On February 27-29, four students and three psychology professors attended the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP) Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana, to present research through poster sessions and to attend presentations. The students included Hayley Mulford ’20, Naomi Painter ’22, Kaillee Philleo ’21, and Lauren Powell ’21. These students were joined by Dr. Buchholz, Dr. Carter, and Dr. Osterman.
Those in attendance have since given some insight onto what it was like presenting at the conference as well as their reactions to the conference and New Orleans, LA:
While I did not present at the conference, It was so cool to see how many different research projects were being done and how enthusiastic people were! Everyone was really professional and genuinely interested in the research. Moreover, people held such intellectual conversations. I got to talk to some people that go to grad school at FSU, which is where I am going, so I was so excited! New Orleans is one of the coolest places I have ever been to. I loved the culture, the people, the food, and the area. I would go back in a heartbeat!
Presenting at the SPSP 2020 conference was a wonderful experience in communicating our research projects and findings. I had a great time interacting with students and faculty members through discussion of projects and questions. Being able to see the wide variety of ongoing research was quite exciting, as many of the research topics correlated with ongoing issues that one often reads about or experiences each day.
One of the best parts of the New Orleans SPSP conference was being able to walk around and visit Bourbon Street, Jackson Square, and other popular sites while witnessing firsthand the fascinating and entertaining atmosphere of the great city of New Orleans.
Going into SPSP I was quite nervous, as I have never presented at a conference before. However, after attending a few presentations and talking with other poster presenters, when it came time to present on my own research, it was not nearly as nerve-racking. I loved getting to learn about the variety of research topics in the field of psychology and enjoyed getting to meet other psychologists from across the world and discuss their projects and my own. Beyond the conference, we were able to explore New Orleans and I was able to try gumbo, which has since become my newfound favorite meal. I cannot wait to return to New Orleans in the future and hope to return to SPSP one day as well.
This was my second conference but it was the first conference that I have attended that I presented my work independently! It’s not as scary as it seems, and you get to meet a lot of cool people who have the same interests as you – I had a lot of great conversations with people from all over the world! Moreover, it was fun to see what other people were there to present. It’s always interesting to see that there are so many unexplored topics within the broad category of psychology. Beyond the conference, New Orleans was so much fun and I definitely plan on going back! I am really glad we were all able to experience New Orleans for just long enough to enjoy it but not long enough to be affected by the COVID-19 outbreak that has been happening.
I always enjoy going to the Society of Personality and Social Psychology annual conference. This year it was in New Orleans, which was a lot of fun. At the conference, we have a chance to interact with some of the leading scientists in the field and to hear about cutting-edge research. It is also a great opportunity for our students to present research that they have been conducting in our research labs. This year Naomi Painter and Lauren Powell were both able to present as first authors on our research examining empathy.
I had a great time at SPSP! I wasn’t able to attend last year due to the birth of my son, so it was great to catch up with colleagues and friends from graduate school that I hadn’t seen in a while, and of course to soak up some culture in New Orleans (and several really good meals). I saw a number of really excellent talks, learned a lot, and took inspiration for a few new research projects. My favorite part, however, was getting to see one of my graduate advisors (Tom Gilovich) win the society’s prestigious Campbell Award. He’s a giant in the field, and he absolutely deserves the recognition.
SPSP was a blast as always, and I’m so proud of how well our students did with presenting their research! They represented the college and department well. Kaillee even talked to some people from NPR about her podcasting research!
Congratulations to all those who attended the conference and for having successful presentations!
Over the next few days, we will be highlighting the Psychology Department graduating seniors! This post will highlight 4 seniors: Ryen Beach, Sophia Bacon, Athey Crump, and Emily Deeds!
My plans after graduation are to take a gap semester and then attend nursing. I want to be an emergency department nurse and become a flight nurse.
This summer I have been accepted to participate in a clinical internship at Southeast Psych based in Charlotte, NC. In the fall, I plan to both nanny part-time and work at Easterseals UCP where I will be providing ABA therapy to children on the spectrum. I also plan to apply to various graduate school programs in clinical psychology for the 2021 academic year.
My favorite memory is when I was walking down the hall one day and heard each class make a joke and laugh, one after the other. It made me smile and be so happy to be amongst so many good spirited people.
After graduation, I plan to spend some time with my family while I’m home. Then I plan to attend graduate school nearby so I can be a little bit closer to home.
My favorite memory was passing out in Dr. Powell’s Developmental Psychology class watching the video on fertilization.
After graduation, I plan to move down south and pursue a career in Human Resources.
Congratulations to you all on the success you have achieved while at Roanoke College and we look forward to seeing all that you do in the future!
Over the next few days, we will be highlighting the Psychology Department graduating seniors! This post will highlight 4 seniors: Casey Gough, Carter Smith, Emily Townley, and Ji’Asia Anderson!
My favorite part of the psychology department is that we are a family. I remember studying with psych students I didn’t even know in the library, studying while goofing off with all my friends, and taking naps on the psych lounge couch together.
After graduation, I will be attending Appalachian State University in the Fall (2020) for a three-year dual degree MA & EDs school psychology program.
I love the community of the psychology department. Being apart of it was like having our own little family on the fifth floor that would occasionally go to the brewery together, pie each other in the face, and, oh yeah, take classes.
After graduation, I will be serving in the Peace Corps as an English teacher and teacher trainer in Indonesia!
Though it was daunting at the time, I greatly enjoyed defending my Honors in the Major/Distinction Project for psychology. It was the culmination of 3 semesters of independent work and I was excited to share my results.
After graduation, my plans are to attend a Master’s program for psychology, with a focus on clinical psychology. As of writing this, I have gotten into four so we’ll see where I end up!
