SF Students Present Research at Honors Conference

SF students Cathy Laurenzi and Brian Wolfson presented research on the “Effect of Personal Information on Face Recognition” at the Florida Collegiate Honors Conference, held in Gainesville last weekend. 

The project, which was conceived, designed, and executed by students, grew out of an experiment conducted for Dr. Marisa McLeod’s Honors General Psychology course.

“Doing experimental research at Santa Fe is a significant challenge, given we don’t have traditional lab space or equipment,” McLeod said. “The students were incredibly creative with the design and execution of the project. It is a fantastic project and the students should be lauded for their critical thinking and attention to detail.”

Wolfson, a Fall 2009 SF graduate, currently at the University of Florida majoring in chemical engineering, noted that the research process itself was valuable.

“Designing the experiment, carrying it out, and writing up the results allowed us to practically apply the theory and skills we were taught in class,” Wolfson said.

According to McLeod, a conference attendee from a major in-state four-year institution was “amazed research could be done in a General Psychology course,” and that if it could be done at Santa Fe, it certainly should be done at the four-year institution as well.

The research project examined whether people were more inclined to remember a person based on information regarding physical attractiveness versus academic achievements. The student researchers concluded that statements about physical appearance aided recall of faces more than statements of academic achievement.