Six Northwestern College students presented their collective research project at the annual Midwest Psychological Association (MPA) conference May 2–4 in Chicago.
The students presented their research, “Too Weird or Just Weird Enough? The Effects of Counterintuitiveness on Theological Concepts.” The presentation focused on counterintuitiveness theory with an emphasis on predicting what religious constructs will be remembered and transmitted within the constraints of human cognitive architecture. Three studies tested the effects on teaching and recall of complex theological concepts.
The students that worked together on this project were Anna Bartlett, a literature major from Orange City, Iowa; Taylor Culver, a psychology major and 2013 graduate from Sioux City, Iowa; Katherine Eick, a senior psychology and theatre major from Bismarck, N.D.; Dani Maurer, a senior psychology major from Sioux City, Iowa; Kirsten McConnel, a 2013 graduate and Spanish and psychology major from Sioux Center, Iowa; and Beverly Rubel, a psychology major and 2013 graduate from Palatine, Ill.
McConnel also presented a version of her research at the Association for Psychological Science’s 25th annual conference in Washington, D.C., May 23–26. Her research, entitled “The Intrusion of Intuitive Concepts in an Online Processing Task: The Theological Correctness Effect,” is a continuation of her work presented at the MPA conference. McConnel examined how human cognitive architecture generates intuitive beliefs.
The faculty sponsor for both research projects was Dr. Laird Edman, professor of psychology at Northwestern. McConnel’s work is the culmination of her senior honors research thesis, and the group presentation was based on the work of Edman’s research team. Edman will continue research on this subject, with help from McConnel, during the summer and on into his sabbatical.