Carly and I were able to present our poster of the research we were helping Dr. Carter with all semester at the APS Conference in Washington. Sadly, we got a slot on the last day, so we only got to present to Carly’s mother and the group that had a poster next to us. Even though we didn’t have a lot of people to present to, we had a lot of fun seeing the different research that others had been conducting and talked to some really nice people.
After graduation, I plan to find a job as a counselor or a social worker, so I can use everything that I have learned at Roanoke to help other people. Hopefully, one day in the future, I will be able to work in the prison system as a counselor.
Congratulations to you all on the success you have achieved while at Roanoke College and we look forward to seeing all that you do in the future!
Congratulations to Dr. Powell who was recently awarded the Dean’s Exemplary Teaching Award! Each year, Roanoke College selects one recipient that they feel best showcases the aspects of this award.
According to Roanoke College, “pursuing excellence in teaching, professional life, and service to the College are all aspects of faculty life at Roanoke College, and each spring the Dean acknowledges outstanding faculty members through awards given in these different areas.”
This past year, Dr. Osterman, another member of the Psychology Department, was honored with this award!
Congratulations to Dr. Powell for this honor and to both of these professors for this amazing achievement!
Congratulations to Casey Jo Gough ’20 for the successful defense of her Honors in the Major Project! Her Project was titled “Adverse Peer Experiences on Social Media: Adjustment of Emerging Adults and Moderation by Social Support”. Her project advisor, Dr. Danielle Findley-Van Nostrand was joined by committee members, Dr. Darcey Powell and Dr. Johanna Sweet, to oversee her defense.
Project Abstract: Although data suggests adverse peer experiences persist past adolescence, studies beyond this cohort are limited (Kochenderfer & Ladd, 1996). Peer rejection and bullying research have recently expanded to examine online experiences (Landoll et al., 2013), but there is an inadequate understanding of adverse peer experiences via social networking sites. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between adverse peer experiences online and the adjustment factors of stress and loneliness among emerging adults. In child and adolescent cohorts, social support has buffered the maladjustment impacts of bullying (Hong & Espelage, 2012). We hypothesize this trend will continue into emerging adulthood; specifically, people who are high in social support will feel less loneliness and less stress from adverse online experiences than those who are low in social support. Results indicated significantly more stress among females, but also more overall support. Further, college students received more belonging support than non-college students. Stress and loneliness were positively related to adverse peer experiences and negatively related to support. Social support did not moderate this relationship as expected. There was a significant interaction between high appraisal support and loneliness. Further analysis is recommended on the subscales of support concerning cohorts and adjustment variables.
Congratulations again to Casey Jo Gough on a successful defense and we look forward to seeing all you accomplish in the future!
Over the next few days, we will be highlighting the Psychology Department graduating seniors! This post will highlight 5 seniors: Emily Jones, Lauren Furlow, Kinsey Overfelt, Hayley Mulford, and Dionne-Louise Liberia!
After graduation, I plan on working with children for a few years before I go to pursue a career in guidance counseling.
One of my favorite memories from being in the Psychology Department was watching Dr. Buchholz cover Dr. Osterman’s office with googly eyes for April Fools. I definitely had nothing to do with the prank.
After graduation, I am starting a PsyD program at Marshall University in August 2020.
After graduation, I will be continuing my education at Virginia Tech by pursuing a Master’s Degree in Counselor Education.
My favorite memory from being the Psychology Department was getting the chance to attend the SPSP Conference in New Orleans 2020!
After graduating I will be attending Florida State University to get my Master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis! This will allow me to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst!
After graduation, I plan on finding a full-time job as a Graphic Designer, dealing with digital marketing.
Congratulations to you all on the success you have achieved while at Roanoke College and we look forward to seeing all that you do in the future!
At the end of each year, the Roanoke College Psychology Department decorates a bulletin board and holds a reception to celebrate the accomplishments of the graduating senior class. Unfortunately due to the current circumstances, these events are unable to take place this year. Nonetheless, the graduating seniors of 2020 deserve to be recognized! For that reason, over the course of the next few days, we will be sharing the senior class and their plans after graduating from Roanoke College.
To the seniors, congratulations on all you have accomplished at Roanoke College. The Psychology department is so proud of each of you and we will continue to cheer you on from the fifth floor of Life Science no matter where you end up!
Congratulations to Sophie Bacon ’20 for the successful defense of her Honors in the Major Project! Her Project was titled “Peer Group Motives and Authenticity: Associations with Self-Presentational Strategies on Social Media “. Her project advisor, Dr. Danielle Findley-Van Nostrand was joined by committee members, Dr. Lindsey Osterman and Dr. Kristen Schorpp, to oversee her defense.
This research was the culmination of over a year of work, and the next steps are to work towards presenting the findings at a conference and submitting for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.
Project Abstract: Research has shown that social networking platforms provide a space for identity development, specifically through engaging in different types of self-presentation. However, research on the relationship between social networking sites (SNS) and identity development is limited and has not been tied directly to peer relationship mechanisms. In this study, I aimed to integrate recent research on self-processes on social media and recent theoretical advances in the role of social media in peer relationships during emerging adulthood. This study looked at social motives including the need for popularity, and the need for belonging, authenticity, and presentation of the real, ideal, and false self. Correlational analyses indicated that authenticity was positively related to real self-presentation and negatively to false self-presentation. The need for popularity was negatively related to real self-presentation and positively to false self-presentation, whereas the need for belonging was unrelated to real-self presentation but was positively associated with false and ideal self-presentation. Regression analyses controlling for each predictor indicated that authenticity was a positive predictor of real self-presentation and a negative predictor of false self-presentation. The need for popularity negatively predicted real self-presentation and positively predicted false self-presentation. The need for belonging and ideal self-presentation were positively associated.
Congratulations again to Sophie Bacon on a successful defense and we look forward to seeing all you accomplish in the future!
