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Psychology majors demonstrate breadth of knowledge by successfully completing a comprehensive exam, given in three parts that cover major areas of the field (e.g., cognitive, developmental, learning, personality, physiological, social). They also have the opportunity to pursue an area of psychology in greater depth by completing a senior thesis. One thesis option (PSY 495-496) allows a student(s) to perform an empirical investigation of a research problem (review background evidence, design and carry out a study, and write up the findings) over both semesters of the senior year. The other thesis option (PSY 493) is a one-semester in-depth, integrative review of the scientific literature on a topic in psychology. All students will publicly present their work. Both options allow students to apply the skills and knowledge they have acquired over their first three years, and pursue a topic in which they are most interested. 

2017 (P495-496, Two Semesters)

Fall 2016 & Spring 2017 (P493, One Semester) 




2017 (P495-496, Two Semesters)

Ran Bi and Sarah Salazar


Research on bilingualism reveals cognitive advantages, particularly in executive functioning abilities. The present study examines the neural basis of the bilingual advantage using EEG with a numeric task switching paradigm. There were 26 DePauw University students who participated, including 13 English monolinguals and 13 bilinguals who spoke English and another language. We predicted that bilinguals would display a smaller switch cost and mixing cost and more efficient working memory compared to monolinguals, and that this would be related to differences in ERP activity at parietal electrodes. Physiological data revealed significant effects for switching cost and mixing cost, in which the bilinguals displayed smaller costs. Efficiency in working memory was neither supported or rejected, since bilinguals and monolinguals performed dramatically differently from one another. This study extends previous knowledge about task switching and bilinguals and may be important to understand the effects of life experiences on cognitive ability.

Vyvian Borse and Kayli Schaefer


This study examined knowledge, attitudes, sex education, and sexual behavior associated with HPV and the HPV vaccine among college students. Variables from the health belief model (HBM), theory of planned behavior (TPB), and transtheoretical model (TTM) were evaluated for their ability to predict vaccine uptake and intentions. Potential gender differences were also examined. A self-administered, web-based questionnaire was emailed to college students. Key findings included that vaccine uptake completion was high (57%), but HPV knowledge (52.8%) and perceived susceptibility were low. No gender differences were found in HPV vaccine uptake nor HPV vaccine knowledge which implies uptake rates and knowledge seem to be increasing among men. Sexual behaviors and safe sex practices did not vary by vaccination status, presence of sex communication with parents/guardians, and type of sex education. A series of hierarchical linear regressions revealed that the HBM was a stronger theoretical guide for predicting vaccination status than the TPB (p < .001). However, the HBM and TPB models equally predicted vaccine intentions. Perceived barriers emerged as a significant predictor of vaccine uptake for men (p = .003) and women (p = .002), while subjective norms was significant for men only (p = .024). Regarding intentions, barriers was a significant predictor for men (p = .003) and subjective norms was a significant predictor for women (p = .03). Advertising campaigns seeking to increase vaccination rates might be most effective using different strategies for men and women.

Kelsey Cobbs and Charles Weber

Mood Manipulation and Cognitive bias modification: effects on biases and emotionality

Numerous forms of treatment are available for mood and anxiety disorders. However, in the last decade, a new treatment, cognitive bias modification (CBM), has gained popularity. CBM works through training paradigms which redirect the use of cognitive biases to perceive and judge stimuli. By manipulating these biases, patients have shown more positive interpretations to ambiguous scenarios as well as less attentional focus on negative stimuli. Mood has been found to be a critical component in CBM through valenced training. Inducing a positive mood can accentuate CBM’s effects on anxious/depressive symptoms. This study explores the interaction between either a passive or elaborative mood manipulation and a passive or elaborative CBM-Interpretation paradigm. Further, the research investigates how the cognitive levels of processing used in each condition influence anxiety, affect, and emotional reactivity. By combining the International Affective Picture System (IAPS) mood manipulation and the Word Sentence Association Paradigm (WSAP) training, we found that optimal training effects were achieved through pairing elaboration of the IAPS images with feedback from the WSAP.

