Psi Chi is pleased to announce the 2004-05 winners of Psi Chi's NSF/ REU Grants. The six winning students conducted research this past summer at institutions participating in the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program. Each of the winning students received $5,000 to fund a 10-week stay to conduct research at the participating REU institution. The 2004-05 grant winners were as follows:
Effects of Chronic Stress on Water Maze Performance in Rats
Stefanie Mychelle BaurUniversity of Evansville (IN)
Chronic stress impairs learning and memory in humans and in rats. These effects appear to be mediated by damage to the hippocampus that results from glucocorticoid release during exposure to chronic stress. Research on humans and rats has found stress to be related to hippocampal damage as well as memory and learning impairment. A present study examined the effects of chronic stress on spatial learning and spatial working memory in rats. Spatial learning was assessed by performance in the standard Morris water maze; spatial working memory was assessed in the delayed matching-to-place paradigm in the water maze. Previous research with those paradigms has found impaired spatial learning resulting from hippocampal lesions, stress hormone treatment, and induced stress. Chronic stress was induced through long-term, inescapable restraint. Stressed animals were found to have deficits in Trial 1 performance for the nine training days and deficits in Trial 2 performance for 10-minute intertrial intervals. Ongoing research will seek to statistically verify these results.
Stefanie Mychelle Baur is a senior at the University of Evansville in southern Indiana. She will complete her BS in psychology in May of 2006. Ms. Baur is currently working on her senior thesis that examines the effects of unequal spending in schools. Outside of school, her activities include work for the United Neighborhoods of Evansville and an internship at Carver Community Organization.Cross Cultural Differences in Emotional Intelligence
Ms. Baur received the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship, the University of Evansville Academic Scholarship, and the Hoosier Scholar Award. Also, she has been named to the Dean's List each semester at the University of Evansville. Ms. Baur is currently serving as secretary of the Psi Chi Chapter of the University of Evansville. Last year, she served as treasurer for the chapter.
Ms. Baur plans to pursue doctoral education and will begin applying for admission to PhD programs in sociology this winter. She is interested in a career in the research and teaching of sociological issues. Specifically, Ms. Baur is interested in neighborhood factors that affect inequality, opportunity structures, and social mobility. While her research interests are fairly open within the area of inequality, the sociology of education and social policy research are of particular interest to her.
Amanda GordonNorthwestern College (IA)
Emotional intelligence is a fairly new construct that intends to assess "the capacity to reason about emotions, and of emotions to enhance thinking. It includes the abilities to accurately perceive emotions, to access and generate emotions so as to assist thought, to understand emotions and emotional knowledge, and to reflectively regulate emotions so as to promote emotional and intellectual growth" (Mayer, Salovey, & Caruso, 2004, p. 197). Many studies have been done looking at the differences in emotional intelligence between gender and age, however, very few have ventured into the cross-cultural differences that may exist. Therefore the current study looks at potential differences between culture groups in emotional intelligence and also relate scores to a measure of ethic identification. The continuation of this study hopes to offer insight into the variances that may be present and explore reasons for why they might exist.
Amanda Gordon is originally from Jenison, Michigan. Currently, she attends Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa, where she is majoring in both psychology and Spanish with a minor in cultural studies. Ms. Gordon's present research interests include emotional intelligence, cross-cultural differences in developmental psychology, and acculturation and the effects thereof. During the spring semester of 2006, she will be studying abroad in Guanajuato, Mexico, where she hopes to further her understanding of the impact culture has on the psychology of the individual and of the society. Ms. Gordon will graduate after the spring semester, and hopes to attend graduate school in the fall of 2006.A Go/No-Go Task With Emotional and Nonemotional Stimuli: A Behavioral Pilot and Preliminary fMRI Results
Shelby Elaine McDonald Virginia Polytechnic University
The current study examined the performance of healthy adults on a modified go/no-go task. Specifically, the ability to discriminate emotional faces and complex figures (i.e., greebles), and to use those stimuli as cues to stop an ongoing behavior was investigated. A number of stimulus types (i.e., letters, shapes) have been used in traditional go/no-go tasks. This investigation incorporated a novel combination of emotional face stimuli and greebles in an attempt to compare the difficulty of discriminating complex emotional and nonemotional stimuli. Results suggest that the face and greeble stimuli are matched in complexity when employed in a healthy sample.
There is strong evidence that callous and unemotional traits in children (i.e., low empathy) predict more aggressive conduct problems, proactive aggression, and less behavioral inhibition more strongly than conduct disorder and ADHD (Frick et al., 2003; Frick et al., 2000). Based on our pilot study, the modified go/ no-go task was extended to probe differences in ability to identify emotional faces (i.e., the first component of empathy) as behavioral stop signals in a population of adolescents at risk for internalizing and externalizing disorders. We hypothesized these individuals will show important brain activity differences in response to the emotional vs. nonemotional stimuli.
Preliminary analyses of four at-risk adolescents revealed no significant differences in reaction time during go blocks or errors of commission during no-go blocks. Therefore, it seems face and greeble stimuli are matched in complexity when employed in an at-risk population. fMRI data have been collected from these same adolescents, but have not yet been fully analyzed. In terms of these data, we hypothesize that adolescents characterized by low empathy or high anxiety will show differential brain activity to emotional vs. nonemotional stimuli.
