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.
(Presentation is private)
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.
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.
(Presentation is private)
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)
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.
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.
Author(s): Quynh Nguyen Psychology Sara Guarino Psychology Christopher Hagen Psychology Mauricio Papini Psychology
Advisor(s): Mauricio Papini Psychology
Location: Zoom Room 5, 02:23 PM
The current study aimed to investigate the neurobehavioral mechanisms underlying devaluation of expected rewards. In rats, frustration effects of reward loss are produced using the reward downshift (RD) situation. RD postshift phase involves two stages. After an initial suppression of sucrose consumption (Stage 1), behavior recovers to baseline levels (Stage 2). During Stage 1, nucleus accumbens (NAc) neurons release lower levels of dopamine, but it is not known whether they participate in the recovery process (Stage 2). We hypothesized that NAc activity would be important for the recovery process following a 32-2% sucrose downshift. The study explored the role of the NAc by selectively targeting both RD postshift stages using chemogenetics. Inhibitory or excitatory Designer Receptors Exclusively Activated by Designer Drugs (DREADDs) were delivered into the NAc of rats via intracranial infusion and activated prior to downshift sessions via intraperitoneal injection of Clozapine N-Oxide (CNO), the activator drug for DREADDs. Rats were assigned to one of three neural manipulation condition, inhibition (INH), excitation (EXC), or control (CON), and received either CNO or Vehicle (veh) on postshift sessions. Thus, there were two groups in each neural manipulation condition: INH/CNO, INH/Veh, EXC/CNO, EXC/Veh, Control/CNO, and Control/Veh. Preliminary results revealed that NAc inhibition does not disrupt sucrose consumption during RD postshift. However, NAc excitation increases consummatory suppression and slows the recovery process. This pattern of results suggests that the chemogenetic manipulation may be affecting GABAergic projection neurons within the NAc, increasing the suppression of dopamine release, and resulting in suppressed behavioral response.
There are many factors that can impact students’ evaluations of instructors’ teaching. Lecture fluency (i.e., the ease with which a lecture is delivered) is one factor that can impact students’ evaluations. Recently, researchers have examined how fluent lectures (very polished lectures during which the instructor makes appropriate eye contact and exudes confidence) compared to disfluent lectures (lectures during which the instructor does not make eye contact and does not display signs of confidence) impact students’ evaluations of instructors. Students who watch fluent lectures typically evaluate the instructor more favorably relative to those who watch disfluent lectures, even when the content in both lectures is identical (Carpenter, Mickes, Rahman, & Fernandez, 2016; Carpenter, Northern, Tauber, & Toftness, 2020; Carpenter, Wilford, Kornell, & Mullaney, 2013; Northern, Tauber, St. Hilaire, & Carpenter, in prep; Toftness, Carpenter, Geller, Lauber, Johnson, & Armstrong, 2017). All of the research on lecture fluency has focused on students’ evaluations of instructors, but the delivery of a lecture may also impact instructors’ evaluations of other instructors’ teaching. On the other hand, instructors have much experience both watching and delivering lectures, and it is possible that they may rely more on their experience when evaluating instructors rather than the fluency of a lecture. In this study, students and instructors watched a video of a lecture. The lecture was delivered either fluently or disfluently, and the content was the same in both lectures. After watching the lecture video, students and instructors rated the instructor on several evaluation items. Novel to the current study, instructors who watched a fluent lecture gave significantly higher instructor ratings compared to those who watched the disfluent lecture. Replicating prior work, students who watched a fluent lecture gave significantly higher instructor ratings relative to students who watched the disfluent lecture. Thus, the delivery of a lecture rather than the content of a lecture can have a strong impact on instructors’ evaluations of other instructors’ teaching.
