• Are dementia caregivers planning for their own future?: a needs assessment and examination of barriers to services

      Suarez, Jeanette L. (2021-05)
      Due to the complex nature of the decline of persons with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia, dementia caregivers are at greater risk of psychological morbidities, which often has an effect on caregivers’ own physical health. These caregivers, who are usually family members, experience first-hand the demands of caring for their loved ones. The present research examined how the demands of caregiving (caregiver burden) had impacted decisions regarding their own future care needs in the form of financial and advance care planning. Sixty-six caregivers from Meals On Wheels & Services of Rockland and the SUNY New Paltz community participated in this study. Although caregiver burden did not have an impact on caregivers’ view of the financial future, caregivers who scored high in the dimensions of Challenges to Self-fulfillment and Physical Health Challenges had completed more advance care planning steps than other caregivers. Caregivers with a clearer view of the financial future had also completed more financial planning steps than other caregivers. Caregivers over 40 years of age completed the most financial and advance care planning steps. Barriers to financial and advance care planning were also identified and explored.
    • Becoming a music therapist: professional and personal growth of a master’s student

      Maher, Alyssa (2019-05)
      To honor and integrate what I have learned in graduate school, this paper presents an exploration of my clinical foundations, professional development, and paths for future growth as a music therapist. As I have traditionally connected with academic pursuits, writing a paper outlining my graduate school journey in music therapy feels satisfying. However, part of my journey has been reconnecting with my own musical identity and developing my identity as a music therapist. For me, it is difficult to encompass all areas of growth with only words, and thus I have composed a piece of music that mirrors my development. This musical composition became the lens in which I examined myself, and illuminated important aspects of my personal and professional development. The journey to becoming a board-certified music therapist has impacted my life and identity on multiple levels; completing this paper and piece of music serve as ways to integrate what I have learned and honor my new identity.
    • Becoming “spiritual but not religious”: narratives on family of origin, conversion, and commitment

      Marks, Kaelyn Marie (2021-12)
      This qualitative narrative study explored how individuals raised within organized religion(s) came to associate with the orientation of “Spiritual but Not Religious” (i.e., SBNR). Ten semi-structured interviews delved into topics such as family upbringing, religious environment, spiritual development, cognitive dissonance, and resolutions. Notable parental relationship qualities within categories of being positive, distant, strict, and/or abusive emerged. Parental conflict with at least one parent was a shared experience across the sample. It was more common for conflict with fathers to exist as previous literature has suggested. Compared to those raised in more severely religious environments, those raised within less religious environments were more prone to feeling confident and committed with their present spiritual beliefs. This work contributes to further understanding the various developmental pathways and influences on spirtual identity exploration and commitment. Further considerations and implications of the study are discussed.
    • The caregiver experience : the impact of environmental music therapy in the surgical intensive care unit

      Millstein, Allison (2016-12)
      This study examines the effects of an Environmental Music Therapy (EMT) protocol on the caregiver experience in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit (SICU). For the purpose of this study, EMT may be understood as a music therapy intervention designed to implement live music that attunes to the sonic environment of a medical unit while gradually shifting to address psychological, physical, and contextual needs of caregivers. In this study, caregivers are defined as family members and loved ones, ages 18 an older, involved in active care of related patients within the SICU at Mount Sinai Beth Israel. An experimental design was implemented via examining one group’s pre and post-intervention surveys. Results did not indicate statistically significant impact of an EMT protocol on caregiver experience in regards to interactions with staff, perceived pain of patients, or ability of music to mask/blend with noxious environmental sounds. However, without regard to statistical significance, results do indicate preliminary levels of impact of EMT on caregiver experience in the SICU. Small sample size may be accountable for lack of statistical significance given preliminary results. This research study, while unable to yield significant results, may point to a need for future research regarding the use of music therapy interventions within intensive care unit environments.
    • Childhood adversity, fantasy proneness, openness to experience, and the use of imagination in the work of fine artists

