Pictured above from left to right: (Front Row) Kris Schuster, Karin Schubert, Courtney Tyler, Ashley Bane, Kai Kabatu, Ayca Coskunpinar, Bekah Wilson, Kristen Brookes, Ashley Devers
(Back Row) Cody Davis, Seyram Kekessie, Jacob Cooper, Kyler Kollstedt, Zach Liapis, Michael Sterling, Meredith Elliott, Erin Huntington
(Not Pictured: Jennifer Caudil, Lee Harp, Sarah Pasquale, Shanna Sutherland, Kristina Wesler)
Each year the Psychology seniors present their senior thesis work at Butler University’s undergraduate research conference.
Where available, abstracts are printed,
and links to the
PowerPoint Presentations and the
Full paper in PDF form are provided.
Ashley Bane & Ashley Devers
Expectancy Effects and Behavioral Performance According with Experience Level.
Alcohol has been shown to impair decisions and behavior.
However, social expectation can also impair decision making and behavior. This
study examines the role of expectations of alcohol effects have on behavioral
response and decision making. Participants in the experimental group were given
a drink with a milliliter of alcohol around the rim of their glass Participants
in the control group were told they were in the control group and given no
alcohol but tested in the same manner that those in the experimental group were.
Both groups were given three 6 oz. cups of lemonade and given five minutes to
drink each one, after a ten minute break they were tested. To test motor
coordination, a peg board was used and to test reaction time a drop test was
done. A questionnaire was used to assess attitudes toward risks, to test changes
in decision making, participants in both conditions filled out an attitudes
towards risk questionnaire. A relationship is expected to be found between
expecting alcohol and being more willing to engage in risky behaviors, and no
relationship between this expectation and performance.
Kristen Brookes & Zach Liapis
The effects of facial similarity on displaced aggression.
This experiment explores the ideas behind genetic
psychology, unconscious altruism and aggression. Previous research has examined
similarity on the basis of beliefs. These studies have shown that participants
were more likely to aggress against people that had dissimilar beliefs to their
own. The current study examines whether or not facial similarity produces the
same results in effect that participants are more likely to aggress against
those with dissimilar faces to their own. This experiment studies the effects of
facial similarity on the expression of displaced aggression. In this experiment
the participant’s faces were morphed with stock photos to various levels (10%,
20%, 30%, 40%, and 50%). Participants were first given a frustration task, their
frustration levels were measured on a selfreport Likert scale from 1-15. After
completing the frustration task, the participants were then given two tasks one
a forced choice tasks in which the participants had to aggress against the
photos by administering varying amounts of vinegar to a glass of water that they
are told will be given to the subject. The second task was a continuum in which
the participants were asked to divide the vinegar amongst the photos giving as
much or as little to each as they wish. We expect to find that participants are
more likely to displace their aggression on the photos of the lowest morph
therefore holding aggression from those who are more facially similar to
Chelsey Cabatu & Erin Huntington
The effects of sexualized content in children's media on pre-adolescent girls' self image.
The sexualization of girls permeates U.S. culture. One of
the major cultural contributors to the sexualization of girls is the media. In
this study, we examined the effects of sexualized content in children’s media on
preadolescent girls’ self image. Participants were girls from a local elementary
school. The girls were randomly assigned to two groups. The first group viewed a
clip of non-sexualized content from a popular children’s television program. The
second group viewed a clip with sexualized content from a popular children’s
movie. Before and after watching the clips, the girls reported on their media
habits, body image, and self-esteem. Girls in the two groups were also
interviewed about their responses to the clips and about their perceptions of
sexualized media more generally. We anticipate that girls who watched the
sexualized video will report greater declines in body dissatisfaction and
self-esteem than girls who watched the non-sexualized clip. Experimental results
will be discussed in light of the interview data.
Jennifer Caudill & Lee Harp
Moral Judgments in the Third Dimension.
This study examined the effects of priming the
participant's emotions on their subsequent moral judgments. Participants were
randomly assigned to a control, elevation, disgust, or purity condition. Each
condition contained photographs selected to elicit the emotion reflected in the
individual's assigned condition. The goal of this study is to determine whether
participants who are primed with disgust-content photographs will be more
judgmental (will judge a transgression as more wrong) on various moral judgments
than participants primed with purity-content photographs. The present study will
examine whether participants primed with purity-content photographs will be less
judgmental than participants in the neutral condition. Purity-content seems to
be the opposite of disgust-content. Whereas purity-content involves the removing
or the absence of contamination properties, disgust-content involves the
addition or presence of contamination properties. However, the emotions of
disgust and elevation appear to have opposing functions. Moral disgust is the
emotion experienced upon witnessing the agent giving into his or her lower,
animal nature whereas elevation is experienced upon witnessing the agent
appealing to his higher, uniquely human nature. The specific relationship
between purity and elevation is unclear. Therefore, this study will also look at
the relative effects of exposure to elevation-content photographs to
purity-content photographs on moral judgments.