(Presentation is private)
Our research lab has found that individuals tend to adopt more extreme attitudes toward an outgroup (i.e., become self-radicalized) when they extrapolate from known to unknown traits about the outgroup. Recent lab findings have also suggested that trait imageability, or the ability to form a mental image of a trait, can influence the effects of extrapolation on self-radicalization, such that people were more likely to become self-radicalized when they extrapolated to traits that were relatively difficult, compared to relatively easy, to form a mental image of. The current experiment examined whether the effects of trait imageability on extrapolation also influence metacognitive outcomes. We found that participants who extrapolated to traits that were difficult to form a mental image of subsequently reported that they knew more about the outgroup, had greater confidence that they knew how the outgroup members would behave, and were more likely to believe the initial information about the outgroup was accurate, compared to participants who extrapolated to traits that were easy to form a mental image of and compared to control participants. The current findings established an important link between and the effects of trait imageability on extrapolation and subsequent metacognitive measures.
The growing population of Spanish speakers in the U.S. has created challenges related to translating and adapting interventions to serve this diverse population. This qualitative study examined how Trust-Based Relational Intervention® (TBRI®) practitioners currently handle challenges due to language and cultural issues among their primarily Spanish-speaking clients. Eight TBRI® practitioners in 4 different Latin American countries were recruited to complete an online background survey and a 30 to 45-minute virtual interview. Preliminary results indicate that TBRI® practitioners face challenges in regards to their clients’ education level, literacy rates, access to curriculum-related materials, and cultural views on the TBRI® correction principle. Practitioners handle these challenges by simplifying the language used in the materials, explaining content with culturally-relevant examples, creating items that can be used in lieu of ones used in the materials of curriculum, and having patience with clients as they learn a new way of parenting. The goal of this project is not only to bring awareness of translation language barriers and cultural issues with TBRI® materials but to help the Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development adapt materials, so there is a more appropriate and easily received response to the material among primarily Spanish-speaking children and families.
A foreign language is a non-native language acquired outside of a natural linguistic community. The benefits of learning a foreign language include that it heightens employability, positively affects cognitive functioning, and increases cross-cultural awareness. The goal of this study was to compare the effects of a pair-test (PT) procedure and a high-density response construction (HDRC) procedure on foreign-language vocabulary acquisition. We used a within-subjects pretest-posttest design combined with a single-subject multielement design. Nine participants received instructions with 10 Arabic words; 5 words were taught via HDRC instruction, and 5 via pair-test. We hypothesized that participants would learn faster in the HDRC condition and perform better on transfer and retention tests. However, preliminary results suggest that there was no difference between conditions.
Previous research evaluated the extent to which equivalence-based instruction (EBI) is more efficient or produces stimulus classes with different properties than complete instruction (CI) in which all relations between stimuli in a class are taught directly. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the flexibility of the formed stimulus classes in EBI and CI procedures with a contingency reorganization. Forty-eight undergraduate students received training to establish 3 stimulus classes with 4 members in each class. The students were randomly assigned to two groups: EBI – in which they received training for some of the relations – and CI – that targeted all possible relations between the members of each class. After undergoing training and equivalence test (Phase 1), participants received contingency reorganization training (Phase 2). In the reorganization phase, the relations A1B2, A2B3, A3B1 were stablished as correct. Class flexibility was evaluated in an immediate contingency-reversal post-test. The EBI group required fewer training trials to complete ABCD training, and performed similarly to the CI group in the equivalence test. Additionally, EBI group required less training trials in the reorganization training, and performed better in the reorganization test when compared to CI group.
I examined the effects of disrupting verbal mediation in a task that models the effects of verbally presented information on conceptual behavior. The experiment was done asynchronously by sending participants a SuperLab 6.0 software experiment, requesting a screen recording using Zoom, and acquiring demographic, consent, and exit interview information using Qualtrics. Sixty-four participants were randomly assigned to four conditions. The tact-intraverbal (TI) groups first learned to match visual stimuli with verbal labels, and then to associate pairs of verbal labels. The intraverbal-tact (IT) groups received the opposite sequence. After training, all groups were tested for new relationships between the visual stimuli. One TI group and one IT group were given an additional verbal task during the test, which was predicted to disrupt the performance more in the IT than the TI condition, due to IT participants being more reliant on solving the task verbally. No significant differences in accuracy or reaction time were noted between groups. However, only 47% of those in the IT-V group and 13% of those in the TI-V group actually performed the additional verbal task. The experiment should be repeated through real-time video calls or in person, so that participant instruction-following can be monitored and intervened on.
