Festival of Scholars

An annual celebration of research, scholarship, and creativity

Psychology and Communication Showcase: Poster Session

Date: Friday, May 2, 2014
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):
Alexa Boldt

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Sharon Docter
Participatory Photography as a Communication Tool in a Small Community in Kenya, Africa

The purpose of this presentation is to share the process of participatory photography and the visual content produced from qualitative research conducted in Mbita, Kenya. Because of the participatory nature of this project, full control was given to the six participating primary students in defining issues, photographing, and editing content. The students’ photographs were used to identify, explore, and discuss issues within their community such as deforestation, hospital care, and child labor. Students learned basic photography principles such as aperture, shutter speed, composition, and lighting in order to create an eight-piece photoset, complete with captions and descriptions. The project culminated in a community gallery showing where the photosets were displayed for guests to view and answer supplementary questionnaires written by the students. The participating primary students were proud of their photographs, which sparked discussion among their community about social issues.




Student(s):
Bonnie Carow-Smith

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Jamie Bedics
The Physiological Effects of Opposite Action as a Treatment for Anger

It has been hypothesized that individuals with trait hostility experience anger more frequently and with more intensity. This results in an overworked sympathetic nervous system, which promotes cardiovascular disorders such as coronary heart disease (CHD). Anger management interventions are common, yet research has provided inconsistent results on their efficacy. Opposite Action (OA) is a dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) skill that may be useful in reducing anger. The purpose of the present study is to examine the physiological profiles of an individual attending OA sessions. Two, brief, two-hour sessions of OA will be presented to a group. One participant will be connected to Biopac physiological equipment for four separate sessions, measuring heart rate, respiration rate, and electrodermal activity while being exposed to hypothetical scenarios meant to elicit emotion. Participants will be recruited through the Community Counseling Center at California Lutheran University.




Student(s):
KC Costonis

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Cia De Martino
Save The Pond

A pilot study was conducted to assess whether Oak Park Community members were aware of the environmental issues surrounding the Community Center pond, and to start educating the public on how their behaviors were causing algae growth; ie. car wash soap and fertilizer. Public officials were contacted and observational research and interviews were conducted to figure out the main cause of algae growth in the pond, and what county programs were already in place. Surveys were then conducted to judge awareness of the issues, using a convenience sample pulled from neighboring communities.




Student(s):
Emily Frare

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Sharon Docter
The (In)Visibility of Same-Sex Families on Television

This study examined the representation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) characters on episodic prime time television, specifically looking at families headed by same-sex couples. Research suggests that LGBT characters are often stereotyped or not acknowledged. However, there is little information regarding same-sex families on television. This study examined the representations of families headed by same-sex couples as well as traditional families on episodic prime time television. Relying on cultivation theory, social learning theory, the idea of parasocial relationships, and Clark’s model of minorities, the researcher hypothesized that there would be little to no representations of same-sex families. Ninety-four prime time television shows airing in one week on the four major networks (CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX) were analyzed. Data revealed that there are almost no same-sex families on television, supporting the hypothesis. Discussion focuses on the limited representations of same-sex families and what that means to society at large.




Student(s):
Elizabeth Geringer

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Alexis Miranda
Empathy: Contagion or Cognitive? Patterns in Physiological Response, Empathy Scales and Personality

Researchers have been studying the effects of emotional stimuli on various response modalities for many years. Hendriks & Vingerhoets (2006) found that crying elicits empathy and emotional contagion in others. Recent evidence demonstrates that different areas of the brain are activated when cognitive or emotional empathy is elicited (Shamay-Tsoory, et al., 2009). In addition, since the time of Galan’s theory of humors, many individuals have sought to understand the biological bases of personality. Eysenck (1992 & 1997) recognized “major personality traits represent basic psychobiological dimensions of temperament” (as cited in John, et al., 2008, p.276). The purpose of this study is to investigate the relationship among physiological responses when viewing emotional stimuli, emotional and cognitive empathy, and personality traits. Physiological responses (heart rate, respiratory rate, respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA), and galvanic skin response (GSR) to videos of individuals displaying the emotions of sadness, happiness and neutral will be measured.




