THE PACE CHRONICLE

Pace Psychology Gets SHARPP

Taylor Longenberger, News Editor

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A new psychology SHARPP Lab has been established on the Pleasantville campus as of this spring semester.

The new laboratory was created in order to have a central place for students to learn about Social, Health, and Relational Positive Psychology (SHARPP). Specifically, the research lab seeks to learn how people live and thrive in groups or dyads, and how the relationships of those people can affect the health and well-being of the individuals.

“Our world involves a complex interaction between our social environments, the relationships we have with other people, and our health and well-being,” Assistant Professor of Psychology Dr. Angela M. Legg said. “The SHARPP Lab focuses on the interaction between the social world and our internal psychology, or our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.”

Some of the topics that are of interest to the lab, as well as the students and professors involved with it, are bad news delivery, professor-student rapport, genetic testing, threat management, and doctor-patient communication.

“For the research assistants working in the lab, they are gaining hands-on experience about how to conduct psychological research,” Legg said. “They are gaining critical thinking, decision-making, and leadership skills, and learning how to be part of a research team. All of these skills will help them long after they have graduated from Pace.”

This semester, eight students were selected to be a part of the SHARPP research lab as research assistants after completing an application process. These students are gaining firsthand experience with research from the beginning with the development of the study.  They will research literature to better understand and inform the questions, undergo the International Review Board (IRB) submission process, run processes and tests, collect data, and, in the end, present their findings.

According to Legg, one of the first projects that the research assistants are working on is a collaborative project with graduate students, faculty, undergraduate research assistants at the University of California, Riverside, and participants. The main focus of the research is on what leads people to undergo genetic testing.

“I love that our research assistants here at Pace get the opportunity to work with other research assistants all the way across the country,” Legg said. “My long-term goals are to involve the research assistants in the research community by having them present research from our lab at university, regional, and national research conferences.”

As the lab is brand new this semester, there are no specific classes that are in use of the lab, but the lab is still growing and expanding. It is hoped that the lab will be incorporated into the introductory courses of the psychology department, but it is still yet to be determined how the lab will be incorporated into the curriculum of Pace courses.

Although the lab is psychology based, the opportunity for all students on campus to experience the psychological research firsthand is available. The SHARPP Lab is aimed to allow student participants to gain insight into the actions and thoughts of the complex social world.

“I truly believe in the power of hands-on experience, and the SHARPP Lab can offer that to our students. Reading or hearing about psychological research doesn’t compare to actually being involved in a research study,” Legg said. “Psychology has the power to open our eyes to new ways of thinking and interacting in the world, and my hope is that the SHARPP Lab can help bring that eye-opening experience to the students of Pace. For students considering research as a possible career, the SHARPP Lab can give them the opportunity to learn about the research process and to explore their interest in psychology”

The SHARPP Lab can offer students that are considering research as a career with the opportunity to see and experience the process and explore an interest in the psychology field. Many questions about the process of researching can be answered through the SHARPP lab and the program that is currently in place.

“The research process can be intimidating for students, and my hope is that the SHARPP Lab breaks down that intimidation and inspires students to learn more about what psychological researchers do on a daily basis. I’ll never forget how my own experience as an undergraduate research assistant changed my entire perspective about psychology,” Legg said. “The feelings of accomplishment when I presented my senior project and the relationships I made with grad students and faculty characterize exactly what I hope to pass on to the students at Pace.”

For any questions about the SHARPP Lab please contact Dr. Angela M. Legg.

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