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UNB Fredericton

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Panel schedule

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Panel 1

10:15 - 11:15 a.m. | Chair: Indhu Iyengar

Title: The Effects of Screen-Time on Children’s Neurological Development Post-Pandemic


Title: The Effects of Background Music on Foreign Language Learning

Abstract: Within recent decades, it has been found that vocal background music tends to negatively affect foreign language learning (de Groot & Smedinga, 2014; Salamé & Baddeley, 1989). The present study hypothesized that music in a familiar language with a fast tempo would have the most significant adverse effect on foreign language vocabulary learning. Previous studies have also found that extraverted individuals perform better on tasks when high-arousal stimuli are introduced (Cassidy & MacDonald, 2007); therefore, this was tested with fast tempo background music in the present study.

Consenting undergraduate psychology students (N = 60) from the University of New Brunswick in Saint John, New Brunswick, completed three self-report questionnaires on their demographics, extraversion, and background music preference. The participants were asked to learn foreign language vocabulary (i.e., Estonian) by the paired-associates learning (de Groot, 2006; de Groot & Smedinga, 2014) method with music playing in the background. The paired-associates learning method is the process of mentally pairing two stimuli (e.g., written words) into long-term memory.

Following learning, participants were tested on their memory of the foreign language vocabulary with no background music. Final analyses indicated significant relationships between both background music language and tempo with foreign language vocabulary recall. However, extraversion was not found to influence recall of the foreign language vocabulary. The present study’s findings demonstrate support for the hypothesis of background music negatively affecting foreign language vocabulary learning.

Keywords: language learning, background music, paired-associate learning (PAL), extraversion.

Title: Eye Movement Reading Behaviour in Schizophrenia and Developmental Dyslexia: A Comparison

Abstract: Although clinically distinct, growing evidence suggests that schizophrenia (a psychiatric disorder that negatively impacts perceptual and neurocognitive processes; American Psychological Association, 2013) and developmental dyslexia (a learning disorder that negatively impacts fluent word reading and spelling; American Psychological Association, 2013) share a common neurodevelopmental basis (reviewed Condray, 2005; Vanova et al., 2021; Whitford et al., 2018).

Support for this notion comes from research reporting genetic and pathophysiological overlap, as well as similar deficits in reading and reading-related processes, such as phonological processing, visual perception, and oculomotor control (reviewed in Whitford et al., 2018). Surprisingly, however, no empirical studies have directly compared naturalistic reading performance between these disorders.

The current study aims to address this issue by employing eye movement recordings to examine whether naturalistic text-level reading performance is comparably impaired in adults with schizophrenia (n = 20) and psychiatrically healthy adults with dyslexia (n = 18). A variety of averaged eye movement measures were examined, including reading rate (words/minute); total number of fixations; average fixation duration (ms); total number of saccades (progressive and regressive); average saccade amplitude (number of characters); and total reading time (ms).

For each eye movement measure, we compared reading behaviour between: (1) participants with schizophrenia and their matched controls (n = 16); (2) participants with dyslexia and their matched controls (n = 16); and (3) participants with schizophrenia and participants with dyslexia using linear mixed-effects models. Results demonstrated reduced text-level reading fluency in the schizophrenia sample compared to their matched controls (e.g., reduced reading rates, longer fixation durations, increased fixation count), no difference between the dyslexia sample and their matched controls, and comparable reductions between the schizophrenia and dyslexia samples.

Title: Language & Laterality: Investigating the ‘Spatial-Numerical Association of Response Codes’ (SNARC) Effect in Multilinguals, Bilinguals, and Monolinguals

Abstract: Although part of the same whole, the brain’s left and right hemispheres differ in functional dominance, a phenomenon known as laterality. Visual laterality can be assessed with a greyscale task, which involves freely viewing two mirrored stimuli, stacked one above the other, with light-to-dark gradients. The darker stimulus (top or bottom) is then indicated. Prior research has found that English monolinguals usually select the stimulus with the dark end of the gradient on the left side, reflecting a leftward bias (Nicholls, 1999).

