The annual L. Starling Reid Psychology Research Conference at the University of Virginia highlights empirical research conducted by undergraduate scholars. Registration is free!
Presentation formats are research talks (15 minutes) or posters. The 16th Annual Reid Conference (Virtual Format) is scheduled for:
Friday, April 15th (this Friday!)
8:30 am – 4:45 PM
You can register here. Or by copying and pasting this link: https://psychology.as.virginia.edu/reid-conference
All conference guests and presenters are required to register prior to the conference. After you register you will receive a zoom meeting link just for you. If someone you know also needs a link, please ask them to register to obtain a link (rather than sharing your link). This enables UVA to communicate with everyone who attends.
Are you currently searching, or are interested in learning more about a job or internship?
If so, then make sure to come out to the Job and Internship fair, hosted by the PLACE. This event will occur tomorrow, Tuesday, March 1st, from 4:30pm – 6:30pm in the Wortmann Ballroom.
All students are encouraged to attend. Professional dress is NOT required as we realize that some students may be coming from class, lab or practice. There will be over 30 prospective employers and internship supervisors on campus and ready to answer questions. Some businesses will have internships open each semester, so even students not looking for an immediate placement can still come and explore.
If you have questions, or would like more details, please feel free to visit the PLACE’s website: https://www.roanoke.edu/place
Congratulations to Taylor Kracht. Her honors in the major project was recently published in the Psi Chi Journal of Psychological Research. The article, titled “Media Consumption: Association With Implicit Theories of Romantic Relationships”, examines the influence of romantic reality media on a specific set of romantic beliefs (i.e., individuals’ implicit theories of relationships) using an experimental procedure.
Taylor completed this project under the mentorship of Dr. Darcey N. Powell and graduated from Roanoke in 2018. After graduation, she went on to earn her masters degree in Couples, Marriage, and Family Counseling from William and Mary. Taylor has worked on other research projects while she was in Dr. Powell’s research lab and has been published as a co-author before, but this is her only first author publication.
“Getting this project published means a lot to me. I worked really hard my senior year creating the idea, developing the experiment, and then bringing it to fruition. Then the process of getting it published was extensive, and at many times, seemed defeating. Pushing through all the hardships of the process and getting it officially published is an accomplishment I will always treasure. I have a greater appreciation for all publications and the hard work it takes to succeed with it.” -Taylor Kracht
After graduating with her masters degree, Taylor moved to Charlotte NC and started working at a private practice, L&B Counseling, as a Mental Health Counselor. She works with a range of clients from 13 years old to 68 years old. She generally work with those who have symptoms of anxiety, depression, grief, and relationship issues.
“I am very happy in my position, I get to work with both individuals and couples (my passion), and we have the best workplace team environment. In my personal life, I live with my boyfriend (Jack Doriss, who also went to Roanoke), and our two dogs Murphy (chocolate lab) and Arlo (golden retriever).”
The Roanoke College Psychology Department hosted our biannual poster session in Fintel Library in December of 2021. This event occurs at the end of every semester to allow students within the psychology department to present on their class projects, independent studies, and completed internship experiences.
Thank you to everyone who attended, and to those who presented. The department is proud of your hard work and grateful to have dedicated students representing Roanoke College Psychology!
Faculty and students got the opportunity to learn about the semester-long research conducted by psychology students.
Congratulations to the presenters on their hard work and success!
Researchers discussed future directions and presentations for their work.
Thank you to everyone who attended, and to those who presented! Congratulations on another successful semester!
Psychology faculty member Dr. Danielle Findley-Van Nostrand has recently had TWO publications. Her recent work is now published in the The Journal of Genetic Psychology and Emerging Adulthood. The psychology department extends our congratulations as we celebrate Dr. FVN’s recent accomplishments. Read about her publications below.
Interpersonal Rejection and Social Motivation in Adolescence: Moderation by Narcissism and Gender
Abstract: “Research on interpersonal rejection is voluminous, but less is known about perceived rejection in relation to social goals among peers during adolescence, especially while also considering factors that may moderate these associations. In a correlational design, we surveyed a diverse sample of middle school students to examine concurrent (Study 1; N = 269) and short-term longitudinal (Study 2; N = 321) links between rejection and adolescent communal (affiliation, closeness) and agentic (status, influence) goals, and narcissism and gender as moderators in the associations between rejection and social goals. Rejection was negatively related to (Study 1) and predicted decreases in (Study 2) communal goals. Narcissism was positively related to and predicted increases in agentic goals, and moderated the association between rejection and agentic goals (in both studies). One moderated effect of gender was found: perceived rejection predicted decreases in agentic goals for girls, but increases in agentic goals for boys. Our findings mostly align with existing research on interpersonal rejection in youth, and extend this literature by demonstrating that perceived rejection is meaningfully related to changes in trait-like social goals among peers, suggesting it may alter not only situation-specific cognitions, but also globalized goals, or motivations for peer interaction. The findings also call for further research on individual differences in associations between rejection and social goals, along with other outcomes.”
Popularity According to Emerging Adults: What is it, and How to Acquire it
Abstract: “Status among peers likely continues to play a role in social functioning and well-being beyond adolescence. This study examined how emerging adults in tertiary education defined popularity, and their beliefs regarding aggressive and prosocial behaviors affording status. The role of status motivation, own status, and gender in these definitions and beliefs were explored. Emerging adults primarily associated popularity with being central, liked, and respected. Gender prototypical features (attractiveness and likeability for women; power and centrality for men) were associated with high popularity. Compared to adolescence, popularity in emerging adulthood was associated more with likeability and less with attractiveness, power, fitting in, or antisocial behavior. Prosocial behavior, openness, extraversion, and dominance were identified as the most important ways to acquire popularity. The findings indicate that popularity is relevant to emerging adults and offer several directions for future research in order to benefit the social well-being of emerging adults in tertiary education.”
Research Coordinator Position in the JK Lifespan Development lab, Virginia Tech
Applications are invited for a full-time research coordinator (lab manager) position in the JK Lifespan Development labof Dr. Jungmeen Kim-Spoon, in the Department of Psychology at Virginia Tech (https://support.psyc.vt.edu/labs/jklifespan). Projects in the lab combine developmental psychopathology and decision neuroscience to investigate brain function, emotion, cognition and personality processes, decision making and health behaviors. We use a variety of methods including structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging, behavioral tasks, interviews, and questionnaires. This is an excellent opportunity for a personable, motivated, and detail-oriented person seeking further research experience before applying to graduate school.
Primary data collection responsibilities will include: recruiting young adults and family members; scheduling visits; obtaining behavioral assessments and fMRI scanning; and oversight of data collection. Primary data management responsibilities include: management and oversight of participant databases, entering data, ensuring data reliability and completeness, and preparing data for analysis. Additional key tasks include assisting with participant tracking and retention, preparation of IRB materials, and training graduate and undergraduate students on study procedures. Training for all aspects of the position, including MRI certification, will be provided. Flexible scheduling is required (e.g., evenings, weekends, and some holidays will be required).
Desired qualifications include: 1) BA/BS in psychology, neuroscience, or related fields; 2) undergraduate or post-baccalaureate research experience, including participant recruitment and data collection; 3) demonstrated organizational and time management skills, leadership skills, interpersonal skills, and attention to detail. Experience in the administration of standard psychological assessments (including self-report, structured interviews, and behavioral tasks) and a basic understanding of data management or analysis with corresponding data (e.g., SPSS, Excel, etc.) will be considered a strength.
Required application materials: Cover letter including statement of interest, CV/Resume, list of two references. Two letters of recommendation will be required prior to final consideration.
Expected start date is early March 2022. Graduating seniors are eligible to apply if they can start working part-time (10-20 hours/week) during the Spring 2022 semester to be hired before transitioning to a full-time position upon graduation. Consideration of applications will begin immediately and on a rolling basis and will end when the position is filled. Salary will be commensurate with experience.
Virginia Tech is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity employer and is committed to cultural diversity and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Congratulations to Dr. Darcey Powell and alumni Stephanie Gaines (class of 2017) on their recent publication by Psi Chi. The publication is based on one of Gaines’s projects that took place in Dr. Powell’s lab during her time at Roanoke College. More information about the information can be found here, but you can read the abstract below:
Emerging adulthood is a time of great transition, including but not limited to the commencement of “adult roles” and responsibilities. The present study examined emerging adults’ (EAs’) perceptions of transitional (i.e., cohabitating, marriage, parenting) and gradual (i.e., religious beliefs, political beliefs, managing own health) roles. Participants were recruited from a small liberal arts college (N = 88) and from Amazon’s Mechanical Turk platform (N = 181). They were surveyed on the age at which they anticipated or reported achieving the examined roles and their current self-efficacy for the roles. Female EAs reported intending to or achieving the transitional roles at a significantly later age than female EAs of the late 20th century (ps ≤ .001, ds 0.77–0.95). Additionally, female EAs anticipated role achievement for cohabitating, marriage, parenting, and religious beliefs at later ages than male EAs (ps < .05, gs 0.33–1.33). Moreover, male and female EAs differed in a few role-specific self-efficacies if they had not yet achieved the desired adult role (e.g., marriage, parenting; ps < .05, gs 0.62–0.98), but did not differ if they had already achieved the role. Lastly, the difference between EAs’ age and their role achievement largely did not predict their role-specific self-efficacies. The results provide additional insight into EAs’ expectations and current perceptions of themselves and may be useful to individuals who work regularly with EAs who are apprehensive about the extent to which they are “on time” and “ready” to engage in the examined transitional and gradual roles.
Claire McDonald and Ben Campbell, both psychology seniors at Roanoke College, were recently featured on Roanoke’s website for their research experience. You can check out the full page here.
Claire wasn’t sure what degree she wanted to pursue when she first came to Roanoke College. But during the fall semester of her sophomore year, she enrolled in a developmental psychology class, taught by Dr. Danielle Findley-Van Nostrand, assistant professor of psychology. She loved the class and, consequently, found her major.
In the spring of her sophomore year, McDonald joined a lab managed by Dr. Findley-Van Nostrand, which focused on adolescent and young adult peer relationships. This sparked her interest in research within psychology. This fall, Claire plans to work as a research intern at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Salem. She hopes to apply to graduate school to pursue a doctorate in clinical psychology with a specific interest in research related to dementia and cognitive impairment in older adults — experience Claire said she hopes to gain at the VA Medical Center. But she’s not the only psychology student that has recently made big steps in their research experience…
Ben Campbell has used his interest in relational aggression, peer social dynamics and gender to formulate a study. He used the study to apply for the College’s Summer Scholars Program and received the prestigious award, enabling him to carry a project titled “Effects of elicited jealousy on masculinity and relational aggression in men.” You can check out more info on his research journey in our previous blog post, found here.
In recent years, approximately 30 students each semester have been involved in research. The experiences are important not just for information discovery, but also for deepened learning, enhanced training on specific topics or methods, and the development of skills that graduate training programs and employers in careers utilizing psychology look for and highly value. As a research assistant, students also develop professional and mentoring relationships with their faculty mentor, and refine critical thinking and statistical reasoning skills.
“The experience to contribute to a discipline in a larger way is a special opportunity,” Dr. Findley-Van Nostrand said. “Apart from the professional skills developed, the research experiences students at Roanoke are involved in also contribute to the sense of community we have in the department.”
Research is the bedrock of the student experience in Roanoke College’s psychology department, which brought the College its seventh consecutive “Great Schools for Psychology Majors” recognition in The Princeton Review’s annual “Best Colleges” guidebook, released on Aug. 31.
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!
We know from previous research that meditation can provide positive outcomes for the individual, such as more prosocial behaviors, but can separate forms of meditation impact our self-reported feelings of compassion, self-compassion, and self-efficacy (Condon et al., 2013)? We wanted to test this theory with mindfulness meditation that focused on the self, and compassion meditation intended to focus on others. Additionally, a large body of work recognizes the impact of meditation in longitudinal studies but lacks work on more immediate influences of meditation behavior. Through this research, our goal was to address the connection between different types of meditation performed the same day on various self-report scales about understanding the self and reacting to other people. We believed that participants who were asked to perform compassion meditation would report higher levels of compassion than those in the mindfulness meditation and control groups. We also believed that participants who performed mindfulness meditation would report higher levels of self-compassion and self-efficacy than the compassion meditation and control groups.
113 participants were recruited through Roanoke College’s SONA system in the psychology department and received 1 SONA credit for participating in all parts of the study. Participants then completed a survey in which they were randomly assigned into a group to practice compassion meditation, mindfulness meditation, or listen to a set of random facts for a control group. All of these presented as videos with a dark screen and were three minutes long. All participants then completed questionnaires to test their self-efficacy, compassion, state and trait-based self-compassion, and demographics following their interaction with the videos.
Results and Discussion
The compassion measure proved to be the only statistically significant result of the research. Participants who completed the mindfulness meditation had higher reported levels of compassion than the control group. This may have been true because the mindfulness video encouraged participants to be aware of how they were feeling in the moment, which could have led participants to feel more benefits of meditation than the compassion meditation video, which encouraged a bit more introspection and thoughts of less positive things. When we feel positive, we feel more likely to give, which could have led to this result. We attribute this to our inability to have face-to-face sessions and for experimenters to monitor the behaviors of participants while they were instructed to engage in the various types of meditation. Our meditation conditions did not seem to have an effect on compassion towards self and self-efficacy. Contrary to our expectations, the compassion meditation condition, specifically, did not have any effect on compassion towards others either. These results could indicate that a brief, isolated exposure may not be enough to see the results of increased compassion towards self and others, and self-efficacy.
The biggest takeaway is that we likely were unable to find research initially about this topic because there are not strong effects between short-term meditation and social understanding. While instant meditation may quickly reduce stress, compassion (leading to prosocial behaviors) may take time to develop. That being said, our findings were based on a short-term study as well as one specific sample and should be further investigated among larger and more broad sample size. Through this process we learned how to think like researchers, quickly complete a comprehensive literature review, design and carry out a research study, and critically interpret statistical results. We also were able to implement writing strategies and effectively work in a group setting to apply our research knowledge learned throughout the psychology program.
The main finding from our study suggests that college students’ use of a short mindfulness meditation had higher levels of compassion towards others than those in a control group. Those who completed a compassion meditation did not significantly impact their compassion towards others, self-compassion, or self-efficacy.
Condon, P., Desbordes, G., Miller, W., & DeSteno, D. (2013). Meditation Increases
Allison Tice, David Casson, Kelsey Markel, and Sydney Brenner (Advisor: Dr. Danielle Findley-Van Nostrand)
During the middle of a global pandemic, one cannot help but wonder about the implications of social isolation and loneliness on emotion regulation. Emotion regulation is the ability to control one’s emotional expression or outlook on a specific situation. As a group, we are interested in this topic after further investigating prior research that discusses the impact of social isolation and loneliness on emotion regulation strategies. Specifically, we looked at the emotion regulation strategies cognitive reappraisal and expressive suppression. Cognitive reappraisal is the ability to change the way an individual can perceive a situation and change their emotions. Expressive suppression is the change in visible emotional state or the ability to change the way one feels about an emotion. For example, someone who is feeling angry might attempt to disguise their anger and display themselves in a happy or content state. We assessed these two strategies to see if cognitive reappraisal or expressive suppression was more prevalent in individuals. As a group, we were also very interested to see if there were any gender differences between emotional regulation strategies.
To see any valid relationships between loneliness. social isolation, and emotion regulation, our research team created a survey through software called Qualtrics. In our study, we had 102 total participants who completed the survey. The participants are all Roanoke College students, and many of them are either taking a PSYC-101 or INQ-260 class. The questionnaire consisted of forty-one questions. At the beginning of the survey, we included questions asking about participant’s demographic information and participants’ experiences with COVID-19. The remaining thirty-six questions were taken from three different scales. The University of Los Angeles Loneliness Scale measured participants’ levels of loneliness (Russell, 1996), the Lubben Social Network Scale measured levels of social isolation in participants (“Version of the LSNS”, 2021), and the Emotion Regulation Questionnaire, measured levels of participants’ emotion regulation strategies, specifically expressive suppression and cognitive reappraisal (John & Gross, 2004). Using these evidence-supported scales allowed us to study any possible associations between social isolation, loneliness, and emotional regulation strategies.
We predicted that with an increase in social isolation and loneliness, one’s ability to regulate their own emotions using either cognitive reappraisal or expressive suppression will be potentially more challenging because difficulties such as feelings of loneliness could be suppressed through expressive suppression which has shown to increase sensitivity regarding the intensity of the emotion exhibited. On the other hand, the negative feelings could also be curbed through cognitive reappraisal which has shown to have benefits associated with positive emotional outcomes as a regulation strategy. We were correct in expecting a higher level of difficulty regulating emotions, as more individuals who had less interaction with family and friends were likely to feel more lonely in general. Expressive suppression is moderately correlated with feelings of loneliness, which indicates that those who experienced the feeling of loneliness were more likely to suppress their emotions. Our hypothesis also suggested that our COVID-19 survey questions would play a role in our results, as well. The analysis of these questions indicates that a negative impact from COVID-19 is associated with higher levels of loneliness. Specifically, regulating emotions can be harder when feelings of loneliness and social isolation are present. Our results also show that the expressive suppression of negative emotions can be utilized to prevent exhibiting negative feelings, even though this method may not be mentally sound or healthy. These findings are important in the sense that it is helpful to understand ways in which social isolation and feelings of loneliness can be exacerbated, but also which strategies and methods can be used to help reduce the severity of negative feelings to more effectively regulate emotions.
We thought that the results were interesting in the way that there were differences between expressive suppression and cognitive reappraisal based on gender. A limitation to the study would be the ratio of females to males in this study. With a female dominating sample size, we thought it would be interesting to see if there would be any changes in the results if the ratio of the genders were more equal.
