Schedule of Events | Cal Lutheran

Virtual Festival of Scholars

April 27 – May 1, 2020

Schedule of Events


Social and Behavioral Sciences Poster Jamboree


Student Abstracts

Student(s):
Madison Bailey, Shannon Reese

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Rachel Casas

The Influential Role of Culture in the Perceptions of Mental Health in Police Officers 
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Noted to be a high risk and high stress profession, law enforcement officers partake in work that is mentally and emotionally taxing, as well as often physically dangerous.  Research has found higher prevalence rates of a wide range of mental health concerns within law enforcement professions compared to the general public.  The stereotypically masculine values of the law enforcement culture are hypothesized to have a strong influence on attitudes about mental health in this population.  The cultural values coupled with an organizational structure intended to increase compliance with social norms has led to a social environment that further perpetuates negative attitudes and stigmatized beliefs of mental health and treatment seeking.  It is unclear whether both male and female officers experience similar attitudes about mental health.  Similarly, it is unclear whether there are differences in attitudes toward mental health between officers of different rank within the law enforcement organizational structure.  The current study hopes to provide a greater understanding of public and self-mental health stigma as it relates to cultural values within the law enforcement population.  Specific analyses of gender and rank will seek to determine whether there are specific subgroups within the law enforcement population that may be endorsing higher levels of mental health stigma.  This research hopes to shed light on a systemic problem within the law enforcement population and inform future research concerning areas of intervention and promotion of policy change to de-stigmatize beliefs about mental health and treatment seeking. 
       

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Student(s):
Eleanor Barker

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Haco Hoang

The Sustainability and Effectiveness of Environmental Restoration Projects
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 Although the Aral Sea, the Salton Sea, and Owens Lake all face unique circumstances in the implementation of projects, the environmental situation experienced by each is remarkably similar to the other, while political responses have been drastically different. Likewise, each project has resulted in an array of accomplishments and challenges, suggesting that the evolution of these environmental restoration projects depends not entirely in the scientific process, but more so the political process and stakeholder interest in achieving sustainable and long-term solutions to these catastrophes. The purpose of this study is to examine the effectiveness of government-led water restoration projects on addressing the health and environmental concerns of communities affected by shrinking bodies of water. The study concentrates on the completed restoration projects in Owens Valley and the ongoing efforts in the Salton Sea and Aral Sea regions in order to form a collaborative foundation for political responses to shrinking bodies of water by answering three important questions: 1) What are environmental restoration projects, and which projects lead the restoration effort in each region? 2) What relationship exists between local, state, federal, and non-governmental bodies in these projects?3) How can lessons from past actions at Owens Lake, the Salton Sea, and the Northern Aral Sea be merged to provide a strong foundation for future environmental restoration projects?

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Student(s):
Viannae Carmona, Dr. Jennifer Twyford

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Rachel Casas

Pediatrician Adherence to Autism Screening Guidelines, An Examination of Screening Inequities
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Studies have continually demonstrated that prognosis improves significantly for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) when intervention is accessed prior to 2  years old. To improve access to early intervention services the American Academy of Pediatric’s published an autism specific screening guidelines 2007. Screening guidelines, also referred as the algorithm, were created for primary care physicians to follow during the well-child visit. The algorithm states that all children should be screened for ASD during the 18, 24 and 30-month well child visits. Historically, ASD screening has been low. Few studies have been conducted to evaluate whether ASD screening practices of physicians has changed. Furthermore, insufficient evidence currently exists whether or not screening disparities exist at a socio-demographic level, specifically disparities based on minority and socioeconomic levels. This study has three aims. First, to determine AAP screening compliance rates amongst California pediatricians. Second, to determine whether patient socio-demographic variables are correlated with pediatrician screening practices. Third, to evaluate pediatrician’s competence and confidence surrounding ASD and the AAP screening guidelines.


