When you tell someone that you're taking, teaching, or practicing psychology, you're likely to get the reaction that "it's all common sense." However, having taught introductory psychology for over 30 years, I've accumulated an armamentarium of facts to teach students that challenge this myth about psychology's knowledge base.
See if you can "psych" out these psych facts yourself:*
1. Freud initially only sold 700 copies of the Interpretation of Dreams.
3. Maslow's study of 3000 college students found that none met the criteria for self-actualization.
4. Skinner began his work on pigeons in working on a missile detection system during World War II.
5. Most people experience déjà vu about a conversation or a dream.
10. Over 50% of the U.S. population believes in psychic phenomena.
17. Rorschach's nickname as a child was "inkblot"
19. Alfred Binet, inventor of first intelligence test, was trained as a lawyer.
20. Cats have almost 2X the number of neurons in their cortex than dogs.
23. Getting paid for doing something you like can make you less creative.
24. Smiling can make you feel happier.
25. Negative reinforcement works better than punishment as a disciplinary measure.
The next time you hear the "psychology=common sense" response, you'll have a great comeback!
*All of these are true.
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If you'd like to test your psychology knowledge, you can take this Jeopardy! Psychology Trivia quiz.
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Copyright Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D. 2011