Ep 228 (video): Did B.F. Skinner Raise His Children in a Skinner Box?

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You may have heard this rumor about B.F. Skinner raising his children in one of his (presumably oversized) “Skinner boxes”. Is there any truth to this? Related rumors: that Skinner’s daughter became mentally ill as a result of being raised in this box and that she sued her father when she became an adult. We finally find the answer to this long held belief in this fictional interview with B.F. himself (the audio is really Skinner talking).

…Ladies Home Journal ran a piece on the new crib in 1945…The title of the article, “Baby in a Box,” as well as Skinner’s use of the word “experiment” to describe the experience likely contributed to public skepticism about the device.. The image accompanying the article was similarly damaging; it showed Deborah enclosed within the crib, peering out with her face and hands pressed up against the glass. In addition, select parts of the article were reprinted in other major outlets. As a result, many readers did not get the entire story. Some began to make inferences about the nature of the crib based on the much more famous Skinner box. The air crib therefore became associated with rewards, pellets, levers, and the like. – Joyce and Faye

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Ep 225: What’s Best for Memory – Coffee or a Nap – or Both?

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You may have been heard that taking a nap or going to sleep after you learn something helps you to retain it (which is true), but you may also have heard that drinking coffee helps your memory. So which is it? How can you drink coffee AND take a nap? Well, apparently you can get the benefit of both – if you do it right. In this episode we not only learn about the so-called “students’ coffee” but we learn about the “coffee nap”. If you do it just right you can get some great memory boosts.

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Dementia: When “Living in the Moment” is Not A Good Thing

Enjoying A Fleeting Birthday Moment

Tomorrow my mother turns 94 and her physical health is amazing. I have spoken about my mother and her husband Roy (who turns 99 next Spring) on this podcast several times including this episode where I interview him since he is in the final stage of Erikson’s Eight Stages of PsychoSocial Development. Like many people her age my mother suffers from dementia which means that while her long term memory is good, her short term memory is not good at all.
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Ep 222: How To Remember Jokes

How to Remember Jokes

Mnemonic image for remembering 4 jokes: dead cat, flipping coins, toast and ice cream, twins. How many times have you wanted to remember a joke at a party but you just can’t? Well, there IS a way to remember jokes and I have got 4 jokes for you along with a mnemonic to help you remember all 4 of them. I challenge you to listen to these 4 jokes, then listen to and picture my mnemonic images. Then wait a little while and go through the mnemonic image and I guarantee you’ll remember all 4 jokes.

Remembering anything for more than a few minutes requires not only repetition, but also something else that will make the to-be-remembered thing stick in your head. That thing can be a mnemonic device. In this episode I’ll use a combination of the keyword technique, crazy images and a modified approach to the method of loci. I’ll use your body to help you remember these jokes. Let’s have some fun.

Ep 213: Leveraging Our Natural Curiosity for Learning (and for Blog and Video Clicks)

The Motivation to Learn

How do we motivate you to click online? Well, we don’t necessarily have to pay you to get you to do things (extrinsic motivation) because you’re already a curious person. We also don’t necessarily have to find things you’re already interested in (intrinsic motivation) we just have to find things that are naturally interesting to all of us to get you excited about learning or interested in clicking on a link. How does our attraction to puzzles, questions, and unsolved mysteries get used to get us to click on videos or blog posts? And how can it be used to get students to want to learn (motivation to learn)? You’ll find out that there are ways to get students excited about learning without having to pay them and there are ways to attract people to your content by tapping into their natural curiosity. Just don’t overuse it (watch out UpWorthy) and don’t fail to deliver! Hopefully this episode will deliver on introducing you to some new ideas to help you motivate others. [Read more…]

Ep 191: What Was B. F. Skinner Really Like?

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Would you be surprised to learn that B.F. Skinner was a very likable guy and that you may actually be very much in agreement with his ideas? Many people who study psychology have a negative impression of Skinner. Well, I’m about to challenge those impressions by presenting a side of Skinner you probably haven’t been exposed to. In these sound bytes you’ll hear his ideas about learning to play music, about discovery, having fun and becoming the most that you can be.
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Ep 182: Gamification – An Example of How To Do It

Maybe you’ve heard of gamification, but how do you do it exactly? How do you use game principles to increase people’s motivation when they are doing everyday ordinary activities? Find out in this episode of The Psych Files when I show you how I would gamify an ordinary uHaul drive. Listen as I describe “uWin!”. I’ll first describe some gamification ideas and then show you how I’d put them to work in this rather ordinary truck driving situation. I’ll think you’ll have fun.
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Ep 158: Tired of Low Grades? 5 Ways to Raise Your Test Scores

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Student Studying

Don’t be frustrated with low grades. If you want to know how to study for exams and get good grades then this is the episode for you.

I’ve got 5 techniques that will help you get better grades, develop effective study skills, and I’ll give you one very important warning about something you may be doing that you have to stop! Find out how to improve your college study skills. [Read more…]

Ep 152: How Do You Change Your Behavior? Interview with Scott Milford

Behavior Modification

How does Behavior Modification work? Find out in this episode as I interview Scott Milford, author of the Behavior and Motivation website. If you’re about how to apply Psychology to everyday life then this is the guy to show you how he does it. In this episode we talk about how to get kids to practice the piano, but you’ll quickly see how this approach could be applied to all kinds of other life challenges. Scott developed his approach over many years of working with young people both at the piano and with at-risk adolescents in school. See how Psychology can be put to work!
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Episode 128: Do Brain Training Games Work?

Do Brain Training Games Work?
Do Brain Training Games Work?

Do Brain Training Games Work?

You’ve probably heard about these Brain Training games. While there is some evidence that such games can have positive effects (Brain training for babies actually works (short term, at least), do they really help you to keep your mind sharp? Will they prevent cognitive decline as you get older or will they slow the effects of alzheimer’s disease? In this episode I review some recent studies on the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of these popular games.

Brain Games Research