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Senior psychology major receives Drinko funding to aid personality-based research

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Posted on Thursday, February 16, 2023

A Westminster College senior psychology major was able to further her study on memory recall with the help of a grant from the Westminster College Drinko Center for Undergraduate Research.

Maranda Kline, a senior from Hermitage, Pa., examined how personality affects memory recall using the Big Five personality traits—neuroticism, extraversion, openness, agreeableness and conscientiousness. Because her research required participant involvement for accurate insight, the Drinko funding allowed her to purchase gift card incentives to encourage students to take part in her study.

During the 30-45 minute study, each participant was asked to recall a positive and negative memory, or event, in as much detail as possible and rate the vividness and clarity of the memory using the autobiographical memory questionnaire (AMG). Participants were also asked to complete the IPIP-Personality Test during the study.

Results were processed through Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC), a software system that decodes language and provides rich insight into psychological states like emotions, thinking styles and social concerns.

Kline predicted that negative memories would cause higher scores when run through the LIWC analysis due to a higher use of emotion words and the assumption that negative memories tend to be more emotional and vivid.

“The Drinko Center funding for my study was extremely beneficial and probably the reason I gained a multitude of students for it,” said Kline.

After graduation, Kline plans on attending graduate school and hopes to gain a Doctor of Psychology degree in clinical psychology.

For more information on Westminster’s psychology major, click here

For more information on the Drinko Center for Undergraduate Research, contact director Dr. Karen Resendes at