I was reading through some research publications of University of Minnesota's C. Shawn Green [website] and I found some interesting research on video games. His research on video games shows that video games are capable of "improving performance on tests of low-level vision, visual attention, short-term memory, and general fluid intelligence." This research was done using fast paced action games that require a high amount of attention. The main idea is that these fast paced action games provide a highly stimulating environment in which individuals can improve their decision making skills.
 
now excuse me as I go play some cs:go - "you run faster with a knife"

Gamers vs Non-Gamers
1. Better, faster responses in multiple target test.
2. Better resolution of attention (less crowding).
3. Can track more objects in multiple object tracking.

So there you have it video games can actually be helpful, just don't play too much lol.

Classical Conditioning: Super Bowl 2012 Ads

psychpost | 2/07/2012 02:23:00 PM | 8 Comments
This post will be a continuation of my first post "Classical Conditioning in Marketing" which can be found here: Classical Conditioning in Marketing.

Classical Conditioning, this is often the first example of learning and Psychology many students run into.
For those who are not familiar with the idea of Classical Conditioning, here is a very brief summary. First we have an unconditioned stimulus, one that produces a response. We pair that unconditional stimulus with a Neutral stimulus, one that does not normally produce a response. After many pairings the Neutral stimulus is presented alone and may elicit the response that the unconditional stimulus produces. Once this occurs, the Neutral stimulus is now known as the Conditioned stimulus.

The use of Classical Conditioning in advertising and marketing may not be as obvious as the dog and food example, but the same principles apply. Advertisers will display their product (the Neutral stimulus) and will try to associate it with some sort of feeling or emotion (the unconditioned stimulus). I will be highlighting several examples of classical conditioning using the advertisements of the 2012 Super Bowl which aired recently.

Biological Psychology Outline

psychpost | 2/03/2012 07:05:00 AM | 4 Comments
Neurons, of great interest to Biological Psychology.

Biological Psychology is the study of physiological, evolutionary, and developmental mechanisms of behavior and experience. The goal of Biological Psychology is relate the field of Biology with the issues of Psychology.

Just as there are many different branches of Psychology such as Cognitive, Social, and Developmental there are many different levels of Biological Psychology which include:
Physiological: The study of the neural underpinnings of behavior and experience.
Ontogenetic: The study of how a structure or behavior develops.
Functional: The study of why a structure or behaior evolved.
Evolutionary: The study of relating a structure or behavior across a species.
Note: The term 'structure' in this context most often refers to neural structures but can include any body structure (muscles, glands, organs).

To illustrate these levels more clearly I will use the example of Critical Thinking and Problem Solving. Psychologists interested in the Physiological level will study bran regions associated with Critical Thinking such as the frontal cortex and prefrontal cortex. They will study neuron activity and identify mechanism that allow Critical Thinking to occur. On the other hand, those interested in the Functional level will study the purpose and usefulness that Critical Thinking provides to an organism.