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PHYS2022MYERS37511 PHYS

Assembling the Open Cluster Avengers of Galactic Evolution

Type: Graduate
Author(s): Natalie Myers Physics & Astronomy
Advisor(s): Peter Frinchaboy Physics & Astronomy
Location: Basement, Table 4, Position 2, 11:30-1:30

One of the large unanswered questions in astronomy is: How does the Milky Way galaxy evolve, chemically and dynamically? Of all the objects that we could use to probe this question, groups of stars which were all born from the same gas cloud, known as open clusters, are the most reliable. This makes open clusters ideal for exploring the evolution of our Galaxy because we can determine not only the distance, position, velocity, and chemistry of the cluster, but we can also pin a reliable age to the cluster as well. Historically, assembling a statistically significant dataset of open clusters has proved to be challenging without inducing large systematic uncertainties by collecting data from multiple sources. The Open Cluster Chemical Abundance and Mapping (OCCAM) survey is a uniform dataset of star clusters that uses dynamical data from the Gaia space telescope and 16 different chemical abundances from the APOGEE survey, which is a part of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. This new update to OCCAM includes uniformly measured data for 153 open clusters and a total of 2061 member stars, which we use to investigate the chemical evolution of the Milky Way.

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PHYS2022NGUYEN58307 PHYS

Graphene Quantum Dots as Novel Free Radical Scavenging Agents

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Steven Nguyen Physics & Astronomy Adam Bhaloo Physics & Astronomy
Advisor(s): Anton Naumov Physics & Astronomy
Location: Third Floor, Table 7, Position 2, 11:30-1:30

Oxidative stress, an imbalance of reactive oxygen species, has been shown to participate in a multitude of diseases from Alzheimer to cancer. Thus, there is a search for radical scavenging agents capable of circumventing oxidative stress. Due to their remarkable properties, quantum dots are known to be utilized in a variety of applications including binding of reactive oxygen species (ROS). However, the translation of nanomaterials to clinic is often hampered by their off target toxicity. Thus, the aim of our work is to develop and test fully biocompatible graphene quantum dots (GQDs) with a variety of dopants that will the tune radical scavenging activity (RSA) of the GQD. We have synthesized and tested over ten types of doped GQDs and accessed their radical scavenging ability via DPPH, KMnO4, and RHB assays. Among those, thulium and aluminum doped GQDs show superior scavenging.

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PHYS2022NOFFEL63900 PHYS

The effect of defective viral genomes during respiratory syncytial virus infection

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Zakarya Noffel Physics & Astronomy
Advisor(s): Hana Dobrovolny Physics & Astronomy
Location: Third Floor, Table 8, Position 1, 11:30-1:30

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) can cause a severe respiratory illnesses particularly in young children and the elderly. Defective viral genomes (DVGs) have recently been found during RSV infections and are thought to be linked to the severity of the illness. In this study, we use mathematical models to simulate the spread of RSV using data from environments in which DVGs are detected early and late in order to estimate infection rates and other infection parameters in each setting. We find that the presence of DVGs is reflected in changes in the infection rate and viral clearance rate of infections.

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PHYS2022PAUL27141 PHYS

Modeling the Stellar Properties of the Fossils of the First Galaxies

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Himish Paul Physics & Astronomy Sachi Weerasooriya Physics & Astronomy
Advisor(s): Mia Bovill Physics & Astronomy
Location: Basement, Table 3, Position 1, 1:45-3:45

During the first billion years after the Big Bang the first, faint, galaxies formed. With luminosities less than one millionth that of our Milky Way galaxy, they are too faint to be observed by even our most advanced telescopes. A fraction of these first galaxies are preserved as ultra-faint dwarf galaxies in the local universe. These ultra-faint dwarfs are the fossils of the first galaxies. Therefore, we can study the faintest satellites of the Milky Way and learn about the formation and evolution of the first galaxies using galactic paleontology. We know that the stellar properties of the faintest Milky Way satellites match the stellar properties of galaxies formed in high resolution hydrodynamic simulations of the first billion years. We also know that the semi-analytic model Galacticus can reproduce the stellar properties of the faintest Milky Way dwarfs in the modern epoch. In this work, we determine whether Galacticus is also able to match the high resolution simulations of the first billion years.

