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PSYC2017ARROWOOD62393 PSYC

Mortality Salience Increases Worldview Striving Among Quest Individuals

Type: Graduate
Author(s): Robert Arrowood Psychology
Advisor(s): Cathy Cox Psychology
Location: Session: 2; 2nd Floor; Table Number: 8

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Quest religiosity is associated with actively questioning belief in order to attain a more accurate understanding, while realizing that the answer may never be found. This doubt suggests that quest individuals would not be able to rely on their religious belief as a shield against death awareness and must instead rely on secular beliefs. The current study examined individual differences in quest religiosity and how they interacted with mortality salience to influence worldview striving. The results showed that high quest individuals were defensive (i.e., less ethnocentric, right wing authoritarian) following reminders of death suggesting that they were behaving in accordance with their worldviews. Low quest individuals did not show evidence of worldview defense, except for at extremely low levels of quest suggesting that their belief effectively shielded them from existential threat. Explanations and interpretations of the current findings are discussed.

PSYC2017BARTH57901 PSYC

Efficacy Modeling of Passive Muscimol Diffusion into HVC

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Dylan Barth Psychology Catherine M. Urbano Psychology
Advisor(s): Brenton Cooper Psychology
Location: Session: 2; B0; Table Number: 1

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Birdsong, like human speech, is a vocal behavior that requires birds to precisely coordinate the activation of respiratory and vocal organ motor systems in order to generate sufficient subsyringeal air pressure for phonation. In both juvenile and adult songbirds, ablation or inactivation of HVC (proper name) neural activity disrupts temporal features of song. Consistent with the role of respiration in controlling song tempo, we have previously demonstrated that HVC contributes to song respiratory features in adult male Bengalese finches (Lonchura striata domestica, Urbano & Cooper, 2015). Here we further explored these findings by recording subsyringeal air sac pressure in singing birds prior to, during, and following recovery from HVC inactivation. Dialysis probes were implanted into either left or right HVC in adult male Bengalese finches (N=5), allowing for reversible suppression of neural activity (muscimol, 1.5 mg/mL, 1.125mg/mL, 0.75 mg/mL, 0.375 mg/mL). In all animals, mean air sac pressure and initial (10 ms) slope of song-related expiratory pulses (EPs) dropped significantly during HVC inactivation and recovered (Amplitude: F(2,8) = 12.8, p = 0.003; Slope: F(2,8) = 15.3, p = 0.002). We observed that, independent of the drug concentration, peak song EP amplitude exhibited a similar pattern of non-linear recovery over time while muscimol remained in the dialysis probe and continued to diffuse into HVC. In a subset of the data, we used an already established measure of efficacy (Beggs & Dobrovolny 2015) to model the change in peak song EP amplitude during HVC inactivation and we were able to produce consistent estimates for the variables in our model. We then ran a Monte Carlo simulation and parameter stability analysis to determine that the chosen model is robust and truth-conducive in predicting future values for peak EP amplitude under continued diffusion of muscimol into the tissue. We tested this model against simpler models to rule out alternative explanations. These results suggest that prolonged exposure to muscimol (4-6 h) induces mechanisms that reduce the efficacy of muscimol and result in gradual recovery of peak song EP amplitude.

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PSYC2017CAYWOOD7847 PSYC

The Politics of Nostalgia: An Examination of Nostalgia in Political Choice

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Megan Caywood Psychology
Advisor(s): Cathy Cox Psychology
Location: Session: 2; 2nd Floor; Table Number: 9

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Abstract: Problem: Although the current political landscape is divisive, some politicians have adopted the strategy of delivering the message of hope in their speeches. For instance, conservatives are striving to make America great again, implying a temporal return to some idyllic moment in American history. Conversely, liberals are more focused on moving forward by echoing the appeals of change to be a better country in the future. The current study was interested in whether these thematic differences in speech could influence nostalgic thinking, predict candidate support for both real and fake political candidates, whether it would matter if it was a liberal or conservative was giving the speech, and whether political nostalgia would interact with frame of reference and speech type to predict candidate support for the current election. Method: Participants consisted of both undergraduate students as well as Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (mTurk) workers. Persons completed individual difference measures such as self-compassion, nostalgia proneness, national nostalgia, religious fundamentalism, and social dominance. Participants then received a speech excerpt from a fake gubernatorial candidate in the upcoming election who was either a Democrat or Republican. The speech itself was either past or future oriented in language style. Individuals then rated their state nostalgia, support for the fake candidate, filled out some additional political questions, and then indicated their support for both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Data analysis plan: Data will be analyzed using moderated regression in SPSS to look at potential interactions between political reference, speech, nostalgia, and one’s political party on candidate support. Differences between the fake candidate and real candidates are expected in the same direction. Interestingly, preliminary analyses of the results are demonstrating that Republican participants express greater feelings of nostalgia in response to a past-orientated speech from a Republican candidate; whereas, Democrats experience more nostalgia in response to a future-orientated Republican candidate’s speech. Conclusion: It is hypothesized that past oriented speeches will be capable of producing increases in nostalgic thinking. These predicted results would be the first to demonstrate the interaction between political preferences and nostalgic thinking. Additionally, if nostalgic thought is more tied to conservative support and future oriented speeches are linked with liberal support, this would importantly demonstrate that liberals and conservatives rely on different temporal modes of thinking about America values. These findings would be important for future political campaigns and by elucidating the different psychological strategies that can be utilized to motive candidate support among liberals and conservatives respectively.

