It’s in the Genes?
Siri Scott follows parents’ path into new territory
SIRI SCOTT’S LIFE RAISES a nature vs. nurture question: Are psychologists born or reared?
Scott, a junior from Stillwater, Oklahoma, comes from a family of psychologists. Her father is a social psychologist and professor at Oklahoma State University. Her mother, who earned a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota, is a clinical psychologist in private practice. Her parents met at a psychology conference.
Scott, the third of four children, decided she wanted to follow in their footsteps.
She already has made remarkable progress. She has earned four scholarships, including the Fox Memorial and Mortensen Scholarships from the department and the College of Liberal Arts’ prestigious Selmer Birkelo Scholarship. She also is a member of Psi Chi, a psychology honor society.
Scott cites two classes that especially caught her interest: Brain and Emotion, taught by Bruce Cuthbert, and Psychopaths and Serial Killers, with Chris Patrick.
“My psychology classes have nailed into our heads how to critically analyze everything, particularly studies we see on TV, and think critically about what they’re reporting and what the study actually says," says Scott. “Or to read published studies and think outside the box. What could be wrong with this? What did they leave out?"
Scott has found plenty of research opportunities. In Patrick’s lab, she assisted in a study of binocular rivalry in recognizing facial expressions. She worked with the Minnesota Twins Study. And she worked with assistant professor Cheryl Olman on a study of high-functioning autistic children.
“One big thing I’ve learned is how to open up opportunities for myself," Scott says. “In a big research institution, you just have to take the initiative and seek them out."
Scott has rounded out her liberal arts education with minors in Spanish and leadership, and she is studying in Argentina spring semester.
“I’m really interested in research, specifically fMRI or some other brain imaging technique," says this daughter of psychologists. “The human brain fascinates me."