Student(s):
Melanie Cohen

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Marylie Gerson

How Implicit Bias is Shaped by an Individual’s Moral Foundations and Political Affiliation
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In the field of Social Psychology there is considerable interest, not only in understanding implicit bias, prejudice, and discrimination, but also in disseminating findings that may be of use to the public; education is crucial on this topic. In this study, I attempted to evaluate another way to understand why an individual may be prone to harboring implicit bias. This topic is not completely novel, but it also has more that must be understood. Approximately 120 undergraduate volunteers participated in this online study, to explore whether moral attitudes and political affiliation predict implicit bias against black individuals. Participants completed the Implicit Association Test (IAT) (Harvard, 1998), the Moral Foundations Questionnaire (Graham et al., 2011), and the 12 Item Social and Economic Conservatism Scale (SECS) (Everett, 2013). I hypothesized that there will be a significant positive relationship between high scores on the SECS and a score of “biased” on the IAT, which will be mediated by morality.


Student(s):
Marisa Ferens

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Marylie Gerson

Hiring The Formerly Incarcerated and Perceptions of Morality
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The purpose of this study was to examine the influence of the type of crime committed by an individual and their perceived morality on ratings of the likelihood of being hired for employment. Certification programs are increasingly being utilized in prisons. This is important because it provides formerly incarcerated individuals with opportunities to successfully reintegrate back into society while also being able to provide for themselves. Not only does successful reintegration decrease recidivism rates and crime at large, but also helps to keep correctional facilities from becoming overpopulated. In addition, much of the discrimination convicted criminals face while attempting to re-enter the work force may be due to judgments of their moral character. Specifically, traits of honesty and trustworthiness are questioned. Certain types of crimes are also associated with employers' willingness to hire. In my study, participants were given a hypothetical vignette which described an individual applying for a job who had been formerly incarcerated for either 1st degree or 2nd degree burglary and whose morality was either stated as high or not mentioned. Participants were then prompted to answer questions regarding hiring decisions, perceived morality and basic demographics.  I hypothesized that participants would be significantly more likely to hire a hypothetical criminal convicted of 2nd degree burglary than for 1st degree burglary. I also hypothesized that participants would be significantly more likely to hire a hypothetical criminal portrayed as high in morality than one not described as such.


Student(s):
Sarah Kappen

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Rachel Casas

Human Trafficking in Ventura County: Prevelance, Process, and Intervention
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Human trafficking (HT) is often referred to as “modern-day slavery” and it is the world’s fastest growing criminal industry. Although many view HT as an international issue, greater awareness of the prevalence of this issue in the United States is developing. Individuals of all sexes and gender identities are trafficked. The majority of victims of sex trafficking, a form of HT, are female. Trafficking can result in a number of physical and psychological issues for survivors. Organizations are beginning to develop resources to aid these survivors as they reintegrate into society and recover from the many ramifications of their experiences. In 2016, the first prevalence rate study was conducted surveying several local agencies and organizations in Ventura County that work with victims of HT. This study identified 57 victims (53 female) between January 2014 and April 2016. Agencies involved in the study explained that they could provide minimal services to survivors. This lack of resources indicated a need for collaboration between organizations. Forever Found and the Ventura County Coalition Against Human Trafficking have since worked to develop resources for survivors of HT within the county. This study is a mixed-methods values-based logic model program evaluation of the services offered by the local nonprofit Forever Found. The study assisted in creating and integrating evaluative elements into the program to provide a means of continually assessing its efficacy in preventing, rescuing, and restoring youth victims of trafficking. The evaluation’s findings and suggestions are presented in a case study format.

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Student(s):
Tessa Kirk

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Marylie Gerson

The Effects of Music and Conscientiousness on Memory Recall, Anxiety, and Mood Levels
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This study explored the effects of the presence of music and personality on both memory recall and anxiety. This is important to investigate as some college students believe that listening to music while studying and/or doing homework helps them remember and focus more, whereas other college students disagree and cannot focus if there is any kind of noise present while studying and/or doing homework. The research supports that music would be less likely to help a student focus on a task, so this study was created to look deeper into the question. Participants were gathered through the SONA system and were given a link online to participate. They completed a consent form and questionnaires about their current mood, personality traits, and demographics. They were then randomly placed in the two conditions of music or no music while they memorized novel words on their screen for 4 minutes. They then had 2 minutes of silence to have a delay in recall. They then reviewed a list of words and were asked to choose which ones were on the original list. Finally, they completed more mood questionnaires. I hypothesized that music and conscientiousness would interact such that anxiety would be significantly higher and memory lower for individuals low in conscientiousness when music was present than when it was absent, but that anxiety would be significantly lower and memory higher for individuals high in conscientiousness when music was absent than when it was present.
 


