UniServe Science News Volume 12 March 1999


Psyche: Experiments that Changed Psychology

David Neumann
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences/Graylands Hospital, The University of Western Australia

Psyche: Experiments that Changed Psychology is a multimedia CD-ROM that provides "hands on" experience for first year psychology students to some of the most famous experiments in psychology. There are 5 experiments from social psychology (incl. attitudes, personality and communication) and 11 experiments from cognitive psychology (incl. perception, attention, memory and learning). After each experiment, the student's data is compared with the real data. The experiments are supplemented by an accurate, though moderate, amount of background material, discussion of the results, references, and further questions. Vital terms are highlighted so that the student may obtain a definition with a click of a button. Psyche: Experiments that Changed Psychology could be used by students working independently at their own pace. Alternatively, the package could be used in a group setting for administering the experiments with background information and follow-up discussion supplied by the instructor. Psyche has a colourful interface that should be mastered by students with even modest computer experience. Cartoon characters also adorn the display, although some instructors may find them a little "childish" for a university setting. The fact that the "brainlinks" section begins by zooming in on a dog's head only to show a human brain inside may be disconcerting to some. Nevertheless, this brainlinks section is a highlight as it lets students perform virtual lesions to pinpoint which brain areas are relevant to each experiment (excluding social psychology). The final feature is a discussion of report writing. Though the discussion is brief, it is wonderful to see this important topic included in a package aimed at introductory psychology students. Psyche does contain some limitations. For instance, it is not possible to print out the text from each section. It is also unfortunate that a wider cross-section of experiments was not sampled as courses often include other topics, such as development and psychopathology. Nevertheless, Psyche is a quality product that has the potential to improve the quality of teaching in first year psychology.

Psyche: Experiments that Changed Psychology is available from:
Jacaranda Wiley
PO Box 1226
Milton, Qld 4064
Tel: (07) 3859 9755

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UniServe Science News Volume 12 March 1999

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