My name is Zachary Witkower (right), and during my sophomore year at Gettysburg College I presented research in Washington D.C at the 25th Annual Association for Psychological Science conference. This experience that I shared with my professor, Dr. Tarner (left), and Riccardo Purita '13 (middle) significantly and surprisingly impacted me, my life aspirations, and my career goals. My attendance at this conference has prompted me to seriously consider graduate studies in the social sciences
The study that we conducted examined perceptions of negligence as a function of priming and expert testimony. We found that the type of expert testimony influenced the monetary amount awarded to the plaintiff in the context of a liability case. Our findings indicated that participants exposed to defense testimony awarded the plaintiff $39,712 compared to $217,237 for those exposed to the plaintiff’s expert testimony. This finding suggests that the participants were significantly affected by the presentation of information rather than the actual facts. This is consistent with our other findings, which produced a main effect of testimony on perceptions of fault.
Going to Washington D.C to represent my school at a professional conference created a lot of pride. At first I felt intimidated and unqualified because I may have been the youngest person there. While I expected to be nervous and flustered during my presentation, I found quite the contrary. I found myself cognizant, enthusiastic, and intellectually simulated by the questions that came my way. I was flattered that people took me seriously. While I expected to go to this conference exclusively as a learner, it turns out that I left as both a learner and a teacher.
Aleksandra Petkova ’14 (right) was awarded a Mellon Summer Scholars grant in the summer of 2012 to study attitudes toward dating and marriage among Muslim-American teenagers. She worked with Kathy Cain (left) to develop a coding system and analyze interviews conducted with teenagers from the greater DC area. During the 2012-13 year, Aleks continued to refine and code her work, and she presented her results at two national conferences in April 2013 – the 27th Annual National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) in Lacrosse, Wisconsin, and the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) in Seattle, Washington.