Student(s):
Brian Knoll, Dr. Jennifer Twyford, Dr. Bruce Gillies, Dr. Ron Bale

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Mindy Puopolo

Consequences of Post-Deployment Health Assessment Exclusion in U.S. Navy Personnel
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The Department of Defense (DOD) mandates Pre- and Post-Deployment Health Assessments (“PDHA” will refer to the latter) for military members although some Navy sailors are excluded. An anonymous questionnaire was given to 319 current and prior members of the Navy to determine any negative consequences to this exclusion. The questionnaire contained the Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist (PCL-5), the Clinical Anger Scale (CAS), and the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT). While the results of the independent samples t test did not prove to be statistically significant, an exploratory multiple linear regression did produce significant results. The non-PDHA group of sailors scored higher on the PCL-5 (M=15.27, SD=15.61) than the PDHA group (M=13.51, SD=14.16), t(301), p = 0.369. Non-PDHA sailors scored higher on the CAS (M=8.41, SD=7.40) than the PDHA group (M=7.74, SD=6.82), t(190), p = 0.568. Lastly, non-PDHA sailors had higher AUDIT scores (M=2.68, SD=8.83) than those who received the PDHA (M=2.43, SD=3.67), t(263),  p = 0.618. The results of the multiple linear regression indicated three predictors explained 9.9% of the variance (R2 = 0.099, F(3, 299) =  10.98, p < .001). It was found that receiving a Post-Deployment Health Assessment (β = -4.52,  p = .030) predicated lower PCL scores, while seeing a traumatic event at sea (β = 5.689,  p = .001) and seeing a traumatic event on land (β = 9.238,  p= .000) predicted higher scores on the PCL. This study identifies inconsistencies in Post-Deployment Health Assessments administration and recommends reexamining DOD requirements to remove any exclusion.

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Student(s):
Molly Kolquist, Dr. Jennifer Twyford

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Rachel Casas

School-based Mindfulness Interventions in Promoting Resiliency in Adolescents: A Meta-Analysis
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Adolescence is a time marked by challenging life changes and stressors. Mindfulness is an intervention that could be helpful in supporting and building upon an adolescent's assets and resources, which promote healthy development. In recent years, there have been numerous studies conducted on school-based mindfulness interventions, however, these results have not yet been synthesized for a general understanding on the effectiveness of these interventions on promoting youth resiliency. The current proposed study is a meta-analysis that plans to aggregate the resiliency findings of school-based mindfulness interventions with adolescents. 

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Student(s):
Caroline Laubach

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Haco Hoang

Post Conflict Reconstruction Effectiveness: Post Intervention Strategies in Cambodia   
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The purpose of this study is to examine the effectiveness of reconstruction efforts in Cambodia.It is important to determine the effectiveness of reconstruction strategies to help successfully support and rebuild nations and countries affected by ethnic conflict.This study will examine guidelines for reconstruction as outlined by The Responsibility to Protect. Reconstruction is defined as the degree of effectiveness a country has in reintegrating groups into society, economic standing, and political stability post conflict. Ethnic conflict is defined as political, social, economic and/or religious contentions between two or more groups that result in a struggle for one group’s place in society. The term ethnic conflict will be used as it often denotes the occurrence of war crimes and/or human rights violations and does not carry the same legalistic weight as the term genocide. Additionally, by using a broader term, policy and regulations to facilitate reconstruction can be applied to more situations and thus have a larger impact.

