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Westminster College Student and Professor Present Research at American Psychological Association Convention

Posted on Tuesday, August 28, 2012

NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. - Devon Struthers, a psychology major who graduated from Westminster College in May, and Dr. Sandra Webster, professor of psychology, presented research at the American Psychological Convention Aug. 2-5 in Orlando, Fla.

They presented "The Dominance Dimension of Emotion: Agency Untangled from Outcome." They conducted research on the dimensions of emotion utilizing the E-Prime psychology software program. Undergraduate participants typed descriptions of a negative emotional situation that varied in agency (self vs. other) and object (self vs. other) and then rated their emotions in that situation with adjective ratings, global measures and forced choice implicit measures. Results found outcome, but not agency, played a major role in emotional response.

Struthers is a son of Lisa Schreck of Carlisle and Donald Struthers of Newville and a graduate of Big Spring High School.

Webster, who has been with Westminster since 1983, 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

They also presented "McSTEP: Metacognition Self-Test with E-Prime Project." They presented a preliminary report describing the first year of transforming online quizzes to interactive games using E-prime as the vehicle to present the game as well measure the students' engagement with it. McSTEP incorporates choice of difficulty level, thresholds for the next stage, multiple attempts at an item and immediate performance feedback. After overcoming many technical challenges three significant changes in metacognition showed that students perceived themselves lower in planning, evaluation and monitoring at the end of the spring semester indicating more accurate self-perceptions of their learning.

David Nicholson also participated in research on this project that was sponsored by Westminster's Drinko Center for Experiential Learning. David Nicholson, a broadcast communications major and psychology minor, is a son of John and Tina Foster of Beaver Falls and a graduate of Blackhawk High School. Both Nicholson and Struthers are now employed at Psychology Software Tools, the maker of E-prime, as technical consultants.

In addition to Struthers' and Webster's presentations, the conference featured workshops covering topics ranging from ethical leadership for psychologists in management to clinical practice and integrating play-based intervention with cognitive behavioral therapy for young, abused children. The conference also included: a "coffee with authors hour" where attendees could join exhibitors for author signings at booths featuring participating psychology book and test publishers, and employer exhibit booths where attendees connected with prospective employers.

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

To view the research posters click here and then click on "recent workshops and presentations."

Devon Struthers, Westminster graduate, and Dr. Sandra Webster, professor of psychology