International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition STEP Experience

Gyeongbokgung Palace

Gyeongbokgung Palace

What?

In August of 2014, I travelled with members of the OSU Cognitive and Systematic

Bukhansan National Park

Bukhansan National Park

Musicology Laboratory to Seoul, South Korea to attend and present at the International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition (ICMPC). At ICMPC, I encountered cognitive musicologists, neuroscientists, musicians, and interested individuals from almost every part of the globe. A wonderful aspect about this conference was the fact that so many dedicated teams and individuals assembled together for the purpose of sharing knowledge which only further enhanced the growth of music cognition and the overall understanding of the function of the human brain. To me, that is an immensely powerful and positive reason to congregate. I look forward to attending similar events in the future. Apart from gaining invaluable research experience and insight, I was also fortunate enough to indulge in the astounding beauty of Korean culture, hospitality, and history.

I learned a considerable amount about conducting research in my STEP experience. At the end of 2013, I began a research project with graduate researcher Kirsten Nisula in the Cognitive and Systematic Musicology Laboratory. In this study, we found that in sad music, lyrics are sung more slowly but it is because of arousal not valence. Arriving at this conclusion took more work and time than I original assumed it would. I came to learn that when conducting research, one must be constantly aware of thoroughness and consistency of methods, data, and communication of information. This information has proven to be extraordinarily useful as I move forward to new projects.

 

So What?

Bukchon Hanok Village

Bukchon Hanok Village

Personally, this experience was extremely satisfying with respect to life my life goals. Since becoming involved in the Music Cognition Lab, I have looked forward to working on a scientific study and it is worth noting that this was quite a stellar first time experience. In my sophomore year of school, I was not anticipating starting such at an ambitious project and then having it published and presented at an international conference. In a way, this goal was completed before I realized that it was something for which I really wanted to aim. Originally, I was just hoping to help out in the music cognition lab while learning about neuroscience and music. Ultimately, I received an unforgettable experience that has forever changed my outlook on how I plan to spend the remainder of my professional life

Now What?

In Korea, I learned a lot about what I want to do with my life. I got a taste of the other side of the globe and had the opportunity to compare that completely different environment with my home, Ohio. That comparison helped me decide to dedicate myself to constant world travel and, in the near future, living abroad. This is not in an effort to leave my home, but it is an effort to share my experience of life as an Ohioan and achieve a greater understanding of humanity through interaction with different peoples. If anything, by leaving my home, I realized that I love and

Seoul, South Korea

Seoul, South Korea

appreciate it more than words can express. Though I have travelled a considerable amount within the United States, in going to Asia, I came to realize, or at least imagine, just how diverse and unexplored the world truly is. Given that spending ten days in one city afforded such a generous experience, I am eager to visit other parts of South Korea and the world as a whole.

 

Undergraduate Research Shaped My Academic Career!

Where I will be presenting my research this spring!

Where I will be presenting my research this spring!

After my research partner, Ruoou, and I presented to the Writing Across the Curriculum group for the first time!

After my research partner, Ruoou, and I presented to the Writing Across the Curriculum group for the first time!

Step Experience – Undergraduate Research

What?

During my sophomore year at Ohio State, I was taking Psychology 2367.01, a writing course on social psychology. I thoroughly enjoyed the class, and partway through the semester, my instructor approached me and asked if I would perhaps be interested in joining her on a research project. As I had always been curious about starting psychology research, I eagerly agreed.

I came to find out that the research project was on the very class I had been taking, Psychology 2367.01. The university asked the Psychology Department to assess the course and see if it was meeting its general education learning objectives. During spring of 2014, as I was participating in STEP, I got heavily involved with the project. The research team and I worked to analyze all the course materials and create a rubric that could be used to grade student papers. I then spent the rest of the semester grading and coding 300 student papers. Over the summer, I analyzed the data we had collected in order to determine whether students were actually meeting the learning objectives of the course, and what might be affecting their performance.

This process leaked into autumn 2014, which is when my STEP funding kicked in. Because this research position is not paid and I was dedicating a considerable amount of time to it, I was struggling balancing a part-time job as well my academics and extra-curriculars. By using my STEP stipend to make my research experience paid, I was able to invest the appropriate time and energy into my research project, which was an invaluable experience.

During the autumn of 2014 and spring of 2015, I composed a university report that described all of our findings from the study. Some of the most prominent effects include that instructors will see linear improvement on student papers throughout the semester, while blind-graders will not, and that both instructors and blind-graders see a significant improvement when students are asked to revise a paper after receiving instructor feedback. This information was used to create a presentation for the Writing Across the Curriculum Program here at Ohio State. My research partner, Ruoou, and I gave a talk to the WAC coordinators who help students in various 2367 writing courses. We showed them our findings in hopes of helping them improve their courses and teaching methods. In addition, we will be presenting to a larger group of psychology instructors on April 9th, and on May 1st, we will be giving a poster presentation at the Midwestern Psychological Association conference in Chicago.
So What?

Throughout my STEP journey, I had a lot of new, interesting experiences. A lot of tasks required me to take initiative and set my own deadlines, which had a great impact on my work ethic. I learned that I have a tendency to put things off until the last possible second, which results in lower quality work. I never realized how much of a problem this was until I had to ask my research advisor for an extension, and she seemed very disappointed in me. This encouraged me to alter my planning strategy, setting several early deadlines so I had more wiggle room to finish assignments.

I also experienced a lot of stress and frustration with this project. Sometimes the data got complicated and I had a hard time figuring out what statistical tests would get me what I wanted. I know I have always had trouble asking for help, but in this situation, I really did not have a choice. By the end of this experience, I was more comfortable asking for help from fellow research assistants or my advisor. When I made mistakes, I was able to laugh at myself and learn not to take criticism personally.

Now What?

My participation in the STEP program completely changed my academic career and life goals. Research is incredibly important in the field of psychology, and previously, I had no idea if I enjoyed it. STEP allowed me to explore research with ease and without stress. I ended up falling in love with it, and it has influenced my decisions for after I graduate. I decided to pursue graduate school, and was recently accepted in Ohio State’s doctoral program in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Psychology. This degree will allow me to work with children who have special needs and create assessment materials that can assist them in the diagnostic and treatment processes. Research will be key in grad school and in my future career, so this experience was invaluable.
Overall, I learned a lot about myself and what I like to do during this program. My experiences steered me to my future and have shaped my life for the better. Thank you, STEP!