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  • UC Davis Psychology Social-Personality Program

    Social-Personality Brown Bag Series

    Location:  Young 166 (unless otherwise noted)
    Monday 12:10pm to 1:00pm
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    ACADEMIC YEAR:      2013 - 2014 Print Page
    Fall 2013
    Experiences with Misgendering: Identity Misclassification in Transgender Individuals 
    SPEAKER: Kevin A. McLemore

    The experience of identity misclassification, or not having ones social identity correctly verified by others, is aversive. Because this research is typically conducted with members of high-status groups, relatively little is known about identity misclassification from the perspective of members of stigmatized, low-status groups. However, research on stigma and identity control suggest there is good reason to examine identity misclassification from their perspective. In this talk, I explore the identity misclassification of transgender individuals, referred to as misgendering. In two online studies (N = 247), transgender individuals reported how frequently they experience misgendering and how devalued these experiences make them feel. Study 1 results demonstrate that experiences with misgendering are associated with negative affect, authenticity, self-esteem, social identity, and transgender felt stigma. Study 2 replicated these results, while also demonstrating that experiences with misgendering are associated with verification and enhancement strivings and self-and other-evaluations.
    Perceptions of multiracial individuals: Categorization at the boundaries of race 
    SPEAKER: Jacqueline Chen

    The multiracial population is growing exponentially in the United States. Will social perception processes reflect this change in social reality? Specifically, will perceivers continue to rely on traditional racial categories (e.g., White, Black) or adopt a novel Multiracial category to accommodate the increasing diversity in their social environment? I present five experiments examining whether and under what conditions perceivers categorize multiracial individuals as Multiracial, as opposed to Black or White. Findings demonstrate that perceivers can and do use the Multiracial category with above chance accuracy, but that it is less well-developed than existing monoracial categories. Personal beliefs and motivations play a key role in how multiracials are perceived and may ultimately legitimize a Multiracial category in everyday person perception.
    The Neuroscience of Attachment 
    SPEAKER: Omri Gillath
    During the last 40 years, Bowlby and Ainsworths attachment theory has been one of the most influential, research-generating conceptual frameworks in the areas of psychology on which it touches: developmental, social, personality, and clinical. Since the late 80s, the theory became one of the leading frameworks for the study of adult close relationships, personality processes, and emotional dynamics. The theory has gained in popularity largely because it addresses a wide range of issues of interest to psychologists, including processes involved in mental and physical health. In recent years, with the flourishing of social-neuroscience, new research methods are being applied to the study of attachment. The objective of my talk is to review my contribution to this field, discuss some open questions and current controversies, and outline future directions for research and theory development.
    Veteran's Day 
    Human Development Job Talk 
    Human Development Job Talk 
    Winter 2014
    Priming Effects in Virtual Environments: Theoretical Implications and Practical Applications 
    SPEAKER: Jorge Peña

    Recent studies show how visual features in videogames and virtual environments (e.g., avatar appearance, setting type) reliably affect users cognition, affect, and behavior. But why should we care about this research? This presentation outlines the traditional theoretical mechanisms behind this effect. In addition, we will discuss how this research can (a) guide the R&D of cooperative videogames and (b) be put to use to increase physical activity among gamers.

    Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 
    Understanding the Achievement/Adjustment Paradox Through Self-Regulation Differences 
    SPEAKER: Helen Ku

    How do certain individuals perform well despite experiencing more distress? This study applies Carver and Scheier's (1998) Self-Regulation Theory to understand the achievement/adjustment paradox.
    Recruitment Day 

    (A) Identity theft: Implications of appropriating group symbols for intergroup relations / (B) Exploring the Paradox of Asian Hubris 
    SPEAKER: (A) Mark Kurai / (B) Katherine Sorensen
    (A) Outgroup claims on ingroup symbols (appropriation) is a pervasive phenomenon. We tested the hypothesis that the appropriation of group symbols can shape intergroup relations. Specifically, the present research provides evidence that the extent to which appropriation of symbolic group property threatens the perceived value of the symbol, increases negative affect (particularly anger), and subsequently motivates group members to take action to protect the group symbol. Further, symbolic content and relative group status were investigated for their potential role in determining responses to appropriation. Results suggest that higher status groups are more likely than lower status groups to engender the feelings of threat and anger that are associated with engaging in collective action. (B) While some research claims that those from Asian cultures do not self-enhance, we find a consistent pattern of Asian and Asian-Americans reporting more hubris than European Americans. Potential moderators, like cultural values or social desirability, are explored.
    Presidents' Day 
    The reifying effect of symbols: How group symbols influence social perception 
    SPEAKER: Shannon Callahan

