Senior Abstracts for 2012
As is true for most majors at Bates, all psychology seniors must complete a senior thesis. This archive lists the name, title and a brief summary (abstract) of the projects of select seniors who graduated in 2012.
Please check out our complete Senior Thesis Archive.
Note: indicates an empirical thesis project and indicates a community-based learning thesis project.
Click a name to view that student’s abstract, or scroll down to view all students.
Thomas J. Boniface
Jacqueline Louise Easton
Segundo M Guerrero, Jr.
Luke H. Harmeling
Megan Elizabeth Panzer
Addie J. Pelletier
Gina Cristina Sima
Keller Jeanne Wilson
The Effects of Writing about One’s Best Possible Self on Subjective Well-Being
Research has shown that thinking and visualizing about one’s ideal self in the future will increase subjective well-being (King, 2001). It has also been shown that expressive writing of life goals can contribute to an increase in positive emotion and life satisfaction (Sheldon & Lyubomirsky, 2006). This current study will look at possible mechanisms describing why the relationship exists between writing about one’s best possible self and an increase in subjective well-being. The participants consisted of 34 undergraduate students in this study ranging from ages 18 to 20. Half of the participants were assigned to write about their best possible selves in three, 20 minute writing sessions in three consecutive days. The remaining half of the participants wrote about their daily activities in the three different writing sessions. Both groups returned for a final follow up session in order to collect several measures such as subject well-being, self-concept clarity, meaning in life, promotion/prevention focus, and the connection between one’s everyday activities and their life goals. Contrary to the hypothesis, results indicate that there is no difference in subjective well-being between the best possible self and control conditions. There was a marginally significant difference between the two conditions in regards to promotion focus, in that the BPS group had a slightly higher mean. Researchers should continue to explore the mechanisms involved in increases in subjective well-being due to expressive writing in order to benefit future optimism interventions
Perceptual Vigilance: Attention to Meaning as a Form of Terror Management
Drawing on research relating to terror management theory, attention, and meaning, the present study investigated whether attention to non-aversive meaning serves as a possible means of coping with death reminders both in the proximal and distal defense stages of the terror management process. The study utilized the exogenous cuing paradigm to examine attentional holding and capture to non-aversive cues that contained either obvious meaning, cultural meaning, potential meaning, or no meaning. I predicted that during the proximal stage of terror management, individuals attend more strongly to potential meaning, which requires more mental processing and therefore provides higher levels of distraction from death thoughts. During the distal defense period, I predicted that individuals attend more strongly to obvious meaning and cultural meaning, which reduce death anxiety by promoting associations with a cultural worldview. Results indicated that participants did not respond differently to different levels of non-aversive meaning following mortality salience, demonstrating that attention to meaning does not seem to provide a means of coping with the terror evoked by death reminders. Potential flaws as well as directions for future research are discussed.
Through the Eyes of a Somali: A Study of Religious and Ethnic Identities, Acculturation Attitudes, and Academic Beliefs of Somali-American Students at Lewiston High School
The Somali-American population of Lewiston, Maine has experienced the effects of acculturation in a countless number of ways. The identities and attitudes of this population may be affected by conflicts that result from differences in acculturative goals of individuals and the host society. In the current study, two focus groups were held with Somali-American Muslim students in an English Language Learning Level 3 classroom at Lewiston High School to explore how religious and ethnic identities, acculturation attitudes, and academic beliefs are influenced by school environment. Results showed that the religious and ethnic identities of these students were closely intertwined. Most students expressed a desire to integrate with American society while ‘not forgetting’ their Somali culture and Islamic religion, although one student exemplified feelings of marginalization. Having to contend with instances of Islamophobia, discrimination, and other cultural misunderstandings makes it difficult for integration to be successful and threatens the religious and ethnic identities of these students. While most participants were motivated to succeed academically, they felt as if the school was not meeting their academic, cultural, and religious needs. To improve the mutually accommodating relationship between Somali-American students and the school community, different measures are discussed.
Thomas J. Boniface
Stroop Facilitation: Artifact of Inadvertent Word Reading or Something Else?
