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Psi Chi Journal Spring 2016

PSI CHI Journal of Psychological Research

Volume 21.1 | Spring 2016

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Side-Effect Effect Take 2
Denise C. Keeran, Heidelberg University at Arrowhead Park
Jacob Burmeister, Bowling Green State University

ABSTRACT: Person X chooses a particular course of action, which has an unintended—but, foreknown—chain reaction, resulting in either a positive or negative side effect. Is Person X deemed guilty or innocent of this side effect? Previous research has shown that adults, as well as children as young as 4 years old, tend to assign blame but downplay praise, according to the negativity or positivity (respectively) of the side effect of the intentional action (Leslie, Knobe, & Cohen, 2006). The present study sought to replicate these results, which have come to be known as the Side-Effect Effect, or the Knobe Effect. Via random assignment to either a harm condition or a help condition, participants read a vignette and then ranked the amount of blame or praise that the subject of the vignette deserved for the side effect of his action. Participants were then asked whether the subject purposely brought about the unintended side effect. Results indicated that individuals are more likely to attribute responsibility when an intentional action of an agent brings about a negative side effect, but that attribution of responsibility is more likely to be withheld from agents when an intentional action produces a positive side effect (56.90% vs. 30.10%), χ2(1) = 12.00, p < .001, φ = .27. Similarly, the amount of blame attributed to the agent of the harm condition was consistently higher than the amount of praise attributed to the agent in the help condition (M = 4.58, SD = 1.56 vs. M = 3.28, SD = 1.98), F(1, 159) = 20.52, p < .001, d = 0.73.          


Trail and Ultrarunning: The Impact of Distance, Nature, and Personality
on Flow and Well-Being

Christy Teranishi Martinez, California State University Channel Islands
Crista Scott, California Lutheran University

ABSTRACT: Ultramarathons, races extending beyond the traditional 26.2 mile marathon, have become increasingly popular over the past decade. Ultrarunners run longer distances and spend extended periods of time in nature compared to short-distance runners. The present study examined the role of distance and nature on runners’ flow (i.e., complete absorption in the present moment) and well-being. One hundred eighty-nine runners (132 women, 57 men, Mage = 35.93 years, SD = 9.66) completed an online survey assessing running distance, running environment, flow (Jackson & Marsh, 1996), personality (TIPI; Gosling, Rentfrow, & Swann, 2003), and well-being (Côté, Gyurak, & Levenson, 2010). Independent t tests revealed that ultrarunners spent more time in nature (p = .001), were more neurotic (p = .04), and experienced greater flow (p = .001) than short-distance runners, but did not differ in well-being. Multiple regression analyses indicated that being an ultrarunner, running in nature, conscientiousness, and openness significantly predicted flow, F(7, 163) = 8.48, p = .001, R2 = .27. Running environment and personality (i.e., extraversion, conscientiousness, and openness) predicted greater well-being. However, contrary to expectations, running in a nonnatural environment was related to greater well-being, but being an ultrarunner and flow were not, F(8, 161) = 4.57, p = .001, R2 = .19. Findings suggested that, although distance and nature contribute to flow, running in general may have a more profound impact on well-being than immersing oneself in nature.

Stress Management in Young Adults: Implications of Mandala Coloring
on Self-Reported Negative Affect and Psychophysiological Response

Christina Muthard and Rebecca Gilbertson
Lycoming College

The purpose of the present experiment was to assess the effectiveness of mandala coloring paired with focused breathing in reducing negative affect, state anxiety, and psychophysiological stress response following a psychosocial stressor. The current study employed a validated psychosocial stressor, the Trier Social Stress Test (Kirschbaum, Pirke, & Hellhammer, 1993) and consisted of four phases that included baseline (sitting and standing), Speech 1, Speech 2, and the poststress manipulation, which consisted of either 7-min of mandala coloring/focused breathing or a no-task control group. Self-reported negative and positive affect, state anxiety, and blood pressure were assessed once after each phase, whereas pulse, skin conductance levels, and heart rate were measured throughout the experiment. Results indicated that self-reported negative affect and state anxiety were lower in the mandala-coloring experimental group as compared to the no-task control group following the psychosocial stressor. Specifically, a marginally significant reduction was found in negative affect, t(35) = -2.03, p = .05, η2 = .11, and a trend toward significant reduction was found in state anxiety, t(35) = -1.76, p = .08, η2 = .08. These findings suggested modest support for the effectiveness of mandala coloring paired with already validated focused breathing as an effective technique for reducing self-reported negative affect and state anxiety. Implications and the need for further research to assess the combination of these techniques are discussed.

