Psychology Undergraduate Research Conference

Thank you for your interest in the 2021 UCLA PURC! We are hosting a virtual research showcase during May 2021 and look forward to your participation.

LIVE RESEARCH TALKS – FRIDAY, MAY 14

We are excited to announce that selected students from our departmental research programs (PROPS and Departmental Honors), will be giving live 10-minute talks on Friday, May 14. These talks are open to the public and we encourage you to tune in and share this event!

Morning Sessions: 9-11AM

Morning Session 1

9:00-9:20am - Ouxun Jiang, Departmental Honors

Faculty Mentor: Alan Castel

Emotional Valence of COVID-19 News Biases Memory for Visual Information
Ouxun Jiang, Mary Whatley, and Alan Castel, Ph.D.

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is one of the biggest recent threats to public health. People rely on news media to learn up-to-date information, but COVID-19 news often elicits emotions. Graphs are widely used in the media to present data, but it remains unknown how people comprehend and remember information in graphical form. Graph comprehension and memory can be influenced by cognitive biases, age, and emotional states. In the current study, we tested how the emotional valence of news would affect graphical memory in 241 participants across the lifespan. Participants studied a graph of weekly or daily global new COVID-19 deaths after reading COVID-19 news in either a more positive or negative light. Participants also reported attitudes toward the pandemic, mood, political leaning, and news consumption habits. While there was no overall difference in memory across conditions or age, memory was more biased by the emotional valence of the news when the graph was less complex. The findings indicate that the emotional content of news can bias understanding of and memory for graphical information. These results have implications for improving media literacy.

9:20-9:40am - Ariel Stallings, PROPS

Faculty Mentor: Andrew Fuligni

Disentangling the Relation between Night Owls, Depression, and Reward-Seeking Among College Students
Ariel Stallings, Maira Karan, and Andrew Fuligni, Ph.D.

Adolescents tend to have an evening chronotype (propensity toward later bed and wake times), which is associated with higher rates of depression and increased risk-taking. Relatively little is known about the associations among the three constructs. The main aim is to determine whether depression strengthens the relationship between evening chronotype and reward-seeking (a facet of risk-taking). Additionally, the study explores whether this association becomes more pronounced when reward-seeking is measured at an optimal (v.s. suboptimal) time of day. One hundred (current N = 44) 18-25 year olds are completing two separate online study sessions measuring reward-seeking behavior, and questionnaires assessing sleep and behavioral tendencies. We hypothesize that evening chronotypes are more likely to demonstrate heightened depressive symptoms and engage in more reward-seeking behavior than morning chronotypes. Further, we anticipate that evening chronotypes will engage in greater reward-seeking at night, especially when they have greater depressive symptoms. This study may have implications for intervention efforts aimed at reducing perilous risk-taking behaviors among adolescents.

9:40-10:00am - Anna Yan, Departmental Honors

Faculty Mentor: Yuen Huo

The Effect of Leader’s Gender, Race, and Leadership Style on Men’s Support of Gender Parity
Anna L. Yan, Sophie Mako Tanaka, M.A., Yuen Huo, Ph.D.

While diversity and inclusion efforts are becoming a norm in organizations, advantaged group members may resist these programs under certain circumstances. For leaders interested in gaining support for gender parity efforts, giving employees voice—or the space to openly discuss their opinions—may be a helpful strategy. However, leaders may not all benefit equally from utilizing such leadership styles. When women, for instance, use leadership strategies that are stereotypically feminine, this can lead to more negative evaluations of their leadership than that of male leaders, especially when being evaluated by male subordinates (Ayman et al., 2009). Thus, perhaps certain groups of women who are especially hyperfeminized could experience an exacerbated penalty when using a strategy like voice. Researchers have previously found that Asian women, who hold multiple marginalized identities, received poorer evaluations regardless of their leadership style (Tinker et al., 2019). It is unknown whether using leadership styles such as providing employees voice may be more harmful for Asian women than other groups. This study empirically tests the effect of a leader's gender, race, and leadership style on garnering male support for gender parity programs.

