Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Learning & Memory Quizlets

Each of the two topics for this unit - Learning and Memory - have their own Quizlet flashcard sets. I've embedded them below, but you are also welcome to visit each set page and print off your own flashcards. Good luck with your studies!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Guest Speaker on Hypnosis

Timed perfectly to match our in-class discussions of the phenomenon of hypnosis next week, Psychology Club is pleased to welcome Richard Marano, hypnotherapist, to Chi-Hi.

Mr. Marano, who operates the Hypnosis Center of Eau Claire, will be giving a presentation from 5-7 PM in our high school library on Tuesday, December 20th.

Following a talk about the phenomenon of hypnosis and how it is used in psychotherapy, Mr. Marano will lead any interested attendees in exercises that will allow them to experience hypnosis themselves.
These guided imagery exercises are completely voluntary and harmless, and often experienced as very relaxing.

Students interested in participating in the exercises are urged to avoid caffeine and any other stimulating agents in the afternoon prior to the presentation, as these things can interfere with one's ability to focus and relax, which is necessary for hypnosis.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Psychology Essay Contest Announced

Each year, the APA Teachers of Psychology in Secondary Schools (TOPSS) sponsors an essay competition for high school students. This year's topic concerns natural disasters and offers students the chance to apply their knowledge of psychology to real life situations.

Directions and application instructions can be found here.

The winner will receive a $250 award. Deadline is March 5, 2012.

I can help you think through and review your submission if you like.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Memory Exploration

Here's the link to the Memory Test created by the University of Edinburgh. Click where it says "Click here to start" to begin the exercise. It will take you about 20 minutes, and you will do the best if you are not disturbed or distracted during completion.

You will not be diagnosed with a "good" or "bad" memory on the basis of your results, though you will be provided with an explanation of some known phenomena about memory.

If nothing else, it's a fun challenge and a great illustration of some of the ways that memory is assessed.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Punishment & Operant Conditioning

As we discussed in class today, punishment can be used to influence behavior in subjects, but it does come with some major downsides. Punishment doesn't actually teach a desired behavior, it just discourages bad behavior. Physical punishments that parents use can sometimes teach unintended lessons: hitting solves problems, parents are to be feared, etc.

However, we have all seen and perhaps experienced robust examples of how punishments can effectively discourage unwanted behaviors. My recent most favorite example of people creatively employing punishment to deter a behavior comes from Vilnius, Lithuania. The Mayor of that city, fed up with people parking their expensive cars in no parking zones, launched this video (which appears to be more of a public service announcement than an organized enforcement campaign) of himself running over expensive, but illegally parked cars with a tank.

Why were expensive cars the problem? Presumably inexpensive cars parked illegally would create as big of a problem for the city, but there seems to be some assumptions being made about the motivations of the owners of the fancy cars: the Mayor notes wanting to send a message to drivers who "think they are above the law." Perhaps, also, it is more fun to run over expensive cars?

The mayor was honored with an Ig Nobel prize (the humorous counterpart to the Nobel prize)at this year's ceremony at Harvard University.

My favorite quote from the video: in answer to the question of what the city should do about the problem, Mayor Zuokas says, "It seems that a tank is the best solution."