Festival of Scholars

An annual celebration of research, scholarship, and creativity

Psychology and Communication Showcase: Poster Session

Date: Friday, May 3, 2013
Time: 12:15pm - 1:45pm
Location: Soiland Recreation Center
Description: Psychology and communication students will present and discuss their original research in an interactive poster session. The featured research comes from honors theses, psychology master's and doctoral research projects, studies conducted for class assignments, and student-faculty collaborations.

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Student Abstracts at this Session

Student(s):
Joonggun Ahn

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Marylie Gerson
The Effect of Music Lyrics on Work Productivity

Many students report listening to music while studying. While studies have found that background music may affect concentration, the impact of lyrics is unclear (Huang & Shih, 2011). In the present experiment, undergraduates at California Lutheran University were randomly assigned to complete a timed test involving simple arithmetic problems while listening to music with lyrics, music without lyrics, or silence. I predicted that participants would perform best in the silence condition and worst in the music with lyrics condition.




Student(s):
Chelsey Banos

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Seth Wagerman
Opposites Attract

The purpose of this research was to examine the truism that “opposites attract.” Although previous studies have examined trait-level differences, finding that couples tend to be more alike in personality than different (Law, 2009), participants aged 18-24 and in romantic relationships were in this study compared to one another on their answers in terms of interests, preferences, and daily behaviors (e.g., churchgoing, number of tattoos, personal hygiene). It was predicted that, despite the belief that opposites attract, most couples would have similar if not the same patterns of interests and behaviors.




Student(s):
James Battles

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Jamie Bedics
Effectiveness of Behavioral Skills

The intent of this study is to examine the effectiveness of behavioral skills taught in both the individual skills training and group skills training, components of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). These skills are recorded on daily diary cards and include daily ratings of mood, actions and action urges (e.g., suicidal behavior), and behavioral skills completed by DBT clients each week and reviewed by their individual therapists. This study examines self-reported measures to see if the skills are used effectively, how frequently, and how they relate to outcome. A total of five clients provided weekly daily diary ratings in the DBT program at California Lutheran University. Time-series analyses are used to examine skill use during treatment.




Student(s):
Aili Breda

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Julie Kuehnel and Dr. Barry Barmann
Cognitive-Behavior Therapy and Computer Technology for the Treatment of Selective Mutism: Case Study

Selective Mutism is the consistent inability to speak in select social situations despite the occurrence of speech in other situations. The purpose of this study was to determine whether an individual who evidences a diagnosis of Selective Mutism could be successfully treated using an approach consisting of a Cognitive-Behavioral intervention combined with the use of computerized technologies, within an elementary school setting. The research objectives of this study were directed at constructing a multi-modal treatment package consisting of cognitive strategies designed to modify maladaptive thought processes, combined with the use of specific computer applications (“apps”) which allowed the individual with Selective Mutism to better communicate within the school environment. The study was primarily qualitative in nature because it was a single-case analysis. Although the primary outcome measure was the occurrence of speech in the school setting, quantitative behavioral observations, behavioral interviews, and self-report questionnaires were also used.




Student(s):
Carla Camacho
and Dr. Alexis Miranda (faculty co-author)

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Alexis Miranda
Familial and Contextual Factors in the Academic Resilience of Latino Youth

Scant research has examined how family dynamics and romantic relationships influence the educational success of Latino youth. This study examines the relationship between academic achievement and selected social and familial factors believed to be central in the educational resilience of Latino youth. Specifically, the study explored how family dynamics and romantic relationships contribute to the academic success of Latino youth by empirically examining: (1) how do family dynamics (cohesion, adaptability, engagement in student learning) relate to the academic success of Latino youth? (2) How do social dynamics, including support from friends, classmates, teachers, counselors, Upward Bound, and romantic relationships influence the academic resilience of Latino youth? First generation Latino high school students completed a paper-and-pencil, self-report survey that resulted in confirmation that the selected social and familial dynamics were statistically significant factors of student’s academic success.




Student(s):
Carla Camacho
and Desiree Wilson and Dr. Rachel Casas (faculty co-author)

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Rachel Casas
Patterns of Social Media Use as an Advocacy Tool in a Community Sample

Social media outlets can be efficient and inexpensive tools for information-sharing and advocacy within communities. However, whether or how community residents use social media as advocacy tools is unknown. This study examined how community residents in Los Angeles County (LAC) use social media outlets to promote advocacy around issues considered to be critical to their communities. Surveys were administered to 73 community residents of LAC to better understand their familiarity and usage with different social media outlets (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, E-mail, etc.) as an advocacy tool. Results: The majority of community residents had not used social media to advocate for issues that are important to them. For example, 64% had not used Facebook, 97.3% had not used Twitter, and 74% had not used email. Social media outlets are underutilized as advocacy tools among community residents, which may limit effective communication and advocacy around important community issues.




Student(s):
Ebony Christian

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Morris Eagle
Examining the Effects of a Broken Attachment on a Child in Foster Care

Over a half million children are placed in foster care each year. The reasons for placement most often include severe neglect, physical maltreatment, abandonment, and/or sexual abuse perpetrated or tolerated by parents or other trusted caregivers. Foster care requires a break in attachment from the initial primary care giver, often resulting in a necessary attachment with a new caregiver. The purpose of my thesis research is to understand how youth in foster care cope with developing a relationship with the foster parent, while maintaining a relationship with the biological parents. My goal is to get a deeper understanding of the conflicts that may arise while attempting to form an attachment with the foster parent, while understanding the foster youth’s coping strategies. This presentation provides a history of attachment theory and a review of the literature on parent/child attachment of children in the foster care system.




Student(s):
Rachael Cortina

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Seth Wagerman
Anxiety, Self-esteem, and Conformity

This study considered the link between conformity and the personality attributes of anxiety and self-esteem. Previous studies (e.g., Divesta & Cox, 1960; Stang, 1972) have examined conformity and personality; however, they frequently use vignettes rather than actual behavior. In this study, participants were left alone without explanation by the researcher, producing a decision between leaving when finished or conforming to confederates around them who were instructed to remain in their seats. It was expected that those with low self-esteem and high anxiety (as measured by Rosenberg’s Self-esteem Scale and the Taylor Manifest Anxiety Scale, respectively) would be more likely to conform; these findings may help us understand the factors that contribute to people conforming, and help those with these particular traits make thoughtful decisions about their behavior.




Student(s):
Nicole Crawford

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Morris Eagle
Athletes and Eating Disorders: Creating Dissonance Among the “Good Athletes”

Female athletes have been identified in the literature as a population with a particularly high risk for developing eating disorders. Female athletes who participate in "lean sports" where success in their sport is correlated with maintaining a low body weight and fat percentage are at an increased risk relative to "non-lean sport" athletes. Several interventions have been tested within university systems, but a survey of the literature indicates that there has been little overall success in treating or preventing eating disorders among the "lean athlete" population. Thompson and Sherman (2010) have identified six "good athlete" traits in which the same personality traits and characteristics that have been identified in the literature that constitute a "good athlete" mirror those of an anorexic, complicating treatment. I formulate a Dissonance Based Intervention based on the "good athlete" traits, and then implement the intervention for my dissertation.