Congratulations to Riker Lawrence ’20 for the successful defense of her Honors in the Major Project! Her Project was titled “Couples’ Leisure Activity and Expectations for Parenthood”. Her supervisor, Dr. Darcey N. Powell was joined by committee members, Dr. Osterman and Dr. Sweet, to oversee her defense.
Abstract: This study aimed to explore how cohabitating individuals’ engagement in leisure activity with their partner is associated with their expectations for parenthood. Specifically, the study examined how individuals’ engagement in and their satisfaction with leisure activities with their partner is associated with their expectations for parenting; specifically, their co-parenting relationship, gatekeeping behaviors, and division of caregiving labor. Using Prolific Academic, participants (N=247) completed an online survey. Correlations were found between participants’ engagement and satisfaction of these leisure activities and their expectations for co-parenting relationship, gatekeeping behaviors, and division of caregiving labor, regardless of their intention to parent and other demographic characteristics. Furthermore, satisfaction of leisure activities was more consistently associated with the parenting expectations than the frequency of engagement in leisure activities. These findings can serve as useful information for marital and family therapists as they work with couples considering adding a baby to their family unit or during the transition to parenthood.
Riker Lawrence received funding for this project through the Roanoke College Research Fellows program and through a portion of Dr. Powell’s Faculty Scholar funds.
Congratulations again to Riker Lawrence on a successful defense and we look forward to seeing all you accomplish in the future!
Congratulations to Rachel Harmon ’20 for the successful defense of her Honors in the Major and Honors Distinction Project! Her Project was titled “Cross-Cultural Comparison of Caregiver Concerns and Resources for Children with Disabilities”. Her supervisor, Dr. Darcey N. Powell was joined by committee members, Dr. Osterman, Dr. Chad Morris, and Jesse Griffin, to oversee her defense.
Abstract: The purpose of the current study was to address a gap in the literature through investigating the differences in experiences of caring for a child with a disability between a developed country, the United States, and a developing country, Mexico. Participants included caregivers of children with disabilities in the US (N = 25) and Mexico (N = 45). Self-report data were collected to measure caregivers’ demographic information, knowledge of resources, positive and negative emotional response, and stress level. Additional observational data was collected regarding the physical resources, educational resources, therapy services, government policies, caregiver reactions, child behavior, and transportation services in each location. Analyses revealed that caregivers in the US reported significantly higher levels of stress compared to caregivers in Mexico. No significant differences were found in caregivers’ knowledge of government policies; however, Mexico caregivers were significantly more satisfied with the policies that they were aware of compared to US caregivers. US caregivers were more aware of support groups/organizations for themselves or their child and were more likely to participate in known support groups. There was no difference in reports of access to educational opportunities; however, US caregivers reported significantly more inclusion opportunities compared to Mexico caregivers. No significant differences were found in caregivers’ belief that their child would one day be employed. There were significant differences in the number of observations made regarding educational resources, therapy services, government policies, and transportation services between the US and Mexico. The findings of the current study provide important information about the effect of culture on the experiences of caring for a child with a disability, which could be useful for professionals who work directly with families and for the development of future resources.
Highlights of the project: Collected research in both southwest VA and the Yucatan of Mexico. To facilitate her data collection, she completed an internship in southwest VA, as well as two internships in Mexico during the summer between her Jr and Sr years.
Rachel Harmon received funding for this project through Roanoke College Honors Program Downing Distinction Project Award and Psi Chi’s Mamie Phipps Clark Diversity Research Grant. To learn more about this award and on how Rachel collected data while in the Yucatan of Mexico refer back to this blog post, in which she was interviewed last fall!
Congratulations again to Rachel Harmon on a successful defense and we look forward to seeing all you accomplish in the future!
There have been many studies conducted on attachment styles (i.e., characteristic ways of emotionally connecting with others) between parents and their children, and studies performed to evaluate romantic relationship satisfaction, but there are few studies combining the two concepts in young adults (Xia et al., 2018). Attachment style is developed through an individual internalizing their relationship, or lack thereof, with a primary caregiver in infancy and early childhood (Searle & Meara, 1999). We wanted to look at whether attachment style is associated with emerging adults’ current romantic relationship satisfaction. We also explored additional variables such as gender and length of the relationship. We chose to focus on individuals in emerging adulthood for several reasons. First, it is during this formative stage individuals are considering life-changing decisions regarding education, friendships, careers, and romantic relationships (Arnett, 2000). Second, romantic relationships in this stage differ from those experienced in adolescence because they tend to be longer in duration and more serious in intention (Arnett, 2000). Finally, little research has been done on emerging adults’ romantic relationships and our research can provide insight into this newly defined developmental stage.
Participants in our study were students from Roanoke College who were at least 18 years old and in a committed romantic relationship. Participants for this study were recruited through the Roanoke College Psychology Department via SONA, as well as within the greater campus community. Participants who were enrolled in a psychology course received a half SONA credit for participating. Eighty-five total participants completed the study.
Our study was an online survey through Qualtrics. Participants were asked to answer questions regarding gender, gender of their partner, their sexuality, age, relationship length, whether they and their significant other have “taken a break” and if so, the number of “breaks” they’ve taken. To measure attachment style, we used the 36-item Experiences in Close Relationships-Revised Questionnaire. Scores on the ECR-R were calculated to reflect overall attachment insecurity, and anxious- and avoidant-attachment security as subscales. For relationship satisfaction, we used the 32-item Couple Satisfaction Index.
Results and Discussion
As expected, participants with secure attachment style reported higher relationship satisfaction (see Figure below- low scores on the ECR-R indicate more secure attachment). Also as expected, attachment-related anxiousness and attachment-related avoidance explained a pretty large amount of relationship satisfaction. Contrary to expectations, the association between attachment style and relationship satisfaction was stronger for participants who identified as male compared to participants who identified as female. Additionally, participants who reported higher levels of attachment-related anxiety and attachment-related avoidance had been in their current romantic relationship for a shorter-duration compared to participants with secure attachment. However, participants who had been with their current romantic partner for a longer amount of time reported higher levels of romantic relationship satisfaction. Participants who had not previously broken up with their current romantic partner also recorded significantly higher levels of relationship satisfaction compared to those who had previously broken up or “taken a break”.