Attention is both a critical part of human functioning and a central part of human intelligence. The Stroop color-naming task (Stroop, 1935 is one of the most famous experimental attention tasks used in psychology. Some researchers believe that Stroop interference and facilitation are both products of the same underlying mental architecture, but others believe that Stroop facilitation may be an artifact inadvertent word-reading hypothesis. The idea here is that people inadvertently read the words instead of naming the colors presented in the congruent condition and since these responses may be very rapid and are recorded as correct, reaction times in the congruent condition are slightly speeded. By using an ego-depletion task to lower participant’s overall levels of self-control, the inadvertent word-reading hypothesis predicts that participants exposed to the ego-depletion task will make more word-reading errors on the tasks, and show greater interference and facilitation when compared to the control group. Results indicate that although more word-reading errors are found following an ego depletion task, Stroop facilitation did not increase, though Stroop interference did. These results run counter to the inadvertent word-reading hypothesis and indicate that facilitated responses on congruent trials are not an artifact of word-reading errors.
Collaboration with Dirigo Place: Designing a holistic therapeutic framework for adolescents in residential treatment programs
The objective of this paper aims to uncover the most effective strategies for helping adolescents in residential treatment positively engage in all aspects of the program and treatment process, including individual, family, and group therapy sessions, and support them as they begin to build a path to success. Dirigo Place is currently undergoing some internal reorganization; within the past two months, a new clinician and several staff members were hired, group therapy resumed after a three-month hiatus, and two new adolescents were absorbed into the program. With all of these structural shifts, it is important to check in with the residents of Dirigo Place, and see how they are perceiving and adjusting to these new aspects of the program. Giving these adolescents a space to voice their concerns and feelings about their treatment program is imperative, and provides important feedback to the staff about the perceived effectiveness of various aspects of the program. A questionnaire was administered in late November as an opportunity to give these adolescents a chance to share their thoughts anonymously about the pros and cons of Dirigo Place’s current therapeutic program, and how it may be tweaked to become a more effective, successful experience. Collaborating with both residents and staff to provide useful feedback on the value of different therapeutic techniques and strategies may help to enhance adolescents’ commitment and investment in the program, as well as offer the staff ideas and insight that will allow them to continue their highly commendable work of tending to the needs of these emotionally and behaviorally disturbed adolescents.
How Participant Gender and Arousal Affect Choices of Sexual and Emotional Infidelity
Theorists have claimed that men show greater distress in response to sexual infidelity of their partner, while women show greater distress in response to emotional infidelity of their partner. Both Buunk et al. (1996) and Harris (2002) found this gender effect when participants were provided with forced-choice questions about hypothetical infidelity. However, when asked to recall an experience of actual infidelity, Harris (2002) found that the gender effect disappeared. Loewenstein (2005) studied hot and cold cognitive states and found that we are poor when predicting emotional behavior that occurs in the heat of the moment. This could account for the gender effect disappearing. Participants responding to hypothetical infidelity could be seen as being in more of a cold state, while those responding to actual infidelity could be seen as being in more of a hot state. One of the ways we could potentially induce a ‘hot’ cognitive state is by manipulating arousal with the use of images so that the higher arousal condition is seen as being parallel to actual infidelity. This leads to the hypothesis stating that the gender differences in response to imagined infidelity will be reduced when going from images of low arousal to images of high arousal. A sample of undergraduates that attend Bates College participated in this lab. The majority of the results were not significant, although some were marginally significant.
Perceptions of the Legitimacy of Institutions: System Justification and the “Fall-Guy Effect”
System justification theory posits that individuals are subconsciously motivated to justify the current state of affairs in order to maintain an ideology that the world operates in a fair and just manner. How systems come into place and are then justified is largely determined by perceptions of their legitimacy. However, in certain situations, system-justifying motivations can serve even illegitimate systems. The current research investigates a proposed ‘fall-guy effect,’ in which individuals behave more punitively toward an individual than a system in an attempt to justify, uphold, and defend the system implicated in the wrongdoing. While the results are consistent with predictions in that participants judged the individual target more than the system target, the role of system justification in moderating the effect is tenuous. Possible explanations include a cognitive impairment in assessing systemic guilt, and the potential for upholding illegitimate systems is discussed.
