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Nine posters at Scholarship Sewanee

Twenty-five psychology majors (and two English majors) will participate in Scholarship Sewanee on April 27, 2012, with 9 posters based on research in the Department. Five Sewanee psychologists coached or otherwise participated in these projects;  two Department members will serve as judges of the posters.  As is traditional, from 3 until 5 p.m. the researchers will remain close to their posters to discuss their project with those attending.

Scholarship Sewanee 2012 includes 55 posters [from Archaeology, Biochemistry, Biology, Chemistry, Economics, Environmental Studies, Forestry & Geology, Mathematics & Computer Science, Physics & Astronomy, Political Science, and Psychology] and 13 Oral Presentations [from English, History, International & Global Studies, Political Science, The School of Theology, Religion, and Spanish].

Grayson Stadler ’12, Shelby Bartlett ’12, Lizzie Butler ’12, Catherine Lambert ’12, Jordan Rothschild ’12, Carly Warfield ’12, & Sherry Hamby, Research Associate Professor of Psychology. Gender Patterns in Conversation: The Effects of Group Composition and Setting on Non-Verbal Communication.

  • The purpose of this study is to examine gender group differences in conversational behaviors such as conversation initiation, conversation conclusion, and physical touching during conversation. A total of 249 conversations were coded through naturalistic observation in three different locations on the campus of a small Southeastern private university. The results showed that individually, gender group and setting had an effect on both initiation and closing behavior. Setting, but not gender, was also significant for both the touching of self and others during conversation. The interaction of gender and setting only had an effect on the touching of others during conversation. These results imply that differences in conversational behavior can not only be attributed to gender, but also to the effects of setting.

Shelby Bartlett ’12, Lauren Joca ’13, Caitlin Sneeden ’13, Carly Warfield ’12, & Jessica Siegel, Assistant Professor of Psychology. Simulating the college student lifestyle: the effects of a high-fat diet and ethanol exposure on cognition and behavior in a mouse model.

  • Society often worries about the unhealthy college student lifestyle, which is associated with a high-fat diet and alcohol consumption. In this study, we attempted to model a college student lifestyle in mice. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of a high-fat diet and ethanol exposure on the cognition and behavior of 20 adult female mice. We used the Porsalt force swim test (FST), open field test, and novel object recognition test to measure depression, anxiety & locomotion, and memory, respectively. Results from the forced swim test suggest that ethanol exposure leads to more depressive-like behavior in rodents. Data from the FST demonstrate a trend; ethanol-injected mice spent more time floating compared to saline- injected mice. Also, our results indicate a relationship between diet and locomotion; mice fed a high-fat diet moved significantly further in the open field test compared to mice fed a normal diet. In conclusion, it appears high alcohol consumption can increase the risk for depression-like behavior in mice; these findings correspond to the current high rates of student depression seen on college campuses.

Kabler Colhoun ’12, Adele Ewan ’14, Layne Ezzell ’12, & Virginia Zakas ’12. Validation of a New Scale of Assertiveness, Strategic Assertiveness and Passivity. [Psyc 363 Advanced Research Seminar in Psychology, C. Albert Bardi instructor.] [Adele Ewan is an English major.]

  • Extant measures (e.g. Rathus, 1973) conceptualize assertiveness as social boldness and frankness. Studies assessing minority groups in the U.S. (e.g., Hall & Beil-Warner, 1978) with a variety of measures of assertiveness have yielded group differences that may be best accounted for by the application of measures developed with Whites used to measure behaviors in other cultural groups. A recent qualitative study (Chandrasekaran, Clark, Croasdaile, Mates, McNair, Pickett, & Bardi, 2010) found that in addition to traditionally-defined assertion, Latinos endorse strategic assertion as a mode of dealing with interpersonal conflict. The current study seeks to validate a three subscale measure of assertiveness, strategic assertiveness, and passivity. 64 items were developed in a previous study (Mates, Pickett, Bryson, Robb, & Bardi, 2011). These items were pilot tested on a diverse sample of the Sewanee community. Reliability and social desirability analyses yielded a subsequent pool of 21 items. These items along with the Ten Item Personality Inventory (TIPI, Gosling, Rentfrow, & Swann, 2003), Revised Competitiveness Index (RCI, Harris & Houston, 2010), and a short form of Rathus Assertiveness Scale (Jenerette & Dixon, 2010) were administered to a diverse sample of Sewanee alumni. Validation analyses are presented and discussed.

