Senior Abstracts for 2013
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 2013.
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.
Akinyele Vincent Pierre Akinruntan
Liza Claire Dorison
Danielle R. Morris
Andrea K. Newman
Dylan Wittwer Reffe
Elenor van Gemeren
Sarah E. Wason
Biasing the Jury: Stereotype Consistent Crimes and Instructions to Disregard in Juror Decision-Making
Research has shown that certain crimes are associated with different ethnic groups. However, the effect that these biases have on the outcome of a trial requires further research. Furthermore, research has shown that instructions to disregard inadmissible evidence are not only ineffective, but may also cause jurors to attend to the information even more than if there were no instructions to disregard. Participants (N=78) were recruited to read an embezzlement mock trial transcript in which the defendant was either biased as overtly Jewish and cheap (stereotype congruent crime) or as characteristically cheap. Furthermore, the participants either received instructions to disregard the bias or not. Participants then completed a questionnaire regarding their guilt rating of the defendant, how sure they were in their guilt rating, and how harshly they thought the defendant should be punished. There were no significant results between conditions, nor was there a significant inter! action between bias type and instructions. Nevertheless, the ways that jurors make decisions and the implications that it has concerning the current justice system still require further research.
Akinyele Vincent Pierre Akinruntan
Analyzing Autism Spectrum Disorder Treatments Commonly Used in the United States and China
The intent of this theoretical review thesis was to analyze the similarities between both the U.S. and China in terms of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) treatments. Through doing this, the purpose was to shed light on how to offer individuals in both countries, regardless of their position on the autism spectrum, more effective treatment. Thus far, there has not been much research conducted comparing ASD in both countries. This study looked to see which treatments were both efficacious and effective for individuals across the spectrum in both countries. In order to analyze ASD treatments in both countries, the existing literature had to be investigated. Both countries report beneficial usage of behavioral treatments. However, in the U.S. there is more of an affinity for Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and pharmac! ological therapies. In China, traditional Chinese medicine, TCM, is used more readily. This literature review showed that through using TCM in combination with western methods like behavioral therapy, individuals with an ASD could receive effective treatment and improve their chances at reducing the deficits associated with autism.
The Effect of Psychological Distance on Judgments of Intelligence
Previous thin slice research has shown that people can make accurate judgments about others, distinguishing between characteristics such as intelligence, rank, and sexual orientation based on very little nonverbal behavior. This study attempts to see whether psychological distance can be manipulated to increase or decrease accuracy of judgments of intelligence. Far psychological distance is when people associate something as far from the self, and far distance often brings about a high level construal. High level construal relates to abstract thinking and extracting very general information about an object. Within a high level construal, one is able to think in more broad terms and see the whole picture, and therefore, should be able to process objects holistically, rather than process certain features. Near psychological distance is when people associate ! something as close to the self, and near distance often brings about a low level construal. Low level construal relates to detailed thinking and extracting specific information about an object. Within a low level construal, one is able to think in finer terms, and therefore, should be able to attend to and process the features of an object. Half of the participants were asked to write about a near future experience, and the other half were asked to write about a far future experience. All participants then made intelligence judgments of the same forty-two photos of middle school girls. Half of the photos were of high achieving students and the other half were of average achieving students. The interaction between academic status and distance was not significant, although the data were trending in the direction of the hypothesis. There was a significant main effect of academic status which means that participants could distinguish between photos of high achievers and average! achievers.
