[socialpsy-teach] TSP Newsletter - Vol. 16, No. 10

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[socialpsy-teach] TSP Newsletter - Vol. 16, No. 10

David P. Dillard



Date: Thu, 29 Jun 2017 14:57:45 -0500
From: Jon Mueller <[hidden email]>
To: [hidden email]
Subject: [socialpsy-teach] TSP Newsletter - Vol. 16, No. 10

                                   Teaching Social Psychology Newsletter

                                              Vol. 16, No. 10

                                               June 29, 2017

                                  the e-mail newsletter accompanying the
                        Resources for the Teaching of Social Psychology website at

Just a reminder, there is no July issue of the Newsletter, but I think I've given you enough
summer/winter reading below.  See you again in August!

Activities and Exercises

       General: Formative Assessment


       As many of you know, formative assessment, in which we check for student understanding along
       the way, allows us and our students to identify where they are at on some concept or skill so
       that we can adjust our instruction or they can adjust their learning and studying strategies,
       as the conversation at the above link illustrates.  Although this was the original purpose
       for formative assessment, we now realize that it can do much more.  For example, research has
       found that good skill development requires 1) instruction/modeling, 2) practice, 3) feedback,
       and 4) reflection.  Formative assessment can provide a good vehicle for addressing each of
       the last three steps. In fact, we can apply those four steps to conceptual development as
       well, and use formative assessments in that process.  

       Furthermore, many of you have likely realized that formative assessments can promote the
       strengthening of learning if they encourage forced retrieval, aka, testing effect,
       retrieval-based practice, etc.  The examples in the above link describe high-tech and
       low-tech tools for checking for understanding.  For example, on the high-tech end, you can
       use tools like Socrative.com or Polleverywhere.com to quiz your students through their cell
       phones or other electronic devices.   I have used those to review concepts, and students find
       them very engaging.  Yet, as the article mentions, the same effect can be captured through
       low-tech tools such as having students pointing to different corners of the room to indicate
       particular answers, or holding up cards with the corresponding answers.  All of those
       examples though are asking for student recognition rather than student recall, limiting the
       benefit of forced retrieval.  

       So, I am considering a low-tech alternative, and I wanted to get your comments and
       suggestions on it for me, mostly:), and for the other subscribers.  At the beginning of the
       semester I would hand out 5 laminated cards to each student for them to bring to every class,
       and I would collect them at the end of the semester to use again.  Four of the cards would be
       about half a sheet of paper in size, each a different color, and each with a different letter
       (A, B, C, or D) on it.  The A and B cards would also have YES and NO on them in case I want
       to ask those kinds of questions.  These cards would obviously allow me to ask multiple-choice
       type review or thought questions.  Students would raise up the card that they believe is the
       right answer.  I and other students could quickly see the distribution of answers as we would
       all get used to the corresponding colors quickly.  Sometimes I would have them wait a few
       seconds until everyone has selected a card to raise them so they aren't just following what
       everyone else is saying.  The high-tech tools allow for that as well.

       Now for the forced retrieval.  The fifth, laminated card would be the size of a whole piece
       of paper, with one side being white and the other side light blue.  Along with this card I
       would give every student a dry erase marker at the beginning of the term that they would also
       bring to every class.  (I know, that could be problematic.  Or, do I have them purchase one
       themselves?)  Then, I could ask recall questions which they would respond to by writing their
       answer on the white side of the page.  Again, they would hold up their cards so I could see
       if they recalled the information.  (Currently, I tell my students to look at the ceiling on
       the second day  of class.  Then I ask them one or more review questions.  I explain that I
       had them look at the ceiling so they could not use their notes.  Then I explain the benefits
       of forced retrieval.)  Unfortunately, in this case, other students could not easily see what
       the rest of the class answered.  However, another thing I thought I could occasionally use
       this card for is to have a friendly competition.  At the beginning of class I might have 4 or
       5 recall review questions.  I would have all the students stand up.  Students would write
       their answer to the first question and hold it up.   After I or another student gave the
       correct answer, everyone with the wrong answer would sit down.  Then we could see who could
       remain standing for all the questions.  But I don't want to lose the "losers" on subsequent
       questions.  So, what I was thinking of doing is that everyone who is sitting down would write
       their answer to the next question on the light blue side of the card.  If they got that
       question right they could stand back up, until they miss again.  Then they could stand up
       again if they got another question right. But they would always use the light blue side once
       they missed a question.  Then I could tell the "winners" by those whose answers were written
       on the white side.

       Have you made it this far?  Does that make sense?  I would welcome any and all comments,
       suggestions, or questions on these ideas and my proposed plan, or 47 cents.  I can then share
       those comments in a subsequent edition, if you permit me to share them.  Thanks for
       listening!  Jon

       Group Influence: A class activity on social loafing


       The Self: Egocentrism and voting ballot errors


       Interesting discussion of this topic with some suggestions for classroom use



          The Self: "Do social network sites enhance or undermine subjective well-being?"



          The first link is to an interesting study on this topic.  The second link is to an essay
discussing related research.

Class Assignments


          Helping:  When would or wouldn't someone help


          Sue Frantz begins with a case of heroism, and then at the end of this brief blog entry
describes an interesting assignment she gives her students.


          Attitudes & Behavior: Foot-in-the-door


          Good example from the airlines

          Gender & Culture: Sexist appeal


          Minor league baseball team offers "Hourglass Appreciation Night."   

          Prejudice:  Overgeneralizing: "Kill them all"


          A U.S. congressman said this about "radicalized Muslims" after a recent terror attack in

          Prejudice: Extreme racist language


          See video of altercation between citizens in public.

