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Psi Chi Journal Fall 2014


Volume 19.3 | Fall 2014
Download This Issue - All articles are now free.

Examining the Effect of Peppermint on Cognitive Functioning

Sijia Li and Barbara Blatchley, Agnes Scott College

ABSTRACT: When odorant molecules enter the nose, they do more than create a sensation of smell. Previous research has documented the influence of odorants on mood, physiology, cognitive functioning, and behaviors. The current study investigated whether and how peppermint, an odor commonly described as alerting, and the expectation of its presence, would affect attention and working memory. Fifty female undergraduate students were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: peppermint (threshold odorant, no expectation), expectation (no odorant, expectation), and control (no odorant, no expectation). Participants completed the Stroop Color-Word Interference Test and memory span assessments while wearing facial masks that either had the odorant applied to them or had no odorant applied in accordance with their condition assignments. We found no significant differences in performance on the Stroop Test and the memory span assessments across all three conditions. We propose that peppermint odorants of higher concentration may be needed to produce enhancing effects on cognitive functioning. The current study contributed to the literature as a pilot study on the topic and posed questions for future researchers.

Great Expectations: Perfectionism and Residence Status Predict College Adjustment

Samuel O. Lapoint and Champika K. Soysa, Worcester State University

ABSTRACT: Researchers have established college adjustment as a predictor of student retention (Credé & Niehorster, 2012). Using a social-cognitive framework, we examined perfectionism and residence status as predictors of college adjustment among first-year undergraduates (N = 175) from a public university. In hierarchical regression analyses, dissatisfaction and high standards aspects of perfectionism predicted academic adjustment, R2 = .41, p < .001, Cohen’s f2 = .69, and institutional attachment, R2 = .23, p < .001, Cohen’s f2 = .30. Dissatisfaction predicted social adjustment, R2 = .23, p < .001, Cohen’s f2 = .31. Dissatisfaction, reactivity to mistakes, and black and white thinking predicted personal-emotional adjustment, R2 = .45, p < .001, Cohen’s f2 = .82. In the second step, residence status added unique variance in predicting social adjustment, ΔR2 = .08, p < .001, Cohen’s f2 = .12 a medium effect size, and institutional attachment, ΔR2 = .02, p < .05, Cohen’s f2 = .03 a small effect size. This research advanced the literature because perfectionism and residence status have not been examined together in predicting college adjustment. These findings could improve academic success and retention efforts in universities.

Relations Among Compensatory Health Beliefs, Impulsivity, Coping Styles, and Health Perceptions

Merry J. Sleigh and Lilah Campbell Westmoreland, Winthrop University

ABSTRACT: Compensatory health beliefs (CHB) represent a strategy used to reduce the cognitive discomfort that arises from participating in recognizably unhealthy behaviors. Individuals who employ CHB plan to compensate for an unhealthy behavior by engaging in a subsequent healthy behavior. However the healthy behavior does not always follow. We examined relations among CHB and other cognitive variables including impulsivity, coping style, and personal health perception and knowledge. In Study 1, participants were 46 women and 14 men with a mean age of 29.12 (SD = 12.54). Results revealed that participants who scored higher on the overall CHB scale were more likely to score higher on impulsivity, score lower on consideration of future consequences, and engage in maladaptive coping strategies. In Study 2, participants were 116 women and 24 men with a mean age of 31.44 (SD = 13.86). Although the effect sizes were small, participants with higher CHB scores were consistently less well-informed about their general health and more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors. Participants with lower CHB scores were older, more educated, and considered themselves more well-informed about their general health. Maladaptive coping was positively correlated with CHB as in Study 1. These findings suggest that individual characteristics such as impulsivity and age are associated with increased reliance on CHB. CHB co-occurs with other maladaptive coping strategies and seems to have a detrimental impact on an individual’s perception of health risks and health choices.