Student(s):
Sharon Cuff

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Mindy Puopolo
Leaving IPV Relationships: Identifying Contributing Factors

Research has shown that external and internal factors play a role in the victim's decision to leave an abusive partner. The purpose of this study is to examine factors that differentiate women who successfully leave violent relationships from those who do not. This study also considers factors that contribute to a victim’s decision about leaving an abusive relationship. This is a mixed methodologically designed study. Participants are clients who are currently enrolled on the Intimate Partner Violence Intervention Program at the CLU Community Counseling Center. The first part of this study utilizes data from three self-report measures that clients have completed as a part of the assessment process. In the second part of this study, the participants complete a semi-structured interview that consists of four questions. In gaining an understanding of these contributing factors, clinicians may be able to develop more effective treatment intervention strategies.




Student(s):
Alisa Cunningham

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Seth Wagerman
Marketing Strategies

The question of how advertising affects choices of consumers is always of interest to those in marketing. Approximately 80 CLU undergraduate students between the ages of 18 and 22 participated in a study involving the central and peripheral routes to persuasion (i.e., factual vs. superficial appeal), affective advertising strategy (aimed at consumer’s emotions), and unique positioning strategy (promoting a unique characteristic about the product). Participants examined an advertisement for a car, delivered in four ways: the central route to persuasion paired with unique positioning/affective strategy and the peripheral route to persuasion paired with both these strategies as well. The scenarios of central persuasion paired with unique positioning and affective strategy were expected to be the most effective marketing strategies due to evidence-based arguments being presented. Peripheral persuasion coupled with unique positioning was expected to be the next most effective marketing approach.




Student(s):
Kristen Dauler

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Marylie Gerson
The Effects of Music Tempo on Student Stress

Students experience many stressors going through college and are always seeking beneficial ways to reduce their anxiety levels. The goal of my study was to observe how slow and rapid tempo in the same audio piece would affect students’ anxiety levels. After a pretest to assess anxiety levels for the previous 2 weeks, students were presented an audio piece for 1 minute (either slow or fast tempo). Participants then completed a posttest questionnaire to assess how much they enjoyed the music and their stress level. I hypothesized that slow tempo music would reduce stress, relative to fast tempo music.




Student(s):
Morgan Duda
and Dominique Baxter, Francesca Benevento, Scott Turner, and Shannon Whitman

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Jean Sandlin
Adapting the Explainer Genre to Explore the Ethics of Advertising’s Ideal Body Image

Only 5% of Americans live up to the ideal body image portrayed in advertisements. Constant exposure to this body ideal through advertisements can lead to depression and serious eating disorders. The purpose of this project is to equip viewers with baseline knowledge surrounding the ethical issue of advertisers’ use of society’s ideal body image to sell products. The multi-media approach is intended to create awareness, understanding, and engagement among viewers when they are exposed to the ideal body image in future advertisements. Method: This creative project adapts the Explainer, a journalistic genre developed by ProPublica and NYU Professor Jay Rosen, to explore advertising ethics. The Explainer is a brief, digital tool intended to bring clarity to complex issues and establish baseline knowledge for the viewing public in order to create more awareness, understanding, and engagement in future mass media coverage related to the topic.




Student(s):
Brianna Egeland

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Marylie Gerson
The Relationship Between Parenting Styles and an Adult Child's Self-Esteem

Parenting style can have a long-term impact on a child. The present study explored the relationship between recalled parenting style and an adult child's self-esteem. California Lutheran University undergraduates participated. I predicted that undergraduates who recalled an authoritative style would score significantly higher in performance/academic, social, and appearance self-esteem than those who recalled an authoritarian style.




Student(s):
Estefania Elizalde

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Marylie Gerson
The Relationship Between Narcissism and the Bystander Effect

The "bystander intervention effect," where individuals are less likely to intervene in an emergency situation when in a group than when alone, is a topic that has been long-studied in psychology. The present study explored whether reactions to the presence of others may interact with personality. Participants were randomly assigned to read a vignette which asked them to imagine witnessing a domestic violence situation either alone or with five other people. Participants' narcissism was assessed as well. I predicted that participants who scored relatively high in narcissism would indicate that they would be most likely to intervene when in a group, whereas those who scored relatively low in narcissism would show the typical bystander intervention effect.




Student(s):
Megan Everett

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Marylie Gerson
The Relationship Between Music of the Hard Rock Genre and Mood

Music is notorious for having a strong emotional hold on society, but just how strong is that hold and what accounts for it? The purpose of this study was to uncover a relationship between the perception of Hard Rock music and mood and determine whether level of angst presented in lyrics or instrumentals is more impactful. In a 2 x 2 experiment, varying Angst (high, low) and Form (lyrics, instrumentals), 73 college students were randomly assigned to one of four groups. Each group completed a background questionnaire, read the lyrics to a song as it played, and then completed the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule. As hypothesized, lyrics had a dominant influence on mood such that participants' mood was significantly more negative to angsty lyrics than to non-angsty lyrics.




Student(s):
Danna Farkash

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Seth Wagerman
Gender and Tolerance for Violence

While violence is generally considered to be a deviation from appropriate behavior, people have different ideas of what level of aggression is acceptable. The purpose of this research was to gain a better understanding of gender differences in tolerance and attitudes toward both direct and indirect aggression between males and females as perpetrators and victims. Fifty students aged 18 to 22 were presented with questions from the WPS Aggression Questionnaire (WPS, 2000) and Physical Victimization Scale (Thompson, 2006) and were asked to rate how acceptable each item was based upon the gender of the perpetrator and the type of aggression being enacted (e.g. talking behind one's back, verbal abuse, and physical violence). It was predicted that men would judge fewer acts, both indirect and direct, as violent than would women. Further, it was predicted that women would consider more acts to be less socially acceptable than men.




Student(s):
Courtney Fazli

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Marylie Gerson
Creativity and Its Prevalence Among Various Academic Majors

This study explored the relationship between creativity and academic major of college students. I predicted that creativity would be highest for English majors, second highest for Psychology majors, and lowest for majors in the Natural Sciences. A 3-group correlational design was conducted with 61 undergraduate students at a private university. Age ranged from 18 to 30 (M = 21.13, SD = 2.25). Approximately two thirds were female (34.4% men and 65.6% women). Post hoc comparisons with Tukey’s HSD revealed that English majors scored significantly higher than majors in the Natural Sciences, F(2, 58) = 4.96, p = .01, Cohen’s d = 0.46, with a medium effect size. However, there was no significant difference between Psychology and Natural Science majors on assessments of creativity.