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PHYS2022RIDDLE53019 PHYS

Forensic Astronomy: Collecting Chemical Fingerprints from Ancient Supernova Explosions

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Nicole Riddle Physics & Astronomy Emilie Burnham Physics & Astronomy Natalie Myers Physics & Astronomy
Advisor(s): Peter Frinchaboy Physics & Astronomy
Location: Second Floor, Table 6, Position 3, 11:30-1:30

The creation and evolution of elements throughout time across the Milky Way disk provides a key constraint for galaxy evolution models. To provide these constraints, we are conducting an investigation of the zirconium, neodymium, cerium, and barium abundances created in supernovae explosions, for a large sample of open clusters. The stars in our study were identified as cluster members by the Open Cluster Chemical Abundance & Mapping (OCCAM) survey that culls member candidates by Doppler velocity, metallicity, and proper motion. We have obtained new data for the elemental abundances in these clusters using the Subaru Observatory 8-m telescope in Hawaii with the High Dispersion Spectrograph (HDS). Analyzing these neutron-capture abundances in star clusters will lead us to new insight on star formation processes and the chemical evolution of the Milky Way galaxy.

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PHYS2022SHARMA27774 PHYS

The role of growth models in oncolytic virus therapy

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Manya Sharma Physics & Astronomy
Advisor(s): Hana Dobrovolny Physics & Astronomy
Location: Second Floor, Table 5, Position 1, 1:45-3:45

Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide with around one in every six caused by cancer, but many cancers can be cured if treated properly. Mathematically programmed cancer cell models can be used by researchers to study the use of oncolytic viruses to treat tumors. With these models, we are able to help predict the viral characteristics needed in order for a virus to effectively kill a tumor. Our approach uses both cancerous and non cancerous cells in relationship to the tumor to determine the speed at which the cells replicate, however there are several models used to describe cancer growth, including the Exponential, Mendelsohn, Logistic, Linear, Surface, Gompertz, and Bertalanffy. We study how the choice of a particular model affects the predicted outcome of treatment.

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PHYS2022SHELTON16521 PHYS

Star Formation Histories of the Fossils of the First Galaxies

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Katelyn Shelton Physics & Astronomy Mia Bovill Physics & Astronomy Sachi Weerasooriya Physics & Astronomy
Advisor(s): Mia Bovill Physics & Astronomy
Location: First Floor, Table 1, Position 2, 11:30-1:30

The first galaxies formed 12.5 billion years ago during the first billion years after the Big Bang. However, these first, faint, galaxies remain too faint for direct detection, even by our most powerful telescopes. Therefore we study them using their fossils relics, ultra-faint dwarf galaxies orbiting the Milky Way. In this work, we look at the histories of star formation in simulated analogs to the ultra-faint dwarfs. These star formation histories will allow us to study the details of how and when star formation occurred during the first billion years of cosmic time. We are particularly interested in how massive the first galaxies were when they formed the majority of their stars.

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PHYS2022SINGARAVELAN46117 PHYS

Modeling the role of interferon in viral coinfections

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Neha Singaravelan Physics & Astronomy
Advisor(s): Hana Dobrovolny Physics & Astronomy
Location: Third Floor, Table 2, Position 1, 11:30-1:30

Coinfection affects up to 60% of patients hospitalized influenza-like illnesses, however, the role of the innate immune response in coinfections is not understood. Interferons, part of the innate immune response, are a type of chemical released by infected cells that can help establish an antiviral state in cells by increasing resistance to infection and reducing production of viruses. Although the increased resistance to infection can help suppress both viruses, the reduction in the production of one virus may aid in increasing the growth of another virus during coinfection due to less competition. We will use a mathematical model to examine the interaction via interferons between respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and influenza A virus (IAV) during coinfections. This model will measure viral titer, duration of the viral infection, and interferon production allowing us to understand how interferon production of one virus helps or hinders the secondary virus.

