Volume 7

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Editors' Note
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Author Biographies
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Sasha Sommerfeldt | University of Minnesota

Genetics of Behavioral Inhibition and Approach Systems: A Review of the Literature
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Abstract: Individual differences in sensitivities of the Behavioral Inhibition System (BIS) and Behavioral Approach System (BAS) have been posited to underlie stable differences in individuals’ unique patterns of responding to cues of punishment and reward in their environment. Conceived from the outset as neurological systems, the BIS and BAS have repeatedly been linked to brain structure and function through magnetic resonance imaging and electroencephalogram studies. These significant links to biology suggest an underlying genetic basis for BIS and BAS. Research concerning BIS/BAS in twin pairs as well as BIS/BAS associations with COMT, DRD2, DRD3, DRD4, and 5-HTTLPR genes is reviewed in hopes of elucidating genetic factors underlying personality and psychopathology.

Jenn Hatfield | Harvard University

On the Horizon: Considering the Implications of Non-Western Cases of Anorexia Nervosa on Description and Diagnosis
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Abstract: Eating disorders have often been characterized as byproducts of a flawed Western societal structure that places inordinate pressure on women to conform to media and peer standards of beauty and thinness. Although the DSM-5 can be said to reflect a Western description of eating disorders and their subtypes, its model lacks explanatory power for cases that deviate from its narrow diagnostic criteria and fails to attribute blame to specific components of said culture. The source of eating disorders in both specific cases and historical cases are still unclear due to variation. I outline these flaws, review the historical data, and assess recent changes in the incidence and course of eating disorders to illustrate the urgency of revising common conceptions of eating disorders. Devising more accurate diagnoses of eating disorders and more effective long-term treatments requires examining alternative hypotheses and rejecting an exclusively Western model of description.

Thao Nguyen | University of California, San Diego

Effects of Altering the Valence and Arousal of Music on Short Term Memory Task
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Abstract: Emotion plays an important role in facilitating memory for particular stimuli; however, it is unclear how this is done. Previous studies have looked at valence and arousal, the two dimensions commonly used to describe emotion, and their independent effects on short term memory. However, there are many contradictory findings in the literature. We hoped to gain a better understanding of the effects of valence and arousal by examining the interaction of these two dimensions on word recall. Participants listened to classical music that had varying levels of valence and arousal and were shown lists of words they had to memorize and later recall. We found an interaction between the levels of valence and arousal within music: participants in the positive valence-high arousal music condition remembered more words than participants in the other three music conditions. These results suggest that it is best to listen to happy music, or other positively valenced and arousing music, when studying or performing other cognitive tasks.

Sydney Krueger | Princeton University

Pre-Clinical Alzheimer’s Disease: A Survey of the Observed Working Memory Deficits Among Non-Demented APOe4 Carriers
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Abstract: Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects people of all ages but is most prevalent in the aging population, a population that is growing as the average lifespan increases. Patients with AD suffer extreme memory loss and eventually die. The disease causes severe cognitive decline, including a gradual decline in working memory (the ability to store, manipulate and recall information in a short time period). Treatment for AD is very limited in its effectiveness and the disease itself is irreversible. There is, however, a known genotype, apolipoprotein epsilon 4 (APOe4), which puts people at a higher risk for developing the disease in old age. It is also known that APOe4 carriers, before the onset of AD, perform worse on certain working memory tasks than education and age-matched non-carriers do. Working memory deficits have been observed on some tasks and not on others. Exploring the types of working memory tasks that differentiate the APOe4 carriers from the non-carriers under different conditions helps to further understand the cognitive changes that occur in pre-clinical AD and the link between the genotype and the disease.

Fushu Tan | University of Oregon

Bullying, Victim, and Aggressor: Past Experience versus Current Behavior
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Abstract: Bullying is the most common type of violence in American schools (Swearer & Doll, 2001), and the consequences can persist into adulthood, affecting school achievement, prosocial skills, and psychological well-being for both the victims and the bullies. The current study examined whether past experience with bullying can affect how likely college students are to intervene when someone they know is being bullied. 120 college students (50 males, 70 females) completed a questionnaire that assessed their past experience with physical and relational aggression. They then read a scenario that asked them to imagine someone was spreading vicious rumors about a member of their current campus group. Next, they decided whether they would intervene by contacting the aggressor, the victim, or both. Over 95% of participants reported some past experience as both aggressor and victim. Unexpectedly, males reported significantly more past experience as relational aggressors than females. Over half the participants said they would intervene by contacting both the victim and bully. However, contrary to the hypothesis, past victimization experience did not increase the likelihood of intervening. In fact, past experience scores tended to be somewhat lower for those who intervened. The only significant past experience predictor was that those who chose not to intervene at all tended to have more experience as a bully and less as a victim.

