Overall, the Fall 2018 Psychology Research Poster Session was a great success! Thank you to everyone who presented or came to listen. We look forward to seeing what interesting projects will be presented in the semesters to come!
Student Alina Marino, a Psychology and Criminal Justice major, briefly discusses the highlights of her experiences studying abroad in Perugia, Italy below.
Name: Alina Marino
Where I studied: Perugia, Italy
Courses: Human Development in Culture, Organizational Behavior, Criminal Behavior [to name a few].
Favorite memory: My best friend and I studied abroad together so there are a lot of memories to choose from! However, I would have to say the best time I had is when we took a girls trip to Bologna, Italy. We spent the weekend tasting the local delicacies and touring the beautiful city.
Application: One of my professors abroad is a Forensic Psychologist, which is the field I would like to get into. She was able to tell me personally some of the daily tasks forensic psychologists do which was helpful to me.
Last month, Kiah Coflin and Dr. Powell were awarded funding for Coflin’s HIM project, “Factors impacting emerging adults’ bid responses in romantic relationships,” from Psi Chi, the International Psychology Honors Society. They were selected as recipients for one of the 2018-2019 Fall Undergraduate Research Grants.
Generally, funding is only provided to the student. However, because Coflin’s proposal scored within the top 11 applications, Dr. Powell was also awarded a faculty stipend.
Kiah Coflin describes her project below and how she felt upon learning she had gotten the research grant:
For my project, I am conducting a survey on Emerging Adults (ages 18-25) on their romantic relationships/dating trends. We will be looking to see how the individuals chose to react and communicate in a series of vignettes that I have created in a set up similar to the ‘Choose your own Adventure’ books we read as children. With this, I’m hoping to gain a better understanding of the reasons and process behind why individuals choose to break up with their significant other.
Upon receiving the email from Psi Chi, I was incredibly appreciative of their interest in my project and their kind words. It was a wonderful email to receive in the midst of finals week, and makes me feel even more driven than I previously was to go through with this project. Of course, I have always been interested in this HIM proposal, but I was glad to find out others believed it was equally as interesting and notable among all of the other grant applications they received.
Our student assistant was recently able to catch up with recent graduate Kaitlin Busse about life after graduation and her favorite memories from Roanoke College! A Fulbright recipient, Busse is currently studying Industrial and Organizational Psychology in Denmark.
Thank you so much for answering my questions! We’ll start with the basics first. Can you tell me a little about yourself?
I graduated back in May of 2018, which is so hard to believe that it was six months ago! During my time at Roanoke, I majored in Psychology, minored in Sociology, and concentrated in Human Resource Management. I was the President of Psi Chi, Vice President of Chi Omega, and a member of the Honors Program. I also worked on campus as a Maroon Ambassador, a Psychology Student Assistant, and as a research assistant for the HR Department. I really liked research and was extremely involved with projects in the Psychology Department, where I was part of Dr. Powell’s lab.
Over the course of my college career, I had three internships that have given me experience in learning and development, talent management, and counseling. One of my favorite experiences that Roanoke College provided me with was the opportunity to study abroad. I completed my May Term in Sri Lanka studying the landscape and culture and also spent a semester in the Netherlands.
Can you tell me more about where you interned?
My first internship was at a local outpatient counseling facility back home in NJ. During my time, I learned about what is was like to work as a counselor and gained some insight into how counseling sessions were run. While I enjoyed the internship, I found that after the experience my interests shifted more towards the organizational issues in the workplace. It was then I decided to take an Organizational Behavior class at Roanoke and completely fell in love with it!
That summer, I interned as a Talent Management intern at Digitas, an advertising agency in NYC. I gained so much experience there, which also reaffirmed [my interest in] the field of I/O. My favorite projects were analyzing company turnover rates and developing a national survey for interns and managers regarding job satisfaction and progress.
The next summer I interned at Wyndham Worldwide as a Learning and Development intern in their corporate office. While I was there, my favorite project involved researching ways that employees could develop the core values of the organization, which then led to the creation of a professional development website.
In both my internship programs, I participated in group case study projects where we worked together to create a strategy to solve a problem in the organization. This is where I became interested in a possible career as an organizational consultant.
What was your May Term and study abroad like?
