Professor of Psychology Aileen Bailey and Assistant Professor of Psychology Gina Fernandez attended the 42nd Annual National Institute on the Teaching of Psychology Conference in St. Pete Beach, Florida, on January 4 – 6, 2020. There, they presented a poster, co-authored by Assistant Professor of Psychology James Mantell, “Optimizing Resources: Using What You Have to Improve Your Curriculum,” based on work that has been borne out of the psychology department’s involvement in the Council on Undergraduate Research Transformations Project (CUR-T), funded by the National Science Foundation (DUE IUSE Award no. 16-25354).
St. Mary’s College of Maryland is one of only 12 institutions selected by CUR for its Transformations Project. Through this project, participants from institutions around the country have been engaged in novel research to understand the student, faculty, departmental, and disciplinary influences on the process of integrating and scaffolding undergraduate research experiences throughout the curriculum.
Congratulations to Dr. Gili Freedman on her recent publication!
Freedman, G., Brandler, S. & Beer, J. S. (2019). Does engaging in social rejection heighten or diminish social processing? Comprehensive Results in Social Psychology, DOI: 10.1080/23743603.2019.1684820
Engaging in social rejection can lead to feeling both increased social power and decreased belongingness. Yet, social power is associated with diminished social sensitivity, whereas threatened belongingness can enhance social sensitivity. In a registered report, Freedman and coauthors tested these competing hypotheses of how engaging in social rejection may affect social sensitivity. Contrary to the competing hypotheses tested, they did not find evidence that social rejection, compared to social acceptance, led to increased or decreased social sensitivity. An exploratory analysis found that men who engaged in rejection showed decreased social sensitivity compared to men who did not engage in rejection.
In the article, Dunn and his coauthors explore which men are more likely to enact sexually objectifying behavior.
Publisher link abstract: “Given the link between sexual objectification experiences and negative psychological and mental health outcomes for sexual minority men, it is important to explore which men are more likely to enact sexually objectifying behavior. We examined predictors of sexual minority men’s sexual objectification of other men (e.g., engaging in body evaluations, making unwanted sexual advances), including focusing on appearance, involvement in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community, pornography use, and men’s gender role conflict among 450 gay and bisexual men. Our findings revealed that importance placed on appearance, involvement in the LGBTQ community, and pornography use and less restrictive affectionate behavior between men were uniquely related to sexually objectifying other men. In addition, older men were more likely than younger men to sexually objectify other men, and gay men were more likely than bisexual men to sexually objectify other men.”
Congratulations to Dr. Gina Fernandez on her recent publication, “General Anesthetic Exposure in Adolescent Rats Causes Persistent Maladaptations in Cognitive and Affective Behaviors and Neuroplasticity” in the journal Neuropharmacology.
In the article, Fernandez and her coauthors examine evidence that indicates that exposure to general anesthetics during infancy and childhood can cause persistent cognitive impairment, alterations in synaptic plasticity, and increased incidence of behavioral disorders.
Publisher link abstract: Accumulating evidence indicates that exposure to general anesthetics during infancy and childhood can cause persistent cognitive impairment, alterations in synaptic plasticity, and, to a lesser extent, increased incidence of behavioral disorders. Unfortunately, the developmental parameters of susceptibility to general anesthetics are not well understood. Adolescence is a critical developmental period wherein multiple late developing brain regions may also be vulnerable to enduring general anesthetic effects. Given the breadth of the adolescent age span, this group potentially represents millions more individuals than those exposed during early childhood. In this study, isoflurane exposure within a well-characterized adolescent period in Sprague-Dawley rats elicited immediate and persistent anxiety- and impulsive-like responding, as well as delayed cognitive impairment into adulthood. These behavioral abnormalities were paralleled by atypical dendritic spine morphology in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and hippocampus (HPC), suggesting delayed anatomical maturation, and shifts in inhibitory function that suggest hypermaturation of extrasynaptic GABAA receptor inhibition. Preventing this hypermaturation of extrasynaptic GABAA receptor-mediated function in the PFC selectively reversed enhanced impulsivity resulting from adolescent isoflurane exposure. Taken together, these data demonstrate that the developmental window for susceptibility to enduring untoward effects of general anesthetics may be much longer than previously appreciated, and those effects may include affective behaviors in addition to cognition.
Congratulations to Dr. Nathan Foster on his recent publication, “Why Does Interleaving Improve Math Learning? The Contributions of Discriminative Contrast and Distributed Practice” in the journal Memory & Cognition.
In the article, Foster and his coauthors examine why interleaved practice of materials has been shown to enhance test performance.
Interleaved practice involves studying exemplars from different categories in a non-systematic, pseudorandom order under the constraint that no two exemplars from the same category are presented consecutively. Interleaved practice of materials has been shown to enhance test performance compared to blocked practice in which exemplars from the same category are studied together. Why does interleaved practice produce this benefit? We evaluated two non-mutually exclusive hypotheses, the discriminative-contrast hypothesis and the distributed-practice hypothesis, by testing participants’ performance on calculating the volume of three-dimensional geometric shapes. In Experiment 1, participants repeatedly practiced calculating the volume of four different-sized shapes according to blocked practice, interleaved practice, or remote-interleaved practice (which involved alternating the practice of volume calculation with non-volume problems, like permutations and fraction addition). Standard interleaving enhanced performance compared to blocked practice but did not produce enhanced performance compared to remote interleaving. In Experiment 2, we replicated this pattern and extended the results to include a remote-blocked group, which involved blocking volume calculation with non-volume problems. Performance on key measures was better for remote-interleaved groups compared to remote-blocked groups, a finding that supports the distributed-practice hypothesis.
Congratulations to Dr. Gili Freedman on her recent publication, “Obituaries can Popularize Science and Health: Stephen Hawking and Interest in Cosmology and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis” in Psychology of Popular Media Culture.
Freedman’s research examines the influence of physicist Stephen Hawking’s death on public interest in science topics related to his work. She also examines whether the representation of male versus female physicists quoted in the obituary increased perceptions of gender equity in science.
Congratulations to Dr. Libby Nutt Williams on her recent publication, “Turning 50: Past Presidents Reflect on What We Have Learned in our First Half Century” in the journal Psychotherapy.
In the article, Williams asks Society for the Advancement of Psychotherapy past presidents to reflect on the role of Division 29 of the American Psychological Association and to consider the future as they reach an important birthday milestone of turning 50.
Congratulations to Dr. Nathan Foster on his recent publication, “Self-regulated Learning of Principle-based Concepts: Do Students Prefer Worked Examples, Faded Examples, or Problem Solving?” in the journal Learning and Instruction.
In the article, Foster and his coauthors examined the effectiveness of different methods students used to solve probability problems.
Publisher link abstract: Acquisition of principle-based concepts involves learning how and when to apply a specific principle to different instances of the same problem type. Within this domain, learning is best achieved when practice involves studying worked examples followed by problem solving. When given the choice to use worked examples versus problem solving, how do people regulate their learning? Furthermore, do they use faded examples effectively when given the opportunity during learning? In three experiments, participants learned how to solve probability problems under practice conditions involving either (a) a combined schedule of worked examples, partial examples (Experiments 2 and 3), and problem solving, (b) problem solving only, or (c) self-regulated learning in which participants could choose a worked example, a partial example (Experiments 2 and 3), or problem solving on each trial. Self-regulated learners chose to study worked examples on fewer than 40% of the trials and seldom did so prior to problem solving. However, participants did regulate their learning effectively when they could use partial examples during practice. Participants also demonstrated some sophisticated problem solving, such as by studying worked examples more often after failed versus successful problem-solving attempts.