Completed Honors Projects

 

(Read more about the Honors Program.)

Past Undergraduate Honors Projects


Undergraduate Honors 2013-2014

 

Cassandra Brandes

Mind-Body Dualism and Mental Illness Stigma

Advisors:  Azim Shariff, PhD and Zhen Cheng, MS

Implicit theories and biases continue to be large obstacles in the attainment of adequate mental health services for those with mental illness.  Mind-body dualism is a theoretical construct which claims the independence of the mind from the body and which may influence some of these biases. We hypothesized that dualistic views may lead people to hold greater stigma toward those with mental illness, as well as greater internalized stigma and differential treatment behaviors for those with mental illness, themselves. Study 1 measured the relationship between mind-body dualism and stigma variables and found that dualism was positively associated with blame.  A second study primed participants with either dualistic or physicalistic theories but found no effect on stigma.  The correlational findings from Study 1 were also not replicated. Study 3 targeted participants with a reported diagnosis of mental illness, and found no consistent relationship between mind-body theories and self-stigma or treatment behaviors. Interpreting from null findings must be done with caution; nevertheless these results show no reliable or homogenous relationship between this theory of mind-body dualism and mental health service selection or stigma.

 

Brynna Cooper

Electrophysiological Correlates of Mood-Cognition Interaction in Self-Evaluative Decisions

Advisors:  Don Tucker, PhD and Allison Waters, MS

We investigated the neural correlates of self-referential cognition.  Previous research in this area has been largely accomplished using metabolic measures of brain activity.  Building on this literature, we explored brain activity using dense array electroencephalography (dEEG) to achieve a temporal resolution more apt to capture the time scale of cognitive events.  Forty undergraduates read desirable and undesirable trait-descriptive words and evaluated whether each word was self-descriptive.  In a separate condition, participants evaluated the president of the United States using the same trait-descriptive words. Consistent with previous research, we observed a positivity-bias in self-appraisal behavior.  This positivity bias was not contained to self-appraisal; instead it was equally present in the other-referential condition. Additionally, the amplitude of the P300 event-related potential was enhanced during self-reference in contrast to the amplitude of the P300 during other-reference; it was also enhanced following desirable words relative to undesirable words.  We then conducted an exploratory, correlation analysis to better understand the relationship between appraisal bias and individual differences in trait affect.  Findings are consistent with a two-dimensional model of mood constraint on evaluative decisions.

 

Jackie Cowell

More Than Just Words: EMOTAIX-Tropes Examines Linguistic Predictors of Mental Health

Advisor:  Jennifer Ablow, PhD

Given the fundamental role that language plays in our lives, it is apparent that the words people use reveal information about the ways in which they experience and interact with those around them.  Examining the language use of at-risk first-time mothers is especially pertinent, as risk factors such as maternal depression and anxiety lead to adverse child outcomes including delayed emotional development, behavioral problems and lower IQ.  To broaden our understanding of how language is used in emotion processing with regards to mental health, we used EMOTAIX-Tropes, a text-analysis software program aimed at assessing the emotional lexicon, to examine 105 first-time mothers’ use of emotion language (i.e. words denoting worry, happiness, anger).  The women were interviewed using the Adult Attachment Interview (AAI) and were recorded and transcribed verbatim, then analyzed via EMOTAIX-Tropes, which divides and classifies emotion terms into semantic categories according to valence (positive or negative).  Additionally, participants filled out questionnaires to assess levels of depression (CESD; Radloff, 1977), anxiety (BAI; Beck, Brown, Epstein & Steer, 1998), trauma history (TSC; Elliot & Briere, 1992), alexithymia (TAS; Bagby, Parker & Taylor, 1994), and verbal intelligence (Shipley, 1940).  We hypothesized that participants’ emotion language would correlate with self-reported measures of distress, such that those with greater symptomatology would use more negative affect terms.  Preliminary results revealed that self-reported distress levels are positively correlated with the use of words expressing hatred and aggression.  Further analyses will examine the relationship between measures of distress and the remaining emotion word categories.

 

Lucas Cylke

To Use or Not to Use:  Stereotypes and their Effect on Empathic Accuracy

Advisors:  Sara Hodges, PhD and Karyn Lewis, MS

Stereotypes have long been seen as something that people need to overcome and transcend. This study explores the ideas that stereotypes may be useful heuristics that help people make sense of the world; especially in social perception and empathic inference. We hypothesized that the act of not using one’s stereotypes when making empathic inferences would greatly compromise one’s empathic accuracy. In this study, perceivers (N = 79) were told to use or not use their currently held stereotypes when inferring the thoughts and feelings of targets talking about having divorced parents. The participants that were told to not use their stereotypes when making inferences had significantly lower empathic accuracy scores than those who were told to use them and a control. Though stereotypes may been seen as something that needs to be rid of, this study suggests otherwise. Stereotypes, when accurate, should not be ignored as they may lead to better empathic accuracy and more broadly better social perceptions.

 

Tad Falk

Personality Impressions on Twitter

Advisors:  Sanjay Srivastava, PhD and Nicole Lawless

This study examined the extent to which participants agreed about Twitter users' personalities based only on the Twitter user's profile or their social network. Participants (N=630) evaluated a random selection of Twitter users' profiles, a set of the user's followers, or a set of the user's friends. Multilevel modeling techniques were used to separate perceiver and target variance in order to estimate trait level agreement. When viewing a Twitter user's profile, participants agreed most about the degree to which users' were thorough and agreed least about the degree to which users' were assertive. When viewing a Twitter user's set of followers, participants agreed most about the users' socioeconomic status and least about the degree to which users were relaxed. When viewing a Twitter user's set of friends, participants agreed most about the degree to which users' needed to be the center of attention and least about having artistic interests. The findings of this study support existing literature regarding the ability of perceivers to make consistent judgments of strangers based on limited amounts of information present on social media websites. Not only did observers agree on a Twitter user’s personality characteristics when they saw the same type of information (either the user's profile, followers, or friends), they also agreed when they saw different types of information about the user. This study extends previous literature to Twitter, a microblogging social media platform and one of the most popular social media websites in the world.

 

Marina P. Gross

Accessing Long-Term Memory – What Pupil Dilation Can Tell Us About Learning And Memory

Advisor:  Nash Unsworth, PhD

This study investigates the role of pupil dilation in memory formation and retrieval through a delayed free recall task.  Previous studies have shown the validity of pupil dilation as a proxy for attention and effort.  For the first time, our study used pupillometry to investigate encoding and search processes in long-term memory as well as the primacy effect – a phenomenon that describes superior recall of the first item on a list.  Participants (N = 66) learned 7 lists of 10 words each for later recall.  Using eye tracking, we analyzed pupil size during list learning as well as item retrieval.  Results reveal a close relationship between pupil dilation and both encoding and search processes.  During encoding, attention, as indicated by pupil size, peaked at the first item only to decrease over the course of each trial.  These findings are consistent with primacy-gradient models.  Additionally, we provide new evidence on the primacy effect.  During encoding, pupil dilation during the first item was not only much larger but also followed a different pattern than that of any other item.  Our data suggest that besides rehearsal, increased attention to the first item on the list might play a role in its superior recall.  Lastly, our data reveal that intense search processes at recall onset are mirrored in peak pupil dilations.  At the beginning of the recall period, the pupil dilates sharply before participants begin recalling items.  Additionally, when pupil was large, participants recalled words rapidly and to a higher degree.  Overall, this study demonstrates how encoding and long-term memory search processes are reflected in pupil dilation.  We propose future research into attention levels during encoding to understand subsequent recall performance.

 

Amanda R. Hammons

You LANG them!: Re-evaluating Recasts as Negative Evidence

Advisors:  Dare Baldwin, PhD and Rose Maier, MS

Marcus (1993) argues that recasts (feedback on children’s speech errors provided via a corrected version of the utterance) are of little value for language acquisition: although parents recast children’s errors, they also recast well-formed utterances. Perhaps, however, parents provide pedagogical cues that distinguish recasts with corrective versus non-corrective intent. If so, children might be especially receptive to recasts accompanied by corrective intent, and update their linguistic constructions accordingly.  To test this, 5- and 6-year-old children are introduced to two novel verbs in present tense forms. Both verbs take irregular past tense forms, modeled after real irregular verbs in English (e.g. ling/lang modeled after ring/rang), so children’s initial attempts to use the past tense are typically overgeneralizations (e.g. linged). The experimenter recasts these errors in two conditions: In the informative condition, pedagogical cues signaling corrective intent accompany recasts. In the uninformative condition, recasts are linguistically identical but lack pedagogical cues to corrective intent. It was predicted that if these cues help children disambiguate corrective versus non-corrective recasts, children in the informative condition should show greater preference for the correct (irregular) past tense form over the incorrect (overgeneralized) form. In this preliminary sample there was no significant effect of condition, t(16) = -.89, p < .05. This work contributes to our growing understanding of the role social information in the analysis of linguistic input.

 

Rebecca Kenny

Perceptual Bias: Contextual Effects and the Systemizing Factors of Autism

Advisors:  Paul Dassonville, PhD and Scott Reed, MA

Autistic tendencies in the general population have previously been found to predict a global-to-local shift in perceptual processing.  Specifically, a two-factor structure to the systemizing trait of autism has been recently found to predict this shift, with an analytical-tendencies factor associated with weakened use of global contextual cues, and an insistence-on-sameness factor associated with heightened use of local information.  In the current study, we measured autistic tendencies in the general population and examined the extent to which the two systemizing factors were also predictive of low-level contextual interactions in early visual processing.  Specifically, we used a flanker task to measure attractive and repulsive contextual effects on orientation perception, which are thought to be driven by contextual interactions at the single-unit level in primary visual cortex. It was found that higher autistic tendencies related to insistence-on-sameness were associated with greater contextual interactions with lateral flankers, while higher autistic tendencies associated with analytical-tendencies were associated with reduced contextual interactions with collinear flankers.  These relationships were found only with these specific subcomponents of systemizing and were not related to overall autistic or systemizing tendencies. These findings suggest that distinct forms of systemizing differentially predict the magnitude of low-level contextual interactions, though future research should examine the extent to which the relationships also reflect differences in neurophysiological functioning.

 

Heidi Martinez

Beyond Depression: Mothers with Comorbidity Differ in Neural Response to Infants’ Cry

Advisors:  Heidemarie Laurent, PhD and Rosemary Bernstein, MS

Past research has illuminated how the functioning of the subcortical and prefrontal regions of the brain is affected by a major depressive disorder and in turn affects the maternal response to infant stimuli.  The current study explores how comorbid anxiety disorders impact specific patterns of maternal response.  We hypothesized a difference in neural response to infant cries in mothers who are comorbidly diagnosed in comparison with mothers who suffer from depression without anxiety and in comparison to mothers with no diagnosis.  This hypothesis was tested in a group of 22 high risk mothers exposed to their own infant’s cry sound during functional neuroimaging.  Group comparisons of neural response to own infant cry (vs. a control sound) were examined.  Fixed effects analysis revealed greater activation in several areas, including those associated with speech-related auditory processing and empathy, for those mothers with depression and anxiety as compared to mothers with depression and no anxiety disorder.  Areas of emotion regulation and motivation showed greater activation for mothers in the control group. Implications of these neural responses for associated behavioral responses are discussed.

 

Jessica Montgomery

Moralization of Smoking in Germany and the US

Advisors:  Sara Hodges, PhD and Brian Clark, MA

Cigarette smoking has become more moralized over the last half century. 

Moralization is the process by which moral value is attached to objects and activities that were previously morally irrelevant. Moralization of behaviors such as smoking is an individual-level (e.g., reflected in an individual’s attitudes towards smoking) as well as a cultural-level (e.g., reflected in anti-smoking policies) phenomenon. We studied moralization of smoking in two cultural contexts (Eugene, OR, USA and Tübingen, Germany). Participants were asked by research assistants on and around university campuses to complete a questionnaire in their native language while the research assistant waited. The questionnaire included questions about moralization of cigarette smoking and related constructs, beliefs about smokers’ volitional control over smoking, prejudice against smokers, and support for antismoking policy. These constructs were used in order to measure the attitudes that lead to relevant real-world outcomes such as differential treatment of cigarette smokers. We found that American non-smokers' attitudes about smoking were marginally more moralistic than were those of German non-smokers and that American smokers' attitudes about smoking and smokers were significantly more moralistic than were those of German smokers.

 

Beth Ngan

It’s Too Loud in Here: Effects of White Noise on Attention

Advisor:  Nash Unsworth

Stochastic resonance refers to the effect of how noise strengthens a signal that enhances the potential of a subject to increase cognitive performance. Stochastic resonance works whereby external noise, specifically white auditory noise enhances internal neural signals often too weak to be detected by a sensor. This study examines this model and its effect on attentional abilities. The experiment was run on university students, paying particular attention to the variance in results, in response to a range of decibel levels in white noise.  Results showed that variance in response times were significantly lower, and accuracy was significantly higher at a 60-80db range, hence displaying that perhaps white noise at that level does enhance attention.

 

Katelyn Occhipinti

Motivation and Executive Control: Using Eye Movements to Investigate Reward-Related Modulation during Task-Switching

Advisors:  Ulrich Mayr, PhD and Jason Hubbard, MS

Recent studies have demonstrated the positive effect of motivation on executive functioning (Locke & Braver, 2008; Savine & Braver, 2010). However, the cognitive mechanisms responsible for observed improvements in performance are not fully understood. The current study investigated the effect of performance-contingent rewards (monetary incentives) on response time and attention by tracking participants’ eye movements during a cued task-switching experiment. Twenty-nine participants (16 female, 14 male) aged 18-31 (M=20.4, SD=3.14) performed two different tasks in which three objects (one target, one distractor, and one neutral object) were presented on a computer screen. Subjects were instructed to respond using corresponding keys that changed depending on the currently relevant task. Results of behavioral measures indicate that reward significantly reduced switch-costs and error rates. Preliminary results of eye-movement trajectories reveal improved performance on rewarded trials. Notably, improvements are exclusively observed during response selection, rather than the attentional selection phase. These results suggest that executive control improvements associated with reward are due to processes specifically involved with response selection.

 

Matt Pepitone

Self-Evaluation of Trait Adjectives: An EEG and Behavioral Analysis

Advisors:  Don Tucker, PhD and Allison Waters, MS

While previous studies looking at neural substrates of self-evaluative cognition have focused on fMRI and PET experimental procedures, EEG experiments in this realm are newer and less understood. This study looks to investigate event-related potentials related to self-evaluation and semantic processing while attempting to replicate previous findings regarding how positive and negative affect differentially predict endorsement patterns of good and bad words, respectively. EEG was recorded from 43 nonclinical participants as they rated whether trait adjectives were like them or not, in addition to a semantic-processing control condition where they evaluated the word’s meaning. Preliminary ERP results show differences in responses to good and bad words around the P300, while responses to good words in the self-evaluative condition show a larger late positivity potential. Behavioral results indicate that only positive affect predicts endorsement patterns for responses to good and bad words, an interesting finding that will need replication in order to be verified.

 

Lisa Shimomaeda

Words in Action: An Exploratory Study of the VGT Paradigm in dEEG

Advisors:  Don Tucker, PhD and Catherine Poulsen, PhD

Past research has provided evidence to support the use of non-invasive imaging and brain activity measurement techniques such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), positron emission tomography (PET), and magnetoencephalography (MEG) in pre-surgical planning for epileptic patients. The current study explores the possibility of using dense-array electroencephalography (dEEG) for the pre-surgical mapping of brain areas necessary for language functioning in epileptics. We hypothesize that we will find differences in P300 component across the visual VGT task and naming task and that we will find left lateralized effects for language. Thirteen participants took part in auditory and visual versions of the verb generation task (VGT) and a naming task. During both VGT tasks, participants made overt responses of action words in response to concrete nouns. During the naming task they overtly stated the name of the object they had seen. Data is still being collected and analysis is ongoing.

 

Ally Simone

Creative Coping

Advisors:  Marjorie Taylor, PhD & Candice Mottweiler, MS

Creative ability is most frequently measured with divergent thinking tasks based on the manipulation of physical objects.  While useful, this type of method does not capture the complexity or range of creative behavior.  The purpose of this study was to develop new tasks that measure creative ability in the social domain and that involve the creation of a product rather than divergent thinking.  We were also interested in testing the extent that creativity on our tasks was related to children's ability to cope in real world situations.  Seventy-seven children between the ages of 8 and 12 completed divergent thinking and product creation tasks focused on social or non-social content.  Performance on the tasks with social content was not related to performance on the tasks with non-social content, indicating that social creativity is a distinct domain.  However, creativity was not related to our measure of coping strategies.

 

Nikkie Snow

The Effects of Causal Explanations and Attributions on Reactions to Children with Mental Health Problems

Advisors:  Phil Fisher, PhD and Zhen Cheng, MS

Along with the various challenges that can accompany mental illness, stigma towards mental illness further decreases one’s quality of life. Stigma directed towards children with mental health problems may have especially adverse consequences due to the importance of positive relationships in healthy development. Research has demonstrated that our beliefs about the cause of an individual’s psychopathology are important because they can often predict the amount of stigma one will project towards adults with mental illness, however little research has examined the stigmatization of childhood psychopathology. This study investigated the relationship between stigma and mental illness in children through administering a task that required participants to read pseudo articles that provided different causal explanations for psychopathology in children, a vignette of a child diagnosed with a mental health problem, and then complete a questionnaire that measured their emotional and behavioral reactions to the child.

 

Adam Tratner

Count to ten, and then? - Psychophysiological Effects of Time on Aggression in Web Video Social Interactions

Advisors:  Pranjal Mehta, PhD and Erik Knight, MS

Thomas Paine, the late 18th century English-American political theorist was quoted as saying that “the greatest remedy to anger is delay.” Similar to this adage, strategies such as waiting or “counting to ten” before reacting to a negative situation is a common solution prescribed by our culture to aid in reducing further aggression. However, few scientific models have set out to test the veracity of such folk wisdom and examine the effect that time has on aggression in subsequent social interactions. To address the question of how the passage of time alters our aggressive responses to negative social situations, the present study will investigate the relationship between time and aggression, and further explore whether social, affective, and physiological processes mediate one’s aggressive output. While their heart rate physiology was being measured with biopac sensors, participants filled out online questionnaires, partook in a pre-recorded, fictitious online web-video social interaction with another student, and then were instructed to participate in a decision-making paradigm (the ultimatum game) with the same student after either a short or prolonged period of time following the initial interaction. We hypothesize that if there is less time between the first and second interactions, participants will be more likely to display aggression towards the fictitious student during the decision making paradigm. Results and findings are forthcoming.

 

Lauren Williams

Plasticity-Based Brain Training and Aging: A Meta-Analytic Review

Advisor:  Ulrich Mayr, PhD

Cognitive decline is an unfortunate hallmark of aging. Deficits can interfere with daily activities and often come at the cost of living independently. In recent years, "brain training" programs and games have become a popular option for older adults who are looking to sharpen their cognitive skills. However, despite their commercial success, it is not clear to what degree these programs produce generalized effects beyond improvement on the trained skills. To determine the size of generalized training effects, we conducted a meta-analysis of existing training studies that used plasticity-focused practice regimes. Studies were included if they sampled adults aged 50 and older, participants had no cognitive impairment, and they had a control group. This led to a final sample of 32 studies. Preliminary results suggest a small-to-moderate overall effect size. In addition, we found that the effect size declined along the near-to-far transfer continuum as assessments become more dissimilar to training type, and with the sample size of the study. Particularly surprising is the fact that the effect size is negatively correlated with duration of the practice regimen. For far-transfer outcome measures with large sample sizes and long durations of practice, the effect size approaches zero. These results raise doubts about the promise that plasticity-related training regimes effectively counter the broad effects of cognitive aging.

 

 


Undergraduate Honors 2012-2013

 

Chiarra Arpaia

The Effect of Learning to Sew on Self-Esteem, Self-Efficacy, and Optimism in Adolescent Girls

Advisors:  Marjorie Taylor, PhD and Sara Hodges, PhD

This study explores the extent that teaching adolescent girls to sew their own clothes works as an intervention to improve self-esteem, optimism, and self-efficacy.  Twenty-six adolescent girls between the ages of 11 and 16 participated in a sewing class, held once per week for three hours over five weeks.  Participants completed questionnaires on self-esteem, optimism, and self-efficacy.  Self-esteem and optimism did not show a significant change.  However, self-efficacy significantly increased over the five weeks of the sewing course (the Intervention Period) compared with the five weeks before the course (the Control Period).  The intervention was run in the same manner as a community sewing class, and the sample consisted of a variety of ethnicities, family situations, and economic levels.  Overall, the significant increase in self-efficacy, the high external validity of the study, the diversity of the sample, and the positive feedback on the course indicate that teaching adolescent girls how to sew in an intervention could potentially increase self-efficacy and, thereby, improve positive development.

 

Madeline Barry

Infant Attachment and Temperament and the Prediction of Childhood Emotion Regulation

Advisors:  Jennifer Ablow, PhD and Jeff Measelle, PhD

Previous research has shown that an infant’s attachment and temperament will predict childhood emotion regulatory behaviors, particularly in The Disappointing Gift Paradigm. The current study investigated the association between infants’ temperament and attachment at 18 months and emotion regulation at 5 years of age.  As part of a larger longitudinal study, this sample of mother-infant dyads were recruited through the Women, Infants, and Children program (WIC) and represented a high-risk and low socioeconomic status sample.  When the infants were 18 months old they visited the lab, and infants’ attachment levels were coded through the Strange Situation, and temperament was assessed by The Infant Behavior Questionnaire-Revised (IBQ-R).  When the infants reached 5 years of age, they visited the lab and were coded on their ability to regulate emotions during the Disappointing Gift Paradigm.  Emotion regulation was coded when the child was by themselves with the gift.  Based on previous literature it is proposed that infants with negativity affectivity and/or high temperamental surgency and disorganized attachment levels are more likely to display less emotion regulatory behaviors such as physical and vocal venting during the Disappointing Gift Paradigm.  It was also hypothesized that infants with negativity affectivity and/or high temperamental surgency, but a secure attachment level are capable of displaying higher emotion regulatory behaviors. 

 

Natalie G. Brezack

Motionese:  Subject to Preference?

Advisors:  Dare Baldwin, PhD and Jennifer Mendoza, MS

Research by Kuhl, Coffey-Corina, Padden, and Dawson, 2005, demonstrated that typically developing infants prefer to listen to "motherese" speech than a non-speech analog. In contrast, children with autism spectrum disorder show the reverse preference, and the degree to which this is true predicts their progress in phonological development. The current research investigates possible parallels to these findings in children's processing of human action; specifically, whether developmental skills relevant to autism symptomatology (e.g., executive function and theory of mind) predict the degree to which children a) prefer "motionese" versus a non-action analog (or the reverse), and b) their sophistication in extracting structure within intentional action. Preliminary regression results based on participation from 46 preschoolers revealed both executive function (EF) and theory of mind (ToM) skills independently predicted degree of preference for motionese versus a non-action analog. Motionese preference was also a significant predictor of action segmentation skills. Should these findings be borne out in the full sample, they would point to important links between the development of language and intentional action processing, and they may have implications for designing interventions for children developing atypically.

 

James Brissenden

Discrete Storage of Associative Chunks in Visual Working Memory

Advisors:  Ed Awh, PhD and David Anderson, MS

The amount of information that can be maintained online in visual working memory (WM) is limited. Discrete resource models argue that WM capacity is constrained by a fixed item limit, such that no additional information is encoded once item limits are exceeded. However, recent work has demonstrated that the presence of strong inter-item associations within a display allows observers to store more elements in WM. A possible explanation for this apparent violation of fixed item limits in WM storage is that observers are able to chunk associated items together as a single unit. Thus, chunking effectively reduces the number of “items” in a display. To test this hypothesis, we measured contralateral delay activity (CDA), an event-related potential waveform that is sensitive to the number of items maintained during the delay period. If multi-element chunks are stored as discrete units in WM, CDA will be lower for displays containing associated items than for random displays. In line with this hypothesis, CDA amplitude was significantly reduced when regularities were present in a display. These results suggest that associated elements can be compressed into smaller units. Therefore, chunking allows observers to store more items in WM without violating fixed item limits.

 

Cord Chen

The Impact of Betrayal Trauma on Feelings of Anxiety and Shame

Advisors:  Melissa Platt, MS and Jennifer Freyd, PhD

Previous literature has shown a strong link between anxiety and traumas that involve a high degree of betrayal. However, little research has examined different types of anxiety in relation to betrayal trauma theory and betrayal blindness. The present study sought to differentiate between two types of anxiety, internal anxiety and external anxiety and to determine if high betrayal trauma (HBT) or low betrayal trauma (LBT) would predict either type of anxiety.  Additionally, the current study examined whether shame would be predicted by HBT and whether shame would be associated with internal anxiety. 415 participants from the UO human subjects pool took an online version of the Sources of Anxiety Scale, the Brief Betrayal Trauma Survey, and the Shame Posture Measure. Results show that internal anxiety was differentiated from external anxiety, that HBT but not LBT predicted both internal anxiety and external anxiety, and that shame was predicted by HBT and associated with both types of anxiety. Implications and future directions for research are discussed.

 

Alex Crane

Relationships Between Neural Activations Across Multiple Inhibitory Control Domains

Advisors:  Elliot Berkman, PhD and Ryan Johnson, BS

Using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) and a real world simulation, we examined multiple domains of inhibitory control and whether real world inhibitory control can be predicted based on lab task results.  Subjects were imaged while alternately performing tasks to measure four domains of inhibitory control: affect, memory, motor, and attention.  The scanner task was followed by a battery of control-related surveys outside the scanner. In a second session several days after the first, participants completed a difficult word search puzzle in the presence of several real-world distracters (e.g. a bowl of candy, a computer screen, their cell phone, Facebook).  Analysis of the fMRI data is ongoing, but preliminary results suggest a partial overlap between simple laboratory tasks assessing inhibitory control performance and real world outcomes such as impulse behavior, use of affect reappraisal, and the experience of rumination.  This study will build upon previous research that suggests domain-general brain basis for simple and complex inhibitory control by studying multiple domains of inhibitory control instead of the typical 1 or 2 domains.  It will also measure two levels of data involving laboratory tests and a real world simulation using the same subjects to examine whether the laboratory tasks are predictive of the more complex real world situations.

 

Sarah Cunningham

Sexual Assault, Institutional Betrayal, and Psychological Outcomes in the LGBT

Advisors:  Jennifer Freyd, PhD and Carly Smith, MS

Several studies have demonstrated that LGBT-identified individuals are at an elevated risk of experiencing trauma (Brown & Pantalone, 2011). Notably, research suggests that LGBT individuals experience higher rates of sexual trauma (Rothman, Exner, & Baughman, 2011). In general, research has shown that institutional failure to prevent or respond appropriately to sexual assault may exacerbate negative outcomes for assault survivors, a phenomenon termed institutional betrayal (Smith & Freyd, 2013). In terms of psychological outcomes, LGBT people typically report more mental health problems than heterosexual people (Hecht, 1998). The aim of this study was to examine the relationships between sexual identity, institutional betrayal, and psychological outcomes. In a self-report survey study of 299 undergraduates (90.3% heterosexual, 9.7% LGBT-identified), LGBT participants reported significantly higher rates of sexual harassment and sexual assault than heterosexual participants. LGBT respondents also reported significantly higher rates of institutional betrayal, even when controlling for incidences of sexual harassment and assault. Finally, LGBT participants exhibited significantly more negative psychological outcomes including post-traumatic stress symptoms, depression, risky sexual behaviors, and low public and private collective self-esteem. These results support prior research suggesting that LGBT individuals experience more traumas and show the importance of sexual identity as a risk factor for institutional betrayal and negative mental health outcomes.

 

Mariya Dubrovina

Using Eye Movements to Assess Task Switching Dynamics Within and Between Perceptual Dimensions

Advisors:  Jason Hubbard, MS and Ulrich Mayr, PhD

Task switching research often uses tasks from different perceptual dimensions. However, it is not clear in which way task-switch costs are affected by this design choice. In this study we use eye movements to analyze in which way task selection affects switching the allocation of attention when competing task-relevant objects come from either the same or a different perceptual dimension than the current target objects. Participants (N = 54) were cued to attend either to the object with the gap or the object with the unique color, then presented with three objects: one target, one distractor, and one neutral object. The objects presented on the screen came from either the same dimension (gap-gap or color-color) or a different dimension (color-gap or gap-color) than the current target object. The results show that the response times in the Between-Dimension tasks are smaller, suggesting that Between-Dimension tasks generally involve more effective attentional selection. Consistent with this, eye movement trajectories to the target versus the distractor object show more effective target-directed fixating and greater benefits from task repetitions in the between-dimension case. Combined, these results suggest that task selection is much more efficient when competing tasks are associated with distinct perceptual dimensions.

 

Anastasia Gilmartin

The Decision Making Process of Law School Applicants

Advisor:  Robert Mauro, PhD

This study was conducted in order to understand how people make the decision to attend law school, which schools to apply to, and finally which school to attend. Sixty participants completed an online questionnaire. Results found that the top reasons for attending law school were: to help people (57.8%), good income (53.2%), and like to solve analytical problems (53.1%). The most important factors to applicants in deciding where to apply to law schools were: location, cost, likelihood of being admitted, and bar passage rate. In selecting schools to which to apply, 61% of subjects started with an empty list and added schools that met some criterion such as location or ranking. The most important factors in selecting a school to attend were: location, availability of merit-based scholarships, likelihood of being admitted, bar passage rate, and cost. These findings suggest that most applicants focus on certain criteria (e.g., location) during all phases of the decision making process.

 

Jessica Glaser

Hierarchy of Values for Eight Countries

Advisor:  Gerard Saucier, PhD

Is there a rank-order of values that leads to the healthiest outcome for individuals? Four rank-ordered values theories were tested in a correlation study with the United States, Kenya, Morocco, the Philippines, Taiwan, Singapore, India, and Turkey. The theories were tested for their prevalence across countries, as well as an indication of which theory led to the healthiest outcomes across individuals. The Short Schwartz Values Survey (SSVS) was used to measure values responses. Scales from the 36QB6 (a Big Six Personality measure) were used as an outcome criterion for healthy values rank-ordering. In a sample of 2,393 individuals from the Survey of World Views (Saucier, et. al, 2013), individual responses concerning the SSVS were correlated with Cicero (44 B.C.), Rollo May (1967), Dugald Stewart (1852), and Hastings Rashdall’s (1907) rank-ordered values theories. The theory related r values were correlated with their personality outcomes. The results indicated that May’s theory most resembled the typical value rank-ordering in the United States while Cicero’s theory most resembled the typical rank-ordering in the pancultural analyses. The results also indicated that Cicero’s rank-ordering of values lead to the healthiest outcome in personality. The implications suggest that, in a globalizing world, it is important to understand the variance of value-priorities across countries and the differing outcomes that a specific rank-orderings of values can produce. 

 

Mitchell Gooch

The Impact of Relationship Closeness and Relationship Type on Secondary Trauma:  Results from a Non-High-Risk Sample

Advisors:  William Schumacher, MS and Holly Arrow, PhD

Secondary Trauma (ST) posits that individuals may become traumatized through close social contact with another person who has suffered a primary trauma. Previous research has focused almost exclusively on samples of high-risk relationships, in which one individual is at high-risk for suffering a primary trauma, therefore increasing the other person’s chance of suffering from secondary trauma. The purpose of this study was to assess ST in a non-high-risk sample (n = 551). This is the first study to address the closeness of the relationship and the relationship type as variables. Methods consisted of participants completing the Secondary Trauma Questionnaire (STQ) and PTSD Symptom Scale-Interview (PSSI) in an online questionnaire. Results showed that 14.3% of participants had scores that signify mild to severe ST. These findings supported the prediction that ST was lower in a non-high-risk sample versus a high-risk sample. In addition, a statistically significant relationship was found between STQ scores and relationship type as well as a statistically significant correlation between STQ and PSSI scores. However, contrary to expectations, the closeness of the relationship was not a significant predictor of STQ scores.

 

Elizabeth J. Ivie

Do Adolescents Know Themselves?  State versus Trait Measures of Emotion Regulation

Advisors:  Nicole Giuliani, PhD and Jennifer Pfeifer, PhD

The ability to control one’s emotions improves with age; particular advances are made during adolescence (Silvers et al., 2012). Adolescence is often marked by more extreme variation in mood states (Larson, Moneta, Richards, & Wilson, 2002) and increased prevalence of internalizing disorders, such as anxiety or depression, particularly for females (McGuinness, Dyer, & Wade, 2012). Additionally, a deficit in emotion regulation is also correlated with an increase in internalizing symptoms (Lougheed & Hollenstein, 2012). This underscores the importance of successful emotion regulation (ER) during this stage of development. In the current study, we assessed ER in 46 adolescent females between the ages of 10-17. Stable (trait) ER was assessed using empirically validated self-report questionnaires including the ERQ-CA and ERICA, and fluctuating (state) ER was assessed using an empirically validated behavioral task (Giuliani et al., 2013). Trait questionnaire measures of ER and age were not significantly related, but state task performance measures of ER were positively correlated with age. Additionally, age was positively correlated with self-reported frequency of positive and negative emotional experience, both of which were significantly correlated with trait and state measures of ER, and self-reported depressive symptoms. Additional analyses will explore the potential interactions among age, trait and state ER, positive and negative affect, and depressive symptoms. Overall, this study describes adolescent female development of ER in two domains (state versus trait) and the ways in which these two measurement domains account for overlapping, yet different, aspects of adolescent emotional health.

 

Clare Knievel

Trial-to-Trial Fluctuations in Attentional State and their Influence on Goal Neglect in the Antisaccade

Advisor:  Nash Unsworth, PhD

Throughout the duration of a task attention fluctuates, potentially lapsing and leading to goal neglect.  Attention was recorded from trial-to-trial by subject’s self reporting.  Subjects recorded their attentional state prior to each trial, immediately followed by a saccade task; either an anti- or prosaccade.  Results support that pre-trial attentional state can be used to predict accuracy on the saccade task.  High attentional ratings yielded high accuracy and subsequently little goal neglect, while low attentional ratings produced the opposite.  Additionally, pre-trial attentional ratings showed a larger effect during the antisaccade trials compared to prosaccade trials.  Collectively, these results suggest that trial-to-trial fluctuations in attention are a powerful predictor of trial-level performance on attention demanding tasks.

 

Irina Kuzmina

Belonging and Perceived Similarity as Moderators of Social Projection

Advisors:  Sara Hodges, PhD and Karyn Lewis, MS

People frequently engage in social projection when making judgments about others. Past research has shown that projection can lead to more accurate perceptions of others, but there may also be a motivational account for projection. In the current study we explore if perceived similarity and belonging needs moderate social projection. Previously unacquainted participants (84 undergraduate students) rated their own personality traits, then had a discussion with a partner, and after that rated their partner’s personality traits. In addition, participants completed a measure of belongingness and rated their perceived similarity to their partner. As hypothesized, when participants perceived their partner as more similar, they showed greater projection. Projection was also greater for participants who rated themselves higher in belonging. These results suggest that people might engage in projection with a goal to achieve a sense of connectedness to people.

 

Kathryn Landis

Pass Me the Ball:  Examining the Effects of Culture on Rejection, Coping, and Factors of Well-Being

Advisors:  Nicole Lawless, MS and Sanjay Srivastava, PhD

Differences between two main cultural worldviews, collectivism and individualism, have been linked to various social and psychological phenomena, such as emotion expression (Kitayana, Markus, & Kurokawa, 2000), self-esteem (Heine, Lehman, Markus, & Kitayama, 1999), and subjective well-being (Diener, Diener, & Diener, 1995). This study investigates how cultural perspective influences coping strategies and responses to interpersonal rejection. Fifty-nine domestic undergraduate students completed a questionnaire that measured individual differences including cultural identification, personality, coping strategies, self-esteem, and perceived ethnic discrimination. The same students then played the online ball-tossing game, Cyberball, which simulated social rejection. During the game participants were rejected by players with either American (individualist) or Chinese (collectivist) names. After the game, participants answered questions that measured emotional response. Data analysis will examine possible relationships between individual differences and coping styles, as well as which names participants saw and emotional response. The results of this type of study may serve to better prepare universities for a student’s transition to college, or help healthcare professionals improve quality of care by guiding patients to culturally appropriate coping resources.

 

Stefanos Lazarides

Perceiving and Reconstructing Shapes in Three Dimensions

Advisor:  Margaret Sereno, PhD

Human beings perceive shapes in multiple dimensions (e.g. 2 or 3).  To do this we make objective judgments, judgments about the 3-dimensional characteristics of objects, or projective judgments, judgments about the 2-dimensional characteristics of objects. Our research examines the role of a 3-dimensional context on both projective and objective judgments. We predicted that 3-dimensional context helps with objective judgments and hurts projective judgments, while a lack of a 3-dimensional context has the opposite effect. Analysis remains ongoing but initial findings trend with our expectations. Following this we intend to examine the affect of artistic ability and experience (specifically, drawing skill) on both objective and projective judgments. We predict that artists, compared to non-artists, will be better at making projective judgments of shape as this ability may be necessary to produce accurate drawings of the 3-dimensional world. Our research on this potential relationship also remains ongoing.  

