Undergraduate Speech-Language Pathology Major Goes Global with Neuro Psychology Research


Marywood University undergraduate student Nina DePalma presented a research study, Neural Basis of Auditory Emotions, at the European Societies of Neuro Psychology Conference in Edinburgh, Scotland. Ms. DePalma is a Speech-Language Pathology major, with a minor in Psychology and a concentration in Deaf Studies, in the Reap College of Education and Human Development.

Ms. DePalma's research focused on the study of mirror neurons in the brain, including the difference in heart rate and skin conductance, among 25 volunteer undergraduate students as they heard sounds of vocal emotions. She conducted the study with Dr. Vijayachandra Ramachandra, faculty mentor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, and recent Marywood graduate Sara Lisiewski '08.

"If I didn't attend Marywood University, I would not have had these opportunities to research topics that interest me, or to visit Scotland, where I had to the chance to meet and interact with researchers from around the world." stated Nina.

Ms. DePalma also co-authored a paper, "The Role of Mirror Neurons in Processing Vocal Emotions: Evidence from Psycho physiological Data," with Dr. Ramachandra. The research paper will be published in The International Journal of Neuroscience. 

Ms. DePalma was awarded University funding from Christina Elvidge (Honors and Fellowships), Dr. Mary Anne Fedrick (College of Education and Human Development), Dr. Janet Bisset (Communication Sciences and Disorders department), and Amy Paciej (Student Government Association).

In addition, Ms. DePalma traveled to Africa last spring with Marywood University's Campus Ministry for a service learning trip. A native of Southington, CT, she plans to graduate in May 2009 and will pursue her master's and doctoral degrees in Speech-Language Pathology.