Thursday, December 18, 2008

Chapter 8 Cognition and Language Assignment Due Monday Jan 5th

Read and take Cornell notes on Chapter 8 in Bernstein

Finish the two multiple choice practice tests from the study guide based on your assignment sheet.

It is also critical that you review and study Chapter 7 so you can remember what you've been learning about memory... don't forget to use elaborative processing to create semantic connections... We will have a quiz on Ch. 7 on Wednesday the 7th.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Memory Blog Post Assignment Due Tues. 12/16

R.I.P. H.M.

Read the article about the recent passing of Henry G. Molaison who for the past 40 years had only been known as "H.M." in the psychological literature. You will then create an original creative writing piece paying tribute to this tragic character.

Your post should be in the form of a short essay or other creative writing. So please DON'T copy the questions or number your answers, rather create a cogent short piece of writing which includes your thoughts on these points as well as any other you find important. You can write it as an essay or use forms other than prose to express yourself. You may write a poem or a song or even create a rap about H.M., but be sure to address all the required points.

You can do your writing in Word or another word-processing program and then copy and paste it into your blog if you don't have internet at home or if you want to bring a rough draft to the Owl's Nest writing center.

Here is your task:

Honor HM for allowing us to use his deficit to advance neuroscience. Thank him for the following:

1. Developing a new understanding of the role the hippocampus plays in memory formation.

2. Helping scientists understand the difference between explicit declarative memory and implicit procedural or "motor learning" memory


3. Make some personal connection to H.M. and his predicament. How do you think you would handle having his condition... do you think he even knew he had it?

Students will vote to select the best three pieces from our class which we will record and post as podcasts on the web.

Additional Info:
Listen to a story about H.M. from National Public Radio at the following link.

Our text discusses H.M. and shows a diagram of the mirror drawing implicit learning task on Pp. 328-329.

When you are done with your post E-MAIL ME to let me know to check your blog.

Good Writing!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Exam on Monday, Dec. 8th - Chapter 6, Learning

Study your notes and Bernstein Ch. 6 on learning. Be sure to be able to describe and compare classical conditioning, operant conditioning and observational learning. Come up with some real-world examples of each and mnemonic devices for remembering key terms.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Link to Discovering Psychology Learning Video

The following link will take you to a page with all the videos from the "Discovering Psychology" series we use in class for some units. The video on learning is episode 8 and can be viewed by clicking on the green VoD button next to the episode.

This site may also be helpful for reviewing or previewing other chapters.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Chapter 6 Reading Assignment - Learning

Reading assignments:
Bernstein Text Pp. 193-233 in two parts due 11/24 and 10/1

Notes Check Pp. 193-219 due 11/ 24
Notes Check Pp. 220-233 due 12/1

The study guide assignments are due on 12/1 - see below for details.

Read and take Cornell Notes

1. Skim quickly – pay attention to headings, photos etc.
2. Go back and take your notes.
a. Make sure each heading and subheading is in your notes
b. Make sure you write at least a main idea for each one
c. Make sure all “boxed” definitions are in your notes
d. Draw all important diagrams and label them.
e. Make note of any examples or mnemonics that will help you
3. Carefully read the summary at the end of the chapter and add key information to your notes.

Bernstein Study Guide Chapter 6 Pp. 158 – 171
(Items marked with a ** must be turned in with a full heading – You will be graded for completing and correcting them, not for how many you got right.)

1. Skim outline Pp. 158-162 – Make sure you know underlined terms and that they are in your notes.

2. Review Key Terms Pp. 163- 169 - Note examples and mnemonics

** due 12/ 1
3. On a separate sheet, with your book and notes CLOSED, do the fill-in-the-blanks key terms quiz on Pp. 169. Write the question with your answer. Check your work (P. 182) and write the correct answer for any you got wrong.