Levels of Disordered Eating: Depression, Perfectionism, and Body Dissatisfaction

Marissa Graziano and Jason F. Sikorski, Central Connecticut State University

ABSTRACT: The present study investigated levels of depressive symptoms, perfectionist tendencies, and body dissatisfaction in women with different levels of eating dysfunction. Eighty-nine women from a Northeastern university participated in exchange for course credit. Participants were categorized as having an eating disorder, eating dysfunction, or exhibiting normal eating attitudes and behaviors. Results revealed that those with maladaptive eating attitudes and behaviors displayed more body dissatisfaction (η2 = .23) and depressive symptoms (η2 = .08) than those with normal eating attitudes and behaviors. Women with a high fear of becoming fat displayed higher levels of body dissatisfaction (η2p = .36) and depressive symptoms (η2p = .08) than women less concerned about body fat. In short, women with eating disorders and dysfunctions exhibited similar levels of depressive symptoms, perfectionist tendencies, and levels of body dissatisfaction. The present study and many others have implied that the current classification system used to diagnose eating disorders does not encompass the range of severity that women with eating problems might experience and that a dimensional approach to diagnostic assessment is advised.

Optimism and College Grades: Predicting GPA From Explanatory Style

Viliyana Maleva, Kathryn Westcott, Mark McKellop, Ronald McLaughlin, and David Widman, Juniata College

ABSTRACT: The current study attempted to predict grade point average (GPA) based on academic explanatory style in college students. Building our work on Barrett and Peterson’s study (1987), we hypothesized that college students with optimistic explanatory style would have significantly higher GPAs than college students with pessimistic explanatory style. We tested this hypothesis with 171 undergraduate students at a small liberal arts college by using the Academic Attributional Style Questionnaire (AASQ; Barrett & Peterson, 1987) and found a significant, but small, r = -.15, p = .44, negative correlation between academic explanatory style and GPA. Although our results pointed to the conclusion that college students with optimistic explanatory style have higher GPAs than college students with pessimistic explanatory style, explanatory style seems to have a weak predictive value for college GPA. Further research needs to replicate these findings and examine their practical significance. Alternative explanations and future research directions are discussed.

Benevolent Sexism and Peception of Gender Conforming and Nonconforming Women Abuse Victims

Bettina J. Casad, University of Missouri-St. Louis, J. Katherine Lee, Portland State University

ABSTRACT: This study examined whether endorsing a benevolent sexist ideology predicted perceptions of a woman abuse victim who violated or conformed to gender role norms. It was hypothesized that participants who endorsed benevolent sexism would rate a gender conforming victim more positively and a gender nonconforming victim more negatively than those who did not endorse benevolent sexism. Participants read a vignette about a gender conforming or nonconforming woman domestic violence victim and evaluated the target. Results supported the hypotheses that participants with a benevolent sexist worldview rated the gender conforming target as more likeable (p < .001, r2 = .05), making a more positive impression (p = .025, r2 = .02), and having more positive personality traits (p < .001, r2 = .09) compared to nonendorsers. There were no effects for gender nonconforming targets. Benevolent sexism predicted evaluations of victims in our study, which may similarly affect perceptions of people providing aid to domestic violence victims.

Coworkers and Supervisors on Facebook? Effect of Workplace Friendship, Trust, and Sex

Yun Jiang, Jennifer L. Hughes, and Lexi Pulice-Farrow, Agnes Scott College

ABSTRACT: Few studies have examined Facebook® users’ attitude toward Facebook friending with people from the workplace. The first part of the present study investigated whether Facebook users liked to become Facebook friends with coworkers and whether their decisions were affected by their perceived workplace friendship, trust toward coworkers, and sex. The second part of this study examined whether supervisors’ intention of friending subordinates on Facebook generated a feeling of inappropriateness and whether men and women differed in their perceptions. Data were collected through online surveys (N = 399, 74% women). Results showed that the majority of Facebook users liked to become Facebook friends with coworkers, χ2(3) = 106.69, p < .001. Those who perceived a higher level of workplace friendship reported less unwillingness to friend coworkers on Facebook, r(380) = -.30, p < .001, r2 = .09. Even with high perceived workplace friendship, users still felt more comfortable friending highly trusted coworkers compared to moderately or lowly trusted coworkers on Facebook, F(2, 232) = 195.44, p < .001, η2 = .63. Furthermore, although in general Facebook users felt it inappropriate for supervisors to send them friend requests, χ2(3) = 115.94, p < .001, women were more likely to view this friending intention as inappropriate than men, t(381) = 2.05, p = .039, d = .25. This study provided important implications about how understanding the factors that influence users’ attitude toward Facebook friending with coworkers and supervisors can benefit both individual career advancement and organizational outcomes.

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