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PHYS2022SPITTERS58954 PHYS

The Viability of Carbon Quantum Dots as a Biological Sensor for Transgelin-2

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Benjamin Spitters Physics & Astronomy
Advisor(s): Hana Dobrovolny Physics & Astronomy
Location: Second Floor, Table 5, Position 2, 11:30-1:30

Due to the enormity of different forms of cancer and the increase in cancer rates globally, it is essential to continually develop more advanced methods of early and localized detection of cancer cells, as well as methods of targeted drug delivery. As a result, a vast amount of research has gone into the use of nano-materials such as graphene quantum dots (GQDs) as the basis for a wide variety of biomedical sensing and treatment applications. While many diagnostic biomarkers have been detected using modified GQDs, one biomarker that has not yet been successfully detected or targeted using GQDs is Transgelin-2. Transgelin-2 is a unique actin-binding protein that has been projected to be a useful biomarker and target of treatment for many different forms of cancer, as well as asthma and immune diseases such as lupus. Herein I review the structure of the Transgelin-2 protein, novel methods of GQD modification to sense cell membrane surface proteins, and ultimately determine the viability of GQDs as a method for detecting and targeting Transgelin-2. Furthermore, I develop a possible methodology by which these biophysical applications may be tested.

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PHYS2022SPOO21874 PHYS

Tik Tok on the Chemical Clocks! Calibrating the Age to Chemistry Link

Type: Graduate
Author(s): Taylor Spoo Physics & Astronomy
Advisor(s): Peter Frinchaboy Physics & Astronomy
Location: First Floor, Table 1, Position 2, 1:45-3:45

Through the use of large-scale surveys, astronomers are able to investigate Milky Way galaxy evolution, both dynamically and chemically; however, determining reliable stellar ages has been elusive.  Star clusters are the most reliable way to measure ages of stars, and new surveys are measuring detailed chemistry for cluster stars that may be able to be correlated with age. For our study, we are using carbon and nitrogen abundances within red giant stars as age indicators. Using the Open Cluster Chemical Abundances and Mapping (OCCAM) survey, we utilized stellar parameters and abundances, and created a uniform empirical relationship between stellar ages and carbon-to-nitrogen abundances using star clusters. This new calibration will allow us to determine reliable ages for over 100,000 stars across the Milky Way galaxy, allowing us to measure the chemical evolution of the Galaxy.

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PHYS2022TZOKA35070 PHYS

An investigation on the use of the diffusion theory computational models to characterize the antibacterial action of ZnO

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Iakovos Tzoka Physics & Astronomy
Advisor(s): Hana Dobrovolny Physics & Astronomy
Location: Basement, Table 1, Position 2, 1:45-3:45

Antimicrobial action of micro- and nanoscale ZnO particles has been documented, but the fundamental physical mechanisms driving these actions are still not identified. We hypothesize that one of the key mechanisms behind the antibacterial action of ZnO is rooted in interactions between ZnO surfaces and extracellular material. An investigation was done of the biological components of that interaction using diffusion theory and more specifically Brownian motion computational models to look at the interaction of Zn+2 and O-2 ions with staphylococcus aureus bacteria. The analysis allowed us to find a correlation between the thickness of the staphylococcus aureus bacteria and the amount of the zinc and oxygen ions present in the solution.

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PHYS2022TZOKA58785 PHYS

Photoluminescence Properties of Hydrothermally Grown Microcrystalline Zinc Oxide with Controllable Morphologies Used for Antibacterial Assays

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Iakovos Tzoka Physics & Astronomy Mark Hattarki Physics & Astronomy Riya Jadeja Physics & Astronomy Dustin Johnson Physics & Astronomy Daniel Lopez Physics & Astronomy John Reeks Physics & Astronomy
Advisor(s): Yuri Strzhemechny Physics & Astronomy
Location: Third Floor, Table 9, Position 1, 11:30-1:30