Jacob Cooper & Karin Schubert
Explicit and Implicit Gender in the Context of Gender Schema Theory.
Gender researchers have long engaged in heated controversy
over psychological differences between women and men; thus, the methods by which
researchers measure gender are constantly being scrutinized and adjusted. Recent
gender studies have sought to determine whether implicit, automatic reactions
can be used to measure participants' gender selfconcept. This study used the
Implicit Associations Test (IAT; Greenwald, McGhee & Schwartz, 1998) to examine
the effectiveness of assessing gender self-concept using a two-dimensional model
(in which it is possible to score high on both masculinity and femininity)
versus a one-dimensional model (in which masculinity and femininity are opposite
ends of a bipolar scale). A two-dimensional measurement of gender self-concept
is more consistent with gender schema theory, and also more consistent with the
explicit measurements which are currently being used to study gender
(specifically the Bem Sex Role Inventory). For the two-dimensional model, two
separate IATs assessed participants' automatic associations between 1) self and
feminine and not feminine traits and 2) self and masculine and not masculine
traits. The one-dimensional model was adapted from a study by Greenwald and
Farnham (1998). It consisted of a single IAT which assessed participants'
automatic associations between self and feminine and masculine traits. A
people-things occupational preference questionnaire was also administered,
adapted from Prediger (1982) and Lippa (1991, 1998). The researchers expect that
the two-dimensional model will predict scores on the people-things occupational
preference questionnaire better than the one-dimensional model.
Ayca Coskunpinar & Cody Davis
The Stress and Coping Strategies for Parents of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
There is clear evidence that parents of children with
disabilities face challenges that can lead to negative outcomes, including
heightened stress and depression. Less well understood is how stress levels,
coping strategies, and psychological well-being may differ among parents dealing
with different types of disabilities. The current study addressed this issue by
comparing the outcomes of parents of children diagnosed with three different
nervous system disabilities: Down Syndrome, Fragile-X Syndrome, and Autism
Spectrum Disorder. Parents of typically-developing children were also assessed.
Participants were notified of this study via online support groups and completed
surveys on-line. We anticipate that coping strategies will be similar across the
three groups of parents of children diagnosed with a nervous system disorder and
will include family support, self-education about the disability, and support
groups. Consistent with evidence from one recent study (Stoneman, 2007), we also
anticipate that parents of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder will report
the highest levels of stress and depression. These results will be interpreted
in light of parents’ responses to open-ended questions about their stress
levels, coping strategies, and psychological well-being.
Meredith Elliott & Seyram Kekessie
Race, Interrogation, and the Perception of Guilt.
In this study, researchers investigated the effects of
racial stereotypes regarding anger and how those perceptions would influence a
juror and the perception of the interrogator who appears to be aggressive. There
were two interrogation conditions (mild and harsh) and two race conditions
(Black and White). Participants completed a survey that measured their
perceptions of suspect guilt and the appropriateness of interrogator behavior,
in addition to a questionnaire based on the Modern Racism Scale (McConahay,
1986). Participants completed the survey online and randomly viewed one of eight
conditions involving Black and White interrogators and suspects with either mild
or harsh interrogation styles. In the Black interrogator - harsh interrogation
condition, we expect jurors to see the interrogator as inappropriately
aggressive and the suspect as less guilty as compared to when the harsh
interrogator was White.
Kyle Kollstedt & Michael Sterling
The Effect of Graphical Quality on Aggression in Violent Video Games.
Violent video games have been shown to increase the e level
of aggression at least in some players. One of the factors that has not been
studied much is the game’s appearance. This experiment tested the effects of the
quality of the graphics of a videogame had on the aggression of a participant.
The game chosen for this study was Call of Duty 4, which is a violent and
realistic video game where the graphics can be easily manipulated. Participants
played with either a high or low level of graphics. The low graphical settings
were played on a laptop with most of the graphical settings set to a minimum
level. The high graphical settings were played on an Xbox 360. Pre-existing
levels of aggression were measured with an aggression questionnaire administered
before game play. Next the participants played a tutorial level to familiarize
the participants with the game, then the participants played a level with real
fighting. The aggression of the participants was measured by the competitive
reaction time task developed by Bushman and Saults (2007). The researchers
hypothesize that the higher graphical setting will produce higher levels of
aggression in the participants than in the lower graphical setting. The impact
of this study could be viewed as a predictor what effects video games could have
on the user.
