Monday, March 30, 2009

Using Psychology with Passwords

A study of 28,000 passwords by Robert Graham of Errata Security revealed a distinct lack of creativity by U.S. computer users. The statistical analysis found:

  • 16% used their own first name or that of one of their children
  • 14% used simple keyboard combinations such as "123456789" or "QWERTY"
  • 5% of the passwords were of television shows, famous names, etc. such as "Hannah," "Matrix," or "Ironman"
  • 4% used the word "password" or a close variation "password1"
  • 3% used phases such as "Idontcare," "Whatever," "Yes," or "No."

Security experts suggest a password of a minimum of eight characters with at least one capital letter and one symbol. Many suggest having a "mnemonic password". For example:

  • L@Gs4sa7ya - Lincoln at Gettysburg said four score and seven years ago
  • Ih8h2rsmp - I hate having to remember so many passwords
  • Mpcmagr8APPl - Mnemonic passwords could make a great AP Psychology lesson

For a detailed report on mnenomic passwords go to

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Milgram Obedience Study Slide Show

The New York Times website includes a brief slide show and basic explanation of Stanley Milgram's famous study on obedience. Pictures of follow-up studies Milgram did after the original groundbreaking study including one shot of the "learner" in the same room as the "teacher" are included. All of the photographs are from the personal collection of Alexandra Milgram. The slide show can be found at

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Join THSP on Facebook!

I've created a Facebook group as an offshoot of this blog. If you're on Facebook already, join us in the Teaching High School Psychology group. Get to know your colleagues around the planet who teach the best course of all!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Is solitary confinement a form of torture?

There is a terrific (and lengthy!) article in this week's New Yorker by Atul Gawande about the effects of long-term solitary confinement. Gawande begins with the research of Harry Harlow on social isolation in his experiments with monkeys and then relates vivid anecotes that range from hormer hostage Terry Anderson to prisoner of war John McCain to a number of prisoners held in the American penal system for years in isolation. He also incorporates research of the effects of imprisonment on behavior and on the lack of efficacy of solitary confinement on the behavior of the other prisoners; there seems to be no impact on violence in the prisons when individuals are removed to isolation.

Gawande notes that the use of solitary confinement is largely a development of the last twenty years and also largely an American insitution, and he makes the argument that our ease with putting convicts in isolation made it easy to do the same to combatants held in Guantanamo Bay.

Gawande calls it "legalized torture." What would your students say? This would make a great end-of-the-course assignment to have students dig into the effects of isolation, social deprivation, mental illness rates in prison, etc.

Human Brain Anatomy Study and Quiz Module

The University of Alberta Psychology Department has set up the Midsagittal Brain Study Module Page.

The page is divided into the:
  • Human Brain Anatomy Study Module, which is designed to help students learn about the different structures of the brain, and the
  • Human Brain Anatomy Quiz Module. The quiz module uses interactive quizzes to reinforce the materials learned in the study modules. In one part, students get to rebuild the brain.

The study module requires Macromedia Flash Player, while the quiz module needs Authorware Web Player. The main website includes a link to download both programs and can be found at

Thursday, March 26, 2009

California Psychological Association High School Workshop

I am happy to post the following from Martha Boenau, Associate Director of the APA's Office of Precollege and Undergraduate Programs. The high school teacher workshop program includes Chuck Schallhorn, one of the moderators for this blog.

You are cordially invited to join the California Psychological Association for a workshop dedicated to the teachers of high school psychology, entitled:

Strengthening High School Psychology Curriculum:
Leadership and Capacity Building in the Classroom

The annual convention of the California Psychological Association will take place on April 16-19 at the Oakland City Center Marriott in Oakland, CA. The theme is "Psychology: A Leadership Profession." At this year’s convention the CPA, along with co-sponsor Holy Names University, will offer a workshop specifically for high school teachers of psychology.

