Recent Submissions

  • The Effects of a Mindfulness-Based Intervention on Feelings of Loneliness and Ruminative Thinking

    Brown, Melissa M.; Abwender, David A.; Snarr, Jeffery D.; Thamboo, Pradeep A.; The College at Brockport (2016-08-30)
    Loneliness is a very distressing experience provoked by perceived deficiencies in interpersonal social contact. In recent years, considerable attention has been oriented towards the transformative changes associated with the practice of mindfulness. Thus, many mindfulness- based interventions have emerged and demonstrated efficacy for ameliorating various forms of psychological distress. However, few studies have examined whether the therapeutic benefits are applicable for alleviating loneliness. Prior research has suggested that the mechanisms of change underlying mindfulness may occur via reductions in rumination, which has been implicated in prolonged feelings of loneliness. The present study concerns the effects of a randomized- controlled trial of Unstress II, a mindfulness-based group intervention on self-reported changes in mindfulness, rumination, and loneliness. Participants (N=82) were randomly assigned to either a treatment or wait-list control group, all of which were assessed at two time periods, pre- intervention and post-intervention. The results revealed that participants in the treatment groups reported significant increases in mindfulness in addition to reductions in rumination and loneliness from pre- to post-intervention in comparison to those in the wait-list control groups. The effect of the intervention on loneliness remained significant even after statistically controlling for self-reported depressive symptoms. The relationship between mindfulness and loneliness was partially mediated by rumination at both assessment times. Furthermore, the effect of the intervention on corresponding reductions in rumination was fully mediated by changes in mindfulness at the post-intervention follow-up. The limitations of the study and implications for future research are discussed in conjunction with the observed findings. Keywords: mindfulness, meditation, rumination, loneliness, psychological distress, intervention
  • Rotational Preference in the Domestic Cat: Relationship to Temperament and Behaviors

    Michels, Jennifer L.; The College at Brockport (2010-02-07)
    Rotational preference, an animal’s preferred turning direction as it moves about with free choice, has been assessed in humans and rodents. Studies have shown that those with a right turning preference are more susceptible to developing learned helplessness, and less likely to act according to Gray's Behavioral Approach System than those who prefer to turn to the left. In the present study, rotational preference was assessed in twenty-nine adult male cats (Felis silvestris catus). Rotational preference was compared to the results of two assessments in a within-subjects design. The first was the Feline Temperament Profile (Lee, Zeglen, Ryan, & Hines, 1983) which was administered by the experimenter. The second was a Cat Behavior Questionnaire which was completed by the cats' owners. The proportion of right turns emitted by the cats was negatively correlated with the number of approach behaviors measured in the temperament test and behavior questionnaire (r = -.591, p =.001). This finding supports studies of rotational preference and behavior with other species, as well as the hypothesized neurochemical basis of reward-seeking behavior (Abwender & Pusateri,2005).
  • Evaluation of the Effectiveness of a Preference-Based Teaching Approach with Children with Developmental Disabilities

    Desrochers, Marcie; Cerveny, Liam D.; The College at Brockport (2016-12-13)
    Preference-based teaching (PBT) incorporates choice and preferred activities into a teaching task to increase the rate of learning among students with developmental disabilities (DD). This study compared the efficacy of discrete trial training with and without PBT. Participants included three students from an afterschool facility that serves children with DD. Researchers met with each participant in one-on-one teaching sessions to determine if the PBT method embedded in discrete trial training led to more learning than discrete trial training alone. Learning occurred in both conditions and there was no clear difference between the PBT and comparison conditions. Generalization and social validity assessments were conducted for each participant. The generalization assessments failed to show a difference between conditions such that all participants retained the same amount of learned skills across both conditions. During the social validity assessments, all three participants chose the PBT condition over the discrete trial training condition. Interpretations of the results are discussed.
  • Background Music: The Effects of Lyrics and Tempo on Reading Comprehension and Speed