    Given that symbols such as logos, flags, and monuments generally appear to be an important element of the group experience, it seems critical that psychologists identify how and why symbols can shape people’s perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors in order to fully understand how group members manage their social identities. We propose that one valuable function that group symbols serve is to reify groups, making a collection of individuals seem more like a unified and coherent entity. As a result of this increased psychological realness, or entitativity, the mere presence of symbols may have a robust effect on how groups are perceived by others. In four studies, we investigated the effect that symbols have on perceptions of entitativity, examining the sources of these perceptions as well as their downstream consequences. The results of these studies shed light on how group symbols—the trappings of group identity—can help paint the social world around them by fundamentally shaping people’s impressions of groups.
    The Role of Implicit Racial Bias on Intergroup Behavior 
    SPEAKER: Lisa Huang
    SPEAKER: Visiting Speaker
    Spring 2014
    Contextual modulation of automatic attitudes: Exploring the role of internal cueing 
    SPEAKER: Andrew Rivers

    Recent research suggests that the context of learning environments may play a critical role in understanding both the malleability and stability of automatic attitudes. Thus far, experimental work has defined 'context' as consisting exclusively of external cues (e.g., visual changes in the learning environment). I present data from three experiments exploring a potential parallel role for internal contextual cues, specifically incidental emotions. Additionally, I hope to briefly illustrate why investigating the role of internal cues has potential to advance current theory and inform effective attitude change interventions.
    Effect of temporal distance on cancer screening decisions 
    SPEAKER: Amber Sanchez

    Medical research findings have become increasingly available to the public. However, research suggests people often rely on lay theories and individual stories when making important health decisions (Nielsen-Bohlman, Panzer, & Kindig, 2004). This research asks: under what circumstances do people actually use evidence-based health information? Across three studies, we show that psychological distance increases the receptivity to aggregate vs. individualized information when participants are asked to decide how frequently they would like to screen for cancer. Implications for evaluation and decision-making in a health context are discussed.
    Does stress make you feel bad about yourself? 
    SPEAKER: Michelle Harris

    Past theories and empirical research indicate that global self-esteem is a psychological resource involved in biological and psychological reactivity to stress in adulthood. However, there is a need for more evidence in support of a relation between self-esteem and stress reactivity in childhood. Using secondary data with 6-year-olds (N = 137), the current study investigates whether self-reported self-esteem is related to physiological stress reactivity after an unfair candy-sharing game. Contrary to predictions, results demonstrate that children who show greater physiological arousal after the game tend to report higher self-esteem. Thus, the current study supports a relation between self-esteem and stress in early childhood. Since stress reactivity is important for healthy functioning of endocrine and immune systems in adulthood, it is important that research continues to explore how early self-esteem can buffer against detrimental health outcomes.
    The role of affective forecasting on task performance 
    SPEAKER: Joe Bonner
    Personality correlates of risky health outcomes: Findings from a large Internet study 
    SPEAKER: Olivia Atherton

    Numerous studies have documented the effects of personality on health outcomes. However, which traits are most relevant to health, and the precise magnitude of their effects, is inconsistent across studies. The present study used a large sample (N=460,172) to replicate and extend the relations between the Big Five and three health-related outcomes: self-reported health, body mass index, and substance use. Low Conscientiousness predicted all outcomes, indicating that individuals who are less responsible and less self-controlled tend to report poorer health, be more overweight, and engage in more substance use. Individuals who were more emotionally unstable (high Neuroticism) reported poorer health, and individuals prone to seek out social experiences and rewards (high Extraversion) engaged in more frequent substance use.
    Student Community Center Multi-Purpose Room
    Distinguished Speaker Series 
    SPEAKER: Dr. Jennifer Crocker
    (A) When good is stickier than bad: Lingering framing effects may differ for loss versus gain domains / (B) Continuity and change in ethnocultural identity from childhood to adolescence: A longitudinal study of Mexican-origin youth and their families 
    SPEAKER: (A) Jehan Sparks / (B) Joanne Chung

