Spring 2010 CSSME Undergraduate Research Conference

April 28, 2010

1. Health Care Reform

Christina Albright, Katie Magruder, Carlos Monesugarte, Elizabeth Shamy, & Joshua Snore (GWA)

Within the last five years, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that an estimated 47 million Americans were without health insurance.  This estimate accounts for approximately 15.8 percent of the population.  The United States is the only one of its rank without a standardized health system.  Health care reform has become an increasingly salient and polarized issue in American politics.  Public opinion varies greatly ranging from overall reform of the current system to little or even no change at all.  Through our research, we hope to analyze the effects of the newly imposed health care reform in regards to Americans with varying income levels, the benefits to small business owners, the benefits to those of varying ages, public opinion in relation to party affiliation and lastly, the financial cost the reform will impose on taxpayers. 

2. The Relationship between Moral Heuristics and Stereotype Assignment

Jessica August & Jasmine Johnson (PSY)

In the current study, the authors investigate the relationship between moral heuristics and stereotype assignment. Previous research found that moral heuristics do exist. The use of heuristics in making moral decisions leads to rapid conclusions, however can also lead to errors in judgment. These errors can be seen as stereotypes. The authors hypothesize that participants would be more inclined to intervene on the behalf of one victim more than another based upon the stereotype that the participant has of the victim. The authors also believe that stereotypes constructed by participants will be influenced by their individual moral heuristics. For non-Caucasian participants the results show that the way in which they process the race of the victim within the scenarios strongly correlates with their willingness to help in the scenario in which the victim was perceived as black.

3. BIRD SEX, BRAIN SEX: ZENK Protein Expression in the Social Behavior Network
During Courtship Behavior

Vinud Birusingh, Carolina Remos, & Dr. Scott Husband (PSY)

The Social Behavior Network (Newman, 1999) is a proposed evolutionarily conserved set of brain nuclei important for vertebrate social behaviors, including aggression, affiliation, and sexual behavior. We investigated activity levels of six brain nuclei (anterior/posterior hypothalamus, extended amygdala, lateral septum, nucleus accumbens, and preoptic area) with the ZENK protein; male pigeons were shown either a female pigeon or an empty chamber. We hypothesized that levels of brain activity in these nuclei would be increased during sexual courtship behavior, and that relative activity patterns in these nuclei would correspond to relative levels proposed for mammals. We found significantly higher levels of ZENK protein in all brain areas quantified, and relative patterns of activation roughly similar to that seen in mammals. 

4. College Personalities and their corresponding GPAs

Richard Brandt (PSY 200)

In college, students have many options as to how they wish to conduct their time. Some choose to be a student athlete, a partier, a worker, or just a full time student. Participants at the University of Tampa were asked to identify themselves as a member of one of these groups and then provide their current GPA. The results were reviewed to determine if a relationship existed between their self-identified role and GPA.  The results were mixed.  Issues that could have possibly influenced the data were considered.

5. The Influence of Phonetic Construction on Perceptions of a Brand 

Kelsey Brenneman, Jessie Harrington, Camille Hanks, & Camila Cook (PSY)

Consumer perceptions of a brand develop from the linguistic composition of a brand name. Research has shown the sound made by a word carries large significance and high and low vowel sounds have been found to be perceived differently.  We developed two beer names, Breelens, high sounding, and Brolens, low sounding, for this experiment. We expected that Breelens would be perceived as lower in calories, more suitable for younger drinkers, more feminine, and higher costing than Brolens. In contrast, we expected Brolens would be perceived as higher in calories, appropriate for older drinkers, masculine, and less expensive. The low calorie hypothesis was supported, with femininity showing marginal significance. The experiment demonstrated evidence of the influence of phonetic construction, but shows continued work is needed.

