Consistency, Consolidation, and Cognition in Autobiographical Memories: a Flashbulb Memory Approach

Consistency, Consolidation, and Cognition in Autobiographical Memories: a Flashbulb Memory Approach

Date: May 2013
Creator: Kraha, Amanda
Description: Flashbulb memories are highly vivid and long-lasting memories for events that are emotionally significant and personally important. These memories are held in very high confidence in accuracy over an extended period. In particular, individuals believe that they can remember the personal details surrounding the event such as where they were and what they were doing at the time the event occurred. Evidence from research, however, indicates that this may not be the case. The study of flashbulb memories has typically been confined to negative events such as September 11, 2001. In the current study, we employ the methods of Talarico and Rubin (2003) to investigate flashbulb memory formation to a positive event. The event is the assassination of Osama bin Laden, which resonated as a highly positive event for many Americans evidenced by the thousands of people flooding the streets of Washington, D.C. and New York City to celebrate. We examined various memory properties over a one-year period, including vividness, rehearsal, belief in accuracy, and consistency. Results confirm the formation of flashbulb memories to the assassination event, but results did not support many of the proposed hypotheses. Some differences were found for different testing groups (i.e., immediate versus one week ...
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The Influence of Extraversion, Religiosity, and Spirituality on Health Behaviors

The Influence of Extraversion, Religiosity, and Spirituality on Health Behaviors

Date: May 2013
Creator: Jenkins, Elizabeth P.
Description: Religion and spirituality are thought to be of great importance for the meaning and quality of life for many individuals, and research suggests that there may be important health benefits associated with religion and spirituality. Religion and spirituality should be related to health behaviors for a number of reasons. Health behaviors are important contributors to an individual's overall health, illness and mortality. Major negative health behaviors related to health outcomes are smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, obesity, risky driving, and high risk sexual behaviors. Health behaviors may also be linked to personality traits. The key trait examined for this study was extraversion. It includes adjectives such as being active, assertive, energetic, outgoing, and talkative. In this thesis, I take several hypotheses and explore the influence of extraversion, religiosity, and spirituality on health behaviors.
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Effects of Defensiveness on the Reporting of Personality Disorder Symptoms

Effects of Defensiveness on the Reporting of Personality Disorder Symptoms

Date: December 2011
Creator: Fiduccia, Chelsea E
Description: Personality disorders are not granted the same clinical attention accorded Axis I disorders despite their instrumental role in treatment and outcome. Even when standardized assessments are used, their clinical utility may be limited by an overly favorable self-presentation. The current study focused on defensiveness, the intentional denial of symptomatology, by examining individuals’ ability to minimize their presentation on personality disorder diagnostic measures. Using a within-subjects simulation design, dually diagnosed inpatients were assessed under both honest and defensive conditions. The study used self-report (Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV – Axis II – Personality Questionnaire, SCID-II-PQ) and interview-based (Structured Interview for DSM-IV Personality, SIDP-IV) diagnostic measures and a self-report measure of favorable self-presentation (Paulhus Deception Scales, PDS). The inpatients were quite capable of hiding maladaptive personality traits on diagnostic measures, with similarly large effect sizes on both the SCID-II-PQ and SIDP-IV. In addition to the PDS, two new detection strategies for identifying defensiveness showed promise.
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Oh G-d, A Borderline: Clinical Diagnostics As Fundamental Attribution Error

Oh G-d, A Borderline: Clinical Diagnostics As Fundamental Attribution Error

Date: December 2011
Creator: Schmalz, Jonathan
Description: Researchers raise concerns that the diagnostic approach can create stigma and lead to clinical inferences that focus on dispositional characteristics at the expense of situational variables. From social cognitive theory to strict behavioral approaches there is broad agreement that situation is at least as important as disposition. The present study examined the clinical inferences of graduate student clinicians randomly presented a diagnosis (borderline PD) or no diagnosis and either randomly given context information or no context information before watching a videotaped clinical interaction of a fabricated client. Responses to a questionnaire assessing dispositional or situational attributions about the client’s behavior indicated a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder did not significantly increase dispositional attributions and did not significantly moderate the importance of contextual factors. A notable difference between the attributions made by psychodynamic and third wave behavioral respondents was observed. Conceptual and experimental limitations as well as future directions are discussed.
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Is Mind Wandering the Mechanism Responsible for Life Stress Induced Impairments in Working Memory Capacity?