Jonatan J. Delgado and Micah R. Rhodes

ostracism: Negative Effects and the Effectiveness of an animal coping intervention

All living beings have been excluded at various points in their lives by another individual or by entire social groups. Ostracism occurs when these exclusionary events lead to detrimental consequences, such as negative affect, a depletion of basic human psychological needs, and an overall feeling of loneliness. Using Williams’ (2009) temporal need-threat model as a theoretical framework and his online ostracism game, Cyberball, the current study examined the negative consequences that come from being ostracized and a possible coping intervention. The researchers examined past research in ostracism, coping interventions, and animal coping therapy to create an animal interaction intervention designed to offset the psychological costs of ostracism. The results found that the ostracism manipulation did lead to a threat to the four fundamental needs; however, the animal interaction intervention did not provide significant results to support the hypothesis that it would be a viable coping strategy for ostracism. These findings are discussed with the limitations of this study and with directions for future research.


Erika Kischuk

social identity complexity and self-concept clarity in the collective narcissist

High levels of identification with a group as a source of identity certainty can lead to the development of a simple social identity. This paper argues that a simple social identity combined with low identity certainty motivates an individual to evaluate their group as being better than others, and may lead to association with a group high in collective narcissism. The main hypothesis was that there would be an interaction between self-concept clarity and social identity complexity such that low levels of both would account for higher levels of collective narcissism. Results indicate that the interaction between self-concept clarity and social identity complexity does in fact occur, but in the opposite direction as expected, R2 = .13, ΔR2 = .06, B = -.47, β = -.27, p < 0.05.

Clay Langley  

the role of personality in strategy adaptation for iterated prisoner's dilemma

Cooperation is important for the formation and survival of groups, but too much selflessness leaves one open to being taken advantage of. Thus the ability to effectively make decisions about when to cooperate and when to serve one’s self-interests is as vital to a group’s cohesion as the ability to cooperate itself. Research using iterated prisoner’s dilemma (IPD), a two-player game that allows for examination of an individual’s behavior over repeated encounters with the same opponent, has shown that personality can predict initial cooperativeness. However, the role of personality in the adaptation of these strategies over multiple games remained unclear. The current study examines whether personality and risk attitude can predict not just cooperativeness but ability to form and adapt a strategy as well. Participants completed the Big Five Aspect Scales (DeYoung, Quilty, & Peterson, 2007) and Risk Taking Index (Nicholson et al., 2005), then played an incentivized IPD tournament against five AI opponents. While no connection between risk-taking and cooperation was found, results showed that individuals with higher scores on agreeableness and the compassion aspect of agreeableness were found to be more likely to cooperate over the entire course of the tournament, even when facing uncooperative opponents. Results also demonstrate that personality plays a role in strategy adaptation. Individuals with higher scores on the intellect aspect of openness to experience were found to be more likely to adapt their strategy within the game.

Larry T. Lewis  

examining the onset and continuation of trust

Trust is a core aspect of the human existence, and it is imperative that we learn to trust one another. Even though every person has experienced trust in some way, trust has an incredible amount of mystery surrounding it. In regards to study, trust has been operationalized and examined but it has rarely been truly dissected. The goal of the present work was to intricately detail how trust develops and how it maintains, ultimately giving trust a structure that explains as many nuances as possible. In doing so, many different situations and factors involved in trusting must be examined including one’s history with close relationships. The present work conducted a study to test an aspect of trust structure, attachment. The objective of the study was to investigate a possible relationship between trust and attachment style. This study found that there was no statistical difference in general trust, regardless of relationship status. This study also found that those who were not in a relationship had more inferior attachment styles, which were anxious and avoidant. These findings suggest that attachment style is related to one’s ability to obtain and maintain a more intense relationship, supporting part of the foundation of trust structure. Trust structure would increase the depth in which trust can be examined, which would increase the range of trust research tenfold. 