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PSYC2017COOKSEY27481 PSYC

THE ROLE OF MURINE AMYLOID-BETA IN DISRUPTING DIFFERENT PHASES OF THE LEARNING PROCESS: FROM CONSIOLIDATION TO RETRIEVAL

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Meg Cooksey Psychology Gary Boehm Psychology Michael Chumley Biology Brenton Cooper Psychology Julia Peterman Psychology James Taylor Psychology Catherine M Urbano Psychology Jordon White Psychology
Advisor(s): Michael Chumley Biology
Location: Session: 2; B0; Table Number: 2

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Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease associated with memory loss and cognitive decline (Borlikova et al., 2013). AD is marked by the accumulation of amyloid-beta (A) protein deposits throughout the brain (Miklossy, 2008). The presence of soluble A oligomers alters synaptic formations and implicates cognitive dysfunction (Cleary et al., 2005). Furthermore, established research indicates intracerebroventricular (ICV) injections of human A potentiate cognitive deficits associated with learning and memory retrieval. (Amini et al., 2015; Borlikova et al., 2013; Freir et al., 2011). While the importance of synaptic formations in the learning process has been affirmed in existing literature, the specific phases of learning affected by human and murine A infusions is not fully understood. Here we sought to explore how A oligomer infusions impact associative learning at different points of time. Using a contextual fear-conditioning (CFC) paradigm, two experiments were carried out to disentangle which phase of learning, consolidation and/or retrieval is impacted in the presence of A oligomers. In Experiment 1, animals received an injection of A or sterile saline immediately after training and were tested 48 hours later. Results indicate that A infusions immediately after training resulted in decreased freezing behavior, indicating that A disrupted the consolidation and/or retrieval of the context shock pairing. In Experiment 2, animals were trained in CFC and received injections of A or sterile saline 46 hours later. Two hours following infusions, freezing was assessed. Results from Experiment 2 revealed that A infusions 46 hours post-training had no impact on freezing behavior. Together these results indicate that A is disrupting the consolidation of new memories and is not impacting the recovery of previously consolidated information.

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PSYC2017CORRIGAN47263 PSYC

IL-1β Activity Predicts Investment in Present Versus Delayed Outcomes

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Emily Corrigan Psychology
Advisor(s): Sarah Hill Psychology
Location: Session: 1; 3rd Floor; Table Number: 10

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Life history theory predicts that exposure to extrinsic mortality threats early in life leads to a faster life history strategy characterized by preference for present versus future outcomes. The condition of one's body also determines the probability of survival. With this in mind, we predicted that a marker of damage to one's body, levels of the proinflammatory cytokine IL-1β, would also promote preference for present over delayed outcomes.
We found that levels of serum IL-1β predicted more reported impulsivity, less preference for delaying gratification, and a more present temporal orientation. Additonal analyses suggest that environmental stress may partially exert its effect on temporal focus through somatic damage.

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PSYC2017DAMBRA24061 PSYC

Scared to Death: Evidence of Cortisol Reactivity Following Mortality Salience

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Gabriella D'Ambra Psychology
Advisor(s): Cathy Cox Psychology
Location: Session: 1; B0; Table Number: 9

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From the perspective of Terror Management Theory (TMT), humans hold the potential to experience paralyzing terror due to the understanding of our eventual death. This terror results from the effort to reconcile death awareness and the evolutionary struggle to survive. While TMT research has accumulated many significant findings since its origination, basic assumptions of this theory have recently been challenged. Some critics are pointed out that there is no direct evidence for the experience of “terror” within the TMT literature (Marten & van den Bos ,2014) as mortality salience (MS) effects have been largely observed through the use of self-reported questionnaires and a terror after MS manipulation is mostly inferred. The current study attempts to address these concerns by seeking to obtain the confirmation of unconscious terror to mortality salience measured via salivary cortisol response.

