Hope College senior Nhi Hoang of Da Nang, Vietnam, has won a regional award for excellence in collaborative student-faculty research for the second year in a row from the Midwestern chapter of Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology.

Hoang is being honored for her project “I will not apologize! The Dark Triad inversely predicts forgiveness-seeking,” which she conducted mentored by Dr. Lindsey Root Luna, who is dean of social sciences and a member of the psychology faculty.  She will receive the award during the annual meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association, which will be held on Thursday-Saturday, April 18-20, in Chicago.

Hope students have won the highly competitive awards during 21 of the past 25 years.  The total nine awards that Hope students received from 2014 through 2023 were the second-most in the Midwestern region and the eighth-most of all regions in the U.S.  In 2022, only 27 entries were honored from among more than 550 submissions.

The study conducted by Hoang and Root Luna found that people who have high scores in the three personality traits that are collectively described as the “Dark Triad” —Machiavellianism, sub-clinical narcissism and sub-clinical psychopathy — are less likely to seek forgiveness after imagining themselves hurting a coworker. People with stronger Dark Triad traits reported lower levels of empathy and guilt, which then led to lower motivation to ask for forgiveness from their victims.  Hoang will attend the conference and make a presentation about the research during a “Data Blitz” session taking place on April 18.

Hoang, who is majoring in psychology and minoring in neuroscience, received her award last year for her project “Welcome to My House: The Relationship between One’s Hospitality and Preference for Houses’ Exteriors,” which she conducted with Dr. Benjamin Meagher, assistant professor of psychology.  The researchers measured people’s hospitality, which includes qualities like feeling responsible for guests, being welcoming and experiencing less imposition when hosting others, and then had them evaluate pictures of homes based on the presence of a front porch, the absence of a fence and closeness to the sidewalk.  They found that the home's closeness to the sidewalk impacted people's preferences depending on the participant's hospitality, with those who scored low on being welcoming, high on responsibility and low on discomfort preferring more distant homes.

Psi Chi is an international organization of professionals, scientists, faculty, students, and alumni whose mission is to recognize and promote excellence in the science and application of psychology.  Founded in 1929, the society has chartered more than 1,150 chapters at colleges and universities across the United States as well as abroad, and more than three quarters of a million lifetime members. The honor society’s chapters are grouped within six regions: Eastern, Midwestern, Rocky Mountain, Southeastern, Southwestern and Western. The Midwestern Region includes Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Ontario, Canada.  Hope’s chapter was chartered in 1965.