Student(s):
Andrea Ferraud-Shepher

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Monica Gracyalny
Examining the Effects of Heavy Television Viewing on College Students and Senior Citizens

Studies show that in some cases optimism increases with age (Borges & Dutton, 1976). Yet, as people become older and retire they also tend to watch more television (Depp, Schkade, Thompson, & Jeste, 2010). According to Gerbner’s cultivation theory, heavy television viewing increases a person’s distrust of society, an effect referred to as “Mean World Syndrome.” This study seeks to examine differences in the prevalence of Mean World Syndrome between two subgroups, college-aged individuals and senior citizens. Because research suggests that optimism increases with age, the current study aims to compare the effects of heavy television viewing in seniors to those found in a college-aged sample. Participants completed survey measures of television viewing habits and perceptions of society. Data were analyzed to determine whether seniors or college-age students are more likely to believe that the world is a dangerous place, and how those beliefs relate to television viewing.




Student(s):
Heather Ford

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Monica Gracyalny
Sex and Gender Differences in Social Judgments: An Investigation of Sex-Role Stereotypes

Social judgment theory (Sherif & Sherif, 1967) defines social judgments as subconscious sorting of thoughts, feelings, and ideas based on one’s current attitude toward a topic. In general, there appears to be little evidence of sex differences in social judgments (Sherif, Kelly, Rodgers, Sarup, & Tittler, 1973); however, Sherif et al. propose that these differences may relate more to the nature of the topic studied than to sex role predispositions. The effects of gender have yet to be investigated. This study examines social judgments of men and women based on both sex and gender differences. Participants include college students who completed survey measures of attitudes toward first dates. The topic of whether a man or woman should initiate a first date is controversial and based on gender stereotypes. Data were analyzed to determine the extent to which male/female and masculine/feminine people differ in their social judgments towards gender-stereotyped topics.




Student(s):
Danielle Foster

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Julie Kuehnel
Evaluating a Behavior Intervention for a Preschool-aged Child

Most children are diagnosed with ADHD around the start of elementary school when the environmental demands increase and inattention and hyperactivity are no longer developmentally appropriate. However, there are many children in preschool who have not been formally diagnosed and whose behaviors are still inappropriate for their age group. The purpose of this single-case study was to develop an intervention for a preschool-aged child with ADHD symptoms. The participant was a five-year-old male in a transitional kindergarten class with behavioral deficits in sustained attention and behavioral excesses in hyperactivity, aggressive behaviors, and defiant behaviors. A token economy system was implemented to reward positive behaviors with the intent to increase positive, prosocial behaviors and decrease the frequency of negative behaviors. Data on frequency of rule-following and rule-breaking behaviors were collected over a two-month interval.




Student(s):
Danielle Foster

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Marylie Gerson
Relational Maintenance Matching and Relationship Satisfaction

This study explored the relationship between matches in relational maintenance strategies with a romantic partner and relationship satisfaction. Sixty-three undergraduates at a small private university in Southern California volunteered to take a set of online questionnaires assessing relational maintenance strategies (RMSM) and relationship satisfaction (CSI [32]). Participants were 18 to 40 years of age (M = 20.02, SD = 3.19). Each survey was given twice, once for the individual to fill out and once to fill out for his or her partner in an attempt to integrate information on both individuals in a couple. Results showed a match in openness to be a significant predictor of relationship satisfaction for those currently in a relationship, one-tailed r (29) = -.42, p = .012.




Student(s):
Eric Foster

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Julie Kuehnel
Increasing Social Engagement in a Person with Geriatric Depression Through Behavior Modification

In this single-subject study, behavior modification, specifically shaping, was used to treat an individual with Geriatric Depression. This debilitating mental disorder is highly prevalent in elderly individuals, and mortality rates for this type of major depression are on this rise. One behavior deficit sustaining the depressive mood is avoidance of social interaction. Shaping techniques were implemented to increase the frequency and duration of social behavior. Using shaping, reinforcement was made contingent on approximations to the goal of reengaging the individual in social activities at the assisted living facility where she resides. Progress was measured by documenting the frequency and duration of successful graduated approximations to the desired goal.




Student(s):
Joselyn Gamez

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Seth Wagerman
Individual Preferences in a Mate

Earlier studies investigating desired traits in a romantic partner have shown women tend to desire mates who are tall, career-oriented, and have good earning capacity, while men desire mates who are physically attractive, good at cooking, and thrifty (Buss & Barnes, 1986). However, not all people will conform to these stereotypical patterns. This research seeks to find out: what qualities make a person likely to make mating/dating decisions that differ from this norm? Participants were male and female undergraduate students aged 18-22, who completed a 24-item Marital Preferences Questionnaire (Gough, 1973), a Social Desirability Scale (Stöber, 1999, 2001), and the California Adult Q-Set (Block, 1961), along with a 23-item Memories of Upbringing--Short Form (s-EMBU; Arrindell et al., 1999). Participants were separated into those who chose mates evolutionarily and those who resisted this selection process in favor of their own choices; traits associated with making stereotypical evolutionary choices (or not) were generated.




Student(s):
Lindsey Gaudioso

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Marylie Gerson
Religiosity and Well-being Within a Lutheran University

The match between a person’s values and the values of the environment can impact well-being and happiness. The population at California Lutheran University (CLU) is growing in size and diversity, and students’ motives for choosing this school vary. This study explored the relationships among religiosity, the importance given to religious affiliation as a motive for selecting CLU, and well-being and happiness. I predicted that religiosity in general and the importance given to CLU’s religious affiliation in particular would each correlate positively with students’ well-being and happiness.




Student(s):
Marylie Gerson
and Danielle Foster, Aaron Waters, Jeriann Lynds, Baillee Ford, Aili Breda, Rachel Chavez, and Jason Lim

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Marylie Gerson (faculty co-author)
Impact of a Gratitude Intervention on Life Satisfaction

We sought to explore gratitude and spirituality as predictors of life satisfaction, and to compare the relative effectiveness of envisioning receiving gratitude, expressing gratitude, or a placebo. Undergraduates (n = 134) participated in a pretest-posttest control group on-line experiment. Pretest measures (Week 1) assessed life satisfaction, gratitude, and spirituality, followed by a written prompt delivering a randomly assigned intervention. The prompt was repeated on Week 2 and posttest measures followed on Week 3. In a hierarchical stepwise linear multiple regression with a measure of social desirability entered first, gratitude was the strongest predictor of life satisfaction at pretest (R-squared = .27, p < .001), with spirituality adding to the equation (R-squared change = .08, p < .001). Receiving gratitude was significantly more effective than a placebo (Tukey’s p = .029, d = 0.54), with a significant, very large increase from pretest to posttest (p = .018, d = 3.41).




Student(s):
Neeki Ghaissari

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Marylie Gerson
The Relationship Between Online Social Networking and Social Anxiety

There has been a tremendous rise in technology over the past decade. A very popular trend is the use of social networking sites which serve as an endless portal for communication. Although online chatting may facilitate networking, do such impersonal modes of communication negatively affect people interpersonally? The purpose of this investigation was to assess whether there is a relationship between time spent social networking online and social anxiety. Sixty undergraduates at California Lutheran University completed the Internet Addiction Scale to assess daily internet usage and the Social Anxiety Scale. I hypothesized that time spent socializing online would correlate positively with social anxiety.




