Student-Faculty Research

Summary

A particular strength of the psychology department is the faculty, whose members are not only excellent teachers, but also productive researchers. Many students (freshmen through seniors) work with faculty members as research assistants and collaborators. Students may volunteer their time in a research lab, or they may work on faculty members’ research projects in the Supervised Research course (PY 295, 3 credits). As a result of these collaborations, students often co-author papers that are presented at professional research conferences, and many students give presentations at the annual the annual Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society research symposium on campus.

After an apprenticeship, students also often develop their own research ideas and go on to Independent Research (PY 395, 4 credits). On average, approximately 10-15 students per semester work directly with faculty on their research, and another 5-10 students develop independent projects in collaboration with faculty each year. Although specific faculty interests vary widely (e.g., false memory, stereotyping and prejudice, intimate partner violence, hormones and behavior), here are some examples of recent Student-Faculty research collaborations, all of which have led to presentations at local, regional, and national conferences:

How Do Photos and Technology Shape Our Memories?

Dr. Henkel’s research team has been running a series of studies examining the impact of taking photos on what people subsequently remember. When we outsource our memory to our cameras – expecting our cameras record and in essence “remember” our experiences, we engage in different ways of thinking about those experiences than if we do not take photos.  This research follows up on Dr. Henkel’s 2013 work which was featured on NPR, and dozens of other media sites, including the New York Times, BBC news, Wall Street Journal., and CNN.

 

How Does Empathy for Other People's Emotions Impact One's Social Relationships?

When most people think of empathy, they think of “feeling along with” another person’s negative emotions (e.g., fear, sadness). In his research however, Dr. Andreychik and his students focus on empathy for others’ positive emotions (e.g., happiness, excitement). We are currently examining how each type of empathy—positive and negative—relates to various aspects of social behavior, such as helping behavior, close relationships, and motivation. In addition to a number of conference presentations, this work has also led to a joint student-faculty journal publication.

 

How can We Better Treat Individuals with Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorders such as Schizophrenia, and Schizotypal Personality Disorder?

 Dr. McClure’s NARSAD Young Investigator Award (The Brain & Behavior Foundation) examines the impact of Cognitive Remediation Therapy (CRT) when paired with an agent that targets the norepinephrine system compared to CRT plus placebo.  Dr. McClure also collaborates on projects examining treatments for personality disorders, such as borderline personality disorder, including studies of medications such as oxytocin and psychological interventions such as dialectical behavior therapy. Students working in this lab have the opportunity to conduct telephone screens of potential participants, observe diagnostic interviews and neuropsychological assessments, and sit in on CRT computerized training sessions.

 

How Strongly (and Permanently) are Other People Affected by the Expectations that we Hold about Them?

Research has shown that our expectations about others (“She isn’t very nice”) can affect how we treat them (“I’m not going to talk to someone who’s so unpleasant”), thus causing them to behave in the way we expected (“I’m certainly not going to act friendly toward someone who doesn’t even seem to want to talk to me”). But, what are the limits of these self-fulfilling prophecies? For example, how many times must someone be treated as unpleasant before they become a “permanently” unpleasant person? What if someone who has been treated as unpleasant (or unintelligent, etc.) for many years begins to be treated in the opposite way? Will their behavior or personality change? Dr. Andreychik is currently exploring these and related questions with his students. 

 

How is Intimate Partner Violence Related to Factors such as Childhood Trauma and Emotion Regulation?

Dr. McClure’s lab in the psychology department at Fairfield University studies risk and protective factors for intimate partner violence in college student dating relationships, including childhood trauma, anxiety and mood symptoms, personality factors, and emotion regulation.  Students working in this lab have the opportunity to interact with study participants by administering the computerized assessment battery and emotion regulation tasks, as well as to clean and analyze data.

 

How do the Physical Environments of Nursing Home Residents Shape the Quality of Care They Receive?

As part of the Interdisciplinary Health Studies Scholars grant awarded to Dr. Henkel (psychology) and Dr. Alison Kris (School of Nursing) for 2013-2015, a team of undergraduate researchers from both psychology and nursing recently completed a project examining how memory cues in the environment, such as personal family photos, can bring about greater social interaction between health care providers and nursing home residents, which in turn can boost not only the residents’ morale and wellbeing, but can increase the social interactions between health care providers and the residents, which can improve the quality of care received.

