Thursday, November 26, 2009

Time Magazine Intelligence Articles

The Time Magazine website includes a number of articles specific to intelligence and emotional intelligence. The articles are coordinated with Glencoe's Understanding Psychology text, but can be used with any text within any level psychology course. Either click on the article's title below or go to for the complete listing.

New brain research suggests that emotions, not IQ, may be the true measure of human intelligence

Our test-obsessed society has Bient and Terman to thank--or to blame

A hot concept aims to identify your child's hidden talents. Is it valid? We look at what's solid--and what's shaky

Why an end to affirmative action might doom a rite of passage that every high-schooler fears

A new exam identifies kids with potential that might be missed by a test like the SAT

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

What's on your gift list?

I have pondered for a while creating a post on great gifts for/from psychology teachers but I must admit seeing this poster a few moments ago (via Twitter's @mocost) made me rush to send this one out. WOW! This one's definitely for me. Ordering information is here.

I'll still work on a real post later but if you know of a great source for psych-related gifts, please share them in the comments below!

Creating the Future

Creating the Future Perspectives on Educational Change, compiled and edited by Dee Dickinson, is an e-book found on the New Horizons for Learning website. Three articles in the book deal with intelligence.
To find the articles, either click on the above author's name, or go to the book's table of contents at

Even though the New Horizons for Learning has "retired", many of the articles on the site are still pertinent to educators at all levels and subjects. The homepage is located at

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

THSP Blog Mile Markers

We here at the Teaching High School Psychology (THSP) Blog are rapidly approaching a number of milestones in the next few weeks. Since our humble beginnings nine months ago, the blog has continued to grow and expand in a number of measurable areas.

In the coming weeks we will reach:
  • our 300th blog posting,
  • our 200th person receiving the THSP Blog via email using the Feedburner program,
  • having 50 people listed as followers of the blog and
  • having an average of 10,000 hits per month.
Thanks to all of you for making the THSP Blog such a success. Thanks for visiting, sending suggestions and spreading the word to other psychology teachers. We, the moderators, could not have done it without your help.

The History of Military Testing

The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) is currently used by all of the armed services in the United States as a means to screen recruits. The official ASVAB website includes a brief history of Military Testing. That history includes a link to sample questions from the Army Alpha and Beta tests used in the early 1900's.

The History of Military Testing can be found at and the homepage for the ASVAB testing can be found at You might want to look through the section devoted to researchers which includes information on the ASVAB structure, validity and norming.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Coma or Locked-In Syndrome?

This past season, I was fascinated by the House, M.D. season five episode that featured Mos Def as a man who had "locked in syndrome," a condition where limited or no voluntary muscle movement is possible, but the person inside is totally aware and coherant of circumstances.

Today, a colleague shared with me a story of a man who experienced this for 23 years following a car accident. Doctors assumed he was in a coma, but he was actually aware. I'll let you read the two links below for details.

My question is not about his survival. My question is how he was able to survive the experience this and not go mad? This is like the ultimate in solitary confinement.
Chapter six of Jane Halonen and Steven Davis' e-book, The Many Faces of Psychological Research in the 21st Century is entitled "Dr. Jekyll Meets Mr. Hyde: Two Faces of Research on Intelligence and Cognition" and written by Robert Sternberg. The chapter provides a great overview of the theories of and research in intelligence.

Chapter 6 can be found at with The Many Faces of Psychological Research in the 21st Century at

Friday, November 20, 2009

Interviews with Robert Sternberg

For the second time this week we are drawing from the Human Intelligence Website at the University of Indiana ( Included within the biography of Robert Sternberg are a number of short video clips of him being interviewed on various aspects of intelligence and his life.

All the videos can be streamed into your classroom using Windows Media Player. The site includes a link where the player can be downloaded and a transcript for each interview.

The videos can be found in the U of Indiana Human Intelligence Website at

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Human Intelligence Website Biography Map

The Human Intelligence website at the University of Indiana includes an interactive map of major contributors to the field of intelligence. A detailed biography is included for each individual.

To go to the "History of Influences in the Development of Intelligence Theory" map, simply click on the graphic to the right or go to

For additional information go to the home page for the Human Intelligence site at

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Sensation and Perception

When I began teaching this topic, I was scared because I had no idea what I was doing. I'd never had an S&P course in college and this seemed a little daunting. Over the years, with a lot of hard work, some research, and some wonderful internet sites, I learned and learned.

Today, I'd like to share and highlight the work of John H. Krantz of Hanover College in Southern Indiana. For years, he has been at the forefront of taking concepts online in an interactive format for students (and teachers). This site is about sensation and perception and its constituent parts. While I cannot use all the illustrations in an introductory course, there are some great specific ones I can use. Be sure to have the latest Java to help your experience.

