RCC Lab Members Present at 2019 Regional Conference in Manchester, NH

Genna Companatico (’20), Aubrey Sahouria (’22), Dr. Jennifer Stiegler-Balfour, and Nicole Martin (’21) at NEPA in Manchester, NH

RCC lab members Genna Companatico (PSY ‘20), Nicole Martin (PSY ‘21) and Aubrey Sahouria (NEU ‘22) presented their research at the 59th annual New England Psychological Association (NEPA) conference on November 9th, 2019 at the Southern New Hampshire University campus in Manchester, New Hampshire.  

NEPA is dedicated to the advancement of psychology as a science, a profession, and a means of promoting human welfare.  

Companatico presented research conducted with alumnus Courtney Parent (PSY ‘19) and faculty mentor Jennifer Stiegler-Balfour, Ph.D., associate professor and psychology program coordinator in the Department of Psychology, on reading performance across text types and predicting performance among different reading comprehension tests. This study is the first to show significant correlations among three different reading comprehension tests and provides insight on which tests are best suited to predict comprehension of narrative versus expository texts. These results provide additional evidence that reading comprehension skill can be significantly predicted from working memory capacity and metacomprehension skills.  

“My experience at the New England Psychological Association was amazing. I was able attend multiple interesting presentations, particularly the president of NEPA’s talk on being successful by learning to fail. It was also great being able to see what students at other schools are studying and having them come talk to me about my research. I also enjoyed talking to representatives from other schools on their graduate programs and getting more information. NEPA overall was a great experience with insightful information and wonderful memories!” says Companatico. 

Genna Companatico (’20) presenting her research conducted with Courtney Parent (’19) and Dr. Jennifer Stiegler-Balfour

Martin and Sahouria presented research conducted with Ellie Leighton (PSY ‘18) and faculty mentor Jennifer Stiegler-Balfour, Ph.D., associate professor and psychology program coordinator in the Department of Psychology, on the influence of typographical differences on reading performance when using e-readers. Results from the study indicate that sans-serif fonts facilitate better comprehension for reading on e-readers than serif fonts, and that while people generally preferred reading with serif fonts, it did not indicate better performance. These findings suggest that sans-serif fonts may be optimal for reading on e-readers and that readers may not always know which settings are most beneficial for their comprehension.  

“My favorite part about NEPA is that it is a close to home conference where we can learn so much about what it means to be professional! Between presenting a poster and getting to see Dr. Stiegler-Balfour present a talk, it is such an accessible but exciting place to learn about the field of psychology!” commented Martin.  

“I had attended NEPA the year prior, but not as a presenter. Being surrounded by so many other passionate undergraduate researchers kindled (pun intended) my own commitment to research, and I was thrilled to be able to share our findings with other researchers. I am incredibly thankful for this opportunity as an undergraduate” says Sahouria.  

Nicole Martin (’21) and Aubrey Sahouria (’22) presenting their research conducted with Ellie Leighton (’18) and Dr. Jennifer Stiegler-Balfour

Research assistant Grace Bernatchez (PSY ‘21) also attended, soaking in the sights and sounds of her first regional conference. “This was my first time attending NEPA and it was awesome. It was great to see such diverse research first-hand, talk to people about their research, and listen to a range of different speakers.  Not to mention, I got to spend the day with my research lab pals and Dr. Stiegler-Balfour!” 

Grace Bernatchez (’21), Nicole Martin (’21), Dr. Jennifer Stiegler-Balfour, Aubrey Sahouria (’22), and Genna Companatico (’20)

Funding for students’ conference registration and travel was made possible by UNE’s PSI CHI  chapter.