The ‘Spatial-Numerical Associations of Response Codes’ (SNARC) is a numerosity effect where people internally represent numbers on a number-line in ascending order from left to right (smaller numbers on left; higher numbers on right). The SNARC effect can influence responses on the greyscale task. When greyscale stimuli are presented with overlays of high numbers (8, 9) or low numbers (1, 2), English monolinguals often select the high-number stimulus as darker if the gradient’s darker end was on the right, and the low-number stimulus as darker if the gradient’s darker end was on the left (Nicholls et al., 2008).

However, this phenomenon is less understood in linguistically diverse people, such as bilinguals and multilinguals (who often exhibit reduced patterns of laterality), and especially those whose first-language (L1) has a right-to-left reading direction (e.g., Arabic).

Thus, the current study investigated how different language backgrounds (English monolingual vs. English-French bilingual vs. Arabic, Farsi, Hebrew, or Urdu bi/multilingual) and reading directions (left-to-right vs. right-to-left) influence lateralization on a greyscale task with numerical overlays. We hypothesized that: (1) bilinguals and multilinguals would exhibit reduced laterality compared to monolinguals (regardless of L1 reading direction) and (2) Arabic, Hebrew, Farsi, Urdu bi/multilinguals would exhibit a reduced left-to-right SNARC effect (left is associated with low numbers; right is associated with high numbers) compared to other participants.

Panel 2

11:25 a.m. - 12:40 p.m. | Chair: Betina Agas

Title: The Importance of the Parent-Child Relationship and Strategies of Positive Parenting

Abstract: One of the most important factors for a child’s development is a healthy parent-child relationship. Parent-child relationship sets the foundation for a child’s physical, emotional, learning and social development (Li, 2023a). A healthy, warm and positive parent-child relationship promotes children’s healthy development in multiple domains as the children are provided with sufficient love, care and support (Greene et al., 2020; Marusak et al., 2018). In addition, the attachment style of children with their parent/caregiver may predict the quality of their future relationships later in life (Bradbury & Karney, 2019).

The quality of parenting plays a large role in determining the quality of the parent-child relationship (Li, 2023a). Previous research has suggested that positive parenting and authoritative parenting are effective parenting styles in developing a strong healthy bond between the parent and the child. Positive parenting involves continuous caring, teaching, communicating with the child and ensuring all the child’s basic needs like food, sleep and love are met (Heather, 2023). Positive parenting focuses on children’s positive development by building their self-esteem and competency through positive discipline (e.g., positive reinforcement) and support without breaking their spirit (Heather, 2023; Li, 2023b).

Authoritative parenting is characterized by high responsiveness and high demandingness from the parents (Li, 2023b). Authoritative parents set high but reasonable expectations for their child, encourage their children to express opinions and foster children’s independence (Li, 2023b). Both of these parenting styles provide effective ways of parenting and prevent child maltreatment while promoting a strong and loving parent-child relationship, hence encouraging a child’s development and self-growth. That is why providing strategies for effective parenting is essential, so that parents can practice those skills and develop a close relationship with their children.

Title: Are There Group Differences in Sexual Anxiety Sensitivity by Gender and Relationship Status?

Abstract: Anxiety sensitivity (AS) refers to a fear of physiological arousal sensations due to the belief that such sensations signal the inevitable onset of serious negative consequences that are categorized into three domains: physical (e.g., heart attack), cognitive (e.g., going crazy), and social (e.g., judgement; Reiss & McNally, 1985; Reiss, 1991). AS has been studied in a variety of contexts including the sexual context (Gerrior et al., 2015; Burri et al., 2012; Meana & Lykins, 2009; Tutino et al., 2017, 2018), which concerns sexual anxiety sensitivity (SAS; Byers et al., 2022).

Individuals tend to experience negative cognitive-affective responses during triggering situations and their fears become so severe that they tend to avoid such situations altogether. (Byers et al., 2022; DeWolfe et al., 2020; Smits et. al., 2010; Moshier et. al., 2016; Sabourin et al., 2011). In the sexual context, arousing activities/situations likely include sexual and/or romantic relationships. Byers et al. (2022) demonstrated a negative relationship between SAS and sexual well-being (SWB) but did not consider how gender (i.e., male, female) and relationship status (i.e., committed, not committed) might moderate that association nor possible group differences in SAS by gender and relationship status.

My Honours thesis attempts to extend upon Byers et al. (2022) previous work by filling these gaps. Results of the group differences in SAS will be presented at the conference along with a brief discussion of next steps concerning the influence of gender and relationship status on the association between SAS and SWB and future directions.

