Thursday, April 29, 2010

Smithsonian Magazine-Memory and More

I've been reading from Smithsonian magazine for a number of years, but had never thought to visit their website due to the relatively few directly psych-related articles in the paper-version.  In their most recent issue (May 2010) there is an excellent article on memory and how memory works.

 As I perused the online version of the article, I noticed that they had several other sections with articles of note.

Articles on the Brain
Articles on Psychological Issues/Topics
Thought Innovation & Behavior--which could have some articles of interest

Overall, if you like to read quality writing on any topic, I recommend the magazine/website.  Great stuff there.

Posted by Chuck Schallhorn

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Enhancing the Teaching of Psychology Conference - UW Green Bay

The 10th annual Enhancing the Teaching of Psychology Conference will be held on May 19, 2010 at UW-Green Bay. The scheduled talks include:

Helping Students Distinguish Science from Pseudoscience

- Scott Lilienfeld (Emory University)

Threshold Concepts in Psychology

- Jeff Henriques (UW-Madison)

U-Pace Instruction: Enabling a Diversity of Students to Succeed

- Diane Reddy, Raymond Fleming, Katie Ports, & Rodney Swain (UW-Milwaukee)

Teaching sensitive/controversial/resistance-prone subjects

- Cyndi Kernihan (UW-River Falls)

Learning from Disasters

- Elizabeth Yost Hammer (Xavier University)

DSM_V: Some answers, opinions, and the story so far

- Scott Lilienfeld (Emory University)

How much Feedback is Good feedback: Developing Writing

- Illene Noppe - (UW-Green Bay)

Teaching with Technology

- Tanya Joosten (UW-Milwaukee)

Early Bird Fee (prior to April 29 deadline):
$30 per person
$25 per person departmental rate (4 or more registrants per school – registration and payment must be sent together)
$15 High School Teacher or Society for Teaching of Psychology member
$10 Teaching of Psychology in Secondary Schools (TOPSS) member)

After April 29th - add $5 per person. Last day to register is Wednesday, May 12, 2010

For more information go to or contact Regan Gurung at or 920-465-5679. I would be more than happy to email the Conference Program and/or Registration form to anyone interested. Simply contact me at

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

AP Psychology Exam Review Books

There are a host of products students can purchase to help them prepare for the AP Psychology Exam. Review books currently on the market include:
For more information, simply click on the book's title. Please feel free to leave a comment regarding any of the above books. In April of 2009 this blog did a survey on the various review books. Go to to see that survey. Written by Kent Korek

Summer programs in psychology for students

I started doing research for Kent's post about summer opportunities in psychology for high school students and realized that it would be easier to create a new post that put this in a comment.

Hello student! Thanks for writing. I found a slew of summer programs that are related to psychology through some “aggressive Googling” and most of them I don’t know a thing about, but I did want to pass them on.

One summer program I know about is called TIP (Talent Identification Program) and while it is part of Duke University, they also host camps at many other campuses around the world. It's an excellent program! Unfortunately the deadline is passed for this summer, but you can learn more here. They do teach several related courses such as Psychology and The Brain, Intelligence and Creativity.

Something I just learned is that TIP now has summer courses online. This summer they are offering Abnormal Psychology (which is taught by two instructors I know, David and Lindy Norman, and they're great!), Neuroscience: Biology of the Brain, and Social Psychology. Deadline to apply is May 7, so hurry!

I found a link at a local high school of dozens of similar summer programs - check them out! (PDF)

Here are several other summer programs I found that offer psychology courses:
This should keep you busy for a while (as it did me). Good luck!

Monday, April 26, 2010

A Request for Help

I received the following email from a student in Florida. While I know of a number of opportunities for undergraduates, I am not aware of anything for high school students. Please leave any possible ideas in the comments section below.

Hi Mr. Korek,

I'm a high school student in Florida and I am profoundly interested in the field of psychology. I've been reading your blog for a while, as I find many of your posts very interesting, even though some are geared toward teachers.

Anyhow, I anticipate going to college to be able to pursue my interest in psychology, and I'd like to do something psychology-related while still in high school to help me stand out from the thousands of other college applicants that will be applying at the same time as me. (I'm only a sophomore, so I've got time... but it's never too early to start planning).

So I was wondering if you could come up with a blog post or article detailing some opportunities that could give high school students hands-on experience in the psychology industry or a sub-field, such as summer internships, summer camps, or anything really. I think a post offering such insight would not only benefit me, but hundreds of other students across the nation who are interested in the amazing science of psychology.

