The Keith Rayner Memorial Graduate Student Research Fund was endowed in 2015 in honor of Dr. Keith Rayner, who died of multiple myeloma in January of 2015. Keith was a Distinguished University Professor and a member of the PBS faculty for 30 years (1978-2008). He pioneered the use of eye-tracking methodology for understanding the cognitive processes involved in reading and visual perception, and served as an inspiration to his many colleagues and students.
The Rayner Fund supports something Keith valued highly: graduate student research. Awards from the endowment support research expenses including equipment purchases, data collection, professional travel, or summer stipends. We are proud of the Rayner Fund, and of the student research it supports. The more the endowment grows, the more can be awarded each year.
Stylianos Syropoulos , a third-year student in the Psychology of Peace and Violence concentration in the Social Psychology program working with Dr. Bernhard Leidner, was awarded the sixth annual Keith Rayner Memorial Graduate Student Research Award. His project, titled “De-polarizing" American Society: Emphasizing Intergroup Similarities versus Differences as a Mechanism for Decreasing Political Polarization and Hostility, will study whether an emphasis on the dissemination of psychological findings with a focus on intergroup similarities, and not differences, as is the norm of the field, can promote harmony and cooperation between Republican and Democrats. The ultimate goal of the project is to highlight ways through which the dissemination of psychological research can depolarize the American electorate.
Quinnehtukqut McLamore, a fourth-year student in the Psychology of Peace and Violence concentration of the Social Psychology program working with Dr. Bernhard Leidner, was awarded the fifth annual Keith Rayner Memorial Graduate Student Research Award. Their project, Challenge and Threat Framings of COVID-19 Messaging and Downstream Consequences, will investigate how messaging about the coronavirus affects how the stressor of the pandemic is processed, and downstream effects on both compliance with precautionary measures (e.g., social distancing) and xenophobia toward Asians and Asian Americans.
Sarah Winokur, a fourth-year PhD candidate in the Neuroscience and Behavior Program working with Dr. Mariana Pereira, was awarded the fourth annual Keith Rayner Memorial Graduate Student Research Award. Sarah’s research utilizes animal models of depression to identify the neurobiological mechanisms of postpartum depression that most impact parenting. Sarah’s project, Evaluating Estradiol Fluctuations Across Pregnancy in a Rat Model of Postpartum Depression, will offer insights into the role of reproductive hormones in postpartum depression and associated deficits in parenting abilities.
Patrick Sadil, a fourth-year student in the Cognitive Psychology Program working with Dr. Rosie Cowell, was awarded the third annual Keith Rayner Memorial Graduate Student Research Award. Data from Patrick’s project, Visual Recollection: filling in the blanks for non-declarative information, will test key assumptions underlying theories that attempt to explain how people recognize something that they have encountered before -- such as a person, an object, or a context. These results will offer insight into the relationship between the kinds of processes that support recognition and the kinds of information used during those processes.
Alice Coyne, a fourth-year student in the Clinical Psychology Program working with Dr. Michael Constantino, was awarded the second annual Keith Rayner Memorial Graduate Student Research Award. Data from Alice's project, Explaining the “Therapist Effect:” Determinants of Between-Therapist Differences in Alliance Quality and the Alliance-Outcome Association, will be used to develop an empirically-supported therapist training manual. Such work is likely to reflect an improvement on current training practices, as there is currently no evidence that therapist effectiveness improves with experience or following traditional “top-down” theoretical trainings.
Fiona Ge, a fourth-year student in the Social Psychology Program working with Dr. Paula Pietromonaco, was awarded the first annual Keith Rayner Memorial Graduate Student Research Award. Fiona's project, Cultural Differences in Communication and Consequences for Romantic Relationship Quality, has implications for identifying culture-specific communication strategies that promote better relationship functioning, thereby informing interventions that can be tailored to couples from different cultural backgrounds.