The Impact of Accidentally v. Intentionally Suggestive Identification Procedures and Judicial Instructions on Jury Decision-Making
The purpose of this study was to examine how jurors are affected by eyewitness identification procedures (accidentally v. intentionally suggestive) and judicial instructions (standard v. nullification). This current experiment was inspired by the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in Perry v. New Hampshire (2012). A defendant was denied a pretrial hearing because the suggestive identification procedure was accidentally created by the eyewitness, rather than intentionally created by the police. Suggestive identification procedures (Zimmerman, Austin, & Kovera, 2012) and judicial instructions (e.g. Niedermeier, Horowitz, & Kerr, 1999) influence jury behavior, but there is little research on the distinction between intentionally and accidentally suggestive procedures. 108 participants listened to an audio recording of the Perry v. New Hampshire (2012) hearing (accidental or intentional) and were read judicial instructions (standard or nullification). Participants answered questions pre and post-deliberation about the case. Participants were videotaped deliberating in a group. Results showed that the juries were biased towards acquittal. However, participants in the intentionally suggestive condition rated the procedure as more suggestive, felt more free to use their conscience, and felt more comfortable during the deliberation. Participants in the standard instructions condition discussed more facts, rated the defense’s argument weaker, and found it harder to make a decision with the group. Limitations and directions for future research are discussed.
Regulatory Focus Theory and Reactions to Anti-Egalitarian Humor
Regulatory focus theory examines the ways people seek pleasure and avoid pain by proposing two different styles: promotion-focused (eager to make positive things happen) and prevention-focused (vigilant in avoiding negative situations). Studies have shown that high regulatory fit, when a person’s actions or experiences match their regulatory focus orientation, increases a person’s enjoyment of an action. The current study examines the role one’s regulatory focus and the framing of egalitarianism (positively or negatively) play in reactions to anti-egalitarian humor. It was hypothesized that those experiencing regulatory fit would react more negatively to anti-egalitarian humor. To investigate this hypothesis, two studies were conducted in which participants’ regulatory focus was primed with a regulatory focus priming task after which they were asked to! complete a survey and rate their reactions to different videos, including a public service announcement framing egalitarianism positively or negatively and two anti-egalitarian jokes. While results from Study 1 did not support the regulatory fit hypothesis, results from Study 2 did. A significant effect was found for promotion focused participants where participants who viewed the positive PSA reacted more negatively to the anti-egalitarian humor than those who viewed the negative PSA. By contrast, there was a nonsignificant trend in the prevention focused group in the opposite direction so that participants reacted more negatively to the humor after seeing the negative PSA. Reasons for why the regulatory fit hypothesis was found for Study 2, but not Study 1, and implications of this finding on other fields are discussed.
Breaking Barriers: Lead Poisoning in Lewiston-Auburn, Maine
Lead poisoning is a major environmental health problem in the United States. In Lewiston-Auburn, Maine the rate of increased blood lead levels is three times the national average. Lewiston-Auburn is currently undergoing an urban housing renewal effort to increase the health and vitality of the downtown. Unfortunately, with urban housing renewal comes demolition and past studies have shown that if the proper precautions are not taken during the demolition process, ambient lead dust can lead to higher rates of blood lead levels for surrounding residents. Because there is no policy in Lewiston-Auburn on safe demolition practices, the current study was conducted to determine what the safest demolition practices across the country are and how the city can adapt those policies to cater specifically to the Lewiston-Auburn community. This study was also conducted to! determine the best ways to overcome the cultural barriers the Somali and Somali Bantu populations living in Lewiston-Auburn face regarding lead poisoning. The results of this study provide a sample policy for demolition and ways in which the community can overcome the cultural barriers it faces. Based on past research and the current study’s findings, it is highly recommended that the city adopt the suggested policies and programs to help reduce blood lead levels in the community.
Object Updating and the Auditory Flash Lag Illusion
The flash lag (FL) illusion is a powerful visual phenomenon caused by an inaccurate representation of the spatial relations between two objects. In this illusion a moving dot is perceived in front of a briefly flashed stimulus when in fact the two are perfectly aligned with a central fixation. Recent experiments have been successful in replicating this visual illusion auditorily, where a moving tone is perceived in front of a sound burst, producing similar results. One explanation for this illusion is that the FL effect is caused by object updating. According to this explanation information about an object is constantly being updated with the most recent information. By manipulating the stimulus, researchers have eliminated the illusion visually, but this has not yet been shown to occur in the auditory version of the illusion. The present study first tries to recreate th! e FL auditorily (‘burst-lag’ effect) by identifying the location of a dog using a continuous dog bark stimulus interjected by a bell sound. By applying the theory of object updating, and changing the continuous dog bark at the moment of the bell sound, it is hypothesized that the illusion will disappear. Results were not significant in replicating the burst-lag effect; it was found that individuals tended to guess the location of the dog as being in the center position. Because the ‘burst-lag’ effect could not be replicated the influence of the object updating theory could not be observed in the present experiment.
