Sunday, December 11, 2011

Learning Links

(Note, the links to videos are to YouTube, so you can't watch them at school unless you are an awesome hacker and know a proxy work-around, also I have not tested some of these links this year, so please let me know if any are not working.)

Classical Conditioning:

Does the name "Pavlov" ring a bell?

Try your hand at conditioning Pavlov's Dog in this animation on the Nobel Prize site.

Here is the John Watson Little Albert video clip we saw in class. It has Spanish subtitles which is nice.

This article on the APA website describes how some college students figured out who "Little Albert" really was and what happened after the famous (infamous) conditioning experiment.

Unfortunately we don't know if is fear of furry things lasted beyond Watson's research.

Operant Conditioning:
BF Skinner and his beloved pigeons

Here is the Skinner video clip we will see in class.

B.F. Skinner shaping a pigeon to turn around.

And pigeons playing ping-pong? 

Observational Learning:
Bandura's Bobo Doll experiment... ouch

Here is a video of Bandura's Bobo doll experiment.

This Australian commercialshows how observational learning can affect kids.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Sensation and Perception Video

The link below will take you to the Sensation and Perception video we watched in class.

Look for the "VoD" button to play the video once you click on the site. 

Friday, October 28, 2011

Animations about vision - the retina and visual pathways

Fantastic animations about the eye, visual processing in the retina and the pathways that visual information travels in the brain.

Pay close attention to the "center-surround" aspects of retinal processing it this first video.

This animation shows how the photoreceptors, bipolar and ganglion cells of the retina are organized in "center-surround" arrangements that allow "bottom up" processing of visual information to begin in the retina.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, an animation is worth way more. This animation really shows the visual pathway very well. Pay attention to how visual information is split in the Optic Chiasm and how it routs through the LGN of the thalamus as well as other areas specifically related to eye movement and the "biological clock" which controls circadian rhythms.

This excellent animation really explains how the visual information from the left and right visual fields makes its way to the right and left occipital lobes via the LGN of the thalamus.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Sensation - How the ear works.

Sensation... The Ear Pages on and a nice animation

The organization that gives out the Nobel Prize has a great website about the ear and how it works.

If you're having trouble understanding the accessory structures and the cochlea this site is for you.

Here is a link to another animation about how the ear works

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Great Animations for the Biological Basis of Psychology

This animation company produces some animations with very advanced content concerning the neurobiology you are learning in Unit 3 - Biological Basis of Behavior and will be learning in Unit 4 - Sensation. While some of the videos go into more detail than is typical in an AP psych class, I think they're worth watching to deepen your understanding and push yourself to a more advanced college level.

For Unit 3, I suggest "The Action Potential", "Synaptic Transmission", "Reflex Arcs" and "Positron Emission Tomography"

Saturday, October 1, 2011

OOPS! Revision to Unit 3 Assignment!

"Thank You" to Daisy for letting me know about a cutting and pasting error I made on the Unit 3 Assignment Sheet. I accidentally mixed up some Unit 3 with some Unit 4 work. Please don't do any Unit 4 work until Unit 4.

The correct assignment is:

Bernstein Study Guide Chapter 3 – Starts on P. 57
1.     Review the chapter based on your reading instructions. 
2.     Key Term Flashcards: All 63 Key Terms
3.     Don’t freak out. I know it’s a lot of flashcards. It will be worth memorizing and understanding the key terms. You will need to review the flashcards before quizzes and exams in class and as you study for the AP exam.
4.     Write out the Fill In The Blank Key Terms Writing out the full sentences will help you to learn the material. After you try to answer all of them check your work. If you get one wrong, write the correct answer with a brief explanation of why it’s correct.
5.     Select one of the “Personal Learning Activities” on P. 72. Do the activity and write a paragraph about what was most interesting or surprising about your experience. 
6.     Do Multiple Choice Sample Quiz 1 (p.73) and then check your answers with the key from page 80. Mark your total correct and be sure to review all questions you didn’t get right.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Blog Comment #3 Correlation Project: Hair Length, Shoe Size and Height. DUE Sept. 25th at midnight.

Reading Scatter Plots and Understanding Correlations.

In a comment to this post, please discuss each of the graphs for your class. Be sure to address the questions below each graph. Please don't copy the questions or number your answers, rather, you should write a paragraph or two in complete sentences so your reader knows what you are talking about. Be sure to sign in as "anonymous" but put your first name and last initial in the post so I know to whom to give the credit. If you have any questions please e-mail me. Review the "how to e-mail a teacher" post on my blog before you send your e-mail.(click on the graphs to enlarge)

What can we see from the above scatter plot of hair length vs. height? Is there a correlation? How strong is it? If so, is it positive or negative; strong or weak? What information about the students in our class does this graph give you? Are there a few "outliers" or extreme data points that seem unusual? If you throw them out of the data set what does the correlation look like? What other information would be helpful to interpret the data?