Nano- and microscale zinc oxide (ZnO) have demonstrated potential for applications in electronic, pharmacological and chemical industries among others. At these scales, surface properties dominate, rendering surface defects highly influential. Consequently, understanding of defect- related phenomena are crucial to achieving impactful figures of merit. Many optoelectronic properties of ZnO relevant for applications have been linked to defect-related visible luminescence. Its fundamental origins are still being debated, with attributions to oxygen vacancies, zinc vacancies, oxygen antisites, donor-acceptor pairs, etc. In our studies, we contribute to this discussion by probing the relationship between crystal morphology and this luminescence. We conducted optoelectronic studies to characterize the effects of remote oxygen plasma treatment on hydrothermally-grown microscale ZnO samples with controlled morphology as a means to help elucidate the nature of the visible emission. We report on the observed changes in the photoluminescence spectra indicative of the relationship between surface defects, morphology, and electronic structure of ZnO.

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PHYS2022VALIMUKHAMETOVA64471 PHYS

Application of metal-doped graphene quantum dots in biomedical imaging

Type: Graduate
Author(s): Alina Valimukhametova Physics & Astronomy Giridhar Akkaraju Biology Olivia Fannon Physics & Astronomy Bong Lee Physics & Astronomy Steven Nguyen Physics & Astronomy Olga Zub Physics & Astronomy
Advisor(s): Anton Naumov Physics & Astronomy
Location: Second Floor, Table 9, Position 1, 11:30-1:30

With the development of personalized cancer medicine and moving away from a conventional biopsy, there is a need in creating a multifunctional platform for cancer diagnosis and treatment monitoring. Sonography offers many advantages over standard methods of therapeutic imaging due to its non-invasiveness, deep penetration, high spatial and temporal resolution, low cost, and portability. The benefits of the ultrasound method make contrast agents an ideal platform for the efficient strategy of cancer diagnostic and therapy. In this work, we developed metal-doped graphene quantum dots that demonstrate high-contrast properties in ultrasound brightness mode. The successful imaging enhancement was observed in tissue phantom and chicken breasts tissue. The relatively small size of the metal-doped graphene quantum dots makes them easily be internalized into the cells, while functional groups on their surface allow binding a cancer-targeted marker and therefore be used as a cancer-targeted delivery. By a combination of imaging and targeting capabilities, ultrasound contrast agents based on metal-doped graphene quantum dots enable desired cancer-focused nanotherapeutic and imaging approaches.

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PHYS2022VAZQUEZ57444 PHYS

The Smith Cloud: A Fountain of Stellar Youth

Type: Graduate
Author(s): Jo Vazquez Physics & Astronomy Andrew Fox Physics & Astronomy Jaq Hernandez Physics & Astronomy
Advisor(s): Kat Barger Physics & Astronomy
Location: Third Floor, Table 8, Position 2, 1:45-3:45

For billions of years, our Milky Way galaxy has churned out countless stars. However, the best star-forming days of our galaxy are long gone and our galaxy is in a midlife crisis! It’s running out of gas to make new stars, and extraneous resources are scarce. Worse yet, high stellar winds might eject some gaseous material, such as the Smith Cloud. After it was ejected, the Milky Way’s gravity caused this cloud to reverse course and fall back toward our Galaxy. The Smith Cloud is now only 40,000 light-years away and carries with it the equivalent of over 1 million Suns worth of material. As it makes the journey back to our Galactic Plane, it must endure heavy winds that have temperatures in excess of 1 million degrees Celsius from the Milky Way galaxy’s coronal gas. I have already measured the amounts of various ions in adjacent cloud fragments positioned on the side of the Smith Cloud using Hubble Space Telescope observations. These ions include C+, Si+, Si2+, Si3+ , and S+. I will then determine the effects that these high winds have on the adjacent fragments and the trailing wake of the Smith Cloud to better understand the perils that gas clouds must undergo to reach massive galaxies.

