Criminology, Psychology, & Sociology, 2009
  • Criminology, Psychology, & Sociology, 2009



    Do student attention and doodling predict ability to learn content from an educational video?
    Ashley Aellig, Sarah Cassady, Chelsea Francis, Deanna Toops
    Mentors: Andrea M. Karkowski, Michaele Barsnack

    Student doodling is a form of self-expression that diverts attention from course content in an educational setting. The purpose of this research is to determine the extent to which student attention span and doodling can be used to predict how much students learn from an educational video. Participants watched a video in a mock educational setting and were given the opportunity to take notes and doodle. They completed an attention measure and were quizzed on video content. It was hypothesized that a relationship would exist among attention span, amount of doodles, and test scores from the video. Students with shorter attention spans were expected to have more complex doodles and perform lower on the video quiz. This study has implications for the value of multitasking and provides greater insight on a students’ ability to retain course material.



    A Grief Accepted: A New Response to Taboo Grief in the Christian Church
    David Bauser
    Mentors: Jacqueline Bussie, Janette E. McDonald

    Grief comes to us from all angles of love and hate. We cannot allow ourselves to believe that just because something is harming us we will not have grief when it is gone. Losing any piece of ourselves can lead to grief that we need to recognize as legitimate and strive to understand. Unfortunately, the Church has historically ignored grief experiences over topics that they consider sinful. When the Church rejects people’s grief in this way, we encounter “taboo grief.” This presentation explores why the Church rejects taboo grief. How do we, as a Christian, community better understand this non-traditional and often taboo grief? Is there a shame that prevents dialogue about these taboo forms of grief in our Christian communities? How might psychology help us to explore this area of grief that is often brushed under the rug by the Church? Most importantly, what can the Church do to accept all forms of grief with arms of compassion? This presentation is not a means to an answer, but rather opens the doors this area of our hearts that our society so often wants us to hide.



    The Relationship Between Emotional State and Doodle Complexity
    Brittany Boch, Gabrielle Brooks, Kevin C. Eby, Brittany A. Wells, Ryan R. Wolfe
    Mentors: Michaele M. Barsnack, Andrea M. Karkowski

    Do students’ emotional states correlate with complexity of their doodles? Emotional state can interfere with students’ ability to concentrate on course content; likewise, it is thought that doodling can interfere with the students’ ability to concentrate on course content. To examine the potential relationship between emotional state and doodling, we administered surveys to five general education classes and collected students’ doodles on their class notes for that course. Doodles were coded according to size, complexity, mood, theme, and content. The coded information from the doodles was correlated with students’ survey responses. Based on research by Burkitt and Barnett (2006), we anticipated a correlation between doodle complexity and emotional state. Specifically, we expected a direct relationship between negativity of students’ emotions and size and complexity of the doodles. We predicted that mood, theme (e.g., happy, sad), and content (e.g., positive, negative) portrayed in the doodles corresponded to students’ moods identified in the survey. Implications of this research for students’ educational experiences are explored.



    Examining Undergraduate Students’ Opinions about Child Custody and Divorce
    Jennifer Daniel
    Mentor: Richard M. Ashbrook

    Divorce and child custody disputes have become commonplace in contemporary society. This study examined the effect of different variables on people’s opinions about child custody and divorce. Specifically, this study examined the effect of parent’s type of illness and gender on the custody decision. In this study there are three levels of parent’s illness (medical, mental, and substance abuse). This study is important because it tells us how society views parent’s gender and parent’s illness when evaluating parental abilities. Results from this study showed that there is a main effect for parent’s type of illness. However, there was no main effect for parent’s gender or an interaction between parent’s illness and parent’s gender. The results indicate that society viewed parent’s illness unfavorably regardless of the gender of the parent with the illness.



    Desire to Learn and Life Satisfaction: A Follow-Up Study
    Megan E. Dwyer
    Mentor: Andrea M. Karkowski

    This study replicates and extends the research on the relationship between Need for Cognition (NFC), life satisfaction, and academic achievement in college students. NFC is characterized by the desire to acquire information, and has a moderately strong relationship with grade point average and intelligence. In two surveys, the relationships between need for cognition, life satisfaction, and academic achievement in college students were assessed using a need for cognition scale, two life satisfaction scales, and self-reported GPA. Students completed the 18-item short Need for Cognition Scale (NCS; Cacioppo, Petty, & Kao, 1984), 5-item Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS; Diener, Emmons, Larsen, & Griffin, 1985; used in the first study) or the 6-item Brief Multidimensional Students’ Life Satisfaction Scale (Huebner, 1997; used in the second study). College students were surveyed during regularly scheduled, general education classes. Results indicate inconsistencies in the relationships between need for cognition and the two life satisfaction scales.