(Presentation is private)
COVID-19, an unprecedented virus that shifted into a global pandemic almost a year ago, has greatly impacted the human way of life. Recent research, however, has shown that in the United States discrimination towards people of Asian descent has risen dramatically. From a terror management perspective, this heightened discrimination might be due to a defense mechanism to buffer death-anxiety through enhancing one’s cultural belief. The current study evaluates whether priming thoughts of COVID-19 leads to heightened death-related thoughts and increased racism towards Asians (i.e., worldview defense). Data was collected from 175 Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) workers. Our findings suggest that COVID did not influence attitudes toward Asians and international communication through increased mortality awareness. The current work will discuss possible limitations and directions for further study.
The United States is an increasingly diverse country with respect to the number of languages spoken (Shin & Ortman, 2011). With this increase, many adults experience benefits in their personal or professional lives from learning to read in a new language. However, learning to read fluently is increasingly difficult in adulthood (Abadzi, 1996; 2012) Previous research has shown a general bilingual advantage for novel word learning, such that individuals who are fluently bilingual more easily acquire additional languages (Kaushanskaya & Marian, 2009). Given that the reading and language networks largely overlap (Monzalvo and Dehaene-Lambertz, 2013; Stevens et al., 2017; Wang et al., 2020), we hypothesized that reading fluently in multiple print systems (multiscripturalism) may provide a similar advantage. Thus, we investigated the effect of multiscripturalism on novel letter-sound learning in young adults. Data were collected from young adults at TCU and the larger DFW community. Participants were screened for eligibility through a background questionnaire and a short assessment session conducted over Zoom. Eligible participants completed a 30-minute training session to learn eight Hebrew consonants and vowels. Immediately after training and seven days later, participants completed multiple reading measures to assess letter-sound learning performance (Thakkar et al., 2020). We will present our findings from the first wave of data collection, including the impact of baseline reading on learning and whether existing print systems impacted learning and retention of novel letters. We will also discuss implications for this work on literacy education policies and impacts on those with poor reading skills.
Author(s): Daniel Alvarez Torres Psychology Margarette Alvarado Psychology Cheyenne Elliott Psychology Ian Hanson Psychology Kenneth Leising Psychology Cokie Nerz Psychology
Advisor(s): Kenneth Leising Psychology
Habituation occurs when responding to a stimulus decreases with repeated exposure. This decrease can be seen in an array of behaviors, including wheel running. In this experiment, rats ran in four different contexts (i.e., running wheels with different backgrounds/scents) for 30 minutes every day. One group ran in the same context daily while the other alternated between contexts. Rats running in different contexts should habituate less and run more consistently and at a higher rate. By increasing our understanding of the influence of habituation on exercise, results will have important implications for those wanting to maintain interest in an exercise routine.
Abstract SRS: Effects of Cross-Situational Generalization on Memory and Attitude Polarization Toward Social Groups
Serena Avitia, Akua Jonah, & Kaleigh Decker
When people generalize about others, they go beyond the information they are given and infer a level of cross-situational consistency that may polarize their attitudes. The current study investigates how cross-situational generalizations about a group’s traits can affect subsequent attitudes and memory. We predicted that participants who generalized about a fictitious groups behavior across various settings will rate the likelihood of cross-situational trait consistency as significantly higher than the scale mid-point, and report more negative attitudes toward the group than participants who reviewed the initial information they were given. Generalizers will also write paragraphs that more depict group members as displaying the original traits in general rather than only in the given situations, mistakenly recall and recognize some of the situations they rated as part of the initial information, and mistakenly report that their reported attitudes (after they generalized) were the same as their impressions immediately after reading the initial information. The predicted results will increase our understanding of the processes by which attitudes toward an entire group can polarize without any additional information.
