Browsing by Author "Compton, Rebecca J. (Rebecca Jean)"
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- ItemA Sound Mind in a Sound Body: The Psychological Benefits of Physical Exercise: The Effects of Exercise on Mood, Cognitive Functioning, and General Well-Being(2008) Saul, Southey; Compton, Rebecca J. (Rebecca Jean)Since the time of the ancient Greeks, physical exercise has been linked to intellectual abilities and mental health (Weinberg & Gould, 1995). The phenomenon often referred to as "runner's high," the elevation in mood following a bout of aerobic exercise, is only one example of the many psychological perks of physical exercise. Some people even believe in exercise addiction, as the absence of exercise has been associated with negative effects (Glass et al., 2004). Though the benefits of physical exercise exist in a broad spectrum of domains, this paper will focus specifically the psychological benefits concerning specific mood states, including depression and anxiety; various aspects of cognitive functioning; and general wellbeing and quality of life.
- ItemAn Examination of the Error-Related Negativity, Stereotype Valence, and the Recognition of Racially Biased Errors(2012) Dix, Emily; Compton, Rebecca J. (Rebecca Jean)The Weapon's Identification Task (WIT; Payne, 2001) was used in conjunction with electroencephalographic recording to examine neural responses to racially biased versus unbiased errors in a paradigm pioneered by Amodio et al. (2004). The task was extended to examine four different kinds of stereotypes: Black-negative, Black-positive, Asian-negative, and Asian-positive. This extension was more effective for Black than Asian stereotypes; reaction time and accuracy data confirmed stereotype facilitation effects for the Black faces only. The predicted effect of a heightened response to racially biased errors relative to unbiased ones (first reported by Amodio et al., 2004) was not found: we did not see a larger-magnitude error-related negativity (ERN), an event-related potential (ERP) component, following the commission of racially biased errors. However, the data revealed consistent effects of racial information on responding, including differences in neural responses to minority versus White face primes and differences between Black and Asian blocks. A follow-up analysis of the Black blocks revealed an interaction that reached significance in the opposite direction of the ERN effect found in Amodio et al. (2004; 2006; 2008). Taken together, our results did not replicate the "Amodio Effect," but did demonstrate the sensitivity of the ERN to racial information. Hyper-monitoring in the presence of Black face primes and hypersensitivity to errors on Black face trials are discussed as possible explanations for our findings.
- ItemAre You In or Out: Examining the Effects of Reducing Racial Biases on Neural Responses to Race(2015) Morgan, Hannah; Compton, Rebecca J. (Rebecca Jean)The purpose of this study was to examine how neural correlates of implicit racial biases are affected by racial-bias interventions. Previous research shows that both a negative going ERP peak related to conflict detection and behavioral control (the ERN) and a positive going peak involved in categorization and attention cognitive processes (the P300) in response to self-other conflicts. After completing two interventions, the Imagined Perspective Task and the Joystick Task, which have been shown to decrease racial biases, participants then completed two tasks that measured implicit biases, the Weapons Identification Task (WIT) and the Oddball Task. Results did not show significant effects of bias-reduction training on amplitude of the P300 and ERN. However, both the oddball and WIT produced racially biased patterns in the group as a whole, seen in priming effects in WIT and effects of face race type in the Oddball Task. Additionally, unexpected results were witnessed in the P2 peak; a peak involved in cognitive processing that is affected by attention. Further research should be conducted on multiple intervention techniques and their effect in implicit racial biases, and the effect of the P2, P300 and ERN in implicit racial biases of many different people.
- ItemAttachment Style as a Predictor of Positive Event-Related Brain Potentials in a Social-Stimulation Task(2009) Dainer-Best, Justin; Compton, Rebecca J. (Rebecca Jean)The current research considers the way that individual differences in attachment style might affect attention in social situations, as measured by electroencephalographic methods and the Late Positive Potential (LPP) wave. We hypothesized that highly attachment-anxious and highly attachment-avoidant subjects would demonstrate decreased LPP peaks in response to negative target images when in a sequence of ambiguous images, due to a violation of expectancy. Forty subjects responded to both sequences of three images and images presented solo. Analyses demonstrated no major distinction by attachment style, and no effect of expectancy violation. Rather, subjects seemed to respond to emotionality of images.