 

The above is just a sample of the exciting research currently taking place in the department. For information about the research being conducted by each faculty member in the department, visit the Faculty Information pages. If you are interested in the research described, contact that faculty member and see if he or she has room in their research lab for an enthusiastic, responsible new member!

Student-Faculty Publications

(* = undergraduate student)

  • Andreychik, M. R., & *Lewis, E. (2017). Will you help me to suffer less? How about to feel more joy?: Positive and negative empathy are associated with different other-oriented motivations. Personality and Individual Differences, 105, 139-149. 
  • Andreychik, M. R., & *Migliaccio, N. (2015). Empathizing with others’ pain versus empathizing with others’ joy: Examining the separability of positive and negative empathy and their relation to different types of social behaviors and social emotions. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 37, 274-291.
  • Henkel, L. A., Kris, A., *Birney, S., & *Krauss, K. (in press as of May 2016). The functions and values of reminiscence for older adults in long-term residential care facilities. Memory, doi: 10.1080/09658211.2016.1182554
  • Henkel, L. A., *Parisi, K., & Weber, C. N. (2016). The museum as psychology lab: Research on photography and memory in museums. In T. Stylianou-Lambert (Ed.), Museums and visitor photography: Refining the visitor experience (pp. 153-183). Cambridge, MA: Musuems Etc.

Student-Faculty Presentations at Professional Conferences

(* = undergraduate student)

