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Honors Thesis/Senior Thesis

*Digital copies of student work can be found here.

2013-2014

  • Marcelline Gangl - Together Building Imagination, TBI Re-define: The Effects of Theater on People with a Mild Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Rose Gangl - Using the World as a Stage to Benefit Refugees
  • Emily Johnson - Psychological Sense of Community in High School Students: How is it Affected by College Preparatory Programming?
  • Amanda Nusbaum - The Jury Process: Racial Bias, Extraversion, Moral Reasoning, Leadership, and Sex
  • Elizabeth Peichel - The Interaction Effects of Aspects of the Self on Mental Health in College Students
  • Lydia Ricard - Are We More Racist Than We Think?: Recognition of Racism and Racial Microaggressions
  • Hayley Van Gelder - Birds of a Feather: The Effects of Positively and Negatively Valenced Similarities on Compliance

2012-2013

  • Feiran Chen - Heterosexual Romantic Relationships and Mate Preferences in College Students from the U.S. and China: Cross-Cultural and Gender Difference in Beliefs and Attitudes
  • Rachel Heying - Music and Aspects of Identity in People with Alzheimer's Disease
  • Kelsey Koch - Matter over Mind: Comparing Emotional Self-Regulation Techniques with Ego Depletion
  • Maria Stevens - Treatment Efficacy of Exposure Therapy and Mindfulness Meditation on the Physiological and Self-Perceived Measures of Stress for a Certain Public Speaking Task
  • Alexander Twohy - The Effects of Plainchant on Subjective Measures of Emotion and Heart Rate Variance
  • Matia Twedt - A Comparison of the Attachment with Parents and the Attachment with Romantic Partner
  • Amanda Olsen and Gwen Marrin - The Role of Gesture in Spatial and Non-Spatial Learning in Children and Adults

2011-2012

  • Alex Lenzen - Is Ignorance Really Bliss?: Recognition of Gender Microaggressions and its Relationships with Body Image, Self-esteem, and Ambivalent Sexism.
  • Jennifer Anderson - Effects of dual-language presentations on attention and comprehension
  • Kathryn Ellis - Differences in Discrimination and Mental Health Outcomes Between Sexual Minority and Majority Individuals.
  • Kristen Hultgren - Speak Loud and Clear: Intergenerational Service-Learning to Ageism and Elderspeak
  • Stephanie Kaplan - The Effect of Gender on Recalling Facial Features: Does Our Gender Determine Which Features are Encoded at First Glance?
  • Evan Lowder - Raising the Bar: Improving Evaluations of Mental Health Courts
  • Carin Molenaar - The Forces of Acculturation on Gender Roles within Somali Communities in Minnesota
  • Alyssa Sinner - Evaluative Conditioning with "Not"
  • Laura Shorde - The Influence of Odor and Emotion on Memory

2010-2011

  • Andy Obritsch - The Influence of Personality on Presidential Decision Making: A Comparison of the Personality Profiles of Barack Obama and Franklin D. Roosevelt.
  • Ellen Dehmer - Gender differences in Text-Message Content
  • Kaitlin Andreasen- Just Another Dumb Blonde? A Cross-Cultural Comparison of the Influence of Hair Color on Implicit Biases.
  • Allison Homstad - Comparison of Motivational General-Mastery and Motivational General-Arousal Imagery Interventions and Their Impact on Perceived Team Cohesion in a Collegiate Volleyball Team.
  • Alec Shern - OMG!! Can cell phones really lower my grades? A Study of Correlations between Cell Phone Use and Academic Performance.
  • Katie Brown - Proportional Representation of Women and Perceptions of Leadership Roles
  • Kristina DeMuth - Identifying the Characteristics of Eating Disorders Not Otherwise Specified in a Community Sample.
  • Megan Peterson- What Makes a Good Doctor? : The Personal Qualities that Relate to Patient Satisfaction   

2009-2010

  • David Wutchiett - Losing Control: Cognitive effects of Social anxiety.
  • Kate Stacken - Language, Visual Information, and Attention in Decision Making.

