Department of Psychology Recent Research Outcomes - Fall 2011

Transmitting University Values Through Colors
Kyle Burkhart, Angela McNulty, Amy Shurak, and Dawn Kim

How well each of twelve colors conveyed certain university values was examined in a 2 x 12 mixed factorial design. At Wheeling Jesuit University, 61 participants, consisting of 25 males and 36 females, rated how well twelve given colors reflected colors reflected concepts of life-long learning, leadership, service with and among others, student-centered, and academically challenging education. In all five of these concepts there was a main effect for colors. In regards to the concept of life-long learning, red and yellow were the most representative colors, and the most unrepresentative colors were black, followed by brown and purple. For the concept of leadership, red and yellow were the most representative colors again. The concept of service with and among others showed us that it was most represented by the colors red and yellow as well. Student-centered was most represented by the colors surprisingly again found to be red and yellow. Finally we looked at the concept value of an academically challenging education and found that the color red was very representative like all the rest of the concepts. These results led us to believe that the color red, followed by yellow, were most likely to reflect the values of the university and were significantly different from the rest of the colors on the spectrum. In all five of these concepts, no sex differences or interactions between sex and colors occurred. These results showed that certain colors, red and yellow, conveyed the two concepts better than the other colors did, suggesting that they can be used to encourage people to adapt these five values. Also the colors of red and yellow, which are the school colors of the university, are from what we found a good marketing tool to use to attract people to the concepts and values of the university and may possibly be able to increase enrollment. The colors of red and yellow are a good indicator of these five concepts.

The Effects of Color and Sex on Personality Trait Ratings
Allison Burke, Nicholas Cotter, Jessica Florian, Megan Jarvis and Danielle McPherson
The experiment examined the relationship between colors, sex, and perceived personality traits, using a 12 (colors) X 2 (sex) design. Participants rated twelve colors on how closely they represented five personality traits (from The Big Five personality test). The results were analyzed using five separate mixed design ANOVAs. Pink was perceived to be most representative of extroversion; yellow most representative of agreeableness; blue most representative of conscientiousness; red most representative of openness to new experience; and white most representative of emotional stability. Additionally, it was found that males and females rated colors significantly differently for extroversion, agreeableness, and emotional stability. These results could be useful for advertising and design, by suggesting that professionals use the color(s) that would best exemplify the personality trait(s) they are aiming to portray.

The Use of Operant Conditioning on Gold Fish Training
Erin Cannon, Kristin Johnson, Amy Pinkerton, Katherine Winters-Hazen

Six comet goldfish showed the capacity for learning upon training using classical and operant conditioning to perform basic tasks. The fish were classically conditioned with a feeding wand, which was paired with fish food. The fish were then operantly conditioned to perform four tasks that would be reinforced upon completion. These trials were timed starting when the feeding wand entered the water to when the food was released. It was evident that learning occurred because as the number of sessions increased, the responding time decreased. The fish also responded to new tasks in the same way. By the end of training, the fish were completing the tasks without guidance. Numerous problems were found during training that could be changed in future studies.

The Effects of Age and Sex on Body Dissatisfaction
Amanda Schultz, Andrea Long, Erin Cannon, and Ben Siefert

Levels of body dissatisfaction were examined by a 4 (age groups) x 2 (gender) analysis of variance for independent groups. One hundred and nineteen participants (52 males and 62 females) were placed into 4 different age categories (18-22, 23-35, 36-49, and 50+), and asked to answer 5 questions about body dissatisfaction. Questions compared participants to same-sex models, and opposing-sex models. Regardless of the independent variable for age, there was a main effect for gender showing that females had the highest ratings of body dissatisfaction compared to males. Also regardless of the independent variable for gender, there was a main effect for age showing that for the age group of 50+, the overall means for body dissatisfaction was the highest; while the age group 18-22 showed the lowest body dissatisfaction ratings. No interaction occurred. The results can assist health professionals to predict the ages with the more detrimental body image concerns to implement more efficient treatment.

Relationships among Students' Body Dissatisfaction and Parents' Body Dissatisfaction
Rachel Stahl, Bridget Welsh, Kelley Asbury, and Erin Sheplavy

The relationship between undergraduate college students' body dissatisfaction and how they perceive their parents' body dissatisfaction was analyzed using Pearson's correlations. Undergraduates filled out a survey that included Stunkard's Line Drawings. Rating from 1 (thin) to 9 (obese), the participants were asked what number looks most like them now, what number they want to look like, and the same questions about both their mother and father. The results showed that there was a significant relationship between female BMI and body dissatisfaction. Contrary to what was hypothesized, there was no significant relationship between mother and daughter body dissatisfaction or father and son body dissatisfaction. As predicted there was no relationship between participants and parents of the opposite sex. These results suggest that parents may not be strong influences in their children's body image perceptions.

