Program for the Fall 2004 Multidisciplinary Research Day


DEPARTMENT OF -None-

Empirical Projects

Decker, Melonie. C.
-None-
Faculty Sponsor:

DEPARTMENT OF Biology

Empirical Projects

Benefield, Amanda, Baker, Jason C.. Antimicrobial Effectiveness of Laundry Detergents.
Laundry detergents have been widely characterized for their ability to remove dirt, oils, and stains. However, little is ever mentioned concerning the ability of these detergents to destroy microorganisms. Microorganisms, such as bacteria, are found everywhere in our society and some of these can be pathogenic. These can be carried on clothing and other surfaces and introduced to others, potentially causing disease. This investigation set out to determine the effectiveness of 44 different detergents at killing two model bacteria, Staphylococcus epidermidis and Escherichia coli, representing the Gram positive and Gram negative bacteria groups. We discovered that the cost of the detergent had no bearing on the antibacterial effectiveness and, in general, powdered detergents were more effective than liquid forms of the same detergent brand.
Faculty Sponsor:
Bradford, Dan. The Effects of Berenil on Hatch Rates of Zebrafish Embryos.
Due to external fertilization and a translucent egg capsule, zebrafish embryos are ideal for use as models of vertebrate development. As the embryo develops, its cells divide, and must differentiate into different cell types. Alterations of gene expression must occur in order for these cells to differentiate and form distinct tissues and organs. Berenil, a minor groove binding compound of DNA, can alter gene expression due to its intrinsic binding properties. In this study, zebrafish embryos have been treated with varying concentrations of Berenil, and the hatch rates have been compared. Concentrations of Berenil up to 160 mg/L appear to expedite the hatching process when compared to untreated solution.
Faculty Sponsor:
Bunker, Aaron; Daggett, Melissa A. F.. Characterization of an echinoderm-like microtubule-associated protein (ELM) in zebrafish.
Cells are comprised of three major cytoskeletal filaments; microtubules, microfilaments, and intermediate filaments. Proteins are known to associate with these filaments and ultimately help carry out the filament’s respective function. Microtubules in particular carry out essential functions such as chromosome segregation during cell division. A 77 kD microtubule-associated protein (MAP) has been previously characterized in sea urchin eggs and developing embryos. This echinoderm microtubule-associated protein (EMAP) is found on the mitotic spindle, co-localized with protein kinases important for cell-cycle regulation (reviewed in Suprenant and Daggett, 1995, Brisch et al. 1996 and Daggett et al. 1998). In this study, a protein homologue of EMAP or an echinoderm-like microtubule-associated protein (ELM), was identified and is currently being characterized in zebrafish. Protein samples from various zebrafish tissues were isolated and subjected to SDS-PAGE and Western blot analysis. Preliminary results indicate the presence of a protein found in the gonads and eyes of zebrafish that cross-reacts with an antibody generated against the sea urchin EMAP. We are continuing to characterize this possible zebrafish ELM in order to establish its role in zebrafish cell division and development. Therefore any knowledge gained by proteins such as ZELP and its homologues may provide new insights into the unregulated cell division seen in cancer. (Supported by MWSC Department of Biology funds and EMAP-specific antibodies by Dr. Kathy Suprenant, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS)
Faculty Sponsor:
Crowe, Rich. Forestry: Rich Crowe`s Professional Internship Experience.
In the summer of 2004 I interned with the forestry division of the Missouri Department of Conservation under the supervision of Lonnie Messbarger. During my internship experience I participated in various forest management activities such as tree planting, tree surveys, a landowner workshop, and a long-term walnut progeny study. During my experience I learned valuable lessons in proper forest management as it relates to the development of wildlife forage and habitat. I believe this experience was invaluable to me as an aspiring wildlife manager because it exposed me to important forestry concepts that I may not have otherwise had an opportunity to explore.
Faculty Sponsor:
-None-. Invertebrate Diversity in Two Vertically Distinct Habitats.
This study compared species diversity between two habitats separated by a 40 foot bluff in the Huzzah Valley of the Ozark Mountains region of Missouri. Ten leaf litter samples were taken from each habitat and a total of 71 species were collected. Species richness and species abundance were determined and a Shannon-Wiener diversity index value was calculated for each sample. Independent t-tests showed no significant difference (p>0.05) between the species diversities of the two habitats. Our hypothesis of different species richness, abundance, and diversity was not supported by our data.
Faculty Sponsor:
Crowe, Lindy; Bradford, Dan. Invertebrate Diversity in Two Vertically Distinct Habitats.
This study compared species diversity between two habitats separated by a 40 foot bluff in the Huzzah Valley of the Ozark Mountains region of Missouri. Ten leaf litter samples were taken from each habitat and a total of 71 species were collected. Species richness and species abundance were determined and a Shannon-Wiener diversity index value was calculated for each sample. Independent t-tests showed no significant difference (p>0.05) between the species diversities of the two habitats. Our hypothesis of different species richness, abundance, and diversity was not supported by our data.
Faculty Sponsor:
Daggett, Melissa A. F. ; Students enrolled in BIO 311 Animal Physiology Fall 2004. A Computer Integrated Data Acquisition System Increases the Applied Learning Opportunities in MWSC Animal Physiology Laboratories..
The goal of this project was to obtain a data acquisition system that could be used to promote investigative laboratory experiences and independent student research projects within the Department of Biology at Missouri Western State College. Previously, the department did not have any state-of-the-art equipment in which to support students in experiencing hands-on opportunities for obtaining quantitative physiological data in the BIO 311 Animal Physiology Laboratories. The objective of obtaining a data acquisition system was to allow students in physiology the ability to immerse themselves in the scientific processes of observing, collecting, analyzing and interpreting data in investigative laboratory experiences and independent research projects. This poster outlines the individual laboratories and independent research projects made possible in BIO 311 Animal Physiology through the purchase of an iWORX data acquisition system. Funding for this system was provided by a strategic planning implementation fund (SPIF) grant awarded in the fall 2003. The results of this project were: 1) that students received hands-on applied learning experiences in investigating physiological concepts using state-of-the-art equipment and 2) that all students had an opportunity to design and carry out their own research projects for public presentation. Future goals for this project will be to collaborate with other MWSC departments, including psychology, in obtaining funding for the acquisition of more systems and to develop additional individual laboratories exercises using the data acquisition system.