Student(s):
Jacqueline Henretig

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Morris Eagle
Emotional Vulnerability and Invalidating Experiences in Borderline Personality Disorder

The purpose of this study is to look at the components of Marsha Linehan's (1993) biosocial theory that invalidating environments as well as emotional vulnerability can lead to symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder. This study will investigate the relationship among invalidating environments, as measured by the Socialization of Emotion Scale (SES), (Krause et al, 2003), emotional vulnerability as measured by the Emotional Vulnerability-Child Scale (EV-Child), (Sauer & Baer, 2009), and precursors of Borderline Personality Disorder as measured by the Borderline Symptoms List (BSL), (Bohus et al, 2007), and the Wisconsin Personality Disorders Inventory (WISPI), (Klein et al., 1993). We hypothesize that participants who report being exposed to invalidating environments and who score high on the Emotional Vulnerability-Child Scale will show more BPD symptoms. Participants include a small (n=18) non-clinical college sample. Each participant was administered the SES, the EV-Child, the BSL and the WISPI.




Student(s):
Catalina Jaramillo
and Ryanna Morua

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Andrea Sell
Cognitive Mechanisms Involved in Forgiveness

Forgiveness is important for maintaining social relationships. However, researchers have not yet explored the cognitive mechanisms involved in the process of forgiving. Some of our lab’s recent research supports the idea that a cognitive mechanism involved in forgiveness is directed forgetting (forgetting on purpose). For example, when people are told to forget a key conflict sentence of a story’s information, they were more likely to forgive the antagonist at fault (Sell, in prep). In the current study, participants read the same stories from the previous study, but in this case, they were told that information was either “important” or “not important”. We predict that telling someone that the conflict sentence is “not important” will yield different results than telling someone to “forget” a conflict sentence. In general, the results will show whether participants are engaging in a forgetting process, or if they are simply disregarding the information.




Student(s):
Susie King

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Morris Eagle
The Trauma of Parental Substance Abuse on Children: Effects on Adult Attachment and Mental Health.

Children of substance abusing parents often grow up in chaotic homes and may be more likely to experience traumatic events, which could negatively affect adult romantic attachment relationships and mental health. The purpose of this proposed study is to examine to what degree individuals who grew up with a substance abusing parent suffered childhood trauma, and whether as adults they are more likely to have insecure attachment styles and poor mental health. Adult participants will be asked to complete a demographic information sheet along with self-report measures of parental substance abuse, childhood trauma, adult romantic attachment style, and mental health. Data will be compared between those with substance abusing parents and those whose parents did not abuse substances. This research will add to our understanding of how, and to what degree, parental substance abuse leads to childhood trauma and difficulties in adulthood with attachment relationships and mental health.




Student(s):
Daniel Knauss

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Mindy Puopolo
Reflective Function in Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence

Prior research has established the link between pervasive experiences of abuse and a compromised ability to meaningfully reflect on the thoughts, feelings and intentions of oneself and others within the context of interpersonal relationships (i.e. mentalize). The purpose of the current study is to better explicate the relationship between individual characteristics, history of abuse, and deficits in the mentalizing capacity as a means of identifying promising inroads for therapeutic intervention. This poster presentation focuses on the concept of reflective function (the operational definition of mentalizing), defining the construct and applying it to Modified Adult Attachment Interview narratives of survivors of intimate partner violence. Specific attention will be paid to understanding the role that deficits in reflective function may potentially play in sustaining abusive relationships. Consequently, additional emphasis is placed on considering the utility of therapeutic interventions aimed at bolstering reflective function as a means of reducing violence.