This workshop is scheduled for Friday, April 17th from 4:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. It is offered free of charge to high school teachers of psychology in California. The program includes the following:
  • Colleague Hour: Meet and Greet Psychology Teacher Participant are encouraged to bring and share a course syllabi, and a favorite classroom teaching demonstration.
  • Introductions: April Fernando, Ph.D
  • Keynote Address: "The Truth about Lie Detection" David Matsumoto, Ph.D of San Francisco State University, and author of "Culture and Psychology"
  • APA Teachers of Psychology in Secondary Schools (TOPSS) Program Overview and Classroom Demonstrations. Charles Schallhorn, San Benito High School, Hollister, CA
In addition to peer networking, lectures, and demonstrations-- we will also provide free materials from TOPSS for your use in your classrooms. Additionally, you are invited to register for a day at the CPA convention for a special rate of only $50.00 (regular rate/day is $330). I hope that you will consider joining us for this exciting program.

Please RSVP for the CPA High School Teacher's workshop on Friday, April 17, 4:30-8:30 p.m. by sending an e-mail confirmation with your name and school affiliation to: Dr. Kate Isaacson, Ph.D at:

For more information on the 2009 CPA Convention, please go to:

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Alabama Teachers of Psychology Workshop

Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, is hosting the annual Alabama Teachers of Psychology workshop on April 18, 2009, from 8:30 am to 1:00 pm at Burns Hall on Samford's campus in Birmingham, Alabama.

This one-day workshop will highlight the teaching of social psychology. Carly Friedman, an instructor at Samford, will speak on The Classroom as a Safe Space: Teaching About Gender and Sexual Orientation in High Schools. The Participant Idea Exchange will feature activities for teaching social psychology.

Registration is $10 for TOPSS/STP members; none-members $20.

Breakfast & Lunch are provided.

Information about registering and directions to Samford can be found at the following website:

Games at the Nobel Prize Website

The Nobel Prize website at includes three educational games pertinent to a typical psychology course curriculum. They include:

Pavlov's Dog, a demonstration of classical conditioning creating a variation of Pavlov's experiments. Students condition the dog using a variety of stimuli and food items. While fairly simple, the game gets across the basic message of how classical conditioning works.

The Split Brain Experiment, where students conduct their own version of Sperry's and Gazzaniga's research. The game allows students to experiment on Mr. Split Brainy, using an inquiry approach. While a bit juvenile for high school students, this program could be a perfect way for students to learn how a split-brain patient performs.

The Ear, which allows students to discover the basic functioning of the many parts of the ear. Using a standard tutorial approach, the game provides for beginning, advanced and expert levels and include a simulation, exploration and quiz section.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Evolutionary Psychology - Do you have to be careful?

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal about a Texas school board member who wants to re-write the state science curriculum to include the "possibility" that the Earth is only 10,000 years old made me wonder: How "careful" do you all have to be when you teach evolutionary psychology? Any advice for other teachers about how to discuss this psychological perspective without getting mired in the "pro/anti evolution" debates? Please discuss in Comments if you have ideas for other teachers.

APA and fMRI

The cover (see right) of this month's Monitor on Psychology from APA really caught my eye. I was so taken by the image, the issue sat on my desk for weeks. The edition contains two excellent articles on the latest in brain imaging.

A sidebar to the articles discusses two booklets from the APA describing how fMRI research is adding to psychological knowledge. One is written specifically to adults, the other to teens. To download a copy of either, go to

To order a hard copy of the booklet, email the APA Science Directorate at

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Marshmallows, Patience, Self-Control, and Walter Mischel

On a recent episode of Radiolab (the NYC radio show/podcast), there was an episode that interviewed Walter Mischel (pronounced like the girl's name, Michelle). You can find it here. He described the studies he did, the role of his daughters as an impetus, and a Q/A with Jad Abumrad, one of the hosts. Mischel found a profound difference between kids who were able to wait to eat the marshmallows versus eating them immediately, when age 4 and had SAT scores.

The kids who could not wait were later more likely to wind up as the bullies, had more detentions and suspensions. Mischel continued following the kids (who were adults in their 40s). The more data they collected, the more the differences continued.

There are different explanations as to why the kids were able to wait-is self-control hard-wired or are diferent strategies the explanation--showing that this can be taught. Or is it some combination??? Fascinating.

