Pictured above from left to right: (Front Row) Teela Myers, Jessica Heun, Amy Till, Angie French, Jessica Rouse, (Middle Row) Julie Witherup, Sarah Kamplain, Jenny Drake, Blair Terrell, David Buck, Noelle Liwski, Danelle Pattison, Kristi Helmkamp, (Back Row) Blake Bartlin, Nate Moore, Angie Miller, Katie Fisher, Jenny McGuinness, Kory Sims, Kevin Utt,  & Amanda Caddell



2004 Senior Thesis Projects

Each year the Psychology seniors present their senior thesis work at Butler University’s

undergraduate research conference.


Where available, abstracts are printed and/or

links to the PowerPoint Presentations

to each presentation are provided.


More pictures from the day can be found here.


Blake Bartling
College Athletes' Academic Performance In and Out of Season.

Student athletes in-season are found to have higher GPAs than out-of-season. Many factors such as time management and self-esteem among others may contribute to these fluctuation of GPAs. It has been found that students in-season display higher levels of time management as well as higher levels of self-esteem. These factors were found to decrease when athletes are out-of-season. Participants in this study were given a survey consisting of different time management, self-esteem, and specific demographic questions. This study is designed to examine the differences in student athletes’ level of time management and self-esteem varing between in and out of their sporting season. Implications of these findings and further research opportunities will be discussed.

David Buck & Noelle Liwski
Self-Relevant Motivation for Success and Performance Feedback on an Intellectual Task: The Predictive and Discriminant Validity of the Intellectual Competency Contingency of Worth.

Previous research indicates that people differ in the degree to which their self-esteem is contingent upon performance in specific domains (e.g. academic competency, appearance). The current study examines a measure of a new domain – intellectual competency (IC)- by evaluating both its predictive and discriminant validity. Participants first fill out self-report measures of the intellectual and academic competency contingency subscales, need for cognition, and global self-esteem. Afterwards, they perform both an intellectual and a perceptual task. Measurements of task enjoyment are taken either before or after controlled positive feedback for the tasks. They are then given time to practice before completing a second round of the two tasks. A chance to pursue performance feedback is given at the end of the study. We expect that, compared to low IC participants, high IC participants will: 1) spend more time practicing the intellectual task; 2) go to greater lengths to pursue feedback on the intellectual task; and 3) like the intellectual task more if they receive feedback than if they don’t. These results are not expected for either the academic contingency or need for cognition scales.

Amanda Caddell & Kevin Utt
The Relationship Between Religious Devotion and Marital Satisfaction.

Many aspects of marital satisfaction have been studied. This study examined the degree to which levels of devotion to a religious faith is correlated with marital satisfaction within same-faith marriages. Married couples completed surveys concerning their religious devotion and marital satisfaction. Those marriages with similar levels of devotion had higher average levels of marital satisfaction possibly due to the different aspects of marital satisfaction are related to religion. Research in same faith marriages may imply that similarity in devotion to the same religion may be important to marital satisfaction, as well as similarity of religious affiliation.

Jennifer Drake & Sarah Kamplain
Gender Differences in Elementary School Discipline.

Increasing attention is being paid to sex differences in teacher-student interactions. Given well-established sex differences in activity levels and compliance to authority, one might expect some of the largest differences to appear in the area of discipline as teachers try to control the behavior of boys. Little research has addressed sex differences in classroom discipline. Moreover, no research has fully considered both teachers' and students' roles in any differences that are found. It may be that teachers are truly biased against boys, disciplining them more often and more harshly than girls for no legitimate reason. Alternatively, teachers and students may be joint contributors to any sex differences in discipline that are found. The present study addresses this gap in the literature. Fifth grade students were observed in the classroom setting. Student misbehavior, teacher discipline, and student response to discipline (i.e. recurrence or cessation of the behavior) were recorded. Analyses examined sex differences in frequency of student misbehavior, types of teacher discipline, and disciplinary effectiveness. It is expected that boys will engage in more disruptive behaviors than girls, that teachers will use different strategies when disciplining boys and girls (e.g. more inductive strategies with girls), and that sex differences will emerge in the effectiveness of those strategies (e.g. inductive strategies will lead to cessation of behavior more with girls than with boys).

Jennifer Faulkner & Sara Harding
The impact of spirituality and body satisfaciton on overall life satisfaction.

A number of factors have been shown to impact overall life satisfaction. For example, past research has shown that most women, to some extent, are concerned with the appearance of their bodies and that this perception can influence their life satisfaction. Other research has suggested that those persons who have a greater spiritual life report greater life satisfaction. In this project, we hypothesize that spirituality has the ability to serve as a “buffer” for body satisfaction. Therefore, a person who is high in spirituality yet low in body satisfaction, will still display relatively high life satisfaction because spirituality compensates for body satisfaction. Participants will be undergraduate women at a small liberal arts college. They will complete a series of questionnaires including the “Spiritual Well-Being Questionnaire” (Fenzel, 1996), “Life Satisfaction Scale” (Diener,1993), and “Body Satisfaction Scale” (Garner, 1983). The data will be analyzed using 2X2 ANOVA with spirituality and body satisfaction as the independent variables, and life satisfaction as the dependent variable. The implications of the findings for healthy lifestyles in young women will be considered.