Student(s):
Lizeth Lopez

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Jamie Bedics
Verbal Fluency and Demographic Variables in a Sample of Spanish-Speaking Adults in Ventura County

Analysis of verbal fluency skills has become an increasingly typical component in the assessment of executive functioning abilities as part of a usual neuropsychological assessment battery. Verbal fluency assessment typically involves the task of an individual producing as many words as possible within a limited time-frame given phonemic and semantic cues. This study aims to explore productivity and strategies employed in phonemic and semantic verbal fluency tasks as they relate to demographic variables (such as age, education, literacy) among a sample of Spanish-speaking Latino adults living in Ventura County, California. This study intends to identify productivity and strategies utilized, in hopes to contribute to the growing normative data and to provide additional information as a reference in the assessment of Spanish-speaking Latino adults.




Student(s):
Ivy Luc
and N/A

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Alexis Miranda
Attachment, Acculturation, Ethnic Identity and Well-being among Chinese Americans

There is a great deal of research investigating the relationship among acculturation, ethnic identity and psychological well-being among Japanese Americans, Korean Americans, and Chinese Americans (Chae & Foley, 2010). Findings indicate that individuals with a well-developed ethnic group membership and bicultural worldview are more likely to flourish. There are some studies examining the relationship between adult attachment, cultural orientation and the three areas of psychosocial functioning (i.e. emotional expressiveness, social difficulty, and depressive symptoms) of Chinese Americans (Wang & Ratanasiripong, 2010). The functions of this study examined: (1) whether level of acculturation and ethnic identity differ as a function of the country of origin; (2) whether levels of acculturation and ethnic identity are significantly related to psychological well-being and (3) the relationships among attachment patterns, level of acculturation, ethnic identity, and psychological well-being. The results indicated that individuals who are bicultural are more likely to flourish.




Student(s):
Rodolfo Lugo Rios

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Rachel Casas
Conceptualizations and a General Measurement of Respect

In contemporary psychology the concept of respect has been utilized in interpersonal works concerning the therapeutic alliance between therapists and clients, romantic relationships, and student-mentor relationships among others. However, no concise, clear, or explicit definition of respect as a psychological construct exists, nor is there any consensus regarding how it should be measured. This study provides a comprehensive overview of the existing research literature related to respect as a psychological construct, including methods and measures that have been used to define it. In addition, the objective of this study is to create an empirically rigorous definition of respect as a psychological construct, propose a new and empirically-driven methodology for defining and measuring respect, and develop a psychometric measure of respect. Using a prototypical methodology for constructing a definition of respect, it is hoped that continuing data will result in a psychometric measure of respect appropriate for use in future studies.




Student(s):
Katherine Oring

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Mindy Puopolo
Love at First Sight: A Correlation of Personality and Attachment Style

Love at first sight is a phenomenon that our culture has romanticized. It is viewed as positive and desired, however, that is not always the case. Love at first sight can have a very negative impact on an individual’s life. The current research will inform the clinical community on the positive and negative impacts of love at first sight. Specifically, this study will examine if certain personalities and attachment styles make an individual more susceptible to the experience of love at first sight. The tests administered were the NEO-PI to measure personality, the ECR-R to measure attachment style, and the Romantic Belief Scale to assess the individual’s belief in love at first sight. The results of this study may assist the clinical community in creating a typology of what personality and attachment styles predispose and individual to fall in love at first sight.




Student(s):
Ashley Ribeiro
and Research advisor: Dr. Jamie Bedics

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Jamie Bedics
Interpersonal Outcomes During Dialectical Behavior Therapy

The efficacy of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) on interpersonal outcomes for individuals diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) has been associated with improved relationship quality and interpersonal functioning (Linehan, et al., 1994). In a study examining social perception of clients diagnosed with BPD, results indicated that these clients perceived their maternal relationships as hostile and highly autonomous. In addition, findings suggested that these individuals were more likely to perceive their current relationship as submissive (Benjamin & Wonderlich, 1994). Other specific variables such as demand-withdraw behaviors have also been widely studied within interpersonal difficulties and have been linked to relationship satisfaction (Laurenceau, Barrett, & Feldman, 2005). This study extends previous research by examining the client's perception of significant other and overall relationship quality throughout the course of a DBT group as well as quality of demand-withdrawal interactions in the sample.




