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Psi Chi Journal Spring 2004


Volume 9.1 | Spring 2004
Download This Issue - All articles are now free.

Implications of Positive Stereotype Activation for Test Performance, Expectations, and Attributional Style

Kelly D. Voss, Belmont University; Elizabeth Yost Hammer, Loyola University New Orleans

ABSTRACT: Previous research has shown that the influence of negative and positive stereotypes on targets can be subtle but pervasive. Positive stereotypes activated on an implicit level, where the individual's awareness of the targeted component is increased and those stereotypes are activated explicitly by expression of the direct purpose of comparing performance based on the targeted identity, can have effects on behavior. We assigned 36 students to 1 of 2 levels of positive activation, tested for verbal ability, and reported their expectations and attributions for that examination. In line with the hypothesis, implicitly activated participants had higher test scores than explicitly activated participants. No group differences were found for expectations and attributions. We discuss implications for stereotype threat research.

Toddlers' Ability to Distinguish Between Grammatical and Ungrammatical Sentences as a Function of Prosody and Imagery

Bridget Walsh and Andrea Chapdelaine, Albright College

ABSTRACT: The researchers measured toddlers' preferences for language, prosody, and imagery via the participants' responses to either grammatical or ungrammatical sentences read by the tester. The study had a 2 (grammatical versus ungrammatical sentence) X 2 (upbeat versus monotone voice) X 2 (picture versus no picture) mixed-subjects design. Ability to distinguish between grammatical and ungrammatical sentences was not better than chance. Toddlers performed better with pictures than without pictures, indicating that pictures are important in toddlers' ability to distinguish grammatical and ungrammatical sentences. However, tone of voice had no effect on toddlers' performance, contrary to predictions. We discuss implications for teaching methods for language acquisition in toddlers.

Tobacco Knowledge Among College Students

Ashley R. Easley and Lillian M. Range, University of Southern Mississippi

ABSTRACT: Those with knowledge about the harmful effects of tobacco are less likely to use it than are those without such knowledge. Tobacco knowledge has typically been explored among preadolescents and adolescents, but little research on tobacco has focused on college students, even though, compared to other age groups, they are quite likely to be smokers. The present study compared college student tobacco users and nonusers on tobacco knowledge. A total of 300 undergraduates (216 women, 84 men) from a southeastern university completed 14 tobacco knowledge questions and 4 attitude items. Nonsmoking college students had more tobacco knowledge, and more negative tobacco attitudes, than smoking college students. An implication is that education specifically targeted to college students might improve tobacco knowledge and in turn reduce tobacco use for a very high-risk group.

Psychology Subfield Images in Introductory Textbooks: A Contextual Content Analysis

Shawna L. Anderson and D. W. Rajecki, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

ABSTRACT: Introductory textbook passages (n = 168) describing 13 psychology subfields—plus the field of psychiatry—were evaluated with the Minnesota Contextual Content Analysis program. Comparative emphasis scores showed that all textbook subfield descriptions were markedly low on emotional content, but a cluster analysis revealed 3 groupings on other dimensions. Texts' descriptions of 2 subfields (engineering and industrial/organizational) most strongly emphasized a practical theme. Descriptions of 7 other subfields (biological, clinical, counseling, developmental, health, personality, and social) were moderately analytic, with some showing an emphasis on traditional (normative) content. Finally, descriptions of the 5 remaining areas (cognitive, educational, experimental, and school, plus psychiatry) most strongly emphasized an analytic theme. This general pattern was similar to that found in subfield descriptions available from the American Psychological Association. Findings are discussed in terms of psychology's public image.

Extroverted Students Have Difficulties Learning in Courses That Utilize Computers

Jeanette G. Elskamp and John P. Broida, University of Southern Maine

ABSTRACT: Extroverts may prefer face-to-face classroom interactions and so may not do well in classes that have a significant computer component. Alternatively, because of immediate feedback and the opportunity to review materials repeatedly, there may be no difference between introverts and extroverts in classroom performance when computers are used for quizzing, discussion, and e-mail. Participants from introductory psychology courses completed an optional survey assessing their knowledge of psychology, computer expertise, reactions to the class, and extroversion/introversion. Extroversion was negatively correlated with grades in the class (p < .01). This result was not due to differences in comfort with computers (p > .05). Thus the use of computers did not reduce differences in academic achievement between introverts and extroverts.

Humor Comparisons Between Institutionalized Romanian Orphans and American Preschoolers

Erin Bartsch and Charlene Bainum, Pacific Union College

ABSTRACT: Researchers have noted that positive maternal relationships correlate with laughter in children. If humor as a coping mechanism is learned through modeling, then the lack of parental attachments in institutionalized children affects the use of humor as a coping skill. We hypothesized that institutionalized children should experience fewer humor instances than noninstitutionalized preschoolers. Also, preschoolers should have more frequent instances of the silliness/clowning style. This study compared laughing and smiling and humor styles of 18 (2–6-year-old) institutionalized Romanian children with those of 15 (2–5-year-old) American preschool children. Institutionalized children showed significantly fewer instances of humor and of silliness/clowning than the preschoolers. The results support the theory that humor as a coping skill is learned through modeling

Effects of Education Level and Gender on Achievement Motivation

S. Merle Riepe, Nebraska Wesleyan University

ABSTRACT: This study concerns differences in achievement motivation among education level, gender, and the resultant interaction. Sixty-eight students composed of both entry-level (n = 29) and upper-level (n = 39) students at Nebraska Wesleyan University and 46 managers at an Omaha-area hospital completed the NachNaff questionnaire (Lindgren, 1976). Managers scored higher on need for achievement than did the upper-level business students. There were no significant gender differences or interactions with gender. The results of this study indicate achievement motivation may be beneficial as an additional criterion in the areas of management selection and development. This study also provides evidence for the equity of achievement motives at work regarding gender.

Influence of Teacher-Child Attachment on Complexity of Play and Social Competence

Kelly Flouhouse, Jennette Schorsch, and Maureen Vandermaas-Peeler, Elon University

ABSTRACT: We examined preschoolers' attachment to teachers and the influence of attachment on complexity of play and social competence. We hypothesized that secure teacher-child attachment would positively influence a child's complexity of play and social competence. Forty-seven preschoolers (26 boys, 21 girls) were recruited from three child care centers. Free play in the classroom was observed separately for each participant on three occasions and rated during six 5-min intervals. Teacher surveys categorized children as securely or insecurely attached. Results revealed that secure attachment was associated with higher complexity of play and social competence. Thus social and cognitive development result from combined factors that could transfer from teacher-child relationships to parents and/or other adults. Guidance, positive interaction, and constant support appear to enhance creative exploration.

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