By Kelly Schoessling
Staff Writer
Walking down the hall towards the field house, there’s usually not too much that catches your eye. Sometimes you glance at the pictures that line up down the hall, other times you look into the windows of the fitness center to take a glance at the equipment.
Something about walking down the hallway towards the field house was different on April 5, though.
When students walked by Gym one and Gym two they were bombarded with the booths, activities and participants of the annual Psych Fair.
The Psych Fair is an event ran by students who take Psychology as a course. Those students are required to team up and create an original idea for an experiment to execute.
One idea that proved to be quite creative was an experiment led by senior Linda Zalewski called, “What’s that smell?”
The experiment begins by having test takers sniff ten different covered boxes all containing specific scents.
Subjects of the experiment were then asked to write their guesses of the smells on a provided sheet of paper.
After this step, Zalewski and her partner provided a sheet of ten items to choose from to write down a second guess.
What Zalewski did not reveal was the true motive behind the test. The sheet provided for the second guess did not have the real sources of the scents on it.
“We wanted to see if [testers] would change [their] guess the second time. We wanted to prove that your brain would change answers.”
Another experiment called “Go into the Light!” also dealt with same subject. One of the conductors of the experiment, senior Vito Aldakka, explained that they’re testing how conformity affects our brains. Conformity is the tendency to change your mind.
The experiment began by taking the volunteers of the experiment into a pitch black closet and having them stare directly at a single light in the room for a minute. After they let the volunteers back out into the gym, the leaders asked and recorded whether the subjects thought the light for moving or stationary.
A different experiment called “In the Face!” tested the idea of positive and negative reinforcement. The subjects were asked to make three baskets in a basketball hoop.
The first two shots weren’t given any pressure from the leaders, but the third shot provided more stress. If the basket was made, the tester was given candy as a positive reinforcement. If the basket did not go in, the tester was sprayed in the face with water as a negative reinforcement.
Though students in Psychology had to participate in the fair, students in AP Psychology did not. Instead they were given the job to judge the good experiments from the bad.
Senior Danielle Siwik, an AP Psychology student, focused her judging on the information the conductors gave the testing students.
“The information is probably the most important, and it needs to be right,” Siwik said.
Senior Bridget Shane focused on how the information was presented. “They can’t just be like ‘here it is on the board’. They have to explain it.”
Senior Katie Formanski believes that how the experiment is displayed also plays an important role in the judging process. “It has to be eye catching,” said Formanski.
None the less, students at the fair found themselves learning while they played along with the fun experiments their classmates created.
“It’s something different,” Siwik said.