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Experiencing Psychological Processes and Understanding their Implications
Unformatted Document Text:  2 Much of political psychology applies psychological theories to political science questions. Often, students do not read the original research in psychology. They are then in the position of having to believe on faith that the psychological effects are real and strong enough to influence politics. The demonstrations described in this paper allow the students to experience several of the psychological findings that have been most influential in political science. Specifically, through the Stroop task students experience having different mental processes interfering with each other. The accessibility task demonstrates how the operation of people’s memory can be influenced by external cues. Finally, Kahnemann and Tversky’s flu outbreak shows students how probability and risk alter the way people make decisions. The rest of this paper explains how to give students these experiences and some of the theoretical implications of the demonstrations. Interference: The Stroop Task The Stroop task requires 2 lists of words. In the first list (see the left column of Appendix A), the color of the words matches the word, so red is in red ink, black is in black ink, yellow is in yellow ink and so on. On the second list (see the right column of Appendix A), the names and colors do not match. The lists can be arranged side by side or on opposite sides of a single piece of paper. 1 The experience begins by passing out the papers and asking the students not to look at them yet. The students are then asked to go down the list from top to bottom and say as quickly as they can the color of the ink on each word. Be sure to emphasize that they need to go as quickly as they can and to say so out loud. They will be able to complete the entire list quite quickly. 1 For online classes, the Stroop task could be delivered as a pdf or using one of the internet versions of the Stroop Task. A list of online resources can be found at the Stroop task's Wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stroop_task.

Authors: Transue, John.
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2
Much of political psychology applies psychological theories to political science
questions. Often, students do not read the original research in psychology. They are
then in the position of having to believe on faith that the psychological effects are real
and strong enough to influence politics. The demonstrations described in this paper
allow the students to experience several of the psychological findings that have been
most influential in political science.
Specifically, through the Stroop task students experience having different mental
processes interfering with each other. The accessibility task demonstrates how the
operation of people’s memory can be influenced by external cues. Finally, Kahnemann
and Tversky’s flu outbreak shows students how probability and risk alter the way
people make decisions. The rest of this paper explains how to give students these
experiences and some of the theoretical implications of the demonstrations.
Interference: The Stroop Task
The Stroop task requires 2 lists of words. In the first list (see the left column of
Appendix A), the color of the words matches the word, so red is in red ink, black is in
black ink, yellow is in yellow ink and so on. On the second list (see the right column of
Appendix A), the names and colors do not match. The lists can be arranged side by side
or on opposite sides of a single piece of paper.
1
The experience begins by passing out
the papers and asking the students not to look at them yet. The students are then asked
to go down the list from top to bottom and say as quickly as they can the color of the
ink on each word. Be sure to emphasize that they need to go as quickly as they can and
to say so out loud. They will be able to complete the entire list quite quickly.
1
For online classes, the Stroop task could be delivered as a pdf or using one of the internet versions of the Stroop
Task. A list of online resources can be found at the Stroop task's Wikipedia page:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stroop_task.


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