  • Andreychik, M. R., *Callaghan, J., *Langley, J., *McGuirk, S., *Migliaccio, N., & *Papachristos, P. (2013, May). Evidence for the Validity of an Implicit Measure of Compassion for African Americans. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Association of Psychological Science, Washington, DC.
  • Andreychik, M. R., *Krivensky, S. R., & *Cusumano, M. (2015, May). I associate, therefore I explain: Non-conscious evaluative associations with a novel group predict whether explanations for the group’s behaviors are group-derogating or group-enhancing. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Psychological Science, New York, NY.
  • Andreychik, M. R., *Krivensky, S. R., & Gill, M. J. (2014, May). Re-examining the relationship between natural kind beliefs about social groups and prejudice. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Psychological Science, San Francisco, CA.
  • Andreychik, M. R., *Krivensky, S. R., *Migliaccio, N., *Cusumano, M., *Sheerin, E., *Lewis, E., & *Gutkin, S. (2015, March). Empathizing with others’ positive vs. negative emotions: (Why) do they both predict prosocial behavior? Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Eastern Psychological Association, Philadelphia, PA.
  • Andreychik, M. R., & *Lewis, E. L. (2016, May). Reducing Your Suffering or Increasing Your Joy?: Negative Empathy Predicts Helping Others to Avoid Negative Emotions Whereas Positive Empathy Predicts Helping Others to Approach Positive Emotions. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Psychological Science, Chicago, IL.
  • Andreychik, M. R., *Lewis, E. L., *Massaker, A., *Martinelli, D., *Mezzapelle, J., *Hayward, T., *Byrne, E., & *Kimble, A. (2016, March). Positive and negative empathy relate to different regulatory foci. Poster to be presented at the annual meeting of the Eastern Psychological Association, New York, NY.
  • *Clymer, L., & Henkel, L. A. (2014). "I remember that photo!": Mistakenly claiming to have seen photos that are consistent with one's original experiences. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Eastern Psychological Association, Boston, MA.
  • Harding, S. M., & *Masters, E. C. (2016, November). The effects of intranasal oxytocin on anxiety, social, and sexual behaviors in male rats prenatally exposed to valproic acid. Poster presented at the Society for Neuroscience Conference, San Diego, CA.
  • Henkel, L. A., *Peters, E., & Kris, A., *Birney, S., & *Krauss, K. (2015, November). Spontaneous reminiscence in nursing home residents: Do they reminisce more than they claim to? Paper presented at the 11th biennial meeting of the International Society for Reminiscence and Life Review, Orlando, FL.
  • Henkel, L. A., *Peters, E., & Kris, A. (2015, June). Functions of autobiographical memory in a nursing home: Reminiscence in nursing home residents. Paper presented at the 11th biennial meeting of the Society for Applied Research on Memory and Cognition, Victoria, Canada.
  • Henkel, L. A., Kris, A., *Birney, S., *Krauss, K., *Peters, E., & *Goguen, M. (2014, Nov.). The functions and value of reminiscence for nursing home residents. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Gerontological Society, Washington, DC.
  • Kris, A., Henkel, L. A., *Krauss, K., & *Birney, S. (2015, November). Personalized care and reminiscence among nursing home staff. Paper presented at the 11th biennial meeting of the International Society for Reminiscence and Life Review, Orlando, FL.
  • Kris, A., Henkel, L., *Krauss, K., *Birney, S., & *Peters. E. (2015, May). The presence of cognitively enriched environment for nursing home residents with dementia. Poster presented at the annual conference of the American Geriatrics Society, National Harbor, MD.
  • Kris, A., Henkel, L. A., *Krauss, K., & *Birney, S. (2014, Nov.). The functions and value of reminiscence for nursing home staff. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Gerontological Society, Washington, DC.
  • *Krauss, K., Kris, A., *Birney, S., & Henkel, L. A. (2014). The presence of cognitively enriched environments for nursing home residents with dementia. Poster presented at the Yale School of Nursing Delta Mu Collaborative Scholarship Day, Yale University, New Haven, CT.
  • McClure, M. M. & *Trosin, M. (2016, March). Adult attachment style as a predictor of depressive symptoms and intimate partner violence in college students. Poster presented at the Eastern Psychological Association Meeting, New York, NY.
  • McClure, M. M. & *Savery, L. (2015, May). Childhood trauma and adult attachment as factors in dating violence among college students. Poster presented at the Association for Psychological Science Meeting, New York, NY.
  • McClure, M. M., *Parmenter, M., & *Parisi, K. (2014, October). Factors associated with dating violence and childhood abuse in college students. Poster presented at the New England Psychological Association Meeting, Lewiston, ME.
  • *Mezappelle, J., & Andreychik, M. R. (2017, May). "Doing a 180":The stability and reversal of behavioral confirmation effects. Poster presented at the Association for Psychological Science Annual Meeting, Boston, MA.
  • *O'Shea, M., & McClure, M. M. (2017, March). The impact of co-rumination on state anxiety in college students: An examination of the effect of gender. Poster presented at the Eastern Psychological Association Meeting, Boston, MA.
  • Parisi, K., & Henkel, L. A. (2015, May). “Here’s looking at me!”: Viewing photos of our experiences alters the perspective in our memories. Poster presented at the 27th annual convention of the Association for Psychological Science, New York, NY.
  • *Philbin, A., *Romano, F., & Andreychik, M. R. (2013, October). Message framing shapes the helping responses of positive and negative empathizers. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the New England Psychological Association, Bridgeport, CT.
  • *Sordillo, A., & McClure, M. M. (2014, March). Correlates of perpetration and victimization of romantic relationship violence in college students. Poster presented at the Eastern Psychological Association Meeting, Boston, MA.

