Rachel Kaczka and Psychology Research

Rachel poses and smiles in front of a computer.

Rachel Kaczka, a junior computer science major and digital games minor, planned to major in electrical or computer engineering. But, she “fell in love with programming” thanks to an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering.

Kaczka is currently working with Gerald Gannod, professor of computer science and software engineering, and Yvette Harris, associate professor of psychology, to create a mobile application based on the children’s memory game of “Concentration.” Gannod invited her to work on the research project after she took his programming class.

Research has been conducted using the traditional card game to assess early childhood development. The goal is to eventually create a mobile version that can collect similar data in a digital format while children play the game. Among other data points, the researchers are interested in latency between card flips, how many turns it takes to find a match and how long it takes to finish the game.

“It is interesting to see how computer science can be tied with psychology,” Kaczka said. “The complicated part is finding or writing the software that will get the data out of the game…Right now it involves the user having to click an extra button for each move.”

Kackza was able to devote more time working on the project this summer as an Undergraduate Summer Scholar (USS). Kaczka is originally from Monroe, Ohio.