• Teachers' Views of Inclusion and Social Development: A Comparative Analysis of Practices and Beliefs

      Gonsalves, Joanna; LaValley, Lindsay (2013-12-01)
      This thesis examines teachers' attitudes towards social skill development and beliefs towards inclusion and social integration in their young students with disabilities, while also examining some of their current practices. With the increasing push toward integrating classrooms, it is important to pay attention to how teachers are adapting to having more students with disabilities in their classrooms and how they are approaching developing social skills among their students. Children with special needs can be at a disadvantage because of the decreased amount of attention paid to their socialization. A sample of elementary teachers, special education teachers, administrators and counselors were surveyed to ascertain their views on the topic, including whether teaching social skills is seen as important or not, what age to start teaching social skills, how much room in curricula do teachers have for developing social skills, and their views on the inclusion of special education students in the general education classroom. The main objective of the study was to compare attitudes and beliefs about inclusion and social integration that are held by elementary teachers with those held by special education teachers, administrators and counselors. Differences emerged in the practical application of social skill training strategies, and in the beliefs about when children should receive the most focused social skill training.
    • Mind Changers: Processes of Deliberation and Persuasion in a Civil Retail Discrimination Case

      Evett, Sophia; Sullivan, Cristen (2014-01-01)
      This research seeks to expand on the results of a mock jury civil trial study conducted by Sophia R. Evett, Anne-Marie G. Hakstian, & Liisa A. Burk (2012). In this study, 124 participants were placed on one of 20 juries (10 with black participants and 10 without). All participants were then asked to read a case involving an incident, at a department store. After reading the case, (Harmon vs. Reilly’s Department Store), participants were told that the plaintiff’s claim was either based on racial discrimination or unlawful detention. Deliberation analysis allowed researchers to observe topics used by jurors to persuade other jurors to change their mind from either siding with the plaintiff or the defendant. Results suggest that statements expressing empathy for the plaintiff were more prevalent when jurors found for the plaintiff while statements expressing a lack of empathy were found in juries that sided with the defendant. Statements implying that the case lies on a continuum (statements such as “His actions were not too extreme” or “Some things were right and some things were wrong”) were correlated with a finding for the defendant. Lastly juries that mentioned that the store followed policy were more likely to find for the defendant while statements about the store not following policy did not have an affect on the outcome of the case.
    • Predictors of Undergraduate Choice of Major and Academic Performance in College Females

      Lyons, Teresa; Cornelio, Taicha (2015-05-01)
      The goal of the present research was to determine whether the degree of parental involvement, views of femininity ideology and amount of self-determination impact female college students’ choice of major and performance in college. The purpose of this study also was to gain a better understanding of what influences college students to study certain subjects and for what reasons and to identify trends of major choice and academic performance. The research included a sample of 100 female undergraduate students from an Eastern Massachusetts university. The present study combined the use of surveys and interviews in order to examine if parental involvement, feminine ideology and self-determination predicted college major choice and GPA. The participants took part in an online survey in which they were asked demographic questions and rated statements that had to do with parental involvement, femininity ideology and self-determination. The participants of the survey were also given the opportunity to take part in an interview, in which the researcher asked open-ended questions that required further elaboration. When measuring the effects these variables had on the students’ GPA solely, there was a significant association. In particular, students’ femininity ideas of purity, parent’s school involvement and parent’s beliefs of putting effort were associated with GPA. It was also found that the predictor variables did not have any significant association with female college students’ choices of male-dominant or female-dominant majors. With such results, society may better understand what causes individuals to choose certain areas of study and its relation with how well they actually perform.
    • An Investigation of Cultural Awareness: Knowledge, Attitudes Experience and Education

      Evett, Sophia; Terrell, Danielle Marie (2015-12-01)
      For my senior honors thesis, I surveyed 84 convenience sampled participants to uncover their attitudes, knowledge, experiences, and to decipher how Salem State University has impacted diversity in their lives. This study is important because the faces of the world are ever changing and inter-racial experiences will shape professionalism. Therefore I wanted to discover how diversity has played into the lives of Salem State University students. Significant correlations were found between the four variables, and between the second part of the survey. Students were surveyed based on a seven point scale and one open response question. Participants were then asked to label a map of the Unites States or list as many states as they could if they could not identify states, then asked to name as many countries as they could according to continent. Implications of these findings are further discussed.
    • Is Vegan Food Really that Bad? The Relation between Moral Identity Threat and Flavor Preference