 

2008-2009

  • Collette Fisher - Dissemination of services for autism spectrum disorders in Minnesota: a rural versus urban comparison.
  • Sarah Schwarzkopf - Emotion, gender and college professors: do angry professors make the grade?
  • Michaela Engdahl - Ego threat and implicit egotism.
  • Samantha Heintzelman - The relational self-concept as a moderator between perceived social support and outcome variables.
  • Makenzie Wright - A comparison of cross-sex friendships at residentially single sex and co-educational universities.

 

2003-2004

  • Stephanie Ebner - Service Learning and Identity in College Students.
    • Although college service learning projects are typically utilized to provide students with opportunities to explore and commit to a central element of their identity, previous research has failed to find significant relationships between service learning and occupational exploration. The current study examined the relationship between identity status and service learning projects specifically looking at exploration and various measures of commitment. The data showed that participation in service learning projects has a strong relationship to an increase in identity exploration, general self-concept clarity, occupational self-concept clarity, and sense of vocation although there was not a demonstrated relationship to identity commitment. Faculty Advisor: Rodger Narloch
  • Laura Fitzsimmons - Self-Reflection and Identity: Connections with Life-Plan Discussions.
    • One purpose of the present study was to re-examine the relationship between self-reflection and identity using separate exploration and commitment scores, rather than a categorical approach. We also investigated if participation in life-plan discussions (focused on vocation or meaningful life goals) was related to self-reflection, exploration, and commitment. Separate exploration and commitment scores revealed that, as hypothesized, exploration was positively correlated with self-reflection; however, a negative correlation existed between self-reflection and commitment. Life-plan discussions were positively correlated with self-reflection and exploration, but not commitment. Furthermore, discussion incorporating faith was positively correlated with all of the variables. Faculty Advisor: Rodger Narloch
  • Travis Grotz - Increased Corticosterone Levels and the Development of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in an Animal Model.
    • Previous studies have demonstrated the importance of considering species-relevant emotional behaviors when attempting to model human affective disorders. For example, exposure to stimuli associated with natural predators, or to the predators themselves, has been used as an animal model of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Additionally excessive levels of glucocorticoids, mainly corticosterone, have been implicated in the etiology of several stressed related disorders in humans, including PTSD, and in a variety of behavioral deficits in animals. In the present study an animal model of PTSD was investigated by administering daily subcutaneous injections of corticosterone (20mg/kg for 21 days) to experimental rats (control rats received placebo injections). Then, half the animals were exposed to a tame house cat within a particular chamber. Control animals were not exposed to the cat or the chamber. The combined effect of the manipulation of hormone levels and predator exposure was evaluated repeatedly in an elevated plus maze designed to assess anxiety levels. Five measures of anxiety like behavior (ALB) were recorded and analyzed. It was found that predator exposure and hormone administration significantly altered three of the five measured ALB (e.g. total number of arm entries and risk assessment). These results lend support to the theory that stress hormones play a crucial role in the etiology of PTSD. Faculty Advisor: Linda Tennison
  • Elizabeth Malaktaris - The Political Personality of New York Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton
    • This paper presents the results of an indirect assessment of the political personality of U.S. Senator from the state of New York and former First Lady, Hillary Rodham Clinton, from the conceptual perspective of Theodore Millon. Information concerning Hillary Clinton was collected from published biographical and autobiographical accounts, and synthesized into a personality profile using the second edition of the Millon Inventory of Diagnostic Criteria (MIDC), which yields 34 normal and maladaptive personality classifications congruent with Axis II of DSM-IV.

      The personality profile yielded by the MIDC was analyzed on the basis of interpretive guidelines provided in the MIDC and Millon Index of Personality Styles manuals. Hillary Clinton's primary personality patterns were found to be Dominant/controlling and Ambitious/self-serving, with secondary Conscientious/dutiful features and subsidiary, more situation-specific Contentious/resolute and Retiring/reserved traits.

