Pictured above from left to right: (Front Row) Dana Newton, Amber Adkins, Stephanie Voigt, Angela Digeronimo, Meghan Delany (Back Row) Kaelin Stivers, Becky Nixon, Alexis Rose, Sarah Pollom, Matt Moore.  Not Pictured: Dwayne Guenther, Brock Henry, and Bobby Carnicella


2006 Senior Thesis Projects


Where available, abstracts are printed,
and links to the
PowerPoint Presentations and the
full paper in PDF form are provided.


More pictures from the day can be found here.


Amber N. Adkins and Kaelin Stivers
Behavioral and psychological factors predicting body satisfaction among adolescents

The purpose of this study was to examine factors that contribute to body satisfaction among adolescent males and females. Both behavioral factors (e.g., physical activity) and psychological factors (i.e., discrepancies between perceived and ideal body image) were investigated. Eighth-grade students (102 males, 114 females) completed surveys assessing their level of physical activity, nutritional habits, perceived and ideal body image, and body satisfaction. Females were less likely than males to exercise, but more likely than males to feel heavier than their ideal and to feel dissatisfied with their bodies. Large perceived/ideal body image discrepancies predicted lower body satisfaction for both males and females, while low levels of exercise predicted lower body satisfaction among females only. These findings suggest that a greater emphasis needs to be placed on finding venues in which adolescent girls can exercise without feeling insecure about their bodies.
PowerPoint     PDF

Meghan Delaney and Angela Digeronimo
Competence Perceptions, Coping, and Creativity in Children with ADHD  

This study was designed to examine whether children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) differ from children without ADHD in terms of their self-perceptions of competence, coping styles, and creativity. Participants were 13 students identified as having ADHD and 13 matched controls. All participants completed measures assessing their self-perceptions of academic and social competence, the degree to which they employ approach versus avoidance coping in response to academic and social failure, and their creativity. Teachers of the participants also completed a measure assessing their perceptions of the children's academic and social competencies to determine the degree to which children over- or underestimate their skills. Results showed children with ADHD were more likely than children without ADHD to overestimate their competencies in the academic domain. Children with ADHD also reported engaging in more approach coping in the social domain than children without ADHD. It is important for teachers to recognize the tendency for children with ADHD to overestimate their academic and coping skills in order to help these children succeed.
PowerPoint     PDF

Dwayne Guenther
Locus of Control and Satisfaction in Making the Decision to Withdraw from Division III Athletics

Sports participation can have positive psychological effects such as increased self-esteem and confidence, but what happens when participation in sport is prematurely ended? Numerous studies look at the benefits of participation, particularly in secondary school, but few look at the effects of how premature withdrawal from NCAA Division III athletics can impact various psychological domains. A survey was conducted among a sample (N = 32) of former Division III athletes at a small Midwestern college. Two questionnaires were created to assess “Reasons for Withdrawal” and “Quality of Life after the Withdrawal Decision.” The goal was to survey former athletes to learn how these students perceived their overall life satisfaction before and after the decision was made to withdraw. It was believed athletes who withdrew for internal reasons (i.e., reasons perceived to occur within the participants themselves) would show increases in overall life satisfaction and specific domains (e.g., confidence and self-esteem). In contrast, athletes withdrawing for external reasons (i.e., reasons perceived to come from outside the participants) would show decreases in overall life satisfaction and specific domains. Although the Reasons for Withdrawal survey did not reliably distinguish participants’ locus of control, analyses indicated two items expressing an external locus of control correlated with one’s later dissatisfaction. That is, participants who withdrew because a job took too much time or because they had too many outside pressures, showed decreases in overall life satisfaction. Otherwise, participants predominantly displayed an increase in overall life satisfaction.
PowerPoint     PDF

Brock Henry
Protecting Without Infringing: The Psychology of Security

This study was designed to examine two psychological factors that influence how people decide if a potentially invasive law is protecting them or if it is encroaching on their civil liberties, specifically as relates to an invasion of privacy. The researcher hypothesized that participants who frequently thought about their mortality would be more concerned about their own safety and would thus value security over privacy. In addition, the researcher hypothesized that participants’ political conservatism would affect their opinion of specific laws, such that the more conservative a participant was, the more he or she would value security over privacy. Participants indicated the conditions necessary for them to accept certain governmental security measures and completed a mortality salience/political conservatism scale. Both hypotheses were supported.
PowerPoint     PDF

