Huge congratulations to senior Kristi Rolf who successfully defended her Honors in Psychology project on April 26th!
Kristi’s project was titled Sense of Purpose in College Students: Connections with Support and Descriptions of Purpose Development. During the defense, her advisor Dr. Findley Van Nostrand was joined by committee members Dr. Powell and Professor Chapman of the Modern Languages Department.
Kristi will be graduating with honors on May 6th 2023. Congratulations Kristi!
Huge congratulations to senior Skyler Pokorny who successfully defended her honors project on Wednesday April 26th!
Skyler’s project was titled Experimental Manipulation of Self-Concept Clarity in Emerging Adults. During the defense, Skyler’s project advisor Dr. Findley-Van Nostrand was joined by committee members Dr. Allen and Dr. Berenson of the Religion and Philosophy department .
Skyler will be graduating with honors on May 6th, 2023. Congratulations Skyler!
Huge congratulations to senior Allyson Herriges who successfully defended her honors project on Tuesday April 18th!
Allyson’s project was titled Evaluating the Impact of Zofran Exposure on Embryonic Neural Development in Zebrafish Using a Multi-Method Approach. During the defense, Allyson’s project advisor Dr. Drea was joined by committee members Dr. Lassiter and Dr. Kennedy-Metz.
Below is the abstract from Allyson’s paper:
“Ondansetron, commonly known as Zofran, is commonly prescribed as an antiemetic to pregnant females experiencing severe morning sickness. Zofran is often only given when the mother’s malnutrition poses a much greater risk to the fetus than exposure to the drug. While the drug may cause morphological abnormalities in development, relatively little has been done to examine gene expression changes. In this study we identified four genes (shank3a, shank3b, gabra1, and hgma2) with important links to neural development and, using Danio rerio, evaluated the expression of these genes after embryos were exposed to Zofran in the early stages of development. We also looked at behavioral development, including tail-flips, startle response, and optical response. Preliminary qPCR analysis has shown dysregulation in the specified genes. Embryos exposed to Zofran at laboratory levels showed a significant increase in tail-flipping at 28hpf, with a downward trend correlating to exposure level. These findings may offer insight into potential correlations to neurodevelopmental disorders, like autism spectrum disorder and ADHD, in children of mothers who used the drug while pregnant, and in turn allow doctors to better treat these conditions.”
Allyson will be graduating with honors on May 6th, 2023. Congratulations, Allyson!
Huge congratulations to senior Devin Brown who successfully defended her honors project on Tuesday April 11th!
Devin’s project was titled The Pen is Mightier than the Brain: the Cognitive and Social Psychology Behind the Handwriting Legibility Effect. During the defense, Devin’s project advisor Dr. Carter was joined by committee members Dr. Kennedy-Metz and Dr. Brenzovich.
Below is the abstract from Devin’s paper:
“The handwriting legibility effect suggests that the quality of handwriting can affect the grades that are assigned to student papers. There are both cognitive and personality based theories that give a basis for why this occurs, but there is a lack of cohesive research testing subcomponents of these theories. This research is a controlled experiment designed to fill this gap in the current literature. To understand how handwriting quality contributes to evaluator perception of author competency, warmth, and similarity, these personality components were considered. For cognitive components, effort to read the essay, truthfulness of the answer, and complexity of the argument were studied. All of these were affected by the quality of handwriting the participants were exposed to except complexity. This research can be used in future studies to find and apply practical solutions to bring more equality in classroom settings for students that may have worse handwriting for a number of reasons. “
Congratulations to Vanessa Pearson ’21 for the successful defense of her Honors in the Major Project titled, “Influences on Paternity Leave” on May 17th. Her research mentor, Dr. Darcey N. Powell, was joined by committee members, Dr. Danielle Findley Van-Nostrand and Dr. David Nichols to oversee her defense. Her project abstract is pasted below.
Project Abstract: The overall purpose of this study was to understand the factors that are involved when a father is deciding whether or not to take paternity leave with the birth/adoption of a child. The research was centered around two groups of participants. Study 1 sampled fathers with a child under the age of five. Study 2 sampled prospective fathers – men who are not yet fathers but may be at some point in the future. Participants completed an online survey that asked about their demographics, desired days off, and willingness to take certain types of leave. Most of the hypotheses were not significant or unable to be tested due to sample limitations. For example, several social-demographic factors were not associated with the number of days or types of leave one would take. Even though the findings were not significant, this could mean that the proportion of men who are taking or plan to take paternity leave are increasing and the factors that are holding them back are decreasing. Additionally, while fathers were more likely to know about FMLA than prospective fathers, a majority in both samples believed the US did not have an acceptable leave policy.