ABC reenacted the study for the demonstration. . There are a number of related videos and replications at this link.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Large Plush Toy Neuron

Looking for the perfect "prop" when you explain the parts of the neuron. Giantmicrobes of Delaware has developed a plush toy version. The toy comes in three sizes:
  • Original (5-7" plush doll) $7.95
  • PetriDish (3 mini microbes) $12.95
  • Giganic (15-20" plush doll) $24.95

To order or for more information go to:

A special thanks to Daria Schaffeld of Prospect High School, Mt Prospect, IL for this idea as detailed in the January 2009 edition of the NCSS Psychology Community Newsletter.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Gaba in a Can?

This post on Mind Hacks discusses a new drink called "JonesGABA" that claims to increase "focus and clarity" because it contains small amounts of the neurotransmitter GABA. The post briefly describes why we (and our students) should be skeptical about the claim: the blood-brain barrier and the company's fairly weak study supporting their claim. This could be a good, engaging critical thinking exercise for students during the Bio unit (especially if you can get a can of JonesGABA to bring into class!)

Using Drug Abuse to Teach Neuroscience

The Brain & the Actions of Cocaine, Opiates, and MarijuanaThe Neurobiology of Drug AddictionUnderstanding Drug Abuse and Addiction: What Science SaysThe Neurobiology of Ecstasy (MDMA)The Neurobiology of Ecstasy (MDMA)

The National Institute on Drug Abuse has designed five lessons (packets) using PowerPoints to explain the physiological aspects of drug use and abuse. While each lesson would work well within a States of Consciousness or Drug Abuse unit, they can also be used to explain the workings of the brain and neural impulses. The graphics on the Powerpoint are outstanding and each slide includes basic information and hints on how to present the material.

Go to for general information on the teaching packets or click on the links below to download each individual packet.

Packet 1: The Brain & the Actions of Cocaine, Opiates, and Marijuana
Packet 2: The Neurobiology of Drug Addiction
Packet 3: Understanding Drug Abuse and Addiction: What Science Says
Packet 4: The Neurobiology of Ecstasy (MDMA)
Packet 5: Bringing the Power of Science to Bear on Drug Abuse and Addiction

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

We know about Madness, right?

If you or your students (or both!) are men's college basketball junkies you know that March Madness has begun. Even casual fans at this time of year start filling out brackets in hopes of winning this amazing prize or just for bragging rights. Those who follow a certain team may be guilty of confirmation bias in seeking out evidence to justify the strength of their teams, and as they join with their like-minded friends groupthink leads them to assure themselves that they are correct.

In the spirit of this time, let me offer a couple of links to start the fast break of conversation in your classes. Steven Kotler of Psychology Today jumps in with The Psychology of Bracketology as he lobs up the theories of the "hot hand," Cinderella teams and then calls a time-out to bring in Bob Knight's "be yourself" theory.

Over on Laura's Psychology Blog professor Laura Freberg plays commentator as she introduces the various cognitive strategies that could be used for the selection process but as the shot clock winds down she chokes and tosses up some ill-advised shots in her bracket. (ASU over Syracuse? UCLA over Villanova? AIR-BALL, AIR-BALL)

And finally psych professor Janice Grigsby of Youngstown State and Case Western blows her whistle and calls a charging foul on the tournament, saying that March Madness is a form of gambling that reinforces the personal fable that addiction will happen to other people.

For some real coaching on your brackets, try Bracket Science, Ken Pomeroy's ratings, CBS and the New York Times (which says that foul differential will make the difference).

Okay, teachers, it's time for you to pull of your warm-ups and get in the game. Who do you think will win? Biggest upset? This year's Cinderella? Most overrated coach? Post your thoughts below.

And as for me ... well, my money's on this guy's toe.

fMRI= Court approved Lie Detector?

