Department of Psychology Recent Research Outcomes - Fall 2009

The Impact of Levels of Exercise on Perceived Benefits and Barriers
Andrea Bova, Cassandra Sanderson, Monica Prieur, Emily Borchers

A sample of 78 undergraduates indicated which of 4 levels of exercise best described them, then indicated their level of agreement with 20 reasons for and for not exercising. Results showed that there was no significant difference in the mean agreement with the reasons for exercising between the exercise groups, but there was a significant difference with the reasons for not exercising. The results also showed that students who were not exercising but planned to start perceived the reasons for not exercising as significantly stronger than the students who were already exercising.  To encourage healthy exercise habits, one should focus on those people who strongly perceive reasons for not exercising and help them work past these barriers.

The Effects of Gender on the Perception of Body Image
Darcee dela Cruz, Shannon Gringle, Kathleen Harvey, Christy Yeager, and Jenny Beth Wysocki

Ninety-seven participants (47 males and 50 females) were asked to answer 8 questions related to their perception of body image, in reference to the Stunkard Body Image drawings. Results showed significant differences in how participants perceived themselves and how they would ideally like to look. It was found that women preferred smaller body types than men. Men thought that women preferred larger body types in men than they actually did. Results are discussed in terms of our perceptions of what is portrayed as attractive, and the media's role in influencing perception.

The Impact of Body Type of Perceived Personality Traits
Lauren Cooke, Lindsay Moffatt, Stephanie Mertz, Joan Cotter

The perceived personality traits that people associated with different body masses were examined using a 2 x 4 factorial design. Eight-three participants (42 females and 41 males) were asked to complete surveys that contained images of four separate line drawings portraying both females and males of various body types ranging from very thin to very obese. The participants rated each image on 18 different personality traits. Nine of the traits studied showed statistical significance between at least two body size groups. Generally the larger body types were rated more negatively. No gender differences occurred. These results could be used to further the knowledge of how others stereotype certain personalities based on body image. 

Perceived Control over Physical and Psychological Conditions in College Students
Thomas Donley, Andrew S. Groves, Alexandra Hamilton-Cotter, Sarah Mogan, Stephanie Zeller

Researchers investigated perceived control over physical and psychological conditions. Ninety college students rated on a scale of 1-4 (1 being no control and 4 being complete control) their perceptions of control.  Results showed that college students believe that they have a higher degree of control over psychological than physical conditions but relatively low control over either type of condition.  Implications of the results may lead to educational programs that increase health awareness in college students. 

Effects of Nintendo Wii Tennis to Distract Participants from Painful Stimulation
Jonathan Kolks, Lexa Hamilton-Cotter, Kristin McCombs, Bryan Raudenbush

Previous research has shown psychological and physical benefits can be gained by playing video games. They can serve as a distraction from pain and related maladaptive behaviors, such as scar picking, and can help facilitate social engagement. The current study examines whether the Nintendo Wii tennis video game can serve as a distraction from pain perception and tolerance. Thirty undergraduate participants completed each of two conditions: a session in which Wii Tennis was played while immersing their non-dominant hand in a cold pressor tank and a session in which no game was played while the non-dominant hand was placed in the cold pressor. Demographics, physiological measures (blood pressure and pulse), pain ratings, mood, and task load data were collected. Analyses will be performed using appropriate ANOVA techniques. Participants were able to tolerate the pain significantly longer in the play condition and participants thought they performed better in the play condition. In addition, participants thought the play condition was more physically and mentally demanding.  Implications for such research include providing an alternative to pharmaceuticals for pain management techniques. 

The Effects of Previous Injury and Sport Type on Pain Threshold
Zach Bowman, Brooke Christman, Jennifer Hill, Samantha McGlumphy

Pain threshold was examines between contact and non-contact athletes as well as in athletes with previous injuries and athletes without previous injuries.  The study was examined by using a 2 (gender) x 2 (sport type) x 2 (pain experienced) mixed design with repeated measures ANOVA.  Thirty-one undergraduate volunteers (7 contact and 24 non-contact) from Wheeling Jesuit University took part in the study.  Each participant was asked to place their hand in a cold water bath where they were timed in order to see how long they could withstand the pain.  A statistical analysis was performed, but there was no statistical significance found.

The Effects of Odor as a Stimulus for Emotional Responses
Julianna Arner, Megan Foutty, Mae Frilles and Jonathan Kolks

Past research has shown that scents can help elicit moods.  Researchers elaborated on this and investigated if each of the scents in Henning's odor prism would elicit a particular mood.  Forty-two participants smelled six scents specified in the prism, which included:  spicy, ethereal, fragrant, burnt, resinous, and putrid.  After smelling each scent, the participants completed surveys to identify the scent and measure the perceived pleasantness, intensity and mood.  Results were analyzed in SPSS using a repeated measures ANOVA and a factor analysis.  Results show that participants were correctly able to identify 5 out of 6 scents presented.  Results also show that there were no differences in intensity and each scent could be identified by several components.