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Psychology at the Landmark Undergraduate Science Research Symposium

Release date: July 22, 2011

Jacob Davis and Annie Cosgrove-Davies from Dr. Katherine Choe's lab made an oral presentation, entitled, Why is the deadline looming: Time perception in children.  In their  study, children's perception of the passage of time in relation to the self was examined based on either positive or negative emotional valence. Five-, seven-, and nine-year-old children and adults were asked how they judged a character, who was either excited for or dreading an upcoming event, would perceive his or her spatial relationship with time. It was expected that, in the positive valence, people would be more likely to think of themselves as moving towards the event (ego-moving) while, in the negative valence, the event would be perceived as moving towards people (time-moving). Though there was a tendency toward ego-moving judgment in the positive-valence situation across age groups, the 9-year-olds and adults made significantly more time-moving judgments in the negative-valence situation. Consistent with our hypothesis, adult-like understanding of time in space based on emotional valence emerged by nine years old. Implication of the findings are further discussed.

Abby Litovsky and Kayla Prince from Dr. Dara Friedman-Wheeler's lab presented their poster, Coping Expectancies and Mood: A Daily Diary Study.  Many factors influence one's choice of coping strategy. An individual may choose which coping strategy to use in response to a stressful event based on his or her outcome expectancies, beliefs about which consequences will follow certain behaviors. This study sought to examine the relationship between coping strategies, outcome expectancies, and depression. Participants took baseline measures examining their coping expectancies, depression-levels, current mood, and neuroticism. They then completed online measures daily for seven days, to measure their mood, their stressful experiences that day, and how they responded to these experiences. The research team compared participants' coping expectancies with their actual reported coping behaviors to examine (a) if people in fact use the strategies they think will help them feel better (b) if people actually feel better when they use the coping strategies they believe will work, and (c) if the relationships in (a) and (b) are different for those with a history of major depression.