Category Archives: Volume 53. No. 3-4, 2016

Efficacy of an Experiential Career Curriculum on Professionalism by Julie S. Costopoulos & Rebecca M.S. Howes

Psychology undergraduates typically encounter a curriculum immersed in research skills, clinical theory and prominent findings in the field. They compose research papers, participate in group projects and sit for many examinations. These students are also encouraged to think critically, produce ethical academic products, and hone their communication skills. However, these first four comprehensive learning goals asserted by the American Psychological Association (2013), which are main components of most psychological undergraduate educations, are of little use without the last one: professional development. This comprehensive learning goal provides the link between the classroom and the workplace, but is often minimized or overlooked; a disservice to those seeking employment. Unless students are also guided on how to apply their knowledge in the workplace and encouraged to develop their own professional identities, the rich education that undergraduate psychology students receive in our nation’s universities is underutilized. It is the duty of the current generation of psychology educators to invest in the next generation of psychological professionals. The transition between the classroom and the workplace is essential to post-graduation success, and can be achieved by personal and professional development courses as part of the undergraduate psychology curriculum.

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Facebook Research: Neglected Areas of Scholarly Investigation, 2012-2015 by Chris Piotrowski

A major benefit in performing a topical content analysis is the identification of neglected (low frequency) areas largely ignored by researchers. Such bibliometric analyses provide a comprehensive overview on the extent of investigatory emphasis and de-emphasis of specific research topics. In order to identify neglected areas of academic focus regarding the topic of Facebook, this study reports on a systematic content analysis of 700 journal articles (Where the term Facebook appears in the Title) indexed in the database PsycINFO from 2012-2015. The major topical areas of investigatory neglect regarding Facebook include: Cyberbullying, multi-tasking, unfriending, use by potential employers, emotional responsivity, interpersonal aggression, use by faculty, and gender differences. These findings suggest that the extant research literature regarding Facebook a) is nascent in character, and b) does not reflect some key areas of intellectual interest frequently discussed in the popular media. Future studies, mapping the scholarship and domain structure of Facebook research, would benefit from comparative bibliometric analyses of academic databases outside the purview of the social sciences.

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Time Course Analysis of the Activation and Suppression of Pre-existing Associations in an Episodic Memory Task: A Brief Revisit by Kenneth L. Carter

In this study we explored the influence of pre-existing associations that are primed in an extralist cued episodic memory task. The key variable was target set size. Experiments 1 and 2 demonstrated that target set size effects were obtained even when the target was exposed very briefly (250 ms) and was not attenuated until encoding durations of 100 ms. Experiment 3 explored the time course for attenuation of target set size effects when target items were encoded in the presence of a meaningfully-related context word. Unlike the short intervals needed for activation, experiment 3 demonstrated that reduction of competition requires substantial processing time as set size effects were reduced only at relatively long exposure durations.

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Potential Implications of Legalized Marijuana by Michael W. Firmin, Kelley C. Pugh, Valerie A. Sohn, Andrew T. Voss, & Ying-Ruey Chuang

The present article points out that, due to potential consequences, marijuana legalization would have a negative overall impact on U.S. citizens. We cite research showing that some marijuana users will substitute the substance for prescription psychotropic medications, addiction numbers will increase within states that legalize the substance, increased accidents are likely to occur, marijuana use will gateway to other more addictive drugs, and extended marijuana use will negatively impact job performance. We advocate that since (a) so much is yet unknown, (b) the potential consequences can be devastating, life-long, and impact thousands of individuals, and (c) once this type of law passes it is highly unlikely to be reversed, then it is best for U.S. states to exercise caution regarding legalization at present.

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Study Habits as Predictors of Exam Scores by Collin M. Juergens

This study examined the use of self-testing, self-reported motivation, and time spent studying in relation to exam scores. Eighty-nine undergraduate students in a social psychology class completed a questionnaire to measure these study habits. The use of self-testing and motivation were measured using the respective subscales of the second edition Learning and Study Strategies Inventory (LASSI-2). Self-testing and time spent studying were not correlated with exam scores, greater motivation did correlate with higher exam scores (p = .042), and students who completed this study’s questionnaire scored significantly higher than those who did not (p = .014). These results suggest that students’ motivation for studying is the most important factor for predicting academic success.