Becoming an American: An Evaluation of the Somali Bantu Youth Association of Maine (SBYAM)
A program evaluation was conducted for the Somali Bantu Youth Association of Maine (SBYAM), in Lewiston, ME to see what participants liked and what they thought could be improved in the Literacy and Citizenship classes that are provided. Overall, participants in both the Literacy and Citizenship classes were greatly satisfied in the way the programs were operating and would not want to change the structure of these programs. However, one issue that makes it difficult to implement these improvements as stated by participants is the lack of funding. Due to this lack of funding, there is a lack of staff, in which I assisted the SBYAM in researching funding organizations that will help these programs gain more staff members. In addition to finding funding grants, I also created a curriculum that would help organize the lesson plans for these programs specifically for the SBYAM’s students.
Gratitude Interventions and Life Satisfaction: An Exploratory Comparison Among Writing Exercises
Research has shown that exercising gratitude through writing interventions such as counting ones blessings and writing a letter of gratitude to a specific beneficiary increases levels of happiness and subjective well-being (Emmons & McCullough, 2003; Seligman, Steen, Park, & Peterson, 2005). The current study attempts to replicate these findings as well as compare the efficiency of gratitude interventions to one another. 49 participants took part in this study, all of whom were undergraduates ranging from ages 17-22. One third of the participants were part of the control condition which asked them to write about what they had done during their day since they woke up that morning. The second third of participants were in experimental group 1 which consisted of counting their blessings as if they were writing a journal entry and th! e last third of participants were in experimental group 2 where they wrote a letter to someone for whom they were grateful for. All participants attended three sessions of writing which lasted for 20 minutes each. After each writing session participants rated their writing experience. They attended a follow up session two weeks later to measure levels of happiness, subjective well-being, gratitude, and health benefits. Contrary to the hypothesis, results indicated that there were no differences on measures of gratitude, happiness, prosocial behavior, or health benefits. A marginal significant difference was found for life satisfaction between the counting blessings condition and the control condition. The writing experience measure did, however, produce significant results; both experimental conditions had significantly higher ratings on writing experience than the control condition.
The Use of Indirect Teaching Practices to Strengthen Peer Relations in Somali Girls
Abstract Research has demonstrated that an awareness of peer relations in the classroom can aid in education and psychological processes in students. The purpose of this study was to devise a way to cross-culturally mentor peer relations effective in aiding positive acculturative processes in Somali female students. In order to work with this demographic, conscientiousness and openness to cultural differences was necessary, as was an awareness of challenges faced specifically by this demographic. After eight weeks of recorded observations at Tree Street Youth Center in Lewiston, Maine, the girls were asked if they would like to use Photo Booth to take photos of themselves and their female friends. These photos were then printed out and the girls were given materials to decorate them and make frames. Observations were recorded on the nature of their conversations and on the frames themselves. Such observations demonstrated conversational and visual themes pertaining to the constancy o! f female friendship. The photos were then given to the girls as visual reminders of this friendship. Feedback on cross-cultural mentoring such peer relations was provided back to Tree Street Youth.
Liza Claire Dorison
Will a Videotape of the Identification Procedure Inoculate Witnesses Against Post-Identification Feedback?