Romantic relationships are an important part of emerging adulthood (Arnett, 2000). The results of the current study indicate that attachment style may influence satisfaction within romantic relationships during this phase of development. The results expand upon previous literature by investigating these associations specifically in emerging adulthood, while exploring the additional factors of gender, relationship duration and whether couples had previously broken up or “taken a break”.
This research process has been one that challenged us all in various ways throughout the semester. The first obstacle we faced was developing a study that interested us all and was relevant to the course. Our original goal with this study was to have the Roanoke College student and their significant other complete the survey in person. Requiring both the SONA student and their significant other to complete an in-person questionnaire limited our pool of students to those in relationships with a peer and those in a relationship with someone who is local. This meant that students who are in long distance relationships, and who may have had a lot to offer the research, were unable to partake in it. The original goal with having both individuals in a relationship complete the survey was to be able examine relationship satisfaction and attachment style within a relationship.
We originally decided to make this an in-person survey to increase validity. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the transition to remote learning, our study had to be switched to online only. With this new requirement of the study having to be online, we had to re-evaluate our methods. We changed the study requirement of both partners needing to complete it, to only surveying one partner. This increased the number of students who could participate in our study, which we believe improved our sample size. Conducting the study online may have eliminated any response bias that would have occurred in the lab because originally they would have been taking the survey across from their significant other, and may have felt pressure or guilt to respond a certain way, which could have altered their initial thoughts or feelings. Overall, working remotely on this has been challenging and time consuming. Having to completely rethink our study methods and then communicate with one another via WIFI when two group members have poor connection was difficult. We no longer had the option to meet whenever was convenient and work on the data analyses as a group. We instead had to find time where we could all video chat and then have one person screen share, running analyses, while the others watched. In the end, switching to online research was beneficial because we were able to broaden our pool of participants, adjust our research in an efficient way, and find significant associations.
The main finding of our study indicates that the attachment style is associated with romantic relationship satisfaction. It is important to remember that attachment styles begin forming soon after birth and continue to evolve through the lifespan (Searle & Meara, 1999). While attachment-related anxiety and attachment-related avoidance were found to be significantly associated with romantic relationship satisfaction, we were also able to conclude that male romantic relationship satisfaction is somewhat more likely to be dependent upon attachment style in comparison to females.
Arnett, J. J. (2000). Emerging adulthood: A theory of development from the late teens through the twenties. American Psychologist,55(5), 469-480.https://doi.org/10. 1037/0003-066X.55.5.469
Searle, B., & Meara, N. M. (1999). Affective dimensions of attachment styles: Exploring self-reported attachment style, gender, and emotional experience among college students. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 46(2), 147–158. https://doi.org/10. 1037/0022-0126.96.36.199
Xia, M., Fosco, G., Lippold, M., & Feinberg, M. (2018). A developmental perspective on young adult romantic relationships: Examining family and individual factors in adolescence. Journal of Youth and Adolescence,47(7), 1499-1516. doi:10.1007/s10964-018-0815-8
How well do you really know yourself? Limited research has been done on the relationship between creativity and self-concept clarity. There is some evidence that people who have reached a higher status of identity are more likely to be creative while the antithesis is true for those in lower stages of identity development (Dollinger, Dollinger, & Centeno 2005). As the identity crisis is a common problem in adolescents (Riley, 1999), some art therapy techniques are designed to aid in the development of one’s identity (Beaumont, 2015). This is useful because self-concept clarity is related to positive adjustment. The current experiment was aimed at developing a more thorough understanding of how the expression of creativity affects self-concept clarity, particularly in individuals who already identify as artistic.
58 participants from Roanoke College psychology classes were gathered through the SONA online research management system. Participants, emerging adults who earned credit in class for their participation, were then randomly assigned to either complete a 2-D art task (a self-portrait) or to write about their last 24 hours (this was the control group). Before the task, we collected information about level of artistic ability and experience in art. Before and after the task, they completed self-concept questionnaires, including indicating how certain they were (on a scale of 0-100) in each personality trait rated, and a self-report measure of self-concept clarity.
We found that overall, self-certainty (the average certainty in personality ratings) didn’t seem to differ based on doing the art task or not. But, then we ran tests separately for people who have an art background or not and found that if an individual already has an artistic background, they had higher self-concept certainty after doing a creative task than individuals who have no artistic background (see Figure 1). We expected this experiment would result in evidence indicating that creative outlets aid in one’s sense of self-concept clarity, and found that this was true only for people with an artistic background. However, other measures of creativity and experience in art were not related to certainty in self-concepts, and responses on the self-reported self-concept clarity scale were not related to participation in the task.
Since only one finding reached statistical significance, it is important to consider possible sources of error. Due to some unforeseen issues, we were forced to adapt our study into an online-only study. This may have been an issue because one group of participants was prompted to complete a drawing task. Without being able to supervise the participants, there was no way to control the conditions under which each participant completed the task. Another issue we faced was participants submitting incomplete surveys. This too may be due to the shift to online-only studies. One way we may have been able to get better results would be to have a larger sample size with more participants in each group, completing the study in person.
The purpose of this study was to determine if creative outlets are an effective way to aid in the development of self-concept clarity in college students. We wanted to expand upon the existing research by comparing 2-D art to a non-creative task, as well as further defining the effect creativity has on self-concept clarity in emerging adults. The evidence suggests a relationship between artistic expression and identity exploration, but only in those who already have an artistic background. So, creative outlets may be less helpful to self-concept clarity for people with little or no prior background in art. This study has helped us understand the relationship between artistic expression and the self-clarity concept in emerging adults.
