Three Cape Breton University students have each been awarded a Canadian Psychological Association Certificate of Academic Excellence for an Honours Thesis. The certificate is awarded to recognize outstanding achievements made by students at all levels of study in each Canadian department of psychology. The range of research that the students conducted was diverse, with each student exploring a different area of psychology. Kristy Bryson, Laura Higgins and Tara Richardson were presented with their awards in earlier this month.
Bryson studied decision making and found that people who seek and accept only the best –called maximizers — tend to report greater concern over making mistakes and a preoccupation with the process of making a decision. It is ironic that, despite the greater effort that maximizers put into decision making, they report greater decision anxiety and less decision satisfaction.
Higgins studied the effect that songs about disasters, such as shipwrecks, have on the way we respond to our own culture. Higgins was able to show that listening to disaster songs can elicit increases in persons’ attachment to culture and the songs can lead people to become more defensive about how they view the world.
Richardson studied reports of communication between doctors and patients. She found that patients’ satisfaction and likelihood of adhering to treatment is related to their willingness to communicate with the relevant health professionals. Patients’ willingness to communicate is related to their communication competence and the anxiety such communication evokes, as well as to their motivation for healthy living.
"My year at Cape Breton University working on my thesis was by far the most challenging, yet rewarding year of my psychology degree. It was an amazing experience to be able to design and implement a study of my own. I received great advice and encouragement from my thesis supervisor, Peter MacIntyre, yet I felt the support from the entire psychology department. I also feel fortunate to have made some new friends along the way. All of the thesis students bonded over the challenges and triumphs we faced when conducting research. I am very proud of myself and my friends for what we have accomplished. It is an honour to have this past year's hard work recognized with this award. I am incredibly proud to be a Cape Breton University graduate. I cannot thank my thesis friends and the psychology department enough for making my final year so memorable," says Bryson.
The students were nominated by the CBU psychology department.