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PSYC2017DUBOIS49347 PSYC

Impairment and Recovery of Song Syntax in Bengalese Finches: Implications for Learning and Vocal Motor Production

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Jamie DuBois Psychology Brenton G. Cooper Psychology Courtney Favoloro Psychology Emily A. Spradley Psychology Catherine M. Urbano Psychology
Advisor(s): Brenton G. Cooper Psychology
Location: Session: 2; B0; Table Number: 4

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Songbirds are an appealing animal model for speech acquisition partially due to the fact that they are also vocal learners, meaning they acquire their vocalizations through imitation (Doupe & Kuhl, 1999). Birdsong is defined as a "chain of discrete acoustic elements arranged in a particular temporal order" (Berwick et al. 2011). While Bengalese finches (Lonchura striata domestica) have a repertoire of 8-12 syllables (i.e. acoustic elements), the sequence of these syllables can vary according to set patterns and rules. Song sequence stereotypy, linearity and consistency are measures of syntax. The Bengalese finch song is semi-variable. Some syllable-to-syllable combinations are fixed, whereas some syllables (hereafter, “branching syllables) can be followed by multiple syllables (hereafter, “branching points”). In the avian brain, two different neural pathways are responsible for song acquisition and production, and both pathways are controlled by the avian premotor nucleus, HVC (proper name). Previously, we have found that male Bengalese finches show initial acoustic impairment and gradual recovery over the course of seven days after small, unilateral HVC microlesions (right hemisphere = 4, left hemisphere = 4). Here we explore whether HVC contributes to maintaining and recovering song syntax, as well as potential differential effects of lefts versus right HVC microlesions. To answer these two questions, we analyzed the syntax of previously collected songs at three different time points: baseline (pre-surgery), post-surgery day 4 (PSD4), and post-surgery day 7(PSD7). Each syllable was assigned a unique label, however, due to the extent of song degradation at PSD4, we did could not “match” syllables across days. Using an online java applet, the Songinator (Zevin, Seidenberg & Bottjer, 2004), we computed scores for stereotypy, linearity and consistency. Using a 2 x 3 repeated-measures ANOVA, we did not find any significant differences across time points for stereotypy (F(1.09, 6.53) = 0.18, p = 0.40), linearity (F(2,12) = 0.94, p = 0.42), or consistency (F(2, 12) = 0.63, p = 0.55). We also did not find an interaction effect for stereotypy (F(1.09, 6.53) = 0.84, p = 0.41), linearity (F(2, 12) = 1.25, p = 0.32), or consistency (F(2, 12) = 0.27, p = 0.77). However, we observed that right HVC microlesions exhibited increased linearity over time (Pre: 0.29 ± 0.02, PSD4: 0.31 ± 0.02, PSD7: 0.34 ± 0.01) . We examined this finding in more detail by computing the a change ratio (PSD4/pre-surgery) for the number of syllables and the average number of branching points per syllable. We found that HVC damage increased the number of unique syllables in both groups. Interestingly, there was also an increase in the number of branching points, but only in the left HVC group, compared to the right HVC microlesion (t(6) = 1.853, p = 0.057, one-tailed). These results support previous findings that HVC lesions disrupt vocal production and suggest novel syllables are the result of impaired motor control. These results also suggest that control of song syntax is somewhat lateralized. Left HVC microlesions initially impair the birds’ ability to produce a stereotyped song by making syllable transitions more variable. Therefore, the right HVC controls song variability, and left HVC song stereotypy.

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PSYC2017FRENCH39746 PSYC

A Quest for Meaning: The Relationship between Death, Quest Religiosity, Well-being

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Katherine French Psychology
Advisor(s): Cathy Cox Psychology
Location: Session: 1; 1st Floor; Table Number: 4

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Terror management theory suggests that when mortality concerns are salient, religion can serve as a defense in an attempt to boost self-esteem and shield against the potential for anxiety. Interestingly, however, very little research has been conducted on people who actively question their religious beliefs in order to attain a better understanding (i.e., quest religiosity). Recent research suggests that quest religiosity moderated the effects of mortality salience in that participants who were high in quest religiosity experienced a decrease in self-esteem following reminders of death. Building on these findings, the current studies further examined quest religiosity to extend to underlying death cognitions and fear of death. Study 1 found that individuals who were high in quest religiosity experienced a greater accessibility of death-related thoughts. Additionally, Study 2 demonstrated that quest religiosity fully mediated the relationship between fear of death and well-being among religious individuals. Specifically, high fear of death predicted greater quest religiosity that, in turn, predicted lower well-being. These results suggest an associative link between fear of death and quest. Importantly, religion can serve as a buffer for existential terror but questioning these beliefs lowers their efficacy and impacts well-being.