What we hope you, the reader, takes away from our study is that there is a connection between loneliness/social isolation and the ability to regulate one’s emotions. Our analysis of results collected from participants’ answers to the UCLA Loneliness Scale and the Lubben Social Network Scale, shows loneliness is moderately correlated with higher levels of expressive suppression. Furthermore, based on the results from our study, those who feel lonely or isolated are more likely to suppress their emotions. Many individuals have felt the lingering impact of COVID-19. The public recognizes that social isolation is necessary to stop the spread, but this does not dismiss the fact that researchers recognize aspects of COVID-19 will have large implications for individuals, both interpersonally and emotionally. We hope that this study also brings forth further research that explores how individuals can remain connected while decreasing feelings of social isolation and loneliness.
Social media is generally perceived as a fun activity to pass time, but there is no denying that social comparisons are abundant and practically unavoidable and can have detrimental consequences to the health and well-being of those who internalize them. Our study focused on young adults’ social comparison orientation via social media and its relation to self-esteem and relationship insecurity. Previous research has found that individuals tend to compare themselves more to others on social media when they spend more time on social media and this might have a negative association with self-esteem and subjective well-being (Vogel et al., 2014). Furthermore, research also indicates that social comparison behavior and increased social media use influences our perceptions of relationship quality and satisfaction (Neyer & Voigt, 2004; Yacoub et al., 2018). It was our purpose to explore and establish distinct relationships between social media use and social comparison behavior, self-esteem, relationship insecurity, and mistrust in an effort to further understand the implications that social media and mechanisms related to social media has on our concept of self and our relationships.
For the purpose of our study, we specifically focused on social comparison orientation via social media and its relation to self-esteem and relationship insecurity. We hypothesized that our target population of college students spend significant amounts of time on social media, comparing themselves to others, and therefore negatively impacting their relationship quality and self-concepts. In particular, we expected that engaging in upward social comparisons (evaluating others as above or better than you) would be related to problems. To test this theory and measure social media usage and its relationship with self-esteem and relationship quality, we first recruited participants online to participate in our survey which utilized various measures. Regarding our measures of social media usage, we used a subset pulled from the Media and Technology Usage and Attitudes scale. To measure upward and downward comparisons on social media, we used the Scale for Social Comparison Orientation, and for self-esteem we utilized the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale. For the last measure in our study, two subscales from the CAT-Personality Disorder Scales Static Form and a 7 item-measure to measure relationship insecurity and mistrust.
Results and Discussion
We expected social media to have a positive relationship with both social comparison measures and have a negative relationship with self-esteem, relationship insecurity, and mistrust. What we found was not as expected, social media use was only mildly positively associated with social comparison orientation; the relationship between social media use and upward/downward social comparisons was not significant. We also found that social media use was positively related to self-esteem but only when controlling for both social comparison measures, but there were no significant relationships shown between social media use and relationship insecurity or mistrust. Next, we looked for the associations of social comparison orientation and upward/downward social comparisons with self-esteem, relationship insecurity, and mistrust. We hypothesized that social comparison behavior would negatively correlate with self-esteem, relationship insecurity, and mistrust, however, what we found was slightly different. We found a negative relationship between self-esteem and both social comparison measures that were moderate in strength but found positive associations between both our social comparison measures and relationship insecurity and our mistrust measure. Our results imply that social media use might be directly related to social media orientation, but that there might be another mechanism about social media use that influences self-esteem, relationship insecurity, and mistrust. This indicates that it is not necessarily social media use that directly impacts our self-esteem, relationship insecurity, and mistrust, but rather the activities we are engaging in, like social comparison, on social media that then become harmful to ourselves and our relationships.
This (almost) semester-long project has taught us a lot about the process of completing and finishing out a study. The process of working with different minds was so interesting and honestly added so much to our project. When deciding what we wanted to do, we really bonded over the topic we chose to study. Social media is something that is really big in all of our lives just as much as relationships and the self. When creating the study itself, the process of finding the right questions and specific scales for our study was a little difficult. When creating a study, you want everything to come across the way that you intended it to. The best part of this process was getting our data back and being able to analyze it.
Neyer, F. J., & Voigt, D. (2004). Personality and social network effects on romantic relationships: a dyadic approach. European Journal of Personality, 18(4), 279–299.https://doi.org/10.1002/per.519
Vogel, E. A., Rose, J. P., Roberts, L. R., & Eckles, K. (2014). Social comparison, social media, and self-esteem. Psychology of Popular Media Culture, 3(4), 206–222.https://doi.org/10.1037/ppm0000047
Yacoub, C., Spoede, J., Cutting, R., & Hawley, D. (2018). The Impact of Social Media on Romantic Relationships. Journal of Education and Social Development, 2(2), 53-58. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1490763.
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!
Looking for ways to get more involved this summer? Or looking to build your resume/CV and experience? Then check out Camp Starfish!
Camp Starfish fosters the success and growth of children with emotional, behavioral, and learning problems by providing individualized attention as part of structured, nurturing, and fun group programs.
You may be thinking, well why should I work at Camp Starfish? Working at Camp Starfish
Allows for the development of transferable skills in supporting children with emotional, behavioral, and learning troubles
Offers the ability to participate in a paid internship to earn course credit and develop professional skills
Will receive a salary that includes: room and board, weekly laundry service, paid time off, and a travel stipend for far-traveling staff
Offers transportation to/from Boston
Will experience networking opportunities with current/past Starfish staff
Will receive hands-on training and professional development
Offers a chance to work with a diverse group of young people from around the world, and make lifelong friends
If you are interested in learning more about interning/working at Camp Starfish this summer contact Jessica Eades at (719) 640-9773 or Jessica.firstname.lastname@example.org, as well as if you have further questions contact their staffing team at (978) 637-2617 or email@example.com
Moreover, follow their Instagram @campstarfishstaff and check out their website for more information and to apply today!
Learn more about completing an internship for credit at Roanoke College by going to our webpage or by contacting Dr. FVN at firstname.lastname@example.org
Alise Bennett, Savannah Brown, Emily Gabrielian, & Alyssa Mattson (Advisor: Dr. Chris Buchholz)
A little over a year ago, our world was quickly turned upside down once the news broke that we were heading into a global pandemic due to the coronavirus. With the rise of the pandemic, we also saw a rise in beliefs in conspiracy theories related to the coronavirus. COVID-19 skepticism became extremely present across the United States as some people demonstrated that they did not believe in the seriousness of the virus or that the pandemic was a hoax (Latkin et al., 2021). Recent research has demonstrated that COVID-19 skepticism is strongly associated with a decrease in engagement in COVID-19 prevention behaviors, such as isolating at home, social distancing, and wearing a face mask (Latkin et al., 2021).
Additionally, the research conducted on COVID-19 skepticism noted that the skepticism was associated with political conservation because there was a relationship between the sources of news that individuals consumed, the negative attitudes towards government spending on public health, and believing in conspiracy theories (Latkin et al., 2021). This current study aims to examine the relationship between paranoia levels and compliance in COVID-19 guidelines, such as wearing facial coverings and social distancing, in order to better understand the conspiracy theories surrounding the coronavirus. The possible limitations that may be present throughout this study are that we used a convenience sample from the Roanoke College student population, meaning that our data is not representative of the general population. Additionally, it is possible that when we were analyzing the data that we overlooked certain responses that may have been associated with the objective of the study. Overall, the findings of this study may reveal how paranoia contributes to these greater sociological problems as well as how to effectively address conspiratorial thinking as it affects our daily lives.
Participants. 96 participants were sourced from either INQ-260 Psychology or Psychology 101 classes at Roanoke College. The students were notified about the survey through SONA, a subject pool software, and were given credit for completing the survey thoroughly and fully.
Materials. We used a survey platform called Qualtrics to build and conduct the following survey:
Experimental condition: Participants were assigned to one of two conditions: an experimental condition (a short video from John Hopkins University on COVID-19 vaccinations), or a control condition (a short video from Harvard University on mindfulness.)
Following the video, all participants were directed to the main survey:
Paranoia scale: a 10-item scale assessing paranoid tendencies.
Dark triad scale (Jonastan and Webster, 2010): a 12-item scale assessing the three dark triad traits, such as narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy.
Covid Compliance scale: an 11-item scale created based on the Health Belief Model assessing compliance with COVID-19 public health guidance. Additional questions included whether participants had previously contacted COVID-19 and their access to protective measures.
Procedure. The survey was live for a roughly three-week period. The participants were randomly assigned to one of two experimental conditions (videos). After finishing the video, participants will move on to the questionnaire part of the survey. In this section, participants will answer a series of questions ranging from personality and paranoia to questions regarding COVID-19 prevention practices engaged in. At the end of the survey, participants were given the option to redirect to another survey to enter personal information to receive credit. Following the data collection period, data was analyzed and interpreted by our group.
A 2 x 2 between-subjects analysis of variance (ANOVA) was conducted to examine the effects of paranoia on compliance with COVID-19 public health guidance. It was predicted that participants who viewed the vaccination video would be more likely to respond positively to questions relating to compliance with COVID-19 guidelines. A second hypothesis suggested that those who score high in paranoia will score low in compliance to COVID-19, given a perceived tendency towards conspiratorial thinking and a resulting mistrust or disbelief in the effectiveness of COVID-19 preventative measures.
Our results indicated that the experimental condition (watching the John Hopkins University on COVID-19 vaccinations) did not significantly improve compliance with COVID-19 guidelines. As shown in Figure 1, those low in paranoia did show increased compliance with COVID-19 preventative measures; however, this difference was not statistically significant.
Figure 1. Experimental condition and paranoia on compliance with COVID-19 public health guidance.
Between both experimental conditions, narcissism and psychopathy were two dark personality traits found to be significant in compliance with COVID-19 guidelines. Those scoring high in narcissism were most likely to report low compliance with COVID-19 public health guidance (see Figure 2). Similarly, those high in trait psychopathy had much lower compliance with COVID-19 protective measures (see Figure 3).
Figure 2. Experimental condition and paranoia on compliance with COVID-19 public health guidance.
Figure 3. Psychopathy and paranoia on compliance with COVID-19 public health guidance.
While our main hypotheses could not be confirmed by this study, our exploratory variables yielded results in line with our predictions. One may attribute our findings to the multiple ways in which paranoia might play out given the context of COVID-19. For example, someone scoring high in paranoia may score low in compliance given a mistrust in these guidelines, or high in compliance given anxiety around contracting the virus. Regarding our experimental conditions, perhaps a short video, regardless of context, is not a “strong enough” stimulus to influence how people would respond to survey questions relating to an event such as COVID-19.
In contrast, our findings suggest that individuals high in narcissism and psychopathy are more likely to disregard COVID-19 public health guidance, in line with behaviors generally observed from individuals with these traits. In the case of narcissism, a preoccupation with one’s own interests, regardless of the consequences or harm it may cause others, may explain this relationship. A general disregard for others and their safety may characterize this relationship as applied to psychopathy.
After completing this assignment, as a group, we have a better understanding of research methods overall. While we have participated in other experiments, now we more fully grasp how to design an experiment, clean and analyze data, and write formally for research. Essentially, this class allowed for the hands-on application of the knowledge we learned over our college careers. Additionally, we believe that it may be beneficial if this study was replicated in order to see if our results would be significant or stay the same. It is certainly possible that our participants were only completing our survey for credit in their course, which may have resulted in students not taking the time to provide complete answers to our questions.
The main findings of this study indicate that the Roanoke College students that participated in the survey demonstrated that paranoia had an effect on compliance to COVID-19 guidelines; however, this finding was not significant. Additional findings indicate that the relationship between both experimental conditions and the two dark personalities (narcissism and psychopathy) and compliance to COVID-19 guidelines was found to be significant. Moving forward, academic institutions may be interested in expanding upon this study in order to further understand the association between beliefs in conspiracy theories about COVID-19 and paranoia in order to see if there is a significant relationship. Additionally, it would be very interesting if academic institutions also conducted future studies on the association between narcissism and psychopathy and beliefs in conspiracy theories about COVID-19.
Latkin, C. A., Dayton, L., Moran, M., Strickland, J. C., & Collins, K. (2021). Behavioral and psychosocial factors associated with COVID-19 skepticism in the United States. Current Psychology, 1-9. doi: 10.1007/s12144-020-01211-3.
Luke Harbison, MaryDrew Collier, Hunter Andrews, and Alice Chandler (Advisor: Dr. Buchholz)
Why are people inclined to form mosh pits at heavy music concerts (Thrash, Death Metal etc.) but wouldn’t at something like a Barry Manilow concert? Do various genres have respectively different effects on human emotions and behavior? Prior research studies have investigated these questions with findings supporting the supposed answer. Some studies show heavier music made subjects more likely to report negative feelings while other studies demonstrated that songs with negative lyrical content can make people report a higher frequency of aggression (Shafron & Karno, 2013; Anderson & Carnagey, 2003). In this study, we predicted the conditions of aggressive music (Drowning Pool-Bodies) or soft music (Claude DeBussy-Clair De Lune) would produce different results of aggression levels, specifically a greater level when listening to aggressive music compared to soft and no music conditions. Our study specifically focused on state aggression rather than trait aggression, while also taking gender differences into account (male, female) to look for possible interactions. The key aspect of this study revolves around examining participant’s current aggression levels. By examining the participants’ current levels, we should gather results on the immediate effect music has on a person.
Our study was conducted entirely online. We created a survey on the website Qualtrics and received our participant pool by providing class credit for people in introductory-level psychology courses through a website called SONA. The survey respondents listened to one of three music clips: clip 1 being no music, clip 2 being Clair De Lune by Claude DeBussy, a representation of soft music, and clip 3 being Bodies by Drowning Pool, a representation of aggressive music. Respondents then answered questions related to their current emotional state, particularly how aggressive they felt. Results were put into a Jamovi where it was analyzed. In addition, we also asked respondents to tell us their gender (male and female) so we could look for possible interactions. We had two other gender selections (prefer not to say, non-binary) but they were not used in the analysis.
Results and Discussion
In order to evaluate the effects of gender and music genres on aggression, a 2 (male/female) x 3 (no music, easy listening, and aggressive music) between-subjects analysis of variance was conducted. There were 15 questions related to aggression and 5 related to negative feelings in general. Our analysis found that there was no difference in aggression level across the three groups. We did find a difference between men and women but it was not found to be significantly different. Additionally, we found no interaction between the main groups.
We anticipated that there would be significant findings, but our results show the likelihood of no change in aggression level being present. However, other potential factors are present including the music clips being too short or respondents not paying attention and rushing through the survey. Although females reported higher levels of aggression, this could be affected by other factors that weren’t accounted for. While we did not have any significant findings, this information could benefit future researchers who want to examine aggression and its relationship to music. If this study were to be conducted in the future, we could potentially lengthen music clips and control the setting of where the survey is being taken at. Ultimately, we found no strong evidence that aggressive music poses a difference in state aggression in comparison to no music and soft music.
Figure 1. The effects of music genres on aggression.
Figure 2. The effects of gender on aggression.
Figure 3. The interaction between gender and music genres.
Based on this study’s findings, we can conclude that our hypothesis was not supported. In examining the possible reasons for this, we determined there are multiple possibilities. The phenomena of mosh pits may be related to other factors such as drinking and the influence of people being around other people who are all in a highly stimulating environment. Additionally, our study had flaws that could result in missing the real effect that could be present. Our findings do not firmly guarantee that no effect occurs, conducting a different study could potentially identify it. Another important piece of information that we learned was how complex the process of creating a study, getting the study approved, gathering respondents, and compiling data all truly was. Going forward, researchers in the fields of musicology and the behavioral sciences may be able to use our research to examine the phenomena of music genres on behavior even further than us.
Anderson C.A., Carnagey N.L. (2003). Exposure to Violent Media: The effects of songs with violent lyrics on aggressive thoughts and feelings. Journal of Personality and social Psychology, 84(5), 960-71. doi: 10.1037/0022-3522.214.171.1240
Shafron, G.R., & Karno, M.P. (2013). Heavy metal music and emotional dysphoria among listeners. Psychology of Popular Media Culture, 2(2), 74-85. doi: 10.1037/a0031722.
Curtis Kingery, Lauren Powell, and Alex Upright (Advisor: Dr. Buchholz)
“Genius Grant” award winner Angela Duckworth recently asked, “What is the single most significant choice a human being can make in their life?” Distinguished Psychology researcher David Buss responded, “The selection of a long-term mate.” Since he is esteemed for research in human mating, he might be biased to answer that way. However, it is undeniable that mating is a critical part of human existence. In mate selection, most traits and qualities are considered essential by both sexes (e.g., kind, trustworthy, intelligent), yet some traits are prioritized more by one sex than the other. These differences in preferences on traits most valued in an opposite-sex partner are well documented, along with an evolutionary rationale for their existence. On average, men disproportionately favor youthfulness and physical attractiveness in female mates. Women’s preferences show an asymmetry, on average, towards a man’s ability to acquire resources (Buss, 1989; Li et al., 2002; Walter et al., 2020). These traits may vary in one’s ability to control them. That is, there may be a significant difference between the ability to control one’s level of attractiveness versus the amount of control one has over their earning potential. Prior research on this topic found just that. Traits highly associated with female mate value are perceived as less controllable, by females, relative to traits highly associated with male mate value—and their perceived controllability by men (Ben Hamida et al., 1998). However, there is individual variation within the sexes on how they perceive their control over these traits. That is, males will vary in the extent to which they perceive control over characteristics suggestive of resource acquisition ability. We sought to account for these individual differences, generally, in perceived controllability of traits and, specifically, on critical mating dimensions. (Mis)perceptions of control could inform our understanding of documented differences in human behavior between males and females.