(Presentation is private)
Past research suggests that conditions of scarcity increase the intensity of female same-sex competition. As such, cues to resource scarcity (vs. abundance) might lead women to perceive greater competitive tendencies in their same- (vs. opposite-) sex peers. This prediction was examined across three studies. Across all studies, the opposite pattern of results emerged. Study 1 demonstrated that women perceived higher levels of competitive interactions to occur amongst female (as compared to male and mixed-sex) target groups in environments where resources were abundant. In Study 2, women who perceived resources to be widely available evaluated same-sex others as more competitive than opposite-sex others. Finally, Study 3 provided evidence that women who are led to believe that resources are abundant reported expecting more competitive behavior from their same- (vs. opposite-) sex peers. These results suggest that resource abundance might foster greater competition among women, which has implications for women’s workplace and interpersonal relationships.
(Presentation is private)
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. This has been found to be particularly true when people extrapolate from known to unknown attributes about people who agree and disagree with them about a social issue. The current experiment aimed to extend our understanding of these processes by determining whether extrapolating about people who agree and disagree with the extrapolator about a social issue would also report greater self-radicalization toward the social issue in general. Our results revealed that participants who initially opposed kneeling during the national anthem reported more negative attitudes toward kneeling during the national anthem after extrapolating than did participants in the control condition. Conversely, participants who initially favored kneeling during the anthem reported more positive post-manipulation attitudes after extrapolating than did participants in the control condition. These results extend the understanding by which attitudes can become more extreme in the absence of new information.
In this exploratory, mixed methods project, we seek to understand how implementation of Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI), a trauma-informed, evidence-based model of caregiving developed by TCU faculty, has shaped systems of care for vulnerable children and youth. The current study reports on the first year of implementation across nine child welfare organizations participating in a county-wide mental health collaborative. Data included monthly implementation process interviews conducted with representative staff of each agency [TBRI Implementation Strategy Use; n = 9 agencies], as well as survey data from a subset of agencies [TCU Survey of Organizational Functioning (SOF); n = 4 agencies]. The data sample reveals overall increases for TBRI strategy use during the first year of implementation. In addition, organizational functioning scores that were above the baseline mean of the sample yielded increased scores in strategy use. Future research suggests further analyzing the complexities of TBRI implementation across the large-scale collaborative.
Hope Connection 2.0 is a therapeutic camp developed by the Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development (KPICD) that utilizes Trust-Based Relational Intervention® (TBRI®), a trauma-informed and attachment-based intervention, to meet the needs of adoptive families. To examine its effectiveness in meeting these needs, data from child and parent measures are collected from participating families during a one-year time period. The current study specifically examines the effectiveness of this intervention in decreasing aggression in adopted children and decreasing relational frustration between the parent and adopted children from pre- to post-camp. The results of this study indicate that both aggression and relational frustration significantly decreased after families participated in the intervention. Additionally, results suggest a significant positive correlation between aggression and relational frustration, suggesting the more a child exhibits aggression, the more relational frustration the parent(s) feels. Results of this study indicate the effectiveness of Hope Connection 2.0 in reducing aggression and frustration in adoptive families, demonstrating the potential benefit of this post-adoption intervention in meeting the needs of adoptive families.