Thanks for any insight.

Eager psychology student.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

TV alert: 60 Minutes on smart drugs

On 60 Minutes this Sunday Katie Couric looks at the use on college campuses of "smart drugs" -- apparently, though, she's just referring to the use of prescription drugs for ADHD (like Adderall and Ritalin) which are being used by people who don't have the disorder to "boost their brain power." An excerpt is below:

Watch CBS News Videos Online

Posted by Steve

Friday, April 23, 2010

Jure Robic: Edurance through Delusion?

This New York Times profile of endurance athlete Jure Robic describes his amazing athletic feats and his (and his supporters) claim that his "madness" during races help him continue and often win. Mr. Robic was also featured on a recent episode of Radio Lab about "Limits", and both the article and the podcast do a great job explaining the "central governor theory": the idea that our brain holds some energy/resources in reserve for emergencies, and some athletes may trick the brain into releasing these resources. The Radio Lab podcast includes interviews with Mr. Robic and other endurance athletes. Athletes in your class may be very interested to hear about how these people push and break their own "limits."

(The other stories on this same podcast about the "Limits of the Mind" and the "Limits of Science" are also fascinating - listen to the researchers talk about their "Erequa machine" and prepare to have your mind blown . . .)

Posted by Rob McEntarffer

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Guessing on the AP Psychology Exam

With the AP Psychology Exam just around the corner, my (Kent) thought was to conduct a quick survey about guessing strategies on the AP exam. With the quarter-point adjustment for incorrect answers, teachers/students have developed a variety of philosophies on when to and when not to guess on a multiple choice question. In the past, I have found this to be one of the more debatable topics regarding the exam.

The current results of the survey will be revealed once you have cast your vote. Thank you for your participation.

N=148 as of 01/27/12.

Thanks to all those who have participated. Please feel free to further explain your strategy in the comments section below.

Mind Over Money--Behavioral Economics

The new big thing in the field of psychology and its natural connection to other sciences is in the field of behavioral economics.  I will do some posts on some recommended books later, but for now, you can get your feet wet with an episode of NOVA on PBS called Mind Over Money.  I've collaborated with my economics colleagues and have gained some fascinating insights into human behavior as a result of learning more about this field of decision making and money.  It also will give you additional examples of any aspect of cognitive psychology.

The show first airs on April 27 and is viewable online on April 28, 2010.

Chuck Schallhorn

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Was the Prison Experiment an Experiment?

Michael Britt (hi Michael!) just emailed an excellent question to the Society for Teaching of Psychology listserve, and I thought the Teaching High School Psychology blog community might like to think about his question too. Michael asked: Is Zimbardo's prison study an experiment? Does it meet the criteria for experiments? I often discussed the ethical issues involved in the study but I think its interesting to think specifically about the methodology, and it might be a good exercise for students to think about what criteria a study needs to meet to "qualify" as an experiment, then examine the Prison study to see if it meets those criteria.

Posted by Rob McEntarffer

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Famous Psychologists Wiki Website

As many of you are aware, the latest revision (May 2010, May 2011) of the AP Psychology Course Description book, commonly referred to as the "Acorn Book", includes listings of famous psychologists in almost all of the unit descriptions. Throughout the course of this past school year many of us have gone to great lengths to include these psychologists in our AP Psychology units and assessments.

As we rapidly approach the day of the 2010 AP Psychology Exam, I was looking for a way for students to study/review these famous people from the history of psychology. Last year I had students in my AP Psychology classes form study groups to create Wiki outlines of the fourteen AP Psychology units ( My students seemed to find the outlines very helpful. This year I would like to expand the idea to the famous psychologists and beyond my school.

I have created a Wikispace page of famous psychologists at waiting to be completed by AP Psychology classes from throughout the United States and possibly the world. My hope is many of you AP Psychology teachers and students will join forces to create a fantastic review tool. Together I'm betting we can create the world's largest AP Psychology study group.

Please take some time out of your busy schedule to visit the Famous Psychologists Wiki page and see if you and/or your classes would like to help with the project. I could see this as a great one or two day lesson in your classes as they prepare for the AP Psychology Exam. I am sure students will be excited about having your name and school name included on the Wiki site.

Lastly, as this is the first time I am taking on this type of adventure, please be patient with all those technological problems that I know are going to happen. It is one thing to try something of this nature with my students knowing when (not if) something goes wrong they will understand I am learning right along with them. It is a completely different thing to do the same in front of my peers throughout the country. I thank you in advance for your help and patience.