Faculty Sponsor:
Sobbing. Preliminary studies on the occurrence of avian haematozoa in Missouri mourning doves (Zenaida macroura)..
Abstract Little is known about the presence or health impact of blood parasites in Missouri mourning dove (Zenaida macroura) populations. Blood samples were collected during a 2001 study to evaluate physiological effects of radio transmitters on a population of captive doves. Immediately after collecting the blood samples, duplicate smears were prepared, air-dried, and subsequently stained with Wright-Giemsa stain. This report summarizes our examination of 120 blood smears from 60 mourning doves. Prevalence (number of birds infected/number of birds examined) of infection was determined by scanning each blood smear at 400X magnification for approximately 50 minutes. Identification of parasites was done at 1000X (oil immersion) magnification. An unidentified microfilaria of a nematode was found on one blood smear. Two species of intracellular parasites of the genus Haemoproteus were found. Fifty-four (80%) of the birds were infected with one or more of the parasites we observed. Thirty-nine (58%) of the birds were infected with H. columbae and fifteen (22%) of the birds were infected with H. sacharovi. Six (9%) of the birds exhibited concurrent infections with both Haemoproteus species. One (1.5%) bird was infected with the unidentified microfilaria and H. sacharovi.
Faculty Sponsor:
Lamp, Jenny. Fear and Heart Rate.
The sympathetic division of the nervous system regulates bodily systems under the heightened conditions brought on by fear, anxiety, and panic among other stresses. Due to these conditions, the body releases epinephrine under the direction of the sympathetic nervous system. Epinephrine causes the heart rate to increase, while other body systems accordingly increase or decrease their activities as well. These reactions are collectively called the “fight or flight” response. However, if the person were aware that he or she was not in immediate danger, would the sympathetic responses still occur? In order to examine the connection between fear and heart rate, subjects were allowed to watch two films, and their heart rates were recorded during this time, using electrocardiogram technology in the laboratory setting. Before viewing any footage, the resting heart rates of the subjects were also recorded. Then, all of these measurements were graphed and compared with respect to the type of films being viewed. A significant difference in heart rate was not observed overall, although some subjects did experience increased heart rate while viewing the horror film footage as compared to the documentary film footage.
Faculty Sponsor:
Lee, Valerie, Campbell, Rich, and Nicholson, Joe. Huzzah Creek Biodiversity Study.
Invertebrate stream diversity is a large area of scientific research among researchers today. Studies dealing with the diversity of stream invertebrates allow researches to compare and contrast the different organisms found living in stream habitats and the conditions of the habitats in which they live. In the morning of October 16, 2004, Dr. David Ashley’s Invertebrate Zoology class had the opportunity to travel to southeast Missouri and do some research on stream invertebrate diversity in the Huzzah Creek at Reis Biological Field Station. Samples of invertebrates were collected using kick net sampling in addition to a benthic sampler. Weather and water conditions were collected at the sampling sites.
Faculty Sponsor:
Miller, Lisa M.. A preliminary study of herbaceous plants at the Lower Hamburg Bend Conservation Area prior to flooding with a reopened chute of the Missouri River..
The Lower Hamburg Bend Conservation Area (LHBCA) contains approximately 3,000 acres of wetland habitat located on the east side of the Missouri River just south of the Iowa border. As part of a joint project of the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE), a chute was reopened through the LHBCA to form an island, sloughs, and backwater areas during the summer of 2004. Within a 300-acre study area that will be primarily affected by the new chute, 232 evenly-spaced permanent sampling plots and 18 randomly located permanent sampling plots were used to sample herbaceous plants, woody seedlings, saplings, and over-story trees according to the Vegetation Monitoring System (VMS) of the MDC. All sampling was done in June and July of 2002, 2003, and 2004. The chute was under construction during the summer of 2004 but it was not completed until after 2004 sampling was finished. This study describes 77 species of herbaceous and woody plants collected from all of the study plots. It compares VMS Importance Values of the top herbaceous species in all three years including Solidago altissima, Setaria faberii, Bromus inermis, and Lippia lanceolata. In addition, it was found that most of the plants sampled during these preliminary surveys are introduced and/or generalist species (according to MDC’s Coefficient of Conservation). This three-year study shows evidence that Populus deltoides was the primary woody species that survives to maturity. Salix nigra showed dramatic increases in seedling and saplings, but showed a decrease in over-story trees, the three years of this study. Salix interior demonstrated its typical role as a pioneer species by having high importance values during the first year of the study (2002) and showing dramatic decreases in importance values in 2003 and 2004. Slight changes in bare ground, litter, and water were due to a 2002 later winter burn, beaver dam construction in 2003, and a prolonged drought in the spring of 2004. It is expected that native wetland species will increase as the marsh habitat expands after the river chute is reopened and backwater areas are established. Support from the Missouri Department of Conservation.
Faculty Sponsor:
Nicholson, Joe. Wildlife Conservation and Management: A Professional Internship with the Missouri Department of Conservation.
The Missouri Department of Conservation undertakes hundreds upon hundreds of management practices and ideas each year. They strive to serve the needs and requirements of wildlife and their habitats in order to preserve the rich diversity of species that Missouri has to offer. Professionals also strive to excel in public relations and to keep the outdoor users of Missouri happy. This past summer I had the chance to participate in an internship with the Department of Conservation at Nodaway Valley conservation area, located in Holt county Missouri, about thirty five minutes from St. Joseph, and learn more about what it takes to preserve Missouri’s species richness and ensure that species and their habitats are well managed to ensure survival and reproduction. While I had the chance to participate in many different projects while interning, my focus was on four different management projects. The first and perhaps the biggest project was the different methods of woody encroachment control and eradication in both upland and wetland areas using different methods of mechanical and chemical applications. The second of my four projects of focus was habitat succession control with controlled burning. The third of four projects was planting trees and shrubs to strengthen riparian corridor and provide habitat and cover for various upland birds and mammals. The fourth and final project that I undertook was the various techniques used for the production of food resources necessary for migrating waterfowl and other wildlife species.
Faculty Sponsor:

DEPARTMENT OF Criminal Justice

Empirical Projects

Grable, Kristin. School Violence: Influences Beyond Student Behavior.
Abstract The purpose of this study is to determine what risk factors and influences there are for school violence in the United States. The risk factors will go beyond that of student behavior and personality traits. This researcher will collect statistical data to determine whether there are any correlations between school violence and influences from the family, society, and the school environment. The final goal of this study is to help school violence prevention program coordinators to fully understand where school violence is stemming from so that these programs are more successful.
Faculty Sponsor:
Rouner, Amber. Effect of Divorce on Juvenile Delinquency.
The purpose of this study is to determine the relationship between parental divorce and juvenile delinquency, and then, if a relationship exists, determine what demographic variables cause that relationship to exist. To determine whether this correlation exists and whether the delinquents age, gender, or race play a part any correlation that does exist, this researcher is going to collect various sources of secondary data on this topic and then compare these sources. After comparing the sources, the researcher’s objective is to determine what type of relationship truly exists and what factors play a part in that relationship.
Faculty Sponsor:

DEPARTMENT OF Criminal Justice and Legal Studies

Literature Reviews

Smith, Chermona. Is Domestic Violence a learned Behavior?.
Abstract The purpose for this study is to determine if it is a learned behavior,when can it be unlearned? Next step in the research is to determine what types of programs are provided for men that abuse their spouses. To investigate, this researcher will have to do research to determine if this concept is true. After this research as been completed, this researcher will use the information to figure out what programs are being developed for the batterers. The goal is to make sure the programs are providing adequate services to men that are in need of help.
Faculty Sponsor:

DEPARTMENT OF Criminal Justice/Legal Studies

Empirical Projects

Weeden, Andrew. Airline Security: An Analysis of the Heightened Security Measures and Threat Conditions in Relation to a Passenger’s Fear of Flying..
The purpose of this study is to determine if the heightened security measures and newly developed Department of Homeland Security have any effect on the passenger’s actual sense of safety aboard aircrafts. To determine this I will collect data through surveys and field research from passengers at major U.S. airports. After this data is collected, it will be looked at to determine if the billions of dollars we spend on airline security actually works. The goal is to find out if the beefed up security since September 11th has actually paid off by limiting illegal acts in airports and reducing the passenger’s fear of flying.
Faculty Sponsor:

DEPARTMENT OF Crminal Justice

Empirical Projects

Dial, Lydia. An Analysis of Adolescent Substance Abuse: How to best identify abuse and effective treatment?.
The purpose of this study is to determine the different types of treatment programs and testing for substance abuse adolescents. The researcher will also examine what age the adolescents started using substances then determine the reasons why the adolescents choose to use drugs or alcohol. Whether or not any medical problems play a part in adolescents using drugs and alcohol will also be explored. The method used to determine the degree that adolescents use different substances, what types, and what age they started to use will be surveys. The surveys will be sent to an agency, Preferred Family Healthcare in Kirksville, Missouri, that deals with substance abuse adolescents, and also Scotland County R-1 High School in Memphis, Missouri.
Faculty Sponsor:

DEPARTMENT OF Psycholog

Empirical Projects

Williams Luann W.. Student.
Recently there has been a great deal of concern dealing with students cheating in schools. There has been an equal concern over prayer in the public school system. Researchers are trying to provide a solution to the problem of academic dishonesty. The purpose of my research is to find if there is a relationship between religiosity and academic honesty. In doing this research I hope to show that honesty is directly influence by ones religiosity. Data for this research were collected from 80 undergraduate Psychology 101 freshman students at Missouri Western State College. Participants were given a pencil and paper survey. A Pearson correlation was conducted comparing the scores of religiosity and honesty. A significant, but low positive correlation was found.
Faculty Sponsor:

DEPARTMENT OF Psychology

Empirical Projects

Bodde, Brandy. The Effects of Caffeine and Sugar on the Memorization of Word Lists.
Caffeine is used on a daily basis by many people. Caffeine is a stimulant that helps create alertness. Sugar is a natural sucrose that is consumed daily also. This study will look at the effects of caffeine and sugar on memory of word lists. Participants signed up for one of seven times. In all, there were 47 participants. Each participant received a cup of coffee upon arrival. After drinking the coffee, they waited five minutes. After the five minutes, the participants were shown a list of 21 words for one minute. After that minute, they were given two minutes to recall as many words as possible. After the two minutes, they were released with the knowledge of what type of coffee they drank. The results showed that they were no significant main effects for either caffeine, sugar, or any interaction of the two. These results do not support the hypothesis of this experiment.
Faculty Sponsor:
Bodde, Brandy. The Effects of Caffeine and Sugar on the Memorization of Word Lists.
Caffeine is used on a daily basis by many people. Caffeine is a stimulant that helps create alertness. Sugar is a natural sucrose that is consumed daily also. This study will look at the effects of caffeine and sugar on memory of word lists. Participants signed up for one of seven times. In all, there were 47 participants. Each participant received a cup of coffee upon arrival. After drinking the coffee, they waited five minutes. After the five minutes, the participants were shown a list of 21 words for one minute. After that minute, they were given two minutes to recall as many words as possible. After the two minutes, they were released with the knowledge of what type of coffee they drank. The results showed that they were no significant main effects for either caffeine, sugar, or any interaction of the two. These results do not support the hypothesis of this experiment.
Faculty Sponsor:
Day, Candice N.. The Effects of the Perception of an Inexperienced Blackjack Player.
The purpose of my study is to find a correlation between the amount of money won by an inexperienced gambler and the opinion of the inexperienced gambler from an experienced gambler. My literature states that there is no true skill in gambling. There is no way to definitely beat the house. But there is a way to decrease the odds for the house and increase them for the gambler. Using basic blackjack strategy does this and an experienced blackjack player knows this. But does the glory of winning without using basic strategy cloud their better judgment? The research shows that it does not cloud their judgment. . The limitations of the project with sample size may have affected the results.
Faculty Sponsor:
Deka, Teddi and Mobley, Angela. Accurate and Inaccurate Stereotype Threats Affect Male and Female Performance.
This research explored whether performance differences existed by gender on skills that traditionally show male or female advantage. Participants were given information about how males and females generally perform on verbal and hidden patterns measures. In the "accurate" condition, participants were prompted that females outperform males on verbal tasks and males outperform females on hidden patterns. In the "inaccurate" condition, participants were prompted that females outperform males on hidden patterns, and males outperform females on verbal tasks. A control group indicated no gender differences on the verbal measure, and significant differences favoring males on hidden patterns. Significant results were found for females on hidden patterns. Whether given an accurate or inaccurate prompt, females showed significantly better performance than a control group, possibly demonstrating willingness to disprove a negative stereotype, but take credit for a positive stereotype. Males showed no significant differences, but performed as the prompts suggested.
Faculty Sponsor:
Gamet, Megan. Stereotype Threat and the Effects on Women in Mathematical Tasks.
Stereotype threat can be defined as the risk of confirming a negative stereotype about one’s group as a self-characteristic. Often, women feel stereotyped on tasks of mathematics when being compared to males. Research has shown that males do often perform better than women in areas that deal with mathematics. However, it is unknown as to whether this is a cause or effect of women avoiding classes and careers related to math. Studies have shown that alleviating such stereotypes may increase the performance of women in the area of mathematics. My study investigated whether introducing a stereotype to women would inhibit their mathematical performance compared to a group of women who were not faced with the stereotype. The experimental group included college women, which were involved in a discussion of having separate math classes for males and females due to males’ higher mathematical abilities. The control group was also college women and these females were told nothing. Both groups took a math test consisting of 10 pre-act questions. The results showed that the women who were not introduced to the stereotype before taking the math exam, did not score significantly higher than the women who were introduced to the stereotype, as I had expected. I found that I would need a much larger sample size to possibly have a significant effect, due to so much overlap in the scores.
Faculty Sponsor:
Gilgour, Stephanie. Highlighting the Color of Memory.