Fall 2016 and Spring 2017 (P493, One Semester)

Eleazar Adjehoun

Self-Regulation: Assessment and Intervention 

Self-regulation, ego depletion, self-control, and stereotype threat have all been studied extensively in psychology; however, the merits and implications of a collaborative integration of these constructs has otherwise been neglected.  In this literature review, the benefits of integrating and adapting these theories to improve learning and performance are analyzed through a variety of disciplines. Specifically, the advantages of implementing various intervention strategies to combat the adverse effects of these constructs is explored. This review examines implications of self-regulation, ego depletion, and stereotype threat in the context of allostatic stress, academic performance, and intervention strategies. Each of these topics offer invaluable insights into how we evaluate and understand learning and performance, so that educators can effectively construct and implement interventions that are most conducive to the academic and social success of students across the board.

Emily Bell

grit and happiness: Contradictory or complementary?  An examination of what makes like good

The purpose of this literature review is to investigate if, how, and when grit and happiness, two seemingly incompatible constructs, align to make life good. Grit is a character trait, coined by psychologist Angela Duckworth as passion and perseverance for long-term goals. Research on grit has proliferated in the scientific community as well as the popular press. Possessing grittiness appears to predict a range of successful outcomes over and beyond measures of talent and personality. Happiness, a more established concept that has been explored from both psychological and philosophical perspectives, involves positive feelings and emotions, contentment, and life satisfaction. Grit is associated with various types of successes, but these achievements are not the only aspirations in life –  happiness is surely important, too. This literature review first summarizes the foundations of the two constructs separately and then examines the relationship between grit and happiness, ultimately finding that while the two concepts tend to align more than not, the relationship is complex. Perhaps most importantly, the grit construct warrants further research.  

Katherine D. Bender

influence of appearance-based judgments of guilt or innocence in the judicial system

The United States legal system is designed to be a fair and just system, where all defendants are innocent until proven guilty and evidence is assumed to be objectively presented. However, subjective judgments are often made with information beyond what is presented in the courtroom. This thesis focuses on how four specific areas of appearance-based judgments influence sentencing outcomes in the courtroom. Researchers have found evidence to support the idea that individuals base judgments off sex, race, facial features, and overall attractiveness when inferring a defendant’s guilt or innocence. For example, people rely heavily on facial cues such as the presence of facial tattoos (Funk & Todorov, 2013), and racial stereotypes (Doerner & Demuth, 2010), when assessing guilt or innocence of individuals in the courtroom. This literature on appearance-based factors that influence judgments in court cases provides insight into the process of specific factors that may influence outcomes beyond the objective evidence provided in a trial. The implications of this area of the literature on perceptions and judgments is important for those involved in all aspects of the legal process and can have serious lifetime effects on those being observed in the courtroom.

Evelyn C. Brosius

criminal profiling: Predicting future illicit behavior through assessments of personality

Investigations  into  potential  methods  of  criminal  profiling  have  consistently  produced disappointing  and  empirically  lacking  conclusions.  As  a  result,  the  goal  of  this  literature  review is  to  explore  modern  day  criminal  profiling  through  a  psychological  lens.  Since  criminal profiling  is  such  a  dynamic  and  broadly  defined  term,  this  review  focuses  specifically  on  the concept  of  psychological  profiling,  as  influenced  by  suspect­based  profiling.  A  combined approach  like  this,  according  to  the  literature,  should  reasonably  reduce  the  risk  of  racial profiling  and  improper  application  of  the  offender  homology.  Additionally,  this  review  seeks  to highlight  the  predictive  value  of  personality  assessments  for  general  traits  and  for  trait psychopathy  in  cases  of  criminal  intent,  behavior,  and  recidivism.  Furthermore,  due  to  the misconceptions  of  criminal  profiling,  created  by  the  erroneous  lens  of  fiction  and  the  media,  this review  will  shed  some  light  on  the  actual  components  of  criminal  profiling,  while  encouraging its  integration  into  law  enforcement  processes.

