Psychology Day Poster Abstracts

The following abstracts represent the posters that are being presented during the Research Poster Presentation Event from 9:30am - 11:30am in UAC 275.

Undergraduate Division

Does Sleep-dependent Memory Consolidation Contribute to the Negative Memory Bias in Individuals with High Levels of Depressive Symptoms?

Author: Shelby N. Rubino

Co-authors: Kelly J. Youngs, Shelby D. Sparks, & Dr. Carmen E. Westerberg

Individuals with major depressive disorder (MDD) exhibit a negative emotional memory bias, showing better memory for negative information than non-MDD individuals. During sleep-dependent memory consolidation, new memories are strengthened and integrated with existing knowledge. This process is selective, in that some memories are prioritized for consolidation over others. It is possible that an individual’s emotional state could influence how memories are prioritized during sleep-dependent memory consolidation, and this could contribute to the negative memory bias in MDD. To test this possibility, in this experiment, participants were divided into high and low groups based on the number of depressive symptoms reported on a depression inventory. Next, all participants listened to a story containing happy, sad, and neutral details before a 90-minute break. During the break, half of the participants in each group took a nap while their sleep was monitored with electroencephalography (EEG) and the other half remained awake. After the break, all participants were asked to recall the story. Preliminary results indicate that when participants remained awake, there was no group difference in the number of happy, sad, or neutral details recalled. However, when participants slept, the high depressive symptom group remembered more sad details than the low depressive symptom group. Although this result is not statistically significant, it is likely due to the small sample sizes in the sleep groups. If the current patterns remain with additional data, it would suggest that altered sleep-dependent memory consolidation processes contribute to the negative memory bias typically observed in MDD.


Sleep Facilitates Analogical Problem Solving by Increasing Perceived Problem Similarity

Author: Chloe E. Troupe

Co-authors: Sean E. Fickle, Anna Madden-Rusnak, & Dr. Carmen E. Westerberg

During sleep-dependent memory consolidation, recently acquired memories are strengthened and integrated with existing knowledge, facilitating connections between new and old information. This process may also facilitate analogical transfer, whereby knowledge from an old situation is transferred to a new, structurally similar situation, which could facilitate problem solving. To test this hypothesis, participants were shown eight initial (source) problems and were told the solutions, and then attempted to solve eight new but structurally similar (target) problems. After a two-hour break that included a nap (n = 23) or wakefulness (n = 30), participants attempted to solve the target problems they were unable to solve before the break. Memory for the source problems and perceived similarity between the source and target problems were also assessed. Nap participants solved more target problems after the break than wake participants. Furthermore, for the nap group, time spent in non-REM sleep during the break predicted the number of target problems solved after the break, suggesting that the facilitation in problem solving does not depend on REM sleep. In addition, perceived similarity between target and source problems was higher for the nap group than for the wake group, but there was no difference in memory for source problems between groups, indicating that group differences in memory for source problems did not underlie enhanced post-break problem solving ability in the nap group. Rather, these results suggest that processes involved in sleep-dependent memory consolidation facilitate analogical transfer by promoting the realization of commonalities between source and target problems.


Does Cognitive Dissonance Influence Subsequent Performance in Disability Exaggeration?

Author: Rosa Burroughs

Co-authors: Russell Wilson, Rachel Farley, Kyle Kilchrist, Carlshea Brooks, Katlyn Brinkley, Elena Salazar, Rabecca-Kimberly Hernandez, Selena Salazar, Dr. Joe Etherton, Dr. Randall Osborne

Disability exaggeration involves feigning symptoms or deficits to appear more impaired than is the case in pursuit of external incentives. Some persist in disability exaggeration and subsequently appear to view themselves as actually disabled. Cognitive dissonance may play a role in this process; after repeatedly behaving as impaired, the discrepancy between overt behaviors and self-perception drives a change toward perceiving oneself as disabled.

Method: Healthy undergraduates were randomly assigned either to perform normally (Control; n = 26) or to simulate disability (Simulator; n = 34) on two WAIS-IV cognitive measures (either Digit Span or Arithmetic for working memory, and either Coding or Symbol Search for processing speed) as well as validity scales. Both groups were then asked to perform normally on a second set of related cognitive tasks. Subtest order was counterbalanced. We hypothesized that those asked to simulate disability initially would subsequently perform more poorly than the control group on the second cognitive measures.

Results: No differences between the Simulator and Control groups were observed for the mean scaled score performance on the second working memory tasks (Simulator = 9.0 (2.17); Control = 9.08 (2.77)) or processing speed tasks (Simulator = 9.8 (3.97); Control = 9.8 (2.62)). These preliminary results do not support the cognitive dissonance hypothesis. However, some simulator participants reported forgetting to simulate disability during the task; as such, additional data are being gathered to ensure greater fidelity to the manipulation, after which data including only simulator-adherent participants will be conducted.