 

Molly Martini

Recurring Goal Monitoring Display Design:  Effects on Completion Rates, Motivation, and Emotional Affect

Advisor:  Sara Hodges, PhD

Recurring goals, such as exercising every other day, are important for health and work-life balance, yet are often disregarded when other deadlines and daily stressors enter our lives. Given that information presentation affects how one processes and acts upon information, could a visual object display reminder of goals lead to increased motivation and more goal completions compared to a text-based display? Three different goal monitoring tools were created to answer this question: an Android app that shows goals as squares that visually stretch out as goal deadlines approach; another Android app that lists the goals and their deadlines by text; and a paper planner consisting of two calendar weeks. Participants (N = 35) were randomly assigned one of these three tools and asked to monitor their own recurring goals for two weeks, completing nightly questionnaires asking about motivation level, goal completion, and emotional affect. No differences were found between conditions. Although the visual app provided an easily-processed display, it appeared to provide no advantage in terms of goal completion or positive attitudes towards goals, suggesting further research is needed to see if balancing one’s goals relies on a different task focus then completing one’s goals.

 

Danaan O’Donnell-Davidson

Are You Certain You Belong?  Self-Evaluations and Responses to Ambiguous Feedback

Advisors:  Sara Hodges, PhD and Karyn Lewis, MS

Participants consisted of psychology and linguistic students recruited from the University of Oregon. There were 508 participants total (69.9% female and 29.9% male). Ages ranged from 18 to 43 (M=19.73 with 95% under 22). Most participants were white (72.9%) and native English speakers (92.9%). Participants were either assigned to the experimental condition or the control condition. Those assigned to the experimental condition learned about a “new dimension of human cognitive performance” called Integrational Complexity.  Within the experimental condition participants were assigned to one of two cognitive profiles: Group C, who perform well on IC tasks, and Group X, whose performance “on IC tasks is more uncertain and variable”. Participants continued to the “Integrational Complexity Skills Assessment,” which consisted of 21 questions. In the control condition participants learned nothing about the make believe IC cognitive profiles. All participants, including those in the control condition, were then informed that their IC skills were in the average range. They continued to another survey that consisted of 11 questions created to gauge their feelings towards IC.  Data has not been analyzed yet, but we predict that subjects placed within the “uncertainty” condition (Group X) will have more negative feelings towards IC, including less motivation to increase their skills within this “new” domain, when compared to those of the “positive” condition (Group C) and the control group.

 

Brendan Ostlund

The Role of Mother-Infant Affect Synchrony in the Relation between Maternal Depression and Infant Vagal Functioning

Advisor:  Jeff Measelle, PhD

Research has shown that maternal psychopathology, in particular, depression, is associated with infants’ vagal functioning, a biomarker of infant emotion regulation. This study examined the role of dyadic synchrony as one possible social mechanism by which maternal depression and infant vagal functioning might be related. A high-risk sample of mothers, by virtue of their low socioeconomic status and history of depression, participated in the present investigation. When babies were five-months-old, they and their mothers participated in an unstructured free-play session designed to illicit typical interaction patterns. Of the overall sample, two subgroups were evaluated, specifically, a high-depression group (n=20; CESD M=24.0, SD=6.70) and a low-depression group (n= 20; CESD M=1.95, SD=1.19). Synchrony and matched behavioral states between the mother-infant dyad were computed, and baseline Respiratory Sinus Arrhythmia (RSA) was collected as an index of vagal functioning. Analyses reveal a complex set of results such that the association between higher levels of maternal depressive symptoms at five months postpartum and higher infant baseline RSA was partially mediated by different aspects of mother-infant synchrony. These findings may further our understanding of the social mechanisms of an infants’ earliest relationships help to shape the biological bases of emotion regulation.

 

Nicole Rios

Effects of Early Life Stress on Cognitive and Socio-Emotional Development

Advisors:  Helen Neville, PhD and Elif Isbell, MS

Decades of research on poverty provide overwhelming evidence for the detrimental effects of low-SES on child development.  While several factors could be mediating this relationship, the current study highlights the effects of household stress on cognitive and socio-emotional development using the Life Stress Index (LSI), a subcomponent of the Parent Stress Index (PSI), to provide a measure of household stress for each family that participated in the study.  A sample of 152 typically developing three-to-five year olds from low-SES backgrounds were tested on measures of nonverbal IQ and display of problem behaviors to assess the effects of experiencing household stress on their development.  The data used in this study is a subset of data from a larger efficacy trial of an intervention designed by the University of Oregon Brain Development Laboratory targeting low-SES families enrolled in Head Start preschool programs.  Overall, life stress significantly predicted negative socio-emotional outcomes or increased display of problem behaviors in low-SES children.  The effects of life stress on cognitive development, or IQ, were non-significant.

 

Fushu Tan

Bullying, Victim, and Aggressor:  Past Experience versus Current Behavior

Advisor:  Holly Arrow, PhD; Second reader:  Jordan Pennefather, PhD

Bullying is the most common type of violence in American schools (Swearer & Doll, 2001), and the consequences can persist into adulthood, affecting school achievement, prosocial skills, and psychological well-being for both victims and bullies. The current study examined whether past experience with bullying affects how likely college students are to intervene when someone they know is bullied. 120 college students (50 males, 70 females) completed a questionnaire that assessed their past experience with physical and relational aggression. They then read a scenario that asked them to imagine someone was spreading vicious rumors about a member of their current campus group. Next, they decided whether they would intervene by contacting the aggressor, the victim, or both.  Over 95% of participants reported some past experience as both aggressor and victim. Unexpectedly, males reported significantly more past experience as relational aggressors than females.  Over half the participants said they would intervene by contacting both victim and bully. However, contrary to the hypothesis, past victimization experience did not increase the likelihood of intervening. In fact, past experience scores tended to be somewhat lower for those who intervened. The only significant past experience predictor was that those who chose not to intervene at all tended to have more experience as a bully and less as a victim.  The findings provide additional evidence that exposure to bullying often includes experience as both aggressor and victim and that this can complicate an understanding of how this experience affects future decisions to intervene.    

 

Chris Valentine

Self-Projection:  Comparing Real and Imagined Interactions

Advisors:  Sara Hodges, PhD and Karyn Lewis, MS

The current studies examine whether the degree of social projection (attributing characteristics of the self to other people) among people who imagine interacting with another person differs from that found among people who have actual face-to-face interactions. The main goal was to determine whether or not perception formed in imagined interactions can be generalized to real interactions. There may be social influences in real interactions that are important to consider because they cause people to form opinions differently. As hypothesized, the results indicate significant differences between these two types of interactions in the way people form perceptions in competitive and cooperative states. More specifically, people demonstrated social projection under cooperative conditions whether the interaction was imagined or real. However, under competitive conditions, participants showed social projection when they actually interacted with a partner, but not when merely imagining an interaction with the other person.

 

Hannah White

Neural Mechanisms of Working Memory:  An N-back Task

Advisors:  Phan Luu, PhD, Don Tucker, PhD, and Jennifer Lewis, BS

Working memory is the complex cognitive process of encoding, maintaining, manipulating, and storing information.  fMRI literature identifies many areas of the brain associated with working memory processes, including prefrontal and parietal regions, but gives little information about how activity in these areas change over time.  The present study uses dense-array EEG, advanced head-modeling techniques, and Principal Component Analysis (PCA) to identify independent temporal and spatial components that reveal networks of working memory.  Results show that during inter-trial interval (i.e., when stimuli are not present but their information have to be maintained) a network composed of orbitofrontal cortex (OFC), temporal poles, and visual cortices is activated. As presentation time of the stimulus to be compared approaches, OFC and temporal poles disappear from this network, leaving only visual-related cortices active. This temporal progression of cortical network engagement suggests that immediately after stimulus onset OFC and temporal pole regions support coordination of memory functions with visual cortex, and as an impending stimulus approaches, a network, comprising of only visual cortices, are primed in anticipation of the to be compared stimulus. 

 


 

Undergraduate Honors 2011-2012

 

Leah Child

Naive Viewers' Implicit and Explicit Segmentation Judgments of American Sign Language

Advisors:  Dare Baldwin, PhD and Jessica Kosie, BS

One of the most daunting challenges of learning a new language is often accessibility of the segmental structure, since most languages do not contain pauses or signals at word boundaries.  American sign language is unique in that it allows the learner to process it in a visual form opening the way for them to use their action processing abilities to segment the language they see as they would action.  Sixty college students were asked to segment ASL monologues using explicit segmentation and dwell time methodologies, and their segmentation decisions were compared to a native ASL user's segmentation decisions.  This research could have interesting potential impact on the way we approach language learning, as well as indicating possible useful applications for those with communicative barriers.  This knowledge also has the potential to be of benefit to those working on software for translating ASL.

 

Camille Cioffi

Infant Orienting Predicts Executive Control at 5 Years of Age:  A Moderating Role for Early Forms of Adversity

Advisors:  Jeff Measelle, PhD and Jennifer Ablow, PhD

Self-regulation develops across the first years of life through repeated social interaction.  One crucial aspect of early regulation is seen in how the infant deploys or orients her attention when distressed.  Infants as young as five months of age engage in a variety of attention related behaviors that serve to regulate distress, including distracting themselves (object engagement), orienting toward the parent (social monitor), or avoidance behaviors (look away) when a parent is non-responsive.  The overarching aim of the current study was to examine how individual differences in infants' attentional deployment when challenged interpersonally would predict more advanced forms of executive functioning later in childhood.  Additionally, the current study examined how association between early attentional deployment and later executive functioning might vary as a function of early adversity.  Infants' orienting behaviors were coded when they were five months old during the challenge phase of the Still Face Procedure (SFP).  Executive control was assessed when children were five years of age using a composite measure of working memory, inhibitory control, visual attention, and planning capabilities.  Indicators of early adversity included attachment classification, socioeconomic status (SES) and maternal depression.  In a sample of 64 mother-infant dyads, multiple regression analyses indicated that infants who attended more to their mothers when distressed (social monitoring) exhibited significantly higher levels of executive functioning when they were five years old.  However, the relation between infants' orienting behavior and later executive control was moderated by SES such that infants from lower socioeconomic backgrounds who looked away from their mothers scored low on executive control.

 

Melissa Dollar

Autistic Tendencies and Visual Processing:  A Local Bias versus a Global Deficit

Advisors:  Paul Dassonville, PhD and Sara Hodges, PhD

Past research suggests that individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) exhibit an enhanced local-oriented processing bias, but have an attenuated tendency to use global contextual cues.  In addition, the autistic trait of systemizing has recently been found to predict sensitivity to global contextual cues, where high systemizing tendencies are associated with a decreased tendency to process misleading global context (e.g., visual illusions).  It is currently unclear, however, whether individuals with heightened systemizing drives, such as those with autism, display the same decreased tendency to process context when it provides information beneficial to performance.  The current study examined the extent to which systemzing tendencies were predictive of whether individuals could use beneficial global-contextual information in two perceptual tasks.  In one task, we found a significant benefit from the presence of an upright frame (compared to no frame) when participants judged the orientation of a central rod.  However, there was no correlation between systemizing or autism quotient scores and the extent to which participants benefited from the global context of the frame.  The presence of an upright frame provided similar performance benefits when participants were asked to make saccades as close to vertical as possible, but again the size of the benefit was uncorrelated with systemizing quotient scores.  These results suggest that individuals with heightened systemizing drives, such as those with autism, can still make use of global context when it is beneficial to performance.

 

Alex Fortune

Exploring Associations Among Homophobic Attitudes, Trauma Exposure, Gender, and Sexual Orientation

Advisors:  Laura Kaehler, MS and Jennifer Freyd, PhD

The associations among gender, sexual orientation, homophobia, and trauma history were explored in this study.  A total of 537 undergraduate students (63.7% female, 76.7% Caucasian, Mage = 19.5) completed an online survey that included versions of the Homophobia Scale (Wright, Adams, Bernat, 1999), which assessed parental, self, and friend homophobia, and the Brief Betrayal Trauma Survey (BBTS; Goldberg & Freyd, 2004), a self-report measure of trauma history.  Results indicated that both personal homophobic attitudes and those of participants' friends were higher for men, but that only personal homophobic attitudes were higher for heterosexuals.  A linear relationship between trauma history and homophobic attitudes was found, showing that people who experienced traumas high in betrayal were less homophobic.  Non-heterosexual people (n=35) were more likely to experience medium or high betrayal traumas (interpersonal traumas), whereas heterosexual people (n=502) were more likely to experience low betrayal traumas (non-interpersonal traumas) or no trauma at all.  Implications of the increased negative effects for traumas high in betrayal and manifestations of homophobia in society are discussed.

 

Sarah J. Harsey

It Happens, Just Not to Me:  Self-Reports of Trauma versus Reporting Trauma of Others

Advisors:  Melissa Platt, MS and Jennifer Freyd, PhD

Prevalence rates of trauma within the general population are high, and incidences of trauma, especially childhood abuse and adult sexual abuse, are underreported.  Betrayal Trauma Theory (BTT) asserts that certain traumas with high social betrayal can remain outside of the victim's conscious awareness due to a need to maintain a vital relationship with the perpetrator.  The current study examined this phenomenon of "betrayal blindness" by comparing self-disclosure and friend or sibling disclosure rates for both high and low-betrayal traumas.  Using data from a sample of 394 university undergraduates, we discovered that participants were more likely to report a sibling's or friend's trauma than their own.  However, contrary to what we predicted, we did not find a discrepancy in reporting rates for high and low-betrayal traumas; this may be partially explained by wording ambiguity in the way we presented BBTS items for reporting on a friend or sibling.  Overall our findings indicate that individuals are more hesitant to disclose their own traumas than the traumatic experiences of a sibling or friend, thereby providing further evidence that a "culture of silence" continues to surround discussion of one's own traumas.

 

Chihoko Hayashi

Competition, Inhibition, and Voluntary Task Control

Advisors:  Atsushi Kikumoto, BS and Ulrich Mayr, PhD

In competitive situations, it usually pays off to be unpredictable because it helps outwit opponents.  However, people tend to be predictable.  Using the voluntary task-switching paradigm where participants are asked to randomize task choices, Arrington and Logan (2004) showed that people often repeat the same task.  In contrast, those participants who manage to resist the so-called perseveration may do so by inhibiting the just-executed task, resulting in slowing response times when they do not switch task (Mayr & Bell, 2006).  Given that randomness is beneficial in competition we examined participants' use of inhibition in a voluntary switching experiment framed as a competitive situation in which the presence of an opponent and the competition could make people more random.  In the present study, participants competed against a real opponent, where participants played the part of a 'Fox' who was rewarded for each trial on which they chose the same task as their opponent, the 'Rabbit', while participants who played the 'Rabbit' were rewarded whenever they chose a different task from the 'Fox'.  We also included a control condition with random feedback after each trial to eliminate confounds between task choice and feedback.  Competition increased switch rate close to 50%, which indicated more random performance.  Moreover, response times also increased, which could imply that participants used inhibition to overcome perseveration.  This study suggests that competitive situations affect executive control and alter predictability.

 

Daniel Klee

Does Spatial Attention Influence the Severity of Visual Crowding?

Advisors:  Ed Awh, PhD and Edward Ester, PhD

The identification of a target in peripheral vision is severely impaired in the presence of nearby distracting information.  This phenomenon is referred to as visual crowding, and it constrains important visual processes, such as object recognition and reading.  Although a popular model of crowding attributes perceptual degradation to the compulsory averaging of target and distractor feature values, recent work by Ester, Klee, & Awh (in prep.) suggests that crowding is the result of feature mislocalization and a subsequent "swapping" of target and distractor feature information.  Decades of research have shown that when an observer directs attention to the location of a stimulus, perceptual processing of that item is enhanced.  Here, we examined the consequences of spatial attention on visual crowding.  Our findings show that spatial attention attenuates crowding effects by reducing confusions between target and distractor values.  The critical spacing distance for crowding -- defined by the largest distance between targets and distractors where crowding is observed -- was unaffected by spatial attention.  These findings shed light on the basic mechanisms by which visual attention can ameliorate the harmful effects of nearby distractor stimuli.

 

Bethany Lassetter

Judging the Credibility of Others in Light of Lies and Forgetfulness

Advisors:  Sara Hodges, PhD and Elliot Berkman, PhD

The present investigation employs two studies to examine how individuals assess the credibility of providers of false information.  We hypothesized in both studies that strategic liars who provided false information would receive significantly higher credibility scores than mixed-up individuals who also provided false information.  A total of 332 university students (63% female) participated in Study 1 by reading a brief vignette and answering questions about the credibility of a reference provider.  Contrary to our hypothesis, results demonstrated that strategic liars were actually rated as significantly less credible than mixed-up individuals.  Study 2 utilized 897 student participants (68% female) who again read a brief vignette and answered questions about four target individuals' credibility, either in a courtroom or non-courtroom setting.  Once again, results showed that strategic liars were rated as significantly less credible than mixed-up individuals; however, the strength of this pattern varied depending on target and context.  Results thus deviated considerably from projected hypotheses and previous research, but supported the idea that credibility assessments depend on the type of misinformation and the setting in which this information is provided.

 

Jennifer Lewis

Mapping the Human Visual Cortex:  Exploring Early Components of the Visual Evoked Potential with Dense-Array EEG

Advisors:  Phan Luu, PhD, Don Tucker, PhD, and Allen Malony, PhD

With the advancement in technology of dense-array EEG (dEEG), improving the spatial resolution on noninvasive electrophysiology is becoming more realistic.  This study aims to replicate the current evoked related potential (ERP) literature and characterize the early components of the visual evoked potential (VEP), while also comparing the cortical surface activity generated in source space with the spatial resolution of the hemodynamic response in similar studies in the functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) literature.  EEG was collected from 10 participants as they viewed a series of checkerboard stimuli presented in 5 quadrants.  Locations and characterization of the early C1, P1, and N1 components were examined through multichannel scalp recordings, retinototopic mapping, and linear inverse solution techniques.  Individual subject data shows the C1 is generated in the primary visual cortex; early P1 is generated in extrastriate cortex areas of V2; and the N1 is generated in more lateralized areas of visual cortex.

 

Sara Loitz

Implicit and Explicit Attitudes in Self-Other Hypocrisy Judgments

Advisors:  Sara Hodges, PhD and Brian Clark, MA

How do people react to evidence that they harbor inconsistent attitudes or beliefs?  University student participants (n-82) filled out a series of questionnaires designed to meaure explicit attitudes and took a reaction-time implicit associations test to determine their implicit attitudes toward homosexuality.  Afterward, participants were presented with fabricated results of the implicit and explicit measures.  Half of the participants were shown evidence that they harbored morally inconsistent attitudes toward homosexuality ("self" condition), whereas the other half were shown evidence that another (fictitious) student harbored hypocritical attitudes ("other" condition).  At the end, participants were solicited to sign a petition in support of gay marriage.  As predicted, people in the self condition reported more negative affect than did those in the other condition, suggesting possible feelings of cognitive dissonance.  However, people in the self condition were not more likely than those in the other condition to sign a petition in support of gay marriage as a means of reducing those feelings of dissonance.  In addition, we found that those in the self condition were 7.6 times more likely to describe the attitude results as inconsistent than those in the other condition.

 

Rianna Lowrance

The Effects of Religious Primes on Political Voting

Advisor:  Azim Shariff, PhD

This study looks at the significance of religion in politics; specifically investigating whether religious primes affect an individual's support for a democratic or republican political speech.  The participants were given a political speech that was either democratic or republican and religious or non-religious.  They were then asked to rate their support for the hypothetical political candidate.  Although the religious primes did not produce a significant effect in terms of political preference, it was found that there was significant interaction between the religious and control passages and the religious and non-religious participants, such that those individuals who were religious tended to support the religious passages more, and those participants who were not religious supported the religious passages less.  In addition, it appears that republicans may have a more diverse circle of friends than democrats.  Discussion focuses on implications for these findings and questions for future research.

 

Christabelle Moore

Thinking about Best Friends:  Neural Correlates of Trait Evaluations Across Development

Advisors:  Junaid Merchant, BA and Jennifer H. Pfeifer, PhD

This study aimed to investigate the developmental trajectory of neural correlates underlying trait evaluations of a close other (i.e., same-gendered best friend).  Twenty-four Chinese participants (12 adults, 12 children) underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) while making trait evaluations in the social and academic domains.  Participants reported whether these traits described their best friends or not, and as a control condition also evaluated the valence of these traits.  The results demonstrated a three-way interaction between age group, evaluation type (best friend or valence), and domain (social or academic).  Post-hoc analyses demonstrated that, in children compared to adults, activation was great in right posterior superior temporal sulcus (pSTS), such that children utilized this area significantly more when thinking about their best friend in the social domain compared to the academic domain.  Meanwhile, in adults compared to children, activation was greater in right inferior frontal gyrus (IFG), such that adults utilized this area significantly more when thinking about the valence of a phrase in the social domain compared to the academic domain.  In previous studies, the pSTS is associated with person perception and social information processing, while the IFG is reliably involved in inhibition.  These results help to identify the trajectory and underlying neural correlates of social cognitive development using neuroscience methods.  Undoubtedly the emerging field of developmental social neuroscience is shedding light on the underlying neural mechanisms of social behavior as they change over time.

 

Trevor Moore

Perceived Judicial Fairness of Court Appointed Expert Witness Testimony vs. Exclusively Adversarial Expert Witness Testimony

Advisor:  Robert Mauro, PhD

Studies conducted in the field of psychology and law research have shown varying and inconsistent results of the public's overall perceived judicial fairness in the differing realms of the justice system.  This study aimed to address the question:  What is the public's opinion on the judicial fairness of judges' decisions when there is use of court appointed expert witness testimony in addition to adversarial expert witness testimony vs. exclusively adversarial expert witness testimony?  Based on previous research, the expectation is that there will be no change in the public's perceived judicial fairness when there is court appointed expert witness testimony in addition to adversarial expert witness testimony, when compared with exclusively adversarial expert witness testimony.  Early research suggests that judges' decisions have great influences on juries, mainly the acceptance of evidential materials to be factual, and do so without question because it legitimately made it past a judge, leading to what is known as the "Gatekeeper" effect.  Participants will be University of Oregon human subject pool candidates.  The aim is to have 150 participants, 75 male and 75 female.  Questionnaires will be used to indicate pre-existing biases and attitudes toward the justice system, then following each of the four sample stories, participants will fill out another questionnaire per story, and finally, a post attitude questionnaire (6 questionnaires total).  Following data collection, the data will be analyzed.

 

Kyle Morgan

Mapping the Human Primary Somatosensory Cortex Using Dense-Array EEG:  An Analysis of the Somatosensory Evoked Potential

Advisors:  Phan Luu, PhD, Don Tucker, PhD, and Allen Malony, PhD

In principle, dense-array EEG (dEEG) technology has the ability to localize cortical brain activity with adequate spatial resolution such that anatomically and functionally distinct regions can be studied.  The present study employs dEEG to map activity of the primary somatosensory cortex (SI), which is functionally and anatomically defined.  EEG recordings were acquired from 10 participants as their thumbs were stimulated by a custom-made piezoelectric stimulator.  Early components of the somatosensory evoked potential (SEP), which reflect activity from SI, were evaluated in individual participants to assess topographic distribution at the scalp.  In a subset of participants, we build high-resolution electric head models that describe how current propagates from the cortex to the scalp surface, where the SEP is measured, and we use this model to localize the early SEP components.  We report on the localization accuracy relative to the expected location (SI).

 

Michael Naylor

Tell Me What You See:  Effects of Captured Attention and Ability to Encode Information

Advisors:  Edward Ester, PhD and Ed Awh, PhD

What can capture one's attention in the visual field is an important field of research due to the negative implications when one does not pay attention to certain cues.  Past investigations have yet to answer whether or not your attention can be captured by multiple things at the same time.  What are the limits?  Does this change whether or not the individual is actively attending to a cued location or not?  In our study, participants were gauged on their ability to encode stimuli presented in an array of distractors while their attention was captured by visual cues.  There was no significant difference in the subjects' ability to encode when the stimuli was presented within a cued location, suggesting that attention was captured regardless of whether or not the participant was actively attending to the cued location or not.  However, there was a significant decrease in encoding when the stimulus was presented outside of a cued location.  This suggests there is a discrete limit in number of objects attention can be captured by, which is the same regardless of whether or not the participant was actively attending to the cued location or not. 

 

Lucas Ott

The Impact of Physiology, Emotion, and Individual Differences on Social Judgment

Advisors:  Arielle Morganstern, MS and Robert, Mauro, PhD

The current research investigates trait personality and state experiences of authentic pride and hubristic pride (Tracy & Robins, 2007) and anger with physiological measures, subjective feeling states, and social judgments.  The physiological measure used was respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA), which is an index of emotion regulation (Butler et al., 2006; Oveis et al., 2009).  Employing an experimental between subjects design, hubristic pride, authentic pride, and anger were successfully induced and participants subsequently completed measures of social dominance orientation (SDO; Malle, Stallworth, Sidanious & Pratto, 1994) and empathy.  Results indicated an interaction in which increasing levels of trait anger and trait hubristic pride coincided with decreasing RSA levels as measured during a baseline paced breathing task, which postulates less emotion regulation among those high in trait anger and hubristic pride.  In addition, individuals who were high in trait anger had significantly lower levels of RSA across conditions than those low in trait anger.  The anger condition was the only condition where trait anger significantly predicted RSA in the aforementioned pattern.  Futhermore, subjects high in trait anger randomized to the anger condition endorsed social inequality considerably more than those low in trait anger.  Individuals with high trait anger levels randomized to the hubristic pride condition reported lower levels of empathy relative to their low trait anger counterparts.  These findings suggest that individual differences impact physiology and subsequent judgments induced from incidental emotions.

 

Matthew Parker

Differential Effects of Stress on Working Memory

Advisors:  Nash Unsworth, PhD and Brittany McMillan, BS

This study examined the relationships between stress, working memory capacity (WMC), fluid intelligence, and attention control.  Research participants completed a number of tasks designed to measure WMC, general fluid intelligence, attention control, and stress.  Stress was measured and three factors of stress (engagement, distress, and worry) were analyzed in relation to the other factors.  Correlations were run and distress was significantly correlated with an improvement in performance on task designed to test WMC, fluid intelligence, and attention control.  Worry decreased performance on measures of fluid intelligence, and engagement improved performance on WMC and attention based tasks.  Additionally, all three factors of stress engagement, distress, and worry were correlated with changes in task performance differentially suggesting that different types of stress differentially effect memory and attention, sometimes positively and sometimes negatively.

 

Jennifer Paternostro

A Look at the Development of Action Segmentation in Children and Adults

Advisors:  Dare Baldwin, PhD and Kara Sage, MEd, MS

In order to process and understand events as they unfold, adults break down events into smaller parts.  For example, the process of making a sandwich would include big, medium, and small events.  A big event would be completing making the sandwich, a medium event would be finishing putting the condiments onto the sandwich, and a small event would be placing one slice of turkey onto the bread.  Adults are readily able to predict the next step in a sequence of actions, such as predicting that the cheese will go on top of the meat in the sandwich example.  The present research investigates developmental differences in how humans predict action.  We hypothesize that when adults are processing an action sequence, they tend to look longer at the end of that sequence as they actively make predictions about the next step.  Children, however, may be slower to predict what will happen next and therefore will have longer looking times at the beginning of each additonal sequence.  Specifically, this study explores the differences in action segmentation between 3-year old children, 5-year old children, and adults.  Participants advanced through a self-paced slideshow of an actor making an ice cream sundae while the computer recorded their looking times to each individual slide.  Our findings point to the differences in how children and adults segment and predict action.

 

Justin Pomerenke

Expression of Emotion During Recall of Military Service

Advisors:  William Schumacher, MS and Holly Arrow, PhD

To investigate emotional resilience in war, 250 interviews were chosen from the Veterans' History Project, 50 each from World War II Pacific and European theaters, Korea, Vietnam, and the Iraq/Afghanistan wars.  Each interview was divided into sections that discussed experiences before, during, and after deployment to a combat zone, and analyzed by the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count software (LIWC; Pennebaker, Francis, & Booth, 2001) to measure levels of positive and negative emotion.  Previous literature suggests that soldiers with higher levels of negative post-deployment emotion tend to be more susceptible to poor psychological outcomes, such as post-traumatic stress disorder.  As hypothesized, Vietnam and Iraq/Afghanistan veterans scored significantly higher for post-deployment negative emotion scores than veterans of the earlier wars.  As expected, negative emotion increased over the pre-deployment baseline when recounting experiences during deployment for all wars.  For WWII and Korean War veterans, negative emotion dropped again for post-deployment experience, to levels comparable to the baseline.  For veterans of Vietnam and Iraq/Afghanistan, however, post-deployment experiences had the same high level of negative emotion as combat experience, with no evidence of recovery.

 

Mora Reinka

Stereotypes as an Attentional Deficit:  Examining the P1 in the IAT

Advisors:  Jennifer Pfeifer, PhD and Kristina Hiatt Racer, PhD

The Implicit Association Test (IAT) uses reaction times as a test of an individual's implicit biases in a multitude of fields such as gender, race, and age.  More recently, researchers have proposed a number of different reasons why reaction times tend to be slower when participants categorize words that are at odds with currenty societal stereotypes than when the words are in line with these views.  To test these theories, event related potentials (ERPs) have been useful in examining the underlying components of stereotype processing.  In an exploratory analysis of ERPs within the IAT, we found a difference in early attention processes (indexed by the P1 ERP component) when female participants (N=55) are categorizing sterotypically congruent and stereotypically incongruent stimuli during a gender and career IAT.  Participants also completed a numeric Stroop task, allowing us to compare ERP congruency effects across tasks with more (IAT) versus less (Stroop) relevance to gender stereotypes.  This study extends the limited body of research on the effects of stereotypes on brain functioning using electrophysiological measures.

 

Mirjam Staeb

The Angry Cookie:  Adults' and Children's Attribution of Human-like Facial and Emotional Characteristics to Inanimate Objects

Advisors:  Marjorie Taylor, PhD and Deniz Tahiroglu, MS

Anthropomorphism is the tendency to describe inanimate objects with human-like characteristics.  In this study, we investigated individual differences in the perception of faces and emotional expressions in inanimate objects (e.g., a piece of toast with a pattern in the placement of raisins that made it look like a crying face).  First, we investigated adults' tendency to recognize faces in inanimate objects (N=32).  The participants were shown pictures of human faces expressing different emotions, objects with features that could be interpreted as resembling human faces, and objects without such features and were asked to describe what they saw in each picture.  We hypothesized that the degree to which adults characterized the pictures with human-like attributes would correlate with their scores on the Individual Differences in Anthropomorphism Questionnaire.  The results of the adults' study were used to develop a study with children in which they are shown a subset of the pictures and asked, "What do you see in this picture?"  We were interested whether the ability to see faces in objects could be related to the children's theory of mind, pretend play abilities, and individual differences in other aspects of anthropomorphism.  There were individual differences in the extent that adults described the pictures in anthropomorphic terms, but there was not a strong correlation found between the description of the anthropomorphic items and the questionnaire.  The children's data are currently being collected.

 

David Williamson

Surround Suppression is Modulated by a "Need for Sameness" Factor Within the Systemizing Trait of Autism

Advisors:  Paul Dassonville, PhD and Scott Reed, MS

The systemizing trait of autism is currently regarded as a uni-dimensional measure of the tendency to analyze the world in a systematic manner (Wheelwright et al, 2006).  Recent work has shown that individuals high on the systemizing quotient are less susceptible to a class of visual illusions known to affect an observer's egocentric reference frames (Walter et al, 2009).  However, follow-up work (Reed & Dassonville, VSS 2012) using a principal components analysis has uncovered a two-factor structure to the Systemizing Quotient-Revised (SQ-R), with one factor (i.e., 'analytical tendencies') associated with decreased reliance on global-level visual context and the second (i.e., 'insistence on sameness') associated with an increased reliance on local-level visual information.  We examined contextual processing using surround suppression, in which the perceived contrast of a central sine-wave grating is reduced when surrounded by a high contrast surround.  Because the 'insistence on sameness' factor is associated with a local perceptual bias, we predicted that surround suppression performance would be significantly correlated with scores on this factor and unrelated to scores on the 'analytical tendencies' factor.  Indeed, scores on the 'insistence on sameness' factor significantly correlated with surround suppression susceptibility performance, indicating that individuals high on this factor showed increased surround suppression.  Scores on the 'analytical tendencies' factor were unrelated to surround suppression.  These results further support the hypothesis that high scores on the 'insistence on sameness' factor subcomponent of the systemizing trait of autism is associated with a local visual processing bias.


Undergraduate Honors 2010-2011

 

Brent Belford

Relational Health as a Mediator Between Betrayal Trauma and Borderline Personality Disorder

Advisors:  Dr. Pamela Birrell and Laura Kaehler

Trauma is a frequently studied potential cause of borderline personality disorder (BPD). A recent study by Kaehler and Freyd (2009) found a connection between betrayal trauma and BPD. This study seeks to expand upon the Kaehler and Freyd study by investigating relational health as a potential explanation for the connection between betrayal trauma and BPD. A sample of 165 University of Oregon undergraduate students (mean age = 20) completed measures of betrayal trauma, relational health, and BPD traits. Mediation analyses found significant partial mediation for relational health (bootstrap coefficient = .0168), and its community subscore (bootstrap coefficient = .0204), but not mentor or friend subscores. The author discusses the results in relation to the importance of social support in reducing the negative effects of betrayal trauma.

 

Janae Chavez

Exploring the Adaptiveness of Moderate Dissociation in Response to Betrayal Trauma

Advisors:  Melissa Platt and Dr. Jennifer Freyd

Freyd (1996) developed the betrayal trauma theory which posits that the importance of an attachment bond makes a person more likely to forget or dissociate from a traumatic event when that person has a relationship with the perpetrator.  This dissociation, despite its immediate benefits in regards to attachment, is commonly thought to have harmful consequences.  However, recent studies on attachment theory, specifically disorganized attachment styles, indicate that this may not be the case (Purnell, 2010).  This study therefore attempts to explore the relationship between dissociation, resiliency, betrayal trauma, and attachment using a college student sample.  Results found that higher dissociation was associated with poorer resiliency scores, although very high dissociative scores were correlated with some degree of higher resiliency.  Moreover, dissociation did not seem to be related to attachment; although, participants with a history of betrayal trauma were associated with more variability in attachment styles.  This finding is particularly relevant because it could provide additional information on attachment theory and the effects of trauma on attachment.

 

Sadie Yahnke Concepcion

The Impact of Stereotypic Thoughts on Empathic Accuracy

Advisors:  Dr. Sara Hodges, Karyn Lewis, and Mark Carey

One of the most notoriously difficult interpersonal skills is the ability to decipher the contents of another's mind.  Despite its challenging nature, people frequently strive to understand others' thoughts and feelings; the degree to which they are able to do so is known as empathic accuracy.  The present study expands upon previous findings that stereotypical thoughts by a target affect a perceiver's empathic accuracy.  This study's perceivers (N = 142) inferred the thoughts of videotaped targets -- college students who were discussing their parents' divorces.  It was hypothesized that perceivers' empathic accuracy would be higher for stereotypic thoughts and that these results would be moderated by the amount of individuating information disclosed by the target as well as by how similar the perceiver felt to the target.  While self-disclosure did not moderate the effect of stereotypicality on empathic accuracy, perceived similarity did.  Implications of these results and directions for future research are discussed.

 

Raoni Demnitz

The Consequences of Suppression of Emotional Expression on Social Support and Emotional Well-Being

Advisors:  Dr. Sanjay Srivastava and Kimberly Angelo

Suppressing expressions of emotions has shown to lead to decreased emotional well-being and deficits in social support. However, the types of social support that are correlated with emotional suppression and well-being are still unclear as well as what type of social support mediates the relationship between suppression and well-being. In this study eighty-one undergraduate college students completed validated questionnaires. Among other goals, the main goal of this study was to assess what type of social support mediates the relationship between emotional suppression and well-being variables. The most important finding was that the amount of helping behaviors received from other people as well as the quality of relationships mediated the relationship between suppression and well-being but not the quantity of relationships.