Participants were recruited from a pool of current students attending Roanoke College through the College’s Psychology department SONA system, primarily students enrolled in PSYC 101 or INQ260-PY who were eligible for extra credit received a half-credit as compensation for the participation. There were 26 male participants and 69 female participants, for a total of 95 participants who completed the study.
Our survey was administered using Qualtrics where participants were asked to respond to a variety of different scales, including the Locus of Control, the Scale for Intrasexual Competition (specified for either male or female, depending on the participant’s indicated gender) and a controllability questionnaire. Participants in the manipulation group were shown eight images, one of a person’s body ‘before’ working out and getting fit, and the second of the same person’s body ‘after’ working out. This particular manipulation was used in order to explore the possibility of intervention where countermessaging could increase people’s perceptions of control of traits that they wish to improve. Participants were also asked demographic questions such as gender identity and sexual orientation.
Results and Discussion
We expected to find a relationship between one’s level of intrasexual competitiveness and their perceived controllability of myriad traits. Although the relationship wasn’t strong enough to make any reliable conclusions, we did see a reduction in perceived controllability as participants, on average, increased in intrasexual competitiveness. See figure 1.
Figure 1: The effect of intrasexual competitiveness and sex on self-perceived controllability
Figure 1 implies that as one focuses more on competing with same-sex peers for mates, their perceptions of control over their traits could be influenced by that preoccupation.
Similarly, we expected our experimental manipulation, where half of the participants saw body transformation images, to increase that group’s average perception of controllability. We did not find evidence for this relationship. This could mean that our manipulation wasn’t strong enough or it could imply that perceptions of controllability may be stable traits within individuals that are unlikely to be influenced in this manner.
As predicted, we did find that males and females, on average, showed substantial differences in their general perceptions of controllability of traits. See figure 2.
Figure 2: Self-perceived controllability of traits by sex
Moreover, we found a statistically significant result for differences in males’ and females’ perceptions of controllability, specifically on the dimensions regarded as critical to men when choosing a female mate. That is, traits related to youthfulness and attractiveness were considered more controllable by men than women. There was no evidence for these sex differences on perceptions of controllability for resource acquisition traits. These sex differences in perceptions of controllability could inform our understanding of behaviors that show increased or decreased occurrence in one sex versus the other (e.g., mate preferences, risk-taking, aggression, jealousy, and several psychological disorders such as depression and eating disorders).
Unfortunately, while we were unable to find a strong enough relationship between competitiveness and controllability to make any conclusions, we were still able to determine a statistically significant difference in males’ and females’ perception of how well they can control their youthfulness and attractiveness.
We are all different people with different experiences and lives. There is no need to stress unnecessarily about being as attractive or successful as possible for fear of missing out on the perfect spouse. There is no need to compare yourself to others or feel that you must complete with them to find “the perfect mate.” Be patient, focus on the things that will not be changed by time, such as humor or personality, and make sure that you can be the best you can be, and the right person will be there at the right time.
Ben Hamida, S., Mineka, S., & Bailey, J. M. (1998). Sex differences in perceived controllability of mate value: An evolutionary perspective. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 75(4), 953–966. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-35126.96.36.1993
Buss, D. M. (1989). Sex differences in human mate preferences: Evolutionary hypotheses tested in 37 cultures. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 12, 1–14. doi:10.1017/ S0140525X00023992
Li, N. P., Bailey, J. M., Kenrick, D. T., & Linsenmeier, J. A. W. (2002). The necessities and luxuries of mate preferences: Testing the tradeoffs. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 82(6), 947–955. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-35188.8.131.527
Walter, K. V., Conroy-Beam, D., Buss, D. M., Asao, K., Sorokowska, A., Sorokowski, P., Aavik, T., Akello, G., Alhabahba, M. M., Alm, C., Amjad, N., Anjum, A., Atama, C. S., Atamtürk Duyar, D., Ayebare, R., Batres, C., Bendixen, M., Bensafia, A., Bizumic, B., … Zupančič, M. (2020). Sex differences in mate preferences across 45 countries: A large-scale replication. Psychological Science, 31(4), 408–423. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797620904154
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).
Are you looking for a summer job? How about an internship experience? Well, look no further, because Camp Easterseals is hiring summer staff!
The Assistant Director states, “Camp Easterseals is an overnight camp that serves both children and adults with disabilities. We offer our campers and staff an unique, fun, and supportive camp experience. Many of our staff have called their time at Camp Easterseals a “Life-Changing” experience. Right now, we are currently hiring staff to join us for Summer 2021. (Per the Governor’s recent executive orders Overnight Summer Camps can open and operate starting May 1st).”
Camp Easterseals is currently looking for camp counselors, volunteers, horse specialists, lifeguards, and overall just people looking for fun and to make an impact.
More information can be found here,as well as feel free to contact Dr. FVN for ways in which these opportunities can translate into internship credit.
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 Naomi Painter and Ben Campbell for being selected as Summer Scholars!
Roanoke College’s Summer Scholar Program is designed for serious students who want to use their summers wisely and work one-on-one with faculty. Every year, students compete for selection to receive one of the summer scholarships. Faculty from across the college review student research proposals and decide these prestigious awards.
Naomi will be working with Buchholz on her project in light of the occurrence of the COVID-19 pandemic and issues involving prejudice and discrimination where she intends to examine the effects of disgust on the presence of prejudicial responses and the individual differences that contribute to said relationship.
Ben will be working with Dr. Findley-Van Nostrand on his project, inspired by his interest in traditional or toxic masculinity, where he intends to research the effects of jealousy on threatened masculinity and relational aggression (i.e., aggression used to harm peer relationships) use.
Miami University is now accepting applications for their third annual Diversifying Psychology Weekend being held virtually, May 1st, 2021. This weekend is designed to help students from underrepresented and diverse backgrounds learn more about research and graduate school in psychology, prepare to apply for a doctorate in psychology, network with graduate students and faculty, and learn more about what their department has to offer. The event is supported by Miami University’s Psychology Department, College of Arts and Sciences, and Graduate School, and Center for Student Diversity & Inclusion. Students who are early in their college careers and/or who are less familiar with doctoral degrees in psychology are encouraged to apply.
To receive full consideration, successful applicants should:
Demonstrate a strong interest in learning more about a doctoral degree in the following areas of psychology: clinical, cognitive, community, developmental, social, or neuroscience.
Identify as a racial or ethnic minority traditionally underrepresented in psychological science AND/OR identify as an individual who will enhance the diversity and inclusivity of psychological science. Examples include (but are not limited to): first-generation college students, individuals with disabilities, LGBTQ individuals, individuals from low socioeconomic status (SES) backgrounds, etc.
To apply, follow this link. Applications are due April 7th, 2021.
More information about their psychology department can be found here.
Congratulations to Alumnae Alex DiFelice ’17 and Dr. Powell on their recent publishing in the Journal of Sport Behavior, titled “Self-Efficacy of Female Youth Athletes in An Intensive Training Camp”. This paper is based on DiFelices’ Honor in the Major Project and specifically, examined how sport-specific self-efficacy, as well as sources of sport-specific self-efficacy, changes post attending an intensive training camp. They found that intensive training camps are in fact effective for increasing both sport-specific self-efficacy, as well as sources of self-efficacy. For more information refer to the graphic below, and once again congratulations to DeFelice ’17 and to Dr. Powell for their recent publication!
Dr. Dickens’ social psychology research lab at Spelman College is looking to hire an undergraduate research assistant to help with research focused on the experiences of Black women in STEM education.
During a 6-week summer program (June 7th – July 16th, 2021), students will have the opportunity for one-on-one mentorship and research experience with a faculty member. This opportunity will be virtual but working full time for the full 6-week commitment is required for the program. A stipend will be provided.
Responsibilities of the research assistant include:
Recruiting study participants
Data collection and analyses
Attend weekly lab meetings
It is preferred that interested students have the following qualifications:
Strong academic performance in psychology with a GPA requirement of 3.25 (overall and major)
Dependability and initiative
Excellent interpersonal and communication skills
Rising juniors and seniors preferred
Selection into the program is rolling and will last until March 19th, 2021.
If you are interested in applying, please complete the online application using this link and email your curriculum vitae/resume, and your most recent unofficial academic transcript to the lab director Dr. Danielle Dickens, at email@example.com.
Are you still debating what to do over the summer but are interested in research? Roanoke College offers several opportunities to get involved with research this upcoming summer.
Roanoke College Summer Scholars
As the March 15th deadline quickly approaches, we will highlight Roanoke College’s Summer Scholars program. Summer scholars work one-on-one with faculty on a project that will be presented during Family Weekend (late September/early October). On-campus housing is provided and summer scholars will be paid $3000 and earn a summer course credit.
To apply students must have a 3.0 or higher GPA, have completed 8 units by the start of the grant period, and plan to return the following fall. The application consists of a cover sheet, a student application for summer scholars, and a faculty nomination to mentor a summer scholar. These forms and more information about the process can be found on the summer scholars page, here.
Below are some past psychology majors and their summer scholars projects:
Aislinn Foutz. Parental and Peer Factors in Children’s Theory of Mind Development. Major: Psychology. (Faculty Mentor: Danielle Findley-Van Nostrand, Psychology)
Yipeng Wang. Gender Difference of Domestic Abuse and How Honor Culture Would Affect those Differences. Major: Psychology. (Faculty Mentor: Lindsey L. Osterman, Psychology)
Sabrina McAllister. Time Perspective as a State-Based Measure. Major: Psychology. (Faculty mentor: David Nichols, Psychology)
Megan Miller. Self-driving cars as a test of the potentially harmful effects of empathy on moral decision making. Major: Psychology. (Faculty mentor: Chris Buchholz, Psychology).
Summer Research Incentive Program
As part of the Summer Experience Incentive Program, students are provided reduced summer tuition for one unit of internship, research, or independent study credit. To qualify for reduced summer tuition, approval for their project must be received no later than May 15th.
Students have the responsibility of finding a faculty member who is willing to supervise the project. It is recommended that students start working on proposals by Spring Break to give faculty members time to review the plan and give the students time to make revisions and acquire needed signatures.
Projects, required reflections, final paper, and final reflection (3-page minimum) must all be completed and submitted to their faculty supervisor by September 30th. Students in the program are also required to participate in a showcasing event.
A more in-depth description of the program, as well as the applications for the program, can be found on the Summer Research Incentive Program page, here.
Salem VA Medical Center and Roanoke College Undergraduate Research Experience
Please note that the program is currently on hold during the COVID-19 pandemic but those interested should email the director of undergrad research at firstname.lastname@example.org to get on the mailing list for when applications become open.
This collaboration with the Salem VA Medical center allows Roanoke College undergraduates to work in research with a Principal Investigator (PI) on current medical research and present it. Research has included topics such as “Predictors of Treatment Response Among Veterans with PTSD”, “Mental Health in Rural Veterans with and without Traumatic Brain Injury”, and “Effect of Exercise Training on Inflammation and Function in HIV Infected Veterans”.
It is recommended interested students meet with the Director of Undergraduate in the fall semester or early in the spring semester to discuss the program. To apply, students must submit a cover letter (with research interests), a curriculum vitae, an unofficial transcript, and two letters of recommendation to the Director of Undergraduate Research by the deadline.
More information about expectations and other important information can be found here.
On February 9-13, eight students attended the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP) Conference virtually, to present research through poster sessions and to attend presentations. The students included Sophie Bacon ’20, Carolynn Bructo ’21, Ben Campbell ’22, Sydney Caulder ’21, Kira Hunt ’21, Abbie Joseph ’21, Naomi Painter ’22, and Carly Schepacarter ’21.
This blog post will highlight the posters that the students presented and a brief summary of their research.
Sophie Bacon ’20
Research has shown that social networking platforms (Instagam, Facebook, Snap Chat, ect) afford the opportunity for identity development, specifically through engaging in different types of self-presentation. In this study, we examined the association between social goals (including, authenticity, the need for popularity, and need for belonging) and presentation of the real, ideal, and false self on social media.
Our main findings were that Authenticity predicted greater real self-presentation on social media, a high need for popularity predicted higher false self-presentation, and a high need for belonging predicted greater ideal self-presentation.
Carolynn Bructo ’21
In this study, we examined achievement goal orientations (mastery, performance-approach, and performance-avoidance) in association with intention to remain in STEM majors and differences in these variables and associations by gender and unrepresented minority status in a large sample of undergraduate students. Results suggest achievement goals are meaningfully related to STEM persistence.
Ben Campbell ’22
This study aimed to expand on past research on relational aggression in adolescents, but in emerging adults (age 18-25). Relational aggression is an indirect form of aggression used to harm relationships (e.g., silent treatment, excluding others from a peer group, gossiping, verbal threats). We examined associations between relational aggression, resource control strategies (coercive and prosocial), social status (popularity, likeability, and social status insecurity), dominance, and prestige. Results showed that like in adolescents, relational aggression in emerging adults is associated with higher use of dominant behavior, coercive resource control strategies, greater social status insecurity, and greater valuing of popularity. This suggests that people who desire popularity and dominance within a peer group use higher amounts of relational aggression to attain and maintain that status.
Sydney Caulder ’21
Research has found that narcissism predicts heightened provoked aggression and hostility. However, less understood is the role of hostile attribution bias (HAB) in these associations. In this study, we examined multiple conceptualizations of narcissism (grandiose and pathological) in relation to HAB and aggressive responses to provocation.
Kira Hunt ’21
My poster “Ignoring Red Flags” pertained to online dating and how self-efficacy in romantic relationships impacted how much-emerging adults self-disclosed (i.e. shared information about themselves) to hypothetical online romantic matches. I also wanted to determine if disclosure levels would change if these hypothetical online romantic matches differed in physical attractiveness and were paired with vignettes that varied in honesty. We found that self-efficacy was not associated with disclosure and photo attractiveness did not influence participants’ disclosures but the level of honesty did influence disclosure. Participants were less likely to disclose and continue communicating for deception vignettes.
Abbie Joseph ’21
This project explores the use of ghosting as a romantic relationship dissolution strategy and its association with post-dissolutional cyberstalking behaviors. Due to the uncertainty that ghosting involves, it was expected that ghosting would be associated with more severe and more frequent cyberstalking behaviors than relationships ended by other strategies (e.g., an explicit breakup).
Naomi Painter ’22
COVID-19 has impacted the food industry’s means of operation and employment. We examined the effect of stigmatization against Asian restaurants on the perception of contamination and willingness to order takeout. We found statistically significant effects as participants with a higher fear of contamination were less likely to order takeout and were also less likely to order Chinese food.
Carly Schepacarter ’21
This project’s goal was to determine if people experiencing a negative life event have different tastes in art than others, as well as if interacting with art can help those people have an improved emotional state. In the first study, we were interested in studying if individuals reported a different preference for art after recalling a negative event, and we wanted to know how exposure to art would impact their emotions. Ultimately, participants did not have a specific preference for a subject matter in art, but there was an interaction between Prime and Order which means that the Prime did impact the emotional state of the participants when they did the emotion questionnaire right after the prime, but this effect disappeared when they did the art rating first. The second study tested if this happened because of some impact of the art task, or because of natural decline over time. The results indicated that participants who completed an art task had more positive emotions on a questionnaire than those in a non-art control task. From this, we can say confidently that experiencing art after recalling a negative event increases positive emotions more than the control task. Research from this project was used to create paintings for Hopetree Family Services in Salem, VA.
For those students still looking for graduate programs, Shippensburg University, located in south-central Pennsylvania, is providing a complete asynchronous (online) program that can be completed in one year as a full-time student or two years as a part-time student. To earn the degree, a total of ten courses (thirty credits) of graduate work is required.
The program according to Shippensburg University “emphasizes the application of psychological principles and methodologies to real-world problems.” Many of their graduates assume research-related roles (e.g., program evaluation, survey research, data analyst, etc.) across various areas in business/industry, government, and non-profit settings.
Students in the program are able to pursue one of two specialties. Those interested in quality control careers can pursue a Six Sigma greenbelt certification. Those who are interested in working with individuals with learning or social impairments such as those with autism can earn a Behavior Specialist Certificate which provides advanced coursework in applied behavioral analysis.
Remote assistantships are available on a competitive basis but are subject to change based on university funding.
Shippensburg University has rolling admissions which allow students to begin and complete the program in any term.
More information on the program can be found on their official webpage found here. For answers to any other questions or more information about the program, feel free to contact the graduate program coordinator, Dr. Thomas Hatvany at Tchatvany@ship.edu.
If you are anything like the majority of psychology students across the country, you are probably trying to find a meaningful experience to fill your time over the 2021 summer. For some, this could mean going home and spending time with family, while others may have a job lined up and waiting for them. Whether you have an idea of what to do or not, we encourage everyone to take a look at summer internship and research opportunities for psychology!
Internships offer real-world learning experiences that allow students to apply what they are learning in the classroom in a professional setting and broaden their education from abstract to applied contexts. Internships also give you valuable information to add to your resume, allow you to develop a professional network, and there are opportunities for you to earn academic credit or pay for the work you are performing.
Research in psychology is a broad field that has endless topics to conduct research on. Psychology research occurs every day and providing support to research does not require extensive degrees, or prior experience. Research experience is a very valuable component to any graduate school or job application. Just like with internships, research experience provides a wealth of knowledge about the research process that your classes may not even begin to cover. It also opens a window of academic networking opportunities, is an outstanding experience to list on your resume, and often earns you course credit.
All Roanoke College students should remember that internship credits can be earned for research-based internships, and/or paid opportunities as well! This year specifically, credit can be earned locally, through a virtual opportunity, or wherever home is.
