Lesson Idea: Psychology in Popular Media

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This would be a particularly good TOK lesson.  Activity One: Watch a TED Talk Watch this TED Talk by Molly Crockett, one of the researchers in the Passamonti et al.’s experiment on trytophan depletion and its effects on the prefrontal cortex. In this talk she explains why we should be wary of “neurobunk.” [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b64qvG2Jgro&w=560&h=315] After the video, discuss what …

What is an “experiment?”

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If you’re reading this it’s probably because your teacher has assigned this as homework because you’ve called a study an “experiment” when it wasn’t an experiment at all. So this post is to help you know exactly when to use the term “experiment”, and when it’s safe just to say “study.” But before we get to that, let’s first clarify …

Lesson Idea: Thinking critically about correlations

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This activity idea works well as a follow-up to the other activity about causation versus. correlation. When looking at correlational studies and quasi-experiments it’s important, I think, to allow students to make the obvious conclusion first, which is generally one of causation. But a big part of the IB Psychology course is helping them to understand the mantra: correlation does not …

Lesson Idea: Explaining the difference between causation and correlation

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This lesson works well with in the introductory unit, topic 1.2, lesson (d) “correlation.” The following TED Talk by Adam Grant is really interesting for a number of reasons and it’s well worth a watch. I like to show students the short segment from 8:25 to 10:30 where he talks about how mozilla firefox and google chrome browser users outperform …

Demand characteristics: What are they really?

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I was reading another research methods chapter in a new psychology textbook the other day and despite it’s excellent content in research methodology, it still (I think) mis-defined demand characteristics.  The most common definition of demand characteristics out there goes something like, “demand characteristics are when participants are aware of the aim of the research and change their behaviour in a …

Teaching Tip: Research Methods

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When I first started teaching IB Psychology I followed the syllabus pretty much as it was laid out in the guide, beginning with the biological level of analysis. I even taught the LOs as they appear as well. But after a couple of years I realized that teaching the ethics, principles and research methods first in a unit (as they …

Internal Validity: And why I don’t teach it…

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I’d love to hear how you feel about my rationale for not teaching students how to evaluate studies based on internal validity. There is one exception, however: their IA. I only introduce the concept of internal validity during the analysis of their IA results and procedures, as this is the only study I expect them to be able to make …

Rememberol

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I like to use a basic, fictional study when introducing students to the concepts behind research in psychology. For this purpose, I pretend that I’ve  designed a drug called “Rememberol” and that it helps students increase what they remember after they study. It’s a basic concept and the fact that it’s a pill enables me to use it to demonstrate …