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PSYC2019SULLIVAN34412 PSYC

Polarization of Moral Judgements

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Sarah Sullivan Psychology Timothy Barth Psychology Kaleigh Decker Psychology KatieScarlett Ennis Psychology Charles Lord Psychology Vishal Thakkar Psychology
Advisor(s): Timothy Barth Psychology
Location: Session: 2; 3rd Floor; Table Number: 3

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Attitude Representation Theory (Lord & Lepper, 1999) asserts that individuals evaluate attitudes based on a subset of associations. As this subset of associations varies, attitudes can vary as well. Previous research demonstrated that people can mistake self-generated information for provided information, through source monitoring errors (Johnson, Hashtroudi, & Lindsay, 1993), after extrapolating beyond the information given (Lu, 2015). We sought to apply ART and cognitive tasks (e.g., extrapolation, embellishment, and validity) by having participants judge the actions of fictitious groups. Although these groups are fictitious, they allude to current political viewpoints. We tested the effects of extrapolation (thinking about additional attributes of a target group; Experiment 1), embellishment (convincing a friend not to join the target group; Experiment 2), and biased assimilation (testing truth and validity of sources; Experiment 3) on polarization of moral judgments. Compared to a control group, embellishment polarized negative attitudes toward the group. The current set of studies could shed some insight about how people view issues, self-radicalize judgments, and understand thoughts of lone-wolf terrorists.

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PSYC2019SWENSSON26152 PSYC

Evaluation of Equivalence-Based Instruction to Teach Children Elements of Music

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Remington Swensson Psychology Reagan Cox Psychology Camille Roberts Psychology Juliana Sequeira Cesar de Oliveira Psychology
Advisor(s): Anna Petursdottir Psychology
Location: Session: 1; 1st Floor; Table Number: 6

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There are many benefits for children to receive music education. Research shows that note reading and music playing skills are positively correlated with cognitive development, motor proficiency, and self-esteem (Bilhartz, Bruhn, & Olson, 1999; Costa-Giomi, 2004; Schellenberg, 2004). The purpose of this study was to evaluate the use of equivalence-based instruction (EBI) to teach elements of music to children who have no music background in the age range of 4-7 years. The children first learned to relate the name of a note (e.g. “quarter”, “half”) to the length of the note as well as a picture of the note. They were also taught to name the lengths and names of sequences of notes (e.g. “quarter, quarter, half”). In the second part of this study, the children learned letter names of notes (e.g., “A”), keyboard placement, and what finger (e.g. thumb) goes with each letter name and piano key. Finally, we tested for emergent relations from part one and part two. Date collection in progress, but we predict to see emergence of relations between what was taught in part one and what was taught in part two. For example, when told “play this sequence on A,” participants will be able to use the correct finger on the correct piano key to play the notes in the sequence at the correct lengths.

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PSYC2019THOMPSON33390 PSYC

Will work for alcohol! Reward value of alcohol in rats.

Type: Graduate
Author(s): Joanna Thompson Psychology Mauricio Papini Psychology
Advisor(s): Mauricio Papini Psychology
Location: Session: 2; 1st Floor; Table Number: 4

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Will work for alcohol! Reward value of alcohol in rats.
Joanna B. Thompson and Mauricio R. Papini

Abstract

The misuse of alcohol is a prevalent problem in the United States, contributing to an array of public health, social, and economic issues. It is estimated that over 16 million Americans each year receive a diagnosis of an alcohol use disorder (AUD) which contributes to an economic burden upwards of $249 billion (NIAAA, 2017). Previous research has shown that alcohol has rewarding properties which motivate organisms to engage in voluntary, oral consumption (Jupp et al., 2011). Although studies have provided evidence for decreased alcohol consumption in rodents, no studies to date have examined high concentration alcohol (upwards of 60%). We used a mixed Pavlovian-instrumental paradigm to train rats to self-administer solutions of 0, 2, 10, and 66% alcohol. Once oral self-administration was established, rats were switched to a progressive-ratio schedule of reinforcement where a greater response effort was required to gain access to each of the alcohol solutions. Solution presentation was switched between rats each day. Higher levels of behavioral responding to an empty sipper to gain access to the alcohol solution was indicative of the reward value of that particular solution. Rats exhibited similar breakpoints for each alcohol solution, though expended less effort for 0% (water). Future directions will involve antagonizing the orexin-1 receptor, which has demonstrated to decrease alcohol consumption (Anderson et al., 2014). A non-peptide selective orexin-1 receptor antagonist, SB-334867, will be administered prior to sessions of progressive-ratio alcohol self-administration to determine the effective dose (0, 1, 5, or 10 mg/kg) at decreasing self-administration of alcohol. These findings are relevant for developing an animal model of alcohol intoxication aimed at a potential clinical drug therapy for alcohol abuse.

