Elon Psychology students present research at the North Carolina Psychological Association

Faculty in the Department of Psychology within Elon College, the College of Arts & Sciences, were mentors for the projects.

Four Psychology majors in Elon College, the College of Arts & Sciences, presented their undergraduate research at the North Carolina Psychological Association Spring Conference on April 27, 2019, in Chapel Hill, N.C.

Alexandra Grillo ‘20 presented a poster titled, “Trends in mothers’ and infants’ sustained interactions during free-play across locomotor development.” Her work was part of a longitudinal study examining how the acquisition of crawling and walking skills in infancy affects infants’ and mothers’ use of postures and interactive behaviors. Grillo has been accepted into Elon’s 2019 Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) program, where she will begin collecting data for a new study on infants’ ability to adapt balance control in standing postures.

Grillo is mentored by Sabrina Thurman, who is an assistant professor of psychology and director of the Infant Development Lab.

Kylie Donahue ‘19, an Elon College Fellow, presented a poster titled, “Fine-tuning focus: The effects of tDCS on the electrophysiological and behavioral mechanisms of attention,” in which she used transcranial direct current stimulation to stimulate neural circuits used during an attention task to increase attentional capacity. Donahue will be working in an optometry office for the year following graduation, with plans to attend optometry school in the fall of 2020.

Donahue was mentored by Rachel Force, assistant professor of psychology.

Laura Bernstein ‘19, an Elon College Fellow, presented a poster titled, “Age differences in self-enhancement and autobiographical memory,” which examined how young adults and older adults describe positive and negative events from their lives, and what other factors may influence the psychological distance they feel from those events.

Bernstein was accepted to the psychology doctoral program at West Virginia University where she will continue her research on aging.

Elana Kaplan ‘19, an Elon College Fellow, presented a poster titled, “Examining the range of autobiographical memory and the relationship to associative memory,” in which she explored how different measures of autobiographical memory are correlated with each other and with memory performance on an associative task, possibly because of the shared dependence on forming links that is required for both autobiographical and associative memory. Kaplan was a semifinalist for the Fulbright Study/Research Award and has been accepted to the Masters of Science in Global Public Health and Policy at Queen Mary University in London.

Bernstein and Kaplan were both mentored by Amy Overman, professor of psychology and principal investigator of the Cognitive Neuroscience of Memory & Aging Lab.

Psychology Department faculty are active mentors of undergraduate research. In 2017-18 alone, 37 undergraduate students were co-authors on at least one peer-reviewed publication or presentation at a professional conference, and psychology students made an additional 23 research presentations at undergraduate research conferences.