Previous research has shown the robust and enhancing effects of post-identification feedback on eyewitness retrospective confidence (Wells & Bradfield, 1998). The current study aimed to find whether viewing a videotape of an eyewitness’s own identification could lessen or remove the effects of post-identification feedback on an eyewitness’s confidence. Participants (N=120) watched a mock crime video, and made an identification from a target-absent lineup. Two variables were manipulated in a factorial design. First, each participant was either videotaped while making his or her identification (the videotape inoculation group) or not. Second, participants were randomly assigned to receive either confirming feedback or no feedback. Each participant in the videotape identification group watched his or her video ! before completing a questionnaire about his or her confidence. Confidence ratings were recorded and a questionnaire was administered at the end of all of the sessions. The predicted findings included a reduction in the post identification feedback effect in the videotape inoculation group; however there was not a significant interaction, thus that the videotape did not inoculate the feedback effect. Future research should repeat this experiment, but reduce the amount of administrator-witness contact.
Overnight Learning in First-Degree Relatives of those Diagnosed with Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder, and Attention Deficit Hyper-Activity Disorder
Overnight learning, a subject that has increased interest in the past 10 years, involves participants learning a task, sleeping for a night, and returning to the lab 24 hours later to perform the task again. In healthy participants, significant overnight improvement has been found. Additionally, those with impaired sleep show less overnight consolidation. Studies have begun to look at overnight learning in patients diagnosed with various mental disorders, as sleep is often disturbed in these populations. In the current study, overnight learning in first-degree relatives (siblings, offspring, or parents) of those diagnosed with ADHD, MDD, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia will be assessed. To target both procedural and verbal overnight learning, the finger-tapping motor sequence task and the paired-associates verbal memory test were be administered. Forty-five participants, between the ages of 17 and 22 years old, learned the tasks, were sent home, and then returned 24-hour! s later for a retest. The Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index and a one-night sleep log were administered. Findings in the current study indicated significant overnight learning across groups within the procedural learning task but significant deterioration in the verbal memory task. There were no significant differences in overnight consolidation between groups. The current study also found first-degree relatives to have significantly poorer sleep quality than healthy controls according to PSQI scores. When PSQI scores were introduced as a covariate, overnight learning was still significant for finger tapping, but the main effect for paired associates overnight deterioration was eliminated.
Athletic and Academic Identity: Do They Affect Performance?
Previous research has shown that athletic identity can lead to the academic underperformance of student-athletes (Dee, 2009; Stone, 2012; Stone, Harrison & Mottley, 2012; Yopyk & Prentice, 2005). The current study looks to explore these findings further by incorporating the effects of academic identity as well as including athletic tasks. Seventy-nine participants from a small liberal arts college in New England completed the Athletic Identity Measurement Scale (AIMS: Brewer et al., 1993) and the Measurement of Student Identity (MSI: Shields, 1995) in order to gage their athletic and academic identities. They were then primed for these identities by writing about a recent success in the corresponding area and completed a series of athletic and academic tasks. The results showed that while participants were successfully primed for their athletic or academic ident! ity, it had no effect on their performance in athletic and academic tasks.
The Effects of a Mindfulness Meditation Intervention on Attention and Heart Rate
Meditation, for health related improvements, is an increasing phenomenon in the West. There is little research though on the affects of meditation on specific cognitive and physiological measures. In this study, 28 undergraduates from Bates College were randomly assigned to either a control group or a meditation-intervention group. The control group listened to the first twelve minutes of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling. The meditation-intervention group listened to twelve minutes of a guided Mindfulness Meditation titled ‘Breath, Sound, Body Meditation’ by researchers from the University of California Los Angeles’ Mindful Awareness Research Center (MARC). Changes in attentional focus were assessed using Stroop task and a negative priming task and heart rate was assessed as well. Results showed decreased levels of! Stroop interference but negative priming and heart rate were unaffected by brief Mindfulness Meditation intervention. These data are the first to demonstrate benefits in selective attention following a single twelve-minute Mindfulness Meditation manipulation.
