Journal of Psychology and the Behavioral Sciences - 1993

Volume 7


Is Schematic Encoding an Adequate Explanation for Children’s Prose Memory?

Marla J. Tuski

Western Washington University

Though a schema enhances the recall of prose, the conclusion that a schema keeps non–schematic material from being encoded is questionable. In this study, recall and recognition memory of second grade children were tested with an ambiguous prose passage. Participants (N = 38) were divided into 4 groups. Groups (2) received a schema and were tested with either immediate or 24 hour delayed memory tests. The 2 other groups did not receive a schema and they also were tested immediately or after 24 hours. The groups given a schema retrieved more idea units in a free recall task. However, recognition scores revealed that the groups without a schema had stored material they were not able to recall, supporting the opinion that schema theory does not account for all of  the memory in storage. A high number of false positives for the group given a schema is suggested as evidence of reconstruction during retrieval.

Towards a Functional Learning Paradigm: Translating Ecologically Valid Ideas into a Functional Empirical Methodology

Lori Marino

State University of New York

Learning theorists have traditionally neglected evolutionary factors when explaining and modeling learning. A more complete paradigm of learning would encompass both ultimate and proximate causes of behavior. That is, a more integrated understanding of learning requires an understanding of the interplay between phylogenetic, ontogenetic, and experiential factors. These papers consider this issue, with particular attention to the theories of James Gibson and John Staddon as promising frameworks for integrating these levels of explanation. The ultimate objective is to formalize a functional theory of learning that is amenable to a workable methodology.

Noisy Strangers, Headphones, and Television as Distractions in Reading Comprehension

Lori Lundquist, Chris Pithan, Karen Roles, Heather Brosz, Emily Dunn, Lisa Miles, Doug Peterson, Terry Dell, Jantina Nelson

The University of South Dakota

The researchers investigated 8 combinations of 3 interference conditions (noisy strangers, music played through headphones, and a television) on an academic task. The academic task consisted of reading a magazine article, a short story, and an excerpt from a general psychology textbook. The undergraduate participants were tested for their reading comprehension, with a between-groups study. An ANOVA revealed that the conditions involving headphones proved to be the most distracting. The ANOVA also revealed that the noisy strangers proved to be close to significant as a distracting factor. In a mailed Attitude Survey, participants were asked about distractions in real life study situations and what effect the artificial study situation had on them. Participants overwhelmingly reported that they were easily distracted by noise and predicted that the noisy strangers/television and the noisy strangers/headphone/television would be the most distracting.

Effects of Olfactory and Visual Cues on Young Adults’ Selection Preferences

Kathleen M. Bell-Lemon and Joseph J. Benz

University of Nebraska at Omaha

This research compared relative contributions of olfactory and visual cues on young adults’ preferences and behavioral selections. Undergraduates (n = 16) were tested in two different sessions, 1 week apart. The sessions differed only in the concentration level of the odorants presented to the participants. On each occasion, participants were presented with 4 jars that contained colored flowers and different odors. Participants verbally rated each odor, and then rank-ordered the jars by preference. Results indicated that at both concentrations participants rated some odors as more preferable than others. At both concentration levels, participant’s behavioral selections were influenced only by flower color. Results indicated the inability of 18-25 year-olds to overcome visual dominance while selecting preferences in the presence of both visual and olfactory cues. Results are compared with those of  4 year-olds that participated in a similar study by Fabes and Filsinger (1986).

Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2 ANX and DEP Content Scales:
Convergent and Discriminant Validity

Davin Young and Michael Thackery

California State University, Fresno

The MMPI-2 ANX (anxiety) and DEP (depression) content scales were developed on the basis of expert judgement and inter-item correlations; however, these new scales have not previously been anchored to other psychometric instruments. The discriminant and convergent validity of ANX and DEP were examined by means of scale intercorrealtions with the MCMI-II A (anxiety), H (somatoform), D (dysthymia), and CC (major depression) scales. In a private psychiatric hospital, N = 144 patients (n = 70 male and n = 74 female, mean age = 36.3) completed the MMPI-2 and the MCMI-II. Both ANX and DEP showed the hypothesized pattern of convergent and discriminant correlations with the MCMI-II. ANX correlated highly with MCMI-II A and H, and less highly with D and CC; DEP correlated highly with D and CC, and less highly with A and H. Theoretical and applied implications of these findings are discussed.

Adolescent Suicide, Peer Survivors, and Aspects of Postvention in Schools

Gray W. Mauk

Utah State University

Suicide is the third leading cause of death among youth ages 15 through 24. It is most often the outcome of a variety of impinging life events that occur in combinations to create severe emotional distress. Although there has been a great deal of attention paid to the suicide of adolescents in this country recently, what has received relatively little attention is the reaction to the suicide of the adolescent’s friends, acquaintances, and classmates left behind. Suicide is a psychosocially violent death for these individuals, primarily because it catches them unprepared and it is unnatural. Schools must take responsibility for addressing adolescents’ needs, and appropriate postvention is a way to meet these needs effectively.

Factors Predisposing Drug Abuse

Carl D. Cheney and Brady J. Phelps

Utah State University

The exact nature of what events may predispose a person to substance abuse is not known. A theoretical discussion and review is presented here emphasizing prenatal exposure to a given substance, environmental conditions present upon first exposure to an abusable substance, and finally the environment in which a person lives and functions. Support for each of these factors in combination as being probable causal factors in substance abuse is garnered from both human and non-human investigations.

Differing levels of Superstitious Beliefs Among Three Groups: Psychiatric Inpatients, Churchgoers, and Students

Sheryl L. Robinson

University of Missouri at Kansas City

The question of whether superstitious beliefs are useful or adaptive for the individual is yet to be clearly answered. Some observers have speculated that undiluted reality is too frightening, and that such beliefs act as self-serving cognitive biases that ensure psychic integrity. Others view superstitious beliefs as irrational, interfering with realistic thinking and adjustment. The present study investigated the level of superstitious belief among 174 persons in 3 categories: persons undergoing inpatient psychiatric treatment, members of the RLDS (Reorganized Church of Christ of Latter Day Saints) church, and college students. A 50 item inventory consisting of positive and negative common superstitious, including a 5-item invalidity sub-scale, was administered. Sub-scores for total, positive, and negative superstitious and invalidity were obtained. Using a 2 x 3 factorial design (gender by group), analyses revealed significant differences between the 3 groups for total positive, and negative superstition, with psychiatric inpatients having the highest, and church members having the lowest levels on all 3. Results are discussed in terms of schedule-induce behavior, belief as a defense mechanism, irrationality of beliefs, and compensation for lack of religion by increased beliefs.

U.S. Attitudes Toward the Terrorism Problem

Harold Takooshian
Fordham University

William M. Verdi
Baruch College, CUNY
The Graduate center

Journalists have described the 1980’s as the decade of terrorism, noting the world-wide surge in this problem. How does the U.S. public view this?  This presentation discusses 2 points. First, the development of a brief new survey scale to measure public attitudes toward the problem. Based on results from over 100 New Yorkers, it was possible to develop a 5 item scale to measure ones attitude toward terrorism. The scale is fairly reliable, with an internal reliability of alpha coefficient .82, and test re-test reliability of .90. A factor analysis finds a single factor with an Eigenvalue above one (3.06) accounting for 61% of variance. Second, we will analyze the results to date using this scale with a varied group of New Yorkers… including college students, and law enforcement professionals… which find a continuum of public attitudes toward terrorism, from abhorrence and disdain to acceptance and even approval. The 2-fold aim of the present research is to: (a) develop a psychometrically accurate scale to assess individual attitudes toward the problem of terrorism, and (b) to briefly review some early findings using this new scale.

Individual Performance and Causal Attributions Within A Group Context

Scott A. Goodman and Daniel J. Svyantek

The University of Akron

This study examined observer attributions for an individual’s performance within a group performance context. Consistencies between individual and group performances led to significantly different attributions, while inconsistent performances did not. These results are explained by causal schemas, the discounting principle, and counterfactual reasoning.

A Model To Guide The Management of Creativity

Gordon R. Simerson
University of New Haven

Christopher J. Brown
Olin Corporation

Kevin W. Cook
University of New Haven

Beyond the problem of understanding the processes involved in creativity lie the challenges of nurturing creative activity within structured organizational settings. Nevertheless, organizations are increasingly emphasizing the importance of innovation and insightfulness in today’s competitive business climate. Integrating the literature on creativity from clinical, developmental, and cognitive psychology for practical application in an industrial setting is a promising example of ‘Psychology at Work”. A model of creativity is proposed for guiding empirical research and theory development s well as suggesting management techniques. Avenues for application are briefly discussed.