According to Dr. Marianne Lloyd, a professor of psychology, it is a longstanding tradition for the department to encourage students to participate in psychological studies for a variety of reasons.
“I have helped transition it to online signups and even some online studies to make [it] more convenient for students,” Lloyd said. “The benefits of these studies are that it allows students to make early contact with faculty, graduate students and research assistants and they form the foundation for much published research in psychology, particularly basic cognitive research in memory.”
She added that these opportunities are especially important for freshmen as it gives them a way to engage in research from the outset of their college careers. Lloyd said participation in the studies is not a requirement for the Introduction to Psychology classes but there are still opportunities for extra credit in other courses.
Nicole Oppenheimer, a senior psychology major, shared her experience as a research assistant of the department and research studies. “The research experience has honestly been phenomenal,” she said.
Oppenheimer said that, in her time as a researcher, she has been tasked with carrying out many activities in the research process. She explained that she began working with Lloyd her sophomore year, after having her as a professor for statistics.
Oppenheimer began by collecting data for graduate students’ experiments and now, is helping Lloyd “counterbalance” or influence the group structures for an experiment. In fact, the pair is set to present their findings at the Psychonomics Conference in New Orleans, from Nov. 15 to18.
Lloyd and Oppenheimer’s collaboration will not stop there, either. Oppenheimer said that Lloyd is her adviser for her honors thesis project. She said that she is now designing and implementing her own experiment. Her project will relate to stress in college.
“I’ve grown so much as a student and as a researcher through the lab experience,” she said. “I’ve learned so much about the thorough and rigorous process of doing research and I have also been able to apply concepts from my psychology courses to the lab. I wanted to get involved in research because I know what a vital component research is in a Clinical Psychology Ph.D.”
Sarah Mirza, a sophomore social and behavioral sciences and occupational therapy major, said that she would participate in a study, as it is an opportunity to help others.
“I would definitely participate in a psychology study,” Mirza said. “It does not take much effort to volunteer time for the studies but the small time that a student contributes helps a lot for the research.”
Emma Meadows, a freshman psychology major, said that being a participant in this work helps add to the overall knowledge in the field.
“I’d want to be involved in a study so that advances can be made in certain fields by gathering data on actual people,” she said. “It just makes me feel like I’m helping make a difference in whatever the researcher is working towards.”
Alexa Coughlin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.