The Effect of Teambuilding on Adolescent Male Peer Relationships
This paper explores social support in the context of adolescence, dealing with the decline in quality for same sex male relationships during this period due to low levels of intimacy. A teambuilding activity was implemented with boys in the Boys Aspirations Program at the Hillview Resource Center dealing with perceived support systems, and the ability to share this information within a group, as well as an evaluation of their ability to complete the activity and the overall level of enjoyment. Results indicated that the boys were willing to disclose to the group, but did not disclose any intimate information, and that the activity was easy to complete and enjoyable. Further application of similar teambuilding activities is suggested as a possible path for future studies.
The Influence of Asymmetrical Brain Hemisphere Activation on Aspects of Visual Processing
This study examines how certain aspects of visual processing differ depending on which hemisphere of the brain is activated. Previous research supports the conclusion that the left hemisphere is more proficient at depicting the parts of an image while the right hemisphere is more proficient at perceiving the larger holistic image. The current experiment presented individuals with tasks designed to elicit asymmetrical brain hemisphere activation by presenting images to either side of a person’s visual field. When images are presented to the left visual field, they are first processed by the right hemisphere of the brain; when images are presented to the right visual field, they are first processed by the left hemisphere of the brain. Participants were asked to respond to the images that were shown as quickly and accurately as possible. Reaction times and error rates for making these responses were analyzed in order to better ascertain the roles that the right and left hemisp! heres play in helping us to perceive visually presented stimuli.
Mechanisms Contributing to Children’s Advantageous Inequity Aversion
Research suggests that children of all ages are concerned with equality in sharing tasks, whether they are allocated more resources than their peers (advantageous inequity) or fewer (disadvantageous inequity). However, whereas younger children are more prone to accept offers that are personally beneficial, by age 8 most children will reject such offers, a concept known as advantageous inequity aversion. This study attempted to determine potential mechanisms behind the development of this behavior in children. 48 7-9-year-old children from the Lewiston/Auburn area were recruited from local elementary schools. At school, children were administered Bryant’s (1982) Empathy Index (BEI) for children, and then performed a short resource allocation task in which they could either accept or reject an advantageous offer, half in the presence of a confederate observi! ng them in the room during the study. Results revealed that significantly more children with high empathy both rejected advantageous inequity and accepted disadvantageous inequity than children with low empathy. However, there was no effect of confederate presence on children’s decisions regardless of their empathy. These findings further develop the overall understanding of inequity aversion, identifying one mechanism that influences children’s decisions in sharing tasks.
The Relationship Between Self-Efficacy, Labor Method and Birth Satisfaction
Objective: This study investigated whether a woman’s general sense of self-efficacy and labor method were associated with birth satisfaction. Mothers who were no more than twelve months postpartum were chosen from online mothering groups and prenatal care groups. Participants were asked to complete a General Self-Efficacy Scale, Satisfaction with Delivery and Conduct During Labor/Delivery Questionnaire and a General Information Questionnaire designed for this study. A 2 (self-efficacy: high or low) x 3 (actual labor method: natural vaginal or medicated vaginal or planned c-section/medicated c-section) ANOVA on birth satisfaction indicated a significant main effect of self-efficacy, p = .014, as well as a significant main effect of labor method, p = 0.002. A strong trend toward an interaction was found between self-efficacy and labor method on b! irth satisfaction. Women with low levels of birth satisfaction who had a c-section as their actual labor method are less satisfied with birth than women in any other group.
The Benefits of Behavioral Management in Youth Programming
Adolescence is a stage in an individual’s life that is filled with much change (Wang et al., 2011). After-school programming for adolescents is latent with many positive outcomes (Sale et al., 2012). Working towards facilitating positive behavior in youth is important to enhance the benefits of such programming. The Aspirations program located at the Hillview community center in Lewiston, Maine strives to promote self-esteem, future and career exploration, education, and leadership skills through mentoring and enrichment activities. The program is currently experiencing difficulties towards behavior management of the youth attending the program. This study worked to help the agency to identify and isolate behaviors that they would most like to change. After identifying and quantifying problem behaviors, thought was given to evidence based behavioral management tools th! at would best fit the setting. Research is presented to the agency to enhance and streamline existing behavioral management policies based on best practices to address target behavioral issues. These suggestions aim to help the Aspirations program continue their outstanding work and enhance existing behavioral management policies.