Congratulations again to Vanessa Pearson ’21 on a successful defense! We look forward to seeing all you accomplish in the future!
Congratulations to Curt Kingery ’21 for the successful defense of his Honors in the Major Project entitled “Tradeoffs In Designing Ideal Leaders: Does Political Ideology Predict Preferences for Dominant and Prestigious Leaders?” His supervisor, Dr. Lindsey Osterman was joined by committee members, Dr. Danielle Findley Van-Nostrand and Dr. Stacy Wetmore to oversee his defense.
Politicians rise to positions of signiﬁcant inﬂuence through diﬀerent displays of leadership behavior. Two distinct patterns for climbing social hierarchies, and obtaining leadership roles, have emerged from recent research: dominance-oriented and prestige-oriented strategies. These represent profoundly diﬀerent navigation tactics that accomplish a singular goal, which is to ascend status hierarchies. Which strategy most effectively gains status depends heavily on contextual factors (such as environmental instability and perceptions of intergroup conflict) and the characteristics and needs of followers. Political candidates’ abilities to display cues consistent with one of these orientations, in the appropriate contexts, will impact perceptions of them by potential supporters who are critical to their political success. Evolutionary and social psychological research suggest followership evolved as a strategy to overcome multifarious cooperation and coordination problems from social group-living. Hence, left-leaning or right-leaning political followers’ preconceptions about the world may predispose them to defer status to qualitatively different leaders. In Study 1, we investigated whether or not political orientation reliably predicted a preference for traits associated with dominance or prestige-oriented leader. Participants designed ideal leaders, purchasing various characteristics with 3 different budgets. The different budgets unveiled trade-offs made under constraints. In Study 2, we replicated findings from the first study, and extended the understanding of circumstantial triggers for different leader orientations by assessing the role of—self-perceived—socioeconomic (in)security and pathogenic vulnerability on revealed preferences for an ideal leader.
Congratulations again to Curt Kingery ’21 on a successful defense and we look forward to seeing all you accomplish in the future!
Congratulations to Kaillee Philleo ’21 for the successful defense of her Honors in the Major Project entitled “The Effect of Transitions on Parasocial Relationships: An Examination of Surrogate Use in College Freshmen During the COVID-19 Pandemic”. Her supervisor, Dr. Lindsey Osterman was joined by committee members, Dr. Todd Peppers and Dr. Stacy Wetmore to oversee her defense.
During the COVID-19 pandemic and with the increasing amount of time people spend interacting with media figures through online or broadcast platforms, an interest in examining parasocial relationships has become more popular. Specifically, little research has been conducted on parasocial relationships and their role during a period of transition. For that reason, this study set out to examine the role of surrogates within first-year college students. Specifically, we were interested in examining what interactions existed between engagement in activities (e.g., parasocial, social, and nonsocial), campus connectedness, loneliness, and closeness. While focusing on first-year college students, we also took into consideration the current pandemic and the state of the college during the time of this study. Results echoed previous research findings in that loneliness was found to be correlated with parasocial interactions. Moreover, we found partial support for our hypotheses through the findings that (1) loneliness mediated relationships between campus connectedness and parasocial and social activities, as well as (2) social activities mediated the relationship between campus connectedness and loneliness. Moreover, even though our moderation analyses did not result in significant main interactions, parasocial surrogate use was suggested within our data set. While some clear limitations were present within this study, we offered ways in which future research could continue to examine these variables.
Congratulations again to Kaillee Philleo ’21 on a successful defense and we look forward to seeing all you accomplish in the future!
Congratulations to Grace Page ’21 for the successful defense of here Honors in the Major and Honors Distinction Project titled, “Examining marriage: A comparison of perceptions based on religious affiliation and religiosity” (abstract below). Her supervisor, Dr. Darcey N. Powell, was joined by her committee members, Drs. Travis Carter and Kristi Hoffman, to oversee her defense.
Project Abstract: Relationships are oftentimes formed based on the similarities two individuals have in dating relationships; for example, individuals may look for similarities in religion and religious values as a way to choose a partner or to determine the dynamics of their relationships. Furthermore, research has indicated that there is a positive correlation between the similarity of partners’ religious influences and the quality of their relationship. Many religious individuals may often be misunderstood, however, due to existing religious stereotypes. Participants (N = 256) in this study were recruited to take an online survey through Prolific. Using six different beliefs/behaviors, this study examined participants’ self-reports of beliefs and behaviors, whether participants’ reported beliefs aligned with their behaviors, and if participants accurately perceived the beliefs of other religions/worldview’s beliefs. Results indicated that individuals of certain religions/worldviews shared similarities and differences in their beliefs and behaviors. Additionally, two thirds of the behaviors examined aligned with participants’ beliefs and, typically, participants did not accurately perceive the beliefs of others overall.