      Evett, Sophia; Hennigan, Paul (2015-12-01)
      Vegans often report finding themselves and their diets as the subjects of ridicule and disparaging attitudes. These attitudes could be due to moral identity threat, a self-defense mechanism that preserves one's concept of being a good person in the face of perceived moral exemplars. The present study tested this hypothesis by having participants sample the same cookie from two baskets, with one basket being labelled as "vegan" and the other being labelled as "classic." Moral identity threat and attitudes towards vegans were measured using surveys adapted from prior moral psychology studies. The results show that those with high moral identity threat show a statistically significant preference for the cookie labelled as "classic" and no preference for the same cookie labelled as "vegan". Furthermore, high scores of moral identity threat were correlated with negative vegan attitudes. These results show that negative attitudes towards vegan food and vegans may be influenced by internal self defense mechanisms rather than the actual quality of the food and people being judged.
    • Attempting to Create an American Sign Language Curriculum at Salem State University

      Gow, David; Kavanagh, Molly (2016-05-01)
      American Sign Language (ASL) is a non-verbal language that is utilized primarily by the deaf and hard of hearing community. This language contains grammar, morphology and syntax just like any spoken language and is estimated to be the 3rd most commonly used language in the United States. Due to their inability to vocally communicate, those who are Deaf often find themselves at a loss attempting to communicate with those who are hearing. What is even more concerning is that many people know very little about Deaf Culture and never have the opportunity to learn ASL. Many liberal art higher education institutions require students enroll in a World Language course as a part of the curriculum and offer languages such as Spanish, French, Italian and German or even Arabic, Latin or Mandarin Chinese; however, very few universities offer American Sign Language courses. In 2011, at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), one student took on the task of creating an ASL curriculum. He noticed that many students on campus had a desire to learn ASL and were frustrated that this class was not offered at the time. He went forward to UCLA Administration and presented them with statistics and information, urging them to begin offering ASL Classes on campus that could be taken as a Foreign Language requirement. The goal of this Thesis Project is to present to the World Language and Culture Department similar information regarding students desire to learn American Sign Language as well as illustrate the inaccessibly of classes at other institutions in the hopes that the University will consider implementing American Sign Language courses in the near future.
    • What is This Thing Called Happiness? An Integrative Assessment of Happiness across Several Demographic Variables

      Gonsalves, Joanna; Kaplan, Rachel Rachel (2016-05-01)
      The purpose of this study is to qualitatively examine attitudes about the meaning of happiness across several demographics. The primary goal is to better understand the ways in which individuals define happiness in their own words and whether these definitions fit within the three major philosophical categories of happiness (hedonism, satisfactionism, and eudaimonism). The secondary goal of this research study is to discover any significant correlations between definitions of happiness and demographic information provided by participants (i.e., age range, gender, and level of education). It was hypothesized that there would be different associations between demographic data and philosophical view of happiness. The study was conducted using a SurveyMonkey questionnaire with a link that was distributed via email. Participants (N = 93) were asked to respond to both multiple choice and open-ended questions. Open-ended responses were then coded into either one of the three philosophical categories for happiness or an 'other' category. Quantitative descriptive statistical analysis reinforces the findings of earlier studies in which concepts of happiness change with age range (Mogilner, Kamvar, & Aaker, 2010). This study also found a connection between level of religiosity/spirituality and differences in happiness views in terms of concept and meaning. Qualitative analysis supported recent findings by Fave et al. (2016), in which family, friends, and love were important features of happiness. This study also found that the components of family, friends, and love were important across all three philosophical views of happiness (hedonistic, satisfactionistic, and eudaimonistic).
    • Prolonged Exposure Therapy for Veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

      Krugman, Martin; Livingston, Courtney Maxine (2016-05-01)
      Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is the mental health condition that is triggered by the experience of a traumatic event and results in mental and physical health problems as well as interpersonal and social problems (Foa, Gillihan, and Bryant, 2013). There are currently many psychological treatments for individuals with PTSD. Although the literature covers a wide variety of therapies, this review will focus on prolonged exposure therapy (PE) for treatment of veterans with PTSD. This review will be broken down into five categories which are: manualized PE, PE with the presence of a traumatic brain injury, PE delivered via telehealth, PE with veterans who expressed a treatment preference for PE, and PE with active duty military personnel. All studies found prolonged exposure therapy as an effective treatment for veterans with PTSD.
    • A 21st Century Update of Gender Portrayal in Caldecott Winners

