Research for 1999-2000

Click on the researchers name to see a detailed description of their work.

Jason Bartos -Research into the effect of personality on politics. An evaluation of Patrick Buchanan using Dr. Aubrey Immelman's personality inventory.

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.

Patrick Perrine - Look into the evolutionary perspective on sexual orientation with a study of mate preference in homosexuals.

Cara Baenen and Patrick Perrine- Continuation of Parrine's earlier work on mate preference with a questionnaire designed to provide information on partner preference.

Erin Steinbach - An honors thesis on the relationship between cooperation/ competition and job satisfaction.

Jason Bartos

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.

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Marylin Ospina and Katie Diedrich

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.

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Patrick Perrine


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.

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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.

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Erin Steinbach is doing an honors thesis on the relationship between cooperation/competition and job satisfaction (or task satisfaction).

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