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Student(s):
Trevor Ludington

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Richard Holigrocki

Adverse Childhood Experiences and Teamwork Ability
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For years, it has been widely accepted that exposure to adverse experiences can impact a child’s emotional wellbeing. However, more recent research has started to explore the impact that Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) can have on an adult’s emotional, physical, and interpersonal health (Felitti et al., 1998). Research has shown that individuals with higher ACEs exposure are more likely to experience depression and less likely to utilize social support than individuals with less exposure. Utilization of support and trust in others are core components for team cohesion and success. With the relationship that exposure to ACEs has had with these interpersonal skills, it was hypothesized that exposure to ACEs would share a negative correlational relationship with team values and an individual’s teamwork ability. To measure this, participants completed a Qualtrics survey that included an ACEs questionnaire as well as the System for the Multiple Level Observation of Groups (SYMLOG) assessment. The ACEs questionnaire measures the individual’s exposure to 10 different variations of adverse experiences in childhood. Results from SYMLOG will help illustrate an individual’s view towards values that are broken into three categories: 1) beneficial for teamwork, 2) necessary, but dangerous, and 3) harmful for teamwork. Recruitment involved getting access to CLU team athletes through coaching staff and attending a practice to ask for their voluntary participation. Individual’s ACE scores were run through correlational analysis with the three subcategories of SYMLOG to explore for relationships.

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Student(s):
Victoria Miller

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Marylie Gerson

Can Personality Influence Whether Nutritional Education Works? 
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Along with the spreading epidemic of obesity in the United States, research in health and related psychology has increased in order to investigate the causes of today's unhealthy lifestyles. This research aimed to explore whether neuroticism in the Big Five Personality Index mediates the influence nutritional education could have on eating attitudes. I hypothesized that nutritional education would lead to significantly healthier eating attitudes for individuals low in neuroticism, but not for individuals high in neuroticism. In order to consider this hypothesis, 121 college students voluntarily completed an online Qualtrics survey. All participants completed questionnaires about their eating attitudes and levels of neuroticism, and half of the participants were randomly assigned to a condition where they were presented with a short nutritional education presentation. All participants completed the same eating attitudes questionnaire a second time in order to compare the scores before and after the nutritional education presentation, as well as to have a control group. 


Student(s):
Natalie Nazarbekian

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Marylie Gerson

The effects of lyrical and non-lyrical music on reading comprehension performance of introverts and extraverts
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It is important to note how music influences reading comprehension in order to determine its effect on daily tasks such as studying for exams or performance in the workplace. The purpose of this study was to examine how lyrical and non-lyrical music impacted the reading comprehension performance of introverted and extraverted university students. I hypothesized that participants exposed to instrumental music, both introverts and extraverts, would have a significantly higher reading comprehension score than those exposed to the non-music condition. It was also hypothesized that extraverts would perform significantly better than introverts under lyrical music conditions for the reading comprehension task. Undergraduate students from California Lutheran University participated in the experimental study online through Qualtrics. Participants were randomly assigned to three conditions: silent, non-lyrical, or lyrical music. All participants were given 5 minutes to read a sample GMAT passage from Kaplan in Qualtrics. Those in the music conditions listened to either the lyrical or non-lyrical version of John Mayer’s “Queen of California” while reading the passage. After reading the passage, participants’ reading comprehension performance was assessed through a series of six questions pertaining to the passage. Upon completion of the study, participants also completed the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire and answered a few demographics questions.


Student(s):
Tatiana Profeta

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Marylie Gerson

Nature, Approach, and Environmental Attitudes
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As climate change has become more of a forefront in conversations around the globe, the world is left with a major question. What is the most effective way to increase pro-environmental attitudes and make changes to environmentally sustainable behaviors? This research study was conducted to test if one’s connectedness to nature (high or low) determines the most effective approach (either world or personal) of increasing one’s pro-environmental attitudes. The study was conducted as a 2 x 2 factorial design. The researcher predicted that if one has a high affinity to nature then a world approach will have a greater influence on their pro-environmental attitudes, but if one has a low affinity to nature then a personal approach will have a greater influence on their pro-environmental attitudes. This study consisted of 120 students enrolled in psychology courses at a liberal arts college in Southern California. In this online study, the participants were randomly assigned to read a short vignette with a corresponding picture of the hazards of using plastic water bottles that was either focused on the detrimental impact on the environment (world approach) or on health-related dangers (personal approach). Participants also completed a connectedness to nature scale, answered an environmental attitude questionnaire, and filled out demographic questions. 