During my May Term, I studied the landscape and culture in Sri Lanka. During the three weeks that we were there, we traveled all over the country, which was nice because we gained a well-rounded understanding of the culture. We visited different sites of worship where we gained an understanding the religious diversity of the country. We had the opportunity to interacts with the locals. My most memorable experience was volunteering at a school for a day where we taught English, did arts and crafts, and played sports with the kids. It was really interesting to visit the tea plantations and learn about its significance to the economy. My favorite part of the trip was learning about the wildlife, where we had the opportunity to go to safaris and a baby elephant orphanage!
I studied abroad in Tilburg, Netherlands in the fall semester of 2016. I chose the Netherlands because I wanted to study in a country that was known for their high quality of life and good working conditions. Tilburg University was the perfect school where I could take classes in the field of organizational studies through a psychological, sociological, and HR background (which combined all of my majors, minors, and concentrations)! I got to take a qualitative research class, an HRM class, and a class about the importance of building relationships within the workplace.
[…] I spent my weekends traveling throughout different European countries. Traveling to different places in Europe was so cheap and I got to experience so much history, culture, and beautiful architecture and landscapes.
During my time at Tilburg, the most meaningful memories I made were with the people I met. I was active in the international club, where I got the opportunity to interact with both Dutch people as well as different exchange students from all over the world. I lived in an international dorm where I also had the opportunity to learn about different cultures and build strong friendships with my roommates, who I still keep in touch with! (Fun fact: two of my friends that I studied abroad with actually live in Copenhagen and are students at CBS)!
What was graduating like? (Stepping on seal, the ceremony, etc.)
Graduation was such a special experience. Everyone was smiling and cheering each other on as they walked across the stage and got their diplomas. My whole family had driven all the way from New Jersey and Florida to share this moment with me which was so meaningful to me. At the end of the ceremony, it was a really special moment to walk past all of my professors who had supported me along this journey. Stepping on the seal was definitely felt a little strange as I made sure I stayed away from it all four years.
What are you doing now after graduating?
After graduation, I took the summer off from working to do some traveling both within the States and internationally. Whenever I have free time, I love to explore new places and experience different parts of the world. It’s funny because I actually spent more time traveling than I did at home this summer. I traveled around the US with my best friend, who was also a recent graduate of RC! We went to Charleston, South Carolina, went all over California (San Francisco, Napa Valley, and Los Angeles), and Kennebunkport, Maine. It was funny because I live in NJ and my friend lived in Maine, and since we weren’t ready to say goodbye to each other just yet, we would book trips every few weeks so we could see each other fairly often! I got to visit family in Cocoa Beach, FL, where I have gone every single year since I was born. I also got to travel to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for a couple weeks to visit my boyfriend and quite a few of the friends that I studied abroad with.
I am now in Copenhagen, Denmark as I was awarded a Fulbright to studying and research at Copenhagen Business School for one year. It has truly been such amazing experience. I take classes within organizational studies and am researching workplace-related issues such as Nordic gender equality and sexual harassment in the workforce. During my time here, I have also started volunteering with an organization that focuses on students’ professional and personal development. I usually spend my weekends exploring new places throughout the city and country with friends. Although Denmark is such a small country, there is so many beautiful things to see and things to do. I’ve also taken up yoga in Denmark, which has been really cool to get into, especially in Denmark!
Where have you traveled to in Denmark?
Since I’ve been in Copenhagen, I’ve been able to do some travelingboth domestically and internationally. The first few weeks I got here, I spent my time around the Copenhagen area getting to know the city a little better. My favorite things in Copenhagen are walking along the pretty painted houses of the Nyhavn, sitting on the dock at the beach in Amager Strand, exploring the different parks with all the fall foliage, and going to Tivoli at different times of the year (so far, I’ve got to experience the decorations for Summer, Halloween, Christmas). Outside of Copenhagen, I’ve done a road trip to Mons Klint, which are the cliffs in Denmark, which are absolutely stunning. I’ve also been to Odense to visit another Fulbrighter, which is an old town and also home to the birthplace of Hans Christian Anderson, one of Denmark’s most popular authors (he wrote the Little Mermaid). Outside of Denmark, I’ve been to Oslo, Norway which was another beautiful Scandinavian city. I also had some time to explore Malmö, Sweden, which is a 30 minute train ride from Denmark (you can actually see from Copenhagen)! My favorite trip I’ve been on so far is to Switzerland to visit one of the friends I lived with when I studied abroad in the Netherlands. She is now an intern for the United Nations in Geneva and it was so nice to catch up with her, explore the city, and meet some of her friends. Switzerland is absolutely gorgeous with the mountains and the lakes!