Figure 1: Average Self-Concept Certainty by Art Task/Control group and by Previous Art Experience.
Beaumont, Sherry. (2015). Art Therapy Approaches for Identity Problems during Adolescence. Canadian Art Therapy Association Journal. 25. 7-14.
Dollinger, Stephen & Dollinger, Stephanie & Centeno, Leslie. (2005). Identity and Creativity. Identity. 5. 315-339. 10.1207/s1532706xid0504_2.
Riley, S. (1999). Contemporary art therapy with adolescents. London: Jessica Kingsley
Hailey Davis, Jon Cody Mactutus, Alina Marino, and Hayley Mulford
Advisor: Dr. Findley-Van Nostrand
[Picture of Girl Being Bullied] (2015). Retrieved from http://www.texasconflictcoach.com/2015/adolescent-relational-aggression-how-to-diminish-the-damage/
The present study evaluated whether type of aggression (overt, relational) witnessed towards a peer impacted likelihood to intervene and/or desire to punish the aggressor, considering desensitization as a factor. Most peer aggression studies focus on childhood and adolescence, but we used emerging adults (18-24) instead because it would be further expansion as less is known about peer aggression in this age group.
Relational aggression is indirect, status hurting actions whereas overt aggression is direct actions with the intent to cause harm (Cairns, Neckerman, Ferguson, & Gariépy, 1989). Previous research has found that aggression has negative impacts on all involved; aggressors, victims, bystanders (Rivers, Poteat, Noret, & Ashurst, 2009). Both relational and overt aggression have internalizing and externalizing problems as negative possible outcomes for experiencing these types of aggression (Casper, Card, Bauman, & Toomey, 2017). The current study aimed to explore the differences in outcomes (intervening and punishing) based on the form of aggression (overt or relational). Although relational aggression is more common, especially in this age group, and just as problematic, people are less likely to recognize it as aggression (Crick & Grotpeter, 1995). So, we also tested whether people are more likely to perceive overt or relational aggression as aggression. Finally, we also explored the relationship of mood and previous exposure to aggression in these responses.
We recruited our participants through SONA, Roanoke College’s online psychology research website. Participants were awarded credit for their participation in this study. Everything was conducted in accordance with the guidelines of the Roanoke College Institutional Review Board, with participants supplying informed consent. In an online survey, participants were assigned to read a vignette about either relational or overt aggression where a familiar peer is aggressed upon by a stranger. First, they were asked questions to determine their current emotional state, then read a singular vignette, and then were asked if they thought the scene they read about was aggression. We also included a question to ensure that participants paid attention. 26 failed the check, leaving our final number of participants to be 130. We asked each participant whether what they just read about was aggression (and to what extent they thought it was aggression), how likely they would be to intervene in the situation, and to what extent they believed the aggressor should be punished. Participants were then asked about their previous exposure to either type of aggression. Lastly, participants were asked demographic information.
Results and Discussion
The results of the project were not as promising as we hoped. We had 60 participants in the relational aggression group and 69 participants in the overt aggression group. There was no significant difference in desire to punish between types of aggression. There was also no significant difference in likelihood to intervene between types of aggression. Sadly, the predictions that there would be a difference among the type of aggression and how a by-stander would feel and react were not found to be supported (see Figure 1). However, we did find that the type of aggression had an effect on the perception of whether the act was aggression or not- people were more likely to perceive overt aggression as aggression relative to relational aggression. Unfortunately, the predictions that prior exposure would account for some variance and predictive value in both intervening and punishing was not found to be supported either. Finally, emotion was not found to have a relationship with the likelihood to punish. We did not expect for most of our predictions to be rejected, but there are some promising ideas still prevalent. It is important that there is a relationship between how someone perceives aggression and the type because this can play a role in bullying. It seems from this study that relational aggression is not seen as aggression, which could help in efforts to reduce bullying. The statistical analyses we used may not have been complicated enough to reveal complex structures and relationships, but future studies could delve deeper.
Perception of Aggression, Likelihood to Intervene, and Desire to Punish Based on Type of Aggression
Note. All variables were on a scale from 1-10. Perception of aggression (blue bars) differed significantly by type of aggression. The other variables did not.
Despite our results not being what we anticipated them to be, we were able to find out how people interpreted aggression. Fortunately, we did not have any problems with our research when we were no longer on campus and able to access the lab. The only difference with having to make our study online was the amount of credit the participants received. Our study took into account a wide range of variables so we could look at multiple factors that could possibly have an influence on the participants’ answers.
In conclusion, thoughts about the aggression witnessed did not seem to differ much between type of aggression, current state of emotions, or prior exposure to aggression. Some of our results might contradict other research, like our finding that prior exposure did not influence intervention or punishing, but some of our results match very well. Our study, as well as many others, found that people correctly identified overt aggression as a form of aggression. So, people know overt aggression when they see it which means you can rest assured that people are watching out for you! However, it seems relational aggression is less recognizable, which could say something about the way college students interact.
Cairns, R.B., Cairns, B.D., Neckerman, H.J., Ferguson, L.L., & Gariepy, J.-L. (1989). Growth and aggression: I. Childhood to early adolescence. Developmental Psychology, 25, 320– 330. https://doi.org/10.1037/0012-16188.8.131.520
Casper, D. M., Card, N. A., Bauman, S., & Toomey, R. B. (2017). Overt and relational aggression participant role behavior: Measurement and relations with sociometric status and depression. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 27(3), 661–673. https://doi.org/10.1111/jora.12306
Rivers, I., Poteat, V. P., Noret, N., & Ashurst, N. (2009). Observing bullying at school: The mental health implications of witness status. School Psychology Quarterly, 24(4), 211–223. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0018164
These last few weeks have no doubt been challenging for everyone in some way, shape, or form. With finals starting tomorrow and being away from Roanoke College, we wanted to share some well wishes and updates from some of the Psychology Department professors!
