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Psychology students gain valuable research experience

Yidi Li and Dr. Elizabeth Mazur at the APA convention
Yidi Li and Dr. Elizabeth Mazur at the APA convention
10/8/2011 —

The psychology department at the campus has a strong record of providing undergraduate students with research opportunities.

Lacey Richards began working with Elizabeth Mazur, associate professor of psychology, as a research assistant on a project Mazur was conducting with another undergraduate student (Mazur & Kozarian, Journal of Adolescent Research, 2010).

Richards enjoyed the experience and thus decided to continue with the new idea Mazur had developed. Mazur and Richards used public postings on MySpace to examine the numbers and types of friends seen in the social networking interactions.

The work was honored when Richards received the Undergraduate Research Award from the Pennsylvania Psychological Association. She later presented their work at a national conference, the Society for Research in Adolescence. Richards graduated with a B.A. degree in applied psychology in 2008.

The Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology recently published the Mazur and Richards paper (2011). The article is entitled “Adolescents' and Emerging Adults' Social Networking Online: Homophily or Diversity?”

Mazur is currently working with Yidi Li, who began at Greater Allegheny and is completing her psychology and media studies degrees at University Park. Mazur and Li presented their work, “What are They Blogging and Blurbing? A Cross-Cultural Comparison of Chinese and American Emerging Adults’ Online Social Profiles,” at the American Psychological Association conference in August 2011 in Washington, DC. The project began as part of the campus international curriculum program, Teaching International, during the year the regional focus was on East Asia.

Margaret L. Signorella, professor of psychology and women's studies, is also working with Li on a project examining research that compares outcomes in single-sex versus coeducational schools. Signorella recently published an article with former student Jeanna E. Cooper, "Relationship Suggestions from Self-Help Books: Gender Stereotyping, Preferences, and Context Effects." The research, which appeared in Sex Roles in 2011, began with Cooper's undergraduate research independent study class.

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