Brian Chan

the adjustment to college: disadvantaged groups

As individuals undergo times of transition in their lives such as moving locations for jobs or schools, their new environment will likely include increased stressors. Some stressors are increased effort in moving locations or feelings of exclusion in a novel environment (Hervey, 2009). One type of adjustment that has been heavily focused on within the literature is the adjustment to college, due to factors that make transitioning even more challenging. For example, college comes with a multitude of new stressors such as increased academic difficulty and pressure to find new friends (Crede & Niehorster, 2011). Prior literature has found stressors that come with adjusting to a new environment, such as college, are experienced less intensely with increased social support. Social support aids to adjustment, acting as a resource that reduces the likelihood of perceived stressors, therefore emphasizing it's importance for college students  (Azmitia & Syed, 2013; Mattanah et al., 2010). By acknowledging the increased stressors and difficulty in adjustment to college, this thesis has created three main goals. The first goal is to identify the influence of social support and it's role in successfully adjusting to one's new college. The second goal is to identify groups that are disadvantaged in their access to social support and the keys factors, which lessen that access. Finally, the thesis plans to offer a new perspective and systematic interventions to lessen the problems of inequality in the adjustment to college.  As a higher percentage of disadvantaged students enter the college environment, it is essential to study ways to increase equality in the adjustment to college. 

Shelby Grace Cusack

race, gender, and social biases in the criminal justice system of the united states

Many people believe that we live in a society where justice is blind.  The judicial system is meant to be a place where everyone has the right to an attorney and where justice is served based on evidence presented in a fair trial.  Unfortunately, this is not always the case due to unconscious biases and stereotypes of individuals who partake in the judicial process.  Previous research has shown evidence with race, gender, age, and socioeconomic status (SES) being key characteristics in juror judgements of guilt.  Furthermore, personal characteristics exist within the juror population that can also influence verdicts in court.  By analyzing these biases and stereotypes in the judicial system, one can be better aware of their impact and existence in the courtroom.

 Akil Davis

 an evolutionary perspective on the influence of the dark triad on career success with a focus on psychopathy

For most people, being successful in life is their goal. In order to achieve success though, some people believe that certain characteristics within a person may promote more success than other characteristics. While these characteristics vary across fields of study and the type of work being done, other characteristics exist that are generally believed to undermine success. These “dark” traits, however, may have some evolutionary benefits. Previous research provides evidence that some aspects of the Dark Triad may in fact promote success. The Triad consists of three components: narcissism, machiavellianism, and psychopathy. By analyzing the features of the Triad, one can better understand the adaptive cost and potential benefits of these traits. 

 Taquesha Dean  the antecedents and consequences of sexual harassment in the workplace

The present thesis reviews the current literature on sexual harassment in the workplace. The thesis focuses on three different areas of workplace sexual harassment: the theoretical backgrounds, the antecedents, and the consequences. Three types of theoretical approaches are explored, which include societal-level explanations, organizational-level explanations, and gender composition models. The antecedents of workplace sexual harassment are divided into three subcategories, which are organizational predictors, individual and cultural predictors, and additional facilitating factors. Finally, for the consequences, organizational, psychological, and health-related outcomes are explored. Overall, organizational context, sexist beliefs, and individual factors of the victims, like feminism, have been found to increase sexual harassment experiences in workplaces. Additionally, sexual harassment has been found to decrease organizational commitment, job satisfaction, and psychological well-being. Future research ought to conduct more longitudinal studies while focusing on non-traditional workplaces and gender interactions to better understand how sexual harassment is caused and affects all types of genders and identities. 

