Pictured above from left to right: (Front Row) Ashley Sims, Lauron Haney, Jaclyn Grelle, Sharon Turnbow, Sarah Helms, Meghan Mulvaney, Jessica Miller, Allison Cooke, Michelle Painter
(Back Row) Whitney Borton, Ricky McGee, Kayla Green, Lyndsay Holzinger, Levi Hamner, Kari Brown, Andrew Pennington, Nathan Hickman, Rachael Moreland, Kyle Bohnert, Brandi Teddar, Kate Eipl, Rachel Jacobs, Ashley Adams, Whitley Holt, Carrie Burkardt
(Not Pictured) Jan Henderzahs, Amanda Kellar, & Emily Williams

2012 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 links to the
PowerPoint Presentations and the
Full paper in PDF form are provided.


More pictures from the day can be found here.

Ashley Adams & Whitley Holt
The Effects of Gender and Sociosexual Orientation on Perceptions of Casual Sex.

This study was designed to examine perceptions of casual sex among young adults. The central goal was to determine if there is still a double standard for judging individuals who engage in casual sex, with females who initiate casual sex being judged more harshly than males who initiate casual sex. In addition, we were interested in whether the gender of the participant or the participant's willingness to engage in casual sex (i.e., their sociosexual orientation) might influence perceptions of individuals who initiate casual sex. Participants read hypothetical scenarios in which the actors engaged in casual sex. The gender of the initiator of the sexual act was manipulated. Participants were asked to evaluate the initiator of the sexual act, to indicate their own gender, and to complete Penke's Revised Sociosexual Orientation Inventory (2011) to assess their willingness to engage in casual sex. We did not find a significant effect for gender of the initiator (p = 0.15), suggesting that there was no double standard among our participants in judging males and females who initiated casual sex. We did find a significant effect for gender of the participant (p < 0.001), indicating that males evaluated the initiators of casual sex more positively than females, and for the sociosexual orientation of the participant (p < 0.001), indicating that participants who were more willing to engage in casual sex evaluated the initiators of casual sex more positively. There were no significant interactions among the three independent variables.
PowerPoint     PDF

Kyle Bohnert & Rachael Moreland
The Effects of Sensory Manipulation on Postural Sway. 

Rachael Moreland and Kyle Bohnert PresentingIn this study we examine the effect that the manipulation of primary senses has on posture. We manipulate the Somatosensory, Visual, and Vestibular systems in order to make each system as uninformative as possible to the participant. Participants will be blindfolded in order to disrupt the visual system, their feet will be iced in order to disrupt the somatosensory system, and they will be spun in a chair in order to disrupt the vestibular system. The results of each condition on participants' postural sway are measured on a Wii Fit balance board and then analyzed using a Fourier analysis. We found a main effect for spin at low frequency, (F(1,12)=1.00, p<0.05), and a main effect of vision at very high frequency (F(1,12)=4.785, p<0.05). This leads us to conclude that at these frequencies, these senses are the most affected.
PowerPoint     PDF

Whitney Borton & Jackie Grelle
The Dirt on Grit: Examining Relations with School Adjustment, School Performance, and Theories of Intelligence.

Recent studies have examined the predictive power of grit. Grit, or perseverance and passion for long-term goals, has been found to be predictive of success in adults and privileged children. A central goal of the current study was to determine if grit had the same predictive power among children with minority and low SES status. This study was also designed to examine if a child's theory of intelligence predicted their grit score. The participants were 136 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students from an urban middle school. Of the 133 participants who indicated ethnicity, 92.5% identified themselves as an ethnicity other than Caucasian. These students filled out a survey measuring school adjustment, grit, theory of intelligence, self-reported school performance, and basic demographic information. We found that grit positively predicted three subscales of school adjustment as well as self-reported school performance. We also found that an incremental theory of intelligence positively predicted grit.
PowerPoint     PDF

Carrie Burkhardt & Lauron Haney
The Effect of Participant Age on Attitudes Toward People with Disabilities.

Carrie Burkhard and Lauron Haney PresentingThis study was designed to evaluate whether participants' age influences their attitudes toward individuals with physical disabilities. Participants completed an online survey consisting of three assessments of their attitudes toward disabled individuals: a projective measure of explicit attitudes (the Multidimensional Attitudes Scale Toward Persons with Disabilities), a self-report measure of explicit attitudes, and an Implicit Associations Test to measure their implicit attitudes. We also evaluated their level of contact with people with physical disabilities. We expected to find main effects for age, with older adults possessing more negative explicit and implicit attitudes toward people with physical handicaps than younger adults. We expected to see these age differences in part because of the passage of more recent laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA, 1990), that have reinforced more positive attitudes toward people with physical disabilities. In addition, we expected these effects to be moderated by personal relationships and experiences, such that the age difference may be less pronounced among individuals who have had quite a bit of experience with people with disabilities. Results of this study showed confirmed our hypothesis that older adults had more negative implicit and explicit attitudes toward people with physical disabilities than did younger adults; however, the age effect was not moderated by participants' experience with people with disabilities. Participants' implicit attitudes appeared more negative than their explicit attitudes.

