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Extraverts savor and neurotics dampen: Exploring the relationships between positive emotion regulation, personality, and well-being

By: Ella Tarnate

Mind, Brain and Behavior

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Ryan Howell

The ability to regulate positive emotions is important for our happiness and well-being. A key component of emotion regulation involves mindfulness—the process of becoming more aware of the present moment. One way that people can use mindfulness to regulate their emotions is by savoring, or focusing their attention on and appreciating a positive experience. However, dampening is another emotion regulation strategy people use to actively downgrade or subdue their positive emotions. Little is known about the personality characteristics of individuals who use savoring or dampening strategies. The present paper aims to address this gap by examining the connection between savoring and dampening with extraversion and neuroticism. Our study found that savoring is positively correlated with extraversion, and dampening is positively correlated with neuroticism. Furthermore, a mediation analysis suggests that extraverts may flourish more because they tend to savor positive emotions, while neurotics flourish less because they tend to dampen positive emotions. We discuss how these results contribute to our understanding of the important link between emotion regulation strategies and personality traits to our overall well-being.

2 GB

That's how I know he loves me: Measurement consistency and validity of the Behavioral Evidence of Mattering Scale

By: Allie Morford

Developmental Psychology

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Jeff Cookston

The purpose of this study is to evaluate the measurement consistency of the Behavioral Evidence of Mattering scale, a 10-item survey created to assess what fathering behaviors lead adolescents to feel they matter to their fathers. I aim to assess the validity and consistency of the scale across two waves of the Parent and Youth Study (PAYS), a longitudinal research project on family relationships.

3 GB

Time Perspective as a Predictor of Adolescent Substance Use

By: Alyssa L. Youngquist and Alexa L Davidson

Developmental Psychology

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Zena R. Mello

Substance use is the leading cause of death for adolescents in the United States (CDC, 2011). Time perspective has been defined as individuals’ thoughts and attitudes about the past, the present, and the future (Mello & Worrell, 2014). In an effort to further understand adolescent substance use, we posed the question: does time perspective predict substance use during adolescence? Data were self-reported by 125 adolescents (51.2% female; Mage = 15.54, SD = 1.69). Results indicated a significant relationship between time perspective and substance use, such that more negative feelings about the time periods were associated with increased substance use.

4 GB

Resting State EEG in Individuals with Low and High Generalized Anxiety Disorder Symptoms

By: Amanda Ng, Kerry Huynh, and Anar Salayev

Mind, Brain and Behavior

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Mark W. Geisler

Previous research has shown that individuals with depression exhibit a frontal lobe asymmetry when performing non-stimulating tasks (Schaffer, Davidson, & Saron, 1983; Henriques & Davidson, 1991; Davidson, Marshall, Tomarken, & Henriques, 2000). The left frontal lobe may specialize in the expression of positive emotions and the propensity to engage in approach behaviors, while the right frontal lobe may specialize in negative emotions and withdrawal behaviors (Davidson, 1998). The current study examined whether this frontal asymmetry was apparent for individuals with high or low Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) symptoms when they performed tasks that induce anxiety versus relaxation. We predicted there would be reduced alpha power resulting in greater activation of the right frontal lobe after completing an anxiety inducing task compared to a relaxation task. Anxiety was induced with the Paced Auditory Serial Addition Task (PASAT) while relaxation was induced with a meditation task. Participants also completed 2 minutes of Eyes Open (EO) and 2 minutes of Eyes Closed (EC) three times during the experiment. The conditions were counterbalanced among the participants. Participants performed these five tasks while EEG (F3, F4, and eye movement artifact) was recorded continuously. Analysis included ten 1-second epochs from each condition. Preliminary results showed greater activation of the right frontal lobe compared to the left frontal lobe during the EC, Post-Anxiety condition. The Baseline and Post-Relaxation conditions did not show cortical asymmetry for either the EO or the EC condition.

