From the topic of memory and attention in everyday driving, to the relationship between traumatic brain injury and the risk of re-conviction in offenders serving community based sentences, this year’s Psychology poster session showcased a wide range of questions that Waikato’s Honours students have worked hard to answer this year.
Organised by Professor Maryanne Garry and Andrea Taylor (PhD student and Teaching Assistant for the Honours students), the poster session is an opportunity for these students to present their research to a wider audience (academics, students and supporters) in an authentic scientific format. It also challenges the students to explain their research in a manner that is easily understood.
In its second year, the poster session is not a competition but rather an assignment to provide the students with an opportunity to work on communicating their scientific research to a broad audience.
“One component of the Honours year in Psychology is that each student works on a research project with a supervisor – this research project spans the entire year and gives the students hands-on research experience. The poster session is one of the ways in which they learn to communicate and share this research with others,” says Andrea Taylor.
The research of fourth year Honours student Devin Richards focussed on memory and attention in everyday driving. Devin says that the findings, "have shown how memory for everyday driving is poor due to both driver inattention, and the forgetting of unimportant information.
“The poster session was a valuable experience. I learnt skills in how to communicate scientific research effectively.”
Honours student Lara Wilson’s research focussed on the relationship between traumatic brain injury (TBIs) and the risk of re-conviction in offenders serving community based sentences. Lara found that almost everyone interviewed for her research reported one or more TBIs but most of these were only mild injuries, which are common throughout the community.
“Her findings also tentatively suggest that except perhaps when a person has a relatively severe historic head injury, historic injuries may not be immediately relevant to the current management of the person, but recent ones probably are,” says her research supervisor Professor Devon Polaschek.
“The poster session was a great learning experience, challenging my ability to think on my feet and communicate my research to different people,” says Lara.
Professor Garry was pleased with the results of the student’s hard work. “The poster session is a terrific showcase for our most promising future scientists."