Ally Cooke, Kate Eiple, & Rachel Jacobs
Religiosity and Spirituality: Effects on Closeness in Romantic Relationships.

Kate EiplAlly Cooke & Rachel JacobsRomantic relationships are a specific type of connection relevant to our everyday lives. Given the monumental importance of romantic relationships, it is vital to investigate the factors that may influence them, as well as the factors that are affected by them. Two factors that may influence relationships are religiosity and spirituality. For the purpose of this study, we have defined religiosity as the aspects of one's religious activity, dedication, and belief. We defined spirituality as the belief in a transcendent dimension or being, which occurs when the individual questions the meaning of existence, and attempts to explore his or her relationship to all other beings (Shafranske & Gorsuch, 1984). We investigated the link between religiosity/spirituality and closeness in romantic relationships. Closeness within relationships can be thought of as subjective and defined as the state where partners feel close, connected, or bonded to one another (Regan, 2011). In order to measure positivity within participants' relationships, we investigated overall levels of closeness through various aspects of attachment, intimacy, self-disclosure, and commitment. As expected, religiosity and spirituality have statistically significant positive correlation, r =.703, p < .01. Overall, our hypothesis was not supported. Unfortunately, we did not have statistical significance with religiosity/spirituality and our overall closeness measure. The only statistically significant correlation we found for all participants was between religiosity and attachment.
PowerPoint     PDF

Kayla Green & Amanda Kellar
The Effects of Alcohol Consumption on Relationship Satisfaction.

Amanda Kellar & Kayla GreenThis study examined the relationship between alcohol consumption and relationship satisfactions within interpersonal relationships. The three mediators examined were trust, jealousy, and conflict. Participants took a forty-six question survey that asked students in college who were currently in a romantic relationship. We asked them to reflect on their feelings towards their partners specifically when they were consuming alcohol. We expected to find that those with low alcohol consumption would have lower rates of jealousy, conflict, and trust issues within their relationships, due to previous research on these three mediators. However our data ended up showing that there was no significant correlation between alcohol consumption and relationship satisfaction (n.s.). The same went for alcohol consumption and all of the mediators. The Mediators all showed a significant correlation between them and relationship satisfaction respectively (p < .001). Alcohol did not play a significant role in any of our correlations.
PowerPoint     PDF

Levi Hamner & Ricky McGee
The Effects of Vocal Characteristics on Perceived Gender and Sexual Orientation.

Ricky McGee & Levi Hamner
PowerPoint     PDF

Sarah Helms & Lyndsey Holzinger
The Effect of Speech Impediments on Perception. 

Human beings navigate through daily life socially through a series of actions and reactions to others, of which language is a big component. How we perceive another human being effects how we interact with them, and language disruption can have a dramatic impact upon perceptions. This study was designed to measure the reported perceptions of an individual with a speech impediment (disfluency). Approximately 200 participants of both genders were randomly assigned to listen to an audio file with or without the disfluency. Participants were asked to complete an online survey designed to measure their perceptions of the speaker, empathy, and past exposure to a speaker with an impediment. Our expected results were that participants rated the speaker with a disfluency more negatively than the normally speaking control condition, but no significant results were found to support that. Prior exposure is expected to have an effect on the negativity or positivity of perception, as well as possibly altering empathy measures. Current literature discusses how people think they might perceive someone with a disfluency. This study examineed what those perceptions actually are and whether these perceptions are impacted by prior exposure.

Shelby Henderzahs & Emily Williams
The Effects of Listening to High Beat per Minute Music during a Cardio Workout on Body Satisfaction.

Shelby Henderzahs & Emily WilliamsThis study examined the effects of listening to high beat per minute music during a cardio workout on an individual's body image satisfaction. A total of 17 participants (9 females and 8 males) performed two 10-min cardio sessions on a treadmill listening to either a high beat per minute music playlist or low beat per minute music playlist. Measures of body satisfaction, perceived exertion, hear rate, and mph were taken for each participant in each session. No significant effects or interactions were found for listening to high beat per minute music on body satisfaction compared to listening to low beat per minute music. There were also no significant gender differences that were found. Measures of perceived exertion, heart rate, and mph were also not significantly different from the low beat per minute playlist condition to the high beat per minute playlist condition.

Nathan Hickman & Andrew Pennington
Linking Perceived Attractiveness and Relationship Status: Categorization in Mate Selection.