6. The Effects of Spirituality and Religiosity on the Adjustment of College Students 

Taymy Caso (PSY)

To better understand the role of spirituality and/or religiosity in the adjustment process of college students, this study examined self reports of spirituality and religiosity among freshmen at the University of Tampa. Students completed a survey that contained questions about their lives on campus and their spiritual or religious faiths. The results show statistically significant correlations between emotional health and spirituality, understanding oneself and others, and time management skills. Another significant correlation lies between spiritual identity and goal making. The findings favor the notion that religious and/or spiritual college freshmen have more advanced adjustment skills or abilities than non-religious or non-spiritual students. Future research in this area should focus adjustment at other level of the post-secondary education process.

7. Framing Messages' Influence in Individual's Perception and Willingness to Alter Eating Behavior 

Angela Cruz & Ivelisse Ruiz (PSY)

The following research investigates student perceptions and willingness to alter their eating habits based on loss and gain-framed messages. Previous research indicates that framing messages have an effect on individual’s perception leading them to change their lifestyle. It is expected that participants would be willing to attempt to change their eating habits; moreover, females will be more likely to change their eating habits to a healthier lifestyle. In general, it is predicted that all individuals will report that they will be more likely to change their eating habits. It was found that both loss and gain framed-messages did not have a considerable impact on individual’s perception. However, loss framed-messages had a marginally significant effect. 

8. Phonetic Symbolism in Brand Names: The Effects of Front Versus Back Vowel Sounds on Perceptions of a Brand

Rebecca Csikos, Rachel Lewis, & Kristina Carter (PSY)

The effect of front versus back vowel sounds in a brand name was assessed using a survey instrument administered to eighty participants.  Half the subjects rated their agreement on nine statements based solely off the Kissip computer brand name, while the other half completed the survey based on the Kossip name. Participants provided their age, race, and gender. We hypothesized Kissip would be perceived as more up-to-date, reliable, honest, sophisticated, lighter, faster, and smaller than Kossip; however, Kossip would be rated as more durable. Also, we hypothesized participants would be more willing to purchase the Kissip computer than Kossip.  It was found that a significant difference existed between Kissip and Kossip for the ‘light’ and ‘small’ attributes.

9. The Impact of Color on Perception of a Solid Food

Lauren DeLisi & Maryellen Pearce (PSY)

The present study extended previous research regarding the impact of color on the perception of sweetness in liquid form.  Specifically, we asked undergraduate participants from the University of Tampa to taste either a higher intensity, dark red cake or lower intensity, light red cake.  We expected that participants would find a cake in a higher intensity red sweeter and more likeable than a cake of lower intensity red. However, participants liked the lower intensity cake significantly more than the higher intensity cake.  No significant differences in perceptions of sweetness were found.  Companies creating a new solid food product with red coloring would be better suited coloring their product a lighter red, if they want it to be liked by consumers.  

10. The Effect of Country of Origin on Perceptions of Quality

Nicole DePietro, Danielle Noaker, & Kimberly Reino (PSY)

A product’s country of origin has become increasingly important for consumers when making a purchase decision.  The current study examines the influence of a product’s country of origin on perceptions of product quality and purchase intentions.  Participants viewed an advertisement for a bicycle that was either made in American or made in Haiti.   We hypothesized that, due to ethnocentrism and the power of mental images, the American bicycle would be perceived as being higher quality than the bicycle originating from Haiti.  It was found that the American bicycle was perceived to be made of higher quality parts, longer lasting, and having fewer performance problems than the Haitian bicycle.  Participants also indicated they would be more likely to purchase the American-made bicycle.

11. Effect of Anticipatory Regret on Performance in a Stock Trading Simulation

Kelly Devine & MariaAnna Serricchio (PSY)

Bell (1982) defined anticipatory regret (AR) as an affective mechanism by which people attempt to avoid perceived bad choices.  Recent studies (Tykocinski, Israel & Pittman, 2004; Lee, Kraeussl & Paas, 2009) have shown that AR is likely to cause poor stock trading performance. Thirty undergraduate students participated in a stock trading simulation to earn extra credit.  We randomly assigned them to high AR (extra credit contingent upon performance trading a “high-risk” stock), moderate AR (extra credit contingent upon performance trading a “low-risk” stock) low AR (no consequence for trading the stock) conditions.  An ANOVA showed no performance difference among the three AR conditions, however a t-test did reveal that low AR participants performed better trading the stock than did moderate AR participants: t (21) = 2.372, p = .014.  Concerns for the future of this research revolve around the operationalization of moderate and high AR.