5 GB

Male facial stimuli evoke greater N170 amplitudes in different cortical regions for either female or male participants

By: Callan Lujan and Kristina Pfeifer


Faculty Advisor: Dr. Mark W. Geisler and Dr. Avi Ben-Zeev

The most utilized component in ERP’s for facial processing is the N170 (Eimer, 2000). In the present study, male participants (n = 10) had increased amplitude at the T5 electrode site when viewing male stimuli compared to female stimuli (t(9) = -2.071, p = .049), possibly implicating this region for in-group processing. Alternatively, female participants (n = 17) had increased amplitude at the T6 electrode site when viewing male stimuli compared to female stimuli (t(16) = -2.153, p = .041), possibly implicating this region for out-group processing.

6 GB

Change Over Time in Parent-Adolescent Conflict: Psychological Aggression as an Emerging Conflict Tactic

By: Chase Boyer

Developmental Psychology

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Jeff Cookston

In the current study, we examined change over time in parent-adolescent conflict and explored differences by gender, family structure, and ethnicity. The 293 adolescents in the study reported the frequency of psychological aggressive conflict tactics from mothers and fathers/stepfathers across 3 waves from 7th-10th grade. Average adolescent conflict with mothers started higher and ended higher than conflict with fathers/stepfathers, but conflict with adolescents increased over time for both parents. Mexican-American females from step-families reported the most increase over time in conflict with their mothers across both mother behaviors. While these descriptive results do not explain the processes driving destructive parent-adolescent conflict among families, family processes among racially/ethnically diverse step-families merit further investigation.

7 GB

Income Barriers to Academic Achievement Among Adolescents

By: Christina Marquez

Developmental Psychology

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Zena R. Mello

In 2013, 45.3 million people lived in poverty in the United States. Additionally, nearly 20 percent of adolescents lived below the poverty line (DeNavas-Walt & Proctor, 2014). Individuals who live in poverty are classified as having low socioeconomic status (SES), referring to the social and financial capital of an individual within society (Benner & Wang, 2014). SES is an influential characteristic tied to social position yet (Benner & Wang, 2014). Previous studies have shown that educational and occupational expectations of individuals with low socioeconomic status are lower compared to their counterparts, and this is relatively stable from adolescence to early adulthood (Mello, 2009). Recognizing that low socioeconomic status can serve as a barrier to achieving upward mobility, we proposed the following research questions: (1) how do income groups vary in income-related barriers and (2) how is this variation related to academic outcomes?

8 GB

Familiar and Emotionally Intense Music on Autobiographical Memory, EEG, and Pain Modulation

By: Christine Jimenez

Mind, Brain and Behavior

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Mark W. Geisler

Familiar music can trigger autobiographical memories (Janata, Tomic, & Raskowski, 2007). In this experiment, participants selected ecologically familiar music, one song that was emotionally intense in happiness and another in sadness (Talarico, LaBar, & Rubin, 2004). Participants listened to each song during a 45s music induction period (Krumhansl, 1997; Sammler, Grigutsch, Fritz, & Koelsch, 2007), prior to placing their hand in ice water (cold-pressor task) and continued to listen to the music during the cold-pressor task (Chang, Arendt-Nielsen, & Chen, 2002). In the same experimental session, participants later indicated whether they had recalled autobiographical memories while listening to the song earlier in the experiment, per happy and sad song. The majority of participants had experienced spontaneously evoked autobiographical memories associated with the emotional music, at a high rate, without any task instruction. This occurred for both happy and sad self-selected songs, but even more for the sad music. EEG was collected at bands of interest that included alpha (8-13Hz), beta (13-30Hz), theta (4-8Hz), delta (.5-4Hz), and gamma (36-44Hz), and recorded from F3, F4, P3, and P4, as participants were asked to vividly imagine the memory they had experienced (for 60s).