Title: Communication and distance education: Is there information loss in pandemic distance education?

Abstract: During the pandemic, many universities adopted emergency online education. Due to different teaching scenarios and dissemination media, distance education, and in-person education differ in terms of teaching methods. This study will examine information exchange between students and professors and investigate ways to access information in distance education and in-person campus education. Finally, this study will discuss the effectiveness of distance education methods in disseminating knowledge, and whether there is information loss during emergency distance education.

This study will use a combination of Moodle platform research and the UPEI ACLC2030 Digital Humanities Course Changes case studies for discussion. This will involve a discussion of dissemination methods, student feedback, and actual university teaching practices. To analyze the effectiveness of distance education, these elements will be explored using the Osgood-Schramm communication model.

The study is expected to provide insights into the characteristics of distance learning in terms of communication in education and help inform educators and students about the most effective ways to facilitate communication and disseminate information in different teaching modes. Overall, this research will contribute to the ongoing discussion about the effectiveness of remote technologies in education and provide insights into how communication affects the learning process in distance education.

Keywords: Distance Education, MOODLE, Communication

Title: Visual Literacy in Medical Education: Benefits, Uses, and Application

Abstract: Text-based learning has been the dominant form of learning since its introduction to the educational system. This has created workforces comprised of individuals who have been taught primarily through textual means. Society has come to place such value on textbook-based learning since it perpetuates a cycle of information transfer whereby those who teach have read the same material that the students are expected to learn from. This system has become outdated as we move toward a society reliant on visual media and technology.

Instead of sitting down with a textbook students need to be learning in a way that provides them with information but also enhances and teaches abilities that lie outside the realm of memorization. Visual literacy allows students to learn effectively through visual media by teaching them how to take meaning away from this media at a deeper level. One way to update the curriculum that is followed in high schools, universities, and post-graduate institutions is to implement a course or series of courses teaching students about visual literacy. This is especially true for medical school in which students are acquiring the knowledge required to treat patients properly and accurately.

Therefore, this presentation addresses the need for visual literacy training across multiple levels of schooling with a strong focus on postgraduate medical studies. A compulsory course on visual literacy is essential in both undergraduate studies and medical school as it would develop necessary and crucial abilities desired in various fields. These abilities include but are not limited to, leadership, empathy, communication, and critical analysis. It is common knowledge that traits such as these are good for anyone to possess but the extent to which they contribute to a person’s career has not been questioned.

Qualities such as these are not easy to come by. Proper training and teaching ensure that it is possible for everyone to develop these attributes which are so crucial to the workforce. The compulsory course mentioned above must cover various topics in the field of visual literacy and a proposed framework for this course will be provided. This proposed framework includes several modules beginning with teaching the principals of close looking and exemplifying this by providing images, paintings, and video clips, asking students to create images of their own, analysis of images in closer relation to the student’s field of study, and multiple discussion periods. A course such as this can be modified to fit into the curriculum of any school or program. However, in this presentation the course proposition will be tailored toward medical students.

  1. James Elkins, Visual Literacy (New York: Taylor & Francis Group, 2009), 11.
  2. Stewart W. Mercer and William J. Reynolds, “Empathy and Quality of Care,” British Journal of General Practice 52, (2002): 9, doi: 10.1007/0-387-33608-7. Alan Bleakly and Robert Marshall, “Can the Science of Communication Inform the Art of the Medical Humanities?,” Medical Education 47, no.2 (2013): 128, doi:10.1111/medu.12056.

Title: Curating a Positive Mental Health Experience for University Students: A combination of themes and activities to investigate student engagement throughout the academic year

Abstract: As part of the Positive Mental Health Team initiative, we sought to apply our knowledge base around Positive Mental Health to the student population through weekly and monthly events and social media campaigns. Each monthly event focused on a theme which was a positive mental health concept.

In its entirety, we were able to successfully create a positive mental health journey for students throughout the academic year to cater to the element of student life they might be experiencing at that particular point in the academic year. We were also able to provide students with opportunities for frequent mental health check-ins as a compliment to regular therapy sessions. In this way, we built a strong foundation for our initiative at UNB and curated a positive mental health experience for UNB students that catered to a diverse demographic corresponding to the diverse nature of our events.