Congrats, again, to Grace Page ’21 on a successful defense! We look forward to seeing all that you accomplish in the future!
Congratulations to Carly Schepacarter ’21 for the successful defense of her Honors in the Major and Honors Distinction Project entitled “Art for Healing: Experiencing Art Improves Emotion after a Negative Event”. Her supervisor, Dr. Travis Carter was joined by committee members, Ms. Katherine Shortridge, Dr. Darcey Powell, and Mr. Wes Brusseauto to oversee her defense.
Existing research suggests that making art has benefits for mental health, but can other interactions with art still help people (Henderson et al., 2007)? This project endeavors to address the relationship that individuals have with art, and determine if varied interactions with art can improve one’s emotional state—especially for participants primed to recall a negative life experience. Participants in the first study were primed to recall negative memories prior to completing an art rating task, the Discrete Emotions Questionnaire (DEQ; Harmon-Jones et al., 2016), and an art experience questionnaire. The second study primed participants with the same negative writing task prior to their completion of either art or non-art task. Ultimately, interacting with art evoked more positive emotions in both studies. The results of the research studies and a literature review were used to create works of art for a family services center in Salem, VA.
Congratulations again to Carly Schepacarter ’21 on a successful defense and we look forward to seeing all you accomplish in the future!
Congratulations to Sydney Caulder ’21 for the successful defense of her Honors in the Major Project entitled “Exploring Sensation Seeking and Psychopathy Factors: Associations with Risk-Taking Behaviors and Aggression”. Her supervisor, Dr. Danielle Findley-Van Nostrand was joined by committee members, Dr. Lindsey Osterman and Dr. Dane Hilton to oversee her defense.
Previous research has established a link between sensation seeking behaviors, aggression, risk-taking, and psychopathic personality. The links between both sensation seeking, psychopathy, and risk-taking are well-established, but literature on factors that might mitigate these associations (when healthier coping mechanisms are implemented) is limited. The current study examined associations between sensation seeking, psychopathy, risk-taking and aggression and aimed to extend this research by exploring whether activities that would fulfill sensation seeking tendencies in a safer way may buffer against risk-taking and aggression. Several moderation analyses were conducted to explore the effect of recreational risk-taking on outcomes of aggression and maladaptive risk-taking with predictors of sensation seeking and psychopathy. Correlations replicated previously established associations between these constructs, but the results of many of the moderation analyses were insignificant. However, recreational risk-taking moderated the association between sensation seeking and maladaptive risk-taking, but not as expected. Findings may serve as a good starting point to attempting to understand less maladaptive risk-taking mechanisms.
Congratulations again to Sydney Caulder on a successful defense and we look forward to seeing all you accomplish in the future!
Congratulations to Carolynn Bructo ’21 for the successful defense of her Honors in the Major Project! Her project was titled “STEM Students’ Perceptions of Changes in Motivation and Identity During a Global Pandemic: A Self-Determination Theory Perspective”. Her supervisor, Dr. Danielle Findley-Van Nostrand was joined by committee members, Dr. Darcey Powell and Dr. Matthew Fleenor to oversee her defense.
Student persistence in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) particularly deserves close attention given the alarming attrition rates from such programs. Education and academic achievement are vital pathways to personal and professional success, and the importance of promoting STEM students’ success to enter this field is arguably more evident yet challenging amid a global pandemic. In this study, we aimed to use self-determination theory (SDT), an established theoretical framework in educational psychology that states that individuals’ internal motivation strongly corresponds with the satisfaction of three specific psychological needs (autonomy, competence, and relatedness), to understand better the perceptions of emerging adults’ satisfaction of these needs during an ongoing global pandemic, and how these needs along with science identity relate to intrinsic motivation, achievement, and intention to persist in STEM. We examined STEM students’ satisfaction levels of both general and domain-specific needs using an online survey (N = 60). As hypothesized, students perceived their domain-specific needs of competence, autonomy, and relatedness satisfaction to decrease from pre-pandemic to currently. There was mixed support for other hypotheses. Perceived satisfaction in autonomy, across all measures, was significantly positively related to intrinsic motivation. Students’ perceived satisfaction of competence, autonomy, and relatedness in basic and domain-specific measures were significantly associated with amotivation. Science identity was the most significant predictor of intention to leave STEM. Finally, academic achievement was negatively related to perceived autonomy satisfaction. We hope the results from this study can help us better understand how to promote the success of these students.
Congratulations again to Carolynn Bructo on a successful defense and we look forward to seeing all you accomplish in the future!