Shelby Elaine McDonald is presently a senior psychology major at Virginia Polytechnic University and plans to graduate in May 2006 summa cum laude with a BS in psychology. A member of the University Honors Program, Phi Kappa Phi, and the Golden Key Honor Society, Ms. McDonald recently received the Robert C. Bates scholarship from the College of Science and a Friends of Psychology Endowed Scholarship from the psychology department at Virginia Tech. Ms. McDonald is also the President of her university's Psi Chi and Psychology Club chapters and received a regional research award from Psi Chi at the 2005 SEPA meeting. Since August 2003, she has gained valuable research experience as an undergraduate research assistant to Dr. Angela Scarpa, studying psychophysiological profiles that may underlie different forms of aggression in children. Currently, Ms. McDonald is applying to PhD programs in clinical and experimental psychology and plans to start her doctoral studies in fall 2006.Normative Picture Categorization: Defining Affective Space in Response to Pictorial Stimuli
John R. OgorekSamford University (AL)
There has been much debate surrounding the true structure of self-reported emotion, with opposition existing between claims for the bipolar dimensions of valence and arousal and those that support the two-dimensional structure of positive affect and negative affect. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the structural dimensions that underlie emotional responses specifically in response to pictorial stimuli. Participants (N
= 42) were exposed to 60 images selected from the International Affective Picture System and were asked to rate their emotional response to each of the pictures based on 33 emotionally descriptive terms. Factor analytic evidence provided support for a bipolar valence dimension, as well as factors that depict positive, negative, and a general activation dimensions. These findings support the prediction that affect elicited by photographs does not adhere to the dimensions of valence and arousal, suggesting an inadequacy in the normative ratings currently assigned to the IAPS images, which are based on these dimensions of valence and arousal. Directions for future research are discussed concerning the development of a more representative rating system that could be applied to the IAPS images, potentially based on the dimensions of positive and negative affect.
John R. Ogorek attended Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama where he studied both psychology and biology and graduated in May of 2005, magna cum laude. He is an active member of Psi Chi, Beta Beta Beta, Phi Kappa Phi, and Alpha Lambda Delta, and is on the Dean's List for his academic achievements. Mr. Ogorek's senior thesis attempted to assess the separation that exists between the physiological and the self-reported emotional responses elicited by pictorial stimuli. He enjoys international travel, an expensive hobby he picked up in the process of studying in London. While abroad, he spent time at the Institute of Psychiatry researching neural stem cell differentiation and migration patterns in embryonic rat populations. His interests are rooted in the study of neuroscience, as he has yet to come across a topic of comparable perplexity or significance. In the future, he plans on attaining his MD/PhD, pursuing a career in clinical neurology or psychiatry, and conducting research utilizing functional brain imaging techniques.Effects of Visual Stimuli on Speed and Temporal Perception
Darren PeshekCalifornia Lutheran University
An interactive computer task was used to study the effects of various visual stimuli on perceived speed of a simulated emergency vehicle. Through previous research, several models of time perception have been formed. The computer task was designed to incorporate several factors of these time perception models into a comprehensive design that can be generalized to real world situations in which emergency vehicles are in action nearby or when similar stimuli are visible in the surrounding environment. The task was to match the speed of the second simulated car to the speed of the first. One car flashed red and blue at a rate of 200ms/flash, the other was solid red and blue; participants in Condition 1 saw the solid car first and those in Condition 2 saw the flashing car first. Participants were given a total of five adjustments. Expected results show that participants adjusted the speed of the second car so that the flashing car was actually slower than the nonflashing car. This shows that the perceived speed of the flashing car is faster than the actual speed of the nonflashing car, supporting the hypothesis that the additional visual information provided by the flashing increases perception of speed.
Darren Peshek was born in Minnesota and raised in Southern California. He attended San Clemente High School and graduated with an International Baccalaureate Diploma. Mr. Peshek is in his third year at California Lutheran University and plans to graduate in the spring of 2007. He has been on the Dean's List for four consecutive semesters. Mr. Peshek's interests have included almost all areas of psychology, but his current focus is cognitive neuroscience. In the future, Mr. Peshek hopes to become a tenured cognitive neuroscience lab director at a major university.The Predictive Factors Involved in the Discrepancy Between Teachers' and Children's Perceived Cognitive Competence
Audrea Rea YoungmanSamford University (AL)
This study investigated the discrepancy between a child's perceived cognitive competence and a teacher's perception of that child's cognitive competence. It was hypothesized that the more a child inflates his or her cognitive functioning in comparison to the teacher, the lower the child's actual cognitive functioning will be. It was also hypothesized that the parenting technique of maternal intrusiveness (restraint, taking over a task, verbal power assertion, and commands) would predict a child's cognitive bias.
Subjects were 74 head start children (age 4-5) from primarily low-income rural backgrounds and their caregivers (age 19-54). Analysis of correlations among children's scores on the cognitive subscale of the Pictorial Scale of Perceived Competence and Social Acceptance (PSPCSA), the parallel teacher report form of the PSPCSA, and children's General Cognitive Index (GCI) scores suggests the more a child inflates his or her cognitive competence in comparison to the teacher, the worse the child scores on the GCI, r
(74)= -.24, p
= .042. Maternal intrusiveness predicted children's cognitive bias, R2
= .36, p
Audrea Rea Youngman attends Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama and plans to graduate in December 2005 magna cum laude with a BA in psychology. As a former varsity soccer player at Samford, Ms. Youngman is a member of Phi Kappa Psi National Honor Society, Hypatia Women's Honor Society, and Psi Chi. Since 2003, Ms. Youngman has had the opportunity to participate in research with Dr. Nicole Siegfried on the predictive factors of eating disordered behavior in undergraduate women. She works part-time at a homeless women and children's shelter in Birmingham. Ms. Youngman is now in the process of applying to PhD programs in clinical and school psychology and plans to begin her doctoral studies in the fall of 2006.