Anderson, R., Becker, H., Adams, B., Jesudason, C., & Rrick-Kehn, L. (2014). Orexin-1 and orexin-2 receptor antagonists reduce alcohol self-administration in high-drinking rodent models. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 8, 33.
Jupp, B., Krivdic, B., Krstew, E., & Lawrence, A.J. (2011). The orexin-1 receptor antagonist SB-334867 dissociates the motivational properties of alcohol and sucrose in rats. Brain Research, 1291(1), 54-59.
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. (2017). Alcohol use disorder. Retrieved February 2019 from https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption/alcohol-use-disorders

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PSYC2019WADE38311 PSYC

Role of the rodent amygdala circuitry in surprising nonreward

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Zach Wade Psychology Shannon Conrad Psychology Sara Guarino Psychology Quynh Nguyen Psychology Mauricio Papini Psychology
Advisor(s): Mauricio Papini Psychology
Location: Session: 1; 2nd Floor; Table Number: 5

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Since the 1920s, it has been recognized that nonhuman animals are capable of forming expectations about rewards and exhibit emotional responses when those expectations are violated—when obtained rewards have lower value than expected rewards. Our lab utilizes a rodent model for coping with unexpected reward loss with a specific interest in furthering our understanding of the underlying neural correlates. Frustration effects in rats are commonly and reliably produced using the consummatory successive negative contrast (cSNC) procedure, where rats are given access to a highly preferred 32% sucrose solution followed by an unexpected downshifted to 4% sucrose. Such surprising nonreward leads to a suppression of behavior compared to a control group that always received the less-preferred, 4% sucrose solution. Studies involving neurological manipulation indicate that permanent lesion or reversible deactivation of the central amygdala (CeA) and the basolateral amygdala (BLA) eliminate the cSNC effect. While these studies are important for identifying key structures, they provide little information about the underlying circuitry. The present research examined the role of the neural pathway between the BLA and CeA in the cSNC task using a chemogenetic approach known as Designer Receptor Exclusively Activated by Designer Drugs (DREADDs). Inhibitory DREADDs are intracranially infused into the key structures and later activated by intraperitoneal injections of clozapine N-oxide (CNO). Both groups of rats received unilateral inactivation of the BLA and CeA. The experimental (contralateral) group has one functioning area in each hemisphere, a procedure that disrupts communication between the two areas. The control (ipsilateral) group has one hemisphere disrupted while the other is left intact. Preliminary results indicate a disconnecting the BLA-CeA pathway reduces the cSNC effect in contralateral rats compared to ipsilateral rats. The BLA-CeA pathway is necessary to respond to surprising nonreward. These results add to the hypothesized model of circuity underlying unexpected reward loss in mammals. Because the amygdala circuitry is highly conserved across species, these results inform us about the neural circuitry engaged by similar instances of frustrative nonreward in the human brain.

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PSYC2019WEINSTOCK65020 PSYC

Understanding the Need for Existential Meaning Amongst Those with Disordered Eating

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Maddie Weinstock Psychology Caroline Angell Psychology
Advisor(s): Cathleen Cox Psychology Robert Arrowood Psychology
Location: Session: 1; 2nd Floor; Table Number: 3

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Eating disorders (e.g., Anorexia Nervosa) have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness (Arcelus et al., 2011). Unfortunately, researchers have yet to pinpoint an all-encompassing reason as to why these serious conditions arise. From the perspective of terror management theory, close relationships, self-esteem, and cultural worldviews (i.e., shared systems of meaning) are important in helping people defend against the awareness of mortality. When these defenses are weakened, individuals may experience an increase in death-related concerns and lower well-being. No studies have applied this framework to eating disorders, despite the evidence that such illnesses arise from similar complications with the three aforementioned coping mechanisms. The purpose of the current work is to examine whether individuals with disordered eating (i.e., Anorexia Nervosa; Bulimia Nervosa) experience heightened concerns about mortality. We will then examine any carryover effects of increased death awareness on participants’ psychological and emotional health (e.g., depression, anxiety).

PSYC2019WHITE26156 PSYC

Mindfulness and Memory

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Jackson White Psychology Daniel Alvarez Torres Psychology Karen Borowski Psychology Cheyenne Elliott Psychology
Advisor(s): Kenneth Leising Psychology
Location: Session: 2; 3rd Floor; Table Number: 4

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The study investigates the impact of mindfulness meditation practice on working memory performance within several specific modality (i.e. auditory, spatial and visual object memory). Working memory performance is assessed using a change detection task that tests the participant’s spatial, identity, and auditory working memory. Participants then take part in either a control or a test group that is trained in two weeks of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Therapy, based on the program created by Jon Kabat Zinn. Mindfulness based exercises bring the practitioner into the present moment and help them experience their surroundings and thoughts in a nonjudgmental way. Progress is assessed using a mindfulness survey, a perceived stress survey, heart rate changes, and blood pressure changes over the two weeks of practice. The data will be discussed in terms of support for the effect of mindfulness meditation on three separate modes of working memory performance.

PSYC2019WHITE49325 PSYC

The Role of Quest Religiosity in Medical Decision Making

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Grace White Psychology Caroline Angell Psychology
Advisor(s): Cathy Cox Psychology
Location: Session: 1; Basement; Table Number: 8

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According to Terror Management Theory, religious people are motivated to cling to their religious beliefs when reminded of their death. Quest motivated religious people, however, value doubt in their beliefs and are uncertain about the validity of their religion. The purpose of the present work was to examine medical decision making among individuals who actively question their religious beliefs when death concerns are salient. Specifically, we found that individuals who are quest motivated reject traditional faith healing in favor of more scientific medical practices. These effects were exacerbated by death awareness. These findings support previous research suggesting that quest individuals are motivated to embrace their religious doubts in when faced with existential concerns.

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