      Dominant individuals enjoy the power to direct others and to evoke obedience and respect; they are tough and unsentimental and often make effective leaders. Ambitious individuals are bold, competitive, and self-assured; they easily assume leadership roles, expect others to recognize their special qualities, and often act as though entitled.

      Hillary Clinton's major personality strengths in a political role are her commanding presence and confident assertiveness. Her major personality-based shortcomings are uncompromising assertiveness, a lack of empathy and congeniality, and cognitive inflexibility. Faculty Advisor: Aubrey Immelman

  • Sara Pflueger - Chronic Mild Stress and Operant Behavioral Variability
    • Behavioral variability can be measured in operant research with LAG reinforcement schedules, in which sequences of responses are rewarded only if they differ from those previously entered. Performance on LAG schedules could be likened to a measure of flexibility or creativity in responding and has been related to a number of interesting manipulations of emotional states, including alcohol administration and in strains of animals used as a model of human Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Recently, reductions in behavioral variability have been related to depression levels in college students, however, it is impossible to draw causal conclusions based on human correlative research. What is needed is an animal model of depression which can be manipulated in order to observe changes in behavioral variability. Chronic mild stress (CMS) is one such animal model of depression. CMS is achieved through administration of mild daily stressors over a period of four to six weeks resulting in decreased consumption of sweetened water (reflecting anhedonia, a core symptom of depression).

      In the current experiment, half the rats were stressed overnight using six different mild stressors randomly assigned daily; the stressors included cage tilt, all night lights, a strobe light, soiled cages, paired housing, and objects put in the rat's cage. Before and during the stress procedure the rats were water deprived and trained on LAG schedules for water reinforcement. Measures of behavioral variability in the CMS rats were compared to a control group which did not receive any stressors. It was predicted that the CMS group would be less variable than the control group. The obtained results will be discussed in terms of procedural variables associated with CMS effect. Faculty Advisor: Linda Tennison

  • Kelsey White and Lillian Hellman - A Psychological Interpretation
    • This paper presents the results of an indirect assessment of the personality of Lillian Hellman, from the conceptual perspective of Theodore Millon. Information concerning Hellman was collected from biographies and synthesized into a personality profile using the second edition of the Millon Inventory of Diagnostic Criteria (MIDC), which yields 34 normal and maladaptive personality classifications congruent with Axis II of DSM-IV.

      The personality profile yielded by the MIDC was analyzed on the basis of interpretive guidelines provided in the MIDC and Millon Index of Personality Styles manuals. Hellman's primary personality patterns were found to be Contentious/oppositional and Dominant/controlling, with secondary features of the Ambitious/confident, Dauntless/venturesome, and Reticent/circumspect patterns.

      The amalgam of Contentious (negativistic, or passive‑aggressive) and Dominant (aggressive, or sadistic) patterns in Hellman's profile suggests the presence of Millon's abrasive negativistsyndrome. For these personalities, minor frictions easily exacerbate into major confrontations and power struggles. They are quick to spot inconsistencies in others' actions or ethical standards and adept at constructing arguments that amplify observed contradictions. They characteristically take the moral high ground, dogmatically and contemptuously expose their antagonists' perceived hypocrisy, and contemptuously, derisively, and scornfully turn on those who cross their path.

