ASU psych department head takes Poston Butte student questions

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By Chase Kamp

Southeast Valley Ledger

Given the rare opportunity to hear from a psychology expert, about three dozen Poston Butte psychology students gathered in the school library on Mar. 1 to hear from Dr. Art Glenberg, head of cognition, action and perception at Arizona State University’s School of Psychology.

Glenberg answered student questions pertaining to his specialty, embodied cognition, which included topics like language development, infant cognitive development and the experiences of the sight-impaired.

Glenberg said embodied cognition explores the idea that all human thinking is related to neural and bodily systems of actions, emotion and perception. “That understanding is ultimately related to how we move, see and have emotions,” he explained.

When asked about the most interesting discovery he has made in his studies, Glenberg said he particularly enjoyed an experiment that looked into the embodiment of emotion.

The study involved having women read sentences that described happy, sad and anger-inducing events, and the researchers timed the women’s’ emotional response to see how long it took for them to understand the sentences.

The women read these sentences both before and after receiving botox injections in their foreheads, which limited their ability to express anger and sadness in their faces.

“We showed that after botox, it takes them longer to understand sad and angry sentences because they couldn’t use that [forehead] muscle,” he said, illustrating that the expression of emotion is an important factor of experiencing it.

The gathering consisted of teacher Raleigh Jones’s sixth period psychology class and any other students of his that were able to attend.

Jones said he has been asking various academics, experts and professionals to speak at his classes since he began teaching psychology at the school last year.

This semester, that effort is paying off. His students have heard from a variety of presenters, like a community college body imaging teacher who discussed cat scans and a National Guard translator from Afghanistan who spoke to sociology students about Middle Eastern culture.

He also hosted a representative from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising who discussed the psychology of first impressions and body language.

On Apr. 4, Jones will welcome Sandy Venneman, a sleep researcher from the University of Houston-Victoria, over the iTV system. On Apr. 26, he will host Dr. Jenniffer Gonzalez-Mujica, a clinical psychologist in Barcelona, Spain, over Skype.

Gonzalez-Mujica worked as a clinic psychologist but now does clinical trials on new medications to treat personality disorders and mental disabilities.

“It’ll be interesting to hear from a psychologist outside of the U.S. and see how her perspective differs,” Jones said.

Getting to hear from academics, marketers, health professionals and commercial researchers illustrates the many different fields of psychology, Jones said. “I think it’s good to for them see that it’s something they run with and set a goal to further their education,” he added.

It also helps bolster their comprehension of the material. “It really helps them get it,” he said. “They know I like psychology, but to see somebody new come in that’s an expert—I think they benefit from that.”

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