Monday, March 25, 2013

Phil Zimbardo Shifts Focus from Evil to Heroism

Having spent much of the past week in class detailing Social Psych research that illuminates situational factors that can lead to bad behavior, I was pleased to see this narrated Prezi by Phil Zimbardo, which details his journey from studying evil to studying and promoting heroism.

In it, Dr. Zimbardo describes landmark studies in Social Psychology, including his own Stanford Prison Experiment and Milgram's classic obedience study. After outlining all the factors that research has suggested contribute to bad behavior, he describes his current project, the Heroic Imagination Project (HIP).

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Resources for Case Example Application: Diagnosis and Treatment Planning

This week you will apply your knowledge of Psych Disorders and Treatment to create typed case reports for two individuals that you received information about last week. To complete the project you will need:
  • The directions for your project and the two case examples you received on Friday (note: different students received different subjects).
  • Access to the DSM-IV-TR diagnostic codes. There are several places you can find these. You can navigate through this online version, use the full or abbreviated versions available in the classroom, or access the library's copy of the DSM-IV-TR during study hall. I also have guides for differential diagnosis in my room.
  • Access to information about treatment. Here, your textbook will be a good resource, as will the notes you take in class this week.
Diagnosis and treatment planning is obviously a skill that clinicians develop over years of practice, and you are in no way expected to demonstrate proficiency at that level. Your score will be determined based on the rationale (or evidence) you provide for your decisions about diagnosis and treatment options. Even trained professionals do not always agree on diagnostic and treatment decisions, so there is no "right" answer that I am looking for in each of these cases. However, some decisions are more defensible than others, so it is in your best interest to incorporate details from the case example in your rationale and defend your treatment decisions using information from the case and from what you have learned about treatment options.

I am including an example case and an accompanying case report based on that example for your convenience. This should give you an idea of how to format and organize your final product, though keep in mind you will complete TWO of these.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Brain Awareness Week Events

This year, Psychology Club is participating in Brain Awareness Week for the first time. The week is devoted to the celebration and promotion of neuroscience and is organized by the Society for Neuroscience, the Dana Foundation and This year, Brain Awareness Week is March 11-17, so at today's Psych Club meeting, we finalized the details of some of our activities and events. They include:
  • Posting quick Brain Facts around the building on bright pink "brains."
  • Monday 3/11: Brain-themed music will be played during the lunch hour in the school cafeteria.
  • Tuesday 3/12: Demonstrations during the lunch hour: visual displacement goggles.
  • Wednesday 3/13: Brain-Related Team Trivia in Rm 136 during Lunch B!
  • Thursday 3/14: This is Pi Day...we're taking a break and eating pie with the math department. Brains like Pi and Pie, we figure.
  • Friday 3/15: Brain Cookies & Psych Club celebration in rm 136 during Lunch B.
Psych Club members create Brain Fact signs to be hung around the building during Brain Awareness Week.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Psychology Related Updates from the College Board

As an AP Psychology teacher, I regularly receive updates from the College Board with pertinent information about AP testing, credit policies, commissioned reports, and the like. This past week I got a couple of messages with information that may be useful to current AP Psych students, so I'd like to pass it along.

The first significant update concerns an issue that students should be very excited about: accessing AP score reports online! Previously, in order to find out their scores, students had to wait for printed score reports to arrive via snail mail in July OR fork over $8 to use a clunky, automated phone system to hear their scores earlier. Scores still are likely to be unavailable until July 1 or later, since the Free-Response Questions are scored by readers throughout most of the month of June and student reports probably cannot be compiled any faster than they already are. However, students will be able to view their scores online for free starting this summer. Though more information is likely to be forthcoming, the College Board has launched this website to help students set up their accounts and get ready to use the online system.

The second item concerns the physical layout of the Free-Response sections of the AP exams. As last year's students discovered, the College Board changed the layout of this section of most exams, for reasons having to do with test security and ease of test administration. However, some students reported being confused by the new format, since all the Free-Response questions now appear in one booklet with multiple pages (and with each question being repeated "for convenience" multiple times). In order to reduce confusion, the College Board has made available Free-Response booklet maps so that students can preview the layout of that section of the test. In general, I'll be telling my students in AP Psych that, despite the look at first glance there really are still two FRQs, so when you are done answering the first, you may have to go a couple of pages to find the next one. Pay attention to numbers (they should be prominently labled "Question 1" and "Question 2") and you should be fine. However, this map should be helpful, especially for students more used to the old format of that section of AP tests.