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How Old is My Star? Expanding the Asteroseismic Age Calibration Using Star Clusters

Type: Graduate
Author(s): Amy Ray Physics & Astronomy
Advisor(s): Peter Frinchaboy Physics & Astronomy
Location: cancelled due to conflict

Star clusters have been incredibly useful tools for studying the history of the Milky Way because they allow us to determine relative ages based on their chemical abundances. However, most stars are not in clusters, and current methods used to determine ages for individual stars produce substantial uncertainties. A new age method enabled by the precise photometry data of the NASA Kepler satellite is asteroseismology. Asteroseismology allows us to probe the internal structure of stars that are affected by age and composition. This research aims to calibrate the relationships between age, chemical abundances, and asteroseismology by analyzing data of stars in star clusters, which provide an independent measure of the stars' ages. This project aims to expand upon the currently used age and chemical abundance range and triple the number of open star clusters used to calibrate the asteroseismic age-mass-chemical abundance relation. We have combined asteroseismology data for stars in clusters within the Kepler 2 campaign fields with uniformly determined follow-up spectroscopic abundances from observations from the MMT.

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Surface photovoltage studies of ZnO microcrystals in relation to their antibacterial action

Type: Graduate
Author(s): John Reeks Physics & Astronomy Iman Ali Biology Dustin Johnson Physics & Astronomy Shauna McGillivray Biology Yuri Strzhemechny Physics & Astronomy Jacob Tzoka Physics & Astronomy
Advisor(s): Yuri Strzhemechny Physics & Astronomy
Location: Zoom Room 2, 12:46 PM

Micro- and nano-scale ZnO particles are known to inhibit the growth of bacteria. Though this phenomenon has been vigorously studied, the fundamental mechanisms driving this action remain unknown. Mechanisms proposed by other studies include: the production of reactive oxide species, release of zinc ions, damage to the cell wall due to interactions with ZnO surfaces, and the inhibition of enzymes. ZnO surface defects serve as reaction sites for the processes driving these bactericidal interactions. Additionally, through MIC assays, we found antibacterial action of microparticles to be comparable to that of nanoscale particles. This confirms that antibacterial action of ZnO is rooted in surface-surface interactions between bacteria and ZnO. Therefore, our studies focus on ZnO surface charge dynamics and surface defects using surface photovoltage methods. Surface photovoltage experiments were performed on commercial grade ZnO nanoparticles and hydrothermally grown ZnO microcrystals in conjunction with antibacterial assays to elucidate the surface and near-surface charge dynamics associated with antibacterial processes of the ZnO surfaces.

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Forensic Astronomy: Collecting Chemical Fingerprints of Ancient Supernova Explosions

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Nicole Riddle Physics & Astronomy Emilie Burnham Physics & Astronomy
Advisor(s): Peter Frinchaboy Physics & Astronomy
Location: Zoom Room 2, 03:11 PM

The creation and evolution of elements, as a function of age, throughout the Milky Way disk provides a key constraint for galaxy evolution models. In an effort to provide these constraints, we have conducted an investigation into the rapid and slow-process neutron capture elemental abundances, which are created in supernovae, for a large sample of open clusters. Stars were identified as cluster members by the Open Cluster Chemical Abundance & Mapping (OCCAM) survey, which culls member candidates by Doppler velocity, metallicity, and proper motion from the observed OCCAM sample. We’ve obtained new data for neutron-capture elements in these clusters using the Subaru Observatory 8-m telescope in Hawaii with the High Dispersion Spectrograph (HDS). We are analyzing the neutron capture abundances in star clusters to measure the chemical evolution of the Milky Way.

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Electric field quenching of graphene oxide photoluminescence

Type: Graduate
Author(s): Alina Valimukhametova Physics & Astronomy Fabian Grote Physics & Astronomy Bong Han Lee Physics & Astronomy Thomas Paz Physics & Astronomy Conor Ryan Physics & Astronomy
Advisor(s): Anton Naumov Physics & Astronomy
Location: Zoom Room 3, 02:15 PM

With the advent of graphene, there has been an interest in utilizing this material and its derivative, graphene oxide (GO) for novel applications in nanodevices such as bio and gas sensors, solid-state supercapacitors and solar cells. Although GO exhibits lower conductivity and structural stability, it possesses an energy band gap that enables fluorescence emission in the visible/near infrared leading to a plethora of optoelectronic applications. In order to allow fine-tuning of its optical properties in the device geometry, new physical techniques are required that, unlike existing chemical approaches, yield substantial alteration of GO structure. Such a desired new technique is one that is electronically controlled and leads to reversible changes in GO optoelectronic properties. In this work, we for the first time investigate the methods to controllably alter the optical response of GO with the electric field and provide theoretical modeling of the electric field-induced changes. Field-dependent GO emission is studied in bulk GO/polyvinylpyrrolidone films with up to 6% reversible decrease under 1.6 V µm−1 electric fields. On an individual flake level, a more substantial over 50% quenching is achieved for select GO flakes in a polymeric matrix between interdigitated microelectrodes subject to two orders of magnitude higher fields. This effect is modeled on a single exciton level by utilizing Wentzel, Kremer, and Brillouin approximation for electron escape from the exciton potential well. In an aqueous suspension at low fields, GO flakes exhibit electrophoretic migration, indicating a degree of charge separation and a possibility of manipulating GO materials on a single-flake level to assemble electric field-controlled microelectronics. As a result of this work, we suggest the potential of varying the optical and electronic properties of GO via the electric field for the advancement and control over its optoelectronic device applications.