Katie Fisher & Jennifer McGuinness
The Effects of Self-Esteem on Unconscious Stereotypes.

This study looks at the relationship between an individual’s self esteem, both personal and collective, and the amount of implicit stereotypes they have. When one has stereotypes that they are not aware of having, they are considered to have implicit stereotypes of others. Personal self-esteem is a person’s self-esteem based on that individual’s self-perception. Collective self-esteem is self-esteem based on an individual’s group membership. Automatic processes are caused by something in the environment that triggers a set of associations that have previously been well learned in that individual’s memory. It has been said that automatic processes are more likely to be used, as they are more easily activated than conscious processes. Therefore, we predict that individuals will show unconscious stereotyping, as automatic assumptions about people they encounter will be brought to their minds without their knowledge of them. Participants in the study took two self-esteem surveys, the Rosenberg self-esteem scale and the Collective self-esteem scale, as well as the Implicit Association Test to measure the amount of implicit stereotypes they had. It is expected that expect to find that those individual’s with lower self-esteem will have higher Implicit Association Test effects, which signifies more unconscious stereotypes.

Angie Miller & Kristi Helmkamp
To Sleep, Perchance to Dream: The Relationship Between Dreams and Creativity.

The present study will examine the relationship between dreams and creativity. Based on the assumption that dreams and creativity are both reflections of deeper cognitive constructs, it is hypothesized that individuals with dreams high in creativity will also score higher on a creativity assessment. Participants will keep dream journals and then complete a creativity assessment. The assessments will include an Unusual Uses Test, which tests for divergent thinking, and a collage-making task, which tests for visual creativity. A coding manual was developed in order to rate the dream journals for elements of divergent thinking and visual creativity. The Unusual Uses Test will be scored for ideational fluency and flexibility. Inter-rater reliability will be established for both the dream coding and the Unusual Uses Test. A separate group of coders will rate the collages for creativity. Participants will complete the Questionnaire About Dreams (QAD) in order to obtain information pertaining to participant attitudes toward dreams. A multiple regression will be used to examine the relationships between the measured variables.

Nathan Moore & Jessica Heun
The Effects of Chivalry and Group Size on Helping Behavior.

Chivalry is a cultural script by which men behave towards women with a heightened sense of courtesy, along with particular emphasis on protection and provision. Helping a female in distress is a prototypical example of chivalry. In such helping situations, the diffusion of responsibility may occur so that as the number of bystanders increases, the likelihood of intervention decreases. However, it seems plausible that men who highly endorse the chivalry script would be more apt to aid a female victim regardless of the number of perceived onlookers. After completing a chivalry scale, male participants heard a crash and an exclamation by the female experimenter over an intercom. The number of perceived other potential helpers varied from 0 to 3. High chivalry men came to the aid of the victim faster than low chivalry men. In addition, as group size increased, speed of helping decreased. As the number of perceived bystanders increased from 0 to 1, low chivalry participants became slower while high chivalry participants were not affected. Implications of these findings and further research opportunities are discussed.

Teela M. Myers & Julie D. Witherup
Naughty or Nice: An exploration of relational aggression at the collegiate level.

Past research suggests that males are more aggressive than females. However, recent work in the child development literature indicates that females do aggress frequently. While males typically aggress via “overt” means to challenge another’s physical dominance (e.g., by hitting or pushing), females tend to aggress via “covert” means to harm interpersonal relationships (e.g., by intentionally excluding a peer from an activity). The current study examines the prevalence and consequences of overt and relational aggression at the collegiate level. Participants completed questionnaires designed to measure levels of overt and relational aggression, overt and relational victimization, psychosocial maladjustment, and self-esteem. Some participants were also asked to write about their likely responses to scenarios in which male and female aggressors victimized the subjects using overt or relationally aggressive tactics. It is predicted that both males and females at the collegiate level will engage in relational aggression more frequently than overt aggression. Both relational aggressors and victims are expected to have poor psychosocial adjustment and low self-esteem. It is also predicted that victims of relational aggression will becomes perpetrators of relational aggression. The relation between relational aggression and relational victimization is expected to be mediated by self-esteem.

Shoko Nakatsuji
The Effect of Birth Order on Students' Choice of Major.

