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Matt Kelley and ‘K-Lab Quintet’ publish article in Psi Chi Journal of Psychological Research

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March 15, 2023
Meghan O'Toole

Professor of Psychology and Associate Dean of the Faculty Matthew Kelley published an article with Deniz Akpinar ’23 from Turkey, Vaughan Bamford ’23 from Canada, Sara Martinez ’23 from Costa Rica, Tracey Nassuna ’23 from Uganda, and Madison Stevens ’23 from Indiana.

The study, “When Hints Hurt Memory: The Influence of the Number of Part-Set Cues on Free Recall,” examines the effects of part-set cues on retention in a free recall task across five experiments.

The students, nicknamed the “K-Lab Quintet,” first started working with Kelley through the Richter Scholars Program in May 2020 in the midst of the early stages of the pandemic. 

“Our initial research that we conducted as Richter Scholars was informative but not publication quality,” Bamford shared. “However, our group had such a great time together that we decided to continue working with Dr. Kelley after the Richter program was over. This was when we pivoted in the direction of the study that eventually got published. We were persistent and patient until we designed and conducted an experiment that was publication quality. To develop to that point from quite literally knowing next to nothing about cognitive psychology was very rewarding.”

The students developed their research questions and designed the experiments remotely from five different countries.

“I think it’s rare for an undergraduate to be able see something through to publication while they’re still a student here,” Kelley said. “Often publication happens after they’re gone. A number of these students are currently applying to graduate school, and it helps to be able to say they have something in press even before they start graduate school.”

Student involvement in research not only provides important mentorship connections, but also provides students with experience that helps them determine their ambitions beyond the College.

“This research opportunity has opened many doors for me, not only in an academic and professional sense as I move into the field of Human-Computer Interaction, but also in a personal sense as I developed mentor and peer relationships, changed my perspective on risk-taking and failure, and deepened my understanding of research methodologies,” Martinez said.  

“This was my first time conducting research,” Nassuna said. “It is through this process that I discovered my love for research and ambition to pursue a PhD.”

The article is free for the public to access on Psi Chi's website.

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