PULLMAN, Wash. – The Department of Psychology at Washington State University will host its third annual Undergraduate Research Symposium Thursday, April 21, with a poster session and discussion.

Posters representing undergraduate research projects can be viewed from 2-5 p.m. in the Samuel H. Smith Center for Undergraduate Education Atrium. Gregory Belenky, research professor and director of the Sleep and Performance Research Center at WSU Spokane, will give a 3 p.m. presentation on “Sleep and Human Performance” in the Smith Center, Room 203. A formal poster session will follow in the Smith Center Atrium, where undergraduate presenters will be available to discuss their research and answer questions. All events are free and open to the public.

“The symposium has grown over the past three years to the point that it is now one of the highlight events for many of our students,” said Samantha Swindell, psychology professor and symposium organizer. “This year we have 15 presentations. Six undergraduates won grants to conduct their research. Their accomplishment will be acknowledged at an award presentation prior to the invited lecture.”

One of those grant recipients is Aaron L. Asay of Frenchtown, Mont., a sophomore in the neuroscience program. His project is titled “Key Neurotransmitters Involved in Associative Memory: Encoding or Retrieval?”

My project was an attempt to uncover whether the memory deficit observed in rats dosed with two specific neurotransmitter blockers is due to the inability to store such information or the inability to retrieve it,” Asay said. “Data has shown that one of the antagonists, divalinal, appears to block the retrieval of information, while the other drug (mec/scop) did not produce statistically sound results.”

Jennifer Melbye, another grant recipient, said, “Research has been very valuable to me as an undergraduate because it has given me the exposure that I will need to succeed in graduate school. It has also allowed me to apply some of the skills I have learned in classes over the last several years.”

Melbye, a senior from Moses Lake, will present findings of a project titled “Quantitative and Qualitative Differences between Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Asperger’s Syndrome.”

The purpose of my study is to differentiate between Asperger’s Syndrome and Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder,” Melbye said. “These two disorders can initially be misdiagnosed because of their similarities at times, but they require different treatments, so it’s important that a thorough assessment is done. My research focuses on data collected from questionnaires, which are popular during assessments as well as classroom and playground observations. Taking observations into account gives another important dimension when giving a diagnosis.”

Belenky is director of the Sleep Research Institute at WSU Spokane. He received a medical degree from Stanford University School of Medicine (1971) and completed a residency in psychiatry at the Yale University School of Medicine (1975). His research in the areas of brain imaging during sleep, the performance effects of stimulants and sleep-inducing drugs and the effects of chronic sleep deprivation on performance is considered groundbreaking.

Other psychology undergraduate grant recipients and their research projects include Michael Leitl, “Effects of Pentobarbital Anesthesia on Hormonal Modulation of Nociception and Opiod Antinociception in Male Rats;” Kalin McNamara, “Understanding the Relationship between Humor and Depression;” Sarah Oslund, “Sources of Stress and Perfection in Eating Pathology;” and Jennifer Reed, “Determination of Different Motivational Factors in Gifted and Nongifted Students.”

Other presenters include Jeremy Canfield, Kyra Davies, Marina Salinas, Elise Millard, Marci Danielson, Chuck Axtell and Kara Knowles, “Infant Temperament Predictors of Preschool ADHD Symptoms: A Four-Year Follow-up;” Danielson, Millard, Canfield, Salinas, Axtell, Knowles and Catherine Yonge, “Contributors to Parenting Stress: Examination of Child and Parent Factors;” Danielson, Millard, Canfield, Davies, Salinas, Yonge, Axtell and Knowles, “The Relationship of Early Temperament and Parent Factors to the Later Development of Oppositional Defiant Disorder Symptoms;” Davies, Salinas, Danielson, Millard, Canfield, Yonge, Axtell and Knowles, “Predicting Preschool Internalizing Symptoms from Infant Temperament and Parenting Stress;” Stuart Davis, “The Psychology of Signage Systems for Long-Term Radiological Waste Burial Sites;” Ryan McMeans, “Rates of Operant Responding Increase Due to Changes in Food Stimuli of Contrasting Sensory Characteristics;” Jennifer Nelson, “Conjunction Benefits Can Occur for Dimensions Within an Object But Not Between Objects;” Salinas, Canfield, Danielson, Millard, Davies, Yonge, Axtell and Knowles, “Predicting Child Aggression from Infant and Parent Temperament Characteristics;” Deborah Shoemaker, “Children of the Coffeehouse Culture: Children’s Early Socialization and Behavior in Public Spaces.”