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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.