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Near-Infrared Fluorescence Imaging in Mice with Graphene Quantum Dots

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Satvik Vasireddy Physics & Astronomy Md. Tanvir Hasan Physics & Astronomy
Advisor(s): Anton Naumov Physics & Astronomy
Location: Zoom Room 4, 12:54 PM

In recent times, nanomaterials have attracted interest in the scientific community due to their capacity for drug/gene delivery as well as their ability to target tissues and serve as probes for delivery pathways through various bioimaging approaches. Nanomaterial-based imaging systems in the near-infrared (NIR) region are desirable in vivo due to low biological autofluorescence, low tissue scattering, and increased penetration depth in animal tissue. However, low biocompatibility, as well as complexity in preparation, impede many current NIR imaging platforms from biomedical applications. In order to rectify this issue, we developed biocompatible NIR emitting graphene quantum dots (GQDs) and tested them for imaging in animal tissues. GQDs injected into mice intravenously through the tail vein show NIR emission in multiple organs including the intestine, kidney, spleen, and liver. Localization of both quantum dots in these organs was verified through the NIR fluorescence microscopy of organ slices, taken at multiple time points (1, 3, 6, 24 hours) via hyperspectral fluorescence microscopy. Slices in the 6 hour time point show the strongest fluorescence and characteristic GQD spectral signatures at ~950 nm compared to none in the control slices. These results indicate that GQDs show promising potential for future applications in theranostics, for instance as imaging or image-guided drug delivery agents.

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Cloudy with a Chance of Stars

Type: Graduate
Author(s): Joe Vazquez Physics & Astronomy Jaq Hernandez Physics & Astronomy Matthew Nuss Physics & Astronomy
Advisor(s): Kat Barger Physics & Astronomy
Location: Zoom Room 1, 02:39 PM

The Smith Cloud is a fast-travelling gas cloud that is currently hurtling towards the Milky Way galaxy at about 170,000 miles per hour. If the cloud is able to reach the Galactic plane, it has the potential to supply the Milky Way with at least 2 million suns worth of gas. This gas can be used to make new stars, planets, and even meatballs. In this project, we use observations taken with the Hubble Space Telescope and the Green Bank Telescope. We fit our spectroscopic observations with line profiles to quantify the amount of gas and its motions. We then take measurements of the low- and high-ionization species of two small cloud fragments that lie adjacent to the main body of this large gas cloud. This enables us to constrain the processes that impact the Smith Cloud as it traverses the Galactic halo. Our investigation could provide great insight on how galaxies capture the gas that they use to form stars and planets.

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Star Wells: Rise of Satellites

Type: Graduate
Author(s): Sachi Weerasooriya Physics & Astronomy Mia Sauda Bovill Physics & Astronomy
Advisor(s): Mia Sauda Bovill Physics & Astronomy
Location: Zoom Room 4, 01:34 PM

Large galaxies are made up of smaller satellite galaxies. This makes these satellite galaxies crucial to understanding how stars form. Shallow gravity wells make them extremely sensitive to internal and external disturbances. Therefore, they are excellent laboratories to explore stellar physics. We use multi-body simulations of a Milky Way-like galaxy to explore the stellar properties of satellite galaxies surrounding a possible Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). LMC is the largest satellite galaxy of the Milky Way. We compare the resulting properties such as chemical composition, light, radial distribution to observations from McConnachie et al. 2012.


New Tricks with the Joker: Revealing Binary Stars

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Mikayla Wilson Physics & Astronomy Nicole Riddle Physics & Astronomy
Advisor(s): Peter Frinchaboy Physics & Astronomy
Location: Zoom Room 5, 01:50 PM

Fifty percent of stars in the night sky are actually binary star systems, but finding and characterizing them require significant data, time, and analysis. Studying the brighter star of the pair is fairly straightforward, but the secondary is commonly hidden. Using the infrared spectroscopy data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey combined with The Joker, a new Monte Carlo analysis technique, we are working to reveal and characterize these hidden binary stars.

