• “Disturbing the Tranquility” of meaning: the unbearable lightness of language in Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being

      Tomicic, Emma (2020-05)
      By reading Kundera’s novel and its message through a Derridean lens, we can see that they are linked in their theories about language. Through his approach to language and the history of it, Jacques Derrida coined the terms “deconstruction” and “différance.” The two are rooted in presenting the fallacies of ascribing neat definitions to words and reading words out of context. A closer analysis of the emotions and actions of these four characters through Derrida’s work can show us how Kundera is encouraging readers to re-evaluate the value systems we place on language. To begin the discussion of The Unbearable Lightness of Being , I want to analyze how deconstruction functions in the novel: différance; the deconstruction of binaries (and the paradoxes in value systems placed on binaries); and, finally, polysemy and understanding.
    • 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 self-compassion affect stress? Testing a decreased vulnerability hypothesis

      Anchin, David (2010-07-28)
      Self-compassion is a trait newly developed by Neff (2003a, 2003b, 2004) that is comprised of self-kindness, perceptions of common humanity, and mindfulness, which uniquely captures affective tranquility and the ability to treat the self with warmth and patience. Utilizing the transactional model of stress (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984), I propose a decreased vulnerability hypothesis that holds that self-compassion limits vulnerability to stress by increasing use of approach-oriented coping, decreasing use of avoidance-oriented coping, and fostering challenge appraisals of greater magnitude and threat appraisals of lower magnitude. Two studies used a daily diary methodology to examine the decreased vulnerability hypothesis and followed undergraduate students as they reported how they cognitively appraised and coped with everyday stressors. Although little support was found for the decreased vulnerability hypothesis, selfcompassion may buffer the effects of stress on positive affect and be associated with increased confidence in one’s ability to address stressors. These potential effects suggest a number of future research directions and have important implications for coping with chronic illness and limiting the impact of stress on well-being. Two college students in a public speaking class, Michael and Nora, are planning for their midterm: delivering a thirty minute speech to be graded by the professor and their classmates. Michael is terrified; in the weeks leading up to the speech, he is overcome with stress. To escape what he has come to see as a looming disaster, he turns to heavy drinking and tries to convince himself that he doesn’t care about the class. On the other hand, Nora faces the speech with equanimity. She starts preparing early and quickly comes to find out that it isn’t so bad. “I can do this,” she tells herself. “Besides, everybody else is probably stressed about this, too.” Why do these two students face the same situation in profoundly different ways, framing the speech and coping with the stress it brings about so differently? I propose that self-compassion, a newly identified trait, may engender decreased vulnerability to stress. Neff (2003a, 2003b, 2004) developed self-compassion to uniquely capture a positive and benevolent attitude toward the self and a sense of affective tranquility. Indeed, research in this nascent area has shown it to be associated with a broad pattern of adaptive and healthy functioning as well as a buffering effect where reactions to negative self-relevant events are softened. I propose that self-compassion may serve to decrease vulnerability to stress through two mechanisms. First, because self-compassionate people’s positive self-feelings emanate from within, many situations may not pose a threat to the self and are, as a result, not as stressful. Second, self-compassionate people, by virtue of a sense of affective tranquility and exercising patience toward themselves, may engage in more adaptive coping strategies that limit distress and enable a stressor to be addressed more efficiently and effectively. In the present paper, I outline the nascent concept of self-compassion, noting parallel lines of research that establish the legitimacy and utility of its components and unique functionality. Next, I describe the trait and affective correlates of self-compassion as well as an emerging negative reaction buffering function. Then, I present the transactional model of stress, which is the dominant paradigm for conceptualizing and studying stress. Following this, drawing on the transaction model of stress and selfcompassion theory and research, I outline a proposed decreased vulnerability hypothesis and present two potential mechanisms through which it functions.
    • 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.
    • Dr. Mary Boyle's contribution to music therapy

