The Journal of Psychology and the Behavioral Sciences - 2017

Volume 25 - 50th Anniversary

Table of Contents:

The Effects of Auditory Distractors in a Word Learning Task
Lauren F. Evano and Julie M. Hupp
Pages 1-10 | Abstract

Got Scents? The Effects of Novel Scents on Memory and Performance Based Tasks
Lauren Roberts, Hailey Marcus, and Greyson Soukup
Pages 11-17 | Abstract

How is the Big Five Inventory of Personality Related to Dietary Consumption Behaviors in Undergraduate University Students?
Sarah Jollimore, Erin Pearson, and Carlos Zerpa
Pages 18-26 | Abstract

Mood Management: Mood Repair and Daily Stressors Correlate with Daily Affect
Elizabeth N. Burris and Shevaun D. Neupert
Pages 27-32 | Abstract

Gender and Autistic Traits Minimally Influence Eye Movement Patterns During Mental Rotation and Emotional Face Tasks
Mary Foggo, Tess Wiggin, Brennan McFarland, Sarah Godfrey, and Jennifer L. Stevenson
Pages 33-41 | Abstract

A Literature Review of Characteristics and Factors Associated with Mass Murderers
Catarina L. Carosa and Amy L. Button
Pages 42-49 | Abstract

A Literature Review of Research on Video Games, Perception, & Identity
Kathleen Falcon
Pages 50-56 | Abstract

 

Abstracts:

The Effects of Auditory Distractors in a Word Learning Task
Lauren F. Evano and Julie M. Hupp
Pages 1-10

The topic of learning with background sound has been a widely researched field of study. This research examined whether word learning performance is affected by the presence of background sound, such as music or television in an Easy (Study 1) and Difficult (Study 2) word learning task. In Study 1, college undergraduate students (n = 98) were presented novel objects (modern art sculptures) with an auditory nonsense label for each object. Four background sound conditions were used: calm music, pop music, silence and television weather excerpts. The results indicated there was a main effect of the participants’ perceived distraction on the accuracy of the participants’ scores; the more distracting the participants perceived the background sound to be, the lower their word learning. A second study of college undergraduate students (n = 100) was conducted to test task reliability and to determine if background sound had the same effect on a more difficult word learning task. For Study 2, the number of word presentations during training was reduced to make the task more difficult. The sound conditions remained the same. The results from Study 2 indicated there was a main effect of background sound on word learning performance during a difficult task. Participants in sound conditions with vocals had lower accuracy scores than those in the non-vocal sound condition. The more difficult a task, the more detrimental sound with vocals is on performance. This is in contrast to an easier task where background sound was only detrimental if the participants perceived it to be distracting. This may have implications for how classroom environments are structured.  Back to Top


Got Scents? The Effects of Novel Scents on Memory and Performance Based Tasks
Lauren Roberts, Hailey Marcus, and Greyson Soukup
Pages 11-17

The present study explored the influence of scents on long-term memory and working memory. Previous research has shown that peppermint increases the quality of memory, alertness, and performance (Hewitt, 2008). Research has also shown a correlation between vanilla bean and relaxation, happiness, and slight increase in stimulation, while clementine increases happiness and stimulation, but lowers relaxation (Rhind, 2014). There have been many other studies that use scents such as peppermint (Salehi, 2009; Aarts, 2005) or vanilla (Fonitait, 2013; Degel & Koster, 1999), but none that use more novel, or unique, scents. Because of this, we chose to use Tropical Margarita (citrus) and Cinnamon Caramel Swirl (sweet) as the primary scents in our study. Scents like these are typically found in candle shops, so we wanted to use scents that people would realistically buy for their homes or workplace. We tested memory and performance among three scent conditions (Sweet, Citrus, No Scent) with various tasks. These included a word search, two-digit multiplication, drawing task, memory recall, and memory recognition. Our findings indicated the sweet scent produced lower scores on both the creativity and math tasks when compared to citrus and no scent conditions. There was no significant difference among the other measures.  Back to Top


How is the Big Five Inventory of Personality Related to Dietary Consumption Behaviors in Undergraduate University Students?
Sarah Jollimore, Erin Pearson, and Carlos Zerpa
Pages 18-26

