The Relationship Between Dopamine, Novelty Seeking, and Cognitive Flexibility

by Haley Dunnavant, Brighton Payne, Bethany Pierce, Maddox Robinson, & Haley Turczynski

Faculty Mentors: Dr. Hilary E. Stebbins & Dr. Mercedes McWaters

Abstract: The aim of this study was to investigate whether dopamine levels (as measured by the spontaneous eye blink) correlate to novelty seeking and whether dopamine and novelty seeking moderate performance on a cognitive flexibility task. While we found an effect of task condition, neither dopamine nor novelty seeking influenced performance on the cognitive flexibility task.

Research Methods in Psychology PSYC 362 Posters (Stebbins)

Faculty mentor: Hilary Stebbins

Students taking Research Methods in Psychology are tasked with generating a novel research question, designing a study to answer that question, and analyzing and interpreting data within the context of their original hypotheses. These posters represent the culmination of this semester-long project. 

Title: Benevolent Sexism on Perceived Competence and Indirect Aggression in Women

Authors: Elsa Baumgartner, Emily Beitzell, Avery Prater, & Marissa Walia

Title: The Relationship Between Weight Perception, Perfectionism, & Level of Athletic Participation With Disordered Eating

Authors: Meaghan Comer, Maddie Shifflett, Rachel Tafoya, & Eva Waszak

Title: Manipulated Arousal and the Threat-Focus Effect on Memory

Authors: John Duvall II, Vivian Hyatt, Alexander Lee, & Katie Treichler

Title: The Relationship Between Social Anxiety, Social Rejection, and Retaliation Aggression

Authors: Jaime Cañas, Leah Saling, Ramon Owens, & Kaitlyn Ownbey 

Title: The Interaction Between Stress and Boredom and Their Relationship With Emotional Eating

Authors: Megan Hook, Amelia Jones, Erin Pierce, & Kelsey Yates

Caregivers’ Failure Mindset, Helicopter Parenting, and Emerging Adults’ Intelligence Mindset

by Nichole Boigegrain

Faculty mentor: Dr. Holly Schiffrin

People may view intelligence as an innately fixed trait that cannot be changed or as something that can grow over time with effort. Growth mindsets are related to more favorable outcomes than fixed mindsets because children with growth mindsets are more likely to persevere during difficult times and see failure as an opportunity to learn (Dweck et al., 1995). When parents convey that “failure-is-debilitating” to their children, it increases the likelihood that they will develop a fixed mindset (Haimovitz & Dweck, 2016). One-way parents might make their failure mindset observable to their children is through helicopter parenting (i.e., parents with failure-is-debilitating mindsets might intervene to prevent their children from failing). Helicopter parenting refers to developmentally inappropriate levels of involvement and control in children’s lives (Segrin et al., 2012), which have damaging effects on the well-being (Schiffrin et al., 2014) and academic outcomes (Schiffrin & Liss, 2017) of emerging adults. A mediation analysis was conducted using bias-corrected 95% confidence intervals based on 10,000 bootstrap samples (Hayes, 2013). For maternal caregivers, failure mindset was significantly associated with maternal helicopter parenting, and maternal helicopter parenting was associated with emerging adults having a fixed mindset. There was an indirect effect of maternal failure mindset on emerging adults’ intelligence mindset through maternal helicopter parenting. For paternal caregivers, failure mindset was significantly associated with paternal helicopter parenting behaviors. However, the path from paternal helicopter parenting to emerging adults’ intelligence mindset and the indirect path were both nonsignificant. The paths from maternal failure mindset through paternal helicopter parenting and vice versa were not significant. Thus, when mothers view failure-as-debilitating, they engage in more helicopter parenting, and their children are more likely to develop fixed mindsets. These findings have implications for emerging adults’ career and academic success.

Caregivers’ Failure Mindset, Helicopter Parenting, and Emerging Adults’ Intelligence Mindset by Nichole Boigegrain

Error Related Negativity and Moderate Exercise

by Jade Turner, Peyton Dunow, Samara Wong, Julie Boynton

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Emily Stanley

Previous research has found that moderate levels of exercise are related to improved cognitive functioning, along with increased P3 (stimulus evaluation) and decreased N2 (response monitoring), which are components of error processing. Previous studies have also shown an enhanced effect of exercise on executive functioning. The present study aims to determine whether athletes will have a smaller error-related negativity (ERN), another aspect of error processing, than non-athletes. This study will include giving the Flanker task while connected to an electroencephalogram (EEG), having participants bike for fifteen minutes, completing the Flanker task again, and measuring positive and negative affect, mental toughness, and intrinsic motivation as possible mediators. We hypothesize that participants who fit in the athletic category and all participants’ second trial will make fewer mistakes overall on the Flanker task and have a smaller ERN. We will also explore other factors to look for mediation in the relationship.