Panel 3

1:40 p.m. – 2:40 p.m. | Chair: Kate MacGregor

Title: Subverting Stereotypes: Music, Identity, and Culture through the lens of J-Pop Anti-hero, Utada Hikaru

Abstract: Music is a fundamental part of culture and identity (Volgsten, 2014). As such, music can elicit emotional responses in the listener that frame how they view a certain genre or style, called the stereotype theory of emotion in music, or STEM (Susino, 2019). The following audio/visual presentation will illustrate this point through a chronological account of one of the Japanese music industry’s most prolific artists, Hikaru Utada (宇多田ヒカル).

Despite being a mainstay in Japanese pop music for over two decades, Utada identified herself as the “anti J-Pop,” using her experiences with loss, grief, betrayal, and redemption to subvert stereotypes of what is typically viewed as “J-pop.” These themes – integral to human experience – transcend culture, language, and musical genres to define Utada as a generational talent and one of Japan’s most respected, influential figures (140).

Sources: Susino, M., & Schubert, E. (2019). Cultural stereotyping of emotional responses to music genre.

Psychology of Music, 47(3), 342–357.

Volgsten, U. 1965. (2014). Music, Culture, Politics: Communicating Identity, Authenticity and Quality in the 21st Century. Nordisk Kulturpolitisk Tidskrift, 17(1), 114–131.

Title: Promise of Home: Gathering Immigrants’ Stories in Fredericton

Abstract: Promise of Home is a community-based narrative research project that has gathered the experiences of immigrants in Fredericton, New Brunswick. We argue that barriers to community building can be overcome, not only through immigration programs driven by social and economic needs, but also by meeting the individual needs of newcomers as identified through personal stories.

The participants were recent or long-term immigrants over 16 years of age who answered the question, “Does Fredericton feel like home to you?” The stories revealed the following themes:

  1. High risks taken to emigrate from difficult conditions in their countries of origin and sacrifices that often go unnoticed.
  2. A strong desire to be included in the community but facing barriers to achieve it.
  3. Assumptions of low education or intellect due to low language level.
  4. Barriers to recognition of foreign credentials.
  5. Pressures for the newcomer to conform cause a change in identity or cultural practices.

The stories will be shared with the community at large, and the topics raised in those conversations will be collected in a report for policymakers. The methodology of this project can also be shared with other communities.

Title: L'apport de ma pratique artistique sur mon bien-être - Dé-génération-elles (2021) : trauma et transmission auprès des descendantes des rescapées du génocide arménien, un projet artistique par le photographique

Abstract: Il est bien connu que la création artistique a un aspect thérapeutique. Dans le cadre de cette communication, les recherches faites pour la série photographique Dé-génération- elles (2021) seront présentées afin de démontrer comment les dispositifs théoriques et pratiques se sont entrecroisés dans mon processus créateur et comment ce parcours a participé à mon mieux-être.

Cette série Dé-génération-elles (2021), de nature autobiographique explore, par le photographique, l’impact des souffrances vécues par les femmes lors du génocide arménien de 1915 sur les femmes des générations suivantes. Les différentes étapes de ma recherche, pour la réalisation de cette œuvre, seront déconstruites afin de démontrer comment la recherche théorique est intimement liée au processus créateur et comment ces différentes étapes ont mené à une nouvelle organisation visuelle, c’est-à-dire à l’œuvre finale, qui participe à la guérison du trauma.

Ainsi, je décrirai comment dans mon processus créateur se sont entrelacées des théories venant de la psychologie (trauma transgénérationnel), de la performance (reenactment) et de l’archive, tout en décrivant les choix techniques photographiques reliés à ces autoportraits (choix du format et de l’appareil photographique, de la mise en scène, du développement des images, etc.). Il ne fait nul doute que l’entrecroisement de la recherche avec la création a nourri le processus créateur de cette série photographique et m’a permis d’approfondir ma réflexion et compréhension de ce trauma transgénérationnel telles que traduites dans Dé-génération-elles (2021). La création de cette œuvre a inévitablement eu un effet sur mon processus de guérison et mon bien- être.

