This year, Oklahoma Christian University is hosting the 26th annual Psychological Society Spring Research Conference. Ryan Newell, professor of psychology at Oklahoma Christian, is serving as a chair for the conference this year.
"The conference is designed to promote undergraduate psychological research," Newell said. "We have a yearly conference which is mostly presentations from undergrads from around Oklahoma."
Every three years, the location of the conference switches between Oklahoma Christian and the University of Central Oklahoma, this year it is on campus. The conference started this morning at 8 a.m. and will continue until 5 p.m. this evening. There will also be a speaker this afternoon.
"Our speaker this year is Dr. Shawn Roberson, Director of Forensic Psychology at the Oklahoma Forensic Center in Vinita, Okla.," Newell said. Roberson will be speaking on the subject of "Interrogations and False Confessions: Psychology's Contribution in Addressing a Social Problem."
The conference, sponsored by the Oklahoma Psychological Society, is visited by several universities around the state, including: University of Oklahoma, Tulsa University, Oklahoma State University, University of Central Oklahoma and Southern Nazarene University.
"There will probably be about 150-200 people in attendance and 60-75 presentations," Newell said.
Students compete either with a 12-minute presentation or a poster presentation, both over research. There are 10 Oklahoma Christian students participating in the conference this year. Corbin Hamm, an alum of the university, is excited about competing this year. Hamm, who also presented work in last year's conference, held an interesting study over how stress affects learning.
"The subject is the effects of stress on learning and self-esteem," Hamm said. "My hypothesis was that people under stress would do worse on an arithmetic task than people who were not under stress."
Senior Rachel Almanza is working on a project with Josh Murillo.
"Our subject is the effects of retrieval induced forgetting, first language attrition among Spanish learners," Almanza said.
This will be Almanza's first year to compete.
"We're presenting research that I've done on memory and language. The result is that when you respond in written form you respond slower than you do in speech form when exposed to competing language stimuli," Murillo said.
Murillo hopes to do further research on the subject.
"We discovered that writing the name of the image took less time to recall it than to speak it," Murillo said. "We had some limitations with recording our data. I got the opposite of what I expected so I'm going to continue doing research in this area."
Last year, Oklahoma Christian students represented the university well.
"Last year, OC students took the top four places in the paper competition," Newell said.
Students not only contribute their work, they help structure the conference.
"Mostly my research methods class helps with registration," Newell said. "I hope to get other students to serve as chairs to announce the speakers."
Students also help with getting the awards. Jennifer Campbell has helped with processing paperwork and helping with the spreadsheets.
"Faculty will be there to judge and help," Newell said. "Holly Osburn will serve as treasurer and handle all the financial stuff for us."
Several students participating hope to continue their education in psychology after graduation. Hamm hopes to get into the Forensic Science program at UCO and Almanza hopes to finish her education south of here.
"Eventually I'd like to go into the marriage and family therapy graduate program at Abilene Christian or Texas Tech," Almanza said. "They have a great program down there."
Murillo, who has presented at the conference both years, hopes to move north to Washington D.C.
"After this I would hope to go to Georgetown and get a joint PhD in Psychology and Social Policy," Murillo said.