      Gonsalves, Joanna; Black, Nicole (2016-05-01)
      This study replicated previous studies that investigated the portrayal of gender in Caldecott award-winning books. Past studies found that females were nearly invisible. Females tended to be under-represented in titles, central roles, and illustrations (Weitzman, Eifler, Hokada, & Ross, 1972). In addition, they appeared in the illustrations to be indoors more often than outside and displayed gender-typical behavioral traits. The current study utilizes the methods and procedures of past researchers to present an updated account of gender-portrayal in the Caldecott winners for 2010 through 2015. A content analysis, and a character trait analysis were performed to analyze the books. The researchers found no significant increases or decreases for human single-gendered illustrations and human characters. However, there was a significant increase in the percent of females for non-human single-gendered illustrations and non-human characters. In addition, females were over-represented outdoors, which is in contrast to past research. Furthermore, only three traits were rated as being more salient for females than males: nurturant, rescue and traditional role. Compared with past studies, children's books are becoming more gender equitable in terms of representation, location and behavior traits. However, improvements can still be made to reflect the actuality of societal proportions.
    • Streaming Consciousness: Treading the Conceptual Rapids of Psychological Theory

      Noonan, Anne; Hayden, Felicia Marie (2016-05-01)
      This thesis is the first section in a book length project. The aim of this thesis is to explore the relationship between the academic field of psychology and the creative nature of the field. Through use of memoir, detail, and conscious experience, this thesis is a contemporary interpretation of the theories of Sigmund Freud.
    • The Relationship: Partners’ Behaviors and Their Impact on Overall Satisfaction

      Crone-Todd, Darlene; Boucher, Ashley Christine (2016-05-01)
      Relationships are a top priority for many people, perhaps because relationships fulfill an important human need: love. Relationships tend to be complex and have many predictors related to whether or not a relationship will be satisfying. It is important that one evaluates how satisfied he/she is with the relationship in order to decide whether to continue. If one learns early in the relationship that they are not satisfied, then they can terminate the relationship before it continues too long. Relationship satisfaction was examined in terms of positive and aversive behaviors commonly demonstrated in relationships. The positive behaviors analyzed included support/praise, affection, security, and communication, while the aversive behavior categories included exclusion, deceit, avoidant behaviors, undesirable actions, and potential competitors. A survey was administered through surveymonkey, in which participants completed demographic information, a pre-survey rating of their overall level of relationship satisfaction, questions regarding the frequency of certain behaviors, and a post-survey rating on their level of relationship satisfaction. When analyzing the pre and post survey responses, participants were more satisfied with their relationship after completing the questionnaire. Regarding the pre-survey satisfaction rating, a stepwise regression procedure indicated exclusion and support/praise as having the most significance in a relationship, where as the post satisfaction rating was most closely associated with exclusion, support/praise, deceit, and potential competitors. Therefore, the clearest correlations appear to be exclusion, deceit, support/praise, and potential competitors. Another finding is that filling out the survey changed both the satisfaction level and the predictor variables. It is likely that the behavioral categories tend to produce satisfying relationships because both people in the relationship are experiencing both generic and idiosyncratic reinforcement from the significant other. Also, participants' satisfaction ratings appear to increase as a result of completing the survey. Is is not clear why this is the case; however, it may be that "taking stock" of the positive and aversive behaviors may have led this sample to be more satisfied with their current relationship. These findings suggest that reviewing the positive and negative aspects of a relationship can be beneficial, but more research is indicated.
    • The Effect of Instagram on Self-Esteem and Life Satisfaction

      Gonsalves, Joanna; Dion, Nicole Annette (2016-05-01)
      This quasi experiment examined the effects of Instagram, a social media site that consists of posting pictures, on self-esteem and life satisfaction. Specifically, I looked at the effects of following celebrities on Instagram in relation to the ideas of social comparison theory. Traditionally aged college females (N = 51) were assigned to either the control group where they were asked to use Instagram as they normally would, or the experimental group where they were asked to follow 15 specific celebrities for 4-6 weeks. Participants were given a pretest and posttest which included a self-esteem and a life satisfaction survey. There were no statistically significant differences found between the experimental group and the control group, nor between the pretest and posttest scores, and there was no interaction effect between time of measure and experimental group. However, a subgroup of participants that initially followed a minimal amount of celebrities before the experiment showed a decline in their life satisfaction at posttest which approached statistical significance. Further experimental research is needed to confirm that altering one's social comparison group on Instagram can lower life satisfaction among traditionally-aged college females.
    • Medical Mistrust across Different Ethnic Groups

