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Honors Psychology Student and Faculty Mentor Take Research to National Stage

Joshua Braverman and Weylin Sternglanz

Joshua Braverman and Weylin Sternglanz

NSU Honors student and psychology major Joshua Braverman is proving that faculty-mentored research can take you far beyond the classroom. What began as a research poster at NSU’s 2016 Undergraduate Student Symposium, led Braverman to present at the 2017 Society for Personality and Social Psychology Convention in San Antonio (January 19–21, 2017). The society is the single largest organization of social psychologists and personality psychologists.

Braverman conducted research about deception and cheating alongside faculty mentor Weylin Sternglanz, Ph.D., associate professor in NSU’s College of Psychology. As a result, they co-presented “Individual Differences in Deception Judgments, Personality Judgments, and Meta-Accuracy,” on a national stage. The poster was co-authored by Marley Morrow, a recent alumna of NSU’s M.S. in Experimental Psychology program, and based in part on her thesis.

Joshua Braverman and Weylin Sternglanz

Joshua Braverman and Weylin Sternglanz

“I took Dr. Sternglanz’s Social Psychology Honors course,” Braverman said. “We spoke in his office about his work and the field of social psychology in general. That summer, I was offered a research assistantship in his laboratory. Then I presented at the Undergraduate Student Symposium about our work. Finally, we continued this work, which lead to submission, acceptance, and presentation at the national convention.”

“Our research examined how well individual differences (personality, gender, and propensity for cheating) predicted deception detection accuracy, truth bias, ability to infer personality traits, and meta-accuracy,” said Braverman. “Participants rated university students’ personality traits and discriminated between their truthful and deceptive statements; participants also rated the deceptiveness of people in media clips who were either innocent or guilty of a serious crime. Participants were less accurate at detecting the serious lies from media clips than the relatively mundane lies told by university students. These findings indicate there are meaningful individual differences in truth bias, the ability to infer personality traits, and meta-accuracy.”

“Joshua is an excellent student,” said Sternglanz, “and it has been a pleasure to work with him on this project. His design of our research poster was superb, and his presentation at the SPSP conference was first-rate. Most of the people at this conference were Ph.D. students and faculty members, and Joshua showed great poise when discussing our research with them. One faculty member at a top university even expressed strong interest in having Joshua work in his lab as a graduate student.

“One really nice aspect of being at NSU is the fact that students and faculty members interact closely with each other,” Sternglanz continued. “This is particularly true in our Honors College. Several Honors students have taken my classes and later worked with me on research, and it has always been a great experience.”

Braverman and Sternglanz continue to work together and are co-authoring a chapter to be published in 2018. Braverman plans to apply to Ph.D. programs in social psychology next year.