    Exploring the Definition and Understanding of Hope
    Kevin C. Eby, Brittany Boch
    Mentor: Janette E. McDonald

    Everyone has hoped for something in their lifetime, but what is the actual meaning of this notion of hope? In this study we set out to examine the definitions of hope as understood by undergraduates. By researching their definitions and ideas, and comparing those findings to already existing definitions, we explored the phenomenon of hope. Our review of scholarly literature involved a multi-disciplinary look at the works of Gabriel Marcel, Patrick Shade, Vaclavl Havel, and Victor Frankl. We constructed an open-ended survey on hope and administered these to classes at Capital University in order to see what definitions people gave to hope, hopelessness, and indifference. We also sought to understand what life events might create these three feelings. In doing this we sought to gain a clearer definition of hope as well as a look into what everyday people view as hopeful, hopeless, and indifferent.



    Do gifted students have greater depression levels in contrast to non gifted students?
    Clarissa Nieves, Lisa Buckingham
    Mentors: Michaele M. Barsnack, Sabato D. Sagaria

    According to Mueller (2009) “gifted children that are exposed to bullying, and their extreme sensitivity have led them to aggressiveness, extreme depression and social isolation.” Gifted students function at higher cognition levels than non-gifted students, but may require greater attention to their emotional needs because of barriers they encounter with depression (Neihart, 1999). Consequently, this research is going to provide insight to the question: Do gifted students have greater depression levels in contrast to non-gifted students? The presentation is of the literature pertaining to this topic. Psychological tests that measure depressive symptoms will eventually be used to assess if depression is more prevalent in the gifted population than the non-gifted population. The eventual goal is to implement academic modifications to assist gifted children with depression.



    What’s all the hype about? Effects of Energy Drinks on Memory
    Ashley Rogols, David Culp, Kayla Johnson, Carly Yeager, Sean Young, Zaimah Muqtasid, Margaret Jackson, Amanda Johnson, Ann Marcum, Heather McAlpin, Brytani Milan, Melissa Nilsen, Lanna Smith, Christina Walker, Sarha Griesbach, Latoya Lisath
    Mentor: Andrea M. Karkowski

    Energy drinks have become a 5.7 billion dollar industry. In addition to vitamins and sugars (Ferreira et al., 2004), energy drinks often contain caffeine, a mild psychostimulant that increases arousal and may affect human cognitive performance (Christopher et al., 2005; Warburton et al., 2001). Energy drinks are purported to enhance physical endurance, alertness, and psychomotor performance (Alford et al., 2001). Given how popular the consumption of energy drinks has become among college students (Miller, 2008), we tested the claim that they also improve memory. Students enrolled in an experimental psychology course were randomly assigned to an energy drink group or a control group that drank a flavored, sugar sweetened beverage. Students completed a memory pretest, consumed the energy drink or control drink, and completed a memory posttest. If the claims of the energy drink advocates are true, then we expected a greater increase in the memory test scores for the experimental group than for the control group (Benton & Stevens, 2008; Smit et al., 2006). Our findings and the implications of these findings are discussed.



    Does this soda make me look fat? Effects of Soft Drink Consumption on Weight Gain in Rats
    Michael Schilling, Rachelle Paisley, Leah Ferdelman, Brittany Seymour, Sarah Gallik, Meredith Wessner, Chelsea Hetrick, Allison Paulett, Ashley Juvinall, Molly Sheils, Stevi Goodrich, Kaitlyn Kondas, Tyler Cooper, Elise Duplin, Anna Kyaio, Jennifer Lewis, Elisha Neely, Ashley Ruwe, Kaitlin Winter-Eulberg
    Mentor: Andrea M. Karkowski