Student(s):
Shannon Reese, Madison Bailey

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Rachel Casas

Sensation-seeking in First Responders
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First responders, such as firefighters, police officers, EMTs, and paramedics, face daily stressors and critical incidents as part of the high-stress and high-risk nature of their professions.  Previous research has demonstrated that individuals who are high in sensation-seeking tend to engage in high-risk behaviors and seek out high-risk professions.  However, there is a lack of research into whether individuals who are high in sensation-seeking also tend to seek out high-risk prosocial professions, such as first responder professions.  Therefore, the primary objective of this study will be to contribute to the psychological literature regarding levels of sensation-seeking in first responder professions as compared to the general population.  A between-subjects design will be used in this study, as this will allow for a comparison of the levels of sensation-seeking between the two groups of first responders and the general population.  Demographic variables that are collected and utilized will be coded into quantitative categorical variables.  Their relationship with levels of sensation-seeking will be explored within the first responder sample.  It is hypothesized that (1) Current first responder professionals will have higher levels of sensation-seeking than individuals who are not in these professions; (2) A negative correlation between levels of sensation-seeking and age will be found in individuals within first responder professions; and (3) Males will have higher levels of sensation-seeking than females within first responder professions.
 

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Student(s):
Stephanie Rendon

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Haco Hoang

Hip Hop and its Tool for Social Change: A Study of Hip Hop Culture and the Impact it has on Communities
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The purpose of this study is to analyze hip hop culture and whether it is still a viable political tool for social, economic, and cultural changes within minority communities. This study will examine the historical impacts that the hip hop movement has had and if it still has the same influence in today’s society.Hip hop through history has been used to not only bring people together but to also make strides in communities and on certain issues. Therefore, it is useful to examine how all the various aspects of this art form have brought people together and allowed them to feel connected to major social and political issues. However, this art form has evolved and is not being compared with how it was years ago through our current media outlets. Hip hop contains much more substance and is more politically significant now than what is portrayed in the mainstream media.

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Student(s):
Rashelle Rew

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Haco Hoang

Should Sweden Become a Full-Fledged Member of the European Union?
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In 1995, Sweden chose to join and adopt the policies of the European Union but decided to not embrace membership in the Eurozone and assume the Euro as their national currency. Over the years, Sweden has attended and worked as a member of the European Union attending most council meetings which debate policy and coordinate European Union law. The purpose of this study is to examine the benefits and disadvantages of Sweden adopting the Euro, and becoming a full-fledged member of the European Union. This study will use interviews and policy analysis. The following questions will be examined: What are the membership requirements and tiers of the European Union and the Eurozone? What are the benefits and disadvantages of Sweden adopting the Euro? Should Sweden move forward with adopting the Euro? The data for this study was taken from interviewees with experience and knowledge on the topic. Some of my major findings included that the European Union has a set list of requirements that must be completed in order to join as a full-fledged member. Moreover, it was established that American educators had a more negative view of the Euro versus Swedish scholars who felt that the Euro could provide Sweden with a larger international economy.. Three recommendations were given before making a declared decision of adopting the Euro: increasing the wealth of the Kroner for stability, waiting out Brexit, and listening to the people of Sweden as they had a referendum in 2003 already.