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The Effect of Helicopter Parenting on College Students’ Outcomes: The Mediating Role of Self-Efficacy

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Alyssa Alanis Psychology Naomi Ekas Psychology Chrystyna Kouros Psychology Deborah Rafferty Psychology
Advisor(s): Naomi Ekas Psychology
Location: Zoom Room 4, 01:10 PM

Introduction: Helicopter parenting, a parenting style defined by high parental control and warmth, (has been shown to negatively impact college age students through higher rates of depression and anxiety (Lubbe, 2018; Padilla-Walker & Nelson, 2012). Further, helicopter parenting may inhibit college students’ academic performance (Love, 2019) and feelings of success (Deci & Ryan, 2012). Overparenting has also been associated with maladaptive traits in adult children, including a sense of entitlement (Segrin, 2012). The goal of the current study is to explore the mediating role of self-efficacy in relationship between helicopter parenting and college student outcomes. It is hypothesized that helicopter parenting will increase depressive symptoms, decrease well-being, and increase students’ sense of entitlement.
Methods: Six-hundred sixty-five undergraduate psychology students were recruited through SONA to participate in the study at two Southern private universities. Participants answered a battery of online questionnaires about their interactions and relationships with their parent, reporting on their perceptions of their parents’ helicopter parenting behaviors, family environment, and personality. Students also completed questionnaires about their personality, mental health, academic achievement, and substance use.
Results: In order to test Lubbe and colleagues (2018) proposed four-factor helicopter parenting model, a confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was performed in MPlus version 8 (Muthén & Muthén, 2001-2014). The four subscales of the Bifactor Model of Helicopter parenting were used as indicators for the latent variable, Helicopter parenting, and was the hypothesized confirmatory factor analysis model. Based on Hu and Bentler’s (1999) criteria for adequate model fit, results of the CFA indicated the model had good fit, χ2 (2) = .720¸ p ≤ .001; RMSEA ≤ .001, 90% Confidence Intervals (CI) [≤.001,.005]; CFI = 1.00; SRMR = .005. To test the relationship between helicopter parenting and college student outcomes and the mediating role of self-efficacy, a structural regression model was performed with the ML estimator and 10,000 bootstraps. Results of the first model indicated good fit, χ2 (17) = 34.72¸ p = .007; RMSEA = .040, 90% Confidence Intervals (CI) [.020,.058]; CFI = .989; SRMR = .021. The indirect paths through self-efficacy from helicopter parenting to psychological entitlement (95% CI: [-.45, -.06]), academic entitlement, (95% CI: [.16, .71]) depressive symptoms (95% CI: [.37, 1.42]), and subjective well-being (95% CI: [-.16, -.05]), were all significant. Therefore, as helicopter parenting increases, self-efficacy decreases, which predicts lower levels of psychological entitlement and subjective well-being and higher levels of depressive symptoms and academic entitlement.
Discussion: Helicopter parenting behavior during the college years is not developmentally appropriate for parents to engage in and has been associated with negative outcomes for their college-aged child. The main goal of the study was to examine the relationship between helicopter parenting and college student outcomes and the mediating role of self-efficacy. Results of the current study support previous findings which suggest helicopter parenting has been associated with lower levels of mental health and well-being and higher rates of entitlement. The results also indicate that the relationship between helicopter parenting and student outcomes is mediated by self-efficacy.

(Presentation is private)


Employment Decisions in Mothers of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Allie Benson Psychology Naomi Ekas Psychology Deborah Rafferty Psychology
Advisor(s): Naomi Ekas Psychology
Location: Zoom Room 6, 12:46 PM

Title: Employment Decisions in Mothers of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Authors: Naomi Ekas, Ph.D., Deborah Rafferty, Allie Benson

Introduction: It is very common for at least one parent of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to quit their job to care for this child (Stoner & Stoner, 2016). Some research suggests that parents of children with ASD are four times as likely to quit, change, or not take a job compared to parents with typically developing children (Montes & Halterman, 2008). These high rates of career disruption can have effects on both the parent quitting their career and the one continuing their career. Typically, it is mothers of children with ASD whose careers are impacted the most. Mothers disproportionately quit their jobs compared to fathers to care for a child with ASD and the mothers who continue their professional career face issues at work such as working fewer hours, having to change jobs, and not accepting promotions (Baker & Drapela, 2010). However, there is a dearth of prior research that examines why parents of children with ASD decide to quit their jobs or remain working outside the home after their child’s diagnosis. Thus, the first goal of this current study is to determine the factors underlying the reason mothers of children with ASD decide to quit her job versus continuing to work outside of the home.

Due to the array of challenges mothers face in caring for a child with ASD, these mothers face several mental health challenges. In general, research suggests that mothers of children with ASD experience more stress, less self-efficacy and parental competence, and lower overall health ratings than parents of typically developing children and children with other special needs (Herring et al., 2006; Pisula, 2007; Yamada et al., 2007). However, there is a dearth of research on the effects staying in a career versus quitting work to care for a child with ASD have on a mother of a child with ASD’s mental health. Thus, the second goal of this research is to determine the effects quitting a job to care for a child with ASD has on a mother’s mental health versus the effects staying in a career while parenting a child with ASD have on a mother’s mental health.

