Faculty and Student Research Grants go to Psychology in Vienna

The Webster Vienna Campus is proud to say that two Webster-wide Research Grants (one for two faculty researchers and one for a student researcher) went to our Psychology Department (as announced by the Office of the Provost).

The awards will fund research and professional development activities which will advance academic excellence for the individual members and for Webster University in general.

Faculty Research Project (Peter Walla and Marc Mehu):

Title: Second language speech melody and social integration among international student bodies

Brief Project description

International environments are composed of people with different socio-cultural backgrounds, different world views and different languages. No doubt, multicultural environments are prone to misunderstandings. Has anyone ever thought of affective speech melody to be a critical factor? Research conducted on clinical populations shows that impaired perception and production of affective speech melody has been linked with social-emotional impairments. Seemingly, there is a link between affective speech melody and social functioning. In this project we investigate how healthy individuals (e.g. Webster students) functionally produce and perceive affective prosody when they speak in or listen to their mother tongue in comparison to a second language. When they speak in or listen to a second language, production and perception of affective prosody may be different, which can lead to unwanted misunderstandings or to surprisingly positive consequences. Brain physiological (electroencephalography (EEG), startle reflex modulation (SRM) and behavioral experiments are planned to test our hypotheses. The outcome of this project might explain at least some of the problems that arise in multicultural environments and generate awareness about it, which should, ultimately, lead to designed trainings that help to improve affective skills in foreign languages. This project has major implications for any environment where people from different linguistic backgrounds are bound to interact, e.g. international relations affairs (private and business-related) and political environments and of course students on all Webster campuses.

Student Research Project (Tara Pavic and Marc Mehu)

Title: Interpersonal communication in friendship

Forming close relationships is ingrained in the biological and cultural background of our species. Understanding interactive dynamics and communicative style is very important to improve individual and social adjustment. This research study focuses on exploring the nature and communication dynamics of close bonds between friends. If you are Austrian, aged between 18 and 35, and have a Facebook account you are welcome to participate to this study and learn more about the project. Simply follow this link


.Marc Mehu,Tara Pavic