NORWALK - Cerritos College psychology student Amanda Perez had the honor of presenting her original research at the Southern California Conferences for Undergraduate Research on Nov. 17, held at Cal State Channel Islands.Entitled "Stereotyping Gender Specific Stimuli and Toy Perception in Children," Perez's research explored gender stereotypes that pre-school children held when it came to the toys that they and other children of their opposite sex play with. It was when she took both psychology of gender and social psychology classes that the topics covered in both classes sparked her interest in digging deeper into gender stereotypes. Initially, Perez was going to apply what she was learning and see how it played a role in the development of her niece. "Then I decided that I wanted to conduct a true experiment and see if I could gain any validation of my observations," said Perez. Fortunately, being a member of the college's Scholars' Honors Program, she was entitled to working one-on-one with Psychology Professor Dr. Kimberley Duff. "Thanks to her guidance, I ended up conducting my research and working with the Child Development Center on campus," she said. The conference was a surreal experience to Perez. "I found myself among a sea of other very talented and motivated students," she recalls. At first, she was intimidated by the fact that all of the other students were juniors and seniors presenting for their four-year university and she was the only undergraduate freshman presenting from a community college. However, "once my presentation began I caught flow, which is a positive psychology term for being 'in the zone'." She feels that her first conference presentation went exceptionally well. "This conference experience has benefited me greatly because it gave me a taste of what my potential future as an experimental psychologist could be like. This conference made me realize that I love conducting and presenting my research, and it gave me more motivation to conduct new research studies," she said. Her ultimate goal is to earn her Ph.D. and work in the field of social psychology with an emphasis on stereotypes. The Southern California Conference for Undergraduate Research provides a forum for the presentation of the best research, scholarship, and creative activities of undergraduate students in the region, and encourages communication of innovative achievements across disciplines.
********** Published: December 13, 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 35