      Todaro, Janet; Ciulla-Monteiro, Susana (2016-06-01)
      This study explores various factors that contribute to medical mistrust among a population of college students from a medium sized, public university. The hypothesis of the study was that ethnic minority status would be related to high levels of medical mistrust. This was tested using a self-authored instrument, which was made available to participants online. Participants were asked to rate various statements pertaining to medical mistrust (i.e. "I feel a high amount of anxiety when going to see a doctor" on a Likert scale, ranging from 1 to 7, 1 indicting that the participant strongly agreed and a 7 indicating strongly disagreed with the statement. Results were analyzed using statistical tests such as independent samples t-tests, one-way analyses of variance, and a factor analysis. While a relationship was not found between ethnicity and medical mistrust, other factors such as gender, age, citizenship status, socio-economic status, and birth country were found to be related to medical mistrust.
    • Smartphone Technology And Social Interference

      Gonsalves, Joanna; Lyons, Teresa; Miller, Benjamin; Potorski, Emily (2016-12-01)
      The purpose of this experiment was to assess the impact of smartphone usage on social interactions. Previous studies have examined the relationship between smartphone usage and social relationships, but little or none with experimental designs. A particular question was whether smartphone use can detract from the establishment of commitment to a new organization and its members (specifically a university program). It was hypothesized that students who limit their smartphone use would have higher levels of belongingness and commitment to their new program and to their new college and less newcomer anxiety than students in the control group. Twenty incoming freshmen (male = 1, females =19) from a New England university completed pre-tests and post-tests. Participants attending a pre-planned college freshman retreat were randomly assigned to either the experimental group (n = 6) or the control group (n = 6), where the experimental group were asked to limit their smartphone use on the two-day retreat. The between group variable had three levels (experimental retreat group, control retreat group, and a non-retreat comparison group) and the within group variable was time of measurement (pre-retreat test and post-retreat test). Change in six dependent variables from pre-test to post-test was measured, including college anxiety, affective group commitment, and attitudes toward smartphone use along four dimensions (attachment, social connectedness, exclusion, and social assurance). Results only indicated a significant difference between the experimental and control group on the smartphone exclusion variable (U = 3.5, p = .03). This study should be replicated with a stronger manipulation of the independent variable (full limitation of smartphone use vs. regular use) and include a larger sample.
    • Learn To Meditate: Breath In Calm, Breath Out Stress

      Crone-Todd, Darlene; Miller, Benjamin; Snyder, Ryan; Ouellette, Renee (2017-05-01)
      The high stress and anxiety levels reported by college students are a concern for many students pursuing a degree. Meditation is a research-supported method of reducing stress and anxiety. While many students would like to learn how to meditate, it is difficult to do so without some form of instruction. The present study uses behavioral fading procedures to gradually diminish the use of verbal and audio prompts in a guided meditation program to eventually transfer stimulus control from the prompts to the participants themselves to meditate successfully on their own. The goals of the present study were to increase the probability of maintaining a frequent practice of meditation, and to increase the participants’ success in meditating. Success in meditating was defined by the participants’ decrease in heart rate, along with the number of fidgeting behaviors they emitted in each session. The participants (n=6) were introduced to the fading procedures at different times, using a multiple baselines across participants (MBAP) design. Physically recorded measures indicate that the program decreased participants’ overall resting heart rate as well as their heart rate within sessions, fidgeting behaviors during meditation, and their self-reported anxiety levels. Further, some of the participants persisted with their meditation practice after the study was terminated. However, overall stress levels appeared to remain the same across the program. These results imply that a MBAP design that uses fading procedures for this limited amount of time is effective in decreasing heart rate and anxiety levels, but not stress levels.
    • Exploring McGurk Effect Through Tadoma Method Of Speech Perception

      Gow, David; Miller, Benjamin; Moore, Ashley (2017-05-01)
      The process of understanding speech perception is one that also poses a handful of questions. The motor theory of speech perception was proposed to resolve some of these issues that arose. While this accounts for things like coarticulation, the evidence for both sides of the fence is mixed. The discovery of mirror neurons and the findings of fMRI studies support the motor theory, whereas work done with Japanese quails tends to contradict this. The current study explores the speech phenomenon the McGurk effect, what happens when an individual fuses the speech sounds they hear with the one they see being articulated. The problem that comes up is whether the McGurk effect is a result of articulatory cues or training. To examine this claim in a different way than in the past, eighteen subjects were taught the speech perception method of Tadoma. After two days of training, the participants were given mismatched sounds that would potentially result in a McGurk effect. The number of fused responses from subjects increased after the training; however the statistic was not significant. Therefore, it can be concluded that while more of a McGurk effect did in fact appear after the two days of training, it was not valuable enough to prove that speech perception is a product of experience and not just articulatory information.
    • Future Educators' Preparation And Well-Being: A Qualitative Study