Not sure where to start looking for an internship? Check out this list of paid internship positions in developmental and general psychology. OR take a look at this site, which offers both psychology job listings and opportunities for internships for undergraduate students.
Additional information about internships and research can be found here, as well as contact information for Dr. Danielle Findley-Van Nostrand, the Internship Director for Psychology.
In the midst of a pandemic, how have our relationships changed? Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we suspected that the number of individuals in long-distance relationships may have increased as a result of quarantine and travel restrictions. We also thought this may have disproportionately affected college students who were used to being in geographically-close relationships when they were living on their school’s campus. This shift from being in a geographically-close relationship to being in a long-distance relationship could be a major source of stress that ultimately decreases couples’ satisfaction, and we were interested in considering how this relational dissatisfaction could potentially be reduced in such unprecedented times. After researching relational maintenance behaviors, we decided to examine how the education and implementation of relational maintenance behaviors in college students’ romantic relationships during the COVID-19 pandemic could potentially affect satisfaction in their relationships. Relational maintenance behaviors refer to the several behaviors used to maintain a healthy and successful relationship (Weigel & Ballard-Reisch, 2001). The most common way to measure this is by using the Relational Maintenance Strategy Measure (RMSM) which contains five groups of strategies: positivity, openness, assurances, social networks, and sharing tasks (Stafford & Canary, 1991). These behaviors have been proven to increase satisfaction levels when implemented into a relationship (Weigel & Ballard-Reisch, 2001). Satisfaction was measured using the Relationship Assessment Scale (RAS) which describes several relationship dimensions such as love, problems, and expectations (Hendrick, 1988). Several studies have been conducted on how the use of relational maintenance behaviors correlates with satisfaction, but there are no studies that have used an experiment to test this like ours did. An experiment allows us to determine whether something like relational maintenance behaviors may have a causal impact on satisfaction, and whether they may be able to change through intervention.
The 36 participants were recruited through Roanoke College’s SONA system in the psychology department and received 2 SONA credits for participating in all parts of the study. Participants had to have been in a romantic relationship. Participants signed up for a Zoom session where they were asked to complete a pre-survey in order to measure satisfaction within their current relationships. After the completion of the pre-survey, participants were asked to return to the Zoom session. Those in the experimental group were read a list of examples from the RMSM and encouraged to try some in their current romantic relationships, and those in the control group were asked to watch a 5 minute video about helpful habits for better sleep. The purpose of a control group is to have a base-line to be able to compare the changes in the experimental group to. Within a week, all participants received an email with a link for a post-survey, and their satisfaction in their romantic relationship was once again assessed using the RAS.
Results and Discussion
Contrary to expectations, participants in the experimental group, who received the informational session on relational maintenance behaviors, did not report more satisfaction at the time of the post-survey compared to the time of the pre-survey. Additionally, participants in the experimental group did not report more satisfaction than participants in the control group at the time of the post-survey. However, we did find that participants in both the control and experimental groups who reported using more relational maintenance behaviors at the post-survey also reported more satisfaction at the post-survey. Participants in both the control and experimental groups who reported more use of relational maintenance behaviors at the time of the pre-survey also reported more use of these maintenance behaviors at the time of the post-survey. Also, participants from both groups who reported high satisfaction at the pre-survey also reported high satisfaction at the post-survey.
Relational Maintenance Behaviors (Post-Survey)
Due to our very low sample size, the inability to have face-to-face sessions, and the inability for us experimenters to monitor the relational maintenance behaviors of participants, we did not find what we had previously expected. We did, however, find what previous studies have found, as the participants reported more satisfaction when they used more relational maintenance behaviors in their romantic relationships.
Through this process, we gained some much needed insight on what was beneficial to the success of this study, as well as what kept the study from reaching its full potential. First, we believe this study aimed to measure important variables and believe that a replication or partial replication of this study could result in significant and useful findings. Considering the majority of our findings were insignificant, however, we noted a few different aspects of our study that, if changed, may have led to greater significance. For example, the outcome of our study might have been significantly different if everything did not have to be done through online surveys and Zoom sessions. Additionally, we believe that the pressing SONA credit requirement for Psychology students at Roanoke College may have encouraged students to complete our survey for the sake of completion, rather than to provide quality data. If this study were replicated in the future, it would be important to ensure that the participants take the study seriously.
While we found that an information session regarding relational maintenance behaviors given to some participants did not significantly increase satisfaction, we found that all participants seem to already implement these maintenance behaviors in their relationships. The main finding from our study suggests that the use of relational maintenance behaviors in college students’ romantic relationships is associated with their relationship satisfaction, even during a global pandemic.
Hendrick, S. S. (1988). A generic measure of relationship satisfaction. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 50(1), 93–98.
Stafford, L., & Canary, D. J. (1991). Maintenance strategies and romantic relationship type, gender and relational characteristics. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 8(2), 217–242.
Weigel, D.J., & Ballard-Reisch, D.S. (2001). The impact of relational maintenance behaviors on marital satisfaction: A longitudinal analysis. Journal of Family Communication, 1(4), 265-279.
Ethan Abbott, Sydney Caulder, & Morgan Hamilton (Advisor: Danielle Findley-Van Nostrand)
Emerging adulthood is a highly exploratory and developmentally rich period of time in an individual’s life. Between the ages of 18 to 29 is a big transitional phase for young adults to develop their own identity and find their niche in society. There are frequent changes experienced through changing vocations, relationships, and living situations attributed to a significantly reduced sense of stability as compared to parts of life prior to and after emerging adulthood (Arnett 2000; Arnett et al., 2014). In order to properly evaluate how young adults are handling the transitional stressors of their lives coupled with the extenuating circumstances brought on by COVID-19 pandemic, we wanted to see if individual’s locus of control helped mitigate stress. Specifically, an internal locus of control refers to how much one believes their actions are the result of their own efforts, relative to the belief that outside events influence their future (external locus of control). If individuals perceive to have some form of control over a situation then they will find the aversive stimulus to be less threatening.
Another facet of stress management we wanted to measure is an individual’s intolerance of uncertainty. This term refers to the cognitive ability to compartmentalize unknown potentially negative events so that it won’t hinder mental health or physical actions. This anticipation of uncertainty derives from the desire for predictability and an active engagement in seeking certainty and paralysis of cognition and action in the face of uncertainty (Birrell, Meares, Wilkinson, & Freeston, 2011). Emerging adults will also employ various coping strategies for the sake of their physical and psychological well-being. Coping mechanisms are vital towards a young adult maintaining proper mental health because poor maintenance of mental thoughts and adjustment can lead to instability. The four types of core coping mechanisms that young adults utilize are problem-solving, support-seeking, escape, & accommodation (Skinner, Edge, Altman, & Sherwood, 2003). Given the current circumstances of the world at large, we thought it wise to conduct and evaluate a survey administered to the Roanoke College student body to see how these three facets of handling mental stressors are being employed amongst the young adult student population. For the sake of our study we used locus of control and intolerance of uncertainty as predictors of various coping mechanisms.
Participants in this study were recruited from current students at Roanoke College through the Psychology Department’s SONA system. Participants who were enrolled in psychology courses eligible for extra credit upon participation received one half credit. In total, 145 participants completed the study.
The survey was administered online through Qualtrics where participants were asked demographic information including gender, race, age, year in school, and impact of COVID-19. Previously constructed measurements were used for locus of control, intolerance of uncertainty, and coping. For locus of control, the 24-item Multidimensional Locus of Control Scale was used. Intolerance of uncertainty was measured using the 27-item Intolerance of Uncertainty Scale. Finally, coping was measured using the 60-item COPE inventory.
Results & Discussion
We decided to focus on intolerance of uncertainty and locus and control as predictors of coping in a multiple regression model. A multiple regression model demonstrates the strength of two individual predictors controlling for one another while also controlling for shared variance in a single outcome. The COPE inventory included different subscales focusing on specific forms of coping such as focus on venting of emotions or active coping. There were several significant associations found among the different subscales of coping when intolerance of uncertainty and locus of control were used as predictors. And, in each set of tests, there was a large effect size, meaning that these explained a fairly significant amount of the individual type of coping.
Having a higher internal locus of control was related to greater use of managing distress emotions rather than dealing with the stressor (positive reinterpretation) and less use of behavioral disengagement when controlling for intolerance of uncertainty which was related to less use of positive reinterpretation and more behavioral disengagement.
Internal locus of control was unrelated to, and intolerance of uncertainty positively related to both venting of emotions and mental disengagement.
There was one subscale, active coping, that was positively related to internal locus of control but unrelated to intolerance of uncertainty. See the figure below for an overview of regression results across models; the positive sign indicates as the level of the predictor increases the level of the outcome also increases, and the negative sign indicates that as the level of the predictor increases or decreases the outcome would do the opposite of that increase or decrease).
We also explored differences of mean scores between males and female participants. There were no significant differences based on gender in internal locus of control and intolerance of uncertainty scores, or coping subscales of use of instrumental social support, positive reinterpretation, active coping or behavioral disengagement. There were significant differences in scores based on gender for the coping subscales of focus on venting of emotions, use of emotional support, and mental disengagement.
Our data collection and analysis produced logical results that were mostly as expected. Our research can open the door to future research on how different forms of coping may indicate how individuals perceive changes within their life or the amount of control they feel they have over those changes. This research was especially meaningful given the current COVID-19 pandemic and associated mental health difficulties. Intolerance of uncertainty and internal locus of control may be influential in encouraging adaptive forms of coping.
Figure: Visual Representation of Regression Results: Intolerance of Uncertainty and Internal Locus of Control as Predictors of Forms of Coping.
Creating a study which was interesting to all of us and able to be done efficiently through remote learning certainly posed a tough challenge to our group. Initially we thought a study more focused on the current challenges for emerging adults amidst the COVID-19 pandemic would be interesting, but we ultimately decided emerging adults face many challenges with uncertainty regardless of if they are enduring a pandemic or not. The beginning stages were relatively easy to manage by dividing up the work and checking in on each other periodically, but as we started using Jamovi our difficulties took a turn. One of the many challenges posed due to remote learning was the opportunity to learn an entirely new data analysis application, Jamovi. Although Jamovi is user friendly when conducting data, we struggled getting it to be compatible with Qualtrics, and those problems were difficult to work through together. Ultimately these issues were ironed out through many meetings with our group and Dr. Findley-Van Nostrand via Zoom trying to figure it out. Although ultimately our outcome of our research was largely unchanged, it was difficult to manage each challenge together while completing our tasks remotely, but I think we all understood the value of good communication and patience through completing this experience remotely.
Arnett, J.J. (2000). Emerging adulthood: a theory of development from the late teens through the twenties. American Psychologist, 55(5), 469–480.
Arnett, J.J. (2014). The new life stage of emerging adulthood at ages 18-29 years: implications for mental health. The Lancet Psychiatry, 1(7), 569–576.
Birrell, J., Meares, K., Wilkinson, A., & Freeston, M. (2011). Toward a definition of intolerance of uncertainty: A review of factor analytical studies of the Intolerance of Uncertainty Scale. Clinical Psychology Review,31(7), 1198-1208. doi:10.1016/j.cpr.2011.07.009
Skinner, E.A., Edge, K., Altman, J., & Sherwood, H. (2003). Searching for the structure of coping: a review and critique of category systems for classifying ways of coping.. Psychological Bulletin, 129(2), 216-269.
Caelan DeMuth, Mason Wheeler, Maggie Lewis (Advisor: Dr. Findley Van-Nostrand)
Many changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic have affected well-being of individuals, with college students being uniquely affected given the changes in their academic environment. Specifically, remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way students are expected to learn, potentially driving issues related to focus and to social isolation. Younger students with less experience in university level education may be at higher risk of struggling more than their older peers during the pandemic (Ledman, 2008). In this study, we students’ psychological well-being in relation to their individual need for structure (that is, the extent to which they desire structure and clarity and find ambiguity troubling), academic motivation (the extent to which they are motivated to remain in and do well in school), and academic year. We expected responses that underclassmen or younger students would report higher levels of a need for structure and lower levels of academic motivation, and that both motivation and need for structure would predict well-being. As motivation in academic settings during the ongoing pandemic had yet to be assessed this research may be used to provide insight into how to provide resources to students during upcoming academic terms.
Methods and Measures
Participants for this research were individuals currently enrolled at Roanoke College. There were 115 participants, of which 39 were freshmen, 39 were sophomores, 21 were juniors, and 16 were seniors; 30 identified as male, 83 identified as female, and 2 identified as nonbinary. Participants were recruited via the Roanoke College Psychology Department through SONA and led to an external survey using Qualtrics. Participants answered a combination of questions pertaining to their academic year, gender, and demographics in addition to questions intended to assess individual needs for structure, academic motivation and well-being. Questions pertaining to structure were taken from the Personal Need for Structure scale. Academic motivation was assessed via questions in the Academic Motivation scale. Psychological Well-Being scale was used to gauge the well-being of participants. Ultimately the three scales demonstrated relationships between individualized preferences for structure, mental health and motivation to remain focused and engaged in coursework during COVID-19.
Results and Discussion
This study was facilitated successfully, especially given the challenges of a nontraditional semester. Contrary to the initial expectation for this study, participants enrolled in their senior year reported the lowest scores for perceived wellness whereas underclassmen reported the highest scores for this criteria. Although students in lower academic years reported higher values of perceived wellness, responses from first years did have the largest standard deviation, suggesting that there was more variation among participants in lower academic years. However, it was found that there was no statistically significant differences when separating between the psychological well-being subscales (autonomy, environmental mastery, personal growth, positive relations, purpose in life, self-acceptance) between academic years.
Personal need for structure was unrelated to academic motivation. Academic motivation was positively related to psychological well-being in the era of COVID-19 learning. Academic motivation is the voluntary engagement with coursework in terms of intrinsic and extrinsic variables (Cerino, 2014), suggesting that those who can maintain high levels of motivation are likely also experiencing higher well-being in other areas. It was found that personal need for structure statistically significantly predicted the psychological well-being subscale of purpose in life, while academic motivation as a whole statistically significantly predicted the psychological well-being subscale of personal growth, and somewhat significantly predicted the psychological well-being subscale of autonomy. Overall, results suggest that need for structure and academic motivation during the pandemic are related to well-being, but this depends on type of well-being.
This research study challenged each of us extensively throughout the duration of the semester. The first and largest obstacle we as a group encountered was transitioning Research Seminar class typically taught in person to a fully remote and functional formatt. We were given the additional task to complete the workload together across time zones via Zoom rather than have the ease of access to be able to meet whenever necessary in person. Our initial research topic was a much broader version of our final product, with the first intent to be to examine COVID-19 impact on wellness in all of its dimensions and definitions. This was evidently too broad as the eight clinical dimensions of wellness (Stoewen, 2017) would have introduced a myriad of confounds to our research. The goal of our work was to examine if academic motivation and perceived wellness had been impacted during a semester of exclusively remote learning.
As our study was conducted via online survey, the ease in accessibility for participants was likely beneficial to the recruitment process. The convenience of the survey being administered online allowed for more people to complete it on their own time. An additional positive to the survey being conducted online eliminated the risk of observer bias and made participants more comfortable by removing the risk of potential exposure to COVID-19. Despite the challenges of conducting research in a fully remote manner, our group was able to find significant associations within our data and report conclusive findings.
The main findings of this study indicate that college underclassmen are experiencing higher perceived wellness than upperclassmen in the era of COVID-19, and that personal need for structure and academic motivation only significantly correlate with three of the six psychological well-being subscales (purpose in life, autonomy, and personal growth). COVID-19 has caused significant changes to what is defined as a normal academic setting. With this knowledge moving forward, academic institutions may use this information to provide adequate mental health resources for students as well as modify course plans to proceed in more academically efficient means.
Cerino, Eric. S. (2014). Relationships between academic motivation, self-efficacy, and academic procrastination. Psi Chi Journal of Psychological Research, 19(4).
Autumn Cox, Christian Galleo, & Celine Taylor (Advisor: Chris Buchholz)
Our study investigated how COVID-19 suddenly reshaped the school environment and whether this change has influenced introverts’ and extraverts’ perceived performance differently. While previous research from Teichner, Areess, and Reilly (1963) has examined the relationship between one’s degree of extraversion and the impact noise has on performance, there has been little research into how COVID-19 has modified today’s learning environment. This study intended to examine the auditory changes COVID-19 has had on the work environment and how this has affected introverts’ and extroverts’, and their perceived performance. We hypothesized that introverts would be more adversely affected by their home’s auditory environment and that they would have a larger decrease in perceived performance from pre-COVID-19 to the present. Meanwhile, we predicted that extraverts would not be as adversely affected by the auditory environment and may even display a slight increase in their perceived performance compared to their pre-COVID-19 perceived performance rating.
Ninety-four participants from Roanoke College completed our online survey. Participants completed measures of introversion/extroversion, as well as a Perceived Performance Questionnaire, Change in Auditory Environment Questionnaire, and a Noise Sensitivity Questionnaire (measures how sensitive an individual is to auditory disruptions while working). Many of these scales were created to evaluate how variables such as auditory environment and perceived performance changed from before COVID-19 to now, so that we can examine whether perceived performance has been negatively impacted by environmental changes.
Results & Discussion
Our analysis revealed that our results supported several of our hypotheses; college students indicated that not only had their auditory environment become more distracting but that their performance had worsened during the COVID-19 crisis (see Figure 1). When evaluating the relationship between time period (Pre-COVID-19, Post-COVID-19), perceived performance, and auditory environment, we found that both perceived performance and auditory environment were negatively impacted by COVID-19. This indicates that COVID-19 is responsible for increasing the amount of auditory disturbances that are experienced while working and that it has also decreased students’ perceived performance.