Methods: We recruited mothers of children with ASD who chose to remain in the professional workforce while raising their child with ASD and who quit their job to care for their child with ASD. All mothers reside in the United States, are married, and have a child with ASD between the ages of 10 and 17. Participants completed a 45-60 minute online Qualtrics survey that included demographic measures, mental health measures, and questions about their employment decisions.

Results/Discussion: Data is still being collected for this study. We will utilize SPSS to perform statistical techniques.

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Experience with Extrinsic Rewards does not Undermine Intrinsic Motivation in Rats

Type: Graduate
Author(s): Sara Bond Psychology Kenneth Leising Psychology Marisa Melo Psychology Tanner Raab Psychology
Advisor(s): Kenneth Leising Psychology
Location: Zoom Room 4, 02:15 PM

Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation satisfy biological needs or desires. Behavior that is intrinsically motivated is not followed by any apparent reward, except for the behavior itself. Behavior that is extrinsically motivated is followed a separate, observable reward. The overjustification hypothesis states that after engaging in behavior as a means to an extrinsic reward, there will be a reduction in one’s intrinsic motivation to engage the behavior. The current study observed whether the overjusitification effect occurs in rats when using lever pressing as a measure of intrinsic motivation. For all rats, intrinsic motivation was measured in Phase 1 by the number of lever presses made by each rat in the absence of any observable reward. In Phase 2, one group continued to lever press without reward (Control), while the other group received a sucrose pellet (extrinsic reward) for each lever press. Lever pressing in the absence of reward (intrinsically motivated) was again measured in Phase 3. The extrinsic reward group emitted more lever pressing in the sessions at the start of Phase 3. Lever pressing decreased thereafter, but stabilized at a higher rate than the control group. The groups were then switched before Phase 2 was repeated. The overjustification effect was not observed in our study, but rather, reinforcement protected the response from habituation.

(Presentation is private)


Family Functioning and Parent Mental Health in Families of Color with Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Racial Protests

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Olivia Buchanan Psychology
Advisor(s): Naomi Ekas Psychology Lynn Hampton Interdisciplinary Anna Petursdottir Psychology
Location: Zoom Room 4, 02:55 PM

Introduction: There is a vast range of deficits and behavioral issues associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), which leads families with children with ASD to experience greater amounts of stress compared to families of neurotypical children (Bayat & Schuntermann, 2013). An additional factor that may exacerbate the stress families with children with ASD are under is the COVID-19 pandemic, which has contributed to disrupted routines and increased anxiety and can result in an increase in challenging behavior for some individuals with ASD (Autism Speaks, 2020). In addition to the stress of the pandemic, the current social unrest evident by national racial protests following the killing of George Floyd may exacerbate stress in families, particularly families of color. The current study aims to contribute to the paucity of research regarding parent mental health and family functioning in families of color with children with ASD. Due to the stress of raising a child with ASD being exacerbated by the pandemic and the racial inequality protests in families of color, I hypothesized that families of color with children with ASD would experience higher rates of stress and have poorer family functioning compared to White families.
Methods: Participants were caregivers of children with ASD who were recruited from the community through local schools, flyers, and online advertisements. Participants completed a Qualtrics survey in April and the second survey in July. The surveys included questions regarding parents’ stress, anxiety, and depression levels associated with the COVID-19 pandemic and how this impacted family function. To analyze stress-levels regarding the racial protests that began in May, the July survey included questions regarding levels of distress about the protests and how families perceived their interactions with the police.
Results/Discussion: The data for the current study is still being analyzed.

(Presentation is private)


The effects of extrapolation and trait imageability on self-radicalization

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Claire Clark Psychology Kaleigh Decker Psychology Charles Lord Psychology
Advisor(s): Charles Lord Psychology
Location: Zoom Room 5, 01:42 PM

Previous research has found that people can become self-radicalized (i.e., adopt more extreme attitudes in the absence of new information) by merely thinking about a group. A number of studies in our research lab have also found that people can become self-radicalized when they engage in a specific type of thought strategy, namely extrapolating from known to unknown traits about a group. The current experiment examined whether differences in trait imageability, or the ability to form a mental image of a trait, influence the effects of extrapolation on self-radicalization toward a negatively perceived outgroup. We found that regardless of trait imageability, participants who extrapolated reported more extreme attitudes and behavioral intentions toward the outgroup compared to control participants. More importantly, however, participants who extrapolated to traits that were difficult to form a mental image of subsequently reported more extreme attitudes and behavioral intentions toward the outgroup, compared to participants who extrapolated to traits that were easy to form a mental image of and compared to control participants. The current results established an initial link between self-radicalization and thinking about trait information that is relatively difficult to process.