Experiencing Sensation and Perception (includes cognition and neuroscience links)

There is lots more on this tremendous site. Poke around a bit and see what you can use.

Howard Gardner's Website

Howard Gardner, theorist of multiple intelligences, has developed his own website devoted to his theory and work. The site can be found at

I would suggest paying particular attention to:
  • Gardner's own life story. The link (In His Own Words) is at the bottom of the biography section
  • a number of scholarly articles on a multitude of topics in the articles section
  • Dr. Gardner's FAQ Responses. Click on the link at the bottom of the FAQ page
For additional information go to Gardner's Harvard website at

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

History of IQ Testing

IQ Tests are primarily a product of the 20th Century . While most textbooks provide a brief history, starting with Binet, a few websites do the same.

The ACE Intelligence Website at, gives a fairly detailed history of IQ testing following various individuals important in test development including a few prior to Binet.

The IQ Test Center at provides a brief history of testing similar to many textbooks.

Classics in the History of Psychology ( have a number of the original articles on intelligence testing. They include:

Baldwin, James Mark, Cattell, James McKeen, & Jastrow, Joseph. (1898). Physical and mental tests. Psychological Review, 5, 172-179.

Binet, Alfred. (1916). New methods for the diagnosis of the intellectual level of subnormals. In E. S. Kite (Trans.), The development of intelligence in children. Vineland, NJ: Publications of the Training School at Vineland. (Originally published 1905 in L'Année Psychologique, 12, 191-244.)

Cattell, James McKeen. (1890). Mental tests and measurements. Mind, 15, 373-381.

Terman, Lewis M. (1916). The uses of intelligence tests. From The measurement of intelligence (chapter 1). Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Intelligence? Definitely Problem-solving

In keeping with Kent's theme of intelligence, I found a great video podcast a while back about a street magician whose primary focus is critical thinking and skepticism. Brian Brushwood's podcast is called, Scam School and is part of Revision 3's hosting services.

The episode entitled, House of Nails, is about being able to balance about 10 nails on top of one vertically mounted nail of the same type. I've been aware of this "trick" for almost 15 years thanks to Charlie Blair-Broeker back at an institute at Nebraska Wesleyan.
You can show the videos in class or learn them yourself (he shows the viewer how every trick is done) and amaze and astound your students. Because he does his work on the street or in a bar, you may want to learn the tricks yourself depending upon your district and judgment. Do at least check them out and enjoy trying to figure out--they are great puzzlers for those of us who need to do brain exercises. :-)


Most high school students, especially those in Advanced Placement Psychology, are intrigued by MENSA, the organization for the top 2% of the world's IQs.

To begin our Midnight Postings in the Intelligence Unit, we are posting the websites for the American MENSA and MENSA International. Both sites contain a number of interesting items. The international site appears to contain more information about the group and what MENSA entails, while the American site appears a bit more fun for high school students.

MENSA International can be found at The American version is at

Friday, November 13, 2009

Brain Teaser Problems

The last in our problem solving series is a website containing over 450 different brain teaser problems. I would suggest going through the listing finding the best problems and create a handout for students to work in groups with. I believe having students go to the website to solve the problems will simply lead to them constantly checking the answers rather than working on the problems.

The brain teasers can be found at

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Remote Association Test

The third in our series of problem solving examples is the Remote Association Test. Students tend to enjoy the linguistic skills needed to solve these problems.

The problems can be found at:

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Broca's Area, Speech, and Wires in the Brain

Wires in the Human Brain Reveal Speech Surprise. That was the title of this article from Wired magazine. The article begins this way:
A rare set of high-resolution readouts taken directly from the wired-in brains of epileptics has provided an unprecedented look at how the brain processes language.
Though only a glimpse, it was enough to show that part of the brain’s language center handles multiple tasks, rather than one.

“If the same part of the brain does different things at different times, that’s a thunderously complex level of organization,” said Ned Sahin, a cognitive scientist at the University of California, San Diego.
The reality now is that as teachers of psychology, we oversimplify many ideas when it comes to brain parts and their respective functions. This article contains more insights into the complexity and a reminder to us that we need to keep asking questions and allowing for the scientific idea of "I don't know" and "this is what we know so far, but more is always being investigated and learned." Of course, that is one reason I love psychology--things are always changing--I kinda like that uncertainty.

Picture Puzzles

Next in our problem solving segment is picture puzzles. This site contains a PDG file with 26 pages of picture puzzles and the answers. I have not been able to find where on the site just the puzzles are located without the answers included. These pages can be printed and the answers can be eliminated with liquid paper.

