Monday, May 29, 2017

URSP Student Stephen Guion Researches to Pursue His Goals

Two experiences inspired me to conduct my current experiment. First, my current mentor Dr. Craig McDonald, taught us about intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells and how they respond to short-wavelength light. With a basic interest in the interaction between humans and modern technology, this topic intrigued me. Later, I saw an advertisement for blue-enriched lights with the branding promising an increase in cognitive efficiency. Having learned of the effects of blue light on arousal, and with an understanding of the top-down modulation of expectation, this advertisement campaign also inspired me to investigate which variable was most responsible for the observed

I chose this research question in order to begin the process of chipping away at my long- term goals. With a goal of investigating the effects of modern technology on human behavior, cognition, and physiological adaptation, it may be difficult to narrow down and find a focused research question. This topic, however, provided me with a window, with which I could approach my long-term goals in a scholarly and interdisciplinary fashion.

On a weekly basis, my assignments heavily depend on my participants. I have twenty sessions per week available for participants to request both research credit through SONA, or extra credit through their professors, if applicable. Recently, I have been running ten participants a week in my experiment, which takes about fifteen hours a week. Research acts as somewhat of a part-time job, so the other five to ten hours per week are spent preparing data for final analysis and drafting my thesis for my honors thesis defense scheduled for April 25th, 2017.

This term, I discovered the responsibility involved in independent research. Last semester, I was aiding a PhD student with his dissertation, which sparked my current research question. This semester, however, I have been working alone, with advice from my research mentor, which has taught me the dedication and responsibility that research requires. Also, I have taken on a research assistant (who is a wonderful student entering her first semester of the Honors Psychology Thesis Program), and this has given me further motivation to pursue my goal of becoming a research professor and director of a university thesis program.