Psychology Student Opportunities

  • Explore the Possibilities

    Our students have plenty of opportunities to gain psychology experience through their coursework and through hands-on activities beyond the traditional classroom format including labs, community service projects, clubs, self-study and more.Below are just a few of the opportunities waiting for you as a future psychology student.

  • Undergraduate Research

    Psychology Student Research

    As a psychology student you will undertake a 2-semester research sequence that allows you to understand research methodology by designing and completing your own research project. There is even a live rat lab where you can learn to train your own rat. Recent projects have focused on: 

    • physical fitness and GPA
    • parent-child fear connections
    • the female athlete triad
    • gender difference in online dating advertisements
    • birth order and motivation
    • personality type and Wii bowling performance
    • Music and comprehension

    Psychology majors are encouraged to conduct research or participate in ongoing research projects. Students may join a faculty-sponsored research team, or they may design their own project. Independently designed projects require faculty sponsors.

    This Semester's Research

    PSYC 202 Research Methods and Statistics II APA Paper Abstracts - Fall 2013

    Download a PDF of the PSYC 202 Fall 2013 Paper Abstracts


    Title: Deviant Behavior: A Study of Reactions to Deviance in a Public Setting"
    Author: Allison Smith, Amanda Swope, Dara Parker, Michael Hollen, and Dr. Marnie Moist
    Download the student research poster


    Title: Effect of Intercollegiate Sports Playing Time in Matches on Player Self-Efficacy
    Author: Drew Grehan
    NCAA Division 1 intercollegiate athletes playing times in matches were compared to their self-efficacy scores using the New General Self Efficacy Scale created by Chen, Gully, and Eden (2001). These college athletes, ranged from 18 to 22 years of age, were not at the time injured/academically ineligible, and played a team sport that required competition for limited positions in matches. Participants were divided into two conditions, based on self-reported playing time percentage, from those who play more than half of a typical match to those who play less than half of a typical match. It was discovered that there was no difference in the shape of the distributions for the total general self-efficacy score between the two populations. These findings suggest that general self-efficacy may not be noticeably influenced by playing time in collegiate matches. There can be numerous other factors that may affect a person’s general self-efficacy.
    Keywords: playing time, self-efficacy, sports, college athlete, competition


    Title: Effect of Personality on Music Choice
    Authors: Michael Hollen and Amanda Swope
    This study investigated how personality type relates to an individual’s musical genre of choice. Both male and female college students took a Big Five personality inventory in order to determine their personality traits. There was no significant difference in either extroversion or inquisitiveness between people who preferred pop music compared to heavy metal, as predicted. However, there was a near-significant relationship between genre preference and gender, p = .06, showing that males more often preferred pop music while females were more evenly split in their preference for pop and heavy metal. This may suggest females are more likely than males to use metal music as some type of emotional outlet.
    Keywords: music genre, introversion, extroversion, gender


    Title: Music as an Influence in Concentration while Studying
    Author: Dara M. Parker
    This study explored the link between how listening to music helps a student concentrate while studying. The participants that involved in this study were current students at Saint Francis University and included a total of 20 undergrad college students of both genders. Students observed listening to music with headphones while studying were compared to those who did not to listen to music. Total time the participants were able to concentrate over a 10-minute interval while studying either academic information only or a mixture of academic and non-academic information was observed in a library or student lounge setting. Results showed no difference in time focusing on studies between music and no music groups, but significantly more time was spent focusing when only academic information was looked at than when a mixture of information types were used. Because the mixture group commonly used their cell phones, this may suggest that technology available for distracting purposes may contribute more to ineffective study concentration than listening to music.
    Keywords: music, concentration, attention span


    Title: The Effect of Type of Athlete on Conformity
    Author: Allison Smith
    Level of conformity was examined in students who participate in sports at the college level and students who are non-athletes. Extending Asch’s (1956) design, 32 undergraduate students of both genders were shown eight ambiguous video clips of sports events, where they were asked to determine whether or not a foul was committed. In one group, participants stated their answers after two confederates gave predetermined answers to each question that were either correct or incorrect; in another, participants gave answers with no one else present except the experimenter. Participants in the critical trials were studied to see if they also gave the wrong answer when the confederates did. Non-athletes showed higher levels of conforming behavior than those who did participate in athletics, and confederate incorrect referee calls led to more conformity than for controls. These findings suggest that non-athletes are more likely to be conforming than athletes when they lack expertise on a topic, although overall all participants on average demonstrated conformity regardless of athletic involvement.
    Keywords: conformity, social cohesion, task cohesion, group sports, individual sports