    Birch, Stacy; Reed, Amanda; The College at Brockport (2019-01-01)
    The purpose of this research was to assess the effects of lyrical and non-lyrical music on reading comprehension in college students, especially when tempo was taken into consideration. There were several major research questions approached. First, the current study examined a main effect of lyrics, assessing whether lyrical music hinders reading comprehension scores compared to non-lyrical music. Second, it was predicted that there would be a main effect of tempo, such that music with a fast tempo would also hinder reading comprehension scores compared to slow tempo music. Finally, it was predicted that there would be an interaction of lyrics, and tempo with passage difficulty, such that music with lyrics and a fast tempo would hinder reading comprehension the most in the presence of a difficult passage. An experiment was conducted involving 80 college students who completed a reading comprehension task, in conditions involving lyrics with slow tempo, lyrics with a fast tempo, no lyrics with a slow tempo, and no lyrics with a fast tempo, while reading passages at easy and difficult levels. The measured variables included reading comprehension and speed. Results showed that lyrical music was more detrimental to reading comprehension than non-lyrical music, and that harder passage difficulty was more detrimental than easy passage difficulty, however, music with a fast tempo was not more detrimental than music with a slow tempo. Implications of these findings suggest that language and reading comprehension processes of working memory are affected by the language component of lyrical music. These results could aid in launching more research into the study habits of young adults at the collegiate level, and help to create a more successful, healthy learning environment.
  • Dieting Restraint and Food Deprivation Effects on Delay Discounting for Food

    Forzano, Lori-Ann B.; Witnauer, James; Brown, Melissa; Button, Alyssa; The College at Brockport (2017-05-03)
    Previous literature has found alternative results for how deprivation affects self-control and delay discounting. Self-control is defined as the choice of waiting a longer time for a larger reward, versus impulsivity, or, waiting a shorter time for a smaller reward. The current study manipulated deprivation using soup preload and no soup preload conditions. These conditions were analyzed to determine their effects on measures of hypothetical delay discounting for food and measures of inhibition and suppression. Other variables that were measured and analyzed include: participant’s dieting status (which can also be defined as caloric restriction, or dietary restraint), and body mass index (BMI). It was hypothesized that dieting status will interact with deprivation levels and therefore affect performance on delay discounting food tasks and a parametric go no/go task. Results from the study found significant effects of deprivation status, but no significant effects of dieting status or interactions between the two. An additional exploratory hypothesis was to determine how BMI and other eating behaviors are related to these results. BMI and other eating behaviors yielded no significant effects on delay discounting k values or suppression and mean reaction times. Implications of the proposed research could increase the scientific knowledge in how food choices are made, and how these choices contribute to unhealthy weight conditions and how we can improve methods and treatment for these maladaptive eating behaviors.
  • The Effects of Self-Assisted Monitoring on Children's Recall Predictions

    Lipko-Speed, Amanda; Abar, Caitlin; Forzano, Lori-Ann; Stephan, Gina R.; The College at Brockport (2016-05-25)
    Young children consistently overestimate their judgments of how well they will perform on a picture recall task compared to their actual performance (Flavell, Friedrichs, & Hoyt, 1970; Lipko-Speed, 2013; Lipko, Dunlosky, & Merriman, 2009). Previous researchers have investigated ways to make children more aware of their actual abilities (Lipko-Speed, 2013; Schneider, 1998; Stipek, Roberts, & Sanborn, 1984). This study examines the influence of self-assisted monitoring on young children’s overconfidence. Specifically, children will monitor their own performance on a recall task with the help of an experimenter. Such monitoring is expected to lower children’s overconfidence in their future performance predictions on a recall task. 50 four- and five- year olds were randomly matched by gender to one of two groups: an experimenter monitored group or a self-assisted monitored group. All children participated in four trials of a picture recall task during which they made 2 recall predictions and 2 recall attempts per trial, each with different sets of pictures. The procedure for the experimenter monitored group was modeled after Lipko-Speed (2013). Specifically, after each recall attempt, children were told by the experimenter, who had been monitoring their recall, how many pictures they had correctly recalled. In the self-assisted monitored group, children (with some assistance) monitored the accuracy of their own recall attempts. Both groups lowered their predictions within and between trials, however their overconfidence persisted. Children’s overconfident performance predictions did not decrease within or between trials in either group. Hence, the implementation of this investigation’s self-assisted monitoring task did not aid in decreasing children’s overconfident judgment predictions on future tasks.
  • The Effect of Gaze on Romantic Relationships