Institutional care can negatively impact a child's development, leading to developmental delays and emotional and behavioral problems. These issues can be treated through an attachment-based, trauma-informed intervention, such as Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI). The government of Rwanda learned about the effects of institutional care and TBRI and aimed to improve its orphan care. In order to do this, they found families for every orphan and provided TBRI training for caregivers who adopted these children. In the current study, we conducted semi-structured interviews with 10 volunteers who helped train and support these caregivers. A phenomenological approach was used to analyze the interviews. Results revealed five main themes: Rwandans took ownership of the need to care for orphans; they recognized the children's need for connection; they valued the role of family in a child's life; the utilized the power of community in making TBRI use successful; and the volunteers acted as mediators in the adoptive families. This study is the first to examine TBRI use internationally, and the results demonstrate the usefulness of Rwanda's model of orphan care with TBRI implementation that could be replicable in other settings.
Few studies have directly evaluated the assumption that equivalence-based instruction (EBI) establishes stimulus classes with greater efficiency than complete instruction (CI) of all possible stimulus relations within each class. The present study was identical to a previous study that failed to support this assumption, except that in the present study, mastery assessment was designed to favor the EBI condition over the CI condition. Forty-eight undergraduate students were assigned to one of four groups that received instruction on arbitrary stimulus relations. The EBI-CI group received EBI in Phase 1 and CI in Phase 2, and vice versa for the CI-EBI group. The EBI-EBI and CI-CI group received EBI and CI in both phases, respectively. In Phase 1, EBI-first groups received training on AB and BC relations and CI-first groups received training with all possible relations. After achieving mastery criterion, the ABC test included all possible trial types. In Phase 2, all groups received training to (a) add a fourth stimulus (D), and (b) add a fifth stimulus (E) to the class, using either EBI or CI. EBI took significantly fewer trials to complete than CI in both phases, but EBI in Phase 1 did not facilitate EBI in Phase 2. The results suggest the EBI arrangement used in this study may be more efficient than CI only because it permits faster learning assessment.
In academic environments, the ability to comprehend written text is critical for successful learning. In spite of the importance of this skill, few programs exist for improving comprehension, especially for typically-developing readers. Previous research demonstrated that cervical vagus nerve stimulation (cVNS) is a safe and effective method for driving neural plasticity. However, an invasive and expensive procedure is not practical for a reading intervention. Recent research has demonstrated that the auricular branch of the vagus nerve can be accessed non-invasively through transcutaneous auricular vagus nerve stimulation (taVNS) at the outer ear (Frangos, Ellrich, & Komisaruk, 2015). Recent work in our lab provides evidence that taVNS paired with training can improve novel letter-sound learning (Thakkar et al., under review). Thus, we hypothesized that pairing taVNS with reading would aid reading comprehension in typically-developing young adults. We recruited typically-developing young adult readers and verified reading ability using standard assessments. Eligible participants were randomly assigned to receive either active or sham stimulation to the posterior tragus of the left ear while reading passages and subsequently answering standard comprehension questions from the GORT-5 (Wiederholt & Bryant, 2012). Participants were scored on time spent reading, errors in reading, and comprehension. While data collection is ongoing, pilot data suggest a benefit of active stimulation on comprehension, as compared to those receiving sham stimulation. Implications of this work may suggest using taVNS as a novel intervention for reading comprehension, but further studies should extend the methods in a sample of struggling readers.
The purpose of the study was to compare the effects of three instructional conditions on emergent relations between visual stimuli. Participants were 75 college students who were randomly assigned to three groups. Participants in the standard group were trained to relate the visual stimuli they saw to text labels, referred to as tact training, prior to learning to relate pairs of text labels, referred to as intraverbal training. Participants in the reverse group received the intraverbal training before the tact training. The instructed visualization group received the same training sequence as the standard group but were given explicit instructions to visualize the images they learned during intraverbal training. The match-to-sample (MTS) testing format was used to evaluate the emergent relations between the visual stimuli. We predicted that the instructed visualization group would complete the MTS task faster and with higher accuracy than other groups because of their histories of visualizing the stimulus relations during the intraverbal training session. The results showed that the instructed visualization group had non-significantly faster reaction times during the MTS test compared to the standard and reverse groups but performed significantly more accurately (p< .001).