The PsychSim5 Activities Psychology’s Timeline Purpose: To provide a more comprehensive synopsis of the origins of psychology, the early history of psychology as a discipline, and the major themes in twentieth century psychology. Summary: This activity will take you on a tour through the history of psychology. You will learn how psychology grew out of philosophy and medical physiology, and will become acquainted with some of the pioneers of psychology as a scientific discipline. Descriptive Statistics Purpose: To describe the common measures of central tendency and variability and demonstrate their use in summarizing a data set.
Summary: This activity introduces you to the basic statistics that researchers use to summarize their sets of data. You will learn how to produce a distribution of scores and how to graph the distribution. After descriptions of the measures of central tendency (mode, median, and mean) and variability (range and standard deviation), you will be able to manipulate the scores in a distribution to see how each score affects the descriptive statistics for that distribution. Hemispheric Specialization Purpose: To explain how research on split-brain patients has helped us understand the special abilities of the two halves of the brain.
Summary: This activity describes what researchers have learned about the special abilities of the left and right sides of the brain. After a brief review of the way that information is carried from the main sensory channels to the brain, you will test the responses of a simulated “split-brain” patient to demonstrate that, for most right-handers, the main language center is located in the left hemisphere, while the right hemisphere is specialized for spatial tasks. Then you will carry out the same experiments with a simulated “normal” individual to explore the functioning of the hemispheres in an intact brain.
Mind-Reading Monkeys Purpose: To explain an important new research area that bridges the fields of evolutionary psychology, neuroscience, and social psychology. Summary: In this activity you will explore one of the brain mechanisms believed to foster the evolution of human language and culture. The focus of the activity is a simulated experiment in which you will play the role of a researcher who is recording from “mirror neurons” in the premotor cortex of monkeys as they perform various tasks or watch others perform those tasks.
The results will demonstrate that mirror neurons are involved in observational learning, and may have played a major role in the evolution of language and culture. Cognitive Development Purpose: To describe Piaget’s theory on the growth of intelligence and simulate the performance of three children of different ages on some of Piaget’s tasks. Summary: After presenting background information on Jean Piaget, this activity explains some of the basic concepts of his theory, including schemas, operations, and assimilation/accommodation.
Next, Piaget’s stages of cognitive development are described and illustrated with examples. In the last segment, you act as the experimenter, testing 4-, 7-, and 13-year-olds on Piaget’s conservation and seriation tasks. The Auditory System Purpose: To explain how we hear and how the physical nature of the sound wave determines the quality of the sound experience. Summary: This activity covers the characteristics of sound that are important for hearing, and describes the structure of the ear and auditory pathway. You will be asked to locate the parts of the ear on a drawing.
The activity simulates the transmission of a sound wave through the outer, middle, and inner ear and shows how the cochlea converts the mechanical energy to neural impulses. Next, it explains the concepts of frequency, amplitude, and waveform and shows how these aspects of the sound wave are related to the experience of pitch, loudness, and timbre. Visual Illusions Purpose: To demonstrate and explain four well-known visual illusions. Summary: This activity offers the opportunity to test your susceptibility to four famous visual illusions.
In the Muller-Lyer, Ponzo, Horizontal-Vertical, and Poggendorf illusions you will be asked to adjust the length or position of one part of the stimulus in order to match the apparent length or position of another part. Your results will be displayed and interpreted. Your Mind on Drugs Purpose: To describe the basic types of psychoactive drugs and the neural mechanisms of drug action. Summary: In this activity you will explore the behavioral effects of some common drugs that influence the brain—producing changes in our arousal level, our mood, our perception of our environment, and our actions.
EEG and Sleep Stages Purpose: To describe the five stages of the sleep cycle and the electroencephalograph (EEG). Summary: This activity provides an explanation of physiological recording of electrical potentials from the scalp and their relationship to levels of consciousness and sleep, and is followed by a simulation of one night of recordings from a sleep laboratory, illustrating the normal sleep cycle, REM sleep, and the relationship between REM sleep and dream reports. Operant Conditioning Purpose: To demonstrate some principles of behavior control through the manipulation of reinforcement.
Summary: This activity describes a form of learning called operant conditioning—learning from the consequences that follow our actions. The concept of reinforcement as illustrated with examples from everyday life, while the value of controlled reinforcement schedules is demonstrated in a simulated experiment showing rat bar-pressing behavior under four different schedules of reinforcement. Iconic Memory Purpose: To demonstrate some aspects of sensory register. Summary: This activity simulates Sperling’s classic experiments on the duration of visual sensory memory.
You will see nine random letters flashed in a 3 x 3 matrix, and will attempt to recall the letters under three conditions: free-recall, cued-recall, and delayed cued-recall. Your results will be compared to Sperling’s finding of rapid decay of the visual “icon. ” My Head Is Spinning Purpose: To demonstrate thinking with verbal concepts and mental images, using the concept of mental rotation. Summary: This activity provides some background information about thinking with verbal concepts vs. thinking with mental images.
The issue of mental rotation is introduced and explained with reference to the classic studies by Shepard and colleagues. You will participate in a simulated experiment involving mental rotation of the letter “R” in the picture plane. Your results will be graphed and compared to the pattern of results from Cooper and Shepard (1973). Get Smart Purpose: To explain the multidimensional nature of intelligence and demonstrate some tasks used to measure intelligence. Summary: In this activity you will explore the concept of intelligence and some of the methods of measuring intelligence.
