Comic strips that illustrate psychological concepts: Learning and personality examples

0 0 834

Let’s lighten things up this week and look at some psychology-related comic strips. Whether you use these in lecture, on an exam, or as discussion or assignment prompts, be sure to follow the classroom usage policy set by the comic strip’s licensing agency. If you have any doubts, link to the comic strips instead of using the image.

Operant conditioning: Drabble by Kevin F@gan: November 28, 2023 (Note: The comic strip artist's name was auto-bleeped by this platform, so I replaced the first 'a' in his last name with @.)

Which of dad’s behaviors is being reinforced?

What is the reinforcement?

What schedule of reinforcement does this best illustrate? Explain.


Operant conditioning: Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson: December 2, 2023

Which of the boy’s (Calvin’s) behaviors is being reinforced?

What is the reinforcement?


Classical conditioning: Lio by Mark Tatulli: November 28, 2023

If your students are unfamiliar with the roadrunner cartoons, they’ll need to watch at least one to understand this comic strip. Fortunately, Warner Bros has made them available on YouTube. While you could choose any of these videos, you should exercise due diligence and watch several—right now, even—to ensure that you are choosing the best video or videos for your students’ educational experience.

Through many interactions with the roadrunner, Wile E. Coyote has been classically conditioned. In this comic strip, identify the unconditioned stimulus, unconditioned response, conditioned stimulus, and conditioned response.


Personality: Speed Bump by Dave Coverly: November 29, 2023

While this comic strip asks us to imagine escaping a room full of extroverts, let’s imagine a little different scenario. Escape rooms feature a set of puzzles that must be solved in order to successfully finish the game and escape the room.

Let’s imagine that a team of four people who all scored low on openness were trying to complete the puzzles. First, describe this trait. Next, based on your understanding of this trait, describe the challenges this group may have in solving the puzzles.

Now, repeat this exercise for low conscientiousness. Again, for high agreeableness. And, lastly, for low emotional stability.



About the Author
Sue Frantz has taught psychology since 1992. She has served on several APA boards and committees, and was proud to serve the members of the Society for the Teaching of Psychology as their 2018 president. In 2013, she was the inaugural recipient of the APA award for Excellence in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning at a Two-Year College or Campus. She received in 2016 the highest award for the teaching of psychology--the Charles L. Brewer Distinguished Teaching of Psychology Award. She presents nationally and internationally on the topics of educational technology and the pedagogy of psychology. She is co-author with Doug Bernstein and Steve Chew of Teaching Psychology: A Step-by-Step Guide, 3rd ed. and is co-author with Charles Stangor on Introduction to Psychology, 4.0.