My Introduction to Psychology 101 block was quite a hectic one. I had a visiting professor from UMich named Jill Bennett, and she made the class amazingly fun! I guess since she isn’t even 3o years old (she’s a fresh grad with a Psychology mastery) she could still easily remember how difficult it is to focus in a 3-hour long class.
We had four lab write-ups for Psychology 101. The first one was a Perception Lab – we underwent several tests to determine how we perceive things. One of my favorites was the arm swing test – there was a target on the wall and you had to swing your arm to tap the X-mark with your pointer finger; the catch was that you were not allowed to correct yourself mid-swing, the movement had to be natural, almost pendulum-like. In the middle of that test we were told to put on prism goggles which made our vision totally different. I think on my first arm swing wearing the prism goggles, my pointer finger tapped a mark 3 points away from the X-mark!
Our second lab was a Gender Development lab – we went as a class to Penrose Public Library and looked through a minimum of 15 children’s groups per pair to take notes on gender stereotypes – I’m afraid I’ll never be able to read The Berenstain Bears without thinking of stereotypical gender roles again, sadly!
Our third lab was the Helping Lab. We had to come up with the entire lab by group, so my group decided to test the response of people to a male confederate (i.e. an informed participant) asking to borrow their cellphone. We had him dressed ‘poorly’ and standing outside a Starbucks on Tejon street for an hour on Monday, and another well-dressed male confederate outside another Starbucks on Wednesday. We hypothesized that (1) women were more likely to help, and that (2) the well-dressed confederate would be helped more often. We were half right – women helped more often (and had shorter hesitation times in seconds), but they interestingly enough helped the poorly dressed male confederate more often!
Our final lab was an ongoing one that started on first week and ended on third week. We had to train a male rat using an Oscar Box to do three things: (1) respond to us tapping the side of the box by going to the hole to get food, (2) press the lever down to receive food, and (3) roll the marble from one side of the box to another, push it out of the hole, press the lever down, and get food from the hole. We named our rat Ratatouille from the movie, and thankfully he’s pretty smart!