Wheeling Jesuit University

Students Return from Eastern Psychological Association Conference

WJU made a big impression this year with eight presentations!

WHEELING, WV, March 11, 2010 ó Wheeling Jesuit University students returned this week from the Eastern Psychological Association Conference in Brooklyn, New York. The psychology department made a total of eight presentations at the annual meeting of psychology professionals.

Members of the EPA present the latest advances in professional and scientific work to their colleagues during the meeting and have a chance to network and hear presentations from many of the top researchers in the field.

WJU students and faculty who participated in the conference are:

Students: Emily Borchers, Andrea Bova, Monica Prieur and Kristian Winters. Faculty: Dr. Debra Hull, Dr. Michael Kirkpatrick, Dr. Bryan Raudenbush and adjunct instructor Kristin McCombs. (Shown at right are McCombs, Winters, Raudenbush, Hull, Kirkpatrick and Megan Foutty.)

Presentations included:

1. Relationships Among Levels of Exercise and Perceived Obstacles and Benefits, with professor Debra Hull, Emily Borchers, Andrea Bova, Monica Prieur, and Casandra Sanderson.

Undergraduates described their levels of exercise, then their degree of agreement with reasons for and for not exercising. Results showed that students who were not exercising, but intend to start, more strongly agreed with reasons for not exercising than students who were exercising. Those interested in encouraging college students to establish life-long exercise habits need to focus on helping those who strongly endorse reasons for not exercising to cope with or overcome those obstacles.

2. Verbal Feedback Facilitates Heart Rate Discrimination and Differentiation in Human Participants, with professor Michael A. Kirkpatrick and Andrew S. Groves.

We trained heart rate (HR) discrimination and differentiation in 12 university athletes who ran on a treadmill wearing HR monitors. Speed varied semi-randomly within sessions. Initially blind to their HR, six participants were then told their HR after guessing, while the other six were given a target HR value and asked to adjust their speed to produce it. All athletes showed significant improvement in the accuracy of their HR discrimination or differentiation.

3. Student Trainers Effectively Facilitate Athletes' Estimation and Control of Exercise Heart Rate, with professor Michael A. Kirkpatrick, Amanda N. Stover, Natalie L. Allen.

Five groups of undergraduate students trained 18 peers to accurately discriminate or differentiate their heart rate (HR) while running on a treadmill or track, or playing basketball. Discrimination training consisted of telling the athletes their actual HR after they guessed. The differentiation group was given a target HR and adjusted their activity to attain it. All groups showed significant improvement in their accuracy. Peer facilitators can train people to "feel" HR objectives for fitness.

4. Effects of Chocolate Consumption on Pain Threshold and Tolerance, with professor Bryan Raudenbush, Scott Bonnette, Kristin McCombs, Amanda Stover and Kristian Winters.

Research has shown the benefits of sweet substance consumption on pain tolerance. Thirty participantís pain tolerance, mood, and perceived task load during chocolate consumption were measured. Participants completed four conditions (milk chocolate, dark chocolate, carob, and control) while undergoing a cold pressor task. Participants had greater pain tolerance when consuming sweet substances as compared to unsweetened substances. Implications for such research include seeking ways to use sweetened chocolate as an adjunct to pain management.

5. Interaction Effects of Visual and Auditory Distractions on Pain Threshold and Tolerance in Older Adults, with professor Bryan Raudenbush and Tim Wright.

Participants completed a cold pressor task, while watching different combinations of music and video genres. Participants 35 years of age and above reported the least pain in the romantic/classical condition. The older subsample preferred classical music more than the younger subsample, which may account for the greater effects of classical music. Thus, perceived pain is associated with the presence of preferred stimuli, and such information can be used as a non-pharmacological adjunct to pain management.

6. Effects of Grapefruit Scent on Enhancing Cognitive Performance, with professor Bryan Raudenbush, Justin Schmitt, Kristin Koval and Ramsey Miller.

Participants completed two conditions: scent/cognitive evaluation and no-scent/cognitive evaluation, where the cognitive evaluation was the Impact neurological assessment. Composite visual scores on the Impact test were significantly higher during the grapefruit condition. Composite reaction time on the Impact test was significantly lower during the grapefruit condition. Grapefruit scent may have several implications, being used as a means to improve stimulus discrimination and reaction time.

7. Differential Effects of Video Game Platform on Mood, Physiology, Snacking Behavior and Caloric Burn: Nintendo WII vs. Microsoft X-Box, with professor Bryan Raudenbush, instructor Kristin McCombs, Jared Bloom, Ryan Hunker and Tim Wright.

Participants played a boxing game on both the Wii and the X-Box, and a no-game control condition. Actiwatch monitors measured movement and caloric expenditure. There was significantly higher blood pressure and pulse with the Wii. Mental and physical demand, and self-evaluated performance were higher in the Wii condition. Greater activity scores in the Wii condition led to greater caloric expenditure. When a snack (M&Ms) was available during play, less was consumed in the Wii condition.

8. Scent Dependent Learning: Effects of Ambient Congruent vs. Incongruent Scents on Recall of Coffee Information, with professor Bryan Raudenbush and Justin Schmitt.

Participants watched a coffee history video under a scent condition (none, coffee, cherry) and then completed a questionnaire on the video information under a scent condition (none, coffee, cherry). Performance was better when the same scent was in both the learning and recall situations. Recall was greater when the scent matched the information presented (i.e. coffee). Recall was greater when coffee scent was present during recall, regardless of whether it was presented during learning.

The Eastern Psychological Association (EPA) was founded in 1896 and is the oldest of the regional Psychological Associations in the United States.

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