OU Students, Alums Present at Psychological Conference

Brittany Weiner ’12 (left) celebrates her award-winning research with fellow presenter Ashleigh Grizzle ’10.

Nine Oglethorpe University psychology students and recent graduates presented their research at the 2011 annual meeting of the Southeastern Psychological Association (SEPA) in Jacksonville, Fla. SEPA is one of the largest psychology associations in the U.S. and is the Southeastern regional branch of the American Psychological Association.

All submissions to this conference represent high caliber original research and were peer reviewed by experts in the field. As most applicants are professors and graduate students, this is an impressive accomplishment for our undergraduates and speaks to their high level of ability as well as the quality of research training in OU’s
Department of Psychology.

Notably, Brittany Weiner ’12 won the award for top undergraduate research paper on Minority Issues, titled “Attitudes towards transsexual parenting.” She presented her paper orally as part of a special session for award winners, and received a $250 cash prize on her research.  Brittany’s paper also explored transphobia, a form of sexual prejudice directed specifically toward transsexuals.  She found that those high in transphobia (more prejudice) believed that a homosexual and a transsexual couple were more emotionally unstable than their counterparts.

“I’m especially interested in social psychology,” said Weiner, a psychology major.   “After completing the transsexual parenting study, I immediately [looked] for ways to decrease prejudice toward these minority groups. I am currently in the process of conducting my honors thesis, in which I am trying to reduce prejudice toward gay men.”

Other students who presented their work include:

− Livia Balaban ’12, “The relationship between public self-awareness and trait compliance”

− Alexandra Buonanotte ’10, “The effect of guided and self-guided meditation on mood”

− Ashleigh Grizzle ’10, “Potential limitations of contact: Examining contact’s effect on disability prejudice”

− Rebecca McAlister ’11 and Nicholas Etherington ’10, “Effects of reinforcement on intrinsic motivation”

− Brittany Weiner ’12, Morghan Brandon ’13, Jolinda Powell ’12 and Tiffany Zimniak ’13, “Coping and its relationship to perfectionism and test anxiety.”  (This study was selected as one of the best submissions and was showcased on the first night of the conference in a special “SEPA Sampler” session along with other highly rated research projects.)

Rebecca McAlister ’11 and Nicholas Etherington ’10 with their research presentation about the “Effects of reinforcement on intrinsic motivation.”

Presenting at a professional conference is a valuable learning experience and excellent preparation for graduate school.

“The psychology major in general prepares me quite well for grad school,” said Weiner. “The psychology professors are amazingly encouraging and supportive of my research (and everyone else’s as well). Whenever I have an idea, they’re always willing to make time for me to discuss it and help me put it into action.”

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