The Midwest Psychological Association accepted nine individuals representing Lindenwood University-Belleville to present their original research at the Midwest Psychological Association (MPA) conference in Chicago on April 11. Three of those individuals, Gigi Lewis, East Alton, Ill., 2018 graduate; Nikki Thomas, Olney, Ill., current student; and Dusan Mitic, Belgrade, Serbia, 2018 graduate, will present their work to a large group of psychology professionals from around the country. They earned this opportunity by working closely with Professor of Psychology Dr. Trisha Prunty, who places importance on undergraduate students getting real experience in her Advanced Research Methods class.
“I provide a space where students have the opportunity to start a research project as an undergraduate and perpetuate it through graduation and beyond so that they can engage in and add to academic conversations much earlier in their academic careers,” said Prunty, who continues to work with alumni who have since graduated from her program.
Prunty said that she likes to give students the freedom to choose their own research topics and works with them throughout the semester to finalize their projects with the hope that they apply to present their research to the psychology community.
“It’s important for my students to participate in active research, because it allows them to advance academically as scholars and it can be used to establish countless connections with the psychological community,” said Prunty.
Lewis’s project, “Verbal Intelligence and Humor Preference,” looks at how verbal reasoning skills may indicate the ability to understand and appreciate sexually nuanced jokes and whether or not gender plays a key role in how sexual jokes are perceived. The study concluded that it is likely that gender does play a key role in how sexual jokes are perceived.
Mitic’s “The Effects of Mirror and Advertisement on Recycling Behavior,” compares various methods to increase recycling behavior on a college campus. The use of signs, mirrors, and a combination of the two were compared to determine if recycling behavior increased over the three-week period. Results indicated that the mirror, specifically, positively impacted recycling, but the effect was short-lived.
Thomas, who is currently the lab manager for the Psychology Department and conducted “An Investigation into the Effect of Cosmetics on Perceptions,” which compares the perceived dominance, wellbeing, competency, and trustworthiness/likability of women with and without makeup. The results supported the hypothesis that individuals with makeup will benefit when making a first impression on someone.
In addition to these research presentations, six others representing Lindenwood University-Belleville will present their research in poster form at the conference, including Cheyenne Williams, Palmdale, Calif., 2018 graduate; Edvinas Kaskauskas, Beloit, Wis., 2018 graduate; Quinisa Grant, Palm Bay, Fla., 2017 graduate; Kacey Russell, St. Louis, Mo., current student; Lauren Sides, Cape Girardeau, Mo., 2018 graduate; and Vivevca Nwagbaroacha, Milwaukee, Wis., 2018 graduate.
Prunty has been teaching psychology for nearly 12 years. She earned her doctorate in neuroscience at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, a master’s degree in applied psychology from the University of Arkansas-Little Rock, and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
“I want to make sure my students are able to carry the work they have done all semester into the real world of psychology,” said Prunty, who will be traveling alongside her students and alumni to the conference in April.