Incubation of Nicotine Craving as Evidenced by Locomotor Sensitization
Relapse is a phenomenon affecting millions of drug-addicted individuals, and current research suggests that drug craving increases during abstinence, making sobriety increasingly difficult. Though much research has demonstrated this so-called incubation of drug seeking behavior through self-administration in rats, locomotor sensitization may offer a less time-consuming method of measuring craving. Locomotor sensitization refers to the progressive increase in locomotion that occurs during repeated injections of drugs of abuse in rats, and results in increased drug-seeking. Moreover, locomotor sensitization to some drugs has been shown to increase during abstinence, e.g., following initial sensitization, the locomotor response to amphetamine and cocaine is larger after 2 weeks of abstinence than after 1 day (Grimm et al., 2001, Louk et al., 2000). The current study investigated if locomotor sensitization to nicotine increases during abstinence. Injections of nicotine (0.4 mg/kg) or isotonic saline were administered to rats for nine sessions every other day to produce sensitization. Following sensitization, locomotor activity in response to an injection of 0.4 mg/kg nicotine in all rats was recorded after a 14-day abstinence from nicotine. The rats sensitized to nicotine and then re-exposed 14 days later exhibited an increase in locomotor activity, indicating incubation. Surprisingly, rats injected with saline for days 3-15 (sessions 2-8), and administered 0.4 mg/kg nicotine on days 17 and 31 exhibited an even larger increase in locomotor activity from day 17 to 31, suggesting not only that nicotine cravings can incubate, but also that a single injection of nicotine may be sufficient to produce incubation of nicotine craving.
An Intervention Group for Children with Social Skills Deficits
In this study, four participants, aged 8-10, all displaying social deficits, participated in a 6-week social skills intervention group aimed at teaching them how to function in social contexts and how to behave in a socially appropriate manner. Participants’ social skills were rated by their parents before and after the intervention, and although little change was seen in their test scores over the course of the session, parents reported seeing significant improvements in their children’s ability to listen, participate, and consider others’ feelings and preferences. This study provides evidence for the effectiveness of social skills training at improving social competence in children and also provides some direction in terms of areas of social skills training which are most effective and areas which need work.
Jacqueline Louise Easton
Parental Decision-Making when Selecting a School for a Child with Autism and the Resulting Post-Decision Satisfaction
Previous qualitative findings suggest that parental decision-making when choosing a school for a child with autism tends to be non-systematic, quick, and based on emotions (Fraser-Thill, Nigro, Sterzel, & Santy, 2005). In attempting to quantitatively test these results, primary caregivers of school-aged children with autism completed a survey regarding their personal decision-making processes. The questions examined decision context, parental involvement, post-decision satisfaction, and autism severity. It was hypothesized that parents who felt highly involved in the decision would report higher levels of post-decision satisfaction. It was also predicted that a relationship would exist between severity and involvement, as well as between severity and parental satisfaction. Findings from Fraser-Thill et al. (2005) were supported on all fronts, excluding their finding that the decision was based on ‘instinct’ or a ‘gut’ feeling, which was not found to be significant in the current study. Results revealed a significant main effect of both severity, F(1,20) = 4.56, p < 0.05, and involvement, F(1,20) = 12.66, p < 0.05, on satisfaction. A significant interaction was also found to exist, such that satisfaction was significantly higher in the high severity condition when involvement was high (M = 14. 60, SD = 1.129) than when involvement was low (M = 8.00, SD = 0.954). The results suggest the need for more resources to aid parents of children with autism in the process of selecting a school.
Age-Related Differences in Strategy Production and Mental Set When Problem Solving
Previous research has suggested that older adults exhibit executive functioning deficits and perseveration (Verhaeghen, 2011). The current study uses an anagram and a math task to examine the extent to which people of different ages (young and older adults) develop and utilize strategies to solve problems and how cognitively flexible these individuals are when the strategy no longer leads to the correct solution. The results showed that both young and older adults created and utilized strategies to solve problems, exhibited by changes in reaction times. For the anagrams task, older adults were significantly more hindered by the strategy and perseveration than younger adults when the strategy used no longer applied. Taken together, these data indicate that the facets of executive functioning responsible for these tasks are still effective enough even into late years of life to produce and utilize strategies.
Public Integrity, Private Hypocrisy: How Privacy Moderates the Moral Licensing Effect
Past research strongly supports the notion that there are moral self-regulatory patterns of human behavior, such that individuals feel licensed to act unethically after having established ‘moral credentials’ and feel a need to morally compensate after committing a transgression. The present study examines how the establishment of moral credentials or deficits influences subsequent behavior depending on whether the behavior is public or private in nature. An online survey was administered to 99 male and female undergraduates. They first completed a brief writing task that functioned to prime moral credentials or deficits and then evaluated four morally-relevant vignettes that were either conducted publicly or privately. In line with previous research, results indicated that credentialed participants were more likely to engage in unethical behavior and judged the behavior as more permissible than participants in the deficit condition; however, this licensing effect only occurred for private transgressions and was absent when the behavior was public. These findings suggest that moral behavior is more strongly motivated by social evaluation than self-perception.