- ItemBehavioral and Neural Responses to Errors Reflecting Racial Stereotypes(2012) Kim, Ki Jin; Compton, Rebecca J. (Rebecca Jean)Past research has shown that mistakes reflecting stereotype bias (e.g. misidentifying a tool as a gun after being primed by a Black face) provoke larger error-related negativities (ERNs) than race-neutral mistakes (Amodio et al., 2004). The present study aimed to replicate this phenomenon and expanded the paradigm used in Amodio et al. (2004) in 3 ways: (1) by adding a different set of instructions, (2) by including a race other than Blacks (Asians), and (3) by including positive stereotypes. Results indicate that instruction types (race-salient or race-neutral) did not affect neural or behavioral responses errors involving stereotype associations. On the contrary, race affected neural and behavioral responses in varying directions. It should also be noted that the behavioral data from the present study are consistent with the findings from Amodio et al. (2004). On the contrary, the EEG data did not show the same pattern as Amodio et al. (2004).
- ItemCan Perception Affect Cognition? A Study of the Social Brain in Autism(2013) Giovannelli, Daniel; Compton, Rebecca J. (Rebecca Jean)While many theories have been proposed to explain the neuroscience of autism-spectrum disorders (ASD), few have been conclusively proven or disproven. In this paper, we set out to test a closely related set of theories which claim that the roots of ASD in the brain are primarily perceptual in nature. To do so, we gathered fMRI data on a sample of children with ASD and typically developing controls while they watched videos of children playing with toys either together or apart. We then performed pychophysiological interaction analysis (PPI) to determine if connectivity between superior temporal sulcus (a region implicated in social perception) and ventromedial pre-frontal cortex (a region involved in theory of mind) in the social condition differed across groups. Additionally, eyetracking data was gathered while participants viewed the videos, and was analyzed along with neuroimaging data in a post-hoc multiple regression analysis. While no difference in STS-vmPFC connectivity was found in our data, interesting patterns of activation involving the mirror neuron system and the amygdala were found in both our PPI and post-hoc analyses. Interpretations of our findings and possible directions for future research are discussed.
- ItemCognitive and Emotional Aspects of Error Responsiveness in Depressive College Students(2006) Vargas, Gray; Sternberg, Wendy; Compton, Rebecca J. (Rebecca Jean)The purpose of this study was to analyze the error responsiveness of depressive college students and to attempt to determine the contributions of emotional and cognitive processes to this response. This response was analyzed by measuring three event-related electrical signals originating in the Anterior Cingulate Cortex (ACC)—the response Error-Related Negativity (rERN), feedback ERN (fERN), and error Positivity (Pe)—as well as reaction time and accuracy following an error. A high depression group and an anxiety-matched control group were tested on an emotional and cognitive Stroop task. The expected increase in amplitude after errors was seen for the rERN and Pe but not for the fERN. While none of the error signals or behavioral compensation measures differed significantly between groups, there were surprising interactions found for the rERN and Pe suggesting that depression might be related to a larger Pe and a smaller rERN. This study provides many important points of comparison for other ERP and ACC studies in anxiety and other disorders.
- ItemCognitive Enhancement in the Facially Different: Leveling the Playing Field or Playing a Dangerous Game?(2020) Siegel, Charles G.; Compton, Rebecca J. (Rebecca Jean)Public attitudes towards cognitive enhancement (CE)––e.g., using stimulants like Adderall and Ritalin to improve mental functioning––are mixed, vary by context, and prompt ethical concerns such as fairness, coercion, and authenticity/character. While people are known to hold strong views about the morality of CE, it is unknown how these perceptions are affected by the physical characteristics of the CE user. It has previously been shown that the presence of visible facial anomalies (e.g. scars, warts, facial palsies) modulates perceptions of moral character. The present study tested whether this bias extends to moral beliefs surrounding CE. We obtained survey-data from 941 participants in the United States using Amazon's Mechanical Turk. Participants judged the fairness of hypothetical CE use in a vignette that was accompanied by a photograph of a face––ostensibly the potential CE user––that either did or did not have visible anomalies. Participants then learned whether the person ultimately used CEs (counter-balanced assignment). Next, participants played a modified Trust Game, ostensibly with the person in the photograph. Participants judged CE use less fair and users less authentic if they had facial anomalies, while effects on behavior were not detected. These findings coalesce with burgeoning evidence that people experience an "anomalous-is-bad" stereotype, whereby facial anomalies are seen to indicate moral deficiencies. Interestingly, although anomalous faces were subjected to harsher moral judgments, this did not appear to affect the behavioral measures used here. In what follows, these results are discussed in relation to the literatures on discrimination and CE policy.
