Students present research to Neb. Psychological Society

A group of YC students presented their original research to the Nebraska Psychological Society on Saturday, November 3, at Hastings College. The students were led by psychology faculty Dr. Jaclyn Spivey and Cara Kroeker, who have guided the development of the student research.

text messaging studyStudents in a senior level social psychology class created and conducted a study that looked at perceptions of anonymous text messages. Students received a number of texts and were asked to judge whether the message was influenced by situational or dispositional factors.

So, did students perceive a negative text message as coming from a sender who is mean (dispositional) or from someone who is having a bad day (situational)?

Danielle Berry
Danielle Berry

Student researcher Danielle Berry, a senior from Salem, Neb., says they expected to find more students would attribute dispositional factors. Instead, after analyzing the data, Berry says their findings were inconclusive. However, the learning experience was still highly valuable.

Since the hypothesis was not confirmed, they can continue to ask questions and tweak the study, examining what they could do differently to find more accurate results, says Berry.

Jaclyn Spivey
Dr. Jaclyn Spivey

“Since most adolescents and emerging adults communicate via text messaging, it is important to assess how people interpret information that comes through this medium,” says Spivey. “There is so much room for errors of communication and interpretation when you are limited to 150 characters in your messaging.”

Fifteen percent of the YC student body participated in the study.

“This has been an incredible experience for both the students of Social Psychology as well as the York College student population as a whole,” says Kroeker. “Research can be an intimidating topic of discussion, whether one finds him or herself on the research side of the operation, or as a participant of research.”

Cara Kroeker
Cara Kroeker

“The students in class have learned what the process looks like to go from posing a question, to gathering information and finally to interpreting what the information they gathered means. Students who participated in the study had the opportunity to learn that participating in research is not intimidating, and hopefully, got to see how research applies to their everyday lives.”

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