      The major implication of the study is that it offers an empirically based personological framework for conceptualizing Lillian Hellman's antagonistic negativism, single-minded commitment to a cause, and forceful rhetoric-qualities that may well have been essential for a woman to possess in order to achieve success in the male-dominated environment in which she worked at her time in history. Hellman was a remarkable playwright for her time and remains so today. Her personality looms large today and would have been something to behold in the middle part of the 20thcentury in which she produced most of her work. Hellman was able to rise to prominence in a time when women were largely subservient to men. Hellman did not subordinate herself to anyone and especially not to men. She sought to control everything she did and people were aware of her power. She became very political and was not afraid to fight against things she disagreed with, even to her own detriment, as witnessed by her blacklisting during the McCarthy era. Faculty Advisor: Aubrey Immelman

  • Meghan Doyle - The Effects of Chronic Mild Stress on Ethanol Self-Administration in Rats
    • Animal models of depression provide researchers with the ability to investigate aspects of depression not suitable for testing on humans. The current study utilized the Chronic Mild Stress (CMS) model in which mild stressors (e.g., cage tilt, stroboscopic illumination, overnight illumination, etc.) are administered in an unpredictable manner to rat subjects over the course of several weeks. The dependent variable is sucrose consumption, which decreases across time in animals exposed to CMS. The decrease in consumption is taken as a measure of anhedonia, or depression, in the subjects. The aim of the current study was examine the effects of CMS on ethanol self-administration in rats. Subjects were exposed to either the CMS schedule or a control condition. Weekly 1-hr tests for sucrose consumption and 6-hr tests for ethanol consumption were collected. Data analysis revealed that the CMS procedure did not affect sucrose consumption. Also, there were no differences in ethanol consumption between the control and stressed animals. Although the results were inconclusive, the findings seem to suggest certain shortcomings in the CMS procedure. Further implication for future research in the area of depression and substance abuse were also examined. Faculty Advisor: Linda Tennison
  • Sarah A. Gillis - Life in the Twenties: Women's Issues and Challenges
    • Arnett (2000) recently gave new attention to life in the twenties when he suggested the concept of "emerging adulthood," a distinct developmental period which involves undertaking new challenges while gradually working towards long-lasting decision making. This study investigated the issues and challenges facing current undergraduate senior women (N=24) and recent undergraduate alumnae (N=17), while also exploring their meaning-making and support systems. Data were collected using an online survey containing four, open-ended discussion questions. Two researchers then independently read the participants' responses and discussed common themes found in the narratives. Faculty Advisor: Rodger Narloch
  • Amanda Mach - School-Aged Bullying Experience and Relation to Interpersonal Relationships of College Students and the Moderating Role of Hardiness
    • The primary objective of this study was to investigate the possible correlation between bullying history and the quality of current interpersonal relationships in college students. Surveys were administered to 183 college students concerning both friendships and romantic relationships. Survey data were collected to assess retrospective perception of bullying experiences from childhood through the present, hardiness, and aspects of friendships and romantic relationships on the dimensions of trust, relationship quality, and shyness. A statistically significant, negative correlation was found between reported bullying experience and both friendship quality and trust, indicating that as victimization levels increased, current satisfaction in and trust in friendships decreased. A significant positive relationship was also found between victimization history and shyness, indicating that as reported victimization increased current levels of shyness also increased. Hardiness was not found to significantly moderate the relationship between any of the variables investigated. Consistent with the findings of Pelligrini and Long (2000), reported victimization increased from elementary to middle school and then decreased in high school and through college. Finally, gender differences were found in the types of reported victimization experienced, with males reporting more physical and verbal types of victimization, consistent with the findings of Olweus (1997), as well as less trust in current friendships. Faculty Advisor: Rodger Narloch
  • Matthew Syzdek - Restrictive Emotionality and Affectionate Behavior in Adolescent Males: A Small Groups Norms-challenging Experimental Intervention
    • This study examined the effects of a Small Groups Norms-challenging Model intervention (SGNM) on restrictive emotionality (RE) and affectionate behavior (RABBM). Participants were 23 males, ages 12-18, from a small preparatory school. Two modified Gender Role Conflict (GRCS) Scales were used to individually assess participants' actual RE and RABBM and perceptions about RE and RABBM in other high school students at their school. Twelve subjects participated in SGNM intervention while 11 participants were in the control condition. At 3 and 7 weeks after the intervention, participants completed both modified GRCS. Statistical analyses revealed significantly or near significantly lower perceived and actual RE and RABBM scores in intervention participants. The researcher noted potential social desirability issues and discussed future research applications. Faculty Advisor: Michael Livingston

