Psychology Undergraduate Research Conference

15th Annual Psychology Undergraduate Research Conference

October 30, 2015
9:30 am – 1:00 pm
Veteran’s Memorial Hall, Dahlberg Hall (Alumni Hall)

Proposal Submission will be October 12-16.

Submitting a poster automatically registers you for PURC.

Submit Proposal 

Registration is from October 19-23, and registration IS FREE.  The PURC conference is open anyone. We welcome undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty and professionals from all colleges and organizations. Students who have submitted posters are automatically registered for PURC.

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PURC Fall 2015 Schedule of Events

9:00-9:30 am Presenter check-in
9:30-11:45 am Poster Session
12:00-1:00 pm Lunch and PURC Keynote Address
1:00-1:30 pm PURC prize announcements

Psi Chi is an international honor society whose purpose shall be to encourage, stimulate, and maintain excellence in scholarship of the individual members in all fields, particularly in psychology, and to advance the science of psychology.  Psi Chi’s mission is to produce a well-educated, ethical, and socially responsible member committed to contributing to the science and profession of psychology and to society in general.  Specifically, Psi Chi aims to 1) Advance science and the profession of psychology, 2) Promote an educational experience consistent with the mission, 3) Promote ethical and socially responsible members and leaders, 4) Define and establish an organizational structure that promotes our mission, and 5) Recognize and foster the contributions that diversity makes to the science and practice of psychology. 
With over 1400 majors, the psychology undergraduate program is one of the largest at GSU. It has an active Honors Program and Presidential Assistants Program for exceptional students interested in advanced training in behavioral and psychological research, and a large Psi Chi club for majors. Applied and research practica are available for advanced students in a variety of areas.
The Center for Behavioral Neuroscience (CBN) is an award-winning, interdisciplinary research consortium composed of more than 150 neuroscientists. Researchers use cutting-edge techniques from brain imaging to molecular methods.  When evaluated by the National Science Foundation, the Center was found to be "a model for the execution of science." Behavioral Research Advancements in Neuroscience (BRAIN) is the hallmark program of the undergraduate education arm of the CBN. The program consists of a 10-week summer research and education experience.
Serving as a connection between psychology and neuroscience, the Neuropsychology and Behavioral Neuroscience (NBN) Program provides multidisciplinary training in cognitive and affective neuroscience, as well as in clinical, experimental, and developmental neuropsychology.

Appropriate Presenters


  • An undergraduate is the first author (faculty and graduate students can be authors, just not the first author)
  • Post-bac students working as professional lab assistants may also be first authors
  • The poster is from someone affiliated with the CBN or a psychology department. We welcome presenters from all schools and organizations, including those not affiliated with Georgia State University.

Appropriate Presentation Topics

Proposals may address any area of psychology and/or the scientific study of human development. The research may be completed or in progress.  If the research is in progress there must be data analysis of the already-collected data.

Posters that are from the same lab must make clearly distinct contributions.  The titles, and abstracts, should be easily differentiated.  If posters from the same lab are too similar, at the discretion of the PURC director, only the first poster submitted will be accepted.

PURC is shorthand for the Psychology Undergraduate Research Conference at Georgia State University. This conference is held each fall and is co-sponsored by the GSU Department of Psychology, and the GSU chapter of Psi Chi (the National Undergraduate Honorary Society for Psychology).
No. All PURC proposals must be submitted by an undergraduate author.
Yes, as long as an undergraduate is the first author.
No, all registration applications must be completed online.
Registered attendees will receive the PURC booklet and breakfast.
Yes! PURC is open to anyone and we welcome all attendees.
All are welcome to attend PURC, even without registering in advance. However, food and beverages will only be provided to those who register in advance.
No. Registering for PURC is free!

Posters may not exceed 44’ width and 34’ height.

Images and text for your poster should be neatly affixed to the display board. All text on the poster must be at least an 18 pt font size.

For tips on preparing your poster presentation and some suggested layouts, we recommend you explore the Psi Chi Conference Presentation Pages.

You must format your poster with the following guidelines, or it will not print correctly:

  1. Make your poster a single slide in PowerPoint.
  2. In page layout, size your poster at 44” (width) by 34” (height). This size creates a flexible ratio of 1.33.

Note: Make sure that you check your poster in print preview to ensure that it will look how you want. DO NOT rely on how it looks on the slide design page.

Also, be aware that any images will be blown up a great deal to fit the poster. Check to make sure any pictures have a high enough resolution that they won’t be pixilated on the poster.

Please do not use dark backgrounds for your poster.
It uses a tremendous amount of ink.

