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Does Chronically Administered Intermittent Restraint Stress (IRS) have Long-Lasting Effects on Fear Extinction and Depressive-Like Behavior?

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The current study investigated whether intermittent restraint stress (IRS) would impair fear extinction learning and lead to increased anxiety and depressive- like behaviors and then be attenuated when IRS ends and a post- stress rest period ensues for 6 weeks.

The current study investigated whether intermittent restraint stress (IRS) would impair fear extinction learning and lead to increased anxiety and depressive- like behaviors and then be attenuated when IRS ends and a post- stress rest period ensues for 6 weeks. Young adult, male Sprague Dawley rats underwent restraint stress using wire mesh (6hr/daily) for five days with two days off before restraint resumed for three weeks for a total of 23 restraint days. The groups consisted of control (CON) with no restraint other than food and water restriction yoked to the restrained groups, stress immediate (STR-IMM), which were restrained then fear conditioned soon after the end of the IRS paradigm, and stress given a rest for 6 weeks before fear conditioning commenced (STR-R6). Rats were fear conditioned by pairing a 20 second tone with a footshock, then given extinction training for two days (15 tone only on each day). On the first day of extinction, all groups discriminated well on the first trial, but then as trials progressed, STR-R6 discriminated between tone and context less than did CON. On the second day of extinction, STR- IMM froze more to context in the earlier trials than compared to STR-R6 and CON. As trials progressed STR-IMM and STR-R6 froze more to context than compared to CON. Together, CON discriminated between tone and context better than did STR-IMM and STR-R6. Sucrose preference, novelty suppressed feeding, and elevated plus maze was performed after fear extinction was completed. No statistical differences were observed among groups for sucrose preference or novelty suppressed feeding. For the elevated plus maze, STR-IMM entered the open arms and the sum of both open and closed arms fewer than did STR- R6 and CON. We interpret the findings to suggest that the stress groups displayed increased hypervigilance and anxiety with STR-R6 exhibiting a unique phenotype than that of STR-IMM and CON.

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2018-05

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Xenophilia: The preference for members of an outgroup

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This paper explores the idea of xenophilia and the circumstances under which it may occur. Xenophilia is the preference for an outgroup member over an ingroup member. This preference does not have to be amicable, and in fact can be

This paper explores the idea of xenophilia and the circumstances under which it may occur. Xenophilia is the preference for an outgroup member over an ingroup member. This preference does not have to be amicable, and in fact can be exploitative under certain circumstances. Previous research indicates that xenophobia is much more common, but a few researchers have found support for the existence of xenophilia. To experimentally test the circumstances under which xenophilia might occur, I conducted a survey-based experiment on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. This consisted of directed visualizations that manipulated participant goal (self-protection vs. mate acquisition) and the resources offered by both a fictitious outgroup and the hometown ingroup, followed by measures of ingroup/outgroup preference. I hypothesized that when the resource offered by the group addressed the participants’ goal, they would prefer the group with the “matched” resource—even if it was the outgroup providing that resource. My hypothesis was not supported, as the univariate analysis of variance for preference for the outgroup was not significant, F (2, 423) = .723, p = .486. This may have occurred because the goal manipulations were not strong enough to counteract the strong natural preference for ingroup members.

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2018-05

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Bharatanatyam and its effect on Stress, Mood, and Anxiety

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Abstract
This study investigates the effects of Bharatanatyam dance on stress, mood, and anxiety. I have danced Bharatanatyam since I was 8 years old, it has offered me a way to release stress

Abstract
This study investigates the effects of Bharatanatyam dance on stress, mood, and anxiety. I have danced Bharatanatyam since I was 8 years old, it has offered me a way to release stress and anxiety. This study provides empirical data to support the claim that Bharatanatyam has therapeutic effects that release stress and reduce anxiety. This investigation was conducted through self-reports and interviews. A Positive Affect and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS) scale was used to determine positive and negative effects. The average positive affect during the “dance weeks” (DW) was 46.6 and the average negative affect was 12.2. During the “no dance weeks” (NDW), the average positive effect was 23.7 and the average negative affect was 31. The participant’s interview PANAS results had an average positive effect of 39.8 and an average negative effect of 12.8. Analyzing the self-report journaling highlighted a more prevalent use of positive words during the DW and a more significant use of negative words during the NDW. The Bharatanatyam dancers who were probed to enter post-performance environment for an interview also used positive words to describe Bharatanatyam dancing. In conclusion, practicing Bharatanatyam had an overall positive effect on mood, and can reduce stress and anxiety.