Audrey Cooney ’13, Alexandra Ginsburg ’12, Jack Kelle ’12, & Sarah Kelly ’13.  Hey, Can You Watch My Stuff? A Study of Change Blindness During Real World Interactions. Advisor, Karen Yu, Associate Professor of Psychology.

  • Previous studies indicate that a substantial number of people fail to notice when an individual with whom they are interacting is replaced by a different individual during a real-world interaction (e.g., Simons & Levin, 1998; Levin, Simons, Angelone, & Chabris, 2002); these findings represent a striking example of a more general phenomenon termed “change blindness.” We investigated whether change blindness is less likely in a situation where paying attention to an individual’s identity is potentially more important: a situation where that individual has asked you to watch his or her belongings. On each trial, a researcher asked an individual patron at a large eating establishment to watch his or her belongings while s/he went to use the restroom. A different researcher returned from the restroom, thanked the patron for watching the belongings, and attempted to collect the belongings and leave. We varied the number and value of the belongings, using: (a) papers & books, (b) papers, books, & a purse or backpack, and (c) papers, books, a purse or backpack, & a laptop computer. Of 24 participants, only 5 noticed the change in individuals and stopped the person from leaving with the belongings. Counter to our expectations, increased value of the belongings did not increase the likelihood of participants noticing the change in individuals.

Zoey Craft. What is Bullying? What 2nd Graders Report. Advisors, Warren (Hoss) Craft, Visiting Assistant Professor of Psychology and Karen Yu, Associate Professor of Psychology.

  • Using an anonymous questionnaire, we asked 2nd graders at Sewanee Elementary School what they thought bullying was, how much bullying they experienced, and what kind of bullying—if any—they saw most often. We collected data from nineteen (19) students in 2010 and eighteen (18) students in 2012. We asked the students to complete the questionnaire based solely on their own perspective. We also asked them to respond only to questions that they felt comfortable answering. When asked to give their own definition of bullying, the most commonly used word was “mean.” More than 50% of the students classified hitting, cutting in line, whispering mean things, and stealing money and food as bullying. When asked how often different types of bullying occurred, the most common response was “Never,” yet some students chose other options (ranging from everyday to once or twice a year). When questioned about what kinds of bullying they saw most often at school, in 2010, the most common response was “Calling Names,” and in 2012, the most common response was “Pushing.”

Caroline Lindemuth ’12. Teen Dating Violence in French-speaking Switzerland: Attitudes & Experiences. Advisor, Sherry Hamby, Research Associate Professor of Psychology.

  • Objective: Teen dating violence has received much less attention outside of North America, with a particular lack of information on younger teens or the non-college population. This study presents the first data on dating violence attitudes and experiences for an adolescent sample of vocational students in French-speaking Switzerland.
  • Method: Participants were 112 youth (56% male), aged 14 to 22 years old, who attended some type of vocational educational or training program in French-speaking Switzerland. They completed self-report questionnaires on attitudes towards violence, egalitarian sex role values, and dating experiences during the first session of a teen dating violence prevention program.
  • Results: Significant percentages of these youth endorsed some justifications for violence, with 1 in 5 saying a boy could hit a girl if she hit first, and 2 in 5 saying the reverse. A number of biases against women were also common. For example, more than half said women were more easily influenced than men and 2 in 5 said it was better if women did not work outside the home. Experiences of physical and psychological aggression were also common among those who had been in dating relationships.
  • Conclusion: Teen dating violence is a worldwide problem. Many risk factors that have long been the target of intervention in North America were common in this group, indicating a need for prevention efforts in Switzerland.

