Department of Psychology Recent Research Outcomes - Fall 2013

The Effect of Scent on Dream Imagery
Kristen Custer, Emily Robinson, Stephen Saldanha, and Bryan Raudenbush

Past research has showed that there is a relationship between scent and emotion, scent and physiological responses and also, scent and sleep. The current study assessed whether a scent paired with a disturbing video would have an effect on dream imagery. Ten undergraduate volunteers (3 men and 7 women) participated in the study. Researchers provided participants with a modified version of the Epworth Sleepiness Scale, a sleep questionnaire, a 15 minute slideshow consisting of 180 images collected from the International Affective Picture Library (IAPS), while being exposed to a scent called "A New Age Alert" by a German company called Firmenich. On the second and fourth nights of the four-day trial, participants spent the night in the psychology laboratory and were exposed to the scent on the second night. The participant's completed a Dream Summary survey and a POMS survey with their quality of sleep measured by the Actiwatch Activity Monitor. Researchers predicted that when participants slept in the scented room, they would have dream content representative of the anxiety provoking images shown in the slideshow and would show increased levels of anxiety upon waking. Data were analyzed using a related means t-test for the Actiwatch Activity Monitor. Results were significant showing participants moved less while sleeping during one minute of sleep with the scent. Future studies hope to expand on this topic and find more effects scent has on sleep.

Effects of Peppermint Scented Pencils on Academic Performance 
Bryan Raudenbush

The effects of peppermint scent on human performance have been well documented. However, little is known how this scent will affect cognitive performance outside of a laboratory setting. In the present study, freshman college students were provided a peppermint scented pencil during their freshman orientation course. At mid-term of the semester, these students completed a questionnaire related to their use and evaluation of the pencil. Questionnaires were returned from 180 students (115 males, 65 females, average age 18.31 years, SD = 0.63 years). Between subjects ANOVAs were performed on a variety of evaluation questions based on the frequency of pencil use (daily, a few times a week, once a week, once every few weeks, once a month, or less than once a month). In general, as use increased, ratings of the scented pencil's effectiveness increased for the following dimensions: 1) Motivate to perform academically, 2) Energize, 3) Positively impact self-evaluated academic performance, 4) Provide a competitive edge academically, 5) Decrease level of fatigue, 6) Recommend use to others, and 7) Belief it was valuable to academic experience. In addition, participants were asked to indicate their student identification number if they were willing to allow the researchers access to their mid-term grades (as provided by the University Registrar). A significant effect was found, F(5,60)=3.73, p=.005. As use increased, midterm GPA increased. These findings are an indication that peppermint scent can have a marked impact on actual academic performance.

Effects of Buttered Popcorn Scent Administration on Ratings of Movie Quality and Enjoyment in a Theater Setting Allison Burke, Patrick Dwyer, Killeen Schlegel, Bryan Raudenbush, and Rebecca Brown

The present study investigated the effects of buttered popcorn scent administration on ratings of movie quality, movie enjoyment and mood. Sixty participants were randomly divided into two groups (no scent and buttered popcorn scent) and watched an independent film that none of the participants had previously viewed. 2 (no scent vs. scent) x 2 (male vs. female) x 2 (participant liked vs. disliked popcorn) ANOVAs were performed on dependent measures of dramatic elements, literary elements, cinematic elements, psychological elements, overall rating, and the five sub-scales of the Profile of Mood States (POMS) questionnaire. Results indicated significant 3-way interactions for dramatic elements, cinematic elements, overall rating, and mood. Females in the popcorn scent condition who did not like popcorn gave the film a significantly lower rating on dramatic elements; whereas, males in the popcorn scent condition who did not like popcorn gave the film a significantly higher rating on dramatic elements. Results for cinematic elements mirrored these results. Males in the popcorn scent condition who did not like popcorn gave the film a much higher overall score. It is hypothesized that males in the popcorn scent condition who liked popcorn showed increased anxiety and decreased film ratings due to the violation of expectations of being exposed to a popcorn scent in the absence of being able to consume such popcorn. These results present an interesting dilemma to, and a word of caution concerning, the standard practice of movie theaters to indiscriminately augment theater air flow with product-related scents.

