|David Denofreo Photo|
While many people get a buzz from their morning shot of espresso, Iloradanon Efimoff gets one from designing and running her own psychological experiments.
A student at Douglas College, Iloradanon is investigating whether or not caffeine can improve decision-making in college students. The faculty-supervised honours research is part of the Bachelor of Arts in Applied Psychology degree program.
During the experiments, participants consume either a dose of caffeine or a placebo—an inactive substance—but they aren’t told which. Next, they play games in which they must use their wits to win money. Once Iloradanon has the results of the experiments, she will analyze the findings to determine if consuming caffeine gave the participants an edge.
“I love getting the hands-on experience that comes with planning and carrying out an experiment. There are so many twists and turns along the way,” she says.
Studying psychology hasn’t always been Iloradanon’s focus. When she first came to Douglas after high school, she was interested in nursing but she soon realized it wasn’t the right fit. In a twist of good timing, Douglas College launched the Applied Psychology program and she decided to give it shot.
“I’m super excited there is an honours program for psychology and I talk about it all the time. I think I’ve even convinced a couple of my friends to apply,” she says.
After Douglas, Iloradanon’s plan is to pursue a graduate degree and PhD and eventually become a post-secondary instructor. With her experience in the Applied Psychology program, she is one step closer to achieving those goals.
“I have learned a ton about how to do research, and the types of challenges researchers commonly face. I have also learned how to overcome these challenges. Resourcefulness is another skill I have honed, which I’m sure will be very useful for my future research in academia.”