Department of Psychology Recent Research Outcomes - Fall 2008

The Effects of Verbal Feedback on Heart Rate Differentiation
Dustin Contos, Brandon Kaufman, Megan Meadows, & Amanda Stover

Previous studies on heart rate discrimination have utilized varying designs in an attempt to have participants predict their own heart rate. Our study tested the effects of verbal feedback on heart rate differentiation and subsequent generalization. This experiment required five collegiate athletes to run on a treadmill to achieve a target heart rate. A multiple baseline between subjects reversal design tested whether these athletes could produce experimenter-selected target heart rates during baseline and feedback sessions. It was hypothesized that athletes could reach target heart rates more accurately during feedback sessions than in baseline sessions. Results were positive for some participants but not others. For those succeeding at the task, some evidence of generalization (continued differentiation) once feedback was removed was also observed. We hypothesize that prior sport experiences may train individuals to reach targeted heart rates without additional feedback or instruction, producing relatively skilful performance under baseline conditions that further intervention could not significantly improve.

Heart Rate Discrimination
Juliana Arner, Caitlin Beam, & Sallie Minor

Wheeling Jesuit University athletes to discriminate heart rate (HR) while on a treadmill was examined using a multiple baseline between subjects design where feedback interventions were introduced at different points in the study Four athletic volunteers walked and ran on a treadmill for seven, one-hour sessions. Each athlete was asked to estimate HR every minute of each session. Researchers logged actual HR in comparison to estimated HR while incrementally increasing/decreasing speed of the treadmill Following initial baselines, each was provided with feedback later in the experiment. Results showed that participants learned how to more correctly discriminate HR with feedback. This skill may potentially be of value to athletic and fitness endeavors, insofar as knowledge of HR can be used to regulate training intensity. 

The Effects of Feedback on an Athlete's Heart Rate Discrimination in the Field
Laura Collins, Andrea Davis, & Melissa Kahriman

We measured the ability of four University athletes to discriminate their heart rate while jogging on an outdoor track. This was a multiple baseline across subjects design in which baseline was introduced for varying numbers of sessions for each participant. Feedback interventions for each participant also occurred over various numbers of sessions. Differing the lengths of baseline and intervention periods helped control for history and maturation effects. Each participant jogged for seven, twenty-minute sessions and was asked to estimate their heart rate at half lap markers. They were provided feedback only later in the experiment. The researchers tracked the estimated versus actual heart rate during each session. A statistical difference was found between the final baseline difference sores and the final feedback difference scores for three of the four participants, indicating that these participants became more skilful with feedback. We hypothesize that refined experimental and analytic procedures might reveal more promising results. 

The Effect of Heart Rate Discrimination of Guessing Accuracy
Nicole Hoover, Michael Kidd, Jonathan Kolks, Danielle Longerbeam, & Kevin Rico

Three University athletes ran on a treadmill and guessed their heart rate. The speed of the treadmill varied so that different heart rates were obtained. The researchers obtained a baseline of the participants' ability to guess their heart rates, and then had several feedback sessions during which participants were told their actual heart rate after guessing. When the participants received feedback, they were able to guess their heart rate more accurately. Four volunteers from a University basketball team took part in various basketball practice activities across two experimental conditions. Each athlete completed the health and physical evaluation materials required for safe participation and on file in the athletic office. The goal of this experiment was to get basketball players to discriminate their heart rate as accurately as possible. We used a staggered multiple-baseline between subjects design to see if practice and feedback would increase the accuracy on heart rate discrimination. Results showed that giving feedback improved heart rate discrimination slightly, but there was not enough evidence to say that feedback clearly improved heart rate discrimination. Since other studies have evidence discrimination with comparable numbers of feedback sessions for athletes simply running on a treadmill or track, we hypothesize that our results were limited owing to within-session variability in task intensity coupled with the cognitive complexity of the task. Discriminating heart rate while engaged in real-time basketball play is more difficult than doing so on a treadmill or track.

Body Image in Male and Female Athletes and Non-athletes
Heather Rallya, Brooke Christman, Matthew Popiolkowski, Erika Rucker, Liz Sluciak

Undergraduate male and female athlete and non-athlete students were asked to rate body type using a 2 (gender) x 2 (athletic status) x 4 (questions) mixed factorial design. One hundred participants (50 males and 50 females, 25 athletes and non-athletes from both genders) were asked to rate their body type, their ideal body type, ideal body type as viewed by the same sex, and what body type they prefer in the other sex. Participants were presented with a survey with an array of 9 line drawings of male and female body types ranging from very thin to very muscular. There was no significant difference between how athletes and non-athletes rated body image other than their current image, with athletes rating themselves larger, but there was a significant difference found between genders, with men preferring to be larger than women.

