Meet Stacey Kaufman, a Psychology major completing both a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Social Work. The Newsroom asked Stacey about the ins and outs of conducting her own research project through TRU’s Undergraduate Research Experience Award Program (UREAP).
TRU: Your project is titled, “Social Interest and Giving Social Support in Relation to Emotion”. Boil it down for us.
SK: My project will examine the relationship between social interest, giving social support, and emotion. Social interest is a personality trait characterized by an empathic understanding of the needs of others and valuing of things beyond the self without an ulterior motive. The present study will attempt to further explain the link between social interest and emotion. Specifically the study will examine negative affect, which is characterized by negative mood states such as nervousness and guilt.
This project will attempt to determine if social interest has a moderating affect on the relationship between giving social support and emotion. It is hypothesized that individuals who are high in social interest will be giving social support for selfless reasons and will have lower negative affect compared to individuals who give social support but have low social interest.
TRU: What attracted you to doing this research?
SK: I have always been interested in doing research; I love the idea of expanding on our knowledge in certain areas. I was attracted to research in psychology because developing our understanding of human behaviour has the potential to help individuals. I also think that doing research at the undergraduate level is a great opportunity for me to develop my research, writing, and analytical skills.
“Doing research at the undergraduate level is a great opportunity for me to develop my research, writing, and analytical skills.” — Stacey Kaufman
TRU: How has your UREAP grant helped you get into doing research?
SK: It has made it easier for me to make plans around travelling so that I can disseminate my findings.
TRU: Will your project lead to a presentation or publishing opportunity?
SK: Yes, I am planning on getting a poster of my research published to present at a psychological conference this spring.
TRU: What do you love about research?
SK: I have always loved research and have known since I started my degree that I wanted to get into it. I am excited about being able to contribute to the field of psychology. I love how research allows people to ask questions and to expand on knowledge of certain topics.
TRU: Who in your field do you admire and why?
SK: There are a lot of great researchers that I admire. I admire my supervisor Reid Webster and his contributions to the field. He is in Clinical Psychology, which is where I hope to end up.
TRU: What impact do you hope your research will have?
SK: I believe that research into the concept of social interest has implications for bettering the physical and mental health of individuals. I hope that my project will build on previous findings and will also lead to more questions and research opportunities.