Is Mind Wandering the Mechanism Responsible for Life Stress Induced Impairments in Working Memory Capacity?

Date: August 2011
Creator: Banks, Jonathan Britten
Description: The relationship between life stress and working memory capacity (WMC) has been documented in college students and older adults. It has been proposed that intrusive thoughts about life stress are the mechanism responsible for the impairments seen in WMC. To examine the mechanism responsible for these impairments the current study attempted to induce intrusive thoughts about personal events. The current study allowed for a test of predictions made by two theories of mind wandering regarding the impact of these intrusive thoughts on WMC task performance. One hundred fifty undergraduates were assigned to a control group, positive event group, or negative event group. Participants in the positive and negative event groups completed a short emotional disclosure about an imagined future positive or negative event, respectively, to induce positive or negative intrusive thoughts. WMC measures were completed prior to and following the emotional writing. Results indicated a significant relationship between WMC and mind wandering, however the writing manipulation did not result in any consistent changes in intrusive thoughts or WMC. The results suggest a causal relationship between WMC and mind wandering. The emotional valence of the intrusive thought altered the impact on WMC. No relationship was seen between the measures of stress ...
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Posttraumatic Growth: Behavioral, Cognitive, and Demographic Predictors

Posttraumatic Growth: Behavioral, Cognitive, and Demographic Predictors

Date: August 2011
Creator: Schuettler, Darnell
Description: Recent trauma research argues trauma results in distinct positive and negative consequences, however; many trauma variables positively correlate with both outcomes. This study examined posttraumatic growth (PTG) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms as positive and negative trauma outcomes. Behavioral, cognitive, and demographic correlates and predictors were assessed to help clarify differences between the two outcomes. While several behavioral factors were common to both PTG and PTSD symptoms, centrality of event and problem focused coping were the strongest PTG predictors, whereas centrality of event and avoidant coping were the strongest PTSD predictors. These findings indicate while greater incorporation of a trauma/stressful event into one’s identity is a key component of both PTG and PTSD development, behavioral response may be a determining factor between growth or debilitation.
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An Examination of Resnick's Model of Malingering: a Pai Study of Feigned Ptsd

An Examination of Resnick's Model of Malingering: a Pai Study of Feigned Ptsd

Date: August 2013
Creator: Wooley, Chelsea N.
Description: Malingered posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) poses a formidable clinical challenge in personal injury and disability cases because of the apparent ease in feigning PTSD and the supposed link (proximate cause) to the claimed damages. The effective assessment of feigned PTSD is particularly challenging because this diagnosis is both easier to fake than other Axis I disorders and more difficult to detect. As an additional confound, some patients with genuine PTSD produce highly variable, elevated profiles on multiscale inventories that are difficult to distinguish from feigned PTSD. The current study examined whether the Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI) can effectively differentiate between genuine and feigned PTSD in 109 inpatients from a trauma unit. The two most effective scales were the MAL and the NDS scales. As a primary focus, the current study was the first empirical investigation of Resnick's model of malingered PTSD that is comprised of three subtypes: pure malingering (pure-M), partial malingering (partial-M), and false imputation (false-I). The primary goal was to evaluate whether each feigning group was able to (a) effectively simulate PTSD symptoms and diagnoses and (b) avoid being classified as feigning. The partial-M group proved to be the best feigning group in achieving these two goals. Furthermore, ...
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Female Psychopathy Predictors: Cluster B Traits and Alexithymia

Female Psychopathy Predictors: Cluster B Traits and Alexithymia

Date: August 2013
Creator: Rogstad, Jill E.
Description: Psychopathy has long been lauded as a premier predictor of negative behavioral outcomes because of its demonstrated associations with violence, antisocial conduct, and institutional maladjustment. Traditional conceptualizations of psychopathy highlight the relatively equal importance placed on personality features (i.e., a grandiose, deceitful interpersonal style and deficits in affective experience) and behavioral elements (i.e., an impulsive and irresponsible lifestyle marked by social deviance) of the syndrome. However, little research to date has investigated psychopathy dimensions in female samples, particularly as they relate to maladaptive behaviors beyond forensic settings. The current study comprehensively examined personality (i.e., Axis II Cluster B traits and alexithymia) and behavioral (i.e., suicide-related behavior and aggression) expressions of psychopathy in a sample of female inpatients recruited from trauma and dual-diagnosis units at a psychiatric hospital in Dallas, Texas. Contrary to expectations, the essential components of psychopathy in female psychiatric patients emphasized APD and NPD traits over features of HPD and BPD, which were relatively similar to elements traditionally highlighted in male psychopathy. On this point, two latent dimensions comprehensively addressed female psychopathy in the current sample: impulsive antisociality and narcissistic and histrionic interpersonal style. Interestingly, psychopathy (M r = .01) and Cluster B traits (M r = .05) ...
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Glucose As an Energy Source to Increase Self-control in Restrained Eaters

Glucose As an Energy Source to Increase Self-control in Restrained Eaters

Date: August 2013
Creator: Valentine, Lisa. M.
Description: Research evidence is suggestive of a strength model of self-control, also known as ego depletion, in social psychological literature. Engaging in an initial task of self-control depletes a limited resource, resulting in less self-control on a subsequent, unrelated task. The strength model of self-control has been applied to many practical, everyday situations, such as eating behaviors among dieters. Newer studies suggest that blood glucose is the resource consumed during acts of self-control. Consuming glucose seems to "replete" individuals who have been depleted, improving performance and self-control. The current study aimed to examine the effects of ego-depletion on restrained eaters. The hypothesis was that restrained eaters who were depleted by a task of self-control would exhibit more disinhibition on a taste-test task than would restrained eaters who were not depleted. However, if the participants were given glucose following the depletion task, then their self-control would be "repleted" and they would exhibit similar control to that of the non-depleted participants. Contrary to expectations there were no differences between the groups in terms of total amount of cookies consumed. These results are inconsistent with a glucose model of self-control. Suggestions for future research and implications of the findings are discussed.
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Ability of Offenders with Psychopathic Traits to Simulate Cognitive and Affective Empathy

Ability of Offenders with Psychopathic Traits to Simulate Cognitive and Affective Empathy

Date: August 2013
Creator: Robinson, Emily V.
Description: The accurate assessment of psychopathy constitutes a critical component of forensic assessments addressing offender populations. Among the core characteristics of psychopathy, the interpersonal component of deception and empathic deficits are prominently observed in offenders with psychopathic traits. Given the negative consequences of being classified as a psychopath, offenders may be likely to minimize their psychopathic traits. In particular, no research has investigated whether offenders with psychopathic traits are able to simulate empathy in an effort to mask their cognitive or affective empathy deficits (e.g., lack of remorse about offenses). The present study aims to contribute to the literature with regard to the simulation of empathy. Using a mixed between- and within-subjects design, 81 male detainees were placed into (a) a low psychopathy group, (b) a moderate psychopathy group, or (c) a high psychopathy group based on the Psychopathy Checklist – Revised. For the within-subjects component, all offenders answered empathy questionnaires under genuine and simulation conditions. Results indicate the sample possessed cognitive empathy, but did not display affective empathy under genuine instructions. Under simulation instructions, participants significantly increased their scores on several empathy measures. The implications of simulated empathy and comparisons between groups regarding simulation abilities are discussed.
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