Student(s):
Lacie Goff

Faculty Mentor:
Mr. Ryan Medders
Assessing Magnitude of Group Identification in Social Networking Profiles

This study, using the social identity model, investigated how Facebook
profiles affect group identification. The study asked how viewers assess
the magnitude of association based on different identity indicators
present on a social networking profile. This study proposed that the
amount of identity indicators present on a profile would affect the
viewer's perception and stereotyping of the subject. This study used an
experimental design to test the effect of identity indicators (e.g.,
Atheism) on group identification of a Facebook profile, in which
participants were randomly assigned to view one of two mock profiles with
either one or five indicators present. Results showed that participants
perceived the mock subject as more strongly Atheistic if there were more
indicators, but there was no significant difference between the profiles
in associating more stereotypical Atheistic qualities with the mock
subject when more indicators were present.




Student(s):
Megan Grace

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Marylie Gerson
The Relationship Between Texting and Literacy Skills

With its use of inaccurate spelling, poor grammar, and unusual punctuation, texting has become a lazy and easy way of communicating. This study explored the relationship between the reported amount of time spent texting and the reading and writing ability of college students. California Lutheran University undergraduates participated in this correlational study. A background questionnaire provided information on the students’ cell phone usage and a timed spelling skill task and reading comprehension test assessed literacy. I hypothesized that students who spend more time texting will have significantly lower skills in writing and reading than those who spend less time texting.




Student(s):
Danielle Granholm

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Marylie Gerson
The Relationship Between Patient Trust and a Physician’s Quality of Knowledge and Bedside Manner

The role of doctors in modern society has evolved to strongly rely on patient-physician trust. This study explored the relationship between patient trust and a doctor’s knowledge and bedside manner. Ninety-nine students completed surveys to assess their trust based on vignettes describing a doctor with varying traits of knowledge and bedside manner. As predicted, there was a significant main effect for Bedside Manner; the scores were significantly higher for High Bedside Manner than Low Bedside Manner, F(1, 95) = 47.71, p < .001, 95% CI [-.13, 1.54], Cohen’s d = 1.12, with a large effect size. Bedside Manner and Knowledge interacted significantly; High Bedside Manner was more effective with High Knowledge than with Low Knowledge and Low Bedside Manner was more effective with High Knowledge than with Low Knowledge, F(1, 95) = 20.56, p < .001, 95% CI [1.51, 3.88], ηp2 = 0.18, with a large effect size.




Student(s):
Leah Griffith

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Seth Wagerman
The Effects of Facebook Use on Self-esteem and Perceived Social Support

This study examined the relationship between Facebook (FB) use, self-esteem, and perceived social support in undergraduate students at a small private university. It was expected that a negative relationship would exist between the time spent on FB daily and self-esteem (Rosenburg, 1965), and a positive one between time spent on FB and perceived social support (Zimet et al., 1988). Other statistics such as number of FB friends, likes, and posts per week were gathered to determine their relation to these variables. It was predicted that those that spend more hours per day on FB will report having lower levels of self-esteem and lower perceived social support. It was predicted that the amount of FB activity will be positively related to self-esteem and perceived social support. This implies that the absolute amount of user activity, not the amount of time spent on FB, is the better predictor of these variables.




Student(s):
Mariela Inda-Ramirez

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Marylie Gerson
The Relationship Between Test Anxiety, Amount of Sleep, and Academic Performance in College Students

College students who struggle with test anxiety tend to perform lower academically than students who have less test anxiety. Amount of sleep may also impact overall academic performance. My objective was to explore whether test anxiety may be less debilitating if a student gets plenty of sleep. Undergraduate students attending California Lutheran University completed a test anxiety scale, a timed word scramble test, a questionnaire assessing their sleep pattern, and self-reported academic performance.




Student(s):
Amy Johansson
and Stella Panos, Andrew Colette, and Samuel van Buskirk

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Jamie Bedics
The Effects of Corporal Punishment in Childhood on Executive Functioning in Adulthood

Objective: Research suggests that abuse experienced in childhood is related to lower cognitive functioning in adulthood. However, limited research has assessed the relationship between childhood corporal punishment and adult cognitive functioning. Method: A sample of 57 psychology students were asked to fill out three questionnaires assessing corporal punishment, child abuse, and anxiety, and tasks of executive functions. Multiple linear regressions were run. Results: Consistent with previous findings, both higher levels of childhood abuse and corporal punishment were associated with lower levels of executive functioning in adulthood after controlling for anxiety. Conclusion: Corporal punishment experienced in childhood is associated with lower cognition. It should be noted that this is a correlational design and longitudinal study aimed at determining cause and effect, as well as more thorough assessment of other factors that may contribute to these findings (eg., socioeconomic status, etc.) is necessary to clarify the relationship between corporal punishment and cognition.




Student(s):
Alyssa Keith

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Marylie Gerson
Exercise, Exercise Enjoyment, and Body Image

Obesity and poor body image are major problems in the United States today. The benefits of exercise for individuals with obesity have been well documented, and investigating the effects of exercise on body image can also be very beneficial. It is important for researchers to understand these benefits, as it can be helpful in constructing effective exercise programs. This study explored the relationship between exercise, exercise enjoyment, and body image. Undergraduates at California Lutheran University completed a survey on exercise habits and enjoyment levels, in addition to the Multidimensional Body-Self Relations Questionnaire. I hypothesized that exercise and exercise enjoyment would both positively correlate with body image.




Student(s):
Jami Kerr

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Jamie Bedics
Models for the Development of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder characterized by obsessions and/or compulsions. Several cognitive models have been proposed to explain factors leading to problematic obsessions and potentially OCD. One model suggests that thought-action-fusion (TAF) can act as a risk factor for intrusive thoughts leading to the development of OCD. A similar model proposes that OCD develops as a result when intrusive thoughts lead to negative inferences about the self. A study by Valentiner and Smith (2008) tested this model. This study indicated that obsessions have a stronger correlation with compulsive behaviors in those more likely to experience shame (versus guilt) and have TAF-morality beliefs.




Student(s):
Ria Helene Lindauer

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Mindy Puopolo
A Study of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Resilience in Young Adult Cancer Survivors

Since 1990, the chances of surviving pediatric cancer have increased significantly due to improvements in treatment protocols. Although most of the physical trauma (pain, nausea, hair and weight loss) associated with cancer treatment usually cease after treatment has ended, normal psychosocial development is disrupted and psychological health often is impaired. Having cancer during the formative years could prevent a young person from achieving milestones associated with psychosocial development such as autonomy, identity, secure relationships, employment and education. In addition, cancer survivors may experience psychological stress associated with the fear of cancer recurrence. The purpose of this study was to investigate the possible correlations of resilience, psychological well-being, and attachment with post traumatic stress disorder and post traumatic stress symptoms in young cancer survivors between the ages of 18 and 25.




