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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Psychology Club gets experimental

Psychology+Club+gets+experimental

By Dylan Leverett/reporter

The SE Psychology Club’s first meeting of the spring semester offered attendees pizza but also an experiment.

Students go through a blind introduction at their first spring Psychology Club meeting on SE Campus. Members of the club wanted to see how eliminating sight would affect how strangers interacted.Bogdan Sierra Miranda/The Collegian
Students go through a blind introduction at their first spring Psychology Club meeting on SE Campus. Members of the club wanted to see how eliminating sight would affect how strangers interacted.
Bogdan Sierra Miranda/The Collegian

A group of about 18 participants were split up into three groups, then blindfolded before each participant was numbered off by a club officer. Then the officers asked the blindfolded participants a series of questions: “Name a personal flaw.” “Name something good about yourself.” “How do you feel about vulgar language?” “What are your short-term goals?” “What’s the last song you sang to?”

Participants were then instructed to listen to their fellow participants’ responses and construct a mental image of that person solely based on what they heard.

“We will be blindfolding students and having them talk … getting to know each other and introducing themselves without any knowledge of race or physical appearance,” club president Patrick Rice said before the meeting. “It’s a demonstration on how we may form quick opinions of people based on how they look, and they may be surprised who they actually are on the inside.”

After the questions were asked, the participants removed their blindfolds. Some let out laughs or little gasps of surprise. Others seemed unphased with their presumed correct mental assumptions.

“It’s something different,” participant Julian Schlesinger said. “It’s a new way to get to know people without stereotypes.”

Other students also agreed the experiment had positive results.

“It teaches you how to not judge people,” participant Zykierra Powell said.

The experiment is one of many that the Psychology Club, or “Psycho Club” as its members affectionately call it, hold throughout the year.

“Our goal is to have fun with psychology and learn,” Rice said. “We focus on doing small-scale experiments and research projects and discussions and presentations on various subjects in psychology. We also do various volunteer events both on and off campus. I’d say, for members, our primary goal is to allow anyone with an interest in psychology to get to learn something and be around others with a similar interest and have some fun.”

The club’s faculty sponsor Jose Velarde listed a laundry list of other experiments the club has conducted in the past.

“We did one experiment to measure how honest [students] are,” he said. “We left an assignment in the hallway and saw how many people would turn it into lost and found. We left a student’s trunk open … then we dressed a student down in normal dress and then also in a hijab to see if Muslim stereotypes affected who [students] would help.”

Club vice president Olin Valldez mentioned another experiment that sent members into the SE library to have them sit in on random groups without responding outwardly to the people around them. All the while, club members measure the awkward reactions of the people in the unaware groups.

Another club experiment had two members, one male and one female, ask random people to tie their shoes for them.

“We actually got more people to tie the guy’s shoes, which I didn’t expect,” club officer Sam Avillan said.

The club also has raised money for charities over the years. Last year, it raised a little over $500 for the Arlington Life Shelter and is currently looking for its next charity to support.

Club members have various reasons for joining the club whether it be out of curiosity, practicality or friendship.

“I was a member last semester because I wanted to know more people,” club member Kevin Le said. “I wanted to make more friends.”

The group hopes to repeat its blindfold experiment in the future but possibly with a voice modulator to mask a speaker’s gender.

Valldez says the group plans to conduct more surveys this semester so they have measurable hard data.

Every year, the club also sponsors a psychology general knowledge trivia contest for a cash prize.

“We are constantly seeking to raise campus awareness about various things,” Rice said. “Lately, we’ve really been attacking stereotypes and encouraging students to keep an open mind about their classmates in order to create an overall more friendly environment.”

The club meets at 1 p.m. every Friday in ESEE 1222.

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