Assistant Professor of Psychology Jessica Good took two students to the Carolinas Psychology Conference in Raleigh this spring, where Davidson unexpectedly became a first-time winner of the Association for Psychological Science Psychology Jeopardy Tournament!
Kyi Phyu Nyein '13 and Justin Strickland '14 went to the conference to present their research project, "The Effect of Good Samaritan Law Awareness on Helping Behavior." This project, conducted for their "Methods in Social Psychology" class and co-authored by Taylor White '13, received funding from an Abernethy Research Grant.
Since Nyein and Strickland were already attending the conference for this presentation, they decided to apply to be one of three teams that would compete in the "Jeopardy" tournament. The application required an essay on why they wanted to participate. They were granted one of three spots, and competed against teams of two from Barton College and five-time reigning champions Campbell University.
The Davidson team approached the tournament as a relaxing and fun part of the weekend conference, and even without concerted preparation they defeated both other teams. Davidson was the only team to correctly answer final Jeopardy, making the final score about 15,000 to 1 and 0 respectively.
Professor Jim Kalat of North Carolina State University hosted the tournament, which followed the rules of TV Jeopardy. Students were expected to answer in question form, with topics ranging from famous psychologists ("He was the only psychologist to have won a Nobel Peace Prize...") to psychology in other languages ("This word means 'psychology' in Mandarin..."),
Professor Good reported that the audience was definitely backing defending champion Campbell University at the beginning, but as Davidson slowly gained a lead on their opponents, the crowd turned in favor of the Wildcats.
Strickland said, "As we inched ahead and it looked like we were going to pull it out, the crowd seemed to jump on our bandwagon." Good also noted the incredible sportsmanship of Davidson's team, and the friendly competition between the teams.
The championship includes a trophy for the Psychology Department, and mention of the achievement The Observer newsletter of the Association for Psychological Science. Nyein and Strickland will have their names engraved on the permanent trophy that is kept at Meredith College, which hosts the Carolinas Psychology Conference each year.
When asked if he will return to defend his title next year, Strickland responded "But of course!"
Davidson is a highly selective independent liberal arts college for 1,900 students located 20 minutes north of Charlotte in Davidson, N.C. Since its establishment in 1837 by Presbyterians, the college has graduated 23 Rhodes Scholars and is consistently regarded as one of the top liberal arts colleges in the country. Through The Davidson Trust, the college became the first liberal arts institution in the nation to replace loans with grants in all financial aid packages, giving all students the opportunity to graduate debt-free. Davidson competes in NCAA athletics at the Division I level, and a longstanding Honor Code is central to student life at the college.
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Psychology Jeopardy host, Prof.Jim Kalat from NC State University, presents the trophy to Davidson players Justin Strickland '14 and Kyi Phyu Nyein '13.