 

Malaina Frazier

Increased Perceptual Interference in Adult ADHD

Advisors:  Dr. Ed Awh and Edward Ester

The symptom descriptions most commonly associated with ADHD implicate impaired selective attention as the main factor in ADHD phenomenology.  However, several studies that have used cognitive paradigms to measure selective attention have not found evidence for any attentional differences in adults with ADHD.  As more research of adult populations is needed to explain this disconnect between clinical definition and experimental data, the current study addressed the issue by discerning the role of strength of interference due to visual crowding from the efficiency of attentional processing.  Experiment 1 measured the impact of visual crowding on perceptual interference level by comparing luminance thresholds in displays with distractors (irrelevant/crowding information) either present (noise trials) or absent (clean trials).  ADHD and control participant luminance thresholds were equivalent in clean trials, but the inflation of luminance thresholds in noise trials was significantly higher for ADHD subjects than for controls.  The explanation for this heightened visual crowding effect in the ADHD group is a question of top-down or bottom-up processing, the top-down possibility indicating impairment in the attentional processes involved in resolving visual interference while the alternative proposes increased perceptual salience of low-level sensory interactions between target and distractor stimuli.  Experiment 2 makes this distinction by measuring the visual interference resolution achieved at attended relative to unattended locations in clean and noise trials.  The result of ADHD and control groups demonstrating equal interference resolution across all conditions supports the argument for increased strength of perceptual interference as the correct explanation for the enhanced crowding effect observed, rather than a deficit in selective attention.  Accordingly, detailed research of sensory processing integrity could contribute much needed insight to the cognitive, clinical, and socio-cultural understanding of ADHD.

 

Kayla Hoskins

Eating Disorder Symptomatology, Relationship Quality, and Personality

Advisors:  Dr. Jane Mendle and Joseph Ferrero

Eating disorder symptomatology has been linked to certain personality traits, self-esteem, sociosexuality, and relationship satisfaction.  The objective of this study was to examine associations between eating disorder symptomatology and individuals' relationships, self-esteem, and Big Five personality traits.  The first hypothesis was that self-esteem would be positively correlated with eating disorder symptomatology.  The second hypothesis was that relationship quality would be negatively correlated with eating disorder symptomatology.  The third hypothesis of this study was that the personality traits of neuroticism and conscientiousness would have a positive correlation with eating disorder symptomatology, but the personality traits of extraversion and agreeableness would have a negative correlation with eating disorder symptomatology.  Subjects (N = 73) took an online questionnaire made up of five measures relating to eating disorder symptomatology, personality, self-esteem, sociosexuality, and relationship satisfaction.  Eating disorder symptomatology was significantly related to self-esteem and relationship satisfaction.  There were no significant correlations between eating disorder symptomatology and any of the personality traits or sociosexuality.  These findings help to clarify what extent and in what ways eating disorders may affect various aspects of a person's life.

 

Atsushi Kikumoto

Passive Listening to Music Engages Executive Control

Advisor:  Dr. Ulrich Mayr

Why does music act on us?  This might be partially accounted by the structural similarities between the hierarchical organization of thematic changes in music and complex action patterns, because they both require the continuous updating of working memory contents.  Thus, in both domains, we engage maintaining processes -- in the midst of music theme or coherent actions -- and reconfiguring processes -- during changes in melody or switches in action sequences.  To test this idea, we investigated how task-unrelated, background music pieces influences switch costs.  In an alternating-runs task-switching paradigm, task sequence (A-A-B-B) was set to change task demands every 4000ms.  Subjects were simultaneously exposed to irrelevant background music, which was based on continuously sequenced 6000ms music pieces consisting thematically coherent units.  This successive transition of music pieces, "music switch", was temporarily synchronized with the task sequence, which produced task switch and no-switch trials in music-intermediate (MI) and music-transition conditions (MT) (A-A-B-B-A-A-B-B-A-A-B-B...).  We found that switch costs were substantially reduced for MT trials -- music switches coincided task switches -- compared to MO trials -- music switches did not coincide task switches.  In a cue switch task-switching paradigm, each task set was cued in 2:1 (cue words: task set) mapping without a cue word repetition.  By implementing a long (600ms) and short (100ms) cue stimulus interval, we manipulated a cue onset timing to be before or after a music transition moment.  The result indicated that the magnitude of reduction of switch costs comparing MI and MT conditions was significantly larger in trials with a long cue stimulus interval compared to ones with a short cue stimulus interval.  These findings overall suggest that even the appreciation of irrelevant background music requires the similar mechanism of updating working memory also used when intentionally switching action plans, which seems to operate on preparatory processes specific for switches in a proactive manner.

 

Jessica Kosie

Preschooler's Response to Goal-related Information Within an Unfolding Stream of Intentional Action

Advisors:  Dr. Dare Baldwin and Kara Sage

Human action is extremely complex, yet children are sensitive to structure within the unfolding event stream (Meyer, Baldwin, & Sage, under review).  3- and 4-year old children increase attention at even boundaries that correspond to hierarchical organiztion of goal directed action.  Like adults, preschoolers look ahead to a goal site in anticipation of action completion (Morgante, Haddad, & Keen, 2008).  Even infants as young as 9-12 months are sensitive to the goal structure of at least certain kinds of events; for example, they expect an actor to take the most direct route to achieve a goal (Phillips & Wellman, 2005).  The current study employs the dwell-time paradigm (Hard, Recchia, & Tversky, under review) to investigate which specific aspects within unfolding action preschoolers are sensitive to in regard to goal structure.  Preschoolers tap a mouse to advance at their own pace through a slideshow depicting an actor either directly or indirectly reaching for a goal object.  To complement traditional looking-time paradigms, the dwell-time paradigm can give us insight into which specific portions of the event sequence preschoolers dwell on as they process goal structure, and note violations of that structure.

 

Caleb Kowarsky

Empathy and Mind Reading by Major:  The Relationship Among Empathic Accuracy, the Empathy Quotient, Field of Study, and Gender

Advisors:  Dr. Sara Hodges and Karyn Lewis

The ability to accurately infer the thoughts and feelings of another (i.e., empathic accuracy) has been notoriously difficult to predict using individual difference measures.  This study examined whether self-reported empathy assessed using the Empathy Quotient (EQ; Baron-Cohen & Wheelwright, 2004) would predict empathic accuracy.  In addition, college major (separated into math/physical science majors and humanities/social science majors) was also used to predict empathic accuracy given its self-selective nature and relation with the EQ in prior research.  Despite the intuitive connection between empathic accuracy and empathy as a general construct, no relationship was found in this sample (N = 88).  There was no main effect of college major on empathic accuracy scores; however, there was a significant interaction between college major and sex such that male math/science majors performed significantly worse than their female counterparts, but there were no sex differences among humanities/social science majors.  Additional exploratory analyses revealed a positive correlation between the EQ and both masculinity and femininity subscales of the Personal Attributes Questionnaire (PAQ).  Explanations for why self-report measures of empathy are unrelated to empathic accuracy and the differential pattern of sex differences across college majors are explored.

 

Zachary Land

Rank Matters:  Tactics U.S. Military Personnel Use to Influence Civilians

Advisors:  Dr. Holly Arrow and Jordan Pennefather

One hundred twenty six U.S. military personnel (68 enlisted, 58 officers) completed an online survey about the influence tactics they used with Iraqi and Afghani civilians (Wolfe, 2011).  The influence tactics (adapted from Marwell & Schmitt, 1967) clustered into 5 factors.  Overall, tactic clusters that were associated with successful influence attempts (positive feelings and resources) were used more commonly than those associated with less successful attempts (negative and power differential).  Adding rank (officers versus enlisted) significantly improved model fit.  The tendency to choose successful over unsuccessful tactics was stronger for officers than enlisted.

 

Constance Locklear

Finding Your Place:  How Gender Composition Affects Emergent Group Influence Hierarchies

Advisors:  Dr. Holly Arrow and Mark Reid

An existing data set of 43 growing groups was used to test whether influence hierarchies in all-female, majority-female, and majority-male groups stabilized at the same rate and in the same way.  Contrary to Martin's (2009) findings, both the top (alpha) and the bottom (omega) ends of the influence hierarchies stabilized most quickly in the all-female groups.  Sex composition and the pattern of group growth also interacted in predicting influence stability.  Groups that grew from two to four to five members stabilized more quickly than groups that grew from two to three to five members.  This was especially true of majority-male groups, whose only female member arrived last and alone.  Findings suggest that membership change is more likely to disrupt the stabilization of group structure when it also changes the group's gender composition.

 

John-Robin McCrery

Biological Sensitivity to Context and Early Rearing Environments on the Development of Mental Health

Advisors:  Dr. Jennifer Ablow and Dr. Jeff Measelle

Objective:  To study how early father involvement and maternal depression interactively predict development with a child's biological sensitivity to social contexts at 17 months of age.  Method:  A father's involvement and levels of maternal depression in a child's life were ascertained in an at-risk sample of low-income families from a longitudinal study assessing possible risk factors for unresponsive and insensitive parenting.  In a subsample of 37 children, salivary cortisol levels were used to measure autonomic reactivity to a standardized stressor as an indication of biological sensitivity to context at 17 months.  Social and emotional development was evaluated at 17 months using parent reports.  Results:  Both early father involvement and maternal depression significantly interacted with a child's biological sensitivity to context to predict the development of social competence at 17 months of age.  Among children experiencing low levels of father involvement or high levels of maternal depression in infancy, stress reactivity became a risk factor for normative development.  Conclusion:  Among children with an increased susceptibility to social contexts, the presence of a supportive rearing environment in infancy may be a necessary resource for the development of competence and self-regulatory processes.

 

Leslie Medrano

Oregon State Hospital:  A Case Study of Institutional Betrayal

Advisors:  Dr. Jennifer Freyd and Christina Gamache Martin

Betrayal Trauma Theory (BTT) posits that individuals who are maltreated by a caregiver or a close other on whom they depend to meet their physical or emotional needs may become blind or unaware of the trauma in order to preserve the attachment relationship (Freyd, 1996).  While BTT typically focuses on interpersonal traumas, it can be extended to institutions.  In this case study, we explore institutional betrayal trauma among forensic inpatients at the Oregon State Hospital (OSH) by examining its history, society's perceptions of mental illness, and the treatment of patients within OSH during the last decade.  The State has assumed care of every individual living within OSH, and although there are many caring and well-intentioned individuals who work at the hospital, it often fails in providing a safe and therapeutic environment for recovery.  Exposure to potentially traumatic experiences, such as violence, disregard for patient civil rights, unhealthy living environments, and improper psychological treatment within the psychiatric hospital, may disrupt the process of healing and the ultimate goal of patient recovery.  Using personal experience as a research intern trained with OSH and the 2008 Department of Justice report, this case study will analyze where and how the system has failed, potentially retraumatizing some of its most vulnerable inhabitants to increase awareness of institutional betrayal among a "voiceless" population.

 

Maxwell Morris

Mindfulness-Related Changes in Attentional Control in Kids

Advisors:  Josh Felver-Gant and Dr. Tom Dishion

This study was designed to test the hypothesis that mindfulness training has the ability to modify attentional control.  School age children were tested before and after random assignment to an 8-week modified Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course (n = 20) or a waitlist control group (n = 19).  The primary behavioral measure was the Attentional Network Task (ANT).  The ANT uses reaction times to measure the independence and efficiency of three attentional subsystems; conflict monitoring, alerting, and orienting.  Participation in the mindfulness course was associated with significantly reduced attentional costs in conflict resolution relative to the control group.  Participants in the mindfulness course did not show any significant improvements in orienting or alerting relative to the control group.  Implications of these findings as they relate to the role of attention in mindfulness and suggestions for future directions are discussed.

 

Benson Ntiwas

The Efficacy of Inhibitory Control in Impairing Memory

Advisor:  Dr. Michael Posner

The ability to forget might be viewed as an albatross bestowed upon us by Mohter Nature.  This would be the case especially if what is forgotten is deemed to be useful.  However, an objective evaluation of the said ability reveals that it plays a critical role in our lives by helping us leave behind superflous and/or unpleasant memory.  Even so, the usefulness of forgetting is rarely acknowledged, perhaps because the process is largely unconscious.  Using the think/no think (TNT) paradigm, past studies have demonstrated that we can selectively and intentionally weaken memories by suppressing them.  The present study investigated whether a previously inhibited memory when prompted again shows increased or decreased strength by using the standard TNT model and priming.  It involved twenty undergraduates from the University of Oregon.

 

Alexandra Schmidt

Relation Between Impairments in Theory of Mind and Metacognition in Older Children and Adolescents with Higher Functioning Autism

Advisors:  Tasha Oswald and Dr. Lou Moses

Previous findings suggest that theory of mind facilitates the acquisition of metacognition and that individuals with Asperger's syndrome or high functioning autism (AS/HFA) will suffer from a deficit in theory of mind and metacognition.  Participants consisted of older children and adolescents ranging from 10 to 17 years, including 31 participants in the typically developing (TD) group (M=14.9, SD=1.90) and 31 participants in the AS/HFA group (M=14.99, SD=1.74).  Theory of mind was assessed using an updated version of Happe's strange stories adapted for children, and metacognition was mesured using the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function (BRIEF) parent questionnaire.  Consistent with our prediction, a positive correlation between impairments in metacognition and theory of mind was found for the AS/HFA group.  No such correlation was found for the TD group.  Nonsignificant results in the TD group may be attributed to the lack of difficulty of the theory of mind task for this group.

 

Katherine Semple

Both Sides of the Story:  The Effect of Story Narrative and Story Language in Closing Arguments in Criminal Cases

Advisors:  Dr. Robert Mauro and Robert Rocklin

Due to a juror's use of narrative when understanding and deciding cases (Blume, Johnson & Paavola, 2007), alternative narratives offered by one side in a case should have an affect on the outcomes of verdicts.  This specific study looks at the effect of an alternative story or narrative in the closing arguments of criminal defense cases.  This study compares the use of a strictly legal closing argument, a strictly narrative closing argument, and a mixture of the first two closing argument conditions in criminal defense cases.  This is accomplished through the use of a survey:  there are three survey stimuli, one for each of the closing argument conditions.  The study is currently in progress.

 

Jonathan Steinbach

Physical Science and the Subjective/Objective Asymptote:  A Rewview of the Major Theories of Human Consciousness in the Twenty-First Century

Advisors:  Dr. Don Tucker and Allison Waters

Neuroscientists and philosophers of mind alike have, for over a decade, been assuring their audiences that the idea of subjective experience has been snared and encompassed within the major neuroscientific theories of consciousness.  Built upon the premise that, logically, consciousness need be no different than any other puzzle cogently structured by scientific inquiry, progenitors and defenders of the theories have devoted scores of pages to the dissemination of the data regarding it.  How, then, it may be asked rightfully by any novice examining a theory in such light, does that theory help that person to understand what conscious existence, as inalienable a thing as epigenetic development, is?  Are there any reasons, furthermore, why these major theories haven't gained acceptance among a vast majority of the populace?  Are they too difficult or obscure, or perhaps fundamentally lacking in a description of the internal, subjective aspect of consciousness?  What are the limits of the spread of their influence and acceptance, and might there be any other large obstacles standing in the way of their dissemination?

 

Katherine Viale

Controlling Control:  Active Regulation or Passive Carry-Over?

Advisors:  Dr. Ulrich Mayr and David Kuhns

The adaptation effect has been demonstrated in previous work as the decrease in participants' reaction times when an inconguent (conflict) trial follows a previous conflict trial as opposed to following a congruent trial (lack of conflict).  Considering two divergent explanations of the conflict adaptation effect derived from prior studies, this research sought to examine whether the effect was due to active regulation of conflict or the alternative carry over model.  Participants switched back and forth between a color or a word matching task within a reverse Stroop paradigm while at the same time manipulating the presence of conflict in a trial-by-trial manner.  Eye-movements were recorded in order to assess participants' susceptibility to the current irrelevant information.  The results showed conflict adaptation independently of whether or not there was a switch in task, and this adaptation effect was apparent after trial for which the eyes moved to the incorrect target (i.e., indexing high conflict on that trial).  This result supports the active regulation model and demonstrates how eye-movement information can be used to test models of control dynamics.

 

Lauren Wilhelmi

Perspective-taking in Ambiguous Situations:  Behavioral Correlates From a New Advanced Theory of Mind Paradigm

Advisors:  Dr. Jennifer Pfeifer and Junaid Merchant

Although children are able to pass most reflective theory of mind tasks by the age of six, recent findings suggest that adults frequently fail to use their acquired advanced theory of mind skills to interpret others' behavior in practical tasks.  In the present study, 22 subjects between the ages of 18 and 29 completed a novel task designed to test normally developing individuals' functional mastery of advanced theory of mind skills.  Specifically, subjects were required to take the perspective of a person whose color perceptions may have slightly differed from their own in order to perform well on a second-order perspective-taking task.  Even though subjects were told that color perception is subjective, participants exhibited low accuracy scores and slow response time latencies when the task required them to consider the perspective of a person with differential color perception biases.  These findings suggest that even adults struggle to inhibit personal biases that color their interpretations of ambiguous situations and furthermore, that the developmental course of this skill is quite protracted.

 

Tiffany Wong

Cultural Competency in Early Education

Advisor:  Dr. Gordon Hall

Early education teachers' self-ratings were investigated in this study by comparing them to ratings given by parents.  The sample consisted of 25 teaching faculty from two child care centers; these teachers, as well as 32 parents of children currently enrolled at either child care center, responded to the Teacher Multicultural Attitude Survey (TMAS) and an adapted version of the TMAS, respectively, both of which consisted of a 20-item anonymous questionnaire.  Results indicated that teacher self-ratings were higher than parent ratings, which is consistent with previous literature.  In addition to the lack of agreement between the two group ratings, results indicated that there was no significant difference between schools and that there was no interaction between school and teacher versus parent ratings.

 

 

 


Undergraduate Honors 2009-2010

 

Whitney Boyer

Maternal Brain Response to Own Infant Cry Relative to Delivery Type and Depression

Advisors:  Dr. Jennifer Ablow and Dr. Heidemarie Laurent

The way a mother responds to her infant is vital for the development of a healthy child-caregiver attachment.  Specific delivery types have been linked to important neurohormonal activity that can interfere with a parent's acquistion of thoughts and behaviors facilitating healthy parenting (Swain et al., 2008).  James Swain and colleagues (2008) discovered mothers who deliver vaginally (VD), compared to those who deliver by cesarean section (CSD), have heightened levels of maternal brain response to own infant cry in the anterior cingulate, insula and hypothalamus -- areas of the brain associated with emotional response and hormone release.  Additionally, mothers with depression are more likely to experience difficulty in making these connections and responding to their own infant's needs.  To further understand the effect of delivery within depressed mothers we examined patterns of maternal brain activation to their infant's cry in two case comparison depressed mothers -- one with a VD and one with an unplanned CSD -- collected as part of a larger longitudinal study that assessed depressed, low SES mothers and their infants.  We predicted lower activity in the CSD, compared to the VD mother, in the hypothalamus, midbrain, limbic system, and paralimbic system -- areas of the brain associated with maternal parenting behavior in animals (Kendrick, 2000).  Data from functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was used to measure each mother's response to her own infant's cry compared to a control sound.  Counter to hypotheses, the VD mother did not reveal significant activation in the brain in response to her own infant greater than control sound.  The CSD mother revealed significant (p<.05) clusters of own cry greater than control sound activation in the parahippocampal gyri, posterior cingulate, and precuneous cortex, areas of the brain relevant to memory encoding, episodic memory and reflections on the self.  This pattern of activation may indicate the elicitation of memories of her child and reflections on the caregiver-infant relationship.

 

Jason Dooley

Allocation of Attentional Resources When Presented With a Dual Task

Advisors:  Dr. Dare Baldwin and Dr. Jeff Loucks

This study looks at two different types of action, featural and configural.  To test how participants allocate attention, we used a dual-task design.  This made it possible to investigate whether the detection of featural changes requires more attentional resources than the detection of configural changes.  Participants watched two videos, the first of which depicted an actor doing an everyday action.  The second video depicted the same basic action but with a change in the featural information of the action or a change in the configural information of the action.  Half of the participants completed a subsequent task for which they paid attention to four rectangles changing around the video on the computer screen.  We found that when presented with a dual-task, participants' detection of featural changes did not decrease more significantly than configural changes, F(1,38) = 4.608, p = .05.  These results may suggest that adults are more practiced at perceiving featural information.

 

Brittany Dungan

Category Learning and Visual Working Memory Capacity

Advisors:  Dr. Ed Vogel and Andrew McCullough

Category learning is an important cognitive ability, yet no extensive study exists of individual differences in category learning.  Here I extended the Posner, Goldsmith, and Welton (1967) dot pattern, distorted prototype task to multiple category set sizes, and set sizes of dots, and examined the correlation between visual working memory capacity and category learning.  I then examined the relationship between working memory capacity and categorization in a second experiment, where subjects were asked to classify exemplars from two categories and then to perform a category change detection task.  Subjects were presented with an exemplar from one category and than a new exemplar from either the same or a different category.  Change detection accuracy tested greater for learned than for new categories.  Visual working memory capacity in all experiments was estimated using a color change detection task (Luck & Vogel, 1997).  Working memory capacity was negatively correlated with categorization accuracy, in set size two and four, and with change detection accuracy.

 

Sarah Eckstein

Severe Delinquency and Late Entry into Foster Care: An Ecological Perspective

Advisors:  Dr. Philip Fisher and Dr. Pamela Birrell

Previous literature identifies associations between delinquency and increased frequency and severity of maltreatment, insecure attachment, deviant peer unions, foster care placement instability, school failure, and, most pertinently, late placement in foster care.  The present study hypothesizes that entering foster care at an earlier age is linked with decreased severity of delinquency in a sample of 117 preschool aged foster children due to less frequent and severe maltreatment and less frequent residential and school transitions.  Variables were measured by the Parent-Reported Child Behavior Checklist for delinquency and the local child welfare records were coded to provide the children's detailed maltreatment histories.  Support for our hypothesis that late placement is associated with severe delinquency emerged from an ANOVA revealing that children who scored highly on severity of delinquency in any point during the 2.5 year study entered foster care significantly later than children who never displayed such severe delinquent behaviors.  Further analysis failed to support our hypothesis however, given that a correlation between age of first placement in foster care and average severity of delinquency was insignificant (r=.021).  An ANOVA measuring delinquency difference between groups based on age of first placement in foster care revealed minimal differences between groups.  Analysis of maltreatment incidence supports our hypothesis that maltreatment is associated with severe delinquency.  We paradoxically found that children who entered foster care earlier experienced a higher average number of residential transitions.  Given the limiting effects of our minimal variability of ages of first placement in foster care and the narrow age range of our subjects, we urge future researchers to select a sample with a wide range of ages of first placement in foster care so that greater insight to the full picture of the foster care experience can be assessed.  Overall, findings warrant further exploration of this topic and all of the complex variables which require a closer look.

 

Hale Forster

Did You Bring It?  The Effect of Ambiguous Stimulus Presentation on the Processing of Informational Prompts in Behavioral Interventions

Advisors:  Ezra Markowitz and Dr. Sara Hodges

This study investigated the effectiveness of a two-step informational prompt strategy to increase reusable mug use in coffee shops.  Based on previous work by Hansmann and Scholz (2003), it was proposed that pairing an ambiguous prompt with a disambiguating informational prompt could result in behavior change, even for behaviors where traditional informational prompts prove ineffective.  The simultaneously paired prompts resulted in a 9% increase in the likelihood of an individual bringing a mug, compared to a single informational prompt, which did not result in any significant behavior change.  In the sequential condition, while the ambiguous prompt alone did not increase the probability of mug use, the probability of mug use increased by 16% when the informational prompt was added.  Possible psychological mechanisms, the benefits of logistic regression for modeling person-level effects, and implications for further research are considered.

 

Laura Gramcko

Defining Trauma from a College Student's Perspective

Advisors:  Laura Kaehler and Dr. Jennifer Freyd

The current professional definition of psychological trauma is in flux, with much debate and disagreement between professionals over how to define this construct.  The current study looks at how college students define trauma, in order to build a preliminary understanding of its colloquial definition, while also examining betrayal trauma's affect of individuals definition.  The 278 participants rated events for their degree of trauma and they rated what emotions were associated with each event.  In addition, participants also provided betrayal trauma histories.  Results indicate that betrayal trauma history effects individuals' perception of trauma.  Betrayal trauma history also effects individuals' perception of betrayal in a hypothetical situation.  The emotions of fear and helplessness are associated with traumatic events, in agreement with the DSM-IV-TR's definition of trauma.  Perception of betrayal, however, was not related to events participants considered traumatic.  Trauma history's effect on individual definitions of trauma has important implications for the definition of trauma, in that perhaps a definition is so controversial because individual experience changes opinion.  Future research on hypothetical events and trauma classification is needed to gain a full understanding of a colloquial definition of trauma, and this understanding can subsequently have practical effects on the professional definition of trauma.

 

Killian Kleffner-Canucci

The Relationship Between Speech and Action During Serial Task Control

Advisor:  Dr. Ulrich Mayr

Mayr (2009) found substantial response-time (RT) costs associated with lag-2 repetitions within a repeating sequence of tasks, even when given relatively long time intervals between responses (~1000ms).  To understand the lag-2 RT costs the temporal relationship between speech and action was focused on to find a) participant's natural timing of speech in relation to action and b) if changing that timing improves performance.  In the first condition where participants spoke the relevant task in an unconstrained manner, the speech was completely aligned with their responses.  The unconstrained speaking condition did not show a difference in RT pattern from participants who did not speak at all.  In the second condition where participants had to speak the current task aloud before the stimulus appeared, the expected RT cost pattern completely disappeared.  Moreover, participant's overall RT's were reduced.  While other research indicated that speech is important in implementing action, this study showed that it is particularly speaking in advance of action that will enhance performance (Bryck & Mary, 2005; Kray, 2009).

 

Emily Walden

Betrayal Trauma Subtype Differences in Childhood Best Friendship Quality

Advisors:  Dr. Lou Moses and Mary Ann Winter-Messiers

Research on betrayal trauma subtype differences and negative outcomes is necessary in developing preventions and interventions.  I examined the relationship of childhood betrayal trauma history and best friendship quality and hypothesized that BT would predict lower friendship quality.  I also hypothesized that there would be friendship quality differences among betrayal trauma subtypes and that friendship quality would differ for men and women.  Participants consisted of 182 women, 78 men, and 5 participants who gave no response of gender (N = 265).  Participants reported online on childhood experiences of BT through the Brief Betrayal Trauma Survey (Goldberg & Freyd, 2006) and childhood best friendship quality through the Friendship Quality Questionnaire (Parker & Asher, 1993).  I found that as physical abuse experiences increased in frequency, best friendship quality scores decreased.  I also examined subtype differences in friendship quality.  In addition, I also found that women had higher friendship quality scores than men.

 

Adrian Yupanqui

Emotion Regulation and Interpersonal Perception: How Emotion Regulation Affects How People Are Seen By Others

Advisor:  Dr. Sanjay Srivastava

Emotion regulation allows people to use strategies that alter emotional experiences and expressive behavior.  Prior research has looked into the effects of emotion regulation strategies on social interactions, showing that different strategies have different consequences for closeness and social support.  The present study looked at the role of interpersonal perception in explaining these effects.  Specifically, it examined how emotion regulation strategies affect the way the regulator perceives the personalities of other people during a social interaction.  Participants were put into small groups for a facilitated social interaction.  After the interaction, we assessed the participants' perceptions of one another's personalities.  Expressive suppression, an emotion regulation strategy in which people try not to show the emotions that they are feeling, predicted others' perceptions of the suppressor.  Specifically, we found that people who suppress their emotions are seen as less extraverted, less agreeable, and more neurotic.  These perceptions may help explain why suppressors often receive less social support from others.

 



 

Undergraduate Honors 2008-2009

 

Anna Bell

The Cost of Being Close: Self-Other Overlap and Domestic Violence

Advisor:  Dr. Sara Hodges

The social psychological concept of self-other overlap describes how identities and cognitive representations of people tend to merge as they become closer to one another.  Because greater self-other overlap tends to be associated with such positive characteristics as closeness and intimacy, it has generally been considered a desirable trait in relationships.  However, these positive characteristics of self-other overlap have yet to be explored in situations that are less than ideal, such as relationships with domestic violence.  This study explores the possible negative consequencs of having self-other overlap in these relationships, including having greater difficulties removing oneself from the relationship, getting over the abusive partner, and having lower levels of self-esteem and well-being.

 

Heather Bell

Gaze Cues in Mother-Child Dyads for Generic Noun Phrases

Advisors:  Dr. Dare Baldwin and Meredith Meyer

Parents are known to offer rich pragmatic information such as pointing and gaze that assists children's language learning.  Such cues might even help children to distinguish when parents are referring to something as particular (e.g., That dog is black) versus a generic kind (e.g., Dogs have four legs), which is a basic conceptual distinction children must make across many language-learning contexts.  This study investigated if parents were giving children gaze cues that indicated this language distinction.  Mother-child dyads were videotaped while discussing hand drawn pictures of child recognizable things (e.g., seals, an airplane, a couch).  The results showed a trend for parents to look at their children more when saying a generic utterance.  These results suggest that parents may use gaze as a language "teaching" cue.

 

Ashley Berns

Child Behavior and Parenting

Advisors:  Dr. Michael Posner and Dr. Mary Rothbart

This study examined the role of the child in hostile interactions with the parent between ages 2 and 4.  Data were from a longitudinal study conducted with 61 children at ages 2 and 4.  Data included a videotaped parent-child interaction (coded with the NICHD Maternal Sensitivity Scale), child temperament questionnaires (ECTQ at age2, CBQ at age 4), parenting quality questionnaire (parent self report), and genetic information.  We hypothesized that between ages 2 and 4 there will be a decrease in observed parental hostility.  This was confirmed by analysis of parent child interaction at the two ages.  The drop in hostility was accompanied by an increase in observed child's persistence but no change in child negativity.  We also examined whether children high on a risk-taking scale (combined activity level, high intensity pleasure, and impulsivity scales) will be more likely to experience hostile interactions at age 2.  A correlation found that risk taking was not related to hostility at age 2.  While risk taking is higher for children with the 7-repeat allele of the Dopamine 4 Receptor gene, when parenting was of lower quality, we did not find evidence that this gene influenced the reduction in hostility or the increase of child persistence between age 2 and 4.  We conclude that, at least in the free play situation, increases in child persistence is related to reduced hostility on the parents' part at 4 years of age.  Lastly, we found that children with the 7-repeat allele had a slight decrease in negativity between the ages of 2 and 4, whereas children without the 7-repeat allele had a slight increase in negativity between ages 2 and 4.

 

Elif Cakir

Parent Training Improves Parents' Executive Attention

Advisor:  Dr. Helen Neville

The efficiency of executive attention is closely linked to the regulation of cognition and emotion.  Recent research has demonstrated that executive attention can be improved by training self-regulation skills.  The present study investigated whether different types of parent training programs designed to enhance parent's and children's self-regulation skills would also improve parents' executive attention.  The same included parents of typically developing Head Start children who received parent training either in the Attention Boost for Children program (n=12) or in the Parents & Children Making Connections - Highlighting Attention program (n=9).  Alerting, orienting, and executive attention were asessed with the Attention Network Test (ANT).  Following training, both parent groups showed improvement in executive attention network related to self-regulation, while no significant changes were observed in either orienting or alerting attention networks.  These results suggest that receiving parent training with a focus on self-regulation can enhance executive attention.  Ongoing research with parents assigned to a control group will enable further investigation of how executive attention is affected by these parent-training programs.

 

Lisa Chinn

The Relationship Between Empathic Concern, Antisocial Traits, and Helping Behavior: Effects of Emotionality, Relationship, Time, and Gender

Advisors:  Tasha Oswald and Dr. Lou Moses

Previous research has shown that antisocial traits are negatively related to empathy, empathy is positively related to helping behavior, and females help others more than males.  The current study examined the relationship between antisocial traits, empathic concern, gender, and helping behavior.  Participants completed questionnaires that measure empathic concern and antisocial traits.  Additionally, participants read short hypothetical scenarios in which a person asked for their help, under different circumstances, and answered questions about whether they would help and the level of effort they perceived to be involved in these scenarios.  Researchers assessed the hypothesis that antisocial traits are negatively related to empathic concern and willingness to help with favors, and predictions that participants are less willing to help with emotional favors than nonemotional favors, strangers than close friends, and with 30-minutes favors than with 5-minutes favors.  Researchers also predicted that females would be more willing to help than males.  All of these hypotheses were supported and future research could investigate these relationships more deeply.

 

Phillip Getty

Autistic-like Personality Traits in Neurotypical Adults: Examining Possible Differences in the Ease, Speed and Hierarachy of Social Inference

Advisors:  Dr. Bertram Malle and Dr. Gerard Saucier

This study tested the hypothesis that traits associated with high-functioning autism or Asperger's syndrome exist in normally-functioning adults and that people with pronounced traits of this kind show a systematic deficit in the ease, speed and hierarchy of social inferences (i.e., of intentionality, goals, thinking, emotion, and personality).  I also explored whether these traits related to other known measures of personality.  A sample of fifty-nine undergraduate and graduate students at a public university participated by completing five social inference tasks, the Autism Spectrum Quotients (AQ), and the Big-Five Mini-Markers.  Comparisions of these measures failed to support the proposed hypothesis, but the results raise questions about the validy of the AQ, which appears to be a measurement of known personality types.

 

Brandon Gibson

Autistic Traits as a Predictor of Friendship Quality, Loneliness, and Depression in Young Adults

Advisors:  Dr. Lou Moses, Tasha Oswald, Mary Ann Winter-Messiers

Autism is characterized by difficulties in social interaction, communication, and dealing with change.  The intention of this study was to investigate an autistic phenotype, i.e., social skill, communication, and attention switching deficits, as a predictor of friendship quality, loneliness, and depression in a typically developing college sample.  Autistic traits were measured as well as loneliness, depression, and quality of best friendship.  Results indicate that a stronger autistic phenotype is predictive of higher levels of loneliness and depressive symptomatology, and lower quality of best friendship.  Findings support the interpersonal model of depression and suggest that even within the typically developing population, autistic traits may contribute to depression.  Implications and restrictions of these findings are discussed and possible communication, social, and executive function training is explored.

 

Kenny Hartline

Controlling for Language to Observe Memory Reorganization of Action

Advisors:  Dr. Dare Baldwin and Jeff Loucks

The current study investigated how people organize memories of action and specifically, whether organizational effects observed in previous research arose from encoding of action, rather than linguistic content into which action information may have been recoded.  Participants were shown videos of an actor completing two simple action tasks in which components of each task happened to be intermingled in the actual motion stream.  During video presentation, participants completed a verbal shadowing task, designed to block linguistic recoding of the motion stream.  Participant's reaction times to target frames were then measured in relation to the type of prime -- primes close in the actual temporal structure of the video, versus primes reflecting the underlying goal structure -- that preceded the target frames.  Results showed that reaction times were quicker when target frames were primed by goal-related primes in comparison to being primed by temporally-related frames.  These results, along with findings from previous studies, demonstrate that goal-oriented memory organization is specific to action processing and that blocking the linguistic system does not undermine a goal priming advantage.  Future investigations could look at other ways of blocking the linguistic system and greater complexities of the action being perceived.

 

Jennifer Knowles

Looking at Status Quo Bias: The Effects of Incidental Emotions and Numeracy on Status Quo Preference

Advisors:  Dr. Ellen Peters and Dr. Paul Slovic

This paper is an examination of the effects of emotion and numeric ability on preference for the status quo.  Ninety-three undergraduates participated.  All participants were randomly assigned to complete a writing task that required them to describe an event that either made them happy, angry, or afraid in detail.  Next, participants answered a series of three decision making problems evaluating their preference for a target item and the Lipkus 11 and CRT questionnaires to evaluate number ability.  A significant three way interaction reveals that participants in the fear condition who have low number ability prefer the target item in the status quo condition, while participants with high number ability prefer the target item when it is not in the status quo condition (B=-.266, Wald=5.758, p<.05).

 

Winnie Lam

Do Hypercompetitive Individuals Behave Impulsively? An Examination of Hypercompetitiveness in Interpersonal Interactions

Advisors:  Dr. Sanjay Srivastava and Jessica Tipsord

Do hypercompetitive individuals behave impulsively?  Social and self-perceptions of hypercompetitive attitudes and its association with hypercompetitiveness were investigated in a leaderless group discussion study.  One-hundred sixteen students provided data by responding to personality and trait emotions inventories measuring hypercompetitive attitudes, positive and negative affects, and depression, and then participating in leaderless group discussion.  Pearson correlations revealed that hypercompetitive individuals were high in neuroticism and low in agreeableness.  They were likely to be perceived as assertive and impulsive but not hypercompetitive, whereas they perceived their own behaviors as hypercompetitive and uncooperative.  The current study provided a deeper understanding to hypercompetitive attitudes and introduced some possible contributing factors to trait hypercompetitiveness.  Findings are benefical for clinical and counseling therapeutic designs.

 

Nathen Lester

Differentiating the Effects of Social and Personal Power

Advisors:  Dr. Sara Hodges and Sean Laurent

The current research attempted to differentiate the effects of social power (i.e., having control of others' outcomes) from personal power (ie., control of one's own outcomes) on variables related to perspective-taking.  Using methodology adapted from Galinsky, Magee, Inesi, & Gruenfeld (2006), participants were primed with high social power, high personal power, or low power, and then completed two perspective-taking measures.  While these measures did not signifcantly vary with condition, evidence was found that supports the differentiation of personal power from social power.  Low power, as experienced (rather than manipulated) by participants had a strong negative correlation with personal power, and a weak negative correlation with social power.  Personal power and social power were not significantly correlated.