Shevantika Nanda | University of St Andrews

Are There Gender Differences in Empathy?
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Abstract: Research has shown gender differences in a number of cognitive domains such as spatial ability and math performance. Research on gender differences in empathy has yielded inconsistent results. Studies have suggested the observed gender differences in empathy may arise from males’ reluctance to report empathy instead of a difference in ability. The present research investigated the effect that explicitly informing participants about the nature of an empathy task (empathy condition) or leading them to believe that the task evaluates social abilities (social abilities condition) has on performance on the Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI), a standard measure of empathy. Participants (20 males and 20 females) completed the IRI and the Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale form C, which measures the tendency to respond in a socially desirable way. The scores of females on the IRI were significantly higher than those of males in the empathy condition, and no significant gender difference was found in the social abilities condition. There was no significant difference between conditions for the social desirability score. Together, the results suggest gender differences on self-report measures of empathy do not arise from a difference in abilities.

Weston Uribe | University of California, Los Angeles

When To Take Notes: During Lecture or During Podcast?
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Abstract: Modern technology gives students many study options, including using audio podcasts during study sessions. Although students often take notes during lectures, taking notes during a subsequent study session—rather than during initial learning—may be more beneficial. This is not only because the burden of hurriedly taking notes in class can cause students to miss key ideas during lectures, but also because students may organize the material more effectively (Mayer, 2005). This experiment utilized a between-groups design, with timing of note-taking manipulated between groups. Undergraduates first viewed a multimedia science lesson, followed by studying with an audio podcast of the same lesson. Participants took notes during either the initial lecture or during the study session. Our results show that students who take notes during a subsequent audio podcasted version of lecture recall more idea units than those students who take notes during lecture. These results have the potential to demonstrate how students’ study strategies should be altered at different points in the learning process and suggest how available technology can be used to optimize learning.

Jessica Miner | Oklahoma State University

Predictors of Toddler Behavior from Infant Attention Measures
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Abstract: The present study focuses on infant attention and the later predictions of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in toddlers. ADHD can lead to many behavioral, social, and academic problems as these children age (American Psychiatric Association, 2013), causing a gap in their development. We hypothesize that the percentage of sustained attention (SA) and/or attention termination (AT) found in infant heart rate (HR) measures will be predictive of higher scores of inattentiveness on the Child-Behavioral Checklist (CBCL). Thirty-three infants/toddlers and their mothers participated in this longitudinal study. The data was collected over a four-year span, in which HR data from the infants and CBCL data from the mothers were collected. The results did not support our hypothesis of percentage time spent in SA and/or AT being predictive of higher scores of inattentiveness. However, there were significant results in percentage of time spent in AT and higher scores of aggressive behaviors in the toddlers. This finding supports past research that ADHD in younger populations is manifested as aggressive behaviors instead of inattentiveness, which is the manifestation in older populations.

Russel Martin | University of Minnesota Duluth

Age Differences in Remembering Stereotypical Information by Targeting Implicit Stereotypes
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Abstract: An experiment was conducted to investigate how false memories are created as a function of the stereotypical information in a text. Participants were 230 male and female US-residents recruited via Amazon Mechanical Turk and assessed using Qualtrics. In this web-based study, participants were given a news story about a homicide which either contained stereotypical or no stereotypical descriptions of the suspect. In each story, the ethnicity of the suspect was never explicitly stated. The participants had three minutes to read the story and then were taken to questionnaire pages that contained factual questions from the story along with the key question that asked for the suspect’s ethnicity. Participants also provided confidence ratings for their responses. Results indicated that participants who read the story that included stereotypical descriptions believed the suspect was African-American, Asian, or Hispanic more often than the participants who read the non-stereotyped version. Additionally, age-group comparison analysis indicated that older participants falsely remembered ethnicity more often than younger participants in the story with stereotypical descriptions but not within the story without stereotypical descriptions.