Matt Moore and Dana Newton
The Influence of a Defendant’s Status, Level of Community Involvement, and Intentionality upon Degree of Jury Sentencing

This study examined the effects of criminal intent (voluntary versus involuntary manslaughter), defendant’s socioeconomic status, and defendant’s level of community involvement on juror sentencing. Participants (N = 185, 64% female) read a court case that manipulated the factors described above, sentenced the defendant, and answered follow-up questions regarding characteristics of the defendant. There was no main effect for community involvement (p > 0.05) or any significant interactions. Researchers found that sentencing was more lenient for defendants who were guilty of involuntary (compared to voluntary) manslaughter (p < 0.001). This might indicate that participants are conscious of the type of crime when sentencing defendants. Researchers found that jurors were more lenient in the sentencing of low status defendants as compared to high status defendants (p = 0.001). Therefore, jurors might have attributed high status with negative qualities of material success and power. From our results, it appears that factors irrelevant to a court case do influence juror sentencing.
PowerPoint     PDF

Becky Nixon and Sarah Pollom
Effects of Facial Maturity on Voting Preference

The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of facial maturity on voting preferences. Participants viewed facial photographs of three male and three female members of the House of Representatives. Faces were either unmodified or modified to increase the presence of neotenous (babyish) or mature facial features. None of the participants were exposed to more than one version of each face. When asked which of two same-gender faces most people would vote for, participants chose the more mature face significantly more often. These results suggest that physical appearance, and facial maturity in particular, can influence the way people vote.
PowerPoint     PDF

Alexis Rose
Does Environmental Scent or Mood Influence Attraction?

The purpose of this study was to test what role environmental scents and mood had on interpersonal attraction. Scent has an effect on people by allowing them to associate scent with emotional aspects of their life. Lemon has been found to have the strongest effect on positive emotions and energy to produce improved moods. Mood was also tested because research suggested that mood affects attraction and scent affects mood; this study attempts to clarify the relationship between scent, mood, and attraction. Half of the participants were given a riddle followed by positive reinforcement to improve mood. Then, all participants (N= 31) were shown black and white photographs of 41 mundane objects interspersed with neutral faces: 21 males and 21 females. There were four conditions to test the two independent variables (mood improved or not, scent present or not). A 2x2 ANOVA unexpectedly revealed a main effect such that participants in the scent condition rated the female faces as less attractive. The study’s hypotheses were not confirmed. These results are discussed in terms of the complexity of scent, mood, and attraction. Theoretical and procedural changes are recommended for future research.
PowerPoint     PDF

Stephanie Voigt and Robert Carnicella
You be the boss: Effects of Prejudice of Ethnicity and Mental Illness on Hiring  

This study investigates how mental illness and ethnicity influence hiring decisions. Past researchers found that white non-Hispanic applicants were offered a job more often than equally qualified Hispanic applicants. Individuals with mental illnesses have been found to be highly disadvantaged compared to individuals without mental illnesses. Participants (N=160; 80% online completion) received a fictional letter of reference about an applicant and then completed a questionnaire about the applicant’s qualifications. The letters of recommendation were identical except for two factors: name of applicant indicating ethnicity and presence of mental illness. We expect that in a hiring situation, participants will rate Hispanic applicants lower than white non-Hispanic applicants. Furthermore, participants will rate applicants with no mental illness highest, applicants with mild depression second highest, and applicants with severe depression lowest. A two-way ANOVA reported a main effect of mental illness on predicted job performance (p = .000). Using pairwise comparisons, the mild depression condition was rated significantly lower than no mental illness (p = .000) and significantly lower than severe depression (p = .005). There was a significant interaction between mental illness and ethnicity (p = .028), such that the Hispanic applicant was rated significantly lower on predicted job performance than the white non-Hispanic applicant in the mild depression condition (p = .05), but the white non-Hispanic applicant was rated significantly lower on predicted job performance than the Hispanic applicant in the severe depression condition (p = .068). Concepts of attribution theory, locus of control, and covert discrimination are used to interpret the results.
PowerPoint     PDF