Segundo M Guerrero, Jr.
The Role of Pride: How Pride Influences Self-Control
According to Tracy and Robins (2007), pride has two facets ‘ authentic pride and hubristic pride. Authentic pride (AP) is closely associated with the idea of ‘I did’ whereas hubristic pride (HP) is associated with the feeling of ‘I am.’ Research done by Wilcox, Kramer and Sen (2011) shows that incidental pride influences self-control, and this study aims to further understand the relationship between these two types of pride and self-control. Sixty-five participants were split into three groups (AP, HP, and control) and primed with a type of pride. After completing a pride scale item list that served as a manipulation check, through a preference questionnaire, participants chose between a hedonic good and a utilitarian good in order to measure their self-control through level of indulgence. Though results showed that participants were effectively primed with pride, they also showed that there was no significant difference between the AP and HP groups on the pride scale item list. Results also showed that there was no significant difference on percentage of indulgence between the AP and HP groups as well. Limitations of this study and future recommendations are discussed within paper.
Applying the Choice Blindness Paradigm to Moral Judgments
Recent research suggests that introspective access to the decisions we make may be more limited than we anticipate. Studies by Johansson, Hall et al. (2005; 2006, 2010) have shown that people often fail to notice when the choices they make are switched for another, due to a phenomenon called choice blindness. Even more intriguing is the fact that people will provide confabulated explanations for the choices they never made. The current study investigated whether participants will exhibit choice blindness when deciding between pairs of moral judgments. Participants were charged with choosing a protagonist in each pair of moral dilemmas, whose actions they believed were more morally permissible. It was predicted that participants would have a low rate of detection for the moral dilemma trials in which their choice of protagonist was switched with another. Results demonstrated that nearly half (45%) of the sample failed to detect the choice manipulation. Further analysis revealed participants were less likely to detect a choice manipulation if asked to provide an introspection four trials after their choice than if asked to provide an introspective account immediately after choice. Additionally, participants reported finding it marginally more difficult to choose a protagonist in the similar condition if the introspection was made four trials after their choice versus immediately after their choice. While this finding may suggest that detection was moderated by memory effects, it is clear that choice blindness occurred, which weakens the assumption that introspection can provide accurate information for why certain moral judgments were made.
Luke H. Harmeling
Effects of Electrolytic Lesions of the Medial Habenula on a Nicotine-Induced Conditioned Taste Aversion in Rats
Nicotine has aversive effects which are noticeably perceived at high doses. The medial habenula (MHb), which has nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, has been implicated in mediating these aversive effects. To test this hypothesis, I determined if electrolytic lesions of the MHb would reduce a conditioned taste aversion (CTA) created by pairing intake of a novel Kool-Aid flavor with an i.p. injection of 0.8 mg/kg nicotine. It was expected that the animals with lesions of the MHb would not perceive the aversive effects, and therefore, would drink more of the nicotine-paired flavor than would the sham-operated animals. In fact, on days 7-8 of conditioning, the lesioned animals did drink more of the nicotine-paired flavor than did the sham-operated animals, although they did not drink more of the saline-paired flavor. Although other findings were less conclusive, the data support the idea that the MHb is, at least in part, responsible for mediating the aversive effects of nicotine. More research should be done to further understand the role that the MHb plays in nicotine addiction, as this would help in the development treatments that may limit the intake of nicotine.