Impact of Positive, Negative, and No Personality Descriptors
on the Attractiveness Halo Effect

William J. Lammers, Sarah Davis, Olivia Davidson, and Kellie Hogue
University of Central Arkansas

The halo effect occurs when an individual with one or a few positive qualities is assumed to have other positive qualities. Our study investigated how a positive, negative, or no written description of an attractive woman affects men’s ratings of other positive qualities. Sixty-five male undergraduate participants completed 1 of 3 questionnaires with the same questions and same photo of an attractive woman. The only difference between the questionnaires was the written description of the woman. Results showed that participants in all description conditions rated the woman as equally attractive, F(2,62) = 0.35, p = .71, η2 = .01, athletic, F(2,62) = 2.28, p = .11, η2 = .07, and feminine, F(2,62) = 1.68, p = .19, η2 = .05). However, comparisons for the other 7 personality attributes showed that participants rated the woman in the no description and positive description conditions higher than they rated the woman in the negative description condition in every case: successful, F(2,62) = 16.58, p < .001, η2 = .35, extroverted, F(2,62) = 8.64, p < .001, η2 = .22, intelligent, F(2,62) = 14.21, p < .001, η2 = .31, friendly, F(2,62) = 58.43, p < .001, η2 = .65, not aggressive, F(2,62) = 16.64, p < .001, η2 = .35, ambitious F(2,62) = 3.47, p = .04, η2 = .10, and likeable, F(2,62) = 56.19, p < .001, η2 = .64. These results suggested that a negative description reduces the attractiveness halo effect in men when rating the qualities of an attractive woman.


A Life History Theoretical Perspective on Mate Selection
Atina Manvelian and Molly A. Metz
University of California, Santa Barbara

 Life history theory suggests that early childhood environments lead to the development of different reproductive strategies to optimize reproductive success. We used a life history theoretical perspective to investigate whether early life experiences (stable vs. unstable family environments) influence what women find attractive in a potential mate. Using an online face perception task, women reported perceptions of traits and attraction to male faces. Life history strategy was operationalized in 2 ways: (a) the Mini-K Short Form self-report measure and (b) the contact or absence of a father during childhood. We hypothesized that women employing a faster life history strategy would be more attracted to men who have facial features reflecting more masculine traits, which have been linked to testosterone and signal high genetic quality. We also hypothesized that women employing a slower life history strategy would be more attracted to men who have facial features reflecting traits associated with high parental investment. Consistent with our hypothesis, those on a faster life history track rated masculine male faces as more attractive (β = .13, p < .001), and those employing a slower life history strategy reported more attraction to men with high feminine traits (β = .31, p < .001). This suggests that women employing a faster life history strategy favor men who show signs of high genetic quality (masculine traits) and little cues of parental investment, possibly subjecting these women to adverse life and relationship outcomes. Strategies for more precisely studying the link between life history and mate selection are discussed.


Effects of Priming Dialectic Rational Beliefs on Irrational Beliefs

James E. Crum II
Adrian College

 Rational-emotive behavior therapy (REBT) theory describes irrational and rational beliefs as change mechanisms (Ellis, 1994). However, research in REBT theory has scarcely investigated, outside the setting of psychotherapy, changes in irrational beliefs as a function of rational beliefs. Therefore, the goal of the present research was to assess the effectiveness of a priming mechanism, namely dialectic rational beliefs, as a method of changing irrational beliefs. Participants were randomly assigned to either a prime or control condition. Participants in the primed condition were primed with dialectic rational beliefs, whereas those in the control were not. All participants completed a measure of irrational beliefs and state anxiety before and after the experiment. Results suggested that dialectic rational beliefs decrease irrational beliefs, ηp2 = .26, 95% CI = [42.46, 48.07]. Discussions concern limitations to and future directions for using dialectic rational beliefs as a priming mechanism.


The Effect of Verbal Praise on Maze Completion
Thomas Gambino
Kean University

The purpose of the present study was to examine the relationship between verbal praise and performance. Past literature has supported the positive impact that encouragement has on performance. Praise has been found to increase athletic performance (Anderson, Crowell, Doman, & Howard, 1988) as well as academic performance. However, the type of encouragement can lead to different outcomes. Participants in the current study completed a difficult line maze while either being praised in the form of encouraging comments (“You’re doing fine,” “You’re doing great”) or less encouraging comments (“You’re taking too long,” “ Hurry up”). Time to complete the maze was recorded in seconds. Analyses showed that praise in the form of encouraging comments significantly reduced the time to complete the maze (p = .001) and to complete the maze in general (p < .001). Implications of the findings and suggestions for future research are discussed.


INVITED EDITORIAL: Let's Do It Again: A Call for Replications
in Psi Chi Journal of Psychological Research

John E. Edlund
Rochester Institute of Technology
ABSTRACT: Science is said to be suffering from a crisis of replicability (Ioannidis, 2005). This crisis occurs when scientific studies fail to be supported by subsequent research. The challenges posed by the replication crisis address the fundamental nature of science and the public’s understanding of it. Numerous contributing reasons for the replication crisis have been noted including data falsification (Steen, 2011), the pressures of tenure and promotion (Varian, 1998), questionable research practices (Simmons, Nelson, & Simonsohn, 2011), the tendency of journals to want to publish particularly novel papers (Steen, 2011), and the preference for publishing significant results (de Winter & Happee, 2013). These factors all increase the odds of inaccurate information being published, which in turn is incorporated into texts, as happened with the details of the original investigation in the Kitty Genovese case, which led to the famous bystander apathy studies (Griggs, 2015). The primary goal of this editorial is to briefly discuss the factors that have contributed to the replication crisis, techniques employed by various journals in the field to deal with the crisis, and how Psi Chi Journal of Psychological Research (PCJ) is responding.




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.

Psi Chi Journal is now indexed in PsycINFO and EBSCO databases. In 2016, the Journal became open access (free to readers and authors) to broaden the dissemination of research across the psychological science community.




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