We are living through strange and trying times; however, I am heartened by the way we, the students, faculty, and staff of Roanoke College, have risen to the occasion. I am encouraged by the leadership of President Maxey, Dean Smith, and many other staff during these difficult times. I am thankful for our departmental secretary, Ellen, who continues to be the glue that holds our department together. I am proud of the faculty in our department for handling this moment with grace and compassion. Likewise, I am proud of our students for how they have reacted to these challenges. From the many kind words expressed in emails, to the understanding we receive when we can’t figure out zoom or have had some other problem adjusting to teaching online; I am thankful for the kindness and patience of our students. The way our community has come together, even if apart, reminds me of why I love Roanoke College.
For those of you who are struggling during this moment, I wish you and your families the best, and I want you to know that we are all here for you. For those of you who are graduating, congratulations and I hope to see you at the rescheduled graduation; and for the rest of you, I look forward to seeing you in the fall. Be well, stay safe, and take care of yourselves.
I miss my students! My stats jokes are wasted on my family. I don’t even get an eye roll from a good t-test pun.
I’m extremely, extremely jealous of the people who don’t have anything to do during this quarantine. My wife and I are both trying to work full time while also taking care of two children under three (i.e., requiring constant supervision). So if I’ve learned anything new, it’s just how effective an active bird feeder can be as a babysitter. (Seriously though, getting to spend a lot of time with my kids is really nice. It’s just stressful trying to do so much at once.)
I miss my students! I am super proud of everyone in my classes and in my lab, who have all worked super hard to make the most of this situation. It’s been an experience, but it’s been one we are all figuring out together.
I’ve especially appreciated the love during student meetings when my son or dog pop in for a hello! They have filled my days while my husband and I juggle our work. In fact, my favorite (non-work) thing has been going on backyard adventures and spending time on creative ways to stay entertained and engaged, like building obstacle courses.
I can’t wait to get back to in-person teaching, I miss my people! And, congratulations to the seniors!
I have been encouraged in speaking with students in my courses to hear about the diligent work you are all putting in amidst this almost overwhelming uncertainty we face on a daily basis. I applaud all of you for continuing to do your best and finding ways to make this unexpected challenge a time of growth. In addition- I also want to encourage you all to keep in mind that now is the time to practice that self-care we all talk about, yet rarely put into practice if we’re honest…We will have bad days in the coming weeks and we will have good days. Take them in stride, do your best (the definition of which might change daily…), and find whatever ways you can to keep your spirits and hopes up.
I’ve been reading a lot- which is a welcome change; watching a lot of TV (I’m rewatching Community on Netflix right now); and finding time for both quiet space alone and not so quiet time with my family. I also built a pull-up bar on the rafters in my basement with steel pipe so once this thing is all over- I may be able to do a few of those!
I was able to gather with some alumni from my lab on Zoom on Friday, 4/17, with graduates from 2011 to 2019. All but one of them are in graduate school now, the other one has a PhD and is currently in a post-doc position. The alumni present (in order of graduation) are: Madison Elliott & Paige Arrington (2011), Nikki Hurless, Lauren Kennedy-Metz, & Victoria Godwin (2014), Stephanie Shields & Lauren Ratcliffe (2017), Alex Grant (2018), Noelle Warfford (2019).
There’s a quote from Freud that has occurred to me a few times since all of this started: “One day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful.” I’m not sure if that’s exactly an encouraging or optimistic sentiment, exactly, but if Freud is right, it does suggest that our future selves will be overly sentimental and a little callous toward this very difficult situation we’re all going through right now, which makes them a common enemy against whom we can all fight. That’s something.
For myself, I walked 101 km in a week and learned that I have no desire to ever walk 101 km in a week ever again. Dr. B and I built a deck, with some help from Dr. B’s son James and our cats. I also took a quiz about which characters from various TV shows I am (it’s actually a very cool quiz by a psychometrician) and learned that I am Tyrion Lannister… I think because I drink and I know things?
April 19 to April 25 is APA and GSA’s careers in aging week! Psychology of aging focuses on applying knowledge and methods of psychology to understanding and helping older adults and their families to achieve well-being in later life. If you are interested in working with older adults and want to learn more then follow this link! Likewise, if this is a topic that interests you then check out Adult Development and Aging (PSYC-323), a course that is being offered this fall and likely will not be offered again until Fall 2022.
Furthermore, if you are interested overall in human development then check out the human development concentration that is offered at Roanoke College! The human development concentration exposes students to the broader life-span perspective and allows students to focus on the stages (e.g., childhood, adolescence, adulthood) and the topics most applicable to their personal or professional goals.
For more information on the human development concentration, reach out to Dr. Powell or Dr. FVN!
Athey Crump, Emily Giovanini, Elizabeth Helminski, Mariyana McAgy & Kojiro Leonard (Advisor: Chris Buchholz)
What causes individuals to complete difficult tasks? Locus of control is categorized into two levels: internal and external. Individuals with internal LOC believe they have control over their environment, whilst individuals with external LOC believe their environment controls them (Killpack, 2005). After examining current literature on LOC, we discovered a gap in past research, which had looked at the relationships between LOC and motivation, competence, and self-efficacy, but not perseverance (Rotter, 1996). Our research is designed to focus on the relationship between LOC and persistence. We hypothesized that those scoring a high internal LOC would have a longer duration while those scoring a high external LOC would have a shorter duration.
In this study participants (77) were asked to solve a series of math problems. Half of the participants were led to believe they had some control over the difficulty of the math problems, while the other half were led to believe that the difficulty of the questions was random. However, the manipulation did not work due to an unforeseen error in setting up the study. As a part of this study, participants were also asked to complete a scale that measured whether they possessed more internal or external locus of control using Rotter’s scale of Locus of Control.