Sarah Pasquale & Courtney Tyler
The Effect of Child-Parent Relationships on Romantic Partner Selection.
Internal working models are established during early childhood and maintained into adulthood as a guide to interpersonal behavior in novel situations. Since parental figures tend to be whom a child has the most contact with, these models are based off of the relationship he/she has with these figures. This internal working model is especially important in romantic relationships in regard to the type of relationships people form and the kind of partners that are chosen. In heterosexual romantic relationships, the opposite sex parent has been shown to be influential in the selection of a romantic partner. This study investigates whether people apply an internal working model to the personality trait of submissiveness/dominance; in particular, we hypothesize that if the quality of the parent-child relationship is positive then people will look for partners similar to their opposite sex parent. Participants were asked to complete an online questionnaire regarding the level of submissiveness/dominance of their maternal and paternal figures, their current/most recent romantic partner, and themselves using a Likert scale. They were also asked to indicate the quality of their relationship with each individual using a Likert scale. It is expected that a correlation will be found between the submissiveness/dominance level of the opposite sex parent and the romantic partner, particularly when the early childhood relationship with the opposite sex parent was strong. These findings will shed light on the importance of early childhood experiences in both the types of relationships people form and the personality types of partners they choose.
Kristine Schuster & Rebekah Wilson
The Effects of Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy on Juveniles in a Residential Treatment Facility.
This study assesses the impact of Equine-Assisted
Psychotherapy (EAP) on court-ordered adolescent males in a residential treatment
facility with regards to self-esteem, verbal and non-verbal communication, and
expectations for the future. EAP is a growing field that uses the relationship
that can form between client and horse as a therapeutic tool. Through this
relationship, the therapist focuses interaction in the relationship around
developing certain skills. Within the facility being studied, all aspects of the
adolescents needs are provided through this facility with the majority of them
being held within it. EAP is the primary method of therapy and is completed in
groups. To assess the criteria, pre- and post-surveys were distributed to the
adolescents as well as the therapist and horse professional. Throughout the
study, condensed weekly surveys were completed by the therapist and horse
professional to give greater detail. The assessments completed by the
adolescents were the Rosenberg Self- Esteem Scale, the Beck Hopelessness Scale,
and a communication assessment created by the researchers. Similar assessments
were created for the therapist and horse professional to mirror the questions
posed to the 73 adolescents. We expect to find significant increases in
self-esteem and communication skills as well as more positive expectations for
the future. This study could show how effective EAP is in a short period of
time, which can have implications for its growing presence and acceptance within
the healthcare industry.
The Influence of Sexually Explicit Material on Women's Sexual Behavior and Attitudes.
This study was designed to examine the influence of
sexually explicit material (SEM) on women’s sexual behavior and attitudes. The
study tested competing feminist views on SEM. Anti-pornography feminists believe
that viewing SEM will be associated with more negative sexual behaviors and
attitudes. In contrast, pro-sex feminists believe that viewing SEM will be
associated with more positive sexual behaviors and attitudes. These views were
tested by having women fill out an on-line survey. Participants were asked to
report on experience with SEM in their life time and the previous year and their
reasons for viewing SEM. Next, they were asked to report on the attributes that
were most important to their concept of self and, also, what attributes they
look for in a sexual partner. Finally, they were asked to report on what types
of sexual behaviors they participated in during the previous year. Consistent
with the anti-pornography stance, it is expected that women who frequently view
or read SEM will be more likely to objectify themselves, more likely to
objectify men and more likely to participate in high-risk sexual behavior. Also,
it is expected that women who frequently view SEM
Hate Group Impressions of Barack Obama: Pre and Post the 2008 Election.
With Barack Obama’s win as US President, history has been
made. This historical change raises the possibility that racial attitudes will
also change. One group of particular interest is those people who hold
explicitly racist views, particularly toward African-Americans. How will openly
racist people understand this new power shift? How will they respond to a black
nomination? It seems likely that this shift can be seen in the attitudes
directed toward Obama himself. A content analysis of fifteen hate group websites
was undertaken in order to determine racist perspectives pre- and post-election.
Three different websites were used for each of five racial hate categories. From
those websites, ten forums and twenty posts within each forum were analyzed.
Posts from the month before and the month after official national elections were
analyzed. Posts were coded for both the writers’ representations of Barack Obama
(e.g., as an animal, as a communist, etc.) and their suggested behavioral
responses to his Presidency (e.g., violence, racial segregation, etc.).
Connections will be made between representations and behavioral responses and
both categories will be compared before and after the election. The study
highlights continued racial discrimination within the political sphere and has
practical implications for home-grown terrorist efforts because of