    Brennan-Jones, Kelly; Snarr, Jeffrey; Forzano, Lori-Ann; Field, Norman D.; State University of New York College at Brockport (2016-05-24)
    Amount of eye gaze has been correlated with relationship quality in married couples. Also, experimentally manipulated eye gaze has been shown to positively affect evaluations of strangers. The field lacks, however, experimental research on the effect of eye gaze on relationship quality in couples. Here, research entails experimental manipulation of eye gaze in couples. It was hypothesized that eye gazing would lead to an improvement in relationship quality. Participants were 61 couples who had been together for at least one month. Participants engaged in a task of communicating different emotions to their partner, while either looking intently at each other or while being unable to see each other due to wearing glasses that were covered with tape to obstruct vision. After the partner exercise, participants completed a questionnaire about relationship satisfaction, love, passion, and intimacy. No significant improvements in the relationship variables were found, and possible reasons for this outcome are discussed.
  • Experimental Evaluation of Self-directed Versus Instructor-assisted Online Applied Behavior Analysis Training: Examination of Post-Knowledge and Application Assessments with Minority Students

    Desrochers, Marcie; Gillespie, Janet F.; Ratcliff, Jennifer; Kwamogi, Laker (2019-09-11)
    Given the growing demand for applied behavioral analysis (ABA) training, self-instructional online programs could be useful to teach strategies to various individuals who are minority-ethnic and may need training (e.g., therapists, college students, parents). Although self-directed online training has been shown to be an effective learning method, little research has been done examining the best methods of online training with ethnic minority students. Past research suggests that instructor-assisted training may help minority-ethnic students overcome difficulties (low satisfaction, engagement, motivation, and understanding) with online training material. Participants reported issues based on possible cultural factors (i.e., miscommunication, negative perceptions from instructors, misunderstandings) and feelings of isolation negatively affecting their performance. In this study, a mixed subjects cross over experimental research design was used to evaluate the instructional effectiveness of learning ABA material by minority-ethnic college students in two online conditions (self-directed versus instructor-assisted). Post knowledge and application assessments measured participants’ acquisition of ABA material in each online training condition. Subjective evaluation assessments measured participants’ perceptions of the two online training conditions. The present study showed no statistically significant difference in participants’ mean post-knowledge and application assessment scores and no difference in online training preference. However, participants’ perceived that learning was greater in the instructor-assisted training condition in comparison to the self-directed training condition. Further research is needed for empirically informed decisions concerning the best way to provide online ABA training with minority-ethnic groups.
  • Age of Technology: Are Age Differences Present In Comprehension of Non-Linear Hyperlink Text?

    Margolin, Sara J.; Witnauer, James; Birch, Stacy; Snyder, Natasha (2018-09-15)
    The present research aimed to explore the effects of age and hyperlink text on reading comprehension, while assessing the role of working memory within the reading process; specifically any evident tax on working memory when considering the complex text. Expository passages were presented in three formats: hyperlink pages, PDF files, and printed versions in order to evaluate comprehension across reading platforms. Results indicated that successful and comparable comprehension may occur across the multiple platforms. Further, older adults showed to have significantly better comprehension than college-age participants, suggesting high levels of cognitive activity on behalf of the older adults. Working memory scores did not significantly differ when comparing older and younger adults. In addition, working memory was not shown to be impactful to the reading process within this study, potentially due to much practice and experience on behalf of the older adults. Implications of these findings as they pertain to website use and educational purposes are discussed.
  • Simple Reaction Time of Ipsilateral and Contralateral Hand to Monaurally Presented Tones of Different Pitch with Binaural White Noise

    Aitken, Peter G.; The College at Brockport (1974-01-01)
    This study hypothesized that reaction times to monaural auditory stimuli are shorter with the ipsilateral hand than with the contralateral hand under binaural white noise stimulation, and that ipsi- and contralateral reactions do not differ in the absence of white noise. The relationship between the ipsilateral-contralateral reaction time difference and the frequency of the reaction signal was also determined. In experiment I, 10 male undergraduate students each performed 20 ipsilateral and 20 contralateral reactions to each of 6 signal frequencies (400, 800,1200,1600, 2000, 2400 cps) under binaural white noise stimulation. In experiment II, 10 male undergraduate students each performed 20 ipsi- and 20 contralateral reactions, at one stimulus frequency, under white noise on and white noise off conditions. The results support both hypotheses ( p < .001), and also indicate that signal frequency has a significant effect on contralateral reactions· ( p < .001) but not on ipsilateral reactions. Close agreement was obtained with results of other callosal transmission studies, and support provided for the theory that the ear asymmetry effect is caused in part by the occlusion of ipsilateral auditory connections by contralateral ones. The results also suggest that the effect of signal frequency on contralateral reactions is related to the mechanism limiting the frequency at which binaural beats are perceived.
  • Personality Traits and Positive Reinforcement in Exercise