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2019-05

The Perception of Genetic Risk: What Do We Know About Biological and Psychological Diseases and Where Did We Learn It

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As a biology major, many of my classes have included studying the fundamentals of genetics or investigating the way genetics influence heritability of certain diseases. When I began taking upper-division psychology courses, the genetic factors of psychological disorders became an

As a biology major, many of my classes have included studying the fundamentals of genetics or investigating the way genetics influence heritability of certain diseases. When I began taking upper-division psychology courses, the genetic factors of psychological disorders became an important part of the material. I was exposed to a new idea: that genes were equally important in studying somatic diseases as they were to psychological disorders. As important as genetics are to psychology, they are not part of the required courses for the major; I found many of my peers in psychology courses did not have a grasp on genetic fundamentals in the same way biology majors did. This was a disconnect that I also found in my own life outside the classroom. Growing up, my mother consistently reminded me to limit my carbs and watch my sugars. Diabetes was very prevalent in my family and I was also at risk. I was repeatedly reminded of my own genes and the risk I faced in having this biological disorder. However, my friend whose father was an alcoholic did not warn her in the same way. While she did know of her father's history, she was not warned of the potential for her to become an alcoholic. While my behavior was altered due to my mother's warning and my own knowledge of the genetic risk of diabetes, I wondered if other people at genetic risk of psychological disorders also altered their behavior. Through my thesis, I hope to answer if students have the same perceived genetic knowledge of psychological diseases as they do for biological ones. In my experience, it is not as well known that psychological disorders have genetic factors. For example, alcohol is commonly used by college students. Alcohol use disorder is present in 16.2% of college aged students and "40-60% of the variance of risk explained by genetic influences." (DSM V, 2013) Compare this to diabetes that has "several common genetic variants that account for about 10% of the total genetic effects," but is much more openly discussed even though it is less genetically linked. (McVay, 2015)This stems from the stigma/taboo surrounding many psychological disorders. If students do know that psychological disorder are genetically influenced, I expect their knowledge to be skewed or inaccurate. As part of a survey, I hope to see how strong they believe the genetic risk of certain diseases are as well as where they gained this knowledge. I hypothesize that only students with a background in psychology will be able to correctly assign the genetic risk of the four presented diseases. Completing this thesis will require in-depth study of the genetic factors, an understanding of the way each disease is perceived and understood by the general population, and a statistical analysis of the survey responses. If the survey data turns out as I expect where students do not have a strong grasp of diseases that could potentially influence their own health, I hope to find a way to educate students on biological and psychological diseases, their genetic risk, and how to speak openly about them.

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2018-05

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Somatosensory Modulation during Speech Planning

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Previous studies have found that the detection of near-threshold stimuli is decreased immediately before movement and throughout movement production. This has been suggested to occur through the use of the internal forward model processing an efferent copy of the motor

Previous studies have found that the detection of near-threshold stimuli is decreased immediately before movement and throughout movement production. This has been suggested to occur through the use of the internal forward model processing an efferent copy of the motor command and creating a prediction that is used to cancel out the resulting sensory feedback. Currently, there are no published accounts of the perception of tactile signals for motor tasks and contexts related to the lips during both speech planning and production. In this study, we measured the responsiveness of the somatosensory system during speech planning using light electrical stimulation below the lower lip by comparing perception during mixed speaking and silent reading conditions. Participants were asked to judge whether a constant near-threshold electrical stimulation (subject-specific intensity, 85% detected at rest) was present during different time points relative to an initial visual cue. In the speaking condition, participants overtly produced target words shown on a computer monitor. In the reading condition, participants read the same target words silently to themselves without any movement or sound. We found that detection of the stimulus was attenuated during speaking conditions while remaining at a constant level close to the perceptual threshold throughout the silent reading condition. Perceptual modulation was most intense during speech production and showed some attenuation just prior to speech production during the planning period of speech. This demonstrates that there is a significant decrease in the responsiveness of the somatosensory system during speech production as well as milliseconds before speech is even produced which has implications for speech disorders such as stuttering and schizophrenia with pronounced deficits in the somatosensory system.