Title: The Importance of Indigenous Learning: A Heart To Heart Conversation

Abstract: This abstract outlines the "Heart to Heart" partnership program between the Mi'kmaq- Wolastoqey Centre and the International Student Advisor's Office. The program was initiated in the Fall of 2022 and has been running successfully ever since. The program's objective is to promote cultural understanding and respect among Indigenous and non-Indigenous students by educating them about Indigenous rights, history, and ways of life.

The program aims to create an inclusive and safe environment for students to learn and grow. If given the opportunity to present about this program at the Arts Matter Conference 2023, the presentation will highlight the importance of educating oneself on the history and experiences of Indigenous peoples in working towards reconciliation and creating a more equitable society for all.

The presentation will focus on the successes of the program and its potential for implementation in other educational institutions. By sharing our experiences and successes, we hope to encourage the adoption of similar programs and promote the importance of reconciliation and cultural understanding in education.

The presentation will include a brief overview of the program's objectives, structure, and successes. The presentation will also discuss the challenges of implementing such programs and strategies for overcoming them. Overall, the presentation will emphasize the significance of creating safe and inclusive spaces for Indigenous and non-Indigenous students to learn and grow together.

Panel 4

2:50 - 4:05 p.m. | Chair: Yelena Birk

Title: An Analysis and Context of the Small Finds from the Venus Pompeiana Project

Abstract: Atop an artificial terrace near the fortification walls in the southwest corner of the city of Pompeii sits the remains of the Sanctuary of Venus. Overlooking the Sea to the south, and backing onto the Via Marina to the north, the sanctuary was in a location fit for the patron divinity of the Roman city. The dedication of the city to Venus likely happened after the foundation of the Sullan colony in 80 BCE, which acknowledged the special relationship Sulla had with the Goddess Venus/Aphrodite.

The triporticus and axial temple which were heavily damaged by the earthquake in 62 CE were still under reconstruction when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 CE.1 Under the auspices of the Pompeii Archaeological Park, archaeologists from the University of Missouri-Columbia and Mount Allison University have resumed the study of the Temple and Sanctuary of Venus. The main objective of the Venus Pompeiana Project is to clarify the original sanctuary's date, extent, and internal organization, and the nature of the rituals that were conducted therein, detailing the primary transformation.

Over the last six months, I have been examining the small finds that were recovered from the four seasons of excavation with the Venus Pompeiana Project. The collection features an assemblage of slingshot bullets likely dating to the Sullan siege of the city. In total, the collection consists of 126 objects, each with their own unique story.

This research has helped in the resulting dating of the sanctuary to post-80 BCE. These results have important implications for the broader understanding of the topography of a crucial quadrant of Pompeii facing onto the Via Marina and in direct relationship with the Basilica.

Title: From Strax Case to Strax Affair: How a Small-Scale Protest Turned into a National Discussion on Academic Freedom

Abstract: UNB’s Strax Affair is an often-forgotten chapter in Canadian University radicalism during the 1960s. As such, this presentation covers the main narrative threads that run through the Strax Affair, as well as the consequences of the Affair on UNB’s administration and the wider Canadian University community.

The presentation focuses on actions taken by the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) to arbitrate the Strax Affair, including their censure of UNB and its president Colin B. Mackay, culminating in Mackay’s resignation. The CAUT was particularly incensed by the Strax Affair as the eponymous Norman Strax was suspended without cause and removed from campus by a court injunction, setting a dangerous precedent for workers' rights among Canadian university faculty.

The presentation also highlights the actions of the Student Representative Council, the precursor to the Student Union and their unprecedented displays of political unity and strength throughout the Strax Affair, including holding UNB’s president and the Board of Deans accountable through correspondence and in-person meetings.

Finally, the presentation critically examines the main sources of scholarship on the Strax Affair. The primary sources analyzed in the presentation are Peter Kent’s scholarship on the Strax Affair and the Brunswickan’s coverage of the Affair. Both Kent and the Brunswickan’s roles are noteworthy, as Kent was an active participant in the Strax Affair, working for President Mackay as a personal assistant; furthermore, the Brunswickan had two staff members charged with contempt of court for their coverage of the Affair.

Essentially, this presentation highlights a defining moment in not only UNB’s history, but the history of Canadian Universities and the rights of their faculty from coast to coast.