Student(s):
Kristina Rodriguez

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Mindy Puopolo
Cultural Values and Beliefs Among an Intimate Partner Violence Population

In working with Hispanic survivors of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV), values such as, marianisimo, machismo and caballerismo may impact the development of Reflective Functioning (RF), i.e., reflection of one’s own mental state and of others (Fonagy, Target, H. Steele & M. Steele, 1998). Marianisimo involves attitudes about Hispanic women, for example, as being self-sacrificing (Gil, Vazquez, 1996). Machisimo describes males as the provider and protector while caballerismo views the male as the gentleman and nurturer (Arciniega, Anderson,Tovar-Blank,Tracey, 2008). Participants completed self-report questionnaires and a modified Adult Attachment Interview (AAI). Trends indicated that Hispanics scored lower on RF than non-Hispanics. However, similar scores were obtained on cultural values within groups. Both groups endorsed higher scores of caballerismo than machismo. These findings may play an important role in influencing the dynamics of an IPV relationship. Suggestions for future research include the investigation of the idealization of partners in an IPV relationship.




Student(s):
Kristen Roye

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Mindy Puopolo
Assessing Adult Attachment Using the California Q-Sort

Adult attachment styles have not been assessed using the California Q-Sort. This research aimed to create attachment criterion sorts that can be correlated with an individual’s California Q-Sort score to identify which attachment style an individual is employing. The attachment criterion sorts were created by having experts (n = 5) in attachment theory take the California Q-Sort for the protypically secure, preoccupied, fearful and dismissing individual. These criterion sorts were then given to participants (n = 90) in conjunction with the Experiences in Close Relationships-Revised (ECR-R). While expert data did not yield valid and reliable criterion sorts, participant data did yield significant results. Data suggests that the California Q-Sort can be used in conjunction with the ECR-R to determine if an individual is displaying anxiety over abandonment or avoidance of closeness.




Student(s):
Miranda Sager

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Mindy Puopolo
Utility of Assessing Attachment in Child Custody Mediation

Assessing the parent-child relationship is central in making child custody decisions. However, the direct evaluation of attachment quality has received little attention in the field of child custody despite its noted importance in evaluating the child-parent relationship. The aim of this study was to assess the utility of using measures of attachment for the purpose of assisting the process of child custody determinations. This case study utilized one family with two young children (age 4 and 5) currently undergoing child custody mediation. Each caregiver and toddler was observed in-home and assessed for attachment security using the Attachment Q-sort (Waters & Deane, 1985). Additionally, caregivers completed self-report measures of perceived attachment. Self-report measures were scored and profile correlations between Q-sorts for observer, self-perception, and other-caregiver were run to examine the relationship between caregiver and observer perceptions of the parent child relationship. Results and implications for future research are discussed.




Student(s):
Elessandria Smith

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Sharon Docter
The Pervasive Stereotypes of Blacks in Predominantly Black Films

The film industry has a history of reinforcing stereotypes. Black characters, in particular, are often typecast into stereotypical archetypes. These common stereotypes include the Zip Coon, Jim Crowe, Uncle Tom, the mammy, jezebel, the angry black woman, and magical negro characters. Stereotypes like these are so common that blacks start applying these negative stereotypes to their own depictions of characters in predominantly black films. These negative images then become ingrained in the black minority itself through hegemonic processes. The stereotypes are then perpetuated in predominantly black films. This study used content analysis of the top ten grossing black films in the United States to examine representations of black stereotypical archetypes.




Student(s):
Kristen Switaj

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Mindy Puopolo
Factors Leading to Children's Identification with Aggressor or Victim in Domestic Violence Families

Domestic violence occurs in approximately 25-50% of homes and often when children are present. A lot of research has been conducted on the effects of domestic violence on children and found that it impacts their behaviors and relationships, both in the present and future. Research has found that children tend to identify with one parent, either the aggressor or the victim, over the other, but the factors that contribute to this identification have not been examined in depth. This study looks to identify the factors that contribute to children's identification with a particular parent. In particular, the study will examine how the type of violence, years of witnessing, way the violence was witnessed (auditory and/or visual), and parent-child relationship contribute to the child identifying with either the aggressor or victim.




