Volume 6

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Preface
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Editors' Note
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Veronica Calkins | University of California, Los Angeles

Biography and Q&A
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Effect of Gender and Situational Mood on the Fundamental Attribution Error
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Abstract: The fundamental attribution error (FAE) is the tendency for individuals to overestimate the role of dispositional factors and underestimate the role of situational factors when observing others’. Although individuals tend to be less likely to commit the FAE when observing others’ in negative situations, the extent to which the FAE is committed when viewing individuals in positive situations is not yet understood. In addition, although individuals tend to commit the FAE when viewing females, the extent to which the FAE is committed when viewing males has not been examined. To test the extent in which subjects committed the FAE when viewing individuals in positive versus negative situations and the degree to which gender impacted these results, undergraduate students (N = 16) rated the degree to which they believed hypothetical characters were situationally responsible. As expected, participants were significantly less likely to commit the FAE when viewing individuals in negative situations as opposed to positive situations, p < .05. However, no significant difference was found in relation to gender. Implications are discussed as applicable to criminal sentencing.

Emma Hamilton | University of Minnesota

Biography and Q&A
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A Review of Cultural Disparities Regarding Suicidal Behavior in At Risk Populations
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Abstract: Suicide is a ubiquitous phenomenon that permeates all cultures and socioeconomic strata. In recent years it has been determined that the prevalence of suicidal thoughts, suicide planning, and suicide attempts is significantly higher among young adults aged 18 to 29 years than among adults aged 30 years and older (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2010). In conjunction with adolescence, culture and ethnicity have been regarded as influences of suicidal behavior. At risk racial/ethnic groups are classified as those with disproportionately high suicide attempt rates, among them being Latinos, African Americans, and American Indian/Alaska Natives. Cultural factors exist that may act as protectors or precipitants of suicidal behavior in certain racial/ethnic groups. Family, history, environment, identity, religion, and help seeking behaviors were recurring themes in the literature and were found to have disparate effects on manifestation of suicidality. By targeting these specific ethnic differences, culturally sensitive treatment and prevention approaches can anticipate higher success rates among suicidal individuals.

Matthew T. Riccio | New York University

Biography and Q&A
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The Influence of Attentional Scope on Egocentric Distance Perception and Goal-Relevant Behavior
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Abstract: Given the rising obesity epidemic in America, research must explore why people are exercising insufficiently and investigate strategies to increase successful self-regulation and exercise behavior. Past research shows that spatial perception can be biased by physiological potential such that people with lower fitness levels tend to perceive distances as farther, discouraging continued movement or action in the environment. This is one reason that being out of shape is a difficult state to get out of, but what if a distance could be made to appear shorter? If a target or goal appeared closer or seemed more attainable, would this encourage goal-promoting behavior and increase the likelihood of reaching it? We tested one strategy to induce perceptions that a target is closer and asked whether perceived proximity encourages exercise goal-promoting behavior. We induced a focused attentional style and tested perceptions of egocentric distance—the distance from oneself to a target or object. In a subsequent fitness task, we examined the relationship between perceived closeness to that target and the encouragement of action that may help with the pursuit and achievement of fitness goals. These studies suggest that not only can increased attentional focus make distances seem closer and, in turn, tasks more manageable, but that doing so can also encourage goal-promoting behavior, such as faster, more intense action. Implications for self-regulation despite obstacles to goal pursuit, particularly among at-risk and overweight populations, are discussed.

Casey Burton | Missouri University of Science and Technology

Biography and Q&A
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A Non-Musical Paradigm That Isolates Pitch Recognition Mechanisms
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Abstract: Absolute Pitch (AP) is the ability to label and/or reproduce a given pitch without external reference. There exists a close relationship between AP development and pitch memory skills. At the root of these skills are pitch perception mechanisms that are loosely understood. Prior research has probed these by modeling AP validation tests, which fail to effectively isolate, develop, and examine such mechanisms. Moreover, where recent research suggests that AP development diminishes quickly by the teen years, this study explores whether the contrary may be plausible by examining pitch perception skills in students around the critical developmental age. To do this, a computerized training method which included both visual and auditory stimuli, similar to the Simon TM game, was developed. During the game, visual stimuli were removed, requiring participants to perceive and further label the supplied pitches. The method demonstrated that a simple computer program can be used to isolate and develop pitch perception mechanisms (p < 0.01). The research also suggests that pitch perception is still functional among those above the critical age range (p < 0.001). It is therefore suggested that non-musical paradigms, distinct from traditional validation tests, be used for the further investigation of pitch perception mechanisms and a better understanding of AP.