 Sierra Fambro

 A systematic review of neurological dysfunction in the frontal lobe in cluster b personality disorders

Personality disorders (American Psychiatric Association [APA], 2013) are enduring, pervasive, and inflexible patterns of inner experience and behavior that deviate from cultural expectations and lead to distress or impairment. Cluster B personality disorders, specifically, are characterized as a group to have a large effect on the central cognitive-emotional processes of those that are affected by them. With the cluster B personality disorders comes a plethora of cognitive and emotional shortcomings, majority of which are implicated by deficits of executive functioning (EF). Because of these deficits in executive functioning, it can be inferred that the frontal lobe (particularly the prefrontal cortex and its subsequent areas) is the most prominent area of functioning regarding cluster B personality disorders. In the data, there was limited correlations between the neuropsychological aspects of cluster B disorders and their neurocognitive implications. This paper aims to review the literature relative to BPD and its related cluster B personality disorders in order to assess commonalities in frontal lobe dysfunction and future directions for research on dysfunction of the cognitive-emotional processes of the frontal lobe. 

 Yingda Guo

the negative influences of poverty on children: poor children's cognitive-behavioral functions, language skills, and home-school education

This paper is a review of literature that aims to investigate the negative influences of poverty on American children. Nowadays, there are more than 16 million children who live in poverty in the United States. A close examination of many academic researches indicates that poverty affects children in so many different ways: poor children are more likely to attend low-quality schools and they are more likely to have parents with low parenting skills and negative psychological well-being. Most importantly, children’s cognitive-behavioral functions, language skills, as well as overall academic achievements are negatively affected by poverty to a certain degree. Factors like school funding, social adjustments, and obesity rates are closely linked to poverty too. Overall, there are seven main sections in this paper, and each section elaborates the negative influences of poverty from a different angle. Despite the fact that poverty has such a negative and far-reaching effect on children, potential solutions including programs that exist for the purpose of enhancing poor children’s academic achievements are included at the last main section. By writing a comprehensive report about poverty and associated developmental, cognitive, and social issues in American children, I hope more and more people will have a better understanding of what it means to be a poor child in the U.S, and the whole society will work to enhance poor children’s life-quality.

 Wei He three common types of emotional regulation strategies: what they do, their effectiveness under different factors and more

Emotional Regulation Strategies are crucial in everyday life because they help people to reduce negative emotions they encounter in daily life. Cognitive reappraisal, suppression and distraction are the 3 most common and studied types of emotional regulation strategies. They focus on different aspects of treating either the stimuli or the emotional response to have negative emotion reduction. While cognitive reappraisal has the most positive results among all three strategies, no strategy can work on its own. This is because there are many external factors which could affect these strategies and will be discussed in the review. Overall, the flexibility of using different strategies is most important in effective emotional regulation. 

 Daniel Kantor  Anxiolytic and Antidepressant-like Effects Induced by Exogenous Cannabinoids: A Literature

Cannabis is the most used illicit substance in the United States (Hedden et al., 2015). Recently, Cannabis has become legal for medical use in many states due to the increased research and potential for therapeutic action. Some preliminary research has shown cannabis to exude anti-anxiety (anxiolytic) and antidepressant-like effects in experimental studies. This literature review presents and analyzes the research that has been conducted on the effects that the exogenous cannabinoids found in cannabis exude on anxiety and depression. Although the evidence is limited due to the small body of research that has been conducted and the few studies that have been conducted all contain small sample sizes, results are quite strong in most studies. Results from the current research suggest that some cannabinoids found in cannabis exude strong anxiolytic and antidepressant-like effects in many studies. The direction that future research must take is a serious increase in the amount of research being conducted and making conducting that research much easier than it is today.

 Brandon Lugar  Effects of Video Game Content on Social Behavior

Video games are a hot source of entertainment in today’s world. It is important to learn about the effects of something so ubiquitous. In particular, there is major concern when it comes to violent video games. This thesis discusses research involving different video game content and how it affects individual’s social behavior is effected by it. A lot of research has shown three key ideas: 1) violent video games are related to increased aggressive behavior, 2) prosocial video games are related to increased prosocial behavior, and 3) non-violent video games are related to increased prosocial behavior. There is research that has been done to argue those general findings. There are other factors that add on to these findings, like cooperation ameliorating the negative effects of violent video games. There are also several variables that can make the findings hard to believe, like how researchers measure for aggression, how small significant results actually are, and the compounding variables within video game content. This thesis also offers suggestions to help guide future research.

