Ryan Brabrand('14, Psychology)

Ryan Brabrand What do you do for your undergraduate research?

I am conducting research on the placebo effect and the amount of knowledge a participant had while experiencing treatment. I also want to determine if there are personality traits in individuals that can predict if they would be a good candidate for a placebo treatment in a clinical setting.

What made you want to pursue an undergraduate research project?

My first time in academic advising after declaring a psychology major my advisor spoke of Directed Individual Study, Practicum, and Departmental Honors. I knew then that my goal was to complete all of these higher level undergraduate courses to strengthen myself in the field.

How did you start your research project?

I first spoke with my supervisor, Dr. Julian Keith, and told him I was interested in working with him on some of his research. That was at the end of my sophomore year. When junior year began I was in a DIS with a few others and, by the beginning of my senior year, I took the project into my own and turned it into my honors thesis.

Was doing your own research fun? Be honest.

This research was so much fun. As a beginning researcher, I learned a lot from those ahead of me; now I have the role of senior researcher to some of my own younger assistants. I have made more friends through being involved in the labs and the research process than I would have ever thought. Most of all, I got to do exciting research. I was able to pretend to heal people with a phony treatment and see how they reacted; a lot of them got better!

It isn’t required to do research as an undergrad, so what advantages do you think this experience has provided you?

I think this research has given me so many different views of psychology. Most people hear the word "psychology" and don’t even know about how much research is being done in the field. I was able to be trained to administer Neurofeedback and EEG’s which are two skills I hope will be of use to me later in my career.

What recognition and/or grants did you receive for your research?

I have presented at two CSURF conferences on campus, and been a co-author on work done through the UNCW Neurofeedback ADHD Clinic.

What are your plans after you receive your degree from UNCW?

I plan to attend graduate school; my long term goal is a Ph.D in Clinical Psychology.

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