What drew you to Denmark? Now that you have been there for a few months, what is living there like?
Living in Copenhagen is pretty awesome! The Danes are extremely kind and are also very chill. It is such a lovely place to live […]. There’s this concept in Danish called “hygge” which is really hard to describe, but it translates directly to cozy. It’s sort of this warm, cozy feeling of being relaxed and surrounded by people you care about and often involves food and drink. I think this is my favorite part about Denmark! Everyone rides their bikes pretty much everywhere, so it has been fun getting to know the city on bike. I live in international housing where I have my own room and share a kitchen with nine of master’s students from all over the world. It has been great to get to know everyone and learn about their cultures! Work-life balance is really emphasized in Denmark as well, which has been nice with balancing class, research, friends, volunteering, and leisure activities.
Copenhagen is a foodie city, so I have definitely made an effort to try lots of cool places to eat (Copenhagen street food and food markets are incredible)! The only downfall to Copenhagen is that it rains more than it does back in the States!
That sound amazing! What kind of food do they have there?
Danish food is […] quite good! Rye bread is big here and so is seafood like small shrimp and salmon. Pork is also very popular (fun fact: there are more pigs than people in Denmark).
Although the Danes eat similar food that we do on a day-to-day basis, I’ve had the opportunity to try some of the more traditional dishes. Smørrebrød is probably my favorite dish. It’s a beautiful open face sandwich with all different kinds of meats, vegetables, and topping on it. Danish pastries are also SO GOOD! I’ve also tried roasted pork with crackling which has also been quite tasty as well! My favorite are the Danish version of cinnamon buns, which are incredible! While we have hot dogs in the US, the Danish hot dogs have a ton of topping on them like onions, pickles, and a bunch of different sauces. Aside from food, beer is also huge in Denmark and they have tons of local beers. Tuborg and Carlsberg are the two most popular and a couple of weeks ago, the beer companies released their Christmas beers which was an (un)official holiday in Denmark!
What do you miss about Roanoke College? What is your favorite thing about having graduated?
I love life after graduation, [though] I do miss Roanoke! I miss seeing my friends and professors every single day the most! I also miss how beautiful campus is and sitting outside of Commons on a nice day…
My favorite thing about having graduated is the newness of everything. In the past six months, I’ve moved to a completely new country and had the chance to experience many different things.While I still spend most of my day in a university setting, I am a part-time student so there is a bit less of a work-load in the evenings. With that being said, I have more free time to do things that interest me like spending time friends, reading leisurely, and enjoying different events in the city.
I saw that two of your friends came to visit you recently in Copenhagen and you took over RC Snapchat while they were there! That sounds like a lot of fun. Can you tell me more about it? What did you guys do?
It was so nice to have two of my friends visit me during their Fall Break at RC. It was so nice to catch up and show them around Copenhagen! We had a great time getting to explore the different parts of the city and trying good places to eat! My favorite place that we went to was Tivoli Gardens, which is a cute little amusement park in the middle of the city. Since it was October, the whole park was covered in Halloween decor which was so pretty! My Danish friend also came along and it was really nice for my two friends to meet some of my friends here in Copenhagen as well! I’m really grateful to have made such amazing friends at RC and miss them already!
What plans do you have for the future?
After I return back to the States from Denmark, I plan go to graduate school and get a degree in industrial/organizational psychology. I would like to work as an organizational consultant and focus on improving the work life of employees.
Is there anything else you would like to tell us?
I’ve been extremely grateful for all of the opportunities I had at Roanoke College, especially within the Psychology Department. I would not be who I am without the support and guidance from my professors and advisors. To current students reading this, take advantage of the opportunities that come your way… you never know what they will lead to!
During The Academic Minute’s Roanoke College week in December, professors from different departments including psychology, biology, and chemistry were asked to record short segments describing their recent research findings and an ‘I didn’t know that’ fact.
