Department of Psychology Recent Research Outcomes - Spring 2010

Physiological Responses of Food Neophobics and Food Neophilics to Food and Non-Food Stimuli
Bryan Raudenbush and August Capiola

Individual differences in human food neophobia (the reluctance to try novel foods) and food neophilia (the overt willingness to try novel foods) influence the evaluation of tastes and odors, as well as the sampling of such stimuli.  Past research also notes an association of food neophobia to PTC sensitivity, body weight, and cephalic phase salivary response.  The present study assessed physiological reactions of food neophobics and neophilics to pictures of food and non-food stimuli.  Stimuli pictures were presented in random order on a computer screen for a period of 5 minutes.  No significant differences were found between the groups in relation to non-food stimuli.  However, pulse [F(1,21)=5.69,p=.03], GSR [F(1,21)=3.07, p=.09] and respirations [F(1,21)=4.43, p=.05] were significantly increased in food neophobics when presented pictures of food stimuli.  Thus, further evidence is provided to support a physiological component at least partially responsible for differences noted between neophobics and neophilics in sensitivity, psychophysical ratings, and willingness to try personality.  Such a component may also lead to differences in weight, nutrition, and overall health.

Effects of Odorant Administration on Consumer Product Selection and Expected Value 
Megan Foutty, Sarah Mogan and Bryan Raudenbush

Prior research has shown the effectiveness of scent on influencing consumer purchases and perceived value of in-store products.  However, there is no evidence to whether this effect can be extended to online shopping as well.  Scents were matched to 3 consumer products in a slideshow of ten products.  The scents included: Fruit Loops, leather, and coffee.  Participants were randomly placed in either the control or one of the three scent conditions and asked to rate their desire to purchase the product, their perceived quality, and tell the dollar amount they would be willing to pay for the product.  Researchers discovered that there were no significant differences in participants' desire to purchase, perceived quality, and the dollar amount they were willing to pay when the scent was present.  Researchers discovered that there is an obscure component about having a scent paired with products in-store that does not translate to online shopping.  Still, further and future research is encouraged to gain more insight into the findings. 

Effects of Peppermint Scent on Enhancing Cognitive Performance During Wii Video Game Play 
Kristin McCombs, Andrea Bova, Bryan Raudenbush and Mark Sappington

Previous research has shown the positive effects of video game play while other research has shown the benefits of peppermint scent administration. The present study assessed the combination of video game play and peppermint scent administration on physiology, mood, game performance, and perceived task load. Participants completed 2 conditions. All participants first completed a control condition to serve as a baseline. For their second visit, participants were randomly assigned to one of two conditions: a repeat of the control session or an experimental condition in which the participant was exposed to peppermint scent delivered via nasal cannula at 3lmp. Participants played 3 Nintendo Wii Fit Plus Games requiring cognitive and hand/eye reactions (Perfect 10, Snowball Fight, and Obstacle Course). Results indicate that those in the peppermint scent condition showed greater improvements on their second visit in many categories. For the Perfect 10 game, participants completed significantly more levels [t(14)=-2.95,p=.01]. For Snowball Fight, participants had significantly more hits [t(14)=-4.03,p=.001] and stars, which indicate successful play [t(14)=-4.00, p=.012]. For Obstacle Course, participants were more successful in completing levels [t(14)=-2.87, p=.012] and distance completed [t(14)=-1.97, p=.08]. Further, participants in the peppermint condition reported less mental demand [t(14)=1.96, p=.070], less perceived effort [t(14)=2.27, p=.039], and less anxiety [t(14)=2.39, p=.031]. In terms of physiological data, participants in the control group had a significantly lower pulse change [t(15)=2.246, p=.04] and diastolic blood pressure change [t(15)=12.13, p=. 069] at the end of their session; whereas, participants in the peppermint scent condition experienced no significant difference in pulse, suggesting that the scent administration promoted greater physiological arousal, thus keeping them engaged in the testing process. Implications include the combination of video games and a physiologically arousing scent (specifically, peppermint) to further promote cognitive performance

The Effects of Peppermint Scent on Weight Loss Over Time
Megan Foutty, Jonathan Kolks, August Capiola and Bryan Raudenbush

Past research has shown the numerous effects peppermint scent can have on individuals; those effects ranging from increased cognitive performance, increased athletic performance, and alertness. Sniffing peppermint has also shown effects to reduce caloric intake of participants over a one week time period. Researchers wanted to see if this initial finding could be extended to a reduction in weight loss and body fat percentage over a longer period of time if participants sniffed peppermint regularly. A total of 40 Wheeling Jesuit University students were used as participants and were randomly placed into one of two groups: control or peppermint. All participants after signing a consent form, filled out a demographics sheet, Eating Habits Survey., Exercise Inventory, and a food preference survey. Then all participants had their initial weight and Body Mass Index (BMI) taken. Those participants in the control group were asked to come back every other week and have their weight and BMI recorded again. Those in the experimental condition were given a peppermint inhaler and asked to sniff it before they ate as well as whenever they felt hungry. Their weight and BMI was also recorded every other week. Researchers discovered that there were no significant differences in changes of weight and BMI between the two conditions. Still, further and future research is encouraged to gain more insight into the findings since their was little experimental control in the study. 

The Effects of Sensory Deprivation on Premenstrual Symptoms 
Lexa Hamilton-Cotter, Kristian Winters and Bryan Raudenbush

A Sensory Deprivation Tank (SDT) was used to view its effects on pre-menstrual symptoms (PMS). Previous research has indicated that sessions in the SDT, greater relaxation, and lower anxiety have been correlated together. Participants were Wheeling Jesuit University undergraduate females who voluntarily signed up for this particular study. Each female participant had an initial visit to go over the procedure and later followed with three visits over two conditions. Of the next three visits, one condition required the participant to float in the SDT for fifty minutes on two different occasions and after floating fill out surveys; the second condition was a survey session without floating. The order of these sessions was randomized for each participant and the participant had to be menstruating during all three sessions. Surveys used for this study were a combination of the Profile of Mood States (POMS) and an eighteen question survey on PMS symptoms previously made up by earlier researchers. Data were collected from five participants and were analyzed using a repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) in the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS). From this data on the symptom questionnaire "Feeling under stress" and "Outbursts of irritability or bad temper" were significantly lower for participants after floating. The values for "Feeling under stress" were F= 5.44 with p= .03 and the values for "Outbursts of irritability or bad temper" were F = 6.44 with p= .02. Both of these values are well below the accepted alpha level of p= .05.  A trend was found with "Feeling sad or blue" and "Crying spells" and both were lower after floating. The majority of the eighteen questions indicated that SDT lowered the symptoms even though only two of questions' results were significant. For the POMS none of the six categories found significant differences between conditions. The results are very promising from such a small participant sample size. Also, these results indicate that more data may show other significant differences among the control and STD conditions. Findings from this study can allow women a more natural way to deal with PMS symptoms.

The Effect of Green Apple Scent on Pain Perception
Jonathan Kolks, Lexa Hamilton-Cotter, Sarah Mogan and Bryan Raudenbush

Researchers investigated the effects of green apple scent on pain.  Twenty college students randomly completed the experimental protocol under two conditions, with each condition on a separate day.  Participants placed a hand in a cold-compressor tank of cold water.  After completing each condition to the extent of their tolerance, participants completed questionnaires on mood and workload.  Results showed that college students unexpectedly experience greater pain in the green apple scent condition, rather than less.   

The Perceived Health Locus of Control and H1N1 Vaccine
Julianna Arner, Lauren Cook, Sam McGlumphy and Lindsay Moffat

Individual perceived health locus of control and whether or not they received the H1N1 vaccine was examined using an independent t-test.  Forty-four participants between the ages of eighteen and twenty-two filled out a demographic sheet and two surveys relating to perceived health locus of control and the H1N1 vaccine.  Results showed that there was significance found with internal and powerful other locus of control.  There was no significance found with chance locus of control, age or gender.

The Relationship Between Sexually Explicit Television Programs and Aggression
Darcee Dela Cruz, Jonathan Kolks and Jenny Beth Wysocki

Forty-six participants (26 male and 20 female) completed a television survey and the Buss-Perry Aggression Questionnaire to see if those who view sexually explicit television programs are more aggressive.  Participants rated liking and interest for 6 television shows (3 sexually explicit shows and 3 neutral shows).  Results show there was no significant difference between those that watch sexually explicit television programs and those who do not. However, an interaction was found showing females who watch sexually explicit television programs are the least aggressive and males that watch sexually explicit television programs are the most aggressive.

The Relationship Between Sex Roles and Math Attitudes and Math Stereotypes
Emily Borchers, Jen Hill, Monica Prieur

A sample of 54 Wheeling Jesuit University undergraduate students took the Bem Sex Role Inventory to determine their sex role.  They also completed the Cynical Attitudes Toward Math survey, the Fennema-Sherman Mathematics Attitudes survey, and the Mathematics as a Gendered Domain survey.  Results indicated that no significant difference existed between sex roles on measures of the dependent variable.  However, significant differences were found between males and females on math as a gender neutral domain.  Further, females viewed math as significantly more gender neutral than males.  This result suggests that females are not significantly internalizing the stereotype of math as a male domain.  Also, those in lower level math classes had more cynical attitudes than those in higher level math classes.

The Relationship Between Attachment Style and Helping Behaviors
Joan Cotter and Kathleen Harvey

The relationship between attachment style and helping behaviors was examined in a 2 x 2 factorial design. 32 participants (25 females and 7 males) completed a series of scales, evaluations, and surveys to determine the influence of each participant's attachment style on helping behaviors. The influence of empathy for the given scenario character was also examined. Although various trends could be noted, no statistically significant differences were found.

The Relationship between Students' Risky Behaviors and Their Satisfaction
August Capiolla, Mark Sappington, Michael Seals, Emily Quintero, and Sherri Mae Howard

Using 5-point rating scales, 115 college students responded to items concerning various health practices and their satisfaction with those practices. A significant correlation showed that high levels of risky behavior are associated with low levels of satisfaction; the associated regression equation allows for the prediction of satisfaction from knowledge of risky behaviors in future research. A series of significant t-tests showed that students are most dissatisfied with their levels of exercise, that women are more dissatisfied with weight and diet-related behaviors than are men, that residing or not residing in the "cancer belt" does not impact one's health behaviors or satisfaction, and that health science majors engaged in healthier practices and were more satisfied about those practices. Future research will focus on expanding the life experiences of the participants, in terms of age, area of the country, and socioeconomic status.

The Effects of Relaxation on Sleep Quality
Andrea Bova, Lauren Cook, Kristian Winters, Jenny Beth Wysocki

Sleep quality and relaxation were evaluated by using the Sensory Deprivation Tank along with various sleep surveys and questionnaires. Participants were asked to complete two tank sessions and all served as their own control. Surveys were completed upon waking up after a tank or control session. Results showed trends concerning relaxation, calmness, and daytime sleepiness after tank sessions. Participants rated their vigor and energy levels significantly higher, suggesting that a better quality of sleep improves energy and vigor. Participants reported that their quality of sleep improved and they woke up feeling less tired, which indicates that their better quality of sleep allowed them to feel more rested. Implications include further research using the Sensory Deprivation Tank to improve sleep quality.

The Effects of Heart Rate on Short Term Memory Recall
Emily Borchers, Brooke Christman, Amy Staffieri

A sample of 30 undergraduates participated in both an experimental and control condition.  In the control condition, participants memorized a list of 30 words for one minute after having their heart rate taken and then recalled as many words as they could remember.  In the experimental condition, participants followed the modified version of the Bruce Protocol and then followed the control condition.  The results indicated that no significant difference existed between the mean number of words recalled in the control condition and the experimental condition.  However, there was a slightly significant negative correlation between mean heart rate after intervention and mean number of words recalled in the experimental condition after intervention.  Thus, exercise does not improve short term memory recall.

The Effects of Peach Scent and Sleep State Dependent Learning on Memory
Julianna Arner, Megan Foutty, Lexa Hamilton-Cotter, Stefanie Mertz

Twenty-five collegiate students were randomized into three groups to test the effect of peach scent on declarative memory consolidation during sleep and recall the next day.  The three groups were a control, scent during memorization/no scent during sleep, and scent during memorization/scent during sleep.  Participants were asked to memorize a list of 15 random words in the first session and then recall them the next day in the second session.  Analysis of the data showed that peach scent had no significant effect on the correct amount of words recalled.     

The Relationship Between Personality Type and Pain Tolerance
Melissa Burch, Andrew Groves, Kate Harvey and Stephanie Zeller

Twenty-five undergraduate students at Wheeling Jesuit University participated in a study that compared personality type and subsequent tolerance to pain. Participants' general personality type was determined by taking an online version of the Big Five Personality Test. Participants then took part in a cold pressor task. They placed their hand in three degrees Celsius water for as long as they could tolerate but no longer than five minutes for safety. Pain ratings were taken from participants at thirty-second intervals on a scale of 0-10 (0 being no pain and 10 being intolerable). Blood pressure and heart rate were recorded pre-test and post-test as a pain indicator and the session was timed. Correlations were found with openness and neuroticism but agreeableness was the most dominant aspect. Agreeable participants showed lower blood pressure as a result of the task and reported higher pain ratings. Results suggest predispositions in personality that could affect not only pain perception but subsequent reaction to pain that could prove to be useful knowledge when coping with pain.