St. Bonaventure University

Student Research


The Psychology Department at SBU is committed to presenting psychology as a behavioral science. Our active research program is designed to provide you with the opportunity to pursue research either independently or in conjunction with faculty. St. Bonaventure Psychology faculty have a wide array of research specialties including animal behavior, health, learning and memory, sexuality, sports and well-being, and others.

Interested students typically become involved in departmental research in their junior and senior years and often have the chance to attend regional and/or national conferences to present their findings.

If you want to learn about research projects involving human participants, see the policies and guidelines on Participant Pool & IRB Forms page.


Psychology research, by faculty member


Dr. Althea Need Kaminske, Researching Cognition & Memory

My research looks at how students learn and remember information. My program of research works in a lab to classroom model. This means we first try to isolate and investigate variables that affect memory and attention in the laboratory under very controlled settings, and then test those variables in applied laboratory settings using more complex materials and real-world scenarios, and finally investigating how those variables affect memory and attention in actual classrooms. The type of research questions we try to answer in my lab are things like:

  1. How do cell phones affect our ability to pay attention to and remember information?
  2. Can training on selective attention improve our focus and memory in the classroom?
  3. How does pressure affect our ability to remember information?
  4. What is the best way to implement effective learning strategies in the classroom or for students to use on their own while they’re studying?

Dr. Gregory Privitera, Researching Health Psychology

My research focuses on the global sociopsychological, policy, economic, and clinical impact of obesity and mental health on managing efficiencies for diagnosis, treatment, and cost of health outcomes and in healthcare settings. My program of research integrates methodological discipline with a focus on outcomes and implications for health and medical practitioners, which has produced multiple papers to examine

  1. correlated and causal sociopsychological factors related to mental health, obesity, and health literacy,
  2. the impact of diagnostic, appetitive and built environment cues on clinical and consumer health outcomes,
  3. the utility of strategic analytics to drive value in healthcare for patients, and
  4. the examination of innovations, AI, and incentive models for care.

In all, my interdisciplinary program of research is highly collaborative. An interdisciplinary focus makes my overall program of research rather dynamic and practical for overseeing a variety of undergraduate faculty-mentored research projects at St. Bonaventure University across psychological disciplines and interests. Overall, my philosophy is the development of a strong program of research that is highly collaborative and impactful, yet accessible to undergraduate student researchers.

Dr. Robin Valeri, Researching Hate, Extremism, and Cyberhate

Have you ever tried to convince someone to become your friend, go on a date with you, change their political opinion, or take action in support of their beliefs? The tactics you use to influence yourself or others are all social influence tactics and are the same ones that hate and extremist groups use to spread their ideas into the mainstream, gain new recruits, and inspire others to action. My research examines the tactics and actions used by hate and extremist groups to influence others so that we can better defend ourselves and society against them, promote respect, and even persuade those who hate to change their views to ones of tolerance and acceptance.

My students and I have conducted both qualitative and quantitative research on a variety of topics related to hate and extremism. Our research has been presented at regional and national conferences and published in peer reviewed journals.

Research questions include:

  1. Why do people hate?
  2. What are the beliefs and motivations of the various hate and extremist groups?
  3. How or why does someone adopt an ideology of hate?
  4. What compels a group or individual to take action in support of their beliefs and ideology?
  5. What role does cyberspace play in promoting hate and extremism and inciting people to violence?
  6. How and why does someone stop hating and leave a hate or extremist group?
  7. What role can or does cyberspace play in combatting hate and extremism?
  8. What can we do as individuals to stop hate and prevent someone from adopting extremist beliefs?

Dr. Stephanie Vogel, Researching Narcissism

My research program looks at personality – specifically the trait of narcissism and the dimension of erotophilia/erotophobia.

  1. Narcissism:  Narcissism is basically love of one’s self taken to the extreme. My research seeks to determine how different levels of narcissism affect how we behave and feel about things. For example – If you are narcissistic, are you attracted to other narcissists or do you want someone who will worship you? Will a narcissist forgive you if you make a mistake (either perceived or real)?
     
  2. Erotophilia/erotophobia:  I also do research on the personality dimension of erotophilia/erotophobia, which is not a well-known term. This dimension is essentially how comfortable a person is with sexually-related stimuli. So for example, does one’s personality affect how much he or she believes in the sexual double standard? Would level of erotophobia affect how that person might behave on a jury trying a rape case? Does one’s personality affect how closely he or she attends to and respond to sexually-related information (i.e. sex words or pictures) in the environment?

Recent conference presentations by students


Presentations are ordered by year. The students' names are boldfaced.

  • Valeri, R. M. & Walter, T. (2019, November). Hate Homicide: A Twenty Year Follow-Up. Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the American Society of Criminology, San Francisco, CA.
  • Valeri, R. M. & Gier, S. (2018, November). In their own words: ISIS’s View of Women. Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the American Society of Criminology, Atlanta, GA.
  • Valeri, R. M., Ward, C., & Kowalik, D., (2018, April). Assessing the Human Threat to Members of the Fire Service. Paper presented at the NY State Intelligence Liaison Officer Conference, Utica, NY.
  • Vaccaro, D., Antonocci, N., Sweazy, N., & Privitera, G. J. ( 2018, March) Major league obesity: Are Americans eating their way to victory? Presented at the Eastern Psychological Association Convention, New York, NY.
  • Santori, M. M., Mortier, D., & Privitera, G. J. (2018, March) The future of health: Evaluating disparities in perspective for health care among premed and non-premed students. Presented at the Eastern Psychological Association Convention, New York, NY.
  • Rajagopal, K., Desai, N. B., & Privitera, G. J. (2018, March) Desirability to eat augments positive mood for those with mild/moderate depression. Presented at the Eastern Psychological Association Convention, New York, NY.
  • Starke, K., Bilger, A., Welling, D., & Privitera, G. J. (2018, March) The relationship between literacy of emotion on emotional responsiveness to comfort foods. Presented at the Eastern Psychological Association Convention, New York, NY.
  • Jennings, A. & Privitera, G. J. (2018, March) Spiritual Boost: Spirituality attenuates clinical symptoms of depression across the full range of the BDI. Presented at the Eastern Psychological Association Convention, New York, NY.
  • Didas, C., Miller, E., & Privitera, G. J. (2018, March) Effects of the timing of a reward on mood and exercise self-efficacy among 6 to 12-year-old girls. Presented at the Eastern Psychological Association Convention, New York, NY .
  • Furgal, E., Gier, S., & Valeri, R.M. (2017, November). The state of the Islamic State: From physical world to virtual reality. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Criminology, Philadelphia, PA.
  • Valeri, R. M., Borgeson, K., Reyes, J., & Symons, C. (2017, November). Lifting the veil: Religiously motivated hate crimes against veiled women. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Criminology, Philadelphia, PA. 
  • Basile, S., & Valeri, R. M. (2017, May). Big five personality traits and text messaging. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Psychological Science, Boston, MA. 
  • Valeri, R. M., Reyes, J., & Symons, C. (2017, May). Examining attitudes toward religious motivated hate crimes against women. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Psychological Science, Boston, MA.
  • Conley, M., King-Shepard, Q., Henry, S., & Kaminske, A., (2017, March). Effects of Animacy in Survival Processing. Poster presented at the 29th Annual Meeting of the Association for Psychological Science, New York City, NY.
  • Sweazy, N., Tejada, G., & Welling, D. (2016, November) Imagining and creating visual images of ‘comfort foods’ augments positive effects on mood for those with depression. Presented at the 17th annual Penn-York Undergraduate Research Conference, St. Bonaventure University, St. Bonaventure, NY. Advisor: Privitera, G. J.
  • Angelo, S., Borgeson, K., & Valeri, R. (2016, June). A content analysis of Al-Qaeda propaganda via the internet. Poster presented at the Northeastern Association of Criminal Justice Studies, Bristol, RI.
  • Russell, R., Furgal, E., & Valeri, R. (2016, June). The simpler the jihad the better: How ISIS uses Dabiq to inspire home grown terrorist attacks and the problems this poses for law enforcement. Poster presented at the Northeastern Association of Criminal Justice Studies, Bristol, RI.
  • Sweazy, N. & Valeri, R. (2016, June). A content analysis of skinhead websites for identity, racist statements, violence, and current activity. North East Association of Criminal Justice Studies, Bristol, RI.
  • Boag, A. J., & Privitera, G. J.(2016, May) Positive emotional responsiveness to the aroma of comfort food varies by sex and depression levels. Presented at the 28th annual Association for Psychological Science Convention, Chicago, IL.
  • Tejada, G., King-Shepard, Q. W., Cuifolo, K. N., & Privitera, G. J. ( 2016, May) Viewing food images of ‘comfort foods’ augments positive effects on mood for those with depression. Presented at the 28th annual Association for Psychological Science Convention, Chicago, IL.
  • Broadbent, A., Cuifolo, K. N., King-Shepard, Q. W., Sweazy, N., Welling, D., & Privitera, G. J. (2016, May) Imagining and creating visual images of ‘comfort foods’ augments positive effects on mood for those with depression. Presented at the 28th annual Association for Psychological Science Convention, Chicago, IL.
  • King-Shepard, Q., Kaminske, A., & Conley, M., (2016, March). Effects of Animacy in Survival Processing. Poster presented at the 87th Annual Meeting of the Eastern Psychological Association, New York City, NY.
  • Byrne, G. & Kaminske, A. (2016, March). Effects of Curation on Content Learning. Poster presented at the 87th Annual Meeting of the Eastern Psychological Association, New York City, NY.
  • Russo, C. & Bauernschmidt, A. (2016, March). Student’s Metacognitive Awareness of Exercise and Cognition. Poster presented at the 87th Annual Meeting of the Eastern Psychological Association, New York City, NY.
  • King-Shepard, Q. W., Cuifolo, K. N., & Privitera, G. J. (2016, March) Depression and BMI levels influence intake in a buffet following a mood manipulation. Presented as a paper at the Eastern Psychological Association Convention, New York, NY.
  • Byrne, G., Winterburn, K., & Valeri, R. (2016, March). College students’ attitudes toward tattooed male models representing their university. Poster presented at the meeting of the Eastern Psychological Association, New York, NY.
  • Parks, T. W., Yalamanchili, M., & Kaminske, A. (2015, March). The Effects of Pressure on Retrieval Practice: Using Leaderboards to Induce Pressure. Poster presented at the 86th Annual Meeting of the Eastern Psychological Association, Philadelphia, PA. 
  • Mooradian, A. J., Parks, T. W., & Kaminske, A. (2015, March). How Does Pressure Affect Retrieval Practice? Poster presented at the 86th Annual Meeting of the Eastern Psychological Association, Philadelphia, PA.
  • Byrne, G., Winterburn, K., & Valeri, R. (2015, March). College students’ attitudes toward tattooed female models representing their university. Poster presented at the meeting of the Eastern Psychological Association, Philadelphia, PA.
  • Fearing, C., Cornelius, B., Roemer, A., & Valeri, R. (2015, March). Promotion of edible insect eating through norm manipulation and modeling. Poster presented at the meeting of the Eastern Psychological Association, Philadelphia, PA.
  • Russo, C. & Valeri, R. (2015, March). Can closeness established experimentally impact friendship development and homesickness? Poster presented at the meeting of the Eastern Psychological Association, Philadelphia, PA.

Recent student publications


Publications are ordered by year. The students' names are boldfaced.

  • Privitera, G. J., King-Shepard, Q. W., Cuifolo, K. N., & Doraiswamy, P. M. (2019). Differential food intake and food choice by depression and Body Mass Index levels following a mood manipulation in a buffet-style setting. Journal of Health Psychology, 24(2), 199-208. doi:10.1177/1359105316650508
  • Privitera, G. J., Welling, D., Tejada, G., Sweazy, N., Cuifolo, K., King-Shepard, Q., & Doraiswamy, P. M. (2018). No calorie comfort: Viewing and drawing “comfort foods” similarly augment positive mood for those with depression. Journal of Health Psychology, 23(4), 598-607. doi:10.1177/1359105316681861
  • Zuraikat, F. M., Roe, L. S., Privitera, G. J., & Rolls, B. J. (2016). Increasing the size of portion options affects intake but not portion selection at a meal. Appetite, 98, 95-100. doi:10.1016/j.appet.2015.12.023
  • Privitera, G. J., Phillips, T. E., Zuraikat, F. M., & Paque, R. (2015). Emolabeling increases healthy food choices among grade school children in a structured grocery aisle setting. Appetite, 92, 173-177. doi:10.1016/j.appet.2015.05.024
  • Privitera, G. J., McGrath, H. K., Windus, B. A., & Doraiswamy, P. M. (2015). Eat now or later: Self-control as an overlapping cognitive mechanism of depression and obesity. PLoS ONE, 10(3), e0123136. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0123136
  • Privitera, G. J., & Dickinson, E. K. (2015). Control your cravings: Self-control varies by eating attitudes, sex, and food type among Division I collegiate athletes. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 19, 18-22. doi:10.1016/j.psychsport.2015.02.004
  • Privitera, G. J., Agnello, J. E., Walters, S. A., & Bender, S. L. (2015). Randomized feedback about diagnosis influences statistical and clinical significance of self-report ADHD assessment in adults. Journal of Attention Disorders, 19(5), 447-451. doi:10.1177/1087054712461178
  • Privitera, G. J., Cuifolo, K. N., & King-Shepard, Q. W. (2015). Wait, bring it back! ‘Expectancy to eat’ moderates the effectiveness of food cues to improve mood. International Journal of Applied Psychology, 5(2), 21-25. doi:10.5923/j.ijap.20150502.01
  • Privitera, G. J., Brown, C. J., & Gillespie, J. J. (2015). Emolabeling effectively reduces the influence of ambiguous labeling on food packages among grocery store shoppers. Global Journal of Health Science, 7(4), 12-17. doi:10.5539/gjhs.v7n4p12
  • Privitera, G. J., Freeman, C. S., Douglas, M. L. (2015). Exercise motivation predicts differences in exercise intensity with a small versus large caloric “payoff”. International Journal of Sports Science, 5(1), 27-32. doi:10.5923/j.sports.20150501.05