Student(s):
Lauren Lunn
and Brittany Labbe and Lauren Rote

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Jean Sandlin
Deadly Deception: Adapting the Explainer Genre to Explore Advertising Energy Drinks

The $8.9 billion energy drink industry markets their products to youth using celebrities and social media. Thirty to 50% of children and young adults consume energy drinks. The purpose of this project is to equip viewers with baseline knowledge surrounding the ethical issue of advertising energy drinks to children. The multi-media approach is intended to create awareness, understanding, and engagement among viewers when they are exposed to future energy drink advertisements geared toward children. This creative project adapts the Explainer, a journalistic genre developed by ProPublica and NYU Professor Jay Rosen, to explore advertising ethics. The Explainer is a brief, digital tool, intended to bring clarity to complex issues and establish baseline knowledge for the viewing public in order to create more awareness, understanding and engagement in future mass media coverage related to the topic.




Student(s):
Jeriann Lynds

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Marylie Gerson
The College Decision: How Parents’ Involvement Affects Students’ University Commitment

The purpose of this study was to explore how the amount of parental influence on students’ college decisions relates to students’ commitment to the university. Parents’ communication with students and intervention regarding students’ problems once enrolled were also explored. Undergraduates from a random sample at California Lutheran University received an online survey including the University Commitment Scale among other questionnaires. Analyses of the questionnaires included correlations, t-tests, and linear regression. Results indicate that the more influence parents have during the college decision, the less their students tend to be committed to the university. Once students have enrolled, however, communication with parents and likelihood of parents solving problems for students do not seem to be directly related to university commitment.




Student(s):
Kaylin Mendoza

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Marylie Gerson
An Association Between Romantic Attachment and Relationship Length in College Students

This study examined the association between attachment and the length of time one is in a relationship. During a relationship, different types of attachment increase or dissipate as the relationship progresses. This study used a survey taken by undergraduate college students to determine what specific points in a relationship are associated with these changes in attachment and when they occur. Other components, specifically passion, intimacy, and commitment, were also assessed as variables of attachment. Overall, this study explored how well relationship length predicted type and intensity of attachment as well as the components of passion, intimacy, and commitment.




Student(s):
Lauren Mills

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Morris Eagle
Coping Mechanisms of Retired Athletes

Although there have been studies examining the coping mechanisms of athletes, the majority investigate the injured athlete or the retired athlete retrospectively recalling their experience during competition and the investigation ends there. Research done by the likes of Mark Anshel, Patrick Gaudreau, and Anne Marte Pensgaard utilize scales and sports inventories that are also limited to this narrow scope. Further inquiry about how those coping mechanisms utilized in their sport affect their current lives post competition is slim to none. Therefore the research objectives for this thesis are to gather qualitative data from professional athletes in this arena by methods of a questionnaire to create an informed scale and generate suggestions for future research




Student(s):
Megan Moore

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Marylie Gerson
The Relationship Between Alcohol Consumption and Romantic Relationship Types

Alcohol use can impact the nature of social relationships formed by college students. The present study explored the relationship between alcohol use and dating patterns in college students. I predicted that undergraduates who engaged primarily in monogamous relationships would report significantly less alcohol use than those who reported non-monogamous relationships.




Student(s):
Adam Neeley

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Marylie Gerson
The Beatles' Effect on Spatial Task Performance

People listen to music for a variety of reasons, including entertainment or because they have an emotional connection to a piece. I was interested in exploring whether music can also be used to help people. Drawing from research on the "Mozart effect," I explored the effect of listening to Beatles music on spatial task performance. Sixty-four CLU undergraduates participated, ranging in age from 18 to 23. Listening to Beatles music had a positive effect on spatial task scores, with a small effect size. Further research could expand on how music may be helpful to learning and studying.




Student(s):
Ellen Nichols

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Mindy Puopolo
The Influence of Affect Regulation on an Athlete’s Resilience to Paradoxical Performance Effects

Paradoxical performance effects or choking under competitive pressure is the occurrence of inferior performance despite the athlete’s striving for superior performance. Traditional Sports Psychology has focused on the athlete’s conscious mental strategies that contribute to the psychological upset experienced by the athlete and affect the athlete’s resilience to choking. Unlike previous research on affect regulation and choking, my research explored defense mechanisms (unconscious awareness) and coping style (conscious awareness) as they relate to an athlete’s resilience to paradoxical performance effects in the sports of golf and tennis. The objective of the research was to determine if specific coping styles and defense mechanisms correlate with an athlete’s resilience to paradoxical performance effects, hence allowing the athlete to maintain composure under pressure, and rely on muscle memory. The research study contains a mixed methodological design in that both quantitative and qualitative data were collected and analyzed.




Student(s):
Karina Ojeda

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Marylie Gerson
The Effect of Color and Emotional Adjectives on Memory

Memory is a complex process which may involve both cognitive and affective processes. Gestalt psychology has found that people tend to seek consistency in their perceptions. Other research (color psychology) has found that emotions are associated with certain colors. For example, calm moods (e.g., tranquility) are associated with cool colors and arousing moods (e.g., anxiety) are associated with warm colors. The present study asked undergraduates to study a word list of adjectives that were printed in a warm color (red) or a cool color (blue). Half the adjectives “matched” their color while half “mismatched” it. I predicted that participants would recall significantly more of the “mismatched” adjectives than the “matched” adjectives.




Student(s):
Chelsea Pagan

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Marylie Gerson
The Relationship Between Spirituality and Resilience

Spirituality serves as a valuable inner foundation for many people, shown to be beneficial to overall well-being. Research on spirituality is important as it may help us understand mechanisms for building resilience. The present study explored the relationship between spirituality and resilience in undergraduates at California Lutheran University. Participants completed several questionnaires, including instruments assessing background information, spirituality, and resilience. I hypothesized that spirituality would correlate significantly and positively with resilience.




Student(s):
Andrew Pankow

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Marylie Gerson
Athletic Participation and Leadership Ability

The purpose of this study was to determine whether or not there is a positive correlation between participation in high school athletics and one’s leadership ability. It is commonly believed that sports participation builds character, however very little research has been done to verify this claim. I predicted that the results of this study would provide more evidence to support the idea that athletics help adolescents develop positive character traits, such as leadership. A portion of Bass and Avolio’s Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire was used to measure participants' leadership ability and a background questionnaire was used to record sports participation history. I hypothesized that participants with a history of athletic participation would score significantly higher in leadership ability than those with no history of sports participation.




