Psychology students to present research findings
If you’re going to dress in all black and wear heavy black make-up, be prepared to fend for yourself and hang on tight to your stuff. That’s because people are less likely to help those in goth-like attire, a Stephens psychology student has found.
For her senior project, Gera Parks studied how stereotypes impact our tendency to help others. To conduct her research, she and a male actor went to the Jefferson City mall over several days dressed in different types of clothing and pretended to drop a book. Parks noted that people were more likely to pick up the book and hand it to them when she and her fellow actor were dressed in casual attire, more likely to just tell them about the book when they were dressed in business attire and unlikely to help at all when they were dressed in goth-like clothing.
Then again, colors of clothing also might impact how others view you. That’s what Hillary Schneider is trying to figure out in her research. For her senior project, she is studying how people’s perception of a color, such as red, triggers subconscious emotions when they see someone wearing it.
Having the opportunity to conduct real-world experience in a small, nurturing environment is what sets the Stephens psychology department apart from peers, seniors agreed.
“What I love about Stephens is you start out taking a basic introduction into all the different branches,” such as abnormal psychology, forensics and counseling, Senior Sierra Lewis said. “Then you can dive into whatever you want to study.”
Because there are a handful of professors teaching the courses, students also have more access to faculty, she said.
“You can go to your teachers, and they help you, and I really like that,” she said. “You’re not lost in the group.”
Hillary agreed. “I like that it’s a small program,” she said. “All of the students become really close and help each other, and the professors are always there. “
For her senior capstone, Sierra is researching the effectiveness of sexual education programs in high school compared to what students experience in college.
Senior Sarah Heckman is studying how test anxiety impacts performance. As expected, she’s discovering that something that triggers anxiety just before a test can decrease performance.
Danielle Paquette is using the pet program at Stephens to conduct her research. She surveyed freshmen pet owners to see whether having an animal companion can decrease homesickness. And Lindy Farlow researched literature on how stigmas in the classroom impacts performance.
Hillary, who has helped faculty on other research projects, expects the work to give her an edge as she plans to pursue a master’s and doctorate in clinical psychology. “The research opportunities are really nice,” she said. “They give you more experiences to put on a résumé.”
The seniors will present their studies and findings from 12:30 to 2 p.m. Thursday, April 25, and from 12 to 1 p.m. Friday, April 26 in Dudley Hall Room 225.