Monthly Archives: February 2021

Do We Want AI to Believe in Karma?

Thinking about the way to study karma in the FF-PTG lab.

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Kolton’s Thesis Proposal Prep

Kolton, first year Master’s student, recently shared updates on his thesis project, Victim-Perpetrator Overlap and Post-Traumatic Growth.

His presentation included detailed information on the procedure, survey structure, and data analysis for the study. The focus of this project is Victim-Perpetrator Overlap (VPO), the idea that a current perpetrator of a problematic behavior was previously a victim of the same problematic behavior in the past. Kolton noticed that there is a lack of literature on the perpetrators of the trauma events being reported in Posttraumatic Growth (PTG) studies; he would like to explore the possibility of how PTG might play a role in victims becoming perpetrators.

Data will be collected via an online survey that will include questionnaires about experiences as both a victim and perpetrator along with a PTG inventory for traumatic experiences for both. It is predicted that participants who experience PTG as a victim will be less likely to report instances of committing problematic behavior as a perpetrator. The survey will be randomized so that some participants will complete the questions about their traumatic experiences as a victim first, complete a filler questionnaire, then complete questions about their traumatic experiences as a perpetrator and vice-versa. It is predicted that participants in the condition who answer questions about their experiences as a victim first will be less likely to report instances of being a perpetrator than those in the condition who initially reflect on experiences as a perpetrator. The information gathered from this study could deepen our understanding of why individuals commit crimes and strengthen crime prevention strategies. This project is coming together nicely, Kolton!

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Kara’s Master’s Thesis Defense

Kara Pado, second year Master’s student, presented the latest updates on her thesis proposal, Identifying the tipping point of recognition of alcohol abuse symptoms in undergraduate students. The purpose of Kara’s Master’s thesis is to identify tipping points in perceptions of alcohol abuse symptomatology by examining undergraduate students’ self-perceptions of alcohol consumption and perceptions of their peers’ consumption. Tipping points are generally defined as a moment of revelation that indicates a major change; however, it can differ in interpretation depending on the field of study. Alcohol usage and subsequent symptomatology, parental alcohol permissiveness and usage, and tipping point were measured through an assessment. Kara collected data from 354 undergraduate students at Oakland University which were recruited through an online study link in SONA. Participants identified how many drinks per day and duration of behavior required to be considered concerning, through both self-evaluation and evaluation of their peers.

Through the initial data analysis, Kara has discovered participants will identify a tipping point of an alcohol problem developing in themselves earlier than in their peers. Another interesting finding was peer tipping points were significantly influenced by parental permissiveness, while self tipping points were not. She will be performing further data analysis on additional data that was collected.
The future directions of her study will be expanding to other colleges and universities in the hopes to have more diverse samples, exploring gender-specific habits and outcomes, and collecting self-efficacy data. Through her research, Kara aspires to contribute to the understanding of tipping points in psychology and the impact of exposure to alcohol on perceptions of developing a problem along with potential clinical applications to decrease alcohol use disorder on college campuses. We are looking forward to hearing more about your findings, Kara!

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Kayla’s Thesis Updates!

Last week, Ph.D. student Kayla presented updated plans for her project titled Growing Toward the Common Good: Collective Action during COVID-19.

Kayla aims to develop an understanding of collective action behaviors as a predictor of action-focused growth and constructive PTG by studying how bystanders might promote collective action among their group for the benefit of society during a pandemic. Not only will the relationship between PTG and collective action behavior be examined, but the possibility of narcissism and optimism being indicators of illusory PTG will be explored. Her study will include a preliminary survey collecting data on individual differences, evaluation of collective behavior, and attitudes towards COVID-19 along with daily surveys collecting data concerning behavior during public outings (e.g. mask wearing, how many people present). She is hoping to recruit about 400 participants who have resided in the United States since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and are at least 18 years old.

It is predicted that participants who score high on the PTG scale will engage in more collective action interventions. She also predicts that people who have high PTG scores and do not engage in collective action interventions will reflect illusory growth and anticipates that narcissism and/or optimism could be influencing factors in this relationship. This project has the potential to help identify predicting factors of who will take part in collective action as a reflection of action-focused growth. It seems like this study will collect extremely rich and relevant data. We are very excited to see the outcomes! Amazing presentation, Kayla!

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Colin’s ARFID Study

ARFID, or Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder, can be characterized by the avoidance of food whether it is in variety or volume. There are three domains which ARFID can be broken down into: picky eating, low appetite, or fear. Graduate student, Colin O’Brien’s ARFID study, Differentiating between Domains of Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder, will be examining potential factors associated with ARFID. Specifically, the study will be focusing on factors of anxiety, disgust, and parenting and their associations with ARFID and each of its domains. Colin will be starting to collect data soon from participants who are 18 or older and will be recruited through an OU Psychology Pool ad on SONA along with other internet postings.

In recent news, the Michigan Academy conference has accepted Colin’s abstract submission for the ARFID study. Congratulations! Thank you to Joey Rhodes and Victoria Kaznowski for your collaboration on this study. We are looking forward to hearing about your findings!

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