12. The Perception of Color on Hotel Room Preferences  

Megan Duffy, Aisha Al-Ajil, & Gina Vara (PSY)

This study examined if the color of a hotel room affects how the hotel room is perceived and was meant to expand on previous research completed on colors and color preferences.  The two colors that were utilized in this study were a bright green color and a neutral color.  The six dependent variables were the participant’s perceptions of the room’s quality, price, comfort level, trendiness, how traditional the room was, and whether they would stay in the room or not.  This study demonstrated that the color of the walls of a room can influence some perceptions of hotel goers.  

13. Gender and the Politics of Development in Ghana

Hannah Duprey, Elizabeth Harrington, and Jennifer Levine (GWA)

Studies of third world politics widely hold an assumption that a gender gap exists between men and women. We test this assumption both in terms of what men and women want, how much access they have to decision makers, and how satisfied they are with the efforts of political actors. Our data source is a large-N survey of four constituencies in Ghana that differ culturally, geographically, and socio-economically. Our analysis shows that there is a gender gap when considering political involvement, but not regarding political opinion on the role governance institutions should play in development. These findings suggest that a focus on female empowerment through programs like Grameen Bank and USAID gender statements is not only necessary given the gendered political access gap, but can be promoted simultaneously with the political/developmental agendas of males.

14. Ecological Behavior at the University of Tampa

Arielle Farese, Talia Victoria, & Dr. Bethany Fleck (PSY)

Today ecological behavior is a hot topic on campuses across the country. The current study aims to measure such behavior at the University of Tampa. Participants included 122 students of various majors and academic standing. Survey data consisted of demographic information, The New Ecological Paradigm Scale, The Environmental Identity Scale, a measure of social desirability, and a series of original questions measuring recycling behavior written by the researchers.  Overall little recycling behavior is reported and UT students‚ hold a predominately anthropocentric view point. As predicted, results indicate a significant relationship between participants Environmental ID and self-reported recycling behavior. Secondary analysis found differences in recycling behavior based on students‚ reports of parent‚s behavior.  Implications and future research are discussed. 

15. Advertising Messages: One -Sided versus Comparative

Bridget Gallagher, Heather Janes, Ana-Maria Parra, & Alyssa Stewart (PSY)

The present study investigates the effects of one-sided and one-sided comparative advertisements on three different dependent variables: attitudes toward the advertisement, purchase intentions, and believability. The products we used in the advertisements were the Apple iPhone and the RIM Blackberry. Each participant was given one type of advertisement and a Likert-scale in which they rated each dependent variable from one to five, one being strongly disagree and five being strongly agree. Results indicated no differences in the dependent variables across the two message types.  We believe that participants had a strong opinion about these two products which may have influenced the results.  Future research should examine less popular products.   

16. Foreign Aid and the Impact it has on the Development of Latin America

Josh Griffin (GWA)

Mexico, Cuba, and Puerto Rico are three Spanish countries that all have different culture and style of government.  The objective of this paper is to break down into detail the economic history and the social make up of these countries individually, and then compare similarities as well as the differences that make up these three Spanish cultures.   This paper will conduct case studies on how the history of these three countries has led them to where they are economically, culturally and why their governments are in the state they are today.  The affect of foreign aid on these individual countries is the focus of this research, to explain how the countries individually use the aid they receive or fail to receive.  

17. American Perceptions of China: A New Nemesis?

Caitlyn Guthrie, Ben Bunn, Caitlin Rabbideau, & Evan Vaughn  (GWA)

This study examines the factors that influence the American public opinion of China as a threat. Throughout history, American perceptions of China have swayed depending on the situation of the era; The Cold War and the Tiananmen Square massacre placed China under international spotlight and as we reflect on the Beijing Olympics and current economic crisis, it is time to reassess public opinion towards China. The recent global economic crisis has effected Americans across demographics; however, despite this widespread downturn, China's economy has managed to continue it's industrializing growth. This juxtaposition between the two economies has left some American's feeling vulnerable towards the growing Sino superpower. Through a random phone survey, we hope to show that there are certain factors that impact the degree of threat an individual feels towards China in order to predict what effects these attitudes will have on US foreign policy.

