Psychology 3300: Experimental Methods and Design
Each semester, the psychology department offers several sections of Psychology 3300,
Experimental Methods & Design. While many courses at UNO are interesting, Psychology
3300 provides students with an opportunity to gain hands-on experience with survey
research and psychology experiments. It is in this course that students often learn
whether their future path involves empirical research as well as meet a requirement
for all psychology majors and minors. Many students who discover their passion for
research in Experimental Methods & Design will go on to work directly with research
professors in psychology laboratories or in the honors program. Each semester, it
is apparent to the faculty that some gifted students have research in their blood,
as evidenced by their creativity, dedication and enthusiasm for psychology 3300.
Winners of the Richard D. Olson Award in Experimental Design and Methodology in 2016:
- Hannah Doran, "Universal Standard of Beauty: Seeking Evolutionary Advantage in Perceived Facial
Hannah's research project focused on sexual dimorphism as a main determinant of sexual
selection and sexual attraction. She examined the universal nature of sexual dimorphism,
along with symmetry and averageness, by having a sample of 71 participants' rate attractiveness,
masculinity and femininity qualities of facial photographs taken from the Chicago
Face Database. Facial photos were matched on gender, ethnicity, and facial features.
The results indicated that high femininity and low masculinity were associated with
attractive female faces, whereas the association with high masculinity and low femininity
with attractive male faces was less pronounced. African-American males rated higher
in masculinity than Caucasian males, Caucasian females rated higher in femininity
than African-American females. African-American males were rated as more attractive
than Caucasian males, and Caucasian females were rated as more attractive than African-American
- Kory Victoriano, "Personality Predicts Active and Passive Procrastination."
Kory's project examined the relationship between personality factors and procrastination
behaviors. A sample of 59 participants completed a five-factor personality assessment
and active and passive procrastination scales. The results indicated that extraversion
and openness to experience were positively correlated with active procrastination,
whereas conscientiousness was negatively correlated with passive procrastination,
confirming the project's main hypotheses.
- Blake Manale, "Digital Playtime, Real Benefit: The Effect of Video Game Playing on Reaction Time."
Blake's project sought to determine if video game playing can improve reaction time.
He recruited a sample of 64 participants, ranging from 17-35 years old and included
the participant variables of gender, handedness, and gamer/non-gamer status. Participants
answered a short questionnaire and completed a short reaction time game. The results
indicated that gamers had shorter reaction times than non-gamers. Gender and handedness
differences were also found.
- Halima Jaber & Kevin Terrance Jr., "Sensitivity and Our Emotions."
Halima and Kevin examined the relationship between Sensory Processing Sensitivity
(SPS) and Emotional Intelligence (EI). A total of 108 undergraduate psychology majors
at the University of New Orleans were recruited. Participants completed a group-administered
survey on Emotional Intelligence and Sensory Processing Sensitivity. The results revealed
several significant correlations between factors of Emotional Intelligence (emotional
management and social emotional awareness) and Sensory Processing Sensitivity scores.
Males also scored lower than females on the SPS measure.
- Sara Woods, "What is your office is saying about you? Appraisal of the Psychotherapist's Office."
Sara is a non-traditional student who came back to finish up some classes that she
was missing. She has a lot of experience and background in design and such. Her project
was based on several empirical studies that looked at certain characteristics of therapist's
offices and how they related to a client's impression of the therapist. Sara examined
three significant physical characteristics of a therapeutic office that might affect
the appraisal of its therapist: softness, personalization, and order. An office with
softness is described as having many comfortable surfaces/textures; like carpet or
an upholstered chair. An office that displays mementos and various credentials has
a higher level of personalization. Finally, orderliness is how neat the office is.
Students in PSYC 3300 were shown 30 digital photographs of psychotherapist's offices.
The perspective of each photograph, taken independently by New York photographer Saul
Robbins, focused on the therapist's chair from the viewpoint of the client. The participants
were asked to respond to each office as if they were visiting the office for emotion
problems and rate each photograph based on the quality of care they expected to receive
from the therapist, how comfortable they might feel divulging personal information
themselves in that environment, how neat and orderly the participants found the office,
and how qualified they felt the therapist would be. The findings indicated that as
levels of softness, personalization, and order within an office increased the confidence
in the therapists' abilities and friendliness also improved.
Additional Recent Notable Examples:
- M. Bush Keller, “Perception of God and Life Satisfaction: Are Religious People Happier?”.
Ninety-three adults between the ages of 19 and 71 were surveyed about perception of
God, religious service attendance, and a Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS). For
both males and females, those who “do not believe in God” ranked higher on the SWLS
than those who believe in an “abstract God”, and those who believe in a “living, personal
God”. Moreover, females who “do not believe in God” were found to be significantly
more satisfied with their lives than females who believe in a “living, personal God”.
- C. Libman, "The Way We See It: Abstract Art Appreciation and Personality". The purpose
of the current study is to examine the role of personality in one's appreciation of
abstract art, and to uncover which personality traits correlate with this preference.
A sample of 25 people completed the Big Five Inventory about Personality and examined
side-by-side slides of artwork, especially abstract art. Individuals who were more
Open to Experience showed somewhat of a preference for abstract art. Other personality
traits, such as neuroticism or conscientiousness, were not associated with art appreciation.
- L. Weinbrenner, "Customer psychology in the era of economic depression". A sales person
in the experimental group engaged customers through compliments, conversation and
smiles. The control group was greeted with no smile and was not engaged. Analyses
revealed that there was not a significant increase in the amount spent depending on
whether the sales person was engaging.
- K. Jefferson, "Image differences between men and women". The research question asked
whether men or women had more image problems regarding their expected, actual and
ideal weight. Females preferred to be significantly lighter than males while the opposite
was true of males. When the direction if misjudgment was corrected, males and females
demonstrated equal misjudgments in between their actual and preferred weight.
- J. Muller, "Watch out for lefties: Left-handedness and accident proness". A convenience
sample of young adults indicated the degree of left-handedness as well as 17 items
that indexed the degree to which they were accident-prone. Analyses indicated a surprising
number of mixed-handed individuals and a statistical trend for mixed-handed and right-handed
individuals to be the most accident prone.