Everding wins psychology research award

Everding wins psychology research award

by Josh BrammerStaff Writer

Senior Tiffany Everding won a research award given by Psi Chi, the national honor society for psychology.

Everding is one of 20 students chosen to receive the award given by Psi Chi, which is associated with the Midwestern Psychological Association.

Inspired by students on campus, Everding researched literature and designed the experiment entitled “Who Forgives an Unfaithful Romantic Partner? The Relationship between Attachment and Forgiveness” in an advanced research class last spring. She actually conducted the experiment in an honors psychology class last fall.

“Initially, I wanted to research something in the social psychology realm,” Everding said. “When you’re designing an experiment, you have to consider the population you have at hand to conduct your research. Since many college students are in relationships, and since most people in relationships either commit transgressions or have to choose to forgive their partner, I figured that would be a good place to start.”

Everding examined how a person’s mental model of self (how much they view themselves to be worthy of love and attention) and mental model of other (how trustworthy they view others to be) affects their willingness to forgive transgressions. She compared responses to mild transgressions, such as being ignored, to severe transgressions, such as infidelity.

“Although I initially hypothesized people with a negative model of other to be less forgiving for mild transgressions, analyses showed people high in model of other were less likely to forgive severe transgressions,” Everding said.

To be considered to present their research, students must submit a proposal to MPA by late fall. This year, 280 students were selected to present their research. Sal Meyers, associate professor of psychology, said most students who apply are accepted to present research.

“Eighty to 85 percent of those that apply are accepted, but there are students that don’t get accepted,” Meyers said.

Meyers also said since she started taking students to MPA meetings approximately 10 years ago, every Simpson student who applied was accepted, but Everding is the first to win an award. She also said six students was a record number to take to the meeting.

“I’m very proud of Tiffany and the other students,” Meyers said. “The whole department is excited.”

Senior Jennifer Allan is one of five other Simpson students accepted to present research at the MPA meeting. She also conducted research during an advanced research class. She studied perceptions of bullies.

Using the type of bullying, gender of the bully and the status of the bully as variables, Allan created different stories to correspond with each condition of the experiment and asked the person reading the story to answer a series of questions.

“Although all three of the independent variables had significant findings, only the type of bullying was shown to have an effect on perceptions of bullies overall,” Allan said.

Allan also said attending the MPA meeting is a great opportunity for students.

“There is usually a good deal of interesting research, and being there lets you know what other schools are doing projects on,” Allan said. “It’s also a good place to network and talk with professors from other schools and members of the graduate programs you’re interested in.”

Along with Everding and Allan, four other students will be presenting their research. Seniors Jessica Martin, T.J. Kasperbauer, Cody Garrison and sophomore Kelsey Ubben will also attend the meeting in Chicago March 3-5.