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PHYS2022WEERASOORIYA31582 PHYS

Hunting Galaxies with Centaurus A

Type: Graduate
Author(s): Sachithra Weerasooriya Physics & Astronomy Mia Bovill Physics & Astronomy
Advisor(s): Mia Bovill Physics & Astronomy
Location: Third Floor, Table 10, Position 2, 11:30-1:30

Dwarf galaxies are the building blocks larger galaxies. Their shallow gravitational potentials makes them extremely sensitive to explosions of stars. To understand how dwarf galaxies form and evolve, we must study their formation, evolution and fate in a range of environments. Located 13 million light years away, Centaurus A is the closest massive elliptical galaxy making it ideal for investigating the effects of local environment on the formation and evolution of dwarf galaxy populations. We model the dwarf satellite populations of Centaurus using a suite of high resolution N-body simulations and the semi-analytic model (SAM) Galacticus (Benson, 2010). We determine the best fit parameters for well studied Milky Way satellite, before applying those parameters to generate simulated satellites around our Centaurus A's analog. Given the relatively low computational cost of N-body simulations and SAMs, we are able to explore the effects of uncertainties in the Centaurus A system, including its relatively unconstrained mass. Here we present initial results from our study for the first Centaurus A like galaxy.

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PHYS2022WILSON10650 PHYS

New Tricks with the Joker: Using the Infrared to Reveal Hidden Binary Stars

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Mikayla Wilson Physics & Astronomy Nicole Riddle Physics & Astronomy
Advisor(s): Peter Frinchaboy Physics & Astronomy
Location: Third Floor, Table 3, Position 1, 11:30-1:30

Fifty percent of stars in the night sky are actually binary star systems, but finding and characterizing them requires 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 WIYN Open Cluster Survey, we create a longer baseline with which we can better characterize these stars. The Joker, a new Monte Carlo analysis technique, will help us reveal the hidden binary stars by producing solutions for the orbits of the systems. By finding new binary stars, we can better understand the demographics and composition of our chosen star cluster, NGC 6819, and also learn more about each individual companion of the systems.

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PSYC2022ARRIAZOLA12084 PSYC

Sport nostalgia predicts greater sportspersonship attitudes.

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Leilani Arriazola Psychology Sophie Kemp Psychology Julie Swets Psychology Jieming Xiao Psychology
Advisor(s): Cathy Cox Psychology
Location: Second Floor, Table 4, Position 2, 1:45-3:45

Nostalgia, a sentimental longing for the past, increases prosocial behavior. Research has demonstrated that when a former competitive athlete reflects on their time participating in their sport, they experience feelings of nostalgia. Applying the prosocial nature of nostalgia to an athletic domain, it was hypothesized in the current study that sport-specific nostalgia would predict greater sportsmanship attitudes among athletes. To test this, we primed former competitive athletes with sport nostalgia by instructing them to write about a memory from playing their sport. Then they completed items about their sportsmanship attitudes, such as respecting opponents and officials. Results showed that nostalgia-primed participants reported greater sportsmanship attitudes compared to a control group. This is consistent with research showing that nostalgic reflection increases prosocial attitudes and behavior. In future work we plan to examine these findings in current competitive athletes to give further insight into the role that nostalgia plays in sport settings.

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PSYC2022AYESTAS34448 PSYC

Developing a brain connectome for reward loss: assessing c-Fos expression in response to consummatory and Pavlovian models of frustration

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Adriana Ayestas Psychology Christopher Hagen Psychology Payton Watters Psychology Julia Wrobel Psychology
Advisor(s): Mauricio Papini Psychology
Location: Basement, Table 2, Position 3, 1:45-3:45

Background: Reward loss is accompanied by a stress response affecting emotion and health. Problem: A comprehensive map of brain activity, or connectome, during an episode involving reward loss remains to be worked out. A connectome is being developed using the protein c-Fos expressed in recently activated neurons. Method: Experimental animals were exposed to reward loss (high-to-low sucrose and pellet downshift), whereas control animals had access only to the small or only to the large reward. c-Fos expression was measured in brain slices obtained after the reward loss event using immunohistochemistry. Brain activity levels in experimental and control animals were determined based on c-Fos expression in several key brain areas. Results: c-Fos expression was found to be higher in areas involved in negative emotion and lower in areas involved in reward processing in downshifted vs. unshifted groups. Contribution: This novel approach will continue to help identify the brain connectome underlying reward loss, that is the set of excited and inhibited areas when the organism is experiencing a loss.

