Psychology, 2013
  • Cultivating the Seeds of Hope
    Rachel Breuning
    Mentor: Renda Ross, Sharon Stout-Shaffer, Michaele Barsnack, Dina Lentsner, Janette McDonald, Amy Oehlschlaeger, Deborah Shields, Andrea Thomas

    Hope manifests itself in innately personal, individual expressions with unique capacities for sustaining the human spirit (Bauman, 2004; Duggleby, 2010; Webb, 2007; Snyder, 2002). Focusing awareness on the highly contextual images, practices, and situations embodying hope for an individual can preserve and cultivate even greater hope (Yohani, 2008). This project’s purpose is to explore and synthesize personal symbols into a sculpture whose visual dynamics articulate my understanding of hope’s diverse elements identified in class literature. In creating the piece I discovered specific characteristics of hope I had not previously realized. This piece may catalyze internal dialogue for observers, illuminating their own reflections. Articulating what uniquely speaks of hope in their own lives may cultivate broadened awareness of hope’s multifaceted manifestations.

    Generations of Hope: Through a Feministic Heart
    Kathryn Carter
    Mentor: Janette McDonald

    Hope is not only a feeling that an individual has, but it is also a lived experience. With the experience of hope also comes the sensation of hopelessness. Studies have shown that hope is essential to life in times of illness and challenge. The purpose of this study was to find the feministic meaning of hope within women throughout generations. Numerous video interviews were conducted in search of the feministic meanings of hope, hopelessness, and joy throughout generations. The goal was to find how women of all different ages were able to relate to each other in regards to how they define hope in their lives. I found that women ages 8-88 connected with their sensations of hope, and could not live without it. Current literature on hope correlated with the interviews, supporting that hope is needed, and that hope is essential in one’s life. This study is important because I was able to find a deeper meaning of hope that moved beyond mere wishful thinking. Due to my findings I hold hope on an entirely new level of significance in my life.

    How Can We Help Students Deal with Complex Real World Problems?
    Jennifer Davis, Janelle Homier
    Mentor: M. Ali Ülkü, Terry D. Lahm, Andrea M. Karkowski

    Undergraduate research fosters deep learning and promotes greater retention and student persistence through to graduation. Many real world problems are complex and require an integrated solution and collaboration across different disciplines; therefore, it is important that students develop skills to work across disciplines on research problems. This research examines faculty experience and understanding of interdisciplinary undergraduate research (IUGR), and explores the current literature on the topic of interdisciplinary research. We interviewed 19 faculty about supervising undergraduate research, specifically IUGR, and conducted a qualitative analysis on their responses. We also obtained a national sample (N = 96) of college faculty to complete an online survey about their experiences with IUGR. These faculty represent a wide variety of institutional types and sizes, and thus provide an inclusive representation of faculty experiences with IUGR. From these data we developed a definition of IUGR and revealed how mentoring IUGR differs from mentoring disciplinary undergraduate research. Results show faculty prefer mentoring IUGR over mentoring disciplinary research. Results also highlighted the benefits of and barriers to conducting IUGR. These findings can help institutions facilitate IUGR projects on their campuses and inform faculty of development opportunities that will enrich student learning via enhanced curricula where IUGR is embedded.

    Can You Really Multitask? The Impact of Distracted Studying on Comprehension
    Matthew Glynn, Kristi Kilbarger, Julie Kocon, Amber Lawrence
    Mentor: Stephanie Gray Wilson

    Previous research has demonstrated that students often attempt to multitask while studying. The literature is inconclusive about the impact of this behavior on performance. The current study examines the impact of distractors while studying on comprehension and memory. Participants read a passage in a distraction-free environment or while listening to music, watching a television show, or both. Their ability to correctly answer questions about the passage is recorded. Participants also complete an inventory measuring their preference for multitasking. It is hypothesized that comprehension will be negatively impacted by the distractors and that this will be the case even for individuals who report a preference for multitasking. The results provide a better understanding of variables that potentially have a negative impact on learning and the relationship between studying preferences and actual performance.

