Students Present Their Work at Seventh Annual Psychology Research Fair

Caroline Coughlin, Editor

SNC’s psychology research fair took place April 17 in TCES. Students in professor Christina Frederick’s senior-level course in experimental design showcased their work in creating and executing campus-wide psychological studies on human behavior. Several students are applying to present their research at larger conferences at the University of Nevada, Reno and/or UCLA.

Sarah Fricke, who graduated in 2015, is now back on campus as the senior administrative assistant to professor Christina Frederick. Fricke explained the rigorous process the psychology students go through in creating their experiments. “Christina’s main thing is that you’re passionate about your topic,” she said. “They do all the background research and go through an internal review process, so they get approved through the panel so they can collect data on campus. Then they start the projects in experimental psychology the following semester. They collect the data in the beginning, they analyze the results and now they’re applying to conferences at UNR and UCLA.”

The Eagle’s Eye asked the psychology students to talk about the experiments they designed and what they learned from them:

Callie J. Grady

Applied Generosity: The Impact of Philanthropic Behavior on Others’ Giving 

I created my own “Go Fund Me” page on a piece of paper, and I had participants look at the paper with three different conditions. One where previous donations were in a high category, a low category or didn’t exist at all. I looked at how participants read over the campaign I created, and if that condition impacted their donation.

Landen L. V. Chau

Water as a Co-Therapist: Effects of Water on Stress and Mood

I looked at specific aspects of nature therapy to see if water itself can be calming. For the experiment, I had two bins filled with rocks and two different pictures underneath each bin. One also had water in it. The participants interacted with the bins for five minutes and took a couple surveys afterward, one on mood and one on stress. Then I analyzed the data. I found that the bin with the water did improve their mood.

Claire A. Riordan

Cognitive Coloring: The Impact of Time on False Memory

I read a list of words to my participants and then they colored a mandala for a certain amount of time. After they colored, they had to recall the words after waiting for either one or five minutes. There was lots of recall of false memory for the word “sleep,” which was my lure word, meaning that all the 15 words had to do with the word “sleep,” like “bed,” “rest,” or “night,” so it made them think they heard the word “sleep” but they never did. The group that recalled immediately had more false memory than the group who waited five minutes.

Arno Ruymaekers

Time is Ticking: Feeling Stressed or Motivated

I was looking at the effect of a timer on stress and motivation. I was comparing a countdown timer to a count-up timer to try to see if it affected stress and motivation. For the experiment, I had the participants play the kid’s game “Memory” twice. They played it once with the countdown timer and again with the count-up timer. I found that there was no difference in stress, but people were more motivated when the clock went down than when it counted up.

Sybile M.V. Moser

Seeking Applications: The Impact of Gender Bias Awareness on Hireability

I took 60 males and 60 females, and I had two conditions. One was the gender bias awareness conditions, which had the participants take a test that measured implicit bias through associations we make—for example males with careers and females with families, very stereotypical roles for males and females to fit into. I modified this test so we could take it in a group, and afterward, I gave the same results to everyone that indicated moderate automatic associations for a male with a career and a female with a family. Following that, they listened to an audio recording of a female interview candidate and then rated her on a seven-question and five-point scale. At the end, I took the accumulation of the scores as well as taking a demographic survey which told me about their gender and their major. For the control condition, I had them do a word search and then listen to the interview and rate the candidate. I found that females rated their female candidate much more highly with gender bias awareness as a factor, while males actually lowered their rating.

Carrie Littlewood

Impact of the Environment on Divergent Thinking

I had three conditions, one took place in an indoor room with windows, one without windows, and one in an outdoor environment. I used alternative uses task which is a way of determining creativity. I had each participant play with Play-Doh for an allotted amount of time to get their mind working creatively, and also so they could spend time in that environment and get a feel for it. They weren’t aware of why I was doing that. Afterward, I gave each participant a paper clip and they were instructed to write down as many uses for that paperclip as they could think of. They could bend, change, or mold it to help them come up with different uses in a certain amount of time. I analyzed the results from the data and separated it into unique and non-unique responses and then performed an “anova” test on the results—that’s a statistical test to figure out if there is a significant difference between different environments. It can tell you what environment was better for creativity. I thought I would find that the outdoors would stimulate more creativity, but there was no significant difference.

Angel Gonzalez

The Impact of Cologne Advertisements on the Male Body Image

I looked at the field of body image and found more research was done on females than males, so I wanted to see how it compares to the research with females. I found there is no immediate impact on body image, as indicated by the survey I used. However, I was able to bring body awareness to the participants through the materials I used to represent the male body. My participants were all male. I wanted to find out the impact these ads had on the male body image after being exposed to the male body ideal. I had three conditions, and within the conditions I had three different levels of the ads. One was a video, one was a still image, and the last was my control and was just the image of the product—nothing pertaining to the male body. I found that the three conditions had an average score of 6, which indicated a satisfied body image. Although when I analyzed my other set of data, I asked participants to write down five words that made the ad memorable. In the video condition, people wrote body-related words, which told me that they were paying attention to the body but their immediate body image wasn’t affected.

Kelsey L. Brodie

Effecting Mental Health: The Impact of Eating Disorder Education on Self-Reported Stigmas

I had three different types of educational contents. I had a packet that talked about statistics, another that talked about all the different types of causes they have found that contribute to the disorder, and the last packet was a personal memoir from a recovery website on the internet. The participants were randomly assigned to read one, and then they took these measures that were self-reported stigma measures in order to see which type of education impacted stigma more.

Morgan S. Burke

I Don’t Mean to be Rude, but Your Words are Hurting You: Sexist Disclaimers and Ambivalent Sexism

For my project, I’m testing what the impact of a sexist disclaimer is when followed by either a hostile or benevolently sexist or non-sexist phrase, while also tracking gender to find out how that changes the likability and perceived sexism of the person speaking the phrase. The participants read a phrase from a script, either with or without saying “I don’t mean to sound sexist” before the phrase. Afterward, they were asked to fill out an ambivalent sexism inventory report as well as a likeability scale and a gender self-report. I asked them to fill it out as “Noah,” who was the male speaking the phrase, so they filled out the reports as if they were Noah in order to see from their perspective how they think Noah would respond—to see if Noah would respond in a sexist way. I wanted to see if using a disclaimer in your speech and speaking a certain sexist phrase or non-sexist phrase impacts how people perceive you. I found that using a sexist disclaimer, regardless of what phrase follows, actually makes people perceive you as more sexist and less likable—even if what you said isn’t sexist.