A. Jordan Rothschild ’12, & Sherry Hamby, Research Associate Professor of Psychology. Gender Patterns in Conflict and Aggression: A Naturalistic Observation of Drinking and Violent Behavior.

  • The study examined patterns in alcohol consumption and violent behavior among groups of same gender and mixed gender college students. Data were collected in a naturalistic observation of students during social gatherings on and off campus for 2-hour periods using an adapted coding system. The variables included gender, estimates of height and weight, the number of people involved, and apparent primary motive for the conflict. Preliminary results suggest that conflict is common in all gender patterns, all-male, all-female, and mixed gender. Approximately half of the conflicts involved a pair of individuals and approximately half involved groups of three or more individuals. Jealousy was recorded as the most common motive for conflict. Fighting without overt provocation and an individual or individuals taking offense were also noted. Alcohol played a role in the majority of observed conflicts. A non-violent third-party member defused the majority of the conflicts. A minority of the incidents progressed to physical aggression where participants received broken bones, severe lacerations and hematomas. The findings of the study indicate the need to increase the number of monitors. It is also suggested the monitors receive training similar to training that bar staff in major cities are commonly required to complete.

Marcela Weber ’13, & Sherry Hamby, Research Associate Professor of Psychology. Clinical and Research Implications of Malleable Protective Factors Common to Intimate Partner Violence and Child Abuse.

  • Although much research has examined risk and protective factors of intimate partner violence (IPV) and child abuse (CA), these forms of violence are often studied independently, leading to the under-recognition of risk and protective factors that are common to both forms of violence.
  • Objective: To review previous research on malleable protective factors of both IPV victimization and CA victimization in order to identify factors common to both forms of victimization.
  • Methods: Electronic databases were searched using various terms related to IPV, CA, and malleable protective factors.
  • Results: The literature shows that both IPV and CA are less likely to be committed against people who have strong social support, healthy peer networks, and close family relationships.
  • Discussion: IPV and CA have many common malleable protective factors. Future research should integrate or compare both types of victimization and avoid repetition of research when findings can be applied to multiple violence types. In clinical practice, the malleable factors that are common across multiple victimization types should be addressed in particular, as interventions focusing on these factors may benefit multiple victim populations. Likewise, public policy should emphasize the malleable factors that may protect against multiple victimization types.

Ijeoma A. Anyanwu ’11, Lizzie D. Butler ’12, Caroline Dashiell ’11, Layne A. Ezzell ’12, Matthew Hagler ’13, Shameka Jennings ’11, Cathy Lambert ’12, Mary Mazyck ’11, Mary Lawrance McAfee ’12, Johanna McManus ’11, Cori Niemann ’11, Natalie A. Rothwell ’12, Elizabeth G. Stadler ’12, & Carly Warfield ’12. A Matter of Taste: Gustatory Sensations Influence Personality Judgments. Advisor, Karen Yu, Associate Professor of Psychology.  [Matthew Hagler is an English major.]

  • Given that we use taste-related metaphors to describe individuals, might basic gustatory sensations actually influence our judgments of others? Fifty-five undergraduates sampled otherwise identical sweet or sour beverages and rated hypothetical individuals on various personality dimensions. Taste influenced ratings: participants sampling a sweet beverage rated an individual’s personality “sweeter” than those sampling a sour beverage, generally with larger differences for traits more strongly associated with the sweet-sour metaphor. Personality judgments are thus influenced by sensory experiences such as the taste of a beverage recently consumed—a finding with potentially important implications for social interactions, impression management, and related decisions.
  • 5/7/12  This manuscript, with Karen Yu as senior author, has been accepted for publication in the International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences.

Scholarship Sewanee is made possible by Walter and Mayna Nance;  The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation;  The Undergraduate Research Advisory Committee;  The Office of the Dean of the College;  Physical Plant Services;  Tammy Elliott;  and Print Services.