 

Blake Locher

Empathic Accuracy and the Use of Stereotypes in Inferring the Thoughts and Feelings of Others

Advisors:  Dr. Sara Hodges and Karyn Lewis

Past research has suggested that perceivers construct a schema of a target in order to accurately infer that person's thoughts and feelings (Myers & Hodges, 2009).  The current study was designed to test whether more general schemas boost accuracy in inferring thoughts and feelings that are stereotypic of a salient target group.  Participants (145 undergraduates) inferred the thoughts and feelings of a woman discussing her experiences as a  new mother.  We hypothesized that perceivers would have great empathic accuracy on thoughts and feelings that were more stereotypical of the salient target group (e.g., new mothers).  Results supported our hypothesis: even when controlling for inferential difficulty, thoughts that were more stereotypical were easier to infer.  This effect was moderated by participants' emotional stability, as measured by the Big Five.  Additional effects of participant variables are also discussed, along with directions for future research.

 

Brittany Lukens

Arabic Numeral Influence on Product Preference

Advisors:  Dr. Ellen Peters and Dr. Paul Slovic

This study was performed to examine the effect of low and high digit presentation on product preference as predicted by previous research on spatial shifts of attention.  Participants were asked in two separate choices to make a choice between two identical products in the presence of varying digits, i.e. one (1) or nine (9).  It was predicted that the number one (1) would evoke preference for the product on the left and the number nine (9) would evoke preference for the product on the right.  First choice results across both products and regarding one product, specifically, revealed preferences in the direction predicted though these results failed to reach conventional statistical significance.  Second choice results were inconclusive.

 

Marcus Mayorga

Assessing the Risk of Suicide: An Investigation of Antidepressant Medication Information and Decision Making

Advisors:  Dr. Ellen Peters and Dr. Anne Simons

Risk of antidepressant use for adolescents has been a topic of worthy investigation for modern psychology and psychiatry.  Rates of adolescent suicide were on a steady decline until 2003 when a sharp increase occurred following the FDA issue in a health advisory and the "black box warning".  Given the lowered rates of antidepressant use for adolescents and the rising rate of adolescent suicide, it is questionable whether parents are supplied adequate information to assess the risks and benefits of antidepressants for adolescents.  This study is aimed towards developing more universally comprehensible materials for parents by assessing the roles of the provision of numerical information and of numeracy (number ability) as factors in comprehension and perceptions of antidepressant information.  In addition, we are interested in how these factors affect the likelihood of parents with depressed adolescents to approve antidepressants as an option for treatment.  Results were mixed, showing both consistent and conflicting effects compared to previous findings.  The effects of these findings on consumer health are discussed.

 

Joshua Pritikin

Theory of Mind in Cognitive Antecedents of Prohibition, Self-Sacrifice, and Protest

Advisors:  Dr. Dare Baldwin and Kimberly Angelo

Valuations in the context of joint attention are likely antecedents of prohibition, self-sacrifice, and protest (the target affective themes).  Forty-seven University of Oregon undergraduates (38 female, 9 male; $M_{age}$ = 19.5, $SD$ = 3.5) wrote open-ended stories for each of the target themes.  Prohibition, self-sacrifice, and protest vignettes were coded with 7, 11, and 10 intention probe sentences, respectively.  Most of the 22 directional and 14 correlational hypotheses exhibited a significant effect in the hypothesized direction.  Findings suggest that the target themes are associated with antecedent valuations situated in a theory of mind context.  Implications for empathy and downstream psychological processes contingent on empathy, such as coping and altruism, are discussed.

 

Adelle Pushparatnam

Special Interest Areas and Theory of Mind in Children with Asperger Syndrome

Advisors:  Dr. Lou Moses and Mary Ann Winter-Messiers

The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between Special Interest Areas (SIAs) and the expression of Theory of Mind (ToM) in children with Asperger syndrome (AS).  Transcripts from a previous study in which children with AS were interviewed about their SIAs (Winter-Messiers, 2007) were coded for expressions of ToM.  It was found that participants whose SIAs involved mentalistic agents expressed more ToM than children whose SIAs involved non-mentalistic agents, but that there was no difference whether they interacted with or observed the mentalistic agents.  More female participants had SIAs that involved mentalistic agents, and more male participants had SIAs that involved non-mentalistic agents, but there was no gender difference in the expression of ToM.  Participants expressed more knowledge-related statements than belief-, desire-, and emotion-related ones, and age did not predict the participants' expression of ToM.  Implications for the use of SIAs in ToM and other interventions for children with autism are discussed.

 

Miranda Rieter

What the Eyes Tell Us About Task Switching

Advisor:  Dr. Ulrich Mayr

We used eye-tracking to test a two-stage model of task switching (e.g., Mayr & Kliegl, 2003) that proposes a first state during which external cues are used to load relevant rules into working memory, a process that can occur proactively, prior to stimulus presentation.  During the second stage, these rules are used to filter out task-irrelevant information once the stimulus is presented.  It has been difficult to decide between this and alternative models on the basis of behavioral data alone (e.g., Logan & Bundesen, 2003).  Eye-tracking provides fine-grained temporal information and therefore potentially more direct evidence about stages of task selection.  We asked subjects to select between responding to the color or the gap position of objects on the basis of visual cues.  Each task feature was present in one of three equidistant objects (one object was neutral, object locations were randomized).  Consistent with the working-memory stage we found the eye's trajectory to the task-relevant object was delayed by 150 ms on switch trials, but only if there was no opportunity to prepare.  Consistent with the filtering stage, there was a persistent tendency of the eye to return to the irrelevant task feature on switch trials, and this tendency was resistant to effects of preparation.

 

Kevin Wiles

Examing the Disclosure Practices of Military Veterans

Advisors:  Dr. Sara Hodges and Jocelyn Barton

Disclosure of stressful events, such as those experienced by veterans, has been linked to psychological health (Pennebaker & Susman, 1988).  Although current research on veterans' disclosure emphasizes disclosure to close others or in group settings, few studies have directly explored the relationships between veterans and the people to whom they disclose.  In a non-veteran sample, Stinson and Ickes (1992) showed that greater objective understanding was demonstrated between people who had deeper specific knowledge of each other's life experiences.  Another study found that while veterans rely highly upon family and partners, veterans tend to not discuss past traumatic military related events with them (Hunt & Robbins, 2001).  Using a sample of 48 veterans, we explored whether veterans would be more likely to disclose specific military service related traumatic events to a fellow veteran than to a non-veteran, based on the idea that shared experiences will play a key role in disclosure.  As hypothesized, results showed veterans were likely to disclose more to other veterans with similar experiences, followed closely by disclosure to close others.  This study suggests the need for disclosure targets to have knowledge of the veterans' experiences, and the potential importance of therapist-client matching policies for clinicians treating veterans.

 

Carrie Williamson

Visual Processing Mechanisms Underlying the Rod-and-Frame Illusion

Advisor:  Dr. Paul Dassonville

When a vertical rod is presented within the context of a tilted frame, observers typically perceive the rod to be tilted in the opposite direction of the frame.  Two possible visual processing mechanisms have been proposed to underlie this rod-and-frame illusion (RFI): visuovestibular effects (the tilted frame causes a distortion of the observer's perceived gravitational vertical), and local interaction effects (mutual inhibition of populations of visual neurons encoding the tilt of the rod and the frame's contours).  The present study examines the extent to which these mechanisms are responsible for the RFI at different frame sizes.  The results indicate that as frame size increases, visuovestibular effect are most prominent, while local interaction effects drive the RFI with small frames.

 

Alisha Wimberly

Examining the Pursuit of Nutritional Goals: Affect, Goal type, and Future Thought-Orientation as Predictors

Advisors:  Dr. Sanjay Srivastava and Kimberly Angelo

The United States is faced with an obesity epidemic, and it is becoming increasingly beneficial to understand successful dieting and preventative nutrition practices.  The current study attempted to understand how goal type, affect and thought orientation predicted goal success.  The 112 participants thought of personal nutritional goals they could accomplish in two weeks.  The study consisted of three short online surveys composed of questions regarding diet and lifestyle, thought orientation (Zimbardo Time Perspective Inventory), negative and positive affect (Adult Temperament Questionnaire), optimism (Life Orientation Test) and psychological well-being.  No significant predictor was observed during the two-week goal pursuit; however, many participants said they would continue to work on their goal after the two-week study had ended.  The participants that reported less negative affect during the first and second surveys were more likely to report they would complete their goal sooner than participants that had more negative affect.  Even lacking statistical significance, this resarch helps us understand a little more about the psychology of nutrition.

 



 

Undergraduate Honors 2007-2008

Rose Boyer

Literacy Markers in Adults at Lane County Drug Court

Advisors:  Dr. Robert Mauro and Michael Hibbard

A lack of basic literacy may increase the likelihood that individuals will fail to complete drug and alcohol treatment programs.  To explore the relation between literacy and success in drug court, we collected reading and math scores using the Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment Systems (CASAS) and tracked success through the program.  In addition, we obtained information on the motivations clients had for pursuing the program.  Individuals with higher literacy tended to be more likely to successfully complete the program; however, the effect was not statistically significant.  Participants who either engaged in, or expressed an interest in education, graduated more often than those who did not.  These results may provide justification for developing interventions designed to increase the literacy of individuals referred to Drug Court.

 

Wei-Ning Chang

The Bilateral Advantage in Visual Short-Term Memory

Advisors:  Dr. Ed Awh, Edward Ester, Akina Umemoto

Alvarez and Cavanagh (2005) found that people performed better in a multiple objects tracking (MOT) study when the items were split into both visual fields rather than into a single visual field.  They suggested that there are independent resources for tracking in each hemisphere.  Although Drew and Vogel (in press) showed a positive correlation between MOT ability and capacity in visual short-term memory (VSTM), past studies have not found a bilateral advantage in VSTM.  However, performance in those memory tasks was limited by the maximum number of items that could be stored.  In the present study, we investigated the bilateral advantage in an orientation change detection task where the resolution was the primary limiting factor.  The findings revealed a bilateral advantage in the resolution-limited change detection task but not in a number-limited task with the same stimuli.

 

Melissa Davis

The Psychology of Risk Perception and Product Liability

Advisor:  Dr. Robert Mauro

This research explores the relations between individual differences and risk perception related to warning labels attached to common household products.  Participants rated potential hazardousness, harmfulness, and intended carefulness with 8 common household products.  Participants also completed a risk-taking behavior scale, 2 brief sensation-seeking scales (BSSS, SS2) and the Big 5 Mini-marker.  Results comparing product ratings with the other 3 measures indicated that low and high risk-takers will rate products generally the same in perceived risk as measured by potential hazardousness and harmfulness.  High risk-takers will not be as careful handling products.  A significant correlation was found between higher sensation-seeking needs and lower perceptions of risk.  Current research on warning labels assume the problem is attending and comprehending the warning to assure compliance.  These results indicate that variations in compliance may be due in part to individual differences in risk-seeking and/or risk tolerance.  Implications for designing warning labels are discussed.

 

Karen Hudson

Expert Witnesses in the Courtroom: The Impact of the Role of the Defendant and Expert Witness Type on Evaluations of Procedural Justice

Advisors:  Dr. Robert Mauro and Christina Sheppler

People tend to cooperate with and defer future decisions to authorities when those people perceive the authorities as fair (Tyler, 2003).  In the current experiment, the effects of expert witness type (adversarial, neutral court appointed, biased court appointed) and class of defendant (individual, corporation, government agency) on perceived fairness were explored.  Participants were given a pre-trial questionnaire to control for the trial experience, provided with a court transcript, and then filled out a post-trial questionnaire composed of procedural justice evaluations.  Neutral observers rated cases with adversarial testimony as more procedurally fair than cases with court appointed testimony, and found cases against corporations to be more procedurally fair than cases against government entities.  As hypothesized, perceived fairness judgments were lowest when the plaintiff lost to more "powerful" entities and when the loss was coupled with testimony by court appointed expert witnesses.  The present research continues to highlight the concern about the use of court appointed experts in the courtroom.

 

Autumn Lee

The Psychology of Film: How Theory of Mind and Empathy Affect Perceived Acting Performance

Advisor:  Dr. Bertram Malle

The current study was interested in how empathy and theory of mind affect film viewers' opinions of real and fake characters.  The authors posited that viewers would empathize and imagine the mind of a real character better than with a fake character.  Specifically, the authors hypothesized that participants would find the acting more believable and in turn, rate acting ability higher for actors portraying real characters.  University psychology students participated in watching clips and filling out questionnaires regarding empathy, theory of mind and acting ability.  The students were shown 4 fictional clips and 4 biographical clips, but told that 2 of each of the clips were the reverse (i.e., they were told that a ficional clip was biographical).  The authors did not find a difference in ratings for the portrayal of the clips, but they did find that biographical films were liked more than fictional films.

 

Candice Mottweiler

Imaginary Companions and Narrative Creativity

Advisor:  Dr. Marjorie Taylor

Although most young children engage in pretend play, there are individual differences in the form that this activity takes.  Some children create imaginary companions, characters that they interact with or talk about on a regular basis.  We investigated the extent that having an invisible friend (i.e., an imaginary companion not based on a toy) is associated with narrative creativity.  Fifty-nine 4- and 5-year-old children and their parents were interviewed about pretend play.  30% of the children were identified as having invisible friends.  To measure creativity, children heard the beginning of a story and were asked to finish it.  The results showed that although children with and without invisible friends produced stories of equal length, the stories of the children with invisible friends had a greater number of story elements as well as more unique elements.  In addition, their stories were rated as more creative than those of the other children.

 

Mary Pisegna

I Think I Can: Prenatal Expected Parental Competency as a Predictor of Postnatal Competency and Maternal Sensitivity

Advisors:  Dr. Jennifer Ablow, Dr. Jeff Measelle, Erica Musser

Observed sensitivity and self-reported parenting competency were examined in a longitudinal study of a sample of 107 first-time mothers and their infants.  These mothers were all considered to be at a high risk for parenting problems.  Prenatally, the mothers filled out the Becoming a Parent scale (BAP) to measure the expected competency as parents.  When the infants reached 5 months of age, the mothers and infants participated in the Still Face paradigm as an assessment of maternal sensitivity.  The mothers were administered the Being a Parent scale to measure the self-reported parenting competency of these mothers, as well as another measure of their current relationship with their parents.  It was found that prenatal expected competence did predict postnatal self-reported competence, and that both prenatal expected competence and prenatal social support from the mother's own parents marginally predicted maternal sensitivity at 5 months.

 

Margaret Sels

Family History of MDD Related to Pubertal Timing

Advisors:  John Seeley and Adam Kramer

This study is designed to determine levels of depression comparing adolescents with off-pubertal timing and a familial history of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) to those adolescents without these qualities.  It looked at the rates of depression, off-pubertal timing, and a familial history of MDD when comparing males to females.  Adolescents were accessed at three periods of time using a KSADS interview process.  940 students from western Oregon and 1782 family members participated at assessment three of the Oregon Adolescent Depression project.  Few significant results were found, but trends showed signs that late pubertal timing in both males and females were related to a family history of MDD.  Future studies using this data set should weigh analyses for a larger chance of significant results.

 

Anna Spece

Relational Aggression in Relation to Friendship Quality in Adolescent Females

Advisor:  Dr. Thomas Dishion

Understanding relation aggression within adolescent relationships can provide information about reasons why teens engage in antisocial or prosocial behavior, and may lead to better solutions for controlling deviant acts.  This study investigated how relational aggression affects friendship quality in female adolescent dyads and how relational aggression determines perceptions of the quality of friendship.  Data for the study consisted of videotaped interactions of 138 female participants, ages 16 to 17, from the Project Alliance Peer Interaction Task from the Child and Family Center, as well as questionnaires completed by coders, assessors and the dyads about the friendship quality and regarding relational aggression present within the friendship.  Results showed both assessor and dyad rating of low friendship quality correlated significantly with high coder ratings of relational aggression, suggesting that a high level of relational aggression contributes to negative friendship quality in the dyad.

 

Alex Stanton

Self Other Overlap: The Mechanisms Behind the Noun Recall Task

Advisor:  Dr. Sara Hodges

Self-other-overlap is an idea that explores the idea that people who are close actually become more similar.  Here we examine the mechanisms behind the concrete noun recall task, a popular measure of this phenomenon.  The current study has subjects participate in the noun recall task; however, new conditions have been added to examine the question: Is the noun recall task an actual measure of self-other-overlap or just a function of better memory associated with greater depth of processing?  This study found that participants using novel prompts had poorer recall than those in the replication, suggesting that the manipulation significantly affected memory but in the opposite way as predicted.  Future studies of this measurement should explore using an empirically validated manipulation of depth processing.

 

 


 

Undergraduate Honors 2006-2007

Hannah Banagale

Neural Basis for Mothers' Responses to Infant Distress

Advisors:  Dr. Jennifer Ablow and Heidemarie Laurent

A mother's responsiveness to her child's cues on a neurobiological level is an important consideration in our understanding of the effect of psychopathology on mother-infant relationships.  Previous studies have suggested that maternal responsiveness to infant cries is correlated with factors associated with a secure infant-mother attachment.  However, research into the neural mechanisms that precede maternal behavior in response to infant cry is limited.  Limitations of previous work on this subejct prompted further research into the effects of depression on impaired maternal responsiveness.  The current case-study examined  two mothers' (a control participant and a depressed participant) neural activations in response to their own infant's cry compared to a control noise.  Consistent with the hypothesis, the control mother produced neural activation typical of maternal response while the depressed participant showed no significant activation.

 

Martha Bose

The Influence of Siblings on Theory of Mind. 

Advisor:  Dr. Lou Moses

 

Heather Brule

Using Outdoor Adventure to Improve Perceived Control in People with Histories of Trauma and Oppression

Advisor:  Dr. Anne Simons

 

Justine Calcagno

The Experience of Stigmatized identity: Variation in Trait and State Characteristics

Advisor:  Jonathan Cook

This study explores how characteristics of stigmatized individuals and characteristics of their conversation partners affect the experience of stigma in social interactions.  African American and gay and lesbian participants reported about their thoughts and feelings after social interactions over the course of a week.  Individuals with higher levels of trait stigma consciousness tended to have higher levels of identity centrality, suggesting that expecting to be stereotpyed may be a feature of group identification.  When interacting with out-group members stigmatized individuals tended to feel more stereotyped than when interacting with in-group members, suggesting that inter-group interactions elicit negative feelings in stigmatized individuals, but in-group interactions do not.  This project adds to the growing body of literature documenting how the effects of stigma are variable across stigmatized individuals and their interaction partners.

 

Stephanie Hyde

A Study of Brain Organization for Language Using Complimentary Methodologies

Advisors:  Dr. Helen Neville and Eric Pakulak

 

Timothy Matthews

Context Matters: Measuring Self-Other Overlap

Advisor:  Dr. Sara Hodges

The current study investigated contexts of Inclusion of Other in Self (IOS) measures.  The study compared Aron's original IOS paper measure to a newly developed "dynamic" IOS scale displayed on a computer screen.  Both measures used overlapping circles as a way for participants to objectify perceived closeness.  Furthermore, the study looked at relationship context (i.e. relationships with acquaintances versus relationships with romantic partners).  It was hypothesized that if a person is asked to rate the closeness of his/her acquaintance first, then the ranking of closenss for the romantic partner will increase.  The sample population consisted of sixty participants (20 male and 40 female) that were currently in a romantic relationship of six months or more.  The study found that Aron's IOS measure does provide (while also limiting) possible answers for participants.  In addition to finding that the "dynamic" scale is tapping the same construct as the original IOS, the "dynamic" IOS showed that participants move the 'other' circle more than the 'self' circle.  The study also indicated that perceived closeness of a romantic partner significantly increases when participants are asked to complete an IOS measure for an acquaintance first.

 

Cristen McLean

Sexual Assertiveness in Sexual Decision-Making: Predictors, Consciousness, and Outcomes

Advisors:  Dr. Jennifer Freyd and Bridget Klest

Previous research has indicated that sexual assertiveness is an important factor in sexual health (Morokoff, Quina, Harlow, Whitmire, Grimley, Gibson, & Burkholder, 1997).  Here we studied sexual assertiveness by evaluating the person's implicit (unconscious) and explicit (conscious) decision rules about sexual initiation and refusal of sexual behaviors.  We present evidence that childhood sexual abuse is associated with dissociation, which is disintegration between normally cohesive aspects of an experience (Bernstein & Putnam, 1986).  Also we found that mental processes, including self-esteem and dissociation, do not have the same impact on implicit and explicit decision rules.  Likewise implicit and explicit decision rules are predictive of different adult sexual outcomes.  Our results indicate that implicit sexual decision-making impacts the person's sexual experiences in general, e.g. whether, overall, his or her sexual behaviors are satisfying, whereas explicit sexual decision making impacts discrete behavioral outcomes, such as specific risk-related behaviors or incidents of adult sexual victimization.  The present research project builds on and elaborates a previous investigation by Zurbriggen and Freyd (2004).  This present research was examined within the framework of mental mechanisms, Consensual Sex Decision Mechanisms (Freyd, 1996), and Consensual Sex Decision Rules (Zurbriggen and Freyd, 2004).  The need for future and further research is discussed.

 

Rose McMahon

Infant Emotion Regulation as Predicted by a Mother's Accuracy at Interpreting Infant Facial Expressions

Advisor:  Dr. Jennifer Ablow

Previous research has shown that how contingently a mother responds to her infant can influence her infant's recovery after an emotional stressor.  Maternal responsiveness, however, may be influenced by a mother's ability to accurately interpret her infant's expression of emotions.  Depressed mothers have longer delay times before responding to their infants emotional bids, which may reflect less accurate interpretation of their infants' expressed emotions.  In this paper, we proposed that women's prenatal ability to accurately interpret infant expression of emotion would predict their own babies' ability to regulate their emotions during a stressful situation 5 months post partum.  It also was hypothesized that mothers who reported higher depressive symptomatology would have infants who would be less successful at regulating their emotions.  One hundred and five first time expectant women of low SES were recruited prenatally to participate in an ongoing longitudinal study.  Prenatal women's ability to interpret infant expressions of emotions was investigated through her responses to 30 pictures of infant facial expressions.  Women's prenatal levels of depression also were assessed through administration of the CESD.  When the infants were 5 months old, mother-infant dyads visited the lab to participate in the still face procedure.  Infant's ability to regulate their emotions was investigated through this paradigm and coded during the reunion episodes of the still face paradigm using a global coding scheme.  Correlational analysis revealed trend level associations in the expected directions between the predictor variables and the infants' reengagement behaviors.

 

Kim Miller

Motor Imagery with Virtual Feedback Activates Primary Sensory-Motor Hand Representation

Advisor:  Dr. Scott Frey

With the assistance of mirrors in movement exercises, studies show improvements in both phantom limb pain and stroke patient limb mobility.  The mirror provides the illusion of movement in the absent or immobile limb by reflecting the healthy limb.  However, it is unclear how the brain interprets and responds to this sensory input.  Does it engage regions of sensory-motor cortex that represent the impaired and stationary limb?  Do such effects depend on whether the impaired hand is dominant or non-dominant?  This study uses functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) techniques to examine brain activity within primary motor and sensory areas in healthy right- and left-handed adults during unilateral hand movements performed with and without mirror feedback and motor imagery.  Specifically, we address how these conditions influence activity in sensory-motor cortex contralateral to the static hand (ROI-CS).  The results indicate that hand dominance does not significantly affect responses of ROI-CS under these conditions.  Combining data across groups, however, reveals a significant increase of activity in ROI-CS when motor imagery is combined with mirror feedback.  This condition is significantly different from movement alone and movement combined with mirror feedback.  We conclude that using a mirror to provide virtual feedback for imagined movements creates an effective stimulus for sensory-motor representations and could play a role in rehabiliation.

 

John Myers

Early Parental Presence and Self-Other Overlap: An Empirical Examination of Chodorow's Theory of the Reproduction of Mothering

Advisor:  Dr. Sara Hodges

This study was inspired by Nancy Chodorow's (1978) Theory of the Reproduction of Mothering (TRM).  The study empirically scrutinized Chodorow's hypothesis that male dominant, father absent societies in which women do most of the parenting for children of both sexes reproduce themselves by creating dissimilar atmospheres in which young girls and boys develop their gender identities.  According to Chodorow, these disparate atmospheres make women view themselves in relationship to others while making men view themselves as separate from others.  Ninety college students completed a battery of pen and paper measures that included, among other things, measures of self-other overlap and parental egalitarianism.  TRM was not supported.  However, parental egalitarianism was correlated with increased perceptions of self-other overlap with both parents in males and females.  Furthermore, parental egalitarianism was associated with decreased perceptions of self-other overlap with close others in males.

 

Melissa Olson

Emotions and Children's Theory of Mind

Advisors:  Dr. Lou Moses and Seraphine Shen

 

Kathryn Spaventa

Why Don't Kids Tell?  Gender and the Disclosure of Abuse: Rates and Reasons of Gender Differences for Nondisclosure of Child Sexual, Emotional and Physical Abuse

Advisors:  Dr. Jennifer Freyd and Shin Shin Tang

Boys are assumed to be more reluctant to disclose sexual abuse than girls, but empirical evidence is lacking.  In addition, reasons for not disclosing CSA may differ.  Previous qualitative research by Alaggia (2005) suggests that typical nondisclosure reasons for females are related to confusion about who was responsible for the abuse and feelings that she will be blamed or not believed, whereas males have a fear of being labeled homosexual (Alaggia, 2005).  We investigated potential gender differences in likelihood of disclosure and evaluated reasons why males and females decided not to disclose their child sexual, physical and emotional abuse.  Gender differences as well as gender similarities in reasons for nondisclosure of child sexual, emotional and physical abuse were found in responses to a questionnaire completed by a sample of college students.

 

Cara Swain

Trait Anxiety and the Efficiency of Attentional Networks

Advisors:  Dr. Michael Posner and Brad Sheese

This study examines how trait anxiety is related to the efficiency of attention in adults.  Previous research has shown that different levels of trait anxiety are related to differences in attention when individuals are presented with affect inducing stimuli.  However, there is little empirical literature on how trait anxiety differentially affects attention assessments that are affectively neutral.  While high levels of anxiety may be detrimental to performance on attention tasks, moderate levels of anxiety may facilitate task performance.  Research has shown that moderate levels of anxiety can produce higher performance in learning tasks (Yerkes & Dodson, 1998). The current study examines how differences among individuals in trait anxiety are related to task performance.  To test this hypothesis, 19 participants completed a self-report questionnaire assessing trait anxiety.  Participants scoring high, medium, or low in trait anxiety completed the Attention Networks Test (ANT) assessing the efficiency of the orienting, alerting, and executive attention networks.  Overall performance on the ANT showed an influence of trait anxiety in which greater anxiety led to faster reaction times and more errors.  There was also some evidence that the influence of anxiety was exerted through the alerting and orienting networks.  A curvilinear relationship was found between anxiety and performance on the alerting network.

 

Eva Sylwester

Religious Housing Co-operatives and their Correlations with Religious Belief in Young Adults

Advisor:  Dr. Robert Gordon

This study will investigate the effects of living in religious housing co-operatives on young adults.  Residents of the co-operatives will be compared to a control group of University of Oregon students in other living arrangements.  The hypotheses are that residents of the co-operatives will score lower than the control group on scales of religious maturity and higher than the control group on scales of general mental well-being.

 

Joshua Tabaldo

Kids, Verbs, and Intentions: How Children Use Intentionality in Verb Learning

Advisors:  Dr. Dare Baldwin and Eric Olofson

Attempts to discern how children learn language have tended to focus on nouns, while fewer studies (Tomasello & Merriman, 1995) have examined the acquisition of verbs.  While some investigators (e.g. Markman, 1989) have argued that children have assumptions about the referents of novel nouns, this approach to the study of verb learning is rare.  This study hypothesizes one tool for verb acquisition uses intentionality cues, in which one assumes novel verbs refer to intentional actions.  To test this hypothesis, we presented children (22- to 26-month olds) with a dual display of action videos, one being accidental and the other intentional.  Children were asked to indicate which video depicted a novel verb, e.g., blicking.  Preferential pointing toward the intentional action would suggest that children draw a link between intentional actions and novel verbs.  Contrary to our predictions, however, children pointed to the intentional and accidental actions equally often.

 

Akina Umemoto

Implicit Knowlege about Target Location Guides Encoding into Visual Working Memory

Advisors:  Dr. Edward Awh, Dr. Edward Vogel, Miranda Scolari

Explicitly cued information has been found to facilitate voluntary control over what is encoded into working memory.  However, less is known about the effect of implicit knowledge about what information enters the system.  The current study examined whether implicit knowledge about probable target location guides encoding into visual working memory.  We used a change detection task where a sample array and a test array appeared on each trial separated by a brief delay, and subjects determined whether the two arrays were identical or different in terms of a single color change.  We manipulated the probability of change trials so that a specific quadrant (dominant quadrant) contained more changes than the other remaining quadrants (nondominant quadrants).  Accuracy was significantly higher in the dominant quadrant, although subjects did not have explicit knowledge about the probability manipulation.  This result was not due to a reduction in the response threshold for detecting changes in the dominant quadrant or a speed-accuracy trade-off in the nondominant quadrants.  We suggest that the encoding of information into working memory can be influenced by statistical regularities in the observer's past experience.

 

 


Undergraduate Honors 2005-2006

Michelle Baldwin

Positive Bias in Perception of Physical Discipline

Advisors: Dr. Jennifer Freyd and Lisa Cromer

Recent research show that the general population tends to be very accepting of physical discipline by parents; survey results range from 70-88% approval of spanking or slapping (Bower-Russa, 2005). Endorsement of violent methods of discipline is significantly correlated with both the practice and severity of physical discipline (Scholar & Stein, 1995) and the abuse rate among parents endorsing physical discipline is four times higher than among those who do not (Straus, 1992). Attitudes towards discipline are significantly influenced by personal experience (Bower-Russa, 2005); people tend to endorse and view more positively forms of discipline that they have experienced. This can be partly explained by the Pollyanna Principle (Matlin & Stang, 1978) which predicts that people are more likely to interpret and remember experiences as more positive than they actually are. The current study examines positive bias specifically in memory for physical discipline situations. Participants were shown sets of images depicting scenarios in which parent figures disciplined child figures using either physical or verbal methods. Participants' memory for the images was tested by showing participants a video comprised of the previously viewed (target) images and of altered versions of those images that were either more positive or negative than the target images. Participants were asked to indicate if each image in the video was the same or different from those in the set they had viewed earlier. For each participant, a valence score was calculated indicating whether they reported having seen more positive or negative images, ranging from -18 (most negative) to 18 (most positive). For the verbal discipline scenario, the mean score was .91, indicating a slight significant positive bias, t(76)=.036, p<.05. For the physical discipline scenario, the mean score was 6.67, indicating a strong significant positive bias, t(76)=14.618, p<.01. Comparison of the two mean scores showed that the positive bias was significantly stronger in the physical discipline scenario, t(152)=-9.322, p<.01. This study also examined participants' attitudes towards and experiences with various forms of parental discipline.

 

Tabitha Bolton

Taxonomy of Imaginary Companions

Advisor: Dr. Marjorie Taylor

Imaginary companions come in all shapes and sizes. In order to provide information about the diversity of imaginary companions, we have created a database of imaginary companions descriptions collected from various studies in the past decade. This study examines the influence of data source in relation to the types of imaginary companions that are created by children and adults alike by looking at descriptions of such friends provided by parents, children, and adults who recall their own companions from childhood. In addition to examining the diversity in types of imaginary companions, this study sought to establish a method of systematic record keeping for the collection of imaginary companion descriptions compiled in the Imagination Lab at the University Of Oregon.

 

Michelle Harrison

The Mediation of Executive Functioning Between Parenting Styles and ToM

Advisor: Dr. Lou Moses

This research investigated the individual differences in theory of mind (ToM) and executive functioning (EF) in preschool-age children. The relationship between parenting styles and ToM was also investigated, and specifically examined EF as a possible mediator between parenting styles and ToM. A sample of 3.5- to 5.5-year-old children (N = 23) were run through a series of EF and ToM tasks while parents filled out a Parenting Style Questionnaire. It was hypothesized that a positive relationship would be found between Authoritative parenting and EF, as well as between parenting styles and ToM. After running a correlational analysis, a significant relationship was found between ToM and Authoritative parenting styles, r=.484, p<.05. Future studies should use broader, more diverse populations to capture a more representative sample, as well as include supplementary tasks to further investigate EF skills. Limitations are also discussed.

 

Laura Johnson

Temperament and Strategies for Activational and Inhibitory Control

Advisors: Dr. Mary Rothbart and Jessica Kieras

Inhibitory control (the capacity to suppress inappropriate approach behavior) and Activational control (the capacity to perform an action when there is a strong tendency to avoid it) are of particular importance to the study of self regulation and temperamental differences in attention. These types of control are two areas used to measure temperamental Effortful Control. The researchers combined a measure of strategies used to engage in behaviors that require Inhibitory control or Activational control with Evans and Rothbart's Adult Temperament Questionnaire (short form). Strategies were categorized as Effortful, Mental, or Task management. The researchers also assessed participant focus on the potential punishments or rewards associated with activating or inhibiting a behavior. Through statistical analysis, the researchers found that people high in Negative Affect reported using more strategies which focused on the potential detriments of failing to control their behavior. Persons high in Extraversion/Surgency reported more strategies focusing on the potential benefits of regulating their behavior. Temperamental Effortful Control correlated with the use of Effortful type strategies and the use of strategies in general. This study adds to the body of research aimed at helping individuals more effectively regulate their behavior.

 

John Knorek

Narcissism and Self-Perception Biases

Advisor: Dr. Sanjay Srivastava

This study examined narcissists' self-perception biases in 117 same-sex dyads. We analyzed correlations between narcissism and self-enhancement of personality traits associated with either egoistic or moralistic biases. The egoistic bias is a tendency to overestimate one's own power, status, and agency, whereas the moralistic bias a tendency to overestimate one's own likeability and agreeableness. Narcissism was measured with the Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI); self-enhancement bias was operationalized as the difference between self-ratings and partner ratings on a variety of trait measures. NPI scores were significantly correlated with the egoistic self-enhancement bias (power and extraversion) but not with the moralistic self-enhancement bias (agreeableness and conscientiousness). Ways to better measure certain self-enhancement biases and the usefulness they will have in understanding narcissism are discussed.

 

Kelsey McAlpine

The Original and Induced Roelofs Effects: Can the Same Shift in the Apparent Midline Explain both Illusions?

Advisor: Dr. Paul Dassonville

Roelofs (1935) demonstrated that when shown a rectangular frame offset left or right from straight-ahead, observers would consistently underestimate the eccentricity of that frame. This phenomenon became known as the (original) Roelofs effect. Later work by Bridgeman, Peery, and Anand (1997) showed that observers would misperceive the location of a target dot when it was presented within an offset frame, with the target seen to be shifted in the opposite direction of the frame (the induced Roelofs effect). Various studies have demonstrated that both the original and induced Roelofs effects can be explained by a shift in the observer's apparent midline towards the center of the offset frame (Werner, Wapner, and Bruell, 1953; Dassonville, Bridgeman, Bala, Thiem, & Sampanes, (2004); Dassonville & Bala, 2004). However, a study by de Grave, Brenner, and Smeets (2002) suggests that the same shift in the apparent midline cannot explain both illusions. In light of possible confounds found in the de Grave study, an experiment was designed to retest the hypothesis that both the original and induced Roelofs effects could be explained by the same shift in the apparent midline. Results from this initial experiment replicated the finding of an original Roelofs effect, but failed to find a significant induced effect. A second experiment, designed to be more similar to previous ones demonstrating an induced Roelofs effect, replicated the finding of an induced effect, but now failed to find the original Roelofs effect. Although it is unclear why we are unable to find both an induced and original Roelofs effect in the same paradigm, this inability does seem to indicate that both effects cannot be explained by the same shift in the apparent midline.

 

Jayne Mercer

Cross Cultural Differences in Attitudes and Beliefs about Intimate Partner Violence

Advisor: Jeff Todahl

The current study seeks to better understand the cross cultural differences in the attitudes and beliefs about intimate partner violence or interpersonal violence (IPV) based on ethnic identity. Research has shown that IPV does not discriminate between culture, age, socioeconomic status, gender, etc., but very little is understood about how specific ethnicities differ in their attitudes and beliefs about IPV. This study proposes to assess the attitudes and beliefs of a diverse population of students at the University of Oregon by means of an online survey consisting of three questionnaires. The first questionnaire assessed a subject's cultural identification, the second assessed the subject's attitude and beliefs about wife beating, and the third assessed a subject's attitudes and beliefs about IPV. The goal of this study is to better understand the way in which culture influences attitudes and beliefs about IPV and possibly be able to better serve its victims and perpetrators with this more in depth understanding. Data is currently being analyzed.

 

Kristina Mullins

When Students Discuss Diversity, What Do They Talk About?