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2019-05

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The Association Between Sleep Quality and Asthma in Middle-school Aged Children

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Asthma is one of the most common chronic diseases affecting children, and investigators have identified a number of risk factors that worsen asthma symptoms. Most prior studies have concluded that there is an association between one risk factor, poor slee

Asthma is one of the most common chronic diseases affecting children, and investigators have identified a number of risk factors that worsen asthma symptoms. Most prior studies have concluded that there is an association between one risk factor, poor sleep quality, and asthma; however, whether sleep quality predicts future asthma symptoms, asthma symptoms predict future sleep quality, or the relation is reciprocal is still unclear. The methodology of studies examining the asthma-sleep association has consisted of actigraphy and parent report to determine children's sleep duration and sleep efficiency, and lung function assessments with a spirometer on the participants to determine children's overall lung function. The purpose of the proposed study is to determine the strength of the cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between indicators of sleep quality and asthma. The proposed study plans to use a combination of actigraphy, sleep diaries, and lung function assessments using a spirometer to determine sleep quality and lung function, respectively. Future directions include determining the directionality of the association between sleep quality and asthma as well as strength of association.

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2018-12

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All You See is the Dog: Attitudes Towards Non-Visible Disabilities and Service Dogs

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A recent controversy has surrounded service dogs in public environments. Use of service dogs may trigger discrimination against individuals with non-visible disabilities. Major goals of this thesis study are to examine if significant differences exist in personality perceptions and attitude

A recent controversy has surrounded service dogs in public environments. Use of service dogs may trigger discrimination against individuals with non-visible disabilities. Major goals of this thesis study are to examine if significant differences exist in personality perceptions and attitude towards service dog owners with visible disabilities versus those with non-visible disabilities, and whether these perceptions and attitude predict how they would be treated in a public setting. The study employed a mixed 2 x2 factorial experiment design. The first independent variable was visibility of the disability, with the two levels being visible vs non-visible, and this factor was non-repeated in nature. The second independent variable was the target of evaluation, with the owner and the dog being the two levels, and this was a repeated measure. Specifically, this study assessed personality perceptions using the Big Five personality traits (Extraversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Emotional Stability, Openness to Experience) and operationalized attitude in terms of the positivity of personality perceptions. Additionally, this study examined whether an owner of a service dog with a non-visible disability would be treated differently from their counterpart who has a visible disability. In the study, participants were given a scenario and picture where they encounter an individual who either had a visible or non-visible disability with a service dog at a restaurant. Then, participants rated the owner and the dog individually on the Big Five personality traits, and indicated whether and how likely they would seat the individual and their service dog at the restaurant. When considering the visibility of a disability alone, an individual with a non-visible disability was perceived as less conscientious. When considering how the owner and the dog were perceived regardless of visibility of disability, owners were rated significantly lower than their dog on agreeableness and extraversion, but significantly higher on openness to experience. There was also a significant difference in treatment of the dog owners based on the visibility of their disability, service dog owners with non-visible disabilities have a higher likelihood of experiencing unlawful treatment. Furthermore, personality perceptions and attitude were significantly correlated with treatment for both individuals with non-visible and visible disabilities. Together, findings of this study inform the design of future research. Future research on this topic may help inform policy makers the challenges and unfair treatment facing individuals who have non-visible disabilities.