Instructions on How to Use the Poster Printer 

Staff supported poster printing will be available October 27, 28 and 29.  An online sign-up sheet to sign up for a poster printing time is available at You may only sign up for one spot per poster you are presenting.  Staff will not be in the room to help you post the printer (see directions above), but problems with the poster printer will have priority for IT assistance.  If there are problems with the poster printer and you are unable to print it within the time you signed up, e-mail Dr. Tusher for an overflow spot.
Each poster will be assessed on the following five areas (each area has equal weight):

    1. Abstract: Clarity, organization, and content of the presentation abstract
    2. Importance: Relative importance of presented research to psychology
    3. Appearance: Clarity, organization, and visual appeal of presentation
    4. Creativity: Creativity in research question and/or study design
    5. Ownership: Apparent degree to which undergraduate author was responsible for the content and format of presentation

The neuroscience award will be awarded to the poster deemed to be the best poster in the field of neuroscience.  To be eligible posters must display thCBN logoe CBN logo in the upper right hand corner, and come from a lab in which the advising faculty member is a CBN member. Each poster will be assessed on the following three areas (each area has equal weight):

    1. illustrates the interaction of brain processes and complex behaviors
    2. identifies the brain mechanisms of social behavior
    3. demonstrates command of a major methodological technique used in neuroscience research

The diversity award will be awarded to the poster that best addresses issues of diversity.  Addressing issues of diversity can include addressing issues of social justice; group differences such as gender, race/ethnicity/culture, sexual orientation; and other relevant dimensions of diversity.  Each poster will be assessed as to whether issues of diversity are being addressed in the theory, methodology, and interpretation of the results (each area has equal weight).


October 31, 2014. Dr. Stephen Nowicki Jr. from Emory University gave a talk entitled "Hedgehogs, Foxes, and Other Essentials for Research Success.”

There were 38 student posters. Jessica Snellings (co-authors Ahmadi, Barbosa, Persichetti, Pommy, Turner, & Bogenschutz; faculty sponsor Jessica Turner) won the top overall award and the CBN neuroscience award. Sarah Vogt (co-authors Arnold, B.S., Griggers, W.R., & Donohue, M.R.; faculty sponsor Erin Tully) won the second place overall award, and Sanjay Pardasani (co-authors Valdez, G.E., Smith, G., & Frishkoff, G.A.; faculty sponsor Chris Conway) took third for the overall award. Van Phan (co-author Khatib; faculty sponsor Winnie Chan) won the diversity award.

Psi Chi, Center for Behavioral Neuroscience, and the Clinical Psychology program sponsored the conference.


October 25, 2013. Dr. Deborah Jones from UNC Chapel Hill gave a talk entitled "Bridging the Gap between the Classroom and the Lab:  Engaging Undergraduates for a Richer and more Rewarding Program of Research.”

There were 34 student posters. The top overall prize was won by Nicholas Bello (faculty sponsor Gwen Frishkoff). Kim Braunsworth (faculty sponsor Rebecca Williamson) won second place and Alexandra Duncan (faculty sponsor Gabe Kuperminc) won third place. Morgan Mosley (faculty sponsor Nancy Forger) won the CBN neuroscience award and Hadrian Mendoza (faculty sponsor Aki Masuda) won the Diversity Award.

Psi Chi, Center for Behavior Neuroscience, and the Clinical Psychology program sponsored the conference.


October 26, 2012  Dr. Laura Kohn-Wood gave a talk entitled “Knowledge is Power: Why it is Important to be Involved in Undergraduate Research.” Dr. Kohn-Wood is an Associate Professor at the University of Miami.

There were 31 student posters. The top overall prize was awarded to Omid Midanaky (faculty sponsor Gwen Frishkoff). Luke Shin won second place and Makeda Moore (faculty sponsor Diana Robins) won third place. The CBN Neuroscience top award went to G. Taylor Brooks (faculty sponsor Gwen Frishkoff) and the Diversity award was given to Damla Corekli (faculty sponsor Seyda Ozcaliskan).

The conference was sponsored by Psi Chi, Center for Behavioral Neuroscience, and the Community Psychology Program.


October 28th, 2011.  Dr. Robert Hampton gave a talk titled “Learning Who Is Boss: Social Skills for Monkeys”.  He is a professor in the Department of Psychology at Emory and Associate Research Professor of Psychobiology at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center.   He is an affiliate of Emory’s Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology undergraduate program.

39 students presented posters, and five were selected for top honors.  Overall first place was awarded to Alyssa Ailion (Tricia King, faculty sponsor), Pedro del Valle (Rebecca Williamson, sponsor) won second place, and Ashley Watson won third place (Marise Parent, faculty sponsor). The CBN poster award went to Zena McCarthy (Gwen Frishkoff, faculty sponsor), and the Diversity award went to Alesha Bond (Heather Kleider, faculty sponsor).

PURC was sponsored by the Psychology department, Psi Chi, and the GSU Second Century Initiative in Primate Social Cognition, Evolution, and Behavior.


