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Dr. Bryan Raudenbush
Department Chair
Email: raudenbc@wju.edu
Phone: 304-243-2330

Recent Research Outcomes - Fall 2007

1.  Video Game Performance: Nintendo Wii vs. Microsoft Xbox
Jared Bloom, Ryan Hunker, Kristin McCombs, Bryan Raudenbush, and Tim Wright

Prior research has investigated the link comparing childhood obesity with activity participation, television viewing, and video game use. The current study used 27 participants to compare performance, mood, cognition, physiological measures, and snacking behavior between the Nintendo Wii and the Microsoft Xbox gaming systems. Each participant played a boxing game on both the Wii and the Xbox, and also completed a control condition where no game was played. The results showed that there was a significantly higher blood pressure and pulse with the Wii than with either the Xbox or control conditions. The results also showed mental and physical demand were the highest in the Wii condition, and performance was also higher in the Wii condition. Furthermore, there were greater total and mean activity scores in the Wii condition which leads to a greater calorie expenditure. Finally, when a snack food (M&Ms) was available during game play, those participants in the Wii condition ate the least amount of the snack.

2.  The Effect of Grapefruit Scent on Cognition
Kristen Koval, Ramsey Miller, Justin Schmitt, and Bryan Raudenbush

The effects of grapefruit scent on cognition was examined. Participants completed a computer-based neuro-cognitive assessment either in the presence of grapefruit scent or in a non-scented control condition. The cognitive assessment measured aspects such as verbal memory, visual memory, reaction time, impulse control, and hand-eye coordination. The grapefruit scent administration resulted in a significant increase in visual memory and a significant decrease in reaction time.

3.  Perceptions of Date Rape in Ambiguous Gay and Hetero Situations
Tim DeFilippis, Kevin McCafferty, and Michael Kidd

Eighty-two Wheeling Jesuit University students participated in a research study by finishing a paragraph about a date rape situation, where the victim was always male and the aggressor was either female or male. The results showed that male participants perceived that homosexual situations were significantly more violent, less likely to have sex occur, and to have an overall more negative outcome, than in the heterosexual situation. Those differences were not found in the stories written by female participants.

4.  Student Importance and Satisfaction Ratings
Bryan Nesbit, Justin Harmer, Bethany Kerwood

The effects of a Wheeling Jesuit University experience on student satisfaction ratings were measured. The participants were asked to fill out a survey using a scale from 1 to 7, 1 being not important or not satisfied and 7 being very important or very satisfied. The survey contained two columns:  importance and satisfaction. Each column had twelve factors to be measured using the scale of 1 to 7. These factors include: academic advising, campus environment, campus life, campus support services, intramural sports, instruction effectiveness, parking access and fee, recruitment and financial aid, registration effectiveness, safety and security, service excellence, and student centeredness. Also, graduation expectancy was measured on a scale of 1-100. In every case, except for intramural sports, students gave significantly lower satisfaction than importance ratings. Through this experiment, we learned about areas of student experience that the university might want to address.

5.  Personal Satisfaction and College Persistence among Undergraduates
Scott Bonnette & Tim Wright

Sixty students at Wheeling Jesuit University were asked to complete a survey indicating importance and satisfaction ratings for 13 personal characteristics. The study was performed in order to determine what personal characteristics lead to persistence in college. The personal satisfaction ratings dealing with motivation and the availability of financial resources were the only personal characteristics able to statistically predict college persistence. No importance ratings or the overall satisfaction rating were found to predict college persistence. The implications of this study are that universities should focus resources on programs that increase student motivation and the availability of financial resources.

6.   Impact of Race on Perceptions of Date Rape
Keith Fleischmann, Lisa Strollo, Jenna Lepole, Macsood Harrington

Student volunteers were asked to read a brief story, including the background information on the characters in the story, then asked to complete the story, telling what happened to the characters and how they were feeling. The story concerned a couple who were on a date where the man had desire for more sexual contact than the woman did, but the ending is ambiguous. Participants in the study read identical stories except that in the four conditions the characters in the story were described as: 1) both African-American; 2) both Caucasian; 3)African-American male and Caucasian female; and 4) Caucasian male and African-American female. After the stories were completed, they were subjected to a content analysis and scored for differences among the conditions. Results showed that the outcome was more positive when the couple were both Caucasian than in any other condition.

7.  Faculty Perception of Importance and Satisfaction in Areas of College Life
Samantha Taczak, Paula Webster, Audrey Tucholski, and Jennifer Hill

The purpose of the study was to identify how well WJU is performing in 12 areas related to student retention based upon the faculty perspective. Aspects affecting student retention were rated on two levels - importance and satisfaction. Thirty-three WJU faculty members completed surveys. The results showed that all areas were rated higher in importance than in satisfaction except one - safety and security. Statistically significant differences were found in 9 of the 12 areas between the level of importance and the level of satisfaction. WJU faculty's overall perspective of importance is higher than their overall satisfaction.

8.  Perceptions of Date Rape in Lesbian and Heterosexual Relationships
Danielle Longerbeam, Melissa Kahriman, and Andrea Davis

The effects of participant's gender on their perception of acquaintance rape in an ambiguous dating situation when the partners were described as lesbian or heterosexual were assessed. In the heterosexual scenario, the male was the aggressor while in the lesbian situation, one of the females was the aggressor. Seventy-four participants received one of the two scenarios. It was an ambiguous situation in that in each scenario there was an individual who desired more sexual contact than the other individual. Participants wrote endings to the ambiguous stories. Results showed that in the lesbian story, participants wrote significantly fewer violent, aggressive acts, and the overall outcome was more positive. No gender differences occurred. In conclusion, participants viewed lesbian relationships as less violent than heterosexual relationships.

9.  Religiosity and perception of human nature
David Bowden, Paula Webster, Jerry Nolan, and Tyler Petri

Two surveys were administered to thirty-eight undergraduate students at a small, private university. One survey measured religious orientation (either intrinsic or extrinsic) and the other survey measured beliefs about human nature based on five sub-scales (cynicism, goodness, complexity, internal locus of control, and variability). We hypothesized that individuals with an intrinsic religious orientation would be more likely to hold a positive view of humanity and those with an extrinsic religious would have a negative view of humanity. There was no evidence to support our hypothesis. However, four small but significant correlations were found, the strongest of which was between perceptions of internal locus of control and intrinsic religious orientation. Those win an intrinsic religious orientation saw themselves as responsible for their own favorable life outcomes.

10.  Dualism and Determinism Surveys
Jared Bloom, Mathew Galvin, Ryan Hunker and Nicole Zarnoch

Seventy-one undergraduate students from four different classes completed three questionnaires; the dualism scale, free will--determinism scale, and the religiosity scale. Our hypothesis stated that the stronger a person's religious background the more dualistic and deterministic are their values. The results of our study showed significant correlations among the three variables. Our specific predictions, however, were not confirmed.

11.  Assessing Folk Psychologies Using the "Isms" of Psychology
Justin Harmer, Kristen Koval, Ramsey Miller, and Lisa Strollo

Nichols (2002) described folk psychologies as ideas common people have about the mind. Generally, folk psychology is focused on the prediction and explanation of everyday behaviors. People's implicit theories about personality are surprisingly accurate (Mehl, Gosling, & Pennebaker, 2006). Hergenhahn (2005) listed several key dimensions along which schools in psychology differ, such as their degree of rationalism, determinism, empiricism, dualism, and other "isms." We surveyed 80 undergraduate students to determine the extent to which their folk psychologies expressed key philosophical dimensions characterizing formal schools of psychological thought. Our respondents most frequently expressed dualistic and materialistic views. Existentialism ranked high, while agreement with psychoanalysis ranked low. Generally, participants' folk psychologies most closely resembled contemporary views rather than historical perspectives within academic psychology.

12.  Professor's Pedigree
Jude Almeida, Keith Fleischmann, Justin Schmitt, and Benjamin Wershing

Our study was conducted to determine if there is a relationship between generations of psychologists in their research focus. We interviewed the four psychology faculty at Wheeling Jesuit University and examined their published works as well as those of their graduate mentors. From these we noted trends in subject matter and focus, which were further investigated during short, semi-structured interviews. We found that generally our faculty were continuing the investigatory efforts of their graduate advisors. While our faculty have developed their own interests and approaches that differ from those of their advisors, a core thread is evident. Our findings are of particular importance to students seeking graduate training. Graduate mentors have a lasting and persistent effect on one's professional life. While our methods do not allow us to assert that the graduate mentors exerted a causal influence, understanding the mentor's work clearly predicted trends in our faculty's professional lives.

13.  Trends in Autism Research
Rebecca Nusbaum, Deanna Phillips, Chasidi Johnson, and Kate Garlick

Trends in autism research were examined by decades from 1800 to present. PsychINFO and PsychARTICLES were used to discover how autism research has increased over the years. The results showed there was almost no research on this topic until the mid-1900s. Research increased significantly by decade after the mid-1900s. Etiology, diagnosis and treatment options were also examined by decade. It was found that these three aspects correlate with the type of psychological research being performed at that time. First identified as "early infantile disorder" (Kanner, 1943) and later as "childhood schizophrenia" (Bender, 1947), formal recognition of autism within the diagnostic framework used today did not occur until 1980 (Volkmar & Weiner, 2004). In the 1950's autism was believed to have a social origin in "refrigerator mothers." Other perspectives such as the theory of perceptual inconstancy (Ritvo & Ornitz, 1968) also emerged during the development of the syndrome concept. Today, physiological influences including genetics and diet are prominent attributions of etiology, and applied behavior analysis is the treatment of choice for supporting educational and behavioral development.

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