Amber Aparicio ’18 and Gabby Stern ’19, presented their research at the fifth annual conference of the “Social Psychologists Around Western New York.” The meeting took place at Buffalo State on May 25.

The students conducted their research last summer under the supervision of Professor of Psychology Jen Borton. Their study showed that people with defensive self-esteem, defined as simultaneously having positive consciously-held but negative subconsciously-held feelings of self-worth, were quicker than those with secure self-esteem to detect the onset of a rejecting facial expression when shown videos of a face that morphed from a neutral expression to a disgusted, or rejecting, one.

The findings suggest that those with defensive self-esteem are more vigilant for potential signals of rejection in their social environment than are those with secure self-esteem.

The regional conference is organized by Syracuse University, the University of Rochester, and Buffalo State. It is designed to give graduate students, along with a few undergraduates, an opportunity to present their work.

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