Hornets Apply Skills to AP Psychology Project

By Michelle Kapusta ’19 and Tiffany Fu ’19

Students enrolled in the AP Psychology course this year are in the process of completing the yearly required project after the AP exam.

Mrs. Gloria Aklipi, the AP Psychology teacher, gave out a rubric and guidelines to her classes two days after the students completed their exam.

“I wanted students to take what they learned in psychology and either apply it to research or just go beyond what we learned in class,” said Mrs. Aklipi. “Let the students pick something that interests them.”

Many of the students were excited to complete a project that they do not have a chance to do in other classes, such as participating in experiments.

“For this project, we were supposed to choose a topic that we either did not go over because it was not a part of the AP curriculum or we did not focus too much on because it was not a major topic to know for the exam,” said Alexis Disiervi ’19.

The in-class presentations started on May 21 and will continue until the semester’s last day of classes.

“In addition to creating a verbal presentation that lasts between five to fifteen minutes, depending on how many people are in the group, we were also supposed to make a PowerPoint slideshow that showed everything we discussed in our presentations,” said Sammy Zhu ’18.

Students in the course chose to create presentations that discussed topics such as autism, sleep disorders, depression, factors affecting decision making, natural human sleep patterns, conformity, drug use, etc. They are able to apply the concepts they learned from in class and textbooks into projects. Many students aren’t doing their typical presentation with PowerPoint but are using social experiments to prove concepts and effects.

Ariana Barrantes ’18  applied the concept of the “bystander effect” in an experiment demonstrated in the annex staircase. The bystander effect is where a person is less likely to help in an emergency situation where a third party is also present. When there is a larger crowd, the individual is less likely to take actions to help the victim. Barrantes pretended to throw herself down the stairs, acting as if she was in pain, when there was either a group of people or just a single individual. She was trying to see in which situation they were more likely to offer help.

Barrantes said, “Our results showed us exactly what we were looking for. Conformity is real and is just like we imagined it. People settle and act a given way to conform with society. Whether it was by looking at the ceiling pointlessly or witnessing someone falling down the stairs, seeing Midwood students react according to the presence of other students was fascinating and by far my favorite part of the experiment.”

Psychology gives people a fun insight into why people behave a certain way in front of other people, even without noticing. Students are able to observe people mimic others unconsciously and how a line is drawn between curiosity and societal rules.

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