This Wired Science article "MRI Lie Detection to Get First Day in Court" describes the efforts of some researchers and lawyers in San Diego to admit fMRI results as an accurate method of lie detection. The article goes on to describe the possible difficulties with using fMRI scans in court. My favorite line: "So far as I can tell, there are many more reliable ways to corrupt data from an MRI machine than a classic polygraph machine." This article and other resources about lie detection might be a fascinating critical thinking exercise for psych. students (perhaps during the bio unit?)

Psychology Podcasts from Xavier

Elizabeth Hammer from Xavier University in New Orleans (some folks may know her as one of the QLs at the AP psychology reading) is creating some fascinating podcasts out of her interviews with college psychology professors. Find the podcasts at:

I've listened to conversation #1 with Suzie Baker about using facebook and other social networking sites in intro. psychology, and to Conversation #5 with Tracy Zinn about encouraging "real" discussions in psych. Elizabeth is a good interviewer and the psychologists she interviews are passionate about figuring out new ways to reach psych students.

So, How Are We Doing?

This blog is a little over one month old. In the course of February and March, there have been:
- more than 45 different postings ranging from Dr. Seuss to Mensa to mice on drugs,
- almost 2000 overall hits by over 1000 different people coming from all over the world,
- 3200 total pages viewed,
- 10 people joining as followers and
- 620 responses to five different surveys.

For a month we, the moderators, have done much of the "talking". Now, it is your turn to let us know what you think. Please click on the comment line below and leave your thoughts regarding:
  • How are we doing overall?
  • What do you like best about the blog?
  • What would you like eliminated or changed?
  • What topics should we include in future postings?
  • Any ideas you may have for future survey topics?
  • Anything else you would like to comment on.
If you would prefer, please feel free to email any of the moderators with your comments. Just click on our names in the moderators' box at the top of each page.

Enhancing the Teaching of Psychology Conference - UW Stevens Point

The 9th annual Enhancing the Teaching of Psychology Conference will be held on May 19, 2009 at University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. The keynote speaker will be Charles Brewer of Furman University. Charles is a table leader at the AP Psychology Reading, a former member of the TOPSS Board, one of the founding editors of the Teaching of Psychology Journal and a good friend to high school psychology. Not only has Charles received the American Psychological Foundation's Distinguished Teaching in Psychology Award (1989), the award is now called the "Charles Brewer Distinguished Teaching in Psychology Award".

Because of funding from the APA, the registration fee for the conference is only $15 for high school teachers, $10 is you are a member of TOPSS. For more information, please go to or contact Regan Gurung at 920.465.5679 or

Monday, March 16, 2009

Mensa Test

On their website, Mensa International, a society for the top 2% of the world's IQs, includes a "workout page" with a 30 question IQ style test. While the test is for "entertainment purposes only", your students will probably find it extremely challenging.

To take the test, go to For more information on Mensa, click the Mensa icon above.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Must Have Psychology Books

Here is a working list of books that psychology teachers have recommended to me in the past week. If you see our list is missing a “must have book,” please let me know and I will add it.

I will add these books to the section on the page that already exits for books one I have established hyperlinks with online stores.

  • Favorite Activities for the Teaching of Psychology edited by Lucy Benjamin
  • Phantoms in the Brain by VS Ramachandran
  • Closing the Gap: Applied Sport Psychology for High School by David L. Rockwood
  • Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers by Robert Sapolsky
  • The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout
  • Most books by Deborah Tannen
  • Vital Lies, Simple Truths: The Psychology of Self-Deception by D. Goleman
  • Reviving Ophelia by Mary Pipher
  • Learned Optimism by Martin Seligman
  • Prejudice by Gordon Allport
  • How the Mind Works by Steven Pinker
  • Thinking in Pictures by Temple Grandin
  • All books by Oliver Sacks:

Psych in the news

Could out-of-sync body clocks be contributing to human disease? (Nature News)

Should you stay together for the kids? Loooong article on divorce. (Time)

Jonah Lehrer says "neuroscience is what helps us separate the beautiful theory from the definite truth." (Science Blogs)

Research has shown that neurons with lots of the protein CREB are essential for storing memories after they are first formed -- and the destruction of these neurons = memory loss. (Science Blogs, with a nice FAIL points game at the bottom for how this study is reported in the media).