Student(s):
Nazila Pedram

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Jamie Bedics
Borderline Personality Traits and Copy Processes

Borderline Personality Disorder is a chronic and life threatening disorder. Individuals diagnosed with BPD often experience profound impairment in general functioning, marked impulsivity, high levels of anger and hostility, and are at increased risk for self-injurious behavior and suicide (APA, 2000). Interpersonal copy process theory (ICPT) (Benjamin, 2003) states that patterns of adult behavior parallel the patterns of behavior developed and remembered from relationships with early attachment figures. ICPT links adult behavior to the perceived relationships with early attachment figures by identification, recapitulation, and introjection. The purpose of the present study is to replicate Benjamin’s copy process theory, to extend the previous study by examining the role of mediating factors including negative affect and impulsivity on CP, and examine the specificity of copy processes in individuals exhibiting non-clinical BPD features versus other personality styles. Participants filled out questionnaires including: SASB (short form), NEO-PI-R, and ZANARINI SCALE FOR BPD.




Student(s):
Stephanie Portillo

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Marylie Gerson
The Relationship Between Emotional Intelligence and the Academic Achievement of College Students

This study aimed to investigate whether emotional intelligence is associated with academic achievement among college students. Undergraduate students at California Lutheran University completed the Self-Rated Emotional Intelligence Scale-Revised (SREIS) to assess emotional intelligence. Participants' academic achievement was then assessed. Academic achievement was measured using participants’ self-reported overall college GPA and an academic self-ratings questionnaire that evaluated self-perceptions of their success in college. I hypothesized that there would be a positive correlation between the students’ level of emotional intelligence and their academic achievement.




Student(s):
Emily Prah

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Seth Wagerman
Sexual Satisfaction and Relationship Status

Relationships, attachment styles, and human sexuality are topics that have been of interest to researchers for many years. Previous studies have found a significant relationship between sexual satisfaction and attachment style. For example, Davis et al. (2006) found that insecure attachment was associated with sexual dissatisfaction; Warehime and Bass (2008) confirmed this, finding that women who were securely attached were more sexually satisfied in a relationship, while men who were anxious or avoidant were more sexually satisfied outside of one. This research aims to emulate these two studies, adding the third attachment style: dependent. Sixty participants aged 18 to 29 completed online questionnaires measuring their sexual satisfaction and attachment style. Preliminary findings indicate that those who are securely attached do tend to be more sexually satisfied than those belonging to the other two attachment groups.




Student(s):
Michelle Ritenour

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Marylie Gerson
Church Attendance and Relationship Satisfaction

The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between church
attendance and relationship satisfaction. Research has shown higher
relationship satisfaction for married couples who frequently attend
church together than for those who do not, yet very little research has been done on unmarried couples. The results of the study may help predict future satisfaction
with relationships, consequently predicting overall relationship
happiness and longevity. The Burns Relationship Satisfaction scale
assessed the participants’ satisfaction with their current
relationship, and a church attendance questionnaire determined the
frequency of church attendance of the couple. I hypothesized that the
results would parallel those of married couples, where couples who
frequently attend church together would score significantly higher on relationship satisfaction than those who do not.




Student(s):
Yesenia Sanchez

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Marylie Gerson
Examining the Relationship Between Personality and Perception of Violence

Understanding the factors that may predict violence is both complex and important. The present study explored the role of personality in perceptions of violence. Participants completed the Attitudes about Aggression in Dating Situations questionnaire and Neuroticism and Agreeableness subscales of the Big Five Aspects scale. I predicted that high neuroticism and low agreeableness would be significantly associated with the acceptance of violence.




Student(s):
Amy Scott

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Jamie Bedics
A Biosocial Model of Understanding Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) can be defined as a pervasive disorder characterized by dysregulation of affect, relationships, self-concept, cognition, and behavior. Linehan developed a biosocial theory for BPD that takes into account biological vulnerabilities and environmental influences as contributing to the development of BPD. Although a large body of research has supported this theory, few studies have focused on family invalidation. One study examined emotional dysregulation, emotional vulnerability, and an invalidating environment as predictors of BPD symptoms; however, it did not find a connection between an invalidating environment and BPD symptoms. The purpose of the present study is to conduct a conceptual replication of Reeves’ study using an improved measure of the invalidating environment. Additionally, the current study examines how the invalidating environment may impact other domains related to BPD, including social problem solving.




Student(s):
Rosemarie Sherbetjian

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Seth Wagerman
Influential Factors in Young Adults’ Consumer Socialization, Particularly on Brand Preference

Consumer socialization influences one’s buying habits; however, some of its factors may be more influential than others. The focus of this study, then, was to determine the motivators of buying habits in young adults. Six factors were analyzed: peer influence (Steinberg & Monahan, 2009), parental authority (Buri, 1991), personality type (Gosling et al., 2003), media exposure, socioeconomic status and brand preference. While previous studies have determined that peer influence and socioeconomic status are the main contributors to the consumer habits in young adults, they have not considered the implications of media exposure and parental authority. It was hypothesized in the present study that, along with socioecomonic status and peer influence, increased media exposure will increase one’s tendency of purchasing brand products. Additionally, parental authority may establish norms for being a compulsive or frugal buyer, such that young adults with authoritarian parents may be more frugal, whereas those with permissive parents may prefer brands.




Student(s):
Charissa Shoecraft

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Marylie Gerson
The Effect of a Music Piece's Familiarity on the Recollection of Terms

Studying is an important part of college life, and studying to music has become a growing trend. However, does the type of music make a difference? More specifically, will a student study better while listening to familiar music than unfamiliar music? An experimental design was employed to assess students' memory of a word list while listening to either familiar or unfamiliar music. California Lutheran University undergraduates were randomly assigned to one of two groups: familiar or unfamiliar music. They listened to the music while memorizing and recalling a list of words. I predicted that students would recall significantly more words in the familiar condition than in the unfamiliar condition.




Student(s):
Daniel Smilie

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Marylie Gerson
The Effects of Individualism and Collectivism on Entitlement

This study explored the causal relationship between individualism and collectivism, and entitlement among 50 California Lutheran University undergraduates (18 males, 32 females). Participants were predominantly White or Latino. The experiment involved a timed writing exercise to prime for either individualism or collectivism and the 9-item Psychological Entitlement Scale (PES) to measure entitlement. The PES items were mixed in with 31 dummy questions to reduce the instrument's face validity. Participants given the collectivism prime scored significantly higher on the PES than those given the individualism prime, with a large effect (Cohen's d = 0.83). Findings demonstrated that the cultural aspect of individualism and collectivism may be used as an indicator of entitlement. Further research is needed to assess whether countries that measure high in collectivism will measure higher in entitlement than countries who measure high in individualism.




Student(s):
Lacey Soto

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Seth Wagerman
Religiosity and Stress

Past research has identified religiosity as having positive effects on aspects of mental and physical health. Since these are both important to psychology as a branch of social science, it is important to understand further its positive effects. This study sought to examine the relationships between stress level, health level, positive outlook for the future, and measures of social support via survey questionnaires. In previous studies, religiosity has been measured in very limiting ways; for this project, religiosity was more inclusively defined (in comparison to past definitions, which emphasized only church attendance). It was hypothesized that those higher in religiosity would be less stressed, would have more social support, would be more positive toward the future, and would be healthier. Additionally, those low in religiosity but high in social support were predicted to have higher stress than those with higher religiosity levels.