9 GB

The relationship between peer-to-peer recognition software usage and employee performance

By: Danielle E. Wittorp

Industrial & Organizational Psychology

Faculty Advisors: Dr. Chris W. Wright and Daniel Maurath

The ability to keep employees motivated and engaged is a premium concern for modern managers. A 2012 employee engagement survey conducted by Red Balloon reported that 77% of the sample would consider leaving their current job if they were not recognized for their work. Despite the workforce desire for recognition, 57% of those surveyed reported that their company lacked a formal recognition program. To date, there is limited research assessing how the introduction of such a program might influence performance changes. In an industry-first study,the authors partnered with YouEarnedIt®, a peer-to-peer software firm, to assess whether the implementation of their company-wide, employee-to-employee recognition system would elicit measurable increases in company performance for one of their clients. The software, which allows employees to reward their coworkers’ behaviors with electronic points, was implemented among 96 employees at a digital marketing firm. Longitudinal data measuring points earned, received, and redeemed as well as annual performance data (as assessed by supervisors) were tracked over a two-year period. There was a significant difference between the company’s high and low performers in amount of recognition received (t(34) = 2.04, p < .05), indicating that higher performers are indeed being recognized more than their lower performing peers. Though direction of influence cannot be assumed (i.e., are high performers being noticed or is being noticed motivating performance), there are preliminary indications that recognition software may be driving changes in performance. For example, performance data for the entire company were marginally significantly higher after one complete year of using the performance recognition tool (t(95) = 1.83, p < .07). Usage of the recognition platform also remained steady throughout the sampling period; specifically, points received increased significantly (t(93) = 3.29, p < .001). Effect sizes were small across all analyses. However, our results are likely attenuated by restriction of range in performance ratings (i.e., all employees scored 3 or higher). Future studies that can measure performance in more nuanced, day-to-day contexts may be more successful in monitoring fluctuations in performance following instances of recognition, if these fluctuations exist.

10 GB

One-Way Video Interviews: Evaluating Candidate Performance and Reactions

By: Felicia Poh

Industrial & Organizational Psychology

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Chris W. Wright

A study was conducted to examine applicant reactions and performance in one-way video interviews (on Sparkhire) and compare them with phone interviews. We found that there were no difference in procedural fairness and overall favorability for both interviews. Performance in one- way video interviews were slightly higher than those in phone interviews.

11 GB

Cognitive- versus Emotion-Based Involuntary Cognitions: An Informative Contrast for the Reflexive Imagery Task

By: Hyein Cho and Anthony Velasquez


Faculty Advisor: Dr. Ezequiel Morsella

The Reflexive Imagery Task reveals that, in response to external stimuli, conscious contents can arise involuntarily, systematically, and in a nontrivial manner. We investigated whether, in this task, cognitive- versus emotion-based contents are more likely to arise in this way.

12 GB

The Effects of Facial Familiarity on Emotion Recognition Accuracy

By: Jeff Spitzer Jr.

Social Psychology

Faculty Advisor: Dr. David Matsumoto

While some research has provided evidence for an emotion recognition accuracy (ERA) advantage when judging familiar faces, other studies have failed to show any differences between ratings of familiar and unfamiliar faces. These discrepant findings may be due to inconsistencies in the operationalization of familiarity and variation in the nature and intensities of target expressions between studies. Thus, the current study manipulated familiarity by presenting participants (N = 22) with stills of neutral expressions from 14 different posers for a total of 20 seconds to familiarize them with each of the faces. Later, in a testing phase, participants were rapidly presented (1/5 s) with emotional expressions from posers they previously saw in the neutral expression slideshow (familiar faces) as well as posers they were unfamiliar with. After each rapid presentation, participants were asked to judge the emotion they saw on a fixed-choice response scale (anger, contempt, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, surprise, neutral, or other). Nominal judgments were recoded into accuracy scores for analyses. Results indicated that participants were more accurate recognizing contempt in unfamiliar faces and fear in familiar faces. These findings suggest that facial familiarity affects emotion recognition accuracy differently depending on the emotion that is being judged.