 Emma Clear MacAnally  Positive Psychology as a Preventative Method and Treatment for eating disorders

Eating disorders are incredibly prevalent mental illnesses that have traditionally been treated via psychoeducational intervention programs. These programs attempt to prevent and treat the development of disordered eating behaviors by introducing nutritional and healthy eating habits to adolescents, as well as outlining the dangers of eating disorders and their accompanying warning signs. However, meta-analysis has shown that these psychoeducational efforts have minimal effect sizes on preventing and treating eating disorders. The primary problem associated with psychoeducational programs is that changes in knowledge are not powerful enough to change behavior. Thus a more comprehensive, positive psychology-based intervention with a focus on self-esteem enhancement and stress management or coping techniques would be very beneficial when applied to the prevention and treatment of eating disorders. Research on this application is somewhat limited, but mindfulness and Acceptance-Based Therapy (ACT) programs have shown to be very successful when addressing three predictive factors of eating disorders: 1) individual difference variables, 2) social variables, and 3) familial variables.

Leah M. Mahlka

gender differences at work: why women lag behind men in the workforce

The present thesis examines literature that focused on factors leading to gender differences in the workforce and more specifically, why women lag behind men. Social role and evolutionary theory are utilized to explain the findings in research. Evidence shows that women’s preferences for flexible work hours and pleasant working conditions, along with their hesitation in negotiating for higher compensation, account for a portion of the wage gap that exists between men and women. On the other hand, it is also clear that women face discrimination when working their way up the organizational ladder. This discrimination occurs as a result of women diverting away from their stereotypical roles and assuming masculine leadership positions. As women increasingly enter into the workforce, it is crucial for psychologists to continuously examine factors that may advance or inhibit their growth as workers.

Michael Mitsch

Meditation: Treatment benefits and brain processes

Meditation is often disregarded as a waste of time. Why should anyone take 20 minutes out of their day to meditate when they can get the same result faster by taking a pill? This misunderstanding of meditation has long plagued the minds behind Western medicine practices. Evidence in this paper displays the overarching positive effects of meditation on brain functioning. Meditation in relation to its positive physical and psychological effects in different areas in brain, the body, and the conscious mind will be discussed. Finally, the associated disorders of which meditation helps regulate and their associations to brain functionality is addressed. In conclusion, evidence shows meditation offers improvement in function and potential healing effects to areas of the brain involving: executive attentional networks, homeostasis regulation, reward centers, and pain modulation.

Elizabeth Morales

conformity: a driving force in the fashion industry?

Conformity has been studied extensively in psychology; however, its influence in the world of fashion and its role in the progression of trends has been neglected.  In this literature review the issue of conformity’s role within the fashion industry is analyzed through a variety of disciplines including: psychology, business, marketing, and fashion among others.  Additionally, the role of conformity in the lives of fashion leaders, influential individuals in the industry, is considered.  This review goes on to examine conformity in the context of originality, as well as its role across cultures and across various ages.  Finally, conformity is correlated in the context of emerging technology in the fashion industry including social media and blogs.

Abigail L. Myers

child development and academic achievement: the detrimental effects of poverty

Poverty, child development, and the public education system are complex and dynamic. Different life outcomes arise from effects due to these three fields. Forty five million Americans live in poverty; it is widespread and negatively affects one in four children in domains of cognition, behavior, socialization, and physical health. Children in poverty encounter more academic achievement setbacks and adverse childhood experiences. Children are not provided with equal educational opportunities or resources, which can hinder a child’s development and prevent a child’s learning. Institutional barriers like the public schools system preserve achievement gaps that are seen in children living in poverty, perpetuating disservice to child development.   