Drs. Osterman and Powell represented the Psychology Department.
Dr. Lindsey Osterman spoke about the perception of actors following the wake of the #MeToo movement, where the sexual misconduct scandals surrounding several prominent celebrities in recent years resulted heated public debates. In the segment below, Osterman discusses the research study she and her co-author (Theresa Hecmanczuk, Roanoke College senior) performed in determining the answer to the question: ‘after a scandal, who forgives a previously beloved media figure and who turns on them?’ Listen below to learn more.
Dr. Darcey Powell described how prenatal expectations differ from postnatal experiences and postnatal desires regarding the division of labor, and how they impact women’s adaptation to motherhood. In addition, Powell explained how important it is for parents with a young infant to find the time to discuss their desires regarding sharing the duty of caring for their little one. To learn more, listen below.
To listen to all of the segments, click here to see Roanoke College News’ post, published in December.
Learn about a paid summer opportunity below, as described by the Center for Children and Families at Florida International University with edits by a RC student assistant for readability:
The Center for Children and Families at Florida International University announces Summer Treatment Program Counselor positions for 2019. The Summer Treatment Program (STP) provides services to children with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Conduct Disorder, Oppositional-Defiant Disorder, learning problems, and related behavior problems. The program provides treatment tailored to children’s individual behavioral and learning difficulties. Counselors will work in the STP-PreK, for children in preschool or entering Kindergarten, or the STP-E, for children ages 6-12 in elementary school.
The dates of employment for the Counselor position are Monday, June 3, 2019 through Saturday, August 10, 2019. Counselor hours of employment are 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM, Monday through Friday, and on Saturday, August 10. In addition, Counselors continue to work with the children until 8:30 PM one evening each week while parents participate in weekly parent training groups.
Counselors are paid a salary of $4,000 for the summer. In addition, current students may be able to arrange for academic course credit through their university departments.
Desired qualifications for Counselors include: undergraduate-level study in Psychology, Education, Behavior Analysis, Social Work, or related field; experience working with children or adolescents in settings such as summer camps, after-school programs, sports programs, daycare programs, and educational programs; and experience with activities such as organized sports activities, art, music, dance, theater, journalism, photography, and videography.
Additionally, participation in the STP requires staff members to ensure the safety, well-being and treatment of children and adolescents with mental health, learning, attention and behavior problems. Staff must be able to visually scan the environment, effectively attend to and hear verbal exchanges between children, provide neutral, corrective feedback on children’s misbehavior (which can include aggression), provide a consistent, warm, positive climate for children, and actively engage in sports and physical activity. Applicants must be able to meet the above requirements of the position.
Applications for STP positions will be accepted beginning in October, 2018. Applicants are required to complete an online application form and to submit 3 letters of recommendation and an official transcript. There is no cutoff date for applying. Applications received after all positions have been filled will be placed on a waiting list. Positions are competitive so interested individuals should apply as soon as possible.
Interested in applying? Continue reading for a more in-depth description of the offered programs. You can also follow this link to visit their official website to learn more about their programs and apply!
There have been plenty of studies showing the negative impact of phone use in situations like driving and learning, but until now, no studies have actually manipulated smartphone usage in social interactions. Past studies have proven that smartphones cause people to be distracted which, theoretically, could mean the use of smartphones decreases enjoyability in social experiences.
The experimenters invited groups of 3 to 5 friends or family members to a local restaurant to participate in a study about “dining out experiences.” The groups were then randomly assigned to be either “phone” or “phoneless” groups. They were implicitly manipulated by being asked, after placing their order, to either answer a text survey (phone group) or a paper survey (phoneless group). The participants in phoneless groups were asked to put their phones on silent in a container on the table. Both groups obviously had the option to use their phone since no one was told they couldn’t. The significant difference was that the participants in the phone groups were explicitly asked to use their phone early on to respond to the survey.
