Department of Psychology Recent Research Outcomes - Fall 2016

The Impact of Gender and Gender Stereotypes on Perception of Facial Features
Kristin Beyerl, Taylor Booth, Sawyer Leppla, John Wegley and Simon Schober

The purpose of the current study is to determine if gender and gender stereotypes affect participant's perception of facial features. Recent studies have indicated that there are in fact gender stereotypes. Participants in the current study were recruited via a convenience sample of undergraduate students from a small, private university. One hundred and fifty-five traditional college-aged students were asked to participate in filling out a survey that had a picture of a male or female face, portrayed with either masculine of feminine features. The participants were given a survey to rate gender biased questions based on the face given. The participants indicated their level of agreement on a five-point scale that ranged from one, being strongly disagree, to five, strongly agree for forty-seven statements concerning the person in the picture. After making their ratings, participants answered the following demographic items such as: their gender in which they identify themselves, how they identify their sexual orientation, how tall they are, how much they weigh in pounds and how attractive they believe they are on a five-point scale. From the forty-seven questions given, our group analyzed the following: "this person is probably promiscuous", "this person probably has a pink phone case", "this person is probably sexually active", "this person probably cries easily", and "this person is probably a victim of sexual assault". Results were analyzed using univariate 2X2 ANOVA test. Analysis revealed that of the five questions chosen, there was no significance in the interaction between: this person is probably promiscuous, this person probably cries easily, and this person is probably a victim of sexual assault. But there was a significant interaction between, "this person is probably sexually active", and "this person probably has a pink phone case". Finally, it was found that the female faces, and faces with feminine features were rated more likely to have a pink phone case, with no significant interaction between the two. Also, participants rated those with masculine features more likely to be sexually active, with a significant interaction between male faces and masculine facial features but no significance in ratings of just the male gender.

The Impact of Gender and Gender Stereotype on Hypothetical Facial Perception 
Sabrina Soriano, Connor Buzzelli, Travis McKinley, Austen Zorick, and Justin Ki Ryder

The purpose of the following study was to determine if gender and gender stereotypes had an effect on the way that people perceived a hypothetical face with either feminine or masculine features. In addition, prior research has shown that biases were found against high masculinity and feminine features. Understanding this information can help to discover underlying reasons for prejudice and discriminatory attitudes. One hundred and fifty five students from a small private university took a survey containing 47 questions regarding a photo of a hypothetical person's face. The participants received one of four photos, a male face showing masculine or feminine features or a female face portraying masculine or feminine features. After rating the 47 items on a 5-point scale, participants were then asked 5 demographic questions. Upon analyzing five different statements from the survey, results showed that only one showed a statistically significant difference between gender. The data revealed that males were perceived as more likely to commit a sexually violent crime than females were. 

Impact of Facial Features on Perceptions of Others
Amy Rotriga, Erin Utterbrink, Autumn Hall, Monica Young

The purpose of the current study is to determine how different facial features effect how individuals perceive gender and sexual orientation of others. Recent studies have indicated how perceptions can change based on differing facial features between genders. In addition, research has shown how gender and sexual orientation affect how others view different characteristic traits. Participants were recruited via a convenient sample of students from a small, private university. One hundred and fifty-five undergraduate students filled out one of four potential surveys related to a hypothetical face of either a male or female with feminine or masculine characteristics. Forty-seven survey questions were asked and we analyzed four of the items which related to dateability, popularity, amount of alcohol consumption, and equality. Results were analyzed using a two by two factorial analysis and revealed no significant differences in these four items studied. It was found that people tend not to rate a difference between females and males whether masculine or feminine on dateability, popularity, consumption of alcohol, and equality. 

Effects of Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation on Facial Characteristics
Amanda Nest, Taylor Koontz, Jacqueline French, & Jaylen Hill

The purpose of the study is to determine if certain facial characteristics influence the perception of gender identity and sexual orientation. There is research indicating that one's own body image can influence how one perceives the characteristics of another person. Participants in the current study were recruited via a convenience sample of students from a small, private liberal arts university. Participants were then shown one of four faces followed by being asked several questions on a demographics page. These faces were artificially created to represent the average American man and woman. Two faces were the average male and average female face. The other two were a digital feminization of the male face and a digital masculinization of the female face. Participants were then asked to indicate their level of agreement with several statements about the face they are looking at, using a 5-point rating scale. Data were analyzed using a univariate ANOVA for independent groups. Analyses revealed significance between masculinity and genders. Moreover, results demonstrated that the average ratings of the feminine stereotype were significantly higher in the female stereotype than the male stereotype. Finally, results showed that there was a significance for condition stereotypes, showing that the average for male stereotypes are rated to be significantly higher than the female stereotypes on masculinity, and femininity ratings on gender were significant, showing the average of ratings in females are significantly higher than males on femininity.

