June 26, 2019

UMW Psychology Students Claim Top State Awards

Megan Jacobs '19 (right) and Associate Professor of Psychological Sciences Hilary Stebbins. Jacobs won one of the two Outstanding Undergraduate Papers awards given to UMW students by the Virginia Association for Psychological Science. Photo provided by Hilary Stebbins.

Megan Jacobs ’19 (right) and Associate Professor of Psychological Sciences Hilary Stebbins. Jacobs won one of the two Outstanding Undergraduate Papers awards given to UMW students by the Virginia Association for Psychological Science. Photo provided by Hilary Stebbins.

The Virginia Association for Psychological Science has recognized six University of Mary Washington students with awards for top research papers. The two top awards for Outstanding Undergraduate Papers were awarded to Megan Jacobs ’19 and the five-person team of seniors Kim Bui, Kara Hogue, Sidney McPhail and Corinne Rydgren, and junior Haley Turczynski.

The winning students competed among undergraduates representing 12 Virginia colleges, including James Madison, Virginia Commonwealth and Old Dominion universities. Some 24 undergraduate research papers were submitted.

Jacobs’ research paper “Physiological Differences in Stress Reactivity between Morning and Evening Chronotypes” examined the cardiac activity and cortisol level of people characterized as morning types versus those described as evening types when asked to perform a stressful task in the morning compared to the evening.

According to Associate Professor Hilary Stebbins who supervised the research, Jacobs’ findings suggest that the performance of evening types was impaired in the morning, which might be related to higher morning cortisol levels. “These findings have implications when we consider what we expect from our students, who are heavily skewed towards being evening types, in the morning,” said Stebbins.

The recognition is the second one for Jacobs, who received the outstanding undergraduate paper award last year for research on sleep deprivation as part of a four-member UMW team.

From L-R: Sidney McPhail, Kim Bui, Corinne Rydgren, Haley Turczynski and Kara Hogue at Psi Chi. The five-person team won an Outstanding Undergraduate Papers award from the Virginia Association for Psychological Science. Photo provided by Hilary Stebbins. 

From L-R: Sidney McPhail, Kim Bui, Corinne Rydgren, Haley Turczynski and Kara Hogue at Psi Chi. The five-person team won an Outstanding Undergraduate Papers award from the Virginia Association for Psychological Science. Photo provided by Hilary Stebbins.

The second top prize award went to UMW’s five-person team composed of Bui, Hogue, McPhail, Rydgren and Turczynski for the paper “Error Related Brain Activity and Mindfulness.”

This research team examined the brain activity of people who meditate and people who do not meditate. They studied brain activity while the participants made mistakes to see how strongly they reacted to their errors. The group found that the meditators had a smaller error-related brain component that has been related to the conscious awareness of mistakes. The team also looked at a few variables that might explain why the meditators were reacting differently to mistakes.

“They found that cognitive fusion, which is how much someone fights their own thoughts and inner experiences, explained why there was a relationship between meditator groups and the error-related brain activity,” said Assistant Professor Emily Stanley, who supervised the study.

The winning students also were among undergraduate presentations given at the University’s Psi Chi Symposium held last week in the Hurley Convergence Center’s Digital Auditorium. Jacobs also won the award for Best Presentation for 491/492 teams at the symposium.

 

 

Rettinger Quoted in Article on Plagiarism

David Rettinger, associate professor of Psychological Science

David Rettinger, associate professor of Psychological Science

Associate Professor of Psychology David Rettinger was quoted in an article on the ethics of plagiarism. “It’s a particular problem in academia because we care so much about the process,” says Rettinger, who is also the president of the International Center for Academic Integrity and director of Academic Integrity Programs at UMW. “I say this to my students all the time: I don’t care that you give me a [clean] paper. I care that you write a paper. The point is … it’s like sending someone to the gym for you. It completely defeats the purpose.” Read more. 

