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CUR Highlights Undergrad Voices on Capitol Hill

May 12, 2022

Posters on the Hill graphic from CUR.org

FABBS congratulates the undergraduate students and their mentors in the behavioral and brain sciences featured in the Council on Undergraduate Research Posters on the Hill 2022 that took place virtually on April 26-27. The annual event celebrates the impressive work of the accepted students across disciplines and supports the messages of the importance of undergraduate research at the federal level.

CUR is an organization of individual, institutional, and affiliate members from around the world, providing support and professional development opportunities for students, faculty, staff, and administrators. CUR seeks to highlight the importance of undergraduate research to private foundations, government agencies, state legislatures, and the U.S. Congress.

Detecting Accurate Emotions in Faces, by Marisa Davis and Emma Greenwood, Utah State University.

Davis and Greenwood both study psychology with similar research interests, leading to their collaboration as they worked at the same lab. Their study investigated anger race bias – a type of implicit bias which involves the misidentification of expressions of emotion, specifically anger, in Black or racially ambiguous faces – which can have major implications in the perception of threat by police. Their goal is to create a training to be implemented at police departments to reduce this type of implicit bias.

“The purpose of this study is to investigate if anger race bias can be reduced through emotion identification training. The training developed for this study teaches participants to identify the expressions of anger, fear, and neutrality based on the muscular changes in the face. The effectiveness of this training was measured through an emotion recognition task where participants were asked to identify emotions on Black, White, Asian, and Latinx faces.” See the abstract and video here.

The Influence of Gratitude on Close Relationships with Opposing Political Affiliation,” by Sarahlouise Baldwin, New York – Pace University

Baldwin is a first-generation American and college student with a major in biology and minor in psychology, currently in the process of applying to medical school. Her research was shaped by the impact of the current political climate on close relationships and how to mitigate the contention in opposing views.

“The goal of our research was to experimentally manipulate gratitude to determine if experiencing gratitude can change an individual’s willingness and interest in maintaining close cross-political party relationships (e.g., opposing Democratic and Republican views in friends or family members)…By focusing on behaving in a pro-relationship manner, gratitude may be able to prevent politically contentious relationships from dissolving.” See the abstract and video here.

Contribution of Visual Speech Information to Understanding Audiovisual Speech in Difficult Listening Situations,”by Anusha Mamidipaka, Michigan State University  

Mamidipaka’s major is in neuroscience with a minor in graphic design and she is on her way to medical school. Her research interest is in speech recognition, shaped by her mentorship under Dr. J. Devin McAuley at the Timing, Attention, and Perception (TAP) Lab at MSU. Her research investigated contributing factors in the difficulty in understanding speech and noise – the chief complaint of those experiencing sensorineural hearing loss.

“With the COVID-19 pandemic, complex listening environments have increasingly included ‘glitchy’ Zoom meetings where participants sometimes have their audio inadvertently muted or unmuted and their video feed either on or off. This study examines individuals’ use of visual speech information (i.e., lip reading) in speech recognition in ‘Zoom-like’ listening environments.” See the abstract and video here.

Can a Few Good Friends Reduce Some Negative Impacts of Juvenile Sex Offender Registration?,” by Regan Moss, Alabama – Auburn University

Moss is a pre-medicine student with a major in neuroscience and a concentration in health equity science. She plans to start a master’s degree in public health at Columbia University to research topics including generational trauma and reproductive and sexual health. Her presentation looks at experiences of juveniles in correctional facilities in Alabama, and the relationships they have with family and friends – and how this hinders or helps the recovery within the correctional facilities.

“Many youth express fears and anxiety thinking about the many harmful consequences of Juvenile Sex Offender Registration and Notification (JSORN) policies in their state, particularly those who have successfully completed a court-mandated sex offense specific treatment program. While intending to reduce future sexual victimization, JSORN legislation has inadvertently increased mental health risks and physical safety concerns, as well as negative social outcomes, for the youth and families subject to them; all with little evidence to reducing recidivism…This study sought to understand the potential moderating role peer attachment may play on youth’s concerns regarding the registry.” See the abstract and video here.

The Moderating Effect of Emotional Control on Math Anxiety and Math Performance in Elementary-School Children,” by Aditi Tarkar, Ohio – University of Cincinnati

Tarkar’s major is in neuroscience. Her research interest is in children’s learning, particularly looking at math learning. She seeks to break through math anxiety and low math skills in children through learning emotional control. Her presentation investigated how children manage and control emotions and this effect on math performance.

“In the current paper, we ask whether emotional control could moderate [the relation between math anxiety and math performance]…The idea is that children might be able to mitigate their negative feelings towards math if they can control negative feelings more generally.” See the abstract and video here.

You can see the full list of undergraduate students from other disciplines here and learn more about CUR’s work in elevating undergraduate student research and their professional opportunities here.

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