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PSYC2017HOFFMAN37493 PSYC

The Effects of Mortality Salience on Parental Response

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Jill Hoffman Psychology Emily Brown Psychology Cathy Cox Psychology Gabriella D'Ambra Psychology Katherine French Psychology Mike Kersten Psychology Paulina Mozo Psychology
Advisor(s): Cathy Cox Psychology
Location: Session: 2; 3rd Floor; Table Number: 3

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Previous research suggests that individuals pursue close relationships because they help people cope with mortality awareness (Mikulincer, Florian, & Hirschberger, 2003). Further, there is some evidence to suggest that individuals achieve a sense of death transcendence through the prospect of parenthood. For example, following reminders of death, people have a greater desire for children (e.g., Wisman & Goldenberg, 2005), have more vivid and accessible parenthood-related cognitions (Yaakobi, Mikulincer, & Shaver, 2014), and are more negative toward strict birth-control policies and more positive toward younger family members (Zhou, Liu, Chen, & Yu, 2008). However, no prior work has examined parenting behaviors directly. For this reason, the purpose of the present research was to examine whether people display more behaviors associated with responsive caregiving following reminders of mortality. Participants were exposed to a mortality salience manipulation in which they were randomly assigned to complete items relating to their fear of death or public speaking (the control condition). Following this, everyone took part in a simulated baby paradigm to assess participants’ responses to a simulated infant doll that was programmed (wirelessly) to begin crying inconsolably (Rutherford, Goldberg, Luyten, Bridgett, & Mayes, 2013). The extent to which participants engaged in caregiver-based touching behaviors (i.e., holding the baby in a meaningful way in an attempt to calm or soothe the baby) toward the simulated crying infant served as the dependent variable. The results revealed that, in comparison to the control condition, reminders of death led participants to engage in a greater degree of caregiver-based touching behaviors while interacting with a simulated crying infant. Overall, these initial findings suggest that reminders of death influence actual caregiving behaviors and suggest that people may display more optimal parenting behavior in the real world when thoughts of death are salient.

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PSYC2017JAHNS1486 PSYC

Forgetting Bias: Older Adults Think Forgotten Information is Unimportant

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Meg Jahns Psychology Amber Witherby Psychology
Advisor(s): Uma Tauber Psychology
Location: Session: 1; B0; Table Number: 7

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Every day people are bombarded with information, and forgetting some of this information is inevitable. Forgetting minor things, such as what you ate for lunch yesterday, is not particularly problematic. However, forgetting important things such as taking your medication can have important consequences especially for older adults. Previous research has found that college students were biased to judge forgotten information as unimportant (dubbed the forgetting bias; Castel et al., 2012). The present research investigated whether older adults demonstrate the same bias. To do so, participants studied words that were each assigned a value indicating the importance of remembering the word. After studying the words, participants had a free recall test. Finally, participants had a surprise test were they were asked to recall the point value that was originally paired with each word. Results revealed that older adults, and young adults, assigned lower values to words that they forgot on the recall test, suggesting that they were perceived as unimportant. Thus, older adults demonstrate the same forgetting bias as young adults. Future work is needed to understand the mechanisms driving this bias with older adults as well as the generalizability of the findings.

PSYC2017JOHNSON707 PSYC

The Associations Between Parent-Infant Attachment Relationships and Temperament in Infancy With Capacity For Effortful Control At Three Years of Age

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Patricia Johnson Psychology
Advisor(s): Naomi Ekas Psychology
Location: Session: 2; B0; Table Number: 7

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Background: There is significant variation in toddlers’ abilities to suppress dominant responses and perform subdominant responses, an aspect of temperament known as effortful control. Effortful control emerges relatively late in infancy, beginning around 12 months of age and surging around 24 months of age. This late pattern of development allows for earlier-developing factors to influence the development of effortful control, like the parent-infant attachment relationship and other temperamental constructs. While the importance of the parent-infant attachment relationship is widely supported by research, one noteworthy limitation of this body of work is the underwhelming amount of research on the father-infant attachment relationship (Hoffman, 2000; Lounds, Borkowski, Whitman, Maxwell, & Weed, 2005). Evidence suggests that father-child interactions provide children with unique experiences that may not occur with their mothers (Grossmann, et al., 2002). For this reason, the current study examines both parent-infant attachment relationships. Previous research has also shown that one aspect of temperament can moderate the expression of other aspects of temperament (Gartstein & Rothbart, 2003; Kochanska, 1993; Rothbart, Ahadi, & Evans, 2000). With each dimension of temperament emerging at different times, it is important to understand which temperamental constructs predict a greater capacity for effortful control.

Objective: The purpose of this study was to examine whether secure mother-infant and father-infant attachment relationships at 12 months predicted high levels of effortful control at 3 years of age. A second line of interest was to examine whether infant levels of negative affectivity and surgency/extraversion at 6 months predicted high levels of effortful control at 3 years of age.

Methods: 33 toddlers (age in years, M = 3.16) and their parents (32 mothers; 32 fathers) participated in the current study. Parents completed the Infant Behavior Questionnaire (IBQ), a parent-report measure of infant temperament, when the infant was 6 months old. Mothers and infants returned to the laboratory when the infant was 12 months old and participated in the strange situation procedure, a measure of parent-infant attachment. Fathers and infants returned to the laboratory when the infant was 13 months old and completed the same strange situation procedure. When the child reached 3 years of age, mother, father, and child returned to the laboratory and completed a battery of tasks measuring effortful control.