Attitudes Toward a Masters Program in Experimental Psychology at WJU
Courtney Newlon, Lauren Fabry, Amy Staffieri, Zach Bowman

The opinions of students from different colleges about a Master's Program in Experimental Psychology at Wheeling Jesuit University were assessed in a 3(college) x 13(item) mixed design ANOVA. A total of 77 participants (30 from Wheeling Jesuit University , 27 from West Liberty State College, and 20 from Bethany College) were asked to complete a 13-question survey, rating each question from 1-5 or using N/A. Overall, it appears that a master's program would be fairly well received. The two schools that differed the most in their opinions on the survey were WJU and West Liberty, namely their opinions about Wheeling Jesuit's reputation for high quality graduate education and whether it would be important for WJU's potential graduate program to reflect the values of a Jesuit education, with WJU students rating both items more highly than West Liberty students. 

The Effects of Sexual Orientation on Potential Dating Violence
Melissa Burch, Megan Foutty, Mae Frilles, Lauren Lewicki, Samantha McGlumphy

The examination of college students' attitudes toward potential dating violence situations with differing sexual orientation and aggressor genders was analyzed in a 2 (gender) x 4 (scenario) x 14 (questions) mixed design. Seventy-seven participants (38 males and 39 females) read and finished a vignette describing a potential date rape scenario, and responded to fourteen questions about the situation a 7-point scale. The vignettes consisted of two heterosexual couples, one male and one female aggressor, and two homosexual couples, one male and one female. Participants, both male and female, identified the aggressor as physically aggressive and powerful regardless of the aggressor's gender or sexual orientation. No significant differences or interactions were found between the type of couple in the vignette or the participants' gender. Our study displays the non-prejudice attitude of the younger generation. Men and women agree about the likelihood of dating violence and that likelihood is not dependent on the sexual orientation of the dating couple. 

The Effects of Snack Type and Video Game Console on Snack Consumption
Tim Wright, Jonathan Kolks, and Bryan Raudenbush

Prior research has investigated the link between snack consumption and distractions, such as social distraction and video games. The current study used 29 participants to compare the effects of snack type and video game console on snacking behavior. Each participant played a boxing game on both the Nintendo® Wii™ and the Microsoft® Xbox and sat through a control condition. In all these conditions, participants were presented with 3 types of snacks: healthy, unhealthy, and neutral. The weight of snacks consumed were analyzed using a 3 (video game) x 3 (snack type) ANOVA, and the task load scores and activity scores were analyzed with a one-within ANOVA. The results showed there was a trend for less overall snack consumption in both the Wii and Xbox conditions; however, participants ate the most healthy snacks in both the Wii and control conditions. Furthermore, there were greater total activity scores in the Wii condition which leads to a greater calorie expenditure. Implications of this study suggest that the Nintendo Wii supports the healthiest lifestyle when compared to traditional gaming systems, as it not only increases activity and snack intake, but also encourages healthy snack consumption. 

The Effects of Chocolate on Pain Tolerance and Perception
Scott Bonnette, Kristin McCombs, Amanda Stover, Kristian Winters and Bryan Raudenbush

Previous research has shown the benefits of sweet substance consumption on pain tolerance. The current study used 30 participants to compare pain tolerance, mood, and perceived task load in chocolate consumption. Participants completed four randomized conditions (milk chocolate, dark chocolate, carob, and control) and asked to hold their hand in a cold presser tank. Analyses were performed to determine possible effects using appropriate ANOVA techniques. The results show that participants had greater pain tolerance when consuming sweet substances as compared to consuming an unsweetened substance.

The Effects of Exercise, Sugar Concentration, and Beverage Color on Taste Intensity and Preference
Scott Bonnette, Tracy Hawthorne, Bethany Kerwood, Bryan Nesbitt, Jill Nizan, and Tim Wright

Past research has investigated the links between taste intensity and preference with factors such as exercise, sweetness of beverages, and color. This present study was designed to examine all of these factors together on taste intensity and preferences. Thirty-two participants completed an exercise condition and a control condition. After each condition, participants drank beverages that had either high or low sugar content and varied from one of five colors: red, blue, green, yellow, or clear. The data were recorded on a Sports Drink Rating Sheet that inquired sweetness, sourness, bitterness, saltiness, and pleasantness ratings for each beverage on a scale of 0 to 10. The results were analyzed using a 2 (exercise) x 2 (sugar concentration) x 5 (beverage color) within ANOVA. The results showed an interaction among color, exercise and concentration. Participants rated the clear drink the sweetest after exercising for the high concentration sugar drinks and the blue drink as sweetest among the lower concentration of drinks after exercising. Also, a main effect was found for sugar concentration when analyzing the pleasantness ratings, as participants rated the higher sugar concentration drinks the most pleasant. However, no interaction was found between exercise and sugar concentration with pleasantness ratings, suggesting that exercise has no effect on desired sugar concentrations. In conclusion, the colors blue and clear were the only colors that increased sweetness ratings. Implications for the results are that products that are designed to be intense should be clear or blue in color, and companies should not alter sugar concentrations based on exercise or casual use.