Relations Between Self-Perception and Self-Concept: An Eye-Tracking Study

Author: Serene Morris

Co-authors: Meghan Blake, Lauren Strobel, Katelyn Domer, Sarah Mittal, Dr. Katherine Warnell

Although a large number of studies have examined how individuals visually process others? faces, far fewer have examined how we process images of ourselves, and how such visual attention relates to more complex constructs. In this study, we eye-tracked a large sample of adult female participants (n =108) while instructing them to view headshots taken of themselves in the lab (one smiling and one neutral).  In addition, participants provided data on their individual thinking style (analytic vs holistic), social media use, self-esteem, and their own self-concept. For each participant, we computed the amount of time spent looking at the face overall, as well as time looking specifically at the eyes, nose, and mouth.  There was significant variability in the amount of time individuals spent looking at different regions of the face, although, across participants, time spent looking at the mouth was higher for the smiling than neutral photo. Individuals with a more holistic cognitive style had fewer face fixations overall and spent longer looking at each point of the face. Initial analyses also indicated a negative relationship between looking time toward particular facial features and how individuals subjectively rate their own features? attractiveness.  That is, individuals who rated their nose as less attractive spent more time looking at their nose. Continued analyses will examine how these looking patterns relate to social media usage and self-esteem more globally.  These results suggest that basic patterns of visual attention toward one’s face are related to more complex cognitions about the self.


Beverages Preferences Modulate Attention to Alcoholic Beverages: An Eye Tracking Study

Author: Victoria L. Leyva

Co-authors: Dr. Natalie Ceballos, Dr. Reiko Graham

Research on attentional biases to alcohol images (the ability for alcohol images to capture and hold attention) has used heterogenous sets of stimuli (e.g. beer cans, a wine bottle, etc.). However, beverage preferences play an important role in determining alcohol use patterns and might influence attentional biases to alcohol, especially in inexperienced drinkers. This study sought to determine if preferences affect attentional orienting and maintenance to alcohol beverages (e.g. beer, wine, and liquor) in college-aged social drinkers. Thirty-six social drinkers (5 male, 31 female, Mage = 22.8 years) provided information about alcohol consumption and alcohol-related attitudes and completed two versions of a dot-probe task; one consisting of images of most-preferred alcoholic beverages paired with non-alcoholic control beverages, another consisting of least-preferred beverages paired with control images. ANOVAs were conducted on attentional capture and attentional maintenance, with preference (most- vs. least-preferred) and image type (alcohol vs. non-alcoholic control) as within-subjects variables. Alcohol preferences did not influence what kinds of images were looked at first. In contrast, attentional maintenance was affected by preferences, such that while there were no differences between alcohol and control images in the least-preferred condition, participants looked longer at alcohol images (vs. control) in the most-preferred condition. These results suggest that while alcohol preferences do not influence where attention is first deployed, they do influence where attention is subsequently focused and maintained.

Graduate Division

Enhanced Memory and Confidence for Musical Stimuli

Author: Alyse Finch

Co-authors: Dr. Rebecca Deason, Mark Stern

Past research into the use of musical mnemonics, or the use of music as a memory enhancer has been somewhat limited with mixed findings. Prior work has found success in using music to improve memory in patients with Alzheimer’s disease and healthy older adults (Simmons-Stern et al. 2010, 2012; Deason et al. 2012, 2018), but research is still necessary to determine whether musical mnemonics can reliably benefit those with intact memory or if there are important limitations. The current study modified a paradigm that had been used previously to demonstrate music enhancing memory performance in a patient population. Young adult participants listened to 50 novel sets of lyrics, twenty-five spoken and twenty-five sung audio recordings. Following this study phase, participants were presented with 100 audio recordings in a test phase, (half old, half new). For each recording, participants were asked to make an old/new recognition judgement and then to rate their confidence in the judgment. The results showed that participants had increased memory for sung recordings compared to spoken recordings.  Interestingly, participants were also more confident in correct sung memory judgements than in correct spoken memory judgements. The findings of the current study show that music can enhance memory and also can influence confidence ratings for these memory judgements.  Potentially this increased confidence can help lead to a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying the success of musical mnemonics in future studies.


