Undergraduate psychology conference to feature diverse research

The 2022 Cornell Undergraduate Psychology (CUP) Conference will bring together undergraduate students with diverse psychology interests to share their research, meet other students and faculty, and learn about the various kinds of psychological research being conducted across the Cornell campus.

The conference will be held May 12 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. in Martha Van Rensselaer (MVR) Hall. Talk presentations will take place in MVR G151 and G155 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. The poster session and reception will follow in the MVR Commons from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.

This year’s CUP Conference will feature 35 undergraduate students whose research highlights the breadth and diversity of the psychological research being conducted across departments and disciplines at Cornell. Students will present on various topics, from implicit bias in person perceptions to early-life adversity in prairie voles.

Students majoring in human development, psychology, industrial and labor relations and biological sciences are just some of those represented.

“The CUP conference is a true capstone experience for the many undergraduate researchers at Cornell doing psychological research with our faculty members. CUP provides a unique opportunity for honors students across campus—mainly in human development and psychology—to showcase their efforts under the guidance of their faculty mentors,” said Felix Thoemmes, associate professor of psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Human Ecology (CHE).

“We’re so excited to be able to celebrate undergraduate psychology research in-person this year,” said Laura Niemi, assistant professor of psychology in the College of Arts & Sciences (A&S) and an assistant professor at the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management. “We invite students from any discipline who are interested in the mind and brain to come see this year’s findings. For students who are hoping to become involved in research in psychology, the conference will be a lively and fun way to learn about Cornell’s labs and latest discoveries.”

Niemi is director of the Applied Moral Psychology Lab and co-organizer of the conference along with Stephen Ceci, the Helen L. Carr Professor of Developmental Psychology (CHE).

Grace Cala ‘22, a double major in psychology and science and technology studies, is presenting her honors thesis research in psychology done in collaboration with Thomas Gilovich, the Irene Blecker Rosenfeld Professor of Psychology (A&S), and graduate student Randy Lee, on the psychological effects of having one’s camera on in virtual interactions, including whether conversations are more personal and pleasant compared to when cameras are off.

“The research process has taught me how critical it is to be self-motivated. You have to create your own deadlines and goals in order to keep moving forward. There is no rubric or threat of failing a class. Instead, your passion for what you are investigating has to be strong enough to keep you engaged and always curious,” Cala said. “I think it is important for undergraduates to have this opportunity to not only enhance our presentation skills but also to remember we are part of a larger supportive learning community.”

Chase Agheli ‘23, an ILR major who is minoring in philosophy and cognitive science, is presenting research conducted with Shimon Edelman, professor of psychology (A&S), on an agent-based computational simulation that he built to model gene-culture coevolution.

“The field of research is built on members of the academic community coming together to present and discuss their work,” Agheli said. “It’s exciting to have an opportunity to do the same as an undergraduate. It’s simultaneously an opportunity to get feedback, an opportunity to learn new things in the field, and an opportunity to network with like-minded future researchers.”

Read the story in the Cornell Chronicle.

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