Psychology in Action

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Find a partner to take you on a blind walk for at least 20 to 30 minutes. Have the partner blindfold you and guide you on a walk filled with varied sensory experiences—up a hill, over a gravel driveway, across a dirt field full of potholes, past a bakery, through the school cafeteria, next to a rough wall, past an open freezer door, through a quiet library or the noisy student union, and so on—and see if you can tell where you are at any one time. Remind your partner not to give any hints as to what to expect so that it can be a truly sightless experience for you. What happened when you were without your sense of sight? Did you find that you navigated better and could more easily determine where you were at the end of your walk—did you adapt? Did you compensate at all for your lack of sight—did you substitute another sense for your sense of sight? In what ways? Critical Thinking Exercise 4.2 – Gathering Data and Developing Empathy: A Simulation of the Aging Process Due to the highly technical and biological nature of the topic of sensation, this subject generally receives one of the lower ratings by many students (and some instructors). Despite the author’s provision of many examples and applications, students have difficulty in relating this material to their everyday lives. One way to increase both their intrinsic interest and their intellectual understanding of the material is to provide learning experiences that require personal involvement (Evans, 1981). This simulation exercise helps students experience some of the sensory changes that occur with the aging process. After participating in this exercise, students will have an increased understanding and compassion for the elderly (Wight, 1989). This ability to empathize or identify with differing populations is an important skill in critical thinking. Time : One 50-minute class period. Materials: A roll or two of plastic food wrap, cotton balls, rubber gloves, and masking tape. Instructions: Inform students that they are being given a unique opportunity to experience a few of the sensory changes and problems that occur during the later stages of the aging process. To simulate blurred vision, have students tape a length of plastic wrap around their head to cover their eyes, being careful not to cover their noses. (This can also be accomplished by the removal or addition of eyeglasses.) Have them put cotton in their ears to simulate impaired hearing and wear rubber gloves to simulate reduced tactile sensations. (Although arthritis is not important to the topic of this chapter, Instructor’s Resource Guide                              Chapter 4                                            Page   142                                                                            
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student empathy for the elderly is further enhanced by asking them to wrap their knuckles and wrists with masking tape.) Send students out into the hall or for a 10 minute walk to a protected area. Encourage them to pay close
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