Faculty Advisor Research Grant 1997-1998 Winners
Psi Chi congratulates the faculty advisors named below for winning the inaugural competition for Faculty Advisor Research Grants (1997-98). Six grants (one per region) of up to $1,500 are presented annually. The purpose of this program is to recognize and reward faculty advisors who have committed their time and talents to their Psi Chi chapters by helping to defray the direct costs of a research project. Consistent with other Psi Chi award and grant programs, this program promotes Psi Chi’s goals of encouraging scholarship and advancing the professional development of its members. Below are the winning abstracts and personal profiles of the six winners, listed alphabetically with their respective regions in brackets:
- John J. Boitano, PhD (Fairfield University) - "Effects of Hippocampal Disconnection on Spatial Reversal Learning and Memory in Rats"
- Brad Bushman, PhD (Iowa State University) - "Ego-Depletion, Self-Control, and Aggression"
- John M. Davis, PhD (Southwest Texas State University) - "The History and Development of the International Perspective in Psychology"
- Jean Hill, PhD (New Mexico State University) - "Instilling A Collective Sense of Voice and Empowerment in Adolescent Females"
- Christopher Koch, PhD (George Fox University) - "Assessing Individual Differences in Object Recognition and Nonverbal Intelligence Tasks"
- Anthony Perry, PhD (North Carolina A & T University) - "Educational Orientation and Thinking Styles: Are There Racial Differences and/or Similarities?"
Effects of Hippocampal Disconnection on Spatial Reversal Learning and Memory in Rats
John J. Boitano, PhD [EAST]
Recent research has implicated the mammalian hippocampus in spatial learning and memory. While there is no doubt that the hippocampus proper plays an essential role in initializing new memories of spatial localization, it has become increasingly evident that this function is mediated through its extensive connections with both the entorhinal/perirhinal cortices (ECPQ) and the medial septum diagonal band (MSDB) complex. Previous research has demonstrated that rats with MSDB lesions are deficient in spatial reversal learning as measured in the Morris water task, but only if the task is novel and complex. When the reversal task is familiar, MSDB animals are indistinguishable from controls. It is the plan of the proposed project to disconnect ECPC and MSDB from the hippocampus by selective electrolytic lesioning and to test these rats using our reversal paradigm in the water maze. Preoperative reversal training, which will familiarize all Ss with the task, will be followed by postoperative testing. It is anticipated that animals sustaining both ECPC and MSDB lesions will be deficient when contrasted with the appropriate controls. The results will be interpreted in terms of the relative contributions of these two brain areas to hippocampal functioning and to spatially mediated behavior, in general.
John Boitano, PhD, earned his BA at Manhattan College and his PhD at Fordham University. He has held postdoctorals at the University of Michigan and the Center for Brain Research at the University of Rochester. During a one-year sabbatical at the University of Plymouth in the United Kingdom, he studied computational neuroscience. He teaches courses in General Psychology, Biological Bases of Behavior, Psychopharmacology, and Neuroscience, and runs a laboratory in Psychobiology. His research interests include the behavioral effects of medial septal lesions, computational models of hippocampal functioning, and biological theories of consciousness.
Ego-Depletion, Self-Control, and Aggression
Brad Bushman, PhD [MIDWEST]
Iowa State University
According to the catharsis hypothesis, acting aggressively or even viewing aggression is an effective way to reduce anger and aggressive feelings. Does media endorsement for catharsis produce a self-fulfilling or a self-defeating prophecy? In Study 1, participants who read a pro-catharsis message (claiming that aggressive action is a good way to relax and reduce anger) subsequently expressed a greater desire to hit a punching bag than participants who read an anti-catharsis message. In Study 2, participants read the same messages and then actually did hit a punching bag, followed by having an opportunity to engage in laboratory aggression. Contrary to the catharsis hypothesis and to the self-fulfilling prophecy prediction, people who read the pro-catharsis message and then hit the punching bag were subsequently more aggressive than people who read the anti-catharsis message.
Brad Bushman, PhD, is an associate professor of psychology at Iowa State University. As an undergraduate student, he was president of the Weber State College Psi Chi Chapter. In 1984, he received the Psi Chi/J. P. Guilford Undergraduate Research Award, and in 1988, he received the Psi Chi/APA Edwin B. Newman Graduate Research Award. He has been the Psi Chi faculty advisor at Iowa State for seven years. In 1997-98, he received the Psi Chi Midwestern Regional Advisor Award.
Dr. Bushman does research on the causes and consequences of human aggression. His theory-based research touches on real-world problems and has received important media attention. His research has been featured in ABC News 20/20; CBS This Morning, The Discovery Channel, the Jim Lehrer News Hour, National Public Radio, Newsweek, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the New York Times, and the Washington Post. To learn more about his research, visit Dr. Bushman's web page: http://www.psychology.iastate.edu/faculty/bbushman/.