Advisors: Dr. Holly Arrow and Jasmine Lam

Thirty groups of five students who shared the same ethnic/racial identity (15 groups) or had diverse identities (15 groups) discussed the climate for diversity at the University of Oregon (UO). Computerized text analysis of transcripts was used to examine the frequency with which twenty-eight topics related to diversity were discussed. The relative frequency of associated terms differed in common and diverse identity group conversations for 13 topics. Topics that came up more often in common than in diverse identity groups were definitions of diversity, the University's commitment to diversity, whether or not the campus is diverse, quantity of diversity, comparisons, settings on campus, regions of the United States, social categories, religion, ideologies, and identities (all p<.05). Diverse identity groups discussed language and nationality more often than common identity groups (p<.001). A post hoc division of groups into those composed mostly or entirely of students belonging to the ethnic/racial minority (Anglo/European-American/Caucasian, 15 groups) and those composed mostly or entirely of students with an ethnic/racial minority identity (15 groups) was used to check whether the common/diverse differences might be equally well explained by majority/minority status. Majority groups matched the common identity groups on all topics except for the University's commitment to diversity. These groups also used significantly more affirmative-toned terms than minority-dominated groups. Minority groups matched the diverse group pattern except that they solely discussed ability, a topic that included terms related to disabilities. Results suggest that common identity and majority groups focused more on differing categorizations of people, beliefs, and lifestyles and allocated more of the discussion to quantifying and comparing diversity levels at UO. Diverse identity and minority groups tended to discuss a broader range of topics, including issues related to adjustment, as indicated by the focus on nationality, languages, and abilities.

 

Keely Muscatell

Stressful Life Events, Chronic Difficulties, and Symptoms of Clinical Depression

Advisor: Dr. Scott Monroe

Acute, major life events have found to be associated with depression onset and symptom specificity, but little is known about the relationship between chronic stress and these characteristics of depression. Employing an investigator-based measure of life stress with 100 individuals diagnosed with major depressive disorder (MDD) we assessed acute and chronic stress and determined whether or not each participant had experienced a major difficulty or a severe stressful life event prior to depression onset. Severe stressful life events were found to be associated with heightened depression severity levels, lower levels of global functioning, and increased presentation of sad mood, hopelessness, and crying. Major difficulties occurring prior to depression onset were found to be unrelated to differences in depression severity, symptom patterns, and global functioning. These findings are discussed in terms of the differential roles that acute and chronic stressors play in the presentation of MDD.

 

David Osborn

Individuals' Willingness to Risk Death for Their Country

Advisors: Dr. Holly Arrow and Dr. John Orbell

This paper presents a review and analysis of the relevant literature. A variety of disciplines were reviewed, including sociology, anthropology, political science, military history, and psychology. The theories are organized into those that have a cultural or biological (evolutionary) emphasis. This willingness is also explored in its pre-modern manifestations in order to better understand its development from earlier forms of social organization to that of the nation. The analysis suggests that this willingness utilizes evolved mental mechanisms that served group identification and between-group conflict in small kin based groups. Such a willingness requires a strong affective component that is provided for by kin-like identifications with the nation. A case study of the breakup of Yugoslavia highlights the application of this type of analysis.

 

Emily Peterson

Suppressing Visual Memories Through Executive Control

Advisor: Dr. Michael Anderson

Forgetting is often perceived as the challenge one must overcome to have a good memory, when in fact, forgetting is actually an important component in maintaining a good memory. If people remembered everything from their daily lives, they would be overloaded with unimportant thoughts, making it hard to recognize relevant information. For example, if one remembered every parking place one's car had ever occupied, it would become difficult to bring to mind only the current parking place. Irrelevant or intrusive thoughts can also be distracting and unpleasant. For these reasons the ability to push information out of mind can be a useful skill. For instance, if one's favorite restaurant changed location, one would benefit from pushing the memory of the old location from mind, so that one can now remember the new location. Being able to forget is a useful component of memory that allows people to focus on, and therefore, remember only relevant information from their surroundings. This study, using the Think/No-Think paradigm, attempted to determine how actively avoiding thought for a visual image would affect a person's ability to later recognize that item. The stimuli used were neutral words paired with complex visual-spatial pictures of neutral faces or natural places. The results indicate that relative to a perceptual baseline, there is an overall inhibition for items that were actively not thought about when collapsed across the faces and places stimuli. These findings validate the hypothesis that actively avoiding thought of a picture leads to impaired recognition of that picture at a later time. The final recognition test showed that when subjects were later presented with the word-picture pair that they had actively avoided thinking about, they were less confident that they had even ever seen that word-picture pair before. Further support for this paradigm showed that actively thinking of a picture in some cases facilitated memory of that word-picture pair, but this was not consistent across all stimuli. These findings support the everyday use of memory inhibition by indicating that humans have executive control over what they think or don't think about, which later influences what they remember. If people choose to avoid thinking about a picture, even when presented with its cue, they can actually inhibit that memory, making it harder to recognize at a later time.

 

Emery Pinkert

The Geometry of Perception: Distortions of the Apparent Midline in the Induced Roelofs Effect

Advisor: Dr. Paul Dassonville

Previous research by Mergner, Nasios, Maurer & Becker (2001) has provided evidence that the apparent midline (or an observer's perception of straight ahead) plays a fundamental role in our ability to locate objects in space. Despite the apparent midline's potential fundamental importance in our ability to locate objects, our perception of straight ahead is vulnerable to errors (Dassonville & Bala 2004a, 2004b; Dassonville, Bridgeman, Bala, Thiem, & Sampanes, 2004; Werner, Wapner, & Bruell, 1953). In the present experiment, we examined the distortion of the apparent midline caused by the induced Roelofs effect (Dassonville & Bala 2004a, 2004b; Dassonville et al., 2004) using stimuli presented in three-dimensional space to determine the geometry in which the apparent midline is distorted. Previous research has suggested that the distortion may be a rotation, translation, or warping (Vallar, Guariglia, Nico, & Bisiach, 1995; Ferber and Karnath, 1999; Gogel and MacCracken, 1979). The perceptual errors for targets located at different depths from observers were compared to the errors predicted by the three potential types of distortion. Two experiments were run, the second to address potential confounds in the initial design. The data from both experiments suggests that the geometry of the midline distortion is predominately a rotation. However, the axis of rotation indicated by the data is significantly behind the eyes (and head) suggesting that the distortion could include an additional translation component. The potential for a translational component may be supported by previous work indicating eye dominance switching based on stimulus characteristics and eye position in azimuth (Khan and Crawford, 2003; Banks, Ghose & Hillis, 2004).

 

Leslie Sanchez

Reacting to Potential Prejudice: Implications for Interactions with Stigmatized Others

Advisor: Jonathan Cook

Because social stigmas are devalued, individuals with stigmatized identities may be more likely than others to be cautious in social interactions with new acquaintances. Such a strategy might be useful, for example, in evaluating the safety or prejudice level of a new acquaintance in order to avoid psychological or even physical danger. To test this hypothesis, we studied dyadic interactions between stigmatized and non-stigmatized participants. Participants with either a visible or concealable stigma were paired off with participants with no identifiable stigma and left alone to interact with each other for five minutes. These interactions were videotaped and coded for subjects' comfort level, depth of personal disclosures, number of questions asked, and number of encouraging comments. We hypothesized that relative to non-stigmatized participants, stigmatized individuals would be less comfortable during the interaction, disclose less personal information, ask more questions, and encourage interaction partners to reveal more about themselves. Contrary to predictions, stigmatized participants were no less comfortable than non-stigmatized participants and did not disclose less. In fact, there was a general trend toward greater comfort and depth of disclosures among stigmatized participants. There were no significant differences between the groups with respect to questions and encouraging behavior. Results suggest that the way stigmatized individuals may be cautious in social interactions with new acquaintances may be profiled differently than hypothesized above.

 

Carissa Sharp

Self/Other Overlap with God: Gender and Denominational Effects

Advisor: Dr. Sara Hodges

Self/other overlap is the perception having an overarching sense of "we" rather than "you and me" with an "other." It has previously been studied in regards to the relationship between a person and a concrete "other," such as romantic partner, but not in the relationship between a person and his or her concept of the divine. This study assesses members of Christian congregations including Unitarian Universalist, Presbyterian, Catholic, Seventh-Day Adventist, and Foursquare in order to determine whether there are differences in self/other overlap with God due to gender or denomination. Questionnaires are used to measure participants' self/other overlap with God as well as factors such as religiosity, biblical foundationalism, sexism, right-wing authoritarianism, and collectivism, which may influence a person's perceived relationship with God.

Andrew Shipley

The Development of Altruistic Preference: A Cross-cultural Study

Advisor: Dr. William Harbaugh

A cross-cultural developmental study is being conducted to measure youth preference for altruistic versus selfish behavior in Eugene, Oregon and the Pastaza province of the Ecuadorian Amazon. Rational choice models of human motivation and behavior predict individual maximization in social dilemma situations. This prediction has failed, however, to receive empirical support. Instead, significant variation both within and between cultures has been demonstrated in individuals' preference for altruistic and selfish behavior. No cross-cultural developmental research exists to explain this variation in adult behavior or to map its developmental trajectory. In the current study, a mixture of decision and game theoretic tasks were used to assess the altruistic preference of children ages 6 to 15. Seeking to isolate degree of capitalist market integration, a predictor variable often implicated in between cultures variance, the study included participants in Oregon public schools and participants in remote Shuar villages of the Ecuadorian Amazon. Pending the completion of data analysis, this study seeks to map the development of altruistic preference across an important maturational period. The question of starting-state universality in human altruistic preference will be explored and key periods of socialization and cultural divergence will be identified.

Lily Shipsey

Stressful Impairment of PPI and Asymmetry Effects in Schizotypy

Advisor: Dr. Patricia M. White

Attenuated pre-pulse inhibition of the startle blink reflex has been found in schizophrenia (Braff et al., 1978) and schizotypy (Cadenhead, Geyer and Braff, 1993) and is thought to reflect impaired sensorimotor gating. Although atypical laterality has been found in dichotic listening tasks for paranoid schizophrenics (for a review, see Romney, Mosely & Addington, 2000) differences in response laterality have not been examined for PPI in schizotypy and schizophrenia. This research examines atypical response laterality in schizotypal subjects by measuring PPI independently from both eyes during a dichotic listening task during both baseline and stressor conditions in 9 controls and 9 psychometric schizotypals. In a repeated-measures ANOVA with IV of eye, ear, condition and group, a main effect of condition showed impaired PPI during stress for each of the four lead intervals measured. Across conditions, PPI at each eye was diminished for probes administered through concordant ears at all lead intervals. For 120 ms probes administered binaurally, the groups showed similar PPI response in right and left eyes during baseline, but the groups showed opposite patterns of laterality impairment in right and left eyes during stress. In a pre-planned comparison of baseline PPI, schizotypals tended to have impaired PPI at 60ms but not at other intervals relative to controls. Correlational analyses reveal relationships between symptoms of schizotypy and laterality differences in both conditions, with higher symptom scores related to decreased PPI in the left eye and when sounds are delivered through the left ear. In summary, this research suggests that stress impairs short lead PPI across groups, that some symptoms of schizotypy are related to decreased PPI, and that laterality differences between groups arise during stress at 120ms lead intervals.

Allison Sinclair

Interacting with Depressed Adolescents: Is it Aversive to Parents?

Advisor: Lisa Sheeber

The purpose of this study was to examine whether interacting with depressed adolescents has an adverse effect on parents' emotional states (examining the potential adverse effects depressed adolescents have on their parents). Methods employed during data collection involved a two gate recruitment procedure consisting of a school assessment and an in-home diagnostic interview. The CES-D and the KSAD-S questionnaire scores from the two interviews were used to place participants into one of three groups; depressed, healthy, or subclinical. Certain selected families then participated in a family interaction assessment. Pre and post interactions scores evaluating levels of hostility, depression, and positive affect in each family member was determined by a self administered questionnaire. Pre scores evaluated participants' emotions before the interaction, post scores measured participants' levels of emotions during the interaction. Participants were 246 adolescents and their parents. We hypothesized that there would be a group by time interaction, indicating that parents of depressed adolescents were more depressed, more hostile, and had less positive affect than parents of adolescents in the other two groups, post problem solving interaction. Analyses were run separately for mothers and fathers, as well as for each emotion. The results of the repeated measures analyses did not support our hypothesis or past research in this area. This indicates that more research in the field of adolescent depression must be done in order to isolate more accurately some of the main contributors in terms of family functioning in an effort to develop more effective treatments and preventions.

Andrea Stull

Observer Explanations for Stereotypic and Counterstereotypic Behaviors & the Role of Explanations in Stereotype Change

Advisor: Jonathan Cook

One theory of stereotype change suggests that thinking about convincing explanations for counterstereotypic behavior may prompt people to re-think and modify a group stereotype. Past research has had mixed success in determining the validity of this theory, perhaps in part because experimenter-derived explanations have not been particularly convincing to participants. We were interested in exploring the role of participant-generated explanations in stereotype change and the possibility of systematic differences between explanations for stereotypic versus counterstereotypic behavior. Participants were presented with identical images of either an elderly man (study 1) or an Asian woman (study 2) and asked to provide explanations for the person's behavior. Explanations were coded using an adaptation of Malle's (2001) F.Ex coding scheme. Repeated measures ANOVA revealed that participants presented with a counterstereotypic target provided more intentional (reason and causal history) explanations and fewer unintentional (cause) explanations than participants presented with a stereotypic target. Contrary to expectations, there was no effect of generating explanations on stereotypic belief measures. Results are consistent with theories of subtyping, which suggest that counterstereotypic behavior is often seen as unrepresentative of a group, allowing perceivers to maintain stereotypic beliefs in the face of disconfirmation (Rothbart, 1981; Weber & Crocker, 1983). Thus one of the cognitive mechanisms underlying subtyping may be the generation of intentional attributions for counterstereotypic behavior.

Shawn Vallereux

Are Extraverts Happier? Situation Matters: A Day Reconstruction Method

Advisor: Dr. Sanjay Srivastava

In a recent study, R.E. Lucas and E. Diener (2001) argued that reward sensitivity comprises the core feature of Extraversion. We accept their argument, though believe that a daily-diary type method is a necessary next step in testing this theory. In the present study, a Day Reconstruction Method (Kahneman, 2003) is utilized to test the reward-sensitivity hypothesis against a potentially competing hypothesis that extraverts select more enjoyable social situations than introverts. Data from a sample of 109 respondents were used to test the 2 hypotheses with a repeated measure of happiness on multiple reconstructed episodes. The results clearly show support for the situation-selection hypothesis with no support being found for reward-sensitivity.

Kristin Williamson

The Influence of Language on Visual Selective Attention

Advisor:  Dr. Edward Awh

Previous studies have indicated that sensory experience can modify attentional processing. Here we present evidence that language experience may modify target discrimination ability in the four quadrants of the visual field. Observers reported the identity of a single target digit that was presented either within a dense array of letter distractors (noise trials) or alone in the visual field (clean trials). Virtually all monolingual English speakers showed a significant deficit in discrimination ability in the upper-left quadrant, as demonstrated by low response accuracy, compared to performance in the other three quadrants. This asymmetry was found only with the noise trials, suggesting that it relates specifically to the resolution of visual interference rather than target signal enhancement. In contrast, subjects whose native language was Korean, Chinese, or Japanese showed either significantly lower discrimination ability in the bottom two quadrants of the visual field, or an overall null result, raising the hypothesis that long-term experience with English characters influenced the efficiency of interference resolution with these stimuli. In support of this claim, similar patterns were observed across both language groups when non-alphabetic distractors were presented, indicating that experience with written language modified the efficiency of interference resolution across quadrants.


Undergraduate Honors 2004-2005

 

Will Backner

Reciprocal Affect During Peer Interaction Tasks: Differences Between Normative and Antisocial Teens and Between Genders

Advisor: Dr. Thomas Dishion

Friendships influence both children and adult's development. This makes the study of friendships important to the way that children develop and to the way adults see the world and change as they grow older. In this study, data taken from videotapes of a teen and their same sex friend interacting will be used to examine the way that teens respond to the affect of their friends. The data is comprised of affect codes and time stamps that records a teen's affect throughout the peer interaction. Statistical analyses will be done to determine whether the teens reciprocate the affect of their friends and the way that this reciprocation may differ between genders and between antisocial and normal teens. It is hypothesized that females will reciprocate affect at a higher rate than males, and that normal teens will reciprocate more than antisocial teens. If these hypotheses are supported, it will lend insight to what makes friendships "good." It may also give us insight into why antisocial people have difficulties with relationships throughout their lives.

Sara Banks

Spatial perception and spatial working memory in schizotypy

Advisor: Dr. Patricia White

Deficits in spatial perception (Hardoy et al., 2004) and in spatial but not object working memory impairment (e.g., Tek et al., 2002) have been found in schizophrenic patients relative to controls. Recent research suggests that some cognitive deficits observed in patients with schizophrenia also can be found in individuals diagnosed with schizotypal personality disorder, although spatial perception and spatial working memory were not tested (Matsui, Sumiyoshi, Kato, Yoneyama, and Kurachi, 2004). This study used the brief form of the Benton Judgment of Line Orientation task (BJLO) to assess spatial perception and spatial working memory in nine subjects psychometrically assessed with schizotypal personality disorder versus 15 control subjects. In standard administration, BJLO assesses spatial perception while delaying response to a spatial template forces subjects to retain spatial relationships in working memory. Right and left hemifield responses were grouped separately under both standard and delayed administration to test for laterality deficits known to be present in schizophrenia, but not yet tested in schizotypy. In comparison of standard to delayed stimulus presentation, a trend for delayed response x laterality was observed in schizotypal but not control subjects. During the delayed response task, which tapped spatial working memory, deficits in the right hemifield performance were observed in schizotypal subjects, suggesting deficits in left hemisphere function for spatial working memory but not standard administration or spatial perception. This finding is consistent with research showing deficits in spatial working memory tasks in schizophrenia and suggests another possible link in neurocognitive performance between schizotypy and schizophrenia.

Kindra Carroll

Stressful Disruption of Attentional Networks in Schizotypy?

Advisor: Dr. Patricia White

Schizotypy is considered to fall within the schizophrenia spectrum, (e.g. Kendler, Gruenberg, & Strauss, 1981) and schizotypal subjects possess some attentional impairments relative to controls (for a review see Raine, 1995) although components of visual attention are not yet well studied. In normal subjects, at least 3 networks play a role in visual attention, alerting, orienting and executive control (Fossella, Posner, Fan, Swanson, & Pfaff, 2001). In this study, visual attentional networks were assessed during baseline and stressor conditions in 9 psychometric schizotypal and 15 normal comparison subjects using the Attentional Networking Task (ANT). Stress was manipulated by instructing subjects that performance was being videotaped for review by a panel of experts. Reaction times during stress showed a significant delay across groups for the alerting network but not orienting or executive function. This finding is consistent with the relationship of noradrenalin to alerting observed in previous research and also serves as manipulation check for the efficacy of the intended stressor. When right and left-handed responses were grouped separately and compared across tasks, schizotypals tended to differ from controls in responses to the executive control network only. During baseline and stress, controls showed greater difference between congruent and incongruent targets (measure of executive control) in left than right-handed responses, while schizotypals failed to show laterality differences during baseline but not stress. While preliminary, these results may suggest altered executive control in schizotypy and possible dysfunction of the dopamine neurotransmitter which is associated with the executive control network.

Nicole Chiapella

Disorganization in the adult attachment interview: Physiological differences between the secure and unresolved classifications

Advisor: Dr. Jennifer Ablow

The unresolved classification in the Adult Attachment Interview is indicative of the worst outcomes for children including psychopathology, clinical anxiety and depression. This classification is characterized by brief periods of disorganized speech and lapses in monitoring and discourse. It was hypothesized that during the periods of disorganization present in women classified as unresolved would be heightened physiologically when compared to women classified as secure. Physiology is indicative of behavior as well as a person's ability to regulate themselves using their autonomic nervous system. The measures of heart rate and respiration sinus arrhythmia (RSA) were compared between the two groups. An independent samples t-test found that women classified as unresolved showed a significant increase in RSA during periods of disorganization when compared to when women classified as secure were discussing loss during the course of the interview. This result supported the hypothesis that physiology would be heightened for women classified as unresolved.

Barbara Cichosz

Perceptions of Diversity in the Self and Others

Advisor: Dr. Sara Hodges

The current study seeks to capture individuals' diversity, their perceptions towards identity features and the ways these perceptions interact with their knowledge of others. Participants were 70 undergraduates at the University of Oregon. A three-part questionnaire asked participants to identify themselves on a variety of social identity features within the "ADDRESSING" model (Hays, 1996, 2001) and to rate the valence and strength these features had on their lives currently. Participants also indicated their knowledge of the social identity features in three other people in their lives now. Contrary to hypotheis, there was no significant difference between modal and non-modal participants' knowledge of others. Results also suggest that participants whose identity features made them non-modal within the sample rated the features that made them non-modal as having a less positive influence on their lives than did participants who were modal for these features.

Alicia Craven

Infants' Segmentation of Dynamic Action: The Effect of Familiarization to Novel Stimuli

Advisor: Dr. Dare Baldwin

Every day, infants observe and make sense of the complex, dynamic actions of the people around them. One strategy both adults and infants use to make sense of this action stream is segmenting the ongoing act into its smaller-level intentional component (i.e. -- cleaning a kitchen is processed as reaching for a towel, picking up a dish, etc.). This study investigated the extent of 10- to 11-month-old infants' action segmenting skills (N=16), and how these skills are effected by infants' previous level of familiarity to an action sequence. After an initial period of familiarization to a video of continuous, everyday action, infants were shown a series of eight test trials (4 of which involved the movie seen during familiarization, and 4 of which were entirely novel to the infant) that highlighted either the completion of intentional acts (endpoint test videos), or moments that occurred n the midst of intentional acts (midpoint test videos). Infants showed a crossover pattern of results such that they looked longer at endpoint test videos when the stimuli were novel, and longer at midpoint test videos when they'd had previous exposure to the stimuli. These findings demonstrate that infants actively engage in online segmentation of dynamic action, and that their action processing strategies change depending on their familiarity with the action they're viewing. Implications for autism are also discussed.

Natalie Davis

Demand Characteristics and Response Biases on the MMPI-2

Advisor: Dr. Jason Quiring

The current study was designed to measure the effect of artificial demand characteristic instructions for inducing response biases and measuring the effects of those biases between two subject groups: (1) subjects who were instructed to lie that everything was going well for them, and (2) subjects who were instructed that they had many problems in life including many mental health problems. An overall significant difference was found between subjects who were directed to 'lie bad' and those directed to 'lie good.' Results suggested that the MMPI-2 successfully detected a difference in people presenting in an overly healthy or unhealthy way. This study adds to the discussion about how institutional demand characteristics may elicit patients' response biases on measures of psychopathology; and, understanding these effects is important for our ability to accurately diagnose, medicate and treat patients with psychopathology.

Wanda Dixon

Rule Compliance in Individuals with High-Functioning Autism and Asperger Syndrome

Advisor: Dr. Debra Eisert

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) recently accepted high-functioning autism (HFA) and Asperger's Syndrome (AS) as disorders on the Autism Spectrum. There is an ongoing debate and continuing research on whether these two disorders are distinct conditions. This study looks at rule compliance in these two groups to determine if there is a difference in how they understand and comply with rules. A total of 18 parents, of adolescents aged 11 to 18 and identified with either HFA or AS, answered a 37-item questionnaire regarding rules compliance by their teens. The results demonstrate that the two groups differed significantly overall in their compliance with AS adolescents being more resistant to compliance.

John Downes

Gender, Affect and Decision Making

Advisor: Dr. Ellen Peters

A series of two studies related decision making to affect and gender. In Study 1, participants responded to a series of questions measuring the attractiveness of a $9 bet in a Loss and a No loss condition and affect to that $9 bet (ie, how "good or bad" they felt about it). In Study 2, they rated their perceived risk of nuclear power when "nuclear power" was written in either a nice font or an ugly font. Findings were mixed when considering the hypothesis that women may use more affect in the decision making process. On the attractiveness scale men found the bet more attractive, in both the Loss and the No loss conditions. On the affect scale of "good/bad" men also felt more affect to the $9. Lastly, women rated the perceived risk of nuclear power higher than men on its own but the risk ratings of men were higher in the ugly font versus nice font condition while women's ratings were not influenced by the font. This gender difference may have been due to the ceiling effect for women's risk ratings.

Scott Fraundorf

Betrayal trauma and attention: Emotional processing systems affect response to trauma related information

Advisor: Dr. Michael Posner and Dr. Mary Rothbart

This study examined the influence of an emotional set on processing of negative words related to trauma. Participants who were high or low on a scale of trauma experiences were randomly assigned to complete either an emotional writing task or a neutral writing task, designed to establish either an emotional or a more neutral processing set. Following this task all participants pressed one of four computer keys to indicate the color of words presented by computer. Each word was either emotionally neutral or trauma related. Data will be collected during April and early May 2005 and presented in terms of reaction time differences between neutral and trauma words. The results are expected to support the hypothesis that participants who experienced trauma respond more slowly to the trauma words than the neutral words when primed with the emotional task but respond to both categories at the same speed when primed with a neutral task. Participants who have not experienced trauma are hypothesized to respond at the same speed regardless of prime. These results would suggest that an individual's response to trauma related information depends on whether he or she has been set to use an emotional or neutral processing system.

Christina Gamache Martin

The Relationship of ADHD Symptomatology and Teachers' Perceptions of Maltreatment Effects on Children's Learning and Behavior

Advisor: Dr. Jennifer Freyd and Lisa Cromer

Stimulant medication sales increased 500 percent between 1991 and 1999 (U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, 2000). Has ADHD become an epidemic: Or, has there been a massive increase in the over-diagnosis of ADHD (Leslie, 2004)? Weinstein et al. (2000) reported that ADHD presentation in children resembles trauma symptoms. Further, maltreated children are often diagnosed with both ADHD and PTSD (McLeer et al., 1994). ADHD (Forness & Kavale, 2001) and maltreated children (Trocme & Caunce, 1995) are also largely represented in special education. Nearly one-third of children in special education are maltreated (Sullivan & Knutson, 2000). Similarity between ADHD and trauma symptomatology calls etiology into question. Because of teachers' important roles in children's lives, this study examines teachers' perceptions of maltreatment effects, beliefs about stimulant medication and the causes of ADHD, and motivations for special education referral. Teachers (N = 156) completed an internet survey. As predicted, teachers' described maltreated children as exhibiting many ADHD symptoms. However, teachers believing ADHD to be biological were not more likely to support stimulant medication use, and teachers who supported stimulant medication use were not more likely to refer students for special education. Implications for maltreated children identified as having ADHD are discussed.

Mary Gray

Betrayal Trauma, Acculturation and Historical Grief among Native Americans

Advisor: Dr. Jennifer Freyd and Lisa Cromer

Since European contact, Native Americans have experienced loss of life, land, and culture causing intergenerational trauma and unresolved grief (Yellow Horse Brave Heart & DeBruyn, 1998). Not surprisingly, identification with Native American heritage has been found to be affected by the individual's level of acculturation in, or resistance to, dominant white culture, as well as ownership of traditional customs and beliefs (Garrett & Pichette, 2000). Acculturation studies in the extant literature report ways to measure acculturation and discuss the relationship between acculturation and psychological health. They do not however, examine the relationship of acculturation to intergenerational trauma. The current research documents prevalence rates of historical grief and betrayal trauma to better understand how these relate to Native American identity and acculturation. Native Americans in Oregon (N = 46) participated in the study. Participants completed the Historical Losses Scale (Whitbeck et al., 2004) Native American Acculturation Scale (Garrett & Pichette, 2000) and the Brief Betrayal Trauma Survey (Goldberg & Freyd, under review). As predicted betrayal trauma is negatively correlated to acculturation r = -.256, p<.05, meaning that Native Americans who are less acculturated to dominant white culture experience more trauma. Results are discussed in relation to historical losses and Native American diversity.

Andrea Hopkins

Activation asymmetry of prepulse inhibition in high and low trait anxious females during stress

Advisor: Dr. Patricia White

The startle blink (muscle reflex to loud sounds) is reliably reduced in humans and other species when preceded by a weak pre-stimulus (Dawson, Schell, Swerdlow, & Filion, 1997). This pre-pulse inhibition (PPI) is hypothesized to reflect an automatic pre-attentive inhibitory process that protects initial processing of the auditory prepulse by dampening effects of startling stimuli (Dawson et al., 1997) indexing sensory filtering. PPI is disrupted in schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders (Filion, Dawson, & Schell, 1998) although PPI has not been well-examined in anxiety disorders other than PTSD. Possible laterality shifts associated with anxiety were assessed using a dichotic listening task and bilateral eye recording during baseline and stress conditions in 8 high trait anxious and 12 low trait anxious right-handed females. Examination of startle blink amplitudes suggest that high trait anxious participants fail to show habituation of the startle blink during baseline relative to low trait anxious participants, while both groups show reduced habituation in startle blink amplitude during stress. PPI is reduced in high trait anxious participants during baseline conditions but effects of stress differed for binaural and monaural delivery. With regard to activation asymmetry, at a pre-attentional probe during baseline and across probes during stress, high trait anxious subjects show reduced PPI in the left eye/left ear, suggesting right hemisphere difficulties with auditory filtering. This finding is consistent with the more general literature reports of right hemisphere over-activation in trait anxiety in studies of spatial EEG.

 

Logan Johnston

Impact of Ethnic Diversity and Familiarity on Similarity Judgments

Advisor: Dr. Holly Arrow

Studies of person perception have found that people routinely categorize others according to observable surface characteristics such as gender and ethnicity (Stanger, Lynch, Duan, & Glass, 1992). Less information is available on the degree to which such categories influence perceptions of self-other similarity among interacting dyads, although some theorizing suggests that the impact of these surface characteristics should decline over time as people get to know each other better (Moreland & Levine, 1992). Data from 30 five-member self-organized task groups was used to investigate the degree to which both ethnic similarity or difference and familiarity (inferred from length of acquaintance) affected self-other judgments of similarity and difference for dyads embedded in these groups. Some members were interacting for the first time, while others had known each other for months or years. Greater familiarity was predicted to increase both similarity and difference ratings based on the reasoning that people who knew each other better would discover both more ways in which they were similar and more dimensions of difference. People who had known each other longer rated one another as more similar and less different than those who had known each for a shorter period. Similarity and difference ratings were negatively correlated. An unexpected gender effect was found with regards to judgment discrimination. Women appear to be more discriminating in their judgments of similarity. In dyads that are different along both gender and ethnic composition lines, women saw the least similarity between themselves and the other dyad member. This effect was not seen in any other combination of ethnic and gender composition.

Diana Kerr

Parental Support, Validation, and Positive Affect: Relationship Quality with Adolescents and Antisocial Behavior

Advisor: Dr. Thomas Dishion

The parent-adolescent relationship has been shown to influence adolescents' development of interpersonal problem solving skills and association with deviant peers. The present study attempts to answer how positive parent-adolescent relationship quality (PPRQ) characterized by parental validation and positive affect differentiates between normative and high-risk youth, African American and European American youth, and between male and female youth. The study was a secondary analysis of a sub-sample of 133 participants' observational data, coded with the Simple Affect Coding system (SACS) from a study called Project Alliance. It was hypothesized that normative youth would have a higher mean score of (PPRQ) compared to high risk youth, African American youth would have a lower mean score compared to European American youth, and that males would have a lower mean score compared to female youth. Results showed significant effects of risk group and ethnicity on (PPRQ) and supported the research hypotheses. A significant interaction effect of risk group and ethnicity on mean scores of (PPRQ) showed normative European American youth to have higher mean scores compared to African American youth, but no difference in mean scores between high risk European American and African American youth. Non-significant effects of gender or the interaction of gender, ethnicity, and risk were found. The findings provide implications for parental intervention and prevention research and indicate a need for further replication of the study with the consideration of socioeconomic status.

Angela Lansing

The Effects of Parenting Environment and Child Theory of Mind on Preschoolers' Well Being

Advisor: Dr. Kirby Deater-Deckard and Katy Cahill

This study evaluates the link between the interaction of child theory of mind and parent child mutuality as a moderator of child well-being. Parent-child mutuality and cognitive ability have been shown to have an effect on child well-being. Yet, there is a limited body of knowledge about the interactions between parenting and cognitive ability in relationship to child self-concept. The present study is designed to examine these relationships as they pertain to preschool age children. Families with fraternal (DZ) and identical (MZ) twin pairs were evaluated on parenting environment (PARCHISY) child theory of mind (Stanford-Binet cognitive ability score) and child self-concept (Eder puppet interview). Results are hypothesized to predict the effects of parenting environment and child theory of mind on child well-being.

Brittni Lauinger

Selective Auditory Attention and Socioeconomic Status in Young Children: An ERP Based Study

Advisor: Dr. Helen Neville and Dr. Lisa Sanders

This study examined the relationship between selective auditory attention in children and socioeconomic status (SES) through an event-related potential (ERP) based paradigm. Selective auditory attention is the ability to pick out which sounds you want to hear and which you want to ignore, also known as the "cocktail party effect" (Cherry, 1953). SES is a factor of interest because it is very strongly related to cognitive ability in children (Noble, Norman, & Farah, 2005). SES was measured by the Hollingshead Four-Factor Index, a composite based on the child's mother's and father's occupation and level of education (Hollingshead, 1975). The subject population was defined as normally developing children, ages 3.5 - 7.5 years old, and representing a continuum of SES levels (N = 46). The current study uses a paradigm in which linguistic and nonlinguistic probes are embedded in two simultaneous narratives to measure the auditory attention effect by means of ERPs. The attention effect is the difference in the ERP response to probe stimuli embedded in the attended versus the unattended stories. The first hypothesis was that 3.5 - 5 year old children in general would show similar attention effects to those of 6 - 7.5 year old children. The second hypothesis was that, when broken down by SES, children from high and low SES families would show different attention effects. Analyses of the data showed that the 3.5 - 5 year old children did show attention effects similar to those seen in 6 - 7.5 year old children. Also, when age groups were combined and divided (by median split) into two age-matched SES groups, differences were found. Although both high and low SES groups showed significant attention effects, only the high SES group showed a significant difference by probe type, an effect that has been shown in adults (Coch, Sanders, & Neville, in press). This may suggest that subjects from high SES families may be better at attending specifically to the story and therefore the linguistic probes on the attended side are also attended. The low SES group may be attending to anything coming from the attended story.

 

Paul Monson

The Role of Event Plausibility in Autobiographical Memory Suggestion

Advisor: Dr. Jennifer Freyd and Lisa Cromer

Research in memory suggestion has found that adults are susceptible to suggestion of an impossible event: meeting Bugs Bunny at Disney (Braun, Ellis & Loftus, 2002). The present study attempted to manipulate event plausibility in order to investigate the role of event plausibility (Pezdek, Finger & Hodge, 1997) in memory suggestion. Participants were University of Oregon undergraduates (N = 58) participating for credit in psychology courses. Participants read an autobiographical advertisement about an event in Disneyland that varied on event plausibility and possibility. It was hypothesized that event plausibility, and not possibility, would affect memory suggestibility. Specifically, it was predicted that events low in plausibility would be less suggestibility than events high in plausibility. Results were not significant. Directions for future research are discussed.

Camilla Nermoen

Perspective-Taking and Perceived Overlap Between Representations of Self and Other

Advisor: Dr. Sara Hodges

This experiment investigated the effects of different perspective-taking instructions on perceived overlap between the self and other. Participants were assigned to one of three conditions: the "imagine target" condition, where they were instructed to imagine how a videotaped target felt; the "imagine self" condition, where they were instructed to imagine how they personally would feel in the target's situation; or the control condition, where they were given no perspective-taking instructions and were asked only to focus on factual information about the target. To measure perceived self-other overlap, participants adjusted two circles on a computer screen until the overlap of the two circles (or the distance between them) represented how close they felt to the target. With a preliminary sample collected (N = 56), the three groups did not differ significantly in terms of perceived self-other overlap. However, there was a trend for participants in the "imagine target" condition to perceive more overlap with the target than participants in the "imagine self" and control conditions, suggesting that imagining how another person feels evokes stronger feelings of closeness with that person than imagining how one would feel in the person's place or objectively observing that person.

Chiew Woon Ng

The Effect of Negative Emotions on Mere Exposure Effect

Advisor: Dr. Paul Dassonville, Dr. Sanjay Srivastava, Katie Burns

Mere exposure effect is a robust phenomenon in which the mere exposure to a particular stimulus will enhance an individual's attitude toward it (Zajonc, 1968). Additional research found that this enhanced preference for the exposed stimulus also extends to novel, but similar, stimuli (Zajonc, 2001). Murphy (2001) suggested that the repeated exposures might be sufficient to create a positive mood state and result in positive evaluations of the exposed stimulus. This study will investigate the impact of a negative mood state on the mere exposure effect. Participants will be randomly assigned to one of two conditions, "no mood induction" or "frustrated mood induction" and asked to perform a subtraction task orally. Those in the "no mood induction" condition will perform the subtraction task without interruptions, whereas, those in the "frustrated mood induction" condition will be continuously interrupted throughout the task. Participants in both conditions will then be exposed to 15 nonsense words subliminally flashed at different exposure rates. After the exposure period, they will be asked to rate the words for both liking and familiarity. It is predicted that the frustrated mood induction will impede the necessary positive mood state from developing and the mere exposure effect will not occur.

