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Psi Chi Journal Spring 2001

PSI CHI Journal of Psychological Research
Volume 6.1 | Spring 2001

RESEARCH ARTICLES

Impact of Instructional Manipulation and Stereotype Activation on
Sex Differences in Spatial Task Performance

Robyn M. Scali and Sheila Brownlow, Catawba College

ABSTRACT: Practice, experience, and efficacy beliefs influence the pattern of sex differences in spatial abilities. In addition, these differences are modified by laboratory directions and scoring techniques. We addressed several of these factors as men and women completed tasks of spatial perception, spatial visualization, and mental rotation with a specific focus on speed or accuracy. A stereotype threat (a statement that people of their sex either normally do well/do not do well) was coupled with this instructional focus. We also employed different scoring techniques, some of which adjusted performance for number of items attempted. Results revealed parity in the performances of men and women on tasks of spatial visualization, spatial perception, and—surprisingly—mental rotation (except when scored in a very strict manner). Stereotype information did not influence performance, perhaps because participants did not believe the information. Directional focus affected some aspects of performance on all the tasks, as participants who focused on speed performed more quickly, but generally less accurately, than participants who focused on accurate task completion. Self-reports of efficacy were little affected by the manipulations, and accounting for self-reports of background and prior experience with spatial tasks did not substantially alter the results. We discuss reasons for the lack of sex differences, including the salience and believability of stereotype information and women's beliefs about their abilities to perform on tasks not explicitly termed spatial.

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Occupational Stress as a Function of Type of Organization
and Sex of Employee: A Reassessment

Carolyn Ann Licht and Linda Zener Solomon, Marymount Manhattan College

ABSTRACT: A previous study (Licht, 2000) assessed the relation of occupational stress to sex of employee in 2 New York City organizations, 1 nonprofit and 1 for-profit. The current study tested the reliability of those findings. One hundred sixty participants (men: 38 nonprofit, 36 for-profit; women: 43 nonprofit, 43 for-profit) working in various organizations in several cities completed the Job Stress Survey (JSS; Spielberger, 1994). Based on the previous results, the current hypotheses were: (a) employees of nonprofit organizations would perceive more occupational stress than employees of for-profit organizations; (b) men would perceive significantly more severity, but not frequency, of occupational stress than women. Results were consistent with previous findings and increased their external validity.

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Effect of Sad and Suspenseful Mood Induction on Reaction Time
Rachel M. Ball, Erica S. Kargl, J. David Kimpel, and Shana L. Siewert,
Wheaton College, Illinois


ABSTRACT: This study investigated the effects of film-induced sad and suspenseful moods on reaction time. We assigned 51 college-age students (35 women and 16 men) to a neutral, sad, or suspense condition. The participants viewed films approximately 40 min long that contained a neutral baseline, an experimental segment, and a blank segment. We measured participants' reaction times to auditory cues throughout the entire film and assessed the effectiveness of the mood induction with an adjective checklist given after the films. Results showed that reaction times slowed significantly for both participants in the sad, p = 0.001, and suspense, p < 0.001, conditions when compared to the neutral condition. We concluded that the lengthening was due to emotionally induced distraction and anticipation, and was not the result of the specific emotion induced.

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Perceptions of Children: The Influence of Family Configuration
Kimberly M. Corner, Nebraska Wesleyan University

ABSTRACT: To examine how children in different types of families are perceived, 57 students at Nebraska Wesleyan University were asked to read 1 of 3 short vignettes describing a child's family (intact vs. divorced vs. stepfamily) and then rate the child on 16 characteristics. With the exception of family configuration, the vignettes were identical across the 3 experimental conditions. Overall, a child with an intact family was perceived as having stronger social skills and higher self-esteem than a child with a divorced single parent or stepparent. A child in a divorced family or stepfamily was perceived as more anxious, depressed, and withdrawn than a child from a nuclear family. The findings indicate that people stereotype children solely on the basis of family configuration, and have important implications for professionals who work with children or family systems.

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The Sleeper Effect on Students' Attitudes Toward Animal Cognition
Jennifer M. Bonds-Raacke, Kendra L. Wright, Jessica M. Lewin,
and Elizabeth M. Nelson, Christian Brothers University


ABSTRACT: An unwillingness to acknowledge cognitive abilities in animals prevents some scientists from researching animal cognition. However, pioneering studies in this field have legitimized such research. One possible way to examine students' attitudes toward animal cognition is in the context of the sleeper effect. Eighty-five students at Christian Brothers University completed surveys containing scales to measure these attitudes. The participants completed the surveys 1 week later to test for the sleeper effect. Analyses compared the attitude scales between the 2 trials. Results indicated the absence of the sleeper effect and the tendency to attribute animal behavior to instincts rather than cognition. These findings may demonstrate that the unwillingness to acknowledge cognition in animals still exists, and the sleeper effect may require a longer period of time between trials to appear.

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Why Don't All Eligible Psychology Students Join Psi Chi?
Trina D. Spencer, Laura Scheel, and R. Todd McFarland, Utah State University;
Carla J. Reyes, University of Utah


ABSTRACT: The Utah State University Chapter of Psi Chi, the National Honor Society in Psychology, provides many benefits; however, only a few eligible candidates participate. This project evaluates where our Psi Chi chapter needs improvement. In order to identify which areas need revision, we administered a survey to approximately 300 students who officially declared psychology as their major or minor. A total of 216 psychology majors completed the survey. Findings indicate that students do not have enough time or lack enough information about Psi Chi to become actively involved. This information should enable Psi Chi chapters to increase the involvement and activity of their membership.

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The Psi Chi Journal of Psychological Research educates, supports, and promotes professional development, and disseminates psychological science. Only original, empirical manuscripts that make a contribution to psychological knowledge are published. Authors are Psi Chi members at the undergraduate, graduate, and faculty level.

 

 

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