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Psychology (no) Sleep Study

05 November 2015

On Friday the 30th October, all the Psychology students at BIS spent the entire night at school in the name of science.  

The Psychology Sleep Study is a series of student-lead experiments amongst the sixth form Psychology students, aiming to evaluate the effect of sleep deprivation on cognitive and physical functioning and to get practical experience at conducting psychological research. The experiments were designed by the Year 12 Psychology students in small groups prior to the experiment, which the Year 13s participated in.

The experiments included egg and spoon races across an obstacle course or carrying cups full of water upstairs to test co-ordination, moral reasoning tasks to look at decision making, catching a falling ruler to test reaction time, watching a cartoon clip to test memory, and using chop sticks to transfer beans from one pot to another to test dexterity.  This provided the researchers with sufficient insight into the negative effects of sleep deprivation on the participants, the students in charge of the studies and the teachers who gave up their Friday night to be there.  As practise for their Internal Assessments, the Year 12s are now busy writing up their reports on these studies.  

Aside from the experiments, we had a whole plethora of activities related to Psychology to keep students busy.  Physical tests early in the morning on and then again in the morning showed that students speed, stamina and balance were all reduced. The Psychology group dance which looked very professional at 11pm, looked quite disorganised by 4am!  In our Psychology balloon debate, the winning spot in the sinking balloon was given to Zimbardo, as this group managed to persuade Mr Cullen that his work into the Psychology of evil was more important that anyone else’s.

BIS HCMC Psychology (no) Sleep Study

My personal favourite was the neuroscience equipment demonstration using an EEG machine to measure neuronal activity in one students arm, and then transfer this into a mild electrical impulse to stimulate the arm of another student.

In the spirit of Halloween, we faked a power cut at one point in the night and Mr Chandler came in dressed as a zombie- that certainly woke everyone up!  On the back of this, students had to use what they know about the brain, neurotransmitters, hormones and human behaviour to explain the symptoms demonstrated by zombies, for example, abnormal motor movements, poor decision making, weak language skills. The winning group, created their own case study, made up MRI scans showing wide-ranging brain damage and gave a very convincing explanation for this affliction.  

A special thanks goes to Miss Binnington, Miss Horne, Mr McLoughlin, Miss Breard, Mr Gamwell, Miss Webb, Mr Cullen and Mr Shine for coming along to help and making this memorable and enriching experience possible.

 Lindsay Mould / Head of Psychology and Extended Essay Co-ordinator, Teacher of English.