The History and Development of the International Perspective in Psychology
John M. Davis, PhD [SOUTHWEST]
Southwest Texas State University
The Center for International Psychology at Southwest Texas State University has gained a new database as a result of research funded by Psi Chi, the National Honor Society in Psychology. Dr. John Davis, professor of psychology and Psi Chi faculty advisor at Southwest Texas State, was the project director. The database--the first of its kind--contains information concerning the major worldwide organizations that promote an international perspective in psychology. It centralizes information that was previously scattered among more than a dozen countries around the world. Dr. Davis compiled historical and current information about the activities of the International Union of Psychological Sciences, the International Association of Applied Psychology, the International Council of Psychologists, and the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology. Because this database is housed in the SWT Center for International Psychology, it provides a permanent resource for students and scholars who are interested in international psychology. [Dr. Davis submitted to Psi Chi a report consisting of 20 pages of narrative and tables, representing a distillation of the database he has assembled. He also presented this research at the 57th Annual Convention of the International Council of Psychologists this past summer. We hope to further highlight his important work in a future issue of Eye on Psi Chi.]
John M. Davis, PhD, is a professor of psychology at Southwest Texas State University and is the director of the university's Center for International Psychology. Dr. Davis received his PhD in 1974 from the University of Oklahoma. In the past two years as Psi Chi faculty advisor, Dr. Davis has encouraged the members of the Southwest Texas State Chapter to engage in a variety of activities and has helped them turn a virtually dormant chapter into a vibrant one. He has invited several guest speakers to address the chapter and, most recently, he organized a special dinner meeting to celebrate the chapter's 15th anniversary which featured Dr. Jesse Purdy of Southwestern University as keynote speaker. [Dr. Purdy is a former Psi Chi Southwestern regional vice-president and was recently chosen as Psi Chi's new president-elect.] Davis has helped his students to attend and present research at local and regional conferences, and has also accompanied Psi Chi officers to two leadership conferences where they learned skills useful for promoting and leading chapter activity.
Instilling A Collective Sense of Voice and Empowerment in Adolescent Females
Jean Hill, PhD [ROCKY MTN]
New Mexico State University
Research indicates that as girls enter puberty, their self-esteem tends to decline. Utilizing a curriculum based upon a relational psychological theory of feminist principles, culturally relevant stories were introduced to Hispanic girls in a group setting. Twenty-six participants were recruited from a predominately Hispanic elementary school in rural northern New Mexico. Participants were divided into a treatment group and a wait-list control group. The treatment group received twelve 70-minute story sessions over a 4-month period. Pre- and posttesting using the Multidimensional Self Concept Scale (MSCS) was conducted. Results indicated that the treatment group experienced a significant increase in all aspects of self-esteem from pretest to posttest. As a promising intervention, it is recommended that culturally relevant stories be utilized in the school setting to assist Hispanic girls in establishing a healthy sense of identity.
Jean L. Hill, PhD, completed her BA in psychology at Douglass College, Rutgers University in 1983. She went on to study community psychology at DePaul University and completed her PhD in 1990. She is currently associate professor of psychology at New Mexico Highlands University in Las Vegas, N.M. She is very involved in community-level prevention work, and hopes to continue and expand upon the project that her Psi Chi Faculty Advisor Grant supported.
Assessing Individual Differences in Object Recognition and Nonverbal Intelligence Tasks
Christopher Koch, PhD [WEST]
George Fox University
Nonverbal intelligence is important for assessing students with speech deficits, ESL, etc. Unfortunately, nonverbal intelligence tests are often correlated with verbal ability. In the first study, 20 participants were administered the Brief Leiter-R and TONI-3 (nonverbal intelligence tests) and the verbal component of the WAIS. The TONI-3 and verbal WAIS were correlated, r(18) = .55, p < .02. The Leiter-R was not correlated with either the TONI-3 or verbal WAIS. A second study examines the role of intelligence in object recognition. Fifteen participants were administered the Brief Leiter-R, TONI-3, verbal WAIS, and object recognition task. The object recognition task consisted of three conditions: vertices deleted, midsegments deleted, randomly deleted. Results show that objects without vertices were more difficult to recognize than objects with missing midsegments or random deletion. However, no differences were found between conditions when controlling for either nonverbal or verbal intelligence. Although both studies require a larger sample, the results suggest that the Leiter-R assesses nonverbal intelligence without verbal ability and that nonverbal and verbal intelligence influences object recognition.