October 22nd, 2010.  Dr. Deborah South Richardson gave a talk titled “Research on Everyday Aggression: Personal Experience Leads to Research Questions.” Dr. Richardson is a professor in the Department of Psychology at Augusta State University, where she also serves as Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning. She has recently been appointed to an adjunct professorship in the School of Medicine at the Medical College of Georgia, where she serves as Director of the Educational Research Fellowship through the Education Discovery Institute.

44 students presented posters, and five were selected for top honors.  Overall first place was awarded to Mirjana Ivanisevic (Tricia King, faculty sponsor), Alyssa Ailion (Tricia King, sponsor) won second place, and Kristen Nielsen won third place (Robert Latzman, faculty sponsor). The CBN poster award went to Evan Werstler (B Ford, faculty sponsor), and the Diversity award went to Amanda Culver (Tracie Stewart, faculty sponsor).

PURC was sponsored by the Psychology department, Psi Chi, and the Emory Center for Injury Control.


October 30th, 2009.  Dr. Laura Namy (Emory University) gave a talk titled "How Undergraduates Make Research Better: Tales from the Language and Learning Lab." She received her undergraduate degree in Philosophy and Psychology from Indiana University. She completed her doctorate in Cognitive Psychology at Northwestern University in 1998 and has been at Emory ever since. Her research focuses on word learning, symbolic development and conceptual development.

33 students presented posters, and five were selected for top honors.  Overall first place was awarded to Shawn Sheehan (Akihiko Masuda, faculty sponsor), Johnny Garretson (Aras Petrulis, sponsor) won second place, and Kelly Minor won third place (Rihanna Williams, faculty sponsor). The CBN poster award went to Brett Young (Marise Parent, faculty sponsor), and the Diversity award went to Alice Barrett (Scott Weaver, faculty sponsor).

PURC was sponsored by the Psychology department, Psi Chi, the Center for Behavioral Neuroscience, and the Language and Learning Initiative.


November 5, 2008. Dr. Roger K. R. Thompson (Franklin and Marshall College) is the Dr. E. Paul & Frances H. Reiff Professor of Psychology and Biological Foundations of Behavior at F&M, and is one of the world's leading authorities on animal minds.

Overall first place was awarded to Cedric Dortch (Rihana Williams, faculty sponsors), Melissa Nikolic (Diana Robins, sponsor) won second place, and third place went to Michael Williams. The CBN poster award went to Bethany Bagley, and Leon Silvers (Julia Perilla, sponsor) received the Best Diversity Poster award.

November 2, 2007, Understanding Psychopathology, Dr. Terry D. Blumenthal, Wake Forest University
March 30, 2007, Exploring the Developing Mind, Dr. Ralph Radach, Florida Center for Reading Research, Florida State University
2006 Friday, April 7, 2006, The Social Mind and Social Brain, Dr. Sam Gaertner, Professor of Social Psychology, The University of Delaware. "Corporate mergers and acquisitions, organizational consolidation, desegregation, and second marriages are but a few examples of a frequently occurring social phenomenon: The merger of two or more groups into one organizational structure. Professor Gaertner's work in both field and laboratory settings examines how intergroup relations across diverse settings such as these can be conducted more smoothly and effectively. Professor Gaertner's research, at a theoretical level, concerns the development of intergroup unity, which involves connectedness and cohesiveness between the memberships within a merged group structure. It is hypothesized that inducing the memberships of these groups to conceive of the aggregate as a single entity enables their relationship to benefit from their common in group identity."
2005 Dr. Michael J. Kuhar of Emory University, is a world-reknown scholar whose research focuses on drug receptors, neurotransmitters, and their involvement in therapeutics and disease. In addition to his role as the Chief of the Division of Neuroscience at the the Yerkes Regional Primate Center here in Atlanta, Dr. Kuhar has been recognized for his outstanding contributions to science by being named Charles Howard Candler Professor at the Emory School of Medicine and a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar.
2004 Third Annual PURC at GSU – “Diversity in Psychology”; student poster presentations and juried paper presentations; practicum and graduate students panels; alumni panel; professional roundtable; keynote speaker; workshops on preparing for graduate school, resume writing, interviewing, networking
Keynote Speaker: Dr. Jennifer Woolard, Psychology Professor, Georgetown University
2003 PURC 2003 Photo Album
Second Annual PURC at GSU; 69 student poster presentations, including 12 by students from other schools (Morehouse, Clark Atlanta, Emory, UGA); practicum and graduate students panels; alumni panel; professional roundtable; over 120 students registered to participate
Keynote speaker: Dr. Scott Lilienfeld of Emory University
2002 First Annual PURC at GSU; 29 student poster presentations, including 6 by students from other schools (Morehouse and Spelman); practicum and graduate students panels; professional roundtable