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Undergrads to present psychology research May 9

The 2019 Cornell Undergraduate Psychology (CUP) Conference will bring together undergraduate students with diverse interests to share their research, meet other students and faculty, and learn about the various kinds of psychological research being conducted across the Cornell campus.

The conference is scheduled for May 9 from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the Physical Sciences Building Atrium. It will include a series of oral presentations and a poster session. Students applied to present either a poster or a short oral presentation based on research conducted with faculty or graduate students. The conference is free to attend.

“The CUP conference provides an exciting opportunity for Cornell undergraduates across departments and colleges who are interested in the psychological sciences to come together and share their research,” said Katherine Kinzler, chair of the psychology department. “So many of our undergraduate students spend time engaging in collaborative research with faculty, and this is a wonderful event to showcase those efforts.”

The participants in the conference reveal the breadth and diversity in psychology research being conducted across departments and disciplines throughout the Cornell academic community. Students majoring in psychology, biology and society, economics and sociology are just some of those represented at the conference.

Vanessa Lazaro ’19, a psychology and sociology double major, is presenting research she has conducted for the past three years, investigating how maternal and paternal care influence later social behavior in offspring.

“I got involved in the conference because I love research,” she said. “One of the most integral parts of research to me is being able to talk about it with others and have people from varying academic backgrounds engage in my work. It’s also really cool to see what research projects other students have been involved in and where psychology is moving toward, as a whole.”

Gavin Wong ’20, who’s majoring in psychology and in biology and society, is presenting his research investigating how an animal’s mating tactic – either monogamy or polygamy – is related to other cognitive functions, specifically spatial memory.

His work delves into whether animals with naturally good spatial memories are more inclined to adopt one particular mating strategy, or whether the mating tactic influences an animal’s spatial memory.

“I wanted to participate in the conference because I plan on pursuing a graduate degree in psychology,” he said. “Giving a talk at CUP is a great opportunity for me to get practice presenting research, which will be an important skill as I continue in the field.”

Alexander Ophir, assistant professor of psychology and organizer of the conference, said the goal of the event is to “promote the hard work of our undergraduates and give our students an opportunity to shine and be recognized for the important role they play in the research we conduct here at Cornell.”

More information about the conference and schedule can be found on the conference website.

Spencer DeRoos is a communications assistant for the College of Arts and Sciences.

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