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Psychology students share results of capstone projects

April 24, 2015

Stephens psychology majors yesterday delivered their capstone presentations to a packed audience in a Dudley Hall classroom.

Seniors Joelle Mason, Ashley Landrum, Emily Fellers and Lise Oxaal each presented individual findings on very different topics—but all discovered that basic assumptions about the world in which we live aren’t always accurate.

Mason questioned why people often miss things in front of them when they’re distracted with another task. She conducted an experiment in Stars Café, assuming that when young women had relationships on their minds, they would notice two young men walking by. Her hypothesis was not supported. Mason wondered whether that’s because she conducted the experiment at Stephens, a college known for strong, independent women.

Landrum was interested in finding out whether self-esteem and self-efficacy within certain groups is true, questioning how one’s inclusion in certain minority and majority groups impacted her self-identity. While she had a high number of participants, Landrum concluded that her group did not include enough diversity. If she were to continue the study, Landrum said she would seek male participants and those who identify in the LGBTQ community.

Fellers’ study was centered on the Myers-Briggs Inventory and how certain personality trait combinations contributed to success within certain academic majors. Fellers was fascinated by the idea of people putting one another in categories and predetermining their academic success based on personality. Using that as her backdrop, she questioned how students select majors and what kinds of personality traits work best in each major. Fellers hypothesized that certain personality types are prevalent within certain majors—and found there’s not much evidence to prove that assertion. Like her peers, she said future study of the topic would need a larger group of participants.

Oxaal’s study revolved around online dating preferences. Inspired by Tinder, the online, photo-first dating app, she wondered if a photo’s background setting played a role in whether women say “yes” to a man or reject him. She suspected women would go for the guy in the park, not the one hanging out in a bar. Ultimately, she discovered that’s not necessarily the case.

Senior Kenzie Andrade researched the effects of Facebook on self-esteem. Despite some studies that have linked Facebook to feelings of depression, Andrade discovered people actually report more confidence when skimming the application for five minutes. She presented her results earlier this week.

Assistant Professor Eric Marx, who is wrapping up his first year at Stephens, said he was impressed with the studies and findings.

“They did a fantastic job of getting people involved and shared some interesting results,” he said.

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