The Effects of Pseudo-Alcohol Impairment on Cognition
Allison Burke, Amanda Schultz, Erin Sheplavy and Bridget Welsh

Sixteen undergraduates participated in a study testing the effects of alcohol on cognition. Researchers used the EEG and self-report data to measure brain wave activity and perceived difficulty of tasks. Participants were instructed to throw paper balls into colored trash bins. Tasks varied with normal throws, fan interference, and Stroop Effect. Environments varied with control, drunk goggles, and drunk goggles combined with beer scent. Researchers found significant changes in frequencies for all four brain waves in relation to all three environments. The NASA-TLX showed significant effects for physical, temporal, effort, performance, and frustration. Ball tossing had significant differences between every environment. An implication for this study would be gaining knowledge on how alcohol impairment affects one's behavior may influence his or her drinking habits or behavior when drinking in the future.

The Effects of Music Tempo on Heart Rate
Kristen Custer, Emily Robinson, Stephen Saldanha and Killeen Schlegel

The present study examined the effects of music tempo on heart rate. Researchers hypothesized that as tempo increased, the participants' heart rate would also increase. Twenty participants experienced a baseline (no music) condition and three different tempos of music (slow, medium and fast). Heart rate was recorded every 30 seconds using a heart rate monitor throughout the 16 minutes of the study. Data were analyzed using a one within ANOVA analysis, and there were no statistically significant differences found. These findings do not support the initial hypothesis. Future researchers might want to consider duration of the music played, environment of study, music selection, and heart rate monitor equipment when studying this topic.

The Effects of Physiological Performance in relation to the BMI Scale 
Kyle Burkhart, Christina Dittoe, Richard Kubacki and Kelsey Leach

The purpose of this study was to determine if the body mass index scale would have an impact on physiological responses of athletes. Participants of the study were required to complete a physiological performance questionnaire survey and to run on a treadmill for fifteen minutes. The participants ran on the treadmill for five, three-minute intervals while the speed of the treadmill and the elevation angle would slowly increase after each interval. The goal of this study was to determine if a person's body size would influence the way in which their body would react physiologically to a physical activity or strenuous activity. The researchers found that the body mass index did not have an effect on the physiological responses of the athletes, but the researchers did find significance in regards to body mass index and how the participants perceived themselves currently on a body image survey of underweight to overweight and on a survey of skinny to muscular. There was also significance found in how a person wanted to look and how they actually perceived themselves on an overweight to underweight scale. An implication for this study would be that the researchers found that body image is looked at in a negative light, but in future studies the researchers hope that body image will be looked at more positively.

The Effects of Asserted Form of Determinism on Historical Survey
Allison Burke, Patrick Dwyer, Emily Robinson, and Haley Rush

Past research has supported that different forms of determinism are seen to prevail when looking for an explanation of an event. The current study examined the relationship between the form of determinism and school of psychology participants selected as most relating to them and responses on a historical survey. Thirty-five high school students (15 men and 20 women) participated in the study. Researchers provided participants with a survey consisting of fifteen historical events. Each event had six proposed causes which corresponded with a specific type of determinism. Participants rated the causes from most important to least important. Researchers predicted that participants would rate the causes of historical events which corresponded with their preferred form of determinism and chosen school of psychology. Data were analyzed using a one-way ANOVA with the dependent variables being the indeterminism total, determinism total, psychical total, social total, biological total and cultural total with the first grouping factor being form of determinism, which contained six categories: biological, psychical, social, cultural, nondeterministic, and indeterministic, and the second grouping factor being school of psychology, which also contained six categories: behavioral, psychoanalytic, social, cognitive, humanistic, and biological. Results were not significant. Future studies hope to improve by increasing sample size and attempting to construct the survey to better avoid effects of the hindsight bias.

Motor Tasks and Memory
Lindsay A. Baugh

Many people doodle in notebooks or play with pens and pencils during class. This study was designed to measure whether doodling or other motor tasks facilitate or inhibit attention to a primary, auditory task. Twenty-five participants listened to a 2.3 minute, monotone recording on the Bubonic Plague, and then were given a surprise memory test. Those in the doodle group were instructed to shade in circles while they listened; those in the motor task group were instructed to make paper clip chains. A control group was used for comparison. No statistically significant differences were found between the doodle group and the control group; however the motor task group's scores were significantly lower than either the doodle group or the control group. Doodling seems to neither help nor hinder attention, but the alternative motor task was found to be inhibitory.

The Effects of Mentoring Styles on Locus of Control and Related Factors
Andrea Long, Erin Sheplavy, Bridget Welsh, and James Wise

Previous research has supported positive effects of internal locus of control. Researchers believe that mentoring focused on internal locus of control will lead external mentees towards internality. The current study measured 16 subjects participating in a small private university's mentoring program, divided into experimental and control groups using Nowicki and Duke's (1974) Locus of Control survey and progress reports. Results partially supported the hypothesis. In giving treatment through progress reports, researchers found that when asked to use problem solving skills, mentees were more likely to use internal explanations unlike their response to the control question that did not require problem solving. Implications of this study may be that employing internal problem solving techniques can lead to internal responsibility placement.

