Northwestern psychology student receives research grant

Northwestern College senior psychology major Emily Starr of Firth, Neb., has received a $1,500 2017–18 Undergraduate Research Grant from Psi Chi, the international honor society in psychology.

Starr is conducting her research this fall as her Honors Scholarship project through her senior thesis course. Her research project, titled “Take Ten: Smartphone-based Mindfulness Intervention and its Effect on Interoception, Emotion Regulation, Depression and Anxiety,” will include participants both on Northwestern’s campus and across the U.S.

“While the many benefits of in-person meditation have been heavily researched, not much is known about the translation of these benefits in app-based meditation,” Starr writes. Participants will engage in 10 days of mindfulness meditation guided by the Headspace® app, and they’ll complete questionnaires before and after the time period. “The results of these questionnaires will provide insight into the effects of smartphone-based mindfulness intervention apps and their use in promoting mental health. This study also aims to strengthen our current understanding of emotion regulation and interoception (the conscious perception of bodily signals). The relationship between these concepts and depression and anxiety may contribute to improvements in clinical outcomes.”

Psi Chi provides grants to its undergraduate members for original research projects.

“Not only has Northwestern equipped me with specific skills for success in research, my professors encourage me on a regular basis,” says Starr. “They push me to do difficult things that I never would have dreamed of attempting. But because they believe in me, and are very vocal about my need to believe in myself, they’ve taught me to not be afraid to dive head-first into research, to explore crazy ideas, or to ask big questions.”