After months of data collection and review, it was finally time for the four-student research team to talk.
Alexandria Woodrow ’14 (Somerset, Ohio) and Michelle Sayre ’13 (Ripley, W.Va.) had teamed up with fellow Psychology majors Jamie Thompson ’13 (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Ricci Davis ’14 (Marietta, Ohio) to examine if listening to certain types of music while studying affects one’s ability to retain information.
The students presented their poster, “Mind Over Music: How Background Music (Affects) Memory Retention,” during the second annual All Scholars Day. Their study was one of 75 different projects on display in Dyson Baudo Recreation Center, Hermann Fine Arts Center, Thomas Hall and Mills Hall. Students presented research to their peers and faculty, and had to be prepared to defend their findings.
The group used 30 Psychology majors by having them read the same article while listening to either classical, contemporary or no music. “After reading the article, they were given a test to determine if their memory was affected by the background music,” Woodrow said.
“We found no significant difference between each group but I think there would have been a measurable difference if we had more participants,” Sayre said. “We had nine in the control group, 11 in the ‘Today’s Favorites’ group and 10 in the classical music group.”
Dr. Alicia Doerflinger, Assistant Professor of Psychology, helped organize the event and was involved in some of the research projects. “There is again this year a strong presence of Psychology students,” Doerflinger said. “The reason that Psychology has more students participating in ASD is because the department already had a Poster Day tradition, and as a department we were able to easily make the transition from our own in-house event to this campus-wide event.”
Last year, there were 130 students participating in 51 projects. This year, that number increased to 157 students presenting 75 different topics. Last year, many of the presenters were Psychology and Physics majors. This year, other departments, such as Petroleum Engineering, Economics, Art History, Physician Assistant and Modern Languages, have a stronger showing.
“The schedule also includes more Biology capstone presentations and Honors Thesis projects this year,” Doerflinger said. “One group that we lost this year is Physics; the department was unable to participate this year because ASD conflicted with their annual Physics Meeting, which all of their seniors attend together with faculty.”
Though Physics was not represented, Doerflinger expressed her gratitude for that department’s continued support of the scholarly research program.
Timing also played a role in another department’s ability to participate in the program. “ASD 2012 happily coincided with the One-Act Festival, and we were able to include the directors and cast as part of our program this year. We were able to also include the Senior Art Capstone Opening in our program this year,” Doerflinger said.
Sayre participated in All Scholars Day last year on a project that examined what influences helpfulness. Sayre and Woodrow are happy their major places such an emphasis on student research projects.
“Our psychology department also has a graduate level, so it is very research-based,” Woodrow said. “I knew I would be involved in research projects here, but I assumed it would be later…maybe as a junior.”
Doerflinger said it is important for students to have these research opportunities as well as the experiences presenting their findings to large groups.
“At All Scholars Day, students have the opportunity to talk about their work with students and faculty in other disciplines,” Doerflinger said. “They are forced to use language and describe their projects in ways that a novice can understand, and that is a valuable skill.”