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The Many Situations in Which Desired Changes in Others Are More Likely To Be Elicited by Elliott Schuman

Professionals as well as nonprofessionals seek to alter the attitudes and behaviors of others. The techniques (termed interventions), evolved by professionals in their psychotherapeutic practices to address a broad spectrum of interpersonal and situational problems, are intended to enable clients to evolve beneficial changes. Such interventions are utilizable as well by nonprofessionals, although assistance may produce faster and more effective outcomes. Included in this paper are the circumstances that typically motivate the interventions, their objectives, and (in the reference section) a sampling of publications describing the procedures, examples of additional devices that may be resorted to, and the rationales underlying the interventions and supplementary devices.

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Depression and Anxiety Decline after Participation in a Semester Long Yoga Class by Jeremy E. C. Genovese & Kristine M. Fondran

Students at large Midwestern University completed the short form of the Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale (DASS 21) at the beginning and end of a semester long yoga class. The class was taught by an experienced yoga instructor and included physical postures (asana), breathing practice (pranayama), and meditation (including yoga nidra). The classes met twice a week over a 16 week semester and each class lasted for 50 minutes. The participants showed statistically significant declines in depression, and anxiety. Stress also decreased, but the results were not statistically significant.

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The College Professor’s Compendium of Laws, Theorems, and Concepts with Support Sources by Joel Charles Snell

This article is based on the assumption that although there are thousands of laws, theorems and concepts dealing with human behavior, the ones sited in this article appear to be some of the most important and most likely to occur in the classroom and similar arenas. The compendium can be used in the classroom presentation along with this article. This reinforcement is meant to support the professor’s presentation relative to the laws; others may disagree.

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Psychosocial Status in Emerging Adult Females: Impact of Pubertal Timing and ADHD Symptoms by Dragana Ostojic, Brianne Brooker, Molly Cairncross, & Carlin J. Miller

Previously disparate lines of research have suggested differential contributions of pubertal timing and attention and impulse control problems in predicting functional outcomes in university-aged females. Female participants (N = 169; Mage = 20.19 ± 1.68) completed a series of measures targeting inattention and impulsivity, mental health history, retrospectively-reported relative pubertal timing, and functional psychosocial impairment. A multiple regression analysis was conducted, with mental health history, inattention and impulsivity, and pubertal timing (early vs. on-time) serving as predictors, and total impairment as the outcome variable.  Symptoms of ADHD (β = 0.43) and early pubertal timing (β = 0.15) were significantly predictive of overall impairment.  Results suggest that inattention, impulsivity, and relative retrospective pubertal timing have implications for functioning, well into early adulthood.  

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The Intractability of Observational Bias to Instructional Sets by Elizabeth Hanna, Michael L. Raulin, Krystle A. Van Dyke, & Rae’ven Crum

As part of a research program on teaching critical thinking skills, this study explored the extent to which observational biases can be attenuated through instructional sets using the Illusory Correlational paradigm first developed by Chapman and Chapman (1967). This paradigm asked subjects to observe clinical protocols of Draw-a-Person figures allegedly drawn by clients with specified clinical problems. The subjects were to later report what aspects of the drawings were predictive of which clinical problems. However, the protocols were constructed so that there were no relationships between any aspect of the drawing and any clinical problem, yet previous research shows that subjects routinely see strong relationships. Subjects were randomly assigned to three groups: one replicating the instructions of Chapman and Chapman (1967), one warning people that it is easy to be fooled in this task, and a third that encouraged note-taking to avoid being fooled. Warning subjects reduced the observational bias by 15% and encouraging note-taking reduced it by 20%. Only the note-taking condition showed a statistically significant reduction in the illusory correlation bias, even with roughly 60 subjects per group. These instructions are clearly insufficient to eliminate observational bias and thus produce the kind of accurate observations on which high-quality personal decisions can rest. The authors suggest alternative strategies for reducing such biases as the first step in obtaining the kind of accurate observations necessary for effective critical thinking.

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