Along the way, you will try your hand at performing a few of the tasks and answering some questions typically found on intelligence tests. Hunger and the Fat Rat Purpose: To demonstrate the role of the hypothalamus in the control of eating behavior in rats. Summary: This activity provides a simulated experiment on weight regulation in rats. After a brief review of the methods of brain research involving electrical stimulation and destructive surgery, you will examine the effects of stimulating or destroying two different regions of a rat’s hypothalamus.
The results will be graphed in terms of the rat’s daily food intake and body weight, illustrating the role of the hypothalamus in the regulation of eating and weight control. Expressing Emotion Purpose: To examine facial expressions and the underlying nonverbal messages they may convey. Summary: In this activity you will learn about the role of facial expressions in the nonverbal communication of emotion. Then we’ll put you in control of a cartoon-type face and test your skill in manipulating its facial muscles to form particular emotional expressions.
This will help you learn the facial cues associated with each primary emotion. Helplessly Hoping Purpose: To explain the research basis for the concept of learned helplessness. Summary: In this activity you will explore the importance of a sense of personal control over the events in your life. You’ll participate in a simulated experiment on learned helplessness in dogs, and then consider how the results might apply to the behavior of people trapped in unpleasant situations. Mystery Client
Purpose: To review and test understanding of the classification of behavioral disorders. Summary: This activity will be most useful to you after you have read the text material on psychological disorders. In this activity you’ll take the role of a consultant called in to provide a second opinion on several clients with disorders, based only on the information contained in the clients’ files. You will select the information to be examined for each client, then form a diagnosis based on what you know about the symptoms of the various disorders. Computer Therapist
Purpose: To demonstrate (in a limited way) some principles of active listening and artificial intelligence by having the computer simulate a Rogerian person-centered therapist. Summary: After learning about the famous ELIZA artificial intelligence program, you will engage in a conversation with a “computer therapist. ” The “therapist” will respond in a more-or-less realistic fashion, by identifying key words or phrases in your conversation, and then generating a nonjudgmental reply that reflects your feelings, to simulate some principles of active listening from Carl Roger’s client-centered therapy.
All Stressed Out Purpose: To provide an overview of the bio-psycho-social nature of stress, including its everyday sources, the psychological and physiological impact of stressors, and how cognitive appraisal influences the coping process. Summary: This activity will describe for you the sources of everyday stress. Next, the impact of stress on the mind and body is described, focusing on the fight-or-flight response (and its possible variant, tend and befriend). Then, you will learn about the most influential model describing stress as a process—the transactional model.
Finally, you will complete an interactive exercise exploring how differences in cognitive appraisal and coping style alter the stress experience. Social Decision Making Purpose: To demonstrate the decision-making strategies of persons in zero-sum and non-zero-sum environments. Summary: This activity contains a simulation of two classic “social trap” games used in research on competition and cooperation. You will first play the “Prisoner’s Dilemma” game against the computer, and will quickly discover the difference between zero-sum and non-zero-sum environments.
Next, you will play the “Trucking Game” against the computer to explore ways to maximize trust and cooperation in situations where people compete for limited resources. PsychSim 5: PSYCHOLOGY’S TIMELINE Name: Section: Date: This activity will take you on a tour through the history of psychology. You will learn how psychology grew out of philosophy and medical physiology, and will become acquainted with some of the pioneers of psychology as a scientific discipline. Famous Psychologists •Can you think of any famous psychologists from psychology’s history?
The Early History: Philosophers and Scientists •Match each of the philosophers and scientists with their descriptions AND write in the approximate year of their contribution. o______ Aristotle (______)320 B. C. A. British philosopher, empiricist o______ Darwin (______)360 B. C. B. Greek philosopher, nativist o______ Descartes (______)1600C. British biologist o______ Helmholz (______)1700 D. German physiologist o______ Locke (______)1830 E. French philosopher, nativist, and dualist o______ Plato (______)1860 F. Greek philosopher, empiricist
Pioneers of Psychology •Match each of the pioneers of psychology with their descriptions AND write in the approximate year of their main contribution. o______ Calkins (______)1879A. Studied memory o______ Ebbinghaus (______)1882B. First psychotherapy o______ Freud (______)1885C. First lab in USA o______ Hall (______)1888D. Used introspection o______ James (______)1890E. First comprehensive textbook o______ Titchener (______)1895F. First psychology laboratory o______ Wundt (______)1900G. First woman president of APA 20th Century Psychology Match each of the key contributors with their descriptions AND write in the approximate year of their main contribution. o______ Chomsky (______)1905A. Studied learning in cats o______ Maslow (______)1910B. First woman PhD o______ Pavlov (______)1915C. Discovered conditioning o______ Piaget (______)1920D. Founded behaviorism o______ Rogers (______)1940E. Studied reinforcement o______ Skinner (______)1950F. Studied children’s intelligence o______ Thorndike (______)1955G. Studied language o______ Washburn (______)1960H. Humanist approach o______ Watson (______)1970 I. Humanistic therapy PsychSim 5: DESCRIPTIVE STATISTICS
Name: Section: Date: This activity introduces you to the basic statistics that researchers use to summarize their sets of data. The numbers below represent the scores of a group of students on a math test. Use them to perform the required calculations. 10, 13, 10, 12, 11, 7, 12, 11, 6, 11, 12, 11, 8, 10, 9 Distribution of Scores •Sort the scores; that is, arrange them in order from lowest to highest. •Create a frequency histogram. Measures of Central Tendency •What is a mode? •What is the mode of your distribution? _____________________ •What is a median? •What is the median of your distribution? _____________________