Interested in joining a social psych experiment on April 5? Read more. (Museum 2.0 Blog)

Wouldn't it be nice if all the "best and brightest" just became teachers? (Judith Warner, NY Times)

Google's Sergey Brin investing his money and DNA to fight Parkinson's. (NYT)

Bolivian president Morales argues that coca leaves are not narcotics like cocaine. (NYT)

Seven way to fool your sense of touch (cool tactile illusions!). (New Science)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Contagious Dishonesty: One Bad Apple Can Ruin the Barrel

What makes unethical behavior contagious? A series of experiments by Duke professor Dan Ariely (author of Predictably Irrational) and others published in the current issue of Psychological Sciences testing the conditions under which students would cheat found social norms can exert a strong influence over behavior. An article on this study in Newsweek says the findings reveal that "our inner moralist doesn't really want to cheat. Yet it also appears that dishonesty can be contagious—if we witness one of our own committing the public act of dishonesty."

An inside look at Iran

I realize that the follow post may not be directly applicable to your psychology class, but let me implore you to think about including this in a social psych or cultural psych unit ... or at the very least, share this with the world history or world geography teachers you know.

In January I happened to TiVo a PBS called Rick Steves' Iran. You may have seen or heard of Rick before -- he's a travel writer who's done many books and TV shows on travel, particularly Europe. Anyhow, this show was special, as he was allowed a rare chance to visit several cities in Iran and film the visit for a special show.

The show is amazing! I had never seen such recent footage of Iran and on the varied kind of people who live there, as well as the historical sites. I think as Americans we tend to get the idea that Iran is an evil country but the people that Steves met were warm and welcoming. He also does a nice job of interspersing the history of Iran and especially of US/Iran relations, including the US role in the establishment of the shah in the '50s and the hostage crisis/rise to power of the ayatollahs in the late '70s. At the same time, he makes clear that his visit is officially allowed by the government and that a government official accompanies throughout his visit to monitor and if needed censor the scenes that he captured.

This week I learned that the one hour DVD of this video is available for $5 (instead of the normal $19.95) for those who agree to show this to other groups of people, and of course this means teachers. Orders have to be in by March 31, though, so act fast.

You can get a full background on the special at and also watch a 4 minute preview there.

And no, I get nothing from this, just passing the word about something I think is terrific.

Friday, March 13, 2009

MIT Open Courseware - Introduction to Psychology

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology's MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) is a web-based publication of virtually all MIT undergraduate and graduate course content. All course material is free and open to the public.

The OCW includes an Introduction to Psychology course from 2004 with Professor Jeremy Wolfe. While the site includes MP3 audio files of Professor Wolfe's lectures, lecture notes, required readings, and much more, the most interesting aspect of the site is the previous course midterms and final exams in the Study Materials section. Professor Wolfe has a unique form of assessment with each exam centered around a specific story. For example, the 2000 final exam is based on Harry Potter. For 2001, Professor Wolfe used The Lord of the Rings.

The Study Materials section can be found at To find the course homepage go to

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Human Intelligence site

Human Intelligence is a terrific resource for the intelligence unit. I recently asked Dr. Jonathan Plucker, one of the founders of the site and a professor of both Educational Psychology and Cognitive Science at Indiana University, to introduce his site to THSP readers. Here's Dr. Plucker:

"We started the site roughly 12 years ago because little reliable, accessible information was available on the topic of human intelligence. We continually add to the site, primarily by revising the profiles as new information comes to light about each person's work and influence. Key features for teachers are the Hot Topics and the streaming video interviews with many of the contemporary scholars, some of whom have regrettably passed away since the interviews. We are open to -- and in fact encourage -- submissions by teachers and students of new Hot Topics, nominations of profiles to add to the site, and any other content users think will be of interest to others. We are especially interested in lesson plans and activities that teachers use to introduce and explore human intelligence, genius, etc."

