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February 15, 2015
by: Kimberly Johnson

IDEAS Project Feature | Psychology's Influence on Culture

IDEAS Project Feature | Psychology's Influence on Culture Header Image

Hannah Staats is a sophomore at IDEAS Academy. For her IDEAS Project this fall semester, she followed her curiosity about self-enhancement bias through a course of research in order to uncover and interpret the following question:

How does the way we perceive our own psychological mindsets further biological and cultural evolution?

With diverse experiences in theater and writing, Hannah knew that she wanted to "write a dramatic work of some sort, probably using a staged reading for [her] presentation," according to her Project Proposal. She used the storytelling medium to make her complex research and claims accessible to her audience. For example, the main character in her script, Olivia, "struggles with understanding the irrational behavior of the people around her, but cannot perceive her own behavior as anything but logical. As an individual, this is something she simply cannot do, something that none of us as human beings can do, because the cause of these behaviors that break the mold of what is predictable and rational is the part of our minds that operates unconsciously." Watch below to see how Hannah catalyzes her character through writing, performing, and exhibiting her script in the context of an Exhibition of Learning:

Reflecting on her third project in IDEAS Project Block, on of the  the enduring aspects of the process for Hannah is this Habit of Mind: "Synthesis is a skill that I’ve built up over the course of my projects. Setting myself up with these general topics has challenged me to develop a pretty specific process for sifting through concepts, and this process is something that comes in handy across subjects and disciplines. Whenever I write a paper now, I find myself first ripping out a piece of notebook paper and writing out a concept map, then reading that over and creating another, more organized and concise one. Then another. Then another. While I often have five or so concept maps by the time I feel ready to write, I think this process is extremely beneficial to me." 

Find out more about this project and read Hannah's writing in the digital gallery Psychology's Influence on Culture.


PHOTOGRAPHY and VIDEO PRODUCTION for this project by Étude Studios student intern Kelsey Fick.

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