Psych Lounge

Capturing the science of the mind

Looking into the Lobotomy

Turning The Mind Inside Out Saturday Evening Post 24 May 1941
Dr. Walter Freeman, left, and Dr. James W. Watts study an X ray before a psychosurgical operation. Saturday Evening Post 24 May 1941.

The lobotomy, that gruesome technique which provided relief for many patients but devastating brain injury for others, often fascinates introductory psychology students. The New York Times recently released a short video documentary about the recent history of this surgery and its most famous patient, Rosemary Kennedy. At less than 12 minutes long, this video...

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Exploring Stability in Personality Traits


In an introductory psychology class, students come to the topic of personality with many questions about themselves and people they know. After discussing trait theories and giving time to take a short personality assessment based on the Five-factor Model (or Big Five), students in my classes enjoyed discussing their results. Inevitably, as they reflected on their different personalities, students would ask “can your personality change?" Given all the experiences that one goes through in...

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What's Happening with the Text?

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Happy 2017! The new year brings, for most professors, a new semester or new term. And inevitably when preparing to start a course, we look over the readings that are carefully scheduled on the syllabus and wonder “how many students will actually read the textbook?”

Research - and personal experience - paints a grim picture. Between 20-30% of college students report reading their assignments (Hoeft, 2012; Burchfield & Sappington, 2000; Connor-Green, 2000).

So why do more than half of...

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Meet the new Psychology editor


Someone asked me the other day if being a psychologist had made it easier to be a parent. After my initial laughter at the idea of anything making parenting easier, I had to reply, “Of course.” Because I study psychology, I not only know that it is perfectly normal for my 3 year old to cry if he struggles to put on his own jacket but why he does so (he is in Erikson's psychosocial stage of Autonomy vs. Doubt). When he refuses to brush his teeth for two nights in a row, I know that changing up...

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Spurious Connections


Students in introductory psychology classes often struggle with correlations. Even if you have them stand on their desks ala Dead Poets Society and recite “Correlations do not equal causation” many continue to misinterpret correlational research. 

At Soomo, we have developed an Investigation, Correlation is Not Causation, to teach the students how to evaluate reported conclusions. However, we all know that students can use still more help with this topic.

In my own teaching, showing...

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3-D Anatomy


Always amazed by the wonders of the interwebs, I was agog to find Zygote Body, a 3-D web application that allows you to manipulate and label parts of human anatomy, including the brain. And did I mention it's FREE? This magic, of course, came from Google. Lots of potential for brain chapter assignments here!

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The Science of Panic Attacks

Introductory psychology classes often discuss panic disorders in terms of extreme trauma such as war or abuse—but students should also be aware that anxiety attacks can be related to much smaller stressors.

NBC's Rock Center produced this 10-minute video about panic attacks, including U.S. statistics (animation at 3:00), information about what's happening in the brain (animation at 4:14) and possible triggers. They interview pro-golfer Charlie Beljan, as well as author Daniel Smith and Men's Health writer Mike Zimmerman about their experiences.

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The ability to "see" using your ears is a great example of the brain's plasticity—and could serve as great conversation-starter for students studying sensation. The following National Geographic video introduces Daniel Kish, President of World Access for the Blind, and describes how humans can learn to do what bats do naturally. 

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Bicycle Day and the Roots of Psychedemia

Photo: Stefan PangritzThe Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) will be holding its 2nd Psychedelic Science conference this week featuring more than 100 researchers from 13 countries. Research for medical uses of LSD is known as "psychedemia." So how did it all begin?

Seventy years ago this week, Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann accidentally ingested a compound he was working on and described the next two hours as "an uninterrupted stream of fantastic pictures, extraordinary shapes with intense, kaleidoscopic play of colors." Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) was the substance, derived from the ergot fungi that grow on rye plants.

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