SMU School of Social Sciences Psychology Students take top spot in the Singapore Psychological Society Student Research Awards for three years in a row
Singapore Management University School of Social Sciences (SOSS) undergraduates have once again made their mark at the Singapore Psychological Society (SPS) Student Research Awards. Three SOSS undergraduates – Manmeet Kaur (Year 4), Berenice Neo (Year 4), and Jolene Ong (Year 3) – under the guidance of Assistant Professor of Psychology Andree Hartanto, were recognised for their outstanding research in the annual initiative of the SPS. They led the competition by winning the prestigious Fred Long Award for Research Excellence, the winner of the Undergraduate Research Category, and the first runner up of the Undergraduate Research Category.
SOSS’ Psychology students have clinched the Undergraduate Category Winner and Undergraduate Category Runner Up for three years in a row, making this year’s victory all the more impressive.
The Student Research Awards (SRA) is an annual initiative of the SPS to acknowledge budding researchers and celebrate outstanding research done in Singapore that is relevant to the Singapore community. The submission is open to all tertiary academic institutions in Singapore across all domains of psychology and awards are given to the top research in the diploma, undergraduate, and postgraduate categories each.
The SRA 2022 was held virtually on 17 December 2022 where shortlisted finalists were given 10 minutes to present their research. SMU took honours in these areas:
• Winner, Fred Long Award for Research Excellence: The Effects of a Gratitude Intervention on Well-being Outcomes: A Daily Diary Experimental Approach by Manmeet Kaur. Fred Long Award for Research Excellence is open to both undergraduate and postgraduate students from all tertiary academic institutions in Singapore.
• Winner, Undergraduate Category: The Effects of a Gratitude Intervention on Well-being Outcomes: A Daily Diary Experimental Approach by Manmeet Kaur
• 1st Runner-up, Undergraduate Category: A daily within-person investigation on the link between procrastination and emotional well-being: The moderating role of trait self-esteem by Berenice Neo Jia Qi & Ong Shi Ying, Jolene
Brief description of “The Effects of a Gratitude Intervention on Well-being Outcomes: A Daily Diary Experimental Approach” by Manmeet Kaur
This study aimed to revisit the effect of a gratitude contemplation intervention on multiple well-being outcomes by using a within-person experimental design with a daily diary approach. A 10-day gratitude contemplation intervention was conducted on 164 participants. Multilevel modeling showed that the gratitude contemplation intervention had a significant within-person effect on multiple daily well-being outcomes including negative affect, perceived stress, anxiety, and depressive symptoms. Moreover, the results were robust across varying levels of personality traits. This study provides another line of evidence to the literature supporting the benefits of gratitude contemplation intervention.
Manmeet’s work also received the Fred Long Award for Research Excellence. The Award honours the decades of service to our Singapore community by the Founder President and Honorary Fellow of the Singapore Psychological Society, Dr Fred Long Foo Yee. It is awarded to a single psychology research student across all academic institutions in Singapore whose work demonstrates both high levels of research rigour and practical significance. This is also the first time an undergraduate from a Singapore institution has won the Fred Long Award for Research Excellence, usually this is won by a PhD student.
For Manmeet, she says “Positive psychology is a field that has always been of interest to me. I am extremely passionate about researching on the various ways individuals can preserve and improve their well-being, and am very grateful to Prof Andree for giving me the opportunity to further explore this interest of mine for my senior thesis. At first, I was doubtful that I would be able to conduct a diary study on my own, but the support of my mentors and supervisor pulled me through. I hope the results of my study will convince more people to adopt gratitude in their day to day lives.”
Brief description of “A daily within-person investigation on the link between procrastination and emotional well-being: The moderating role of trait self-esteem” by Berenice Neo Jia Qi & Ong Shi Ying, Jolene
The duo’s research aimed to examine the impact of daily procrastination on daily emotional well-being and sought to investigate trait self-esteem as a potential moderator. With the use of multilevel modelling on data from 226 undergraduates, they found that daily procrastination significantly predicted daily positive affect negatively and predicted daily negative affect, daily anxiety, and daily depressive symptoms positively. Additionally, they found that trait self-esteem moderated the relationship between daily procrastination and daily positive affect, where individuals with high self-esteem experienced a greater decrease in positive affect when daily procrastination increased, than individuals with low self-esteem.
According to Berenice, “We were initially hesitant as to whether we should participate in this competition because it is our first time conducting a daily diary research and applying higher level concepts such as multilevel modeling. However, Asst Prof Andree and our mentor, Verity, encouraged us to do so and gave us the full support along the way. We are grateful for their guidance and happy that our hard work paid off.”
As for Jolene, she found the entire process to be a meaningful one. She says, “From data collection to writing the research paper, it was a really insightful and interesting journey. We have learnt a lot from this experience and are grateful for all the support and reassurance Asst Prof Andree and Verity have given us.”
Commenting on their achievements, Assistant Professor of Psychology (Education) Andree Hartanto said, “We are immensely proud of Manmeet, Berenice, and Jolene for their exceptional achievements at the SPS Student Research Awards. Even in the face of stiff competition from undergraduates and postgraduates across local universities, their remarkable skills and dedication have allowed them to produce outstanding work that truly stands out. It is notable that this is the first time an undergraduate from a Singapore institution has won the Fred Long Award for Research Excellence, which has historically been awarded to PhD level students. It is also incredible to witness how these undergraduates, through their research, brought important theoretical and practical contributions to our understanding on how to improve well-being in youth.
Throughout their respective research projects, I was constantly impressed by their unwavering commitment, dedication, and can-do attitude. They persevered through numerous challenges and managed to complete their projects very well within a short timeline. They also demonstrated a remarkable level of expertise in the subject matter, coupled with astute critical thinking and a creative approach towards their research questions. These accomplishments are a testament to the resilience, passion, adaptability, and competence of our undergraduate students at SMU. I am very proud of them and grateful to be a part of a programme that produces exceptional students who can make a meaningful impact through their research."
Congratulations Manmeet, Berenice and Jolene on taking top honours at the SPS Research Awards 2022.