Psychology major Ben Campbell ’22 has used his interest in relational aggression, peer social dynamics and gender to formulate a study. He used the study to apply for the College’s Summer Scholars Program and received the prestigious award, enabling him to carry a project titled “Effects of elicited jealousy on masculinity and relational aggression in men.”

Campbell said he found the study quite intriguing — and somewhat costly to conduct. He applied for a Psi Chi undergraduate research grant, and received more than $1,100 to devote toward the study, supervised by Dr. Findley-Van Nostrand.

“I will use this grant to conduct further research on the topic of masculinity and relational aggression in men,” said Campbell, who plans to pursue graduate work in industrial and organizational psychology or social psychology.

In recent years, approximately 30 students each semester have been involved in research. The experiences are important not just for information discovery, but also for deepened learning, enhanced training on specific topics or methods, and the development of skills that graduate training programs and employers in careers utilizing psychology look for and highly value. As a research assistant, students also develop professional and mentoring relationships with their faculty mentor, and refine critical thinking and statistical reasoning skills.  

For example, McDonald, during her junior year, joined a neuroscience lab managed by Dr. David Nichols, associate professor of psychology and department chair. The lab, which focused on vision science (the study of vision), provided her the opportunity to delve into literature review and learn how to use computer software such as MATLAB, a programming platform designed specifically for engineers and scientists.

“The most gratifying moment was getting to run participants in the binocular rivalry study during the spring of 2021,” McDonald said, referring to the study of a particular visual phenomenon. “After spending so much time setting up the study, we finally got to collect data, which can be used in a manuscript.”

Research assistants are also engaged in the dissemination of psychological science. Locally, the psychology department regularly hosts poster sessions to display and highlight student research projects. In recent years, students have traveled to and presented at the Society for Research on Child Development and Society for the Study of Emerging Adulthood biennial conferences, as well as the Society for Personality …….


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