Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Top Ten Incredible Sound Illusions

List Universe (Listverse) at produces a multitude of interesting lists. They try to "focus on lists that intrigue and educate, specializing in the bizarre or less-known trivia". While Listverse does accept a few submissions from the general public, they are responsible for researching and creating most of the listings. One such list is the "Top Ten Incredible Sound Illusions" at

Please be aware the website includes advertisement and space for comments from visitors. Some of these comments include inappropriate language for a school setting. Depending on the policies of your school/school district, it might be unwise for a teacher to refer students to this site. In addition, the site recommends listening to many of the sound illusions using a set of headphones or stereo speakers.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Tiny Fruit that Tricks the Tongue - NY Times

The May 28, 2008 edition of the New York Times ran an article describing one of the latest "party fad" in the New York area. People attending these parties are given a West African fruit, Synsepalum dulcificum, that distorts your sense of taste and then allowed to taste a variety of foods. This could be a fantastic introduction or conclusion to a discussion on the sense of taste. The article, with video clip, can be found at

Bill James of Milford High School in Highland, MI has developed an activity using "Miracle Frooties", a tablet version of the fruit, in which students eat a Miracle Frooties tablet and consume various sour items. A complete explanation of this activity can be downloaded from the 4Shared file sharing account A special thanks goes out to Bill for sharing this activity with the THSP blog.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Flocking behavior and Social Networks

For your students interested in/fascinated by/ obsessed with social networking: This USA Today article describes research into whether on-line social networking is associated with the same health/emotional/well-being benefits previous studies found for other forms of social connectedness. Might be a good place for a high school student to start a research project?

Jeff Milner's Backmasking Website

When discussing subliminal perception, many also bring up backmasking, recording a message within a song backwards. Jeff Milner has developed a collection of 14 popular songs which reportedly have hidden backward messages. The song clips can be played from the site forward, backward and include the lyrics. Jeff's backmasking site can be found at

Saturday, September 26, 2009

CHI-TOPSS Annual Conference

The Chicagoland Teachers of Psychology (CHI-TOPSS) have set Friday, October 23, 2009 as the date for their annual conference. This year's gathering will be at Lake Park High School - West Campus in Roselle, IL.

Running from 8:00 am to 1:30 pm, the day promises to be one of sharing new ideas and insights into the teaching of psychology, networking with colleagues, and much more. All this, with a continental breakfast and lunch included, for just $25.

To apply for or find out more about this CHI-TOPSS conference, contact Terri Lindenberg at or Stacey Mosquera at The registration deadline is October 16.

Jung's The Red Book coming soon

Thinking of updating your wish list? You might want to consider adding this one: in October WW Norton will publish Carl Gustavus Jung's The Red Book for the first time. Featured in a lengthy article in the New York Times Magazine earlier this month and referred to by the publisher as "the most influential unpublished work in the history of psychology," the book is from a journal written and illustrated by Jung over a 15 year period. It was been hidden from the public view by Jung's heirs until they very recently made the decision to publish it.

What's the book about? Here's a quote from the NYT article to get you started:
The Red Book is not an easy journey — it wasn’t for Jung, it wasn’t for his family, nor for Shamdasani, and neither will it be for readers. The book is bombastic, baroque and like so much else about Carl Jung, a willful oddity, synched with an antediluvian and mystical reality. The text is dense, often poetic, always strange. The art is arresting and also strange. Even today, its publication feels risky, like an exposure. But then again, it is possible Jung intended it as such. In 1959, after having left the book more or less untouched for 30 or so years, he penned a brief epilogue, acknowledging the central dilemma in considering the book’s fate. “To the superficial observer,” he wrote, “it will appear like madness.” Yet the very fact he wrote an epilogue seems to indicate that he trusted his words would someday find the right audience.
At the bargain price of $105 (at Barnes and Noble -- Amazon appears sold out and now has a delivery date of December for new orders) I'm guessing this one will be a perfect present for others to give you!

Finally, as a geek I personally love the fact that "a 10,200-pixel scanner suspended on a dolly clicked and whirred, capturing the book one-tenth of a millimeter at a time and uploading the images into a computer." Below are some of the images for you to enjoy.