4. Review the “Learning Objectives” on Pp. 170-171 – These are good sources for essay questions.

** due 12/1
5. On a separate sheet, with your book and notes CLOSED, do Sample Quiz 1 on Pp. 176-178 and check your answers. For each wrong answer, write the correct answer and be sure the information is in your notes.

Please e-mail me with any questions.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Attention - Post a comment on THIS Blog by Monday 11/10

Watch this video and comment about it. Be sure to put your first name and last initial as a signature on your comment. Be sure to watch the video first, before you read any comments. (The video is hosted on YouTube so it is blocked at school. You need to find a computer on which YouTube is not blocked.)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Reading Assignment Unit 4: Sensation Part 3 Due Tue. Nov. 4

A.P. Psychology – Reading assignment and guide

Unit 4: Sensation – Part 3 – Chemical, Somatic and Vestibular Senses
(10 pts): Due Tuesday, November 4th.

Bernstein Text Chapter 4, Part 3 – Pp. 131- 149 (Through Chapter Review)

As you take your Cornell notes remember to DRAW DIAGRAMS of important images, write your own examples, write your own mnemonic devices and write questions you think of. Your notes (and your brain) should contain the answers the following questions when you are done with this assignment:

Smell and Taste – The Chemical Senses Pp. 131-136

1. Define olfaction and gustation (and olfactory and gustatory)
2. What triggers olfactory receptors?
3. How many different types of olfactory receptors are there?
4. Describe the path signals from the olfactory receptors follow as they enter the brain and are processed.
5. Which brain structure usually associated with sensation is NOT involved with olfaction?
6. Explain the function of pheromones and the vomeronasal organ?
7. What are taste receptors called and where are they located?
8. How many taste buds are in a typical person? To what flavors are they sensitive?
9. How are supertasters different from normal people?
10. What are the components of flavor?
11. What is anosmia?
12. What is capsasin? Explain one theory of why people eat spicy foods.
13. Explain some adaptive (evolutionarily advantageous) functions of smell and taste.

Somatic Senses and the Vestibular System Pp. 137-145

14. What are the Somatic Senses?
15. Describe how touch receptors are different from most other neurons.
16. Explain sensory adaptation of touch receptors. Why is it evolutionarily adaptive?
17. Explain how weight and location are coded in the sense of touch.
18. Describe an example of how touch and temperature can interact.
19. Compare A-delta fiber pain and C fiber pain. Come up with a mnemonic to remember the difference.
20. How does pain cause arousal? What structure is activated which would wake you up if someone poked you with a pin while you slept?
21. Explain how Gate Control Theory and natural analgesics explain pain relief.
22. What evidence is there that acupuncture relieves pain?
23. Define proprioception and kinesthesia.
24. Describe the structure and function of the vestibular system.
The above link is to an excellent animation which will help you understand the vestibular system.
25. Go through the chapter linkages and summary on Pp. 47-49 to review and test yourself.
26. Smile because you are getting even smarter every day when you do this reading.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Reading Assignment Unit 4: Sensation Part 2 Due Fri. 10/31 BOO!

Bernstein Text Chapter 4, Part 2 – Pp. 117 -131 (through Synesthesia)

(10 pts): Due Friday, October, 31st

Follow the reading instructions you received the first week of class and take Cornell notes as you read. As you take your notes remember to DRAW DIAGRAMS of important images, write your own examples, write your own mnemonic devices and write questions you think of. Your notes (and your brain) should contain the answers the following questions when you are done with this assignment:

Light and Structure of the Eye Pp. 117-119
1. Describe the physical dimensions of light.
2. How do the physical properties of light relate to brightness and color?
3. How does visible light fit into the electromagnetic spectrum?
4. Describe and DRAW the major structures of the eye.
5. Describe the accessory structures and sensory receptor of the eye.
6. What is accommodation in vision?

Converting Light into Images & Visual Pathways Pp. 119 – 122
The above link is to an excellent animation which may help you understand some of the more complex aspects of visual processing in the retina.