Previous research suggests that first-born children are more likely than later-born children to pursue scientific careers. The present study was designed to examine whether this tendency is detectable in students’ choice of college major. Undergraduate students from a Midwestern college were asked to complete a birth order questionnaire, which included questions about birth order, academic major, family size, types of siblings, socioeconomic status and other demographic variables. Analyses will examine the effect of birth order on students’ choice of college major, controlling for two important third variables: family size and socioecomonic status. Other variables, including number of male siblings, will be examined as possible moderators of any birth order effects.

Danelle Pattison & Jessica Rouse
Peers, Parents, Media, and Education: Influences on Sexual Behavior.

Many factors influence a person’s decision to engage in sexual behaviors. The main goal of this study is to determine the relative contribution of four sources of influence on sexual behavior: parents, peers, the media, and sexual education classes. Three hundred and ten participants completed a questionnaire designed to assess the frequency of 32 sexual behaviors and the perceived acceptance of these behaviors by the four groups. Researchers compared the participants’ actual sexual behavior with the perceived acceptance of that behavior by the four groups in order to determine the degree to which each behavior was correlated with the acceptance level of a particular group. We hypothesize that peers are the driving force in a person’s sexual decisions and have the greatest influence on sexual behaviors, especially the riskier behaviors. This information would imply that people’s sexual decisions are affected by those around them. By identifying which groups make the greatest impact on specific behaviors, sex educators can then distribute sexual health information through the most influential groups.

Kory Sims
Music Preference and Relationship Satisfaction.

Personal identity is a broad construct that encompasses many dimensions of individual behaviors that on the surface may seem quite separate. This study argues that both the type of relationships people engage in and the type of music they listen to are reflections of their personal identity and therefore should be related to one another. Studies have demonstrated that music preference is one way of manifesting personality traits. In addition, personal identity is often manifested in relationships. Moreover, research has shown there are many different factors, such as commitment, that go into a satisfying relationship. This study hypothesizes that some types of music preference may be related to greater relationship satisfaction. Specifically, a preference for “soft” musical forms that evoke tenderness and commitment will be more predictive of relationship satisfaction than a preference for hard musical forms that evoke aggression and non-committal sexuality. Participants were recruited from classes at an undergraduate liberal arts college. A questionnaire was developed in which music preference was split into two basic types: “soft,” including country, classical, Christian pop and soft rock; and “hard,” including heavy metal, rap and hard rock. The participant’s attitudes toward relationships were measured in several ways—emotional commitment, sociosexuality (i.e., the degree to which a person focuses on sexuality in a relationship) and relationship satisfaction. A multiple regression analysis will be used to determine which factors are predictive of satisfying relationships. The role of the music people listen to in relationships and identity will be considered.

Blair Terrell & Angie French
Effect of Exposure to Media Images on Perceptual Body Image Distortion and Affective Dissatisfaction.

The effects of exposure to media images of the sociocultural ideals of thinness and attraction on female body image distortion and dissatisfaction were investigated. Sixty female college students first were measured on the degree to which they internalize the thin ideal with the Sociocultural Attitudes Towards Appearance Questionnaire (Thompson et al., 2000) and the frequency at which they engage in social comparison with the Frequency of Social Comparison Scale (Fujita, 1996). In a later research session, the same students viewed a computer slide show of either fashion/beauty models or fitness models from popular magazines. A third condition viewed neutral magazine images such as furniture or cleaning products. Perceptual body image distortion was determined by comparing participants’ perceived body dimension widths to actual widths. Researchers also evaluated dissatisfaction with the Body Esteem Scale (Franzoi & Shields, 1984) and the Eating Disorder Inventory (Garner, Olmstead, & Polivy, 1983). We expect results to suggest that media images of the thin ideal influence both perceptual body image distortion and dissatisfaction, and that these effects are moderated by both the degree to which females internalize the thin ideal and the amount of social comparison in which they engage. These would suggest that the regular exposure to thin models that women receive from the media contributes both to a distortion in how women view themselves and to women’s dissatisfaction with their own bodies.

Amy K. Till
Contingencies of Self Worth and Achievement Goals: Predictors of Friendship Satisfaction.

A handful of studies have shown that students and their friends share similar self-evaluative and motivational beliefs. The present study adds to previous research by examining the extent to which friends share similar contingencies of self-worth and achievement goals, and the degree to which similarity on these constructs predicts friendship satisfaction. This study also investigated which discrepancies in contingencies of self-worth and achievement goals are most important in predicting friendship satisfaction. College students participated in this study with a close friend and independently completed measures of their contingencies of self-worth, achievement goals in the classroom, and friendship satisfaction. It is expected that friends will share similar contingencies of self-worth and achievement goals. It is also expected that friends with higher levels of similarity will have higher levels of friendship satisfaction than those who have lower levels of similarity. Findings are also likely to support the idea that particular discrepancies are more important than others in predicting friendship satisfaction. For example, friends who do not share similar attitudes about the importance of basing self-worth on winning competitions are expected to have lower levels of friendship satisfaction than friends who do share this attitude.