Psychology to introduce virtual reality in lab in fall

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Students will be able to “see” the brain and the process of the nervous system.

By Julian Gonzales

sac-ranger@alamo.edu

The psychology program is setting up a lab to use virtual reality to allow students to look at the personality, human development and disorders through a headset.

Through this new technology, the faculty in the program hope to create a more interactive environment, psychology Professor Melissa Sutherland said March 26.

Seeing the brain and the process of the nervous system is a feature the lab in Moody Learning Center will provide, Sutherland said.

A computer room will be set up in Room 654 and the virtual reality experience in Room 655.

Students have to be enrolled in a psychology class to use it.

“We want to make it more exciting or engaging because you’re going to remember it better when you’re engaged in it,” Sutherland said. “We’ll have equipment and computer programs that will help support our classes.”

She said the lab will provide excellent training for psychology students and give the department “a sense of identity.”

The new lab should be ready by fall.

Almost all psychology classes will be able to use the lab in the fall, including PSYC 2301, General Psychology; PSYC 2306, Human Sexuality; PSYC 2314, Lifespan Growth/Development; PSYC 2319, Social Psychology; PSYC 2320, Abnormal Psychology and PSYC 2316, Psychology of Personality.

Instructors will give research projects and pre-set assignments to include use of the lab.

“For instance, if you’re dissecting the brain, we’ll already have a worksheet handed out,” Dehlia Wallis, psychology professor, said April 11.

The lab also will have bio feedback equipment.

“We’re still looking at different software, but once we have the computers put in, we’ll start looking at that more,” Wallis said. “It’s still a work in progress.”

Funding includes funds from an anonymous donation to the program and collaborative grants, she said.

“We started to gather up ideas on how we could use that money to effect as many students as possible,” Wallis said.

For more information, call Sutherland at 210-486-0397 or Wallis at 210-486-0776.

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