      Choi, Yunsun (2019-05)
      The unsung hero, Dr. Mary Boyle, a founder of the master's of music therapy degree that complied with Licensed Creative Arts Therapist (LCAT) requirement in State University of New York at New Paltz (SUNY NP), certainly brought the field of music therapy to a higher level. In addition, despite her contribution to development of music therapy for patients with Prolonged Disorders of Consciousness (PDOC), she has not yet been recognized by professionals as she deserves. There is not much information available about her life and her achievements in music therapy. Through the historical information and interviews of people close to Dr. Boyle, this narrative history illustrates the extent that Dr. Boyle had worked to develop music therapy field as an educator, clinician, researcher, leader, committee member, and editor throughout the world.
    • Edge detection using parallel ant colony optimization with Hadoop MapReduce: implementation and scalability

      Papesca, Michael (2017-05)
      The Ant Colony Optimization (ACO) is a popular optimization algorithm that finds use in multiple application areas. Though not among the common uses of this algorithm, edge detection in image analysis is a very functional application of this meta-heuristic. To improve the edge detection capabilities, the inherent parallel nature of the ACO method can be combined with the distributed computing framework provided by the Hadoop/Map-Reduce infrastructure. The latter provides a simple, scalable and fault-tolerant distributed processing paradigm that has been popular in industry and the academic community. In this thesis, we explore the Elastic MapReduce service provided by Amazon Web Services to implement ACO algorithm for edge detection in images, and study its scalability and effectiveness by standard metrics. In addition, we demonstrate a filtering technique to reduce the noisy background of images to achieve significant improvement in the accuracy of edge detection.
    • 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 effect of macrocultures and microcultures on visual perception

      Heimbender, Emily (2015)
      Culture is defined as the social transmission of ideas, arts, knowledge, and languages (Mish et al, 1993; Pickett et al., 2006; Jewell & Abate, 2001). Psychological research often overlooks small distinct cultures such as Deaf and Video Game cultures by focusing on macro-level categorizations. The current literature review assesses both macrocultures and microcultures in terms of different aspects of visual perception. Differences in optical illusion perception, peripheral vision and motion processing, spatial, and facial perception among people from typical mainstream cultures and Deaf and Video Game cultures are discussed. It is argued that the more immersed and involved in a culture an individual is, the more experience he or she gains with certain events and activities. Culture thus informs perceptual, cognitive, and countless other experiences. Future studies are recommended to further examine how microcultures affect different psychological and physiological processes.
    • The Effect of Music Therapy Techniques in a Coping Skills Group for Individuals with a Dual Diagnosis of Mental Illness and Substance Dependence

      Davis, Adrienne (2010-03-18)
      The purpose of this study was to compare the effect of the use of music versus non-music treatment conditions in a coping skills therapy group with individuals who are dually-diagnosed with a mental illness and substance-related disorder. In order to assess the effectiveness of the music therapy procedures, a comparison was made between the non-music condition (passage selection and reflection from a book of daily readings for individuals with addiction and emotional/psychiatric illnesses) and the music condition (song choice and lyric analysis from a packet of songs created by the researcher). The participants consisted of eight individuals (M=5, F=3), dually diagnosed with a mental illness and substance-related disorder. Data was obtained through weekly surveys which assessed various factors such as level of enjoyment, accomplishment, and helpfulness in each session. The participants’ attendance, passage/song selection and the number of times they offered advice/insight to other group members was also recorded. A concurrent schedule/alternating treatments single subject experiment design was employed for this study. The participants served as their own control under two conditions: coping ability with music (song selection and lyric analysis) and coping ability with no-music (passages from a book). Participants rated both the music therapy techniques and passage selections effective, resulting in very similar scores under all of the variables except one. The extent to which the issues of chemical dependence were discussed during the sessions was rated by participants as statistically significantly higher under the music condition. During the music condition sessions, group attendance was also significantly higher than in the non-music condition sessions.
    • The effects of family patterns on social anxiety and differentiation in emerging adulthood

      Colucci, Janine (2007-01-18)
      This research examined the relationships between family patterns, differentiation, and social anxiety. Cohesive, conflictive, and expressive patterns of family interaction were examined within a sample of 98 undergraduate students (M = 21 years). Differentiation was measured in terms of current residency of students, as measured by miles that students live from their families of origin and the amount of contact students have with their families. Although the specific hypotheses of this research were not supported, results indicated a relationship between expressive and cohesive family interactional patterns and a negative correlation between cohesive and conflictive family patterns. Significant differences emerged among white and minority families involving the amount of conflict and cohesion experienced in the family system. Implications are discussed.
    • Effects of Geographical Upbringing and Intergroup Contact on Racial Attitudes

