Department of Psychology Recent Research Outcomes - Spring 2009

Assessment of Deinstitutionalization and Psychotropic Drug Treatment 
Matthew Popiolkowski, Amanda Stover, Tom Donley, Tim DeFilippis 

With the creation of psychotropic drugs, mass deinstitutionalization occurred moving many of the mentally ill patients out of hospitals due to the quicker mode of treatment offered by psychotropic drugs. However, the question arises, was the creation of psychotropic drugs responsible for deinstitutionalization or did the reform mentality of the time elicit mass awareness of the rights of the mentally ill? We examined both the number of prisons and institutions during the 1950s-1960s and investigated the release of psychotropic drugs into the market in the United States. By looking at these factors we compared how psychotropic drugs effected deinstitutionalization in the United States to draw conclusions about their effectiveness. While clearly an important element in the deinstitutionalization movement, we conclude that other factors including an ongoing humanistic reform movement and a rise in the prison population combined to influence these trends.

The Historical Progression of Psychological Conditioning 
Zachary Bowman, Michael Kidd, Sallie Minor, Jenny Beth Wysocki 

The historical progression of research into psychological conditioning was studied using Analytical research methods. A timeline showing major developments and contributions of both applied psychologists and laboratory scientists was constructed focusing primarily on conditioning therapies. The results show conditioning is relevant in psychology and used frequently in therapy practices. More importantly, the timeline revealed a role for many little-known contributors whose work influenced major theorists but has not been widely acknowledged. Results also show a large gap between the discovery of conditioning and its large-scale application to therapy. 

The Effects of Mentoring on Adolescents 
Nicole Hoover, Danielle Longerbeam, Kevin Rico 

Nearly half the American youth population, or 17.6 million youths, want or need a mentor and nearly 44 million adults say they would like to become a mentor. H however, due to "capacity limitations," only three million are in formal mentoring relationships. This leaves about 15 million American youths mentorless; this group is what is called our nation's "mentoring gap." Despite strong evidence supporting the benefits of mentoring programs and healthy mentoring relationships, there is a lack of federal spending/support for mentoring programs. This study examined the benefits of mentoring programs and relationships on youths. We considered the lack of financial support from the government to be the primary impediment to early intervention with young people via mentoring relationships.

The Effect of Age and Education on Defining Depression 
Andrea Davis, Bethany Kerwood, Jennifer Hill, and Melissa Kahriman 

The difference between the definition of depression provided by junior and senior psychology majors and those given by a convenience sample of non-psychology major adults and students was examined using a timed survey. Sixty-six volunteers wrote on paper the top ten words or phrases that they associated with depression. Experimenters constructed a "standard" list using key defining features from the DSM-IV. The control group of the history and systems students and the experimental groups (younger and older age groups) were then compared on the terms they listed. We expected the psychology major's terms to match the DSM-IV list better than the non-major's group. We also expected that the older the participant, the more the results would deviate from the DSM-IV. Our results confirmed that the older participants' listed words that differed considerably from the "official" list of words. Surprisingly, psychology students trained in the use of DSM-IV criteria also differed from the DSM-IV criteria. These results suggest that "folks" or commonsense psychology continues to exert a persistent influence on perception of diagnostic category even after formal training.

Medical and Psychological Model: a Contrasting History of United States Psychology 
Dustin Contos, Brandon Kaufman, Bryan Nesbitt, and Megan Meadows 

The purpose of this study was to trace early U.S. approaches to psychology and examine how the field has developed into two main models, the medical and psychological. The medical model assumes that all disease is caused by the malfunctioning of some aspect of the human body, usually the brain (objective approach). The psychological approach, in contrast, proposes that psychological or experiential events are the causes of abnormal behavior (subjective approach). Utilizing textual records and group collaboration, we subjectively chose important events that we believe have shaped the current U.S. models of psychology. A qualitative analysis was performed. The influence of major events, treatments, and historical figures on the emergence of these models was detailed and portrayed in a time line. 

Evolution of Schizophrenic Medications and Its Popularity 
Mae Frilles and Lexa Hamilton-Cotter 

Although schizophrenia cannot be cured, there are steps to manage the disease in order for a person to function well in life. Pharmacological breakthroughs sparked deinstitutionalization and focused treatment on alleviating the patients' symptoms. The earlier drugs treated the "positive symptoms," characterized by excess (e.g., hallucinations, delusions, bizarre speech); however, they had severe side effects. New drugs were created to eliminate the side effects and also to better combat the "negative symptoms," representing deficiencies (e.g., social withdrawal, blunted affect). We used Google to search between band name and generic names and counted the number of hits obtained for each. They were similar. However, when using a medically based search engine, EBSCOhost, generic drugs were more common (produced more hits). It is cheaper to do studies with generic drugs. Tracing these patterns by date reveals the overall historical pattern of emergence for different classes of drugs and, therefore, illustrates a dimension of progress toward treating both positive and negative symptoms with fewer dangerous side effects.