          Prejudice: Realistic threat


          The perception of realistic threat, the belief that another group represents a threat to your
group's physical or financial security, was clearly evident in the 1980s in the U.S. in attitudes and
behaviors towards Asians, and Japanese in

          particular.  Japan was becoming a global economic power which was seen as a threat to the
United States.  That led to prejudice and discrimination, as seen in this example.

          The Self: Exaggerated perception of self



          This blog entry includes some interesting survey research indicating that recent college
graduates believe they are much better prepared than employers do.  The second link is to the graph


Topic Resources

       Aggression:  Workplace bullying


       A few good articles on the topic from APS

       Aggression: Cyber bullying: The complete resource guide


       from Background Check.org

       Aggression: "Kids are quoting Trump to bully their classmates"


       Attraction & Relationships:  Can classical conditioning help long-distance relationships?


       Interesting study of military marriages which endure long deployments of one member of the

       Attraction & Relationships: "The reasons we stay friends with an ex"


       Gender & Culture: "Vocal fry"



       I had not heard of this vocalization concept until recently.  Apparently women have been
       criticized for adopting this vocal style.  Although men do it, too.  Watch the video in the
       first link to learn more about it.  The second link takes you to a blog entry about "the
       brumble," a male speech pattern this author identifies.  He also discusses the vocal fry.

       Helping: More on the murder of Kitty Genovese


       Methods: "How to be a wise consumer of psychological research"


       from APA

       Methods: Amazon's Mechanical Turk


       Do you or your students use this tool?  Here's a good blog out there on the topic to help
       keep you up-to-date.

       Persuasion: The pique technique



       "The pique technique is a persuasion strategy believed to work by raising the listener's
       curiosity and thus disrupting the automatic "No" and encouraging you to engage with the
       asker.  Most people ask, "What is it for? to an unusual request like "47 cents."  Take a look
       at the accompanying photo for a really interesting example.  The second link is to another
       recent article on the technique.

       Persuasion: "When you dodge the question, it makes you look dodgy"


       an interesting study of politicians

       Prejudice: Black soldiers are punished disproportionately in the U.S. military


       according to a study from a military advocacy group Protect Our Defenders

       Prejudice: "Study: Oakland police spoke less respectfully to Black people"


       The disturbing anecdotes of Blacks, men and women, being shot by police are understandably
       concerning, and has ignited the Black Lives Matter movement.  But I think studies like this
       one give an even more revealing picture of what minorities face every day of their lives.
        You can certainly talk about the shootings in your class, but I think all our students
       should discuss this study to understand the causes and consequences of modern racism.

       Prejudice: A new threat to the military:  Transgender soldiers


       Many of the same arguments that were used for why women, Blacks, and homosexuals should not
       be allowed in the military are being used again against transgender soldiers.

       Prejudice: Black girls, as young as five, are seen as less innocent than white girls


       according to this study from Georgetown's Law Center on poverty and inequality

       Prejudice: Is the public exhibition of racial animosity on the rise in America?


       This study has a clever way of trying to answer that question.  I think this technique could
       be used for a number of related questions.

       Prejudice: "Non-Muslim attackers get a lot less media coverage than those who claim Islam"


       Prejudice/Social Judgment: "White people show race bias when judging deception"


       However, when Whites are making such judgments explicitly or publicly they apparently
       over-correct for their assumed bias and label Blacks as more truthful than Whites

       Psychology in the Courtroom:  Guilt by association: Eyewitness testimony

       "Does presenting a picture along with a question like 'is this the person who did it?' create
       an association between those two things that could then cause an eyewitness to later falsely
       remember seeing that person doing that action?"

       Social Judgment:  Is the hot hand effect a myth or is it real?


       For a while the research suggested that a perception of a "hot hand" is just an illusion.
        But two recent studies suggest it may be real.

       Social Judgment: "Scientists' facial appearance affects our perception of their work"


       Yep.  What if journals also included photos along with each article?  It would become like
       Facebook.  Authors would send in pictures of their dogs or their kids.

       Social Judgment: "Adults with autism make more consistent choices"


Technology in Teaching


         Attitudes & Behavior: Trump voter disillusioned after reading 800 pages of queer feminist theory


         Amusing Onion video

         Attraction & Relationships: Can I have your number? (4:45)


         Amusing video from MadTV

         General:  SPSP videos


         The Society for Personality and Social Psychology has started offering some short videos from
personality and social psychologists.

         Helping: Citizen stops car of person having a seizure (0:52)


         What's his motivation?

         Persuasion: Cialdini Asks




         A few videos from subscriber Robert Cialdini in which he interviews psychology researchers

         Prejudice: "Environmental racism is the new Jim Crow" (1:27)


How Do You ... ?

       Ever wonder how your fellow social psych instructors handle a certain topic or issue in their
       courses? Then send me your "How Do You..?" question and I will try and post it here. If I get
       some answers I will post them in the following issue.

Request Line is Open! 

       Yes, I take requests; in fact, I encourage them. Are there particular types of resources you
       would like examples of? Particular topics you are interested in? Teaching tips? Technology
       tips? I want to tailor this newsletter to your needs. So, please feel free to send me your
       requests, suggestions, comments and resources. Send them directly to me
       ([hidden email]) or by replying to this message.

The Teaching Social Psychology Newsletter is published monthly (hopefully) by

Jon Mueller

Professor of Psychology

30 North Brainard St.

North Central College

Naperville, IL 60540

[hidden email]


Copyright, Jon Mueller 2001-2017.

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Jon Mueller

Professor of Psychology

North Central College

30 N. Brainard St.

Naperville, IL 60540

voice: (630)-637-5329

fax: (630)-637-5121

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