      Carella, Amanda (2022-05)
      Why do some artists choose to create work from their imagination while others produce work based on things they see? Psychologists have long been aware of a link between mental health and the healing powers of creation, but have yet to examine if there is a specific distinction between why someone chooses fantasy or realism as the subject of their works of art. This study draws upon research done on childhood adversity, fantasy proneness, and openness to experience to determine correlations between artists who report using ideas from their imagination, and those who report using ideas from everyday life or other artists’ work. Childhood adversity, fantasy proneness, and openness have each been linked to greater creativity, which may help to better understand stylistic differences between artists. Participants were assessed using the Adverse Childhood Experiences Questionnaire, Creative Experiences Questionnaire, and openness to experience subscale from the Big Five Inventory, as well as a brief self-report survey regarding the use of imagination as the inspiration behind their art-making. Results showed significant support for a relationship between adverse childhood experiences and both fantasy proneness, and openness. These three variables were also found to significantly predict use of imagination, with openness being the only variable to contribute unique variance to the prediction of imagination. These findings give insight into some of the developmental and phenomenological aspects of artistic creativity.
    • Cultures of mentorship: a qualitative investigation of peer mentorship during high school in the US and Japan

      Hankour, Kamil (2022-05)
      Despite the known benefits of mentorship, little is known about informal peer mentoring relationships in the high school context, and even less is known about how those relationships manifest in different cultures. This qualitative study sought to shed light on this topic by administering a survey designed to tap key concepts related to informal peer mentorship in high school to fourteen participants, seven in the US and seven in Japan. Themes relating to instrumentality/socio-emotionality, responsibility, hierarchy, and benefits from these relationships in each sample are discussed, as well as cultural differences and similarities in how these concepts emerge. Japanese participants described relationships that were consistently instrumental or socio-emotional, while American participants often had relationships that shifted between these categories. Regardless of country of origin, most participants preferred to describe their relationships as egalitarian. Responsibilities differed based on the perceived social role of the participant and their mentor within each cultural context. Participants in both samples described a variety of benefits derived from their mentorships. Implications and future directions for this line of research are discussed.
    • Depression, control, and counterfactual potency: a proposed moderated mediation model of counterfactual thinking and performance

      Colby, Kelly (2018-05)
      The functional theory of counterfactual thinking was created to explain the purpose and corresponding outcomes of counterfactual thoughts, thoughts in which individuals imagine how differences in past life events may have led to differences in their current circumstances. Though this theory predicts that the generation of upward counterfactual thoughts, in particular, where the imagined outcome is better than the actual outcome, leads to performance improvements between tasks due to its catalytic effect on behavior, evidence supporting this idea has been inconsistent. In light of this, two models were constructed and tested using an SPSS macro known as PROCESS. In these models it was hypothesized that upward counterfactual thinking would lead to performance improvements between two anagram tasks through increases in perceived control. Further, the magnitude of this enhancement effect was predicted to vary with the degree of plausibility perceived by the thinker, and would not occur for individuals experiencing depression. As both of these models were unsupported, the chosen methodology for this study was evaluated and the relationship between counterfactual thinking and performance was considered further.
    • Disgust of the other side : how disgust relates to political attitudes

      Weintraub, Jeremy S. (2020-08)
      The purpose of this study was to expand upon prior-researched aspects of the Behavioral Immune System (BIS), a psychological mechanism that increases survival by detecting pathogens in the environment (Schaller, 2015). Prior studies have associated the BIS with disgust sensitivity, political orientation, political policy, and susceptibility to disease (Curtis, DeBarra, & Aunger, 2011; Oaten, Stevenson, & Case, 2009; Brenner & Inbar, 2015; Lee & Ottati, 2002; Terrizzi Jr, Shook, & McDaniel, 2013). The current research has the capacity to shed light on the degree to which the BIS is connected with the important modern-day political issue of immigration in the United States. Keywords: Disgust, Behavioral Immune System, Perceived Vulnerability to Disease, Political Attitudes toward Immigrants
    • Does female promiscuity increase religious beliefs? testing the male control theory versus the female control theory

      Rolón, Vania (2017-07)
      Most psychological articles examining religion treat this construct as either an independent or controlled variable. Few studies have addressed the possibility that religiosity may shift as a function of environmental cues (i.e., that religiosity may be studied as a dependent variable). Among these studies, even fewer have looked into how religion may be a viable means to suppressing the sexuality of others, particularly that of females. My work aims to test two theories as to which sex stifles female sexual behavior the most. I examined whether reading about a highly versus a less promiscuous target affects participants' religiosity and whether the sex of the target and the participant interact in this effect. A series of ANCOVAs revealed that, while promiscuity levels did not seem to affect religiosity, target and participant sex did interact, with men reporting less religiosity when presented with same-sex targets but females not varying significantly as a result of the target's sex. Results support the existing research that religiosity is a more flexible construct than previously thought.
    • Does the focus of loving-kindness meditation matter for reducing implicit bias?

