Ides of August Album Two  

Teaching a biology-based subject like sense and perception to psychology students can be a challenge.

“Students often feel ‘this isn’t psychology,” Assistant Professor of Psychology Karen Gunther said during presentation, "The Use of Non-Fiction Novels in a Sensation and Perception Course." She has devised a way she hopes will make the material more interesting while emblazoning it more deeply on her students’ memories.

Instead of a textbook to explore the subjects of sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch, she uses what she calls “non-fiction novels” to deliver the information and pique students' interest..

Thus far she’s introduced students to The Island of the Color Blind, by Oliver Sacks and Emperor of Scent by Chandler Burr.

And the students like it. In subjective questionnaires, two-thirds of her class preferred the non-fiction novel approach. Her objective tests, however, showed "no huge improvement" on the exams.

Professor Gunther plans to continue the experiment, though.

“The books get them more excited about the subject and psychology, which is a benefit in itself.”

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