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Homework 1

Watch the following TED Talk by Robert Sapolsky on the “Uniqueness of Humans” (skip to the 5:00 minute mark) and write a 1 – 1 1/2 page paper (not including the heading – name, date, course title, etc) on whether you think humans are truly unique in the animal kingdom. Justify your reasoning by using 2 or 3 examples from the talk (be specific in describing your example).

Homework #2 Read the following article from Scientific American on Confirmation Bias and our tendancy to look for patterns. In 1-1 1/2 pages, first summarize the article and then state your position on whether you think a “Winning Streak” is scientifically valid (in other words, are “hot streaks” in basketball real or not? Could it be a form of confirmation bias? Justify your answer.
Homework #3 Attached Files:

Your first Lab Assignment is to do the Mirror Drawing test that we discussed in class on Monday. This was the test that assessed procedural memory on Henry Molaison. See the attached instructions on how to do the test. The assignment will take three consecutive days to complete,so be sure to plan your work accordingly (do not wait to the last minute). Make sure you answer the three questions I ask at the end of the instructions document. Due date is October 22 by midnight.

Mirror Drawing Task

In this experiment, you will conduct the mirror drawing task to directly assess your procedural memory. The experiment will take place over three consecutive weeks. Normally, this experiment requires a mirror that can stand on a table on its own, as well as a flat rigid surface at least as big as an 8.5 x 11 in piece of paper. However, you will be able to do this experiment at home, using an online version of the mirror drawing task. First, go to the following website:

1. This is the online version of the mirror drawing test. Follow the instructions and choose a relatively difficult shape to trace. Don’t do the “easy” one like the square but don’t pick a shape that is too complex. Make sure you note which shape you used and stick with the same shape for the entire duration of the experiment.

2. Begin your trial. The first attempt is the “regular” test (not reversed) and the second is the “mirrored” version. You will NOT report the “regular” test version. Use your mouse (or finger if you have a touch screen) to trace the outline of the shape you chose. Remember to stay within the two lines! Once you finish, the program automatically records the time it took you to complete both of the mazes. Next count the number of errors you made, which is operationally defined as the number of times you went “out of bounds” from inside of the two lines. Record that as well. If you have a lab notebook, use it to keep your data. If not, use a sheet of paper and keep a good record of your data.

3. Wait five minutes between trials (this is also called the “intertrial interval” or ITI), and try it again for an additional 4 times, each with a five-minute ITI. Thus, you should have
a total of FIVE trials per day. Repeat this for TWO MORE CONSECUTIVE DAYS. Now you should have three days of data, with five data points on each day.

4. After you complete testing for all three days, calculate the average time and errors across each of the three days one for the “regular” version of the maze and one for the “mirrored” version. This will be your Table 1 and Table 2.

Sample Tables:

Table 1. Number of Errors: “Mirrored” (Days 1-3) Trial # Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 1 56 45 32 2 51 41 30 3 36 39 26 4 29 28 24 5 29 25 16 Averages 40.2 35.6 25.6

Table 2: Time to Complete Maze: “Mirrored” (Days 1-3) Trial # Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 1 232 209 171 2 189 188 145

3 199 167 149 4 168 149 120 5 182 132 88 Averages 192 169 134.6

Reported in seconds (s)

After you complete the experiment, answer the following questions: 1. Did the total numbers of errors go down across the three days? What about time? Did you get faster? 2. What do you think will happen when you try this again in a month? 3 months? One year? 3. How did the regular version of the maze compare with the mirrored version? Which one was easier?

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