Friday, July 5, 2013

SRAP Student Spotlight: Juan Estrada and Causal Attributions

SRAPer: Juan Estrada
From: Puerto Rico
Year in school: Senior
Future Plans: Attend college in Puerto Rico, studying Chemical Engineering

Laramie, Wyoming may be a long way from Puerto Rico, but Juan Estrada is enjoying the change in scenery, both in and out of the lab. This summer, Juan is working in Dr. Brett Deacon’s psychology lab, studying different mental disorders and their effects.
"For our project, we’re looking at how different causal attributions to different mental disorders, such as depression, affect the person’s pessimism, how long it’s going to take them to get better, different things like that,” Juan says.
The research that Juan is helping conduct will help researchers and scientists better understand mental disorders. The way this research is measured and interpreted is one of Juan’s favorite parts of his project.
 “It’s really cool how we’re assessing the problem because there are different causal attributions,” Juan says. “There are biological explanations, or it could be chemicals in your brain or brain deformity. It could be psychosocial, which could be negative thinking, or maybe bad social skills. Or it could be bio-psychosocial, a mix of both.”
Not only does Juan enjoy doing the research, but he’s interested in seeing how it all fits together in the end.
“I really want to see how it’s going to turn out and see if my hypotheses are right.”
While Juan wants to study chemical engineering at university, he has enjoyed his time in the psychology lab.
“I love my project! It’s really awesome.”
SRAP is a six-week intensive research program based at the University of Wyoming and sponsored by Wyoming EPSCoR.
By Robin E. Rasmussen and Kali S. McCrackin
Photo by Robin E. Rasmussen

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