Highlighters have been used for the past couple decades for use of a study aid. Past experiments have shown that yellow highlighters benefit when studying for a test versus not using any kind of highlighting. When studying I noticed that yellow and pink highlighters helped me remember key terms better than when I did not use them, and decided to test whether they actually had an effect on memorization. Students in Missouri Western’s general studies courses were used as subjects and were given extra credit for participating in the study. They were given test packets that contained a reading passage, short demographic section, and five questions to answer over the reading they had just completed. These packets were divided into a control group with no highlighting in the reading passage, an experimental group where key terms were highlighted in yellow, and a third experimental group where the same key terms were highlighted in alternating pink and yellow. The tests were graded with the questions being answered correctly, giving one point, or incorrectly, giving zero points. The results showed that there were no significant differences in the three groups, all of their average scores came out to be almost equal, and the results were calculated using a one-way between subjects analysis of variance. Though the results were not as hypothesized, I found that the experimental yellow group did achieve the highest average in correct answers. If this study were to be replicated, more information about colors effects on the brain would be beneficial, as well as making sure that the participants are not able to cheat on the test; the results in this test could have been flawed by participants who looked up the right answers.
Faculty Sponsor:
Haecker, Jael. The Variables Affecting Male and Female Performance on Verbal and Spatial Tasks.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the variables affecting male and female performance on verbal and spatial tasks, including total number of siblings, relative number of male and female siblings, and parenting style. The study consisted of 47 undergraduates enrolled in an introductory psychology class. Previous research suggests an inverse relationship between sibling size and academic performance. It was hypothesized that as the total number of siblings increased, performance on visual and spatial tasks would decrease. Studies have also shown a slight influence of sibling sex composition on academic performance. It was hypothesized in this study that a direct relationship between verbal and spatial task performance and relative number of male and female siblings would exist. Participants with more sisters would score higher on verbal tasks, while participants with more brothers would score higher on spatial tasks. It was also hypothesized that participants raised in a two-parent home would perform better on both tasks than participants raised in by a single parent. The results did not support the hypotheses nor were they significant. A larger sample size is suggested for more significant results.
Faculty Sponsor:
Rachael. The Effect that Positive and Negative Humor has on Stress.
Previous studies have formed a relationship between stress levels and humor. This study tested to see if there was a change in stress levels from watching clips of positive and negative films. 32 students from a general psychology class volunteered to participate in this experiment. They were divided into two groups, one being a high stressed group and one being a low stressed group. Each group had a 50/50 percent chance of getting either a positive or negative clip to view. To access their stress levels skin temperatures was taken with a biofeedback skin thermometer. Their temperatures were taken before and after each video clip watched. It was hypothesized that there would be a difference between skin temperatures and the type of film that was viewed. Results show that there is not a significant difference between stress levels and skin temperature. It did show that there was some reduction in tension within a humorous film with more of a reduction in the positive humorous film. Overall the results did not support the hypothesis and were not significant. A larger sample size is suggested for better and more significant results.
Faculty Sponsor:
Mulford, Rachael. The Effect that Positive and Negative Humor has on Stress.
Previous studies have formed a relationship between stress levels and humor. This study tested to see if there was a change in stress levels from watching clips of positive and negative films. 32 students from a general psychology class volunteered to participate in this experiment. They were divided into two groups, one being a high stressed group and one being a low stressed group. Each group had a 50/50 percent chance of getting either a positive or negative clip to view. To access their stress levels skin temperatures was taken with a biofeedback skin thermometer. Their temperatures were taken before and after each video clip watched. It was hypothesized that there would be a difference between skin temperatures and the type of film that was viewed. Results show that there is not a significant difference between stress levels and skin temperature. It did show that there was some reduction in tension within a humorous film with more of a reduction in the positive humorous film. Overall the results did not support the hypothesis and were not significant. A larger sample size is suggested for better and more significant results
Faculty Sponsor:
Nagel, Sarah. Personality as a Possible Predictor for Academic Success.
