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

David P. Dillard



Date: Thu, 29 Jun 2017 14:57:45 -0500
From: Jon Mueller <jfmueller@...>
To: socialpsy-teach@...
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 or 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

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
(jfmueller@...) 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


Copyright, Jon Mueller 2001-2017.

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Jon Mueller

Professor of Psychology

North Central College

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Naperville, IL 60540

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