- ItemCognitive Flexibility as a Potential Mediator of Attentional Scope and Mood(2018) Dennis, Amanda; Compton, Rebecca J. (Rebecca Jean)It has been well established that positive emotions can broaden awareness and help people to “see the big picture” (Frederickson, 2004). Recent findings (Gu et al., 2017) suggest that this is a bi-directional relationship, in that manipulating scope of attention can improve mood. This study aimed to confirm those findings, corroborate them with eye-tracking technology, and explore a potential mechanism for this relationship: cognitive flexibility. Participants were induced into a negative mood and randomly assigned to an attentional scope manipulation (either broadening or narrowing). After the manipulation, levels of cognitive flexibility and mood recovery were assessed. Contrary to expectations, the results of this study did not find a relationship between visual attentional scope and mood. Additionally, neither attentional scope nor mood was found to be related to levels of cognitive flexibility. Cognitive flexibility therefore cannot be considered to be a mediator of attentional scope and mood without further research into this subject.
- ItemCognitive Processing Under Stressful Conditions: The Effects of Stress on Selective Attention(2001) Salkowski-Bartlett, Anya; Compton, Rebecca J. (Rebecca Jean)This study is an attempt to expand upon previous findings implicating a bias in selective attention for anxious subjects, to determine whether a similar bias in selective attention is true for subjects under academic and/or social stress. Seventy- seven Haverford College Students who were grouped according to high or low social, academic and trait stress, completed a dichotic listening task with academic, social or neutral words distracters. Shadowing errors and probe reaction times were analyzed. The results presented a complex set of findings based on subjects grouping into high or low trait, social or academic stress; target wordlist category (academic, social or neutral); and dependent measure (shadowing errors or probe reaction times). Overall, subjects displayed more shadowing errors when high in academic stress. Subjects low in trait stress were overall slower to respond to the probe overall compared to subjects high in trait stress. Subjects who were low in trait and academic stress were slower to respond to the probe presented during the neutral wordlist when they were high in social stress. Subjects who were low in trait and social stress were slower to respond to the probe presented during the academic wordlist when they were high in academic stress compared to when they were low in academic stress. These findings suggest that academic stress generally disrupts the ability to select out distracter words, whereas high trait stress leads to overall better performance on a secondary probe reaction task. In addition, the findings suggest that social and academic state stress lead to different biases in selective attention towards neutral distracter words for social stress and towards academic distracter words for academic stress, when low in all other categories.
- ItemCommunicative Non-Word Vocalizations: Behavioral Patterns, Autism Spectrum Disorder Risk, and Communicative Significance(2010) Burger-Caplan, Rebecca; Wozniak, Robert H.; Compton, Rebecca J. (Rebecca Jean)This study sought to elucidate the communicative function of Communicative Non-Word Vocalizations (CNWV’s). CNWV’s were examined particularly in the context of developmental trends and the emergence of other communicative and developmental behaviors within a population of infants at heightened risk for Autism Spectrum Disorders at three age groups. There was a tendency for the frequency of CNWV’s in infants to increase from 8- to 13-months, and then decrease at 18-months. Point behaviors increased with age, most severely between 13- and 18-months, and exhibited a trend toward a surprising pattern with the frequency of infants’ shifts in visual attention. Based on the literature, we expected that communicative behaviors surrounding CNWV’s would increase with age, but in the case of visual attention, these shifts tended to decrease concurrently with the increase in Point behaviors. This may have implications for Joint Attention. While differences between heightened and low risk groups for ASD were largely not significant, there was a tendency for fewer communicative behaviors to be exhibited in heightened risk infants. This study illuminated a potential area of future study toward a better understanding of Joint Attention. While many results were not significant, trends corroborated the claims in the literature that a decreased frequency of communicative behaviors is demonstrated in infants at heightened risk for ASD and indicated a new time frame in which to examine these developmental trends.
- ItemDoes Attentional Control Depend on Depression Symptom Severity?(2019) Sheen, Elisa; Compton, Rebecca J. (Rebecca Jean)The present study aims to examine the effects of cognitive reappraisal and attentional control training across a spectrum of depression symptom severity. The literature has explored the efficacy of cognitive reappraisal and attentional training methods; however, no studies have compared the two emotion regulation strategies while also examining efficacy across a range of depression symptom severity. Results indicate that attentional control training led to less attention towards negative aspects of images and cognitive reappraisal had greater impact on lowering negative image ratings. The effects of training did not depend on depression level.
