Evolving Technology and Albion Psychology Students

While reading the plethora of Honors Theses written by Psychology students at Albion, there appeared a trend in the direction of using more and more technology as time passed. Some theses dated as far back as the late 70s, the first that seemed to use technology in an educational and operational way was written by a student in 1999. Even at such an early time in the evolution of the Internet and research technology, the students at Albion College figured out a way to use it for their best educational advantage.

The thesis aforementioned used a program called PsyScope, a free program developed at Carnegie Mellon University that is still in use by many psychology researchers today, that was operated on a Macintosh PowerBook, a laptop that had only come into use a few years previous (production beginning in 1991). By using the program and laptops the student was able to gather the data necessary in a much more accurate and efficient way. The program allowed the student to record the participants’ reactions to the variables being tested as they went through the tasks set up by the PsyScope program.

In another thesis, written in 2001, participants were presented with simulations on Microsoft Frontpage, an HTML editor and website tool that was part of the Microsoft Office suite from 1997 to 2003, via Gateway Intel Pentium computers. This thesis is another example of Albion students finding more efficient ways to conduct and record their research.

From then on as the years continued, the theses developed by these Honors Students were more likely to have a technological aspect in their methods. Some presented their participants with videos, simulated experiences or presented the variables in several different computer programs, maximizing the way that technology could benefit them, improve their project, and most effectively expose their participants to the phenomena as well as gather data that they wished to observe and study.

Albion students started taking the opportunities presented by the digital age at an early stage in its development, and progressively included digital aspects as the years went on, finding the best ways to incorporate the improving technology in ways that would benefit their projects in an effective and appropriate way.

     Anthony W. McCoy from Albion College presents his poster “Sudoku: Memory for Digits and Irrelevant Information” at the American Psychology Association 22nd Annual Convention in Boston, MA.

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