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Student(s):
Stephanie Russo

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Haco Hoang

How Successful Women Create Successful Economies: A Study of Sustainable Trade and Female Entrepreneurship 
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With the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals set to be completed by 2030, the organization's top goal still remains a prominent problem across the globe: eradicating extreme poverty. This first goal also directly relates to Goal 5: to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. Governments, NGOs, and social enterprises have tried to do their part in ending poverty, however recent research has shown that their efforts are hurting more than helping. This study will focus on how the economic empowerment of women promotes development, specifically using the example of sustainable trade among female artisans and entrepreneurs. If entrepreneurship has been proven to help individuals, can this be applied on a larger economic and social scale? The most developed, first world countries have integrated women into their workforces, and in turn have higher rates of gender equality and lower rates of poverty than in developing countries that have yet to do so. However, being able to utilize these methods sustainably and ethically is the key to properly integrating these countries into the global economy and combating extreme poverty.  

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Student(s):
Daniela Sandelin

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Richard Holigrocki

Effectiveness of Mindfulness Based Interventions in Subclinical and Clinical Adolescent Populations
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Montgomery et al., (2013) meta-analysis study examined the effectiveness of four different Mindfulness Based Interventions (MBIs) in improving psychological well-being in adolescent populations. The first objective of this meta-analysis was to update Montgomery’s study from year 2013 to year 2018. The second objective was to focus on the level of treatment effectiveness; how MBIs impacted adolescent mental health. The third objective was to analyze the extent to which moderating factors impacted treatment effectiveness. A meta-analysis was utilized to compute effect sizes and to investigate 1) the effectiveness of MBIs in reducing clinical and subclinical symptoms 2) compare the effectiveness of four different MBIs in subclinical and clinical populations 3) explore moderating factors which may impact treatment effectiveness 4) explore to what extent do inconsistencies in research study methodologies impact study results. The results showed moderate effect sizes in reducing clinical symptoms across Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) post-treatment (Cohen’s d > 0.5), while there was a trend of reduction of subclinical symptoms across Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) post-treatment, yet not large enough of an effect size (Cohen’s d < 0.5). Moderating factors which significantly impacted treatment effectiveness were 1) therapists’ type of training 2) intervention duration 3) type of MBI utilized. The results showed overarching issues of Type I and type II errors in MBSR and MBCT studies, which correlated with studies lacking in systematic and consistent research methodologies, impacting accurate interpretation of study results.

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Student(s):
Christopher Soto

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Marylie Gerson

Effect of Discussion Valence on Interpersonal Closeness and Perceived Social Isolation
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Although there exists a tendency to afford time to positivity, there exists some bond and benefit to resonating with others through negative outlooks. This concept can be seen when relationships are bonded by a shared disgust for a specific object or by simply allowing shared negativity to dismantle perceptions of loneliness in one’s personal outlook. Touching on this, the purpose of this study was to examine the effect of discussion valence on interpersonal closeness and perceived social isolation. I hypothesized that negative discussion valence will result in higher reported closeness to a discussion partner as well as lower rated social isolation as a result than positive discussion valence. Approximately 50 psychology students were randomly assigned to one of two conditions. In one condition, participants were linked to a Zoom meeting with a confederate discussion partner to watch a short video advertisement together and share positive notes. In the second condition, participants were linked to a Zoom meeting with their discussion partner to watch the same advertisement, but share negative notes. All participants then answered a survey regarding their sentiments of closeness to their partner and their sentiments of social isolation. 


Student(s):
Claire Thompson

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Monica Gracyalny

Slaying a Friend or Slaying an Enemy: Differences in the Use of Morality in Single- Versus Multi-Player Video Games
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Video games, particularly massively-multiplayer online (MMO) games, have increased in popularity and profitability throughout the 21st century. Given that the players can interact with each other in MMOs, they are akin to social media and warrant attention separate from the research of single-player games. Previous research shows that people do apply moral principles during gameplay, although research on MMOs has found conflicting evidence on the frequency of prosocial versus antisocial behavior in such titles (e.g., McInroy & Mishna, 2017; Thacker & Griffiths, 2012). This study examined the differences in the use of morality during gameplay in a single-player game versus a MMO game. A content analysis of YouTube playthroughs (N = 10) featuring gameplay from a single-player game and a MMO game was conducted and actions and voiceover were coded for morality according to a utilitarian principle; the object of each action (non-playable character or other player) was also coded. Players were more likely to commit immoral actions in a single-player game, versus neutral actions in an MMO. The majority of voiceover in both conditions was amoral. Most actions committed against non-playable characters were immoral, while most committed against other players were neutral.