Figure 1. The effect that time period has on auditory environment and perceived performance
Our results also supported our prediction that introverts would be more sensitive to noise disturbances, and that introverts would also have lower levels of post-COVID-19 perceived performance than extraverts would. A possible explanation for the poorer performance may be that introverts are more sensitive to noise disturbances, which means that an increase in auditory disruptions, caused by COVID-19, would result in this group’s poorer perceived performance. This supports Eysenck’s theory of personality, which theorizes that introverts’ performance would be more adversely affected by, in this case, their sensitivity to noise disturbances than extroverts would be (Eysenck, 1997). Therefore, the more sensitive an introvert (i.e. high introversion) is to noise the worse their perceived performance is, but the more sensitive an extravert (i.e. low introversion) is to noise the better their perceived performance is (see Figure 2). Overall, our results indicate that the current school environment has been detrimental to the introvert’s perceived school performance and should be changed.
Figure 2. The effect that introversion level has on an individual’s noise sensitivity and perceived performance after COVID-19.
The data collection process was a limitation because we could only obtain participants through Roanoke College’s SONA system which limited our pool of participants. Our limitations also included a lack of accessible research, the convenience sample, and the necessity to develop many of our own measures. Although there is very little research available, we learned how greatly COVID-19 has impacted the work and school environment and believe that further efforts should be made to understand the impacts of this ongoing pandemic.
Our results indicate that the new work environment, initiated by COVID-19, has not adversely affected extraverts and their perceived performance, which suggests that they may be able to continue functioning in this work environment after the conclusion of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, our results also indicate that the new work environment has brought on higher levels of auditory distractions into the work environment, which have negatively impacted introverts and their perceived performance. Our results indicate that, as COVID-19 comes to a close, employers and schools should give introverts the opportunity to return to their work environment and to work in a quieter environment that maximizes their performance.
Eysenck, H. J. (1977). Personality and factor analysis: A reply to Guilford. Psychological Bulletin, 84, 405-411.
Teichner, W. H., Arees, E. & Reilly, R. (1963). Noise and human performance, a psychological approach. Ergonomics, 6, 83-97.
Aaron Rogers, Vanessa Pearson, Courtney Ashley, & Ayars Lamar (Advisor: Chris Buchholz)
Humans are in fact social beings by nature—in addition to food and water, we also need social interaction to be healthy. For instance, research shows that that social isolation can lead to an increase in mental disorders (Santini et al., 2020). When considering the Covid-19 pandemic, we have seen a divide between individuals through the promotion of social distancing and the temporary closure of recreational businesses such as movie theaters and amusement parks. Institutions have implemented guidelines that have affected college students to limit the spread of the virus on campus. These guidelines are seen in various ways such as online teaching, social distancing of 6 feet in food courts, and the elimination of sporting events. These necessary precautions from institutions to prevent the spread of Covid-19 have also decreased social connectivity. The point of this study is to determine if increased social isolation causes increased levels of depression and daily stress in college students. There is limited research on the effects of social isolation from the pandemic on college students.
Our study included 52 college students as participants. In order to run the study, we had participants complete three questions on depression, daily stress, and social isolation. The participants went through each of the scales twice. The first time the participants completed the section, they had to reflect on how they remember themselves feeling before Covid struck around January of 2020. Once the participants completed each section reflecting back to January, they were given the exact same questionnaire but asked to answer it with how they are feeling now in the current semester. Researchers then compared their answers pre-Covid to how they were feeling post-Covid.
Results and Discussion
We found that both social isolation and daily stress increased during the pandemic; however, only the increase in stress was statistically significant (see Figure 1). We also found that depression showed an increase that was statistically significant from pre-Covid compared to post-Covid. (see Figure 2). This indicates, that contrary to our predictions, on average participants were not reporting significant increases in social isolation. However, this is an average and the reality is that some participants did see an increase. In conclusion, the increase in depression and stress is consistent with larger national trends and that is concerning.
Figure 1. Social Isolation and Daily Stress over time.
Figure 2. Depression levels from pre-Covid to post-Covid.
As a group, and individually, we have learned a lot about this pandemic and how it has affected the college-aged population in terms of depression and stress levels. A new normal has been set for the foreseeable future and that has been a tough pill to swallow for the Roanoke College community and for the entire world. All of us are upper-level college students, so we have seen the contrast between in-person schooling and online schooling, and it is not the same. We empathize with the new freshman because they may not have some of the same college experiences that we once had in a pre-pandemic world. Conducting this study and analyzing the data gave us an idea of how our community is feeling, and we cannot stress how important maintaining your mental health during these times are.
We would like people to realize how important it is to stay connected and to check up on each other during these extremely tough times. Being socially isolated has major effects on the psyche and realizing that is so important. Check in on your friends, family members, significant others, and try not to assume that everyone is doing okay during these times because more than likely someone is struggling.
Santini, Z. I., Jose, P. E., Cornwell, E. Y., Koyanagi, A., Nielsen, L., Hinrichsen, C., Meilstrup, C., Madsen, K. R., & Koushede, V. (2020). Social disconnectedness, perceived isolation, and symptoms of depression and anxiety among older Americans: A longitudinal mediation analysis. The lancet public health, 5(1), e62-e70.
The Psychology Department would like to welcome Dr. Anthony Cate to our faculty as our newest professor. The following is an interview with Dr. Cate where he answers some questions about himself, his interests in psychology, and what he’s looking forward to in terms of teaching at Roanoke College.
Where are you from?
I was born in New Jersey, and I moved a lot when I was young. I have lived in every state between Washington, D.C. and Boston, except for Delaware. After I got my Ph.D. I also lived in Canada (Ontario) and northern California.
Where did you receive your undergraduate degree from and what did you study in undergraduate? What was that experience like?
I got my undergraduate degree from Yale University. I began as a religious studies major, but I thought that those classes involved too much memorization of names and dates, so I switched to psychology. Actually, I switched to being a triple major, at least on paper: psychology, linguistics, and East Asian studies. I shed majors when I figured out that psychology interested me the most.
I was lucky that I was able to help out in three research labs that had different missions and lab cultures. I learned that I was bad at doing brain surgery in a rat lab. I lost some patients. Everyone there seemed anxious all the time too, which was poignant because anxiety was part of what they studied. I conducted my first research project in a lab that studied human fear conditioning. My advisor was a very kind scientist who helped me feel like an important part of the lab, but I disliked having to give participants electric shocks. I also frequented the lab of my favorite professor, who had taught my perception course. That lab was very welcoming. People could just walk in to say hi and check out the experiments, there was a dog, and the students were very productive. All of those experiences taught me to consider the social environment when I was choosing a graduate program.
Have you received any other additional degrees? Where did you receive them from?
I went to Carnegie Mellon University to get my Ph.D. in psychology, which was part of a joint neuroscience program with the University of Pittsburgh.
Have you taught anywhere else besides Roanoke College?
I first taught when I was a postdoctoral researcher at Western University in Canada. My advisor talked me and two other postdocs into teaching one third of a course each, which seemed like a lot at the time. Later I taught at Virginia Tech, where I worked for nine years before moving here to Roanoke.
What are you most excited about teaching at Roanoke College?
I am very excited to teach at Roanoke for many reasons! It has been hard for me not to talk a mile a minute while teaching during these first few weeks. It is exciting when students ask me questions, including when I don’t know the answer, because then I get to track the answers down later. I was very eager to start teaching smaller class sizes. I think personal interactions form the most effective ways to learn, and instructors get to learn from their students this way, too. It is also a privilege to join an excellent psychology department where the faculty and staff are so engaged in their mission.
What are your research interests? Why are you interested in this/these field(s)?
My research investigates how visual perception works, and how it influences other cognitive skills like memory and reasoning about numbers. I am particularly interested in understanding how different parts of the brain work together. I have studied techniques for visualizing computer models of brains in order to make maps of which cognitive skills are associated with different brain regions.
Can you tell us about any research you have already completed in these areas?
I have published some research about how we perceive the 3D structure of objects, and about how brain damage can alter these perceptions. I enjoyed learning how to make 3D images using computer graphics, and I especially liked getting to learn what people living with brain damage had to teach me about perception.
What course or courses are you currently teaching?
I am teaching Introduction to Psychology and Cognitive Psychology this semester, which is a great combination. I have been teaching Cognitive Psychology for over nine years, and it is so familiar to me that I get excited when my favorite topics are about to come up in class. I have never taught Intro Psych before. It feels like a big responsibility to introduce the entire field.
Are you interested in taking on students as research assistants?
Yes! Students make research better. I realized a few years ago that when undergraduates helped me with a project, we considered the problems less narrowly. The projects were much more enjoyable because of all the conversations we got to have.
What qualities are you looking for in any students who are interested in joining your lab?
Mainly curiosity, and an appreciation of research for its own sake. My research questions are usually less about “how can we apply this science?” and more about “how does this work?” I have had wonderful contributions from students with backgrounds in art and design, but that’s because we had similar interests, and not because students need any particular artistic abilities. The same has been true for students who are interested in neuroanatomy and computer science. A passion for those topics makes for a good fit, but students definitely don’t need to have expertise already.
Welcome to Roanoke College Dr. Cate! Thank you again for taking the time to answer our questions. We are excited to have you here and look forward to learning more about you in the semesters to come!
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!
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!
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. 1037/0022-0184.108.40.206
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/10.1037/0012-16220.127.116.110
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
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!
With spring break being only one week away the thought of summer may still seem distant in some mind’s, but it is quickly approaching. Summer break is a great time to explore opportunities in psychology and get experiences that go beyond the classroom. With the multitude number of research or internship opportunities available to students it can sometimes be challenging to figure out where to begin. Likewise, with summer comes graduation and the rush to find jobs begins. However,this websitehas got your back!
Whether it be a summer opportunity or a long-term job, this website is regularly updated with information on psychology opportunities. Not only does this website offer a numerous amount of resources but it is also easy to navigate. By providing filtering options such as the type of position you are looking for and what state you are looking to be in, there are options that would align with each student’s needs and interests. Moreover, this website also filters the positions on areas of psychology and includes opportunities in clinical, cognitive, cultural, developmental, educational, health, neuroscience, positive, and social psychology.
While you may not know quite yet what you want to do this summer or after graduation, this website is a great place to start searching and a great starting point to familiarize oneself with the endless opportunities that those studying psychology have! This website is updated frequently so if you don’t find a position that suits your needs or interests now, check back later!
Are you interested in getting a real world experience in Psychology? Then come to the Psychology Internship Information Session! The info session will be this Thursday, February 20, from 11:45 AM – 1:00 PM in Life Science 502.
This info session will provide you with all of the information you need about internships in psychology. Not only will deadlines, requirements, and opportunities be shared, but there will also be information shared on how to present yourself with resumes and cover letters.
If you are looking to get an experience in psychology outside of Roanoke College, complete an internship credit, or learn more about the benefits of internships then stop by this info session.
If you are interested in attending RSVP by 12 PM Wednesday, February 19, by contacting (540) 375-2462, or email@example.com
See Toni McLawhorn (Career Services), or Dr. Mary Camac or Dr. Danielle Findley-Van Nostrand for more information.
Beginning this semester, Roanoke College’s Psychology Department began offering a class on Clinical Psychology taught by Dr. Hilton for those interested in learning more about the field.
Goals for the class include:
Clearly delineate the field of clinical psychology from all related professions
Help students understand the unique skills and abilities of clinical psychologists and how these things can be used across the many settings we work in
Give students the basic tools to think like clinical psychologists and learn how to approach things systematically and scientifically to be informed consumers and ethical providers in the future
When asked about his hopes and expectations for the class, Dr. Hilton responded:
I think the class is beneficial for anyone with an interest in the field of mental health broadly. Even if you don’t pursue a clinical doctorate, the clinical psychologist’s approach to studying and treating mental health problems can (and should) be applied to any other field.
As part of the course, students will regularly be asked to apply their knowledge in the form of reaction papers, discussion, and research. Students will have the opportunity to speak with a licensed psychologist regarding their education, training and work life and will learn the basic skills of the assessment and therapy process, later applying these in a role play with the instructor.
In recognition of this new course offering, a series of blog posts focusing on exploring what clinical psychology is, the process of becoming a clinical psychologist, and what other, similar career options will be posted over the new few weeks.
We look forward to and are excited about this new opportunity for students at Roanoke College to learn more about what clinical psychology as, as well as hope that our future blog posts will also help aid students in learning more about what careers are available post-graduation.
If you have any questions about the field of clinical psychology, or about the class at Roanoke, you are encouraged to contact Dr. Dane Hilton at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Looking for research opportunities and/or internships this summer, but not sure where to start?
Never fear! I bring you good news.
The American Psychological Association provides a list of opportunities at major institutions for undergraduates. Such programs are available across the United States, from New York City to California.
Take a look at a few of those offered below, you may be surprised at what’s out there.
Students interested in research on language and/or cognitive development, have experience with research methods (especially psychology or linguistics), comfortable interacting with families in a professional setting, and have excellent problem-solving and teamwork abilities
Available to high school, undergraduate, graduate, and medical school students
Receive first-rate training in neuroscience, have opportunities to network, and obtain impressive credentials when competing for graduate school, medical school, predoc or postdoc fellowships, and tenure-track positions
Applications open from mid-December through March 1st
Requires: CV or resume, a list of coursework and grades (do not need a transcript at this time), a cover letter describing research interests and career goals, and the names and contact information for two references
Program is dedicated to research and education of substance use and co-occurring disorders, prepares students for graduate school and/or Senior thesis
Up to 12 students chosen, courses in statistics and research methodology are required to be eligible
11-week program from May 27th through August 7th
And there are plenty more opportunities as well. If you are interested in learning more, follow this link to the American Psychological Association’s website where all their recommended research/internships are listed.
The Gender Race and Cultural Empowerment (G.R.A.C.E.) lab is hosting a 6-week summer program offering students the opportunity for one-on-one mentorship and research experience. The G.R.A.C.E. Lab’s emphasis is on social psychology with a focus on the experiences of Black women in STEM education.
Recruiting study participants
Data collection and analyses
Attending weekly lab meetings
Qualifications for this position:
Strong academic performance in psychology,
with a GPA requirement of 3.25 (overall and
Dependability and takes initiative
Excellent interpersonal and communication skills
Rising juniors and seniors preferred
This program will run from June 8 – July 17, 2020, and will be hosted at Spelman College. You are expected to be committed for all 6 weeks. While attending this program, a stipend, housing for 6 weeks, and a campus meal plan will be included.
They will begin selecting applicants into the program on a rolling basis until February 14, 2020.
If you are interested in applying to this program follow this link and email your cover letter, curriculum vitae, and your most
recent unofficial academic transcript to Dr. Maria Jones, Postdoctoral Research Associate, at email@example.com!
Part of the broader NIH Summer Internship Program in Biomedical Research, the STAR Program participants (ranging from high school students to graduate or medical students) work with NIH Scientific Staff mentors regarding age-related research, culminating in presenting their research findings at the NIA Summer Student Poster Day.
While also there, participants learn about the scientific method, attend seminars, and may have the opportunity to co-author a journal article.
The aim is to provide students with the opportunity to developresearchskills through hands-on practice and seminars.
The program also provides aid regarding professionaldevelopment, through both the internship itself and assistance regarding applications to graduate or professional schools.
NIA Summer Internships range from eight to ten weeks, beginning in late May and ending mid-to-late August.
Participants will receive a stipend, with the amount depending on the level of education completed at the beginning of the internship.
If the NIA is not of interest, there are a number of other research opportunities through different NIH institutions. If interested in the other NIH research opportunities, follow this link to the NIH OITE Training Website where everything is broken down regarding overall opportunities through NIH and more.
For those interested in the NIA: applications will automatically be sent to the NIA if participants indicate such interest in the study of aging or designate the NIA as their NIH institute of choice on their application. To confirm that said application has been received by the NIA, please contact Recruitment Specialist, Ms. Arlene Jackson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For advice in terms of writing a successful application, follow this link to a PDF provided by the NIH Office of Intramural Training & Education.
Potential participants are also encouraged to contact either Ms. Jackson, as mentioned above, or Ms. Taya Dunn Johnson, Assistant to the NIA Deputy Scientific Director, at email@example.com, for further information.
The Center for Children and Families at Florida International University announces Summer Treatment Program Counselor, Research Assistant, and Teacher/Classroom Aide positions for 2020. 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. The Center for Children and Families is directed by William E. Pelham, Jr., Ph.D., who is a Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at Florida International University.
By participating in the STP, students will:
· Learn evidence-based techniques for working with children who have disruptive behavior disorders
· Gain valuable clinical and research experience to prepare for career and graduate school
· Help children to improve their social skills, sports skills, and academic skills
· Network with faculty members at the Center for Children and Families, as well as students from across the country.
Positions are available in three related programs serving children between the ages of 3-12. In each program, children and counselors are assigned to groups of four or five counselors and 10 to 15 children of similar age. Children participate in a variety of classroom-based and recreational activities. Staff members implement an extensive behavior modification treatment program during all program activities. The behavior modification program includes feedback and associated consequences for positive and negative behaviors, daily and weekly rewards for appropriate behavior, social praise and attention, appropriate commands, and age-appropriate removal from positive reinforcement. Staff members will also be responsible for recording, tracking, and entering daily records of children’s behavior and response to the treatment. Staff members will work under the supervision of experienced faculty and staff members and will receive regular feedback about their performance.
Experience in the STP may be helpful to prepare students for further study or employment in the fields of education, mental health, physical education, pediatrics, psychiatry, recreational therapy, behavior analysis, social work, counseling, and related areas. Staff members have uniformly reported the experience to be the most demanding but also the most rewarding clinical experience of their careers.
More than 100 positions are available across the three programs. Positions are available forundergraduate students, postbaccalaureate students, and graduate students. Detailed descriptions of each program, position descriptions, and application instructions are available at this link!