      Saitta, Christopher D. (2022-05)
      Implicit bias has been a popular area of research in recent years as the need to address it is a prerequisite for a just society. In the current study, different versions of loving-kindness meditation (LKM) were compared to see which one is associated with the lowest implicit bias levels. Participants followed an 8-minute LKM audio clip where the instructions were altered to manipulate the focus of the meditation across three groups. The meditation directed them to send their love and positive energy to either themselves, younger peers, or the elderly population. Then, participants took an age-based implicit association test (IA T) to compare whether the manipulation led to differences in implicit bias across groups. Additionally, participants were asked to rate their experience of several positive emotions to see if the conditions caused differences in types of positive emotion ( either other-regarding or non-other-regarding) and whether these different types of positive emotions mediated the effects of LKM focus on implicit bias. The results revealed that LKM focus did not have a significant impact on differences in positive emotions or implicit bias, and the mediating effect of other-regarding positive emotions on the relationship between LKM focus and implicit bias was not observed. The results suggest the subject of meditative focus may be a negligible factor when it comes to influencing positive emotion and implicit bias levels.
    • The effect of a values affirmation intervention on perceived threat of genetically modified organisms

      Marvelli, Cari L. (2017-09)
      By self-affirming core values, individuals appear to be able to assess threatening information more objectively and less defensively (Cohen et al., 2000; Correll, 2000; Steele & Liu, 1983). In spite of a scientific consensus on the safety of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), cognitive and affective constructs known to influence information processing seem to combine to produce a perception of threat, resulting in negative attitudes toward GMOs (Blanke et al., 2015), which can lead to disruptions in research and development related to this biotechnology (Lucht, 2015). The present study attempted to show that threats associated with GMOs would be buffered using a Values Affirmation (VA) intervention. It was further hypothesized that correlations would exist between a) trust in sources and information (TISI) and pre-test GMO attitudes, b) conspiracy ideation (CI) and pre-test GMO attitudes, and c) CI and TISI. It was further hypothesized that CI would predict a significant amount of variance in post-test GMO attitudes. Eighty individuals participated in either an in-person or online version of the study. An ANCOVA revealed that the VA intervention did not significantly affect individuals’ post-test GMO attitudes. However, correlation and regression analyses supported the latter hypotheses. This study was unable to support previous research on the effectiveness of the VA tool in diminishing threat perceptions of a controversial scientific technology, but it did suggest that both CI and TISI are significantly associated with GMO attitudes.
    • The effect of emotional states on theory of mind

      Holmberg, Patrick (2018-08)
      The purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of emotional state on Theory of Mind, or the capability of someone to make inferences about the thoughts, intentions and emotions of other people. This was done by manipulating participants' emotions via a film mood induction procedure and having participants complete the Faux Pas Task, which assesses Theory of Mind. This task has a general score, as well as sub scores for both Cognitive and Affective Theory of Mind. The moods induced were sadness, happiness, anger, and fear. It was hypothesized that participants induced with a sad and fearful mood would have a more accurate General Theory of Mind, as well as a more accurate Cognitive and Affective Theory of Mind compared to participants with a Happy or Angry mood. It was hypothesized that cognitive processing styles associated with these emotions would drive this effect. Four One-Way Analyses of Variance were run analyzing the effects that emotional states and cognitive styles have on performance on Theory of Mind Tasks, which yielded no statistically significant effects. Thus, the hypotheses were not supported. A Pearson Product moment correlational analysis revealed that scores on the Cognitive Reflections Task were negatively correlated with scores on the Faux Pas Task, which suggests that participants primed with a heuristic based intuitive cognitive processing style performed better on a measure of General Theory of Mind. The conclusion of this study is that the evidence suggested that emotional states influenced cognitive processing style, while little evidence supported the link between emotional state and theory of mind.
    • The effects of job crafting and leader member exchange on the affective well-being of emerging adults in college