13 GB

Executive Function in Chinese Preschoolers: Mathematic and Vocabulary Outcomes

By: Jessica Dow and Riley Chu


Faculty Advisors: Dr. Jae H. Paik and Stephanie Chen-Wu Gluck

Two major components of executive function (EF; cognitive skills used to control, direct, and plan cognition and behavior) including inhibition (ability to hold back cognitive and behavioral responses) and working memory (WM; ability to hold information while it is being processed) have been consistently linked to academic achievement (Lan et al., 2011). However, there is much to be understood about the effects of EF on academic achievement in young children, especially among East Asian children. Chinese children outperform American children in math and language (Lan et al., 2011). Chinese children also have been found to have higher EF than American children (Lan et al., 2011). However, it is unclear how WM or inhibition impacts their academic achievement. Although research is limited, in one study, WM was found to be a strong predictor of math and language for both Chinese and American preschoolers while inhibition was not (Lan et al., 2011). We further investigated the effects of WM and inhibition on early math and vocabulary skills in Chinese children. Preschoolers in Chengdu, China (N= 77; 42 males) aged 4 and 5 were tested on a WM task (i.e., number and word backward span task), inhibition task (i.e., day/night task), a math (i.e., number line task) and a vocabulary task (i.e., receptive vocabulary task). Multiple regression analyses found that WM and inhibition accounted for significant variance in vocabulary skills (WM: Beta = .297, t = 2.208, p = .03; Inhibition: Beta = .292, t = 2.876, p = .005; adjusted R2 = .301, F(3,76) = 11.909, p <.001). For number concepts, WM accounted for significant variance (Beta = -.324, t = -2.436, p = .017, adjust R2 =.358, F(4, 76) = 11.62, p < .001), while inhibition did not (Beta = .085, t = .829, p = .410). / Although further research needs to be conducted, our findings suggest that varying EF may be contributing to children’s academic abilities. More specifically, while both WM and inhibition appear to influence Chinese children’s language skills, only WM seems to play a role in their understanding of number concepts.

14 GB

The Effects of Mindfulness on Recovery Experiences and Job Recovery

By: Jessica Lam and Michael Matthieu

Industrial & Organizational Psychology

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Kevin J. Eschleman

174 full-time employees were surveyed when engagement in recovery experiences would be in demand. Recovery experiences (i.e., psychological detachment, mastery, and control) were positively associated with job recovery. Mindfulness as a personal trait partially moderated the relationship between recovery experiences (i.e., relaxation, mastery, and control) and job recovery.

15 GB

Gender & Recovery Experiences: Is There a Difference in Coping Strategies?

By: Jocelyn E. Lancaster and Jessica A. Lam

Industrial & Organizational Psychology

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Kevin J. Eschleman

Managing time and finding the balance between the demands of work and personal life is a challenge that employees face today. Previous research has found gender differences in how men and women deal with stress in forms of coping. The research suggests that women are more socialized to use emotion-focused behaviors (e.g., seek emotional support) and men use active and instrumental coping behaviors (e.g., avoidance and detachment) (Matud, 2004). This study explored gender differences in coping methods measured in the form of recovery experiences (i.e., psychological detachment, relaxation, mastery, and control). Recovery experiences are diversionary strategies an employee uses in their personal time to gain resources in order to deal with the demands from work (Sonnentag & Fritz, 2007). Detachment is mentally switching off from work (e.g., not checking work emails during the weekend). Relaxation is the experience out of work that is associated with increasing positive emotions and physical ease (e.g., watching television or listening to music). Mastery refers to off-work related activities that are challenging and provide learning opportunities to distract oneself from their job (e.g., learning a new language or a new skill). Control is the degree to which a person can decide what to do in his or her own personal time. Based on past research of gender differences in coping styles, we hypothesized women would engage in more relaxation and men would engage in more detachment, mastery and control. Study 1 included 174 full-time employees, who were surveyed at the end of a business quarter, where engagement in recovery experiences would be in demand. Results indicated that there were no significant gender differences in detachment, relaxation, mastery and control. Women and men scored significantly similar scores across all recovery experiences. Although these findings did not support the hypothesis, closer examination of current research suggests that traditional gender roles are continuously changing because of demands in social change and gender equality. Traditional coping strategies used by men and women are becoming less apparent as societal expectations and constraints have been changing over the past two decades (Emslie et al., 2002).

