Zombie brains and more at CWU Psychology Club

Mary Park, Scene Editor

If zombies were real, how would their brains work?

As a Halloween special, the CWU Psychology Club will be hosting an event called Zombie Talk with Dr. Ralf Greenwald, neuroscientist and psychology professor. It will be held on Oct. 29 at 5 p.m. in Dean Hall 104.

Larissa Escamilla-Ocanas, the president of the Psychology Club and Psi Chi, the international honor society in psychology, explained the event.

“Dr. Greenwald is going to be talking about any and everything related to zombies and how their brains work if they were real,” Escamilla-Ocanas said. “It could happen [in real life], he goes into more detail, a little scary actually.”

But zombie brains aren’t the only topic that is covered by the psychology club.

Kyle Wilkinson

Andrea Glinoga, the club senator and Student Academic Senate (SAS) representative of the Psychology Club, said one of her interests in psychology is thinking about the amygdala, a part of the brain that controls the fear response.

Psychology is a broad field of study that has many sub-branches, but the club has an open-door policy for anyone, including students majoring outside of psychology. 

Every Wednesday from 5:30-6:30 p.m. the club meets in room 471 of the Psychology Building to discuss academic-related matters or to socialize and meet other students with similar interests.

In the Oct. 16 meeting, Escamilla-Ocanas opened with an icebreaker activity.

From a list of values on a handout, students circled ten words they connect to the most, such as independence, personal growth and happiness. They then had to cross out from their ten words until only three were left.

“Find someone with a common value you share,” Escamilla-Ocanas instructed.

As students met other students with one or more of the same values as themselves, some laughed and talked about it with others.

Charles Whitmire, a sophomore in psychology and political science, said his three main values were “truth, justice and unity.” Whitmire said he was interested in getting to know people in the club and psychological research.

Alyssa Nauss, a sophomore psychology major interested in studying abnormal psychology, said she narrowed her values down to “fun, helping others and knowledge.” Nauss said she looked forward to meeting more psychology majors in the club.

“It’s kind of fascinating to see the different [backgrounds] people come from, that shape their values,” Escamilla-Ocanas said.

Throughout the meeting, Escamilla-Ocanas talked about one of the biggest events for the club: The Western Psychological Association (WPA) Convention. The WPA is held every spring and researchers and students all over the western U.S. gather together in a different location each time and present research findings and exchange ideas.

“This year, it’s going to be in San Francisco, California,” Escamilla-Ocanas said. “And it’s their 100th anniversary … WPA is a fantastic opportunity to network with different grad schools and programs.”

There are requirements to fulfill to be eligible to go to WPA, like volunteering hours at club events and paying the registration fee.

The club also participates in events happening locally on campus, such as Boo Central, and off campus, like Out of the Darkness Walk.

At the Boo Central event on Oct. 31 in the SURC Ballroom, the Psychology Club sponsors a table with activities and candies to help kids enjoy a safe Halloween indoors.

Out of the Darkness Walk is a fundraising event organized by The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention that happened on Oct. 20 in Seattle. 

The walks are held throughout the year in hundreds of cities across the country. People affected by suicide in any way walk together to promote healing and to help raise awareness for suicide prevention. Some psychology club members attended it to support the cause.

“Some people give their personal stories at Fisher Pavilion,” Escamilla-Ocanas said. “It’s a really fun but also emotional event that I think has a really good cause to be supportive of.”