Psychology Honours Theses

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Now showing 1 - 5 of 6
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    Investigating resilience in university students from separated/divorced families
    (Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 2020) Therrien, Ashley
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    An examination of study behaviour in relation to visual access to nature
    (Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 2020) Wright, Jeremy J.
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    Handedness and interpersonal preferences: short-term changes in motor fluency may influence facial attractiveness
    (Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 2020) Stevenson, Amanda S.
    People with different physical characteristics interact with the world differently and, therefore, form different mental representations corresponding to their physical characteristics. Since left-handers and right-handers interact with the world differently, they form different preferences and emotional valence patterns. The present study investigated the relationship between handedness and ratings of facial attractiveness, and whether this relationship is influenced by short-term changes in motor fluency. Participants tended to rate faces presented on the same side as their dominant hand as more attractive than faces presented on the side of their non-dominant hand; this relationship may be modified by transiently altering relative levels of motor fluency between a person’s dominant and non-dominant hand.
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    The role of perineuronal nets in the circadian system: an exploratory study
    (Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 2020) Horsley, Katelyn G.
    The circadian system coordinates 24-hour rhythms in physiology and behaviour. In mammals, the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) of the hypothalamus functions as the master biological clock and synchronizes central and peripheral clock cells. Supporting SCN cells are perineuronal nets (PNNs), an extracellular matrix structure that stabilizes synapses. These networks most often enclose cells that express the calcium-binding proteins parvalbumin and calbindin (CalB). Transient removal of PNNs with chondroitinase ABC (ChABC) in other areas of the brain facilitates synaptic rearrangements and is thought to enhance neuronal plasticity. Given that PNNs are found within the SCN of Syrian hamsters, we predicted that PNNs would be found around core SCN CalB-expressing cells, a cell-type that is thought to regulate the flow of photic input to clock cells through controlled calcium liberation. As a consequence, we predicted that PNN removal would impede CalB from modulating the expression of calcium, leading to greater calcium release and larger phase shifts in response to light. Our study examined the effects of phase-advancing light pulses in hamsters at circadian time 18, before and after the ChABC treatment. Animals were found to have significantly larger phase advances to light after the removal of PNNs. Although several limitations impeded us from analyzing the histology, the obtained images provide preliminary support for the chosen ChABC dose (100 units/ml) and suggest that PNN density is greatest within the core of the SCN. Characterizing the behavioural and anatomical relationship between PNNs and the SCN will not only allow for a better understanding of the circadian system, but it may also offer clinical insight for treating disorders characterized by circadian disruptions, including shift work, jetlag, and Alzheimer’s disease.
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    Mindfulness meditation: a brief training method for working memory and mindfulness attention awareness
    (Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 2020) Doerr, Larissa
    Improving fluid intelligence has been a widely debated topic. However, it has been found possible through the improvement of working memory capacity. Mindfulness meditation can be used as a method to improve working memory capacity. Therefore, mindfulness meditation can improve certain higher process cognitive abilities such as fluid intelligence. However, the focus of recent research has been on long-term mindfulness meditation programs. Long-term mindfulness meditation studies are difficult to complete and suffer from high attrition rates. To account for this shortcoming, this study aims to examine the impact of short-term mindfulness meditation techniques on the working memory capacity of university students. Increased working memory capacity is beneficial for university students because it raises fluid intelligence. The researchers will be using two videos, a mindfulness meditation video and a podcast, to simulate a mindfulness meditation program. To assess the effect of these videos, a self-report inventory and a performance working memory capacity task will be used. We predict that those participants exposed to the mindfulness meditation video will demonstrate improvements in working memory capacity scores thus an increase in fluid intelligence.