History of the Wheeling Jesuit Student Research and Scholarship Symposium 
Julianna Arner, Megan Foutty, Kristian Winters, and Tim Wright 

The trends of the WJU Student Research and Scholarship Symposium were described through the last decade in regard to different aspects, such as overall student enrollment, presentation numbers, and departmental enrollment. Specifically, the department of psychology was examined in regard to its participation in comparison with other departments. The programs included in the event from 2001 to 2009 were used to determine presentation numbers. In addition, the faculty mentor was matched with the appropriate departmental affiliation. After tallying the numbers, we concluded that overall participation in the program was correlated with the Wheeling Jesuit enrollment numbers. While the psychology department was the second highest in total presentations, the low percentage of psychology students who were enrolled in the department and participated in the program indicates that a larger emphasis on the importance of WJU Student Research and Scholarship Symposium must be given to psychology students.

WWII and its Affects on the History of Psychology Alexis Arango, Jenna Lepole, Maranda Parker We researched and collected data from the time period of 1930s-1950s in order to support the hypothesis that World War II increased the use of psychology as a science in the areas of experimental, clinical, and behavioral psychology. Information was researched through EBSCOhost on the changes of psychology before, during, and after World War II. WWII was not found to be the prime factor that increased the use of psychology as a science; however factors such as depression, unemployment, and per capita were. A time line was created of the prime events that took place from 1935-1953. No significant research supported that WWII increased the use of psychology; however, WWII was a turning point. While it may be tempted to attributing causal importance to large-scale historical events like WWII, the development of a large and diverse field such as psychology must be seen in a multivariate light, subject to many different external social, economic, and historical influences as well as internal factors like empirical discovery and philosophical development.

The Influence of Non-Psychological Sources of Developing a Folk Psychology 
Caitlin Beam, Megan Keenan, Jonathan Kolks, Michelle Logan 

Folk psychological views were examined in a questionnaire given to 42 participants. The questionnaire focused broadly on three topics including: states of consciousness, developmental psychology, and social psychology. The questionnaire narrowed those topics to dreaming and consciousness, aggression, and diffusion of responsibility, in order to sample topics that varied on the degree of popular theorizing and technical intradisciplinary research. The researchers examined participants' responses in order to formulate trends, which were hypothesized to be influenced by the media or the general public's view as opposed to credible psychological journals. Overall, it appeared as though popular interest in a topic may be based on the personal meaning associated with the subject matter (e.g., dream symbolism), whereas scientific research (e.g., causes of aggression) appear to be more closely associated with the importance of its social implications.

The Effect of Time on Bipolar Disorder 
Katie Elliott, Monica Prieur, and Sam Taczak 

DSM I, DSM II, DSM III, DSM III-R, DSM IV, and DSM IV-TR were analyzed and compared in order to describe the changes over time in defining and diagnosing Bipolar Disorder. Other forms of research were used as well, including research on EBSCOhost and Google into literature addressing changes in diagnostic criteria. Dramatic changes were seen from DSM II to DSM III and then again from DSM III-R to DSM IV. Treatments for Bipolar Disorder were approved in 1959 beginning with Antidepressants. Over time Anticonvulsants and Antipsychotics were also approved. In recent years, Antidepressants and Antipsychotics have been combined with Mood Stabilizers. The combination depends on the patient and the severity of their symptoms. WJU Psychology Department: Changing Times Andrew S. Groves & Natalie L. Allen Just as the systems of psychology have changed in accordance with the zeitgeist, so too has the Wheeling Jesuit Psychology department. To track the changes the department has made from pre-major status to its current status, research was conducted on available courses as it pertained to the field of psychology. A qualitative analysis of course catalogs via the registrar was the basis of the information provided in the project. Findings of the research showed that initial courses in psychology were primarily based in philosophical problems with even outright denial of basic principles of behaviorism. Furthermore, avid acceptance of psychoanalysis was a basis of some courses. The official creation of WJU's Psychology Department as a major in 1966 soon gave way to consistent emphasis on statistical analysis. Overall, there was a general shift from clinical psychology to experimental psychology over the years with many courses being created only to last shortly. In addition to the qualitative analysis, there were brief quantitative analyses assessing general areas of success. Jesuit Psychology majors have been showing more than 67% attending graduate school and most others work in the field. Being able to see the changes in the program is vital to understanding the products of the department. As the department is a product of the times, the student is a product of the department.

