Psychology senior targets fake news, Greek life as focuses for research

The continuing trend of “fake news” accusations led senior psychology major Megan Ringo to research attitude in regard to information consumption. Her research study, “Watch That ’Tude: Attitude Representation Theory,” was completed last semester as part of Ringo’s senior seminar project.

Ringo initially wanted to research the effects of persuasion, but, fearing easily skewed data, switched the vision of her research. Participants — one of whom received a satirical story to read and another who received a factual news story — completed pre-test and post-test questions.

Ringo believes her research can have real-life implications, pointing to the fact that attitude can easily be driven incorrectly by “fake” news stories.

Ringo also spent the fall semester continuing previous research she had done at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln last summer. That research explored the role of peer pressure and drinking, looking more specifically this time on Greek groups. “I wanted to see if labeling someone in a scenario as involved in Greek life led them to be perceived as more pressured to partake in risky behaviors presented in those scenario,” says Ringo.

The study was designed during the fall semester. “We designed a study to test social media and priming effects of alcohol-related content and increased desire to drink,” Ringo says. The study itself remains in progress this semester.

As a busy senior with two psychology research projects, Ringo still has made time for graduate school applications. Her goal is to be accepted into a Ph.D. program. “I have applied to both Ph.D. and master’s programs in social, developmental and counseling psychology programs, as well as a Ph.D. in leadership Studies,” Ringo says. She hopes to teach and do research at a university.

Lauren Hince ’18
Blaine, Minnesota


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