Coming Out to Grandparents: Navigating Disclosure of Sexual Orientation
Through interviews with 10 lesbian and bisexual women, this thesis examines the disclosure of sexual orientation to grandparents. After reviewing empirical research on the coming out process and grandparent-grandchild relations, this thesis examines the decision not to come out to grandparents, coming out to grandparents through both direct and indirect methods, and grandparent reactions to disclosure. Results indicated that non-disclosure was based on sickness of the grandparent and potential awkwardness in disclosure. Instances of direct disclosure involved verbal or electronic disclosure. Indirect disclosure was marked by either outward appearance or parental disclosure. Responses to disclosure included grandparent confusion, direct statements by grandparents of unconditional love, or a decision to avoid further discussion surrounding sexual orientation. All disclosures were received positively and did not alter relationships between grandparents and grandchildren.
Danielle R. Morris
Psychological Distance and Sacred Values: American Jews’ Support for Concessions of Israeli Territory
Anything outside of our immediate present must be mentally represented, or construed. Construal level theory posits that psychological distance affects how abstractly or concretely individuals perceive a given situation (Trope & Liberman 1998). Previous research has shown that individuals perceive situations more abstractly at higher psychological distance (Trope & Liberman 1998). And, when negotiators have more psychological distance from an interpersonal negotiation, they are more likely to make concessions on secondary issues to maintain a primary goal (‘logrolling’) and negotiation outcomes tend to be more satisfactory (Henderson, Trope & Carnevale, 2006). The current study examined the influence of psychological distance on an individual, high-stakes decision: A web survey measured American Jewish participants’ support for concessions of Israeli territory as part of an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement. Research indicates that sacred values are! activated at high psychological distance (Eyal & Liberman 2010) but American Jewish attitudes towards Israel vary. So, which sacred values/morality abstractions will be activated at high psychological distance? Two hypotheses predict contrasting results: (1) Sacred land hypothesis: Participants will be less likely to support concessions, territory/land activated as sacred value (2) Peace commitment hypothesis: Participants will be more likely to support concessions, peace activated as sacred value. Results indicated support for the peace commitment hypothesis among White/European-American Jewish participants, politically liberal Jewish participants, and a few other demographic subsets of participants. It is important to note that his research is exploratory, and therefore rather than providing any one clear conclusion suggests multiple avenues for future research.
Andrea K. Newman
Alexithymia and Impulsive Aggression in Intimate Partner Violence
On average, 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States (Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 2010). Intimate partner violence (IPV) is especially prevalent among younger populations (Archer, 2000). Research suggests that individuals who have difficulty with awareness and regulation of emotions (alexithymia) are more prone to impulsive aggression (Tetan et al., 2008). This study hypothesized that alexithymic individuals will report higher impulsive aggression (IA) and perpetration of IPV and that those with alexithymia and IA will hold more tolerant attitudes toward IPV. An anonymous online survey was completed by a convenience sample of undergraduates at Bates College. The survey took about 15-30 minutes and included multiple questionnaires, such as the Toronto Alexithymia Scale! , the Revised Conflict Tactics Scale, and The Revised Intimate Partner Violence Attitude Scale. Contrary to the hypotheses, impulsive aggression and alexithymia were not related to IPV perpetration. However, in partial support of the second part of the hypothesis, impulsivity, aggression, alexithymia, and gender interacted in complex manners to predict attitudes toward IPV. The group with the highest acceptance of IPV was aggressive male students with high alexithymia. The group with the second highest tolerance of IPV was aggressive female students with low alexithymia. Some of the limitations include low number of male students, use of only self-reports, sampling by convenience, and possible test fatigue. Future research should examine attitudes toward IPV with gender specific perpetrators.
