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Akron Area Students Enlightened by Exhibits at Psychology Center

Mar 17, 2015

Late in 2014, Akron Area Campus instructor Stephanie Cameron took her Psychology and Critical Thinking classes to visit the nearby Cummings Center for the History of Psychology. The Cummings Center maintains several exhibits on the history of psychology, including exhibits on topics and experiments featured in the students’ textbooks.

Radu Spinant and Marshall Ruf particularly enjoyed the interactive exhibits. They participated in an experiment together called “Pattern Talk,” where one partner, the talker, creates a pattern with simple colored shapes and must describe the pattern to the other partner, the listener, who then attempts to recreate the pattern. Only the talker can talk, and neither partner may see the other’s work until the task is over. Radu and Marshall performed the experiment twice. Of the first attempt, Radu said, “It was horrifying; it didn’t look anything like it. I had things on the wrong side.” The second attempt went much more smoothly. Radu and Marshall both noted the implications of the experiment for good communication. “You have to be as clear as you possibly can; each person has to understand the terminology.” said Radu. “What you say and what other people understand is two different things,” agreed Marshall.

Veatrice Smith, a student in the Critical Thinking class, commented that she enjoyed the center’s exhibits so much, she was planning to bring her kids. She was especially entranced by many of the original artifacts on display, including an immigration test once used at Ellis Island and Stanley Milgram’s shock box. “I was not expecting the actual machine to be there,” Veatrice said.

The trip was a great opportunity for the students to see and interact with the world of psychology they had previously only read about.

A- Akron Area students visited the Cummings Center for the History of Psychology. (Front row; left to right): Stephanie Cameron (instructor), Shannon Henderson, Christina Kumse, Zecharial Kendricks, Aleece Collins, Henry Brown; (back row; left to right): Candyce Thornton, Radu Spinant, Marshall Ruf, Jerry Colbert, Anton Rugley.

B- Students Radu Spinant (seated left) and Marshall Ruf (seated right) participate in the “Pattern Talk” experiment during a class trip, while student Jerry Colbert looks on.