Interpersonal Attraction as a Function of  Ethnic Identification and Attitude Similarity

Author: Alyssa Kopecki

Co-authors: Dr. John M. Davis, Dr. Kristen Tooley

The relationship between attitude similarity and interpersonal attraction has been well established. As our society becomes increasing multicultural, however, what role does ethnic self-identification play in influencing interpersonal attraction? The purpose of this study was to determine if ethnic similarity had any influence on interpersonal attraction, as well as if it interacted with similarity of attitudes to determine interpersonal attraction. Psychology students (N = 26) were asked to complete both an attitude survey and an ethnic self-identification survey. Then later, they were presented with a completed attitude and ethnicity survey that contained either similar or dissimilar answers to their own, and asked to report interpersonal attraction towards the person who completed these surveys. A 2 x 2 ANOVA was conducted, and a positive main effect was found between level of attitude similarity and interpersonal attraction, while no relationship or interaction with ethnicity was observed. The more similar attitudes that two people shared, the higher one would rate the other on interpersonal attraction, while ethnic similarity did not affect interpersonal attraction.


Can Musical Mnemonics Enhance Source Memory?

Author: Mark Stern

Co-authors: Alyse Finch, Dr. Rebecca Deason

The use of musical mnemonics is a common memorization technique. However, research focusing on the usage of these musical mnemonics has been somewhat limited. It has been shown that music can be an effective mnemonic device for patients with Alzheimer’s as well as healthy older adults, but there is a lack of understanding as to why these techniques help. We sought to further investigate the usage of musical mnemonics by examining source memory judgement. In the present study, young adults (N = 64) listened to novel sung and spoken lyrics. Following this encoding phase, participants completed a test phase where they were instructed to make a source memory judgement about visually presented lyrics (half new and half old). Participants chose whether the stimulus was new and not heard during the encoding phase, the stimulus was old and it had been previously sung, or that the stimulus was old and it had been previously spoken. After each judgment, each participant rated his/her confidence of the decision. We found that participants more accurately recalled lyrics that were sung versus those that had been spoken, thus, there was a significant difference in source accuracy identification. Participants were also significantly more confident in judgements made about correctly identified sung stimuli than for spoken stimuli. These findings suggest that musical mnemonics can enhance source memory. While the implications for music mnemonics as memory enhancers still remains unclear, there seems to be an affinity for lyrics that are sung versus those that are spoken.


Social Integration and Suicide Ideation

Author: Nicole Stokes

Co-author: Dr. Carmen E. Westerberg

Suicide is one of the leading causes of death among people in emerging adulthood. An essential component and early stage of suicide is suicide ideation. This study aimed to investigate the relationship between suicide ideation and social/interpersonal factors among college students, with the purpose of providing suggestions that may help prevent suicide at an early stage. Previous research has suggested a long list of risk factors for suicide including illnesses, recent loss, mental health issues, history of abuse, social isolation, etc. (Aldridge, 1998; Holmes & Holmes, 2005; Rudell & Curwen, 2008). This study takes a social perspective to investigate suicide ideation. According to the Interpersonal Theory of Suicide (IPTS, Van Orden, et al., 2010), thwarted belongingness and perceived burdensomeness are two elements of suicide ideation. Therefore, I hypothesized that individuals who experience more negative social integration will be more likely to develop thwarted belongingness and perceive more burdensomeness, which in turn will be associated with suicide ideation. Mental health was controlled in this study. Results showed that the majority of the student population of Texas State University did not have suicidal thoughts. Suicide ideation was negatively related to social integration and mental health, and positively related to thwarted belongingness and perceived burdensomeness.  Regression and Structural Equation Modeling indicated that the effect of social integration on suicide ideation was first mediated by thwarted belongingness and perceived burdensomeness, and then mediated by mental health. Among all the factors examined, perceived burdensomeness is the most important predictor for suicide ideation.


The Effects of Self-Selected Music on Mood: The Roles of Listener Goals and Individual Differences in Emotion Regulation Styles

Author: Courtney Wilson

Co-author: Dr. Reiko Graham

Music plays an important role in people’s lives for regulating emotions, invoking positive mood, and promoting a sense of well-being. The present study investigates if listening to self-selected relaxing or energizing music increases positive affect, reduces negative affect, and/or reduces anxiety, depending on the listener’s intent. Emotion regulation style and individual importance of music were also explored as having involvement in changing affect and mood while listening to music. Participants completed self-reports on state and trait anxiety and positive or negative affect, and then listened to a song of their choice, depending on the group they were in. After, the participants completed self-report surveys on their emotion regulation style, difficulties in emotion regulation, and importance of music in everyday life. Data analyses showed that both groups reported an increase in positive affect, decrease in negative affect, and decrease in state anxiety after listening to a song of their choice. A strong negative correlation was found between change in negative valence and limited access to emotion regulation strategies, which is interesting as it indicates that individuals who struggle with managing emotions internally can use music for external emotion regulation. Strong positive correlations were found between change in both positive and negative valence and using music as a means for relaxation and revival of energy after feeling stressed or tired, indicating that listening to music is helpful for both relaxation and energizing. This study supports previous findings that listening to self-selected music can promote positive mood and can aid in emotion regulation.