If you are able to find the address for just the puzzles, please leave it as a comment to this posting. The PDF file can be found at

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Diagnostic Items, Formative Assessment, NCSS

I get to present a session at NCSS this Saturday about "Diagnostic Items in The Psychology Classroom". Its a formative assessment technique (written about by assessment guy Dylan Wiliam and psychology guy Stephen Chew) that involves single "big" multiple choice items. The items are designed to uncover student misconceptions about big, key ideas in psych. (see the presentation if you're interested in more detail and examples)

I'd love some suggestions for "big ideas": What are the big concepts in your classes that students HAVE to understand in order to move on? I'm thinking of things like control group, operational definitions, inferential stats, conformity/obediance, genetics/hereditability, etc. Please put suggestions for big ideas in the comments!

I'm going to ask the participants in this session whether I can share their diagnostic items with you all, so I hope to post an update after NCSS. Hope to see some of you there!

26 = L of the A

Quantagories, sometimes referred to as item equations, are a type of problem which combine words, numbers and equations. For example; the solution to 26 = L of the A is 26 letters of the alphabet.

There are many websites with quantagories on them. Below you will find a listing of a few.

After having students solve a number of quantagories, a different twist to the lesson might be to have them create their own.

Monday, November 9, 2009

A Stroke of Insight--Jill Bolte Taylor

One of my students shared with me the online TED talk with Jill Bolte Taylor, the neuroscientist who experienced a stroke and began diagnosing herself as she was experiencing it. My Stroke of Insight is her book that describes in great detail her experiences with the stroke and recovery including treatment by different doctors. As part of my summer reading, I can assure your enjoyment of this book.

PedagoNet Brain Teasers

The cognition unit creates a fantastic opportunity to give your students a chance to work on various problem solving puzzles. I have found psychology students, especially AP Psychology students, seem to love brain teasers, logic problems, etc.

PedagoNet has developed sixty-one short brain teasers problems on their website. The can be found at

Friday, November 6, 2009

Memory Studies on APA's OPL

Back on April 24th of this year (2009), we posted a blog entry with information on the APA's highly interactive Online Psychology Laboratory (OPL) ( The laboratory has a number of memory activities for students to partake in. In fact, the memory unit is second only to sensation and perception for the amount of studies.

Below you will find a listing of the seven studies currently on the OPL. Simply click on the item below to go to the study. Please be aware, the site requires teachers register and obtain a class ID.

To register your classes go to the homepage for the OPL at


Thursday, November 5, 2009

My Testosterone Does What???

Apparently, our following of politics affects us in ways I was not previously aware of.

In an October 21 article on Wired, the author examined the results of a study that measured the testosterone levels of men using their saliva. The result was that "liberal testosterone levels stayed stable, while those of male Republican voters plummeted. The latter also reported feeling submissive and unhappy."
I will leave it to the reader to examine the research and whether or not to use it in class.

Awareness Test Video Clips

I love my students. I share one thing with them and they share several videos back with me.

This also shows how a good idea/principle can be taken from psychology and used in a variety of contexts. Perhaps Watson really began something when he left psych and went into advertising.

A clip of the original awareness test--"a visual attention experiment conducted by Becklen and Cervone(1983) to show that the human mind has its limits. There is only so much the brain can process at a particular time and it must be selective in what it chooses to filter."

Awareness test #1 (moonwalking gorilla--cycling awareness ad)

Awareness test #2 (a Clue-like set that has 21 changes--cycling awareness ad)

Awareness test #3 (football and cheerleader) used as an ad for The Mentalist on CBS

A spoof of the awareness tests with an ad for shoe lifts.
As a side note, I will use this as an example of how they might miss my instructions or an announcement from another teacher about an upcoming exam. This mental filter is great for illustrating schemas as well as selective perception.

Short Term Memory Demonstration

Gary Fisk from Georgia Southwestern State University, has developed a animated short-term memory demonstration. Students are asked to remember a sequence of numbers which grows from four to eleven digits. While rather simple, the animation gets the point across.

The memory animation can be found at Dr. Fisk's personal website at Dr. Fisk has created a number of other animations teachers may find useful. Go to for more information.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Online Simon Game

Wikipedia describes Simon as "an electronic game of rhythm and memory skill" ( The game was a pop culture phenomena of the 1980's with Milton Bradley selling millions. While not as sophisticated as the video/computer games of today, Simon can still be fun to play.

For an online version of the game go to

You can download a version of Simon at

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Milwaukee Area Teachers of Psychology Meeting

Since 1993, Milwaukee area psychology teachers have gathered twice a year to share teaching ideas and develop friendships. Our group has come to be called the "Milwaukee Area Teachers of Psychology" (MATOP), even though many come from outside the Milwaukee metropolitan area. Below you will find an agenda for our next meeting on November 10th. If you live within driving distance of the Milwaukee area, please feel free to attend. If you would like to be included on the MATOP mailing list please contact me at the email address below.

For those of you not within driving distance of Milwaukee, feel free to "check out" our agenda for items you might find useful in your classroom. Whenever possible, I have tried to include email or website addresses for further information. Please contact me with any questions you may have.


