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Westfield State alumna and professor publish article in Psychology of Popular Media Culture

An article co-authored by Westfield State University Assistant Professor of Psychology T. Alex Daniel, Ph.D. and alumna Alecka L. Camp ’17, titled “Emojis affect processing fluency on social media,” has recently been published in the American Psychological Association journal Psychology of Popular Media Culture.

Camp took advantage of a research opportunity presented by Dr. Daniel prior to earning a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University in 2017.

“Alecka came up with the broad idea for the project, and put together the online survey after we worked on the stimuli together,” said Dr. Daniel. “We have a lot of participants because of her hard work in recruiting. I’m so proud of the ingenuity she put into making this project a reality.”

This is the first time the psychology department at Westfield State has had a piece published in this journal. The article examines how the use of emojis changes the way we read content on the Internet. Participants in the study were shown a series of messages in the form of a tweet, and were asked how believable and how understandable each message was based on three conditions. 

“I’m excited and honored to have contributed to the academic research of emojis and social media,” said Camp. “Dr. Daniel and I will begin the preliminary steps for our next studies on emojis later this spring.” 

Camp fell in love with research during her sophomore year at Westfield State, after working on an independent study with Associate Professor of Psychology Summer Williams, Ph.D., and Professor of Psychology Rebecca Burwell, Ph.D. They investigated the connection between mobile social media and student psychological well-being. The following year, Camp received an expert-level certification of applied training in micro expressions and subtle expressions from the Paul Ekman Group. 

Camp is an executive assistant/search administrator to the principal of NextPhase Search, a Boston-based boutique search firm.

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