A Volumetric Analysis of the Amygdala as Related to Emotional Intelligence
As humans, we are constantly processing emotions, our own and others’ emotions. However, some do this better than others. The term ‘alexithymia’ has been given to individuals at the low end of this distribution and is marked by deficits in five areas 1) awareness of one’s emotions, 2) communication of emotions, 3) emotional display, 4) perception of others’ emotions and 5) abstract thought. While several functional MRI (fMRI) studies have linked decreased amygdala activation in response to emotional stimuli in alexithymics, to date no research has been done on potential structural abnormalities of the amygdala underlying this phenomenon. To determine possible correlations between amygdala volume and trait meta-mood components (ability to attend to emotion, to have clarity of emotion, and to repair emotions), I performed a manual volumetry analysis in 30 healthy adults in order to correlate trait meta-mood components, as measured by the Trait Meta-Mood Scale (TMMS), with unilateral and bilateral amygdala volume. Data including both genders yielded no correlations. However, negative correlations were found between right and bilateral amygdala volumes and the TMMS subscales of Clarity of Emotion and Emotional Repair in female participants. This indicates that in general females with higher emotional processing have a reduced amygdala volume in comparison to females low in emotional processing skills. Additionally, no correlations were found in male participants.
Evaluating the Behavioral and Academic Standing of Somali Youth before the Implementation of a School-Based Mental Healthcare Project
Somali youth have had to face stressful and traumatic experiences in their journey from Somalia to Maine. Exposure to such events can lead to dysregulated behavior as well as learning difficulties. Project SHIFA is a school-based program specifically designed to address the mental health issues of Somali youth. This study assessed the behaviors and the academic standing of thirteen Somali students before participating in Project SHIFA. Behaviors were assessed through the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) completed by teachers and through other observational methods. Academic standing was assessed through STAR state test scores and report card grades of the students. Results from the SDQ indicated that hyperactivity and emotional symptoms were the two key behavioral difficulties with which the students struggled. Further breakdown of specific positive and negative behaviors based on observations is provided. Additionally, students struggled to meet grade-level standards in their classes, with reading, writing and math being the biggest challenges. The findings of this study provide important information that will be used to inform the structure of the SHIFA group sessions and help assess the impact of Project SHIFA on its participants.
The Individualized Zone of Optimal Functioning: Does Visuomotor Behavioral Rehearsal Training Aid Athletes?
Research suggests that athletes function best when in their Individualized Zone of Optimal Functioning (IZOF). Researchers have determined ways to measure these IZOFs, but no studies could be identified that train athletes to get in to their IZOF. The current study attempts to determine if visuomotor behavioral rehearsal (VMBR) training, a type of intervention, can aid athletes to reach their zone faster than those who do not receive the training. Twenty-three (N = 23) participants were randomly assigned, stratified by sport, to either the experimental or control group. Both groups took part in a 10-day intervention process with either VMBR training (experimental group) or general relaxation training (control group). It was found that athletes in the control group got in their zone faster, had a lower physical arousal, and had a lower level of cognitive anxiety compared to the experimental group. Although, the experimental group had a better change in performance compared to the control group from pre- to post-intervention assessment. There are many limitations and implications in the current research, but researchers can use this information to better understand the IZOF, getting in the ‘zone’ can be the difference between succeeding and failing in athletics.
Making Hardy Girls Healthy Women Curriculum Relevant to Young Somali Girls
Focus groups have proven to be an effective means to enhance self-esteem and help young girls combat the many issues they face during adolescence. The purpose of this study was to assess a curriculum developed by Hardy Girls Healthy Women (HGHW) called from ‘Adversaries to Allies’ that is aimed at Middle School girls and includes educative activities and discussion meant to foster resilience and provide a dependable support network. A revised version of the curriculum was introduced to a group of 6 girls of Somali or Sudanese descent, between the ages of 11 and 14, residing at the Hillview Family Development Housing Community in Lewiston, Maine. By analyzing responses on two different surveys and conducting insightful research, this study offers feedback to HGHW on how to make their curriculum culturally and religiously sensitive to Somali immigrant girls. Findings were that thorough revision is necessary for two units titled ‘Sexual Harrassment’ and ‘Healthy Dating Relationships’. Feedback from the surveys reflected that the girls preferred hands-on activities to seated discussions. Negative evaluations of the program by the girls were attributed to the limited amount of time available to develop the cohesiveness of the group as well as inconsistent attendance.
