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Falvey Scholars 2023: Rohan Biscuitwala ’23 VSB & Thomas Haas ’23 VSB (Joint Project)

Photo by Andrew McKeough ’19

The Falvey Scholars Program, established in 2002, is an annual program by Falvey Library and the Center for Research and Fellowships to recognize outstanding undergraduate research. Award winners are selected from candidates nominated by Villanova faculty and reviewed by Library and University staff.

This year, we honor eight students for seven outstanding projects, which reflect the strength of Villanova’s undergraduate research as well as the support the Library provides through its expert staff, copious resources, and welcoming spaces.

We are introducing our scholars and covering their research in their own words. Look for additional coverage of Thomas and Rohan and their fellow Falvey Scholars in the fall issue of Mosaic.

Congratulations to all of our Falvey Scholars, past and present!

Rohan Biscuitwala ’23 VSB & Thomas Haas ’23 VSB (Joint Project)

Title: “Savor the Flavor: The Mediating Role of Emotions on the Relationship Between Flavor and Behavior”

Faculty Mentor: Aronte Bennett, PhD, Villanova School of Business

Describe your research in your own words.
Our project used empirical research methods to investigate the impact that gustatory experiences related to specific flavors have on emotional reactions. Primary results indicated the emergence of sweet flavors in certain emotions, including warm, secure, and calm, among others. The next phase of this study will include gathering alternative methods to priming flavors, and, later, observing how these emotional responses influence consumer behavior.

How did Falvey’s resources, databases, and spaces impact your research?
Falvey Library’s online database was one of the main sources we used in researching for this study, a part of the process that we have spent a great amount of time on with how little background we had coming in.

Psychinfo is one we particularly looked to quite a bit initially in researching multimodal sensory experiences that fuse in the brain, like smell and taste. This helped us start to form the actual hypothesis and ideate examples of what the experiment could look like, reviewing pre-existing studies in based on the sense of smell in journals found through said database. Past experience with the database from Competitive Effectiveness class gave us some idea of how to use it, but we now have a much greater appreciation for just how useful and expansive the knowledge contained within it can be.

How did the Library’s staff impact your research and academic experience?
Linda Hauck, Business Librarian, has also been a big help in our literature review process, pointing us in the right direction toward sources we could base the development of our research design on. Considering our general inexperience with research projects of this scale, any insight we could gain was extremely beneficial, so Mrs. Hauck’s assistance with the research process made a clear impact, especially in looking for example experiments to help brainstorm the set-up of our supplemental study.

This supplemental one will involve conducting an in-person field study, and Mrs. Hauck provided us with great resources as well as a guide on how to find more, allowing us to outline how this study should be designed. Something we have learned about the research project process is just how intensive review processes can be, so I am sure we would have overlooked something if not for the assistance of Falvey Library, between its help in creating a comprehensive literature review and unlocking ideas and best practices for conducting this study.

What’s next for you?

T.H.: The process shined a light on a career path that had not really given the time of day before. Perhaps my love of exploring new ideas can be fulfilled just as well in academia as it can in the market (or just on my own time). It has also sharpened my analytical and research skills, which will be useful in my career given my Business Analytics co-major and interest in that line of work.

R.B: The main reason I got into this research project was my curiosity for consumer behavior, and this experience has really built my passion for this subject, exposing me to great research pieces and allowing me to think more in depth about neuro-psychology. This makes me want to explore more about our unconscious behaviors for relevant use cases, such as the prominence of para-social influencers or how social media algorithms affect our behaviors. Ultimately, I feel this experience has opened the door for me into a subject I am passionate about and want to continue researching.


Shawn Proctor

 Shawn Proctor, MFA, is Communication and Marketing Program Manager at Falvey Library.



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Last Modified: July 5, 2023

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