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Eastchester Senior Among Intel Award Winners

Eastchester High School senior Abigail Orlando explains her project to judges. Photo Credit: Contributed
Eastchester's Abigail Orlando stands on stage with her fellow winners. Photo Credit: Contributed
Eastchester senior Abigail Orlando with Stan Kozka. Photo Credit: Contributed

EASTCHESTER, N.Y. – Eastchester High School senior Abigail Orlando was among the big winners at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Phoenix, Ariz.

Orlando was one of 1,600 students from more than 70 countries, regions or territories to attend the fair. She took the entire event by storm, totaling nearly $5,000 in cash prizes for her project on facial mimicry.

The project, “The Effect of Emoticon Stimuli on Human Facial Muscle Activation and Social Evaluation using Electromyographic Technology: A Novel Determination,” earned Orlando an Intel First Award in Behavioral Science – a $3,000 cash award – for being one of the top two behavioral science projects in the world.

Other prizes include a $1,500 cash award from the American Psychological Association (APA) for being the top project in the world according to APA guidelines and a $350 prize from Psi Chi –the International Honor Society in Psychology – for earning second place by their standards.

In her project, Orlando discovered that the facial mimicry effect in response to schematic representation of various faces. Using electromyographic technology and a computer simulation, she found that something as simplistic as a text emoticon was strong enough to elicit physiological and psychological responses from the receiver, akin to face-to-face communication.

The young scientist concluded that as communication continues to be digitally-based, non-verbal communication is being lost. The study shows that an emoticon is an adequate substitute for a human face in technological communications.

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