Results: The relationship between effortful control and parent-infant attachment was investigated using a Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient. Preliminary analyses were preformed to ensure no violation of the assumptions of normality, linearity, and homoscedascity. Attachment was investigated using infant attachment behaviors measured in the strange situation procedure. There was a moderate, positive correlation between infant resistant behaviors (M = 2.33, SE = .272) with dad and effortful control scores (M = .105, SE = .065), r = .310, n = 30, p = .048, with high resistance behaviors associated with higher levels of effortful control. Additionally, there was a moderate, negative correlation between infant contact maintenance behaviors (M = 1.34, SE = .151) with mom and effortful control scores, r = -.338, n = 30, p = .034, with high contact maintenance associated with lower levels of effortful control. The relationship between effortful control and temperament was investigated using Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient. Preliminary analyses were performed to ensure no violation of the assumptions of normality, linearity, and homoscedasticity. Temperament was investigated using parental reports on the Infant Behavior Questionnaire. There was a moderate, positive correlation between the low pleasure dimension (M =5.50, SE = .152) of temperament and effortful control (M = .105, SE = .065), r = .354, n = 31, p = .025, with high scores in low pleasure associated with higher scores of effortful control.

Conclusion: These results suggest that the father-infant attachment relationship is unique from the mother-infant attachment relationship, as different interaction behaviors with mom and dad are associated with effortful control. Interestingly, infant resistant behaviors with dad at 12 months are associated with higher levels of effortful control. Secondly, infant contact maintenance behaviors with mom are associated with lower levels of effortful control. These results could be explained by the fact that these interaction behaviors displayed by an infant exist on a continuum. It could be argued that children who exhibit high levels of resistant behavior towards mom are also able to resist a dominant response and initiate a subdominant response easily, indicating high level of effortful control. Similarly, while some contact maintenance is a component of secure attachment, too much contact maintenance could indicate an insecure attachment relationship, as the child could be too dependent on their parents and fail to explore the environment.

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PSYC2017JONES56715 PSYC

Fundamental Motives Influence Women’s Attitudes About Romantic Partners Based on Interpersonal Dimensions

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Nicholas Jones Psychology
Advisor(s): Charles Lord Psychology
Location: Session: 1; 1st Floor; Table Number: 7

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Context effects within attitude research are well documented; however, recent developments in evolutionary psychology (e.g., fundamental motives framework) offer new possibilities for the study of attitudes. The Fundamental Motives Framework states that we have motives which reflect evolutionary goal relevant to survival and reproduction, and these motives weave their way through human life, guiding behavior to satisfy goals. These motives interact with behavior in several ways, but research remains to be done in certain areas. In two studies, we examined how fundamental motives interact with women’s attitudes of potential (male) partners. In two studies, we examined two separate fundamental motives and a number of attitude items. We predicted in Study 1 that women would have more positive attitude toward a cold, but competent man when primed with resource scarcity (as compared to a control. In Study 2, we predicted that women would have a more positive attitude toward a cold but dominant man when primed with disease threat. In both studies, we found that women’s attitudes toward our two “real” men were affected by fundamental motives. In Study 1, women expressed less of a preference of the warm over the cold (but competent) man when primed with resource scarcity, and in Study 2 women expressed less of a preference of the warm over the cold (but dominant) man when primed with resource scarcity. We discuss potential mediators, though found no evidence to support a mediator at this time.

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PSYC2017MARX15571 PSYC

Self-Radicalization Effects of Assuming That Behaviors Will Generalize Across Situations

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Murphy Marx Psychology
Advisor(s): Charles Lord Psychology
Location: Session: 1; 2nd Floor; Table Number: 2

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When do people self-radicalize? When and how, for instance, do so-called “lone wolves” go from mild dislike for a target group to extreme hatred, all without any negative additional information? The evidence gathered about recent lone wolf terror attacks around the world suggests that the attackers all too often sat in a room somewhere and simply “thought” themselves into extremely negative attitudes. Attitude Representation Theory (Lord & Lepper, 1999) suggests that self-radicalization can happen to anyone, and describes how the process of self-radicalization might work. Self-radicalization, defined as adopting a more negative attitude toward a stimulus at time 2 than at time 1 without any additional external information, can occur through self-generated thoughts that, in the interval, increase the probability of more negative associations to the attitude object. What might those intervening self-generated thoughts be? One possibility is that they might consist of generalization. People generalize all the time. Especially when we know little about them, we tend to assume that others who misbehave in one situation will do so in other situations.

To test whether generalization might polarize negative attitudes toward a social group, we gave MTurk workers (of many different ages and backgrounds) information about 14 members of a fictitious group, who called themselves choosy, aggressive, wordy, blunt, tense, dissatisfied, restless, rebellious, demanding, strict, argumentative, cunning, and anxious. Then a randomly selected half of the participants were asked to generalize, by writing in a text box for 5 minutes detailed descriptions of how members of VSG#62 might display the 14 traits in both work and social situations. After that, all participants completed a battery of demographic and individual difference questionnaires, tried to recall the initial 14 traits attributed to members of VSG#62, and reported for the second time how much they liked or disliked the group. As predicted, participants who did math problems continued to dislike the VSG#62 group, but no more than they had previously. Participants who were encouraged to generalize, in contrast, reported disliking the VSG#62 group more intensely than they had before. We discuss the sample, and potential individual differences that might influence these effects.