Social Media Behaviors of Multilingual Users

Author: Merab Gomez

Co-authors: Dr. Kristen Tooley, Dr. Krista Howard

Social media is an international network that reaches individuals who speak a variety of languages. Past research has found that maladaptive behaviors to social media such as addiction or social comparisons have been linked to negative psychological and health issues. It is unknown whether use of multiple languages on social media relate to any specific behaviors or behavioral consequences. The present study aimed to identify any existing demographic or behavioral differences between multilingual individuals who use more than one language on social media versus multilingual individuals who only use one language on social media. A total of 325 participants reported being multilingual were surveyed online about demographic information and their social media behaviors. The sample was broken into two compared groups: Multilinguals who use more than one language on social media and multilinguals who use only one language on social media. The results suggest that multilingual individuals who use more than one language on social media tend to spend more hours per day using it. In addition, multilingual social media users seem to have a higher likelihood of displaying addictive social media behaviors. Multilingual social media users also perceived higher levels of censorship and fear of judgment while feeling safer on social media compared to monolingual social media users. Additional research will probe whether these differences help explain why social media behavior differs between these groups.


Using Response Latency to Understand Prosocial Lying in Early Childhood

Author: Aleyda Arreola

Co-authors: Allison Pequet, Callie De La Cerda, & Dr. Katherine Warnell

Prosocial lying benefits another person (e.g., saying you love a bad gift to spare the gift giver’s feelings). Given prosocial lying’s complexity, one important question is how this ability emerges in children. Examining how quickly children generate prosocial lies (versus tell the potentially hurtful truth) will give insight into the cognitive functioning required to execute prosocial lies. This study examines children’s response time when telling prosocial lies. Fifty-one children (27 males) aged 4-7 years (M = 5.5y, SD = 1.15y) were presented with the opportunity to lie to an artist about the quality of their drawing. Children completed four trials, giving them four opportunities to prosocially lie. We analyzed video recordings to measure how long it took children to complete three events: (1) initial sort, or latency to initially place picture into ?good? or ?bad? bin; (2) artist-present rating, or latency to give a 1-5 score to the artist; and (3) artist-absent rating, or latency to rate the picture once the artist left the room. On average, children prosocially lied on roughly half of the four trials (M = 1.9, SD = 1.7). The initial sort was marginally slower on trials when children prosocially lied (i.e., put the picture in the good bin; p < .1). Comparing across social contexts, children were equally fast to rate the picture whether or not the artist was present, regardless of whether they had prosocially lied to the artist. This paradigm allows us to measure the latency of prosocial lying, giving insight into the cognitive demand of such lies.


Cultural Identity Priming and Own-Race Bias in Face Recognition Memory

Author: Aspen Madrid

Enhanced accuracy of recognition memory for faces belonging to one’s own race or ethnic group as opposed to faces belonging to other racial or ethnic groups is known as Own-race bias, or ORB. Recent research has established that contextual cues, like cultural identity priming, can ameliorate the effects of ORB in biracial and bicultural individuals. However, the majority of research regarding the influence of contextual cues on ORB have their focused analyses on hit rates and false alarms. The purpose of the present study was to determine whether priming participants to consider their American cultural identity can increase Latino-Americans' correct rejection of other-race faces. In an online study, participants were asked to consider one of their cultural identities (Latino or American) and engage in a self-paced stimulus presentation phase and recognition memory test. There were no significant differences in correct rejection rates between cultural prime conditions. Furthermore, there were no significant differences between conditions for other measures of recognition memory, including hit rates, sensitivity, and response bias. While these findings are inconsistent with previous research regarding the influence of contextual cues on ORB, they may support recent literature suggesting that self-paced study may increase accuracy on value directive face recognition tasks.


Moral Violations in Groups: How Group Relationships Regulate Individual Morality

Author: Erin Cowart

This study assessed the underlying dynamics of group relationships and individual moral beliefs. Sociorelational contexts, based on relationship regulation theory (Rai & Fiske, 2011), in-group/out-group dynamics, and the moral foundations theory (Haidt & Graham, 2007) were investigated to expand the understanding of how social situations might influence moral judgments of unacceptable social behaviors. The researcher used an online survey, administered to 952 participants from the United States and 18 international participants from Nigeria, Canada, and Scandinavia, in order to address this question. Results from the analyses of various 2 x 3 x 5 ANOVA models found a consistent significant main effect of group dynamic and a consistent significant interaction effect between group dynamic and the moral foundations. The effect of sociorelational context was significant within only one model. The influence of covariates, including importance of political beliefs, religiosity, gender, age, native language, which region of the U.S. the individual lives in, and social sensitivity are discussed. Additional cultural discussions include international data from Nigeria, Canada, and Scandinavia. The results suggest that salient social relationships can and do influence individual morality.