    Title: Effects of Facebook Use on the Self-Esteem Level of College Students
    Author: Angela Taylor
    Thirty-nine traditional college aged Saint Francis University undergraduates were compared to see whether viewing pictures of people having fun on another person’s Facebook page affects one’s self-esteem. Participants viewed either their own Facebook page or a stranger’s page and were compared based on their reported change in self-esteem from pretest to posttest. Self-esteem levels were also compared based on whether the participant viewed a Facebook portraying high or low levels of fun. Owner of Facebook page viewed and amount of fun depicted in photos posted did not significantly influence self-esteem. However, perceived amount of fun the owner of the Facebook page seemed to show was positively correlated with post-test self-esteem levels (r = +.45), suggesting some people may access Facebook to feel better. This knowledge could be applied to utilizing social networking sites to remedy different personal situations including stress and depression.
    Keywords: Facebook, self-esteem, social media, self-perception, social networking

    Other Recent Research

    • Lasinsky, E., Sepich, E., Baker, S.H., & Shaffer, B. A. (2010). An examination of Gender Difference in online dating advertisements. Eastern Psychological Association. New York, NY.
    • Scheib, K., Gorlaski, A., Sandrick, C., Shaffer, B. A., & Baker, S. H. (2010). The effect of birth order on achievement motivation. Eastern Psychological Association. New York, NY.
    • Esposito,A., Ganassi, J., & Moist, M. (2009) The Effect of Wii Playing Constraints and Personality Type on Total Bowling Points. 12th Annual Laurel Highlands Undergraduate Psychology Conference.
    • Lasinsky, E., Sepich, E., Baker, S.H., & Shaffer, B. A. (2010). An examination of Gender Difference in online dating advertisements. Eastern Psychological Association. New York, NY.
    • Scheib, K., Gorlaski, A., Sandrick, C., Shaffer, B. A., & Baker, S. H. (2010). The effect of birth order on achievement motivation. Eastern Psychological Association. New York, NY.
    • Esposito, A., Briley, E., & Bargdill, R. W. (2009). A Phenomenological Inquiry into School Spirit. The Society for Humanistic Psychology Conference. Sponsored by APA Division 32,University of the Rockies, Colorado Springs, CO.
    • Albanes, B., Kowalski, J., & Moist, M. (2009). Does Background Music influence Comprehension? 12th Annual Laurel Highlands Undergraduate Psychology Conference.
    • Chappell, J. & Moist, M. (2009). Reiki Effects on Stress Relaxation and the Role of open-mindedness. 12th Annual Laurel ighlands Undergraduate Psychology Conference.
    • Dice, A., West, J., Moist, M. (2009). Effect of Type of Seating Arrangement and Type of Recall on Recall . 12th Annual Laurel Highlands Undergraduate Psychology Conference.
    • Bargdill, R.W. & Marcasco, B.A (2008). The Phenomenology of Meaningful Events in the Lives of Undergraduates. The Society for Humanistic Psychology Conference. Sponsored by APA Division32,Boston, MA.
    • Sandu, A. & Moist, M. (2008) Effect of Gender on Recall of Overt vs. Relational Aggressive Acts. 11th 12th Annual Laurel Highlands Undergraduate Psychology Conference.
  • Clubs & Honor Societies

    Psychology Club

    Psychology Club Banner

    We have an active psychology club were you can expand your academic experience through field trips and other out-of-the classroom activities: Here are some examples of past activities:   

    • Pittsburgh Zoo trip to observe how operant conditioning is used with the animals
    • volunteering and fundraising for the charity Autumn's Angels
    • psychology movie nights
    • discussions on topics such as the cancer experience and flash mobs with connections to current pop culture examples

    Psi Chi

    Psi Chi Banner

    You may want to join an honor societies such as Psi Chi, International Honor Society in Psychology, founded in 1929 for the purposes of encouraging, stimulating, and maintaining excellence in scholarship, and advancing the science of psychology.

  • Internships & Professional Networking

    Psychology Internships Banner

    As a student you may participate in professional activities including attending and presenting in professional conferences as you learn new things and are ready to share your research. There are also many internship opportunities where you may apply and integrate the skills, knowledge, and values derived from coursework in psychology and in your general education.

    Learn more about our Psychology Internship Guidelines.

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