Outreach Event: Brain Awareness Week!

Psychology in Action's Outreach Program got brainy Friday, March 7th... that is, participated in an early

Brain Awareness Week

event! Thanks to a connection by member Irene Tung, outreach coordinators Nicco Reggente and Jenna Cummings arranged for graduate students to teach kids at Project Literacy about the brain: what it weighs, how it works, how we can use it to our advantage, and how it can play tricks on us!

Project Literacy

is an off-site after school program for kids from areas with historically high rates of illiteracy, low socioeconomic status, and ongoing threats of gang violence.

Irene Tung led the introduction, having the kids guess how much their brain weighs and comparing the human brain to other mammalian brains! Then the kids were broken into groups for three activities:

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Majed Samad and Barbara Caplan (AKA "Hand guy" and "Hand girl") used the rubber hand illusion to demonstrate to kids the brain-body connection, and sometimes what you think you feel is actually your brain playing a trick on you.

Growing up in the age of technology, these kids could not wait to try Nicco's virtual reality game!
Growing up in the age of technology, these kids could not wait to try Nicco's virtual reality game!

Nicco Reggente developed a virtual realitygame to help improve memory. By participating in this simulation, the kids learned that developing a story line for things they want to remember can help them to remember.

Jenna had the kids name their brain after drawing - one kid named his a cheesy tortilla!
Jenna had the kids name their brain after drawing - one kid named his a cheesy tortilla!

Jenna Cummings and Irene Tung led the kids in drawing their brains and learning about the four major brain lobes. The kids were surprised to learn that the back of their brain actually helped with vision, whereas the front helped them to make decisions.

These kids were very excited and curious to learn about the brain - looks like we have some future brain scientists in the making!

PIA Outreach and Project Literacy!
PIA Outreach and Project Literacy!
Lianne passed along some art tricks as she led the kids in drawing their beautiful brains!
Lianne passed along some art tricks as she led the kids in drawing their beautiful brains!

Psychology in Action Outreach Program's participated in two more Brain Awareness Week events with different children March 10th-March 14th. In collaboration with Nick Hardy and students from the UCLA Neuroscience Program, our team taught high school and elementary students about the brain using the same activities. This time we also had help from Liz Castle, Lianne Barnes, and Tawny Tsang. It was impressive how much these kids remembered through a day of learning all about the brain. Looks like we replicated our event success!

Brain Awareness Week is a global campaign to increase public awareness of the progress and benefits of brain research. To learn more and get involved, you can 

click here.

Hand guy strikes again! This time with the help of Tawny - these two tricked some new kids!
Hand guy strikes again! This time with the help of Tawny - these two tricked some new kids!