Selected Recent Student Sigma Xi Presentations

  • Canas, C. (2017). Positive and negative aspects of language brokering experiences. Sigma Xi Poster Presentation, Fairfield University. Faculty Mentor: Dr. Primavera
  • Callahan, B. (2016). An examination of the relationship between entitlement, gender and sexual consent behaviors. Sigma Xi Poster Presentation, Fairfield University. Faculty Mentor: Dr. McClure
  • Clinton, A. (2017). Combatting prejudice: Empathizing with the happiness vs. the suffering of a stigmatized group as a strategy to reduce implicit bias. Sigma Xi Poster Presentation, Fairfield University. Faculty Mentor: Andreychik
  • Cocuzzo, B. (2017). Effects of intranasal oxytocin on social and reproductive behaviors of male and female rats. Sigma Xi Poster Presentation, Fairfield University. Faculty Mentor: Harding
  • Cocuzzo, K. (2017). The effects of oxytocin on rposocial behavior in control and VPA-exposed Long Evans rats. Sigma Xi Poster Presentation, Fairfield University. Faculty Mentor: Harding
  • Elliot, M., Klink, R. Reed, T., Roballey, K., & Silva, S. (2017). Childhood trauma, trait anxiety, and anxious attachment as predictors of intimate partner violence in college students. Sigma Xi Poster Presentation, Fairfield University. Faculty Mentor: McClure
  • Emmanouil, E., Kirkpatrick, M., & McKean, M. (2017). Effects of intranasal oxytocin on social behaviors using an animal model of autism spectrum disorders. Sigma Xi Poster Presentation, Fairfield University. Faculty Mentor: Harding
  • Gallagher, K., (2016). The effects of acute intranasal oxytocin on anxiety and social behaviors. Sigma Xi Poster Presentation, Fairfield University. Faculty Mentor: Dr. Harding
  • Gervasio, M. (2016). Cognition impairments in personality disorders: Working memory in Schizotypal PD, Avoidant PD, and healthy controls. Sigma Xi Poster Presentation, Fairfield University. Faculty Mentor: Dr. McClure
  • Hayward, T. (2016). Examining high levels of positive and negative empathy as risk factors for different clinical disorders. Sigma Xi Poster Presentation, Fairfield University. Faculty Mentor: Dr. Andreychik
  • Kirkpatrick, M., Cocuzzo, K., Cocuzzo, B., Russo, B., Malave, R., Mangini, M. (2017). Cross-cultural comparisons of pub-going behaviors in in Galway, Ireland, and Fairfield, Connecticut. Sigma Xi Poster Presentation, Fairfield University. Faculty Mentor: Harding
  • Lewis, E. (2016). Reducing your suffering or increasing your joy? Negative empathy precicts helping others to avoid negative emotions whereas positive empathy predicts helping others to approach positive emotions. Sigma Xi Poster Presentation, Fairfield University. Faculty Mentor: Dr. Andreychik
  • Martinelli, D., Orlandi, J., Mezzapelle, J., & Gaughan, M. (2016). “We need excitement!” vs. “We need confort”: The relation of positive and negative empathy to different goals in close relationships. Sigma Xi Poster Presentation, Fairfield University. Faculty Mentor: Dr. Andreychik
  • Masters, E. (2016). Effects of intranasal oxytocin on anxiety and social behaviors in an animal model for autism. Sigma Xi Poster Presentation, Fairfield University. Faculty Mentor: Dr. Harding
  • Mezzapelle, J. (2017). "Take me back to who I was before": The limitations of self-fulfilling prophecies. Sigma Xi Poster Presentation, Fairfield University. Faculty Mentor: Andreychik
  • LoSardo, A., & Paton, J. (2016). Scientific method, scie4ntific facts, and spiritual orientation. Sigma Xi Poster Presentation, Fairfield University. Faculty Mentor: Dr. Salafia
  • O’Shea, M. (2016). The impact of co-rumination on negative affect: An exploration of gender differences. Sigma Xi Poster Presentation, Fairfield University. Faculty Mentor: Dr. McClure
  • Paton, J. (2017). Improving memory by shifting perspective: Possible benefits of meditation. Sigma Xi Poster Presentation, Fairfield University. Faculty Mentor: Henkel
  • Saunders, R., & Rodis, M. (2016). Protestant work ethic and locus of control in determining predicted post-undergraduate career success: Private University vs. Community College. Sigma Xi Poster Presentation, Fairfield University. Faculty Mentor: Dr. Braginsky
  • Trosin, M. (2016). Adult attachment as a precditor of intimate partner violence, depressive, and trauma symptoms in college dating relationships. Sigma Xi Poster Presentation, Fairfield University. Faculty Mentor: Dr. McClure

PsychForums Partnership

The Psychology Department at Fairfield University has established a partnership with PsychForums, an online discussion forum for conversations on a wide variety of issues relating to psychology and mental health. This partnership allows Fairfield faculty and student researchers to recruit participants from the PsychForums site.

If you wish to recruit participants from PsychForums, please see the guidelines for how to proceed here. Of course, participant recruitment through PsychForums can only proceed after your study has been approved by Fairfield’s Institutional Review Board. If you have additional questions about using PsychForums in your research, you may also contact Dr. Andreychik, the Fairfield PsychForums liaison.

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