Hard Problems in Psychology?

Christopher Chabris's recent article about a fascinating conference in the Wall Street Journal got me thinking about the possibilities for high school psych students. Chabris describes some of the talks at Harvard's "Hard Problems In the Social Sciences" conference (you can find video of the talks here and a facebook page with an ongoing discussion here). Conference presenters all offered their ideas for the really big, really hard, really "over-arching" social science ideas that need to be tackled. How would high school students respond to a question like: "What are the most important psychological questions that have yet to be answered? Why are they so important? How could a researcher start to research the answers?" Might be an intriguing after AP test discussion?

Posted by Rob McEntarffer

Monday, April 19, 2010

So simple!

This is such an excellent idea:how can you get people to take the stairs instead of the elevator? As you recall, there was a novel solution offered in Sweden last year when stairs were converted into a giant piano to convince people to bypass the escalator next to it. But we can't all afford to do that -- isn't there something more simple?

It turns out that there is. Scienceblogs posted earlier this month* about a study from the Journal of Physical Activity and Health in which researchers posted a sign next to the elevator on a college campus which said “Walking up stairs burns almost 5 times as many calories as riding an elevator." The sign also indicated the directions to the nearest stairs and had a cartoon of the school's mascot taking the stairs. The results were that the use of the stairs increased for both stairs which were plainly visible nearby and those which were hidden from view -- there was an overall increase of 34% that lasted one month after the signs came down! This is a great example of how research can be done ... have your students try to figure out how to gather the data. The original journal article can be found here.

*(I completely missed this on Scienceblogs, which I normally follow closely, but spotted it today on Dan Pink's blog.) -- Posted by Steve.

Terry Pratchett on "We only use 10% of our brain"

This post may not be especially useful for instruction, but I thought I'd share it in case anyone needs a smile from a good (in my opinion) quote today. Terry Pratchett is one of my favorite authors, and he often comments on scientific topics in the midst of his creative, chaotic, and VERY funny fiction novels. In the quote below, Pratchet comments on the "we only use 10% of our brain" myth:

"It is a popular fact that nine-tenths of the brain is not used and, like most popular facts, it is wrong. No one would go to the trouble of making the human head carry around several pounds of unnecessary gray goo . . . It is used. And one of the functions is to make the miraculous seem ordinary and turn the unusual into the usual. Because if this were not the case, then human beings, faced with the daily wondrousness of everything, would go around wearing big stupid grins, similar to those worn by certain people who occasionally get raided by the authorities to have the contents of their plastic greenhouses very seriously inspected. They'd say 'Wow!' a lot. And no one would do much work." (Terry Pratchett, Small Gods)

Posted by Rob McEntarffer

Friday, April 16, 2010

Pro-Ana Sites

There may be some concern about the content of this post.  As a group, we've considered the options and believe it best to expose the teachers to this issue.  While some students may stumble upon this entry and links, we feel that the exposure to teachers outweighs potential risk of student exposure.  Students will find this information in one way or another.

In short, these sites are ones that promote being thin as a lifestyle or see being thin as an ideal, sometimes called, "Pro-Ana" or pro-anorexia. While promoting statistics and information about eating disorders, that masks a reality that is very different. The content of these sites can be disturbing, but teachers need to realize the mind-set and thought processes of their students who may share these viewpoints. The views are of those who are not pro-recovery. At best, reading these blogs is fascinating. At worst, it is disturbing. In any case, they are worth checking out.

The first site is:
The site contains several galleries of thin women. There is one of severely obese women--but these are there only as a reminder of how the author feels about her own body.
To me this quote sums up this site: "I'm now back at University until the end of June. The doctor has pushed me into seeing a CPN again, and so i might have to see one again. I'm not going to stop though - I know as much as it might be better for me, i don't want to recover yet."

This next site is a blog called Yummy Secrets. The blog is noted as having a "content warning," but can be accessed by anyone. To quote from this blog (italics mine),
"This is a ProAna blog. For basic accurate information on the ProAna movement, please read Solidarity in the Proana Community, a well-researched article on Associated For my personal opinion on ProAna read this post.

If you have an eating disorder and are seeking help for recovery, I wish you success, but please find help elsewhere. This blog will not help you and may be triggering. A good place to start is I wish you the best of luck and health.

If you are against ProAna and wish to express it, please do so by sending me an email. I will be happy to discuss it with you, but I'd prefer my blog didn't get spammed up with arguments.