      Kishna, Celina (2020-12)
      Relatively little research has been conducted on factors that affect the work life of emerging adults. Drawing from a primarily college sample (​N ​= 194), this study investigates the relationships between leader member exchange (LMX), job crafting (JC) and job affective well-being. A simultaneous multiple regression demonstrated that several dimensions of JC were positively associated with job affective well-being. A multiple parallel mediation model conducted with JC as a mediator between LMX and job affective well-being. demonstrated that the increasing structural job resources component of JC was a partial mediator between LMX and job affective well-being. Future studies should include dyadic data from both employees and supervisors to improve research on job affective well-being.
    • Emotion as a mediator between music exposure and task performance

      Benjamin, Miranda (2016-05)
      Research has shown that music can have significant effects on individuals' emotional state, and that those emotional states can then have noteworthy effects on their performance in certain types of tasks. Specifically, the focus of recent research has been on individuals' performance on detail-oriented tasks following mood induction through music. The present study aimed to expand on this previous research and incorporate Fredrickson's broaden-and-build theory by measuring both creative task performance and detail-oriented task performance
    • Emotional experiences of non-musically trained college students while improvising music in a group setting

      Royes, Matthew R. (2019-05)
      The purpose of this study is to explore the effects of music improvisation on the emotional experiences of college students who have no previous music training. The participants (N=12) involved in this study consisted of college students, both male (n=5) and female (n=7), in both undergraduate and graduate programs. The participants were split into three groups, consisting of four participants in each group. Participants completed a questionnaire identifying their current emotional state, and then participated in a group music improvisation facilitated by the researcher. The participants then completed a second questionnaire to identify emotions they felt during and after the improvisation. Results indicated that music improvisation evoked more positive emotions in participants. In general, participants reported a decrease in negative emotions and an increase in positive emotions after participating in active music improvisation. Implications for this study include the use of music improvisation as a viable method in the field of music therapy to both elicit and modulate emotions within clients who have no musical training.
    • The establishment of safety and trust in music therapy clinical supervision: an interpretive phenomenological analysis

      Lieberman, Carolyn (2017-05)
      This study presents the results of an interpretive phenomenological analysis on the establishment of safety and trust between the music therapy intern and their clinical supervisor. Four professional music therapists participated in semi-structured interviews, during which they reflected upon their experience in supervision. This method was chosen to access the lived experience of the participants. Literature from the perspective of music therapists explaining how safety and trust were formed in the supervisory relationship was not found, justifying the need for this study. Five themes emerged, each theme being a factor that affected the development of safety and trust between supervisee and supervisor. These themes are: context, supervisor investment, role dynamics, clarity, and intern identity. Each theme and its accompanying participant extracts were crosschecked by all participants. Safety and trust are considered to be important elements of the supervisory relationship, making it essential to inquire as to what influences their establishment. The results of this study may inform music therapy internship supervisors about establishing safety and trust with their interns based on what was helpful and hindering in the experience of these participants.
    • Ethnic identity and counterfactual thinking

      Pandit-Kerr, Sphoorti A. (2018-05)
      Ethnicity is an important component of many people's identities and ethnic identity is socialized from one generation to another through families, communities, and the wider cultural ecosystem (Browne, 2013; Ashmore et al., 2004). Research suggests that having a strong sense of ethnic identity often helps individuals experience a sense of belonging and acceptance which contributes to well-being (e.g., Umãna-Taylor & Updegraff, 2007). This study examined how and to what degree individuals believe that their ethnic identities have contributed to their current lives. Participants were asked to construct counterfactual lists describing how their lives would be different if they did not have their ethnic identities. This new methodology utilized counterfactual thinking, the process by which people create mental representations of alternatives to past events, states or actions (Byrne 2007), to better understand the relationship between strength of ethnic identity and life satisfaction. A total of 145 participants with mean age of 21.87 years (SD = 3.77) living in the United States and India completed the study online. As expected, correlational analyses revealed a positive relationship between life satisfaction and strength of ethnic identity (r = .23, p = .02). Using an inductive content analysis of the emergent themes, the coding revealed that participants believe that their ethnic identities influence their educational and career choices, relationships with family, friends and significant others, diet/cuisine, health, and their personal characteristics including likes and dislikes. These findings are discussed in the context of the larger ethnic identity literature.
    • Examining gender salience in preschoolers through a category formation task