Dear Psychology Teacher:

The Milwaukee Area Teachers of Psychology (MATOP) Fall Meeting will be held on Tuesday November 10, 2009, 7:00 PM, at Pius XI High School, 135 N. 76th Street, Milwaukee, WI 53213 in the library.

Our agenda includes:

• an examination of the new edition (8e) of Weiten’s Psychology: Themes and Variations. Through the complements of Katie Golem, the College Prep Sales Specialist at Holt-McDougal, (800-323-5435 ex. 3870) everyone at the meeting will receive a copy of this new edition. To find out more about this text, go to

• a review of the newly revised Zimbardo’s Psychology: AP Edition with Discovering Psychology. Kevin Kuckkan of Prentice Hall (866-340-3692) has sent copies for everyone of this text, the only specifically written for Advanced Placement Psychology. For more information go to

• an analysis of the supplements for the new Myers Psychology 9e. Thanks to the generosity of Eileen Tanania, the Bedford, Freeman and Worth representative (866-843-3715 ex 714) we have examination copies of the IRM, test banks and student study guide. To learn more about Myers 9e go to

• information on the Teaching High School Psychology Blog

• ways to use Cell Phone Texting in your class. Most schools either ban or tolerate cell phones and students texting. Can this technology be used for a practical purpose in your class?

• a conversation about changes in the AP Psychology Acorn Book. The College Board and the AP Psychology Test Development Committee has significantly revised the AP Psychology Acorn Book. We will discuss the changes and how they might influence the AP Psychology curriculum. The Acorn Book can be found within AP Central at

• new information on the Quizlet Flash Card Website ( Over the summer both Quizlet and MATOP have made some changes to the flash card website.

• a report from the APA/TOPSS Clarke Summer Workshop and items from APA and TOPSS. Nancy Fenton, TOPSS Board Member-at-Large, will fill us in on the latest news from the APA/TOPSS. The TOPSS website is located at

• explaining a new twist to Student Book Reviews. Laura Brandt of Adlai Stevenson High School, Lincolnshire, IL will share a new type of book review.

• insights from the 2009 AP Psychology Reading. We anticipate a number of AP Psychology table leaders and readers will be attending our meeting. Come listen to their reflections on Kansas City and the 2009 reading. The FRQs, rubrics, sample responses, etc. can be found at

• announcing a new regular Psychology textbook coming out this spring. After a short hiatus, Cengage Learning is returning to the high school psychology market with the release of Psychology: A Discovery Experience by Steven Franzoi of Marquette University. To find out more about this upcoming text, go to

• presentations of online communications with students and parents (Moodle, Blackboard, WebCT, Wiki’s, Blogs, etc.). A number of teachers will give short presentations on how they use these technologies in their course. We are still in need of someone to present on Blackboard and WebCT. If you are interested please contact Kent Korek at

• activities from PsychKits. As always, PsychKits has sent us some of their classroom activities. We will be discussing Auditory Localization Lab, Running the Magic Pin Demo, and the Displacement Goggles. One lucky person will be leaving the meeting with their own set of displacement goggles. PsychKits can be found at

• plus much more

Everyone is welcome to attend and there is no need to RSVP. Please feel free to invite anyone you feel might be interested in coming.

If you would like to be added to the MATOP email listing, please contact Kent Korek at

For directions to Pius High School, 135 N. 76th, Milwaukee, WI 53213 go to Our meetings usually last about two hours.

We look forward to seeing you.

Ruth Regent-Smith
Kent Korek

Creating False Memories

This is an excellent article written by Elizabeth Lofus, one of the top experts on eye witness testimony, for the September 1997 issue of the Scientific American. The article, "Creating False Memories", provides not only information on false memories, but includes research on the planting of a false memory.

The article can be found at either of the following two websites, or

Monday, November 2, 2009

NASA's Cognition Lab

NASA's Cognition Lab has developed five memory activities for its website. Each is extremely interactive and some include sound files.

Either click on any of the graphics below or, for a complete listing, go to

Everyday life goes by so fast --but does it go so fast that you can't even remember what a real penny looks like?

We all use them!�� Learn how mnemonic devices help you remember -- then make your own personalized mnemonic devices!

How well can you remember a list of words?� Learn about factors that affect your performance, and read a brief explanation of how memory works!

Can you recite the numbers back after hearing various kinds of interference?� Learn about how the mind works when something interferes with your short-term memory!

After seeing words or pictures or hearing sound, see how much of it you can remember!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Teens and Memory Cartoon

I saw this today and immediately thought of psychology. Of course, I look at nearly everything and ask myself if it will fit into class. With this cartoon, I thought of memory, rehearsal, encoding, and, of course, interference--specifically retroactive interference, the kind where new information impedes the ability for old information to be there. While it may not fit exactly, it is a fun connection.