December 05, 2019
Reading Comprehension and Cognition (RCC) lab members Genna Companatico (Psychology, ’20), Nicole Martin (Psychology, ’21) and Aubrey Sahouria (Neuroscience, ’22) recently presented their research at the 59th annual New England Psychological Association (NEPA) conference at the Southern New Hampshire University campus in Manchester, New Hampshire.
Companatico presented research on reading performance across text types and predicting performance among different reading comprehension tests. The study is the first to show significant correlations among three different reading comprehension tests and provides insight on which tests are best suited to predict comprehension of narrative versus expository texts. The results provide additional evidence that reading comprehension skill can be significantly predicted from working memory capacity and metacomprehension skills.
Companatico conducted the research with alum Courtney Parent, B.A. ’19 (Psychology), and faculty mentor Jennifer Stiegler-Balfour, Ph.D., associate professor and Psychology program coordinator in the Department of Psychology.
“My experience at the NEPA conference was amazing,” stated Companatico. “I attended multiple interesting presentations, and I was able to see what students at other schools are studying. I enjoyed talking to students about my research and to representatives from other schools about their graduate programs.”
Martin and Sahouria presented research on the influence of typographical differences on reading performance when using e-readers. Results from the study indicate that sans-serif fonts facilitate better comprehension for reading on e-readers than serif fonts. While the study found people generally preferred reading with serif fonts, it did not indicate better performance. The findings suggest that sans-serif fonts may be optimal for reading on e-readers and that readers may not always know which settings are most beneficial for their comprehension.
The research was conducted with alum Ellie Leighton, B.A. ’18 (Psychology), and Stiegler-Balfour.
“My favorite part about the NEPA conference is that it is a close to home conference where we can learn so much about what it means to be professional,” commented Martin.
Sahouria added, “Being surrounded by so many other passionate undergraduate researchers kindled my own commitment to research. I was thrilled to be able to share our findings with other researchers.”
The NEPA conference was the first regional conference attended by research assistant Grace Bernatchez (Psychology, ’21).
"This was my first time attending NEPA, and it was awesome,” she stated. “It was great to see such diverse research first-hand, talk to people about their research, and listen to a range of different speakers.”
NEPA is dedicated to the advancement of psychology as a science, a profession, and a means of promoting human welfare.
Funding for students’ conference registration and travel was made possible by UNE’s PSI CHI chapter.