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Student(s):
Claire Thompson, Kayomi Kayoshi, Kiersa Warwick, Rachel Salvati

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Monica Gracyalny and Dr. Jean Sandlin

Examining the Intensity of Audience Attitudes and its Relationship to Comment Sentiment
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Previous research has found a positive relationship between the attitudes audiences hold towards public figures and their reactions to the apologies issued by such figures (Finsterwalder, Yee, & Tombs, 2017; Sandlin & Gracyalny, 2018). However, these studies have not reported whether the intensity of audiences’ feelings towards public figures relate to the intensity of their reactions to the apologies from these figures. This study examined the relationship between the intensity of audiences’ overall impression (positive/negative) of a company or their CEO and the intensity of the comments they leave on apology videos issued by these entities for their transgressions. Participants were recruited from Amazon’s MTurk to complete a survey, and then randomly assigned to watch videos from one of 6 groups: commercial apology (issued by Wells Fargo or Facebook), CEO apology (issued by John Stumpf or Mark Zuckerberg), or both the commercial and the CEO apology. Participants responded to a Likert-type question indicating their overall impression of Wells Fargo or Facebook, and each company’s respective CEO (1 = extremely negative, 7 = extremely positive). Additionally, they wrote what comment they would leave under the video as if they were on YouTube. The comments were coded for the intensity of the sentiment (1 = extremely negative, 5 = extremely positive) and a correlation was used to examine relationships between audience attitudes about the public figures and the sentiment of their reactions to the apologies. These results may be used by public relations professionals in strategizing the apologies issued by their clients.
 

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Student(s):
Robert Warren

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Marylie Gerson

The Effects of Social Conformity and Emotion on False Memory Formation
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False memory is a topic that has been of interest to scholars for many years. The ease to which our memory can be manipulated and falsified can be jarring but understanding this shortcoming of the human mind can be beneficial. For example, eyewitness reports have been shown to be susceptible to outside social influence, sometimes even having witnesses report and believe events that never happened. Emotion also appears to increase false memory rate resulting in emotional events to be incorrectly remembered or falsified more than neutral events. This study was conducted to observe the strength social conformity has on false memory formation, as well as what effect the emotional valence of a stimuli has on memory. Participants were randomly assigned to read one of three short paragraphs (with positive, neutral, or negative emotion). They then completed a recognition task requiring them to answer several true or false questions regarding the paragraph, during which they were presented falsified answers of what they believed were participants who were currently taking or had previously taken this same study. These fake participants provided responses that were all either correct or incorrect, attempting to reinforce the real participant’s true or false memory of the paragraph. I hypothesize the influence of social conformity will increase both true and false memory formation rates. I also hypothesize emotional stimuli will have higher true and false memory formation rates when compared to neutral stimuli, with negatively valanced stimuli having the highest rates of all groups.  


Student(s):
Caitlin Williams

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Marylie Gerson

Tatoos' Effect on Perceptions of Confidence and Personality 
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Past studies have found that the presence of or type of tattoo someone wears can affect others’ perceptions of them. Previous studies have examined the difference in others’ perceptions in terms of credibility, attractiveness, and promiscuity. Alternatively, I aimed to research how others’ perceptions may change in terms of confidence and personality. I did this by exposing over 100 participants in an online study to one of three images: a woman with no tattoo, a woman with a lower arm tattoo, and a woman with an upper hand tattoo. I classified these placements as no tattoo, easily covered tattoo, and not easily covered tattoo. I then asked participants to share their perception of the woman’s personality and confidence with a modified Big Five Personality Inventory and a simple confidence measure. I hypothesized that as one goes from no tattoos to wearing easily covered tattoos to wearing not easily covered tattoos the level of perceived confidence and extroversion would increase, yet the level of perceived agreeableness would decrease. 


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