Nathan Hickman & Andrew PenningtonThis study was designed to focus on the effect of relationship status on perceived attractiveness. In order to study this effect, facial images, including the area of the models above the neckline, were rated on several factors, including attractiveness, by participants on a Likert scale from one to six. The study presented participants with the images and a short vignette containing relationship status, which was randomly assigned in order to gain ratings of attractiveness for each image when coupled with the statuses of "Single", "In a relationship of 3 or more months", and "In a long-term relationship of 2 or more years/engaged". Data analysis then focused on the effect of each level of relationship status on attractiveness. The researchers predicted that those individuals who were presented as being in a longer-term relationship would have higher ratings of attractiveness than the same individuals when presented as single. Data analysis focused on data collected from female participants due to small numbers of males in some conditions. While there was no significant main effect of relationship condition, there was close to significant evidence suggesting a link between the gender of the presented face and relationship condition [F(2, 112) = 3.051, p = .051]. This finding could imply that men and women are rated differently based upon their current relationship status.
PowerPoint     PDF

Jessica Millar & Brandi Tedder
The Discrepancy Between Expectations and Reality: Satisfaction in Romantic Relationships

Romantic relationships are a prevalent component of human experience. There have been many theories formulated concerning the distinct qualities that lead to satisfaction in relationship satisfaction (commitment, the ability to resolve conflict, etc.). However, it may be that satisfaction is determined not just by the absolute levels of these qualities, but also by the degree to which partners expectations for relationship are met by their actual experiences—relationships will be satisfying for those individuals whose expectations are met, while in contrast, people whose relationships are incongruent with their expectations are going to feel dissatisfied. The present study examines the discrepancy between expectations of a romantic relationship and the reality experienced by participants in their current relationship. Participants will complete three questionnaires; one to measure actual experiences in relationships, one to measure expectations of relationships, and one to measure overall relationship satisfaction. To measure actual experiences, participants will be asked to rate their satisfaction with eight factors previously found to be integral to romantic relationships: maintenance behaviors, commitment, quality of communication, conflict resolution, emotional self-disclosure, affection, relational certainty/security, role within the relationship, and equity. Participants will also complete a similar questionnaire that will assess their expectations on each of the above factors. To measure overall relationship satisfaction, the Relationship Assessment Scale (RAS) will be employed. We predict that analyses will reveal that the larger the discrepancy between expectations and reality, the lower the levels of relationship satisfaction.

Michelle Painter
Predictors of Disciplinary Problems within a Juvenile Correctional Facility

Michelle PainterThis study examines predictors of disciplinary problems for female inmates at a juvenile correctional facility. The study was an archival analysis of the records of inmates who were housed in an all-girls maximum security juvenile correctional facility and released during the months between June and December of 2010. Records from 112 girls ranging from the age of twelve to nineteen were used. Disciplinary outcomes such as judicial conduct reports and segregation were examined. Some of the predictors analyzed included frequency of exposure to treatment programs within the facility, history of drug use, medications and psychological diagnoses, and family configuration. Three significant predictors of disciplinary problems include age, number of medications, and disturbances of conduct (e.g., conduct disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, etc.), with an adjusted R2 of .315.
PowerPoint     PDF


Ahley Sims
Representations of Gender in Disney Full-Length Animated Features Over Time

Disney has been making full-length animated feature films since 1937. These films have often studied been studied because they are a major source of entertainment for many children and potentially could have an impact on their social, emotional and mental development. Previous studies have focused on gender role messages from the films, usually finding that they contain stereotypical messages that negatively characterize females (e.g., female characters who are overly passive). These previous studies have tended to generalize portrayals over the entire seventy year history of Disney films and have not looked at how those influential messages have changed over time (even though gender norms have changed over time). Twenty-one of the fifty "Walt Disney Animated Classics" films were coded for the "rising action" and the conclusion of the films, focusing on male and female heroes and villains. The primary hypothesis was that stereotypical gender behaviors of both male and female heroes would decrease over time, and that villains' stereotypical behaviors would increase. What was identified instead was a movement of both genders of hero towards masculinity over time. Villains did not change.
PowerPoint     PDF

Sharon Turnbow
The Economic Impact of Autism Spectrum Disorder; The Parents Perspective

Sharon TurnbowIn the US and many other countries, more children are being diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) than ever before. The treatment, management, and diagnosis of ASD all carry a variety of associated costs for parents and society as a whole. This study seeks to better understand the impact these cost have on parents and their children with ASD. Tension has developed between parents and health care providers in terms of what the providers will cover and to what extent. To obtain the parental perspective, an online survey inquiring about parents' opinions and experiences was sent out to a number of ASD support group leaders and organizations associated with ASD. This survey covers what type of care children are receiving, the cost of this care (by insurance, public health and personal resources), and the impact that financial considerations ultimately have on care. From the results of this survey, three profiles were developed based on health care coverage from, public health insurance, private health insurance, and personal funds. Participants were analyzed based on their report of how finances affected their child's care. The results show both similarities and differences between the three profiles as well as positive and negative affects. The possible applications for this research are, to provided more effective care and funds for ASD, bridge gaps between healthcare providers and parent and to increase support and much needed information to parents of children with ASD.

Butler Crazy