Crash Course: Psychology

NekomancerNekomancer Posts: 87 ✭✭
This needs to happen, badly. Psychology is one of the most important and least understood sciences. 

About half of Americans will experience a mental disorder at some point in their lives, yet public understanding of these disorders is severely limited and littered with dangerous misconceptions.

The study of social psychology has brought about many important findings regarding how we interact with others, and knowledge of some of these findings can literally save lives.

An understanding of how the brain works on a physical level is enlightening and fascinating. To study physiological psychology is to discover how the single most complex piece of machinery in the known universe functions, and to reach a deeper understanding of the powerful engine that produces our consciousness.

There are over sixty distinct branches of psychology, and all of them have produced valuable insights into how humans work.

If such a Crash Course were to be designed, I'd suggest that the following subjects be covered:

Philip Zimbardo's Stanford Prison Experiment, and how it can be used to understand real-world situations like the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse. It also generates numerous ethical questions, including whether environment should be taken into account when determining a criminal's punishment, and whether the supervisors who create evil environments should be held responsible for the misconduct of their subordinates.

Stanley Milgram's study in obedience, and how a simple study showed the ease with which normal people can become murderers based on commands from an authority figure. This study helped us understand what happened in Nazi Germany, and gave us chilling insight on how easily people can be made to commit monstrous acts.

The Bystander Effect, and the Kitty Genovese case. Are you better off having a heart attack in a deserted alley in front of one witness, or on a crowded street surrounded by people? The answer might surprise you. Knowing how this phenomena works can save your life, or the life of another person, because you'll learn how diffusion of responsibility works and how you can break through it.

Findings on conditioning and learning, including those made by Skinner. The study of how people acquire knowledge is fascinating, and it's useful to know how conditioning works so that we can use its principles to better ourselves, and to avoid unwanted conditioning from others.

At least a two-part episode on abnormal psychology and disorders would be necessary. There are many disorders, and most are surrounded by dangerous misconceptions that it will take time to unravel them from. Schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, autism, personality disorders, depression, and Alzheimer's dementia ought to be covered at the very least, though there are many others worth including.

I would absolutely avoid serious discussion of Freud or psychoanalysis. Nothing Freud did is relevant today, and he probably did a lot more harm than good in his lifetime. Psychoanalysis is dangerous pseudoscience and is notoriously ineffective. Except for mentioning in passing in a historical context, Freud is a waste of time.

There are numerous other subjects to cover, including developmental psychology (the study of psychological changes over the lifespan of a person), personality psychology (the study of what makes people different from one another), positive psychology (a field focusing on how to make people happier and improved, rather than simply fix what's broken), and motivation (what drives us, how we prioritize desires and what causes to take action). I'd also probably include an episode on addiction, since public understanding is severely lacking despite how prolific addictions of all kinds are, and there's a great deal of interesting information on the subject to be understood.

I think this is the most important Crash Course that could be created. Psychology is an essential science, and understanding it is enlightening, empowering, and allows us to form greater empathy with people experiencing mental abnormalities. Plus it is a subject that doesn't receive nearly enough attention in the school system, at both high school and college level. I'm sure it would be a great success.
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Comments

  • I SECOND THIS. As a Psych major I would LOVE to see Crash Course Psychology, especially since Biology does tie in with it frequently.
  • wessellswessells Posts: 69
    I would really like this for my study next year :D
  • DunyaDunya Posts: 63
    i love psychology. this year i'll be finishing units 1 and 2 and next year i'll finish off 3 and 4. it would be great to see john's take on it.
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  • CombustibleLemonsCombustibleLemons Posts: 68 ✭✭
    jumping Jesus on a pogo stick that would be AMAZING if this was a thing
  • YES! Full support here :) I've always wanted to go to UCL to study Psychology and this would be amazing help :)
    Eva, 14, Ireland ^.^
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  • janitoriajanitoria Posts: 12
    Yes please! Psychology is something I'm very interested in and I would love to see a CC about it.
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  • cheezopathcheezopath Posts: 404 ✭✭✭
    +1
    "I kill with my heart, PIZZZAA."
  • whatallisonwhatallison Posts: 4
    This would be great! I love Psychology (specifically Social Psychology) and I think that other people being aware of the some the things we do makes us better. When we are conscious that we are making the Fundamental Attribution Error, we are more able to correct it. :)