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PSYC2017MELLOR44732 PSYC

Acquisition of a Small Artificial Language as an Analogue of Second Language Learning

Type: Graduate
Author(s): James Mellor Psychology Stephanie Neaves Psychology
Advisor(s): Anna Petursdottir Psychology
Location: Session: 2; 3rd Floor; Table Number: 7

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The purpose of the current study was to compare the effects of three instructional procedures on the acquisition a small artificial language. The language contained twelve nonsense words (i.e., 5 nouns, 5 verbs, and 2 case markers) and had both semantic (i.e., nouns and verbs corresponded with images and actions) and syntactic (i.e., object-verb-subject canonical word order) components. The three instructions consisted of simple exposure, discrimination instruction, and production instruction. The exposure group was given time to study positive exemplars of the artificial language. The discrimination group was tasked with differentiating between positive and negative exemplars in a selection-based task. The production group was tasked with vocally producing sentences when given visual exemplars in a topography-based task. Participants were then given discrimination and production tests with stimulus scenes that were not involved in instruction. In phase I, results of a 2 (pre-post) x 3 (group) mixed model ANOVA indicated that the production group produced the artificial language significantly greater than the exposure and discrimination group, and the exposure group significantly produced and discriminated significantly greater than the discrimination group at post. Finally, in phase II the results of a one-way ANOVA indicated that the discrimination group took significantly more trials to reach mastery criterion following the initial posttest. Implications for the instruction of second language acquisition are discussed.

PSYC2017MOORE58585 PSYC

Exposure to Early-Life Stress Exacerbates the Effects of Inflammation on Amyloid-Beta Accumulation and Cognitive Dysfunction

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Haley Moore Psychology Christopher Hagen Biology Julia Peterman Psychology Jordon White Psychology
Advisor(s): Gary Boehm Psychology Michael Chumley Biology
Location: Session: 2; 1st Floor; Table Number: 2

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Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia and is currently estimated to affect over 5 million Americans. There is no treatment for AD, and the incidence is expected to increase, as our population grows older. Many risk factors for AD have been identified, several of which involve stress and inflammation. Repeated injections of lipopolysaccharide (LPS), a bacterial endotoxin, have previously been shown in our laboratory to exacerbate AD pathology, i.e. increase amyloid-beta (A-beta) levels and cognitive dysfunction. Our study aims to explore the connection between early-life stress and AD pathology in adulthood. Furthermore, we seek to understand how inflammation interacts with previous stress exposure. Using a non-transgenic mouse line, maternal separation (MS) was implemented daily from post-natal day 2 (PND 2) to the time of weaning (PND 21) to model developmental stress. After weaning, all animals were housed under regular conditions until adulthood. At 5 months of age, animals were administered LPS for 3 or 7 days , modeling an acute stress event. Following LPS administration, cognition was assessed using a contextual fear-conditioning (CFC) paradigm. Tissue was then collected and A-beta levels were quantified. Current results demonstrate that cognition was impaired in animals exposed to early-life stress, but this effect was not potentiated by LPS administration. Additionally, MS alone was insufficient to increase A-beta levels, but MS interacted with 3 days of LPS exposure to exacerbate A-beta accumulation in the hippocampus. Overall, results suggest that early-life stress exacerbates inflammation-induced AD pathologies. Further studies are needed to identify the specific mechanisms involved in inducing these changes.

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PSYC2017NEAVES42636 PSYC

Birds and Words: How Children Learn Names from Contiguous Presentation

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Stephanie Neaves Psychology
Advisor(s): Anna Petursdottir Psychology
Location: Session: 1; 2nd Floor; Table Number: 7

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The pace of children’s vocabulary learning reaches a peak between the ages of 8 and 10 years; however, little research has focused children’s acquisition of new vocabulary after toddlerhood. The purpose of this study was to contrast two theories that address how contiguous presentation of words and images produces object naming. The Naming Hypothesis predicts an advantage to hearing the name before seeing the image (Horne & Lowe,1996), whereas accounts based on perceptual conditioning may predict an advantage to observing the image first (Greer & Longano, 2010). Children between the ages of 4 and 7 years participated. Each child received six training sessions, each consisting of 20 presentations of images of four novel birds paired with their spoken names. In the word-first condition (three sessions), the bird name was played before the image appeared on the screen, and in the bird-first condition (three sessions), the bird image was shown ahead of the auditory stimulus. After each session, the participants were tested for recall of bird names. Results are pending completion of data collection.

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PSYC2017REMONDINO45381 PSYC

Feeling crowded? Get creative: Crowding cues lead to increases in creative thinking.