    Snarr, Jeffrey; Desrochers, Marcie; McNall, Laurel; Schaefer, Amy (2017-12-10)
    Obesity rates across college campuses are rising. Health habits, such as exercise, acquired during the college years tend to carry on through the rest of an individual’s life. The purpose of the current study is to identify the effects of positive reinforcement on success in exercise adherence for individuals displaying extraverted and neurotic personality traits. 16 volunteer participants ranging in age from 18-25 years from the College at Brockport were recruited. They completed surveys measuring behavior stages of change, exercise barriers/benefits and personality type. Participants then recorded exercise habits over an eight week period. Four of these eight weeks included positive reinforcement in the form of verbal praise for recorded exercise behavior as well as entry into weekly drawings for money. Analyses of main effects and interactions between personality type, positive reinforcement, and exercise behavior were calculated. Results indicated a significant increase in benefit scores following completion of the study. It is possible that by participating in the study, individuals were able to notice the benefits of regular exercise.
  • Effects of Watching Television While Exercising

    Casilio, Karen M.; The College at Brockport (2012-01-01)
    Lack of physical activity is associated with multiple health risks including obesity, heart disease, and premature death. Encouraging people to increase exercise has been difficult due to multiple barriers such as lack of energy, time, and competition with sedentary behaviors. Many researchers have tried to manipulate distraction from pain and internal cues while exercising as a way to increase the amount a person exercises. Music has been found to be an effective distractor for decreasing perceived level of exertion and increasing the amount exercised in runners (Brownley et al., 1995; Bourdeaudhuij et al., 2002). The purpose of the current experiment was to examine the effects of television on increasing exercise by distracting participants whom are running on a treadmill. Forty-two adults from a small fitness center participated in a between subjects design in which half viewed a television while exercising while the other half did not view a television while exercising. Distance walked/ran and focus of attention were compared to determine if watching a television while exercising distracted attention and increased distance walked/ran. A significant effect was found for distraction in that the television group reported more external thoughts than the no television group.
  • Timing Performance Error in Rewarded and Non-Rewarded Tasks

    Witnauer, James; Abwender, David A.; Snarr, Jeffery D.; Rhodes, L. Jack; The College at Brockport (2015-05-15)
    The literature on human and nonhuman animal interval timing disagrees about whether perceived time is a linear or power function of real time, and to what extent reward influences timing performance. Two competing computational learning and timing models, Temporal Difference (TD, Schultz, 2013) and Sometimes Competing Retrieval (SOCR, Stout & Miller, 2007) are reviewed. The present experiments investigate human interval timing error in both reward and non-reward conditions. The experiments were simulated by a computational model to identify both the function that describes the effect of interval duration on the distribution of variance (e.g., scalar or linear) and the relative predictive power of the SOCR and TD models, and the effects of reward on interval timing. Specifically, it was hypothesized that 1) timing variability is scalar, not linear, 2) that a modified SOCR model explains the data, and 3) that interval timing performance is less variable in rewarding situations than in non-rewarding situations. Timing trials involved the presentation of a reference duration; participants then produced their estimate of that duration while under cognitive load (random number generation and serial math tasks) through key presses on a computer. The results failed to support these hypotheses. However, reward produced a nonsignificant tendency towards early responding. Finally, suggestions for further research, including further computational modeling and investigation of the neural substrata of reward and timing are discussed.
  • Comparing Independent and Interdependent Group Contingencies with Non-contingent Reinforcement on College Students’ Academic Performance

