FASS Psychology Student Mr Elvis Tan Wins National-level Singapore Psychological Society Gold Medal


We are delighted that our CDP (Concurrent Degree Programme) student Mr. Elvis W. S. Tan has snared the coveted Gold Award conferred by the Singapore Psychological Society at the national-level Student Research Awards on 1 October 2016, on the basis of his ongoing Integrated Thesis research mentored by Dr. Stephen Lim, Director of the NUS Cognition and Education Laboratory. This was a joint research venture with the Division of Cognitive Psychology in Education, Graduate School of Education, Kyoto University.

The researchers comment: “Here, we explored the role of cognitive processes — global versus local processing styles — in students’ academic risk taking tendencies. Participants first read a short passage, which provided the context for their subsequent academic risk taking decisions. Following which, participants undertook the Navon’s task and attended to either global letters or local letters only, i.e., were either globally- or locally-primed. The effects of priming on academic risk taking were then assessed using a perception-based measure (Experiment 1) and a task-based measure (Experiment 2). Experiment 1 provided preliminary evidence, which Experiment 2 confirmed, that globally-focused individuals took more academic risk than did locally-focused individuals, after controlling for participants’ need for cognition (how much they enjoy effortful cognitive activities). Additionally, the inclusion of and comparisons with a control group in Experiment 2 revealed that locally-focused participants drove the observed effects. The theory of predictive and reactive control systems (PARCS) provides a cogent account of our findings. We discussed future directions and practical applications in education.”

The winning research, titled “The influence of global-local processing styles on academic risk taking”, has recently been accepted for publication in The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology (Impact Factor: 2.130).

Elvis shares his research experience: “Research – the notion of testing our ideas fairly and rigorously – is a truly integrative experience. The process of research is arduous, exciting, and humbling all at the same time. It has taught me to move forward with a sense of confidence and humility – not only in the field of research, but also in education and in life. Whilst research may seem like a primarily independent endeavour, this journey is fondly shared with mentors, family, friends, and eager participants. I would like to dedicate this award to the giant in my academic journey, Dr. Stephen Lim, for his dedication, guidance, and inspiration.”

We extend our congratulations to Elvis and Dr. Lim!

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