2003-2004 Allyn & Bacon Award Abstracts
Cross-Language Conceptual Priming in English-French Bilinguals of Different Levels of Fluency
Michael Goode, Earlham College
First Place Allyn & Bacon Award Winner
Faculty Sponsor: Katharine S. Milar, PhD
An investigation was conducted into the organization of semantic memory in bilingual English-French speakers and English speakers just learning French. Participants were divided into four different French skill groupings: low (presently taking introductory French of the equivalent), medium (having taken multiple college level courses, high (English dominant fluent speakers of French who had spent time in a French-speaking country), and balanced bilinguals. Repetition priming was used to prime exemplars in a category exemplar generation test of conceptual implicit memory. Partial support was found for J. Kroll's and E. Stewart's (1994) Revised Hierarchical Model of bilingual memory.
Impact of the Chemical Senses on Augmenting Memory, Attention, Reaction Time, Problem Solving, and Response Variability: The Differential Role of Retronasal Versus Orthonasal Odorant Administration
Phillip Zoladz, Wheeling Jesuit University
Second Place Allyn & Bacon Award Winner
Faculty Sponsor: Bryan Raudenbush, PhD
Finding a non-pharmacological adjunct to enhance cognitive processing in humans would be beneficial to individuals across the globe. Past research has consistently noted a significant interplay between odors and human behavior. For example, the administration of particular odorants enhances athletic performance, mood, sleep, and cognition. However, it has been found that odorants have a differential effect on human behavior, dependent upon route of administration (retronasal vs. orthonasal). Since knowledge of these effects is limited, the present study examined the differential effects of odorants administered retronasally and orthonasally on the cognition. The study was divided into two phases: Phase I investigated the effects of retronasal odorants on cognition, while Phase II investigated the effects of orthonasal odorants on cognition. During Phase I, 31 participants completed cognitive tasks on a computer-based program (Impact©) under five "chewing gum" conditions (no gum, flavorless gum, peppermint gum, cinnamon gum, and cherry gum). During Phase II, 39 participants completed cognitive tasks on a computer-based program (Impact©) under four odorant conditions (no odor, peppermint odor, jasmine odor, and cinnamon odor). Results revealed a task-dependent relationship between odors and the enhancement of cognitive processing. Specifically, cinnamon, administered retronasally and orthonasally, improved participants' scores on tasks related to attentional processes, virtual recognition memory, working memory, and visual-motor response speed. Implications of the present study are most promising in providing a non-pharmacological adjunct to enhance cognition in the elderly, individuals with test-anxiety, and perhaps even those with symptoms of dementia.
Practice Makes Perfect: Improving Children's Flexibility in a Card-Sorting Task
Jennifer J. Brace, University of Colorado, Boulder
Third Place Allyn & Bacon Award Winner
Faculty Sponsor: Yuko Munakata, PhD
People often perseverate, or repeat habitual behaviors when they are no longer appropriate. For example, after sorting cards by one rule, 3-year-olds reliably perseverate with this rule even when instructed to switch to a new rule (Zelazo et. al, 1996). Their memory for the new rule may be too weak to compete with memory for prior experiences. To test this theory of flexibility, Forty-eight 39-month-old children received guided practice with the new rule, instructions to switch to the new rule, or both. Practice improved children's abilities to switch to a new rule: 94% of children switched after guided practice and instructions, 81% switched after guided practice only, 25% switched after unrelated practice and instructions.