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Molly Remondino Psychology
Advisor(s): Sarah Hill Psychology
Location: Session: 2; B0; Table Number: 12

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For years, animal researchers have demonstrated that animals living in crowded environments diversify both body and behavior, opening new resource niches for exploitation. Two studies tested the hypothesis that crowding should also lead to diversity in human psychology, illustrated by increases in creative thinking. Increased creativity would help secure new opportunities for resource acquisition in environments filled with competitors. In both studies, participants viewed a crowding or control prime, then completed measures of creativity. In Study 1, participants completed a measure of openness, a trait positively associated with creativity. Individuals exposed to crowding cues reported more openness than those exposed to the control. In study 2, participants completed self-report and behavioral measures of creativity, followed by measures of resource concern and early environment. Analyses using conditional process revealed that crowding led to increases in creativity, with these effects being mediated by increases in resource concerns and moderated by childhood environment.

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PSYC2017ROMERO23856 PSYC

Attenuating Pain with the Past: The Relationship between Nostalgia and Physical Pain

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Ramon Romero Psychology
Advisor(s): Cathy Cox Psychology
Location: Session: 1; 2nd Floor; Table Number: 6

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Previous work has demonstrated that nostalgia, a sentimental longing for the past, is associated with several psychological, emotional, and social benefits. More recently, research has found that nostalgic reflection can improve individuals’ physical health (Kersten, Cox, & Van Enkevort, 2016). Building on this, the current studies examined the relationship between nostalgic reverie and the experience of physical pain. In Study 1, a community sample of participants (Amazon’s Mechanical Turk; mTurk) reported their level of pain severity and then completed a measure of nostalgia proneness. In Study 2, participants were randomly assigned to a pain induction (versus a balance task; the control condition) and then everyone completed a measure assessing feelings of state-level nostalgia. Finally, participants were randomly assigned to write about either a nostalgic or ordinary event and were then either exposed to a painful procedure (i.e., algometer task; Study 3) or asked to rate their perceived pain severity (Study 4). The findings demonstrate that individuals who experience chronic pain are more prone to nostalgic thought (Study 1), and eliciting pain in participants results in greater feelings of nostalgia (Study 2). Further, in comparison to the control condition, nostalgic reverie led participants to report lower pain sensitivity (Study 3). Lastly, the current research examined whether nostalgic thinking helps to reduce the perceived severity of physical pain among chronic pain sufferers (Study 4). Collectively, these findings demonstrate the interventional potential of nostalgic reverie by being the first to show how nostalgia can be a potential mechanism to offset physical distress.

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PSYC2017SIMONS51414 PSYC

Do Judgments of Learning Influence Older Adults' Memory for Related Word Pairs?

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Taylor Simons Psychology Amber Witherby Psychology
Advisor(s): Uma Tauber Psychology
Location: Session: 1; 3rd Floor; Table Number: 7

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It is well-known that as we age, episodic memory suffers. This decline can be especially problematic in crucial situations (e.g., remembering the time of a doctor appointment). Therefore, finding ways to improve older adults’ memory is important. Some researchers have found that young adults who make judgments of learning (JOLs) demonstrate better memory performance than those do not (e.g., Soderstrom et al., 2015), whereas others have found that JOLs do not improve memory (e.g., Mitchum et al., 2016). The present research evaluated how JOLs influence older adults’ memory. To do so, participants studied word pairs (e.g., loaf – bread). Half of the participants made a JOL for each and half did not. Finally, participants took a cued-recall test (e.g., loaf - ?). Results demonstrated that older adults did not benefit from making JOLs. One possibility for this finding is that memory performance for the JOL and no-JOL groups was already near ceiling, which would make it difficult to observe a benefit in the JOL group. Future research should continue to investigate the situations in which JOLs will be beneficial for memory, as well as investigate methods to improve older adults’ memory.

PSYC2017TIEDEMANN65215 PSYC

The Association between Attachment and Physiological Responses to Relational Aggression during Emerging Adulthood

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Gianna Tiedemann Psychology
Advisor(s): Naomi Ekas Psychology
Location: Session: 1; 2nd Floor; Table Number: 9

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Introduction: Relational aggression refers to behaviors that are intended to harm others through the manipulation of relationships, social status, and/or feelings of belonging (Crick, 1996; Grotpeter, 1995). It is important to understand the factors that might predict why some individuals engage in relational aggression. Heightened reactivity to witnessing relational aggression may promote feelings of discomfort and deter the individual from engaging in this type of aggression (Wagner & Abaied, 2016). Other characteristics may also influence not only participation in but also reactivity to relational aggression. Studies have found that parenting styles are a predictor of relational aggression during emerging adulthood (Jordan, 2007). A person’s attachment to his or her parent sets a working model for future relationships. Therefore, it is possible that attachment working models may influence engagement in relational aggression. Finally, self-esteem is another factor that influences aggression (e.g., Baumeister et al., 1996; Donnellan et al., 2005; Golmaryami & Barry, 2010). The current study asks if attachment representations, parenting styles, and self-esteem impact female engagement in, and physiological responses to, relational aggression.