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? How strong is it? Does shoe size cause height to change? Does height cause shoe size to change? Does correlation imply causality?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Your Phineas Gage Review - Summer Assignment Part 2: Due Aug. 20

After you have read Phineas Gage and worked on the Phineas Gage Reading Guide Questions you should post your review of the book in the COMMENTS to THIS blog post.    (use the "comment" link below this post)

Your comment should be a review of the book. A book review is a critical assessment of the book in which you share your opinions about the book and back up those opinions with examples from the book. Be sure to describe the story and the style of the book. 

Some questions you might want to think about as you write: What did you think of the book? What did you find most interesting? What are some new or surprising things you learned from the book? Why do you think Phineas was "lucky" or "unlucky?" Are there other texts (books, movies, etc.) that relate to the story of Phineas? Why or why would you not recommend it to a friend? 

As with the last blog assignment, I will not show the comments until close to the deadline so everyone has a chance to work on the assignment without being too influenced by other peoples' work.  

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Summer Assignment for 2011-2012 - Part 1 Due July 20th

Go to this link about the Ten Most Revealing Psychology Experiments and read through the summaries of all ten of them.

Select one of the experiments that you think is interesting. Click on the link in the summary to start your research about that experiment. (the link to #3 is broken, but you can use this link to get started.) Read through the information and seek out other information online. There may be good YouTube videos or other sources you should investigate. You can also look up some of the experiments or the experimenters in your textbook.

In your comment to THIS BLOG POST please do the following to complete the assignment:

1. Summarize the experiment. Include who did it, when they did it, where they did it, and what they did.
2. Explain the importance of the experiment to our understanding of human behavior. Why do you think the experiment is considered a valuable insight into the way people think and/or act?
3. Give one example of how the experiment can be applied to everyday life. You can use yourself or someone you know in the example, or make up an example that you think the experiment might apply to in normal life.
4. At the end of your post include all sources (full URLs, please) and sign the post with your first name and just the initial letter of your last name (for example: Phillip D.)
5. To send your comment please click the "Name/URL" option and put your first name and last initial in the "Name" box. Don't fill in the URL box. 

I suggest that you write your comment in Word or other program first so you can check your spelling etc. and then just paste it into the comments at the end of this post.

Your post should be 3 to 5 paragraphs long and should demonstrate some original thinking on your part. Do not cut-and-paste or copy any text directly.

Your comment will not show up on the blog until close to the due-date, as I want everyone to approach the project without being biased by seeing the posted work of others in the class. If you aren't sure if your comment went through you may e-mail me and I'll let you know. 

If you have any questions please e-mail me. I usually reply to e-mails within a day or two. Before sending me an e-mail, please read my "How to email a teacher" post from my biology blog ... really.

Monday, June 27, 2011

AP Psych Class of 2011-2012 - Summer assignment coming soon!

Contact me if you have not received the summer assignment or picked up your books at NGHS.

The blog post assignment will be up on July 1st and you must comment on it by July 20th at midnight.

My e-mail is . Please put your full name and a subject in the subject line of your e-mail.

For now, get a jump-start on the reading parts of the assignment or take a look at some of the psychology links and psychology I have a bit lower down on the right side of this blog.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Consumer Education Unit - Don't get ripped off!

Here are some links to resources for our Consumer Education unit. You may and should use other sources, but these should get you started.

1 - Why am I broke all the time?

2 - What security deposit?

3 - Pay myself first?

4 - As seen on TV:

5 - The story of stuff.

6 - Scams, spam and getting slammed:

7 - I wish my parents were rich!

8 - But I thought I was making 10 bucks an hour...

9 - Pay the man.

10 - Oh Lord, Won't ya buy me a Mercedes Benz..

11 - A cheeseburger costs $487.63!

12 - If it seems too good to be true...

13 - How Insurance can save your butt...