      Noonan, Anne; Miller, Patrice; Krugman, Martin; Sobotka, Victoria (2017-05-01)
      This qualitative interview study examines the retrospective accounts of junior and senior undergraduate students enrolled in a teacher preparation program. A phenomenological research approach (Creswell, 2013) was utilized during the data collection process. Ten students were interviewed to explore their experiences with test anxiety, their experience with test preparation methods for the Massachusetts Test for Educator Licensure (MTEL), and their overall well-being during their academic experiences. Four thematic categories emerged after the completion of the data analysis: variance in preparedness, discrepancies in informed attitudes, positive emotions, and negative emotions. These thematic categories were further analyzed to determine how much students believed their experiences helped them achieve passing scores on licensure examinations. Results are discussed in terms of measures that can be taken to improve the overall well-being of students while they are enrolled within the preparation program.
    • The Effects Of Stereotype Threat On Elders' Memory Performance

      Miller, Benjamin; Zeren, Andrea; Evett, Sophia; Raffi, Michelle (2017-05-01)
      Elders often do poorly on memory tests compared to younger adults, but this may be due in part to elders believing that memory declines with age. Previous research has found that elders who are aware of this negative stereotype freely recall and recognize fewer words than elders who are not aware of this stereotype (Chasteen et al., 2005). In a meta-analysis of previous research, young adults and elders in non-threat groups had a more liberal response criterion and produced more information about what they believe they remembered, whereas elders in the threat group had a more conservative response criterion and produced less uncertain information. This study further investigates this stereotype and how it affects elders’ memory performance after watching a video. The study found that the young adult group had more correct answers from the memory test than the elder threat group and elder non-threat group. The young adult group had a higher d’ than both old groups and the old threat group had the lowest d’. The response criteria fluctuated between each group but not as much as expected. Results have found that young adults do better on a memory test and a stereotype threat can be seen between elders during videos.
    • Breathe Your Way Couch To 5K

      Crone-Todd, Darlene; Wong, Mike; Krugman, Martin; Brothers, Olivia (2017-05-12)
      Dealing with stress in our busy lives impacts wellbeing. In this study, a “Breathe Your Way Couch to 5K” program was used to assess whether meditation, treadmill exercise, or both result in lower levels of stress and overall higher well-being. Stress and wellbeing were measured using an Overall Health and Wellbeing Questionnaire, and perceived exertion was measured using the Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) scale. It was hypothesized that physical exercise would have a more beneficial outcome when compared with meditation and that both would result in beneficial outcomes. Participants (n=17) were asked to engage in a seven-week meditation and exercise program. Following an initial week of meditation only, every two or so weeks the participants were invited to either engage in a meditation or exercise session twice per week. Following each 20-minute session, participants filled out the RPE scale. Participants recorded their average heart rates before, immediately after the session, and two minutes after the session concluded, and also filled out the Overall Health and Wellbeing Questionnaire after they completed a meditation or exercise rotation. The results suggest that there are increased scores on overall health and wellbeing, and that the treadmill couch to 5k program had a positive impact on health and wellbeing, positive self-image, and spirituality. These results will have implications for ways for people to decrease stress and increase overall wellbeing through the use of these strategies employed in this study.
    • Factors That Affect The Stigma Of Mental Illness In College Students

      Krugman, Martin; Lyons, Teresa; Miller, Benjamin; Campbell, Colleen (2018-01-01)
      Nearly 50% of American 18-24 years olds are enrolled in college at least part time, and these years in college are often difficult, stressful times for students. In a study of over 200,000 first year college students, Iarovici (2014) found that students are reporting the lowest levels of emotional health in 25 years. Blanco et al. (2008) found that in a sample of students with mental illnesses, fewer than 25% sought treatment in the year before the survey, even though they were struggling, and this may be due to the stigma of mental illness. Stigma, according to Goffman (1963), is the application of negative characteristics to a person or group of people. This study sought to examine factors that may affect the stigma of mental illness. Variables examined included perceived public stigma, personal stigma, social desirability, locus of control, and stigma of depression specifically. The results showed a significant correlation between perceived public stigma of mental illness and perceived public stigma of depression and a significant correlation between personal stigma of mental illness and personal stigma of depression.