Psychology Research

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Pandemic Behavior of Gen Z

Brandon Martin ('20), Grace McIntosh ('23), & Nik Peterson ('22)

When the COVID-19 forced UMF to transition to online learning, Brandon Martin (‘20), Grace McIntosh ('23), and Nik Peterson ('22) quickly adapted to their changing research context. As their methodology relied on online surveys, they were able to make a "fairly smoothly transition to remote learning,” according to Grace. What changed was their research focus which shifted to social and psychological variables that impact the attitudes of Gen Z (18-25 year-olds) on social distancing during the pandemic. They explored how “social, personality, political and geographical factors might predict resistance among some citizens to not social distancing.” The team created a national survey to analyze which factors are predictive of Gen Z behavior, information that could be crucial to preventing the spread of the virus. Using various survey design sites, they were able to gather data from 497 respondents with various backgrounds. With the intention of continuing this important research, they are now applying for a grant from the Clinton Global Initiative with the hope of providing the public and government officials with more information about Gen Z behavior during the pandemic.

Students hold discussions about various aspects

of their research over Zoom

Honors Thesis

in Psychology

Psychoanalytic Theories

of Belief in Pure Evil

Angelica Jones, '20

For her Honors thesis on psychoanalytic theories, Angelica Jones ('20) explored the Belief in Pure Evil (BPE) that there are individuals in the world who are predisposed to create harm or chaos. Angelica analyzed the BPE among college students through their perception of Adolph Hitler. She found that individuals with a high BPE typically wanted to rescript Hitler's life so that there was no underlying psychological explanation for Hitler's attitude and behavior that led to the Nazi genocide. Angelica undertook her honors thesis to gain research experience in preparation for the doctoral program in clinical psychology she is entering in fall 2020: "I feel more confident and am better prepared for my doctoral program."

Angelica Jones, Class of 2020

Mathematics & Psychology:

How Expectations Impact

a Student Performance

Jennifer Hart, '20

A double major in Mathematics and Psychology, Jennifer Hart (’20) combined her dual academic backgrounds and interests to explore the impact of inner and outer expectations on students’ academic performance at UMF.  Inspired by psychologist Gretchen Rubin's research on The Four Tendencies (2017) of how we respond to expectations, Jennifer conducted a survey on campus that revealed that over 90% of the respondents were “Obligers,” indicating that they tended to meet outer expectations and resist inner expectations. She then asked the participants to follow an academic plan designed for each of Rubin’s four tendencies over the course of a week. The results of this experiment revealed “that we may be able to mold our environment in small ways to suit our tendencies and ultimately improve our productivity. Because of my double major, I could analyze the psychological component of expectations and how people's behavior is motivated by expectations, and I was able to use my mathematical background to analyze and conceptualize the data.”  

Jennifer Hart, Class of 2020

Last Updated August 2020 University of Maine Farmington - Office of Experiential & Global Education

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