Consumer Education Projects
Your job is to become an expert on one of the following topics and then teach the important ideas about it to the class. Your final grades in the class and your consumer education credit depend on your project, your presentation and a final exam.
  1. “Why am I broke all the time?” How and why to do a personal budget.
  2. “What security deposit?” How to rent an apartment.
  3. “Pay myself first? What the…?” The how and why of savings.
  4. “As seen on TV.” The power of advertising.
  5. “The story of stuff.” How do my buying habits affect the world?
  6. “Scams, spam and getting slammed.” How to avoid getting ripped off online and in the real world.
  7. “I wish my parents were rich.” How to pay for college and not get buried in debt.”
  8. “But I thought I was making 10 bucks an hour!” What to expect from wages. Where does all the money go from your paycheck?
  9. “Pay the man.” How to do your taxes.
  10. “Oh Lord, won’t ya buy me a Mercedes Benz.” How to buy cars and other expensive stuff. (or just take the train)
  11. “A cheeseburger costs $487.63?” How to avoid credit card debt.
  12. “If it seems too good to be true...” How bad consumer decisions contributed to the recent financial crisis.
  13. "I always use protection!" How Insurance can save your butt.
  14. "I want it NOW!" How to separate needs from wants and base consumer decisions on your core values.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Social Psychology Videos - You MUST watch!

The following links feature very important concepts in social psychology. Review Asch's, Milgram's and Zimbardo's classic studies and read up on the "bystander effect."

The Bystander Effect... what would you do?

This just happened, so all the facts aren't in yet but it looks like a 31 year-old Guatemalan man named Hugo Alfredo Tale-Yax was stabbed on the street in New York City and many pedestrians walked right past him as he died. You can read the story and see a surveillance video here.

Read more about the bystander effect here.

Asch's Conformity

Solomon Asch's conformity study showed how easily people will give an obviously wrong answer when other people are giving that same answer. Watch the video at the link below:

Milgram's Obedience

Stanley Milgram's obedience study was recently partly replicated by ABC's Prime Time show. Watch how easily people follow orders even when they know the orders are wrong.

Zimbardo's Prison Roles

Philip Zimbardo's experiment about how roles affect behavior is known as the "Stanford Prison Experiment." Those playing inmates became passive while those playing guards became aggressive. Subjects' real identities seemed to pale in comparison to the roles they played so much that the experiment had to be stopped after a few days. Who knows what would have happened if the experiment had gone on for two full weeks.

Schizophrenia Simulation Video

While this video does not actually capture what schizophrenia is like for any individual, it was put together based on symptoms reported from many people who have been diagnosed with the disorder.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Time to get an AP Review Book!

You need to find an AP Exam Review Book you can borrow or purchase. I strongly recommend buying one so you can write in it and have it as a quick reference guide for when you take upper level psych classes in college. The Chicago Public Library has some copies, but you better get there right away. You can also purchase them at bookstores like Barns and Noble or online on

You don't need this year's version... if you buy a used one from last year they are practically free.

I recommend either "Barron's" or "5 steps to a 5." I'm sure books from Kaplan and the Princeton Review are also good. The main idea is to review each chapter and go over any topics you need to work on.

All books have a diagnostic test which will tell you what areas you need to work on.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Eating Disorders

The Dying to be Thin documentary is available to view on

Here are some resources from the PBS site if you think you or someone you know may need help with an eating disorder.

Eating Disorders Not Just for White Teen Girls   Stigma Causes Other Groups to Remain Silent About Eating Disorder From ABC News website

National Eating Disorders Association
(800) 931-2237
Call for treatment referrals nationwide and answers to all kinds of questions regarding eating disorders. 

Eating Disorders Awareness and Prevention, Inc.

EDAP, the largest, nonprofit organization devoted to the awareness and prevention of eating disorders, sponsors Eating Disorders Awareness Week each February. EDAP's Web site offers online treatment referrals, public prevention and awareness information, educational programs, videos, curricula, conferences, workshops, a newsletter, and a national speaker's bureau.

Something Fishy

Don't let the funny name fool you. This site is an extensive and well-organized resource for information on eating disorders and offers versions in French and Spanish. The Web resources list on this site is easily the most extensive on the Web, listing almost 100 sites focusing on eating disorders. For answers to a whole range of questions from What is an eating disorder? to What is the role of popular culture in forming body image?, head to Something Fishy.
Some in the fashion industry is taking a stand against eating disorders by criticizing some people who promote anorexia as a "lifestyle." Read what Vogue Magazine is doing.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Intelligence and savants

The movie "The Boy with the Incredible Brain"is available free online, but it's blocked at school.

"This is the breathtaking story of Daniel Tammet. A twenty-something with extraordinary mental abilities, Daniel is one of the world’s few savants. He can do calculations to 100 decimal places in his head, and learn a language in a week. He also meets the world’s most famous savant, the man who inspired Dustin Hoffman’s character in the Oscar winning film ‘Rain Man’ This documentary follows Daniel as he travels to America to meet the scientists who are convinced he may hold the key to unlocking similar abilities in everyone."

