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Psi Chi Journal Fall 2002


Volume 7.3 | Fall 2002
Download This Issue - All articles are now free.

Executive Functioning and Planning Abilities of Preschool Children Using the Tower of London Task

Christine MacDonald, Elizabeth Gamer, and Jennifer Spurgeon, University of North Florida

ABSTRACT: This study examined problem-solving abilities across preschool-age children using the Tower of London (TOL) task. The TOL is a spatial puzzle, which requires planning, an executive function, along with the ability to adhere to a set of rules to solve it successfully. Sixteen TOL problems of various difficulty levels were administered to 25 preschool children, split into young (ages 3.0-4.4, n = 12) and old (ages 4.5-5.10, n = 13) age groups, thereby generating an Age (young vs. old) Yen Difficulty Level (4 difficulty levels) experimental design. The following dependent measures were coded from videotape: latency until the 1st move, total time taken to solve, percentage of rule violations, total number of moves made, and percentage solved correctly. There were significant main effects of difficulty level for all dependent measures. In addition, an Age Yen Difficulty Level interaction, F(3, 22) = 4.15, p < .01, suggested that the older group's greater speed and accuracy was especially prominent on the most difficult problems. These data imply that the ability to use some executive functions undergoes significant development during the preschool years and is a function of both age and problem complexity.

Effect of Visual Stimuli on Preschoolers' Memory for Verbal Material

Diane C. Simonds, Skidmore College; Brenda Rolfe-Maloney, University of Alaska Anchorage

ABSTRACT: The authors investigated the effects of relevant and irrelevant visual stimuli on preschoolers' memory for verbal material. Eighty-seven preschool children, ranging in age from 35 to 66 months, heard a story. The children viewed a picture relevant or irrelevant to the story or viewed no picture while listening and were tested for memory through visual and verbal recall tasks. Those children who viewed the relevant picture performed better than the irrelevant and no-picture groups on both the visual and verbal tasks. The performance of those children who viewed the irrelevant picture was task dependent. We discuss the findings in terms of visual versus verbal encoding, and practical applications in the areas of law and education are suggested.

Actual and Perceived Appearances of Media Portrayals: A Golden Girls Study of the Thin Ideal

Abbey M. Wanchick, Xavier University

ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to investigate the role of self-esteem and internalization of sociocultural ideals in women's perceptions of media images. After completing the Body Shape Questionnaire (BSQ; Cooper, Taylor, Cooper, & Fairburn, 1987) and Sociocultural Attitudes Towards Appearance Questionnaire (SATAQ; Heinberg, Thompson, & Stormer, 1995), participants viewed actual and distorted celebrity photographs and identified the image they thought was accurate. The photographs depicted 8 female celebrities in their actual size, appearing 25% heavier, and appearing 25% thinner. The research hypothesis postulated that women with low concern regarding body appearance (according to BSQ and SATAQ scores) would select the actual/heavier celebrity images and those participants with high concern regarding body appearance would select the thinnest images. Statistically significant results confirmed this hypothesis.

The Transtheoretical Model Targeting Dietary Fat, Exercise, and Smoking in a University Health Clinic

J. Kemp Ellington, North Carolina State University; Denise M. Martz, Appalachian State University

ABSTRACT: A physician-based health promotion intervention based on the transtheoretical stages of change model using a 2-group, pretest-posttest experimental design targeted patients' (N = 165) dietary fat, exercise, and smoking behaviors in a university health clinic. The control group received usual care, whereas the experimental group received behavior-change worksheets, and their physician endorsed the strategies in the worksheets during their office visit. Although participants failed to show any forward movement in the stages of change on these health behaviors, post hoc analyses found that completion of the worksheets and receiving the physician's endorsement made a difference in participants' self-reported impact of the intervention.

Teachers' and Education Majors' Ratings of Parent-Child Interactions as Child Abuse

Jamie R. Tribble, Karen L. Yanowitz, and Emmanuelle Monte, Arkansas State University

ABSTRACT: Although actions that endanger a child's life are clearly instances of child abuse, other situations may be more ambiguous. Because teachers may be in a unique position to report cases of potential abuse to the authorities, their definitions about what constitutes child abuse are particularly important. We used 12 parent-child interaction scenarios to examine education majors' and teachers' definitions of child abuse. Each scenario described a potential emotional or physical abuse situation. Participants rated each scenario as to how strongly they agreed or disagreed the situation was an example of child abuse. Professional teachers more strongly agreed the emotional parent-child interactions were examples of child abuse than education majors. In contrast, teachers and education majors did not differ in their ratings of the physical situations.

Effects of Social Loafing on Individual Satisfaction and Individual Productivity

William Welter, Susan Canale, Chris Fiola, Kelly Sweeney, and Kathleen L'Armand, Widener University

ABSTRACT: Social loafing is the tendency for people in work groups to exert less effort than if they worked individually. Mulvey, Bowes-Sperry, and Klein (1998) found that the presence of a social loafer in a real-life work group was related to lower group satisfaction and lower group productivity. The present study conceptually replicates this research, but experimentally manipulates loafing in a simulated task and measures individual satisfaction and individual productivity. Participants (N = 51) were randomly assigned to work groups with a hardworking or a "loafing" team member. As was predicted, individual satisfaction was lower in groups with a loafer. Contrary to predictions, however, individual productivity did not differ across conditions.

Sex Differences Related to Video Arcade Game Behavior

Brad Jurica, Kelly Alanis, and Shirley Ogletree, Southwest Texas State University

ABSTRACT: Recently, video arcades have served as a social gathering locale for children of all ages. Due to the fact children spend considerable time playing video games, possible effects of this activity are of interest to social scientists and the public at large. The present research used a naturalistic observation to explore participants' sex and age classification (≤ 18 or ≥ 19), and whether more men and boys or women and girls participated in the playing of violent video arcade games. We found that not only are arcade patrons primarily men and boys, but they also tend to play more violent video arcade games than their female counterparts. Possible reasons for and implications of these findings are considered.

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