Morning Session 2

10:05-10:25am - Himanshu Chaudhary, PROPS

Faculty Mentor: Alan Castel

Memory for Medical Maladies: A Case for Replacing Eponyms in Academia
Himanshu Chaudhary, Katie M. Silaj, & Alan D. Castel, Ph.D.

Medical students are constantly inundated with eponyms, or terms named after a person (e.g., Down’s Syndrome, Parkinson’s Disease). People’s names are one of the most challenging linguistic categories to remember (Abrams & Davis, 2017; Rendell et al., 2005), thus the use of eponyms in education may make learning complex information more difficult. Despite this, few studies have investigated how the use of eponyms impacts memory for associated information, which is the goal of present experiment. In a within-subjects design, participants studied a series of medical conditions presented as eponyms (i.e., Osgood-Schlatter Disease) or simpler, descriptive names (i.e., Lower Ligament Inflammation) along with information associated with each item, and then took a free recall test after studying each list. We expected better recall for information associated with conditions presented as descriptive names as compared to eponyms. Preliminary findings demonstrate an enhanced recall of information paired with descriptive names. This finding may encourage instructors to adopt more descriptive names for complex terms, especially in the medical field where eponyms are used abundantly.

10:25-10:45am - Rita Manukyan, Departmental Honors

Faculty Mentor: Karen Givvin

Promoting Retrieval on Multiple-Choice Examinations: A Potential Test-Taking Strategy
Rita Manukyan and Karen Givvin, Ph.D.

Multiple-choice examinations have been criticized for promoting mere recognition and bypassing the retrieval process afforded by short answer and essay examinations (Little, Bjork, Bjork, Angello, 2012). Despite the criticisms, multiple-choice examinations are still common in a variety of educational settings (Haladyna, Downing, & Rodriguez, 2002). In the current study, 234 participants listened to a lecture and took a multiple-choice exam. For a random half of students, each multiple-choice question was preceded by a related retrieval task. The retrieval task included answering the multiple-choice questions in a short-answer form first prior to viewing the answer choices. To understand the effect of encoding on the retrieval task, this condition was crossed with a condition that required half of students to take notes while they listened to the lecture. We also measured students’ confidence in each of their answers. We hypothesize that the retrieval task will show the greatest benefit for performance and confidence when it is paired with note-taking. If significant, the findings will point to an effective test-taking strategy that is possible for students to self-administer.

10:45-11:05am - Joy Lin, PROPS

Faculty Mentor: Jaana Juvonen

Early Maturation in Girls: Risk Factor for Abusive Romantic Relationships?
Joy Lin, Ritika Rastogi, M.A., and Jaana Juvonen, Ph.D.

A substantial body of research documents poor socioemotional and behavioral outcomes—low self-esteem, depression, delinquency, and low achievement—among early maturing girls. Yet, there is limited understanding of how these risks manifest in their romantic relationships. The current study used a novel relationship quality measure assessing participants’ perception of their partner’s and their own behavior to examine imbalance of power in adolescent girls’ romantic relationships. I hypothesize that early maturation is associated with greater power imbalance (i.e., hostile, controlling, and non-respectful behaviors toward the girl) and lower relationship satisfaction. Using data from a larger, longitudinal study, adolescent girls’ (n=1080) pubertal timing was assessed in middle school and romantic relationship quality was measured in 11th grade. Analyses will control for ethnicity and SES. Findings may illuminate a potential mechanism for early maturing girls’ poor psychosocial adjustment, and have implications for their future romantic relationship quality and mental well-being in adulthood; early experiences of romantic love may set a precedent for future abusive relationships.

