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Northwest Missouri State University


Student Spotlight

April 15, 2013

Behavioral sciences students compete at Great Plains Conference

A research team of Northwest Missouri State University students claimed a first place prize as the University’s Department of Behavioral Sciences maintained its strong presence at the 33rd Annual Great Plains Students’ Psychology Convention.

Forty-two Northwest students traveled to the convention, which took place March 15-16 at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb., and presented original projects on topics ranging from the use of social media to the effects of color on attention and emotion.

Dr. Ryan Wessell, assistant professor of psychology and the faculty sponsor for Northwest’s Social Sciences Research Group (SSRG), accompanied the students along with behavioral sciences department faculty members Dr. Jerrold Barnett, Dr. Carla Edwards, Dr. Lauren Leach-Steffens and Dr. Rebecca Hendrix.

One research project by Northwest students, “Personality and Facebook,” was recognized as an award-winning presentation. For their research, students studied the relationships of five major personality traits and the moods of Facebook users’ status updates. Among the findings, the researchers found extroverts are more likely to post "happy" status updates, and they rate high on agreeableness. The study also found men are more likely than women to post positive status updates.

The research team consisted of Justin Hicks, an industrial psychology major from Harrisonville; Kasaundra Victor, a psychology and sociology major from Liberty; Karas Dykes, a psychology and sociology major from Liberty; McKenzie Brown, a psychology and sociology major from Belton; Megananne Peck, a psychology and sociology major from Liberty; Jessica Loveland, psychology major from Grain Valley; Jared Ohm, a biology psychology major from Wichita, Kan.; Victoria Wilkie, a psychology major from Lee’s Summit; and Alex Votaw, a biology psychology major from Oak Grove. Wessell sponsored the research.

More than 300 students representing 27 institutions in Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Oklahoma and Missouri gathered at the annual convention. Founded in 1981, this year’s conference featured 144 student presentations of findings from original empirical research or theoretical literature reviews. The annual conference also is an opportunity for students to hear guest speakers and network with peers.


For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
mhorn@nwmissouri.edu | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468