• Yena Kim

As we all know, psychology is the scientifc study of behavior and the mind. Psychology is a field that is comprised of many parts, but some of the notable ones include neuroscience and the biological bases of behavior. These areas often have terms and ideas that can quickly get confusing and leave many people feel discouraged.

So if you are a budding scientist who has a special talent for explaing difficult such concepts or theories in unique ways, then we have some news for you.

On Monday, September 14, 2015, the world's first Breakthrough Junior Challenge was announced online. This one-of-a-kind challenge was created by Khan Academy and the Breakthrough Prizes, which is an organization that annually awards leading scientists for their innovative projects.

This is an international competition that any student between the ages of 13 to 18 can enter for a chance to win some mind-blowing prizes. For starters, the grand prize winner gets a... $250,000 college scholarship. The teacher who inspired the winner's project idea also receives $50,000, and the winner's school is awarded a brand new $100,000 science lab for all of the students to enjoy.

What do you have to do in order to win all of these goodies you ask?

All you have to do is to create an original video (of up to 10 minutes) explaining an important, yet complex, concept or theory that only fall under the fields of mathematics, life sciences, or physics.

Now, don't panic. There is a good ol' rubric for contestants to use. Videos have to meet four criteria:

  1. Engagement - Did you effectively capture your audience's attention and leave people wanting more from YOU?

  2. Illumination - Do you provide a clear explanation of your challenging topic?

  3. Difficulty - Did you step out from your elementary-level comfort zone and pick a complex concept?

  4. Creativity - Did you create a video that ultimately sets the standard for how all future educational videos should be made?

Sounds doable but you have less than a month to enter because the contest will accept submissions until 11:59 PM (EST) on October 7, 2015. The lucky winner will also have his or her video broadcasted on national television.

Time to start crackin' on some ideas because things are about to get competitive.

#yenakim #breakthroughjuniorchallenge #contest #mathematics #lifesciences #physics #khanacademy

  • Abby Flyer

Updated: Jan 5, 2020


It feels like forever ago since that awkward first day of class, when you were just getting to know everyone. Now, after only two months, you find yourself head-over-heels for one of your classmates. You’re not sure what it is, but every time you see her, a mixtape of silly love songs starts playing in your head in a limitless loop. There’s only so many times that you can hum the chorus of “Accidentally in Love” and tap out the beat to “What I Like About You” before you have to ask yourself what’s going on!

Okay, so obviously you’re experiencing attraction towards your classmate. But what causes attraction to occur between two people? Psychology offers a recipe with three key ingredients: proximity, physical attractiveness, and similarity.

Proximity is just simply being in the same place as someone for large amounts of time. Proximity stimulates attraction through the mere exposure effect. Basically, this fancy phrase means that the more we spend time with people or things, the more we like them. Have you ever been iffy about a shirt but ended up loving it after wearing it a few times? The same thing can happen with people. One reason you’ve begun to develop an attraction towards your classmate is just because you see her in school for six hours every day.

Though a lot of people don’t want to seem “shallow,” it’s a proven fact that physical attractiveness plays a key role in attraction. First impressions are more often than not based on physical appearance, so it doesn’t hurt that you noticed on the first day that your classmate was pretty cute. Physically attractive people are also judged to be more successful and happier through the halo effect: people see one good quality (like appearance) in a person and assume that that person possesses a number of other good qualities as well.

Finally, despite the old adage “opposites attract,” it’s been shown that similarity increases attraction. When people share interests and beliefs, it gives them common ground for conversation. While you don’t want to be with someone who’s a mirror image of you, you don’t want someone who disagrees with you on everything and never wants to partake in your favorite activities with you. It’s no wonder that you found yourself falling for her even harder when she told you that she, too, listens to Paramore and watches Game of Thrones.

So keep singing those silly love songs! For all you know, she might be wondering the same thing and humming the same tunes about you.

#abbyflyer #study #attraction #proximity #mereexposureeffect #haloeffect #similarity

  • Yena Kim

Updated: Jan 5, 2020


You're sitting in class, but your teacher suddenly tells one half of the students to wear this ugly, stinky sweater for an entire month while the other half doesn't have to. Unsurprisingly, you turn out to be sitting with the unlucky kids. In hopes of not being fatally humiliated by your peers, you ask your teacher for the purpose of this "exercise." Your teacher gives you a smile and says that it's all for her research. Anyone who refuses to participate will be given a failing grade. Ouch!

There's no doubt that something about your teacher's strange study is a wee bit off. Do you know what the best kind of research design is? An ethical kind.

The American Psychological Association, also known as the APA, is the nation's largest organization of psychologists. They established ethical guidelines for respecting the worth of humans and animals in research. Before collecting any data, researchers are required to propose their study to the institutional review board (IRB), which ultimates give you the green light before doing anything.

Here are some things you should do to make sure your research design doesn't cause too much harm:

1. Don't force people to do things they don't want to do.

Some may not have a problem with wearing an ugly sweater all day, but participation should be voluntary if you don't want people to be grumpy.

2. Informed consent is key.

Before making any kind of decision, it's best to know what you're getting yourself into. "Tricking" participants is possible, but it can't be too extreme. Participants should give their consent after a decent rundown on the study's procedure and goal.

3. Protect your participants' privacy.

Identities and actions of your participants should be protected at all times. Anonymity is when you do not collect any information that may be tracked back to a particular person (e.g., names, phone numbers, email addresses).

Sometimes, a researcher may need to obtain this kind of information for certain studies, such as interviews. Confidentiality must be kept by not sharing personal information after collecting it.

Anonymity is when you don't collect, and confidentiality is when you don't share.

4. Don't put people at risk.

Thinking about asking your participants to violently chase each other around the school for two hours straight? Well, think again. Temporary discomfort is normally okay, but you want to avoid giving any long-term mental or physical harm.

5. Share the truth.

Debriefing is when you explain the real purpose of your study and your results to your participants after completion. A thorough debriefing is especially important if your study involves deception.

#yenakim #research #study #methods