The 7th Annual Symposium for Undergraduate Psychology Engagement and Research took place on Thursday, April 28th, 2016 from 3:00-5:00 pm at the Adams Alumni Center. To read up on all the fantastic presentations that took place, check out our SUPER Poster 2016 Abstract Book [PDF]! Winners from 2016 were:
BEST INDEPENDENT STUDY: Alexis Mills & Elizabeth Tampke
Stress Response to Security and Insecurity Primes, as a Function of Attachment Style and Priming Order
According to attachment theory, when facing stress or threat, people’s attachment system is activated and they seek their security providing caregivers for support and comfort. In this example attachment security serves to recover from the stressful situation (recovery function). In laboratory studies, researchers often provide security boost ahead of time using priming and then examine people’s reaction to stressors, assuming security will serve as a buffer (buffering function). Here we compared the recovery and buffering functions, by examining how prime order presentation (before or after stressor presentation) and attachment style influence people’s reaction to the stressor and recover following. Participants completed one negative and one positive interviews in the laboratory concerning their past relationships. The positive interview served as a security prime, whereas the negative one served as a stressor (increasing attachment insecurity). Participants stress levels were measured using changes in cortisol levels, skin-conductance, and heart rate. Results supported both functions, but showed a slight advantage to the buffering function. Thus, people who were buffered with security, had a lower overall stress response. Anxiously attached people had overall the slowest recovery. These findings suggest that both order and attachment style affect stress response. Further, they suggest that having a security buffer (prevention) might be more efficient than security help on recovery (intervention).
BEST HONORS THESIS: Robyn Herbert
Predictors of dissertation publication in clinical and counseling psychology: Student, advisor, and training program characteristics
As a Ph.D. is the culmination of a psychology-based education, it represents a student’s original work in the field, meaning it fits criteria for publication. The author explores factors at the student, advisor and program level that predict dissertation publication. It was predicted that higher research productivity for both the advisor and the student and a more research based training program would all result in higher dissertation publication rates. The data supported only one of those hypothesis: the more productive in research an advisor is, the more likely a student is to publish their dissertation, post-defense. There are many reasons why this may be the case: an advisor that is pre-tenure may be pushing students to be more research productive or a research productive advisor may inherently attract students more likely to engage in research. This research has implications for students, in picking their faculty mentor before graduate school, and for training programs, in selecting and critiquing faculty.
BEST USE OF QUANTITATIVE METHODS: Austen McGuire
The Utility of Attachment Priming as an Intervention Among Youth with Traumatic Experiences
Youth in the United States are frequently exposed to potentially traumatic events. Research has consistently shown a relationship between experiences of trauma in childhood and negative consequences, including various internalizing and externalizing mental health problems. Without proper intervention, these negative consequences can have lasting effects. To help youth cope with the potential negative consequences of traumatic experiences, researchers have developed various interventions, but most of these interventions are not theoretically based. Attachment is a well-studied theory focusing on close relationships and affect regulation. Attachment-based interventions (ABIs) have shown potential to successfully improve youth’s well-being and decrease their trauma related symptomatology through increasing attachment security. However, current ABIs tend to be time consuming, have high costs, and require a professional and infrastructure to be carried out. The current study tested the efficiency of repeated attachment security priming, a potential low cost, easy to administer, attachment based intervention to reduce symptomatology among youth with traumatic experiences. Seventy-six non-clinical adolescents were repeatedly exposed to either attachment security or neutral primes over the course of two weeks. It was hypothesized that attachment security primes as compared with neutral primes would result in increased attachment security and decreased levels of depression, anxiety, and interpersonal sensitivity from pre- to post-assessment. Although not all outcomes were significant, trends were observed in the direction hypothesized, suggesting that repeated attachment priming may be a useful intervention among more clinical samples of youth with experiences of trauma.
BEST CLASS PROJECT: Eugenia Hernandez-Ruiz, Bianca James, Jordan Noll
How is Music Relaxing?
Dr. Evangelia Chrysikou PSYC 625
This study examined the relaxing effects of music according to three physiological measures —heart rate (HR), respiration rate (RR), and skin conductance level (SCL). Female undergraduate students (N = 20) listened to 4 versions of originally composed music, each with one modified musical element (tempo, timbre, or dynamic). Physiological differences between music and baseline, and in relation to self-reported levels of relaxation, were examined. We predicted that participants’ physiological responses would reflect a more ‘relaxed’ state (lower HR, less SCL, and lower RR) with slower tempo (45 bpm), mellow timbre (clarinet), and lower dynamics (piano). We also expected physiological responses to be consistent with self-reported relaxation measures. The results showed two distinct responder profiles for skin conductance level, which required post hoc between-subjects analyses of the data. Using 2 × 4 ANOVAs, we found significant differences between subjects in SCL, but not within subjects, probably due to small sample size. Some correlations between physiological measures and self-reports were found. Participants’ comments indicated lack of awareness of music variations. This finding coupled with different responder profiles raise interesting questions regarding the effect of music on relaxation without conscious perception, and its impact on music-based therapeutic interventions.