Student(s):
Carleen Tansey

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Jamie Bedics
Opposite Action as a Brief Treatment for the Emotion of Anger

It is estimated that 17.3 million people worldwide die from cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) each year (WHO, 2011). A psychophysiological model hypothesizes that individuals which experience anger more frequently and with greater intensity, also experience more frequent activation of the sympathetic nervous system which may promote the development of CVDs (Karmarck & Jennings, 1991; Krantz & Manuck, 1984). Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) was developed as a treatment for suicidal behaviors and expanded to a treatment for individuals who meet criteria for borderline personality disorder and emotion dysregulation (Linehan, 1993a). Emotion dysregulation includes frequent and intense emotional reactivity (Linehan, 1993a). One skill included in the emotion regulation module is Opposite Action (OA), which is a treatment for unwanted emotions (Linehan, 1993b). The purpose of this study was to test the effectiveness of a brief cognitive behavioral skill based treatment for the emotion of anger on physiologic reactivity and negative health outcomes.




Student(s):
Aaron Waters
and Dr. Marylie Gerson

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Marylie Gerson
A Refined Intervention to Increase Resilience and Thriving in Recovering Substance Abusers

Identifying predictors of resilience and thriving, and ways to increase them, is crucial for prolonging abstinence in recovering substance abusers. The current study aimed to refine a successful intervention previously developed by Waters and Gerson (2012). Participants (n = 73) consisted of adults recovering from substance abuse who were currently involved in 12-step programs, recovery groups, and probation-mandated programs. Participants were randomly assigned to one of three visualization/writing exercises: either expressing gratitude, describing ways in which they had helped another person, or a daily activities list. Upon completion of the exercise, participants completed resilience and thriving measurements. It was hypothesized that the expressing gratitude condition would increase resilience and thriving significantly more than either of the other two conditions. MANOVAs revealed the thriving measurements followed the hypothesized direction, with the expressing gratitude condition having the highest scores in life satisfaction and positive affect, however, not at a significant level.




Student(s):
Aaron Waters
and Dr. Marylie Gerson

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Marylie Gerson
Expressing Gratitude for a Good Deed as a Predictor of Resilience and Thriving in Undergraduates

Increasing resilience and thriving in undergraduates is crucial as this period of time is littered with stressors. The current study looked to determine whether being helped by another person or expressing gratitude increased resilience and thriving more in undergraduates as well as understanding gratitude’s ability in predicting other constructs. Participants (n = 221) were randomly assigned to one of three visualizing/writing conditions; listing daily activities, describing ways in which another helped you, or expressing gratitude. After completing the intervention participants then completed the measures of resilience, thriving, and hypothesized predictors. MANOVA’s revealed that participants in the expressing gratitude condition reported higher mean scores on measurements of resilience and thriving compared to the other two conditions, however, not at a significant level. Findings suggest the importance of increasing awareness of gratitude towards other people in one’s life. Further research is needed to understand more effective ways to increase gratitude in undergraduates.




Student(s):
Patricia Wright

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Jamie Bedics
Treatment after Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) can impact all aspects of life causing significant financial, social, and psychological impairment. The functional impairment in regards to the extent of behavioral and/or mental impairment is extensive. Previous studies on TBI suggest that the goal of rehabilitation is to provide a structured treatment that reduces behavioral and/or mental impairments and increases quality of life. Despite the clinical importance of treatment, there continues to be a dearth of treatments for those with TBI or even an agreed upon treatment which targets symptoms. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is an evidence-based treatment that has been found to be effective for a range of disorders. The purpose of this study is to examine the extent to which DBT can be applied to individuals with TBI and to what degree such an approach needs to be tailored to meet the challenges posed by impairments of TBI.




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