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PSYC2022BOND713 PSYC

Potential Anxiolytic Effects of Cannabidiol (CBD) using Voluntary Oral Consumption in Rats

Type: Graduate
Author(s): Sara Bond Psychology Zoe Brous Psychology Jennie Chuah Psychology Nate Jones Psychology Ken Leising Psychology Maria Mendoza Psychology Cokie Nerz Psychology Taryn Pittman Psychology
Advisor(s): Kenneth Leising Psychology
Location: Third Floor, Table 5, Position 3, 1:45-3:45

Research suggests that cannabidiol (CBD) can act as an anxiolytic when injected (Blessing et al, 2015). We investigated whether these findings could be replicated in rats using chronic (12 day) voluntary oral consumption of non-pharmaceutical grade CBD oil at 20mg/kg. A control group consumed distilled water. An elevated plus maze (Test 1), open field (center vs. outer, light vs. dark, Test 2 and 3), and running wheel (Test 4) were used to examine the anxiolytic effect of CBD beginning on day 12 of administration and two hours after consumption. One test occurred each day. It was hypothesized that CBD rats would spend more time in the open arms of the elevated plus maze than the control group, and more time in the center and lit areas of the open field compared to the control rats. For the running wheel, we expected the CBD rats to turn the wheel more times than the control group. Results revealed that in the open field, the CBD group spent more time in the center compared to the control group, as was expected. There were no other differences between groups. These results are discussed with respect to administration route, timing of test, and type of test.

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PSYC2022CIESIELSKI32391 PSYC

How does varied practice influence vocabulary learning?

Type: Graduate
Author(s): Cami Ciesielski Psychology Mary Hargis Psychology Hannah Hausman Psychology Matthew Rhodes Psychology
Advisor(s): Mary Hargis Psychology
Location: Third Floor, Table 4, Position 3, 11:30-1:30

Varied practice, or studying many different examples of a given topic, can be a more effective method for learning a concept compared to studying one example repeatedly, as demonstrated in motor learning (e.g., Kerr & Booth, 1978) and category learning (e.g., Wahlheim et al., 2012). The present study examined how varied practice affects learning vocabulary from examples used in sentences. Although potentially beneficial for long-term understanding, varied practice can make initial vocabulary learning challenging because the example sentences for a given term may vary greatly. The current study presented participants with a sentence and asked them to select the correct vocabulary word that completed the sentence. For half of the vocabulary terms, participants were tested on that vocabulary word in the same sentence repeatedly (constant practice); for the other half of the words, participants were tested on that vocabulary word in different sentences (varied practice). Participants were also asked to answer questions about their attention during the task. After a short delay, participants took a final test to investigate how well they could identify the studied vocabulary words in novel sentences. The results will be discussed in terms of desirable difficulties, the distinction between learning and performance, and whether the type of practice may influence attention.

(Presentation is private)

PSYC2022CLARK27174 PSYC

Improving Young and Older Adults’ Memory for Medication Side Effects

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Mary Clark Psychology Kate Lindig Psychology
Advisor(s): Uma Tauber Psychology
Location: Basement, Table 12, Position 1, 11:30-1:30

