Third International Conference on the Teaching of Psychology
Veronika A. Artemyeva
Saint Petersburg State University of Architecture and Civil Engineering,

German M.Tovbin
Saint Petersburg State Electrotechnical University,


The psychology education in technical universities, in our opinions, should differ from the approaches of the teaching of psychology in humanities programs at universities. In particular, it is expedient to use the habits of these students, acquired in laboratory practice for a number of technical disciplines (Artemyeva, V.A., Tovbin, G. M., 2006). Connecting psychology to the content students are mastering makes the knowledge more memorable, more understandable, and more useful for the students. For realization of this approach, we have developed laboratory practice within the divisions “human factors engineering” and “psychology of creativity in engineering”.

The basic principle of the construction of practice involves:

  • Connection of the parameters of visual information, presented on the monitor with the effectiveness of a person’s activity.
  • Influence of the individual psychological characteristics of a person on the effectiveness of his\her activity under conditions of the stress.

Realization of this laboratory practice proceeds like this:

  • Students obtain theoretical knowledge within the divisions of a course in “human factors engineering and ergonomics”, for example, connected with the special features of visual receptors. We developed the special computer program “human-operator”, utilized in practice (Tovbin, G. M., Artemyeva, V.A., Krivosheeva, U., 2007). Practice consists of the following basic stages of work: Obtaining experimental data, the simulation of a high-stress situation, and the analysis of the obtained results.
  • Task of the first stage - comparison of effectiveness in personal work with the changing parameters of the presented visual information
  • Task of the second stage - estimation of effectiveness in personal work under the conditions for the simulation of a stressful situation, such as under the conditions of a deadline that must be met.
  • Task of the third stage - comparison of the effectiveness of work under the conditions of stressful situations by the individual psychological characteristics of each participant in the practice.

Thus, besides acquiring theoretical knowledge, students obtain the habits of conducting human factors engineering experiments. The information obtained by them about individual- psychological special features and recommendations regarding how to maintain effective output during stressful situations especially holds the interest of students. The knowledge becomes directly applicable to their careers and to their daily lives.

During the last 5 years this practice has regularly been included in the training process of Saint Petersburg State Electrotechnical University. As a result, increased interest of students in the problems of practical psychology made it possible to include this practice as a requirement for the study of the divisions, connected by human factors engineering and by ergonomics. As far as Saint Petersburg State University of Architecture and Civil Engineering students are concerned, the elements of this practice are included in the study of the course “psychology of creativity in engineering”. It appears to be an effective way to bring knowledge of applied psychology relevant to students in the fields of engineering and architecture into the curriculum.

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