 

2001-2002

  • Andrea Booth - "Hormone Dynamics in Participants Viewing High Stakes Sporting Events: Relationship to Community Violence."
    • In 1992, newspapers were full of discussion about a just-published study that suggested that violence towards women increased on SuperBowl Sunday. The authors claimed that football models violence, and because more people watch the SuperBowl than any other football game, violence toward women would, at that time, reach a peak. However, other researchers have shown that testosterone levels rise with winning and drop with losing. Testosterone is also closely related to aggression and so might explain increases in violence by fans after viewing their team win an important match. To test this possibility, saliva was sampled from observers of competitive sporting events and assayed for: testosterone, cortisol, and DHEA. Analyses involved: (1) describing the dynamics of T, C, and DHEA from baseline to various points in each game as the participants' team was winning of losing; (2) comparing contact "violent" sports and non-contact "non-violent" sports; and (3) assessing hospital and police records for incidences of fighting, battering, and other forms of aggression on dates of wins vs. losses of important home team competitions. Neither analysis of hormones nor analysis of community violence supported a sports-aggression connection, suggesting that the initial study reported an alpha error.
  • Chrissi Boulton - "Sexism in Publishing."
  • Tomas Holtberg - "The Personality of Richard M. Nixon: A Comparison of Psychohistorical Approaches and a Psychodiagnostic Analysis of His Undoing."
  • Jessica Manthie - "The Political Personalities of Michael Collins and Eamonn de Valera."
  • Andrea Priley - "The Impact of the Introduction to Psychology Lab Program on Undergraduate Students."
  • Elena Rosas - "Children's Preferences Toward Doctors: A Pilot Study Focusing on Ethnicity and Gender"
    • Elena's study is a pilot study that examines children's perceptions of doctors as it pertains to race and gender through a survey that has been created for this purpose. The children that participate are shown a variety of drawings that depict doctors of different races and genders and are asked to rate their comfort level with having each as their doctor. Elena hopes to obtain a sample of children that contains relatively equal numbers of the following ethnicities: Caucasian, African-American, Hispanic, and Asian. The drawings will reflect these four populations, with a male and female representative from each ethnicity comprising the total set of drawings shown (8 pictures in all). The ethnicity and gender of the children will be recorded along with their responses to the survey.

2000-2001

  • Marcy Hochalter
    • The present study compared the performance of forty-eight introductory to psychology students' scores on a mathematical exam before and after receiving manipulated written feedback regarding their scores. Students in the positive feedback condition received scores eight points higher than their actual scores. Students in the negative feedback condition received scores eight points lower than their actual scores, and students in the control condition received their actual scores. A statistically significant difference in the positive direction was found between pre- and post-test scores of students in the negative and positive feedback conditions, indicating that feedback on performance has an effect on subsequent performance.

 

1999-2000

    • Jason Bartos - The effect of personality on politics: An evaluation of Patrick Buchanan. 
      • Today's political picture is determined by many factors including the real issues, scandalous behavior, and the charisma of each candidate. However, an underlying variable in many of these political facets is the personality of the individual candidate, which can impact numerous areas of their political lives such as deliberation, persuasion, negotiation, and policy objectives. The research, which I worked on and continue to expand, involves the evaluation and interpretation of the political personality of Patrick Buchanan. I used the Millon Inventory of Diagnostic Criteria (MIDC), modified and compiled by Dr. Aubrey Immelman of the CSB/SJU Psychology Department, to evaluate Buchanan's personality. I was then able to predict some positive and negative elements of his personality, which would help shape his leadership and organization styles.  Research has given me the opportunity to work closely with Dr. Immelman to apply the theories and science of psychology in a way, which will educate people about the complicated field of politics and leadership. I was given the opportunity to present the findings of my research at both the St. Cloud State research colloquium and the Minnesota Undergraduate Psychology Conference. These poster sessions brought people from many different academic backgrounds to talk about my research topic and procedure. They asked many questions, some of which were difficult and unforeseen, but I left both sessions with a deeper understanding of the material as well as a sense of enjoyment for the topic and enjoyment of the opportunity to teach others about my research.
    • Nick Leonard - The temporal memory effects of exposure to predator odor are explored using the response rates of rats in an operant conditioning chamber. 