18. Mental Image Scanning and Distance Judgment in College Students

Charlie Hambos & Kellie John (PSY)

This study investigated distance judgments between physical and mental visual images. Participants estimated the distance between letter-pairings on maps in two conditions while being timed.  In the physical condition, subjects gave estimates while looking at the map.  In the mental condition, participants constructed a mental image of the map and gave estimates based on that mental image.  It was expected that there would be no significant difference in time between conditions, but that there would be a significant difference between distances, such that longer distance judgments would take longer shorter distances.  Results revealed significant effects for both map conditions and distance length.  Physical judgments took less time than mental judgments. Distance results were as hypothesized.

19. Level of Noise on Honors and Non-honors Floors in Residence Halls

Brooke Holland (PSY 200)

The hypothesis for the current experiment was that the noise levels differ for honors and non-honors floors. The independent variable was whether the student lived on an honors floor or a non-honors floor. To measure noise level on the floors, a survey was used that questioned whether the student studied in their dormitory, and a Likert scale was used to measure the degree to which noise interrupted his/her studying. The results supported the hypothesis that the honors floors are quieter than non-honors floors, but not by a large margin. Although noise was a problem on both types of floors, many students still preferred to study in their dormitory out of sheer convenience.

20. Learning the Way of the Gun: Criminal Firearm Usage among the Most Serious Offenders in Arkansas

Lauren Jekowsky & Brianna Welsh (CRM)

Social learning theory attempts to explain criminal behavior by evaluating the behavioral, cognitive, and environmental dimensions of human action. As such, individuals learn how to engage in crime. One area of social learning theory that has seen a lack of research is in regard to gun usage patterns among criminals. This research examines the learning process of gun use in crime by using a survey methodology on a group of prisoners from the Supermax prison in Arkansas (houses the worst of the worst criminals in terms of criminal history and offense seriousness). Analyses suggest that traditional criminological variables associated with learning behavior have no impact on whether offenders are currently serving sentences where a gun was used, rather situational indicators (drug use, self defense, etc.) were more prevalent in gun criminality.  

21. How Dark Adaptation Affects Viewing Hybrid Images 

Jennifer Jenkins (PSY)

The difference between the distance at which an individual is able to perceive the change from one image to the next in a hybrid image, or an image with a high spatial frequency imbedded with a different image with low spatial frequency, was examined in bright and low light conditions. Each participant observed 3 hybrid images created by Aude Oliva and Antonio Torralba. The 3 images were observed under both conditions and an interpersonal comparison was made between the two. The distance at which participants’ ability to perceive the change in a hybrid image significantly decreased from the bright light condition to the low light condition. 

22. Congressional Approval and What Affects It

Andrew Johnson, Megan Smith, Ann Cox, & Rebecca Dawson (GWA)

Many studies have been done to find reasoning behind Congressional approval. We feel it is a good time to reassess the reasoning because of the political climate the United States is currently in. For the most part government has been set up with the President and Congress controlled by different parties. The current situation gives us a unique opportunity to do the study under different conditions.

23. Union of South American Nations and its Expected Effects on Economy and Education 

Randall Johnson (GWA)

The Union of South American Nations is an economic block of nations, encompassing all independent nations of South America, similar in structure to the European Union. The countries that I will be analyzing are Guyana, Surinam, and Brazil. The current focus of USAN, English acronym for the Union of South American Nations, is the formation of a single market, infrastructure cooperation, and the free movement of people. Argentina, Guyana, Surinam, and Brazil being a few of the nations in the region have a very promising opportunity in front of them. The goal of my study is to determine what effects such a political and economic union would have on the region and on the countries in my study in particular. 

