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UMSL Graduate Research Fair

At the 2018 Graduate Research Fair, four of Psychological Sciences' graduate students were among the winners. Alanna Roesler (left), James Mundell (center), Natalia Kecala (right), and Michael McKenna (not pictured) placed in two categories–Social Sciences, Business, Humanities, and Education; and Outstanding Master's Posters–and won prizes between $100 and $500. The Graduate Research Fair allows students to present their research to fellow graduate students and faculty and to also get feedback on their work.


James Mundell, Industrial-Organizational Psychology
1st Place, Social Sciences, Business, Humanities & Education Category

"My research focuses on bias during employment interviews from rapport building, or the "small talk" that occurs before an interview begins. Past research has shown that rapport building ratings can significantly influence interview ratings, which is problematic as what is discussed during small talk is likely not job related. My study attempted to diminish this bias by using a cognitive intervention called the Structured Free Recall Intervention (SFRI)."

Alanna Roesler, Industrial-Organizational Psychology
2nd Place, Social Sciences, Business, Humanities & Education Category

"My project assessed the susceptibility of aspiring minority leaders to stereotype threat regarding leadership and its effect on performance and appraisals of the situation. Stereotype threat has been linked to physiological arousal, and minorities engaging in leadership activities may have a physiological reaction reflecting a state of threat due to the heightened anxiety that they will be judged according to the stereotype that minorities do not make good leaders. My study explains the problematic nature of this phenomenon and the conditions under which stereotype threat can lead to negative outcomes."

Natalia Kecala, Behavioral Neuroscience
1st Place, Outstanding Master's Posters

"My research looks at the psychophysiology of trauma; I’m specifically interested in individuals who don’t show the typical hyperreactive presentation of PTSD and how this relates to their traumatic experiences. Previous research suggests that the use of active or passive coping strategies actually has different physiological presentations. Using a scripted imagery paradigm, my project used a participant’s heart rate reactivity to trauma cues to predict what type of coping behavior she was most likely to have used during her assault."

Michael McKenna, Industrial-Organizational Psychology
3rd Place, Outstanding Master's Posters

Poster citation: Can Respondents Fake Neutral on an Implicit Association Test?

Undergraduate Research Day 

This year, six UMSL students have been chosen to share their university research experiences with state lawmakers in Jefferson City for 2018's Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol. Of these six, four are Psychological Sciences students. Undergraduates are selected based on their significant involvement in the research enterprise of the university, either with their own project or through meaningful involvement with an on-going faculty project. This year's Undergraduate Research Day is scheduled for April 5, 2018.

Claudia Campbell
Elise Trombetta

Claudia Campbell (senior) and Elise Trombetta (B.A. Fall 2017) work in Dr. Rachel Wamser-Nanney's lab. When discussing their research, Claudia said, "Our research was regarding symptoms following complex trauma exposure in children, or multiple or chronic interpersonal trauma that begins early in life, leading to widespread dysregulation. We compared the exposure and subsequent symptoms of both white and black children to determine any racial disparities.  We found few differences, however, white children endorsed higher levels of anxiety/depression, social concerns, and internalizing symptoms, and Black children experienced more sexual concerns."

Drake Anderson

Junior Drake Anderson, who works in the labs of Dr. Bettina Casad and Dr. Suzanne Welcome, will present physio and EEG data on women experiencing sexism when interacting with sexist men. His poster is titled "Staying Silent in Response to Sexism: Is it Bad for Your Health?".

Samantha Murphy

Samantha Murphy, who is a senior and works in Dr. Suzanne Welcome's lab, was asked to describe her research: "...we were interested in the theory that individuals who struggled to learn to read may rely more heavily on meaningful word relationships. Using event-related potential, we measured the electrical signal, N400, and found that self-reported reading difficulty scores were strongly associated with the size of expectancy effects among a sample of college students."

Mamie Phipps Clark Diversity Research Grant Recipient

Savannah Price

Savannah Price is a senior who works in the lab with Dr. Bettina Casad and is a member of UMSL's chapter of Psi Chi, the international honor society in psychology. She has been selected as a recipient of a 2017-2018 Mamie Phipps Clark Diversity Research Grant for her proposal "The Role of Identity and Intergroup Threat in Anti-Immigrant Attitudes and Economic Pessimism in Greece and Italy". This grant highlights research projects by Psi Chi students and faculty who focus on diverse populations and issues.