(Presentation is private)


Investigating Metacognitive Biases: Connections Between Fluency Effects and Beliefs in Individualized Learning Styles

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Rebecca Curran Psychology Mary Hargis Psychology
Advisor(s): Mary Hargis Psychology Naomi Ekas Psychology
Location: Zoom Room 2, 03:35 PM

Previous work illustrates that people’s judgments of the memorability of stimuli is affected by the perceptual features of those stimuli, even when there is no actual difference in memory (Rhodes & Castel, 2008). There is, however, a gap in the research about how such metacognitive illusions relate to other common misconceptions about how memory works. The present study examined the connection between so-called perceptual fluency effects and the common misconception that students learn best when content is presented in line with their individualized learning styles (e.g., auditory learners, visual learners, etc.). Participants were asked questions to gauge their perceptions of learning styles, then studied and made judgments about words that were presented in either large or small fonts (a manipulation that has been shown to affect judgments, but not actual memory performance). After a delay, participants took a free recall test, and were asked to make a global judgment about whether they remembered the large or small words better. We found that 43.47% of participants endorsed visual learning styles, 21.75% endorsed kinesthetic learning styles, 8.69% endorsed auditory learning styles, and the other 26.09% did not endorse a specific learning style. We also examine the relationship between learning styles and fluency effects.
Keywords: individualized learning styles, fluency effects, judgments of learning, metacognitive biases

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Influence of Socioeconomic Status on Rhythm Perception in Children with and without Dyslexia

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Nathania Davis Psychology Abby Engelhart Psychology John Solorzano Restrepo Psychology Vishal Thakkar Psychology
Advisor(s): Tracy Centanni Psychology
Location: Zoom Room 2, 02:39 PM

Influence of socioeconomic status on rhythm perception in children with and without dyslexia
Nathania Davis, Vishal Thakkar, John Solorzano Restrepo, Abby Engelhart, Tracy Centanni
Department of Psychology, Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, TX 76129

Development of strong reading skills takes years of practice and instruction, but such skills are critical for future success academically, vocationally, and in everyday life. In spite of the early start to reading instruction in the United States, up to 15 percent of children fail to learn to read and approximately 21 percent of adults meet the Department of Education’s criteria for low English literacy (NCES, 2014). One risk factor for poor reading outcomes is the child’s socioeconomic status (SES). Previous research has demonstrated a significant and positive relationship between children’s SES and their reading abilities, such that children from more advantaged backgrounds develop better reading skills (Bowey, 1995), (Corso, 2016). Interestingly, reading skills may also be correlated with rhythm perception. Children who struggle to read also appear to struggle in the ability to detect slight changes in rhythmic patterns (Overy et al., 2003). It is currently unknown why these two skills are related and whether SES impacts the development of rhythm perception. The goal of the current study was to examine the SES-rhythm relationship among typically developing children (TD) and those with dyslexia (DYS). Data were collected from 36 TD children and 25 DYS children. Children completed a series of virtual reading assessments and information about the child’s history and home environment was collected from the parents. Children then completed a rhythm matching task (Dolloghan and Campbell, 1998) in which they heard two patterns and reported whether they were the same or different. Early analyses suggest that SES and rhythm processing are not significantly related. We discuss the implications of these findings on the development of rhythm-based interventions for children who are at risk for lower reading skills.

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The effects of Induced Gratitude and Pride On Children's Ability to Delay Gratification

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Connie Deighton Psychology Deborah Rafferty Psychology
Advisor(s): Naomi EKAS Psychology
Location: Zoom Room 1, 02:15 PM

Delay of gratification refers to the ability to wait for a preferred reward over an immediate reward. For children, this ability serves as an important predictor of future outcomes (e.g., Mischel et al., 1989). Previous studies have identified several strategies that children utilize in order to delay gratification and most research points to cognitive processes as the key strategy for aiding in children’s ability to delay gratification. However, a newer body of research with adults suggests that emotions, such as gratitude, might be manipulated, and thus might serve as a constructive strategy for delaying gratification (DeSteno et al., 2011). This study is the first to examine whether positive emotions influence a child’s ability to delay gratification.

Four and five-year-old children (n = 74) were randomly assigned to one of three conditions - pride, gratitude, and control - and completed a drawing task prior to the delay of gratification task. In the pride group, children completed a drawing and then were given praise. In the gratitude group, children were instructed to draw something they were thankful for and then describe it when they finished. In the control group, children were given a single black crayon and asked to draw 5 lines and given no feedback. Children were then told they could have more of a preferred reward if they waited for 15 minutes in their chair, but to ring the bell if they wanted to stop and have less of the reward (e.g., marshmallows, goldfish crackers, fruit snacks, etc.). The total amount of time they waited was recorded. In additional, the frequency of performing various behaviors was coded. These included distraction (looking away from the reward), verbal (talking about the reward v. talking about other things), and interacting with the reward (touching, smelling, tasting, eating).

The three groups did not differ on any demographic characteristics (child age, child gender, ethnicity, household income, parent education). There were no significant differences between groups on the amount of time they delayed gratification, F(2, 72)=2.07, p=.13. Children in the praise (M=17.42, SD=7.18) and gratitude groups (M=16.92, SD=8.34) engaged in significantly greater amounts of distraction, F(2,72)=4.30, p=.017, compared to the control group (M=11.48, SD=8.18).