Heart Rate Discrimination Learned Through Verbal Feedback 
Justin Amos, Kristen Custer, and Ryan Naumann

The present study examined heart rate discrimination and how verbal feedback affects it. Researchers hypothesized that participants' heart rate discrimination would be inaccurate without feedback, but would become more accurate when verbal feedback was given to the participants. One participant completed the 7 session study, which included 5 sessions of baseline (no feedback) and 2 sessions of feedback. The participant told the researcher their estimated heart rate every minute for 20 minutes. This guess was recorded along with the actual heart rate, which was either kept hidden from the participant or announced to them, depending on baseline or feedback session. Data were analyzed by calculating standard deviations for each session to represent the difference between actual and estimated heart rates in beats per minute. The standard deviations were also averaged separately for baseline and feedback sessions. The results are consistent with the hypothesis, but performance remained too variable to be conclusive. More feedback sessions are needed for acquisition.

The Male and Female Student Body View of the Men's and Women's Lacrosse Teams
Paola Maysonet, Skylar Patten, Nikki Robinson, Shannon Walsh, Lauren Zirkle

Undergraduate volunteers read two paragraphs asking them to remember an experience at a men's or women's lacrosse game, and then rated both teams on 20 characteristics about the players. Paragraphs were identical except for which lacrosse team was described. Analyses showed significant interactions on eleven items. Five were evaluated further and showed the importance of sex as a variable for the study. The men's lacrosse team was rated higher for items involving characteristics on the field while the women's lacrosse team was rated higher for items involving characteristics off the field. For items that disregarded the trend, males would rate the men's lacrosse team higher than the women's team; females would rate the women's lacrosse team higher than the men's team. Future research could be continued after teammates have stopped mourning for the recent loss of a lacrosse team, which could have affected results.

A Perceptional Analysis of Collegiate Soccer Players: The Effects of Gender Schema Theory and Stereotyping
Clinton Baynham, Madeline Holt, Georges Noubossie, Meghan Reed, Elizabeth Sacco

The purpose of this study was to attempt to support the theory that perceptions of an audience on athletes based on gender and other characteristics are skewed towards a positive rating of men rather than women. Using a 20 item survey, researchers studied the relationship between gender and perceptions of varsity soccer players. The survey was administered twice, with one set of directions relating to the male varsity soccer team, and the other relating to the female varsity soccer team. The items covered several attributes such as knowledge, competitiveness, motivation, and strength. The design was a 2 (gender of rater) X 2 (gender of survey) mixed design. Using a mixed design repeat measures ANOVA, researchers found a significant resulting interaction between gender of rater and gender of survey in 7 items, and main effects in 15 items. It was found that in the majority of the circumstances women rated women higher than men rated men. Overall women gave higher ratings than men. A portion of the significant results partially supported the hypothesis; however several items presented results contrary to the hypothesis.

Collegiate Level Faculty Perceptions of Men's and Women's Basketball Teams
Rebecca Brown, Mariah Cottrill, Alysha Ernest, and Samantha Happ

Faculty members from a small, private university were surveyed to find potential stereotypes about men's and women's basketball teams. Each participant was selected and assigned randomly, and responded to a 20-question survey while imagining a basketball game. Results showed few main effects and interactions between male and female participant responses. There was an interaction between participant gender and men's or women's basketball team when faculty was asked to consider the likelihood of risky behavior when not playing. Furthermore, main effects were found when faculty rated the men's basketball team as significantly more masculine, less likely to have a woman coach, and weaker than the women's basketball team. Possible reasons for results are the small sample size and even smaller rate of return, and unequal participant gender to basketball team gender ratio. Future studies should obtain a larger and more diverse sample size in which participants from both public and private universities are surveyed.

Perceptions of Baseball and Softball 
Alexus Rairdon, Jessica Pontis, Ben Arthurs, Ashley May, Kelci Rullo

Varsity softball players, baseball players, athletes in other sports, and non-athletes were asked to imagine either a softball or baseball game, then to respond to 20 statements about the game, the players, the coach, and the team. Results showed that softball players were judged to be more aggressive, caring, and more likely to have a gay sexual orientation and that baseball players were judged to be more masculine, healthier, and to have better body images.