Evolutionary Psychology: Where Did it Come From? 
Scott Bonnette, Erika Rucker, and Jill Nizan 

Evolutionary psychology is a very important area of modern psychology. According to Gregory Webster (2007), evolutionary psychology is the study of the psychological adaptations of humans to the changing physical and social environment, especially of changes in brain structure, cognitive mechanisms, and behavioral differences among individuals. In order to understand evolutionary psychology as a science it is important to study the influences of evolutionary biology, cognitive psychology, philosophy of science, and the philosophy of the mind (Downes, 2008). We studied the development of the subject starting with the earliest Greek philosophers and continuing to the most influential modern evolutionary psychologists. We also evaluated the contributions from other similar fields. A qualitative analysis revealed that the principle of evolution is mainly responsible for the development of social Darwinism and other social movements that followed. Evolutionary principles are also implicit in myriad social, behavioral, and biological theories about behavior and mental processes.
Historical Perspectives of Lobotomy Procedures and Chlorpromazine 
Kevin McCafferty, Shannon Gringle, Kathleen Harvey, and Maqsood Harrington 

Our study examined the historical trends associated with the introduction of a new drug, chlorpromazine, and the procedure it replaced, the lobotomy. We evaluated the number of articles written on EBSCOhost electronic resources Medline, PsycARTICLES, and PsycINFO and then charted the results of each found from 1937 to 1975. The study found an inverse relation between the number of articles, where lobotomy articles decreased and chlorpromazine articles increased. Using the same method the study was also able to find the beginnings of the same trend with SSRI's and Electro-Convulsive Therapy. More importantly, we traced and described historical details in the development and popularization of the lobotomy procedure, which was seen as quick, efficient, and cost-effective by its proponents despite its barbaric appearance.

The Effects of Practice and Video Exposure on Timing and Reported Context of Visual Imagery
Julianna Arner, Katie Elliott, Matt Popiolkowski, Zachary Bowman, Katie M. Elliott, Alexandra J. Hamilton-Cotter, Erika D. Rucker, Samantha B. Taczak, & Michael A. Kirkpatrick 

Two nearly identical experiments were conducted comparing the effects of visual imagery to visual observation on two dependent measures; timing of an observed or imagined event, and completion of a questionnaire describing observed or imagined scene content. Each study employed a 2 x 4 x 5 mixed design with 12 participants from Wheeling Jesuit University. The participants for each experiment were placed in 2 groups. All were asked to imagine a basketball shot over five consecutive trials. During each trial, participants timed with a stopwatch the amount of time their imagined shot remained in the air. After these five imagery trials, participants completed a 10-item questionnaire describing features of the scene (the color of the shooter's attire, gender, orientation of the basket relative to the shooter, etc.). The groups then differed. Group 1 (video) observed a brief video clip of a basketball player taking a shot. They repeated this observation five times, timing the duration of the observed shot each time. They then completed the 10-item questionnaire describing video content once again. Group 2 (control) observed a blank screen instead of a video, again timing the shot 5 times before taking the questionnaire. For group two, this second condition implicitly required imagery. The introduction of the blank video screen served as a control to evaluate whether simply directing attention to the monitor altered the responses independent of the actual video. Both groups then ended with 5 additional trials of imagery, timing the duration of the imagined shot and completing a content questionnaire afterward. The two experiments differed only in the specific video employed, with one using a relatively short distance shot, while the other used a longer shot. The results are described collectively.

The video group showed times more consistent with the actual video once exposed to it. No significant differences were found with the video content questionnaires. The absence of an effect for the questionnaires is hypothesized to have resulted from commonalities in basketball schemata. On average, 4-5 questionnaire responses could be guessed correctly even by participants who did not observe the video, effectively producing a ceiling effect. With only 12 participants per study, even 10/10 correct was not sufficiently different from 4/10 or 5/10 correct to show improvement. Additionally, questionnaire answers following video observation reverted back to baseline. Participants persisted in imagining their own scenes despite exposure to the video. Taken together, these findings suggest that durations may respond more to implicit instruction (presentation of a video, without explicit instructions to make the times match). Content descriptions appear to require more explicit instruction (i.e., make your imagery match the video). Further investigation will be required to answer these questions.

Effects of attachment on the attribution of blame in date rape scenarios 
Lauren Fabry, Courtney Newlon, Matt Popiolkowski and Liz Sluciak 

A between subjects design was used to determine how characteristics of attachment affect participants' perception of blame in a date rape scenario. A total of 40 participants, approximately 18 male and 22 female undergraduate students, from Wheeling Jesuit University were given a 36 question survey on attachment. The seven point Likert Scale was used to rate each question. Then, they were given one of four date rape scenarios involving alcohol. In two of the scenarios, the characters were just friends with one of the friend scenarios involving alcohol. In the other two they were in a serious relationship with one of those involving alcohol as well. After the participant read the scenario, they were given a survey that pertained to the particular scenario that they were given. The survey contained five questions that required a rating from one to seven, one being excusable and seven being inexcusable for the behavior that occurred. There was no statistical significance found from any of the data collected in the study.