The Effect of a Selective GABAA α5 Inverse Agonist on Symptoms of PCP-Induced Schizophrenia
The underlying neurophysiology of schizophrenia is still widely unknown. Research has shown the relevance of excess dopamine transmission through the effectiveness of typical antipsychotics, which block dopamine D2 receptors. However, these drugs only treat the positive symptoms of schizophrenia and have undesirable side effects. Recent research has implicated the relevance of the GABAA α5 receptor in regulating dopamine levels and positive-like symptoms. This study will explore the effects of a GABAA α5 inverse agonist, MRK-016, on PCP-induced schizophrenia-like symptoms in rats. In a hole board apparatus, acute injections, of PCP increases locomotion, a putative positive symptom, while decreasing head dipping into the holes, a putative negative symptom. I expect that injections of MRK-016, which will have the opposite effects of typical agonists at the GABAA α5 receptor, will exacerbate the PCP-induced increase in activity and perhaps exacerbate the PCP-induced decrease in head dipping. Such data would suggest that agonists at the GABAA α5 receptor may be effective antipsychotics.
Doing the Wave: Number and Length of Lines in the Standing Wave Illusion
The standing wave illusion occurs when two frames are alternated rapidly, one with a central line and another with two flanking lines, which results in participants not perceiving the central line. Enns (2002) hypothesized that objects grouped with the flanking lines dominated perception. The current study consists of two experiments. The first experiment investigates a confound in Enns’ (2002) experiment; specifically the groups containing the flanking lines also had a larger number of lines. Experiment 1 investigates whether the lines that group with the outermost lines dominate perception in the standing wave illusion, or if the lines that group with the greater number of lines dominate perception. I found that participants perceived the longer lines more strongly, regardless of which lines were outermost. In Experiment 2, I found support for Enns’ theory that the outermost lines dominate perception, as well as finding that the length of the lines moderates the magnitude of the illusion. This adds to the current literature on the standing wave illusion and better informs us on how the brain forms and maintains object representations.
Megan Elizabeth Panzer
Community-Based Research: Obesity Prevention and Health Marketing Towards the Youth and Parents of Androscoggin County
This study looked at health, marketing and social media literature to evaluate and interpret previous obesity prevention programs. Obesity rates in Androscoggin County as well as the rest of the United States have risen dramatically within the past thirty years. In order to better understand the current health habits of community members, a random dial survey collected data on health, daily eating and exercise habits of the children and parents of Androscoggin County. Additionally, three focus groups were held in downtown Lewiston to gather narratives on current health-related practices. The data suggests that the majority of community members are not receiving adequate daily servings of fruits and vegetables. Furthermore, there appears to be a lack of general knowledge regarding the suggested requirements for both physical activity as well as nutritional intake. In order to address these issues, viral marketing and social media sites could be utilized to engage and entice community members.
Addie J. Pelletier
The Effect of Relational-Self-Concept Confusion on Worldview Defense
Research indicates that threats to other systems of meaning produce similar worldview defense effects to those of mortality salience in terror management theory (e.g., Heine, Proulx, & Vohs, 2006). Relational selves provide individuals with meaning in life through situating the self in relation to significant others (e.g., Chen, Boucher, & Tapias, 2006). The link between relational selves and meaningfulness suggests that threats to relational-self-concept will produce worldview defense, especially for those who strongly define themselves in terms of their relationships. Participants (undergraduate students from Bates College) completed measures of self-esteem and relational-interdependent self-construal (RISC, designed to examine the importance of relationships for self-definition; Cross, Bacon, & Morris, 2000) before responding to items about personality attributes that characterize their relationship with a significant other. The relational self-concept confusion group wrote three short essays about instances where they acted unlike a reported relational attribute, and the control group described three instances where they acted in concordance with a previously reported characteristic. After reading a pro-Bates and an anti-Bates essay, participants first rated the authors of the essays on characteristics such as likeability, and then on traits such as intelligent, warm, and so on. No statistically significant 3-way interaction emerged among condition, RISC level, and essay author rating or among condition, RISC level, and author trait rating. Future research to replicate the current study with methodological changes is discussed.
The Effects of Mortality Salience on Charitable Donations
Why do people donate to charity? Terror management theory proposes that when humans are made aware of their own mortality, they deal with the paralyzing terror that ensues by upholding their cultural worldviews and bolstering their own self-esteem through methods such as contributing to charity. Construal level research shows that things that are psychologically distant are construed differently (more abstractly) than things that are psychologically near. Psychological distance is measured in a numerous ways including physical, social, and temporal distance, the latter of which is used in this study. I hypothesized that there was an interaction between mortality salience and temporal distance in the effect on charitable donations and that there would be a greater effect of mortality salience in raising donation level the temporally near condition than in the temporally distant condition. Although the results were insignificant and did not support the hypothesis, going forward, it may still be useful to replicate the experiment with attention to the problems outlined in the discussion. Such research could have both practical (in the non-profit sector) world and in the theoretical world (in terror management and construal level research).
