Over 30 Pacific Union College psychology students and faculty attended the 93rd Western Psychological Association (WPA) convention in Reno, Nev., April 25-28, to present undergraduate research projects. This year, a PUC group was awarded the top honor in the Psi Chi poster session, which included an accompanying cash prize.
The topics covered humor in political advertisements; learning and memory; racial and ethnic perspectives in politics; and social psychology, among others. All of PUC's projects were accepted into the prestigious Psi Chi poster session this year, an honor reserved for selected projects from students who are members of the international honor society in psychology.
Participation with professional conferences gives students an opportunity to present their research before a wider, professional audience. They also provide students with a chance to attend lectures by prominent psychologists, learn about recent research in the field, network with professionals from throughout the region, and prepare themselves for careers in psychology.
"Going to WPA gives us the experience of presenting our research, gaining more opportunities for the future, and keeping up to date with developments in the field," said Holly Batchelder, a senior psychology major whose group's research on humorous political advertisements in the 2008 election won the Psi Chi poster award.
Faculty and students find the annual trip to the convention to be an integral part of the departmental philosophy of promoting undergraduate research. Aubyn Fulton, a PUC professor of psychology who serves on the Western Psychological Association's Council of Representatives, described the department's "extremely well developed" research program as a "distinguishing characteristic" for the College.
"I believe there is nothing more satisfying than working hard and developing new interests in research and psychology," Batchelder noted. "I am grateful for PUC's research-oriented program and am confident it will lead me into a successful future in psychological research and practice."
The titles of six research posters presented by students this year were, "Effects of Video Games on Immediate and Delayed Memory," "The Consequences of Multitasking for True and False Memory," "The Obama Effect: Race, Gender, and Children's Presidential Selections," "Like A Boss? Asian Americans, Leadership and the Bamboo Ceiling," "Do We Know What It Takes? Expectations, Schemas and Tots," and the "Effect of Humorous Political Advertisements on Candidate Likability."
Founded in 1921, the Western Psychological Association is the professional organization for psychologists in the western region of the United States. Students and faculty from the department of psychology have made the annual trip to present research at the convention since 1990.