Maria L. Nguyen

culture-bound or construct-bound: sexual somatoform disorders in asia

To achieve their goal in “providing a common language for clinicians and researchers,” the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) has revised terminology of illness for diagnosis and treatment (“Frequently Asked Questions,” 2010). However, some classification issues have risen. Western expressions and explanations of illness do not present themselves similarly in non-western context (Tseng, 2006). Western models offer explanations but cannot provide a comprehensive picture without minimizing cultural beliefs and significance behind these illnesses. When similarities between cultural concepts of distress and psychiatric disorders do present themselves, professionals argue their validity. Are cultural concepts independent entities or cultural variations of psychiatric disorders? The findings in the review reflect on the most fundamental question in psychiatry: what is a mental disorder?

Hannah E. Paist

narcolepsy and idiopathic hypersomnia: an In-depth investigation

The quantity and quality of sleep is a critical component of physical and emotional well-being. Narcolepsy and idiopathic hypersomnia are both chronic diseases characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness. Although sleep research has progressed substantially in the past 50 years, there is still much to be known. To effectively treat these disorders, more research needs to be done on the diagnostic tools, drug efficacy, and raising awareness in the medical community on the disorders themselves.

Ellen Renwick Riehle


Green with envy: understanding envy in the workplace and beyond

The literature on envy shows that it is a complex and universal emotion that individuals begin experiencing from a very early age. Envy is defined as the feelings, thoughts, and behaviors that arise when our personal qualities, possessions or achievements do not measure up to those of someone significant to us. Drawing from social comparison theory, research on envy has found that the emotion tends to be elicited when individuals compare themselves to others and feel deprived of the benefits they were denied. Envy has been distinguished from the similar construct of jealousy, and studied cross culturally, demonstrating that there are two types, i.e., malicious and benign envy.  Additionally, the study of envy has been applied to the workplace where comparisons are rampant. Studies conducted on envy in the workplace have found envy to lead to counterproductive workplace behaviors due to a perceived sense of injustice, and that being the target of envy can lead to stress and diminished job performance. The present paper examines the construct of envy, its development, and influence in the workplace.

Riley K. Riordan

Personality across a lifespan: why we are the way we are

Everyone has an individually constructed idea of self. Erikson developed a theory that claimed individuals develop personalities according to eight developmental stages, while McAdams argued a more fluid idea through a construction of life narratives as we age. These theories hinted at who and what personalities are, but they did not answer why personalities are the way they are. Personality inventories are accurate predictors into which traits are more dominant than others, however, there are gaps in research answering why some traits are prominent; why people are the way they are. Through this literature review, research found that answering why individuals are the way they are is not easily found. Many variables play into the development of personality across a lifespan: life’s turning points, self-defining memories, construction of life narratives, generation of autobiographical reasoning, and aging. Through what individuals consider a turning point or a self-defining memory, people construct their own life story in accordance with their idea of self-concept. This paper covers these variables, as well as, opposing viewpoints, limitations, and directions for future research.

Claire A. Ryan  

adhd in children: prevalence, gender disparities, and treatment options

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is the most common psychological disorder in children. Despite its frequency, there are multiple controversies associated with ADHD. Prevalence rates have risen rapidly over the past 20 years and prevalence continues to differ across regions. There are also gender disparities in the rate of diagnosis, in which males are three times more likely to be diagnosed than females. Also, there are multiple treatment options with conflicting results on which is most effective. This thesis examines recent and past research to assess these issues as well as suggestions to why they are continuing today.