    My only question is whether it would be Hank or John presenting. Psychology is certainly a science (thus placing it in Hank's domain), but it's a "soft science" and, depending on the focus, much closer to a humanity. Would either of them even be interested in presenting it?


  • PlumPlum Posts: 10
    That would be excellent! Social psychology in particular is fascinating. Not sure though that autism and Alzheimer's would belong in there, since they're neurodevelopmental/neurodegenerative disorders, but that just means we could also have a neurology-themed crash course :D
  • writtenwisheswrittenwishes College Dorm RoomPosts: 3,078 ✭✭✭
    This is an awesome idea! I'm thinking of becoming a psychology major at college, so this would be perfect for what I'm interested in! Besides social psychology, maybe there could be a video or two on Child Psychology? That's one area I'm really interested in studying :D
  • runner1399runner1399 Posts: 4
    I absolutely agree!! As a Psychology major, I constantly find that people in the "hard sciences" look down on Psychology, but I think it's vitally important to a variety of branches of science, particularly medicine! I also find that people frequently don't understand mental disorders, which leads to untrue stereotypes and stigmas about these disorders. A Crash Course series on Psychology could help bring about change in how people suffering from mental disorders are treated by society. 

    I don't totally agree with the bit about Freud though-yes, he's a bit of a crackpot and his ideas have been pretty much cast out, but I think it's important to understand how he influenced a lot of early psychology. I also think it's important to look at how the time period he lived in affected his ideas.  
  • ReveuseCReveuseC Posts: 6
    @runner1399
    I never had thought that psychology was looked down on. But I tend to stay clear of most negative nellies.

    But as it's said through these posts here, it's a very important science. After all, society is built on communication. Learning or having at least a basic understand of some psychology can help one's openness to communication so much. When there's openness for communication, there's the sharing of ideas and the passing of knowledge. Things that are so key to our world.
    Psychology, to me, is the science of understanding how we communicate in various manners.

  • Psychology is one subject that I have absolutely no background in. I would greatly benefit from a crash course in psychology, as there are so many things about the subject that I have yet to learn. 
    If Hank or John don't have the expertise in psychology needed to create a crash course, then I am sure someone can help out. We just may need another host, thats all. 
  • writtenwisheswrittenwishes College Dorm RoomPosts: 3,078 ✭✭✭
    Maybe we could have a guest host, with John or Hank (or both!) coming in from time to time! :)
  • ZachJPayneZachJPayne Carson City, NVPosts: 35
    I would love to see this, sometime. This would be amazing. I took a very crappy online Ab Psych course at the local community college (I ended up dropping out anyway), but not for a lack of interest on the subject material! This would be awesome. I finally understand Schroedinger's cat, can't wait to understand more baffling stuff!
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  • writtenwisheswrittenwishes College Dorm RoomPosts: 3,078 ✭✭✭
    Maybe they could do each lesson on a specific topic (the brain, behavior, conditioning, etc)!
  • NekomancerNekomancer Posts: 87 ✭✭
    I'm glad to see so much interest in the subject! For anyone interested in a full-length course, here's a link to Yale Online's introduction to psychology, which is very well-taught:

    Having another person host seems like a good idea, if only because it would be cool to see Crash Course branch out and become a larger thing. There are many subjects that would be appropriate for the format, and John & Hank can only cover so much. 