Title: The Prime Minister’s Office: A Fiercely Partisan and Sharply Loyal Central Agency

Abstract: While everyday Canadians are merely uninterested in the everyday bureaucratic workings that occur in Ottawa, the work done in federal bureaucracies like the Prime Minister’s Office are significant because they are done by unelected and partisan political staffers.

The Prime Minister’s Office works to promote partisan initiatives from the Prime Minister as well as those of the governing party throughout its communications, staffing in ministerial offices, and its power over Cabinet ministers.

Although the leadership in the Prime Minister’s Office changes with electoral victories, its goal continues to remain the same; to promote partisan interests, centralize power, and maintain a good image for the Prime Minister.

Title: Organize the Moment: The photography of Ian Brown and the New Brunswick labour movement 1974-1979

Abstract: The 1970s marked a decade of labour unrest across New Brunswick, as working-class folks and their unions walked off the job for better wages in the face of rising inflation and federally-imposed wage controls. During my ARTS4000 internship, I have located and processed more than a hundred images of the 1970s labour movement as part of PANB’s digitization efforts and their mandate to collect, preserve, and provide access to material that is relevant to the history of New Brunswick.

My presentation includes a history of the issues, individuals, and organizations involved in this period of civil unrest in New Brunswick, including the formation and growth of the New Brunswick Federation of Labour, the struggle for wage parity, and Prime Minister Trudeau’s 1975 Anti-Inflation Bill. This history, informed by the Telegraph-Journal newspaper database and David Frank’s 2013 article, Provincial Solidarities: A History of the New Brunswick Federation of Labour, in conjunction with a discussion of the archival process (accession, selection, housing, dating, describing, and scanning photographs) provides the foundation for a deeper analysis of a handful of labour-dispute photographs and their function, both at the time they were taken as a means of communication, and perhaps provocation and now, as historical documents that speak to the legacy of industrial struggle in the province.

The analysis focuses on Ian Brown’s photographs of the 1976 Fredericton Police Department strike and discusses their compositional qualities, angle, lighting, focus, etc.and how those qualities affect our interpretation of the events. My presentation connects the organization of the labour movement in 1970s New Brunswick, with the organization of light and form in Ian Brown’s photographs, and the organizational efforts of the PANB in preserving and publishing those photographs for public consumption.

Title: Technology: Long-time Villain or Saving Grace?

Abstract: While there is a tendency to dwell on the negative impacts of technology, disconnection, reduced attention spans, etc. I want to look at the positive impact of technology on humans during the pandemic and the lessons we can take from that experience.

Summary: I will begin the session by sharing a piece of art from my first semester at NBCCD. The piece is social commentary on the role of technology, specifically, the internet in fragmenting society and causing disconnection. I will follow this with a brief look at the impact of the pandemic on day-to-day life for communities, individuals, and small businesses, incorporating some statistics to reflect what many of the audience members will have likely experienced themselves.

I will present the idea that while there is a tendency to dwell on the negative impacts of technology, technology did in fact help many of us survive the pandemic. Using examples from my own lived experiences as a freelance digital marketer, as well as data from media outlets, I will highlight some of the ways technology provided a bridge for individuals, communities, and businesses. Building on this idea of technology being a valuable tool, I plan to discuss my own experience with using technology to build my career as a digital marketer while being a student.

The takeaway here being that technology can be a very useful tool for students to craft their online identity and build their personal brand or business. Attendees will be invited to consider how they can use technology in general, and the internet specifically, to shape their future, whether as a highly sought-after employee or as an entrepreneur. I will reference my own art and fiction writing throughout the piece.

Student Panel 5

4:15 - 5:15 p.m. | Chair: Yelena Birk

Title: Content analysis of affect in American sympathy cards

Abstract: Expressions of compassion and comfort are culture-specific (Koopmann-Holm et al., 2021). Research suggests that people in North America are motivated to avoid negative emotions and pursue positive emotions, and cultures may differ in expressions of sympathy (Koopmann-Holm & Tsai, 2014).

We conducted a content analysis of 180 American sympathy cards collected from a public website belonging to the largest North American greeting card company, Hallmark. Contents of these sympathy cards were analyzed on their affective tone (i.e., the mood or feeling associated with a particular experience).

We hypothesized that the contents of the sympathy cards would reflect Western cultural values with a desire to avoid negative affect in the context of sympathizing with those who have lost a loved one. The findings and future directions will be discussed from a cultural psychology perspective.

