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Classroom Experiments

Perceptual Illusions

These pictures provide examples of a number of common visual illusions.


Planarians in the Psychology Classroom: Habituation and Instrumental Conditioning Demonstrations

This paper describes two low cost demonstrations using planarians. With a plastic cheese cutting board and an airpuff from a 20 cc syringe, it is possible to demonstrate principles of habituation (and sensitization) including spontaneous recovery and influence of interstimulus interval. The same apparatus can be used to demonstrate principles of instrumental conditioning. In addition to the demonstrations, a suggested reading list is provided to enable an instructor to acquire background information on planarians and formulate ideas to modify the demonstrations. A sample experiment is included at the end.


Classical Conditioning of proboscis extension in honey bees

The purpose of this exercise is to show the steps involved in classical conditioning of proboscis extension in restrained honey bees. For detailed instructions and demonstrations appropriate for the classroom see Abramson (Invertebrate learning: A laboratory manual, Published by the American Psychological Association, 1990).


Learning to Use the Contemporary Library:

A Laboratory Exercise

The purpose of this exercise is to acquaint students with various services provided by an academic library is presented. The exercise can be used in elementary and advanced psychology courses and is designed to teach students how to use new library technology and to sharpen such basic but underutilized skills as using interlibrary loan, ordering dissertations, using Science Citation Index, and finding information about graduate programs, grants, and fellowships.


The Use of Correspondence in the Classroom

An exercise is described in which students write to eminent psychologists in order to increase their understanding of the field. Students find the activity both creative and engaging, and instructors find that the exercise can accomplish multiple learning objectives. Described below are two different classroom tested letter writing exercises in addition to a number of variations on the basic theme. The exercise can be effectively adapted for use with students at all academic levels: from introductory psychology students to graduate students.



Using Pet Stores to Increase the Classroom Study of Animal Behavior

A program is described that uses pet stores to provide training in the study of animal behavior. Pet stores have a number of advantages for student research. First, pet stores carry a range of species suitable for comparative investigations. Second, pet stores are ideal for ethological studies of various species including humans. Third, pet stores do not drain departmental resources. The use of pet stores to provide animal behavior experiences for students is illustrated with two project


Classically Conditioning Earthworms

The purpose of this exercise is to show the steps involved in classical conditioning of earthworms with a CS of rose oil followed by a US of butanol . For detailed instructions see Abramson et al. Classical-conditioning demonstrations for elementary and advanced courses (Teaching of Psychology, 23, 26-30).

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