Correlation study between attachment style and helping behavior Melissa Burch, Mae Frilles and Jill Nizan This experiment examines whether or not a correlation exists between attachment style, commitment to service, and altruism. Fifty-four Wheeling Jesuit University undergraduate students participated in the experiment. Participants completed a survey to establish their level of attachment, along with a survey to measure their helping behavior. Similarities in demographics, such as gender and personal values, were also tested to see if people with similar demographics are more willing to help in stressful situations. Results showed no significant effects.

The effects of social facilitation on stress and performance 
Alexis Arango, Megan Foutty, Jenna Lepole and Maranda Parker 

Twenty-three Wheeling Jesuit Undergraduate students participated in social facilitation with stress and performance. This study was examined in a 3 (social condition) x 2 (gender) factorial design. Each participant played the Nintendo Wii Super Monkey Ball Banana Blitz video game across three separate randomized conditions in which the participant played alone, with a friend, and in the presence of the experimenter. In addition to the three experimental conditions, one practice round was played, giving all participants an equal amount of time. The researchers predicted that participants would perform in accordance with Zajonc's theory of social facilitation. The video game chosen was obscure and unpopular in relation to most Nintendo Wii games, so it was predicted that participants playing alone would have the highest overall performance. Furthermore, participants playing with a friend were predicted to have better performance than when playing in the presence of the experimenter.

Effects of sex and gender characteristics on attitudes toward math 
Dustin Contos, Brandon Kaufman and Meagan Meadows 

The effects of sex and gender characteristics on attitudes towards math were examined in a 2 x 3 factorial design. Thirty-eight participants (19 males and 19 females) completed three surveys to compare sex, gender characteristics, and attitudes towards math. Each participant completed a demographics sheet, BEM sex-role inventory, followed by the cynical attitudes towards math survey. No significant differences were found between the variables being measured. The results did illustrate a trend towards stereotypical sex roles and attitudes towards math. Males with masculine characteristics and females with feminine characteristics demonstrated a trend towards more negative attitudes towards math. In contrast, males and females with androgynous characteristics viewed math more positively.

Effects of blueberry scent on attractiveness 
Scott Bonnette, Megan Fouty, Kristin Winters and Bryan Raudenbush 

Prior research has shown the effectiveness of scent research on mood states, emotions, and feelings. Using one scent, blueberry, a study was performed to see the effects on attractiveness. Participants were recruited to view a slideshow of eight figures in either an experimental or control condition. It was discovered that the ratings of the figures were significantly affected by the experimental scent condition. This research is ongoing.

Effects of sham intoxication on Nintendo Wii Fit balance games 
Keith Fleischmann, Tim Wright, Megan Foutty, and Bryan Raudenbush 

The present study examined the effects of sham intoxication on balance via the Wii Fit video game for the Nintendo Wii console. Participants underwent two conditions. In the experimental condition, participants consumed four, twelve-ounce, non-alcoholic beers. They then played a series of four balance games on the Wii Fit, including Ski Slalom, Soccer Heading, Tight Rope Walk, and Table Tilt. In the control condition, participants filled out the Big 5 Personality and Aggression survey prior to playing the Wii Fit balance games. Their performance was recorded in each condition. Paired sample T-tests were used to analyze performance scores. Results showed significance between the sham alcohol and control Tightrope times, between the sham alcohol and control Table Tilt points, and sham alcohol and control Table Tilt level reached. There was a trend between the sham alcohol and control Soccer Heading points and between the sham alcohol and control Ski Slalom time. In all cases, performance diminished in the alcohol condition when compared to the control condition. These results seem to indicate alcohol's perceived effects on balance are not entirely physiological, as they seem to depend on individual expectations of intoxication. Further studies could examine the effects of sham intoxication on ratings of attractiveness and motor skills, as these areas have been stereotypically affected by intoxication.

Effects of gender, body size and task on attribute ratings 
Jonathan Kolks, Keith Fleischmann, Tim Wright, Kristin McCombs and Bryan Raudenbush 

The effects of gender, body size, and task on attribute ratings was examined using a 2 x 3 x 5 x 10 repeated measures design. Ninety-six participants, 46 males and 50 females, took part in a body image survey. Participants filled out a demographics sheet, rated 30 pictures of 3 different men and 3 different women on 10 different attributes. There was a small, medium, and large body type for both sexes. Each female and male body type had 5 conditions, including a control condition (arms hanging at their side), a treadmill condition (walking on a treadmill), a television condition (watching television), a beer condition (drinking beer), and an eating condition (eating from a bowl). Participants then filled out an eating disorder packet. Researchers found consistently repeating themes throughout the entire experiment. These included: females were more critical of ratings than males; females were rated higher by both genders; as body size increased, body image and attribute ratings decreased; physical activity improves body image, while watching television, drinking a beer, or eating diminishes body image and attributes.