Yvette Pederson

A Comparative Analysis of Adolescent Language

Advisor: Dr. Thomas Dishion

Comparisons of vocabulary in conversation between at risk and normative adolescents were examined to determine if language has the potential to promote problem behavior within the at risk group. All volunteers for this secondary analysis were males aged 14 to 18 and of African American, Latino, Asian American or Caucasian descent. Their conversations about drugs and alcohol were transcribed and analyzed by the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count Program, which designates each word of conversation into 1 of 74 categories, calculating a percentage for each. Preliminary review suggests at risk youth expressed a higher percentage of swearwords, the pronoun "I," along with words indicating negation and negative emotion. Language, a common denominator within groups, could prove to be a valuable predictor for early detection and intervention of problem behavior with further linguistic assessment.

 

Giuseppe Pellegriti

Schizotypal Gender Differences on Trail Making Performance

Advisor: Dr. Patricia White

Numerous studies report executive function deficits in schizophrenia patients. For example, schizophrenic subjects have been found to produce slower scores on both motor speed (TMT-A) and executive function (TMT-B) trailmaking tasks compared to controls (Woelwer & Gaebel, 2002). In contrast, schizotypals report similar but milder symptoms and show executive function (TMT-B) but not motor speed (TMT-A) deficits relative to controls (Keefe, Silverman, Roitman, & Harvey, 1994). This project compared performance of psychometric schizotypals (n = 9) to controls (n = 12) on the traditional TMT tasks and an expanded version of TMT with 5 tasks, the CTMT, during baseline and stress conditions. In this preliminary and very small sample, results were mixed. Group differences were not found on either motor speed or executive function TMT tasks, but were found on two of the four tests of the CTMT. On CTMT 2 (which includes distractor stimuli) schizotypal males but not females tended to complete the task more slowly across baseline and stress conditions. On CTMT 4, which alternates word and numeric representations of numbers, male schizotypals were slower during stress than male controls, while female schizotypals were slower than female controls during baseline but not stress. Due to the extremely small sample size and failure to replicate previous TMT-B deficits among schizotypals, these preliminary findings are viewed with caution but suggest that gender may play a possible role in stress effects on executive function in schizotypy; data will continue to be collected.

Melissa Pistono

Recovered Memory: Scientific Research and its Implications for the Justice System

Advisor: Dr. Jennifer Freyd

The recovered memory debate has had an impact on more than just the scientific community; its effects can also be seen in the court room. Recovered memories; How do they occur? Why does it happen? What are the mechanisms involved? How frequently does it occur? Are recovered memories accurate? And how does the justice system use scientific research to evaluate the validity and reliability of recovered memory cases presented in a courtroom? This paper reviews the research on recovered memories and examines how the judicial system utilizes scientific research when determining the admissibility of testimony regarding recovered memories.

Scarlet Rappl

Sleep and Memory Inhibition: Investigating the Effect of Sleep on the TNT Paradigm

Advisor: Dr. Michael Anderson and Ben Levy

Previous research using the Think/No Think (TNT) paradigm has demonstrated that people are able to intentionally suppress the memory of specific words (Anderson and Green, 2001). The current study examines the possible relationship between sleep and memory inhibition, as measured by the TNT paradigm. Participants were randomly assigned to sleep either 4-5 hours or 9-10 hours on the night before the experiment took place. The day of the experiment, each participant completed a computerized TNT task designed to measure their ability to inhibit the memory of specific words. After completing the task, participants completed two detailed questionnaires, one regarding the mental techniques they used to complete the TNT task, and the other surveying their sleep habits. Preliminary findings do not suggest a difference in performance between sleep-deprived and non-sleep-deprived individuals on the TNT task as hypothesized.

Santiago Garcia Rodriguez

Effect of Surface- vs. Deep-level Diversity on Self-Other Similarity Judgments

Advisor: Dr. Holly Arrow

The current study examines the effects of diversity on the evolution of judgments of similarity within task groups. Literature on social psychology sustains that in the initial stages of group development, members pay more attention to surface-level traits, such as gender or ethnicity, when evaluating others. As the group interacts, group members shift their attention to deeper-level attributes, such as values and beliefs, to make their judgments (Moreland & Levine, 1992). Data on 44 five-person task groups that met for three consecutive weeks, and whose members were of same or different ethnicity, were used to investigate the evolution of similarity judgments. Results showed that males followed the expected pattern with higher ratings of similarity for same-ethnicity than for different-ethnicity members, but with means converging over time. However, female groups showed unexpected results giving higher ratings of similarity for ethnically-different than for ethnically-alike group members keeping means constant over time.

Cassandra Tyson

Context, Induced Motion, & Spatial Localization: An Induced Motion task comparing real and illusory contours.

Advisor: Dr. Paul Dassonville

The visual system uses an abundant number of contextual cues in order to process incoming information about the environment. Although usually reliable, occasionally cues are inaccurate, leading to the experience of visual illusions. The perceptual system is vulnerable to illusion, and can easily be misled by the context of a visual scene into misperceiving object characteristics such as size, orientation, location, and movement. The context of a large frame offset to one side in an otherwise impoverished visual environment will cause the subjective sense of straight ahead to drift toward the center of the frame, known as the Roelofs effect (Roelofs, 1935, Brogsole, 1967, Dassonville & Bala, VSS 2002). A stationary target presented inside a moving frame will appear to move in the opposite direction, a phenomenon known as Induced Motion (Dunker, 1929). The motion induced in the stationary target can best be explained by the Induced Roelofs effect (Bridgeman & Klassen, 1983) in that the shifted frame causes the target mislocalization. What it is about the context of the frame that leads to the mislocalization of the target is unresolved; is it the low level physical characteristics of the stimulus, or higher level processing? To examine this question, we compared the magnitude and time course of the illusion of a real frame with one created using illusory contours. Illusory contours are created by differences in luminance, texture, or color and result in the perception of figure against ground where no actual boundaries exist. In the current experiment, the effect of an illusory rectangle (Kanizsa type) was compared to that of a real rectangle during a stroboscopic Induced Motion task. The first experiment examined the magnitude of the illusion. The second experiment sought to determine whether or not there was a significant difference in the time course of the illusion comparing real and illusory conditions. The Kanizsa figure evoked a small but significant Induced Motion effect, however there was no difference in the time course detected by the current experiment.

Diana Woodworth

Comparing the observed emotion in adolescent-parent interaction

Advisor: Dr. Thomas Dishion

The study is a secondary analysis using the 117 adolescent-parent, video-taped interactions that have been coded using the Simple Affect Coding System (SACS). The objective of this study was to compare the RPMs and durations of positive affect, validation, distress, anger and neutral states between at-risk and normative subjects, between African-American and European-American subjects, and between female and male adolescent subjects. Comparisons derived from the coded emotion of the adolescent-parent interactions revealed the following: 1) significantly higher RPMs and durations of anger among at-risk adolescents and moms than among normative adolescents and moms, 2) significantly higher RPMs and durations of positive affect among at-risk moms than among normative moms, 3) significantly higher RPMs and durations of validation among European-American moms and adolescents than among African-American moms and adolescents, and 4) significantly higher positive affect among at-risk adolescent girls than among at-risk adolescent boys.


Undergraduate Honors 2003-2004

Lauren A. Anas

The Influences of Early Adversity

Advisors: George M. Slavich and Scott M. Monroe, PhD

Recent research suggests a strong link between depression in adulthood and exposure to undesirable events and difficulties during childhood. In particular, parental separation as well as physical and sexual abuse appear to negatively affect the adjustment of the children, placing them at higher risk to experience recurrent episodes of depression in adulthood. To test the hypothesis that individuals who are exposed to parental separation and/or abuse are at increased risk to experience recurrent depression compared to individuals who are not exposed to early adversity, the Life Events and Difficulties Schedule (LEDS; Brown & Harris, 1978) was administered to 84 depressed adults. Participants were asked a number of questions regarding early adversity. Information obtained from the interviews including whom the individual was separated from in childhood, reasons for the separation, the nature of the subject-parent relationship, and whether or not they experienced physical and/or sexual abuse as a child. Depression history was subsequently examined for each of the adult participants. Results from the study suggest that children who experienced a separation from a parent during childhood underwent a major transition during the period and experienced more than one depressive episode during their adulthood. Subjects that experienced bad relationships with their fathers during childhood were more likely to have more than one depressive episode during adulthood.

 

Taylor Bryant

Influence of Reference Group on Body Image Perception

Advisor:  Myron Rothbart, PhD

This study examined how comparison level and reference group influences women's satisfaction with personal body image. Participants examined 14 photographs of either thin or heavy women. Photographs were either European or African American women. Four independent sets of photographs were created, corresponding to the four experimental between-subject conditions: white/thin, white/heavy, black/thin, and black/heavy. Participants indicated satisfaction with their own body shape before and after observing the photographs. It was predicted that women would be less satisfied with their own body after observing thin than heavy women, and this effect will be strongest when viewing their own racial group. No significant findings supported the hypotheses, although there was strong correlation between ponderosity and dissatisfaction.

 

Stephanie Carpenter

Mood and the Generalization of Affect: A Test of Emotional Specificity

Advisors:Ellen M. Peters

This study examined the impact of environmental factors on the generalization of affect using 225 university undergraduates. Following a mood manipulation, subjects in the control condition completed a numerical estimations task with sad and angering scenarios, cognitive load subjects listened to a musical composition while completing the estimations task, and reasons analysis subjects analyzed and listed reasons for making their estimates. We predicted that emotional specificity (angry or sad) would be greatest in the control condition, reduced under reasons analysis, and that affect under cognitive load would either generalize to valence (negative mood), or would display greater emotional specificity. Current results indicate that specificity is reversed under Reasons Analysis and Cognitive Load induces greater specificity for sad mood, suggesting an automatic emotional process.

Lauren Corder

Underlying Mechanisms of Auditory Processing During Stress: Relationship of early muscle response and mid-latency ERP component

Advisor:  Dr. Patricia White

The decline in amplitude of the P50 component of the auditory event-related potential in a paired click paradigm acts as indirect evidence of a pre-attentional gating deficiency. White and Yee (1997) found that normal P50 suppression was disrupted when non psychiatric subjects simultaneously performed an oral stressor. Subsequent investigation of 10 experimental modifications (Yee and White, 2001) showed that extreme facial muscle activity and silent stress both disrupt normal P50 suppression. In this study, the same 10 paradigms used by Yee and White were analyzed with regard to an earlier muscular component associated with auditory orienting, the post-auricular reflex (PAR) and component which follows P50 in auditory processing and is related to selective attention, the N100 component. Analysis of earlier and later components during auditory processing was conducted to investigate and clarify the mechanisms that may underlie the disruption of P50 suppression. In this work, both PAR and N100 also showed amplitude suppression to the second stimulus of the click pair. PAR was shown to alter in amplitude but not suppression ratio during facial muscle activation, and PAR also did not show suppression disruption during the stressor. In contrast, the N100 suppression showed similar effects of stress as the P50 component. Also, P50 and N100 ratios correlated positively during the stressor but were not associated during a passive baseline. Thus, results from this study suggest that response suppression to paired stimuli may occur as early as the orienting response (PAR) but stressor effects appear to occur later during auditory processing.

 

Sarah Dailey

Individual Definitions of 'Race' for the Self

Advisor:  Chuck Tate

This study examined how people define 'race' in reference to the self and whether these definitions matter for various self-relevant social judgments. Study 1 examined the structure of definitions of 'race' for the self. Two theory types were found: phenotype (physical appearance) and ethnicity (some combination of values, behaviors, and societal classification). Study 2 examined how theory type relates to how people want to be perceived by others when 'race' is an issue. Ethnicity theorists found it more acceptable for 'race' to be mentioned in a conversation than did phenotype theorists. Study 3 examined the relationship to perceptions of other in-group members, and ethnicity theorists rated that it negatively affects them personally when a person does not act consistent with their 'race' more than did phenotype theorists.

 

Corrie A. Doyle

The Physiological Correlates of Life Stress and Depression

Advisors:  George M. Slavich & Dr. Scott Monroe

Prominent theories have proposed a positive correlation between life stress and major depressive disorder (MDD). These events generally involve highly aversive experiences, concerning serious threats to core relationships. This investigation addresses the life stress and its effects on baseline and emotionally provoked physiology in MDD subjects. Behavioral measures to assess depression and severity of life events were administered, as well as physiological measurements known to be directly connected to innervations involved with the sympathetic nervous system: a key player in the stress response. The findings suggested MDD subjects who have experienced life stress exhibited physiological correlates consistent with a more intense and elongated stress response as compared to their no-stress counterparts. Differences in physiological correlates like these may reflect a core connection between objective and subjective variables in this disorder.

 

Daniel J. Friend

The role of attachment and dissociation in the intergenerational transmission of abuse

Advisors:  Dr. Jennifer Freyd

The goal of this project was to examine individual differences among perpetrators. Specifically, the relationship between attachment and dissociation was examined in association with abuse history and perpetration of abusive acts. The hypothesis was as follows: those with abusive history would be more likely to become perpetrators if classified as insecurely attached, those abused subjects who were classified as non perpetrators and securely attached would show higher DES scores, in accordance with Betrayal Trauma Theory. Data was collected using self-report measures from 233 undergraduates. Caution should be used in interpreting these results, since a limited number of subject reported being perpetrators. Limitation and future research implications are also discussed.

 

Naruka Hirayama

Gender Differences in Social Support from Parents and Peers and Depressive Symptoms among Middle Adolescents

Advisors:  Dr. Thomas J. Dishion

Adolescence is the time when a gender difference in depression first appears. However, no clear evidence exists for increased depression in adolescent girls. The purpose of this study is to combine sociological and psychological approaches to understanding middle-adolescent depression and to examine the question of why more adolescent girls experience depression than do adolescent boys in terms of a gender-differential socialization. The sample consisted of 527 high school students in Portland, Oregon, and they were administered questionnaires containing scales measuring depression, social skills, and parents' parenting skills. Middle adolescent depression was not directly related to family conditions and social support from family, but peer relationships played a significant role for both genders. The primary findings in this study were that girl's depression was strongly correlated with type of peers although they tend to have prosocial peers; Girls who have deviant peers, especially, develop depressive symptoms. In contrast, boy's depression was not related to the type of peers although they have more deviant peers, and social preference reduced their depression. Those results revealed that adolescent boys and girls have different ways of making socialization.

Angela Rose Kelley

Sensory Gating Phenomenology in Relation to Modd and Quality and Duration of Sleep

Advisor:  Dr. Patsy White

Poor sensory gating, or filtering of sensory input, has been observed in several clinical populations such as schizophrenia and mania (Freedman et al., 1987). Subsequent research has shown a relationship between anxiety or stress and sensory gating in schizophrenia (Yee, Nuechterlein, Morris and White, 1998) and in non-clinical populations (White & Yee, 1997). Stressful disruption of sensory gating has been attributed to effects of arousal. Clinical populations with impaired gating also possess disturbed sleep, which has been demonstrated to alter arousal independent of pathology. Thus, clinical pathology may directly influence gating, or previously observed poor gating in clinical populations may be a secondary effect stemming from disrupted sleep. Thus, these studies assessed the relationship of sensory gating phenomenology to disturbed sleep. In Study 1, poor sleepers (n=310) were found to have increased self reported disruption of sensory gating phenomenology. When depression was co-varied in this analysis, poor sleepers still showed a trend for self-reported disruption in subscales indexing distractibility and perceptual modulation. In Study 2, intended and unintended sleep loss, measured crudely, were not shown to cause differential disruption of sensory gating. In this study, typical sleep duration was found to vary with the stress/fatigue subscale of the Sensory Gating Inventory across participants (n=152). Among all males, but not females, total hours of sleep negatively correlated with stress-fatigue vulnerability and among males unintentionally deprived of sleep, sleep duration showed a negative correlation with perceptual modulation. Overall, disrupted sleep appears to impair at least some sensory gating phenomenology, with potentially greater disruption in males than in females.

 

Molly Kessner

Evoked Heart Rate during Facial Affect Recognition in Schizotypy and Social Phobia

Advisor:  Dr. Patsy White

Research has shown deficits in affect recognition in schizophrenia and attentional and memory biases to angry faces in social phobia. To assess the influence of social anxiety on arousal and physiological response during processing of facial emotion, schizotypal (SZ;n= 11), socially phobic (SP;n=11) and normal control subjects (CNT;n=12) were exposed to startle probes, at 120 ms and 3800ms, while viewing facial images. Heart-rate (HR) change while processing provided physiological measure of parasympathetic (HR deceleration) and sympathetic regulation (HR acceleration) while processing affective stimuli. The tri-phasic HR curve was derived from measuring changes in inter-beat interval duration, yielding measurement of cardiac acceleration and deceleration to affective stimuli. In this study, subjects viewed the same angry, happy and neutral images during 5 tasks in which attention was manipulated toward or away from specific emotional content, with HR acceleration and deceleration assessed for the 3800 ms probe. SZ show enhanced orienting and reduced arousal with affective targets, but in the absence of attention directed toward emotion, show enhanced orienting only for angry images. SP display specific attentional biases toward non-target angry images and reduced affective arousal after the non-target angry image offset, but also showed a an unpredicted reduction in affective arousal during viewing angry target images, with similar responding to happy and neutral images as controls. Taken together, these results suggest anomalies specific to each clinical group when processing angry images and support the need for attentional manipulation during processing of affective images to capture the full range of physiological response.

 

Andy Kohnen

Feature-matching and self-other comparisons

Advisor:  Dr. Sara Hodges

The current study explores the application of feature-cancellation and direction of comparison effects to self-other comparisons. College participants (N=90) made a comparison either between their own study habits and a fabricated comparison-other or between a previous participant's study habits and that previous participant's corresponding comparison-other. They did so on the basis of a checklist of 27 bad study-habits. Participants making a comparison involving a high degree of overlapping features tended to rate both people in the comparison very similarly. More interestingly, participants tended to rate the overall study habits of the other as significantly worse than those of the self when there was a low number of overlapping features, presumably because of direction of comparison effects. Finally, participants comparing two others with a low degree of overlap between their habits tended to rate the referent as worse than the target of comparison.

 

Nathan D. McVeigh

Influence of Retrieval-Induced Forgetting during Second Language Acquisition

Advisors:  Benjamin J. Levy and Dr. Michael C. Anderson

This study examined whether different verbal labels for a visual stimulus compete between languages, and, if so, does this lexical competition lead to retrieval-induced forgetting during second language acquisition. The participants were 32 undergraduates who had taken at least one year of college-level Spanish. Participants named objects on a computer screen in either English (e.g., cow) or Spanish (e.g., vaca), and then completed an independent probe rhyming test (e.g., bough _____). The results support the hypothesis that retrieving a word from a secondary language to name a picture causes the phonetic label from the primary language to become less accessible. Such findings suggest that retrieval-induced forgetting aids in second language acquisition by reducing lexical competition from the primary language.

 

Kimberly L. Merrill

Chronic Life Stress and Major Depression

Advisors:  George M. Slavich, Leandro D. Torres, & Dr. Scott M. Monroe

The literature on life stress and depression has identified at least two types of stress that differ temporally from each other: relatively-acute stressful life events and more-chronic ongoing difficulties (Monroe & Hadjiyannakis, 2002). Although a number of studies have investigated the role that relatively-acute stressful events play in the onset (Mazure, 1998; Kessler, 1997), course (Hammen et al., 1986; Lloyd et al., 1981), and symptom severity (e.g., Dolan et al., 1985; Hammen et al., 1992) of major depression, few studies have examined the role that ongoing difficulties play in this disorder. To address this void in the literature, 85 depressed adults were administered the Life Events and Difficulties Schedule (LEDS; Brown & Harris, 1978) and the Beck Depression Inventory II (Beck et al., 1988,1987). The LEDS was used to assess the severity and nature of participants' ongoing difficulties occurring one year prior to their depressive onset, whereas the BDI was used to assess depressive symptoms. Researchers then examined the domain in which the difficulties occurred and the frequency of experiencing difficulties across the entire sample, as well as, within each of the sexes. Descriptive analyses were compiled to further elucidate the impact ongoing stressors have on depression.

 

Dustin Selman

Investigations in Spatial Perception using Geometric Visual Illusions

Advisor:  Dr. Paul Dassonville

The time course of the Delboeuf circles illusion was probed by flashing targets at different times within an alternating small and large contextual figure. Participants (college undergraduates) adjusted the target's sizes to match static comparison figures. The purpose was to examine the mechanisms of geometric visual illusions by examining the onset of assimilative and contrastive components within the Delboeuf illusion. It is hypothesized that the illusion is a distortion of perceived space (within which the target is embedded) rather than a distortion of the apparent size of the target itself. This hypothesis is supported by results showing non-instantaneous but gradual illusion onset, where the context must be present for some length of time prior to the probe for maximum effect.

Aiko Takahashi

Temperament and Involved Parenting: Predicting Foster Children's Externalizing Behaviors

Advisors:  Katherine C. Pears & Dr. Louis J. Moses

This study examined externalizing behaviors of preschool-aged foster children (60 boys and 53 girls) 6 months after a new placement. Parental involvement, child temperament, and treatment condition were tested as the predictors of externalizing behaviors. The only predictor was treatment condition, whether or not both parents and children had behavioral trainings. The treatment group showed higher levels of externalizing behaviors compared to the control group. An interaction between temperament and parenting showed high levels of externalizing behaviors in children who had difficult temperament with uninvolved parenting and those who had easy temperament and involve parenting. It was concluded that foster children may become reactive to the treatment within the first 6 months and optimal behavioral outcomes could be expected by such "Goodness of Fit" between child temperament and parenting.

 

Catherine Tenedios

Adult attachment and traumatic experiences

Advisor:  Dr. Jennifer Freyd

In the past infants have been the main focus in understanding attachment, but recently there has been a growing interest in studying attachment in adults. The purpose of this present study is to evaluate the five most prominent adult attachment scales; the Adult Attachment Scale (Collins & Reed, 1990), Bell Object Relations Inventory, (Bell et al, 1986), Inventory of Parent and Peer Attachment (Armsden & Greenberg, 1987), Parental Attachment Questionnaire (Kenny, 1987), and Parental Bonding Instrument (Parker, Tupling & Brown, 1979). Another aim is to explore the relations between traumatic exposure, dissociation, alexythymia and attachment. Undergraduate students at the University of Oregon completed a questionnaire that includes items form the five prominent adult attachment measures, along with traumatic exposure, dissociation and alexythymia surveys to assess any possible relationships.

 

Dan Turano

The Effect of Marital Instability and Parental Support on Children's Behavior and Peer Group Choice

Advisors:  John Light & Dr. Tom Dishion

Strong social networks have been discussed as a large contributing factor for positive outcomes during acute or chronically stressful events. An event that has become more common in society, and yet has received little direct research, is how marital instability and parental support, effects children. The purpose of this study was to create a mediational model that would accurately depict what factors lead children to perform antisocial behavior and spend time with deviant peers. It was purposed that marital instability and low parental monitoring would lead children to form stronger bonds with deviant peers who would promote antisocial behavior. The data used for the study was acquired through project Alliance, which is a sample of 373 sixth grade children who were selected from teacher report for having abnormal behavior. Through linear regression many factors were identified that lead children toward deviant behavior and social networks. The factors most salient across gender were marital status, reports of family conflict, and the child's report of parental monitoring. There were some limitations to this study due to the nature of how the data was acquired. Nevertheless, these finding are important because they focus on an ever increasing incident in child development that, if critically studied, may help society understand the ramifications of marital instability and parental support on children.

 

Ginny Williams

Juror's Decision Making based on Story Model for Criminal Trials

Advisor:  Dr. Robert Mauro

Story construction theories such as the constructionist, explanation based, and story model help to predict what people are concluding from the stories they hear. These models are useful for exploring juror's decision making using ideas like plot, character development, how well facts are expressed and consistency across the story. Up to this point research has only predicted decision outcomes. By looking at stories that vary in their facts (poor fitting story) and coherence (poorly written story) the researchers were able to determine that the good story with fitting facts had more support for a not guilty verdict in an assault case compared to the well written story that does not fit the facts. Further exploration of story models for juror decision making will help to determine the importance of story construction, which could help in regard to the way lawyers develop their arguments.

 

Trey Gregory Willison

Effects of Parental Relationship Separations On Children: Increases In Adolescent Antisocial Behavior's

Advisor:  Dr. Tom Dishion

A relationship between teenage antisocial behavior and early childhood parental relationship separations has been recognized in many studies. In the following, a total of three hypothesizes were tested. First, it was hypothesized that children who were younger at the time of their parent's relationship separation would display more teenage antisocial behavior than those who were older. Results indicated no significant effect for children's age at the time of a parental separation. The second hypothesis was that the total number of parental relationship separations would be predictive of teenage antisocial behavior. Results indicated that the numbers of parental relationship separations a child experiences are significantly correlated with early teenage antisocial behavior. Lastly, it was hypothesized that boys would show significantly more antisocial behaviors than girls. Results indicate there are no significant gender effects in predicting antisocial behavior. In sum, this study found that each parental relationship separation a child goes through regardless of their age or gender increases the amount of antisocial behavior displayed at age twelve.

 

Ista Zahn

Stereotype threat, women's math test performance, and primed ideas about what the test measures

Advisor:  Chuck Tate

Stereotype threat theory predicts that salient negative stereotypes about women's mathematical abilities will impair females' math test performance. We hypothesized that priming females with information suggesting that math tests measure learned skills (as opposed to innate ability) would reduce the impact of negative stereotypes on their test performance. Prior to taking a math test, 69 University of Oregon undergraduates were primed with information suggesting either that math tests measure learned skills or innate ability. Females who received the ability prime performed better in a reduced threat condition, while females who received the skill prime performed better when the threat was not reduced. This result suggests that salient negative stereotypes may not impair performance when skill is emphasized.

 

Ting Ting Zhou

Investigation in the Activation Level of Critical Lures in the DRM Paradigm

Advisors:  Ben Levy & Dr. Mike Anderson

The DRM paradigm demonstrates that people can misremember words that were not presented (Roediger & McDermott, 1995). Previous results have shown false recognition rates of critical lures (CLs) to increase, and then decrease, with study repetition (Seamon et al., 2003). Various strategies, such as source monitoring and recollective rejection may cause this reduction in false alarms. The current experiment uses independent probes (Anderson & Spellman, 1995) to examine the activation level of CLs with repetition. Forty-eight undergraduate participants studied word lists 1, 5, or 10 times, and their memory was tested for the words using recognition and independent probes. Results replicate the decrease in false recognition rate, despite a relatively constant activation level of the critical lures

 


Undergraduate Honors 2002-2003

Kimberly A. Babcock

Dissociation & Home Environment: Mediators of Childhood Social Competence

Advisor:  Dr. Jennifer Freyd

The focus of this research is the development of a theoretical model of childhood social competence. Specifically, the hypotheses of this study were 1) that maltreated children should display lower levels of social competence than non-maltreated children; 2) that non- maltreated dissociative children should display lower levels of social competence than non-maltreated non-dissociative children; and 3) that maltreated dissociative children should display higher levels of social competence than maltreated non-dissociative children. The participant in the study was one first grade teacher, who provided ratings for six first grade children, four male and two female. Data collection consisted of questionnaire data from the Child Dissociative Checklist, the School Social Behavior Scales, and a maltreatment symptoms checklist. The hypotheses are cautiously supported by the data, as the sample size is very small. Discussion focuses on the implication of this research and the need for additional study.

Justin Birge

The Phenomenology of Sensory Gating Associates Predictably with Measures of Schizotypal Symptoms

Advisor: Dr. Patricia M. White

Physiological measures of sensory gating have been demonstrated to be reduced in schizophrenics and their first-degree relatives, relative to controls. It has been hypothesized that these impaired indices of sensory gating relate to symptoms of cognitive fragmentation and sensory overload observed in schizophrenics, although this has not been demonstrated. To assess the relationship of stimulus overload and schizotypal symptoms in the general population, the Sensory Gating Index (SGI) and the Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire (SPQ) were administered to 491 undergraduates. Because previous research has shown relationships between schizoptyal symptoms, scholastic performance, and smoking rate, this study included self-reported smoking rate and grade-point average (GPA). As predicted, sensory gating (SGI) positively correlated with schizotypal symptoms (SPQ). Similarly, the predicted positive correlation between smoking and sensory gating (SGI) was demonstrated to be weak although statistically significant. In assessing whether SGI scores were elevated in smokers, males show the predicted pattern of greater sensory gating impairment in individuals who smoke, while females showed the reverse pattern. Self-reported GPA was found to correlate negatively with the SGI and SPQ but only in schizotypals. Overall, these results support the hypothesis that the phenomenology of sensory gating is associated predictably with measures of schizotypal symptoms as well as behavioral indices such as smoking and scholastic performance. Thus, this study lays the groundwork for assessing relationships between the sensations reported in the SGI and physiological measures of gating.

 

Siong-Guan Chng

Advisor: George M. Slavich

The Effects of Confidant Social Support on the Severity and Recurrence of Major Depression

Social support is considered to be a critical psychosocial factor in the buffering of clinical depression in individuals diagnosed with depression. Previous studies had shown that individuals with confidants as social support were less likely to develop depression following very stressful life events (e.g., death of a spouse) than those without confidant support (Murphy, 1982). The present study investigated the effects of confidant social support on the severity and recurrence of major depression. Two predictions were made. First, individuals who had their significant other as a confidant at Time 1 are predicted to have less severe depression at depression onset as measured by the BDI compared to those people whose significant other was not a confidant at Time 1. And second, individuals who had their significant other as a confidant were predicted to be more likely to recover from depression at Time 2 (six months after onset) as measured by the BDI compared to those people whose significant other was not their confidant.

 

Clintin Davis-Stober

Emergent Leadership in Focus Group Settings

Advisor: Dr. Holly Arrow

Emergent leadership has often been defined as the process through which a group member is granted leadership status in a previously leaderless group. The focus of this study is the behavioral process leading towards the emergence of a group leader, as well as a leader’s impact on the group’s overall performance. Focus groups of five members were recruited and given a discussion task involving intra-group discussion and consensus. Nine separate behaviors were recorded and regressed against the emergent leadership status of small group members. A factor analysis was then performed to identify possible common behavior categories. Data analysis is pending.

 

Eric Edmondson

Understanding the Lay Conception of Human Values and Goals

Advisor: Dr. Bertram Malle

The contemporary social-psychological literature contains surprisingly little research on human values. Moreover, definitions of the values concept are mostly the subjective opinion of the researcher and do not necessarily reflect the lay person’s understanding. The purpose of this study is to document how lay people conceptualize values, and how they differentiate them from phenomena such as goals, principles, convictions, and attitudes. Data collected through computer-based questionnaires and a judgment task will provide the information needed to gather an intersubjective concept of values. Preliminary findings show that values, goals, principles, convictions, and attitudes are distinctly different in the lay person’s mind. Additional analysis aim at identifying the specific features that make values distinct and give them their psychological and social functions.

Jason A. Fair

Maintaining Representations in Visual Working Memory

Advisor: Dr. Edward K. Vogel

Visual working memory facilitates the online storage and manipulation of visual information. Here, we recorded ERPs from subjects while they performed a visual WM task, in which they were presented a bilateral array of colored squares (4 in each hemifield) and were asked to remember the items in only one hemifield. Memory for those squares was tested two seconds later with the presentation of a test array that was either identical to the memory array or differed by one color. Approximately 200 ms following the onset of the memory array we observed a posterior slow negative wave over the hemisphere that was contralateral to the memorized hemifield in the array. This contralateral negativity persisted throughout the two-second blank delay period until the onset of the test array and appears to reflect the maintenance of these items in memory. In a control experiment we demonstrated that these results were due to memory maintenance and not spatial attention.

 

Christoffer Hansen

An Investigation into the use of Patriotic Symbols and Imagery in Advertising in Television Commercials airing after 9/11/2001

Advisor: Dr. Sara Hodges

This study investigated participants’ reactions to advertising that used patriotism as a means of persuasion. The purpose of this study was to see whether the ads were stimulating patriotism beyond the initial message of 'buy our product', and to also create a reasonable intervention that prompts people to be responsible consumers of mainstream media. Pre-testing of subjects was required to obtain participants’ initial level of patriotic attitudes. There were two experimental manipulations that acted as an intervention (‘re-think’ and ‘exploit’ conditions) and a control condition. After pre-testing, participants were recruited to watch nine recorded television commercials and fill out a post-test that was identical to the pre-test. Statistical analysis indicated a significant main-effect in which participants became less patriotic from pretest to posttest. However, this was not a result of the experimental manipulations.

Maureen A. Hansen

Influence of Gender Course on Attitudes about Gender

Advisor: Dr. Jennifer J. Freyd

This study examines whether a college course can affect students’ attitudes about gender. Effects of one University of Oregon general education course, Psychology of Gender, on students were measured using an anonymous survey assessing hostile and benevolent sexism completed before and after the course. A significant main effect of the course on overall sexism scores was found, with the mean sexism score after the course being significantly lower than before the course. A marginally significant (p = .075) result was that hostile sexism scores decreased more than benevolent sexism scores. Although there was not a statistically significant three way-interaction, a trend in the data suggests that the hostile versus benevolent differences are due to the males, who show no evidence of decreasing benevolent sexism during the course although their hostile sexism scores drop, and females show comparable decreases in both. There is also a trend in the data suggesting that younger students’ scores decreased more than those of older students. This study had some limitations, particularly due to the anonymous nature of the survey instrument. Nonetheless, the results provide insight warranting continued research to promote effectively designed curriculum to increase understanding regarding gender issues.

 

Catharine Hochhalter

Temperament, Relational Styles, and Depressed Mood in Early Adolescence

Advisor: Dr. Mary K. Rothbart

During adolescence, girls show an increase in depression and affiliative need (Cyranowski, Frank, Young, & Shear, 2000). Work by Ellis (2002) indicates that levels of affiliation and depressive mood in adolescent girls are highly correlated. The current study examined whether affiliation might be linked to depressed mood through a socially dependent personality style. The possibility that correlations between personality style and depressed mood may be mediated by temperament variables was also investigated. A sample of 56 adolescent females, between the ages of 11 and 13 years, completed three questionnaires: (1) The Early Adolescent Temperament Questionnaire-Revised (Ellis & Rothbart, in preparation), (2) The Personality Style Inventory-Revised (Robins, Ladd, Welkowitz, Blaney, Diaz, & Kutcher, 1994), and (3) The Body Changes Questionnaire (Carskadon & Acebo, 1993). Significant correlations were found between depressive mood and social dependency, autonomy, shyness, and frustration. A significant correlation between affiliation and depressive mood was not found, and, thus, the possible mediating effects of social dependency could not be examined. However, further analyses revealed that shyness and frustration appear to be mediating the relationship between social dependency and depressive mood.

Kurstin Hollenbeck

Action Parsing: A Study of the Role of Linguistic Labeling in the Segmentation of Action Streams

Advisor: Dr. Dare Baldwin

Past research studies have shown that both infants and adults use statistical information to segment continuous streams of language. This line of research extends that finding to segmentation of continuous streams of human action. The present study investigates the role of verbal labeling in action segmentation by adults. Subjects in the control group (n= 14) were shown one five minute long, silent video of a person performing a continuous stream of movement. The movement consisted of twelve individual actions, consistently occurring in four permutations of three, with the permutations repeated in random order throughout the five minutes. Subjects in the experimental group (n= 13) watched the same video, but with nonsense labels provided verbally for each of the four permutations every time they occurred. Subjects were then given a recognition test to assess whether they could distinguish between a permutation they had viewed repeatedly, and another group of three actions (each of which had occurred individually, but not in the order shown). Any difference between the groups’ performances on the recognition task would indicate the effect of labeling on adults’ ability to segment novel action. Data have not yet been analyzed.

David Huh

Voluntary vs. Involuntary Immigration in the Acculturation of Asian Pacific Americans

Advisor: Dr. Gordon C. Nagayama Hall

Asian and Pacific Islanders migrate to the United States primarily for educational and economic opportunities, but also involuntary due to the misfortune of war and conflict in the native country. The rapid and involuntary culture shock faced by refugees and other involuntary immigrants would be expected to generate a qualitatively different acculturative experience than families who immigrated under less stressful conditions. This study is one of the first to empirically examine the differences with respect to the circumstances of immigration. It was hypothesized that students whose families came to the U.S. due to circumstances beyond control would favor protection of their ethnic identity and have greater degrees of family conflict. Students of Asian or Pacific Islander descent were given a self-report questionnaire containing demographic, acculturation, family connectedness, and family conflict measures. In contrast with the original hypotheses, Asian/Pacific Islanders from involuntary migration backgrounds were actually more acculturated than their peers. Furthermore, those from involuntary migration backgrounds had lower degrees of family conflict. The findings suggest that greater acculturation may be protective in families who endured a high level of migration stress, which leads to a lesser degree of family conflict.