Obesity is prevalent among undergraduate students due, partly, to poor physical activity and nutritional habits; thus, university represents an important period for developing healthy behaviors. One primary determinant of behavior is personality: a construct that solidifies with age. To date, research examining students’ personality dimensions with respect to dietary behaviors is limited; this study sought to examine the correlations between these constructs. Data were collected using: the Big Five Inventory of Personality, a Food Frequency Questionnaire, and a Dietary Behaviors Questionnaire. Overall, a number of significant relationships emerged among participants (n = 32). Contrary to previous research, conscientiousness and openness were strongly correlated to unhealthy dietary behaviors (e.g., grocery shopping [r = -.35] and consuming carbonated beverages [r = 0.43]), while agreeableness was strongly correlated to healthy dietary behaviors (e.g., reading sugar content on labels [r = .39]). Extraversion was associated with unfavorable dietary behaviors (e.g., salt consumption [r = .40]), whilst neuroticism was associated with negative lifestyle behaviors (e.g., higher academic stress [r = .39]). New evidence involving the influence of agreeableness in relation to healthy dietary behaviors emerged; longitudinal studies are warranted to determine if personality is causally related to dietary behaviors in undergraduate students.  Back to Top


Mood Management: Mood Repair and Daily Stressors Correlate with Daily Affect
Elizabeth N. Burris and Shevaun D. Neupert
Pages 27-32 

Mood repair is concerned with attempts to repair unpleasant moods or maintain positive ones. The present study uses a non-clinical sample and daily diary design that offers a new perspective on the relationship between mood repair and positive and negative affect in older adults. Methods: This study focuses on a sample of 43 older adults (mean age = 74.3) who completed daily diaries for 8 consecutive days. The Trait Meta-Mood Scale (TMMS) was used to measure mood repair and the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS) was used to measure daily affect. Participants also reported on their daily stressors each day. Results: Multilevel models determined that mood repair and stressors have a marginally significant interaction on negative affect (p = .07), and a significant interaction on positive affect (p = .04). People with high levels of mood repair were less emotionally reactive to stressors; that is, the within-person slope of stressors and affect was not as steep for those high in repair compared to those low in repair. Discussion: Mood repair was found to buffer against negative effects of stressors in this sample. Implications for these findings include the potential to teach individuals mood repair skills in order to prevent higher distress on days with more stressors.  Back to Top


Gender and Autistic Traits Minimally Influence Eye Movement Patterns During Mental Rotation and Emotional Face Tasks
Mary Foggo, Tess Wiggin, Brennan McFarland, Sarah Godfrey, and Jennifer L. Stevenson
Pages 33-41

The current study explores accuracy, response time, and eye movement patterns during mental rotation and emotional face tasks. It was hypothesized that gender and number of autistic traits (measured by the Autism-Spectrum Quotient; Baron-Cohen, Wheelwright, Skinner, Martin, & Chubley, 2001) would affect performance and eye movement patterns. Specifically, males and individuals with high autistic traits would perform best on a mental rotation task whereas females and individuals with low autistic traits would perform best on an emotion face task. Furthermore, adults with more autistic traits would fixate more on the mouth region whereas adults with fewer autistic traits would fixate more on the eye region. College students (54 males, 55 females) viewed pairs of shapes and faces to determine if these images were the same or different while their eye movements were recorded. Men are more accurate than women on mental rotation. However, there are no gender differences in performance on the emotional face task. Furthermore, participants spend more time fixating on the mouth than on the eyes and participants with more autistic traits tend to spend more time fixating on both regions. Additional analyses include eye movement patterns during mental rotation. The results suggest that gender and autistic traits only minimally affect strategies for mental rotation and emotion processing.  Back to Top


A Literature Review of Characteristics and Factors Associated with Mass Murderers
Catarina L. Carosa and Amy L. Button
Pages 42-49

Mass murders, while scarce, have become a hot topic in our society. While various prevention strategies have been and continue to be developed, it is also important to focus on the background of the murderer when thinking about future prevention. Consequently, this literature review begins by defining and profiling mass murderers. Many mass murderers have displayed mental health issues, which ultimately contribute to their behavior. Due to mass murder being an infrequent phenomenon compared to the overarching term “violence”, literature regarding the relationship between violence and mental health is reviewed, as well. Gender is also examined specifically because mass murder seems to be more frequently displayed by males. The way males are raised, particularly with regard to the expression of emotions and aggression, may also be a contributing factor to violence. Lastly, the review addresses alexithymia and how it is connected to males, mental health, violence, and more specifically mass murderers.  Back to Top


A Literature Review of Research on Video Games, Perception, & Identity
Kathleen Falcon
Pages 50-56

Can video game play change how individuals view themselves and others? Video game literature has lately been moving away from studying aggression and focusing on other effects, both positive and negative, of video game play. The purpose of this literature review is to summarize and synthesize three key themes in video game research; attachment and empathy, identification, and gender roles and biases. Research suggests that increased exposure and more video game play over long periods of time significantly affect each of these themes. Suggestions for future research are also included, such as prosocial benefits of video games, immersive reality games, and video games as a way to satisfy the biological need of social interaction.  Back to Top