The purpose of this study was to determine whether or not personality has an effect of academic success. Academic success was defined as being a senior level college student, having over 90 credit hours and having declared a major. These seniors were compared to undeclared major freshman having less then 30 hours. Freshman and seniors were compared to find whether there was a relationship between personality and academic success. No significance was found, but a major of college students who participated in this study were extrovert, sensing, feeling and judging.
Faculty Sponsor:
Phillips, Tanya. Preschoolers` Concept of Family Structure.
The experiment explored the relationship between children’s living arrangements their concept of family. Children ages three and four were the focus of the study. Demographic information including living arrangements was given by a parent or guardian. Children were sorted into two groups. One group consisted of children of married households and the other non-married households. Children were asked to label adults in two pictures. The first picture was a portrait of a family and the other a picture of a couple getting married. After data was collected, it was found that no significant differences in the way the two groups labeled each picture could be found due to a lack of participants.
Faculty Sponsor:
Roether, J.L. & Wilson, E.R.. Integrative Complexity: Differences in Learning Communities versus Non-Learning Communities.
This study measured the level of integrative complexity (IC) in essays written by groups in two different classroom types: learning communities (LC: integration with other courses) and non-learning communities (non-LC). 50 participants were introductory level Psychology students who were assigned to five-person classroom groups. They met multiple times over the semester, writing essays, which were coded using the Baker-Brown coding manual. Two coders rated essays on differentiation and integration; higher ratings indicate higher IC. LC’s were expected to have higher IC than non-LC. However, the results showed that both groups increased IC over time, with LC having a slightly greater increase in IC. Future research may examine coursework of the two groups before they have met for an extended amount of time.
Faculty Sponsor:
Shellenberger, Rachel. Sex Differences in Memorization: A Study of Visuospatial Memory.
An experiment was conducted to detect whether there are sex differences in the recall of pictures and/or words and to see if the existence of color or non-color (non-color = black-and-white) increases or decreases the likelihood of recall. Participants included 187 students from four different Psychology 101 classes. Each class was shown a slide show of pictures and words in one of four conditions: colored picture, black-and-white picture, word with colored background, or word in black-and-white. Significant main effects were found for sex, pictures, and color; and a significant interaction was found for color and pictures. The results indicate that color and pictures are recalled best overall, while the interaction of sex is insignificant.
Faculty Sponsor:
Taylor, Scott. The Effects of Religiosity on Academic Motivation.
A study was conducted to see if there was a relationship between religiosity and academic motivation. I constructed a survey and gave it to 41 upper-class psychology students. A significant relationship was found for two of the academic variables. The results showed a positive relationship between religiosity and the amount of determination to graduate and a negative relationship between religiosity and how much the student enjoys school. These results were interesting in that both variables were expected to show a positive relationship.
Faculty Sponsor:
Welsh, Rachel. Gender Bias: Are Women Bais Against Women.
-None-
Faculty Sponsor:
Welsh, Rachel. Gender Bias: Are Women Bais Against Women.
This experiment investigated if females have gender bias toward other females regarding judging writing quality. The purpose of this study was to see if there was a significant difference between the gender of the author and the writing quality evaluations. It was predicted that females would evaluate a male-authored article more positively than the identical article credited to female author. Three groups of participants were used each group either read an article credited to female, a male, or the author was not mentioned. This article was about the 2004 Presidential election. The participants came from Missouri Western State College located in St. Joseph, MO. The writing quality means of participants from the three different groups either reading a female, male, or no author mentioned article were compared using a one-way ANOVA. No significant difference was found (F (2, 28) = .13, p = .88). The participants from the three groups either reading a female, male, or no author mentioned article did not differ significantly on how they evaluated writing quality. The results of this experiment reveal that women do not evaluate an article written by a male more positively than the identical article credited to a female. One main problem with this experiment could have been the topic chosen for the piece of writing the participants read. If this experiment were to be repeated in the future, the type of article could be tested as another independent variable along with gender of the author.
Faculty Sponsor:
Williams, Eva. Belief in the Paranormal and Religiosity.
The purpose of this study was to determine if there is a relationship between belief in the paranormal and religiosity. Eighty college students in introductory level psychology courses completed both a paranormal belief scale and a religious belief scale. The results indicate that there is a small, non-significant inverse correlation between religiosity and paranormal belief. Paranormal belief and religiosity are not significantly related to each other.
Faculty Sponsor:

DEPARTMENT OF Psychology Department

Empirical Projects

Decker, Melonie. Comparing Dissociative Ability of Musicians and Non-Musicians.
Guralnik et al. (2ooo) noted that neodissociation theories view dissociation as the reflective mechanisms all people use to varying degrees. Irwin (1999) said that psychological absorbtion is a total attention that involves a full commitment of available perceptual, motoric, imaginative and ideational resources to a unified representation of the attentional object. Colin Ross (1996) notes that dissociation occurs in the general population in a bell-shaped curve. The current study is to discover whether musicians have a greater ability to dissociate and if they dissociate more than the average person. A total of 60 subjects, 30 students and faculty who are performing musicians from the music department at Missouri Western State College and 30 students and faculty members who are non-musicians, were given a 20 question survey to determine their level of dissociation. It was discovered that there was no significant difference between the scores of musicians and non-musicians.
Faculty Sponsor:
37 submissions listed.
-NONE-1
BIOLOGY12
CRIMINAL JUSTICE2
CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND LEGAL STUDIES1
CRIMINAL JUSTICE/LEGAL STUDIES1
CRMINAL JUSTICE1
PSYCHOLOG1
PSYCHOLOGY17
PSYCHOLOGY DEPARTMENT1
EMPIRICAL36
LITERATURE REVIEW1