At the end of last semester on Thursday, December 5, students, faculty, and staff gathered in Fintel library to look at all of the amazing work the psychology department students have completed over the semester and summer. Various research posters and internship opportunities were shared and of course, the pizza was a hit among all session attendees! Check out the gallery of photos from the event below and congratulations to everyone who shared their research or internship on having a successful presentation and semester.
Roanoke College offers an amazing opportunity to do research with the Salem VA Medical Center. If you are looking to do research and think this could be something for you then continue reading to learn more about the program!
The Salem VA Medical Center offers the chance for Roanoke College undergraduates to gain experience working in research with a seasoned Principal Investigator (PI) on current medical research. Available research projects have included topics such as “Predictors of Treatment Response Among Veterans with PTSD”, “Mental Health in Rural Veterans with and without Traumatic Brain Injury”, and “Effect of Exercise Training on Inflammation and Function in HIV Infected Veterans”.
Students participate in research, analyze data, and present their work. Internship or Independent Study course credit is available through various departments at Roanoke College based on the particular project and student major.
Students interested should meet with the Director of Undergraduate Research, Dr. Chris Lassiter, in the fall semester or early in spring semester to discuss the program. An overall GPA of 3.4 or higher is preferred. An overall GPA of 3.0 or higher will be considered. To apply, submit a cover letter (with research interests), a CV, unofficial transcript, and two letters of recommendation to the Director of Undergraduate Research by February 28 for research in the summer or the next academic year (fall and spring semester).
For more information and other documents about this program you can follow this link.
Then this is the study for you! Even if you have no experience acting, everyone is welcome to participant so long as you are comfortable being recorded while acting out different scenes.
Dr. Dane Hilton is conducting a study in which you will be acting out different scenes and then evaluating your performance. These videos will be used in future research studies. but don’t stress if you have no experience acting, you can still come and participate!
Participants will be getting a $15 gift card for participating. This study is not being run through SONA, so if you are interested in signing up or have further questions then email Dr. Dane Hilton at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On October 10–12, Dr. Findley-Van Nostrand and Dr. Powell took three students to the Society for the Study of Emerging Adulthood (SSEA) Conference in Toronto, Canada to present research through poster sessions and presentations. These students included Casey Jo Gough ‘20, Sophie Bacon ‘20, and Abbey Packard ‘21.
Students presented research through two different poster presentations.Casey Jo Gough and Sophie Bacon both worked alongside Dr. Findley-Van Nostrand and presented their poster titled “Emerging Adults’ Social Goals for Peer Status: Associations with Aggressive Reactions to Provocation”.Abbey Packard worked alongside Dr. Powell and presented her poster titled “Teaching self-efficacy of emerging adults across a first-level education course with community-based learning”.
The students have since given some insight onto what it was like presenting at the conference as well as their reactions to Toronto:
Casey Jo Gough
The opportunity to not only partake in undergraduate research but to then fly out of the country to present at a professional conference was an unforgettable learning experience. This was my first experience leaving the country, and it was fun to explore the streets of Toronto and take in all the sights. Presenting at the conference gave me confidence in my research abilities as I prepare for grad school. I was able to speak to other researchers and received great advice about my career path as a future school psychologist. I think the best part of the conference experience was the opportunity to attend lectures and poster sessions of unpublished research. I was able to speak to other researchers about their studies and look at exciting unpublished data in my areas of interest. I can’t wait to see where my research will take me next!
Attending SSEA in Toronto was an incredible experience. Presenting our poster and findings was a really fulfilling experience and everyone who we talked to was so friendly and excited about our interest in research. Also, because I am still unsure of the direction that I want to go in when pursing graduated school, it was so helpful to talk to others who were recently in my shoes! I found walking and looking at all of the other posters to be really informative and eye-opening regarding the knowledge that we can learn about this newly defined stage of life. I felt very lucky that we were able to travel to such a cool place like Toronto, the city felt so walkable and had an abundance of hip-restaurants and soaring skyscrapers!
Canada was an amazing experience overall and as an undergraduate research student I gained lots of insight into graduate level research and felt confident being able to present my work to graduate and PhD students. The other presentations were extremely impressive and networking opportunities were all around which is always a bonus! Being able to go to Toronto was a wonderful experience thanks to the help of Dr. Powell! The city was beautiful and was an experience I’ll never forget.
Dr. Powell also presented one poster titled “Emerging Adults’ Bid Responses: A Pilot Study on Romantic Communication” as well as two papers, “How to break up: Individual differences in emerging adults’ normative beliefs about ghosting” and “Emerging adults’ perceptions of what it means to be “Talking””.
Congratulations to all those who attended the conference and for having successful presentations!
This past summer Rachel Harmon was selected as a recipient of the 2018-2019 Summer Mamie Phipps Clark Diversity Undergraduate Research Grant from Psi Chi, the international psychology honorary, where she spent several weeks in Mexico working on her project titled, “Cross-Cultural Comparison of Caregiver Concerns and Resources for Children with Disabilities.”
Rachel Harmon was in the list of top 11 applications and so Dr. Powell was awarded a faculty stipend as well.
A brief interview was done with Harmon to learn more about this project and process:
Thank you for taking time to answer some questions, to start off, can you describe what the grant process was like and how you discovered it?
I began the grant application process in December of last year but ended up not submitting the grant until the May due date. I heard about the grant through Dr. Powell, who recommended applying, and advised me throughout the process. The grant required me to provide a concise version of my Literature Review and a brief Methodology section, and all the scales that I would use. I found that the grant helped me to determine the specific methodology I would use for my project and helped me to determine the specific scales that I would use.
Can you tell me more about your project?
The title of my project is “Cross-Cultural Comparison of Caregiver Concerns and Resources for Children with Disabilities”. I have collected both observational and quantitative data in both Mexico and the United States to compare the resources that are available for children with disabilities in each country and how this impacts caregiver stress levels and the emotions they feel, regarding caring for their child with a disability. I originally got the idea for my project when I traveled to Nicaragua the summer before my freshman year. While I was walking through a market in Managua, I saw a woman who was working and had her daughter who had a disability in what we would consider a baby stroller. I have worked a lot with individuals, specifically with children with disabilities and developmental delays, and I was naturally compelled to investigate the topic further.
What drew you to Mexico for this project?
I was originally supposed to return to Nicaragua for my project, but due to the current political environment, it was not ideal for travel. Jesse Griffin, who serves on the committee of my project knew of several connections that our college has with research facilities and other institutions in the Yucatán. One of the facilities was conveniently across the street from a Centro de AtenciónMúltiple, which is a government funded special education school, which was a great resource for collecting observational data and distributing surveys.
What did a normal day look like for you in Mexico as you worked on this project?
For the first month I spent in Mexico I was in Oxkutzcab, which was a small, rural town. This was where the C.A.M. school was. Each weekday I would go to the school at 7:30, and I would rotate which classroom I was in each day. The school has seven classes serving student from ages 2-28. Depending on which classroom I was in, I would either observe the class, and participate in class activities, or work one on one with students who needed more individualized attention. The school days in Mexico only last from 7:30 to 12:30, so in the afternoons I would explore or relax, and work on other research tasks.
I spent the second month in the capital of the Yucatán, Mérida. Here, I was working with an internationally run non-profit called SOLYLUNA. The organization provides special education opportunities and access to physical therapy, speech therapy, and occupational therapy for children who have a diagnosis of multiple disabilities and their caregivers. The dynamic of the organization was very different than the C.A.M. school, so it was an adjustment. The organization requires that a caregiver accompanies the child for the full day from 7:30-1:30. My job as a volunteer was to assist the parents when needed, and to observe the teachers and therapists. I also worked with the volunteer coordinator and director of the organization to create a document about potential resources to provide for caregivers, and I took pictures for them to use for promotion purposes. Since I was now in a larger city there was a lot more to explore in the afternoons, and I enjoyed travelling on the weekends.
You mentioned that you had opportunities to explore while in Mexico, what was the coolest place you visited/most favorite?
I did have a lot of time to explore while I was in Mexico, especially on the weekends. I enjoyed exploring nearby townsand venturing further to other landmarks. I think my favorite place I traveled to while in Mexico was Isla las Mujeres. This was an island off the coast of Cancún, where we were able to hear lots of live music, enjoy the beach, and go snorkeling. I met a group of other students from Millsaps College, in Mississippi while I was there, and I enjoyed traveling with them and meeting them at different places on some weekends.
If given the opportunity would you go back and work, there again?
Absolutely! While I was there, I formed a lot of connections with the kids, caregivers, teachers and therapists that I was working with and I would love to see them again (I miss them a lot)! It was hard to leave such amazing people, and such an amazing place.
Is there anything else you would like us to know?
Overall, my experiences in Mexico taught me more than I could have ever imagined. I especially learned a lot about collecting data in another culture, which is an experience I consider myself lucky to have had at this point in my academic career. Whether it is through research, or a different study abroad program, I highly recommend spending time in another country to everyone, because it allows you to learn so much about yourself and the world.
Congratulations again to Rachel Harmon and Dr. Powell and thank you for taking time to answer some questions!
Are you interested in taking a class in another part of the world? If so, come out to the Ballroom this Thursday, September 5 between 12 – 1 pm to hear about the awesome May Term Travel courses being offered this coming spring! Dr. Powell will be there sharing information on the course she is teaching, IL 377: Emerging Adults in Thailand – A Cross-Cultural Society, which counts as an elective for those in the Human Development concentration but is also a wonderful opportunity for all those interested in human development. Other faculty will be sharing about their courses that are also being offered as well!
UVA Educational Psych – Applied Developmental Science Master’s Program is still accepting applications!
If you are interested in learning more about how developmental processes impact learning in an educational and community environment, and enjoy conducting research to improve the lives of youth, then this program would be a great fit for you!
The Applied Developmental Science Master’s Program at UVA is 12 month long and gives you the opportunity to work with and learn from their supportive faculty. You will learn more about human development, educational psychology, and research methods. As part of this program, you are expected to complete a 6 credit (200 hour) internship with a local lab or community-based organization.
What can you do with this degree? Graduates go on to become educators, researchers, or consultants working in a variety of settings including schools, labs, and non-profit organizations.
Applications are due May 15th, and the program has a new start date of June 3rd. To learn more about the program click HERE.
The second part of the blog posts discussing the students and professors who traveled to Baltimore on March 21st through 23rd to present research at the Society for Research in Child Development Biennial Conference, this post will focus on Dr. Powell’s Research Lab.
Students and professors presented research through six different poster presentations, as well as one essay presentation that was part of a symposium. Dr. FVN and Dr. Powell presented one poster together, titled “Variations on a Lifespan Development Project Intended to Enhance Quality of Student Outcomes and Reflection of Reality.” Dr. Buchholz’s and Dr. FVN’s labs collaborated to present their work on “Early Adolescent Cognitive and Affective Empathy: Direct and Interactive Ties to Social-Emotional Adjustment.”
The students who traveled include: Taylor Kracht ’18 (alumna; Dr. Powell’s lab), Cody Dillon-Owens ’19 (worked with both Dr. FVN and Dr. Buchholz; officially part of Dr. Buchholz’s lab), Aislinn Foutz ’19 (Dr. FVN’s lab), Kiah Coflin ’19 (Dr. Powell’s lab), Ciprianna Azar ’19 (Dr. FVN’s lab), Rachel Harmon ’20 (Dr. Powell’s lab) , and Alaina Birkel ’21 (Dr. Powell’s lab).
Descriptions of the presentations have been included to learn more about the types of research the two labs are doing.
Dr. Powell’s Research Lab
The first disciplinary conference that I attended was SRCD during my senior year of college. I was not presenting that year, but rather I tagged along with the faculty member and graduate students with whom I was working. I am very appreciative that Roanoke College also supports undergraduates to attend and present at disciplinary conferences! Hearing the students enthusiastically discuss the scholars they heard from and the ideas it provoked related to their research between sessions and over group dinners is exactly why I encourage my research assistants to attend a disciplinary conference.
SRCD’s biennial conference is quite large and so it can be difficult choosing between sessions to attend, as so many overlap at a single time. However, I was able to attend several that are related to my research agenda as well as a few related to topics that I teach in my Life-Span and Child Development courses. Another thing that I make it a point to do at conferences is to reconnect with colleagues. My Alma mater, WVU, hosted a social for current students and alumni of their developmental program, and I was able to grab lunch with a few other colleagues. It was enjoyable catching up with them and updating each other on the status of our careers.
Kiah Coflin ’19:
This year’s biennial SRCD conference was held at the Baltimore convention center and it was huge! I have attended a poster presentation before, but my expectations were exceeded by SRCD, its number of intriguing speakers and talk topics, and its overall expanse across the convention center. It was certainly unique to see so many approaches to childhood and development, and an incredible experience to network with other students, professors, and scholars!
Personally, I presented a poster with my fellow lab mate, Rachel Harmon, on preliminary data exploring the impact of short-term, study-abroad programs on the Intercultural Competencies (ICCs) of Emerging Adults (EAs)… AKA I got to talk about my amazing May Term! We discussed the changes my May Term class perceived in our ICCs from a month before our trip, the middle of our trip, and a week after we returned. Our poster was well received and many were interested in how the data collection will progress when Dr. Powell continues to bring more students on future May Terms to Thailand!
Overall, there were three posters presented from this lab, though one was presented by Dr. FVN and Dr. Powell.
This particular poster was presented at the “Developmental Teaching Institute pre-conference on possible modifications to the life-span paper project.”
The other two posters were presented by students and Dr. Powell. As mentioned above, Kiah Coflin, Dr. Powell, and Rachel Harmon discussed their findings in conjunction with Dr. Nipat Pichayayothin of Chulalongkorn University “on the development of students’ intercultural competencies” during their May Term course to Thailand in 2017.
The other poster was presented by Taylor Kracht (an alumna, now studying at William & Mary), and Alaina Birkel, who presented a poster based on Kracht’s “Honors in the Major project at the conference on how emerging adults’ implicit theories of relationships can be modified after watching certain types of romantic media.”
Interested in doing a year of service? Continue reading to learn more about the Literacy Lab!
What? The Literacy Lab is an AmeriCorps partner program that helps to build strong readers in the Greater Richmond area, Hampton Roads, and other cities across the country. The Literacy Lab works to ensure that all students receive the help they need to read at a proficient level. The Literacy Lab trains and places full-time literacy tutors in schools to assess and coach students.
When? Full-time capacity for 11-months from August 2019-July 2020.
Why? The benefits of completing a year of service with the Literacy Lab include a modest living allowance, federal student loan forbearance, earning the Segal Education Award, transferable professional development skills and more!
How? If you fit all of the requirements, and wish to apply for the Literacy Lab click here and hit the green APPLY button in the top right corner!
Riker Lawrence ’21 discusses her experience presenting at the Mid-Atlantic Undergraduate Research Conference below.
Attending the Mid-Atlantic Undergraduate Research Conference last weekend was an interesting experience for me. In the past, I have attended conferences that mainly focused on behavioral science. This conference included multiple different fields of research, so I learned many new concepts in fields such as physics, wood science, and chemistry. I enjoyed learning about information that I wouldn’t normally research on in my specific field. My poster presentation focused on Psychological Capital (PsyCap) and workplace attitudes. Specifically, my lab mate and I examined associations between PsyCap, well-being, and how employees write about their jobs. We also explored the usefulness of Maslow’s (1943) Hierarchy of Needs in coding participants’ writings about their jobs, because his theory can be used to explain human needs. Overall, I thought the conference was well organized and provided a good research experience to undergraduates.
Congratulations to Lawrence for her successful presentation on Psychological Capital and workplace attitudes!
Molly Zydel discusses her recent presentation at JMU for the 10th Annual MadRush Undergraduate Conference below.
I presented part of my Honors in the Major/Distinction Project at the 10th Annual MadRush Undergraduate Conference hosted by James Madison University on Saturday, March 16th. The presentation focused on part of the larger project, which seeks to understand foster parents’ perceptions of former foster care youth, former foster care youth’s perceptions of themselves, and college students perceptions of former foster care youth on different aspects of their academic identity, specifically academic self-efficacy, resiliency, and academic expectations and attainment. The presentation at MadRush focused on the data I have collected from foster parents concerning their perceptions of foster care youth on these constructs.
Rather than your typical poster presentation session, I had the chance to give an actual presentation in front of a room concerning the project. The presentation went very well, as did the following discussion. The session consisted of 3 total presentations, all from different disciplines, that all in some way focused on populations of youth who are not the normal. There was a presentation on juvenile sex offenders, one on the orphan trains, and my presentation. It went very well, and it was interesting to see how different disciplines connect together to engage in a conversation about youth from different perspectives. Overall, I enjoyed the conference!
Thank you to Molly Zydel for taking time to tell us about her research and presentation at MadRush! Congratulations on your successful presentation and we look forward to seeing what you will do in the future!
Interested in gaining experience this summer working with children with ADHD and related behavioral, emotional and learning challenges?
The Center for Children and Families at Florida International University offers training opportunities for both undergraduate and graduate students through their Summer Treatment Program to learn and help children improve their ‘problem-solving, academic functioning, and social skills.’
The Summer Treatment Program focuses on providing evidence-based intensive treatments through group and tailored individual programs in a therapeutic summer camp style. The program is eight weeks. The children are divided into two programs according to their ages: STP Pre-K and STP Elementary.