Results & Discussion
Data collected from the survey was run with the results from the LOC questionnaire. While there was no difference in the total number of math problems completed for external vs. internal locus of control, those who have an internal locus of control did spend more time answering questions but these results were not statistically significant, as seen in Figure 1. So, while these two groups (internal/external) completed the same number of problems, it is possible that those with an internal locus of control spent more time thinking and working on them, as can be seen in Figure 2. This makes some sense in that those with internal locus of control feel they have more control, and thus they spend more time working (i.e. persisting).
Figure 1: Internal and external locus of control on number of math problems completed.
Figure 2: Internal and external locus of control on duration of survey.
The process of conducting an experiment from start to finish provided the opportunity to put knowledge we’ve gained over the past four years into a single project. When creating an online study, we gained experience using programs like SPSS, SONA and Qualtrics. Though there were several changes that needed to be made to the study, this only allowed us the opportunity to showcase our knowledge of research skills. Though there were several challenges to overcome, this study allowed us, as students to think and act as researchers and provided the opportunity to have these skills as undergrads.
Music has been around for centuries and it has been used in many different ways, from ceremonies, to dancing, or even to uplift the soul. Philosophers have wondered what the purpose of music is and what it does for us. Many people believe that music can affect their mood – we were curious about this as well and wanted to take it a step further to see if happy or sad music was able to change ones mood when combined with having a certain personality trait. We predicted that people with a high level of Neuroticism would have their mood shifted the most due to the type of music they were listening to. We predicted that this specific personality trait would be most likely to change their mood due to the type of music because it is said that people with the personality trait of Neuroticism tend to be emotionally unstable, which would allow their mood to shift easily. To examine the effects, we used different tests in order to assess how a happy song and a sad song affected the moods of different personalities. Specifically, we predicted that people having a personality high in Neuroticism will convey a happier mood in the happy music group, as well as convey a sadder mood in the sad music group. We also predicted that those who are low in neuroticism will not have their mood as affected by the music since they are in theory more emotionally stable individuals.
Participants were randomly assigned to one of two conditions in the study, either listening to a happy or sad version of the same song. Individuals then self-reported their mood via a slider scale immediately after listening to the song condition to which they were assigned. Participants then took the Big Five Inventory (BFI) questionnaire to measure personality traits (e.g., neuroticism).
Results and Discussion
There was a significant difference between the moods of the people in the sad condition versus the happy condition (see Figure 1). Also, in line with our predictions, we found that those high in neuroticism did have a significant difference between their reactions to happy versus sad music, while this was not the case for those low in neuroticism (see Figure 2).
Figure 1: The effect of music on mood.
Figure 2: Interaction effects between music condition and neuroticism.
We experienced challenges throughout our research because we anticipated our study to be conducted in a lab setting, not completely online. We originally decided that we wanted to have an in-person study so we could ensure that individuals would listen to the song entirely and not have any distractions, however, we had to switch to an online version of our study due to the Coronavirus. Our study also does not take into account the mood the individual was already experiencing, which could have impacted mood persuasion.
The department normally hosts a poster session to present all of the research that happens each semester; however, due to stay at home restrictions we will present student research on our blog. Over the next several days we will be posting some of the research carried out by our students here. Congratulations students for all of your hard work!
During this past week, students were presented with awards from the psychology department! While students are typically presented these awards at the annual academic award ceremony, due to the recent events, the ceremony was unable to be held this year. However, the psychology department went on to recognize the following students and their accomplishments.
“Congratulations to all of the students who won awards in the Psychology Department this year! These are all great honors and well-deserved. We are all proud of your accomplishments and all that you do to make our department great. ” – Dr. Buchholz
This year, the Psychology Department distributed awards to fifteen students:
Lauren Furlow – Senior Scholar – Psychology
Rachel L. Harmon – Karl W. Beck Memorial Prize
Sophia R. Bacon – Curt R. Camac Student Research Award
Riker F. Lawrence – Curt R. Camac Student Research Award
Brittney A. Rowe – The Charles E. Early Award
Morgan J. Hamilton – Outstanding Junior Psychology Major
Kira N. Hunt – Outstanding Junior Psychology Major
Abbie L. Joseph – Outstanding Junior Psychology Major
Grace E. Page – Outstanding Junior Psychology Major
Vanessa L. Pearson – Outstanding Junior Psychology Major
Kaillee M. Philleo – Outstanding Junior Psychology Major
Carly M. Schepacarter – Outstanding Junior Psychology Major
Mason L. Wheeler – Outstanding Junior Psychology Major
Rachel L. Harmon – The Jan H. Lynch Human Development Concentration Award
Sophia R. Bacon – The Jan H. Lynch Human Development Concentration Award
Emily B. Townley – The Jan H. Lynch Human Development Concentration Award
Casey J. Gough – Psi Chi Achievement Award
To learn more about the awards and honors or their descriptions follow this link!
On behalf of the Psychology Department, congratulations again to all of our students. You have all worked hard, accomplished wonderful things and we look forward to seeing what you will achieve in the future!
Alumna Claire Kirchoff ’17 recently received notification that she will be serving as a Fulbright ETA in Nepal next year! While at Roanoke College Kirchoff studied psychology and spent time working with Dr. Powell in her research lab. In this post, Kirchoff discusses with a student assistant what she has been up to since graduating from Roanoke College, how she learned about the Fulbright program and advice she has for students considering applying to Fulbright or any other research/internship opportunity.
Can you please tell me a little about yourself?
I am from Nashville, TN and moved back here after college and graduate school in Virginia. I have a dog named Kona who just turned 1 at the beginning of March, and he is being trained as a therapy dog. Currently, I am finishing up the coursework and supervision hours (well, not anymore #covid) for my School Counseling licensure, at the end of which I plan to pursue elementary school counseling positions (following the Fulbright, of course.) I have never held a job that did not involve children or youth in some capacity, and I have always been drawn to education and mental health, though I took a roundabout way to get to where I am now.