Gina Cristina Sima
The Ick Factor in the Policy Realm: Differences Between Liberals and Conservatives
Previous research has shown that dispositional proneness to disgust is associated with self-reported political conservatism and that inducing feelings of disgust enables people to make harsher moral judgments. While it is believed that disgust affects attitudes among individuals of all political affiliations (both liberals and conservatives), evidence suggests that liberals are less likely to rely on feelings of disgust when making moral judgments than political conservatives. This study aims to test whether, among liberals, higher disgust sensitivity can predict more liberal stances on policy issues that are relevant to liberal disgust (e.g. environmental pollution). 407 participants (201 liberals and 206 conservatives) were recruited via CotterWeb, a company that provides marketing services, to take part in an online survey which prompted them to fill in a moral relevance items scale, taboo trade-offs, heretical counterfactuals, a liberal disgust policy statements scale, and the disgust sensitivity scale. Results revealed that, contrary to the hypothesis, it was conservatives who showed the predicted effect. Implications and directions for future research were also discussed.
The Immediate Effects of Vinyasa Style Yoga on Attention
The effects of yoga on physical measures such as flexibility as well as its effects on anxiety have been well documented. Studies of meditation and breathing practices, which bear some similarity to a yoga practice, have been shown to provide long-lasting and immediate benefits to attention. There have also been studies indicating that yoga may be a beneficial intervention in combination with medication for children with ADHD. The present study sought to determine if a one-hour vinyasa yoga session involving a combination of different poses would have an immediate impact upon participants as compared to active controls. Half of the participants were randomly assigned to the yoga group while the other half were assigned to a control condition where they play games for an hour. Attention was assessed for both groups before and after the intervention using Stroop, negative priming, and a letter-cancellation task. The State-Trait Anxiety Inventory measured participant anxiety levels before and after the intervention. A questionnaire determined yoga experience. Results indicate that yoga may have an effect on participants’ reaction time on the Stroop that is mediated by familiarity with yoga. However, since the yoga group had slower Stroop reaction times than the control group at the outset no firm conclusions can be drawn. There were no differences between the yoga and control group on either negative priming or the letter-cancellation task. The small sample size and low level of yoga experience may have contributed to the lack of effect. Future research should be conducted using a larger sample size and participants with more yoga experience.
The Storybook Project: A Teacher-implemented, School-based Intervention to Improve Intergroup Attitudes Among Children
Aronson and Brown (2011) conducted an extended contact intervention depicting positive cross-group (Somali and non-Somali) interaction in children’s storybooks across the state of Maine, yielding positive outcomes: increased pro-social behavior among children. Results were consistent with previous storybook interventions depicting refugees (Cameron & Rutland, 2006), the disabled (Cameron & Rutland, 2006), and people with mental illnesses (West, Holmes, & Hewstone, 2011). However, all storybook interventions have been conducted by people foreign to the classroom setting. The current project explores the storybook tool as a direct, teacher-led intervention. Five teachers and their classrooms participated in the 6-week intervention of readings and guided discussion. Three teacher focus groups generated feedback about the content of the stories and discussions, strategies of implementation, student reactions, and suggestions for future use. Results suggest the need for an informational guide and adjunct curriculum to enable efficient use of the tool by any teacher in the future. Keywords: extended contact, teacher-led intervention, storybook
Keller Jeanne Wilson
Social Networking and College Student’s Perceptions of Infidelity
Evolutionary theory suggests that men will be more distressed over physical infidelity as it calls into question their paternity, whereas women will be more distressed over emotional infidelity, as it may take away their partner’s commitment and resources for their offspring (Buss et al., 1992). The Internet, with social networking websites such as Facebook, has created new types of infidelity. The current study explored sex differences in jealousy responses to online sexual and emotional infidelity. 126 Bates College students were administered an online survey, in which they were presented with infidelity scenarios involving the Internet. The current study also explored issues of privacy and surveillance, participants’ likelihood to end a relationship over online infidelity, and the role of the target of the online infidelity. Implications for this study include a further understanding of how individuals perceive interactions in virtual realms, and how these actions affect their offline relationships. The current study informs evolutionary understandings of jealousy and its existence in the cyber world.