Steven M. Specht , Ph.D.
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Psychology Department

Key to Home Page images

A. The Greek letter, psi, is often used as a symbol for psychology. Blue and orange are the Utica College colors.

B. Institute of Psychology at the University of Leipzig in Germany. The first laboratory in psychology was established here in 1879 by Wilhelm Wundt. Shortly thereafter the first doctorates in psychology were awarded. The original building was demolished in a misguided East German urban campus renewal effort. Copyright © Thomas G. Brown, used with permission.

A. The "mirror test" is often used as an initial measure of whether a "self-concept" has developed. Does the child see herself or a neighbor when she looks at the reflection in the mirror? At least her neighbor doesn't have any more toys than she does. Photo is in the public domain.

B. Harry Harlow (not pictured) used baby rhesus monkeys to study the effects of early isolation on the development of attachment. Known as the "surrogate mother" studies. They preferred the soft, cloth-covered "mother" (contact comfort) over the wire mesh "mother" who provided nourishment.

A. The human brain seen from above. Forehead and frontal cortex are toward the top; parietal lobes are toward the bottom. A few million years of evolution and nearly 12 billion neurons makes the cortex a pretty special place. Unfortunately, you're losing about 10,000 neurons a day, but cheer up - at that rate it'll take a million days or so to lose them all.

B. French philosopher-mathematician René Descartes (1596-1650) and the now unavoidable Cartesian coordinates of scientific psychology. Prior to René's brainstorm (supposedly inspired by a fly buzzing about his room), mathematics was of little use to science. So, just where is that Z-axis?

A. Koko, a female lowland gorilla trained by Dr. Penny Patterson to use sign language, has developed a vocabulary of more than 1,000 "words" over the last 25 years. Shown here with her pet kitten, Smoky. Koko named her first kitten "Ball," although why she named her Ball has remained an unresolved question for over two decades. Copyright © Roy Cohn, The Gorilla Foundation, used with permission.

B. It's doubtful that Aristotle thought the eyes were windows to the psyche since he didn't think the brain was very important - as body parts go.

A. The Normal Distribution. Developed mathematically in 1733 by DeMoivre, but his paper was not "discovered" until 1924 by Karl Pearson. Often called the Gaussian distribution, the term bell-shaped curve is often used in everyday jargon. If you really understand it, you're not normal at all; you're a couple of standard deviations above the mean. According to social psychologists, most people think they are above average - which means they don't understand it at all. Half of us are above average; half of us aren't.

B.The Zöllner Illusion (c. 1860). The long lines are, in fact, parallel! You do see them as parallel, don't you?! Failure to do so is a sign of deep-seated normalcy.

A. Known as an impossible figure. In such cases we tend to see, as real, objects that are actually impossible to construct in the real world. Much of the art of M.C. Escher depicts such impossible objects on a grander scale.

B. Zener cards. Developed by J.B. Rhine, a full deck of 5 cards of each symbol is used to study extra-sensory perception, e.g. telepathy or clairvoyance. Most psychologists are skeptical, hence the term parapsychology.

A. The Scream (or The Cry), 1893, by Norwegian painter and printmaker Edvard Munch (1863-1944). Considered to be a symbolic representaion of isolation and fear and probably someone's very real need for an extended course of systematic desensitization. Image is in the public domain; painting is in the Nasjonalgalleriet (National Gallery), Oslo.

B. Inkblot. Such ambiguous images are sometimes used in personality testing. The testees are assumed to "project" aspects of their personalities in their interpretations of the image. What do you see in it? For example, do you see the school bus filled with M&Ms and parked on the front lawn of the White House? Hmmm.

A. The business end of Freud's couch. Pillows are for the client's head; Freud's chair is behind and out of sight of the client. Currently located in London where he died a little over a year after fleeing the Nazis in Vienna. Note a portion of his collection of antiquities on the shelf. Copyright © Thomas G. Brown, used with permission.

B. Smiley - icon of late 20th century pop culture. "Have a nice day." Attributed by some to multimillionaire and pop icon Forrest Gump. Replaced by the emoticon part way through the internet revolution of the 1990's. :-)

A. The foot end of Freud's couch. Generally considered less important than the other end - although Dr. Scholl may disagree. Copyright © Thomas G. Brown, used with permission.

B. Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) and his cigar, which sometimes IS just a cigar. Portrait taken in 1921, over a quarter century after he began developing his amazing psychodynamics and 18 years before he died from cancer of the jaw (habitual cigar smoking - can you say fixation?) and addiction to cocaine (pain reliever). Portrait is now in the public domain.

A. Mazes were frequently used to study the learning process in animals during the first half of the last century. They are still used in some laboratories. It's assumed that the earliest research mazes were based on the human-sized maze in the palace gardens at Hampton Court outside of London. You might have bumped into Henry VIII there, but it would have been ill-advised.

B. A simple test of your ability to follow instructions. Part II tests whether you can return to the previous page.

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