2007-2008 Summer Research Grant Winners
Relation of Psychopathy and Treatment Related Behavior
Gerard F. Forbes
Creighton University (NE)
Faculty Sponsor: Matthew T. Huss, PhD
Treatment of psychopathic patients has always challenged mental health professionals. The Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R) has become the standard for evaluating psychopathy in patients. Despite being the gold standard, there are limitations using the PCL-R. The Personal psychopathy inventory (PPI) is a 187-item self-report test that is less time consuming for mental health professionals. PPI scores were used to determine the relationship between psychopathy and treatment related variables in a sample of forensic patients.
The Impact of Adolescent Crowd Affiliation
Molly S. Frolich
Occidental College (CA)
Faculty Sponsor: Andrea Hopmeyer Gorman, PhD
This study sought to explore the relationship between students’ crowd labels and their socio-emotional adjustment and academic performance. Participants were 374 seventh-grade students (197 boys, 177 girls, M = 12.52 years, SD = .61) from a moderately-sized middle school in a lower-class urban section of Los Angeles County. Crowd labels were obtained through interviews with peers. Academic performance was determined by school-reported GPA and self-reported academic engagement. Overall, this study helps to paint a picture of the crowd structure in a low-income Latino school. Those at the top of the social hierarchy are seen as aggressive and perform poorly in school. In contrast, the less popular (as viewed by their peers) experience high levels of both overt and relational victimization.
Tool Manipulation in Cotton-Top Tamarins (Saguinus oedipus)
Veronica J. Geretz
Hiram College (OH)
Faculty Sponsor: Kimberley A. Phillips, PhD
Cotton-top tamarins (Saguinus oedipus) in captivity have been shown to use tools in past research. Tamarins’ ability to manipulate tools, a more specific aspect of tool use requiring reorientation of a tool, has not been revealed through past investigations. The current study used smaller-sized tools than past research has employed to investigate the possibility that tamarins in past studies could not manipulate objects because of the size of the tools. Six subjects were presented with both a cane (6–12 cm in length) within reach and a food reward out of reach. The food reward could have been retrieved by reorienting the cane. The results suggest that manipulating tools requires motor-skills or a means-end understanding tamarins do not possess.
ERP Responses to Infant Stimuli in an Emotional Go-Nogo Paradigm
Yale University (CT)
Faculty Sponsor: Linda Mayes, MD
This study investigated the affect of social versus nonsocial stimuli in an emotional Go-Nogo paradigm. Participants performed an emotional Go-Nogo task and were asked to respond whenever they saw an “O” or a sad infant face and to inhibit responding whenever they saw an “X” or a happy infant face. Letter and face trials were divided into separate blocks such that on each block the participant only responded to letters or faces. Behaviorally, individuals had slower reaction times for sad faces compared to Os and committed more errors of omission for Go sad faces and more errors of commission for Nogo happy faces. Neural components demonstrated a more pronounced N2 for the Nogo faces suggesting increased difficulty inhibiting responding.
Does Relationship Matter? A Look Into Cognitive Dissonance in Interpersonal Relationships
Rebecca Susan Lomas
Swarthmore College (PA)
Faculty Sponsor: Etsuko Hoshino-Browne, PhD
A study was conducted in order to determine whether the degree of closeness in relationships affects cognitive dissonance in interpersonal decision making. Past research has shown that North Americans tend to experience cognitive dissonance when they are making a decision for themselves while East Asians tend to experience cognitive dissonance when making a decision for others. The current study measured the cognitive dissonance experienced by individuals living in North America and making a decision for their family member, close friend, or acquaintance. It was predicted that individuals would experience cognitive dissonance when making a decision for their family member or close friend. Interestingly, results indicated that individuals were more likely to experience cognitive dissonance when making a decision for their acquaintance.
Thinking Outside the Toy Box: Cognitive Dissonance, Creativity, and Gendered Play
Kathleen M. McKillip
Creighton University (NE)
Faculty Sponsor: Isabelle Cherney, PhD
This study examined 4-year-olds’ gender stereotyped play before and after the introduction of counterstereotyped stories. Results showed that boys and girls used significantly more blocks when enacting a counterstereotyped story than when enacting a stereotyped story. Girls were also more likely than boys to change their decision about the gender of a toy after being exposed to the stereotyped story. Half of the girls recategorized a masculine toy as a feminine toy after counterstereotyped exposure and play. Both genders showed high levels of symbolic play. Children used primarily gender associations and egocentric thinking to assign a gender to the toy pictures.
The Negative Impact of Mind Wandering on Multitasking
Jessica Ann Stuart
Lehigh University (PA)
Faculty Sponsor: Catherine M. Arrington, PhD
Mind wandering often has detrimental effects on task performance. We hypothesized that mind wandering would negatively impact multitasking performance, especially in more cognitively demanding environments. To test this hypothesis, subjects performed magnitude or parity tasks on single digits presented in either cued or voluntary task switching procedures. During the course of task performance, subjects were probed to determine whether they were mind wandering. Subjects reported mind wandering on approximately a quarter of all probes. When subjects reported mind wandering, task performance slowed, particularly on more demanding task switching trials. In addition, task switching probability decreased in the voluntary task switching procedure. Together these results suggest that when subjects were mind wandering, they were less effective at multitasking.
Changing Binge Drinking Conditions: The Impact of Mode of Processing, Comparison, Targets, and Past Behavior
George Washington University (DC)
Faculty Sponsor: Michelle Stock, PhD
Absent-exempt (AE) is the belief that if one has not experienced negative consequences (e.g., alcohol poisoning), despite engaging in the risk behavior, then one is unlikely to in the future. This study examined how mode of processing and social comparison manipulations affect AE thinking with students’ own alcohol risk behavior as a moderator. All 122 participants reported past binge drinking without alcohol poisoning (T1). At T2, participants were instructed to think rationally or heuristically and heard a comparison target who engaged in binge drinking and did or did not suffer alcohol poisoning (victim vs. nonvictim). Participants’ drinking behaviors were assessed one month later (T3). Multiple regression analyses showed significant participant risk-level by processing manipulation by comparison target interactions on AE.