24. The Relationship Between Depression and Eating Disorders

Sofia Kewalramai (PSY)

Depression and eating disorders are the two sensitive clinical issues that result in several negative changes in the body. Research suggests that eating disorders in individuals occur due to several reasons such as having a high rate of stress, anxiety and depression. Research has shown that gender plays a large role in the two cases, stating that women have a higher rate of eating disorders and depression compared to men. The data for this research was based on a non-clinical population of undergraduate students at The University of Tampa.  This research measured depression and its relationship with eating disorders in a non-clinical population using the EAT scale that measures eating attitudes and the DASS scale that is used to measure depression. The present study confirms the past findings within this population.

25. Male and Female Fitness Behavior on a College Campus

Jenna Kipetz (PSY 200)

The purpose of this study was to determine whether college males or females work out at the gym more often, and what type of activity each gender dominates in. Thus the major grouping variables for this experiment were gender and type of physical activity. Observations took place at McNiff Fitness Center at the University of Tampa to determine specific numbers of males and females over the course of one week. Contrary to the idea that females are more self-conscious and the fact that females outnumber males at the University, results illustrated that it is actually the men who outnumber the women at the gym. Overall this study depicted that significant differences exist between male and female behavior at the gym.

26. Public Opinion: Security Assistance or Humanitarian Aid

Evangelyn Kirk & Maria Laborde (GWA)

Foreign aid can be economic, military, or “emergency humanitarian.” According to USAID, foreign assistance is in the national interest of the United States, as it fosters “freedom, security, and opportunity.”1 Researchers have attempted to explain public opinion of such aid in the United States; yet, there is an uneven distribution of research available on the population’s preferences. What types of aid do American citizens approve the most: security assistance or humanitarian aid? We gathered information about gender, race, education, income, age, and political affiliation with hopes that this information could serve to predict which way public opinion will be moving. This will provide beneficial information to policy makers and provide insight to scholars who wish to elaborate on these ideas.

27. The Effects of Newsource on Political Knowledge 

Sara Kurish, Scott Ouellette, Megan Tobin, & Briana Zupko  (GWA)

For our research paper we looked at the question “does where one gets his or her news affect political knowledge?” In order to take examine this question we surveyed a random sample of Hillsborough County residents via telephone from a list of random numbers. We took a closer look at the level of political knowledge of respondents in terms of new source: newspaper, television, and internet. We also tested to see if there was a difference between the effects of national news compared to local news. More specifically we looked at whether certain news networks, such as New York Times and CNN, has significant effects on political knowledge. 

28. Blaming Gender: Cognitive Biases in the Assignment of Blame Based on Gender 

Katherine Langevin & Sarah Mauldin (PSY)

The current study examined the impact of gender on the assignment of blame. Past research shows that differences in victim blaming can be affected by gender, age, political views, personality and whether or not the participant has been a victim themselves. Researchers hypothesized that participants would not blame the victim due to their age, when the victim was female doctors would get more blame, and when the victim was male the nurse would get more blame. Researchers developed four different scenarios that had a negative outcome. After reading the scenario given them, participants filled out a short survey on the scenario. Results show moderately significant differences in blame assignment based on victim gender, presence of a nurse or doctor, and interaction between the two variables. 

29. The Effect of Experimenter- v. Self- Generated Keyword Mnemonics on Foreign Language Recall 

Jackie Maass & Meagan Suarez (PSY)

Past research has shown that the keyword mnemonic method can be effective in foreign language recall. The current study predicted the keyword mnemonic method would provide better recall than the control and experimenter-generated keywords would be more effective than self-generated keywords. A within-subjects design was implemented with three experimental conditions: experimenter-generated keyword, self-generated keyword, and repetition. The first recall test was given immediately after participants studied all three word conditions. The second recall test was given 48 hours after the initial session, and the final recall test was given one week after the initial session. Results showed a marginally significant effect of the study method condition on recall performance. Both time and the interaction effect were found to be significant. 

