Students Present Their Research at Regional Conference in Laredo
BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS – NOVEMBER 16, 2012 – Psychology graduate student Patrick Flores was one of several University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College students who recently attended a cognitive psychology conference at Texas A&M International University in Laredo, Texas.
Psychology students Coral Garcia, Patrick Flores and Jaime Serna presented their research at ARMADILLO.
Led by Dr. Bernardo de la Garza, Psychology Lecturer in the Behavioral Sciences Department, Flores and fellow graduate student Yessica Rodriguez traveled to Laredo with three undergraduate students, Coral Garcia, Jaime Serna and Luis Garcia, to present their research findings at the Association for Research in Memory, Attention, Decision making, Intelligence, Language, Learning, and Organization (ARMADILLO) conference held Oct. 26-27.
“Attending conferences such as this is so important to our students’ development,” de la Garza said. “It is an excellent opportunity for the students to not only participate in hands-on research but also to take it the next step by presenting it to an audience. And, they benefit from hearing speakers in their fields and from networking with other young researchers.”
Flores, from Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico, received his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from UTB and TSC in May of this year.
“I initially thought I would pursue clinical psychology, but after having a taste of research, I am fascinated by it,” Flores said. “I know I will continue in this area and work toward my Ph.D. in the future.”
The research project Flores took to Laredo is titled: “Does frequency of code-switching affect the perception towards and comprehensibility of code-switch text?” His collaborators on this project were Rodriguez, Coral Garcia and de la Garza.
“The use of code-switching, or changing back and forth between English and Spanish, is a very common practice here in the Valley,” Flores said. “I am trying to determine if the perception towards the phenomenon impacts comprehension and the use of the technique.”
Flores and his assistants tested 186 students to determine if there is a loss of comprehension as the number of code switches increases.
Rodriguez and Coral Garcia helped with the analysis and interpretation of the gathered data.
“I found a large amount of participants who viewed the phenomenon as something negative but they still used it,” Flores said. “So it was observed that perception of code-switching does not affect its usage and comprehension.”
Another project that was presented at the conference was an ongoing research project of de la Garza’s, entitled: “The effects of the bilingual language mode on lexical access and comprehension.”
The study examined the time differences, or the lag, in accessing words from a bilingual’s known languages depending on which language or languages were being used. Coral Garcia and Luis Garcia were the lab assistants on this project.
Launched in 1990, ARMADILLO is an annual conference drawing cognitive psychologists from the Southwestern United States, including Texas, New Mexico, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Louisiana.
For more information on the Psychology Program in the Behavioral Sciences Department, contact Mari Huerta at 956-882-8225 or email@example.com.