Author Archives: taylorlelam

Whitney’s Dissertation Update

Fourth-year PhD student, Whitney, recently presented the second part of her dissertation on Dolphin Assisted Therapy (DAT). She conducted a study that analyzed the impact of a 3-day wild dolphin assisted therapy program on children. She gathered data from children with various physiological and psychological disorders. Whitney predicted that the children’s heart rate would decrease over the span of the 3 days by being in the water with the wild dolphins. She also predicted that the stress levels will decrease in the children and they will perceive the program as enjoyable and helpful. Her results showed that the heart rate in children decreased for the majority of the time and there were perceived decreases in stress/anxiety levels in most of the children as well. Overall, the participants found the program to be both enjoyable and helpful based on the personalized nature of the program and how it was specifically catered towards helping them and their special needs. Whitney plans to continue to gather data that measures the impact of DAT on children. Wonderful job Whitney and good luck with future research!

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Taylor’s Article Presentation

First semester undergraduate student, Taylor, recently gave her first article presentation, reflecting her research interests: emotions, deception detection, and behavioral psychology. Taylor chose the article Pathways to Posttraumatic Growth Versus Posttraumatic Stress: Coping and Emotional Reactions Following the September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attacks by Crystal L. Park, Carolyn M. Aldwin, Juliane R. Fenster, and Leslie B. Snyder, published in 2008. This study aimed to explore common reports from the American population of both distress and positive outcomes after television exposure of the attacks. The researchers hypothesized that there would be a relationship between coping, emotions, posttraumatic growth (PTG), and posttraumatic stress (PTS). They also hypothesized that positive coping would be more expressive through anger and would, therefore, lead to PTG while negative emotions would be more expressive through depression, leading to PTS following the terrorist attacks. Results showed that the relationship goes both ways. Meaning, emotions influence coping and coping influences emotions. They also found that although anger is often perceived as a negative emotion, it could prompt an individual to seek positive coping skills and potentially lead to PTG. The researchers concluded that the information found in the results shows how growth may be achieved by practicing positive coping skills because of arousal or motivation from anger. Taylor plans to continue researching emotions and behaviors in relation to PTG throughout her time in the lab as well as in her future career goals within behavioral psychology. Great job on your article presentation, Taylor, and good luck with future research!

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Congrats to Velinka!

Congratulations to Velinka! Her paper, “Youth perceptions of intergenerational discordance and immigrant well-being” was selected as the second place winner of the Kresge Library’s Frank Lepkowski Undergraduate Research in Writing Award!

Also, she recently successfully defended her senior’s thesis. Velinka’s presentation was an update of her honors independent study. She is interested in exploring youth perceptions of acculturation, the process of adapting to a new culture, and individual factors between immigrant youth and their parents after coming to the United States. Velinka has taken a mixed methods approach, using qualitative and quantitative methods, to examine youth-perceived parent-child gaps in acculturation and emotion processing. She is interested in exploring how those gaps affect immigrant youth with varying outcomes, such as acculturative stress, somatic symptoms, depressive, anxiety, and stress symptoms, as well as post-traumatic growth (PTG). Findings will contribute to the expanded Acculturation Gap-Distress Model and help clarify the effects of adapting to a new culture at differing rates. This will help provide information for people of all ages who may struggle with acculturating, as well as educators, clinicians and physicians who may assist those individuals. Wonderful job Velinka, and good luck with further research!

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Olivia’s Master’s Thesis Proposal

Congrats to first-year masters student, Olivia, on her successful proposal presentation, which has been approved by the committee. Recently, Olivia presented an overview of her masters thesis proposal titled Pushing Through The Hard Times: Does Growth After Trauma Enhance Creativity in Children. Olivia is interested in analyzing a new topic of creativities’ impacts on children’s abilities to move past trauma’s and experience posttraumatic growth (PTG). She is also interested in seeing if there are environmental and personality factors that play a role in the relationship. Stemming from the Kilmer’s Model, which suggests that creativity plays a indirect role in the push towards growth, Olivia will be looking at direct correlations between PTG and its impact on creativity. As there are only two major studies that examine the relationship between creativity and PTG, both with adult populations, Olivia plans to gather data that will show the need for fostering and encouraging creativity among children and support her prediction that PTG can spark creativity among those who experience it. We are very excited about Olivia’s work and wish her the best of luck!

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She presented two studies at the 4th Annual OU Graduate Student Research Conference on March 15th, 2019.

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