Method: For this study, 90 college female students between 17–23 years of age participated. Prior to the visit, participants filled out questionnaires about their demographics, their experiences with their parents (CRPBI; Margolies & Weintraub, 1977), their attachment style (ECR; Brennan et al., 1998), their self-esteem (RSES; Rosenberg, 1995), and their participation in relational aggression (SRASBM; Linder, Crick, & Collins, 2002) Participants’ physiological response was measured with galvanic skin sensors while they watched a video clip from Mean Girls depicting relational aggression and also participated in an interview about social stressors and experiences.

Results: The results revealed a significant influence of attachment anxiety, b = -.666 (SE = .322), p = .041, R2 = .23, on relational aggression. Additionally, greater maternal autonomy had a significant effect on relational aggression, b = .122 (SE = .051), t = 2.39, p = .019, R2 = .23. Maternal firm control, b = -.111 (SE = .058), t = -1.92, p = .058, R2 = .12, had a marginally significant effect on relational aggression as well. Attachment anxiety had a significant influence, b = .180 (SE = .075), t = 2.40, p = .018, R2 = .28, on proactive relational aggression. Attachment anxiety also had a significant effect on reactive relational aggression, b = .223 (SE = .068), t = 3.26, p = .002, R2 = .26. Maternal autonomy had a significant influence on proactive relational aggression, b = -.036 (SE = .011), t = -3.23, p = .002, R2 = .28. Additionally, there was a marginally significant influence of maternal autonomy, b = -.020 (SE = .011), t = -1.80, p = .075, R2 = .26, on reactive relational aggression.

Discussion: It appears that parenting and attachment influence both reactivity to and engagement in relational aggression. Good parenting serves as a protective factor against relational aggression. On the other hand, insecure attachments appear to be a risk factor for engaging in relational aggression. This research helps with understanding the mechanisms behind relational aggression and ways to support and help emerging adults so that they do not engage in relational aggression.

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PSYC2017WATSON24709 PSYC

Hot and (not) bothered: High testosterone is associated with lower disgust sensitivity

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Laureon Watson Psychology Hannah K. Bradshaw Psychology Jeffrey Gassen Psychology Sarah E. Hill Psychology Jake Yang Psychology
Advisor(s): Sarah Hill Psychology
Location: Session: 1; 3rd Floor; Table Number: 4

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The sex hormone testosterone has been shown to be related to a variety of personality characteristics and behaviors, such as aggression and dominance. The current research examines another aspect of human behavior potentially affected by testosterone – disgust. Our results find a negative relationship between prenatal testosterone and disgust. In other words, high levels of prenatal testosterone were found to be associated with lower levels of disgust. Preliminary results of research assessing blood testosterone levels and behavioral data will also be discussed.

PSYC2017WHITTINGTON64130 PSYC

Shocking News: A Rat's Tail of Uncertainty

Type: Undergraduate
Author(s): Megan T Whittington Psychology Brenton G Cooper Psychology James O Taylor Psychology
Advisor(s): Brenton Cooper Psychology
Location: Session: 1; 3rd Floor; Table Number: 5

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The ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs) of rats are produced at frequencies above the level of human hearing. USVs are often used as a tool to assess the emotional state of rats. Previous research has identified two main call types for rats: 22 kHz (related to strongly negative emotion) and 50 kHz. 50 kHz calls can then be further broken down into constant frequency (CF) and frequency modulated (FM) subtypes. FM calls are produced with a bandwidth greater than 15 kHz; these calls are related to positive emotional states. Whereas, CF calls are produced with a constant frequency and a bandwidth less than 10 kHz. Our lab hypothesizes that CF 50 kHz calls are expressions of anxiety in rats. Our lab has previously explored the vocalizations of rats across a continuum of negative affective state (i.e., from anxiety to fear) within a single testing session using a sequence of temporally consistent mild footshocks. The current experiment explores USV production in male and female rats when the temporal predictability was reduced by randomizing the time between footshocks. We utilized an unpredictable footshock paradigm with the goal of increasing or prolonging a state of anxiety as compared to our previous procedure. In this paradigm, shocks were administered across three successive days: on Day 1, mild footshocks were administered in a pseudo-randomized pattern, on Day 2, subjects were returned to the same context but did not receive footshocks, and on Day 3, a single reinstatement shock was administered. In addition to USVs, rearing and freezing behavior were also recorded and used to assess anxiety and fear. To explore sex differences, both male and female rats were tested in this paradigm. Significant differences between sexes were found in both overt behavior (rearing and freezing) as well as USV production. Specifically, the male rats exhibited behavior that suggests a more strongly negative emotional state (i.e., fear). These results could aid in the construction of a more efficient animal model to use in research for the study of anxiety disorders and potential therapeutic interventions.

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