Being Human

This week I did something which I have rarely done in my many years of teaching; I asked students to spend a whole lesson watching a video. Each student was given a laptop and they were asked to put on their earphones (they always seem to have the latter available at the drop of a hat). They were told to go to Youtube and look for the film “Human” by Yann Arthus-Bertrand, and watch at least any five of the ...

Recent research in Psychology

Having fun with Psychology One of the factors that makes Psychology such fun to teach is that there are always new findings being published and spoken about, some more reliable than others, but all worth looking at and occasionally adding to your lesson. For example, today new research was published concerning the mechanism that repairs the brain after a stroke.  If you are teaching about the biological level of analysis, you could link this nicely to neuroscientist Jill Bolte Taylor's presentation regarding ...

TOK and popcorn

Imagine a world where popcorn protects your mind from dark forces trying to penetrate it and rob you of your free will!  Does this sound like a ridiculous parody of a science fiction storyline? Well, it seems that this is not entirely science fiction. In fact, a research publication called The Journal of Consumer Psychology  has recently reported findings of a research group at the University of Berlin that advertisers and TOK students may find fascinating – though for very different ...

Don’t just do something – stand there! The psychological benefits of procrastination.

I am making a link each month between what is on the teacher blog and what I post for the OSC student blog. Last month it was the levels of analysis, and interaction between the environment and the brain. This month it is…procrastination. The students get an upbeat TEDx talk from Vik Nithy (below), a recently graduating student on how to avoid procrastination and its damaging effects. [youtuber youtube='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WD440CY2Vs0'] The psychology talk on the student blog describes procrastination as a struggle between ...

The psychology of procrastination

By Sunday, September 1, 2013 , , , , 0

The semester/term starts soon, or has already started for those of you in the Northern hemisphere with IB exams in May. (I know that those students taking the IB Diploma exams in November have been in school a very long time, but this applies equally to you). Very soon the work will be coming in, but “Hey! Never do today what you can put off till tomorrow.” This is procrastination, and it is all about decisions – the argument in ...

The ‘Plastic’ Brain. How does our brain change in response to our cognition and environment?

Studying the brain’s neuroplasticity is the field of cognitive neuroscience, and bridges the gap between the biological level of analysis and the cognitive and sociocultural levels. See these links for fascinating studies into: children’s socio-economic status and brain structure changes (Jednoróg et al., 2012);  mirror neurons (Iacoboni, 2004); how the remaining part of the brain adapts after a childhood hemispherectomy (removal of half of the brain, Danelli et al, 2013);  and the effects of meditation and social and emotional learning ...

Levels of Analysis – what do they really mean?

Mmmm- doughnuts! An example of neuroplasticity. When confronted with a picture of junk food, people who pulled all-nighters had boosted activity in the amygdala (left), a brain structure associated with the desire to eat, and reduced activity in regions of the cortex (right), which have been tied to food evaluation. Credit: Matthew Walker et al. at http://www.sciencenews.org/view/access/id/352150/description/MMM_DOUGHNUTS Whether you are just getting ready to start your new IB Diploma Psychology course, are beginning your second year, or are midway to ...