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Psi Chi Journal Summer 2010


Volume 15.2 | Summer 2010
Download This Issue - All articles are now free.

Are You Aware? Context Effects on Emotional Ratings

Jessica Rae Cabral and Connie Shears, Chapman University

ABSTRACT: This study examined the effects of context on emotional ratings using standardized ratings to form 3 levels of images. Participants, shown only 1 level of context, rated each image using a Likert Scale. We proposed that if context effects influence emotional ratings, then ratings would differ by weighted stimulus contexts. Results indicated that context effects altered how participants rated images. However, when participants were informed to be aware of context effects, ratings were closer to standardized ratings. These results show that emotional responses are influenced by context and further, that awareness of context can overcome this influence.

Exploring Learning Measures During Training on a Truck-Dispatcher Task

Dorothy Carter, Debra Steele-Johnson, and Dragana Claflin, Wright State University

ABSTRACT: We used an inter-disciplinary approach to assess the validity of using alternative behavioral variables including task speed, information seeking, and types of errors as operational definitions of learning rather than relying on performance scores alone. Our study was a re-evaluation of a sample from a larger data set (Palumbo, 2008). Undergraduate students (N = 145) participated in a moderately difficult truck-dispatcher task (Steele-Johnson & Perlow, 1989) in which they received, processed, and shipped orders of military supplies. We categorized participants into greatest-learning versus least-learning groups based on the amount of change in their performance scores, and then compared task speed, information seeking, and types of errors between the two groups. Results indicated that task action speed and patterns of errors could be used as learning indicators for this task. Results also provided initial evidence of the efficacy of using alternative measures other than final performance score to assess learning during training.

College Students' Perceptions of Alcohol Use in Society and in Entertainment Television

Lindsay G. Cook, and Richard Jackson Harris, Kansas State University

ABSTRACT: The present study explored college students’ use of alcohol and their attitudes toward alcohol abuse in society. The study also examined the incorporation of Entertainment-Education concepts within entertainment television by looking at how specific programs structure and emphasize information on alcohol use. Participants who typically drank more than 7 drinks in one sitting (N = 47) rated alcohol abuse in society as significantly less serious than participants who typically drank fewer than 7 drinks in one sitting (N = 139). They were also significantly more entertained by programs that included alcohol use. Although 8 of the top 11 most-reported themes were prodrinking in nature, the results indicated that many programs also incorporated prohealth messages pertaining to alcohol use.

Sex Differences in 2D:4D Ratios, Aggression, and Spatial/Verbal Abilities

Patrick Cooper and Robert Matchock, Pennsylvania State University-Altoona Campus

ABSTRACT: The 2D:4D (second to fourth digit) ratio is thought to be a measure of prenatal testosterone exposure and is associated with traits such as aggression, sexual tendencies, and verbal/spatial intelligence. Fluctuating Asymmetry (FA) refers to deviation from bilateral symmetry caused by environmental problems during ontogeny. This study examined the relation among these factors. College students (N = 143) completed spatial and verbal fluency tests as well as aggression and sexual history questionnaires. Morphological measures of ears, ankles, and digit lengths were taken. The results indicate that 2D:4D ratios were sexually dimorphic with men having significantly lower ratios and higher spatial and aggression scores. Pearson correlations indicated that 2D:4D ratios were negatively correlated with physical aggression. The left hand ratios (L2D:4D) were negatively associated with aggression in women. Physical aggression and Total aggression were positively associated with spatial ability for men, but negatively associated with spatial ability for women. There were no sex differences for FA scores, verbal scores, and number of sexual partners. The 2D:4D ratios are discussed in terms of prenatal testosterone exposure.

Influence of Name Cues to Ethnicity on Judgments of Guilt and Sentencing

Jessica L. Davison, Danielle I. Schneider, and Sheila Brownlow, Catawba College

ABSTRACT: We examined whether judgments of guilt and perceptions of criminality were influenced by subtle cues to the ethnicity of suspects: their names. Students read about the robbery-related arrest of two suspects—either William Blake/Frank Rogers or William Blake/Franco Rodriguez—and judged criminal intent and guilt, and also assigned each a sentence. Results revealed that women participants imposed slightly harsher punishments than men, but only when the accused pair included at least one Hispanic-named person. Moreover, women more than men were likely to see the accused as being more criminal, and perceptions of criminality were lower for the person named William. There were no name-related differences in sentencing or judgments of guilt. These findings suggest that when cues to egalitarian behavior are obvious, such as when determining a sentence length for two persons who are accused of the same crime, people exhibit little overt bias, but aversive bias is likely when judgments are not guided by explicit behavioral expectations.