An Analysis of Gender Norms from Feminized and Masculinized Faces
A. Bailes, S. Glover, J. Martin, D. McAvoy, C. Ratcliffe

The purpose of this study was to see if gender and gender stereotype effect how people perceive one another. Participants were collected by a convenient sample at Wheeling Jesuit University and asked to complete a survey rating one of four facial images. The image provided was either a feminine female, feminine male, masculine female, or a masculine male. Participants rated 47 different statements about the image and were asked to give demographic information. Of the 47 statements, researchers analyzed 5 statements to test for significance. They analyzed number 3: This person could be described as emotional, number 13: This person is probably friendly, number 36: This person probably gets into fights easily, number 41: This person has experienced discrimination, and number 43: This person probably likes cute things. Significance was only found in the statement "This person probably likes cute things," which showed that the feminine and female faces were most likely to be perceived to like cute things. 

Learning Behavior of Common Goldfish Using Reinforcement Methods
C. Comfort, S. Glover, C. Rich

The purpose of this study was to examine learned behaviors in the common goldfish using operant and classical conditioning learning principles. There were three participants involved. Training for the participants was conducted over a nine week period, split into three training sections. The first training section lasted two weeks and involved teaching the participants to associate the feeding wand with food. The feeding wand was used to deliver food. The goal of this section was to get each participant to associate the wand with food. Once all three participants were trained to associate the wand with food, training section 2 began. This section involved training the participants to swim to the wand and eat from the wand. Training for this section was the longest, lasting from week three through week seven. The last two weeks of the study involved training the participants to swim through a hoop to be rewarded with food. Two of the three participants completed the study which required them to swim through a hoop with food reinforcing the behavior. 

Goldfish Training
Megan Randolph, Amanda Nest, and Travis McKinley

The purpose of the current study was to examine the learning of fish based on operant and classical conditioning procedures. Recent studies have indicated that fish are capable of learning through positive reinforcement and the learning principles such as shaping are effective. Participants in the current study were three goldfish that were randomly selected from nine fish purchased at PetCo. The fish ranged in color and size as one was orange and the smallest, one white and orange and medium in size, and one gray and the biggest in size. The fish were required to complete desired behaviors (swimming towards wand, eating off wand, and swimming through hoop) and their behavior was marked in a data notebook as correct or incorrect. Percentages of completing these behaviors correctly per training session were also noted and graphs were constructed based on those percentages. Future research should incorporate other learning principles such as positive punishment and compare the learning to positive reinforcement. Also the duration of time to train the fish could be increased so that the fish could complete more behaviors. 

Teaching Goldfish Via Operant and Classical Conditioning
Megan Rush, Albert Schrimp, and Brittany Bennington

This study was designed to use classical and operant conditioning procedures to test the ability of comet goldfish to associate a stimulus with a reward to perform tasks. As prior research demonstrates, goldfish have shown to be able to make associations, such as pairing the person who feeds them with the reward of food over time. Three comet goldfish were initially trained to approach a feeding wand to receive a food reward that was then released from the wand. The fish were only fed when they were being wand-trained to keep them motivated to approach the wand for food. Once a fish showed significant response to the wand, it was then wand-trained to swim through a hoop. Results showed no learning curve for any of the three fish but did show that one fish responded to the wand more than the other two and could move on to wand-training through a hoop. Future research could focus on using larger fish since the brain size of goldfish is often related to its ability to learn. 

The Effect of Consciousness Rating Scales on the Perception of Consciousness in Different Organisms
Jonathan Settle and Michael A. Kirkpatrick

Previous research has shown that, when asked to numerically rate the consciousnesses of diverse species, experimental participants' ratings correspond loosely to levels of phylogenetic development. The present study elaborated on prior research by varying the rating methods. Participants were randomly assigned to either of two groups in an online survey requiring them to rate the consciousness of several organisms studied previously. One group utilized a simple rating scale (SRS; n = 28) that differentiated consciousness by broad levels or degrees; mildly conscious (1-4), moderately conscious (5-9), or mostly conscious (10-15). The other form was a modified version of the Glasgow coma scale (GCS; n = 32) which operationalized consciousness as the combination of three subscales evaluating ocular, verbal, and motor responsivity. The maximum possible score on each was 15 points. Organisms included flu virus, flower, tree, human embryo, cockroach, rattlesnake, rat, dolphin, gorilla, cat, dog, and human, presented in that order. Ratings increased generally with phylogenetic complexity across organisms. The type of measurement scale (GSC versus SRS) did not produce different ratings overall. Although differences by scale were evident in select cases, they were not always in the expected direction. Clearer operationalization of consciousness failed to yield substantially different ratings, suggesting that evaluations of consciousness are either 1) fixed by variables not under examination, 2) limited by a floor effect, or 3) artifacts of generalized concepts (prototypes) and schemata not unique to consciousness.