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«Strengthening the Nation through Diversity, Innovation & Leadership in STEM San Antonio,Texas · October 3-6, 2013 Get Connected! Connect with the ...»

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The importance of music to human cognition remains elusive, but slowly, research is providing pieces of the puzzle by identifying critical links between exposure to music and changes in brain structure and function. Creativity is operationally defined as the production of novel and useful ideas and is measured by the creative achievement questionnaire (CAQ), a reliable and valid instrument. We were interested in identifying the relationship between music, specifically music exposure, to creativity as measured by creative achievement. We hypothesized that music exposure (i.e., the number of years playing a musical instrument) would predict both creative achievement, and changes in brain structure relevant to creative achievement. Thirty-two neurologically and psychiatrically normal students studying science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) were recruited. Behavioral testing included the musical creativity questionnaire and creative achievement questionnaire (CAQ). Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was used to obtain brain volumetric measurements, later analyzed using voxel-based morphometry (VBM).

Music exposure was associated with decreased brain volumes in several regions, most particularly, the left DLPFC.

CAQ was associated with decreased brain volumes in several regions including the left DLPFC, overlapping that observed with music exposure. We interpret these results to suggest that music exposure and creative achievement are systematically linked. The mechanism by which music exposure might lead to higher creative achievement through increased frontal pruning remains unclear but is consistent with other research. Future studies designed to track subjects across time might further clarify the causal mechanisms associated with music exposure and creative achievement.




Daniel Anderson, Ashley Cole, David Hollingsworth, LaRicka Wingate.

Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK.

There is an increased risk for suicidal ideation among individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or questioning. Hope has been demonstrated as a protective factor for suicide among several ethnic minority groups.

Thus, hope may serve as a protective factor for suicide among sexual orientation minority populations. The aim of this study was to compare the levels of hope and its components (goals, pathways, and agency) among a sample of sexual orientation minority participants. This sample included those who self-identified as gay or lesbian, bisexual, other, and don’t know. It was hypothesized that hope and its components would be negatively related to suicidal ideation. Additionally, it was hypothesized that gay and lesbian participants would have higher levels of hope compared to bisexuals and those who identified as other and don’t know. Correlational analyses and an ANOVA were conducted to test these hypotheses. Results indicated the agency component of hope was significantly negatively correlated with suicidal ideation (r = -.271, p =.039). Additionally, gays and lesbians exhibited higher levels of hope compared to bisexuals and participants who self-identified as other and don’t know [F (3, 54) = 2.811, p =.048]. However, post hoc analyses revealed no significant differences between the groups in levels of hope or its

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components. Results implicate having the determination of reaching goals (agency) may serve as a protective factor against suicidal thinking for sexual orientation minority individuals.




Jose Lara-Ruiz, Mark Carrier.

California State University, Dominguez Hills, Carson, CA.

Although many researchers speculate socializing online limits face-to-face conversations crippling the learning and practicing of social skills, there is no research that directly examines this hypothesis. The purpose of this study was to identify whether social skills obtained through computer-mediated-communication transfer between online and offline modalities. Participants completed a questionnaire assessing state anxiety, digital media usage, social phobia, and shyness. Participants were then randomly assigned to 1 of 3 conditions. In 2 conditions, participants were taught 10 social skills either online or offline. In the third condition, participants were not taught any social skills and instead given a neutral task. Once exposed to condition specific stimuli, participants conversed with a confederate either online or offline, with the task of getting to know that person. Conversations were recorded and coded by blind observers to determine whether social skills learned in one setting were demonstrated in the other. Lastly, participants completed a second questionnaire that measured state anxiety, perceived rapport, and effectiveness.

The first hypothesis predicted that social skills taught and learned in one context would transfer to the other setting.

The second hypothesis predicted that social skills taught and learned online and offline will facilitate rapport between online and offline communications. Support was found for both hypotheses. Regardless of the learning condition, social skills were demonstrated either online or offline when participants conversed with their conversation partner and participants that conversed offline with a conversation partner reported experiencing significantly greater rapport than those who conversed online with a conversation partner.



Charles Saavedra, Jessie Peissig.

California State University, Fullerton, Fullerton, CA.

In both clinical and research applications there exists a need for databases of faces with emotional expressions. In the past, researchers and clinicians have relied primarily on databases of faces that have posed emotional expression rather than faces that are expressing genuine emotions. This has been partly due to the difficulty inherent in collecting images in which people are expressing genuine emotion. In addition, posed emotions may have been preferred due to the exaggerated and highly salient features inherent in posed emotions. However, posed emotions lack the nuance that genuinely expressed emotions have. Past research has suggested that there exist no important differences between posed and genuine emotional expression. However, recent studies have found evidence that this may not be the case. The current study takes on the task of collecting both posed and genuinely expressed emotions from a single group of participants. Images of genuinely expressed emotions will be collected by video taping participants

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Victoria Flores, David Pillow, Sean Hewitt, Alonso Cordova.

University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX.