Research with adults has shown that positive emotions play an important role in delaying gratification. The current study provides evidence that this is also true for younger children. Although all groups of children performed equally well with respect to the time they waited, there were important differences in the types of strategies they used. Focusing attention away from the source of temptation is generally found to be an effective strategy and one that translates across situations. For example, distracting oneself during an anger-eliciting situation is also effective in reducing negative emotions. Therefore, teachers and parents should consider implementing interventions that focus on teaching children to generate positive emotions when encountering potentially challenging situations.

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Blood alcohol concentration, open field activity, and c-Fos expression after consumption

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Annamarie DeMarco Psychology Sara Guarino Psychology Chris Hagen Psychology
Advisor(s): Mauricio Papini Psychology
Location: Zoom Room 6, 03:27 PM

Alcohol consumption is a pervasive element of today’s culture with serious individual and social consequences. Consequently, understanding the effects of alcohol on behavior and the brain is vital to unpack the motivation for drinking and potentially help treat individuals with alcohol use disorder. This experiment utilized a rat model of voluntary alcohol consumption using a high (66%) concentration of ethanol. Traditionally, it has been thought that rats reject such high concentrations of alcohol. However, it has been repeatedly demonstrated in our lab that rats will drink such high concentrations of alcohol at a rate equal to water and will even work to have access to alcohol as a reward. In this study, rats were given access to either 66% ethanol or water in their home cages for 1-hour sessions. After some of these sessions, rats were placed in the open field chamber to assess locomotor activity and blood was drawn to measure blood alcohol content. After a final consumption session, brains were extracted to investigate differences in brain activity in specific regions of the brain. The results showed that after 66% alcohol consumption rats had increased activity in the periphery of the open field chamber, increased blood alcohol concentration, and increased brain activity in the anterior cingulate cortex, insular cortex, and nucleus accumbens. All together, these results suggest that rats will consume high concentrations of alcohol and find such concentrations rewarding.

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You Are What You (Are Willing To) Eat: Willingness to Try New Foods Impacts Perceptions of Sexual Unrestrictedness and Desirability

Type: Graduate
Author(s): Matthew Espinosa Psychology Hannah Bradshaw Psychology Alexander Darrell Psychology Sarah Hill Psychology Summer Mengelkoch Psychology
Advisor(s): Sarah Hill Psychology
Location: Zoom Room 6, 01:02 PM

Here, we examine the impact of one’s willingness to try new foods on others’ perceptions of sexual unrestrictedness and desirability as a sexual and romantic partner. Guided by insights from past research, we hypothesized that targets who are willing to try new foods would be perceived as being more desirable sexual and romantic partners (Study 1) and as being less sexually restricted (Studies 2-4) than targets who are unwilling to try new foods. Results supported this hypothesis (Studies 1-4) and indicated that this pattern is specific to willingness to try new foods, and not willingness to try new things, generally (Study 3). Additionally, results revealed that the relationship between willingness to try new food and perceptions of sexual unrestrictedness are driven by perceptions of target’s relatively lower levels of sexual disgust sensitivity and not by the belief that the target is in better health or has superior immune function (Study 4). Together, these results suggest that people’s willingness to try new foods may impact how they are perceived by prospective dates and mates.

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Ethnic Differences in Parents’ Ability to Identify Internalizing Symptoms in their Adolescent Children: Does Their Ability to Identify Symptoms in Others Matter?

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Keana Gonzales Psychology
Advisor(s): Naomi Ekas Psychology
Location: Zoom Room 1, 02:31 PM

Background: Adolescent depression and anxiety has adverse effects if not treated, such as substance abuse, educational underachievement, teen pregnancy, social isolation, and suicidal ideation (Kamin et al. 2014). The possible reoccurrence of these disorders further emphasizes the need for early identification and diagnosis for teens. Although the prevalence of adolescent depression is high, many adolescents do not receive mental health services, such as talk therapy or medication. One possibility is that parents are not correctly identifying their child’s depressive and anxiety symptoms and may dismiss symptoms as being normative adolescent behavior. The purpose of the current study was to determine whether parents of adolescents were able to accurately identify symptoms of depression and anxiety in hypothetical adolescents and the extent to which their accuracy predicted their ability to identify symptoms in their adolescent. Ethnic differences between Hispanic and non-Hispanic parents were also examined.

Methods: Eighty-one mother-adolescent dyads participated in the current study (23% Hispanic). Dyads completed a series of surveys and clinical interviews in a laboratory setting. Adolescent depressive and anxiety symptoms were measured using the Child Depression Inventory (CDI) and Screen for Child Anxiety Related Disorders (SCARED), which were completed by the mothers and adolescents. Mothers were presented with a series of vignettes which described the behaviors of hypothetical adolescents. Five of the vignettes described symptoms of anxiety and depression in male and female adolescents. After reading each vignette mothers were asked to identify the symptoms and whether they thought the adolescent had a problem and needed help. Responses were coded by trained research assistants (currently in progress) and a score reflecting the proportion of symptoms correctly identified will be calculated.