Class Size Survey

On September 8, 2009, the New York Times ran a front page lead article detailing how, due to massive budget cuts and teacher layoffs, class sizes have skyrocketed throughout the country. The article describes how while education stimulus funds have slightly softened the blow, class counts are still extremely high this academic year.

I though it might be interesting to survey the average class size for high school level Psychology and AP Psychology courses across the country.

Please complete one or both of the surveys below depending on which is appropriate to your course load. The current results will appear once you cast your vote. Thanks to all those who have participated.

N=064 as of 01/27/12.
N=062 as of 01/27/12.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Queen's Speech

Many teachers use the "Vases or Faces" illusion when discussing figure/ground illusions, including the special vase designed for Queen Elizabeth's Silver Jubilee as seen on the right. has developed a short (1:11 minutes) video clip at explaining and demonstrating the vase.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Great new site: Clips for Class

*** UPDATE (9/25): after seeing several concerns on the AP Psych e-mail list I e-mailed Dr. Freberg and as it turns out, Clips for Class is a work in progress. Right now it looks like only the behavioral clips are available, but Dr. Freberg noted in an e-mail that more clips will be added over time. She also said that she will encourage her publisher to work more quickly to add content!

Via a post by teacher Jacqui Wilson on the AP Psych e-mail list today: psychology professor Dr. Laura Freberg has teamed up with her publisher Cengage to offer an awesome new resource for psychology teachers called Clips for Class. As you can see (left) the clips are nicely sorted by unit so you can find them quickly. Dr. Freberg also asks for additional videos to add to this resource so if you have some favorites forward them on to her.

Her blog is also definitely worth following!

Exploritorium - Perception Snacks

The Exploritorium has developed "hands on" activities they call "Snacks". Below is a listing of the Perception Snacks. Click on the individual Snack or go to for the listing.

Each snacks provides a detailed description of how to assemble any equipment needed and how to demonstrate the perception concept.

Students could be assigned any number of the snacks to complete on their own and present them to the class or they could do the Snack as an extra credit project. Teachers could use the Snacks to create their own class demonstrations.

Snack Name - Description
  • Afterimage - A flash of light prints a lingering image in your eye.
  • Anti-Gravity Mirror -It's all done with mirrors!
  • Benham's Disk - A rotating black-and-white disk produces the illusion of color.
  • Bird in the Cage - Stare at a color and see it change.
  • Blind Spot - To see or not to see.
  • Bronx Cheer Bulb - Some lightbulbs appear to wiggle and flash when you give them the raspberry, but the only thing wiggling is you.
  • Cardboard Tube Syllabus - Your brain combines information from your eyes in surprising ways.
  • Cheshire Cat - Make a friend disappear, leaving only a smile behind.
  • Colored Shadows - Shadows are not all black and white.
  • Depth Spinner -What happens when you get off the merry-go-round?
  • Disappearing Act -If you want to stay hidden, you'd better stay still.
  • Everyone is You and Me -See yourself become someone else.
  • Fading Dot - Now you see it; now you don't. An object without a sharp edge can fade from your view.
  • Far 0ut Corners -Your experience of the world influences what you see.
  • Gray Step - Without a boundary, it's hard to distinguish different shades of gray.
  • Jacques Cousteau in Seashells - There's more to seeing than meets the eye
  • Magic Wand - See pictures in thin air.
  • Moire Patterns - When you overlap materials with repetitive lines, you create moire patterns.
  • Peripheral Vision - We are not usually aware of our eyes' limitations.
  • Persistence of Vision - Your eye and brain hold on to a series of images to form a single complete picture.
  • Pinhole Magnifier - Who needs expensive optical equipment?
  • Proprioception - Even with our eyes closed, we have a sense of body position - where our arms and legs are, for example, and that we are moving them. Muscles, tendons, joints and the inner ear contain proprioceptors, also known as stretch receptors, which relay positional information to our brains.
  • Pupil - Your pupil changes size to control how much light enters your eye.
  • Real Image - Create the image of an object in space using a $2 ornament.
  • Seeing Your Blind Spot - See your blind spot.
  • Seeing Your Retina - You can use a dim point of light to cast a shadow of the blood supply of your retina onto the retina itself. This will allow you to see the blood supply of your retina, and even your blind spot.
  • Sense of Taste - Receptors on our tongues bind to chemicals in our food and relay the information about the chemicals to our brain. Surprisingly, all those wonderful tastes are transmitted to our brains through only four types of receptors on our tongues - those for sweet, sour, salt and bitter.
  • Size and Distance - A clueless way to determine the size of an object.
  • Spinning Cyclinder - A spinning rod with a mark near one end is set rotating and spinning at the same time. Amidst the blur of the spinning cylinder, the mark appears three times, forming a stationary triangle.
  • Squirming Palm - This visual illusion makes the palm of your hand appear to squirm and twist.
  • Thread the Needle - Using two eyes gives you depth perception.
  • Vanna - A face seen upside down may hold some surprises.
  • Whirling Watcher - When you view short bursts of moving images, you see some interesting effects.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Exploritorium Sensation and Perception Exhibits