What have you been doing since graduating from Roanoke College?
In reference to my last comment above, I told my advisor (Dr. Powell) that I had zero intentions of going into school counseling and that it was the last thing I wanted. Things change, clearly, and 4 years after putting my foot down, here I am about to be a licensed school counselor. Because I thought I didn’t want to go into counseling, I chose a graduate program without a licensure track, which, in hindsight, was poor planning. Immediately after college (2017-18), I attended the University of Virginia for a Master’s in Education, Educational Psychology – Applied Developmental Science (it’s a mouthful, I know.) While I was there, I took just about every opportunity I came across. I worked in a research lab studying the implementation of social-emotional curriculum interwoven with standard science curriculum, I wrote and implemented curriculum for a multi-week summer environmental science and service-learning program for high school students on a Native American Reservation in South Dakota, helped create a mental health team at a summer camp for youth with chronic health conditions (this has a nod to my undergraduate research study, “Emerging Adults’ Perceptions of Peers with Chronic Health Conditions”), I tutored ESL students at a local middle school, and I took as many courses as would fit into my schedule.
(2018-19) After graduate school (literally a week after), I started a year as an AmeriCorps service member in Nashville at a nonprofit serving a very low-income community. Moving back to Nashville was a tough choice because I loved my time in Virginia so much, but it’s home and I’m happy to be back. During my AmeriCorps term, I worked in the K-8 education department at the nonprofit, and I was placed at a middle school in the community (it was actually a charter school drawing students from all over Nashville, so it was very diverse and had a wide spectrum of academic and social-emotional needs). The K-8 education program implements after-school enrichment programs at several schools in the community, and I was basically in charge of the implementation of my school’s after-school programming. I collected and analyzed testing and progress report data, designed reading and math enrichment curriculum for differentiated levels of need, and organized outside community partners for enrichment activities (other nonprofit partners like artists, musicians, science shows/experiments, and volunteers like Vanderbilt football and soccer players, student groups, and others.)
This year (2019-20), I have been working to complete my supervision hours in school counseling at two local schools with similar levels of socioeconomic challenges, but both are very rural schools, which I was not super used to. I started at an elementary school and had the time of my life. This semester, I was at a middle school in the same community as the elementary school, and having a great experience, then my internship was cut short in early March, just like everyone else in the country/world. Since the schools closed, I went back to working at my part-time job as a preschool teacher at a private pre-k center. We actively try to keep our daily routines as normal as possible for the sake of the kids, but each day they become a little more aware of the issues, and I often hear the older kids saying things like “the sickness” or attempting to say the word coronavirus. It’s a daily battle to keep surfaces clean and kids happy, but we make do and push through.
How did you learn about Fulbright and this opportunity?
I knew about Fulbright in college when I had friends applying (my graduation year there were 6 Fulbright winners and I was friends with 4 of them). What I didn’t know then was that I, too, could apply if I wanted to. These types of opportunities weren’t really advertised to me when I was in college. I wasn’t super eligible to apply right out of college like my friends were, but my experiences and education since college has made me a better candidate for the grant.
Why did you choose Nepal?
There are a few reasons why I chose Nepal. First, I am one of the biggest culture nerds you’d ever meet. I attempt learning new languages for fun when I’m bored, I read books about other countries, cultures, and religions, and actively seek out cultural experiences in my life. When I was thinking about the Fulbright and Jenny Rosti was hounding me to pick a country, Nepal just kept creeping up on me. It stuck with me and I felt the draw to apply.
Secondly, when I was in graduate school, I tutored ESL students at a middle school in Charlottesville. Many of these students were from far-flung areas of the globe, mostly the Middle East and, surprising to me, Nepal. I had never met anyone from Nepal, nor had I thought too much about the country in my life, other than knowing about Mts. Everest and Annapurna. It was really these kids and their stories and culture that led me towards choosing Nepal as my Fulbright application. Side note: I actually wrote a paper about those kids for one of my grad courses, I interviewed them about their experiences immigrating to the US and acclimating to US culture and schooling. It was very interesting and helped me better understand how immigrant students view American schooling and what I, as a school counselor, can do to help them.
Thirdly, and this is the last big reason, is that I want to (someday, hopefully, in the next 5 years or so) go back to school for a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology with a focus/concentration in anthropology (some schools have dedicated Educational Anthropology programs, but the others have Ed Psych with cross-curricular study in which anthropology is encouraged as an option). As a course of study in my future Ph.D., I want to study how education (non-traditional and traditional ways of viewing education) blossoms even in the least Westernized corners of the world, and how folklore and storytelling are integrated into childrearing as a form of education for those without access to Westernized education. Because of this interest in education’s evolutionary roots, I figured Nepal would be a good place to start.
Can you give any advice for those interested in applying for the Fulbright, or for research/internship experiences in general?
This is a Dr. Powell-ism that has stuck with me since I was a wee duckling in her lab: trust the process. If you put your all into it and you really want it, it will happen for you, even if it doesn’t happen the way you planned. Dive in, give it your 100%, and trust that everything will shake out the way you need it to (but it might not be the way you want it to.)
Take-aways: Trust the process. Be kind to yourself. You’re capable of more than you think.
Dr. Powell was also asked to speak on this accomplishment and stated:
“I’m extremely proud of Claire – what she accomplished as a student at Roanoke and all that she has achieved since! I’m confident that her training and applied experiences have prepared her to succeed as an ETA in Nepal. I’m looking forward to seeing her posts and hearing details about her adventures as a Fulbright when she returns to the states. “
Thank you, Claire, for taking the time to answer our questions and congratulations again on receiving Fulbright! We look forward to hearing about how it goes in the future and will continue to cheer you on!