Analysis Plan: Separate discrepancy scores (mother v. child report) for child depressive and anxiety symptoms will be calculated. Higher discrepancy scores suggest that mothers and adolescents do not agree on the level of depressive and anxiety symptoms. Next, separate simple regressions will be performed to determine the extent to which mothers’ symptom identification accuracy on the vignettes predicts the discrepancy score. Any necessary covariates (e.g., child gender, age, etc.) will be included. Finally, parent ethnicity (Hispanic v. non-Hispanic) will be added as a moderator to determine whether the aforementioned relationship differs by ethnicity.

These findings have essential implications for early identification in children who are at risk or may become depressed. Parents who are not able to see depressive symptoms early in their own children may never be able to give their child the help they desperately need. Equipping parents with the right information on depressive and anxiety symptoms is vital for early intervention to occur. Identifying possible ethnic differences will help as cultural differences can be a factor in early intervention. Parents can then be guided in better understanding their children’s individual signs and symptoms and be able to intervene before it is too serious. Overall this information will help more adolescents receive treatment as parents will be understanding of their own potential bias with their children.

(Presentation is private)

PSYC2021HO23181 PSYC

Life History Congruency

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Sally Ho Psychology
Advisor(s): Sarah Hill Psychology
Location: Zoom Room 3, 01:18 PM

Life history theory provides an evolutionary framework to explain why individuals from different ecologies (i.e., living environments) employ different strategies and behaviors to solve their adaptive problems. Research using life history theory consistently finds that individuals from harsh ecologies that are scarce, unpredictable, and high in morbidity risk are more likely to engage in fast life strategies (e.g., accelerated reproduction, impulsive behavior). In contrast, individuals from benign ecologies that are abundant, predictable, and low in morbidity are more likely to engage in slow life strategies (e.g., delayed reproduction, delayed gratification). Without the nuanced understanding of how living environments and socioeconomic status (SES) influences adaptive behaviors, one might perceive fast life strategies and behaviors as poor decision-making. Our first study, therefore, seeks to examine whether individuals from low SES backgrounds are more understanding of fast behaviors compared to those of high SES. The results supported our hypothesis, revealing that people from low SES neighborhoods were more likely to rate fast behaviors as wise and moral compared to people from high SES neighborhoods. Additionally, in our second study, we investigated whether having knowledge or cues of ecological contexts alters people’s perceptions of behaviors originating from those ecologies. The results revealed that people are more perceptive of behaviors that they consider congruent and adaptive to the subject's environment. Specifically, fast behaviors were rated as more wise and moral in harsh ecologies than in benign ecologies, while slow behaviors were rated as more wise and moral in benign ecologies compared to harsh. Overall, our findings indicate that having insight into one’s ecology significantly influences how people view that individual’s behaviors and life strategies.

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Identity Fusion to hometown as a predictor for pro-social community behavior

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Brooklin Klopf Psychology Brian Gully Psychology
Advisor(s): Cathy Cox Psychology
Location: Zoom Room 5, 12:30 PM

Identity fusion is defined as a "visceral sense of oneness" between an individual and their in-group. It is distinct from in-group identification, in that fusion motivates the individual to personally sacrifice for the group and develop familial-like ties with members they don’t know. Strong identity fusion has often been linked to negative/anti-social behavior, such as violent extremism and persecution of others. However, further work has indicated identity fusion can motivate pro-social group behavior. The current study focuses on identity fusion through the lens of the hometown. It was hypothesized that high hometown-fusion would be associated with feelings of kinship, greater intention to act in benefit to the hometown, and increased intention to live in one’s hometown. Identity fusion was predicted to associate positively with well-being (measured via optimism, existential isolation, and positive affect). Results indicated hometown-fusion was positively associated with kinship, intention to act in favor of the hometown, and well-being. Fused participants were significantly more willing to act locally than not-fused. Fused participants also intended on living in their hometown for longer periods of time. These results support the hypothesis that identity fusion may engender positive group behavior without eliciting harm to out-groups.

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TBRI® & Trauma-Informed Classroom Training Evaluation

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Morgan Lindsey Psychology
Advisor(s): Casey Call Psychology
Location: Zoom Room 3, 01:10 PM

Complex developmental trauma can lead to a host of psychological and behavioral issues in children. Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) is a therapeutic model that trains those who care for at-risk children to provide effective support and intervention. The one thing that almost all children experiencing trauma in any form have in common is that they are required to attend school. Teachers are the caregivers spending the most time with children second to their families, and in some cases, primary to their families. The effects of trauma are known to impact school behavior and performance. Children who have experienced trauma are more frequently referred for special education and disciplinary action, test lower than their peers, and fail out of school at a higher rates. Despite these unfortunate facts, research has shown that schools can help promote resilience to mitigate the effect trauma has on students by creating trauma-informed classrooms. The TBRI & Trauma-Informed Classroom training is an online training that is available to the general public. Participants who completed this training were surveyed in order to assess the quality and the outcomes of the training, as well as ways to improve comprehension and implementation. Understanding how this training is translating to practice is essential for future trainings. Creating trauma-informed classrooms that serve as places of healing for children who have experienced trauma is vital to the well-being of students who are in them.