If you have never had the opportunity to check out the Exploratorium Page, block off the next three months and go to For those not having that kind of time, go to to view a number of exhibits (activities) specific to sensation and perception.

The exhibits for Seeing include:
  • Mix-n-Match - You can mix just three colors of light to make over 16 million different colors!
  • Depth Spinner - Does it feel like the walls are closing in?
  • Changing Illusions - Tease your brain with five interactive illusions.
  • Fading Dot - If you stare at this dot, for few moments it disappears
  • Cafe Wall Illusion - Interact with the Cafe Wall Illusion.
  • Postcard Exhibits - Four exhibits small enough to fit on postcards.
  • Sliding Gray Step - Is it light gray or dark gray? It depends on the surroundings.
  • Shimmer - Your eye movements make this design seem to shimmer.
  • Trapezoidal Window - Sometimes things are not as they appear.
  • Bird In A Cage - When your color vision tires, you can see colors that aren't really there.
  • Squirming Palm - Can you make your palm squirm?
  • Mona - Leonardo's famous model is used in an interesting perceptual experiment.
  • The Temple Illusion - This ancient temple holds a secret...can you reveal the mystery?
The exhibits for Hearing include:
Please be aware many of the above activities require a specific program (Shockwave, QuickTime VR, or Real Audio). As you have time, explore the other exhibits on the page especially those in the Mind section.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

What's up with that Twitter feed?

Hi everyone -- for some reason the Twitter feed on the left side of this page is coming up as the wrong user entirely. I have no idea why! I'm working on it. In the mean time if it disappears you'll know that it will be back soon .... and that you can always find me at


UPDATE: apparently this is happening to multiple people. Stay tuned!

Seeing, Hearing and Smelling the World

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute has developed a website with a number of articles on sensation with a special emphasis on the brain. The list of articles can be found by clicking on the icon to the left.

The "New Imaging Techniques That Show the Brain at Work" article would work well in the Biological Influences Unit. Seeing, Hearing and Smelling the World can be found at

Monday, September 21, 2009

Brain Salt and Pepper Shaker

Looking for a way to "spice up" that lecture on the brain? (I am really, really sorry. I just could not help it.) Propaganda has created a ceramic salt and pepper shaker shaped like the brain.

You will find the set for sale at a multitude of online websites, but Think Geek appears to have the best deal at $9.99 plus shipping. Either go to or do a search for "brain salt and pepper shaker" for other retailers.

Thanks to the NCSS Psychology Community September Newsletter for this idea. Find out more about the Psychology Community at

Superheroes Brain Assignment

Scott Olson from Towson High School, Towson, MD, has developed a fantastic brain project centered around superheroes. Scott graciously gave us permission to post his activity on the THSP Blog.


Science fiction writers are always searching for good ideas for plots that will capture the interest of their readers. A common premise was that radiation somehow altered biological processes, transforming normal human beings into superhumans, some good and some evil. One example is the Incredible Hulk.