Lukas Strang  

video games are entertaining mental trainers

Video games are now one of the most popular forms of entertainment. The improvement of some in-game skills generalizes to tasks in real-life. Playing different genres affects different cognitive skills; however, there is some overlap between genres. This review examines cognitive benefits gained from playing different genres of video games. It does so by reviewing generalized improvements in specific cognitive skills and what games cause those improvements. For example, most research in spatial cognition focuses on action video games. These games require fast perception and spatial cognition and thus cause generalized improvements in such skills. Real-time strategy (RTS) games require and thus improve cognitive flexibility, regulation, planning ahead, and resource management outside of the gaming environment. Training in video games also improves performance in real-life tasks such as flight and surgery that require skills like those used in video game play. The review finds evidence that benefits are related to neural changes. Not all games are created equally. The skills required by each game determine what improvements are found.

Taylor Lea Summers



(re)invention of happiness in the western world using mindfulness and acceptance approaches through the kon mari method

America is a consumerist culture consisting of individuals with a materialistic mindset, who try to find happiness in inanimate objects leading them further away from attaining it. A minimalist method called Kon Mari, which originates from Eastern culture and has been introduced into the Western world, aims to help individuals decipher which objects truly spark joy. Through a deep analysis of mindfulness-based approaches, being fully present and aware in the current moment, and also acceptance and commitment therapy, accepting the self and the pain that inevitably comes with it, then empirical evidence will be paralleled with Kon Mari to determine if it’s grounded in psychology. Mindfulness and acceptance based approaches have received empirical support for their ability to provide benefits resulting in an increase in well being and awareness. This review discusses empirical findings and literature that support the Kon Mari method and how mindfulness-based approaches and acceptance and commitment therapy provide evidence for its findings.

Monica Valadez  

multiraciality: the advantages and disadvantages of living as a mixed race individual in a world full of binaries

This paper examines the disadvantages and the advantages that multiracial individuals--persons of more than one race--encounter. We are becoming increasingly aware of how multiracials influence our developing society. Research on these individuals highlights the challenges that they face, such as enduring a special kind of discrimination from their families as well as from monoracials. Stereotype threat can also be illustrated in multiracials, as well as a lack of recognition. Research on counseling multiracials falls short, and this lack is especially alarming given the high suicide rate in this population. Another challenge is that due to the complexity of the multiracial category, there may never be a sense of unity due to the individuals’ diverse backgrounds, which also makes research in this area difficult. Despite challenges to the area of study; multiracial identity also offers advantages; these multiracial individuals are fluid in their thinking. More can be done to better mental health as well as physical health implications for this population.

Emily Jo Ward  

workplace stress: antecedents, consequences, and interventions

The present thesis reviews the current literature on workplace stress. Three areas of study in occupational stress are reviewed. The first concerns antecedents or possible causes of elevated stress levels. This is followed by consequences of elevated stress levels, as well as examples of intervention therapies that organizations can implement to reduce stress levels. Workplace stress has a detrimental effect on job performance, the most critical area of concern to businesses. Additionally, individual difference factors, such as one’s personality type, can influence subjective stress levels and subsequent mental health. Organizations have proposed and implemented several strategies to mitigate workplace stress. Such strategies include stress intervention therapies that have increased employee contributions, workplace satisfaction and supervisor relations, and decreased fatigue and intentions to quit. Future research should attempt to find more value in specific intervention methods, specifically introspection and mindfulness, to try and establish a universal-working intervention method of reducing stress in the workplace.

Gretchen M. Wilder

solving the puzzle: the future of feedback processing as a biomarker for psychopathology

Electroencephalogram (EEG) data are used to measure Event Related Potentials (ERP). These measurements are used to assess the associations between neural processes, seen through EEG activation patterns, and associated behavioral deficits. The following paper focuses on mental illnesses, specifically Major Depressive Disorder, and how the disorder’s debilitating symptoms affect ERP waveforms, specifically the reward-related positivity (RewP), error-related negativity (ERN), and feedback negativity (FN) components. The relationships found between mental disorders and ERP waveforms indicate a blunted RewP found within patients diagnosed with schizophrenia. This established relationship allows for overlap correlations to be made via the Research Domain Criteria Project (RDoC) onto other mental health disorders in hopes of using ERP data as a predictive tool to improve diagnosis, treatment, and prevention methods.