The participants were deceived about the true nature of the experiment to ensure the most naturalistic results possible. When the meal was finished, participants were then questioned via iPad (for privacy) about social connectedness, interest, enjoyment, distraction, and boredom. The researchers also measured how much the participants actually used their phones. The whole meal was recorded, so the researchers could break down total phone usage into percentages. Participants in the phone groups used their phones for an average of 11% of the meal, while participants in the phoneless groups used their phones for an average of only 1% of the meal. So, while the phoneless group wasn’t completely phoneless, these participants used their phones significantly less than that in the phone group. Participants in the phone group reported being more distracted, having less interest and enjoyment, and being more bored than the participants in the phoneless group. This data allows the researchers to conclude that distraction caused by phone use does hinder enjoyment. In other words, using phones while eating out with friends could ruin our chances of fun.
The results indicated that participants under the phone condition were more distracted and in response reported lower interest and enjoyment levels, and higher levels of boredom. Since whether phone use led to distractions or distractions led to phone use cannot be proven through the first study, the researchers set up Study 2. Study 2 was an extensive survey asking people about situations other than just eating out with friends or family, which allowed more general conclusions to be drawn. People reported that using phones overall cause distractions which lead to less interest in their daily interactions.
The irony of this research is that we think our phones keep us linked to the world, when actually phone usage undermines the social connectedness we feel when spending time with other people. The experiment was relatively small and further research should be done, but it does seem to indicate that this amazing piece of technology lessens the enjoyment we get out of spending time with friends and family. The researchers did fail to examine whether the personality or mood of the participants could have played a role in the results. In the future, researchers should ask the participants before the meal if they are looking forward to it. If they are not, they are likely to be more bored and could possibly resort to their phones to fill in the entertainment gap.
To summarize the relevance of this experiment, enjoy your life! Put your phones away and soak up the face-to-face conversations with those you love. Because we are so used to communicating through technology, we have to distinguish when we are doing something “irl”. Social media can wait; work can wait. Put away the technology and engage in the world around you. You’ll enjoy it more—trust us, the research says so!
The fourth post from Dr. Carter’s Fall 2018 Social Psychology course, this post was written by Samantha Luby, Grace Page, Vanessa Pearson, and Amy Smith. ___________________________________________________________________________
When talking about stereotypes and placing someone in a specific group, we do not tend to think about gender differences in children when it comes to performance in different school subjects. We do not necessarily think that gender may affect final scores, specifically in reading, but it does. In this experiment, the authors set out to find data that shows there is implicit reasoning for why girls outperform boys in reading. Overall, the authors are focused on the stereotype that girls perform better in reading than boys and how that affects the boys reading scores.
Within this experiment, students were chosen from four classes among a group of public schools. The kids took a reading test designed to measure their recognition and comprehension of written words in a normal classroom setting. Experimental conditions were implemented in the classrooms, and all of the students were assigned to either the stereotype threat (ST) condition or the reduced-threat condition. In the ST condition, the experimenter, posing as a reading teacher, told the students that their task was to take a reading test that was designed to evaluate their “ability in reading”. In the reduced-threat condition, the experimenter, posing as a game designer, told them that their task was to play a game in which they had to underline as many animal names they could from a list in three minutes. After the test, the kids had to answer questions about the test, as well as how important reading was to them.
The ultimate findings of this experiment showed that stereotype does, in fact, play a part in boys’ reading performance in school. When looking at the results from the stereotype threat condition, girls performed much higher than boys in reading due to the boys’ perceptions of the stereotype that they tend to do more poorly. Under the reduced-threat condition, however, there was no strong evidence that boys and girls performed differently in the reading assessments. This demonstrates that within a traditional setting, boys are strongly affected by the reading gender stereotype, particularly when in a stereotype threat condition, such as taking a reading assessment. The presence of this stereotype therefore does produce poorer reading results in boys.
Although some may argue that the boys’ underperformance on reading tasks are due to the lack of motivation, the findings of this study suggest otherwise. Highly motivated boys still underperformed in reading in the threat condition. This led the researchers to believe this reading difference between genders is because boys are fearful of confirming the stereotype regarding their gender group and reading. These perceptions the boys had because of the stereotype influenced their psychological processing, ultimately affecting how they performed on the reading task. In the threat condition, simply being aware of the stereotype resulted in poorer performance. On the other hand, in the non-threat condition, the boys were not thinking about the stereotype, allowing them to perform better on reading tasks.
