attention to my own toils.

Here's an article about the AP program at Chi-Hi that features a number of our AP teachers and students. Well done, everyone!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

And the Winner is...

Emily S.! (And no...that's NOT her picture)

Emily was the lucky participant whose name was drawn to win the fabulous Therapist in a Box prize from last evening's AP Night festivities. Like many others attending, she participated in our mini-research project on facial recognition.

All participants were shown the image at right. They were asked to determine which of the two images on the left best resembled him.
Two-thirds of participants chose the lower image (labeled "B" on the wall chart used), while only one-third selected the top image. Neither answer is more "correct" because each is simply a composite image created by "mirroring" one half of the face in the original photograph. So why did people prefer the "mirrored" left side to the right?
Here's the presumed explanation: The right half of the brain is responsible for interpreting information from our left visual field (i.e. the left side of the man's face). It is also more frequently used for facial recognition and emotional interpretation. When you look at the two possible choices, the part of your brain that is most adept at recognizing faces detects a match in the lower photograph: "here's that same left side"! It does not see a "match" in the upper photo because your right brain was not studying that part of the original photo (that was your analytical left brain).
Of course, we can all "see" that the images are equally representative of the man. But thanks to your wonderful's not necessarily what we perceive.