One blog linked from the previous site is called, I Am Not Ill. There are dozens of other blogs for those who wish to follow others' views and experiences/perceptions of food and other aspects of life.

While you may not like the sites, they will give you some insight.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Celebrities and Eating Disorders

Celebrities and eating disorders can make for a potentially potent introduction into the eating disorders topic--after all, who has their bodies scrutinized more than celebrities and athletes? 

One site that offers brief descriptions and small pictures is CaringOnline. On the left side of this page is a list/link of nearly 100 famous people who have suffered eating disorders.  Each link goes to a brief description and includes some quotes.

The Caring Online homepage can be found here.  The site is also an excellent resource for content related to eating disorders and treatment.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Will you teach paperless for Earth Day?

A great idea is becoming a reality next week -- and you can be part of it! Bloggers Shelly Blake-Plock and Steve Katz have created the Teach Paperless for Earth Day campaign, where teachers sign up and pledge to teach without handing out, creating or accepting paper on April 22. Teachers are also encouraged to share their ideas for what they will do this day instead of using paper, so please share your ideas there and in the comments here as well!

(I've pledged to go paperless but haven't yet decided what to do next Thursday!)

Social Fear = basis of racism?

Intriguing findings from this Science article about possible connections between social fear, genetics, and racist responses. The authors theorize that racist responses are more closely tied to an in-born social fear (out group bias) than they are to specific learned responses to race, and they use a group of children born with Williams Syndrome to try to test the idea. Kids with Williams Syndrome lack a few genes that are related to social fear, causing them to ber very sociable and have no fear of strangers (sometimes called "cocktail party personality").

This research could be a good place to start discussions about several topics: how creative researchers have get when studying complex behaviors (such as racist responses), how tough it is to operationalize some variables (the researchers in this study have to work hard to carefully measure "racist responses" - it sounds like they used something similar to the implicit associations test), and the links between genetics and, well, everything!

To me this study is a good example of the interconnectedness of psychology - our "chapters" are in many ways artificial boundaries between sets of ideas. The AP Psych. free-response questions always try to break down these barriers (requiring students to use knowledge from more than one chapter to answer a single essay question) and this research makes that reality evident.

Posted by Rob McEntarffer

Women and Media Images: About-Face

Today's site is called About-Face.  The site has been of great use for both sociology and psychology classes when dealing with the role and portrayal of women in our culture.  The site calls out the magazines and advertisers about their respective questionable images in a portion called, "gallery of offenders."  However, this is not just exploitation.  The site also has a gallery of winners, featuring ads that have real women in real situations.  There is also a great deal of sarcasm that comes with explaining the offenders--pretty cool if you ask me.

Warning--some images are offensive, either for their violent or sexual aspect of objectifying women--you should preview the site to see if it's appropriate for your school/community.  The kids will likely be fine and some will be outraged.  It's the adults that may find something objectionable. 

The "facts page" links to many issues including body image, media, eating disorders and disordered eating, cosmetic surgery and obesity.

Whether you draw from the site some particular references or have your students explore, it will make for some spirited discussion related to body image, women in the media, and more.  Additionally, the blog makes for some very interesting reading.  Go for it.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Eating disorder webinar

The folks who brought you the series This Emotional Life have scheduled a webinar on eating disorders for Wednesday, April 14 at 1pm EDT/ 12pm CDT/ 10am PDT. The webinar is entitled Recovery from an Eating Disorder: What does real recovery look like? and will focus on these issues (quoting from the site):
  • The challenges of the recovery process, including access, shame, triggers and relapse
  • The different types of treatment for people suffering from eating disorders
  • Advice for those seeking help for themselves or a loved one with an eating disorder
"Join Dr. Ovidio Bermudez, Medical Director of the Eating Disorders Program at Laureate Psychiatric Clinic and Hospital, and former eating disorder patients, Allison Kreiger, Sara Pollan and Troy Roness to learn about the challenges and success of recovery from an eating disorder. Through the lens of three personal journeys from eating disorders to wellness, this compelling discussion will explore what recovery looks like and offer insights from the perspectives of both those who have lived through the recovery process and a professional with years of experience treating those on the journey to recovery."

P.S. Does anyone hate the word webinar besides me? I can't explain it but I do. Ugh!