Dylan Wittwer Reffe
Oh Captain! My Captain! Does Your Team Cohesion Yield Satisfaction?
This study explores the relationship between team cohesion, team satisfaction, and performance among varsity captains and varsity athletes on collegiate sports teams. Captains of 21 varsity teams and athletes of 56 varsity teams at Bates and Bowdoin Colleges completed similar surveys concerning team cohesion and athlete satisfaction. Results yielded a contrast between team leader and team member as captains under-predict their teammates’ individual satisfaction levels. Other results showed a strong positive correlation between cohesion and satisfaction. The number of years on the team and an athlete’s role within the team both negatively predict team and individual satisfaction. Neither gender, nor college was significantly linked to cohesion or satisfaction. Team leaders should know the importance of both cohesion and satisfaction. Capta! ins should also be aware that their perceptions might differ from their teammates’. Closely monitoring these variables could ultimately lead a team to success.
Understanding the role of the dorsal visual processing pathway in tool grasp identification
Abstract Research on the human visual system has implemented a method known as continuous flash suppression (CFS) in order to separate information processed by the dorsal and ventral streams in the brain (Almeida, Mahan & Carmazza, 2010). In continuous flash suppression, a rapidly changing pattern presented to one eye competes with a static image shown in the other eye, causing the static image to be suppressed (Tsuchiya & Koch, 2005). Studies have shown that while the ventral stream helps people identify ‘what’ they have seen, the dorsal stream is responsible for identifying ‘how’ to interact with visually presented objects (Fang & He, 2005). This study explores the specificity with which the dorsal stream processes information. In other words, this study intends to discover whether the dorsal stream processes the way in which a tool is grasped and measures this by recording whether priming is greater when tool hand grip matches. Forty-three Bates college students with norma! l or corrected-to-normal vision participated in this study. Participants were presented with images of 1-handed tools (i.e. wrench), 2-handed tools (i.e. rake) or an animal image (control) in CFS, followed by a target image of a 1-handed or 2-handed tool. Participants were asked to indicate as quickly and as accurately as possible whether they saw a 1-handed or 2-handed target image. I predict that participants will be faster and more accurate on congruent trials (i.e. trials where the prime and target image are both 1-handed or both 2-handed tools) than on incongruent trials (i.e. trials where the prime and target images are different types of tools, one 1-handed and the other 2-handed). In addition, based on previous research, I predict that participants will be slower and less accurate on control trials (i.e. animal prime followed by a tool target) compared to incongruent and congruent trials. If participants are processing the tool category in CFS, then they should be f! astest and most accurate on exact match trials (i.e. trials wh! ere the prime image is the exact same as the target image). I found that participants respond significantly faster on incongruent, congruent and exact trials compared to control trials, but there was no significant difference between incongruent, congruent or exact trials. These results indicate that the dorsal stream does not process specific grasp of tools. Unfortunately, these results may be inconclusive as many of my observers reported being aware of the prime images in CFS. But if participants did not process tool grasp when they were aware of objects in CFS, one can make a logical assumption that they will not process tool grasp when they are unaware of objects in CFS. Future research should continue to explore the specificity with which the dorsal stream processes information by manipulating tool characteristics and increasing the efficacy of CFS.
Fat Talk with Parents and Weight Bias in High School and Undergraduate Students
Weight bias is found in people of all ages, beginning from age three and lasting into late adulthood. Recent research has demonstrated that mothers’ negative attitudes towards overweight and obese persons influence their children’s attitudes towards overweight persons (Holub, Tan, & Patel, 2011). This study sought to expand on these findings by examining whether both mothers’ and fathers’ attitudes towards overweight persons are associated with bias in their high school and college-aged children. This study also explored ‘fat talk’ as a mechanism through weight bias is transmitted from parents to children. One hundred and twenty-seven high school, 94 undergraduate students, and 82 undergraduate students’ mothers and fathers completed measures on weight bias and fat talk. Women participated in fat talk with parents more t! han men. Fat talk with mothers appeared to be important in the transmission or perpetuation of weight bias to their high school-aged children. Fat talk was less important for undergraduates, but parental weight bias, particularly toward teenagers, was associated with their children’s negative attitudes toward obesity. This study has potential implications for both understanding the origins of weight bias and for the development of weight bias reduction interventions.