30. Inattentional Blindness in University Students 

Tracy McNamara & Lucy Monette (PSY)

This study was designed to examine the phenomenon of inattentional blindness and its effect on University students. Fifteen undergraduate students were asked to give directions to lost individuals outside of a dormitory located on The University of Tampa campus.  While directions were being given, two people carrying a large wooden board interrupted the interaction. As this happened, one person holding the board switched places with the original person asking for directions.  Students were unaware of their participation in the experiment until after their session was completed at which point they were asked a series of questions and asked to sign a consent form. Of the fifteen students tested only four noticed a change in individuals. The main change observed by participants was from a white female to an African American male. 

31. Texting-Who’s More Distracted? 

Caroline Metell  (PSY 200)

The purpose of my project was to see whether males or females texted more while performing other tasks.  The prediction was that females were more likely to multitask.  People were observed in various places on campus: the cafeteria, Spartan Club, Stadium, and the library.  When people were texting, it was noted whether they were performing other tasks.  The observations showed that females do indeed text more often than males at these locations.  However the males texted too, but they never texted while in groups, while the females texted regardless if they were alone or not. In conclusion, since both genders tended to text while performing other tasks, maybe people are all just really busy, trying to keep in contact with people at all times.

32. Comparative Analysis: Human Diversity Ultimately Affects the Economic Stability in a Nation- Case Study: Argentina, Brazil, and Chile

Melissa Morin (GWA)

In this comparative study, research is gathered from the demographics of Argentina, Brazil and Chile through the CIA World Factbook and other research materials where a comparison has been made to determine whether demographics and cultural diversity affect a nation’s political and economic stability. The findings were that although cultural variety in each nation can affect the political makeup and the economic value through labor in one way, there are other factors that contribute to the success of a nation’s stability. In the case of Argentina, stability did reign before the economic collapse, and Argentina is predominantly Caucasian and European. This research goes a bit in depth in the theories and possibilities of culture being a main factor for stability and growth of development, but it is not conclusive with other research information that states that it is the definite cause. 

33. This is Your Victory

Lorra Murphy, Alicia Robillon, & Eunice Nguru (GWA)

The 2008 Presidential election was not only a monumental event but in the end made obvious an apparent split between the left and the right.  News media outlets showcased voters on the left parading through the streets over the nomination of President Barack Obama.  All the while late night news broadcasts voiced the cries of the left as they declared “facts” that would delegitimize President Barack Obama, and the 2008 Presidential election at large.  It was this dynamic display of passion and political activism that peaked our interest into what led to President Barack Obama’s landslide victory.  Within our research we looked at both Republican and Democratic Presidential candidates of 2008 and were led to believe that it was the physical characteristics of both candidates (ethnicity, gender, age, and so on) that led to the final results the evening of November 4, 2008.  Using a random digit dial method a sample of Hillsborough county residents were surveyed over the phone and the data collected was used in our analysis  through SPSS.    

34. Caste Systems and Discrimination in Latin America: Their Origins, Evolution, and Present-day Manifestations 

Daniel Olson (GWA)

In this research paper I will explore the effects of the colonial origins of the caste system on the current political and socioeconomic standings of Latin American nations.  Specifically, I will be using Mexico, Brazil, and the Dominican Republic as case studies. Isolating as the primary variables for analysis the prevalence of race mixing in each case study country, and the perceived levels of racism, or discrimination in those countries, this paper aims to draw new conclusions about racial mixing and its effect on discrimination in Latin American societies.  It is my expectation that upon examination, nations with larger mixed-race populations will clearly exhibit discrimination to a lesser extent than those nations with more extreme polarization between white and dark skinned (Amerindian and Black) populations. 

35. The Socialist Shift in Latin America

Robert Palko (GWA)

My paper focuses on the Socialist shift in Latin America. Socialism has spread from country to country in one form or another in Latin America. I conducted case studies on Brazil, Venezuela, and Bolivia. In my paper I seek to evaluate why Socialism is becoming popular in Latin America. Population size, demographics, and the level of development are all key factors in the spread of Socialist ideals. Interestingly, these factors determine the degree of Socialism a country pursues. I found that Socialism is popular in Latin America because social inequality and years of impoverishment have created a mass movement for change in government. There is no one form of Socialism, rather varying degrees based on country specific issues.  

