St. Olaf News

 

Psychology students earn award for research

St. Olaf seniors (from left) Jane Burton, Carly Stork, and Sarah Phillips recently received an award from the Council on Undergraduate Research for their study of cochlear implants.

St. Olaf seniors (from left) Jane Burton, Carly Stork, and Sarah Phillips recently received an award from the Council on Undergraduate Research for their study of perceptual learning of cochlear implant simulations.

Three St. Olaf College students recently received an award from the Council on Undergraduate Research for their study of perceptual learning of cochlear implant simulations.

Jane Burton ’13, Sarah Phillips ’13, and Carly Stork ’13 presented their research, which they conducted under the guidance of Assistant Professor of Psychology Jeremy Loebach, at the Midwestern Psychological Association conference in Chicago.

Over the past few years, the team has worked to develop a training program for people who are deaf and receive a cochlear implant. Burton, Phillips, and Stork examined how listeners who are put through a training program recognized environmental sounds compared to a control group who received no training.

“For cochlear implant users, we hope that such training will help them learn how to hear using their prostheses, and therefore be better able to understand spoken language as well as the sounds and events that are occurring around them,” says Loebach.

The St. Olaf Psychology Department and the college’s Collaborative Undergraduate Research and Inquiry program provided the team with the resources to travel to Chicago to present their research.

They were accompanied by four other teams of St. Olaf students:

  • Hannah Erickson ’13 and Kelsey Klein ’13 presented their research on phoneme identification under a cochlear implant simulation, which they conducted under the guidance of Loebach.

  • Juan-Ita Effiom ’13 presented her research comparing speech perception between normal hearing listeners and cochlear implant users, which she conducted under the guidance of Loebach.

  • Jonathan Aga ’13 and Christopher Stolp-Smith ’13 presented their research on the preference for phonetically extreme words among extraverts, which they conducted under the guidance of Associate Professor of Psychology and Department Chair Donna McMillan.

  • Nancy Castaneda ’13 presented her research on how children learn about emotions through reading with their parents, which she conducted under the guidance of Associate Professor of Psychology Grace Cho.

Both Effiom and Castaneda are part of the TRiO McNair Scholars Program at St. Olaf.

“Attending and presenting research at a conference at the level of MPA was a terrific opportunity,” says Stork. “Along with our presentation, the conference allowed us to explore and learn about the vast research currently being done with the many subfields of psychology.”

Loebach says the opportunity to present in Chicago was a wonderful way for the student researchers to round out their final year at St. Olaf.

“This is such an exciting time for all of us,” says Loebach. “Not only did the students help get this project completed, but it is an excellent capstone to their experience in the lab. I am really looking forward to seeing what they go on to do after St. Olaf.”