Could Attempts to Reduce the Effects of Inadmissible Evidence Go Too Far?

Justin Joseph, John Carroll University

ABSTRACT: The present research explored whether jurors might convict defendants less frequently when a judge warns the jurors that inadmissible evidence could be presented at trial and later instructs them to disregard that evidence because it is unreliable. The study also attempted to determine if jurors in either the previous condition or a second condition in which a judge instructed the jurors to disregard the inadmissible evidence but did not give the later warning, would exhibit the backfire effect by convicting the defendant more often. The results indicated that the judge’s admonishment and warning eliminated the backfire effect, but the conviction rates in the condition with a warning were not lower than the control condition in which the evidence was not presented.

Strong Body, Strong Mind: Self-Efficacy as a Function of Exercise

Mary Beth Miller, Westminster College

ABSTRACT: This study examined how exercise affected the general self-efficacy of college students. Eighteen nonathlete undergraduates, 7 men and 11 women, between 18 and 22 years of age exercised for 2 weeks and then did not exercise for 2 weeks. Congruent with previous research, exercise significantly decreased stress levels and increased exercising self-efficacy of participants in comparison to their baseline scores. Overall, general self-efficacy scores significantly increased with exercise, the effect being significantly more pronounced in nonhabitual than in habitual exercisers. In contrast to past research, initial amount of stress did not significantly affect gains in either exercising or general of self-efficacy. Collectively, the results suggest that exercising can build people’s beliefs in their abilities.

An Eye for an Eye: Examining Personality-Based Predictors of Trait Vengefulness

Sean E. Wisnieski, Shepherd University

ABSTRACT: Vengeance is a form of aggression aimed at retaliating against another for some perceived transgression. Previous research suggests a strong basis for the prediction of vengefulness from individual personality traits. The present study examined unforgivingness, narcissism, self-esteem, locus of control, trait anger, self-control, age, and sex as possible predictors. Participants (N = 110) completed measures of trait anger, externality of personal control, subclinical narcissism, forgivingness, vengefulness, and global self-esteem. Only age and externality failed to contribute to the model's predictive power, which otherwise accounted for more than half the variance in vengefulness scores. The results suggest a strong basis for predicting vengefulness at the individual level independent of situational factors.

A Preliminary Examination of the Effects of Behavioral Descriptions on On-Task Behavior

Kristin B. Lemaster, Stephanie M. Wagner, Ashley B. Tempel, and Cheryl B. McNeil, West Virginia University

ABSTRACT: Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) is an empirically-supported treatment containing several skill components that have not been individually examined. Behavioral descriptions are one component hypothesized to improve children’s attention-to-task. Researchers coded 3 children (ages 3-6) exhibiting attention and hyperactivity/impulsivity problems as on- or off-task while the children completed a coloring task. Researchers coded participants in conditions with or without behavioral descriptions using a single subject reversal design (ABA design). Based on visual inspection of the data, participants exhibited more on-task behavior during the behavioral descriptions component, supporting the hypothesis that behavioral descriptions may have clinical utility. Due to observed practice effects and limitations to generalizability, alternative experimental designs may provide a better method of investigating treatment components.

Self-Silencing Attitudes and Behaviors in Adolescent Couples: Links With Relationship Satisfaction

Tiffany Michaelson and Renee V. Galliher, Utah State University

ABSTRACT: This study examined self-silencing attitudes and self-silencing behaviors, as they related to relationship satisfaction in 74 adolescent female/male romantic couples. We assessed self-silencing attitudes and behaviors via self-report and in the context of a problem-solving activity. Results demonstrated moderate associations between global self-silencing attitudes and reports of self-silencing behaviors in videotaped problem-solving conversations for both boyfriends and girlfriends. Further, although there were no significant associations between self-silencing attitudes and relationship satisfaction for either boyfriends or girlfriends, there were several significant moderate correlations between self-silencing behaviors and relationship satisfaction.

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