    Psychology seems ideal for the Crash Course format, because there are so many specific sub-subjects that could be reduced to short, easily digestible videos while still potentially making an enormous impact on the viewer. A little knowledge of psychology can go a very long way.
  • musickitten101musickitten101 TokyoPosts: 481 ✭✭✭
    I'm interested in learning psychology. If CC psychology does happen, my life will be filled with more awesome. 
  • writtenwisheswrittenwishes College Dorm RoomPosts: 3,078 ✭✭✭
    @musickitten101, me too! I'm thinking about majoring in psychology, so it would be really interesting to hear their opinions and views about it :)
  • HastingsHastings Posts: 24
    Yes! A crash course on psychology would be great!

    I would love to see neuro-psychology covered in more depth than my current psychology class (AP in high school) does.

    While I'm going to be a physics major, I'm still deeply interested in psychology seeing as how it explains, or attempts to explain more about how and why humans do what we do.

    And I agree, the format for Crash Course could be used to expand to many different topics, and hopefully these topics could be covered by other hosts (So that John and Hank can continue doing the ones they do, while we get additional ones from other hosts).
    "Then we have found, as it seems, that the many beliefs of the many about what's fair and about the other things roll around somewhere between not-being and being purely and simply." -Plato: Republic

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  • nat_the_humannat_the_human Posts: 20
    I think Hank and John need to recruit a few more 'teachers' for crashcourse - Would be a great way for young ( and older) people in the nerdfighter community who know what their talking about to give back and start a fun new project educating the inter-webs! 
    Question is, how can we coordinate something like this?
  • Firestorm2347Firestorm2347 Long Island (NY)Posts: 14
    I think Crash Course Psychology would be a great idea. I myself am a Psych major in college and I love it. Psychology can be so interesting and there are so many interesting psychology courses out there. I personally loved abnormal child and adolescent psychology. Obviously they would need to find an expert to help with the curriculum but it would be very interesting.  :)
  • any subject under crashcourse would be great
    psychology would be especially good because the only psyc most schools get is a little unit in health class
  • gerenjiegerenjie Posts: 64 ✭✭
    It would certainly be great to see this!
  • MetabeardMetabeard Posts: 111 ✭✭

    I would also love to see this. As someone who has not formerly studied psychology, would it be reasonable to teach psychology alongside philosophy? I've read a lot of philosophy, and I think books like "The Happiness Hypothesis" resonated most, because they discussed philosophy, psychology, and evolutionary biology alongside each other. They all relate to the brain, and the how and why we think the way we do.

    "The only way out is through." -Frost
  • triskaidemaniatriskaidemania in red phosphorus deposits Posts: 3
    okay the thing with Freud. all that he ever studied is so relevant TODAY! thats why his theory of psychoanalysis, has never been dejected or denounced because it is one of the strongest links we have to how nature vs nurture made us! 

    the infant who was left unfed, uncared for, wasn't able to develop trust at that early age becomes.. orally fixated since the oral needs weren't met at that time. get it? now that kid turns up to be a smoker, a really talkative insecure person, someone who eats all the time, Orally fixated person
     how about the OCD kid? either the potty training was too rigid (anal retentive) or too lax (anal explosive)... thus it gives you an insights as to why the person is the way he is now, you can trace that back to the pivotal developmental milestones he went through 

    ""I would absolutely avoid serious discussion of Freud or psychoanalysis. Nothing Freud did is relevant today, and he probably did a lot more harm than good in his lifetime. Psychoanalysis is dangerous pseudoscience and is notoriously ineffective. Except for mentioning in passing in a historical context, Freud is a waste of time.
    Freud is like the foundation of analyzing mental disorders, relationship problems and other psychological concerns Psychoanalysis is more than what you give it credit for. thats why in theories of psychiatric disorders we trace the history of the person, we start from his/her earlier memories than we can get an insight as to which factors led to the episode or case now. it is an important factor to consider along with biochemical, psychopathologic and environmental theories 