 

Rettinger interviewed on Good Morning America

David Rettinger, associate professor of Psychological Science

David Rettinger, associate professor of Psychological Science and director of Academic Integrity Programs

David Rettinger, associate professor of psychology and director of Academic Integrity Programs was interviewed for a segment that aired on April 3 on Good Morning America entitled “We tried buying a college admissions essay online, here’s what happened.” “Contract cheating has grown a great deal over the past ten years,” said Rettinger, who is also the president of the International Center for Academic Integrity. “Students are willing to use internet sites, family members, friends and other technology to get contractors to do their work.”

Read more.

 

Rettinger Discusses the Prevalence of Cheating

David Rettinger, associate professor of Psychological Science

David Rettinger, associate professor of Psychological Science

Associate Professor of Psychological Sciences David Rettinger, who is also the president of the International Center for Academic Integrity, was quoted in an article on HowStuffWorks.com on the prevalence of cheating among college students. “The research I’ve seen and conducted doesn’t demonstrate a huge uptick in cheating,” Rettinger said. “Research by Prof. Don McCabe over the past 20 years shows up and downs in reported cheating. My more recent follow-ups indicated that the trend is continuing.” Rettinger references the late Donald L. McCabe, who is considered “the founding father of research on academic integrity,” and co-wrote the book “Cheating in College: Why Students Do It and What Educators Can Do About It.”

Read more.

 

 

Wilson Quoted in Pacific Standard on PTSD in Mass Shooting Survivors

Laura Wilson, assistant professor of psychology

Laura Wilson, assistant professor of psychological sciences

Assistant Professor of Psychological Sciences Laura Wilson was quoted in an article on PacificStandard.com about the psychological aftermath and post-traumatic stress disorder often experienced by survivors of mass shootings. The article references a September 2018 article in the APA’s Monitor on Psychology in September 2018, “Simply by definition, mass shootings are more likely to trigger difficulties with beliefs that most of us have, including that we live in a just world and that if we make good decisions, we’ll be safe.” Read more.

 

Psychology Students Volunteer to Breathe Life Into Hospice

It was just a conversation about ice cream, but it was a breakthrough. Recent UMW grad Lily Olson ’18 had visited one of her favorite hospice patients for weeks. She’d sat by his bed and held his hand, but few words had been exchanged. Until the day she discovered that if she spoke directly into […]

UMW Psychology Grad Levels Playing Field

Sarah Axelson ’08 searched months for the right college. Yet by the start of her senior year of high school in Long Beach, New York, she felt no closer to finding it. When a family friend recommended the University of Mary Washington, Axelson dug out her college guide book. Rigorous academics. A Division III softball […]

Holly Schiffrin Comments in Huffington Post, Alphr

Holly Schiffrin, professor of psychological sciences, was recently quoted in The Huffington Post and Alphr. To read the articles, visit the following links:

How To Tell Your Kids They’re Going To Have A Sibling (Huffington Post) https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/how-to-tell-your-kids-theyre-going-to-have-a-sibling_us_5a4fa362e4b003133ec77673.

Black Mirror Arkangel: Are we already living in a dystopia of parental surveillance? (Alphr) http://www.alphr.com/life-culture/1008058/black-mirror-arkangel-parental-surveillance-helicopter-parenting.

 

Liss Research Appears in Psychology Today

Research conducted by Psychology Professor Miriam Liss recently appeared in Psychology Today. For the article, called “10 Signs Insecurity Is Spreading to Your Facebook Behavior,” Liss and students  administered a set of personality measures along with FOMO (fear of missing out) as predictors of use of, and addiction to, social media.

 

Schiffrin Interviewed by Voice of America

Schiffrin_250Holly Schiffrin, professor of psychology, was recently quoted in Voice of America. The article, “Does Your Mother Still Do Your Laundry?,” discussed the problems of helicopter parenting.  “Helicopter parenting is … parents being involved at a level that is inappropriate,” she said. Schiffrin told VOA that she sees students struggling to deal with issues ranging from anxiety to maturity to handling simple tasks that come with independence, such as doing laundry or cooking a meal.