IntroPsych News

September 3 , 2013

IntroPsych News provides periodic announcements, course updates, and additional teaching resources for introductory psychology instructors at the University of Alabama.

1. University of Alabama Writing Center ( The Center staff helps students develop effective writing skills through free, one-to-one consultations. They have three locations and a number of new services, including students selecting a consultant by speciality/expertise. Workshops for students are also; details at

2. Google had an M&M problem. Here's a cool article about how environmental cues affect eating. It should be useful for the topic of learning: Google crunches data on munching in office.

3. Are you using UA Testing Services to score your exams? If so, instructions for scoring and reporting may be found here. You will also find links for exporting scores into your Blackboard Learn grade book.

4. Assisting students: With first exams coming up, you likely will encounter students in need of a candid assessment of their approach to preparing for tests. Helpful tips may be found in Gurung & McCann's (2011) APS Observer article, How should students study? Tips, advice, and pitfalls.

5. What's happening in the brains of late teens and twenty-somethings? Here's an accessible summary of the research that appeared in Scientific American. See the Neuroscience of 20-somethings...

6. Brains on Trial. This PBS series hosted by Alan Alda investigates the role of neuroscience in the criminal justice system. It is due for broadcast next week. Here is a link to the series website.

7. Multimedia resources for upcoming chapters.


Big Bang Theory-Operant conditioning (4:53). Sheldon, Penny, and Leonard illustrate reinforcement.

Classically conditioning a roommate (1:39). Introductory psychology knowledge at work!

Shaping Crash to close the kitchen door (3:04). Fast demonstration of shaping a dog.

Pavlov's dog. Classically condition an animated dog in this interactive exercise.

How smart are dogs? 15-min video from Nova Science Now. Among other examples, it shows Chaser at work. She's the border collie who knows over 1000 words.

Mirror neurons (14:00). Nova Science Now's engaging description of the basis for observational learning.


How different groups spend their day. Interactive graph and related article on how humans occupy themselves during a 24-hour period.

Mouse party. Interactive exercise investigates mechanisms and effects of commonly abused drugs.

Science of addiction. Hosted by the University of Utah, this site contains a variety of demonstrations about the influence of drugs on the brain.


"Awareness Test" (0:55). Here's a quick video that illustrates selective attention.

But did you see the gorilla? Daniel Simons' brief article on the original "Gorilla Basketball" video, attentional blindness, and a follow-up video that often catches viewers who know beforehand about the gorilla.

Color changing card trick (2:44). Selective attention demonstration.

Illusions and visual phenomena. Collected by Michael Bach.

8. Teaching resources: There are several resources on the Teaching of Psychology course website and I invite you to make use of them. Should you find additional resources that might be helpful to others, please let me know and I will post them. Resources for New Instructors contains information on assisting students and on teaching. The Multimedia Library is a compilation of videos, demos, and websites. You can find these resources by going to the Teaching of Psychology course website ( 695%20home%20page%20frameset. htm) and clicking on the desired link in the left margin. 

9. See the IntroPsych News archive for past newsletters.

I’m available to help with issues that arise in your course this semester. Please don’t hesitate to contact me.


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