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Eastern Psychological Association Conference 2008

Release date: March 18, 2008

The EPA was founded in 1896 and is the oldest regional psychological association in the United States.  The EPA provides an opportunity for faculty, practitioners, students and others to present their work in an informal, supportive environment.


Four faculty members (Dr. Ann McKim, Dr. Tom Ghirardelli, Dr. Choe, and Dr. Pederson) and nine current and graduated students (Mouna Attarha, Leah Bailey, Kelly Hugger, Shari Metzger, Tova Narrow, Brittaney Parker, Emily Ramsay, Melissa Talleda, and Monica Zilioli) flew from Baltimore to be part of this year's meeting. 


Some of the invited speakers included Howard Eichenbaum on “The Neurobiology of Recollection,” Ed Wasserman on “Conceptual Behavior in Humans and Animals,” Adele Diamond on “Helping Children become Masters of their Own Behavior,” Saul Kassin on “Why Innocents Confess,” along with many other impressive speakers.u


Goucher’s Perception Poster, titled “Practice Reduces the Attentional Blink through Consistent Mapping of the Probe” was researched by Dr. Thomas G. Ghirardelli, Mouna Attarha, Melissa Talleda, Monica Zilioli, and Leah Bailey.  The Attentional Blink (AB) is a temporary deficit in detecting a probe presented soon after target in a rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP; Raymond, Shapiro & Arnell, 1992).  Participants (N=4) first performed a standard AB task in multiple sessions.  Probe detection improved with repeated practice.  These practice effects did not transfer from the initial task to a second task with a new probe.  This has implications for current accounts of the AB.


A Social Psychology Poster, titled The Downside of Disorganization” was researched by Dr. Ann Elaine McKim, Dr. Karen Martinkowski, Brittany Parker, Kelly Hugger, and Tova Narrow.  Both positive psychology and feng shui investigate behaviors, cognitions and emotions that enhance peoples’ lives.  This study explored the reliability and validity of the McKim and Martinkowski Lack of Organization Scale (MMLOS).  Four hundred and ten participants filled out the MMLOS twice, as well as completed five other self-report scales.  Results showed that disorganization (called “clutter” in feng shui) in physical, emotional and social realms are correlated with anxiety, depression, stress, and lack of hope.


A Cognitive Poster, titled “Additional Evidence for Faster Processing of Synesthetic Colors in Speed Classification of Arithmetic Equations” was researched by Dr. Carol Bergfeld Mills, Dr. Thomas G. Ghirardelli, Monica Zilioli, Leah Bailey, and Shari R. Metzger.  Clark, Hurd and Ghirardelli (2007) showed that for a color-digit synesthete, synesthesia facilitates processing of addition equations.  For this study, they presented the synesthete with a computerized task involving multiplication or division equations presented in colors that matched her color-digit photisms, colors that did not match her photisms, and in black.  Her response time was significantly faster to equations that matched her photisms, indicating that her synesthesia impacted her processing of equations.


This EPA Conference was a great experience for the Goucher students and professors, and it is hoped that students in the psychology department will continue to present their research at this conference in the future!