Welcome to the 3rd issue of the Psi Beta Research Journal. This issue includes several studies based on past Psi Beta National Research Projects. Several more articles describe applied research on mental health and physical wellness. The Palm Beach chapter has contributed another stimulating study on intellectual humility. The issue ends with two articles that describe a peer-mentor project designed to improve learning outcomes in the introductory psychology course. The final article is written solely by chapter advisors, Dhinsda & Rudmann. This article models a new category of articles (see “C” below) to be considered for inclusion in this journal. From this point on, the Psi Beta Research Journal will consider submissions that fall into one of three categories:
A. Research articles written by Psi Beta members (highest priority),
B. Research proposals written by Psi Beta members, and
C. Research articles whose author or lead author is a chapter advisor. These articles should describe evaluation of a chapter project (e.g., workshop, service project, speaker series, etc.) OR describe a evaluation of a teaching strategy or activity conducted in a psychology classroom at a community college that has an active Psi Beta chapter. We are pleased to offer this new opportunity for chapter advisors to publish their work. We invite chapter advisors to submit articles to our journal.
Psi Beta Research Journal
(Links to individual manuscripts are provided below. Click titles to download individual article PDF's)
Alyssa Baker, Jillian Card, Michelle Singer Foust, and James Jordan
Lorain County Community College
The adaptability of college students during the academic paradigm shift caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is important to investigate in order to understand how we can encourage positive and healthy experiences for students. This study focused on analyzing the relationships between personality traits (extroversion, openness to experience, shyness) and college connectedness, course satisfaction, mental well-being, and desire to be more connected to college. Participants included 209 randomly selected students aged 18 years or older recruited from a community college in the Midwest. Participants completed a 150-item self-report survey in March 2022 that assessed the variables using standardized measures. As expected, correlational analyses found that extraversion had a significant positive relationship with college connectedness and mental well-being. However, we did not find significant relationships between extraversion and course satisfaction or desire to be more connected. Consistent with our hypothesis, openness had a significant positive correlation with each of the variables but was assessed cautiously due to a low alpha level. As expected, shyness had a significant negative correlation with college connectedness, course satisfaction, and mental well-being-being, but not with desire to be more connected. In studying personality as a static trait, we can better understand that extraverted, open, and shy individuals tend to maintain levels of college connectedness, satisfaction, and mental well-being even when unexpected turmoil (e.g., a pandemic) oc-curs. Future research can investigate how educators can adjust the culture of their courses to accommodate personality variation among students and develop personality-specific ways to strengthen the adaptability of college students.
Keywords: college connectedness, course satisfaction, mental well-being, personality, COVID-19
Savannah Werner, Andrew Sargent, and Val Harris
College of Western Idaho
Psychological myths have become so widespread in both the general public as well as higher education undergraduate communities that it has been damaging to the psychology field (Gaze, 2014; Kowalski & Taylor, 2009; Meinz et al., 2022). Factors such as education, belief in psychology as a science, and their confidence in their myth beliefs (myth confidence) have previously been examined in relation to myth endorsement (Bensley & Lilienfeld, 2015; Richardson & Lacroix, 2021). However, there has been no pre-vious research focusing on the connection between honor society membership and myth belief. The present study examined whether honor society participation could predict to myth belief. To better understand be-lief in psychological misconceptions, this study also measured the participants’ belief in psychology as a science and confidence in myth beliefs. Understanding myth belief predictors may help psychologists mit-igate the spread of psychological myths. A total of 972 participants from 2-year colleges across the United States were recruited to take a survey regarding psychological myths. We compared myth belief, belief in psychology as a science, and myth score confidence between two groups: honor society members (N = 129) and non-honor society members (N = 807). Non-honor society members identified significantly fewer myths than honors society members, were less confident when correctly identifying myths than honor so-ciety members, and had lower belief in psychology as a science than honor society members. These findings suggest that honor society membership may be a predictor of myth detection. This finding is possibly due to honor society eligibility requirements, such as grades and credits taken. Our results may be useful in developing academic interventions to prevent psychological myth belief.
Keywords: myth belief, honor societies, psychology as a science, psychological misconceptions
Nicole S. Smith, Douglas A. Jenks, Tami L. Patterson, Kiersten M. Reyes, Connor B. A. Lewis, Geoffrey L. Robinson, Daniela M. Velazquez, and Christian E. Worthington
San Diego Mesa College
Although the field of psychology was not originally approached systematically, the scientific method is now applied in order to evaluate psychological theories. To further the body of knowledge concerning the public perception of psychology as a science, community college students were recruited for the Psi Beta National Research Project questionnaire that included the Psychology as a Science Scale (PAS) and the Cognitive Reflection Test 2 (CRT-2). Participants received the CRT-2 at either the beginning or midway through the questionnaire, depending on the last digit of the participant’s phone number. The prediction that individuals who received the CRT-2 earlier would score differently on the PAS than those
who received it later was not supported. Additionally, the prediction that individuals who are more analytical would score higher on the PAS Scale was supported. The aim of this study was to offer supporting data to further the understanding of the influences of cognitive reflection and public perception of psychology as a science. Implications of these findings may include the recognition of the role cognitive reflection may play in decision-making and provide supporting evidence of the potential for correcting detrimental misconceptions of psychology as a science. Suggestions for future directions include focusing on the relationship between CRT-2 and PAS scores and having more than three CRT-like questions to allow for a more sensitive measure of analytical and intuitive responses.