Akiko Ikkai

The Role of Muscarinic Receptors in Covert Orienting in Rats

Advisor: Dr. Richard Marrocco

The basal forebrain (BF) is one of the major sites of cholinergic projection to the cortex and limbic system, and there is evidence for its importance in spatial attention. In the current study, the role of muscarinic acetylcholine receptors in BF on reflexive visuospatial attention was investigated. Four Long-Evans rats were trained to perform CTD task; rats were trained to fixate at the central points and respond to the stimuli presented in the peripheral visual field. Reaction times (RT) to orient toward targets were measured and analyzed. The validity effect was defined as the difference in the mean RTs between valid (cue correctly forecasts the target location) and invalid (cue incorrectly forecasts the target location), and the alerting effect was defined as the difference in the mean RTs between double (both cues appear bilaterally, one target presentation) and no-cue (no cue presentation, one target presentation). Thirty-two gauge cannulae were implanted bilaterally into the BF. Either saline, oxotremorine (OXO) low dose (0.3µg/side) or OXO high dose (3.0µg/side) was infused 10 minutes prior to the CTD task. Contrary to our hypotheses, there was no significant effect of OXO on the overall validity or alerting effect. However, the analysis of cue type and cue-to-target interval (CTI) revealed that OXO high dose significantly slowed double cue RT at 700 msec CTI, which resulted in the smaller validity effect in that particular cue*CTI combination. There was a significant hemispheric effect. Rats responded faster to the targets presented in their right visual fields in any cue/drug combination. Cannuli placement confirmation with MRI is still in progress.

Kyoung Rae Jung

Emotional Arousal and Lexical Semantic Priming: A Hi-Density Event-Related Potential(ERP) study

Advisor: Dr. Don Tucker & Gwen Frishkoff

The present study used ERP and behavioral measures to examine effects of emotional arousal on semantic processing as subjects made lexical decisions to words ("targets") flashed briefly on a computer screen. Targets were preceded by single words ("primes") that were either closely related, remotely related, or unrelated ("semantic distance"), or by a neutral string of hash marks (#####). Participants were divided high and low Positive Affect (PA) and Negative Affect (NA) groups, according to their scores on the Positive and Negative Affect Scale (PANAS). Based on a previous study from our laboratory, we hypothesized that two ERP components that are sensitive to semantic priming, a medial frontal component (MFN), peaking around 300ms after target onset, and a later, more posterior component (P300/N400), would show differences only as a function of NA, reflecting the influence of negative affect on arousal and attention in semantic priming. As predicted, semantic effects were observed in both the behavioral measures(accuracy and reaction time)and in both the MFN and P300/N400 components. The difference between unrelated and neutral conditions on both measures suggested an influence of suppression, as well as facilitation. Further, the high trait NA group displayed a greater MFN than the low NA group, independently of the semantic distance. Results are discussed in the context of prior theories about emotional effects on cognitive processing, and possible implications for neuropsychological theories of anxiety.

 

Asako Kanazawa

Cultural Differences in Dysfunctional Attitudes and Life Events in Depression

Advisor: George M. Slavich

Life stress has been found to influence the onset and maintenance of major depression when interacting with an individual’s cognitive vulnerability (Beck, 1987; Monroe & Simons, 1991). However, few studies have examined the role that life stress and cultural specific dysfunctional attitudes play in the course of depression. The present study addressed this shortcoming in the literature by investigating whether a match between ethnicity and congruent stressful life events prior to depression onset predicts the dysfunctional attitudes and depressive symptoms in a sample of clinically depressed adults. 30 Caucasian Americans and 9 Asian Americans were examined at two time points. Stressful life events occurring prior to depression onset were retrospectively assessed at Time 1, and dysfunctional attitudes and depressive symptoms were assessed at both Time 1 and Time 2 (6 months after onset). The results did not support the hypothesis. However, interestingly, only Asian Americans who experienced stressful life events in the achievement-domain, significantly increased their depressive symptoms from Time 1 to Time 2.

Ayaka Kawakami

Ethnicity and the Measure of Schizotypal Personality Disorder

Advisor: Patricia M. White Ph.D.

Ethnic variability in the self-rating measures of mental disorder has been increasingly interesting because such measures usually contain questions regarding personal beliefs or behaviors, which may vary by ethnicity or culture. Data from over 6000 undergraduates from Los Angeles were classified into 17 cultural groupings and compared on a self-report measure of schizotypal personality disorder, the SPQ-B (the Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire; Raine and Benishay, 1995). Small but significant ethnic group differences and within-group variability differences were found. Although group differences in total scores were small, a significant number of individuals are diagnosed differently by using threshold scores from the general population versus ethnically-determined threshold scores for schizotypy. Also, these data reveal a higher prevalence of smokers among schizotypals, a finding widely reported for schizophrenia populations. Using ethnically-derived thresholds, schizotypal male but not females are shown to smoke more than non-schizotypals, but this interaction is only a trend using the general population threshold for schizotypy. Interestingly, this pattern of increased smoking among schizotypals occurs only in males in American-born respondents but among both genders in foreign-born respondents. Significant gender by ethnicity interactions also were demonstrated on the scores of the SPQ-B. Gender differences have been considered a potentially biological aspect of schizophrenia spectrum disorders, but among schizotypals, this data suggests cultural as well as biological influences for patterns of gender response and behavioral associations with schizotypy.

Halina Kowalski

Diathesis-Stress Domain Match: Testing Differential Predictions on Depression at Time 1 and Time 2

Advisor: George Slavich

The congruency hypothesis proposed by Beck (1967, 1987, & 1989) and his colleagues (Clark, Beck, & Alford, 1999) posits that negative cognitive patterns increase people’s vulnerability to depression when they experience negative life events in “congruent” or highly valued domains. Previous research testing this hypothesis, however, has produced mixed results. Whereas some researches have found statistical interactions between interpersonal vulnerability and retrospective reports of negative life events (Clark et al., 1992; Robins, 1990; Robins & Block, 1988; Rude & Burnham, 1993), others have not (Lakey & Ross, 1994; Morgrain & Zuroff, 1994; Robin, 1990). The present study addressed these two differential predictions by administering the Life Events and Difficulties Schedule (Brown & Harris, 1978) and the Dysfunctional Attitudes Scale (Weissman & Beck, 1978) to 32 clinically-depressed adults. Support for the formulation that diathesis-stress matches predict severity of depression was found using a repeated measures ANOVA. Specifically, individuals experiencing a match were significantly more depressed than their no-match counterparts both at depression onset (Time 1) and six months after depression onset (Time 2), F(1,30) = 5.97, p = 0.021.

 

Mary Larson

Blame and Praise: Does the Relationship to the Actor Matter

Advisor: Gayle Pearce

The present study explores two hypotheses: (1) people will alter their blameworthiness and praiseworthiness assessments depending on their level of intimacy to the transgressor, and (2) any differences due to intimacy in blameworthiness and praiseworthiness assessments will be mediated by differences in controllability, responsibility, and intentionality to the act. The present study had participants assess the degree of blameworthiness and praiseworthiness for three different perpetrators: a brother who is ten years older than the participant, a close male friend, and an acquaintance. Results indicate that participants differed only in the way that they praised the three targets. Overall, brothers received stronger praiseworthiness assessments than friends. Brothers also received stronger praiseworthiness assessments for moderately positive acts than acquaintances. However, no differences occurred between the targets in terms of blameworthiness assessments for negative acts. This study indicates that participants attribute praiseworthiness differently depending on their level of intimacy to the actor.

 

Donovan C. Long

Changing Perspective: Investigating Actor-Observer Asymmetry

Advisor:  Dr. Bertram F. Malle

Historically, social psychologists involved in work with attribution theory have postulated that ordinary people use a dichotomy of situational vs. dispositional factors to explain human behavior. Within this framework, an asymmetry was found such that "actors" tend to attribute their behavior to the immediate situation and "observers" tend to attribute others' behavior to their dispositional characteristics (Jones & Nisbett, 1972). A well-known experiment (Storms, 1973) appeared to eliminate this actor-observer asymmetry through a manipulation in which actors saw their own behavior from the external (observer) perspective. However, several attempts to replicate Storms' results have failed. Nonetheless, the hypothesis that actors change their explanations when they see their behavior from an observer perspective seems very plausible and worthy of testing. Perhaps, however, the disposition-situation dichotomy is not sensitive enough to capture this effect. The present study tests the changing-perspective hypothesis by replicating the original procedure employed by Storms (1973) but using a more complex and robust folk-conceptual model behavior explanation (Malle, 1999). It is hypothesized that the results reported by Storms (1973) will not be replicable using the traditional situation-disposition dichotomy but that the folk-conceptual analysis will yield meaningful actor-observer differences that are sensitive to a change in perspective.

Katie MacCionnaith

Impression Management

Advisor: Dr. Bertram Malle

Traditional attribution theory discusses actor/observer asymmetry in terms of person factors vs. situation factors and trait-like person factors vs. nontrait person factors. The present study uses an alternative theory, the folk-conceptual model, which has found that actors more often use reason and unmarked belief explanations of behavior, while observers typically use causal histories, desires, and marked belief explanations of behavior. The primary process that has been used to explain this asymmetry has been cognitive access, which claims that actors such explanations because they have mental access and memory for reasons (especially belief reasons), while observers do not have such access to another person’s mind. The present study looks at an alternative hypothesis as to what process underlies the asymmetry, the process of impression management. This hypothesis suggests that actors try to present themselves as rational and deliberate, and therefore use reasons and particularly belief reasons to explain thier behavior. The present study had participants explain behavior from either the actor perspective or the observer perspective, and in either a control or impression management condition where participants were told to create a positive impression of the agent. The participants’ answers were coded, using the F.Ex coding scheme to identify and clarify the various explanations. The actor and observer conditions were compared, with the prediction that asymmetries would follow past findings. The control and impression management conditions were also compared for types of explanation. Results are still being analyzed. The discussion focuses on the implications of the findings of impression management as the process underlying the actor-observer asymmetry in behavior explanation.

 

Melissa Magaro

The True Irony of Thought Suppression: Depression and Deficits in Inhibitory Control

Advisors: Dr. Michael Anderson and Dr. Anne Simons

Depressive and non-depressive undergraduate students participated the Think/No-Think paradigm (Anderson & Green, 2001). Participants learned word pairs that consisted of a hint word and a response word (e.g. AVENUE – MILE). Throughout the experiment they practiced recalling some response words while they avoided thinking about the responses to other hint words. Later participants were given cued recall tests to observe the accessibility of all of the response words. Anderson and Green (2001) found that on final memory tests, participants were less likely to correctly recall to those words that they practiced suppressing. In addition, this recall impairment corresponded to the number of presentations of the suppression item. As the amount of suppression practice increased, their ability to recall the correct response word subsequently decreased. I predicted that depressed participants would be less successful at preventing the avoided words from coming to mind compared to their non-depressed counterparts. Previous research, based on the ironic processes theory, has indicated that depressed populations have difficulty keeping unwanted material out of mind (Wenzlaff & Bates, 1998; Howell & Conway, 1992). The current study examined this phenomenon using a new paradigm, with the expectation that the depressed and non-depressed groups would show different patterns of results. This difference would have implications for the way that episodes of depression are understood and treated.

Yukiko Matsuura

Personality and Personal Values in Travel Destination Preference among College Students

Advisor: Lynn R. Kahle

The roles of personality traits and personal values in relation to travel destination preferences were investigated. It was hypothesized that extraverted and internally-oriented people would prefer adventurous travel destinations, and that neurotic and externally-oriented people would prefer busy/crowded destinations. The Mini-Modular Markers (a short form of the Big Five) and the List of Values (a personal value scale) were employed to measure individual trait and value factors, and the travel destination preference inventory was applied. Participants consisted of 147 students at the University of Oregon. The results of a linear regression analysis supported the ideas that both personality traits and personal values could be good predictors of travel destination preferences. The relation between the traits and values, and the applicability of individual traits and values in tourism were discussed.

 

Jennifer Miner

Parental Attitudes Toward Pretend Play and Imaginary Companions in Preschoolers

Advisors: Dr. Marjorie Taylor and Dr. Kirby Deater-Deckard

Thirty-six middle class parents of preschoolers and 37 parents of Head Start preschoolers responded to a questionnaire about their attitudes toward common child behaviors, including pretend play. The pretend play behaviors to which parents responded included simple object substitution, and three forms of role play (impersonation, invisible imaginary companion, and visible imaginary companion). Parents also reported on the imaginary companions of their children, if any were present. Results from this study indicate that Head Start parents were less positive toward pretend play than non-Head Start parents were, and that parents were generally less positive toward role play than toward object substitution. Parents’ attitudes toward pretend play did not appear to relate to whether or not their child had an imaginary companion.

 

Matt Orbell

The Role of Physical Health in the Relationship Between Attractiveness and Cooperation: A laboratory study

Advisors:  Dr. Warren Holmes, Jean Stockard, and Andre Lambelet

While there is a well-documented relationship between a subject's perceived physical attractiveness and others' willingness to cooperate with them, there has been no investigation of the role of perceived health in this equation—despite the fact that, in much evolutionary theory, health and appearance are claimed to be positively correlated. Cooperation in a prisoner's dilemma paradigm was investigated using subjects' health and physical appearance (attractiveness) scores as independent variables. It was hypothesized that subjects would favor cooperation with those whom they perceived as healthy as well as with those whom they perceived as attractive. Both predictions were supported. Subjects favored cooperation with those whom they perceived as healthy and, independently, did so with those they found to be physically attractive. An implication from this preliminary study is that health should be considered as well as physical attractiveness when investigating decision making in potentially cooperative social encounters.

Eve Rivinus

Why Stay?: Group Membership Preferences in Multiple Rounds of a Social Dilemma Experiment

Advisor: Dr. Holly Arrow

Participants played a multiple-round social card game (modeling a social dilemma) in which they formed groups repeatedly to earn money. After a group discussion on how to split the prize, participants made anonymous, individual claims on the money. If they overclaimed ("cheated"), the entire group was penalized. Members then answered whether they wanted to stay in the same group another round. Participants who cheated, had low trust of their groups, were victims of cheating, and were in large groups wanted to leave their groups significantly more often than those who did not fit these criteria. Trust and cheating were also combined into one variable to look at their effects together. Low-trusting cheaters were least likely, whereas high-trusting cooperators were most likely to want to stay in their groups. Looking at the data qualitatively through participant comments also revealed differing motivations underlying the desire to stay in or leave a group.

 

Laura Shula

Visual Selective Attention – One Mechanism or Multiple Mechanisms

Advisor: Dr. Edward Vogel

Cognitive psychologists have conceptualized attention in many different ways. For example, selective attention is thought to be involved in the encoding of objects into visual working memory, as seen in the attentional blink (AB) phenomenon. However, attention has also been conceptualized as a spatial “spotlight-like” process that can be moved through space to facilitate finding a target among distracters, as shown in visual search tasks. These depictions of attention are intrinsically different, yet the question still remains whether attention is one mechanism with multiple jobs, or multiple independent mechanisms are responsible for each type of task. Using a dual task procedure that incorporated the attentional blink and visual search, the question was asked, while one type of attention is being used, can the other type of attention function normally? That is, can subjects shift their spatial attention to a new target location while they are simultaneously encoding a different object into visual working memory? The first target in the task was a number among a stream of letters, while the second target was a visual search task. The event-related potential (ERP) component, N2pc, was used to test whether an individual can move his/her attention during the attentional blink. Behaviorally, typical AB results were found with a suppression of accuracy for the second target with a short lag between the two targets. An N2pc was also found during and after the AB period suggesting that the attentional processes underlying spatial attention and visual working memory encoding are at least somewhat independent mechanisms.

Sara Stebner

Adults’ Action Processing Relies on Detection of Statistical Structure

Advisors: Dr. Dare Baldwin

Recent work indicates sensitivity to statistical regularities within action may facilitate adults’ action processing. For example, motion combinations that co-occur frequently are recognized as more familiar than novel combinations of these same motion elements. The present study examined whether adults’ sensitivity to statistics in action requires dynamic presentation of motion; alternatively, adults may be able to track statistics if motions are depicted by still-frames capturing event boundaries (boundaries are known to be a focus of processing within action). Of interest is whether adults’ sensitivity to statistical co-occurrences is robust enough to enable integration across static depictions of action. Twenty-four adults viewed a lengthy sequence of still-frame images in which four pre-established combinations of three motion elements were randomly intermixed. In a recognition phase, adults judged the highly predictable pre-established motion combinations (“actions”) to be more familiar than novel combinations of the same motion elements (“non-actions”), indicating sensitivity to patterns of statistical cooccurrence when motion elements were static. These findings confirm adults’ sensitivity to statistical regularities in action even in the absence of dynamic motion.

Sara J. Walker

Self-Control in Middle-School Students: Gender Effect, Stability, and Validity of Ratings

Advisor: Dr. Thomas J. Dishion

This study examines the development of self-control among middle-school children as rated by teachers and by the youth. The data were collected as part of an ongoing prevention trial referred to as the Adolescent Transitions Program (ATP) (Dishion, et al, 2002). In grades 6, 7 and 9 data were collected on 988 (50% female) students’ self control, as well as on other aspects of the school and social adjustment. This study addresses four issues pertaining to self-control: the effect of gender, the stability of the trait over time, the predictive validity of self-report ratings on later problem behavior, and the convergent validity of self-report and teacher ratings. Analyses of ratings completed by 6th and 7th graders revealed a significant effect of gender on self-control. Existing research attempting to understand the stability of self-regulation during middle-school years suggests an increase in control and stability during this time (Murphy, et al, 1999); results from this study supports such a claim. The significant convergent validity of youth and teacher reports found in the current study’s analyses serves to verify that the two reporting agents agree as to individual differences on students’ self-control. Finally, the significant predictive validity of later problem behavior, suggests that self-control is a key skill to acquire during adolescence, as well as to identify a possible intervention target.


Undergraduate Honors 1998-1999

Katherine Becker

Traditionality of Preschool Teachers and Stereotypicality of Child Activity Ratings

Advisor: Katherine Pears

This study examines the relationship between preschool teachers' gender role traditionality (as measured by the Attitudes Towards Women questionnaire) and how stereotypically teachers rate toys as being appropriate for boys and girls. The female teachers with experience with three to five-year-old children rated fifteen toys on how appropriate they are for boys and girls both from a personal point of view and the point of view of an average person in society. I hypothesized that experience and traditionality will be negatively related to stereotypicality of personal toy appropriateness rating. I also hypothesized that "girls' toys" (as previously rated by undergraduate raters) will be rated more stereotypically than "boys' toys." Finally, I hypothesized that teachers will rate toys more stereotypically from society's point of view than from a personal point of view.

 

Kay Brick

A Rose By Any Other Name:  Individual Differences in Ambiguous Voting Decisions

Advisor:  Dr. Ellen Peters

Previous research has suggested that how voters feel about the sound of a political candidate's name may guide their choices in the polls. The present study employed an experimental paradigm and supported the hypothesis that affect toward names influences voting behavior in a mock election. It was found that, on average, subjects voted for the more positive name 54% of the time. Unexpectedly, subjects low in experiential, emotional information processing were more likely to vote for the positive name (56%) compared to subjects high in emotional processing (52%). Future research investigating the proportion of the voting public falls into each of these categories could determine what effect this "name bias" has on actual voting.

 

Laura Claxton

An Examination of the List Length Effect

Advisor:  Dr. Michael Anderson

The purpose of this honors project is to examine the relationship between theoretical organizations of memory structures and the recall of items from memory by specifically examining the List Length Effect. The List Length Effect states that as the length of a list of items increases the percentage of correct items recalled decreases. This project compares two possible theories as to why this increasing inhibition or interference with recall occurs. One is called the Ratio-Rule and the other is known as Retrieval-Induced Forgetting. The Ratio-Rule states the items will be increasingly more difficult to recall as the length of the list increases because more items are proportionally in competition with one another in order to be recalled. Retrieval-Induced Forgetting argues that the retrieval of items from memory becomes increasingly more difficult as the length of the list increases because each time one item is retrieved from memory all of the other items on the list are being suppressed or blocked. As the number of items recalled increases, the number of suppressions also increases, making recollection of the remaining items increasingly difficult. I hypothesize that by controlling the order in which the words from a list are recalled, I will be able to demonstrate that Retrieval-Induced Forgetting explains the memory processes behind the List Length Effect. I will compare an identical critical 10 word set across three increasing list lengths (n=28, 38, 48) and expect to find that when the order of recall has been controlled for, the average percentage recall for the critical word set will be identical across increasing list lengths, thereby demonstrating that retrieval plays a part in the List Length Effect phenomenon.

 

Meghan Fallenstein

The Relationship of Life Events and Early Sexual Abuse to the Severity of the Depression in Adult Women

Advisor: Kate Harkness

The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between severe life events experienced in adults as assessed by the Life Events and Difficulties Schedule (LEDS), childhood sexual abuse assessed by the Childhood Care and Abuse Interview (CECA), and severity of depression. Twenty-nine women, diagnosed with unipolar depression, were evaluated. I predict that those with a severe adult precipitative event will exhibit greater severity then those without an event. Similarly, those with childhood sexual abuse will experience greater severity then those with no abuse.

 

Jennifer A. Freeman

The Role of Perceived Motives in Evaluating Ambiguous Courtship Behaviors

Advisor:  Dr. Bertram F. Malle

Research on how people perceive potentially sexual behaviors has primarily focused on specific behaviors (for example touching, eye contact, body language, closeness of two people) rather than on motives behind these behaviors. The present study explores people's evaluations of ambiguous courtship behavior that is held constant, while the motives for the behavior were manipulated to suggest friendliness, flirting, or sexual advancement. Undergraduate students (N=106) read a vignette consisting of one of six possible scenarios in which a male student forms a plan to introduce himself to a female student. Manipulations included the motivation behind the agent's action (either friendly, flirting, or sexual advancing) as well as the level of premeditation (spontaneous versus premeditated execution of the plan). Results showed that people evaluated the same behavior worse when its motive was sexual than when it was friendly or flirting. Effects were strongest for evaluations of the agent's character and his intention, but not his action. No differences in evaluations occurred as a result of the premeditation manipulation. This study confirms that people pay attention to subtle differences in motives when evaluating an agent or interaction. Furthermore, despite heightened media attention to sexual harassment, people still consider flirting a positive interpersonal behavior, more akin to friendliness than to sexual advance.

 

Jasmine Freese

Multisystemic Interventions for Violent Juveniles and Their Families: A Coordinated Effort of Juvenile Justice and Mental Health Professionals

Advisors: Robert O'Brien & Dr. Tom Dishion

This project presents an overview of the Multisystemic (MST) model for treating serious antisocial behavior in adolescents and their families.The model includes to therapeutic professionals: an Family Therapist who provides parent training with a focus on family strengths and resources, and a Behavioral Support Specialist who assumes a coach position for juvenile offenders and uses positive-reinforcement principles to intervene as problems occur. The Lane County Department of Youth Services, in collaboration with the Center for Family Development and the Oregon Social Learning Center have combined efforts to form the Violent Offender Rehabilitation and Treatment Project (VORT) in Eugene, Oregon. Statistically significant preliminary findings of this empirical study conducted with violent offenders aged 12-19, suggest that delinquency has multiple determinants that should be addressed with traditional probation and an intensive community- and family- based approach, using wraparound service philosophy.

 

Wendy Hatcher

Detection of Deception: Non-Verbal Cues in Lie Detection

Advisor: Dr. Robert Mauro

Lying and lie detection are common aspects of interpersonal communication. The goal of the present study was to develop a comprehensive system for identifying and coding behaviors related to deception. It was hypothesized that non-verbal body language would increase lie detection. Six non-verbal behaviors were coded in a sample of 20 subjects. Subjects were students who scored either high or low on a paper and pencil test of psychopathy and parolees or non-parolees. Both groups were videotaped during a mock job interview. Preliminary analyses suggest that few non-verbal behaviors increase lie detection above chance level.

 

Angela Laurita

The Concept of Intentionality Underlying People's Judgments of Criminal Behavior

Advisor: Dr. Bertram Malle

The present study explored how people use the concept of intentionality in the context of legal decision making. The study compared a recent empirically-based model of people's folk concept of intentionality to legal and philosophical models. The model of people's folk concept of intentionality predicts that people are sensitive to particular (often subtle) components of intentionality (e.g., content of intention, presence of skill). To test this sensitivity, subjects read descriptions of several criminal murder cases that have led to disagreements among legal and philosophical scholars. Each case hinged on one or two critical components of intentionality, and the study tested whether people would consider these components in their case judgments. People read and discussed the cases in groups, formed joint judgments about whether the defendant committed intentional murder or unintentional manslaughter, and justified their judgments. Twenty-five groups of two to three subjects participated. Analyses of their justifications showed that for each case, groups were sensitive to one or two particular (the predicted) components of intentionality, whether or not they judged the behavior to be intentional. Moreover, their intentionality judgments were predictable by the perceived presence or absence of these particular components. The present results have implications for legal and philosophical models of intentionality and point to several future research directions.

 

Elizabeth McDonald

Cortisol's Role In Exam Expectation

Advisor: Kristin Penza

Cortisol levels elevate during times of stress, which has been a helpful biomarker in the scientific study of stress. Cortisol levels elevate in many individuals before and during exams (Spangler, 1997); it is this area of research that I am particularly interested in. I hypothesize that those students with lower scores on the STAI and who indicate greater confidence levels will perform well on the exam will exhibit lower cortisol levels before the exam and will have lower cortisol levels after the exam than those students who indicate less confidence in their performance both before and after the exam. Subjects were volunteer students enrolled in a biological psychology course at the University of Oregon taking their final examinations. Subjects were asked to fill out a questionnaire before the exam including the STAI and a cortisol bioassay; then, after the exam, they were asked to fill out another questionnaire and assay. Results were insignificant except correlating pre-exam and post-exam cortisol levels for a variety of reasons discussed below.

 

Patricia Montgomery

The Relationship Between Personality Fragments in Dissociative Identity Disorder and Type and Frequency of Childhood Abuse

Advisor:  Dr. Jennifer Freyd

The relationship between child abuse (CA), and emotional trauma is well represented in literature, as is the relationship between trauma and dissociative Identity disorder (DID) formerly called multiple personality disorder (MPD). However, studies examining this relationship in more detail are needed to help identify the association between specific types of abuse and psychological and physiological problems for earlier identification and treatment . The present study narrows specifically to hypothesize that the relationship between the type and frequency of early CA in intrafamilial situations, with little or no emotional support, are related to the number of personality fragments, or dissociative ego states exhibited in DID. A voluntary survey of local clinicians revealed that negative home environment and sexual abuse are both prominent factors in DID. The relationship between the number of fragments and frequency of abuse is marginally significant, and the relationship between the number of fragments and ritualistic abuse is significant.

 

Nugil Murrell

Prediction Relationship Satisfaction in College Couples

Advisor: Keith Harris

The Present paper examined the relationship between relationship satisfaction and a multitude of positive relationship variables. Predictors were chosen to represent a wide range of positive influences on relationship satisfaction and included the following: self-esteem, self disclosure, humor, sexual satisfaction, commitment, and perception of partner's masculinity/femininity. The first hypothesis states that the full model will account for a significant portion of the variance in relationship satisfaction in couples. A second objective of this study was to determine exactly what variables made the most unique contribution to relationship satisfaction. This was done using a forward regression. Fifty University of Oregon undergraduates currently in committed dating relationships completed a packet of questionnaires. Regression analysis showed that the full model explained a significant portion of the variance of relationship satisfaction. Forward regression revealed that commitment, happiness, and partner's warmth accounted for 64 % of the variance in relationship satisfaction. Past research has tended to focus on negative variables (i.e. conflict) to the exclusion of positive variables. Results indicate that positive predictor variables contribute a great deal to relationship satisfaction. Implications for future research are discussed.

 

Karen Patterson

Plasticity and Changes in NMDA Subunits

Advisor: Dr. Barbara Gordon-Lickey

We wish to demonstrate a correlation between changes in N-Methyl-D-Aspartate (NMDA) receptor composition and changes in plasticity in the visual cortex. To do this, we stained tissue slices from Long Evans rats of ages P14, P30, and P90 for the NMDA receptor subunits NR2A and NR2B. We used immunohistochemistry to stain the NR2A subunit for its protein, and in situ hybridization to stain the NR2B subunit for its message RNA. After staining the tissues, we counted the cells labeled only for message RNA, the cells labeled only for protein, and the cells labeled for both message and protein. The cell counts were graphed. Although the total amount of cells with NR2B and NR2A decreased over time, the decrease was greater for cells with NR2B. The decrease was sharpest between P14 and P30, with relatively little change occurring between P30 and P90. We conclude that the amounts of NR2A and NR2B subunits in NMDA receptors change during development, and that these changes are coincident with the previously established time period of plasticity. Given that the NR2B subunit decreases more, our results suggest that this subunit most likely plays a role in plasticity. In the future, we hope to manipulate the plastic period and receptor composition to be able to better understand the nature of the relationship between them.

 

Elise Peltier

The Effects of Age and Presentation Differences on Empathic Accuracy

Advisor: Dr. Sara Hodges

The purpose of this research was to examine variables affecting empathic accuracy (one's ability to correctly infer the thoughts and feelings of others). Past research has shown that individuals are more empathically accurate towards a person when they perceive themselves as similar to that target individual. Therefore, one might expect college-aged subjects to empathize with an elderly target less than a similarly aged target. The medium in which participants are presented the target individual may also affect their empathic accuracy. Our second hypothesis was that subjects who are shown videotaped recordings of the targets relating their problems would show more empathic accuracy than subjects who read transcripts of the targets describing the same problems. And lastly, we hypothesized an interaction, such that the difference in the level of empathic accuracy between the college-aged and the elderly target would be larger in the video condition than the transcript condition. In order to test these hypotheses, subjects either watched videotapes of two targets (one college-age student and one elderly adult) describing a current problem, or they read the same interviews in transcript form. The subjects then inferred the thoughts and feelings of the targets in order to measure empathic accuracy. Our first two hypotheses were confirmed, showing that college-age participants were more accurate inferring the thoughts and feelings of the college-aged target that the elderly target, and those who watched videotapes were more accurate than those who read transcripts. The predicted interaction, however, was not significant.

 

Lynn Sconyers

An Investigation of the Hypothesized Association Between the 5-HTTLPR Polymorphism in the Serotonin Transporter Gene and Trait Neuroticism

Advisor: Dr. Gerard Saucier

Behavioral genetic research has established the importance of genes as one of the influences on personality attributes and psychopathology. Because of overlap between there domains, genes for psychopathology can be found by looking for genes for personality. The function of specific bioamines in psychiatric disorders has been widely explored, and considerable evidence has accumulated favoring the view that alterations in serotonergic neurotransmission is involved in the pathophysiology of affective and anxiety disorders. A potentially important role has been attributed to the serotonin transporter (5-HTT), which terminates the actions of serotonin in the synaptic cleft by reuptake into the presynaptic terminal. Lesch et al. (1996) reported an association between a functional polymorphism in the regulatory sequence for the 5-HTT gene (5-HTTLPR) and the personality trait of neuroticism as well as symptoms of anxiety and depression. Using a set of three independent samples (total N=411), I attempted to replicate Lesch et al.'s findings but was unable to find confirmatory evidence. Post hoc analyses explored a number of possible reasons for discrepancies between my results and Lesch et al.'s, including the contribution of gender components and other demographic variables and assumptions regarding how genotypes are converted into variables.

 

Sean Shiverick

Individual Differences in Inhibitory Control and Reasoning About False Representation

Advisor: Mark Sabbagh

Recent developmental, clinical, and neuroimaging evidence suggests that the cognitive underpinnings of reasoning about mental representations (e.g., beliefs) are dissociable from those required for thinking about non-mental representations. Two theories can potentially account for this dissociation. One theory postulates that the mechanisms subserving these two skills are qualitatively distinct. An alternative account of the dissociation posits that both skills are subserved by similar cognitive mechanisms, but to quantitatively different extents. In the present study, we investigated whether performance on tasks which tap 'executive function' abilities - which have been shown to be related to reasoning about mental states - are also related to success at reasoning about non-mental representations. Forty subjects are being tested on a battery of executive function tasks (e.g., Bear/Dragon task) and a battery of false belief and false photograph tasks. A strong correlation between executive function and false photograph performance would provide evidence in favor of a quantitative relationship between the two skills. By contrast, a failure to find a relationship between executive function and false photograph performance may suggest that the two skills may rely on qualitatively different cognitive mechanisms.

 

Dahlia Spektor

The Driving Forces Behind Individuals' Interpretations of Ambiguous Comments

Advisor:  Dr. Bertram Malle

This study explores the joint impact of global self-esteem and the activation of domain specific self-feelings on the interpretations of ambiguous self-relevant comments. In this study, participants of low and high self-esteem were asked to recall a situation that evoked a negative or positive self-feeling in one of four domains: academic competence, attractiveness, social skills, and athletic competence. Participants then indicated their self-views in the four domains and finally, interpreted a series of ambiguous comments.

 

Kim Tucker

The Effects of Similarity Judgments on Directional feature-matching processes

Advisor:  Dr. Sara Hodges

Title: Calling all features: How thinking about similarity changes feature-matching effects

Abstract

In making preference judgments, the shared features of the two options under consideration typically "cancel out." The goal of this study was to discover whether pre-choice contemplation of the similarity of two options would bring the shared features back into consideration, thereby nullifying this cancellation effect. Prior to reading a pair of job descriptions with either shared positive and unique negative features or shared negative and unique positive features, participants were instructed to think either about the general category of the two jobs (similarity condition) or about which job they would prefer (preference condition). Replicating past feature matching studies, shared features did appear to be canceled, with overall ratings higher when the options shared negative features than when they shared positive features. However, contrary to what was predicted, considering the similarity of the two options did not moderate this effect. Also, unexpectedly, job descriptions in the similarity condition were rated uniformly lower than those in the preference condition. The results suggest that considering similarity may cause the decision-maker to give extra weight to negative features, whether shared or unique.

 

Sarah Vincent

Perceived Acceptance as a Predictor of Placement Among Free Methodist Clergywomen

Advisors: Kristen Penza & Dr. Sara Hodges

Clergywomen everywhere have struggled to become accepted as pastors. Within the Free Methodist Denomination, efforts are being made to ease this struggle. This study examines these women and whether or not their own perceived acceptance by others (both superiors and subordinates) is correlated with their placement within the church. My hypothesis was that these two would be strongly positively correlated, although results show little significant correlation.

 

Scott Woolley

Comparison of Physical Practice Vs. Mental Practive in a Rotation Task

Advisor: Ben Clegg

It is well known that practicing a skill like throwing a football or navigating by a map will eventually result in proficiency of that skill. The question then becomes is there a way practicing a skill that is better than other forms of practice. For example, is simply thinking about a skill as efficient as physically practicing that skill, or does a combination of both provide the greatest gains in proficiency? By testing and comparing physical and mental practice groups in a rotation task, in this case, rotating a needle to match a presented card with a picture of the desired needle position, it is hoped that this question may be addressed.

 

Yoshiko Yamada

On the Source of Asymmetrical Cross-language Priming Effects in Bilinguals

Advisor:  Dr. Michael Posner

Cross-language priming occurs when processing of a word in one language is facilitated by prior exposure to a related word in another language. Priming effects have been observed when the native language (L1) prime precedes the second language (L2) target, but not vice versa. This study is investigating whether this asymmetry can be attributed to the difference in the sensitivity to priming between L1 and L2. Japanese-English bilinguals are briefly exposed to the prime which simply is either "English" or "Japanese (written in kanji)" immediately followed by the English or Japanese target. Their task is to decide whether the target is a real word or not. Although no significant difference in the strength of priming effects has been found between the two languages, the lexical decision has been made significantly faster when the prime indicates the same language as the target. This suggests that the two languages in bilinguals can be activated separately from one another and can be activated by simple primes.


 

Undergraduate Honors 1999-2000

David Boyer

The Relationship between Religiosity and Depression with Discordant Intimate Relationships

Advisor:  Dr. Hy Hops

Pre-existing questionnaire data, from Oregon Research Institute's (ORI) SMOFAM project, from 274 participants for the 1996-1997-assessment year (T-10), were examined for relationships between relationship discord, depression, and religiosity. Religiosity was defined as religious belief and religious activity. For the purpose of this study, altruism and social support were also associated with religious activity. Hence, there were four factors, along with general religiosity, that were examined: religious belief, religious activity, altruism, and social support. The objective was to determine if a relationship exists between reduced incidence of depression and the four factors mentioned above, within discordant intimate relationships. This research was deemed important for three reasons: (a) the high incidence of co-morbid marital discord and depression found in much of the recent research, as well as in the present study, (b) religiosity, altruism, and social support have been associated with both relationship satisfaction and depression, (c) there is little research to be found in this area. It was hypothesized that religiosity, in general, would be significantly correlated with depression regardless of relationship satisfaction. Further it was hypothesized that altruism, social support, religious activity, and religious belief would all be found to be significant predictors for depression scores regardless of relationship satisfaction. Finally, it was thought that religious belief would be found to be the least predictive and altruism the greatest predictor for depression scores regardless of relationship satisfaction. The hypothesis regarding the relationship between general religiosity and depression was not supported, with the exception that a significant positive relationship was found between religiosity and depression within discordant relationships. The hypothesis that altruism, social support, religious activity, and religious belief would all have predictive value for depression scores as well as the hypothesis for the ordering of predictive ability of altruism and religious belief remained unsupported as well. An interesting significant interaction was found between relationship satisfaction and religious activity. Within discordant relationships, the incidence of depression was high for subjects with high religious activity, while the incidence of depression was low for those with low religious activity. Within satisfying relationships, the incidence of depression was low regardless of religious activity. One possible explanation for these findings is that people in discordant relationships and are depressed are searching for a solution to their problems by participating in religious activities and have yet to find relief.

