Some psychological principals can be difficult to understand by just reading them. Games can help students visualize and experience the material instead of letting it stay flat on the page. Using games in a psychology class can illustrate important psychological principles and develop student interest in specific aspects of the field of psychology. Games can also help students to remember what they have studied long after class is over while giving them a much-needed break from the typical class structure.
Give each student a piece of paper which tells them if they are a werewolf or a villager and to keep their identity a secret even if they have to lie. Tell the students to close their eyes for "nighttime" and tell the werewolves to open their eyes and silently choose a villager to kill. The students then open their eyes, find out who has been killed by the werewolves and discuss which werewolf deserves a dirt nap. This game is repeated until the villagers have hunted down all the werewolves or the werewolves kill all the villagers. The object of this game is to understand lying, group decision making and the mob mentality.
Fake Intake Interview
Tell the students about a new patient who has asked for mental health treatment and what brought the new patient to them. Break the students up into groups to discuss what questions they would like to ask the new patient. Then pretend to be the patient and act out his symptoms while being interviewed by the students. The students should work as a group, asking questions and filling out an intake and diagnostic report while referring to their textbook.
The Memory Game
Arrange twenty or so objects on a tray and cover them with a towel or sheet. Allow the students to have a full minute to look at the tray without touching it, and then cover it back up. Then ask them to write down as many of the objects that they can remember in five minutes. The person who remembers the most is the winner of the game. Use this game to discuss which of the objects were the easiest to remember and the most difficult to remember and if there was any one object that everyone forgot.
The Personal Space Game
Divide the students into three groups. Tell each group to use different versions of personal space. For instance, one group stands close enough to almost touch, one group stands far away from other people and the other group is somewhere in the middle. Then tell the students to interact with each other and have conversations. This game lets students experience how something as simple as personal space can affect the way people interact with each other.
Lying to Peers
In this game, each student stands in front of the class and tells the others three or more facts about himself, one of which is a lie. The class should then vote on which statement is a lie and which are truthful. The object of this game is to focus on body language, but it can also be used to discuss social stereotypes and how people form impressions about each other.
Stella Noble began writing professionally in 2004. She received her Juris Doctor from Georgetown University and also holds a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology.