Monday, March 25, 2013

"I'm So Fat!": The Psychological Consequences of Fat Talk and What You Can Do To Stop It

Bradley University's Psi Chi and Psychology Club is excited to present Dr. Renee Engeln of Northwestern University, who will be giving a talk based on her research on body image. Dr. Engeln's research has appeared in such journals as 'Sex Roles' and 'Psychology of Women Quarterly.'

"We’ve all heard it: A group of women bemoaning the size of their thighs, the shape of their stomachs, the jiggle in their arms. Researchers call these conversations fat talk. Fat talk may seem like harmless bonding, but research shows it hurts both the women who do the talking and the women who hear it. Fat talk is common and contagious in groups of young women. This presentation will include qualitative, correlational, and experimental data demonstrating that fat talk reflects and fuels body image disturbance. Because fat talk conversations are easier to target than broader cultural norms or media trends, they may provide a promising route for prevention and intervention efforts."

The talk will take place in Marty Theater on Wednesday, March 27th at 7:00 pm. Hope to see you there!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Lab Update- March 2013

Dr. Bacon's Lab- Brooke Stevenson

I am currently involved in Dr. Amy Bacon’s research lab, which analyzes the relationship between college students and alcohol use. Our goal is to further understand which conditions cause college students to engage in drinking alcohol. We began our study by compiling questionnaires that help us better understand alcohol use among students at Bradley. We administer these questionnaires to students throughout the year and then use SPSS software to enter, clean, and analyze our data. Our lab also includes an alcohol administrative study in which we design a control and experimental condition aimed at finding a functional relationship about factors that relate to alcohol use. As members of the lab we are trained to run the entire experiment. Additionally, in the spring we will present our research as a Psychology poster at the Midwestern Psychological Association (MPA). Finally, working with Dr. Bacon in this lab has also prompted my own independent research. I was able to choose an area of interest relative to the labs’ goals, conduct a literature review, generate my hypothesis, administer questionnaires, and interpret my own results, which I will present at MPA. Participating in a research lab has given me experience in every aspect of the research process including compilation of literature, questionnaire administration, data entry and interpretation, experiment design and implementation, and presentation of research. A year ago, I found the research process incredibly intimidating, but involvement in a lab was vital to my Psychology undergraduate experience.

Dr. Hermann's Lab- Mark Lehtman

This semester, I am fortunate to be a student in Dr. Hermann’s lab, and even more fortunate to be involved in a thought provoking research study. The study I am currently working on, involves looking at a personality trait (narcissism) and its relation to prayer styles when a person is prompted to experience and feel a certain emotion. We are testing multiple emotions, with each condition of the experiment being a different emotion. We hypothesize that more than one feeling will hold a relationship. Also we are looking at a variety of different prayer styles, since we have learned through literary analysis that people pray in a variety of different ways, for a plethora of reasons. So far results are looking promising, and there appears to be an existing relationship in how people feel when they pray with their individual level of trait narcissism. The task for the rest of the semester is to collaborate as a group and brainstorm about the specifications of the relationship and how we can run more subjects to better support our current findings, and develop more questions to be used in future research projects. Coming together to bounce ideas off a group is just one of the many resources and benefits from being a part of a lab. 

Dr. Huffcutt's Lab- Kaylee Moeslein
Greetings, psychology lovers!! My name is Kaylee Moeslein, and I’m a sophomore double majoring in psychology and organizational communication. I’m in Dr. Huffcutt’s lab (with some awesome people may I add!), and we are currently working on two different projects-both pertaining to the realm of executive functioning. If you don’t know, executive functioning is the part of our mental processes that deal with decision-making. My group within the lab is interested in the Tower of London, and no it’s not the tower in England that you might be picturing in your head right now. In psychology, it’s actually a mental task that assesses executive functioning. We are looking to see if any of the 11 variations correlate with certain personality traits or IQ measured by the Hogan’s Personality Inventory and the Wonderlic Intelligence Test, respectively.   We are currently working on finishing up our CUHSR form to get the green light to start our research and test participants. I’m super excited to finally begin our study! We’re presenting at MPA this May, so hopefully we’ll have some nice data to show off to the psychological world!!

Dr. Montgomery’s Lab - Kristine Nichols
Inattention is a key symptom of ADHD. Current research in our lab is examining inattention among preschoolers as a trait-like quality, rather than a state-like quality that is variable over time.

In order to study this, we administer a computerized task to preschoolers for which they need press the correct button when presented with a stimulus. One example would be pressing the button for a sun when presented with a checkerboard. The tasks are meant to be relatively easy (and boring) so that we can look at how a child’s reaction time changes over the course of the many trials. Attentive children will be relatively consistent in their responding throughout the task. For the more inattentive children, we see them cycle between slow and fast responses as they have periods where they’re zoning out and then regaining focus.

When we retest those same children about a week later, we anticipate a child’s pattern of responding (consistent or not) will be similar to that of the previous week. These patterns of inattention should also be reflected in how accurate the child is in the task.

Dr. Schmitt's Lab- Kim O'Leary

Just a few weeks ago, I found myself presenting a research poster in New Orleans at SPSP (The Society for Personality and Social Psychology) conference. For the past few years, Dr. Schmitt, Dr. Montgomery, Dr. Fuller, and I have been running a study concentrating around inducing a state of awe and monitoring its effects. Our main goal was to understand the relation between wonder and certain cognitive-related traits, such as empathy or openness to experience. My poster at SPSP was focused on a type of caveat finding: a gender difference in the reception to awe.
Our first round of studies induced wonder through a Carl Sagan-like video full of sweeping galactic views and great distance traveling. The manipulation was effective, but only in males. Our research sought to correct this gender specificity, but also to understand it. We discussed evolutionary mechanisms as well as social reasons for this shift. While in New Orleans, I was shocked at the number of people who were also studying awe – at research labs, in graduate school, and around the world. Sharing our interests – and our research – at an international venue was a unique and irreplaceable experience, and definitely an amazing time.