Student(s):
Katherine Sullivan

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Sharon Docter
Facebook Data Use Policy

Facebook has grown exponentially since its creation. The site, which provides social media services to subscribers, provides a data use policy that must be agreed to in order to sign up for an account. This study tested whether Facebook users have read the Data Use Policy and understand the information provided in the policy. I hypothesized that the majority of Facebook users have not read the Data Use Policy, and that the majority of Facebook users are unaware of the terms of use. California Lutheran University undergraduates were surveyed to test this hypothesis.




Student(s):
Wesley Tierney

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Marylie Gerson
The Relationship Between Induced Relaxation and Empathic Feelings

The purpose of this study was to observe the effect of relaxation techniques on levels of empathy. A sample of undergraduate students at California Lutheran University were randomly assigned to either a relaxing deep breathing exercise or to a placebo treatment in which they were asked to think about the previous day. Each group completed two questionnaires measuring empathy. I predicted that participants who received the relaxation techniques would score significantly higher in empathy than those who did not.




Student(s):
John Tomlinson
and Shane Begley, Stine Norum, and Katelyn Downing

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Jean Sandlin
Be Their Voice: Adapting the Explainer Genre to Explore the Ethics of Advertising to Children

Last year, companies spent $17 billion dollars on advertising directed to children and the average American child watched 40,000 television ads, yet children are unable to distinguish an advertisement’s intent to sell. The purpose of this project is to equip viewers with baseline knowledge regarding the ethical issue of advertising directed to children. The project also introduces media literacy as one solution. It is intended to create awareness, understanding, and engagement by viewers when they are exposed to future advertising that is directed to children. The method used in this creative project adapts the Explainer, a journalistic genre developed by ProPublica and NYU Professor Jay Rosen, to explore advertising ethics. The Explainer is a brief, digital tool intended to bring clarity to complex issues and establish baseline knowledge for the viewing public in order to create more awareness, understanding, and engagement in future mass media coverage related to the topic.




Student(s):
Laura Townsend
and Project 180

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Morris Eagle
Measuring Morality: The Effect of Moral Reconation Therapy on Offenders

Offenders are becoming repeat criminals at an alarming rate. The national recidivism rate in the United States was 43%, but varies significantly by state. In response, states are searching for methodologies to address this issue. Moral Reconation Therapy (MRT) is a type of Cognitive Behavioral therapy. Empirical evidence has shown that MRT does lower recidivism in offenders and improves moral reasoning. Most research on MRT has been done using the Defining Issues Test (DIT-II) as evidence to support the improvement of moral reasoning. Since the theoretical basis of the DIT-II closely correlates with the cognitive development of moral reasoning in MRT, the moral reasoning measurement of the Moral Foundations Questionnaire (MFQ) and Prosocial Reasoning Objective Measure (PROM-R), which are not based on Kohlberg's theory, are compared to the DIT-II, to determine if MRT actually helps the offenders improve their moral reasoning abilities from a non Kohlbergian perspective.




Student(s):
Alec Turner

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Marylie Gerson
Gender of Police Officers: Does It Make a Difference in the Feelings of Safety and Comfort?

There are currently over 18,000 law enforcement agencies working on all levels (Sun & Chu, 2008). More often than not, civilians will come in contact with a police officer during their lifetime. A number of studies have explained and found no effect for an officer’s gender on perceived effectiveness. The present study tested whether an officer’s gender may interact with a participant’s gender to impact perceptions of safety and comfort. In a 2 x 2 mixed design, male and female undergraduates were randomly assigned to read a vignette describing either a male or female officer responding to a domestic violence incident. I predicted that both male and female participants would rate domestic violence situations with male police presence significantly safer than with female presence, and that female participants would rate a domestic violence situation with female police presence significantly more comfortable than with male officer presence.




Student(s):
Courtney Vendetti

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Seth Wagerman
The Misconception of Flow

Flow (Csikszentmihalyi, 1999) is an autotelic state resulting from an activity that is both appropriately challenging and engaging. It has been argued that in flow, people reach their full potential, but what effect does it have on cognitive processing when engaging in subsequent tasks? This study examined whether transitioning from a flow-generating activity affected scores on an intelligence test given immediately after. Groups engaged in tasks that were fun (watching TV), flow-generating (alphabetizing), both (playing a computer game), or neither (completing simple math problems); it was hypothesized that those participants in which flow was induced would experience focus latency, resulting in lowered intelligence scores. Preliminary results indicate that participants in the flow condition completed fewer problems afterwards on the intelligence test, but got a larger percentage of them correct.




Student(s):
Chloe Vieira

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Sharon Docter
The Constitutionality of DOMA

In this research paper I examine the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which restricts federal marriage benefits to opposite-sex couples, by way of a critique of its legal defense in recent cases including Pedersen v. Office of Personnel Management. My research places special emphasis on section three of the act, which has been ruled unconstitutional by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in the case of the United States v. Windsor. I then defend my determination that the act is wholly unconstitutional. In conclusion, I make a conjecture as to how the Supreme Court will ultimately rule on the case of the United States v. Windsor. I expect that my completed critique should serve as a background on which to compare future cases concerning the legal definition of marriage and the application of DOMA and similar regulations.




Student(s):
Sunday Wallace

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Marylie Gerson
The Relationship Between Procrastination, Self-Esteem, and Academic Performance

Procrastination is a chronic problem for many individuals, particularly college students. But why students continue to subject themselves to the stress and anxiety of waiting until the last minute is still unclear. Low self-esteem may be a predictor of this self-sabotaging habit. Also, chronic procrastination may be a predictor of poorer academic performance. If students are made aware of this relationship, boosting their self-esteem may benefit them academically. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between procrastination and self-esteem, and also to examine whether chronic procrastination is related to academic performance. I surveyed California Lutheran University undergraduates, assessing their procrastination habits, self-esteem levels, current grades, and GPA.




Student(s):
Aaron Waters
and Dr. Marylie Gerson (faculty co-author)

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Marylie Gerson
Predictors of Resilience in Those Recovering From Substance Abuse

Alcoholism and drug addiction are serious diseases that destroy the lives and families of millions of people every year. Social connection, spirituality, and gratitude have been shown to be intercorrelated constructs as well as predictors of resilience and each has been discussed as an important element of twelve-step recovery programs. My objectives were to identify the strongest predictors of resilience for adults recovering from substance abuse. Participants included 43 adult members of twelve-step recovery groups and 65 adults who reported no history of substance abuse. Participants completed assessments of gratitude, social support, various aspects of spirituality, and resilience. Step-wise multiple linear regression analyses revealed that a spiritual connection to others was the sole significant predictor for adults in recovery whereas an individual sense of purpose best predicted it for non-addicts. Experiencing a deep connection to others may be especially important for those recovering from addiction.