      Planke, Julie A. (2019-08)
      Ample evidence exists suggesting children as young as 2-years-old can successfully classify colors, various objects, and people into stereotypical male and female categories. However, it is unknown if gender categories are perceived as important and meaningful. While children have sufficient gender knowledge to categorize by gender, do they in fact perceive their environments through a gendered lens? In order to investigate gender salience, a category formation, or free-sorting, methodology was developed using highly gender-typed toys. The central focus of this thesis was to examine the usefulness of the free-sorting task as a measure of conceptual categorization abilities and gender salience (i.e., how gender schematic a child is). Additionally, measures of gender constancy and gender-related beliefs were expected to shed light on children’s sorting behaviors. In Study 1, 44 adult participants (6 males, 38 females) completed the task as well as gender-related dispositional measures to assure the validity of the toy stimuli. Preschool-aged participants were then recruited from local preschool centers and included 12 children (7 males, 5 females) ranging in age from 3 to 5 years (M = 57.17 months, SD = 5.47 months). Results of the free-sorting task revealed preschool-age children are able to utilize conceptual categorizes while sorting. Moreover, through spontaneously sorting the toys by gender, the majority (2/3) of children demonstrated that gender was indeed salient while viewing the stimulus set. These findings begin to elucidate the individual variability in the perceived importance and social awareness of gender as a social category in early childhood development.
    • Examining the relationship between music skills and reading skills

      Arco, Nicole M. (2019-05)
      Word recognition in English has the flexibility to be processed at the lexical level (i.e., whole word) or at the sub-lexical level (e.g., focusing on phonological subunits). With this flexibility, recent research suggests that there are individual differences in reading style that rely more on lexical or sub-lexical processing. However, it is still under investigation as to what contributes to these individual differences or what the differences mean for overall reading procedures. The current study examined musical training as a potential correlate of individual differences in reading style. It is well documented that music, language, and reading share similar cognitive processes, and there is evidence that individuals who have musical training background have better reading outcomes. However, there are still gaps in understanding differences in how musicians process words compared to nonmusicians. In this study, measures of subskills in music and reading were collected, in addition to carrying out tasks that tap into correlates of reading style. Results suggest that while there were no differences in word identification, there was some evidence that musicians have better phonological awareness compared to nonmusicians. Furthermore, results suggest that this enhanced skill could be linked to experience with fine-grain timing required in musical training. Taken together, findings suggest that musical training may indeed be related to improved phonological awareness, but that does not necessarily translate to better word reading, per se.
    • Financial perspectives of emerging adults : similarities and differences between gen-zeds and millennials

      Berg, Hunter J. (2020-05)
      Emerging adults (individuals ages 18-24) today are struggling with finance. In fact, financial factors make up four of the top five stressors of college students today (Sinha et al., 2018) while, at the same time, much research has shown these populations lack the financial skills necessary to make even the most basic financial decisions (Serido & Deenanath, 2016; Shim, Serido, Bosch, & Tang, 2013; Terriquez & Gurantz, 2014). The problem does not seem to be related to a lack of resources, as there are currently more tools to help one improve financial literacy than ever before (Sinha, Tan, & Zhan, 2018). Perhaps roots of the problem stem from development. In 2011, Gudmonson and Danes founded a theory of financial socialization, claiming that financial development stems primarily from implicit and explicit lessons provided by one’s parents or guardians. This study dives into the financial perspectives of Millennials and Generation Z, attempting to cypher out commonalities and differences in financial development, knowledge, value, and anxiety between and within the generations. Major findings include differences between financial perspectives based on gender, social class, and political orientation. Adding to Gudmonson and Danes’ (2011) financial socialization theory, major differences were found in financial literacy and anxiety based on sibling birth order. These results suggest that siblings may directly or indirectly affect one’s financial socialization by influencing or supplementing parents’ explicit and implicit financial lessons. The study concludes with ideas for future research.