Your task is to create your own superhero by pretending that it is possible to magnify the abilities governed in selective sites in the human brain. You may find it helpful to begin by listing the component parts of the brain and their functions. Identify the area of the brain that would have to be altered to accomplish skills you've determined are important for your character. You must choose nine (9) of these components to include in your superhero. Some of these components will be necessary to accommodate the characters new skills while some will be the ones altered to produce the new characteristics.

You will need to:
. Draw your superhero, (can use clip art) (10 points)
. Design a costume/outfit that reflects his/her main ability (20 points)
. Name your character (10 points)
. Determine the super abilities she/he possess (20 points)
. Identify the brain structures that will need to be augmented to accommodate the new super skill (30 points)
. Identify a simple plot that would encourage this superhero to come to the rescue (10 points)
Thanks to Scott for sharing your idea with our blog readers. For a Word Document version of this activity go to

2009 AP Psychology Exam Score Distribution

The score distribution and sample FRQ responses for the 2009 AP Psychology Exam have been posted at AP Central. More than 150,00 students took the exam with over 100,000 receiving a score of 3 or higher.

For the complete distribution of scores go to AP Central at You can also find sample student responses to the two FRQs.

I assume the Scoring Statistics and Student Performance Q&A (the report from the Chief Reader) will be coming at a later date. We will let you know as soon as they are posted.

Visual Cognition Lab - Change and Inattentional Blindness

The Visual Cognition Lab at the University of Illinois have developed a number of short video clips demonstrating Change Blindness and Inattentional Blindness. The videos include the "woman with the umbrella" as well as the infamous "gorilla in front of the elevator".

The clips can be purchased at (make sure to take advantage of the special prices for teachers), or streamed off the internet at

As stated in the directions, it is important teachers stress to their students the need to count the number of passes the players make prior to showing the video.

The British "Awareness Test" advertisement puts inattentional blindness to work.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

KTOPSS 15th Annual State Convention

The Kansas Teachers of Psychology in Secondary Schools (KTOPSS) will be holding their 15th Annual State Convention on Monday October 5, 2009 at Emporia State University in Emporia, Kansas. Anyone within driving distance of Emporia State is welcome to come. You do not need to teach in Kansas to attend. The convention details are below.

Kansas Teachers of Psychology in Secondary Schools (KTOPSS) 15th Annual State Convention
Monday, October 5, 2009, 9:00 am to 4:00 pm
Jones Conference Center, Visser Hall 330
Emporia State University, Emporia, Kansas
Registration Cost: $30 (lunch provided)
Contact: Stefanie Forbes stefanieforbes@SMSD.ORG

8:00 to 9:00 Registration, Flea Market, and Psychology Displays

9:00 to 9:10 Welcome
Stefanie Forbes, KTOPSS Coordinator, Shawnee Mission Northwest High School

9:10 to 10:10 Keynote Address
Laura Brandt, Adlai Stevenson High School, Chicago, IL, Past Chair of TOPSS
Three Pounds: Research, Activities, and Resources for Teaching about the Brain

10:10 to 10:30 Break

10:30 to 11:30 Teaching the Biopsychological Methods Domain of the National Standards for High School Psychology Curricula Moderated by Stefanie Forbes, KTOPSS Coordinator, Shawnee Mission Northwest High School

11:30 to 1:00 KTOPSS Business Meeting and Lunch (provided)
Stefanie Forbes, KTOPSS Coordinator Shawnee Mission Northwest High School, presiding

1:00 to 2:00 Invited Address
Kent Korek, Germantown High School, Germantown, WI, Moderator of Teaching High School Psychology blog and faculty member for the College Board’s AP Summer Institute
Using Technology to Teach Psychology

2:00 to 3:00 Psych Sprints
Demonstrations and activities to promote quality teaching and learning of psychology

3:00 to 4:00 Teaching Material Distribution to Workshop Attendees and Workshop Evaluation

**Funding for the 15th KTOPSS Convention is generously provided by the Board of Educational Affairs through the American Psychological Association’s Education Directorate.

