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Front row, left to right:  Victoria Fessenden and Casey Breen (honorable mention), Caitlin Abramson (winner), Samantha Heyman and Jordan Aussicker (honorable mention)

Rear row, left to right:  Jennifer Brown and Erin Colfax (teachers), Amanda Scott (winner), Kimberly Zullo (honorable mention), Scott Gambale (teacher), Erin Feltmann (teacher), Liam McCloughlin (winner), Dr. Randy Bressler (MCPA President) 


Each Spring, the Morris County Psychological Association holds an academic competition which is open to all high school students in Morris County who are taking classes related to the behavioral sciences, including psychology, human and/or animal behavior, child development, sociology, etc. The purpose of the competition is to stimulate and encourage the study of the behavioral sciences in high school students.

Students submitted papers they had written for their classes, which were completed as part of their regular course work. All identifying information was removed from each entry, and then each entry was judged independently by three doctoral level psychologists on a set of nine criteria, including:

-Awareness of social and cultural issues in the behavioral sciences

-Awareness of theoretical and technical issues in the study of behavioral sciences

-Clarity of written expression

-Originality of the study

All thirty-one public and private high schools in the county were invited to participate in the program.






NUMBER OF ENTRIES:  40 (24 empirical studies, 16 written reports); one student submitted 2 entries, so 39 students participated

NUMBER OF SCHOOLS: 7(West Morris Central High School, West Morris Mendham High School, Morris Knolls High School, Morris Hills High School, Morristown High School, Morris County Vocational School, Montville Township High School)



COMMITTEE:  Debi Roelke, Lauren Becker, Nancy Sidhu, Susan Neigher (chair)

NUMBER OF JUDGES:  28 (MCPA members Drs. Michael Zito, Joshua Zavin, , Jayne Walco, Lauren Becker, Debi Roelke, Nancy Sidhu, Hayley Hirschmann, Morgan Murray, Daniel Watter, Tom Kot, Randy Bressler,  Brenda Stepak, Jane Hochberg, Beverly Tignor, Sarah Dougherty, Carly Orenstein, Paul Yampolsky, Christopher Lynch,  Susan Herschman, Marc Gironda, Nathan McClelland, Nicole Rafanello;; College of St. Elizabeth doctoral candidates Jessica Mlecz, Ellen St. Pierre, Siobhan Berger, Judi Amberg, Nikki Lacherza, Nydia Rolon)


Caitlin Abramson, West Morris Mendham High School, teacher Jennifer Brown

Analyzing the Effect of Sociocultural and Biological Factors on the Two Extremes of Agreeableness

Liam McLoughlin,West Morris Central High School, teacher Erin Feltmann

              An investigation into the effect of femaile-specific toys on the development of depression in women

Amanda Scott, Morristown High School, teacher Erin Colfax

              Assessing the Impact of the Special Needs Athletic and Awareness Program on Elementary School Aged Students


Kimberly Zullo, Morris Knolls High School, teacher George Economou

              An experiment into the addition of a semantic component to the Stroop Effect

Jordan Aussicker,West Morris Central High School, teacher Erin Feltmann

The effects of positive and negative descriptors on an individual’s immediate perception of other people; an investigation into the primacy-of-warmth effect

Emma Mustion, Morristown High School, teacher Erin Colfax

Children’s Adherence to Gender Norms as Predictor of Self Perceived Intelligence

Victoria Fessenden,West Morris Mendham High School, teacher Jennifer Brown

              An Experiment to Investigate the Effect of Personal Relevance of Information on the Degree of Emotional Response

Casey Breen, West Morris Mendham High School, teacher Jennifer Brown

              A Comparison of the Neurological Activities of Flow in Music and the Meditative Experience

Samantha Heyman. West Morris Mendham High School, teacher Jennifer Brown

              An experiment to investigate the effect of the scenario surrounding a logic puzzle on response to the puzzle


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