Psychology Students Present Research – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Psychology Students Present Research

Olivia Hanno ’16, Juliet Holme ’16, Kristin Ressel ’16, Samantha Sasse ’16 and Cassidy Smith ’16 recently traveled to Portland, Ore. to present their research at the annual conference of the Society for Cross-Cultural Research (SCCR), a multi-disciplinary organization spanning the social sciences.

Under the guidance of Assistant Professor of Psychology Brien Ashdown, the students conducted interdisciplinary research ranging in topics from attitudes about various ethnicities to identity perceptions around gender and ethnicity.

“Attending the SCCR conference was a great way to see how many different disciplines intersect to produce cross-cultural research,” says Hanno, a psychology and Spanish double major and Latin American studies minor. “Presenters at the conference came from backgrounds in many different fields, including anthropology, education and biology.”

Hanno, Ressel and Smith collaborated to investigate intergroup attitudes of indigenous people. They analyzed stories written by Guatemalan adolescents who had viewed drawings of “stereotypical” Ladino men, Ladino women, indigenous men and indigenous women. Using archival data, the team worked on both the coding and data analysis for the project.

For her study, Sasse investigated identity at the intersection of ethnicity and gender. Specifically, research participants shared perceptions of one of the following individuals: African American man, African American woman, Asian American man, Asian American woman, Hispanic man or Hispanic woman. All participants rated perceptions of a white man.

“I examined how the participants’ levels of intolerance and belief centrality impacted their perception of gender roles being fulfilled by specific individuals,” says Sasse, a psychology major double minoring in child advocacy and education. “This research has prepared me academically by providing firsthand experience with research and professional presentations.”

In light of the conference, Smith, a psychology major with a minor in public policy studies and a concentration in healthcare, says her involvement at SCCR 2016 was an important academic opportunity to supplement her HWS education.

“Because of the wide variety of disciplines and topics discussed, our group focused on increasing the clarity of the presentation, so that regardless of an audience member’s background, the research we completed would be understood by all,” Smith says.

Ashdown, who also presented at the conference, says SCCR was an ideal opportunity to observe scholars as they presented and defended their work. At the gathering, he shared his research on how parental perceptions of religion influence the views of children.

“One of the great things about SCCR being a smaller conference is that there are more opportunities for students to give podium talks,” Ashdown says. “It’s a very welcoming event and students have the chance to attend presentations and have conversations with scholars that they’ve read about in class.”

The trip was supported by the Professor Emeritus Martin J. Kelly Jr. Endowed Discretionary Fund in Psychology, which was graciously funded with a gift from Jean Ann Linney ’72 and her husband Michael Schoen.