 

Kate Brainard

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

Advisor: Dr. Scott Monroe

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a proposed psychiatric disorder. Much controversy has been raised in response to a diagnostic category pathologizing an otherwise normal biological function-- the menstrual cycle. PMDD is considered to be a subset of the more common and less severe premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Many of the issues that have obstructed the future direction of PMS are also questionable factors in the construction of the diagnostic category for PMDD. Some common problems related to PMDD are 1) the rating of symptom severity, 2) there is no etiology for the disorder, 3) many women with premenstrual complaints are present with an additional, comorbid disorder 4) there are no known effective treatments, 4) most women with premenstrual complaints will not meet the strict diagnostic criteria for PMDD. The nature of this paper is to review some of the recent literature on PMDD and address the issues which contribute to the problematic construction of PMDD.

 

Jessica Calhoon

Gender and the Development of Visual Sequence Learning

Advisor:  Dr. Mary Rothbart

Examined the gender differences in the development of visual sequence learning, using context dependent sequences, relating this development to executive attention. A random sample of 43 infants ranging in age from 24 - 25 months (11 females, 11 males) and 30 - 31 months (10 females, 11 males) were used for the analysis. Participants were analyzed by coding anticipations to ambiguous and unambiguous sequences within a given sequence. The visual sequence task consists of cartoon characters accompanied by beeping sounds presented on 3 computer monitors, labeled 1, 2, and 3, in a predetermined sequence (1213 or 3231 for counterbalancing). Unambiguous sequences are those in which the participants anticipate, or look to 1 when at 2 or 3. Ambiguous sequences are those in which the participants are looking at 1 and must go to 2 or 3. Ambiguous sequences require the development of context dependent learning capabilities, and thus demonstrate the development of executive attention. In both age ranges using a univariate analysis of variance, female participants approached significance with better mean performances than the male participants under the ambiguous condition. The nonambiguous condition produced means indicating that males 24 - 25 months performed better than females of the same age. However, the 30 - 31 month old female unambiguous means were consistent with the results from the ambiguous condition. According to the results, female infants 24 - 25 months and 30 - 31 months are approaching significance with respect to demonstrating earlier development of context dependent learning capabilities in ambiguous associations when compared to male infants of the same age. Although no results showed statistical significance, it is concluded that females may indeed develop the mechanisms necessary to perform context dependent learning associations at an earlier age than males.

 

Jessica Craine

Juvenile Detention Size and Behavior Dynamics

Advisor: Dr. Tom Dishion

This study examined juvenile detention facility size and behavior dynamics therein. Participants consisted of 70 youth in the custody of Lane County. Pre-existing data from the month of February was analyzed using the Pearson's correlation. Participants were scored by detention staff on a series of behaviors. It was hypothesized that group size and points would be negatively correlated. No correlation was found between the total population size and behavior dynamics. Once the lowest in the hierarchy of youth was removed a negative correlation was found. A positive correlation was found for the lowest level possibly due to lack of scoring.

 

Mariah Davis

Emotional and Cognitive Control

Advisors: Andrea Berger and Dr. Mary Rothbart

Cognitive control is involved in attentive, purposeful control of normally automatic mental events. A common example of cognitive control is the Spatial-conflict task, which is a matching task designed such that the stimulus and response are spatially incongruent during half the trials. Slower RT have been consistently found in the spatially incongruent trials. Emotional control is involved with the processing of stimuli which is emotional in content but the emotionality is not a relevant aspect of the task (such as a Stroop color-naming task in which color words are replaced with neutral/threatening words). RT are consistently slower when subjects deal with emotional stimuli. A considerable amount of research has found links between cognitive and emotional control. The purpose of our study was to construct a spatial conflict task with either positive or negative emotional pictures to see any interaction between the two constructs. 44 subjects participated in the study; for half of them the task was designed so that the spatial conflict would be vertical (up and down) and for the other half the spatial conflict task was horizontal (left and right). Subjects were asked to match pictures that appeared on computer screen to either a button which read "Animal" or one that read "Non-Animal" The task was set up on a computer touch-screen such that subjects pressed an upper or lower box in the vertical trials and a left or right box in the horizontal trials. A within subjects (repeated measures) ANOVA was run, and although in both groups there were consistent differences between the spatially compatible/incompatible trials as well as the emotionally positive/negative trials, no interaction was found between spatial compatibility and emotional valence. Results did show that subjects consistently responded slower to the upper position (vertical trials) as well as to the left hand side (horizontal trials). We hope to eliminate this confounding effect, and perhaps in refining this experiment will yet uncover an interaction between cognitive and emotional control.

 

Ryan M. Hampton

Effects of Minority Status, According to Gender, on Preference of Group Formation

Advisor: Dr. Holly Arrow

Minority status, according to gender, in groups is seen as critical in determining whether a person will prefer to form with the opposite or same gender. "Skewed" groups contain a large percentage of one gender (numerical "dominants") over the other gender (rare "tokens"), while "even" groups contain equal numbers of both genders. The results from the experiment show that both men and women when put in a minority or "token" position according to gender are more likely to want to form a group with individuals who are of the same gender. In contrast, when the numbers of men and women in a group were an identical ratio, both men and women were more likely to want to form a group with the opposite sex. This study discusses the relevance of these results to whom people prefer to form with and work with in group settings.

 

Heather Harvey

Exploring the Relationship between Inhibitory Control and Private Speech

Advisor: Laura Jones and Dr. Mary Rothbart

The present study investigated the relationship between inhibitory control and private speech in children (18 to 36 months). Increased private speech use in children 18-36 months may aid children in regulating their actions via planning and keeping the goal in mind, including inhibiting distractions in their immediate environment or errors that may interfere with reaching the stated goal. This relationship was tested with 63 children total from different age groups who performed the Block Task, an inhibitory control task. The childrens’ verbal ability ratings (MacArthur Communicative Inventory) and caregiver ratings of inhibitory control (TBAQ-R) were examined as well. The results showed that with age, the childrens’ use of narrative and corrective speech increased until 36-months when the use of narrative and corrective speech decreases. The Block Task scores also increased with age. There was a significant positive relationship between the score and the use of narrative speech. A significant positive relationship between inhibitory control and private narrative speech did not occur. Thus, the results show that age plays a larger factor in private speech development and inhibitory control development but they may also affect one another. However, this is all based on what task is used and the Block Task may not be the appropriate task to test the private speech variable. The older children may have found the task easy enough to internalize their private speech and not speak as much. Future research should include a battery of tasks in order to have enough coding of speech and to consider inhibitory control.

 

Linda Ivy

Direction or Dimension: How Will I Choose?

Advisor: Dr. Sara Hodges

Preference judgment strategies were examined in 175 college students who were asked to rate pairs of car descriptions. The cars either shared 3 positive features and had 2 unique negative features, or else shared 3 negative features and had 2 unique positive features. Each car also had one feature (gas mileage or odometer mileage) that could be directly compared between the two cars (common dimension). Past research has shown that participants using feature-matching strategies tend to "cancel out" shared features and focus their judgments on the unique features of the second object (direction of comparison strategy). Other studies have shown that participants prefer an option that ranks more favorably on a common dimension, regardless of other features (dimension strategy). In this study, stimuli were arranged so that the car ranked higher on the common dimension was never the car that would be favored by direction of comparison. In addition, some participants were encouraged to view the common-dimension feature as a shared feature by adding a category label (i.e., "good gas mileage"). Participants' evaluations of the cars indicated no clear preference for either strategy, except that participants who accurately recalled the positive common dimension feature for both cars tended to prefer the car that was higher on this dimension, possibly indicating use of the dimension strategy.

 

Nga-Lok Lam

Anxiety-Linked Performance Deficit and Suppression Mechanism

Advisor: Dr. Robert Mauro

The research examined the hypothesis that anxiety-related performance deficit is caused by a weakened inhibitory mechanism, and the deficit will be most obvious when working memory capacity reached its limit. In the current experiment, 30 participants were first asked to memorize a digit string with either a high or low memory load condition, and then complete a suppression task developed by Gernsbacher and Faust (1991). Participants’ reaction latencies under two memory load conditions and two state anxiety conditions were measured and compared. Contrary to our expectations, there was no significant main effect of memory load on decision latencies of the suppression task. Furthermore, subjects’ performance under the high state anxiety condition was significantly better than their performance under the low anxiety condition. Some explanations for the findings as well as future research directions are discussed.

 

Tanya Nahman

Children's Error Detection and Correction Abilities

Advisor:  Dr. Mary K. Rothbart

The current study examines developmental trends in children's ability to detect and correct errors, as a macroconstruct of executive function. Zelazo et al (1997) defines four stages in which a child proceeds from recognition of a problem to its solution. These stages include: Problem representation, planning, execution-intending/rule use, evaluation-error detection/correction. This study focused on the evaluation stage of problem solving involving error detection and correction. The process of error detection/correction is an important part of self-regulation in that it is problem solving to reach a goal. Participants in this study included 21 children at 18 months old, 24 children at 24 months, 21 children at 30 months and 15 children at 36 months. Each participant was presented with three increasingly difficult stages of a nesting cup task and asked to stack the set of cups, graded by size, to reach the goal of a completed stack. Significant developmental trends were found in the children's ability to correctly nest the cups, as well as complexity of error correction strategies. In addition, relationships between parent-report temperament scores, particularly those aspects dealing with executive function, and performance on the nesting cup task will be examined.

 

Nicole Scaife

Expectations and Memory for Recurrent Menstrual Pain

Advisor: Kristi Klein

The purpose of this research was to determine the relationship between expectations for pain, experienced pain, and remembered pain for women experiencing menstrual pain. Similar studies with patients experiencing acute pain have found a stronger relationship between expectations and remembered pain than between experienced and remembered pain. We hypothesized parallel results with recurrent menstrual pain such that there would be a stronger relationship between expected and remembered pain than between experienced and remembered pain. We were interested in possible methods by which we could improve participants' recall in order to strengthen the relationship between experienced pain and remembered pain. In one treatment group, participants were given memory cues to help them remember the pain, while the other treatment group was encouraged to recognize any discrepancy between expectations and experienced pain. We hypothesized that these two groups would remember their pain more accurately than a control group. Finally, we sought to establish pain anxiety as a moderator of the relationship between experienced and remembered pain. We predicted that participants who were highly anxious about pain would be less accurate at remembering their menstrual pain than those who were less anxious. We did not confirm our first two hypotheses; instead we found, as might be predicted intuitively, that the best predictor of remembered pain was experienced pain, rather than expected pain. Further, we found no effect for either of the treatment groups. While we did not confirm our third hypothesis regarding pain anxiety, we did find an effect such that the high-anxiety participants were better at remembering their recurrent menstrual pain.

 

David Smith

The Demand/Withdraw Pattern in Lesbian Relationships

Advisors: Heather Scott and Dr. Jennifer Freyd

This study focuses on the prevalence of the demand/withdraw pattern of conflict in lesbian relationships. In this pattern the demander pressures the other for change through blame and criticism, and the withdrawer actively avoids the discussion or retreats from the conversation. Forty lesbian couples engaged in two videotaped discussions, one in which partner A requested a change in partner B, and one in which partner B requested a change in partner A. Observers assessed the levels of 15 behaviors. Scores for demand and withdraw were calculated and compared to scores for heterosexual couples whose interactions had been rated using the same rating system. Results showed that lesbian women were significantly less withdrawing than heterosexual men. It was also found that demand on one's own issue was significantly more likely than on one's partner's issue, and that withdraw on one's partner's issue was significantly more likely than on one's own issue. Lesbian women were significantly less demanding on their own issue than heterosexual women were. The pattern of demanding on one's own issue and withdrawing on one's partner's issue was evaluated and it was found that lesbian demand-lesbian withdraw in homosexual couples was significantly less likely than female demand-male withdraw in heterosexual couples.

 

Suzanne Stieglitz

Inhibitory Control and Children's Theory of Mind

Advisor: Dr. Lou Moses

This study examined the relationship between young children's developing theory of mind and their inhibitory control abilities. Prior studies have shown that young children have more difficulty understanding the mental state of belief than understanding desire and pretense. Two explanations have been proposed for this asymmetry. One is that young children have a basic conceptual deficit in this area which leads to difficulty with false belief tasks but not with desire and pretense tasks. The other is that the conceptual requirements are the same but that the inhibitory demands of the tasks differ. The goal of my study was to test whether the inhibitory demands of false belief tasks are in fact greater than those of desire and pretense tasks. 45 three- and four-year old children were given a verbal intelligence measure, a battery of inhibitory measures, and a variety of theory of mind tasks assessing their understanding of belief, desire, and pretense. Surprisingly, we found that performance on the belief tasks was not significantly different from performance on the desire and pretense tasks. However, consistent with the inhibitory explanation, performance on false belief tasks, but not on desire and pretense tasks, was significantly correlated with inhibitory control after the effects of age, sex, and verbal intelligence were controlled. This evidence suggests that developments in inhibitory control may play a crucial role in changes in false belief performance in the preschool period and may explain why children have had greater difficulty with belief than with desire or pretense in previous studies.

 

Sarah Thompson

Street Youth: Identifying the Roadblocks that Keep Them from Improving Their Lives

Advisors: Dr. Tom Dishion and Keith Harris

Twenty-five street youth in and around Eugene, Oregon filled out an eight page, 104-item questionnaire consisting of demographic information, planning ability and life skills assessments, social networking questions, and scales for motivation, hope, and self-esteem. It was hypothesized that youth who had been on the streets longer would have lower levels of motivation and life skills, as well as poorer planning ability. It was further hypothesized that street youth would score lower on a hope scale than at-risk youth with homes, and that street youth would report more relationships with deviant peers than the other youth.

 

Andrea Wulf

Vividness, Risk Perception, and Individual Differences

Advisor:  Dr. Ellen Peters

Vividness, risk perception, and individual differences were examined in an experiment in which paper mill employees were participants. Two forms of a questionnaire were distributed: one with vivid scenarios, and one with non-vivid. Each questionnaire contained general (societal) and specific (to paper mill environment) risk questions, as well as six scenarios about work related risks. It was hypothesized that vivid scenarios would elicit a higher perception of risk than non-vivid. This hypothesis was confirmed. The relationship between specific and general perceptions of risk was also examined and it was found that as perceptions of general risk increased, so did perceptions of specific risk. The BIS/BAS (Carver & White, 1994) and Big 5 MiniMarkers (Saucier, 1994) were used to evaluate personality factors. Reactivity to negative events (BIS and Emotional Stability) was found to be higher as risk perception increased. This effect was even greater when post scenario risk perceptions were examined.


 

Undergraduate Honors 2000-2001

Angela Adams

Predicting Adolescent and Runaway Behavior

Advisor: Dr. Tom Dishion

This study examined adolescent runaway behavior from an inpatient setting. The data was collected from the case files of 91 ex-residents of a local adolescent residential treatment center. Five variables were tested as possible predictors of runaway behavior: having a history of running away, having a history of sexual abuse, having a history of physical abuse, number of previous out-of-home placements, and proximity of home. It was hypothesized that residents with either a history of running away, a history of sexual abuse, a history of physical abuse, multiple previous out-of-home placements, or a home that is in the same area as the treatment center would be more likely to run away than those residents who do not have these histories/characteristic. Residents who ran away from the treatment center were more likely to have a history of running away, a history of sexual abuse, and multiple previous out-of-home placements. The results suggested that a resident’s likelihood of running away could be predicted based on certain personal characteristic recorded at intake.

 

B. Renee Ahnert

The Social Outcomes of Empathic Accuracy

Advisor: Dr. Sara Hodges

The primary purpose of this research is to investigate the social outcomes of empathic accuracy. The main hypothesis is that positive regard towards a perceiver increases as that perceiver’s empathic accuracy (with respect to the target in question) increases. In other words, we like people better if they are accurate in understanding our moment-to-moment thoughts and feelings. These questions were addressed using a widely used empathic accuracy paradigm, whereby actual thoughts and feelings reported by the target are compared to perceiver’s inferences of those thoughts and feelings. In addition, perceivers wrote a free-form letter to targets. Targets, after reading the inferences and the letter, rated each perceiver on a number of dimensions related to positive regard. The target subjects (N=20) were first-time mothers whose babies were between two and four months of age. Initial results indicate that the perceiver’s empathic accuracy does predict a global measure of positive regard reported by targets towards those perceivers. It remains to be seen, however, whether empathic accuracy will still be a significant predictor once some of the other variables are taken into account. Future research on this project will address this question.

 

Melanie Ayres

Gender Schemas in Children's Judgments of Others

Advisors: Heidi Ellis and Dr. Jeffrey Measelle

At around age 4, children have been found to make gender typical associations and are already developing a gender schema. This study seeks to understand whether or not preschool children will use their gender knowledge to make differential judgments of other children. The participants, male and female subjects ages 38-65 months, were read a story in which the story character was either referred to as male or female. At the conclusion of the story, the participants were asked several questions about how they expected the character to behave in various situations. They were also given a series of dichotomous adjectives and asked to choose which one best described the story character. Partial support was found for the hypothesis in that kids rated the characters somewhat differently based on the character sex, but it is suggested that the child's sex may also play a role in how children think about others.

 

Danielle Chantiny

The Effect of Stroke on Handedness

Advisor: Dr. Paul Dassonville

The cerebral hemispheres are asymmetrical and specialized, suggesting that one hemisphere might be better equipped to control fine motor movements in the hand. However, this does not explain why approximately 90% of the population is right-handed while the other 10% is left-handed or ambidextrous, nor does it explain why some people have very strong preferences for one hand over the other while others only weakly prefer one hand. While hand preference remains fairly stable over a lifetime, hand performance may change due to unfortunate circumstances such as a stroke. Using a modified Edinburgh Inventory participants in this study declared hand preference before and after the stroke. General findings show that after moderate or severe stroke, participants express preference for the unaffected hand regardless of hand preference prior to the stroke. Contrary to the hypothesis, no patterns were found after mild strokes; some participants showed no alteration in hand preference from pre to post-stroke, while others’ preference changed only slightly, and still others demonstrated strong preference for the unaffected hand.

 

Ryann Crowley

Gender and Trusting

Advisor: Dr. Holly Arrow

This study investigates the trusting behaviors of men and women. The participants of this study are 261 women and 104 men enrolled as undergraduates at the University of Oregon. Trust was measured using a social card paradigm. The results of this experiment indicate that women are marginally more trusting than men (p<.037, df=276) and that women trust women more than they trust men (p<.007, df=89). Understanding that there are differences between males and females helps improve environments where males and females must interact. Knowing the trusting behaviors of males and females will help further the investigation of gender differences.

 

Brooke Hallinan

Experience, Empathic Accuracy and Alcoholism

Advisor:  Dr. Sara Hodges

Have you ever thought to yourself, “What on earth is that person thinking?” Wouldn’t it be nice if people could learn ways to better infer with the thoughts and feelings of others? This experiment examines empathic accuracy, or the ability to accurately infer the thoughts and feelings of others. In particular, I examine how both Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) members and non-alcoholic college students infer the thoughts and feelings of other AA members. I am particularly interested in examining how similarity of experience or imagining oneself in a similar experience affects empathic accuracy for someone describing his or her experiences as an alcoholic. The subjects included 10 AA members as targets, 10 AA members as perceivers and 40 non-alcoholic college students. The results suggest that neither shared experience nor imagining oneself in a similar experience helps increase one’s ability to accurately infer an alcoholic’s thoughts and feelings.

 

Kumi Kitano

Japanese-American Differences in Social Desirability Valuing

Advisor:  Dr. Gerard Saucier

The present study was designed to study judged social desirability values between Japanese and Americans. Fifteen Japanese students (male=7 and female=8) and around twelve American students (male=6, female=6) will be asked to complete both English and Japanese versions of questionnaires. A t-test and ANOVA will apply to the data of social desirability scores to analyze the relationship between personality-descriptive adjectives and cultural values. In addition, comparing a Japanese questionnaire with an English questionnaire within the same cultural group, different language values will be examined. The main research hypothesis is that there will be significant differences of social desirability values between Japanese culture and the United States culture. Specifically, since Japanese culture is strongly associated with the concept of omoiyari, translated generally into empathy, my specific hypothesis is that Japanese will tend to rate as more desirable empathy-related personality terms than will Americans

 

Tiffany L. Lewis

Beyond the Fight Song and “Louie Louie”: A Study of Intergroup Perception among Members of the Oregon Marching Band

Advisor: Dr. Mick Rothbart

Approximately 100 University of Oregon marching band members participated in this study which addresses two general issues regarding stereotyping and intergroup perception within a marching band. The first issue of interest is ingroup favoritism: Do the “families” of woodwind, brass, and percussion each view themselves as superior to the other? Ingroup favoritism was assessed through subjects’ ratings of each family’s musical contribution and importance to the band. The second issue of interest compares actual and perceived temperament differences between families of the band. Subjects filled out a modified adult temperament measure first for themselves and then as they thought typical members of each family would. There was no evidence of ingroup favoritism between woodwind and brass families but strong support or stereotyping. Implications for social psychology and music education are discussed.

 

Quinton Moretz

Voluntary Suppression of Information from Working Memory

Advisor: Dr. Mike Anderson

This experiment tests the idea that through the use of inhibitory control processes, a person can voluntarily suppress unwanted information from working memory when cues to this information are presented. Results show that as the repetitions of suppress trails increase, there is a decrease in final recall when cued with the same information.

 

Hadley Morotti

Empathy, Gender and Physiological Feedback

Advisor: Dr. Sara Hodges

The study examined the effect of false physiological feedback on empathic accuracy and empathic concern. College-aged participants (n=49) watched a video of a graduate student explaining why she needed participants for a study. Participants were assigned to either a control or false feedback condition, although all of them were attached to false physiological feedback equipment. False feedback participants heard a series of sounds that were supposedly related to their skin conductance and indicated a high level of arousal, whereas control participants heard nothing. After the video, participants completed measures of empathic accuracy and empathic concern and indicated their willingness to help the graduate student by donating hours for free for experiments. Contrary to predictions, no significant differences were found between the two experimental groups, nor were there any sex differences, for any of the measures, suggesting that the false physiological feedback did not affect participants’ perceptions of the target.

 

Ingrid Perdew

Dissociation, Abuse Histories and Types of Abusers

Advisor:  Dr. Jennifer Freyd

A survey was completed by 26 women, who were experiencing different types and levels of abuse from their intimate partners. Information was gathered for each type of reported abuse, including severity, frequency, psychological impact on the victim, and the perpetrator’s use of denial and blame. Analyses determined if the women’s dissociation levels were related to their abuse histories. In addition, this study examined the characteristics of each abuser, and then compared these characteristics to different typologies of male batterers. Some methodological limitations of this study are reviewed, and suggestions for future research are offered.

 

Catherine J. Peterson

Individual Differences and Group-Inclusion Strategies

Advisor: Dr. Holly Arrow

The strategies utilized by an individual to become included into a group are affected by individual differences. Sixty-seven male and female, undergraduates at the University of Oregon, ranging predominantly in age from 18 to 25, were placed in a game situation that involved repeatedly forming small groups. These interactions were video recorded and coded for strategies utilized and the resulting success, or lack of (inclusion versus exclusion). These individuals and their interactions were also assessed using Robert F. Bales SYMLOG (1990); and the subjects assessed their own personalities using Gerard Saucier’s Mini-Markers (1994) for comparison, and in hope of possible correlation with strategy use. Results are still forthcoming.

 

Stephanie L. Skow

The Search for Meaning in PMS

Advisor:

The present research focuses on examining possible benefits or secondary gains that PMS might promote. Secondary gains could include absence from school or work, permission to express anger, heightened sensitivity, or even eating certain foods, such as chocolate. Thirty-three female college freshmen and sophomore students completed questionnaires that assessed negative PMS symptoms, PMS benefits, and PMS treatments. First it is predicted that women will report experiencing PMS not only during the premenstrual period, but also during menstruation. The second hypothesis states that women will experience positive benefits as well as negative symptoms of PMS. Finally, it is predicted that there is a positive correlation between positive and negative symptoms of PMS. The results support all predictions. Women do report experiencing PMS during both the premenstrual and menstrual periods. Participants also report experiencing positive benefits as well as negative symptoms of PMS. Positive correlations do exist between clusters of negative symptoms and PMS benefits. The meaning behind the Western phenomenon of PMS is discussed, as well as women’s definition of PMS.

 

Kumiko Yokokura

Culture Shock Among International Students

Advisors: Jason Quiring and Dr. Gerard Saucier

Culture shock among international students was examined at the University of Oregon. Three factors were used in determining culture shock: communication, academic, and preparedness. As the concepts of individualism and collectivism suggested, it was hypothesized that region of origin could contribute to the degree of culture shock experienced by Asian and European students. Twenty-six Asian international students and 25 European international students participated to fill out the survey. The results were statistically significant, which supported the hypothesis that culture shock was greater among Asian students than European students. Furthermore, the Asian students experienced more difficulties in communicating with Americans, had more concerns about academics, and showed greater efforts to prepare to come to the United States as compared to the European students.


 

Undergraduate Honors 2001-2002

Christine Adams

The Influence of Attachment and Gender Traditionality on the Vocational Aspirations of Adolescents

Advisors: Leslie Leve and Dr. Kirby Deater-Deckard

The relationship between adolescent vocational aspirations, attachment to parent, and gender role traditionality was examined using a longitudinal sample of 351 children (approximately 50% female). Data was collected at age 14/15 and age 17/18. Two hypotheses were examined: (1) attachment security was expected to correlate positively with higher vocational aspirations, (2) higher gender role traditionality was expected to relate to lower vocational aspirations for girls and higher vocational aspirations for boys. In a simple correlation analysis, boys' attachment at age 14/15 showed a significant positive relationship to higher vocational aspirations at age 17/18. No significant relationship between attachment and vocational aspirations was found for girls. A hierarchical regression analysis on the gender role traditionality hypothesis showed trends toward significance for both females and males, suggesting that further research is needed in this area.

 

Michelle M. Ayres

Gender Differences in Reported and Displayed Psychological Aggression

Advisor: Deborah Capaldi

There has been a significant amount of research on communication between men and women in intimate relationships. Evidence suggests that both men and women use psychological aggression within relationships at approximately equal rates. The current study examines gender comparisons of the severity of psychological aggression employed by young adult partners in heterosexual relationships. Additional analysis involved examination of gender differences in the rate of positive affect used during interactions. Study questions were examined for 158 young adult men and their partners involved in a study of couple's relationships. Psychological aggression and positive affect were assessed through questionnaires and observational coder ratings. Findings indicated little or no gender difference in the prevalence and/or severity of psychological aggression used in intimate relationships. Results suggest couples counseling should address the aggression of both partners in order to improve communication and reduce the escalation of negative affect into psychological and physical abuse.

 

Charmaine Chan

Does similarity breed contempt? Revisiting the role of similarity And intentionality in blaming responses

Advisor: Gale Pearce

Festinger's social comparison theory suggests that people pay closer attention to the actions of similar others than dissimilar
others. Taylor and Mettee (1971) suggested that, this attentional salience translates into stronger negative emotions and more negative personality appraisals for the interpersonal transgressions of a similar other than a dissimilar other. However, their previous work lacked a direct measure of attentional salience so the exact hypothesis could not be tested. In the present study, participants read about either an intentional or unintentional transgression committed by a peer, who they expected to meet. Half of the participants were told that they were similar to their peer while the other half was told that they were dissimilar. In contrast to Taylor and Mettee's hypothesis (1971), participants' emotional responses to the transgression and personality assessments of their peer were not influenced by the similarity manipulation. However, participants expressed greater liking and desire for friendship with a similar peer. The intentionality manipulation did result in significant differences such that participants had more positive emotional responses and thought that their peer was more responsible and conscientious when the peer committed an unintentional act.

 

Cory Coleman

Neural Network Models of Thermotaxis in the Nematode Caenorhabditis elegans

C. elegans is a 1mm long soil nematode which is capable of remaining at a preferred temperature by navigating a thermal gradient through a behavior known as thermotaxis. In order to investigate the neural mechanisms underlying thermotaxis, both feedforward and recurrent neural networks are successfully trained to control thermotaxis in a computer model of the nematode. Additionally, existing robotics algorithms for thermotaxis-like tasks are used as the inspiration for a neural-hybrid control system which not only mimics the thermotaxis behavior but also replicates the effects of laser-killing individual neurons in C. elegans.

 

Kristin Flegal

Putting It In Words: Does Verbal Overshadowing Affect Motor Memory?

Advisor: Dr. Michael Anderson

Describing memories for difficult-to-verbalize perceptual experiences has been shown to impair later recognition memory for those experiences, a phenomenon termed "verbal overshadowing." Previous investigations have demonstrated the detrimental effect of verbalization in a number of perceptual modalities. The present study examines whether the verbal overshadowing effect applies to motor memory. Specifically, does verbally describing a recently practiced motor skill (golf putting) impair one's ability to perform that skill?

 

Bradley Kauwe

An attentional Background: The Role of Attention in an Apparent Motion Visual Illusion

Advisor:  Dr. Paul Dassonville

The Roelofs effect is a visual illusion that produces apparent motion of a stationary object in the opposite direction of a moving background, similar to the apparent motion of stars in a moving field of clouds. Given the overt imposition of a moving background, the question is what role does attention play in this illusion of mislocalization? A minimal visual cue was used to draw attention to one side of the visual field during the presentation of a target. Targets were significantly mislocalized in the opposite direction of the cue, apparently drawing the perceptual center towards the cued direction along with the remembered location of the target positions. However, auditory cues had little effect on target localization. Ultimately, very little visual stimulus was required to elicit an induced motion effect, suggesting the role of attention in perceiving visual space, but somewhat divorced from general or cross-modal attention. Visual attention may consolidate space around an attended location, thus expanded the apparent distance between perceived objects and loci of attention.

 

Alice M. King

Always Look on the Bright Side of Life: Suppression using Words with Negative Valence

Advisor: Dr. Michael Anderson

The notion of repression has been controversial throughout its history. Recent work using the think/no-think (TNT) paradigm suggests, however, that people can actively inhibit memories for emotionally neutral experiences. The current study uses the TNT paradigm to ask whether emotionally negative words can also be suppressed as effectively as neutral words. Twenty-four introductory psychology students were instructed to recall, or to try to avoid recalling, previously studied negative and neutral word pairs during a series of trials, either 0, 1 or 16 times. The Dissociative Experiences Scale and the Freyd/Goldberg Trauma Survey were also administered to participants. Participants' ability to suppress negative words, as well as the relation of this ability to trauma history is discussed.

 

Bridget Klest

Trauma, Dissociation, and Attention: Memory for Neutral and Traumatic Stories

Advisor:  Dr. Jennifer J. Freyd

Previous research has consistently found a positive correlation between history of trauma and dissociation, and recent research (DePrince and Freyd, 1999) suggests that people who score high on a measure of dissociation may have enhanced abilities at dividing attention and suppressing traumatic information from consciousness. The current study set out to replicate these findings using more complex stimuli than have been used previously. Fifty-two subjects, half scoring high and half low on the Dissociative Experiences Scalewatched neutral videos while listening to neutral and trauma related stories. High dissociators remembered significantly more than low dissociators when listening to neutral stories, and performed no differently than low dissociators when listening to trauma related stories. This interaction was significant, t (50) = 1.72, p < .05 (one-tailed), and this finding is consistent with previous research.

 

Karman Leung

Acculturative Influences on Body Dissatisfaction, Fear of Fat and Self-Esteem: A Comparison between European American and Asian American College Women

Advisor: Dr. Gordon Hall

This study compared body dissatisfaction, fear of fat, body image and self-esteem between 134 European American and 27 Asian American college women. It also investigated the effect of acculturation on these aspects within the Asian American group. Racial differences were not found. There were no significant differences in the degree of body dissatisfaction, fear of fat and self-esteem between the two groups. Acculturation did not have a significant effect on body dissatisfaction, fear of fat, body image or self-esteem among Asian American college women. However, intercorrelations were found among the measures used in this study. These findings suggest that Asian American women have similar beliefs on body image and self-esteem as their European American counterparts. Factors other than acculturation may have influenced the level of body dissatisfaction and self-esteem in Asian American women.

 

Brad Lytle

How Feelings of Guilt Affect Empathy

Advisor: Dr. Bertram Malle

The present study examines the differences in the effect guilt will have on empathy when guilt is caused by breaking a moral rule (moral guilt) or a social standard (social guilt). Participants wrote about a past event in which they felt social guilt, rule guilt, or no guilt. Each group had 20 participants with ages ranging from 17 to 22. The present study examines empathy in two ways, by measuring fantasy, and empathetic accuracy. A fantasy score was obtained by counting the number of times thoughts and feeling were added to a fictional story. An empathetic accuracy score was obtained by rating the accuracy of inferred the thoughts and feelings of a target person. No effect of guilt was found on either empathy task.

 

Sarah Murrell-Kindle

To Laugh, Or Not to Laugh?: Individual Differences in the Enjoyability of Aggressive Humor

Advisor:  Dr. Ellen Peters

Gray's Behavioral Inhibition and Activation Systems theory was used to examine the impact of individual differences on the degree to which participants found aggressive humor enjoyable or upsetting. Ninety-one female undergraduates watched and evaluated 18 one-minute cartoon films clips (nine aggressive and nine non-aggressive) in small groups. Participants also periodically rated their mood, and evaluated such cartoon nostalgia as like or dislike for the main cartoon characters. In contrast to the hypotheses, few significant correlations were found with the Behavioral Inhibition and Activation Systems scales. However, significant correlations were found between rankings of violence and upset feelings, and both positive and negative mood decreased over the course of the study. Implications of social influence variables, such as participant laughter, are discussed.

 

Emily Neuhaus

Forest for the Trees: The Weak Central Coherence Theory of Autism

Advisor:  Dr. Dare Baldwin

Central coherence is defined as the ability to integrate otherwise isolated information to arrive at a coherent and useable whole. The current paper explores the theory put forth by Frith (1989) that weak central coherence is the fundamental cognitive feature underlying autism. The diagnostic criteria for autism are reviewed, and Frith's theory is subsequently explored in depth. Empirical evidence from the domains of visuo-spatial, linguistic, and social processing is presented, as are challenges to the theory. It is concluded that Frith's theory parsimoniously accounts for the assets and deficits of autism, including tentative support for the hypothesis that weak central coherence underlies autism's theory of mind impairments. The discussion is followed by a research proposal intended to examine the links between theory of mind and central coherence, which employs established research methods as well as one new measure. Potential areas of future research into central coherence are speculated upon, and include schizophrenia and dissociative disorders.

 

Rachel M. Nichols

The Role of Mother-Infant Interactions in Language Acquisition: A Fresh Look at the Fine-Tuning Hypothesis

Advisors: Dr. Dare Baldwin & Rebecca Brand, M.S.,

The current study considered the fine-tuning hypothesis from the point of view of semantic development. Mothers and their infants aged 16-20 months were observed in a natural play setting using toy sets that were assembled based on reported vocabulary of the infants. A three-part prediction was made; first, that mothers would utilize more supportive kinds of speech when speaking of objects for which infants had no label, second that the use of supportive speech would decrease as infants aged and vocabulary increased, and third, that mothers would speak more about objects for which infants had no label as infants aged. None of the predictions were borne out; however, an interesting trend of speaking more often about typical than atypical objects was observed. Significance of the findings is discussed and ideas for future research are proposed.

 

Veronica Stotts

Deconstructing Barbie: The Pressure Women Feel to Obtain an Ideal Body: An Evolutionary vs. Social Identity Perspective

Advisor: Dr. Gordon Hall

From an evolutionary perspective, men and women should have the same vision of the ideal female body because women would strive for the body. However, previous evidence suggests that women actually strive for a body that is thinner than the male ideal, suggesting thinness may be a social construct. This would indicate that women strive to be thin because they are striving to attain a standard set by other women, not in order to attract a mate. In the current study, men and women did not differ on the waist-to-hip ratio or level of thinness they thought to be ideal for women. thinness is a social construct, based on the Social Identity Theory. The Social Identity Theory proposes that all knowledge is socially derived through social comparisons , which indicates that women attain knowledge of the ideal female body by comparing themselves to other women. The theory also proposes that social competition is one of several strategies group members use to achieve positive distinction. Results in the current study support these components of the theory, supporting the hypothesis that thinness is not a result of evolution, but rather is socially derived.