Student(s):
Aaron Waters
and Dr. Marylie Gerson (faculty co-author)

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Marylie Gerson
A Brief, Self-Administered Treatment to Promote Thriving in Substance Abuse Recoverers

Alcoholism and drug addiction are serious diseases that destroy the lives and families of millions of people every year. Waters and Gerson (2012) found that, of these factors, feeling a spiritual connection to others was a particularly strong predictor of thriving for adults in recovery groups for addiction. The present study developed and tested the effectiveness of a brief, self-administered treatment which focused on building this connection, for adults recovering from addiction (n=64) and a comparison group of non-addicts (n=113). Participants were randomly assigned to either a treatment condition (“visualize ways in which you have touched another person”) or to a placebo control condition (“visualize what you did yesterday”). A nearly significant Condition (treatment, control) x Group (recovery, non-recovery) ANOVA interaction was found such that the treatment only impacted the recovery group, increasing life satisfaction scores to the level found for the non-recovery group.




Student(s):
Aaron Waters

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Seth Wagerman
Increasing Spirituality Through Social Desirability in Undergraduates

Resilience and thriving are positive traits for undergraduates. Spirituality has been shown to be a predictor of such traits (Waters & Gerson, 2012). Finding ways to increase spirituality may be a conduit to increasing resilience and thriving in undergraduates. Participants completed a series of assessments, including measures of social desirability, spirituality/religiosity, and CLU affiliation; they were then randomly assigned to one of two groups. The experimental group wrote about the pro-spiritual/religious benefits of attending CLU and the control group wrote about the benefits of CLU’s academic programs, both ostensibly to prospective high school students. Upon completing the survey and writing prompt, participants were presented with a volunteer opportunity to help underprivileged families, to assess whether spirituality, as in a special social connection, increased in the experimental condition. It was hypothesized that students, high in social desirability and low in initial spirituality, would be most inclined to participate in the volunteer opportunity after writing about the benefits of attending a spiritual/religious university, due to cognitive dissonance.




Student(s):
Lara Watling

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Seth Wagerman
The Effect of Romantic Relationships on Self-Esteem

This paper examines the moderating effects of romantic relationships on self-esteem. Data were collected via the use of surveys measuring current relationship status and personal self-esteem, including ideas of worth, self-confidence, and success. Knee, Canevello, Bush, and Cook (2008) found that individuals whose self-esteem was contingent on their relationships had lower self-esteem, were more self-conscious, and were more socially anxious. It was expected here that individuals currently in relationships will have higher self-esteem than those who are single, and that individuals who are single but desire to be in a relationship will have lower self-esteem than those who are indifferent to being in a relationship. From these results, it may be concluded that people with low self-esteem tend to be more inclined towards romantic relationships because being in a relationship makes them feel better about themselves.




Student(s):
Jessica Webster

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Seth Wagerman
The Impact of Parental Expectations on Stress in First Generation College Students

Stress is a huge factor among students and can lead to higher levels of later stress and anxiety. This study looked at the influence of parental expectations, birth order, and first generation status on student stress (as measured by the Holmes and Rahe Student Stress Scale, 1967). The objective was to find whether first generation college students had higher stress levels than continuing generation college students, and whether a first-born status and high parental pressure were contributing factors to stress and decrements in academic performance. These results will help to better understand the issues that first generation students face and how these are influential factors for stress and academic achievement.




Student(s):
Kelsey Wellenreiter

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Marylie Gerson
How Feelings of Inclusion May Lead to Increased Texting

The need to communicate through technology has increased in recent years with the invention and mass production of cell phones and more affordable cell phone plans. This increase of mobile communication has opened up the topic of interpersonal relations and the effects of cell phone use. The present study explored the relationship between the wish to text and feelings of loneliness. Undergraduates at California Lutheran University were randomly assigned to receive one of two prompts to instill either feelings of inclusion or feelings of loneliness. Participants' wish to text was then assessed and a loneliness scale developed by UCLA was completed.




Student(s):
Kristen Williams

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Julie Kuehnel
“Look at Me:” An Early Intervention for Improving Eye Contact

Eye contact is an essential part of communication. The goal of this intervention is to increase the amount, duration, and consistency of eye contact used during conversations in a 2 ½ year old client. Methods used to reach this goal include positive reinforcement and token economy. Measuring the client’s eye contact duration, consistency, and initial response time are used to determine the progress of improvement.




Student(s):
Desiree Wilson
and Carla Camacho

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Rachel Casas
Advocacy Literacy in a Sample of Low-Income Community Residents in Los Angeles County

This study investigated the “advocacy literacy” of low-income community residents in Los Angeles County who are members of local Neighborhood Action Committees (NAC) through a local nonprofit organization. These NAC’s assist individuals in planning and implementing community building projects that aim to improve the quality of life in their neighborhoods. Individual NAC members (n=74) completed surveys designed to examine their knowledge of roles and responsibilities of their elected officials as well as their participation in advocacy-related activities. The majority of NAC members were unable to identify the roles and responsibilities of their city (43%), county (60%), or state (67%) elected officials, nor knew how to contact them. In addition, most had never participated in advocacy activities such as boycotts (88%) or protests (60%). Interventions aimed at increasing community residents’ advocacy literacy are needed and may lead to improved participation in community-based advocacy activities.




Student(s):
Lauren Witman

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Marylie Gerson
Parental Pressure and Emerging Adult Religiosity

Levels of religiosity vary greatly among emerging adults. Sometimes, these levels correspond with those of parents, and other times, they are very far removed. One possible predictor for emerging adult religiosity may be parental pressure for religiosity at a younger age. Undergraduates who reported having parents with high levels of religiosity participated. I included a background questionnaire to explore the possible relationships between basic demographics and religiosity as well. A parental pressure questionnaire and the Santa Clara Strength of Religious Faith Questionnaire assessed levels of parental pressure for religiosity and current emerging adult religiosity, respectively. I hypothesized that parental pressure for religiosity during childhood and adolescence would negatively correlate with religiosity in emerging adulthood.




Student(s):
Sandra Zepeda
and Xochitl Sandoval

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Seth Wagerman
Jealousy Differences: Facebook, Gender, and Evolutionary Psychology

Facebook has changed the way that social relationships function. Gender differences in jealousy are well-documented: males perceive jealousy in relation to paternity uncertainty, while females perceive it in terms of potential loss of long-term resources (Buss et al., 1992). Evidence suggests that Facebook is a contributing factor in increased jealousy and suspicion in romantic relationships (Muise, Christofides, & Desmarais, 2009). Our study investigated whether Facebook moderates jealousy differences. Forty undergraduates, ages 18-23 and in relationships, were measured on relationship satisfaction and asked to rate their jealousy in response to a survey and vignettes simulating real-life scenarios (e.g. you see a picture of your significant other with an unknown individual of their sexual attraction posted on Facebook. How likely are you to become jealous?). It was expected that individuals who spend more time on Facebook tend to have increased levels of jealousy and that evolutionary trends will be recoverable from hypothetical scenarios.




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