This is a great site! Check it out and as Dr. Plucker says, feel free to contribute as well. And below I have copied the site's intelligence map -- click the link to go to an interactive version. (This map's just for you, Kent!)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Psych in the news

Seriously? There is so much news flying by I'll never catch up. Today's installment is in fast forward with a minimum amount of words, no credits and crammed in every which way.

Calculating very rare events * Do psychologists still use Rorschach tests? * The mental heath of Iraqis after years of war * How ads enhance TV watching * The flexibility of dream interpretation * Does stress cause gray hair? * Older dads linked to lower IQ kids * Single sex classes in public schools * Placebos in teen depression studies * Brain differences between the religious and non-religious (and hear the NPR report) * Psychology and neuroscience on Twitter *

Two longer ones to end on: shark attacks are dropping and the economy's to blame! (Does anyone else use the correlation does not equal causation example of shark attacks and ice cream sales? So now shark attacks and the economy are correlated?)

Finally, a WARNING: this article in the Washington Post magazine on children dying in cars accidentally because they were forgotten by their parents is difficult to read (or at least it was for me -- there are parts I just had to skim through). I add it only because of the questions it raises about memory, inattention, distraction and people being off of their routines which leads to forgetting. There's also a sidebar on ways to prevent these tragedies -- sure, there's some technology, but there are also the simple things like putting something that you need for work (ID badge, briefcase, keys, etc.) in the back with the child. Kids and Cars also has other devices.

Reviewing for the AP Psychology Exam

By my count, as of today (03/11/09), there are 35 school days until the AP Psychology Exam on May 12, 2009. Many of us plan some type of structured review for our students. This survey is designed to find out how many days teachers devote for such a review.

N= 110 as of 01/27/12.
Thanks to all those who have participated.

"AP and the Cost of College"

In response to numerous requests from teachers and school administrators for information on how the Advanced Placement (AP) program can help students with the high cost of college, the College Board has recently published the "AP and the Cost of College" information sheet. This one page document details a number of ways how taking AP courses in high school can significantly defray the cost of a college education.

The information sheet is in a PDF format and can easily be printed, emailed to prospective parents or placed on your website. To go to the College Board website for the information sheet, simply click here or on the document to the right.

Monday, March 9, 2009

"60 Minutes" Segment on Eye-Witness Testimony

Below you will find the video clips from the March 8, 2009 "60 Minutes" episode on eye-witness testimony. For more information go to

Watch CBS Videos Online
To view the above video on the "60 Minutes" website go to

Watch CBS Videos Online
To view the above video on the "60 Minutes" website go to

Please see the below blog posting for more information on the "60 Minutes" segments.

60 Minutes Memory Episode

Sunday's "60 Minutes" had a double-length segment on the problems with eyewitness identification. As I watched it I looked for some other information online so I thought I would share with you all.

60 Minutes -- didn't see it or tape it? Never mind, it's online. (I'm guessing it's only going to be available for a limited time online, though.) See the videos and read the transcript, plus see a short online exclusive video with Elizabeth Loftus on creating a false memory ("the Bunny Effect").

Picking Cotton -- the book by Jennifer Thompson-Cannino and Ronald Cotton has its own web site and it's awesome, especially the Case File section where you get to see all of the evidence.

The Innocence Project -- the project started in 1992 to use DNA evidence to help free wrongly convicted people.

The eyewitness test shown on "60 Minutes" created by Iowa State's Gary Wells.

The rest of Dr. Wells' page is complete sensory overload but also
chock-full of links:

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Psych in the news

Holy cow! I was busy with classes this week and wow, did the news pile up! There's plenty for two entries, so for now we'll start with these links:

A case of fugue in New York City. (NY Times) Some skepticism here. (New York Magazine)

Portrayals of amnesia in popular movies. (Science Blogs)

Do forward-facing strollers affect babies' development? (NYT)

Night shift makes metabolism go haywire. (Wired)

The role of the brain in sexual interest. (Science Daily)

TV viewing among tiny tots? Not bad for them but not good either. (NYT)

Beethoven vs. Lil Wayne? One guy compares the musical tastes of college kids with their SAT scores. (Digits/WSJ)

Are kids with ADHD really just sleep deprived? (Science Daily)

How the social skills of babies help make others want to care for them. (NYT)

Psychologists vs. economists: should you reward students for academic performance? (NYT)

Friday, March 6, 2009

More on National Sleep Awareness Week

My class began the unit on states of consciousness and I rediscovered some key links that I share and use with them.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

AP Psychology: One Year or One Semester?

