What’s On Your Mind?: Psychology Students Present Research

Recently, the School of Health Sciences students put on a display of their current research.  Mainly upperclassmen, these students had very detailed presentations and a ton of information to share with the Regis community.  In particular, the ones that caught our eye were from the Psychology Department.  Starting off the entire two days of presentations, students from PS-303: “Research Methods” gave us a lot to think about!

For instance, Dajunnay Wade (Class of 2019)  focused on multitasking and determining whether this was doing two things at once, or doing two things poorly.  This was a topic that she was very passionate about, and her favorite part of the research process was actually conducting her study, as well as receiving approval from the IRB.  In the end, she found that her hypothesis, which was that multitasking was impossible, was not supported.  However, she suggested that this could be due to the fact that she had only 24 participants, and if she had more people, the data could have supported the hypothesis.  She joked that she was very unhappy about this, because she was under a solid belief that she was right.  In order for something to be of statistical significance, it has to have a p-value below .05.  Even though Dajunnay’s results seem to show that her hypothesis was correct, the results are not statistically relevant because her p-value was at .108.

Amanda Lytle (Class of 2019) also conducted an experiment as a part of PS-303.  She did a naturalistic observation, wherein she studied different types of behavior in classroom settings.  This was made possible through a classroom with a secret side room in the Science Building.  By using this method, Amanda got to observe participants in a very genuine and honest environment.  Her goal was to compare three different classroom settings, lectures, presentations, and group work, to see which one had more focused and “on-task” behavior.  She expected that the changes in teaching method would alter the behavior of the students.  She found that her hypothesis was supported, class discussion is where the most “on-task” behavior occurred.  She described how her favorite part of this experience was using the observation room in the Science Building, and she encourages future students to utilize this as well.  Lastly, she happily gave a strong piece of advice for students everywhere, and it’s one that really resonates as finals approach us: “Don’t fool around in class!  Quick looking at your phones!  Have more on-task behavior!”

Erin Robinson (Class of 2019) also involved the Regis community within her research.  She wanted to study the idea of “home court advantage” here on our campus.  She mentioned how previous scientific literature showed that, at home games, sports players demonstrate heightened aggression.  This comes across in terms of average fouls and rebounds.  Using the Regis sports websites, Erin studied the results of previous sports games.  She found that, over the past five years, men have more fouls and more rebounds at home games.  All of her results were deemed statistically significant, which implies that men do better at home and are also more aggressive at home.

MacKenzie Emco (Class of 2019) also involved Regis College athletes in her study.  In her work, she wanted to study body image and athletic participation of college students.  MacKenzie noted that this is a crucial issue, saying that “Body image is a prominent problem in college students; body image is too negative and this should be changed and publicised.”  She also noted that she kept her little sister in mind when conducting her research.  MacKenzie gave out an online survey to the Regis community and asked them about their body image and activity levels.  She compared females and males, as well as athletes and non-athletes.  Her results were statistically significant for males and females, but not for athletes.  This means that athletes and non-athletes have relatively similar answers, but females can “Answer very differently in this topic, based on results.”  In the future, MacKenzie hopes to officially validate her body image survey so that it can be used elsewhere.  She also would like more non-athletes to take her study, since responses from this group were limited in number.  She gave some advice for future students, saying: “Keep on top of work, if you fall behind take a deep breath: you’ll get there.  Once it’s done it’s a huge relief!  Research something you care about, something that affects people.”

Another student, Elisabeth Cooke (Class of 2020), also conducted an experiment.  Inspired by Professor Benson’s statistics class, she wanted to study music and test anxiety.  Professor Benson who brought music into her classroom, as well as Elisabeth’s experience as a Peer Tutor in the Learning Commons truly motivated her to conduct this study.  She noted that she maintained her interest levels throughout the experiment and could relate to the experience.  Essentially, Elisabeth had students  listen to music while taking a simple statistics test.  She had them listen to either “calming music” (which was defined as music with 60 beats or lower), the preferred music of the individual, or no music; participants were randomly assigned to these groups.  She then measured their heart rate and anxiety on the STAI scale.  She found that, even though students preferred to listen to music, there was no statistically significant decrease in anxiety.  She did note how, due to confidentiality, her participants did not reveal information such as the presence of anxiety disorders or their former grades in the class.  This may have influenced the results.  She found this to be incredibly interesting, and she plans on continuing her data collection with a focus on benefiting the Regis community.  Overall, she loved her project because “it showed how to develop research h question and actively test it.”  Her advice to future students is that “the more involved and proactive you are in your project and contributing your ideas, more you’ll enjoy it!  There is a lot of fun to be gained from this project.”

These are just a few of the phenomenal presentations that were given. We at RegisLife would like to extend a warm congratulations to every single presenter for all of their hard work!

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Elaine Kearney

Elaine Kearney

Hello there! I'm Elaine! I'm a double major here at Regis: Psychology and Neuroscience. I also have a minor in English. I am a very active student leader on campus. I'm incredibly passionate about literature and writing, and I am absolutely honored to be sharing that with you guys!