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Psychology Major, Anthropology and Sociology Minor
As part of her Ford Fellowship, Amelia Goranson spent the summer of
2013 researching how situations can be framed so that people behave in more
socially beneficial ways. Her research will be the first part of her Honors project.
Describe your day-to-day experiences.
Since I am able to design my own schedule, every day is different. I spent a lot of time in the lab running participants for my study at the beginning of summer. Now, my time is more focused on data entry and analysis, as well as on expanding my literature review. Most days, I spend a few hours reading relevant articles from various academic journals so that I can better understand my topic and get ideas from what other researchers in the field are doing.
What do you expect to learn during this process?
Through this process, I hope to learn more about how we can increase prosocial behavior with small, easy to implement, and inexpensive changes in the way that situations are framed. Oftentimes, small manipulations can have profound effects on behavior, and I hope to contribute to this body of literature with my own findings.
How did you learn about this opportunity?
I first learned about the Ford Fellowship program through Frank McAndrew. He knew that I wanted to go to graduate school for social psychology and that I was considering a career in academia, so he nominated me for the fellowship and helped me with my application. He has continued to be an invaluable resource throughout this whole process.
Can you give an example of how your classroom experiences at Knox have benefited you?
The psychology department does a good job preparing its students for independent research. I designed a research project in my Research Methods and Statistics class (PSYC 282) my sophomore year. Junior year, I was able to run two experiments. One was a group project in my Evolution and Human Behavior class (PSYC 369). The other was part of an independent study I took with Frank McAndrew in which I was able to help design an experiment, run subjects, and analyze data. I presented this research project at my first professional conference in July 2013. These projects gave me a sense of what it is like to design and run an experiment and helped me hone the skills that will be vital for my Honors project.
How do you think this experience will contribute to your future plans?
To be a competitive graduate school applicant for many subfields of psychology, it is essential to start researching as soon as possible. Having the opportunity to design and run every aspect of this project has given me a taste of what it will be like to work on my Honors project and what it will be like in graduate school. I can now go into the graduate school search confident that I am able to research competently and independently.