Afternoon Sessions: 1-3PM

Afternoon Session 1

1:00-1:20pm - William Stonehouse Salinas, PROPS

Faculty Mentor: Jesse Rissman

Fusing fMRI and EEG Data to Investigate Differences in Working Memory Capacity
William Stonehouse Salinas, Catherine Walsh, & Jesse Rissman

One approach for investigating working memory (WM) processes is to vary the number of to-be-maintained items and examine the degree to which brain activity increases as cognitive demands increase. Previous fMRI work in our lab has shown an inverted U-shape relationship between WM capacity and WM storage-dependent activity increases (“load effects”) during the maintenance period of a delayed match-to-sample face memory task. Specifically, subjects with medium WM capacity tend to display large load effects whereas subjects with low or high WM capacity show smaller load effects. It is possible that subjects with higher WM capacity use more efficient processes during encoding, thus requiring less processing during the maintenance phase. We thus expect that load effects in cortical regions associated with visual processing during encoding, as indexed by EEG measures will show a monotonic relationship with WM capacity. In the current study, we used joint independent component analysis to identify spatial profiles of fMRI activity that co-vary with temporal components from EEG. The P3b and N170 components have been associated with visual processing; fusing them with spatial fMRI data allows us to take advantage of the temporal precision of EEG and the spatial precision of fMRI to achieve a deeper understanding of the circuit-level neural correlates that explain individual differences in WM capacity.

1:20-1:40pm - Nicole Fonacier, PROPS

Faculty Mentor: Bridget Callaghan

No Words for Emotions: The Relationship Between Alexithymia and Parent Warmth

The ability to identify and describe our emotions is an essential precursor to adaptive emotion regulation. Some individuals experience difficulty identifying and describing their feelings: a trait called alexithymia. While the origins of alexithymic traits are unknown, parent behaviors that promote emotion understanding in children, e.g., parental warmth, may facilitate emotional literacy and thus prevent the emergence of alexithymia. In this study, we asked whether parental warmth was associated with alexithymic traits in a sample of N = 81 children/adolescents (6-16 years). Participants engaged in a recorded dyadic interaction with their caregiver for 10 minutes, which was subsequently coded for parental warmth using the Family Interaction Macro-Coding System. Analyses will use multiple regression to associate child/adolescent scores on the Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20) with parent warmth levels, controlling for child/adolescent age in years and sex. As mental illness is a growing national concern, understanding alexithymia and the factors contributing to its onset may help to inform early interventions aimed at decreasing mental illness risk.

1:40-2:00pm - Claire Waller, Departmental Honors

Faculty Mentor: Jennifer Silvers

Sexual Orientation in Youth: Links to Mental Health and Social Support
Claire R. Waller, Adriana S. Méndez Leal, and Jennifer A. Silvers, Ph.D.

Sexual minorities (e.g., lesbian, gay, and bisexual people) face heightened risk for depression and anxiety compared to heterosexuals, and social support has been implicated in this risk. While sexual minority attraction (e.g., a man’s attraction to men) and identity (e.g., “gay”) have distinct mental health effects, little work has investigated how sexual minority attraction shapes social support and mental health. In a sample of 390 UCLA students, we found higher levels of depression and anxiety on the Mood and Anxiety Symptoms Questionnaire in individuals reporting sexual minority versus heterosexual attraction (n = 185; β = 3.44, t = 2.33, p = .021) and identity (n = 61; β = 5.69, t = 3.23, p = .004). Additionally, we found that caregiver social support on the Inventory of Parent and Peer Attachment significantly mediated the relationships between sexual minority status and depression and anxiety using both attraction- (index of mediation = 2.48, 95% CI: [1.2, 3.92]) and identity-based (index of mediation = 2.54, 95% CI: [.82, 4.28]) measures of sexual minority status. Our findings suggest that mental health disparities for sexual minorities extend to same-gender attracted youth and may be partly attributable to lack of caregiver social support.