Earlier in the year, Kent posted about some government-based sites related to eating disorders.  This week, we highlight a couple more.  Today's post is called  According to the site, they are "Dedicated to raising awareness and providing support to people with Eating Disorders, and their loved-ones... since 1995."  The content is quite detailed from descriptions of what an eating disorder is, symptoms of various eating disorders, and treatments, both from without and within.  The site is comprehensive and contains some excellent information.  This link to the site map will give you a great overview.

One point made on the front page is that they are pro-recovery.  We will post later about sites known as "pro-ana."  Something-fishy does not deal with pictures, examples of weight or other triggers for those with eating disorders.  They also have links to professional treatment centers.  If you have experience with the site or their partners, please comment.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Netflix and "Lie to Me"

Recently, there has been talk about using scenes from the television show "Lie to Me" to illustrate some of Paul Ekman's work on facial expressions.  Recently, season one was added to Netflix--not just the disc version, but the streaming version.  If you've ever used Netflix streaming through your computer, you'll know that you can move through the show/movie to get to the exact scene using visual cues (sorry, no scene markers like on DVDs).  Good stuff if you have the Netflix account.

For those who love the show, the second season begins in June.  Set those Tivos and DVRs now!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Photo Manipulations and Illusions

Of course, we are all fascinating by illusions.  Now, it seems that there is an artist who creates them using Adobe Photoshop. His name is Erik Johansonn, a Swedish designer.  While there are many examples, here are a couple of which we will tease you with below.  You can find these and more of his work at this site:

Thursday, April 8, 2010

AP Review with PsychFiles Audio Review

Looking for a great audio review activity?  Not all teachers have the time or inclination to put together the kind of resources that Michael Britt does.  Thanks to Michael, we have the Psychfiles podcast.  If that were not enough, he has created an audio review guide that is sure to help all of our students (see screen capture above).  This review contains visual concept maps for a variety of topics and audio explanations for the topics within these areas (see capture below).  Students can click on the topics of their choice and play them with the player at the bottom of the page.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Our Own Steve Jones in the NY Times

One of our blog moderators, Steve Jones, has been featured in the New York Times, in the April 6, 2010 edition of classroom resources blog.  Steve had written in his response to an article about the use of coal in producing electricity (and the perceptions/misperceptions of his students).

You can read about Steve and his great in class thinking/strategies here.

Congrats to Steve and keep up the good work!  Follow Steve's tweets on twitter.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Autism Awareness Day and Month

Autism affects 1 in 100 children; 1 in 70 boys.  April is Autism Awareness Month and today, April 2 is Autism Awareness Day.  As we move in time, there are larger numbers of students who have some aspect of the disorder.

Autism Speaks.Org Site that assists families with their children who have autism.  They also provide information about autism along with links related to research, how to support, and how to become involved in the fight against autism.

Cafepress Site for Autism Awareness

The Autism Society

National Geographic on the effects of solitary confinement

On Sunday April 11 National Geographic will broadcast a special on the effects of solitary confinement. Part of the Explorer series, "Solitary Confinement" looks at the mental health issues that can be induced with isolation. One segment of the program focuses on how isolation is currently being used in an American prison - more than 80,000 prisoners are put in isolation every year - but the other more fascinating aspect is that NG is doing a reality TV version of solitary confinement.

Beginning today (April 2) three volunteers will live in an 80 square foot cell in the DC area with minimal human contact for one week, and have their every moment streamed via cameras to a website. Naturally since we're in the the Web 2.0 era participants will be allowed to write outgoing Twitter messages which will be sent to the world as well. (EDIT: Twitter feed appears to be

Here are some background links on solitary confinement, many which feature psychologist Craig Haney (who you may recall was a grad assistant during the Stanford Prison Experiment):
I'll be following this one closely and I hope that if you do that you'll post your thoughts in the comments.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

More on Photoshop and beauty

To add one more example to Chuck's excellent post on real beauty versus illusion here's an example from last year of a cover model whose image was so badly Photoshopped that it couldn't exist in nature. The clip below is from the Rachel Maddow show, and while it veers off into more free speech issues at the end, the beginning portion is great.

Dove Beauty Campaign/Motivation Video

A few years ago, Dove Soap created a campaign for "real beauty" in an attempt to alter cultural attitudes toward what makes women attractive.  This campaign originally featured the video below to make viewers aware of how much change goes into a woman's appearance before and after she is photographed.  Whether it is lighting, makeup, or editing the photo, there is a clear and distinct difference between reality and the images that people see in the magazines.  Below is their effort.  Your students will be amazed if they are not already familiar with this video.

Here is a follow-up video showing Photoshop alterations to pictures: