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May 29, 2009

Work of graduate student published in major psychology journal

A manuscript based on the thesis work of a former University of Louisiana at Monroe psychology graduate student will be published in the Spring 2009 issue of “The Journal of Psychology: Interdisciplinary and Applied.”

Keith Wilkerson and another former psychology graduate student first collected data for the project titled, “Judgment and Judgment Latency for Freedom and Responsibility Relatedness Given Subtle Linguistic Variations,” during the 2004 Spring Semester.

Wilkerson’s thesis assessed people’s attitudes towards freedom and responsibility. The participants in the study were given the opportunity to judge whether freedom and responsibility are positively or negatively related.

Wilkerson, who is employed with the Swanson Center for Youth in Monroe, reasoned that the study’s participants would likely consider freedom and responsibility to be positively related, and he said his hypothesis was largely confirmed.

“We measured their response latency for each item also,” said Wilkerson. “We attempted to measure ‘linguistic variations’ by providing each participant with one of the following response formats to render their judgments: ‘true-false,’ ‘agree-disagree,’ or ‘yes-no.’”

Wilkerson began writing the manuscript based on his thesis in Fall 2004 and completed the final thesis version in Spring 2005. After several revisions, the manuscript was accepted for publication this spring. ULM faculty member Joseph McGahan served as committee chair for Wilkerson’s thesis and is a co-author of the manuscript.

“Tenacity is a defining characteristic of a good researcher and Keith, by virtue of staying with this project, despite working full time, has demonstrated that he has the potential to be an outstanding researcher,” said McGahan. “That is a part of why I am so grateful he is a community partner with the Social Science Research Lab.

The Journal of Psychology is a self-described forum “for genuinely new avenues of thinking and research, particularly with reference to education, industry, management, and measurement and assessment.”

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