The Effect of Helicopter Parenting on the Prosocial Behaviors of Emerging Adults

by Erin Whitesell, Miranda Batte-Futrell, Christine Cao, and Nichole Boigegrain

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Holly Schiffrin

We examined the relationship between helicopter parenting, the psychological needs of self-determination theory (i.e. autonomy, competence, and relatedness), and prosocial behaviors among emerging adults. Psychological needs satisfaction mediated the relationship between helicopter parenting and prosocial behaviors. As emerging adults perceived more helicopter parenting by their mothers or fathers, they reported less satisfaction of their psychological needs and fewer prosocial behaviors.

The Effect of Helicopter Parenting on the Prosocial Behaviors of Emerging Adults

Predicting Sexual Satisfaction in Age-Diverse Women

by Meryl Menezes, Anna Higginbotham, Jessica Raiford, and Aidan McClanahan

Faculty mentor: Dr. Jennifer Mailloux

A significant indirect effect of body surveillance (a component of self-objectification) on sexual satisfaction through body shame (the other component of self-objectification), sexual attractiveness, and cognitive distraction during sex was found in a sample of younger women. However, this indirect effect was not found in sample of older women indicating that age, or a correlate of age, may influence the relationships between the variables in our model.

The Effects of Gender, Discipline, and Scientist Advocacy on Perceptions of Credibility and Motivations

by Kathryn Arntsen, Kayln Clinkenbeard, Madeleine McGann, & Rebekah Stone

Faculty mentor: Dr. Mindy Erchull

We sought to replicate and extend research on the impact of scientists’ public advocacy on perceptions of credibility and motivation by adding scientists’ gender and discipline. We found that the field of science, but not gender, had an effect on perceived motives, but perceptions of credibility were not impacted.

The Effects of Gender, Discipline, and Scientist Advocacy on Perceptions of Credibility and Motivations

Interpersonal Violence in the Context of Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities

by Abigail Farley

Faculty mentor: Dr. Virginia Mackintosh and Dr. Laura Wilson

This project aimed to better investigate why individuals with intellectual disabilities are at a higher risk for experiencing interpersonal violence, why traditional therapeutic approaches are typically ineffective, and to provide alternative psychotherapeutic options that may be more beneficial and tailored to this population’s abilities/needs. EDMR, IBT and supported employment are hopeful interventions for dealing with post-traumatic symptoms for intellectually disabled trauma survivors, although further research and replication is essential as there is a clear void in this area of research. Lastly, this population must not be viewed as hopeless and we must understand that they are capable of participating in therapy, if it is tailored to their level of functioning. The strides made by this research are coupled with the hope that interpersonal violence against individuals with disabilities will become less frequent as they continue to become further accepted by our society and that these alternative approaches to trauma therapy may lead to more hopeful post-traumatic trajectories.

Interpersonal Violence in the Context of Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities

Error Related Negativity and Moderate Exercise

by Jade Turner, Peyton Dunow, Samara Wong, Julie Boynton

Faculty mentor: Dr. Emily Stanley

Previous research has found that moderate levels of exercise are related to improved cognitive functioning, along with increased P3 (stimulus evaluation) and decreased N2 (response monitoring), which are components of error processing. Previous studies have also shown an enhanced effect of exercise on executive functioning. The present study aims to determine whether athletes will have a smaller error-related negativity (ERN), another aspect of error processing, than non-athletes. This study will include giving the Flanker task while connected to an electroencephalogram (EEG), having participants bike for fifteen minutes, completing the Flanker task again, and measuring positive and negative affect, mental toughness, and intrinsic motivation as possible mediators. We hypothesize that participants who fit in the athletic category and all participants’ second trial will make fewer mistakes overall on the Flanker task and have a smaller ERN. We will also explore other factors to look for mediation in the relationship.

Error-Related Negativity