Faith Toomey Presents Research at National Conference

Averill Park, N.Y., psychology student one of seven invited to show research posters

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Faith Toomey poses with her poster at Eastern Psychological Associations’ 84th Annual Meeting in New York City

CAZENOVIA, NY (04/03/2013)(readMedia)-- Faith Toomey, of Averill Park, N.Y., was among seven Cazenovia College psychology majors to have a poster presentation accepted at the recent Eastern Psychological Associations' (EPA) 84th Annual Meeting in New York City, on the first weekend in March.

Toomey says students in her capstone class had the option of doing a research paper based on a professional scientist's work, or conducting their own research. "I chose to conduct research on the emotional responses people have after listening to music," she says. "Once I collected all my data and analyzed it, I wrote a paper describing my research and findings."

She submitted her paper to the EPA, and when it was accepted she created her poster, which was among more than 100 posters presented by students from colleges and universities in the eastern United States. Conference attendees roamed the corridors of the exhibition room to study the posters and ask questions of the student researchers.

Dr. Rachel Dinero, assistant professor of psychology at Cazenovia College, encouraged her students to submit their research projects for presentation at the conference. Ten of her 19 seniors collected data for their Senior Capstone projects and the seven who submitted their research were all invited to present their findings. At the conference, Dinero says, "They each spoke knowledgeably about their work and had a great deal of interest from student and faculty conference attendees. I think the individual attention these students receive in both the Research Methods and Capstone classes facilitates their success with independent research. I am extremely passionate about research and make every effort to encourage students to conduct their own research."

It is unusual for so many students from one school to be accepted. Toomey believes credit for the high acceptance rate for Cazenovia psychology students goes to the psychology professors, as well as the support of professors from other disciplines. She says, "Without the support of the professors, many of us would not have been able to get as many participants for our research. Also, Dr. Dinero has a background in research. This helped all of us because she was able to guide us in our endeavor. She helped me through the process of starting with a topic that interests me to having it become research with significant results."

The subject of Toomey's research is affective (mood/emotional states) responses after listening to music. She says, "The focuses of my paper were how personality played a role in this response and how different genres may influence emotional responses to music."

She continues, "I have always been interested in music and how it influences people's moods. At first, I was going to look at just how mood changes after listening to music. This is a very popular line of research. However, I wanted to branch off of this topic. So, I decided to look at how different personality types may influence emotional responses to music in general and in different genres."

Toomey admits to being nervous about her presentation. "It's such an honor, and I was especially nervous that I would not know how to answer people's questions. I overcame this by talking to people about my research. The more I talked to people the more the nerves dissipated."

As with many students, Toomey developed her interest in psychology in high school. "I took two psychology classes which I loved. These classes were what made me explore psychology as an option for a major in college. The more I researched what psychology is and what I would be able to do with it as a career, the more I knew psychology was the perfect fit for me."

Toomey plans to study occupational therapy in graduate school, but says, "In the next year I will be taking some prerequisite classes and working full time. My goal is to eventually work with developmentally disabled people."

Cazenovia College, founded in 1824, is an independent, co-educational, baccalaureate college near Syracuse, N.Y., offering a comprehensive liberal arts education in an exceptional community environment, with academic and co-curricular programs devoted to developing leaders in their professional fields. Cazenovia, named one of "America's Best Colleges" by U.S. News & World Report, is also a national College of Distinction. For more information, visit

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