    • Marylin Opsina and Katie Diedrich - Study of the ability to alter symmetry in attractive individuals and attempt to achieve symmetry in those lacking it.
      • Past research has shown that facial symmetry yields high ratings of attractiveness. Along with this fact, we hypothesized that individuals with high facial symmetry can afford to handicap that symmetry by an asymmetric hair part or by the asymmetric placement of a tattoo or piercing. Conversely, an individual lacking facial symmetry will strive for symmetry with a symmetric hair style and symmetric tattoos and piercings. Based on this, we designed a study to test for these factors.

    • Patrick Perrine - Human Mating Preferences: An Evolutionary Perspective on Sexual Orientation  
      •  This study was conducted to examine the mating preferences of heterosexual and homosexual males and females. It is important for society to understand the differences and similarities between sexual orientations. Darwin's evolutionary theory of human mate selection suggests that males and females seek out mating partners who provide the means to enhance their own reproductive success, and the specific traits vary as a function of sex. Evolutionists theorize that homosexuality serves adaptation in terms of altruism and kin selection. Additional research suggests that homosexuality is simply a reversal of the opposite heterosexual roles. It is not clear how natural selection may have directly favored a preference pattern that would undermine reproduction, and a number of findings consider the biological status of homosexuality a puzzle. This study allowed for the exploration of whether the reproductive psychology of homosexual persons most resembles that of same- or opposite-sex heterosexual persons, and of whether any relations with sexual orientation are symmetrical by sex. Singles personal advertisements posted on the Internet networks during a four week span of time were analyzed. The average age specified in the ads was analyzed using an ANOVA with factors of gender, sexual orientation, and age category (18-27 28-38, 39-49, 50+). There was a significant effect of sexual orientation and a significant sexual orientation x gender interaction. Overall, homosexuals preferred younger partners than did heterosexuals. Sexual orientation made little difference in the age preferences specified by men, but homosexual women specified younger partners than did heterosexual women. In addition, a significant main effect of age, gender, and significant age x gender interaction was found. Overall, preferred ages increased with the age of the respondent and men specified younger age preferences than did women. However, the gender difference was not seen in the youngest (18-27) age category. The size of the specified age range (difference between the youngest and oldest ages listed in the ad) was also analyzed with ANOVA. Significant main effects of sexual orientation and age group were found. With increasing age, the specified range became larger. Homosexuals specified a larger range than did heterosexuals. There was no significant effect of gender, or interactions between these variables. The results suggest that the differences amongst the two sexes and the two sexual orientations challenge evolutionary theories, which suggest mate preferences solely based on reproductive success. The data from the two sexes and the two sexual orientations indicate a modual set of independent mechanisms involved in the development of sex differences, specifically mating preferences, and that homosexuals are more complex than a simple and general reversal of heterosexual roles.
    • Cara Baenen and Patrick Perrine
      • A continuation on the research instrumented by Patrick Perrine. To conduct this research we have designed a questionnaire to provide information on mating preferences in six categories (past experiences, a sexual fantasy scale, age preferences, interest in uncommitted sex, partner's status, and physical attractiveness). We will be administering these questionnaires to students at the University of Minnesota and the College of St. Benedict/St. John's University. We predict that the differences amongst the two sexes and the two sexual orientations contraindicates evolutionary theories, which suggest mate preferences solely based on reproductive success.

  • Erin Steinbach - The relationship between cooperation/competition and job satisfaction.