Home >  Academics >  Psychology >  Psychology News > News Story

Goucher Psychology goes to the American Psychological Association meeting

Release date: August 10, 2011

Dr. Choe, Mark Mazer, Jacob Dvis, Laura Parks and Devon Washington presented their poster, entitled, Children's Understanding of Having Multiple States of Mind: The Effect of External and Self-Control.  

Having multiple states of mind is a phenomenon that is quite familiar to even young children.  They are often told not to touch something when they very much want to. When do they conceptually understand the phenomenon?  In the current study, four- to seven-year-olds were directly put in one of two situation that were likely to elicit multiple desires toward an object and were asked about their states of mind. Previous research has shown that children do not understand the conflicting state of mind until seven years of age.  However, it was hypothesized that the understanding of having a conflicting state of mind would emerge before age seven when children experience the situation themselves.

The experimenter presented an attractive object (either an electronic game or a cupcake) to an individual child. In the external control condition, the experimenter stated that, the child could touch the object (and either play with the game or taste the cupcake) if he or she could wait without touching it until the experimenter said the child may. In the self-control condition, the child was told that the object belonged to someone else who did not like another person touching her object without asking. While the child sat in front of the object, the experimenter occupied herself with some paperwork for 15 seconds and then asked the child a few simple questions pertaining to their state of mind   The results showed that in both the external control and self-control conditions, while the percentages of the participants who wanted to play with the game/taste the cupcake significantly decreased with age, those who did not want to and those who concurrently experienced the two states of mind increased. The data indicated that the four- and five-year-olds reported the conflicting states of mind to be significantly higher in the external control condition than in the self-control condition. On the other hand, the six- and seven-year- olds responded that having a conflicting state of mind about the object was more possible in the self-control condition than in the external control condition.

Dr. McKim, Dr. Pederson, Sara Spadanuta, Jonathan Susser, Catherine Armao, Deb Berlin, Abby Litovsky, Kayla Prince, and Abigail Swisher represented the Goucher Clinical Psychology.  Their poster was titled, Steps into My Office: the Effects of Organization and Lemon Scent on Mood.  The study sought to investigate whether room organization and lemon scent in an office setting results in improved mood. This study included four separate conditions using one office: organized with lemon scent (one), organized with no scent (two), disorganized with lemon scent (three), and disorganized with no scent (four).

The organized room followed feng shui principles which included uncluttered, bright lighting, space to easily move around, dust-free, books and papers on bookshelves while the disorganized room was cluttered, dimly lit, crowded, dusty, and with papers and books in piles. The scented conditions utilized an electric aroma nebulizer that diffused lemon scent.  As hypothesized, the highest mean on the mood scale was the organized, lemon scent condition, followed by the organized, no scent condition, followed by the disorganized, lemon scent condition, and lastly, disorganized, no scent. Significant differences were found between organized, scent and disorganized, scent, organized scent and disorganized, no scent, and organized, no scent and disorganized, no scent. Furthermore, there was a significant positive correlation, suggesting those who rated the scent as satisfying reported higher mood scores.