BHSU professor, graduate present research at national psychological convention

SPEARFISH | Kaitlin Schneider, a 2014 BHSU graduate from Sturgis, and Dr. Aris Karagiorgakis, assistant professor of psychology at BHSU, presented their research on the effects drawing prior to a police lineup had on memory at the American Psychological Association (APA) Convention in Washington D.C. this summer.

Researchers from across the nation presented their findings at the conference. This was Schneider’s first major presentation outside of the Black Hills Research Symposium and the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR).

“My mind was blown when I walked into that convention center and saw how huge it was,” Schneider said. “It’s exciting to share our research and show everyone what we are doing.”

Schneider’s and Karagiorgakis’ research showed that drawing for just 15 minutes prior to a police lineup task enhances eyewitness accuracy.

The research stemmed from Schneider’s senior capstone project at BHSU where she studied how drawing affected stress levels.

“I found that drawing can reduce stress, but when I looked at the secondary data I saw that it was affecting memory, too,” Schneider said. “It was a fluke that we found something. We were not expecting that.”

Research compiled during an eyewitness lineup for the capstone project provided the new findings.

“It was just a distractor test. The drawing was just meant for them to have something to do before the lineup. We wanted to fool them to think it was about the police lineup and not about stress and drawing,” he said. “We collected the drawings and thought maybe we’d find something interesting. And low and behold.”

From there Schneider said it was a matter of recoding and making sure they were interpreting the data correctly.

Schneider hopes to continue her research on how drawing affects stress levels. She and Karagiorgakis already are planning to continue research over the next year. The two were awarded seed money for a new project and are currently waiting for approval from the Institutional Review Board (IRB).

“We’re doing something very similar to the current experiment with a few tweaks and minor adjustments,” Karagiorgakis said.

Schneider also will begin applying for graduate school, hoping to follow in Karagiorgakis’ footsteps as a professor and helping students conduct research.

“I like the collegiate setting,” she said. “It’s an environment for learning and growing.”

Karagiorgakis is confident in Schneider’s future goals.

“The quality of Kaitlin’s project was so far advanced,” Karagiorgakis said. “This is something that will make her very competitive, especially when applying for grad school.

“They’ll see her work and go, ‘Whoa. She’s done some really good quality stuff and presented it.’ Kaitlin’s not a question mark.”

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