    Influences of Relationship Dependency and Emotion Dysregulation on Female-Perpetrated Dating Violence
    Leanne Howard
    Mentor: Kathryn Bell

    Literature suggests an association between relationship dependency and male-perpetrated intimate partner violence (IPV), but limited data exists concerning relationship dependency among female-perpetrators of IPV, including dating violence. No known studies examine the extent to which emotion dysregulation strengthens the potential relationship between relationship dependency and female-perpetrated dating violence. Thus, the current study assessed 119 female undergraduate students to examine the extent to which relationship dependency predicts female perpetrated dating violence and determine if emotion dysregulation moderates this hypothesized relationship. Participants completed a demographic questionnaire along with the Conflict Tactics Scale (CTS), Conflict Tactics Scale-II (CTS2), Spouse-Specific Dependency Scale (SSDS), and Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scales (DERS) as part of a larger study. A series of regression analyses were performed to test the main and interaction effects of the three relationship dependency subscales (Anxious Attachment, Exclusive Dependency, and Emotional Dependency) and emotion dysregulation on psychological and physical dating violence perpetration. Results indicated a main effect of all three subscales on psychological aggression, with emotion dysregulation only interacting with anxious attachment to predict female-perpetrated psychological aggression. No effects were found for physical dating violence perpetration. This is the first known study to establish a link between relationship dependency and female-perpetrated psychological IPV.

    If You Believe a Test to Be Difficult You Do Better on the Test
    Leanne Howard, Emma Chadd, Lauren Roy, KeyAnna Spratling, Tyler Dugan, Jordan Ayers, Thomas Ballas, Megan Blandford, Amonda Colegrove, Andre Cousin, Stephanie Crawford, Jordan Funk, Carly Gansel, Andy Garcia, Jessica Heck, Yvette Hoff, Sarah Jackson, Mackenzie Kyes, Geoffrey Maney, Laura Pierce, Ashley Senter, Lanee Williams
    Mentor: Andrea M. Karkowski

    Every student has had to take a test in his or her lifetime. Understanding how to help students do better on tests can increase academic success. We asked whether students’ expectations of test difficulty affect test scores. We assessed whether students who were told that a test would be difficult would score differently on the test than students who were told the test was easy or who were not told anything about the test. Students (N = 58) were assigned to one of the three groups (difficult, easy, or control) and then were given instructions appropriate for their group. All students completed the same test that contained items drawn from the GRE. Students in the “difficult” group scored higher than the other students for the difficult math questions on the test. This indicates that when students expect a test to be difficult they will do better on the difficult test items.

    Reducing Parents Stress – Managing a Child’s Behavior
    Kassandra Lowery
    Mentor: Andrea M. Karkowski

    Over the last several years, there has been an increase in diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD, and developmental delays. Intervention programs targeted at these children early on can help them develop skills that support independent living as an adult. This study examined whether parental stress and externalized child behavior can be reduced through an intervention program known as the Triple P Stepping Stones for Children with Disabilities. The study was done over a period of months through Nationwide Children’s Hospital’s Triple P Program conducted by behavioral psychologists of the Child Development Center and the Autism Center. Pre-tests and post-tests included the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) and a Parenting Stress Index (PSI). It was expected that both negative externalized child behavior and parenting stress would decrease as a result of the program. The results of this study can assist families and therapists in developing a treatment plan that will provide the greatest benefit to the child.

    The Portrayal of Trauma in The Hunger Games Trilogy
    Kassandra Lowery
    Mentor: Kathryn Bell

    Human responses to traumatic events are frequently portrayed within contemporary literature, such as in the bestselling The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. Few analyses have been conducted on the extent to which these portrayals are consistent with what is known from the scientific literature on post-traumatic reactions. The purpose of this project was to examine the scholarly literature on trauma and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and apply this literature to a literary analysis of The Hunger Games trilogy. The project had two primary objectives: (1) to develop a better understanding of the scholarly literature on PTSD and post-traumatic reactions; and (2) to critically examine how traumatic reactions are expressed within a piece of contemporary literature (i.e., The Hunger Games trilogy). Scientific literature was reviewed on the diagnostic criteria for PTSD and acute stress disorder, complex PTSD, peritraumatic stressors, and posttraumatic growth and resiliency. The trilogy was then examined to identify and critically evaluate text selections that describe human responses to traumatic events. The main character’s reactions to several traumatic events were reflective of symptomatology consistent with PTSD as defined by the DSM-IV-TR. Further analysis reveals the challenges of assessing PTSD symptomatology in cases of exposure to multiple traumatic events.

