Monday, April 25, 2011

A Big Week in AP Psychology

This week promises to be a busy one in AP Psychology as we complete our final preparations for the AP Psychology exam on Monday, May 2. Here's a list of some important dates/events in the next seven days:

  1. Test: Social Psychology - Tuesday, April 26 (Quizlet embedded below)

  2. Optional Practice Test - Thursday, April 28 (after school); Note: if Thursday doesn't work, I will also be available Wednesday after school to allow students time to take a practice test, or students can make other arrangements with me. Unfortunately, I cannot release official College Board materials to students to use outside of school. However, students may borrow/copy materials from unofficial, commercial test-prep books if it is impossible to arrange otherwise.

  3. Final weekend review sesssion - Sunday, May 1, Noon - ?; I will stay as long as needed to help students review areas of the curriculum that they feel need the most reviewing.

  4. AP PSYCHOLOGY EXAM - Monday, May 2 - 11:45 AM - CVTC Chippewa Falls Additional information will be posted here (final reminders, directions, etc.) in the coming days, though students should have received all pertinent information during the pre-registration session on April 19.

Happy Reviewing!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Vestibular Sense & Dolphins

While hunting for information in response to a student question (the best type of prompt to get me thinking!), I happened upon this interesting post on the vestibular sense of dolphins from the Dolphin Communication Project (DCP).

Is this a thinly-veiled excuse to share weird animal information? Maybe. But it does relate to psychology, particularly sensation.

According to the post, some evolutionary biologists believe dolphins evolved particularly small (and thus, less sensitive) vestibular systems as compared to other mammals because they have little need to be aware of which way is "up" in the way that land-based mammals do. Three times smaller than similarly-sized mammals, it turns out. Thus, they can now execute impressive barrel rolls and directional changes that would nauseate land-based mammals attempting to replicate them.

Of course, the original student question had nothing to do with dolphins, just motion sickness and weightlessness (which is addressed in the dolphin article to some degree).

If you're looking for a possible cure for motion sickness, this website on motion sickness offers a number of potential solutions, some more extreme than others. I was particularly intrigued by one strategy mentioned by the website: the "Puma Method," which unforunately does not reference the animal, but rather a NASA-employed Dr. Sam Puma. A video below...

Also, according to the website, those wrist bands for reducing motion sickness are probably effective only due to their role as placebos.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Philip Zimbardo on The Daily Show

Philip Zimbardo - psychologist behind the famed Stanford Prison experiment - appeared on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart a few years ago to promote his book, The Lucifer Effect. In the interview, the two discuss the relevance of the Stanford Prison Experiment to the (then current) Abu Ghraib prison scandal. Worth a view!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Colbert PAC & the Peripheral Route to Persuasion

Today in class we will be discussing persuasive strategies. Particularly, we will address the difference between the central route to persuasion - providing facts and logical arguments to directly convince the audience of the correctness of your position - and the peripheral one.

The peripheral route to persuasion involves indirectly appealing to your audience, often through emotional sounds and images, but sometimes without providing any specific information to support your case. There is nothing inherently good or bad about either strategy, though the audience may respond differently to either approach, depending on the context and the issue being discussed.

Increasingly, political advertisements have taken the peripheral route...appealing to our patriotism and emotions without providing any real information about a candidate's position or the facts surrounding an issue. Late night political comedy shows have picked up on this endless source of material. In the clip below, Stephen Colbert satarizes a particularly outstanding example of these high-impact, low-information ads from former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Adler's Ashes?

Ready for some weird psychology history?

According to this article in The Guardian, the long-missing remains of Alfred Adler were recently discovered in Edinburgh. How did they get there and why was this a mystery? Apparently, Adler, a psychologist remembered today for his early friendship with Sigmund Freud, for creating the idea of the inferiority complex, and for founding a unique approach to psychotherapy, unexpectedly suffered a heart attack in 1937 when visiting Aberdeen for a lecture tour.

His Viennese family lost track of the remains when they were shipped south to Edinburgh for cremation, where they have remained since. Surviving family members believe the chaos surrounding the start of World War II likely interfered with communication efforts following the prominent psychologist's death.

Adler's ashes will be returned to Vienna and a ceremony is planned to commemorate the famed, and now found, psychologist.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Study Resources for Upcoming Test

Whew! In April deadlines seem to rocket toward me at light speed, so I'll admit that Monday's test feels like it snuck up on me. However, with the AP exam less than a month away, this is no time to be pushing deadlines here we go! If you're looking for a way to review the vocabulary from this unit, you might consider trying the Abnormal Psych Quizlet located on this page. Or try the embedded flashcards below.

We also have a study session scheduled for 5:00 PM Sunday evening if you would like further review with the assistance of friends and your teacher. Test is Monday, of course.

If all of this is too overwhelming for you, and you are feeling in need of some support, go ahead and check out ELIZA, the computer therapist. Much like the chatbot we explored earlier in the year, this simple program is designed to converse with you as a client-centered therapist would. Perhaps she can help you manage your anxiety about the test, if that's an issue. :)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Psych Disorders Assignment Links

By now, we've discussed in class three major categories of disorder: Anxiety Disorders, Mood Disorders, and Schizophrenia. The worksheet you were given yesterday requires you to explore four additional categories of disorder. See below for links to each one:

There are some major proposed changes ("reformulations") to the category of personality disorders in the DSM-5. Particularly, using trait severity ratings and increased emphasis on the person's level of functioning/social impairment in diagnosis.

Also, within the dissociative disorders, "Dissociative Fugue" may be eliminated and simply understood as a type of Dissociative Amnesia (see details).

Entertaining Video...Can You Identify the Conditioning Principles at Work?

One of my fantastic psych teacher colleagues sent this one to me. Hilarious clip of a little one "selectively" throwing a fit. Can you identify what conditioning principles might be at work here? Why would this child relocate to continue the temper tantrum?