Psychology students show off their research projects

If you were wandering through Vari Hall last Wednesday afternoon, you could have stopped and chatted with fourth-year psychology students about some pretty esoteric subjects.

The rotunda was a maze of posters featuring the thesis projects of 78 students ready to explain whether eating disturbances are symptoms of depression, how to measure prejudice, the relationship between exercise and forgiveness, how sound affects perception of space. Their research projects, supervised by faculty members, spanned all areas of psychology – cognitive, social, developmental, quantitative, history and theory, neuroscience, and clinical.

The end-of-year event has become so big that the Department of Psychology moved it to Vari Hall last year from the crowded halls of the Behavioural Science Building.People in Vari Hall

The poster projects are worth five per cent of students’ final mark and judged by roving graduate students based on clarity, design and the students’ ability to explain their research in a comprehensive manner. Many will go on to present their research at a variety of national and international conferences.

“Whether you are speaking to your supervisor, other professors or fellow students, it is important to know how to present and communicate your results to different audiences,” says psychology Professor Susan Murtha, who has organized the event for the past three years.

 Poster winners Angela Deotto (top) and Lilly Solomon. Photos by Brett Thompson
 Poster winners Angela Deotto (top) and Lilly Solomon. Photos by Brett Thompson

And the students who go on to graduate studies will have to defend their research to dean’s reps who know little about their field and external examiners who know everything.  “It is really important to understand how to communicate,” says Murtha.

Left: Poster winners Angela Deotto (top) and Lilly Solomon. Photos by Brett Thompson

By 4pm, judges had selected two who did it best: Angela Deotto (supervised by Christine Till) for her poster “Mathematical impairment in pediatric-onset multiple sclerosis: Relationship with white matter integrity”; and Lilly Solomon (supervised by Jennifer Steeves) for her poster “MS to the ‘occipital face area’ affects face recognition but not categorization”. They won $50 gift certificates to the York Bookstore.