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Psi Chi Journal Winter 2002

PSI CHI Journal of Psychological Research
Volume 7.4 | Winter 2002

RESEARCH ARTICLES

The Effects of Language Proficiency on Test Performance
Jacqueline Beals, James E. Arruda, and Jennifer P. Peluso, Mercer University

ABSTRACT: The purpose of the present study was to examine whether students with limited English proficiency exhibit better test performance when given a minimally demanding language task (multiple-choice format) versus a maximally demanding language task (short-answer format). Thirty-three participants of different racial backgrounds took the Michigan Test of English Language Proficiency (MTELP; English Language Institute, 1979) to assess their level of English proficiency. The principal investigator randomly assigned English-proficient and limited English-proficient participants to 1 of 2 test format conditions: multiple choice or short answer. Results of the study suggest that limited English-language proficiency adversely affected test performance when the language demand of the test format was high (e.g., short answer). This finding supports the supposition that differences in performance between limited English-proficient students and English-proficient students on the multiple-choice and short-answer test formats were likely due to the differences in the language demand each test format imposed. Thus, students with limited English proficiency may perform as well as students with higher levels of English proficiency when given a minimally demanding language task.

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Personality and the Susceptibility to Positive or Negative Cognitive Tendencies
Erin J. Zimmerman, Evangel University

ABSTRACT: This research partially replicated Rusting's 1999 study, in that it correlated extraversion and neurotic personality scores with word selection/recall for words that have positive or negative meaning. The hypothesis stated that participants who scored high on the extraversion scale would more likely experience positive cognitions, and participants with neurotic personalities would more likely experience negative cognitions. Participants filled out personality measures and completed 2 cognitive tasks assessing memory and judgment. Results indicated a significant inverse relation between neuroticism and positive cognitions, thus implying that negative cognitions are more likely to accompany a neurotic personality. This result supported Hypothesis 2. However, results did not support Hypothesis 1, stating that positive cognitions are more likely to accompany extraverted personalities. Further discussion includes other interesting relations between demographic variables and cognitions.

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Kohlberg Redux: Gender Concept Formation and Cognitive
Processes in Preschool Children

Tara M. Coddington and Todd Wiebers, Henderson State University

ABSTRACT: Kohlberg (1966) states that children achieve gender constancy (GC) around the age of 6 or 7, along with Piagetian conservation skills, and prior to overall gender stereotype knowledge (GSK). In a previous study exploring gender stereotypes in preschool children, we encountered responses reminiscent of GC understanding. This research in conjunction with inconclusive findings in the literature prompted a reexamination of Kohlberg's theory. Using established methodology, fifty 3.5- to 5.5-year-old children completed 3 developmental tasks: a gender constancy interview, a Piagetian conservation task, and a gender stereotype attribution measure. We found no effects of age or sex for each individual task; therefore, we compared scores between tasks according to the child's level of GC understanding: complete (n = 15) or incomplete (n = 35). Results indicate that children develop GC understanding concurrently with GSK, and significantly before mastering conservation skills. Between levels, there was no significant difference between conservation scores or GSK scores, and within levels, the difference between GC scores and GSK scores was nonsignificant. Children may be developing gender concepts at an earlier age because of changes in family dynamics.

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Somatic Complaints in Older Adults: Aging Process or Symptoms of Depression?
Ruth A. Gentry, Texas A & M University


ABSTRACT: Somatic symptoms are accurate predictors of depression in older adults, yet they are excluded from diagnostic measures of depression for older adults. This exclusion is due to the problem of distinguishing specific symptoms related to depression rather than physical decline due to aging or illness. The purpose of the present study was to test the reliability and validity of the Older Adult Depression Scale (OADS), which includes somatic symptoms. Participants were older adults living in nursing homes and in the community who completed the OADS and 2 other measures of depression, the Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II; Beck, Ward, Mendelson, Mock, & Erbaugh, 1961) and the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS; Yesavage et al., 1983). Somatic items were reliable as indicated by high item-scale correlations, and the new scale had concurrent validity as indicated by significant correlations with the BDI-II and GDS. Therefore, researchers should use caution if they omit somatic items from depression measures designed for older adults because somatic symptoms are valid indices of depression in older adults.

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Perceptions of Contagious Emotions and Contagious People
Jennifer Gonzales, Miriam Castillo, and Alan Swinkels, St. Edward's University

ABSTRACT: Emotional contagion refers to an emotional convergence that takes place after exposure to another individual's mood state. The result is a change in mood, with one individual's mood changing to be more similar to the other's. The present study investigated which specific emotions are perceived as especially contagious, and which types of people are capable of "spreading" a contagious emotion. Eighty-seven participants first ranked 10 emotions from a list of 20 as the most contagious. They then extracted their top 5 choices, and within each emotion ranked 5 people out of 12 as the most likely to transmit each emotion. The results indicated that excitement, happiness, sadness, and anger were the 4 emotions ranked in the top 5 positions by the majority of participants. The participants ranked a close friend, a dating partner, and a parent as the most contagious individuals regardless of the emotion being considered. We discuss why these emotions and these interaction partners might be seen as particularly contagious.

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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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