Student Research

​​​​​​​Student Research Projects

GCC offers PSY290AB, a Research Methods class. This is a unique opportunity for students to learn how to conduct psychological research. The class is taught in a combination of lecture and lab settings. 

In PSY 290AB:

  • You will learn how research is planned, carried out, communicated, and critiqued.
  • You will engage in a hands-on, semester-long, group research project.
  • During the course of the semester, you will be required to generate research ideas, create and conduct experiments, and analyze and write-up your results.
  • Students can choose to learn about research with human participants or animal behavior research.

Choose from the following emphases:

PSY290AB Human Research | Faculty Supervisor: Dr. David Boninger

In the human research methods section, students work in small groups to examine behavior, thoughts, and emotions. After designing their project students collect data from their fellow GCC students, then analyze and interpret data, and present their findings. Here are some examples of human research group projects:

  • How perceptions of the control a person has over his or her own outcomes influence the experience of daily stress and anxiety.
  • How music preferences highlighted in dating profiles influence the perceptions of the person in the profile. 
  • How gender-related stereotypes associated with mental illness may influence the stigma attached to mental illness.
  • Why and to what degree and men and women are punished differently for the same morally reprehensible acts.

PSY290AB Animal Research | Faculty supervisor: Dr. Mari Welleman

In the animal research methods section, we study behavior by utilizing an animal model. Specifically, we use rats to help us better understand human behaviors. Students are in charge of their own research projects, including treating and testing the animals. While a veterinarian and tech keep the animals healthy, fed, and clean, students may be tasked with extra feeding (if testing diet) or handling if the experiment requires. If an experiment requires, the students are also expected to come into the lab outside of scheduled lab times. Students are expected to handle the animals and to abide by all laboratory rules. Here are examples of some animal research group projects:

  • The effect of a non-processed diet on spatial memory
  • The effect of soft vs hard music on spatial learning and memory
  • The effect of energy drink (Bang) on recognition memory
  • The effect of preworkout (C4) on spatial learning and memory, and swim speed
  • The effect of sleep deprivation on recognition memory

Each year, students in both sections of PSY290AB have the opportunity to submit their research projects for presentation at regional and national psychology conferences. This is a terrific opportunity for students, particularly for those who plan to continue their education in a research field. Here are the titles of some recent projects that have been accepted and presented at the Western Psychological Association Annual Conference:

  • Emotional Investment as a Limiting Condition of Information-Based Conformity
  • Gender Differences in Empathy in Response to Disturbing Images
  • “Am I Good Enough?” How Time on Social Media Affects Self-Esteem

Important Note Regarding Conducting Research on Campus

Before you begin a research project, you need the permission of the Maricopa Institutional Review Board. Contact the GCC College Research Review Committee ( to learn the steps in the process. Learn more about the Maricopa IRB by visiting their full website.