Elenor van Gemeren
Motivation as the Foundation for Academic Success: The Study of Intrinsic Motivation in Montessori, Waldorf, and Reggio Emilia Classrooms
Academic success in the United States today is based on performance, achievement reward, and punishment. These extrinsic values are ineffective in creating lifelong learners who find innate satisfaction in their learning. This thesis aims to uncover Montessori, Waldorf, and Reggio Emilia educational philosophies and identify key features of their effective classroom environments. By observing early childhood classrooms in Montessori, Waldorf, and Reggio Emilia schools and conducting semi-structured interviews with teachers, these educational philosophies appeared to encourage students to follow their natural curiosities and desire to learn. Positive teacher relationships, peer interactions, methods of teaching, and the physical classroom environment all contribute to positive classroom environments that cater to student’s natural learning. These educational approaches all follow the idea that intrinsic motivation is the key to successful learning and if a classroom envir! onment has the ability to foster the natural development of a child’s intrinsic motivation, students will be more likely to show signs of autonomy and competence in the classroom. This thesis suggests that the national school system should transform their image of success from one of extrinsic values into an image based on intrinsic motivation. This shift in theory will lead to more satisfied students who depend on internal feelings of satisfaction and a drive to be curious. Education will surely spread outside of classroom walls.
Sarah E. Wason
Plugged In: The Effect of Study Music on the Reading Comprehension of Students
Many students listen to music quite frequently throughout the day, even while studying. Prior research has shown mixed results regarding the effects of this habit on academic task performance. This study examines the effects of study music on reading comprehension performance, as well as the effects of extraversion and study habits. 64 Bates College students completed a series of reading comprehension tasks while hearing silence, instrumental music, foreign language music, and English language music. Participants also completed an extraversion measure (the NEO PI-R) and a study habits questionnaire. Repeated measures analyses of variance (ANOVAs) tested the effect of music type, extraversion, and the habit of studying with music on reading comprehension performance. Although there were no significant main effects or interactions, further an! alyses showed that task conditions congruent with habitual study environments were most predictive of reading performance.
Response to Emotional Stimuli in Alexithymia and Anhedonia
Alexithymia is defined by a set of emotion-processing deficits, including difficulty identifying, distinguishing, describing emotions, and externally-oriented cognitive style. Although alexithymics are described to be unable to detect either positive or negative emotions, recent research has shown an intact ability to attend to negative stimuli with an impaired ability to attend to positive stimuli. This characteristic mirrors a condition called anhedonia, which is defined as the lowered ability to experience pleasure. In order to further explore the overlap between alexithymia and anhedonia, this study examined how the emotional responsiveness to positive, neutral, and negative verbal and pictorial stimuli varies as a function of alexithymia and anhedonia. Participants (N = 81) completed the Toronto Alexithymia Scale, the Mood Awareness Scale, and the Trait Meta-Mood Scale ! to determine the level of alexithymia, and Wisconsin Schizotypy Scales ‘ Short Form to assess social and physical anhedonia. The subjective ratings of emotional valence were compared between alexithymics and anhedonics. Both alexithymia and physical anhedonia (but not social anhedonia) negatively predicted the positive ratings to both words and pictures, showing a low reactivity to positive stimuli and an intact reactivity to neutral and negative stimuli. However, alexithymia and physical anhedonia were determined to be separate constructs, as each uniquely contributed in predicting ratings of positive stimuli. Future studies are encouraged to further explore the different mechanisms of alexithymia and anhedonia.