Christopher Koch, PhD, received his undergraduate degree from the Pennsylvania State University, and his MS and PhD in cognitive - experimental psychology from the University of Georgia. Dr. Koch has been active in Psi Chi, serving as chapter treasurer at Penn State and chapter president at UGA. He also served a one-year term as the APS Student Caucus Psi Chi Liaison while at UGA. Upon joining the faculty at George Fox University in 1993 he installed a new Psi Chi chapter at George Fox and has served as the faculty advisor for both Psi Chi and the Psychology Club since 1994.
Dr. Koch is committed to undergraduate research. In 1995 he organized the first George Fox University Social Science Conference. The conference has been an annual event since 1997 and attracts students from schools in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. In order to provide a publication outlet for abstracts of research presented by students at regional and local conferences, Dr. Koch developed the online Journal of Undergraduate Research in Psychology. Students can publish abstracts of their conference presentations in JURP. Students who win research awards at conferences can also have their entire paper published in JURP. Dr. Koch has also served as a councilor for the Psychology Division of the Council for Undergraduate Research.
His primary research interests deal with attention and object recognition. Specifically, he is interested in understanding the time course of attentional processing associated with the Stroop task and for recognizing fragmented or occluded objects. Individual differences associated with these processes are also studied. The research conducted as part of this grant focuses on cognitive abilities associated with object recognition. Secondary research interests include performance and teaching/learning strategies.
Educational Orientation and Thinking Styles: Are There Racial Differences and/or Similarities?
Anthony Perry, PhD [SOUTHEAST]
North Carolina A&T University
Research on factors that influence learning in college students has intrigued both educational researchers and instructors. This program of research was initiated to examine possible differences in educational orientation and thinking styles across different racial and cultural backgrounds. Students' attitudes and behaviors towards education may be "grade oriented" or "learning oriented" (Eison, Pollio, & Milton, 1982). With regard to thinking styles, Sternberg (1988) has developed a classification system to identify different styles of, and approaches to, learning. These styles of learning are described within Sternberg's (1988) theory of mental self-government. Different thinking styles may also develop from a number of variables, including cultural variables. Our initial study compared 140 African American and 80 Caucasian undergraduate students. Students completed the LOGO II (Eison, Pollio, & Milton, 1982) to determine educational attitudes and behaviors and the MSG Thinking Styles Inventory to assess thinking and learning styles (Sternberg & Wagner, 1991). Preliminary results demonstrated differences in both educational orientation and thinking styles between the 2 groups. Correlational analyses revealed that African Americans were more likely to have learning-oriented attitudes, whereas Caucasians tended to have grade-oriented attitudes. Chi-square results for the different thinking styles indicated that African Americans preferred to follow activities structured by others and to do multiple tasks at the same time. Caucasians reported preferring to formulate their own activities. Further research is examining possible causes for these differences. For example, are these differences linked to specific familial or cultural traditions, or different educational experiences in childhood, etc.? It is our goal to use our results to identify more effective ways of teaching, enhance the learning process, and benefit students from diverse populations in terms of their academic achievement.
Anthony R. Perry, PhD, received his bachelor's degree in psychology and gerontology, and his master's degree in experimental psychology from California State University, Sacramento in 1984 and 1986, respectively. He earned a doctoral degree in experimental psychology from Brandeis University in 1993. After completing a postdoctoral research fellowship in cognition and aging at the University of Southern California, Dr. Perry accepted a position at North Carolina A & T State University where he has served as a faculty member since 1995. Dr. Perry has served as coadvisor to the North Carolina A & T State University Psi Chi Chapter since 1997. He has taught a variety of courses including General Psychology, Developmental, History and Systems, Memory and Cognition, Research Methods, Statistics, and Senior Seminar. Dr. Perry is a member of the American Psychological Association, the American Psychological Society, the Gerontological Association of America, the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, the North Carolina Cognition Group, Sigma Xi, the Southeastern Psychological Association, and has served as a member of the Scientific and Academic Affairs Committee of the North Carolina Psychological Association since 1996. Dr. Perry has diverse research interests that include how aging impacts memory and language processes, cognitive and perceptual development, human factors aviation research as it relates to pilot and crew performance, and research on the Type A personality.
Al S. Daye was awarded a departmental undergraduate research stipend to help conduct this research and, with Dr. Perry, presented the initial findings at the annual meeting of the Southeastern Psychological Association at the Psi Chi/CEPO Poster Session, Mobile, Ala., March 19, 1999. Mr. Daye will be a senior psychology major at North Carolina A & T State University beginning in the fall 1999 semester. He plans to pursue a doctorate in cognitive psychology.
(picture above) Anthony R. Perry, PhD (right), and
student research assistant Al S. Daye (left), pictured
at the SEPA Convention where their research was
presented during the CEPO/Psi Chi Poster Session.