Psychology fun!

The end of one year draws close, and already you are probably thinking of holidays and relaxation. (Unless you teach in the Southern hemisphere of course, but these blog suggestions can still help you out). Maybe spending some a few minutes thinking about how to “hook” your new Psychology students into the subject within the first few weeks is time well spent?

Psychology is one of the easiest subjects in which to do this. Most students start it full of enthusiasm, but many flag when faced with the challenge of scientific terms and the complexities of neurotransmission. This is where Oliver Sacks’ case studies (now in films as well as book form) and Lisa Genova’s fiction (see the OSC June student blog for more details) can help.

One of my favourite sources is the Guardian for its fascinating nuggets of science. See this recent article on The Man in Black, where a man “develops a powerful love of Johnny Cash songs following deep brain stimulation”.  A second article on research methods and replication raises many interesting issues that are relevant for the students’ IAs.

A second excellent source of stimulating material are the TED talks. See this magic talk  by Keith Barry. How does he do it?

Another talk on memory by Elizabeth Loftus links very well to the research methods article above.

And of course, there is always the general press, like this excellent article on bullying victims, from the Washington Post, that is highly relevant to the biological level of analysis.

Become a collector of pieces like these, and be prepared to use them to support your teaching at those difficult moments.

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