Psychology Students Present Relevant Research on Memory, Emotions and More!

By Macee Buckley:

On April 30, Psychology students from Professor Gordon’s Research Seminar class gathered in Kennedy 105 to present their semester-long research projects. Aptly named the Semi-Annual Research Seminar Poster Session, five groups of students displayed their research to classmates, professors, students and other members of the Assumption community.

Professor Gordon spoke with me, reflecting on the past semester as she aided the students with their projects. “The students have all worked so hard this semester. Each group that is here is presenting an original research project that they developed. I am really looking forward to have the students present their findings to the college community.”

The students were very prepared to present their research, as many students wandered into the poster session, curious to look and listen to the projects. Groups were eager to talk about their findings, whether it was what they had predicted or otherwise. Professor Gordon told me “each project had its own unique hiccups. It’s part of the course to problem solve as problems arise as part of the research process. However, all of the problems that came up were able to be effectively solved.”

Students enjoying the Poster Session, including researcher Ben Irwin and attendee Alyssa Bergamasco.

One project that caught most student’s eyes was research performed on note taking style and memory. This was a perfect fit, as the poster session was held on the campus-wide study day. Researcher Sarah Ouellette debriefed attendees on the relevancy of her study. “This research project is relevant to college student and the faculty. Students need to take notes in their courses and faculty are always looking to improve their classes and better advise students”. Another group member, Kristina Wyman discussed the research procedure. “Students watched a video and were told either to not take notes or take notes on a computer or on paper. They then performed a word search and a demographic survey. Then, there was a short exam with multiple choice and open-ended answers”.

Students who took part in the research study were asked their preferred note taking style. 82% of respondents preferred hand written notes, while 13% preferred to take notes on the computer. This was actually accurate with a Twitter poll that I conducted on my account. While there was only a handful of respondents, the answers were similar to what the researchers found.

Despite the research study, the results of this group proved to be inconclusive. The study did not replicate a classroom experience and most participants were white females. In the future, the group hoped to bring the study to a larger university so that they could test a more diverse community, including differences in age groups, majors, etc. Data analyst Alicia Polak said “Although the results weren’t significant, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t apply to everyday life. If we had more time to continue, we could have had more significant results. This study is relevant to the academic community as many professors don’t allow students to use laptops. Since we found that there were no conclusive results, this means that there should not be any restrictions on note taking.”

Watch Erin Wilbur discuss her group’s inconclusive results!

Erin Wilbur, another researcher for the note taking and memory study, was “a little frustrated with the results of her study because the topic is so relevant and we did not get the results we were hoping for! I think that if we have a little more time we could have connected with more students. Research is an important part of psychological learning and a semester is not enough time to find significant results for most studies”.

Other groups at the poster session chose to research other topics including:

  • The Effects of Auditory and Visual Stimuli on False Memory Creation in Semantic and Phonological Word Lists
  • The Effects of Family Structure Perceived Social Support and College Generation Status on College Grade Point Average
  • Relationships Between the Big 5 Personality Traits and Ethical Decision Making
  • Effects of Time Expectations on Attention, Memory and Mood

Research as a student has been proven to be extremely valuable in enhancing an education and enriching a student’s understanding. Mary-Louise Kearney, Director of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization Forum on Higher Education, Research and Knowledge, has stated that “Knowledge generated by research is the basis of sustainable development, which requires that knowledge…be shared to ensure widespread benefits”.

The poster session was an opportune way to see what other students were doing during their research seminar this semester. Groups worked hard on conducting research and analyzing the results. This hard work led the students to be passionate and energized about their projects, proudly presenting to so many members of the Assumption community.

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