"Should an Advanced Placement Psychology be a one semester or yearlong course? Since the inception of the AP Psychology Exam in 1992, that question has been vigorously debated.

Please complete the survey below. While I am very aware many schools across the country are using other scheduling models, I am hesitant to put too many options on this survey. With enough data in the comments section, I can redesign the survey for the future.

The survey results will be revealed once you cast your vote.

N = 531 as of 01/27/12

If your school is on a schedule outside of the "traditional" quarter/semester program, such as trimester, block, modified block, etc., please leave your structure in the comments section below. This will provide us valuable information for future surveys.

Please feel free to include you opinions in the debate of yearlong versus semester in the comments section as well.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Whitman Journal of Psychology

It is my honor and privilege to post the following note from the editors of The Whitman Journal of Psychology; the only psychological journal devoted to high school students. I would strongly recommend every psychology teacher encourage your students to make a submission for publication. To see the latest issue (Fall, 2008), click on the cover to the right.

"The Whitman Journal of Psychology is a non-profit, student-run publication. We collect submissions from high school students around the country and publish the most intriguing and well written submissions that we receive. We consider every submission and are always looking for new articles, so we encourage students to submit their work. For more information on submissions or the Journal in general, visit our website at or email us at"

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

TV Alert - Elizabeth Loftus on 60 Minutes

Set your VCRs, DVRs or computers for the March 8th showing of "60 Minutes".

In her keynote address at the Midwest Institute for Students and Teachers of Psychology (MISTOP) last Friday, Elizabeth Loftus detailed how this Sunday's show will contain a segment on memory and eye witness testimony. From her description it sounds to be very interesting.

The 60 Minutes website describes the segment as "Lesley Stahl reports on flaws in eyewitness testimony that are at the heart of the DNA exonerations of falsely convicted people like Ronald Cotton, who has forgiven his accuser, Jennifer Thompson. (This is a double-length segment.)"

Monday, March 2, 2009

Careers in Psychology

In the Winter 2008 (Volume:12, Issue: 2) edition of "Eye on Psi-Chi", the quarterly newsletter of the National Honor Society in Psychology, Debra Park of West Deptford High School (NJ) and Amy Fineburg of Spain Park High School (AL) wrote an article, Teaching High School Psychology as a Career Pathway.

Debra and Amy provide excellent advise for anyone interested in pursuing a career teaching high school psychology. The full article can be found at

For additional information on careers in psychology, please refer to the APA's booklet, Psychology: Careers for the Twenty-First Century. This web-based resource provides detailed information on a number of career options for someone majoring in psychology.

While written more to a college student, this is an ideal reference for any high school student interested in going into psychology.

The booklet can be found on the APA's website at

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Neuroscience for Kids

With Brain Awareness Week coming up, I'd like to give a public appreciation comment to Eric Chudler of University of Washington in Seattle. His creation of and continued maintenance of "Neuroscience for Kids" has been a bastion of wonderfulness for high school (and I'm sure other) psychology teachers. To access his site, check out:

At the bottom of the linked page, you can sign up for the monthly newsletter.
The NFK team is at:

Psych in the news

Beauty affects men's and women's brains differently. (Wired)

Researchers in Montreal report that people who were abused or neglected as children showed genetic alterations that likely made them more biologically sensitive to stress. (NY Times)

A study published this month in the journal Pediatrics studied the links between recess and classroom behavior among about 11,000 children age 8 and 9. Those who had more than 15 minutes of recess a day showed better behavior in class than those who had little or none. (NYT)

Low levels of Vitamin D may be associted with an increased risk for dementia. (NYT)

Finally some good news for your slackers: "People may doodle as a strategy to help themselves concentrate," says a researcher in a new study. (Wired)