Conducting psychological research provides students with an opportunity to explore a new area of study, contribute new findings to the field of psychology and/or expand upon current discoveries. Students pursuing a psychology degree or a psychology minor have the following research opportunities available at Mount Union:
- Independent research
- Research with faculty or student peers
- Honors projects
- Research-based courses
Psychology majors who pursue research opportunities will be able to analyze and investigate areas in which they are most interested. Throughout the structured research process, students will critically evaluate psychological research by conducting a literature review, developing a research proposal, designing and conducting psychological research, analyzing statistical data and communicating findings effectively with the scientific community and the general public. Exemplary research projects and results will be presented at Mount Union’s annual SCHOLAR Day.
Here are just a few recent examples of psychology research capstones.
Effect of Watching YouTube Videos About People with Mental
Illness on Attitudes and Social Distance
The purpose of the study is to investigate the impact of watching positive and negative YouTube videos about people with two mental illnesses (depression and schizophrenia) on viewers’ attitudes, stereotypes and social distance judgments. The negative stigma surrounding mental illness affects those who are diagnosed and their families. The social distancing component of stigma can make it difficult for families to get the support from their friends that they need. Without adequate support, it is harder for the families to support the one who is diagnosed and for people with mental illness.
Effect of Group Size and Composition on Food Choice
Health is a major concern in American society. Obesity rates in the U.S. remain high, leading to individual health problems, as well as issues for insurance companies and government agencies (Ljungvall & Zimmerman, 2012). Research suggests that gender may play an important role in shaping eating habits. College students tend to eat together, often with both sexes present, which is why it is important to add clarity to disputing research. In the current study, we will examine how the presence of groups affects food choice. We will manipulate the conditions to test whether meal setting (individual, same-sex group and mixed-sex group) and gender will influence the foods people select. More specifically, we will measure the type of food selected (healthy vs. non-healthy) and the portion size (small vs. large). We hypothesize that females assigned to imagine themselves in a mixed-sex group will choose smaller portions and healthier items than all other group conditions. We also hypothesize that meal setting and composition of group will not have a significant effect on male participants.
Netflix: Consequences of Binge Watching
The goal of our study is to examine the addictive properties of binge watching Netflix. Similar to binge drinking alcohol, binge watching encompasses the same principle – watching anywhere from two to six episodes at once (Fader, 2014). Of all Netflix subscribers, 61 percent reported binge watching (Gaines, 2014); and with more than 29.7 million subscribers reported by the end of 2012, it has become acceptable to binge on your favorite new show. However, users are not often aware of health consequences and the counterproductive nature of their bingeing. We plan to monitor physiological effects of watching Netflix while also collecting psychological evaluations before and after exposure to the video stimulus. We believe studying these effects will allow us to gain perspective on how binge watching in larger quantities and durations can affect an individual in the long run.
Gender Differences in Self-Reported and Physiological Responses
to Emotional Stimuli
The purpose of our study is to examine the differences between self-reported emotional responses and actual physiological responses between genders. If differences in self-reported emotions and actual physiological responses are found, attention to them may diminish the effects of social norms. Social norms are unwritten rules about how to behave in a particular social group or culture that may cause repression of emotion, leading to depressive symptoms. There is also a possibility of finding similarities within physiological responses of experienced emotions between genders. Emotional differences are important to study in order to urge others to react accordingly to their own personal feelings. These differences are important to eliminate social bias toward emotions and to show people what their physical response is compared to their self-reported responses
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