7. What is visual transduction and were does it take place?
8. What are photoreceptors and photopigments? Where are they located?
9. What causes your eyes to take time to adjust when you go from bright sunlight to a dark room? What is this adjustment called?
10. Compare the structure, function and distribution of rods and cones.
11. What is the fovea?
12. How does “lateral inhibition” improve the sharpness and contrast of our vision?
13. What do ganglion cells do? Why would vision be impossible without them?
14. How do ganglion cells correspond to the visual field?
15. Describe how the center-surround fields of ganglion cells improves vision.
16. Why does everyone have a blind spot?
17. Describe how the optic nerves separate and cross at the optic chiasm.
18. How is spatial coding demonstrated in the retina, the LGN and the visual cortex?
19. Explain how parallel processing can analyze different types of visual information from the same visual data in the Lateral Geniculate Nucleus (LGN.)
20. What are “feature detectors?”
21. Define the physical properties of color: hue, saturation and brightness.
22. Explain the “Trichromatic Theory of Color Vision.”
23. Explain the “Opponent-Process Theory of Color Vision.”
24. Describe and explain color blindness.
25. What is synesthesia?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Reading Assignment Unit 4: Sensation Part 1 Due Mon. 10/27

Unit 4: Sensation – Part 1

(10 pts): Due Monday, October, 27th

Bernstein Text Chapter 4, Part 1 – Pp. 104 -116 (through frequency-matching theory)

As you take your Cornell notes DRAW DIAGRAMS of important images. Your notes (and your brain) should contain the answers the following questions when you are done with this assignment:

General Sensation Pp. 104-109
1. What is a phantom limb?
2. Explain whether sensation is objective or subjective?
3. What is a “sense” and what is “sensation?”
4. Describe the difference between sensation and perception.
5. Define accessory structure, transduction, sensory receptor and adaptation.
6. What types of energy do our senses gather?
7. What role does the thalamus play in sensation? Which sense does not go through it?
8. Explain what “coding” is in sensory systems. Describe temporal and spatial coding.
9. Define the “doctrine of specific nerve energies.”
10. What is “contralateral representation?”
11. What is “topographical representation?”

Hearing Pp. 109-116
See for good ear animation.
12. Define “sound.” Why is it true that, “In space, no one can hear you scream?”
13. Compare low-frequency and high-frequency sounds and their waveforms.
14. Describe physical characteristics of sound: amplitude, wavelength and frequency.
15. Describe psychological dimensions of sound: loudness, pitch and timbre (tamber).
16. Describe the ear’s accessory structures: pinna, ear canal, tympanic membrane
17. Describe the bones of the middle ear (malleus, incus, stapes), and the oval window.
18. Describe the structures on the inner ear: the cochlea, hair cells and basilar membrane.
19. What is the auditory nerve?
20. Describe different causes of deafness: conduction deafness and nerve deafness.
21. Where and what is the “primary auditory cortex?”
22. What are “preferred frequencies” and “frequency maps” in the auditory cortex?
23. Explain how intensity of sound is coded.
24. Compare “place theory” and “frequency matching theory” of frequency coding.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Exam on Monday Oct. 20th - NOTE NEW DATE

This exam will primarily cover Unit 3, the Biological Basis of Behavior. There will be some questions from Units 1 and 2 as well, so you need to review everything. The exam will be a combination of multiple choice questions and a free response question.

I suggest doing the multiple choice practice tests in the study guide to help you decide what to spend the most time studying.

If you start to study asap and distribute your studying over as many days as possible you will learn and remember more than if you just cram for a couple of hours the night before the test. Then again cramming for a couple of hours is way better than not studying at all.

Good luck.... although luck doesn't really have anything to do with it.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Height vs. Shoe Size and Hair Lenth Scatter Plots - Due Fri. Oct. 3rd

Blog Post Assignment #2 - Reading Scatter Plots and Understanding Correlations.