KTOPSS is endorsed by Teachers of Psychology in Secondary Schools. The Executive Committee of the Society for the Teaching of Psychology (Division 2 of the APA) views the convention as a worthwhile activity and encourages high school teachers to attend.

For more information on the KTOPSS State Convention, contact Stefanie Forbes at stefanieforbes@SMSD.ORG

TV alert: House season premiere

I'm guessing most of you who would be interested in this sort of thing already know this, but just a reminder that this Monday night's House is the two-hour season premiere. When we last left Dr. House he was checking into a mental hospital and that's the setting for the first episode.

Several scenes from the preview call to mind Jack Nicholson's performance in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" -- the knit cap, the basketball scene, being dragged away by aides and the "you guys are crazy" statement. I didn't see the Chief or Martini in the House preview, though, and it looks like one of my all-time faves Andre Braugher is taking a turn as the severe administrator (darned, no Nurse Ratched!).

I'd be interested to hear your thoughts in the comments below after the episode as well as what your students say if you have time for a class discussion. We can complain all we want about getting "the truth" out about psychology but for better or worse an episode of House will have a lot more viewers and influence.

The DNA of Picky Eaters

The July 21st episode of Nova ScienceNOW included a segment on taste entitled "The Science of Picky Eaters" which detailed how children may be predisposed to like or not like certain foods. The segment goes into detail regarding the basics of taste and how DNA may influence one's taste preferences.

The 12:45 segment can be played or purchased from the show's website at The website also includes a teacher's guide for the show with a classroom activity involving PTC paper, a complete transcript of the segment, audio interactive segments, additional video clips and a FAQ page.

A special thanks to Russell Hoffman, Psy.D., School Psychologist at SAR High School in the Bronx, NY whose initial message on the AP Psychology Electronic Discussion Group provided the impetus behind this posting.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Psychology Misconceptions Test

Over the course of this past summer, some of you may have had to opportunity to read a fantastic article on common misconceptions many students tend to have when they enter an Introductory Psychology course. (The Effect of Refuting Misconceptions in the Introductory Psychology Class by Patricia Kowalski and Annette Kujawski Taylor of the University of San Diego in the July-September 2009 issue of the Teaching of Psychology Journal.)

As part of their study Dr. Kowalski and Dr. Kujawski-Taylor develop a 100+ question test of misconceptions. I asked Dr. Annette Kujawski Taylor if I could share her test with high school teachers across the country. She graciously agreed and detailed a number of points to consider regarding the test. Rather than explain her points, I've included her email below.
Hi Kent:

The attachment looks great--by all means, share it. You went to a lot of trouble. One thing we often ask students is how confident they are in their belief. What we find is that the higher the confidence the lower the accuracy tends to be; of course this varies somewhat across items. Anyway, the point is that the stronger a misconception is held, the harder it is to change to a correct conception.

Also, I would suggest in the blog to just pick a subset of items! Students get bored with too many items ;) Also, some teachers just might not be prepared to provide evidence for some of the items and it might turn out to be a nightmare! I would direct students to the neuroscience for kids website for lots of good answers, and the new book by Scott Lilienfeld should be a great resource as well. I actually got quite a few of these by trading back and forth with Scott.

Finally, some items are a bit 'iffy' such as the one about the blanket statement that people who use heroin become addicted to it. Turns out that, just like with cocaine, there are a lot of casual users, and it is not a given that one will become addicted; however, the possibility is always there but more importantly for you, the evidence is harder to produce in class. So items that are iffy are more difficult, especially with younger adults who are not yet at Piaget's highest stages of cognitive development and might not see the shades of gray quite as well--when I say preponderance of the evidence sometimes I might be looking at a shade of gray that's just a bit darker than midway.


Annette Kujawski Taylor, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychology
University of San Diego

You can get your PDF copy of the test by going to the 4Shared File Sharing Account at
or go to the Google Documents page at

A special thanks to Dr. Annette Kujawski Taylor for her willingness to share the Misconceptions Test. Our hope is that in time, she and other introductory psychology college teachers will see less and less students having these misconceptions due to them being refuted at the high school level.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Newborn perception

I know, I know, about every other blog post from me is from the podcast "Radio Lab", but I just can't resist: one of their latest shows, "After Birth", covers (among other topics) newborn human perception. Most of the podcast is devoted to an interview with Charles Fernyhough, developmental psychologist and author of the very cool-looking book "A Thousand Days of Wonder". Some of the newer research findings blew me away! Examples:
  • The lens in our eyes gradually yellows as we age, so babies probably see much more vivid blues and greens than we do
  • When infants see simple visual stimuli, neurons in their visual cortex fire as expected, but neruons in their auditory cortex ALSO FIRE! They are possibly "hearing" visual images? So we're born with a form of "synaesthesia" but we grow out of it? Wowza!

Additive Color Vision Simulation

The University of Colorado at Boulder had developed a number of interactive simulations. Unfortunately, all but one are geared more towards science and math classes rather than psychology. The one psychological simulation involves color vision which does a fantastic job of demonstrating the trichromatic color theory as well as the concepts of additive color.

Users can adjust the intensity of red, green and blue colored lights to see the effects on the subjects vision.

All of the simulations require the use Java 1.5 which can be downloaded for free from a link on site. To find the vision color simulation, simply go to

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Simulations of Vision Loss

Within the Ohio Lions Eye Research Foundation's (OLERF) website a page is devoted to various types of vision loss. The site tries to describe and simulate what each impairment would be like both visually and textually. A complete list, with hyperlinks, of each vision loss difficulty included on the site is listed below or you can go to for the complete listing.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Scientific American--Recent Articles

Scientific American has been rife with articles about psychological topics of late. In addition to the usual in Scientific American Mind, recent articles deal with cognitive enhancers, depression, blushing and more.

Depression's Evolutionary Roots
Why Does Music Make Us Feel?

Girl Brain, Boy Brain
Why We Blush: The Social Purpose of Showing Embarrassment
A New Vision of Teaching Science
Smile: It Could Make You Happier

I am such a fan of these two magazines. They highlight current research as well as give us potential examples of nearly everything we do within our psychology classes. If you are not already a subscriber, I recommend it. Otherwise, keep up with the news with what they post online.

100 Free and Useful Tools

A representative from the Online Colleges Blog ( notified us of a recent blog entry, "100 Free and Useful Tools for AP Students and Teachers" at While the items on the list deal with all Advanced Placement topics, a number are pertinent to AP Psychology.

As I do not currently have the time to explore the tools, I would appreciate any feedback from those finding tidbits of special interest to AP Psychology. Please feel free to email me at a brief description of the item along with a web address to the specific psychology related tool. I would be happy to post those on the THSP blog as they come in.

How Stuff Works - The Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat

This is the last of three postings from the "How Stuff Works" website. In this installment, the site explains the workings of the Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat. Click on any of the links below to go to:
The below section is taken directly from the Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat page of the site. Feel free to click on any of the links.

Eye, Ear, Nose & Throat

Eye, Ear, Nose & Throat are interconnected organs that are vital parts of several body systems. Discover how these organs work as well as conditions that can affect them. See more »

Explore These Categories:

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Sheep Brain Dissection VIdeo

This is a short (1:49) video of a sheep brain being dissected. If you are looking for a quick clip to show to your students, this might do the trick. The original clip can be found at or simply play the video below.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Mind Reading: 60 Minutes

The 60 Minutes June 28th (2009) broadcast included a segment which combined the neuroscience of brain imaging with mind reading.

The 13 minute episode presents some interesting points of discussion. The Mind Reading episode can be found at

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Neuro4Kids Line of Products

Dr. Eric Chudler Ph.D. of the University of Washington and mainstay behind Neuroscience for Kids, (, one of the best websites in the country, contacted us last week about a new site he is developing.

The site at features many products based off Neuroscience 4 Kids. The current product line, which appears to be growing, includes t-shirts, posters, games, mugs and much more.

Thanks so much to Dr. Chudler for letting us know about this exciting new website.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Asylum: Inside the Closed World of State Mental Hospitals

Architect and photographer Christopher Payne spent more than six years photographing abandoned asylums all across the United States and has captured that work in a book that will be published at the end of September titled Asylum: Inside the Closed World of State Mental Hospitals. The New Yorker has a slide show of a few images from the book including the one above. Asylum features an essay on asylums and the treatment of the mentally ill by the amazing Oliver Sacks.

There are also more beautiful photos of asylums on Christopher Payne's personal website. I just love this genre as the photos are stunning and thought-provoking; how did people live here? Were these places really conducive to better mental health or were they just ways to keep the mentally ill out of sight and out of mind?

An old favorite of mine is Shaun O'Boyle's pictures of of Northampton State Hospital. If you have favorite sites for asylum photos add them in the comments below.

Friday, September 11, 2009

How Stuff Works - The Endocrine System

This is the second of three postings from the "How Stuff Works" website. In this installment, the site explains the workings of the Endocrine System. Click on any of the links below to go to:
The below section is taken directly from the Endocrine System page of the site. Feel free to click on any of the links.

Endocrine System

The endocrine system comprises a number of glands that produce hormones with a varied array of vital functions. Learn more about how the adrenal glands, pituitary glands and the pancreas works. See more »

Thursday, September 10, 2009

How did he do THAT?

This one will be a terrific assignment to do over the next day or two with your students: British magician/illusionist Derren Brown made good on his promise from earlier this week when he went on national TV in England yesterday to predict the six numbers which would later be selected randomly on live TV for the UK National Lottery. Lo and behold, when the actual lottery numbers were drawn, Brown nailed them -- all six numbers. (For the skeptics in your room show them the live video as well.)

How did he do that?

Have your students work on the logic behind this problem -- here's a great time to introduce Occam's Razor (if you haven't already) or examples like Clever Hans. Nothing better at getting their critical thinking skills going, especially if there's no "right answer" to reveal at the moment!

Brown plans to "tell all" on Friday, so get those thinking caps going before then!

Split Brain Research with Michael Gazzaniga Video

On June 12, 2008, Michael Gazzaniga presented a talk on the state of split brain research for the 12th Kenneth Myer Lecture at the Howard Foley Institute in Parkville, Australia. During the 1 hour 15 minute talk, Gazzaniga explains the history of the research including video clips of split brain patients. The talk can be found at

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Parts of the Brain by Pinky and the Brain

The Brain, along with Pinky's help, does a quick (1:22) run through of the major parts of the brain. If the below video fails to work, do an internet search for "Pinky and the Brain" "parts of the brain". There are a number of sites (YouTube has at least two versions) of the clip.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Brain Plasticity Video

This video clip, from the Discovery Channel and McGraw-Hill Higher Education details how the brain can "repair" itself. The video centers around the story of Jody Miller who had a hemispherectomy, the removal of one half of the brain, to control her epileptic seizures.

The clip can be found at any of the following sites.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Animated Tutorials: Neurobiology/Biopsychology

Sumanas Inc has created a number of animations to help explain the basics of neurobiology/biopsychology. A complete list of animations can be found below.

Please be aware some of the animations need the Adobe Shockwave plug-in which can be downloaded at Shockwave. Intel-based Macintoch users should be sure to read the special TechNote regarding the Shockwave Player.

The neurobiology/biopsychology page can be found below or at
To examine the complete set of animations from Sumanas Inc. go to

Neuronal Development
Neuronal Development

Synaptic Transmission
Synaptic Transmission

Action Potential
The Action Potential

Electrical Signaling
Electrical Signaling in Neurons

Sensitization in Aplysia

Voltage Clamp
The Voltage Clamp Method

AMPA and NMDA Receptors
AMPA and NMDA Receptors

Sound Transduction
Sound Transduction

Vestibular System
The Vestibular System

Visual Pathways
Visual Pathways in the Human Brain

Receptive Fields in the Retina

Reflex Arcs
Reflex Arcs

Skin Receptors
Receptors of the Skin

Positron Emission Tomography (PET)