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Westminster College Professor Presents at American Psychological Association Convention

Posted on Monday, August 19, 2013

NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. - Dr. Sandra Webster, professor of psychology, gave two presentations at the annual convention of the American Psychological Association July 31-Aug 4 in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Webster presented: "Effects of Personal Engagement on Perceptions of Facial Emotion in Others." She co-authored this poster with Neil Guman, a Westminster senior psychology major. He is a son of Nathan and Ruth Ann Guman of Kinsman, Ohio, and a graduate of Pymatuning Valley High School.

"This research was a combination of Neil's interest in how people perceive facial emotion in others and my continuing research program on the effects of agency and engagement in the perception of emotion," Webster said. "We found that when people read scenarios that describe a situation involving a target person and one other, when the other was described in terms of the pronoun ‘you' the emotions congruent with the situation where evaluated as more appropriate for the target person than when the same situations were described as occurring to ‘another person.' Thus, simply picturing yourself as the object in a situation changes how you evaluate the facial emotions of the person causing the situation."

Webster's second presentation was a part of a panel titled: Using COEUR to Improve Undergraduate Research in Psychology. She presented "Using COEUR to Assess the Institutional Context for Undergraduate Research in Psychology."   

"My basic assumption was that undergraduate research can exist through faculty efforts alone, and can thrive with strong departmental support, but can only flourish with excellent institutional commitment. I detailed the focus group/interview approach to assessing Westminster's position on the 64 Characteristics of Excellence in Undergraduate Research, published last summer by the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR)," Webster said. "I emphasized how the findings of the study were used by the psychology department in curriculum review, planning for building renovation, and updating our faculty scholarship tenure and promotion review guidelines."

Webster is an elected psychology division representative for CUR. She has been with Westminster since 1983, and earned undergraduate and master's degrees and Ph.D. from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale.  She specializes in research and design and is the author of the textbook Hand in Hand: Research Design and Statistics for Behavioral Sciences.  She was a 2000 Fulbright Lecturer in psychology at Korea University and Sungshin Women's University in Seoul.

Contact Webster at (724) 946-7359 or email for additional information.

Dr. Sandra Webster, professor of psychology