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SMSU Psychology Students Present at State Conference

Published Wednesday, May 03, 2023

SMSU Psychology Students and Faculty at MUPC
SMSU Psychology Students and Faculty at MUPC

The 58th Annual Minnesota Undergraduate Psychology Conference was held last weekend at Bethel University. This conference, with over 100 presentations from all over the Midwest, featured many undergraduate students’ research work on various topics.

Two SMSU students, Courtenay Leonard and Deborah Leier, presented their study titled: “The Effects of Dynamic Visual Noise on Spacial Imagery, Size Perception, and Recognition Memory.” Their two faculty advisors, Dr. Scott Peterson and Dr. Benjamin Anderson, along with ten members of Psychology Club and/or Psi Chi and the other SMSU psychology professors also attended the conference.

Their study aimed to look at the ability to remember words and images after studying them with or without any “static” on the screen. They needed to remember if they’d seen the word in the set they were supposed to remember, after judging how many letters were in the word or how large the object was relative to a 12 in. x 12 in. box. This is applied to real life as if you were to study your homework with the TV in the background. The TV, in that case, would be the “static” or “visual noise.”

This study is also something both faculty members had been working on for the last four years. Dr. Peterson and Anderson are hoping to have their work published.

“We hope it could end up being published in a journal at some point. There is so much potential for this study to move forward,” said Dr. Anderson.

“Courtenay and Deb are two very smart students and were motivated to work on this research with Dr. Anderson and I,” said Dr. Peterson. “...I’m very proud of them and their work. This has been a long journey for all of us, and it is a good way for them to get the recognition they deserve.”

Leonard and Leier both agreed that this conference was a great opportunity. “I love being able to represent SMSU at events like this. I also am thankful for how supportive the department and Psychology Club and Psi Chi were to come out and watch us present,” said Leonard. “It was extremely helpful to have not just one, but all of the professors there every step of the way, giving us the tools we needed to be successful.”

“I hope that this inspires more students to want to participate next year,” said Dr. Anderson. “It is a great opportunity to present findings and see what other people are working on.”


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