Participants at the psychology fair. Picture
by Mayukh Sengupta
Can we rely on our memory? Is our personality Type A or B? Are we morning people or do we work better after the sun goes down? Such questions and more about the complexities of the mind were answered with the help of tests and experiments at Fairvoyance, the first psychology fair hosted by Mind Frames, the psychology club of La Martiniere for Girls.
Armed with equipment and knowledge, the students conducted a host of experiments on the visitors and explained what the tests proved about the human mind. While one experiment explained ways to improve short-term memory, another got the guests thinking about memory associations.
“The method of chunking can be used to improve short-term memory. If we are given a list of words with little or no association, we are unlikely to remember them. But if we put the words under groups and then read them, the recall value is more. This method is of great use for students,” explained Hashi Bajaj, Class VII.
Some experiments were fun to do, but the rubber-hand experiment was rather scary. For this one, the participant had to put his/her hand inside a box closed from the top. At the other end of the box, one of the students was rubbing the hand. In a similar fashion, another student was rubbing a rubber hand placed right next to the box. The participant was told to concentrate hard on the rubber hand and soon, he/she started feeling sensations on it.
Suddenly, one of the students brought out a big pair of scissors and stabbed the rubber hand. An instant reaction from the participant was a loud scream. The explanation: The brain is linked to the rubber hand. “This experiment is all about manipulating the human body, better known as body ownership,” explained Titash Reza, Class XII.
Claudette Correia, the teacher-coordinator of the psychology club, was proud of her girls. “They did everything on their own. Many visitors were surprised when they saw girls as young as 11 years participating in the fair. I was impressed at the confidence with which they interacted with the audience,” she said.
Principal Rupkatha Sarkar took part in a few experiments. “The important thing about the fair was that middle school girls took part in it. The subject is taught in the senior section but this fair proves that psychology, as a subject, pertains to every human being. They conducted the experiments in a simple yet scientific manner all on their own,” she said.