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Get psyched!

Barry McNamara
Monmouth College will host the 38th Annual ILLOWA Undergraduate Psychology Conference on April 30. More than 150 students and faculty from at least one dozen schools are expected to attend the conference, which is one of oldest continuing undergraduate psychological research conventions in the U.S.

Knox College psychology professor Frank McAndrew will present the keynote address on “The Science of Gossip: Why You Can’t Stop Yourself.”

Among the papers presented at the conference will be nearly two dozen by MC students, covering such topics as alcohol consumption, diversity and unsatisfying relationships. Two other MC papers are titled “The Psychological and Physiological Effects of Chocolate” and “Criminal Sentencing: Abused Women Who Kill.”

“This conference is a great experience for undergraduate students as they complete the research process,” said MC associate professor of psychology Joan Wertz, who chairs the department. “They have worked hard to develop research ideas, collect and analyze data, and write up their results. The final step, which is sometimes the most rewarding, is to share their work with a larger audience.”

Founded in 1973, ILLOWA came into existence when four psychology professors in western Illinois, including the late Dean Wright from Monmouth, established a mechanism by which local colleges and universities could enhance interaction with each other while providing an educational research experience for their students. Over the years, ILLOWA expanded to include additional educational institutions. In 1998, ILLOWA established its website, which is hosted at Culver-Stockton College.

The programming format of the convention has remained relatively unchanged over the years in that only undergraduates are allowed to present their findings from empirical research projects. Since 2001, undergraduates who present at ILLOWA can also submit their papers for possible inclusion in the Journal of Psychological Inquiry.

This year will mark the eighth time that Monmouth has hosted the conference and the first time since 2006.