On your own academic blog please respond to the questions below each of the following graphs. You don't need to copy the questions, but you should write in complete sentences so your reader knows what you are talking about. In your post you should either copy the graph images from my blog or link to them in your post using the link button (it looks like a little chain link just to the right of the Text color button at the top of your "new post" window.) Be sure to e-mail me to let me know your blog post is up. Put your full name and "AP Psych" in the subject line and in the body of your e-mail.

Above is the data we collected about our shoe sizes vs our heights. Can you see a relationship? Is there a correlation? If so, is it positive or negative? Does shoe size cause height to change? Does height cause shoe size to change? Does correlation imply causality?

What can we see from this scatter plot of hair length vs. height? Is there a correlation? If so, is it positive or negative; strong or weak? What information about the students in our class does this graph give you?

(click on the graphs to enlarge)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Reading Assignment Unit 3: Bernstein Ch. 3 Cornell Notes Due Wed. Oct. 1st

Read and take notes on the Biological Basis of Behavior, Chapter 3 in the Bernstein Text. Start making index cards of key terms and look over the study guide.

You will receive your official assignment sheet at our next class. This sheet will tell you which study guide exercises will be due on the 1st.

This is one of the most challenging chapters for many students. Read it a few pages each day to break it up and review as you go.

(image from )

Monday, September 15, 2008

Quiz coming up this Friday, Sept. 19th.

The quiz will cover the introduction and history of psychology as well as research methods and basic statistics. If you study Bernstein Chapters 1 and 2 and our class notes you will be in great shape. Don't forget to use your flashcards to memorize key vocabulary words.

The quiz will be CLOSED NOTES, but please bring your notes and fill out your table of contents sheets so I can check them while you are taking the quiz.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


Several people have still not finished creating their blog and posting their first assignment. If you follow the instructions carefully, you should not encounter any insurmountable problems.

If you have tried and still need help I will be available in room 125 on Tues. Sept. 16 from 3:00 to 4:15 to help. You can also ask one of the students who have already created their blog to help you or e-mail me with questions.

Be like Lassie, and get the help you need.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

History of Psychology Poster Project

Instructions: Work with your team to create a creative and professional looking poster that illustrates the role the following people and concepts have had in the history of psychology. While most of the important turning-points in the history of psychology are represented, this list is not complete by any means.

Plato, Democritus and Aristotle

Descartes and Dualism

Wilhelm Wundt and Structuralism

William James and Functionalism

Gestalt Psychology

Freud and Psychoanalysis

Pavlov and Conditioning

John B. Watson, BF Skinner and Behaviorism

Include important information such as names, dates, places, images, ideas and key concepts.

You may use your notes, books and the internet. Be sure to list all sources on one corner of your poster.

Useful sites:

Allpsych History Page

History of Psychology Timeline from the Federal University of Brazil

Encyclopedia of Psychology

History of Psychology from Shippensberg University

Amoeba Web: Psychology Links Page from Vanguard University of Southern California

History of Psychology Timeline from the Annenberg Project

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Reading Assignment: Unit 2

Cornell Notes on Bernstein Text Chapter 2 : Due Monday, Sept. 15th

Note a correction on the Study Guide Written Assignments. I wrote that the written study guide assignments started on page 20. They actually start on page 36.

Reading Assignment : Unit 1

Cornell notes on Bernstein Ch. 1
Due Tuesday, Sept. 9th
Please see detailed reading assignment sheet from class.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

jj's thougnts: Assignment #1 What is an academic blog?

(The following link is to James' blog and his first post. It is an excellent example of an academic blog and a thoughtful post. James was the first student to complete the assignment so this post is also a great example of getting work done way before its due. - Mr. Cantor)

jj's thougnts: Assignment #1 What is an academic blog?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Assignment #1 What is an academic blog?

This assignment is due on Tuesday Sept 9th by 4:00 PM.