    The prevalence of obesity in the United States continues to rise (Nielsen & Popkin, 2004). Research indicates a direct relationship between obesity and consumption of artificially sweetened beverages (Desai et al., 2008; Forshee et al., 2005; Frary et al., 2004; Kassem et al., 2003; Nielsen & Popkin, 2004). However, much of the previous research is correlational, not experimental, and thus causality cannot be established. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of a sugar sweetened beverage on weight. Rats were randomly assigned to two groups, water only (H2O) or water and sugar sweetened beverage (SUG), and had ad libitum access to laboratory rat chow. Rats were weighed daily. Food consumption was recorded daily to determine whether rats in the SUG group compensated for the additional calories available in their beverage. We hypothesized that SUG group rats would gain more weight than H2O group rats (Messier et al., 2007) and there would be no dietary compensation by the SUG group rats (Almiron-Roig et al., 2004; Appleton & Blundell, 2007). The implications of this research for human food and beverage choices are discussed.



    It’s Abuse
    Sophia Whitehouse, Anna Kayio, Michael Schilling, Brittany Wells
    Mentors: Jody S. Fournier, Andrea M. Karkowski

    Approximately 20% of college students are in abusive relationships and 33% have experienced abusive relationships in the past. It’s Abuse is an educational program for college students designed to increase awareness and identify resources about intimate partner abuse. This study evaluated the effectiveness of It’s Abuse. Student athletes (n = 185) participated. Using a repeated measures, cross-over design, students completed a survey about dating abuse. They experienced It's Abuse or a control condition (drug education) and completed the survey a second time. They then experienced the control condition or It's Abuse and completed the survey a third time. Prevalence of physical and psychological dating abuse in this sample was 27.6% and 50.3%, respectively. However, 88.6% of men and 81% of women thought abuse in relationships was not a problem. This inconsistency between students' experiences of abuse and their perception of abuse being a problem was also revealed by Berkel et al. (2005) and Nabors et al. (2006). Students were significantly less concerned about dating violence than other threats (e.g., terrorism) despite the fact that dating violence is more likely to affect college students than the other threats. Implications of this research will be discussed.



    High-Fat Versus High-Carbohydrate Diets in Relation to Weight Gain in Lab Rats
    Sophia Whitehouse, Nicole Lehmann, Brittany Boch, Sara Dickson, Kevin C. Eby, Adam Linard, Katlin O'Ryan, Jessica Pesic, Zach Roesch, Sara Sedam, Rebekah Smith, Shantel Stevenson, Abby Taylor, Jill Trasin, Faith Williams, Jenna Zumberger
    Mentor: Andrea M. Karkowski

    The prevalence of obesity has increased significantly over the last 20 years. This change has been attributed, in part, to the availability of highly palatable foods containing more fats and carbohydrates than the human body requires. The aim of this study was to determine whether rats consuming a diet high in fat or high in carbohydrates would gain more weight than rats consuming a chow diet. Results from experiments using similar paradigms suggest that a diet that is high in fat will cause significant weight gain over time, in comparison to a control diet (Woods et al., 2004). Nineteen male Sprague-Dawley rats were separated into three groups (control, high fat, and high carbohydrate), fed their group specific diets, and weighed every day over a five week period. Results did not support our hypothesis. There was no differential weight gain across the groups over time. These results contradict the findings of many other studies and therefore further research is needed. Reasons for the lack of support for the hypothesis are explored.



    ERP Correlates of Recognition without Identification
    Faith Williams, Anthony Ryals, Jason Nomi, Anne Cleary
    Mentor: Andrea M. Karkowski

    Our study searched for brain Event Related Potential (ERP) correlates of the recognition without identification (RWI) phenomenon. RWI occurs when participants discriminate between old and new items that go unidentified (e.g., Cleary & Greene, 2000). Our first priority was to determine if ERPs would differentiate old from new items that go unidentified. Our second priority was to determine at what point in time the brain begins differentiating old from new unidentified items. Our third priority was to determine if the ERP correlates of RWI map onto previously established ERP old-new effects (e.g., Curran & Cleary, 2003). ERPs were recorded at test using a 128-channel Hydrocel Geodesic sensor net. ERP old-new differentiation among unidentified word fragments began to emerge as early as 100-150 ms post-stimulus. Brain electrophysiological correlates of the RWI effect were reported. Among unidentified test items, ERPs were more positive for old than new items at left hemisphere electrode sites but more negative for old than new items at right hemisphere sites. This old-new polarity reversal across hemispheres was significantly greater over inferior sites than over superior sites and persisted across the entire 1000 ms recording window once it emerged. These patterns occurred very early in processing (100-150 ms).