    (A) Considerable research has demonstrated the power of the current frame to shape attitudes and judgments. But recent work suggests that some frames can stick: At least in the domain of losses, negative frames tend to stick in the mind and continue to influence judgments even in the face of an opposing frame. We extended this research to the gain domain to help better understand the dynamic nature of frames. In Study 1, after seeing information about a potential gain (a cognitive training regimen for memory enhancement) or loss (a regimen for preventing memory loss) framed in positive terms (the regimen’s success rate) or negative terms (the regimen’s failure rate), participants saw the same issue reframed in the opposite way. The results showed that the tendency for negative frames to stick more than positive frames holds in the loss domain, but significantly reverses in the gain domain, F(1,196) = 19.59, p < .001. Study 2 and preliminary results from a pilot study indicate that novelty of the issue may moderate if negative frames tend to stick more than positive frames or vice versa. / (B) Ethnocultural identity is a type of social identity that refers to one's identification and attachment to one or more racial, ethnic, or cultural groups. Social identities are important because of the role they play in fulfilling the fundamental need to belong. While there are different ways of being oriented toward one’s ethnocultural groups, biculturalism, or being oriented toward both heritage and mainstream cultures, has been found to be associated with good psychological adjustment. Ethnocultural identity is especially important during adolescence, a period that is characterized by the exploration and maturation of self-concept. The present study examined stability and change in ethnocultural identity in a sample of Mexican-origin youth and their families (N = 674) followed for five years during the developmental transition from late childhood to adolescence. Ethnocultural identity, operationalized as identifying as Mexican or Mexican-American, was assessed with novel dichotomous variables regarding how individuals perceived their own identity (self-identity) as well as how individuals perceived the identities of members of their ethnic group (prescribed group-identity). We used longitudinal growth curve models for ordinal outcomes and modified bifactor models for longitudinal data to examine the trajectories of these variables, within and among family members. Furthermore, to examine how ethnocultural identity might be influenced by the greater social ecological context, associations between socio-demographic variables and these trajectories were also examined.
    Brief Social-Belonging Intervention Reduces the Gender Achievement Gap in Science 
    SPEAKER: Lauren Aguilar

    Research suggests gender stereotypes and underrepresentation can lead women to doubt whether they be valued and respected by peers in STEM. The sense that one belongs in a setting has a powerful impact on achievement (Walton & Cohen, 2011). In a field intervention we tested two interventions to improve women’s sense of belonging in an introductory physics course (N = 588), a critical gateway course to STEM majors. First, a 30-45 minute online exercise conveys that worries about belonging in STEM are normal and dissipate over time, which prevents students from inferring that adverse experiences mean global nonbelonging. Second, an organizational classroom intervention was randomized by classroom, designed to promote equal participation among men and women during group work. We found that the sense of belonging intervention significantly improved women’s grades in the course and the effect was strongest for women who were in our treatment classrooms. The sense of belonging bolstering effect generalized to other STEM course grades during, and subsequent to, the intervention for women. However, women who were in the organizational classroom intervention, but not the social belonging intervention, fared more poorly than any other group, we believe because they did not have adaptive construal afforded by the belonging narrative. The research demonstrates how brief social-psychological interventions can reduce the achievement gap in STEM, as well as protect against challenges women might face with new collaborative classroom practices.
    Memorial day 
    Inflammatory activity as a mediator of stress-induced executive dysfunction 
    SPEAKER: Grant Shields
    Although substantial work has illustrated that stress causes executive dysfunction, the biological mechanisms through which this happens still remain unclear. Past research has focused on cortisol as the mediating biomarker, but pharmacological research indicates that this is unlikely. As such, I am exploring the effects of proinflammatory cytokines--immune system proteins upregulated during stress--on executive function. In the current study, participants underwent a standardized stressor protocol (the TSST) or a control condition before completing an executive function task 45min post-stressor. Although the data are not yet all collected, preliminary analyses reveal marginal and significant effects in the expected direction, with both working memory- and set-shifting-related errors increased in the stressor condition. As will be discussed, the delay between the stressor and the executive function task indicates that proinflammatory cytokine activity is the likely cause of poorer performance. Biological data are not yet analyzed, however, as all data must be collected before these data may be assayed. Interpretations of these preliminary results and future directions will be discussed.