An Intense Look Into Psychology for 600 High School Students
Brenau University opens its Gainesville historic campus to nearly 600 high school students – some of whom are traveling from as far away as Savannah, Georgia – for a day of special psychology-themed events Friday, Jan. 29.
Students will begin the day with a screening of the award-winning 2015 drama The Stanford Prison Experiment at Pearce Auditorium. The directorial debut of filmmaker Kyle Patrick Alvarez recounts one of the most famous – and infamous – psychological experiments in American history: Dr. Philip Zimbardo’s 1971 “prison simulation” conducted deep within the basement of Jordan Hall on the campus of Stanford University in Palo Alto, California.
In the experiment, students assumed the roles of guards and prisoners. Although planned for two weeks, the study came to a halt just six days in.
“The mental abuse the guards started applying and the prisoners started accepting had hit such a level that they had to stop it,” said Brenau’s Perry Daughtry, an assistant professor in the university’s Psychology Department. “The experiment shows we have to monitor ourselves because it is real easy to get caught up in a situation and lose yourself into the role you believe you are supposed to play rather than following your own set of ideas.”
The film, however, is just half of the day’s activities. Students will split into interactive breakout sessions scattered around campus once the movie wraps up to learn about key psychological concepts or applications.
Faculty and graduate students from the university’s psychology, education and occupational therapy programs will guide students through exercises that include experiments replicating auditory hallucinations, aging simulations and trial runs with equipment in the Psychology Department’s stress lab.
“If you major in psychology or a related field, you are not confined to one profession or one area of expertise,” said Forsyth Central High School counselor Kyleigh Swanburg, a 2010 Brenau psychology graduate. “This is a great opportunity for our students to take what they learn in class and see it in a more applied setting.”
Students from the following schools will be at Brenau for the event: Chestatee High School (Gainesville); Darlington High School (Rome); Forsyth Central High School (Cumming); Grayson High School (Loganville); Pickens High School (Jasper); Riverside Military Academy (Gainesville); Sol C. Johnson High School (Savannah); and West Hall High School (Oakwood).