2006 - 2007 Faculty Advisor Research Grant Winners
A Terror Management Theory Analysis of Disgust Sensitivity Among University Students, Mortuary Science Students, and Older Adults
Jonathan F. Bassett, PhD
Lander University (SC)
The present study examined the Terror Management Theory premise that disgust represents an attempt to symbolically deny human similarity to other animals as a means to quell death anxiety. University students, mortuary students preparing for a career in funeral service, and older adults were randomly assigned to write about watching television, being uncertain, or their own mortality prior to completing a measure of disgust sensitivity. University students reported significantly greater disgust sensitivity than did older adults and mortuary students. Although participants in the mortality salience condition showed slightly greater disgust sensitivity than did participants in the other 2 conditions, this difference was not statistically significant. Further, the effect of mortality salience did not differ significantly across the 3 groups of participants.
Ironic Effects of Censorship: Generating Censored Lyrics Enhances Memory
Matthew R. Kelley, PhD
Lake Forest College (IL)
Four experiments explored the generation effect—mnemonic advantage for self-generated information—in the applied setting of lyrical censorship. Participants listened to an original song in which a subset of nouns were either partially or completely censored and then completed a recognition memory test consisting of heard, censored, and distractor items. When participants successfully generated the censored item during encoding, the standard generation effect was observed; ironically, recognition accuracy was significantly higher for the generated censored items compared to heard items. Source memory did not differ from chance and participants showed a strong bias towards indicating than any “recognized” word was ”heard.” Overall, these results suggest that by omitting certain words from songs, censors might actually make those words more memorable.
Creative Potential and Latent Inhibition Reconsidered: Variations in Domain and Saliency of Cues
Jonna Kwiatkowski, PhD
Emmanuel College (MA)
This study addresses inconsistencies in the literature about the relationship between latent inhibition (LI) and creative potential. There is published research that shows a relationship between creativity and an auditory LI task (Carson, Peterson, & Higgins, 2003), and other published research that reports no relationship between creativity and a visual LI task (Burch, Hemsley, Pavelis, & Corr, 2006). There also seems to be discrepancies in the saliency of the cues used in various latent inhibition experiments. This project will compare participant responses on both cue type (visual vs. auditory) and cue saliency for LI and creative potential tasks. The goal is to clarify the relationship between creativity and LI while establishing norms for using LI tasks in creativity research.
Exploring the Risk and Resilience Factors to the Development of Eating Disorders
Carla J. Reyes, PhD
University of Utah
Risk and resilience factors in the development of eating disorders (ED) in dancers were examined. Risk measures included anxiety, depression, weight-pressures, and perfectionism. ED-Risk was measured by the Eating Disorder Inventory-3. Resilience measures included social-support, self-esteem, proactive-coping, hope, optimism/pessimism, sense-of-humor, and spirituality. Results demonstrated weight-pressures-in-dance was the risk factor most correlated with ED risk, followed by depression and anxiety. Resilient factors negatively associated with ED included self-esteem, optimism, and proactive-coping. Negative affect mediated the relationship between environmental pressures and overall ED risk. Resilience factors may serve a compensatory function in total ED-risk. Although overall risk decreased, resilience factors did not completely compensate for the impact that specific weight pressures have in the overall ED risk in dancers.
What Your Best Friend Sees That I Don’t See: Comparing Close Friend Dyads and Casual Acquaintance Dyads on the Perception of Facial Expressions of Emotion
Fang Zhang, PhD
Assumption College (MA)
It is assumed that intimacy and familiarity will lead to better and more efficient emotional communication. Previous research has failed to support this. The study proposes that efficiency in emotional communication in close dyads resides more in the detection of subtle, temporal, and dynamic facial cues than in the detection of full facial expressions. Forty-three close friend dyads were compared with 49 acquaintance dyads on their recognition of the partner’s partial facial expressions. Close friends dyads were more accurate than casual acquaintance dyads in detecting each other’s partially formed sad or angry expressions. The 2 groups were similarly accurate in detecting happy expressions. The results suggest that interpersonal closeness fosters greater sensitivity to subtle facial cues, particularly negative emotions.