- ItemEffects of Stress on Selective Attention: Bias or Deficiency?(2001) Osorio, Lisette C.; Compton, Rebecca J. (Rebecca Jean); Boltz, MarilynThe main goal of this study was to examine whether stress biases selective attention in a similar way as anxiety, with specificity and state/trait interactions playing a role, or whether it creates a general deficiency in this process. Subjects participated in a dichotic listening task in which they listened to neutral passages to be shadowed on one ear and either academic-stress, social-stress, or neutral words on the other ear. They were also instructed to respond simultaneously to a probe that randomly appeared on the computer screen. Subjects were then divided into 8 different academic-stress/social-stress/trait-stress combination groups for analysis. Results provided no support for the general deficiency hypothesis; however, specific state-stress/trait-stress/word-list interactions provided some support for the hypothesized similarity between stress and anxiety. In addition, main effects of trait-stress on probe reaction time and of academic-stress on shadowing errors were observed. These results have important implications for the way stress might affect people differently, depending on factors such as personality traits, type of stress, and the nature of environmental "distracters" present.
- ItemEffects of Trait and State Stress on Attention(2001) Escobar, Sandra E.; Compton, Rebecca J. (Rebecca Jean)Previous research has suggested that trait and state anxiety have an effect on attention, where individuals with high trait anxiety, in a high state anxiety condition are more likely to direct attention towards threat stimuli, whereas individuals with low trait anxiety, in a high state anxiety condition are able to direct attention away from threat stimuli; this suggests the existence of a protective bias in low trait anxiety individuals. The current study uses similar procedures to anxiety studies, in an undergraduate population, in order to examine whether or not stress and anxiety effect attention differently, in terms of the impact of state/trait interactions and multiple academic social, and trait stressors. Subjects were asked to perform a dichotic listening task, in which they had to ignore social, academic and neutral words, while shadowing a neutral passage. Subjects simultaneously completed a modified dot probe task, in order to measure attentional capacity. The results of the current study suggest that when stress is generalized, it has similar effects as anxiety on attention, with regard to state/trait interactions. When stress is specific, it does not show similar effects to anxiety on attention.
- ItemError Monitoring in a Social Context: Feedback-Related Negativity as a Neural Monitor of Social Deviation and a Predictor of Conformity(2010) Kim, Bo-Rin; Compton, Rebecca J. (Rebecca Jean)The present study aimed to determine if social deviation is processed as an error in the brain and if the brain corrects for this kind of social error. We focused on the feedback-related negativity (FRN) signal, which is a neural signal that is triggered when external feedback indicates that an error has been made. Electroencephalography (EEG) was used to measure this waveform as subjects rated the attractiveness of 120 female faces and were shown average attractiveness scores given by Bryn Mawr and Haverford College students. Group averages that were more inconsistent with the subjects' ratings elicited stronger FRN signals and larger rating changes in the direction of the group average than feedback that was less discrepant. These findings indicate that social deviation is perceived as an error in brain and that the brain adjusts subsequent behavior to correct this error. Thus, this social error monitoring system acts as a neural mechanism that encourages people to adhere to social norms. This study expands on past literature by applying the FRN to social error and subjective tasks, but it also raises questions regarding FRN localization and the effects of personality factors, such as self-esteem, on social error monitoring.
- ItemEvent-related Potential Correlates of the Word Frequency Effect in Recognition Memory(2011) Miller, Stephanie; Thapar, Anjali; Compton, Rebecca J. (Rebecca Jean)The main objective of the current investigation was to examine the influences of word frequency in event-related potentials (ERPs) of recognition. We first aimed to replicate findings that ERP traces dissociate recognition into its subcomponents: recollection and familiarity. Our behavioral results exhibited the low frequency word advantage typically observed in recognition memory: enhanced accuracy to low frequency words. ERPs were analyzed by comparing average activity of hits to misses (encoding), main effects of response type (remember/familiar) and frequency (high/low) as well as interaction effects. At encoding, no subsequent memory effects were established in the predicted left-inferior prefrontal region. At retrieval, recollection responses produced significant effects at parietal sites (400-800 ms). We did not establish recognition (familiarity) or frequency differences at frontal sites (300-500 ms). A tertiary analysis should be applied to the current data to assess lateralized activity at frontal sites. Because our behavioral replication of the low frequency advantage was robust, the non significant ERP results in this sample do not disqualify the potential for word-frequency effects in electrophysiological memory traces.
