Department of Psychological Science
Spotlight on Research
Dianna "Annie" Murray-Close, Ph.D.
My sophomore year, I assisted with data collection and data management for a study examining pregnant women's decision-making. I worked with Dr. Galotti for my remaining three years at Carleton, and, as a senior, I completed an independent research study examining moral reasoning about aggression in 2nd and 5th graders.
Graduate Studies at the University of Minnesota
I enrolled in the Ph.D. program at the Institute of Child Development, University of Minnesota, and received my Ph.D. in 2006 under the supervision of Dr. Nicki Crick. I had spent a summer working with Dr. Crick, and I was fascinated by her research examining the development of aggressive behavior patterns in girls. There are many different ways to be aggressive; some kids hurt or harm others using physical means - for example, by threatening to beat up a peer. Others manipulate relationships as a means of inflicting harm. These behaviors, termed relational aggression, include gossip, social exclusion, and using the "silent treatment."
Most aggression research has focused on physical behaviors; however, evidence suggests that when girls are aggressive, they tend to engage in relationally aggressive behaviors. I believe that the focus on the development of physical aggression, to the exclusion of relational forms of aggression, leads researchers to overlook at-risk girls. In addition, understanding the factors that may lead children to engage in relational aggression will allow for early prevention and intervention efforts.
Attaching skin conductance leads to a participant's fingers
One of my favorite aspects of conducting research is working with undergraduate and graduate students. Research experience provides undergraduates with hands-on training and mentorship regarding research in psychology and is valuable experience for students interested in pursuing an advanced degree in psychology or related fields. Students with interests in developmental psychology, peer relationships, gender, and aggression are especially well-suited to work in my lab.