Congratulations to Morgan Hamilton ’21 for the successful defense of her Honors in the Major Project! Her Project was titled “Family Dynamics and Parents’ Perceptions of Adolescent Social Self-Efficacy”. Her project advisor, Dr. Darcey Powell was joined by committee members, Dr. Hilton and Dr. Jackl, to oversee her defense.
Project Abstract: Throughout adolescence, youth experience increasing autonomy in many aspects of their lives, but especially in social functioning. Previous studies focused on shifts prior to and following adolescence, but less research about the effects of family systems on adolescent-aged children exists. The current study examined how parents’ perceptions of their family’s communication, expressions of affection, reactions to their child’s negative emotions, and their child’s coping is associated with perceptions of their child’s social self-efficacy. Parent participants (N = 146) whose eldest children were between 10 and 15 years old were recruited from English-speaking countries to complete an online survey via Prolific. Analyses revealed associations between affection, family communication, and parents’ perceptions of their reactions to adolescents’ negative emotions. Furthermore, associations between coping, affection, and social self-efficacy were found. Lastly, associations between affection, family communication, reactions to adolescent’s negative emotions, and coping were found with social self-efficacy. Examining the impacts of family dynamics on the child outside of the home adds to the literature about family dynamics and gleans further insight for family therapists about the impact of familial dynamics.
Congratulations again to Morgan Hamilton on a successful defense and we look forward to seeing all you accomplish in the future!
On May 10th, Kira Hunt successfully defended her Honors in the Major and Honors Distinction Project. Congratulations Kira! The psychology department faculty/staff and your fellow departmental student assistants are so proud of you.
Her project was titled: “Ignoring Red Flags: Self Efficacy and Self-Disclosure in Online Romantic Relationships”. In addition to a successful defense, Kira completed an impressive two-lab project working in both Dr. Powell and Dr. Nichols’ labs. Her work beautifully combines aspects from multiple disciplines, including psychology and sociology.
With the advancement of technology, dating has changed drastically, especially for emerging adults who make up a considerable portion of online daters. However, dangers surrounding dating someone met online (e.g., misrepresentation) are a major concern. Additionally, without the social cues usually gathered from face-to-face interactions, individuals often have intense feelings of intimacy and are more willing to self-disclose more than in face-to-face interactions. The first study aimed to examine if romantic self-efficacy and target attractiveness impacted the likeliness to self-disclose in online initiated relationships. There were no significant differences in likelihood to self-disclose based on romantic self-efficacy or target attractiveness. However, likeliness to disclose did appear to be affected by whether misleading information was included, and the depth or level of the information being disclosed. The second study utilized electroencephalogram (EEG) to determine if target attractiveness and presence of misleading information impacted brain activity. There were no significant differences in brain activity based on target attractiveness or vignette type, nor was amount of self-disclosure associated with brain activity. Although most of the hypotheses were unsupported, the current study suggests more research needs to be done to determine what characteristics of individuals or of potential partners might influence online dating behaviors (e.g., falling victim to online romance scams).
Congratulations to Abbie Joseph ’21 for the successful defense of her Honors in the Major Project! Her project was titled “Cyberstalking Behaviors After the Use of Ghosting”. Her supervisor, Dr. Darcey N. Powell was joined by committee members, Dr. Osterman and Dr. Berntson, to oversee her defense.
The purpose of the current study was to examine the differences in cyberstalking behaviors after the dissolution of a romantic interaction based on the dissolution strategy used (i.e., ghosting or explicit reasoning). Participants included emerging adults between the ages of 18 and 29 (N = 240) who had a romantic interaction end. A survey was used to collect information regarding participants’ most recent relationship dissolution, their experiences with ghosting and cyberstalking, their engagement in cyberstalking behaviors towards an ex-partner and the ex-partner’s new partner, their social media app usage, and their relationships with their ex-partner. Analyses revealed that participants whose most recent romantic interaction ended via ghosting did not engage in significantly more cyberstalking behaviors than participants whose most recent romantic interaction ended via explicit reasoning. There were no significant differences in the length of engagement in cyberstalking behaviors after the breakup between participants whose relationship ended through ghosting and participants whose relationship ended explicitly. There were no significant differences in engagement of cyberstalking behaviors between participants who initiated the ghosting and participants who were ghosted. Participants who were ghosted engaged in cyberstalking behaviors to seek out information about their ex-partner and the ex-partner’s new partner. The findings of the current study provide information on how the dissolution strategy is associated with post-dissolutional cyberstalking behaviors.
Congratulations again to Abbie Joseph on a successful defense and we look forward to seeing all you accomplish in the future!
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!
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!