This entry is taken with some modifications from Ms. Knudson's "Explorations in Literature" blog. Thank you, Ms. Knudson!

Most of you are familiar with the idea of a Blog, which is short for "Weblog," essentially a web space where people can post ideas, opinions, share links, etc. Some popular blog sites with which you are probably familiar include this one, Blogger, but also ones such as MySpace, WordPress, Facebook, and others.

What made blogs revolutionary is that they provided authors with the ability to easily share their ideas and resources with audiences in a way that was never possible. Back in the early days of the Internet, in the 1990s, people who wanted to do this had to build a web site, separate pages, etc., and it was much more cumbersome to do the same sort of thing that recent technology has enabled us to do within minutes. Richardson writes that instead of being based on "static chunks of content," blogs are "comprised of reflections and conversations" that "engage readers with ideas and questions and links. They ask readers to respond. They demand interaction" (18).

While most of you are familiar with using blogs for social purposes -- to keep in touch with friends, discuss matters of daily life, etc., -- most of you are not familiar with using a blog for academic purposes, to extend conversations that begin in the classroom or with your reading. In this way, academic blogs, while they have a social aspect, are much more focused as learning tools. Richardson cites Fernette and Brock Eide's research on blogging as having an enormous positive impact on students, in that they:

*Promote critical and analytical thinking
*Are powerful promoters of creative, intuitive, and associative thinking
*Promote analogical thinking
*Are a powerful medium for increasing access and exposure to quality information, and
Combine the best of solitary reflection and social interaction (2005)

So how will you be using your academic blog in this class?
Good question.

The answer is that you will be using it in several ways.

Consider your audience.

First, you will be using it to learn how to blog. Remember, your audience for an academic blog is much different than your audience for a social blog. When you are writing for a social blog, your audience usually consists of your immediate social group -- your friends. However, when you are writing an academic blog, your audience is much different, consisting of teachers, professors, scholars, or others throughout the world who may have in interest in your academic topic, so how you express yourself becomes an important focus. For example, you would not write for a teacher or a professor the same way you would text message a friend. The language you use will be much different as will the form and content.

You will also be using your blog to complete class writing assignments. Writing assignments will be consist of the following types (not necessarily in this order):

peer commentary

An added bonus is that this medium is paper free, so we're engaging in academic work that is both online and environmentally green.

ASSIGNMENT #1 -- 10 points

The Content of Your Site -- Creating Your Academic Blog

Even though many of you have social blogs, when you create your academic blog it will have a distinctly different look. You will have to create a free gmail account if you don't already have one. Go to to create your site, please be sure to go to the Settings portion and select NO when it asks you if you want your site to be profiled in search engines, etc. Once you have created your site, please email me your link at so I am able be create a link to it on my master site.


Your site should be appropriate for an academic setting, following code of conduct guidelines
Do not put any personal identifying information on your site (no last name, age, place of residence, etc.)
Your site should have a title - Make it unique, relevant and creative.
Your site should have a links section (this will be for academic links that you find that are connected to your research)
Make sure fonts are easy to read and the page is not too busy -- this is an academic blog, remember
Always write in complete sentences and proofread your work before posting. Use the spell-checker that is part of Blogger.
Each assignment should be specifically titled with the assignment number as well as a descriptive title.

Your first blog writing assignment should be your first post.

Writing assignment #1 How do you feel about blogging?- 3 paragraphs

Describe the experience of creating this blog. Some aspects of this experience you should address: Is this the first time you've set up a blog or are you already a seasoned pro? How do you think it will help you to do high quality assignments in AP Psych? How do you feel about having your work up on the Internet where other students and teachers can read it?

To get all the points for this assignment you must e-mail me the link to your blog by Sept. 9 at 4:00 PM. Your site must follow the above guidelines and must include your first post with a response to assignment #1. If you have questions please e-mail me well before the deadline at