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2019-05

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A Mechanistic Model of Art Therapy

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The goal of my study is to test the overarching hypothesis that art therapy is effective because it targets emotional dysregulation that often accompanies significant health stressors. By reducing the salience of illness-related stressors, art therapy may improve overall mood

The goal of my study is to test the overarching hypothesis that art therapy is effective because it targets emotional dysregulation that often accompanies significant health stressors. By reducing the salience of illness-related stressors, art therapy may improve overall mood and recovery, particularly in patients with cancer. After consulting the primary literature and review papers to develop psychological and neural mechanisms at work in art therapy, I created a hypothetical experimental procedure to test these hypotheses to explain why art therapy is helpful to patients with chronic illness. Studies found that art therapy stimulates activity of multiple brain regions involved in memory retrieval and the arousal of emotions. I hypothesize that patients with chronic illness have a reduced capacity for emotion regulation, or difficulty recognizing, expressing or altering illness-related emotions (Gross & Barrett, 2011). Further I hypothesize that art therapy improves mood and therapeutic outcomes by acting on the emotion-processing regions of the limbic system, and thereby facilitating the healthy expression of emotion, emotional processing, and reappraisal. More mechanistically, I propose art therapy reduces the perception or salience of stressors by reducing amygdala activity leading to decreased activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. The art therapy literature and my hypothesis about its mechanisms of action became the basis of my proposed study. To assess the effectiveness of art therapy in alleviating symptoms of chronic disease, I am specifically targeting patients with cancer who exhibit a lack of emotional regulation. Saliva is collected 3 times a week on the day of intervention: morning after waking, afternoon, and evening. Stress levels are tested using one-hour art therapy sessions over the course of 3 months. The Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) assesses an individual's perceived stress and feelings in past and present situations, for the control and intervention group. To measure improvement in overall mood, 10 one-hour art sessions are performed on patients over 10 weeks. A one-hour discussion analyzing the participants' artwork follows each art session. The Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) assesses overall mood for the intervention and control groups. I created rationale and predictions based on the intended results of each experiment.

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2018-05

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Legally Male: The Role of Legal Language in Maintaining Sexism

Description

Psychological studies and feminist theories have determined the existence of many forms of
male bias in the English language. Male bias can be traced through American history in the form of laws of coverture and the categorization of women in

Psychological studies and feminist theories have determined the existence of many forms of
male bias in the English language. Male bias can be traced through American history in the form of laws of coverture and the categorization of women in law. Taking into account the connections between sexist language, history, and law, this paper investigates 1) how and why legal language is biased, 2) why male bias has persisted in law over time, and 3) what impact male-biased law has on women. The works of ancient philosophers, feminist historians, psycholinguistic scientists, and modern philosophers of law are used to explain the patriarchal gender hierarchy’s influence on law. Case law and legal policies demonstrate that sexism has been maintained through history due to the preservation of male-biased language and the exclusion of women from the public sphere. Today, the use of masculine generics continues to taint the legal profession by reflecting, rather than denouncing, its patriarchal roots.

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2020-05

Cultural Variability in Social Support Preferences

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Limited research has analyzed how culture might influence the utilization of social support. To address this deficiency, the present study investigated preferences for social support among East-Asian, Hispanic, and White participants. In this set of studies, a comprehensive social support

Limited research has analyzed how culture might influence the utilization of social support. To address this deficiency, the present study investigated preferences for social support among East-Asian, Hispanic, and White participants. In this set of studies, a comprehensive social support taxonomy was constructed in order to better identify and conceptualize the various support subtypes found in the literature. Based on the taxonomy, a questionnaire measure for preferences of different types of social support was developed. Participants were asked to rate how helpful they would find each supportive action made by a friend or family member on a seven-point Likert scale. Based on the responses of 516 Amazon Mechanical Turk workers, a five-factor solution for an 18-item scale emerged from a factor analysis. The social support subscales supported by the factor analysis were emotional, tangible, self-referencing, reappraisal, and distraction. The questionnaire was used to assess similarities and differences among East-Asian, Hispanic, and White participants in terms of preferences for providing and receiving social support. Based on the results of 299 college-age students, an analysis of variance on individually standardized ("ipsatized") responses was conducted in order to eliminate the positioning effect of culture. A main effect of ethnicity (p=.05) and an interaction between ethnicity and sex (p=.02) were significant for the preference of tangible social support. A main effect of ethnicity (p=.04) and an interaction between ethnicity and sex (p=.05) were significant for the preference of reappraisal social support. Clinical implications of our research findings are discussed.

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2017-05