Learning and correctly remembering health information is important at all ages, and it can be particularly important in later adulthood (65+ years old). Thus, interventions focused on identifying methods to improve young and older adults’ health knowledge and memory for medication information are valuable. We developed a cognitive intervention relying on methods that have been identified to be effective for enhancing learning. Specifically, prior research has established that retrieval practice (recalling information from memory) can be a powerful tool for learning other kinds of information. Our goal was to evaluate the degree to which a retrieval practice intervention would improve younger and older adults’ self-regulated learning of medication side effects. Younger adults from TCU and older adults from the community were recruited to participate. Participants who received the intervention were given information about repeated retrieval practice that emphasized the effectiveness of this strategy for improving memory. Specifically, the intervention indicated that they should recall each medication’s side effects correctly 3 times during learning, and they should continue to space their retrieval practice until they met this goal. All participants learned medication names paired with a side-effect. They made decisions about when to study, engage in retrieval practice, and stop learning the list of medication-side effect pairs. Younger and older adults’ who received the intervention made better study decisions relative to those who did not. Further, the intervention enhanced both younger and older adults’ memory for medication side effects relative to control conditions. These outcomes suggest that our evidence-based intervention can help young and older adults learn and remember critical health information, which may assist them in monitoring for adverse outcomes during medication usage.

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PSYC2022CROSSNOE38935 PSYC

Rapid Visual Processing Abilities in Children with and without Dyslexia

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Remington Crossnoe Psychology Logun Gunderson Psychology Vishal Thakkar Psychology
Advisor(s): Tracy Centanni Psychology
Location: Second Floor, Table 4, Position 2, 11:30-1:30

Developmental Dyslexia (DD) is a heritable disorder that effects approximately 5-12% of children (Shaywitz et al., 1990) and persists in 4-6% of adults (Schulte-Korne & Remschmidt, 2003). In those with dyslexia, reading dysfunction is caused by phonological impairments that may result from neurological low-level sensory-processing mechanisms. Previous research suggests that rapid autonomized naming (RAN) deficits are the most reported deficit in adults with dyslexia (Araújo, et al., 2019), however it is unknown whether the RAN deficit is caused by general rapid processing deficits or a specific letter-sound binding problem. This experiment was designed to address this unknown question by measuring rapid visual processing deficits and their relation to reading skills in children with dyslexia. Children (N=103) were recruited during the COVID-19 pandemic as part of a larger study of rapid stimulus processing in dyslexia. Out of the 103 children screened, 77 qualified for use in the study (33 neurotypical, 33 dyslexia, and 11 compensated dyslexia). Children completed two visual processing tasks online. The first was a rapid serial visual perception task (RSVP; Amador-Campos et al., 2015) which evaluates rapid stimulus processing of one or more symbol and letter. The second was a visuo-spatial working memory task (VSWM; Sander, Werkle-Bergner, & Lindenberger, 2011) that evaluates working memory and visual acuity at different speeds. Accuracy and reaction times were measured for each task. While we found no group differences on any task or condition, there were main effects of target number for RSVP accuracy and of set size and speed for VSWM. These results demonstrate that the tasks were adequately difficult but that those with dyslexia did not exhibit specific deficits on either task, even when the stimuli were printed letters. This suggests that RAN deficits in children with dyslexia may not originate from rapid visual perception deficits, but some other neural mechanism.

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PSYC2022DRUMMOND15063 PSYC

Relationship between self-care inquiry and stress levels of adolescents with substance use disorders

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Kendall Drummond Psychology
Advisor(s): Casey Call Psychology
Location: Third Floor, Table 5, Position 1, 1:45-3:45

Relationship between Self-Care Inquiry and Stress Levels In Adolescents with Substance Use Disorders

Adolescents living with substance use disorders are presented with a multitude of challenges when confronted with the reality of recovery from their addiction. Despite numerous interventions used to assist adolescents as they seek rehabilitation, few interventions focus on everyday stressors or triggers that contribute to substance use. Research has shown that stress significantly impacts substance use. This study aims to evaluate whether inquiring about self-care strategies used by adolescents seeking recovery from a substance use disorder will reduce stress levels, thus improving chances of adolescents maintaining recovery. Adolescents participating in outpatient treatment at a recovery facility were recruited for this study and were asked to fill out surveys once a week for four weeks about their level of stress and activities that they were doing for self-care.