In 2002, Fiske proposed a model of 5 core social motives (belongingness, understanding, control, enhancement, and trust) that enable people to live harmoniously within groups. Rubin and Hewstone found that, when threatened, individuals will increase in-group favoritism and derogation of out-groups. We propose that threats to Fiske’s core social motives will influence whether or not an individual will perceive another person’s behavior as hypocritical as a means of bolstering or reaffirming their self-esteem. N = 106 participants were randomly assigned to either a control or a threat condition. Participants then looked at a series of photos with a variety of target ingroups and outgroups and


subsequently rated the pictures on a scale of 1 (not hypocritical) to 7 (very hypocritical). It was found that participants in the threat conditions rated the photo of the “Jewish man eating bacon” as more hypocritical than participants in the control condition on all 3 hypocrisy dependent variables (Pillai’s trace (12,228) = 2.258, p =.010). None of the other photos produced significant differences. We suspect that accusing him of hypocrisy mitigated the feelings of threat produced by the manipulation, which would account for the nonsignificant findings for the subsequent photos.

A follow-up study could examine whether placing other pictures earlier in the lineup would produce similar results.

(Partially funded by NIGMS MBRS-RISE GM060655.) SAT-161



Danielle Chapa, Stella G. Lopez.

University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX.

Research suggests there is an existing relationship between media internalization, body evaluation, and perceptions of attractiveness although no known studies have examined this association among the Mexican-American population. Mexican-Americans are challenged, through the process of acculturation, to alleviate the disparities between American mainstream and Hispanic traditional culture ideals. Acculturation seems to be a critical variable that marks important differences in media internalization, body evaluation, and attractiveness perceptions in this group. The present study aims to examine whether acculturation influences the associations between these variables.

Mexican-American, college-aged participants will be asked to fill out questionnaires that contain items measuring acculturation levels, body satisfaction, perceived attractiveness, and media internalization. Our hypotheses are, participants who report positive body satisfaction will perceive themselves as more physically attractive than those who report negative body satisfaction; media internalization and body satisfaction will be negatively correlated; and less-acculturated Mexican-Americans will internalize media ideals at lower levels, report higher levels of perceived attractiveness, and will be more satisfied with their bodies compared to highly acculturated participants. It is expected that the relationships among acculturation, media internalization, body satisfaction, and attractiveness will not differ between men and women. Since Mexican-Americans are a part of a rapidly growing Hispanic population, investigating the associations between these variables becomes important. Varying acculturation levels should be considered in future studies that examine media literacy, body evaluation, body esteem, and perceptions of attractiveness. (This study is partially supported by the UTSA MARC-U*STAR GM007717.) FRI-160



Karla Badilla-Urquiola, Eric Ortiz, Stephanie Lackey.

Institute for Simulation and Training, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL.

Understanding a person’s body language is a critical skill for first responders like law enforcement, National Guard, military, etc. Learning to decode body language, for example, nervous or aggressive body language, facilitates the detection of human threats. The research presented focuses solely on kinesics, that is, the interpretation of nonverbal cues such as body language, gestures, postures, and facial expressions displayed by individuals. By synthesizing an exhaustive literature review, 4 key categories: manipulation, illustrators, regulators, and emblems, of kinesic cues were identified. The cues in each category have been displayed on virtual agents for simulation-based training (SBT) research. The purpose of this research is to provide guidelines to develop state-of-the-art SBT that can train first responders to detect nervous or aggressive behaviors on the scene by decoding body language. We hypothesize that virtual agents exhibiting kinesic cues will be a strong research tool for effective SBT. This poster will deliver the theoretical foundation for new research about the 4 kinesic cue categories and provide relevant examples of each associated cue. The information presented will be used as a start to further investigate kinesic cues in greater depth using an empirically based research design.




Jaime A. Munoz, Nancy L. Segal.

California State University, Fullerton, Fullerton, CA.

The present study will use a drawing task to assess individual differences in creativity. The main study will examine the environmental and genetic contributions for creativity using data gathered from identical (MZA) (n = 81 pairs) and fraternal twins reared apart (DZA) (n = 56 pairs) from the Minnesota Study of Twins Reared Apart (MISTRA).

However, the first step in this project was a pilot study to evaluate methods and procedures prior to conducting the main study. In the pilot study, members of the Segal lab at California State University, Fullerton each created 5 house and person drawings. Drawings were evaluated using Amabile’s consensual assessment technique that involves having judges evaluate creativity within their domain of expertise. This approach predicts high reliability for assessing creativity among experts. Raters scored the level of creativity using Bouchard & Segal’s artistic quality rating scale (AQRS) form, which measures aesthetic features of creativity. A total of 40 mock drawings of a house (20) and person (20) were rated by 3 artists and 1 nonartist to evaluate the reliability of the AQRS scoring sheet. Results showed high interrater agreement with intraclass correlations ranging from.875 to.931. The main study hypothesizes that creativity will be more similar in MZA twins than DZA twins, due to the MZA twin’s genetic identity, and artist raters’ judgments will have higher agreement than those of nonartist raters. Findings from the pilot study support our chosen method for our main study.




Annalise Ferreira, Dale Fryxell.

Chaminade University, Honolulu, HI.

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