16 GB

Who Are You? Categorization and Social Repercussions After Racial Cosmetic Surgery

By: Jordan Seliger


Faculty Advisor: Dr. Avi Ben-Zeev

The current research was designed to examine the influence of racial-phenotypic information on social categorization. Classic studies on essentialist-based categorization have shown that people tend to believe that group membership is not based solely on physical appearance, but by an alleged underlying essence (Medin & Ortony, 1989; Rips, 1989). However, Hampton, Estes, and Simmons (2007) have proposed a causal homeostasis account, which suggests that if one’s outward appearance has changed sufficiently to look like a different category, people will believe that the internal makeup (or essence) has changed as well. These models of categorization have not been directly tested on social categories. The current experiments utilize the methods of earlier studies (which have focused on animal and novel categories; but not on social groups) in order to assess the role of racial-phenotypic change on social categorization. Additionally, we examine what attitudes people hold toward individuals who cross seemingly discrete category boundaries.

17 GB

Food, Stress, and Academic Motivation in College

By: Kayla Bowen

Developmental Psychology

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Jeff Cookston

Increases in financial burdens and changes in the college student demographics have created a period of emerging adulthood vulnerable to food insecurity. The current study examines the relationship between food insecurity, stress, and academic motivation among college students. The sample includes individuals who are enrolled in college and are between the age of 18 and 25. Participants took part in an online survey composed of several established measures. I hypothesized that students with more food insecurity will have lower academic motivation, and further, that this relationship will be mediated by stress. Based on prior research, I suspect that stress is the mechanism by which food insecurity moves from a physical phenomenon to a psychological trait. Additionally, I expect that first generation college student status will moderate the relationship such that first generation students who are food insecure will experience a greater negative impact on academic motivation and more stress than non-first generation students. Implications from this study may help to identify groups particularly vulnerable, as well as identify specific components aggravating the effects of food insecurity.

18 GB

Emotion and the Effect of Uncertainty: An Initial Study in the Ultimatum Game Paradigm

By: Kodai Kusano

Social Psychology

Faculty Advisor: Dr. David Matsumoto

A recent theoretical perspective in cross-cultural psychology suggests that manipulating contextual cues associated with cultural themes allows researchers to identify the causal effects of cultural meaning on the observed differences between cultural groups (Oyserman, 2011). Although the field has primarily focused on causal effects of individualism on / various domains of behavior, works on other cultural dimensions are scarce.The present study was conducted to create uncertain contexts that tap into the dimension of uncertainty avoidance (UA), which refers to the degree to which culture tolerates unknown threats and creates beliefs, rituals, and institutions to avoid them (Hofstede, 1980). Uncertain contexts were specifically designed for the Ultimatum Game (Güth, Schmittberger, & Schwarze, 1982), which was a primary dependent measure for a main experiment that was conducted by the author.

19 GB

Autonomy, Risk Perception, and Risk Taking in Emerging Adulthood

By: Lanie Anton

Developmental Psychology

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Jeff Cookston

Risk taking behavior in emerging adulthood is an important area of study given the inherent problems associated with substance use, risky sexual behavior, and delinquency. Separately, autonomy and risk perception have been well explored in their predictive capabilities to risk taking behavior, but there is a gap in the literature examining their contributions together. The proposed study will first examine autonomy and risk taking behavior in the emerging adulthood population. Additionally, risk perception will be analyzed as a potential mediator to the relationship between autonomy and risk taking. Data will be collected from the emerging adulthood population, ages 18 to 25 years of age. Mirroring prior studies, I hypothesize that autonomy with be negatively associated with risk taking; autonomy with be positively associated with risk perception; and risk perception will be negatively associated with risk taking behavior. Based on prior research, participants’ living situation (living at home with parents vs. living independently), and college/employment status will be factored in as a potential moderating mediator. If the mediation model is supported, not only will this be a new contribution to the existing body of research, but it will also help identify those in specifically vulnerable populations to risk taking behaviors in emerging adulthood.

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