Northwestern students to present research at psychology conference

A number of Northwestern College students have been selected to give poster presentations at the 28th annual Association for Psychological Science convention May 26–29 in Chicago.

The students assisted with faculty research projects headed by psychology professors Dr. Laird Edman or Dr. Jennifer Feenstra.

Edman’s research, “Theory and Mind and Religiosity: The Experience and Types of Personal Prayer,” operated under the concept that people who believe in a relational, personal deity tend to conceptualize god(s) as intentional agents with mental states. He suggests this belief follows the concept of theory of mind and may be one of the cognitive foundations of religious behavior. Edman’s research examined this relationship as it corresponded to reported prayer experiences.

Assisting Edman with his research were Riley Harder, a senior biology health professions and psychology major from Sloan, Iowa; Chris Sietstra, a senior psychology and accounting major from Boyden, Iowa; and Molly Townsend, a senior psychology major from Tea, S.D. Students who also contributed to Edman’s research, but are not attending the conference, include Haley Chambers, a May psychology graduate from Sioux Falls, S.D.; Corey Kundert, a senior psychology major from Orange City;  Kirsten (McConnel) Lesage, a 2013 Northwestern College psychology and Spanish graduate who is pursuing  a Ph.D. at the University of California, Riverside; Jacob Vermeer, a May psychology graduate from Pipestone, Minn.; and Tyson Wiggers, a May psychology graduate from Holland, Mich.

Feenstra’s research, “Making a Difference: Using the Theory of Planned Behavior and Generativity to Predict Volunteering,” surveyed students in the fall semester in relation to their possible participation in Northwestern’s annual Spring Service Projects (SSPs). Measuring personal attitudes about SSPs, feelings of friends and family about service, beliefs in their ability to engage in service, and concern about the next generation, the research team sought to predict SSP participation in the spring 2016 semester.

Assisting Feenstra with her research was Chelsea Weidner, a senior chemistry and psychology major from Elk Point, S.D. Although they will not be attending the conference, Myles Anderson, a senior biology health professions major from Urbandale, Iowa, and Jillian Estes, a senior psychology major from Sioux Center, Iowa, also aided with research.

The annual conference seeks to bring together researchers and academics to share data and ideas on innovative research in psychological science.