- ItemExamining the Brain's Response to Errors Reflecting Race-bias: An Event-Related Negativity Study(2012) Vega, Cassandra J.; Compton, Rebecca J. (Rebecca Jean)The purpose of the present study was to use a social cognitive approach to examine the brain's physiological response to prejudice-related errors while using EEG recording. A modified version of the Weapons Identification Task was used to examine error-monitoring processes that may be influenced by race-salient instructions, stereotype valence, and stereotypes about both Blacks and Asians. The results indicated that minority differences were observed in both the behavioral and EEG data; however, the instructions manipulation and valence of stereotypes were not shown to affect error-monitoring processes. Our findings suggest that our brain might be especially sensitive to errors made regarding Black people because these stereotypes are more salient and culturally sensitive in our society than the stereotypes about Asians.
- ItemExamining the Brain's Response to Errors Reflecting Race-biases(2012) Ramos, Laura I.; Compton, Rebecca J. (Rebecca Jean)Our study aimed to determine the effects of unintentional race-biases due to negative and positive stereotypes about Minority groups on error-negativity waves (ERNs), an event related potential (ERP) responsive to errors and conflict detection. We used a modified version of the weapons identification task (i.e., computerized priming task) (Payne, 2001) and recorded ERN amplitudes while participants completed the task. We hypothesized that the amplitude of the ERN differs as a function of the type of stereotype, face prime, and whether or not participants are explicitly told about potential race-biases. Previous studies have shown that ERNs are sensitive to race-biases and tend to be larger for race-biased responses (Amodio et al., 2004). Our findings showed that ERNs were larger for errors compared to correct responses, but the ERN for race-biased errors did not differ in terms of the stereotype valence. The results also showed that negative stereotypes about Blacks are rated as worse than negative stereotypes about Asians. Overall, the ERN amplitudes differed in terms of the types of stereotypes, but we failed to replicate Amodio et al.'s effect (2004) for Blacks and we did not find any race-related effects for Asians. Nevertheless, we did find stereotypical priming effects in terms of response time and accuracy (i.e., participants were faster at identifying stereotyped objects after Minority faces and they were less accurate at identifying neutral objects after Minority faces). Therefore, this study provides a basis for which future investigations of how neural mechanisms of automatic race-biases are examined by the brain.
- ItemExecutive Function, the Positivity Effect and Error-Related Negativity: A Novel Perspective on Cognitive Aging(2013) Vandenbark, Sonia L.; Compton, Rebecca J. (Rebecca Jean); Thapar, AnjaliThe purpose of the present research was to investigate cognitive aging in the context of the Socioemotional Selectivity Theory (Carstensen, 1992), in order to determine the role of executive function in the manifestation of a positivity effect. Younger and older adults were assessed on measures of cognitive control, including the WAIS, Eriksen and Eriksen’s (1974) letter flanker task, and error-related negativity (ERN). A face flanker task was also administered, in which participants determined the emotion of a target face while ignoring flanking distracter faces (based on methods from Fenske et al., 2003). Finally, a recognition memory task was administered using neutral faces, to see if participants remembered faces differently based on the emotion that they displayed during the face flanker task. Contrary to our hypothesis and previous findings, younger and older adults did not differ in flanker interference nor emotional preference in face flanker and memory tasks. These findings do not support the presence of a positivity bias, though results from EEG methods and previous studies suggest that this may be due to unexpected limitations of the face flanker paradigm.
- ItemExecutive Functioning: The Impact of Early Adversity and Stress(2022) Severtson, Kate; Compton, Rebecca J. (Rebecca Jean)The present study was conducted in order to determine the impact that early adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) have on executive functioning (EF) in a high-functioning sample. 57 participants were recruited from a highly selective and academically rigorous college campus. Participants completed two EF tasks: a combined working memory and inhibitory control task and a cognitive flexibility task. Electroencephalography data was acquired by Neuroscan. Participants then filled out self-report data. Analysis focused on data from the combined working memory and inhibitory control "n-back go no-go paradigm" task and the self-report measures. ACE exposure was not found to correlate significantly with any performance measures. There was a marginal correlation between increased ACE exposure and higher perceived stress. ACE exposure was correlated with the ERP P300 measure for working memory, with a higher level of ACEs associating with worse working memory. There was no significant correlation between ACEs and inhibitory control. Based on the results, ACE exposure in an elite sample has a very limited effect on executive functioning.