Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Things I Used to Know

Tonight I have been going through my old notebooks and papers that I wrote in undergrad and for my Master's. I came across such things as Brain and Behavior, Cognitive Neuroscience, Introduction to Clinical Psychology, Personality Psychology, and Cognitive Development. I enjoyed most of those classes and thought I learned a lot at the time. But going through these things several years later, I'm left wondering how much I actually retained. In these notebooks I found terms like "crystallized and fluid intelligence" (something I learned about last fall in my clinical coursework. I even found the terms "nomothetic" and "idiographic" -- two words I learned earlier this spring (or so I thought). It is sort of frightening to me to realize that at one point I knew things that during these past 2 years of graduate school I believed I was learning for the first time. It would have surprised me less to have this experience with notes from a year ago, because throughout grad school, I have found it harder to retain the things I learn. But in undergrad, I thought it was getting engrained a lot more solidly in my brain. Apparently, I was wrong :-p.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Another ode to the Internet.

I've been meaning to write this post for a few weeks, but I'm glad I waited because now I have even more to include in it. I must sound really redundant and completely out-of-touch when I say this for the zillionth time, but I am just constantly amazed by the internet! Here are a few reasons why:

Blue Garlic.
Last night my roommate was making dinner. She pulled the garlic lemon chicken out of the oven and was shocked to find that the garlic had turned blue! I came out to ask if I could help just at that moment. She was completely perplexed because it hadn't been blue or moldy or anything before she put it in. She told me there was nothing I could to do help unless I had answers for her. So, I went to my trusty old friend Google and typed in "garlic turning blue in the oven." Lo and behold I had several hits and got an answer right away! [It turns out there was some interaction between the acidic lemon juice and the garlic that resulted in the blueness].

I am trying to plan my trip to Europe (conference + a little traveling) and keep coming up against yet another detail just when I think I'm getting close. The other day I sent an email to the email address given on the conference website to try to book a hotel. The conference is in Germany, so I really shouldn't have been surprised to receive a response entirely in German. (I guess I assumed since the conference is all in English and they put up this email address that the hotel reservation company would also have English-speaking staff. Bad assumption.) Anyway, one quick trip to Babelfish and about two clicks of my mouse, I had the entire email translated for me!

About a month and a half ago, I started some follow-up data collection for a study on Teacher Perceptions of Aggression that I began last year. The original study looked only at kindergarten teachers and I wanted to expand my sample across the grade levels in schools around the Twin Cities. Because time was short, we wanted to find a way to recruit teachers quickly. We found out that we could get a list of principals in Minnesota from our bookstore, so we did just that. Then we sent an email to all the principals asking if they would be interested in forwarding our survey to their teachers. To be fair, they are getting compensated a nice amount of money to complete the survey, but still... we weren't expecting a great response given that it was May and a crazy time for educators. But it was minimal effort on our part. The result? 40 questionnaires returned so far! AND (here's the kicker), we received an email from a teacher in ARIZONA who was interested in participating. She said her mother is a teacher in Minnesota who participated in our study, and now she and her staff want to complete it too! We've gotten responses from at least 6 of her colleagues so far. It's incredible how word can travel around the state and teh COUNTRY so easily. It almost makes me tempted to conduct a national study on relational aggression. Almost.

I'm sure there will be more examples to come. We do, after all, live in the age of technology. But even having grown up with it as a regular part of my life, it never ceases to amaze me... and that is kind of amazing in and of itself!