It is worth watching to see how incredible mental abilities can sometimes arise from damage to the brain and often come with what some would consider pretty difficult deficits.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

GREAT summer opportunities of all sorts... including medicine and psych

The following summer opportunities are in a wide range of fields including psychology, law, theater, digital video production, 3D modeling, creative writing, medicine, science and more. Please read through them and see what interests you. Some of them even pay you to have a great learning experience over the summer.

Psychology Summer Program

This summer, IIT Institute of Psychology is offering "Psychology in Everyday Life" to introduce high school students to the profession of psychology. The one week workshop will be a rich learning experience designed to help students make the connection between psychological principles and human behavior in everyday life. Students will acquire a broad array of facts about the developing child, the aging adult and everything else that occurs across the lifespan.

Cost $485 (some scholarships available)

When: June

Applications are due: May

Contact: Kristin Moriarty 312.567.3502

Pritzker School of Medicine (YSTP)

The Pritzker School of Medicine Office of Multicultural Affairs is now accepting applications for their summer Young Scientists Training Program (YSTP). This is a 10-week summer program for up to ten outstanding minority high school students to gain experience in research, medicine, and the biological sciences. Students work in the laboratories of University of Chicago faculty where they learn basic or clinical research in the areas of diabetes, endocrinology, nutrition, obesity, digestive, liver, urologic, kidney, or blood disorders.

When June – August

Deadline March 20

Goodman Theater General Theater Studies

A FREE six-week theater intensive for students 14 to 19-year-old in the Chicago metropolitan area, General Theater Studies gives students the opportunity to learn skills from local theater professionals that are instantly applicable not only to the world of theater, but also their world at large. This summer program is designed to validate the voices of its participants, get them to examine their own potential for creativity and introduce them to all elements of the creation of theater, both on stage and behind the scenes. GTS will culminate in public presentations of an original performance created by the participants!

Cost: Free

When June – July

Contact 312.443.5581 or email

The Chicago Summer Business Institute (CSBI)

CSBI provides a six-week paid internship program for high school sophomores and juniors each summer.  These internships take place at various banks, accounting, engineering, and law firms throughout the Loop and business districts.  In conjunction with a 28-hour workweek, students attend half-day classroom seminars and workshops every week where they learn about the financial markets, attend seminars given by successful business executives, and participate in team building programs.

Eligibility Requirements:

Student must currently be a Sophomore or Junior;  
Student must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher;  
Student must attend either a public, parochial or private high school;  
Student must be a resident of the City of Chicago;  

When June - August

Deadline: March (must attend readiness workshop on April 2)

For information or to apply:

Contact Debra Carson, Program Director at 312-545-7855

Project Exploration’s Discover Your Summer Guide
Discover Your Summer is a guide to summer science opportunities. It is filled with information on more than 175 programs in Chicago, the Midwest, and beyond.
All of our youth programs are free, eliminating the cost barrier that prevents low-income students from accessing dynamic out-of-school time science programs.
For information or to apply:
Contact 773.834.7614 or email

National Bar Association  Crump Law Camp

The National Bar Association Crump Law Camp was established to provide students entering the ninth through eleventh grades (between the ages of 14 and 17) with an introduction to the American judicial system. Campers will be housed on the campus of Howard University and live in a protected campus environment. The inaugural two-week camp was held at Howard University School of Law. The camp provides students with an exciting academic and social agenda, which includes field trips in the Washington, DC area. The competitive highlight of the camp is the Evett L. Simmons Mock Trial Competition. The four winners of this competition are invited to the NBA's Annual Convention. Washington, DC.

Cost: varies Free-$1400 (sliding scale)

When: July

Deadline: April

Information or apply:  301-249-8355

CDC Disease Detective Camp

The CDC Disease Detective Camp (DDC) is a 5 day academic day camp for high school juniors and seniors during the upcoming school year. Campers will take on the roles of disease detectives and learn how CDC safeguards the nation's health.

When: June session and July session

Deadline: April

For more info and to apply to go

Expressing yourself through writing: (For African Americans only)

African American Adolescent Male Summer Literacy Institute (AAAMSLI)

The African American Adolescent Male Summer Literacy Institute helps connect young black males to literacy as a possible way out of violence and poverty. Students read and write about their plight and issues affecting their generation, while learning valuable life skills. "The institute focuses on using a variety of fiction and non-fiction texts as tools to support African-American adolescent males to write about the multiple contexts that shape their lives". The institute features reading, writing, spoken word and mentoring to help nurture the next generation of socially conscious readers and writers. Five young males will be selected for a two-day trip to Harlem in August, and have their writings critiqued by Walter Dean Myers.

