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Psi Chi Journal Fall 2004


Volume 9.3 | Fall 2004
Download This Issue - All articles are now free.

Social Initiation in Children With Autism: A Peer Playgroup Intervention

Aurelie Welterlin, The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

ABSTRACT: The effects of a social skills intervention on the verbal initiation behavior of a child with high-functioning autism were investigated. The intervention included five days of structured activities with normally developing peers under the guidance of an adult facilitator. The efficacy of the intervention was determined by comparing verbal initiations exhibited by the participant during intervention sessions to verbal initiations exhibited during baseline sessions. The results of a single-subject, return to baseline design, indicated that the participant's verbal initiation behavior increased during intervention sessions compared to baseline levels. The findings are consistent with prior research and suggest that social skills interventions that use structured activities, visual cues, and normally developing peers as playmates may facilitate social initiation skills in children with high functioning autism.

Style and Attraction: The Power of Attractiveness and Similarity of Attitudes

Brian B. Drwecki, Donny J. Przygodski, and Robert S. Horton, Wabash College

ABSTRACT: In Experiment 1, men and women were more attracted to an opposite sex target who was dressed in a stylish manner than they were to an opposite sex target who was dressed in an unstylish manner. Experiment 2 examined explanations for the impact of style on attraction and replicated the initial style-attraction link. High style targets were perceived as more attractive and as possessing attitudes that were more similar to the participants' than low style targets. Perceived attractiveness of the target and the perceived similarity of attitudes with the target both mediated the style-attraction link. Our results suggest that (a) clothing style is a strong cue that is used as a basis for interpersonal inferences and (b) individuals tend to associate themselves with a person of high style.

Visual and Auditory Elaborative Imagery: Modality Effects on Paired-Associate Learning

Katharine Donnelly and Richard S. Velayo, Pace University

ABSTRACT: This study examined the effects of imposed elaborative imagery (visual and auditory) on the learning of paired-associate concepts presented in two different modalities. Participants assigned to conditions with imposed visual elaborations yielded significantly higher scores on a Concept Pairs Memory Test than participants assigned to conditions with auditory elaborations, or no elaborations. Findings are consistent with the dual-coding theory, which recognizes superiority for high-imagery items in memory tasks. Furthermore, the findings suggest that visual elaborative imagery is more salient than auditory imagery in depicting an identical relationship between the two items of a concept pair and, therefore, higher in imaginal value. The application of the dual-coding theory to elaborative learning, and the educational implications of imposed elaborative learning are discussed.

The Effects of Irrelevant Information and Familiarity in Math Performance: A Comparison of Male and Female College Students

E. Lauren Stites and Joseph J. Horton, Grove City College; Shelia M. Kennison, Oklahoma State University

ABSTRACT: The research investigated gender differences in men and women's use of irrelevant information when solving word problems requiring algebraic solutions. Low and Over (1993) found that girls used irrelevant information in their solutions of word problems more often than boys. We hypothesized that women may be less familiar with scenarios described in word problems than men. Scenarios used generally in textbooks and used in prior research may have been more familiar to boys than to girls. In our experiment, 68 women and 28 men solved word problems that either described a scenario stereotypically familiar to females or stereotypically familiar to males. Word problems either contained or did not contain irrelevant information. Our results indicated that females and males both showed significantly higher confidence levels when solving scenarios stereotypically familiar to males than when solving scenarios stereotypically familiar to females. No differences were observed in the use of irrelevant information by male and female participants.

Self-Disclosure of Emotional Experiences: Narrative Writing and Drawing for Stress Reduction

Nida M. Ittayem and Eileen L. Cooley, Agnes Scott College

ABSTRACT: Writing about emotional experiences can release tension and improve physical and mental health (Pennebaker & Seagal, 1999). This study compares narrative writing and drawing with a control writing condition for stress reduction. Thirty-four undergraduate women were randomly assigned to narrative writing, drawing, or control writing groups. Pre- and post- anxiety and stress levels were measured with the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI; Spielberger, Lushene, Vagg & Jacobs, 1983) and the Subjective Units of Disturbance Scale (SUDS; Wolpe & Lazarus, 1966). A significant decrease in SUDS stress ratings appeared in both narrative writing and drawing groups compared to an overall increase in the control group. No significant differences in pre-post STAI scores were found. Drawing and narrative writing may be equally effective in reducing stress.

Encouraging, Stimulating, and Advancing the Science of Psychology

Christopher Koch, George Fox University; Peter J. Giordano, Belmont University

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