David Baca | University of California, Santa Barbara

Biography and Q&A
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Difference in Fos Immunoreactivity in the Medial Preoptic Area of Male Rats and in the Ventromedial Hypothalamus of Females Rats, Post Copulation: The Effect of Sexual Experience on Fos Immunoreactivity
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Abstract: Abstract: In the present study, the distribution of Fos immunoreactivity (IR) in the brain of female and male Sprague-Dawley rats, following one hour of copulation, was measured. The distribution of Fos-IR was induced by sexual behavior in the medial preoptic area (mPOA) of sexually experienced/inexperienced male rats. In, addition Fos-IR was also augmented in the ventromedial hypothalamus (VMH) of sexually experienced/inexperienced female rats post-sexual behavior. An increased number of Fos-IR neurons were reported in sexually experienced rats as opposed to sexually inexperienced rats.

Thomas Schleicher, Erin Moore, Sophie Briend, Janette Berkley-Patton | University of Missouri Kansas City

Biography and Q&A
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HIV Stigma and Knowledge in the African American Church Community
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Abstract: HIV is a significant problem among African Americans, a population that represents 44% of new HIV cases each year. Previous research has shown the effectiveness of the African American church in implementing health interventions for African Americans. Yet, as more studies begin to address HIV in the African American church, there is limited research on exploring HIV stigma and knowledge in this setting. Previous studies have shown the relationship between HIV knowledge and stigma. The detrimental effects of HIV stigma and knowledge on prevention of HIV have also been shown. This paper used survey data from 538 African American church affiliates to study how HIV knowledge and HIV-related stigma variables (e.g., fear of HIV-positive people, belief that HIV-positive people are responsible for their illness) are related to demographic variables (e.g., sex, age, education), religiosity, and HIV testing. Males and older age were found to be associated with beliefs that people with HIV are responsible for their illness. Higher participation in formal practices of religiosity (e.g., church attendance, reading scripture, meditation) was correlated with not trusting scientists to be truthful about HIV and with lower confidence in being tested for HIV. Formal practices of religiosity and non-heterosexual orientation were found to be associated with lower levels of HIV knowledge. This study’s findings can be used to develop comprehensive HIV stigma messages to enhance church-based HIV intervention components for the African American.

Mindy Westlund | University of Minnesota

Biography and Q&A
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A Pilot Study of Resting-State Functional Connectivity in Depressed Adolescents with and without Histories of Suicide Attempts
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Abstract: Suicide is one of the leading causes of death among adolescents and is often associated with major depressive disorder (MDD). Research examining the underlying neurobiology of MDD has found abnormal connectivity within the fronto-limbic regions of the brain. Research on the neural circuitry of depression and suicide is warranted because of the high prevalence and incidence of these problems among young people and because of the ongoing brain development in adolescence. This pilot study used resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging to compare brain connectivity between three groups: adolescents with MDD and a history of suicide attempts (MDD/ SA) (n = 4), adolescents with MDD and no history of suicide attempts (NSA) (n = 8), and healthy controls (n = 9). Although the results were not significant, they did suggest that the MDD/SA group had lower connectivity among fronto-limbic regions than controls (lateral prefrontal cortex, subgenual anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), and supragenual ACC) and also lower connectivity than both the NSA group and controls among certain regions (subgenual ACC, rostral ACC, amygdala, and nucleus accumbens). Though only trending toward significance, the reduced connectivity in this group may suggest possible impairments in interpreting emotions and regulating emotional responses. Further research in this area can provide important information for the development of appropriate treatment strategies that can target these deficits and thus, provide more effective interventions.