36. The American Parti Pris: The Effect of Political Knowledge on Policy Approval

Nathalia Pirela, Scott Silvestro, Gregory Lederman, & Joshua Griffin (GWA)

In American politics it is easy to base one’s decisions on the knowledge obtained through everyday news media and other sources. This knowledge obtained through media sources tends to be the main educating factor in many American voters. This research paper will conduct a survey on political knowledge among individuals in the Hillsborough County area. The research poses several hypotheses on political knowledge as well as approval of particular public policies; which will aid in the study of whether knowledge affects the approval of certain policies. The individuals’ responses were compared on a frequency distribution table. This table allowed us to compare the data on the individuals surveyed, to give us an un-biased collection of data on political knowledge and its effect on policy approval.

37. The Media’s Use of Framing in Public Opinion Polls

Laura Plaske (GWA)

This study assessed the media’s use of framing and its effects on public perception of government.  The study used both a random sample of the Hillsborough community as well as public opinion polls conducted by various media outlets.  It was hypothesized that when framing effects were present within public opinion polls there would be an effect on the outcome.  The results showed a significant relationship between the use of framing effects and the outcome of the public opinion poll.

38. The Change Blindness Effect 

Laura Rathke (PSY)

Change blindness is a commonly used effect that allows movie makers to use a scene that may have a slight error in it. Most people will deny that they would not notice a major change in a scene; however research by Simmons and Levin (1998) showed that only 50% of people noticed a change in the person they were talking to when it was changed. This experiment was done by alternating pictures with only one large difference between a gray mask. The time of the pictures and the gray mask were the dependent variables and the time it took to find the change was the dependent variable. The hypothesis was that the faster alternations and gray mask would produce a faster time, and the results were only marginally significant.

39. Practice Effects of The Muller-Lyer Illusion 

Tonya Rogers (PSY)

In my experiment volunteers were asked to participant in a Muller-Lyer Illusion that contained two conditions.  Half the participants did a set of 20 trials were they had to manipulate a line to the same length of an already existing line.  The other half of the participants had to do the first 10 trials and then wait twenty-four hours before doing the second set of 10 trials.  All results were recorded and an independent t-test was run.  Results showed that there was no significant difference between the delay and no-delay condition.  This experiment showed that the practice effect were the same for the delay and no-delay condition.            

40. Are Girls More Helpful Than Boys?

Mike Seitzler (PSY 200)

The purpose of this study was to find whether or not gender plays a role in community service. Do specific types of volunteering draw more of one sex than the other? This study looked at various types of community service projects in which male and female students participated. Ten events were tallied with over 140 participants.  An overwhelming majority were females, 77 percent. Male participation was low in most areas, except when community service involved working with kids. Various interpretations were discussed.

41. Does Political Knowledge Affect Approval of Public Policy?

Scott Silvestro , Greg Lederman, Josh Griffin, & Nathalia Pirela (GWA)

In American politics it is easy to base one’s decisions on the knowledge obtained through everyday news media and other sources.  This knowledge obtained through media sources tends to be the main educating factor in many American voters.  This research paper will conduct a survey on political knowledge among individuals in the Hillsborough County area.  The research poses several hypotheses on political knowledge as well as approval of particular public policies; which will aid in the study of whether knowledge affects the approval of certain policy issues.  The individuals’ responses were compared on a frequency distribution table.  This table allowed us to compare the data on the individuals surveyed, to give us an un-biased collection of research on political knowledge and approval.

42. Fashion Trend Differences For Males And Females At The Gym

Deandra Smith (PSY 200)

The current study investigated the fashion trends between males and females who attend the gym at The University of Tampa. The hypothesis of the study was that females tend to dress more fashionable than males. The individuals were classified into two categories: basic work -out clothes that were color coordinated vs. ordinary, everyday clothes. Gender was used as the grouping variable and the dependent measures included the type of clothing, time of day and day of the week.  There seemed to be differences between males and females with their style of dress. Females tend to be more stylish and color coordinated with basic work-out clothing while the majority of males wore ordinary, everyday clothing to the gym. 