Cost: Free (students paid a $150 stipend)

When: July, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays

Where: UIC Reading Clinic, 1040 W. Harrison St. (L268 - level)

For more information about UIC, please visit

Contact: Alfred W. Tatum, Ph.D. Director of the UIC Reading Clinic/Associate Professor (312) 413-3883

African American Adolescent Female Summer Literacy Institute (AAAFSLI)

See above, but for females 11-17 yo

Contact: Lynette Danley at 312-996-4508 (office)

The summer academy at DePaul – Media, digital video, 3D digital animation

This is a week long program held at DePaul University's Loop campus for High school students. They will receive hands-on instruction using the latest equipment and technology and will be taught by faculty from DePaul's School of Cinema and Interactive Media with real world experience.  Areas of focus will include digital cinema production, 3D computer modeling and animation for games and cinema and computer game development. This intensive week-long session will provide motivated students with a valuable educational experience as well as an advantage in today's competitive world of college admission.

Cost $750

Deadline: June 1st

When: July

Information contact:

The High School Summer Institute at Columbia College

This is an intensive non-residential 5-week program for creative high school students that have completed their sophomore, junior, or senior year of study who want to immerse themselves in the visual, media, and communication arts.

Students spend the summer exploring their ideas, developing the technical skills that bring their ideas to life, and earning college credit while they’re at it. High School Summer Institute students study with the same working professionals and scholars who teach Columbia’s undergraduates. Students also hone their craft in Columbia’s state-of-the-art facilities—film and video production and post-production studios, photography labs, animation labs, graphic design labs, dance studios, concert halls, theater stages, radio station, recording facilities, art studios, performance spaces, television studios, and more.

When: July – August

Application Deadline: June

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Mouse Party?

What would you see inside the brains of mice who were taking drugs? This interactive website gives you a glimpse inside the brains and synapses of mice on drugs including alcohol, cocaine, marijuana, heroin, meth, ecstasy, and LSD.

Identify how each drug affects the brain. What neurotransmitter(s) does it affect? Is it inhibitory or excitatory? Does it block re-uptake or work some other way? Which parts of the brain are most affected?

You can explore other effects of drugs of abuse here

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Language Links

Without Language Numbers Don't Add Up

This story from National Public Radio shows how groups of people who don't have words or signs in their language for numbers can't actually tell the difference between numbers as small as four and five. It sheds some light on the debate about how language affects how we think.

You can watch this video clip on the National Public Radio site link at the top of the post.

From the story:

In one test, Spaepen (the researcher) would knock her fist against a study participant's fist a certain number of times and then ask them to respond with the same number of knocks.
"If I were to knock four times on their fist, they might knock my fist five times," she says."

What do you think?

 Look Inside a Baby's Brain. Why are They Such Language Geniuses?

Patricia Kuhl discusses her study of language in babies in this 10 minute "TED Talk" She discusses many important concepts in language acquisition such as critical period, babbling, and the importance of children interacting with real adults (not TVs or computer screens) to learn language. She also show the use of MEG (magneto-electroencephalography) imaging to see what parts of a baby's brain activate when hearing language.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Can an fMRI read your mind?

This article on features Jesse Rissman who is researching how fMRI technology can be used (or not) to see what people are thinking. Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging can give us insights into our thought processes, but must be used with caution.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Cognition Unit

Howdy, and sorry that I told you there was a link to all the Discovering Psychology videos on the blog... there was not. Proactive interference got the best of me and my memories of last year distorted my memories of what I put on the blog this year.

The whole Philip Zimbardo Discovering Psychology series can be found at this page. Once there click on the program you want to watch an look for thebutton which allows you to stream the "Video on Demand."

Friday, January 21, 2011

Can testing yourself actually make you learn and remember more? The short answer is, "YES!."

This article in the Science Section of the New York Times discusses research which shows that being tested on material is one of the best ways to study and REMEMBER new material.

Notice that retrieval practice works best for both direct and inference questions. This shows that retrieval practice not only helps us remember facts, but it helps us UNDERSTAND how those facts relate to each other and to our wider knowledge.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

How did Arizona Representative Gabrielle Giffords survive being shot in the head?

 Arizona Congressional Representative Gabrielle (Gaby) Giffords was shot in an assassination attempt as she met with people from her congressional district. She survived a point-blank shot through her brain. 13 others are also injured and tragically, 6 people were killed by the gunman before bystanders wrestled him to the ground.

Based on what you know about neuroanatomy, what might Congresswoman Giffords' recovery be like? What abilities may she lose due to this injury?

Why did doctors remove a large portion of her skull? Why is she being kept in a "medically induced coma?"

The site WebMD has a good set of answers to frequently asked questions

The New York Times also wrote about the issues around Rep. Giffords' injury.