Research Series Talk: Amber & Paxton

Undergraduate members of the FF-PTG lab made their debut presenting for the department of psychology during their research talk series. Amber Efthemiou and Paxton Hicks presented their respective topics among other undergraduates in different labs.

Amber’s presentation was about the effects of losing specific loved ones on PTG. Specifically, how loved grandparents could indicate higher rates of PTG and resilience more so than the death of other relatives. The idea behind this is thought to be that those who experience the death of a grandparent may have more of an expectation of their death. If a grandparent dies of old age or health-related conditions this may be more expected than the sudden death of a parent. Participants in the study were divided by the types of death experiences, whether that was a grandparent, anyone other than a grandparent, or multiple deaths (grandparents included). Results showed that there were significant differences between PTG for those experiencing the death of a grandparent and those experiencing the death of someone else. None of the groups differed significantly in resilience. Future research should consider the types of relationships an individual has with any type of relative. Individuals in this study could have been close with their grandparents which made the potential for growing stronger, while others had a distant relationship with an aunt. The types of relationships and their closeness could be a factor in the amount of PTG experienced.

Paxton was able to present an upcoming study that will be conducted. Many of the details cannot be shared but what can be is the study’s focus on prosocial lying. Prosocial lies are those that benefit someone else rather than the teller of a lie. For example, parents who tell their kids that Santa is real are a form of prosocial lying. Telling the kids that Santa is real makes the children happy with little to no benefit to the parent telling the lie. Another example is complimenting a friend’s outfit that you may not like. You tell them it looks good despite your own truthful opinion to not hurt their confidence. Paxton successfully completed an application for the Provost Research Award Grant to get funding which is still being reviewed.

We are excited and proud of your members for presenting some of their work so far! Amber and Paxton were able to share information on topics they are curious about with a larger audience! We look forward to the future of both members’ projects!

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