Beth Macy, the author of the 2018 nonfiction book Dopesick, visited the Roanoke College community for several days in early February. Dopesick is a compelling read about the impact of opioid addiction in several communities and the struggle of those who try, often repeatedly, to cease use. Much has been written about addiction, but this book really brought home the human impact and reminded the reader that the addicts are sons, daughters, parents, siblings who are loved and valued. The book also illustrated how frustrating the treatment process is for the users and their families, especially given that medication-assisted treatment has demonstrably the best outcome but yet meets with a great deal of opposition from many quarters. As a mom myself, I really felt for the parents of users who loved their children and wanted to help them, yet often found themselves overwhelmed and feeling helpless in the process.
Beth met informally with a group of our psychology students on February 5. She presented a heartfelt account of the opioid crises and how it has impacted the lives of so many Americans. She spoke about the fact that opioid addiction is something that can and does happen to people from every background, illustrating this point with stories of a young local woman from a well-off family who became addicted after taking opioids medicinally and ultimately met a tragic end. She spoke passionately about how misconceptions of addiction and of medication as treatment for addiction are limiting the options for people who are addicted, and that it is often literally a life or death situation. Students asked her what they could do to help, and she talked about being politically involved, educating people about medication as a treatment for addiction, and even learning how to carry and use the opioid antagonist Narcan. My own students later commented that they had not realized how difficult treatment can be to access and that drug courts and needle exchanges could have real benefits to users as well as the communities around them. While reading about these addiction and treatment is very informative, it was a great experience to hear directly from Beth and to be able to ask questions. It would be fantastic if the community can use the information from this experience to improve the lots of users and their families.
Congratulations to Aislinn Foutz ’19 for her successful Honors in the Major and Honors Distinction Project defense last semester! Her project was titled “Parental and Peer Factors in Children’s Theory of Mind Development” and Dr. Findley-Van Nostrand was her advisor. Foutz is now working towards building off of this work and applying to graduate programs to continue studying Theory of Mind. She also has a presentation under review to present this work at the Society for Research on Child Development in the Spring.
Aislinn Foutz describes her project and how she felt about defending it below:
For my Honors in the Major/Distinction Project, I collected parent-reports of children’s theory of mind and various other parental and peer/social variables and found a number of significant associations. For instance, theory of mind was positively associated with variables such as parental willingness to serve as an attachment figure, closeness in parent-child relationships, mind-mindedness, and pro-social behavior, whereas theory of mind was negatively associated with conflict in parent-child relationships and various peer difficulties (e.g., peer problems). Follow-up analyses revealed child age, closeness, and mind-mindedness seem to be especially important to children’s theory of mind development, and that, although these associations were significant throughout early, middle, and late childhood, the closeness-theory of mind relationship was strongest in early childhood. I am aiming to extend this research in several ways, primarily by examining how various sub-types of theory of mind (e.g., belief and desire) may relate differently to these parental and peer factors.
Dr. Findley-Van Nostrand was my research mentor for this project and working with her was a great experience. Whenever I needed help, she was always readily available. She also helped me sharpen my research skills while challenging me to learn new ones.
Although I was nervous for my defense, I was also excited for the opportunity to share my research. Successfully defending my distinction/honors in the major project was a rewarding experience, and now I’m looking forward to continuing to extend this research.
Congratulations again to Aislinn Foutz ’19! Thank you for taking time to answer our questions! We look forward to seeing what you will accomplish in the future.
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!
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!
Congratulations to Dr. Dane Hilton on obtaining his Clinical Psychologist licensure! He explains the process of attaining the licensure and his future plans below.
On November 14 I received an email from the Virginia Board of Psychology that I had been approved for licensure as a Clinical Psychologist in Virginia. This was a pretty exciting moment and marked the final step in a long process that started over 8 years ago when I decided to pursue a career as a psychologist.
To become a licensed psychologist in most states, you must complete your PhD from an APA accredited program, complete a year-long clinical internship year from an APA accredited internship site, fulfill post-doctoral or pre-doctoral supervised clinical hour requirements, and pass the 225 question Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP).
It’s a lot but I thoroughly enjoyed (almost) every moment of my training and education.
Now that I have my license, I can pursue independent practice as a clinical psychologist. More specifically, this means I can engage in therapy, assessment, consultation, and supervision of trainees within the Commonwealth of Virginia. I am very excited to begin working in the greater Roanoke community to help provide access to mental health services. I do not yet have a specific plan for clinical practice and I am really just enjoying the feeling of relief to have made it over that last hurdle in my clinical training.
I am always happy to talk with students who are curious about the field of clinical psychology or who want to talk about the specifics of education and training.
Congratulations again to Dr. Hilton!
If you would like to know more about becoming a Clinical Psychologist or have any questions, please feel free to contact Dr. Hilton at email@example.com.
Interested in psychology, human development, or neuroscience?
Then an upcoming talk at the nearby Virginia Tech Research Institute (VTCRI) on November 29th at 5:30 pm might be of interest to you!
The talk, titled “Synapses Lost and Found: Developmental Critical Periods and Alzheimer’s Disease”, is part of the VTCRI Maury Strauss Distinguished Public Lecture series, will be given by Stanford’s Dr. Carla Shatz.
As the talk relates to neuroscience and human development, the psychology department is encouraging and organizing students in multiple classes and in the Neuroscience Concentration and the Human Development Concentration to attend.
The psychology department can provide transportation for students or faculty who need to or are interested in carpooling for the event but we need to know by the end of the day on November 26th (TODAY) regarding whether or not we will take a van.
If you plan to attend the talk on November 29th, please fill out the Doodle poll at: https://doodle.com/poll/cupicv2v6qqmdprv. Feel free to send the survey link to other students or faculty that you think would be interested in attending.
The Salem VA Medical Center offers the chance for Roanoke College undergraduates to gain experience working in research with a seasoned Principal Investigator (PI) on current medical research. Available research projects have included topics such as “Predictors of Treatment Response Among Veterans with PTSD”, “Mental Health in Rural Veterans with and without Traumatic Brain Injury”, and “Effect of Exercise Training on Inflammation and Function in HIV Infected Veterans”.
If you are interested in completing research with the Salem VA Medical Center, please meet with the Director of Undergraduate Research (Dr. Chris Lassiter, Associate Professor of Biology) in the fall semester or early in spring semester to discuss the program.
Application and Requirements:
An overall GPA of 3.4 or higher is preferred (though an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher will be considered).
Materials to submit include:
cover letter (with research interests),
unofficial transcript and
two letters of recommendation
Please submit the above materials to the Director of Undergraduate Research by February 15 for research in the summer or the next academic year (fall and spring semester).
Alumni Lauren Ratcliffe, Sabrina McAllister, Jacob Johnson, and Paige Dzindolet published their research seminar in neuroscience project from fall of 2016 in IMPULSE, an undergraduate neuroscience journal.
Their project, titled ‘During Ascending and Descending Limbs of the Blood Alcohol Concentration Curve’ uses a computerized trail making test in place of driving performance tests in order to better ascertain neurocognitive impairments associated with varying blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels. Follow this link to go to the original article.
Students in Dr. Nichols’ research seminar in neuroscience have published their projects at a rate of one student publication per year.
Congratulations to our alumni on their recent publication!
Graduating Magna Cum Laude with Honors in Psychology from Roanoke College in 2017, Ratcliffe obtained a B.S. in Psychology and a concentration in Neuroscience. Ratcliffe is currently pursuing a Psy.D. at Mercer University in Clinical Medical Psychology with an emphasis on posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Ratcliffe also works as a research assistant at Mercer.
A Phi Beta Kappa member, McAllister obtained a B.S. in Psychology, a minor in Biology, and a concentration in Neuroscience from Roanoke College. McAllister graduated with ten semesters of psychology research experience in 2018. She is currently working as a psychometrist at Carilion Clinic in Roanoke, VA, with a goal of pursuing her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology.
Graduated in 2017 from Roanoke College with Honors in Psychology, a minor in Biology, and a concentration Neuroscience. He studied in Germany in the summer of 2016 and was recruited to Phi Beta Kappa as a junior. Johnson intends on pursuing a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology to teach college-level courses and perform therapy.
Dzindolet graduated in 2017 with a B.S. in Psychology and a minor Biology. In 2016, Dzindolet interned at Virginia Museum of Natural History where she worked with dinosaur bones and fossils, among other things. She is currently interested in obtaining a position involving Forensic Psychology and Criminology.
Saint Joseph’s University, ranked as one of America’s best colleges in 2011 by USNews, is hosting a virtual open house on Monday, November 12th at 2:00 pm.
The university offers an MS in psychology with particular emphasis on experimental psychology. This is a full-time program designed to provide students with a solid grounding in the scientific study of psychology. All students in the program are assigned to a mentor and conduct an empirically based research thesis under his/her direction.
Information on how to attend the open house can be found here
Want to gain more experience, add to your resume, and find out more about a career you are interested in?
Consider attending the Psychology Internship Information Session on Tuesday, October 30th from 11:45 am to 1:00 pm in Life Science 502!
The information session is your opportunity to learn more about available internships in psychology, as well as requirements and deadlines. You can also get advice on how to present yourself well with resumes and cover letters.
Pizza will be provided, but please bring your own drink.
RSVP by Monday, October 29th at noon, by either calling (540)375-2462 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have any questions or want more information, please contact Toni McLawhorn from Career Services or Dr. Mary Camac. They will happy to help you!
Don’t miss out on this opportunity (including the free pizza)! We hope to see you there.
Interested in working with children after graduation?
Casa de Esperanza, a non-profit in Houston, Texas, provides residential care to children from birth through six years of age. These children are in crisis due to abuse, neglect, or the effects of HIV. Among their different programs is the Hands of Hope internship.
These interns, most of whom are recent college graduates, join the organization for a year working full-time. Interns live with the children they are caring for in agency homes, alongside generally three other interns who all share the responsibility of taking care of the children. One intern is designated the foster parent. Interns come from all across the United States. In addition to taking care of household needs, making sure they get to their appointments, and other such responsibilities, these interns also work with “case workers, psychological staff and community volunteers”.
In order to apply, one must be 21 years old, willing to work full-time for a year, a valid U.S. Driver’s License, and a college degree is preferred. Furthermore, one must be in good physical shape and be flexible and patient.
Dr. Dane Hilton will be discussing mental health in rural Appalachia tomorrow (Wednesday, October 3rd) at 7:00 pm in Life Science 502. Specifically, in terms of prevalent mental health diagnoses and problems with accessibility to treatment in these areas.
This talk is sponsored by the Roanoke College Honors Program.
Dr. Dane Hilton was asked by a student assistant to discuss mindfulness meditation, specifically about what mindfulness is and the many misconceptions regarding it. Thank you, Dr. Hilton, for taking time to write this post. Enjoy!
Mindfulness meditation is a topic that has exploded into the popular culture in the past 10-15 years. In 2018 alone, dozens of books have been published with Mindfulness as the main subject, with titles including Mindful Me: Mindfulness and Meditation for Kids by Whitney Stewart, Falling Awake: How to Practice Mindfulness in Everyday Life by Jon Kabat-Zinn, and the cutely illustrated A Sloth’s Guide to Mindfulness by Ton Mak. A quick search of Google Scholar for the term “mindfulness meditation” included in anything published in 2018 gets you 129,000 hits. I will admit I did not filter through all of those results to verify but the point is this: mindfulness is getting a lot of attention.
As a researcher of mindfulness meditation, I am glad that this topic is getting its time in the limelight. Mindfulness has the potential to improve the lives of humans in a variety of ways, though the questions of how, in what ways, for whom, and under what circumstances are still up for debate and empirical examination. While I am happy on one hand, on the other hand I do worry about issues that arise with the rapid increase in interest surrounding mindfulness. As we all know, popular things are marketable things. They generate buzz, get people to click on your article or blog post (like this one!), and make publishers excited when you come to them with a “cutting edge” book that claims to cure all that ails you. When demand increases, everyone is more than happy to contribute to the supply. Unfortunately, that increased quantity doesn’t equal quality. Quite frankly- you may not even get what you think you are getting…So I want to briefly talk about what mindfulness is, clarify what it is not, and present some literature supporting why I still believe you should care.
Let me be clear: mindfulness meditation is not new. It is not “cutting edge.” It is not a product of new technology or “third-wave” psychology or even a better understanding of human nature. Mindfulness is actually quite old. The mindfulness that most folks think of today is actually rooted in thousands of years of history in Eastern religions, including Judaism, Hinduism, and Buddhism. The practice itself is not new. What is new is the recognition by researchers in health and medicine that meditation can have profound physical and psychological effects on the body. I will mention some of these toward the end of this post. Regrettably, the influx of passengers on the mindfulness bandwagon- that, I must admit, includes me- has sometimes led to a watering down, or even total misrepresentation, of mindfulness.
So what is mindfulness? Mindfulness, simply put, is an open and nonjudgmental stance toward one’s present moment experiences. In other words, mindfulness is an approach to existence marked by awareness and acceptance of the full spectrum of human experience- including all the things we think of as positive (e.g., joy, surprise, laughter, love), negative (e.g., sadness, fear, loss, anger), and anything in between. We can be mindful of physical sensations (e.g., breath, pain, fatigue), thoughts (e.g., “I’m awesome,” “I feel so stupid right now”), emotions (e.g., sadness, happiness, irritation), interactions with others, experiences of the outer world, and even our relationship to ourselves via our inner world. It is an approach to living that allows you to experience fully- embracing, rather than fighting, all the things that come with being human.
So what is mindfulness not? It is not a “tool.” It is not one more technique you pull out of your grab bag of breathing exercises, stress relief tactics, and progressive muscle relaxation scripts to use when life starts getting to you. It is not a shield from the tension and busyness of this thing we call life. Despite the fact that mindfulness is clearly not meant to beat back hectic schedules, difficult relationships, troubling inner thoughts, or anxiety about impending deadlines, much of the information you will find on mindfulness presents as just that- a tool to guard against the horrors of 21st century life. Decreased stress, increased sense of well-being, better clarity of thought, and improved psychological functioning are certainly potential byproducts of regular mindfulness practice but to say that you should engage in mindfulness with those things as the goal is to totally miss the point. All the cool effects of mindfulness that make for attention grabbing headlines are, in fact, just side effects of a more open, aware, and accepting approach to the stuff life slings our way.
Another thing that mindfulness is not is a religion. I think this is an important distinction because in my short time practicing mindfulness and talking with others about it, the issue of whether mindfulness is indicative of a specific religious group or set of beliefs is often a sticking point and potential barrier to individuals looking further into it. While mindfulness meditation certainly does have roots in religion and can even be traced back to specific religious teachings, as I mentioned a few paragraphs back, the basic tenets of mindfulness meditation can fit within any number of worldviews and beliefs. If you believe that life happens now- not 5 seconds ago or 5 seconds from now- then mindfulness might just be for you.
So now that we have a brief outline for what mindfulness is and what it is not, we still have the question of why you should care. The first reason I will suggest is simply an opinion- and probably a philosophical one at that. Life is happening now. Life is happening in this present moment and once that moment passes, it is gone for good. A mindful stance to life helps us to experience these moments more fully- in essence, living more fully. Maybe it’s just me but I don’t want my life to pass by not having had the chance to truly live it. The second reason comes from my practical and scientific side- mindfulness appears to be immensely beneficial to those who practice it. As I said earlier- health and wellness are not the explicit goals of mindfulness practice, but it does have some super nice side effects.
Mindfulness practice has been associated with improved cognitive functioning (Zeidan et al., 2010), fewer depression and anxiety symptoms (Chiesa & Serretti, 2011; Hofmann et al., 2010), improved adjustment to major health problems (e.g., cancer diagnosis; Ledesma & Kumano, 2008), less pain and improved functioning in those with chronic pain (Zeidan et al., 2012), greater engagement in positive health behaviors (Jacobs et al., 2016), improved self-regulation and greater resilience in children (Coholic et al., 2012; Semple et al., 2010), and functional brain changes in areas associated with self-regulation/emotion regulation, higher cognitive function, and memory, among other functions (Gotnik et al., 2016; Gartenschläger et al., 2017). This isn’t even close to a comprehensive list but you can check this article for a well-written overview of some of the benefits of mindfulness practice. There is a reason so many people are studying mindfulness and other forms of meditation. It is an exciting time in research as we come to better understand the numerous effects of mindfulness and the mechanisms by which these effects occur.
I will end this post with a final thought on our conceptualization of mindfulness. You may have seen a picture depicting a cartoon human whose thought bubble is “mind full” while his cartoon dog’s thought bubble is “mindful.” The dog is supposedly more mindful because his thought bubble reflects the environment he is in- sun, grass, trees- while the human’s mind is filled with busyness- thoughts of other people, cars, music, bills, etc. I get the artist’s intention but I still think this misses the mark. Part of being human is that our minds are often wild and out of control. Even in this state, we can be mindful of our experience. It is when we stop fighting against the experience of the moment that we can start to appreciate living in the moment. This is mindfulness.
The following is a brief interview with Dr. Stacy Wetmore, a new tenure-track professor at Roanoke College. A student assistant was recently able to interview her to learn more about her, her interests, and some cool facts that readers may not know. There’s a picture of a cute puppy at the end of this interview: keep reading to see it.
So, how do you like Roanoke so far? Is it very different from what you’re used to?
So far, I’m loving it!! I’m excited that the semester is underway and I get to teach some really interesting topics. I like that I have fairly small class sizes and I will know all of my students’ names in no time. RC is similar in a lot of ways to where I most recently taught, so now it’s just a matter of learning the little quirks about how about things work here. One thing that is a little different are the class times, so I’m always a bit nervous I’m going to be late!
Where did you go to undergraduate and graduate school?
For my undergraduate (BA in Psychology) and Master’s degree (Experimental Psychology) I was at The University of Alabama in Huntsville. And I got my PhD from the University of Oklahoma. (Dr. Osterman and I actually met there many years ago!!!).
What classes are you teaching right now and what types of courses will you be teaching in the future?