    Emotional Connections in False Memory
    Ryan Sherrock
    Mentor: Stephanie Gray Wilson

    Previous research has demonstrated that individuals create false memories for semantically related items when presented with lists of words that are related in meaning. The current study examines whether or not words that are related to an emotionally salient event (e.g., September 11, 2001 or a visit to Disney World) can elicit false memories for emotion words. Participants are shown lists of words related to an emotional event and are asked to recall the words from the list. The number of items correctly recalled as well as the number and types of items falsely recalled are recorded. It is expected that there will be a significant amount of falsely recalled emotional words. The results of this study expand our understanding of the nature of false memory and the types of situations that can elicit false memories.

    Who Are You as a Student? How Does That Affect Your Academic Achievement and Career Aspirations?
    Stacy E. Smith, Rachel D. Baran, Kailee L. Aston, Kelli D. Brownfield
    Mentor: Andrea M. Karkowski, Amber Hampton (class of 2004), Estee Hernandez, Danisha Baker

    College is an important period of life when students begin to cultivate an adult identity. The process of identity development has implications for academic success and later career achievement. The purpose of this research was to examine relationships among psychosocial identity status, academic identity, academic challenge, and self-confidence. We surveyed college students on two campuses and measured psychosocial identity status, academic identity and specifically need for cognition, GPA, credit hours taken, type of courses taken, and self-confidence. We expected to find that students with an achieved identity status or who were in moratorium had a higher need for cognition than students with other identity statuses. We also expected that students with higher self-confidence would exhibit higher academic challenge. This research can help to inform programming on college campuses and assist faculty in being effective academic advisors and mentors to students.

    How Does Technology Affect Family Relationships?
    Sheila Turner
    Mentor: Janette E. McDonald

    Over the last five to ten years technology has influenced the way that families interact with each other. Everyone has a cell phone and often texting is the only way they communicate. In addition to the cell phone the introduction of social media has further created an additional way for families to interact. Even though families are using technology to keep in touch; it also has the potential to push them apart. The cell phone and social media have certainly influenced how we interact and communicate with family and friends; and in business and academia. The purpose of this study is to determine how social media and technology affect family relationships. Research has shown that technology has the potential to create a more cohesive family through its participation in social media. Participants will complete a survey that will access the amount time and how often they communicate with family members via social media and texting. The findings will help us to determine how technology can create a better family dynamic and what types of social media are most effective.

    Want to Achieve Academic Success? Get Involved!
    Abbey Zacharias, Emma Littmann, Abigail Neininger, Amanda Rowe
    Mentor: Dina Lentsner, Andrea M. Karkowski

    Research indicates that students who are more involved with campus activities benefit socially and academically. Capital University’s Honors Program struggles with student participation and retention. This research examined Honors students’ and non-Honors students’ experiences, opinions, knowledge, and expectations of Capital University’s Honors Program, as well as to identify ways to improve member involvement and increase retention within the program. We surveyed Honors students and non-Honors students using an anonymous online questionnaire. Students answered questions about campus involvement adapted from Elkins et al. (2011), the Sense of Campus Community Scale (SCCS, Elkins et al., 2011), and their experiences with the Honors Program. Honors students also responded to questions about the Honors courses that they have taken. We expected that Honors students would be more involved on campus than non-Honors students and that residency status is more important than Honors Program participation for students’ scores on the SCCS. However, we also expected that Honors students only weakly identified with being members of the Honors Program. The results of this research can be used to help students build stronger connections with the Honors Program and Capital University, inform future directions of the Honors Program, and elevate the reputation of the program.