The Use of Behavioral Methods to Study Visual Imagery
Sierra N. Moore, August Capiola, Joan V. Cotter, Alaina Antoinette, Cassandra L. Sanderson & Michael A. Kirkpatrick

The present study evaluated behavioral differences between imagining and observation, and tested to see how practice observing affected responding under instructions to imagine. Four conditions differed according to whether participants observed or imagine a scene, and whether they timed an event within the scene or complete a questionnaire about it. Participants in the observation conditions were shown a 21-second video clip of a basketball foul shot preceded by some dribbling. Half of them were asked to time a 6.75-second shot sequence taking place within the clip, while the other half instead completed 40 true/ false questions describing the content of the videotaped scene (e.g., "the shooter was female."). Participants in the imagine conditions were instructed to "imagine observing a shot sequence in basketball in which a person briefly dribbles then shoots a basketball." Half of them timed the event "from the moment you imagine the ball beginning to move through the dribbling then the shot,...[to] when you imagine the ball hitting the ground again after the shot is completed." The other half completed the questionnaire immediately after each trial. After completing the three trials described above, all participants were asked to imagine the scene, time the imagined shot, and then completed the questionnaire. There were several research hypotheses. One was that the different practice conditions over the first three trials would result in different timing behavior and questionnaire answers, illustrating the importance of learning history to behavioral performance under instructions to imagine. Another was specifically that discrimination training would occur on those prior trials as a result of repeated timing or repeated questionnaire responding. Participants would become more skilled at the specific tasks they practiced. Although there were no statistically significant outcomes for timing data, imagery times were especially and predictably variable, ranging from 2 - 16 seconds. Observation times ranged between 4-9 seconds, suggesting that timing while observing led to learning. Those in the observation condition answered significantly more questionnaire items correctly during the last trial. The benefit of observing the video increased with practice and was highest for those who repeatedly completed the questionnaire, consistent with a learning-theoretical perspective. How participants behave when asked to imagine a scene depended upon prior exposure to and responding in the presence of visual stimuli. Moreover, the improvement over trials is suggestive of a learning curve. Exposure to the questions appeared to cue subsequent discrimination. Future studies may expand upon this idea of evaluating the effects of learning on visual imagery, thereby making clinical methods that employ imagery both more accessible and more effective for more people.

Effects of Food Neophobia and Food Neophilia on Diet and Metabolic Processing
August Capiola & Bryan Raudenbush

Past research reveals that neophobic individuals (those individuals unwilling to try new foods) have significantly lower body weight compared to neophilic individuals (those individuals overtly willing to try new foods) or average individuals (after controlling for gender and age). It is a basic tenet in dietetics that dietary variety reduces the risk of nutrient deficiency, which is also positively correlated with body weight. If neophobics have a more restrictive diet, they may be at increased nutritional risk. In the present study, the reliability and dietary basis of this body weight difference is explored by collecting dietary information. Participants completed a food diary for three random days during a random seven-day period, and completed questionnaires related to eating habits and body satisfaction. On average, there was a statistical difference between food-neophobics, food-neophilics, and an average group related to consumption of overall nutrients and calories with age, height, weight, and sex taken as covariates. When the data were further analyzed, the three groups were found to differ significantly on dietary intake of 20 specific nutritional and caloric items, with food-neophobics typically having the lowest intake of specific nutrients and calories overall. This lackluster level of nutritional consumption is seen as a sign of decreased nutritional health and may affect food-neophobics overall health.

Influence of Color and Viscosity on Milk Pleasantness and Intensity Ratings in Disordered Eaters
Mark Sappington, August Capiola, Michael Seals, & Bryan Raudenbush

While previous research on viscosity and taste perception tends to be in agreement, the research on color and taste perception exhibits a tremendous amount of inconsistency. Possible reasons for this inconstancy are the multi-modal nature of gustation and possible confounds, such as level of disordered eating, which are rarely accounted for. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the effect of both color and viscosity on the pleasantness and intensity ratings of milk, while taking level of disordered eating into account. Thirty-eight participants (22 male, 16 female) completed the study. The stimuli were distinct milk samples which varied in color (red, blue, brown, white) and viscosity (skim, 2%, whole), which led to 12 possible combinations. Food-neophobics (those individuals who are unwilling to try new foods) rated milk as less pleasant and more intense, as well as consumed less of it, when compared to food-neophilics (those individuals who are particularly willing to try new foods). However, the significant pleasantness and intensity ratings were found to disappear when Food Neophobia Score was used as a covariate, suggesting that significance within the data relied upon whether an individual was classified as food-neophilic or food-neophobic. While this does not provide an all-inclusive explanation for the past ambiguity, it does open up a new direction for future research on the multi-modal influences of taste perception where level of disordered eating should remain a covariate.

Effects of Jasmine and Peppermint Scent Administration on Physiological and Psychological Stress Reactions in Enclosed Spaces
August Capiola, Bryan Raudenbush, Jessica Florian.

Enclosed spaces can cause significant anxiety and stress responses in individuals, which may hinder their ability to perform certain tasks. The present study assessed the effects of jasmine and peppermint scent administration on physical and psychological stress reactions in enclosed spaces. Eighty-five participants completed the protocol on two separate occasions. For each participant's first visit, they completed questionnaires related to mood (Profile of Mood States) and anxiety (State Trait Anxiety Inventory) prior to and after spending 20 minutes in a sensory deprivation tank. During this time, objective physiological measures of heart rate, galvanic skin response, and respirations were recorded. For the participant's second visit, they repeated the experimental protocol in the presence of no scent (control condition), jasmine scent or peppermint scent. Participants receiving jasmine scent on their second visit showed decreased heart rate, galvanic skin response, and psychological stress/anxiety scores than did the control group who did not receive any scent, F(1,55) = 4.08, 4.05, and 3.31, p<.05, respectively . These results are particularly salient in terms of reducing stress and anxiety in participants undergoing enclosed medical procedures, such as an MRI.