Currently, I’m teaching two sections of the INQ 260 Psychology in the Media, and one PSYC 101 Introduction to Psychology. In the near future, I’ll be teaching Cognitive Psych and Research Methods. I will also be developing (over the upcoming years) a new INQ 110, a Memory course, and a Psychology and Law/Forensic Psych course as well.
What are some of your past and current research experiences and interests?
My most exciting research experience was getting to be a Postdoctoral Researcher at Royal Holloway, University of London, in Egham, England. I hadn’t yet finished my dissertation, but accepted a position overseas to work on a project evaluating the U.K.’s eyewitness identification system/technique. I got to be a researcher, without any teaching responsibilities for 1.5 years and learned a lot of new stuff, as well as did research that could inform policy abroad.
In terms of research interests, Dr. Wetmore explains…
The overall focus of my research examines the intersection between cognition and the legal system. Research that I have been involved in, thus far, has been in three major areas.
The first is research on jailhouse informants. Jailhouse informants are a leading cause of wrongful conviction, yet very little is known about this form of evidence, including how jurors perceive and weigh this information, and if there are effective safeguards against it.
Another cause of wrongful conviction that I have studied are eyewitness identifications. Specifically, my research focused on show-up identification procedures, in which the individual must make a decision from a single face. My colleagues and I found that the show-up was a more unreliable memory test than a more traditional six-pack lineup. I’m interested in developing other procedures or methods of evaluating eyewitness memory in order to make it a more effective source of evidence at trial.
Lastly, related to eyewitness identifications, I’m interested in facial processing and memory in general. Humans are made specially to be able to process faces super-fast and efficiently, however there are still instances when this mechanism breaks down and I’m interested in examining these instances when it falters. For instance, a well-known phenomenon is the cross-race effect, or own-race bias, in which we are better at identifying someone from our own race better than from another race. Although we know the phenomenon exists, little is known about what cognitively could be different in the processing so I want to investigate this issue further.
What are some random/cool facts about you?
I was a collegiate athlete in tennis.
I lived abroad for 2 years in England as a postdoctoral researcher.
Super allergic to 100% grape juice – but can drink the not healthy stuff, wine, and eat grapes… I think this fits under random.
Is there anything else that you’d like to mention?
I have the cutest (I might be biased) 7 month old puppy, Daisy, that I walk around campus every morning between 6-7 (depending on when I can drag myself out of bed) and every evening, so anyone who runs into us is welcome to say hello. 🙂
Thank you Dr. Wetmore for taking your time to answer our questions, and welcome again to Roanoke College! We are glad to have you here (and Daisy too)!
A student assistant for the psychology department recently interviewed Dr. Dane Hilton, a new faculty member this semester, about himself, his interests in psychology, and some other little-known facts.
The following is the interview:
So, how do you like Roanoke so far? Is it very different from Alabama?
I have really enjoyed settling into the Roanoke area. It is a good bit different from Alabama geographically, as Alabama is fairly flat where I lived in Tuscaloosa. At the same time, I’m from western North Carolina originally and spent five years in Boone for school, so being back in the Appalachian region is kind of like coming home. The area reminds me a lot of some of the cooler places I’ve visited in the south east- it’s a bit like Chattanooga, Birmingham, and Asheville, NC all rolled into one compact and livable place. The college is beautiful and I’ve really loved how down to earth and friendly everyone is. That is one thing that is not different from Alabama- everyone is super friendly!
Where did you go to undergrad and grad school?
I did my bachelor’s at Appalachian State University in psychology and then stayed for two more years to get my master’s in Clinical Health Psychology. I then moved to Tuscaloosa, AL and did three years at The University of Alabama for my PhD in Clinical Child Psychology. Finally, I did my pre-doctoral internship- a year-long clinical residency- at the WVU-Charleston Division School of Medicine in Charleston, WV. It’s been a long road…
What classes are you teaching right now and what types of courses will you be teaching in the future?
Right now I’m teaching Psychology in the Media and Personality Psychology. I think both of these courses will stay in my rotation for a few years but I will also be teaching Intro to Psychology, Abnormal Psychology, Clinical Psychology, and hopefully a course in Applied Behavior Analysis at some point in the future.
What are some of your past and current research experiences and interests?
My research has always been related to individuals with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in some way, and I will likely continue this line of research for many more years. My primary research program is focused on understanding the relationship between executive function- an important set of cognitive skills- and social functioning in folks with and without ADHD. I also do intervention research- again, primarily in the area of ADHD. I am currently working with the WVU Department of Behavioral Medicine to study the mechanisms of treatment outcome in group-based behavioral parent training for ADHD. I was awarded a grant while on internship to conduct this research and our group plans on applying for a larger grant to continue studying these processes in the next year or two. Lastly, I study mindfulness meditation. I have been leading mindfulness meditation groups for about 5 years and studying the effects regular mindfulness practices have on ADHD symptoms, anxiety, depression, and mind-wandering. I’m currently talking with individuals at RC to begin developing various ways to integrate mindfulness practice into curriculum, wellness programs, and intervention groups.
What are some random/cool facts about you?
Before starting graduate school at Appalachian State, I seriously considered becoming a bison farmer- yes, those giant looking beasts in all the Yellowstone pictures. It was between that and psychology. I honestly think I would have been happy doing either but I’m glad I’m here now. Some other random stuff… I was able to dunk a basketball in eighth grade, I once recorded an album in Chapel Hill, NC with my former folk band Foscoe, and I have hiked over 100 miles of the Appalachian Trail with my wife. That pretty much exhausts my cool facts reservoir…
Is there anything else that you’d like to mention?
Just that I am super excited to be at Roanoke. The psychology department is full of fabulous teacher-scholars who are also super chill and fun to be around. I look forward to getting to know the students here and being a part of the really great community that exists at RC.
Welcome to Roanoke College, Dr. Hilton! We are glad to have you here in the Psychology Department, although being a bison farmer sounds pretty great too.
The Psychology Department hosted their research poster session on Thursday, April 19th 2018. Many students presented on their research projects and internships; students were also able to donate to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention while choosing which professor they’d like to see pied with whipping cream and sprinkles. Great job to everyone who presented and thanks to everyone who came!
Stop by the table outside of Colket or by the box in the hallway of the 5th floor to choose your victim(s) to get pied! The professor with the most money in their jar will get a special pie, with sprinkles.
All proceeds will go to The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
Dr. Dane Hilton, a new faculty member in the Department of Psychology, is recruiting student research assistants to start in the fall.
The research conducted in the lab will focus on:
Cognitive mechanisms of social encoding
Mindfulness meditation and other alternative treatments for self-regulatory deficits
Improving measurement of social information processing
The use of technology in psychotherapy research/intervention
Treatment mechanisms in ADHD Parent Training
He is looking for research assistants who:
Are conscientious and hard-working
Have excellent time-management skills
Are intellectually curious
Interested in ADHD, executive function, or social interaction (preferred, not required)
Are familiar with MS Office/Google Docs
Have some familiarity with research methods and statistics (preferred, not required)
Interested in applying technology (e.g., smartphones, activity trackers, etc.) to research (not required)
Research assistants will be involved with many aspects of the research process, including developing experimental materials, data collection (in and outside of the lab), data entry, and literature reviews. Highly motivated students will have opportunities for more involvement in study design, statistical analysis, and other more advanced aspects of the research process.
Interested students from all class years are encouraged to contact Dr. Hilton for an application (email@example.com).
The Psychology Department would like to welcome Dr. Dane Hilton as our newest tenure-track professor starting this upcoming fall semester. Dr. Hilton obtained his Masters in Clinical Health Psychology from Appalachian State University and his PhD in Clinical Child Psychology from the University of Alabama.
At Roanoke, Dr. Hilton will be teaching courses such as Abnormal, Personality, and Clinical Psychology. His research interests focus specifically on social encoding, executive functioning, and mindfulness. Dr. Hilton has conducted research on social skills in youth and emerging adults, especially those with ADHD, and on psycho-social interventions for those with executive functioning deficits.
Dr. Hilton is currently looking for student research assistants to start next semester. If you’re interested, follow this link to learn more.
Welcome again to Dr. Hilton! We are excited for him to be joining the department!
Are you looking for internships? Job opportunities? Then consider attending to Alumni Career Fair! The event will be held on Thursday, April 12th, from 5-7 pm on the main level of Colket.
Why should you attend? According to Director McLawhorn of Career Services, alumni from around 30 companies/organizations/career fields of various industries and geographic locations will be there to share about their career fields, as well as provide information about internships and/or job opportunities that may be available at their respective places of employment.
Some company recruiters will be there as well.
Things you should know before you go:
Neat, but casual clothing is fine.
It’s highly suggested that students bring resumes, but they are not required. (Students can contact Career Services for assistance with resumes prior to April 12.)
Dr. Stacy Wetmore, a new faculty member in the Department of Psychology, is recruiting student research assistants to start in the fall.
The research conducted in the lab will focus on:
Intersections between cognition and the legal system
Factors that influence eyewitness identification accuracy and confidence
Underlying processes of memory for recognizing faces
Examining the perceptions of cooperating witnesses (including jailhouse informants and accomplice witnesses)
Examining and understanding the safeguards that are in place to help jurors evaluate cooperating witnesses
Looking for research assistants who:
Are conscientious and self-motivated
Are able to juggle a variety of tasks at once
Are intellectually curious (ideally with knowledge of cognitive psychology)
Share some level of interest in the above topics
Are familiar with MS Office/Google Docs
Have some familiarity with research methods and statistics (preferred, not required)
Research assistants will be involved with many aspects of the research process, including developing experimental materials (e.g., mock crime videos and mugshots), data collection (in and outside of the lab), data entry, and literature reviews. Highly motivated students will have opportunities for more involvement in study design, statistical analysis, and other more advanced aspects of the research process.
Interested students from all class years are encouraged to contact Dr. Wetmore for an application (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Kaitlin Busse, a senior majoring in psychology and a student assistant for the department, was recently awarded an open study/research Fulbright grant for Denmark.
In this post, Busse discusses with a student assistant what she will be doing while in Denmark, how she learned about the Fulbright program, and advice she has for students considering applying to Fulbright and any other research/internship opportunity.
Can you tell me a little about yourself and what you will be doing in Denmark?
I am a psychology major, sociology minor, and human resources concentration, and my interests are in organizational psychology. I was awarded an open study/research Fulbright grant to Denmark and I will be in Copenhagen from August 2018 until June 2019. I will take master level classes at Copenhagen Business School, where I plan to take classes about leadership and organizational change, employee identity, and diversity management, and about Danish culture and how it influences their organizations.
While there, I am also planning to assist my affiliate, Dr. Sara Louise Muhr, with a project she is working on about improving organizational cultures for women in academia in the European Union. Part of the Fulbright experience involves a project in which you immerse yourself in the community. I am planning to partner with an organization called, Crossing Borders, where I will help teach professional development skills to refugees in Denmark.
How did you learn about the opportunity?
I actually learned about Fulbright while on my May Term to Sri Lanka. My professor, Dr. Katherine Hoffman, was a Fulbright ETA (she taught English) in Sri Lanka, and we interacted with their Fulbright Commission. I did not actually think about applying for a Fulbright until the second semester of my Junior year. I had just gotten back from studying abroad in the Netherlands and I loved immersing myself in another culture. After I came back, I received an email from Dr. Rosti about a Fulbright Information Session meeting.
What made you choose Denmark?
I wanted to go to Denmark because they are known for the great working environments and are constantly ranked one of the best places to work (and also one of the happiest countries)! My research interests lie in creating better work environments, especially in relation to work-family issues, which is what the Danes are known for! Also, I initially planned to study abroad in Denmark, but the program was cancelled during the semester that I wanted to go abroad.
Can you give any advice for those interested in applying for the Fulbright, or for research/internship experiences in general?
To people who are thinking about applying for Fulbright, I would say DO IT! It is a lot of work and it is extremely competitive to receive an award, but you develop so much personally, academically, and professionally from the application process. Even if you do not receive the Fulbright award, you end up with a great personal statement from the process.
For those thinking about research and internship experiences, I would also say DO IT! It was actually through one of my internships at a counseling agency that I learned I did not want to be a counselor and was instead most concerned with improving the work environment. Internships have also helped me get to know a little bit more about what organizational psychology and the HR field are about.
For those looking for internships, my advice would be to reach out to your networks and Roanoke College alumni (I actually [found] my first internship at a Roanoke College Career Night in NYC). I would also recommend research too because it allowed me to go in deeper to my studies and learn more about a particular area that I am passionate about.
Roanoke has an amazing research focus in the psychology program, which also gives you the opportunity to have a strong network relationship, present at conferences, and learn more about the research process.
Thank you to Kaitlin for taking her time to answer our questions, and congratulations again on receiving the Fulbright grant! Keep in touch and let us know how it goes! We’ll be cheering you on from the fifth floor of Life Science.
Also, for those interested in the Fulbright Program, click on this link to go to their official website. You can also talk to Dr. Jenny Rosti, who is the Director of Major Scholarships and an Adjunct Senior Lecturer. Her email is: email@example.com.
The following is a transcription from an in-person interview with Brittney Rowe where a fellow student assistant was able to talk with her about her team winning the Freeman Award, a scholarship that helps fund research in Asian countries.
Tell me a little bit about the Freeman Award.
The Freeman Award funds around $40,000 towards conducting research in an Asian country. For our trip, we focused on South Korea, but you can also apply to go to China, which is where Dr. Xu led a team a few years ago, and to Japan as well. [The program is sponsored] through the government and it’s supposed to help promote awareness of Asian cultures.
What or who made you want to apply?
I went on the May Term to Japan last summer with Drs. Xu and Leeson who are also leading this team. A friend who went on the May Term told me about this project over the summer right before school started. So, I emailed Dr. Xu and asked about what they were planning and if I could join.
What are your plans to do when you get to South Korea?
There’s going to be multiple components. Our overarching topic is going to be focusing on North Korean refugees in South Korea. There are six students going, including myself. We each have different topics that cover aspects of our main topic. [For instance,] Anna Ford will be focusing on how North Koreans are portrayed in South Korean film and TV shows, and Carolyn Marciniec and Phantesa Ingram will be looking into their experiences relating to education.
I am going to be focusing on how North Korean women are represented in South Korean media and about their lives in South Korea. I plan to interview around fifteen women, maybe more, we’ll see, about their lives since arriving in the South, how they perceive South Korean media’s portrayal of them, and their opinions on unification as well. I will be presenting on my findings at the ASIANetwork Conference in San Diego next April.
In order to better inform my topic, there’s a TV show that I’ve been focusing on, Now on My Way to Meet You, where they kind of take the typical South Korean talk show. They have guests dance and show off their skills, but they also have the North Koreans talk about their experiences in North Korea. Something that we’ve noticed is that they never get to talk about their struggles in South Korea. It’s always like, rainbows and sunshine and sparkles – when in reality it’s not; a lot of North Korean refugees have trouble adjusting to the highly competitive, capitalist South.
Another thing that we’ve noticed is that typically, it’s pretty, young women who are chosen [to appear on the show]. It’s like a national thing where you send in your personal statement about your life and what you would talk about on the show. And then the show-runners go through the applications and choose who has the most appealing story to South Koreans. They then bring in the women and they dress them up to look like South Koreans to appeal to that South Korean audience. It’s just really interesting to see how that goes.
How long will you be studying in South Korea?
About twenty days in May.
Outside of research, is there anything in particular you’re looking forward to?
Just being in South Korea. Being able to eat South Korean food and experience their culture. We’re also going to be going on little excursions to actually go out and experience the culture. So, it’s a lot like a May Term, but a week longer than my Japan May Term.
Do you have any advice to anyone considering applying to the Freeman Award in the future?
Edit, edit, edit. Go to Jennifer Rosti.
Are you excited?
I really, really am. I’m also going to be studying abroad next semester in South Korea, so. And we’re also going to try and see if we can travel after the original period is up, maybe go to Japan.
Congratulations, Brittney! We wish you the best and hope you enjoy your time in South Korea!
Kaitlin Busse, a psychology major and student assistant, was recently awarded an open study/research Fulbright grant in Denmark!
Psychology faculty congratulated her on receiving the Fulbright grant, saying:
We are very proud of Kaitlin’s achievement; it is truly an honor. Kaitlin is the third Psychology major to receive a Fulbright in the last two years. Congratulations Kaitlin and good luck in Denmark! – Dr. Buchholz
Dr. Powell added:
Kaitlin is driven by an intrinsic motivation to succeed and to make the most of the educational opportunities available. Here at Roanoke, she has worked with myself and another faculty member in the Business Department to diversify her research experiences, which has led to her presenting projects at several disciplinary conferences. she also studied abroad at an institution well-known for their Industrial Organizational Psychology faculty and courses, and she acquired competitive summer internships to further expand her social capital and see the concepts she’s learned in action. A Fulbright Scholarship is an extraordinary next step for her! As she completes additional coursework and conducts a study under Dr. Muhr’s supervision, I am confident that she will thrive in Denmark. I am incredibly proud of what she has accomplished and look forward to hearing how it goes!
Keep a lookout for a follow-up post wherein Kaitlin will discuss what her project will entail, how she came to know about Fulbright, and advice for students interested in pursuing a Fulbright or any internship/research opportunity.
Do you want to get ahead, catch up, or just want to take an interesting course over the summer?
Then consider signing up for psychology summer courses!
Three 300-level courses will be offered, including History of Psychology, which is a requirement for psychology majors, Abnormal Psychology, IO Psychology, and Drugs & Behavior. In addition to the 300-level courses, the psychology department will also be offering a 260 INQ course taught by Dr. Whitson that will also count towards a major in psychology.
If interested, please talk to your advisor(s) and sign-up through Webadvisor while spots remain!