      Prisco, Janine M. (2010-03-18)
      The repercussions of racism can range from ignorance and neglect to injury and even death. Ways to decrease attitudes of racism have been debated for centuries, resulting in various theories. The contact hypothesis, a half-century old idea, states that increased intergroup contact can decrease negative attitudes. Research has also found the quality of contact between racial groups plays an important role in increasing positive racial attitudes. The current study tests this theory and further theorizes that individuals from rural environments will report greater racism than individuals from urban environments. African American (n=57) and Caucasian (n=176) participants were asked about where they grew up (to assess urban/rural status), quantity and quality of contact with the racial out-group growing up, and their current racial attitudes. Overall, results suggest that the roles of quantity and quality of contacts are significant factors in predicting interracial prejudice, while area of upbringing was not.
    • 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.
    • The effects of rhythm in group music therapy on individuals with autism spectrum disorder

      Valenstein, Julien; Cymbal, Tetiana (2017-07)
      The purpose of this paper is to explore the effects of a drumming activity using structured rhythms on a group of school-aged children diagnosed in the autism spectrum from the perspective of professionals who work with them. Music therapists historically used rhythm-based activities to build rapport with clients, provide a framework for therapeutic expression and improve cognitive functioning. There have not been published experiments measuring the effects on group cohesion for individuals on the autism spectrum using drumming. The researchers developed a survey questionnaire to measure differences in behaviors related to attention and social cohesion between days using a drumming activity (d) and no drumming activity (nd). Seven participants working in an after-school program for students diagnosed with ASD were recruited to fill out the survey. Results yielded no distinct differences between (d) and (nd) although there was a positive total of .1 with peer-to-peer interaction and .04173 with peer-to-adult interactions in favor of drumming in the category of social attention. Limits of the study included too few trials and inconsistencies with the participants’ attendance. Anecdotal observation suggests the drumming activity provided useful distraction for the students to environmental issues. Recommendations for future studies are discussed.
    • The effects of stereotypical communication on the perception of leadership behavior for male and female leaders

      Willis, Toni L. (2007-09-25)
      The goal of the present study was to investigate how affiliative and agentic styles of communication affect the perception of leadership behavior (initiating structure and consideration) for male and female leaders. One hundred and thirty students from SUNY New Paltz participated in this study. Four scenarios, each containing the description of either a male or female leader using an affiliative or an agentic style of communication were developed for this study. The Initiating Structure and Consideration subscales from the LBDQ XII were administered to measure perception of leadership behavior. A 2x2 MANOVA was used to analyze the effects of gender and communication styles on the perception of consideration and initiating structure behaviors for described leaders. There was a main effect found for both gender and communication style on the perception of initiating structure behaviors. Additionally, a main effect for communication style and an interaction between communication and leader gender was found for consideration behaviors. These results demonstrate the way in which implicit prototypes and stereotypes generate expectancies that contribute to the overestimation and underestimation of leadership behavior for both male and female leaders.
    • Effortful or natural? Which athletic traits are most attractive?

      Shimkus, Andrew (2015)
      The current research sought to investigate the influence of athletic efforts on how one is perceived as a potential short and long-term mate. When conscientiousness, which is the ability to exert self-control in the process of attaining a long-term goal (Nettle, 2006), was displayed in an athlete through a vignette, it was predicted that the athlete would be preferred as a long-term mate, whereas a naturally talented athlete would be preferred as a short-term mate. After exposure to this vignette of a college basketball player displaying his/her diligence or inherent talent, and answering a number of questions regarding his/her attractiveness as a potential mate, it was found that mating preferences on athletes partially coincide with existing literature on gender-differentiated mating behavior, despite none of the hypotheses being fully supported. Moreover, being diligent in one’s efforts in athletics positively promotes perceptions of various characteristics, such as intelligence, health, liveliness, and dominance.
    • 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.