An online-science-magazine as a tool for exploring psychology’s invisible subject in introductory courses

Heineken, Edgar
Ollesch, Heike
Gerhard Mercator University,

A prerequisite for arousing students´ curiosity and establishing a long lasting interest on psychology as a scientific discipline is to provide them with an multifaceted concept of the intrinsically invisible psyche. This is difficult to achieve when introductory courses start immediately with facts and theories of the discipline. To focus more on concepts in teaching psychology is in correspondence to critics from a philosophy of science perspective, who state that in psychology "concepts" don´t receive enough attention compared to "facts" and "theories".

To convey an adequate concept of the psyche as the scientific subject-matter of psychology, psychology teachers first have to cope with the difficult task to capture the invisible. This paper is dealing with the question of how to achieve this aim when teaching psychology at secondary schools.

A way to reach this goal in an introductory course is illustrated. It is shown how the online-science-magazine PsychoMag allows students to experience the multifold expressions of psychology´s invisible subject-matter: phenomenal experiences, behavior, physiological reactions, and visible products of actions. PsychoMag is a product of our Institute of Cognition and Communication, designed to support teaching psychology at schools. The first issue of this magazine is thematically dedicated to "delinquency". It offers numerous topics from the field of criminology. The magazine fulfils several prerequisites of a teaching tool suitable for exploring psychology´s invisible subject. It has a positive demand characteristic, it allows to understand the various topics without psychological knowledge and it puts the invisible subject in concrete form.

This proceeding in teaching psychology is particularly suitable to introduce the student "to science" first before he is requested to learn "in science" and to reflect "about science". It enhances the status of the cognitive representation of the multifaceted concept of the invisible psyche in learning psychology.