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Psychology goes to 2012 Eastern Psychological Association meeting

Release date: March 05, 2012

On March 1-4, four faculty members and 10 students from Department of Psychology attended the Eastern Psychological Association Conference in Pittsburgh, PA.  Dr. Thomas Ghirardelli, Dr. Choe, Dr. Friedman-Wheeler, and Dr. McCabe and their students, Gabriella Coakley, Kate Lawson, Chelsea Spitzer-Morton, Taylor Marcus, Abigail Swisher, Chris Taylor,  Emmy Wyckoff, Abby Litovsky, Kayla Prince, Leora Chefitz, Blair Shevlin, and, Samantha Turpin successfully presented their posters to colleagues as well.

Thomas G. Ghirardelli, Taylor Marcus, Annie Cosgrove-Davies, Gabriella Coakley's work was entitled, "Inefficient Visual Search in a Three-Dimensional "Real World" Display.  In a typical visual search task, participants view a two-dimensional display of items on a computer screen and report if a target is presented among nontarget items.  In this experiment, the items were three-dimensional "T's" and "L's" made from Lego blocks, randomly dispersed on a tabletop apparatus. Participants retrieved the target item, and they measured RT as a function of set size. They found a significant effect of set size, replicating previous 2D search results.

The poster by Dr. Katherine S. Choe, Abigail D. Emily Wyckoff, Karli Postel, and Christopher Taylor was titled, "Children's Spatial Representation of Time."  Though time is an abstract concept, it is also understood in spatial terms (e.g., we are before a deadline). In two studies, 5-, 7-, and 9-year-old children's and adults' concept of a scheduled event either moving forward or back was examined between two valences (e.g., positive or negative). The data showed that participants conceptualized time in space differently between the two valences; a developmental difference was also found between young children and 9-year-olds as well as adults.

Dr. Jennifer A. McCabe, Leora S. Chefitz, Blair  R. K. Shevlin, Samantha Turpin presented their poster, "Hand Gestures and Mnemonics:  Effects of Viewing and Enacting."  They examined the impact of adding hand gestures to keyword mnemonics when learning new terminology. On a 10-minute-delayed test, recall was significantly higher for the gesture compared to the nogesture condition, and also compared to a control condition using repetition. The enactment condition, in which participants performed gestures, showed no additional advantage. In sum, viewing (but not necessarily enacting) gestures may facilitate memory when using the keyword method, at least in the short term.

Abby Rachel Litovsky, Kayla Ruth Prince and Dr. Dara G. Friedman-Wheeler's work was entitled, "Coping Expectancies and Mood: A Daily Diary Study."  This study examined the relationships among coping, expectancies, and depression. Participants completed measures of coping expectancies, depression, and mood. They then completed daily measures of mood, stressful experiences, and coping. The researchers compared participants' expectancies with actual coping behaviors to examine: if expectancies predict coping; if expectancies are accurate; and if these relationships are different for those with depression. Results suggest expectancies do not consistently predict coping behavior, nor are they consistently accurate.