Title: The Psychological Consequences of Parents’ Social Comparison of Their Children: The Role of Parents’ Implicit Theory of Intelligence

Abstract: The present study builds on previous research examining the psychological consequences of parents who make social comparisons of their children (Vogels and Perunovic, 2020). Results from the previous study demonstrated that parents who made upward comparisons, in which they compared their child to another who is doing better, rated the comparison as less important and reported that the event occurred less recently than parents who made downward comparisons.

In my Honours thesis, we aim to replicate these findings while also investigating the role of parents' implicit theory of intelligence in the social comparison of their children. Specifically, we will examine the differences between entity theorists, who believe abilities are stable and unchangeable, and incremental theorists, who believe abilities are malleable and improvable (Dweck, 2000).

Previous research has shown differences between these groups in how they respond to success and failure. Based on this, we predict that parents who make upward comparisons will rate the comparison domain as more important than those in the downward or lateral comparison groups and that this pattern will be more pronounced for entity theorists than for incremental theorists. Results will be discussed.

Title: How do People Evaluate Self-Serving and Self-Improving Presentation Styles in Online Dating Profiles?

Abstract: Previous research has demonstrated cultural differences in how people present themselves in dating profiles (Schriver et al. 2022). Westerners tend to portray themselves in a self-serving way, describing their present selves positively and emphasizing existing good qualities, whereas Easterners tend to describe how they may improve in the future.

Studies have yet to address how people perceive these differing presentation styles. The current study addresses that gap in the literature and examines how Canadians rate self-serving and self-improving dating profiles. Data is being collected from introductory psychology students from a Canadian university using an online survey.

Participants were randomly assigned to read a self-serving or self-improving profile matching their preferred interest. Subsequently, they rated the profile on various measures of likability. We hypothesized that Canadian participants would rate the self-serving profiles more favourably because this presentation style aligns more with Western cultural values. We also examined participants' implicit theory of change (i.e., the degree to which people believe attributes are changeable) and hypothesized that self-serving profiles would be rated particularly favourably by those who believe that attributes are relatively stable and non-malleable.

Data collection is in progress; results pending data analysis will be discussed.

Title: Examining Extralegal Factors in Intimate Partner Violence Testimony: The Impact of Posttraumatic Stress and Substance Use on Perceptions of Victim-Witness Credibility

Content note: This presentation may touch on aspects of intimate partner violence. For info on resources/support for IPV, see Liberty Lane Inc or contact the Chimo Helpline.

Abstract: Intimate partner violence (IPV) defined as a pattern of physical, sexual, financial, or psychological abuse is considered by academics and policymakers alike as a global public health concern.

Witnessing or experiencing parental IPV during childhood increases one’s likelihood of experiencing posttraumatic stress (PTS) and developing problematic substance use behaviours in adolescence and adulthood.

Given that IPV-exposed women who experience PTS and risky substance use are a vulnerable subpopulation facing an elevated risk of IPV revictimization, this study aims to elucidate how jurors make decisions about victim-witness credibility for this subpopulation.

Participants were randomly assigned to read one of four versions of a mock-trial transcript of an alleged victim testifying about physical assault perpetrated by her intimate partner. The transcript was manipulated across conditions to contain (1) PTS symptoms and illicit substance use, (2) PTS symptoms, (3) illicit substance use, or (4) no PTS symptoms or substance use.

After reading the transcript, they were asked to rate the IPV victim-witness on personal characteristics such as credibility, honesty, and trustworthiness. They were also asked to complete a measure of perceived stigma toward individuals with substance use disorders and make a guilt judgment for the alleged perpetrator. Because mental disorders are highly stigmatized, it was hypothesized that victim-witness credibility would be negatively affected by the interaction between PTS symptoms and illicit substance use. A 2x2 between-subjects ANOVA revealed a significant interaction between PTS and substance use suggesting that individuals may be perceiving comorbid psychological symptoms as a unique gestalt. Pearson’s correlation analysis demonstrated that perceived stigma towards substance users was negatively correlated with credibility ratings.

Lastly, it was found that individuals who rated the victim-witness as more credible were significantly more likely to judge the alleged perpetrator as guilty. This research is the first to explore extralegal factors affecting victim-witness credibility in this subpopulation.