BHSU student researches the art of decision making

Author: BHSU Communications/Thursday, October 22, 2015/Categories: 2015





   

   

   

       

            

       

       

            

           Black Hills State University student Stephen Farghali, mass communication and psychology major from Belle Fourche, presented his psychology research about free will at Stanford University in California and now is preparing a publication for one of the largest psychology magazines Journal of Psychological Science.

           

       

   



Black Hills State University student Stephen Farghali, mass communication and psychology major from Belle Fourche, presented his psychology research about free will at Stanford University in California and now is preparing a publication for one of the largest psychology magazines Journal of Psychological Science.

Farghali&rsquos extensive research and successful presentation are something that BHSU students achieve throughout their undergraduate career at the University, with the dedicated help of faculty.

Dr. Eric Clapham, assistant professor of psychology at BHSU, helped and encouraged Farghali to pursue the research topic and present his findings at various research symposiums and publications.

"Stephen&rsquos idea had to do with free will and moral decision making. His research suggests that our brain is making a decision before we become consciously aware that we made a decision. In that case, do we really have free will or not? Neuron science is providing evidence that decisions are made in parts of the brain prior to consciousness becoming aware of that or even decision at all," said Clapham.

Farghali expanded his idea and tested a group of people. One group was told that they don&rsquot have free will and they are not responsible for the decisions they will make and another group did not have this knowledge. The results surprised Farghali, as philosophers suggest that people without free will tend to be more irresponsible, he said.

"This was meant to assess whether or not there was any alteration in the way people process moral judgment and conflict. There were no significant differences between the groups that we studied," explained Farghali.

These results were presented at the Stanford University conference. It is a huge achievement for Farghali and BHSU community, Clapham said.

"Students who attend conference like Stanford&rsquos come back with confidence because the education they are getting here is equal to the education that they would get at other universities. At BHSU students get to do their own projects in comparison to other schools where students help with their professors&rsquo projects. BHSU undergraduate students do their own ideas from the start to the beginning," said Clapham.

"At BHSU you still do the research that you want to complete," Farghali said. "Dr. Clapham was a huge support as well as other faculty members around the campus. You have the professors who are passionate and have the ability to take the time to help you to develop the ideas and get feedback."
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