Doane ’11 Explores Personality Psych – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Doane ’11 Explores Personality Psych

The Colleges’ Summer Science Program provided the perfect opportunity for Michael Doane ’11, a psychology major with a minor in cognition, logic, and language, to hone his interest in personality psychology. The Science Program allowed Doane to interpret research literature, analyze data collected in the field, as well as provided him with the skills to design his own psychological studies. 

Much of Doane’s work involved research conducted by Assistant Professor of Psychology Portia Dyrenforth. Her research focuses on positive emotions and sociability. During the first month of Doane’s term as a summer science student, he worked on coding video recordings and finding relationships between emotions and social behavior. Doane helped tie the last threads of Dyrenforth’s original research together and found interesting and new associations between mood states and social activity.  He and Dyrenforth submitted an abstract based on their findings for an annual conference in Social and Personality Psychology (SPSP). In January, the two will present their research findings at the national conference in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“I experienced an amazing amount of both personal and intellectual growth thanks to the summer science program,” reflects Doane. “I have become much more confident with the knowledge that I have gained during my first two years at HWS. This summer research program has made a tremendous impact on my outlook for the future.”

If one summer internship weren’t enough, Doane also spent a month shadowing Dr. Mark Mapstone ’89 as he conducted research for the Rochester Aging Study at the University of Rochester’s Department of Neurology. Mapstone’s work aimed at identifying bionomic profiles, a combination between the genes and the environment of an individual, in order to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease earlier and with more clarity. For this study, neuropsychologists administer cognitive testing on participants, tracking the potential for Alzheimer’s-related decline of cognitive abilities over the next few years. The hope is that those individuals who experience cognitive impairment during the study will show similarities in their bionomic profiles, creating an early marker for the disease.

During his time with Mapstone, Doane observed interactions with patients and participants, integrating himself in the study and administering some of the cognitive tests. After only a month on the job, Doane was ready to conduct a full battery of cognitive testing for the Rochester Aging Study.  “This internship bolstered my confidence and increased my interest in working with patients,” says Doane.

With the help of career services, Doane was able to connect with Mapstone and secure his internship. His internship was funded in part by the Charles H. Salisbury, Jr. ’63, P’94 Endowed Internship Fund Established by L. Thomas Melly ’52 in honor of Charles H. Salisbury, Jr. ’63, P’94. “Without the assistance and dedication of the staff at career services as well as the generosity of alums, I would not have had this remarkable opportunity,” he says gratefully.

Doane is now certain that he will incorporate psychological research into his future career and has set his sights set on attending graduate school. “Having the opportunity to shadow a job related to psychology for four weeks and conduct research on campus for eight weeks will certainly be one of the highlights on my graduate school application.”

On campus, Doane is a member of the Hobart cross country team, Active Minds Club, Psychology Society, and the Chimera Honor Society. He is currently studying abroad in Galway, Ireland, where he volunteers with the Enable Ireland program to support the social development of both children and adults with disabilities. Upon his return to campus, Doane will conduct studies on the effects of positive mood on how individuals search for both social and non-social information, which he planned and designed himself this summer.