Afternoon Session 2

2:05-2:25 pm - Inez Zung, Departmental Honors

Faculty Mentor: Elizabeth Ligon Bjork

Digital Flashcards: Do Students Use Them Effectively?
Inez Zung, Megan N. Imundo, Steven C. Pan, Elizabeth Ligon Bjork

Although there has been substantial research on paper flashcards (e.g., Wissman et al., 2012; Golding et al., 2012), little is known about how students utilize the increasingly popular tool of digital flashcards to support self-regulated learning. In a large survey of UCLA undergraduates (n = 901), we investigated why students use digital flashcards, how these digital flashcards are obtained, and how students use them. Results reveal intriguing patterns. Students report that they are likely to self-test, frequently check the accuracy of retrieved responses, and are unlikely to drop cards from study when using digital flashcards, which indicate use of beneficial learning strategies. However, students report relying heavily on premade flashcards despite indicating that the accuracy of such cards are more suspect than that of self-made ones. This mismatch in perceptions of accuracy and the materials students actually use reveals a possible area for investigation and improvement in digital flashcard implementation. Overall, these results elucidate patterns of digital flashcard use that may be of use to educators, researchers, and others who seek to optimize student use of digital flashcards.

2:25-2:45pm - Eman Magzoub, PROPS

Faculty Mentor: Anna Lau

Mediating pathways between cultural socialization and well-being in Vietnamese American Youth
Eman Magzoub, Stephanie H. Yu, Xinran Wang, & Anna S. Lau

Cultural socialization is the process by which parents promote exploration, education, and pride in their child towards their ethnic group (Hughes et al. 2006), and has been linked to better mental health outcomes for ethnic minority youth including Asian Americans (Gartner et al., 2014). Cultural socialization may impact youth well-being through enhancing their view of their group (private regard) or the importance of their ethnic identity to them (centrality). Prior studies found cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between cultural socialization and other well-being outcomes (e.g., social competence, self-esteem) through ethnic identity (Tran & Lee, 2010; Gartner et al., 2014). We examined the relationship between cultural socialization and mental health problems mediated by private regard and centrality, cross-sectionally (n = 711) and longitudinally (n = 315), for Vietnamese American youth (Mage = 15.55). Cross-sectional mediation revealed a significant indirect effect where cultural socialization was associated with lower mental health problems through private regard (B = 0.70, SE = 0.07, 95% CI [-0.63, -0.02]). In longitudinal models, centrality was the significant mediator (B = -0.36, SE = 0.20, 95% CI [-0.79, -0.01]). Implications include how cultural socialization can improve well-being outcomes for Vietnamese American and other ethnic minority youth.

2:45-3:05 pm - Elizabeth Marquez, PROPS

Faculty Mentor: Lauren Ng

Effects of the Client-Therapist Relationship on Treatment Outcomes for Juvenile Offenders
Elizabeth Marquez, Lauren C. Ng, Ph.D., & Stanley Huey, Ph.D.

Multisystemic therapy (MST), a family focused rehabilitation treatment for juvenile offenders, is effective in reducing delinquent behaviors in high-risk youth (Henggeler et al., 2006). The aim of this study is to assess the role of the client-therapist relationship on delinquent behaviors among youth participating in MST, drug court, family court and/or contingency management in a sample of 161 juvenile drug offenders (ages 12-17, 77.5% male, 65% African American). Delinquent behavior was assessed using youth self-report, parent-report, and arrest records at 4 months post-recruitment and a 12-month follow up. The therapist-client relationship was assessed at 5 time points during treatment using caregiver, youth, and therapist ratings on the MST Therapist Adherence Measure. Controlling for patient demographics, condition, and number of sessions, we hypothesize that higher client-therapist relationship scores will predict lower delinquency behavior at posttreatment and follow-up. Findings from this study may expand knowledge on the impact of the client-therapist relationship on treatment outcomes for juvenile offenders and provide insight into effective treatment implementation.

 

POSTER PRESENTATIONS

We are hosting student posters and presentations through the following Open Science Foundation Meeting Page: https://osf.io/meetings/PURC2021/. Students will be uploading posters and videos to this page throughout May 2021, so we encourage you to view and share them!

We look forward to being able to gather in-person in the future.