This summer, the Department of Psychology has been working on several research projects ranging from iconography in Guatemala and Geneva, the implications of online friendships, and the correlations between health and internet use.
Associate Professor of Psychology Brien Ashdown is working on a study called “Photos of Religion” with Mengqi Liu ’18. Previously, Ashdown had collected data from teenagers in Guatemala and Geneva, asking them to take 10 photos with provided cameras to represent religion in their lives. “We found a few interesting things — such as differences in the way that Guatemalan and American kids incorporate (or don’t) official iconography into their symbols of religions,” Ashdown says.
Liu says the research and writing skills that she developed will be important for her upcoming psychology classes.
“I have helped with analyzing data, literature review and writing the article, which was a great experience for me since I learned more about SPSS [a software package used for statistical analysis], searching articles, writing paper in APA format and some publishing knowledge,” says Liu.
Associate Professor and Department Chair Julie Kingery is working on several projects with two students, Maureen Milmoe ’18 and Jessica Lathrop ’18. With Milmoe, she has prepared a paper on the offline and online friendship experiences of young adults, and how these variables relate to psychological and academic adjustment. The paper has been submitted for review in a scholarly journal.
Lathrop, says Kingery, is “analyzing data on how specific aspects of dispositional or trait mindfulness and two specific types of social support (from family, from friends) relates to perceived stress and emotional well-being among a sample of HWS students.” Kingery hopes that the data can be used for an article in a psychology research journal as well as in the presentation of a research poster at the Society for Research on Adolescence Conference next spring. The paper, which also is co-authored by Associate Professor of Psychology Jamie Bodenlos, has been submitted for review in a scholarly journal.
“Jessica and Maureen are both stellar research students,” says Kingery. “They work very independently, and function more at the level of graduate rather than undergraduate students. Although these projects were both already in progress before this summer, they have contributed their own ideas to the development of each paper and will each be listed as co-authors on the papers when they are submitted.”
Burstein is also beginning work on a field research project for which she received a grant from Psi Chi, the international honor society in psychology, on mindfulness and alcohol problems in low-income, ethnically diverse adults.
“We are looking at the relationship between mindfulness and health and alcohol use, and it will involve filling out questionnaires,” she says. Working again with Bodenlos, she hopes to use the data for an Honors project and for future publication.