The main issues present within this experiment are components the researchers failed to consider when making general statements about the effects of stereotype threat in children’s reading performances. For example, the researchers claim that from this experiment, it is evident that stereotype threat largely affects learning and performance in most, if not all, classrooms. This is problematic because they are basing this assumption off their study examining only four different classes, all of which were third grade classrooms from three different public schools in France. Before they make blanket statements such as this, the researchers need to consider who their experiment truly applies to and who it does not. The results of the experiment could vary based on: public versus private schooling, the language children are reading, the country/location the schools are in, the grade level that is being tested, and the number of classrooms that are tested.
Citation: Pansu, P., Regner, I., Max, S., Cole, P., Nezlek, J. B., & Huguet, P. (2016). A burden for the boys: Evidence of stereotype threat in boys’ reading performance. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 65 (26).
The third blog post from Dr. Carter’s Fall 2018 Social Psychology class is titled The Gift That Gives Back: How Being Kind Makes You Happier and was written by Kira Hunt, Yuri Chikada, Holly Garrett, and Jacob Plaster. Enjoy!
Aesop once said, “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” Even the smallest acts of kindness (e.g. holding the door open for someone) don’t go unnoticed by the receiver of the action. It is also a reason that those who ask for help say that even the smallest bit helps. However, those it helps doesn’t just stop at the receiver of the act. One might even say that it makes people feel good to do good, specifically when performing acts that help either a family member, friend, or even a stranger.
Recent studies have examined the causal relationship between acts of kindness and well-being or happiness. In a systematic review and meta-analysis titled “Happy to help?” social psychology researchers Oliver Scott Curry, Lee A. Rowland, Caspar J. Van Lissa, Sally Zlotowitzd, John McAlaney, and Harvey Whitehouse analyzed twenty-seven experimental studies that tested the hypothesis that kindness causes wellbeing.
Common methods of the studies included asking participants to perform either a set number of acts of kindness or spend a given amount of money on others. For example, in one study, participants were asked in the following week to perform at least five acts of kindness per day and report not only the act but the responses of the recipient. They were then asked to self-report measures like happiness on scales. Some studies had control participants do nothing, others had the participants act kindly in a non-social activity, while some participants were asked to help themselves. For example, for prosocial purchases (i.e. spending money on others), the control was spending money on themselves.
The researchers found evidence proving their hypothesis of acts of kindness improving the wellbeing of the actor (i.e. the person performing the act of kindness). Humans are social beings, and it means that we have psychological mechanisms that motivate us to help others. These motivations include biological and sociological benefits.
Kindness towards genetic relatives is favored by natural selection as seen by parental care. Kindness towards members of the same group allows us to form and maintain groups which enhance belonging. Kindness is also seen to potentially improve individual status as it can impress others and potentially attract mates. We also see kindness towards people we may see again as being beneficial to cooperation and the rules of reciprocity.
We tend to see people who need help as some reflection of ourselves and it makes it difficult to ignore those people who need help. For example, if you dropped your papers in the middle of the road and those papers spread out, you need some help to collect them all. When we see others in similar situations, we visualize ourselves in that position and potentially the same feelings as those in the situation. After helping those people, we get satisfaction from doing so.
This satisfaction otherwise known as happiness is a psychological reward that proves that a problem was solved successfully. If someone acted in a kind way, they can get a good reaction from the person who needed help because the person who needed help had their problem solved. The person who helped made the situation better. It can improve their self-esteem. After that, they can understand how they should help in those situations.
There are some limitations of this research, however. Most of the studies had very small samples and many used non-clinical samples. Due to this, it’s not possible to say that those with specific mental problems are affected in the same way by performing acts of kindness. Several of the studies did not account for the motivation behind the acts, so motivation could possibly be another variable that leads to the results. It is possible that intention to help oneself rather than others could eliminate the effects of improved well-being. The studies also didn’t account for the variety of recipients (e.g. family members, strangers, friends, etc.) nor did they investigate any long-lasting effects. Most studies only investigated immediate effects. In align with the motivations previously mentioned, it is possible that certain people had improved wellbeing giving to the groups they belonged to, rather than groups they didn’t. Also, it is possible that this happiness is only a short-term effect and is not important in the long term.
Though there does seem to be an outcome of happiness from performing acts of kindness, the effect seems small in the grand scheme of things. Even still, kindness appears to be the best gift to give as it eventually gives back to you.