43. Police-Citizen Encounter: Testing the Court’s Reasonable Person Test

Dana Stewart, Erik Dolgoff, & Jenine Rossington (CRM)

This research project explored the psychological obedience-to-authority literature and legal decisions applying the United States Supreme Court’s “reasonable objective person” test in Fourth-Amendment -police-citizen-encounter cases.  First, the study qualitatively examined decisions made by the highest courts in several states and identified the factors relied on by those court in determining whether reasonable persons perceived that police-citizen encounters were consensual, or not.  Second, the study quantitatively examined , using a survey  of identical police-citizen encounters,  respondent observations on whether they perceived encounters were consensual or not and the reasons for their decisions as compared with those of the courts. The findings were mixed. Respondents were more likely to agree with the courts’ decision about whether the encounter was consensual, or not. But, the respondents reasons for that decision were very different. 

44. Study Habits of Females Versus Males

Rae Turnquest (PSY 200)

The purpose of the current experiment was to investigate the study time of males and females. Observation of the participants was taken in the MacDonald-Kelce Library at the University of Tampa. Total time spent in the library, on any given day of the week, was observed in 24 males and 24 females. Results showed that females spend a longer time in the library than males do. Males were more likely to spend 30 minutes or less in the library and females were more likely to spend 31 minutes or more in the library. Females spend more time in the library, perhaps because they find the quiet atmosphere conducive to studying.

45. Mathematics and Music: The Autosimilar Melody

Christopher Warren (MAT)

The presented work is motivated from purely musical topics, namely the class of 'selfRep melodies' defined as melodies that contain theselves in augmentation. These melodies (termed as autosimilar) have been mathematically studied by means of abstract algebra (group theory), and some of their properties have been algebraically generalized. From my research, I have come across a number of popular musical pieces that fall into the realm of the autosimilar melody and have even been able to compose my own. This process is now a straightforward tool, both for composers and analysts, in Open Music visual programming language.

46. Gender Differences among the Laundry Habits of College Students

Francie Watson (PSY 200)

The purpose of the hypothesis was to understand gender differences in behaviors pertaining to household chores, specifically laundry. The variables studied were date, time, gender, whether or not the wash was separated, waited or left, came with a group or not, used a dryer sheet, folded the clothes, and measured the detergent. The observations supported the hypothesis in that females tended to separate and fold their clothes immediately after removing from the dryer more often than males. However, there was little evidence showing that females are more likely to do their laundry in pairs or groups. There are several reasons why females remain more attentive to household cleaning chores, mostly because of social norms and environmental upbringing. Still, college years are a time when adolescents are forced to gain responsibility, so it is only natural to see just as many males as females doing their own laundry.

47. Depressed Mood, Caffeine, and Reaction Times Positive, Negative, and Perfectionistic Words

Tessa Wimberley, Dr. Jeff Skowronek, & Dr. Mike Stasio (PSY)

This study examined the effects of depressed mood and caffeine on reaction times to words related to depression, perfectionism, and positive emotions. Fifty undergraduate women who were classified as either minimally (n = 28) or mild-moderately depressed (n = 22), chewed gum containing either 100 mg of caffeine or no caffeine, and then completed a computerized lexical decision task. As predicted, findings illustrated that students experiencing depressed mood had significantly faster reaction times to word stimuli related to depression and perfectionism. No differences were found with positive emotion words. Caffeine increased reaction times across all 4 word categories, but only for students without depression. Caffeine actually appeared to slow reaction times for students experiencing mild-moderate depressed mood. 

About the Conference

The University of Tampa Undergraduate Research Conference allows students to present original, empirical research within any area of the disciplines represented by the College of Social Science, Mathematics and Education. The first conference was in April 2006 and has been held annually since. At the third event held in April 2008, prizes for the best posters were awarded. The fifth event (April 2010) saw a wider representation of posters from across the college.

Example citation for the work presented here

Blessing, S. B., & Einstein, A. (2010, April). Investigations into the psychology of time perception. Poster presented at the Spring 2010 CSSME Undergraduate Research Conference, Tampa, FL.

Copyright © 2006-2007 Stephen Blessing. All rights reserved.