    Desrochers, Marcie; Snarr, Jeffrey; Forzano, Lori-Ann; Caron, Stacey L. (2018-08-04)
    Effective teaching approaches are essential to students’ learning outcomes and overall academic experiences. Low academic achievement (e.g., low homework or test scores) may lead an instructor to seek alternative approaches to strengthening students’ acquisition of academic material. Group contingencies have been identified as effective behavioral interventions for strengthening students’ academic performance within a classroom setting. The present study was conducted to examine the effectiveness of independent and interdependent group contingencies compared with non-contingent reinforcement (NCR) when used as behavioral interventions for college students’ academic performance. Using a 3 x 3 factorial design, three randomly-assigned experimental groups of participants were simultaneously presented with counterbalanced orders of an independent group contingency, an interdependent group contingency, and an NCR condition in a contrived classroom setting. Subjective evaluation assessments measured participants’ experiences with and preferences of the three types of reinforcement conditions. Post-tests and retention tests were used to measure participants’ acquisition of academic material and retention effects of each reinforcement condition, respectively. Amongst the three types of reinforcement conditions, the majority of participants reported that their most preferred requirements for winning the $5.00 cash reward (reinforcer) were those of the independent group contingency. No significant differences were found between participants’ mean post-test and retention test scores for each reinforcement condition. However, possible significant differences between reinforcement conditions were revealed with participants’ mean post-test scores in that the p-value for the analysis of variance conducted with this data approached statistical significance.
  • Coping with Being Cut from the Team: Examining Grit, Resilience and Optimism in Response to Failure in College Athletes

    Gillespie, Janet; Gonzalez, Stephen; McNall, Laurel; Hayden, Dorian (2018-05-18)
    This research investigated the ways in which optimism, grit and resilience are related to academic success and athletic participation for college students after they have gone through a significant negative event in their sport. Participants between the ages of 18 to 25 were evaluated on grit, optimism, resilience and coping strategies through the Grit Scale, the Life Orientation Test, the Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale, and the Ways of Coping questionnaire. All individuals had been either cut from or left a collegiate sports team. Respondents also completed an informational demographics questionnaire assessing age, college grades, any ongoing participation in a sport, and appraisal of and attributions about the experience of leaving their team. It was predicted that individuals with higher levels of optimism, grit and resilience, as well as better coping skills, would achieve similar or better grades after than before leaving the team and would continue to participate in their chosen sport (in some role) following the experience of being cut. Results indicated that continued participation in sport was not associated with any of the proposed predictor variables, and assessment of changes in grades, unfortunately, could not be analyzed. In contrast, multiple significant relationships were found between resilience and coping mechanisms, in addition to aspects of attributional style. Furthermore, both resilience and a combination of resilience and grit, but not optimism, predicted adaptive coping strategies in participants. This study may help to further determine what helps individuals succeed after hardship, and also could help confirm the importance of both preparing sports participants for failure experiences and also supporting their subsequent efforts at success.
  • Maternal Anxiety and Child Behavioral Problems: Mediating and Moderating Processes

    Harper, Shannon L.; The College at Brockport (2011-07-01)
    The purpose of this study was to investigate the complex relationship between maternal anxiety, harsh parenting, and childhood behavioral problems in a sample of at-risk parents. The Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, which provided longitudinal data from a large and diverse population of families and their newborn children, was utilized to examine the intervening variables that might affect the relations between anxiety and child behavior problems. The results of this study indicated that harsh parenting served as a partial mediator of the relations between anxiety and subsequent behavior problems. Maternal family mental health history, presence or absence of the child's birth father, and child gender on the pattern of relations were examined as moderators of the relation between maternal anxiety and child behavioral outcomes but the analyses failed to support the proposed moderating relations. The implications for considering the effects of maternal anxiety on child behavior problems within a stress-processing model are discussed.
  • Schema Avoidance and Social Norm Application in Changing Attitudes Toward Affirmative Action Programs

