Loras College Professor Receives $2,000 Grant for Psychology Research

Loras College Assistant Professor of Psychology Sara Bagley, Ph.D., has recently been one of 12 international professors awarded a $2,000 Psi Chi 2014-2015 Faculty Advisor Research Grant. The grant funds will be used to assist Bagley and Loras student researchers in exploring the effects of social evaluative stress on time perception in males. 
“Previous research has shown that time pressures add to a physiological stress response in the body, but the other direction of how time perception is effected by stress has yet to be investigated,” said Bagley. The research team hypothesizes that males under stress will have a higher physiological response, as indicated by increases in cortisol and heart rate, and therefore, will also have an inaccurate response on a time perception task. In circumstances where people are under high stress, it is important to know whether time perception is altered, as this may be a significant characteristic of people with anxiety disorders.
This research grant offers multiple opportunities to Loras psychology students. Not only will students volunteer their time as study participants, student researchers will assist in collecting, recording and analyzing the data.
“I’m excited to begin collecting data for this project! This research experience will enhance my research skills in quantifying human behavior and give me more to speak about on my applications to medical school,” said Kody Massner (’15).
The findings from this research have the potential to be published in professional psychology journals and presented at regional and national psychology conferences, as well as the Loras College Legacy Symposium: Presentations of Research, Creativity and Service Accomplishments in April 2015.
After receiving her Ph.D. in experimental psychology from Saint Louis University, Bagley became a Loras College assistant professor of psychology in August 2012. In addition to teaching within the psychology program, Bagley also teaches within the College’s neuroscience program, which she helped develop and implement. Since January 2013, Bagley has been the faculty advisor for Loras College’s chapter for Psi Chi, the international honor society in psychology.
Under her direction, the Psi Chi chapter has conducted many local service projects, sponsored the College’s faculty-written “The Amazing Hi-Lows: A Bipolar Musical” to raise awareness of the disorder and collect donations for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, fundraised to send 20 students to the Midwestern Psychological Association Conferences to present their research and hosted several speakers on campus—including mental health experts, a licensed school psychologist and a woman with prosopagnosia. The chapter’s biggest accomplishment was co-sponsoring “Brain Games: Neuronal Fun for All Ages,” a free event that allowed Dubuque community members to learn and experience the amazing functions of the brain through 20 demonstrations comprised of optical illusions, puzzles, building a model of a neutron and even holding a brain specimen. With a success of over 100 attendees, the chapter plans to hold the event again in March 2015.
For more information on Loras College’s psychology and neuroscience programs, please visit For more information on Psi Chi membership and their research grants, visit
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