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PSYC2022EGLOFF57793 PSYC

Existential Isolation and Well-being among Single Persons

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Olivia Egloff Psychology Caroline Loy Psychology Samantha Negrete Psychology Julie Swets Psychology
Advisor(s): Cathy Cox Psychology
Location: Second Floor, Table 1, Position 2, 1:45-3:45

Romantic relationships are a popular subject in the psychological research realm, but their social counterparts, singles, are overlooked. Further, whereas loneliness is well-studied, existential isolation (EI), the subjective sense that one is alone in one’s experience and that others cannot understand their perspective, is a construct that could provide insight to singles. Our research will examine single adults and how they might experience EI if they do not have single friends who can reasonably share their same experience (i.e., if most of them are in relationships). Single participants will estimate the proportion of their social circle (friends and family) who are single vs. in relationships. We predict that singles whose friends are mostly in romantic relationships will experience higher EI. On the other hand, we predict that single people with mostly single friends will not experience the same high level of EI. We will also measure EI in comparison to different well-being measures (e.g., self-esteem, happiness). It is hypothesized that singles will experience higher EI and lower well-being if most of their friends are not single.

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PSYC2022FILIPPI26442 PSYC

The Impact of COVID-19 on Mental Health and Marital Functioning in Mothers and Fathers of Autistic Children

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Madeline Filippi Psychology Naomi Ekas Psychology Chrystyna Kouros Psychology Deborah Rafferty Psychology
Advisor(s): Naomi Ekas Psychology
Location: Second Floor, Table 2, Position 2, 11:30-1:30

Title: The Impact of COVID-19 on Mental Health and Marital Functioning in Mothers and Fathers of Autistic Children

Authors: Maddy Filippi, Deborah Rafferty, Naomi Ekas, Chrystyna Kouros

Introduction: Mothers and fathers of autistic children face many mental health and relationship challenges compared to parents of neurotypical children, including higher levels of stress (e.g., Benson, 2006; Weitlauf et al., 2014), more marital dysfunction (e.g., Shtayeermman et al., 2013; Sim et al., 2016), and increased likelihood of divorce (e.g., Hartley, 2010; Shtayermman, 2013). The sudden closure of schools and transitioning to online services at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic may have exacerbated the stress levels of parents with a disability, including negatively affecting various aspects of home life (Marchetti et al., 2020). The purpose of this study was to compare differences in marital relationship quality and psychological distress in mothers and fathers of autistic children at multiple points throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, the mental health and marital satisfaction in mothers and fathers of autistic children were compared to population norms at all timepoints.

Methods: Mothers and fathers of autistic children who were part of a larger longitudinal study participated in a supplemental study examining the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. To qualify for the main study, parents had to be married or living together for a year, have an autistic child that lived with them 50% of the time, and be able to read and speak English. From the original sample of 119 couples, 94 mothers and 58 fathers answered surveys about their mental health (anxiety, stress, dysphoria), marital functioning (conflict and satisfaction), and the symptom severity of their autistic child at three time points (April, July, and October 2020) after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Results: A series of independent t-tests examined the differences between mothers’ and fathers’ reported levels of mental health, marital functioning, and child symptom severity. At all timepoints, mothers’ parenting responsibilities and anxiety levels were significantly higher than fathers’, ps ≤ .043. Mothers’ levels of stress and dysphoria were significantly higher in October 2020 than fathers’, ps ≤ .012. Compared to pre-pandemic population norms, mothers reported significantly higher stress at all timepoints (ps ≤ .006), while fathers only reported significantly higher levels of anxiety in April 2020 (p ≤ .001). Fathers also reported lower levels of dysphoria compared to population norms at all timepoints (ps ≤ .016).

Conclusion: As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, mothers of autistic children appeared to have more negative outcomes compared to fathers of autistic children. Mothers reported more parenting responsibilities compared to fathers, as well as higher rates of stress. In October 2020 when school districts re-opened, mothers reported higher levels of stress and dysphoria compared to fathers. Further, compared to pre-pandemic populations, parents of autistic children reported more stress and fathers reported reduced dysphoria. Overall, parents of autistic children appeared to face negative outcomes as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and displayed higher rates of stress and dysphoria than parents at pre-pandemic populations. However, any conclusions generated from data reported by fathers are limited based on the reduced sample size.

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