    Knapp, F. Andrew; The College at Brockport (2008-05-01)
    The interpretation and implementation of affirmative action policies (AAPs) has had the effect of creating beliefs and attitudes concerning these policies that vary with personal experience, race, gender, and other factors. Since attitudes toward AAPs have been found to be especially difficult to change, it is important to understand attitudes and how to change them. Following Ajzen's (1991, 2005) Theory of Planned Behavior, two hypotheses were tested: first, the avoidance of schema activation (i.e., by assessing attitudes toward AAPs without calling them "affirmative action") results in more positive attitudes toward the goals and ideals of those policies, and second, for those without any firmly held beliefs concerning AAPs, the presence or absence of a social norm example will influence attitudes in the direction provided by the example. This study of 298 undergraduate students showed a significant relationship between attitudes toward AAPs (measured with two separate dependent variables: a semantic differential and a measure of justice) and presence or absence of the words "affirmative action." Results were mixed in the presence or absence of a social norm model, with significant results only seen in the groups where the term affirmative action was not used. These results suggest that attitudes toward affirmative action can be influenced by avoiding schema activation and that providing a positive norm model is ineffective in changing attitudes when the term affirmative action is used. Correlations were also found between attitudes towards AAPs and measures of knowledge of AAPs, as well as participants' intention to take some kind of action regarding AAPs.
  • Impulsivity in Subclinical Borderline Personality Individuals Using a Delay Discounting Task with Social Incentives

    D' Agostino, Rachel L.; The College at Brockport (2010-01-01)
    Impulsivity was examined in a subclinical sample of college students with borderline personality disorder (BPD) traits. Using the Borderline Personality Questionnaire (BPQ; Poreh et al. , 2006) participants were screened for high and low BPD traits. Twenty-six high-BPD and twenty-four low-BPD participants were compared on impulsivity. Impulsivity was assessed using a self-report measure (BIS- 1 1 ; Patton, Stanford & Barratt, 1 995) and three laboratory tasks, the Go Stop Impulsivity Paradigm (Dougherty, Mathias, & Marsh, 2003 ), a delay discounting task (Dixon, Jacobs, & Sanders, 2006) with monetary incentives and a delay discounting task with social incentives. Past research has shown that high- and low-BPD individuals do not discount monetary rewards differently (Dom, De Wilde, Hulstijn, Van Den Brink, & Sabbe, 2006). The present study replicated these results. In addition, the present research hypothesized that high-BPD individuals would discount social rewards more steeply. Results, however, showed no differences between groups in social discounting, nor did high-BPD individuals discount social rewards at a significantly greater rate than monetary rewards, as was expected. Still, there was a significant main effect, showing that, overall, participants discounted social rewards more steeply than monetary rewards. Contrary to what was expected, there was no difference between groups on the Go Stop Impulsivity Paradigm. Results did confirm the hypothesis that high-BPD participants were more impulsive than low-BPD participants on the BIS- 11. These results suggest that the two groups differ on impulsivity according to self-report measures, but that delay discounting does not discriminate between groups regardless of the reinforcer.
  • Do Friends Self-Select on the Basis of Virtue?

    Solecki, Candace; The College at Brockport (2006-11-01)
    This study explored the role of signature strengths (e.g., leadership, appreciation of beauty and excellence, social intelligence) in close friendships. Specifically, it was hypothesized that college-aged individuals' signature strengths would be similar to those of their closest friends, and also that the closer and more intimate the friendship, the more similar would be the friends in their signature strengths. It was also hypothesized that the strength of the relationship between best friends' signature strengths would be associated with an individual's level of identity development; with the length of the friendship; and with the gender of the persons reporting. College students were administered the Values In Action Signature Strengths Inventory (VIA-IS), the Berndt Adult Friendship Questionnaire, the Positive and Negative Affectivity Schedule, the Ego Identity Process Questionnaire, and an open-ended measure assessing perceptions of friends' positive qualities. Results indicated several trends for data in predicted directions, although the small sample size precluded any conclusions based on statistical significance.
  • Evaluation of Concurrent Operant Preference Assessment For Identification of Social Consequences in Adolescents: Daily Living Skills in a Residential Setting

    Speares, Elizabeth A.; The College at Brockport (2012-01-12)
    There are a growing number of youth in residential care who are dually diagnosed with a mental health disorder and developmental delay. By using function-based interventions, individuals' problem behaviors may be addressed without requiring a higher level of care. An alternative strategy to a functional analysis is to use a concurrent operant preference assessment (COA) to determine the individual's preferred consequences and allow appropriate interventions to be developed based on the preferred consequence and potential function of the challenging behavior for the individual. The clinical utility of a COA procedure to increase latency to compliance with daily living skills with youth dually diagnosed in a residential setting was evaluated using a multiple baseline across subjects design. Results showed that the use of potential reinforcers determined by the COA increased compliance with daily living skills with all 5 participants. Additionally, these skills were maintained at a 2 week probe.