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The effects of trait extrapolation on attitudes toward people who have similar and different opinions

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Destiny Longmire Psychology Kaleigh Decker Psychology Charles Lord Psychology
Advisor(s): Charles Lord Psychology
Location: Zoom Room 5, 01:58 PM

Past research has shown that individuals can become self-radicalized (i.e., adopt more extreme attitudes in the absence of new information) by merely thinking about a group. The current experiment examined whether a specific type of thought, extrapolating from known to unknown group attributes, can also cause self-radicalization. To test this idea, half of the participants were instructed to extrapolate about attributes people who agreed and disagreed with them about a social topic might have, while a control group rated attributes unrelated to people who agreed and disagreed with them. Compared to control participants, extrapolators reported more negative attitudes toward people who disagreed with them and more positive attitudes toward people who agreed with them about whether abortion should be legal. Extremity of the extrapolated attributes also predicted more negative attitudes toward people who disagreed and more positive attitudes toward people who agreed with the extrapolator. The current findings add to past research and theory about the processes by which individuals can become self-radicalized.

(Presentation is private)


Individual differences in belief personification moderate the effects of extrapolation on self-radicalization

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Corinne Lora Psychology Kaleigh Decker Psychology Charles Lord Psychology
Advisor(s): Charles Lord Psychology
Location: Zoom Room 5, 01:34 PM

Previous research in our lab has found that extrapolating from known to unknown attributes about a group can cause individuals to adopt more extreme attitudes (i.e., become self-radicalized) toward the group. The current study investigated whether individual differences in belief personification, or judging people based on their opinions, moderated the effects of extrapolation on self-radicalization toward people who agreed and disagreed with the extrapolator about a social topic. Compared to a control group, extrapolators reported more extreme attitudes toward people who agreed and disagreed with them about kneeling during the national anthem, and extremity of the extrapolated attributes predicted more extreme attitudes toward both groups. Self-radicalization was also strongest among extrapolators who expressed greater belief personification, whereas belief personification did not have an effect on the control condition. These results extend the understanding by which attitudes can become more extreme in the absence of new information.

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Effects of chronic unpredictable stress on cognition and AD-like pathology in C57BL6/J mice

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Shelby Miller Psychology Gary Boehm Psychology Paige Braden Psychology Kelly Brice Psychology Evan Chandlee Psychology Michael Chumley Biology Connie Linardos Psychology
Advisor(s): Gary Boehm Psychology
Location: Zoom Room 5, 02:39 PM

Alzheimer’s disease (AD), the most common type of dementia, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease marked by memory loss and cognitive dysfunction due to protein aberrations in the brain. An estimated 5.8 million people in the U.S are currently living with this devastating disease, and no effective treatment exists. Furthermore, the etiology of AD remains largely unknown, though many risk factors have been identified. One such risk factor is experiencing chronic psychological stress. Over 77% of US adults report experiencing significant chronic stress. The current research aimed to explore the effects of chronic unpredictable stress on AD-like pathology in adult male C57BL/6 mice. Mice in the chronic unpredictable stress group were housed in isolation and were exposed to six different stressors presented at random for 21 consecutive days. These six stressors included being placed into a restraint tube, forced swimming in lukewarm water, being placed into an empty cage, cage being placed on a tilt, wet bedding, and removal of white bedding nestlet overnight. Mice in the control group remained in their group-housed cages and were not subjected to the stressors. During the final week of the paradigm, all mice received seven days of either lipopolysaccharide (LPS) or saline injections to explore whether an inflammatory insult would exacerbate the hypothesized detrimental effects of chronic unpredictable stress on AD-like pathology. Following the final day of stress and injections, all mice were trained in contextual fear conditioning, a Pavlovian learning paradigm to examine learning and memory. Following contextual fear conditioning, hippocampal tissue was collected to quantify amyloid-beta (Aβ), a protein which aggregates to form plaques that disrupt neuronal communication in AD. Although there were no effects of seven days of LPS injections on cognitive function or Aβ, chronic unpredictable stress was associated with impaired cognition and slightly increased hippocampal Aβ compared to the control condition. Further research is necessary to explore the mechanisms driving these observed differences. As the prevalence of AD is expected to continue to climb rapidly in the coming years, and, given the large percentage of the population reporting experiencing chronic stress, understanding how chronic stress may contribute to or exacerbate AD is crucial.

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