    psychology is amazing, it is quirky fascinating, complex, mysterious and one that will never ever call freud a pseudoscience. cause then that would just mean all of psychology is pseudoscience! which is just plain idiotic
    chrisse :) 
  • ArtemisBoxArtemisBox ArizonaPosts: 86
    UH guys, Welcome to the Podcast has hank green on it for an interview and he
    confirmed filming crash course psychology.  It's coming after chemistry
  • mikaylamariemikaylamarie Posts: 19
    This is actually going to be a thing!!
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  • RolloRollo Operative 6081, MiniTrue Airstrip Three, OceaniaPosts: 1,905 ✭✭✭
    I hope we get to see Hank's "little people" - his Id, Ego and Super-ego.

    Id - Math, math, math, gimme math now!
    Ego - I think that we'd better learn math for later.
    Super-ego - Rules! Regulations! Theorems! Ah... 
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  • NekomancerNekomancer Posts: 87 ✭✭
    okay the thing with Freud. all that he ever studied is so relevant TODAY! thats why his theory of psychoanalysis, has never been dejected or denounced because it is one of the strongest links we have to how nature vs nurture made us! 

    the infant who was left unfed, uncared for, wasn't able to develop trust at that early age becomes.. orally fixated since the oral needs weren't met at that time. get it? now that kid turns up to be a smoker, a really talkative insecure person, someone who eats all the time, Orally fixated person
     how about the OCD kid? either the potty training was too rigid (anal retentive) or too lax (anal explosive)... thus it gives you an insights as to why the person is the way he is now, you can trace that back to the pivotal developmental milestones he went through 

    ""I would absolutely avoid serious discussion of Freud or psychoanalysis. Nothing Freud did is relevant today, and he probably did a lot more harm than good in his lifetime. Psychoanalysis is dangerous pseudoscience and is notoriously ineffective. Except for mentioning in passing in a historical context, Freud is a waste of time.
    Freud is like the foundation of analyzing mental disorders, relationship problems and other psychological concerns Psychoanalysis is more than what you give it credit for. thats why in theories of psychiatric disorders we trace the history of the person, we start from his/her earlier memories than we can get an insight as to which factors led to the episode or case now. it is an important factor to consider along with biochemical, psychopathologic and environmental theories 

    psychology is amazing, it is quirky fascinating, complex, mysterious and one that will never ever call freud a pseudoscience. cause then that would just mean all of psychology is pseudoscience! which is just plain idiotic
    It hasn't been formally debunked because most of Freud's claims are unfalsifiable, which is a common trait of bad science. You can't debunk Freud because his statements are so broad that, for the most part, they don't produce specific testable predictions that can either support or falsify them. Horoscopes work in the same manner.

    Many infants that are very well-cared for and properly fed end up being chatty chain-smoking binge eaters. Child neglect may increase the likelihood of certain dysfunctional traits, but definitely not to the extent that Freud would predict. Freud's framework doesn't help us understand any sort of phenomena. It provides a reasonable-sounding explanation that is totally unverified.

    Freudian psychoanalysis has embarrassing poor success rates in clinical settings. I don't have the stats in front of me right now, but it's comparable to a placebo. The problem is that using this completely unscientific method wastes time that could be spent using other, much better, scientifically-supported effective interventions. This does harm by creating an opportunity cost, the cost of not employing better techniques. It's like doing surgery with a pair of dollar store scissors instead of the proper surgical equipment (bit of an extreme metaphor, but still; the point is that it's harmful and unfair to patients to use sub-optimal procedures).

    I completely agree that psychology is amazing. It's my favorite branch of science and I think it offers a vast amount of potential to improve our quality of life while expanding our understanding of the universe. But Freudian psychology is largely scientifically invalid and unhelpful. It offers us somewhat reasonable-sounding balderdash in place of real knowledge about how the mind works. It offers us ineffective, poor-quality treatment methods when far better ones exist.

    On another note: Yay for Crash Course psychology being confirmed! Very much looking forward to this. 
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