Keywords: cognitive reflection, CRT-2, analytical thinking, intuitive thinking, psychology as a science
Cecil J. Hatchett, Cassandra Y. Hayashi, Ivanna Hernandez, Kirsten M. Christensen, Nicholas Lazaris, Jela V. Nebrija, Corinne Regan, Angelica D. Tharpe, and Dylan Wikel
San Diego City College
Misinformation has become a pervasive issue in society. In relation to human behavior and cognitive processes, psychological myths can have detrimental effects by distorting our perceptions. This study employed correlational and regression analyses with 86 community college students in Southern California to examine the relationships between demographic factors, belief in psychological myths, as well as the relationship between belief strength on reflective and critical thinking measures. Correlational analyses revealed significant associations between belief in psychological myths and identification with various demographic factors. Findings suggest that certain demographic characteristics may be associated with stronger inclination to believe in psychological misconceptions. There was no relationship between our measure of critical thinking and endorsement of psychological myths. Results from this study suggest a number of implications for higher education. For example, educators can design curriculum to specifically address misconceptions, foster critical thinking, and
promote accurate understanding of psychological phenomena. Providing opportunities for critical thinking in higher education may be beneficial in mitigating misinformation and cultivating accurate perceptions of human behavior. Findings from the current study highlight the importance of promoting critical thinking in educational contexts to combat the spread and perpetuation of myths and misinformation, ultimately leading to a more informed and discerning society.
Keywords: misconceptions, college students, cognition, psychological myths, demographics
Noor Dalati, Ruby Barragan, Deborah Hotchkiss, Harin Lee, Sam Morin, and Joshua Tellez
Irvine Valley College
Psychological misconceptions are widely held ideas that contradict current psychological research (Bensley et al., 2020). Belief in such myths contributes to introductory psychology students’ overconfidence of their prior knowledge (Bensley et al., 2015), limiting student engagement and comprehension. The present study sought to identify the prevalence and extent of community college students’ belief in psychological misconceptions in hopes of guiding educational efforts to combat these notions. Students completed an online questionnaire in a proctored environment (most typically while seated in a computer lab or classroom having Wi-Fi available), in which they were presented 14 myths and asked to label them as true or false. After rating each myth, participants were prompted to rate their confidence in their previous answer. The three main hypotheses were 1) there would be a negative correlation between the number of college psychology courses students completed and their myth belief scores, 2) psychology majors would endorse fewer myths than non-psychology majors, and 3) students who believe psychology is a science would believe in fewer myths. The first two hypotheses were not supported. However, there was a significant correlation identified
for the third hypothesis. The generalizability of these findings is limited by a disproportionate number of female participants and a lack of ethnic and age diversity. Future research should replicate this study with a more diverse pool of participants. These findings suggest that instructors design interventions to target myths in the psychology courses they teach.
Keywords: misconception, introductory psychology, myth endorsement
Brianna K. Dwyer, John H. Stella, and Nicole Fernandes
Palm Beach State College
Previous research has shown that the dispositional trait of intellectual humility (IH) predicts increased tolerance to opposing perspectives and beliefs. In the current study, we reasoned that the relationship might also work in the reverse direction, i.e., that critiquing one’s position on a contentious issue might enhance IH. To evaluate this hypothesis, we prompted participants to declare their position on a potentially divisive social issue (specifically, whether to allocate scarce medical resources to nonvaccinated COVID-19 patients) and then randomly assigned them to either contradict their position, justify their position, or engage in an unrelated writing exercise. Contrary to our hypothesis, we found that participants who justified their belief reported higher levels of IH than participants who contradicted it. In light of this unexpected and somewhat counterintuitive result, we argue that the
intellectually humble mindset is fortified under conditions of minimal self-threat as opposed to threatening forms of self-examination.
Keywords: intellectual humility, self-justification, self-contradiction, self-threat
Andra K. MacDonald
Increasing mental illness among college students continues to be a critical issue. College life is often a time of great transition, contributing to and exacerbating students’ rising stress, anxiety, and other mental health struggles. Poor sleep habits may develop during college, and poor sleep quality can amplify stress. To explore how institutions might help students struggling with stress, we conducted this study to examine whether a sleep-focused workshop would reduce stress levels in students at a Pacific Northwest community college. We generated an online pre- and post-workshop survey consisting of the Beck Anxiety Inventory, the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS), and the Sleep Quality Scale, which was distributed to participants before and after a sleep workshop presented by the college’s psychology department. It was hypothesized that (1) poor sleep quality correlates to higher student stress levels, and (2) that the sleep workshop intervention would reduce stress levels. Sleep quality and stress were found to be moderately negatively correlated be-fore the workshop, r(57) = -.482, p < .001, and after the workshop, r(40)= -.500, p < .001. Additionally, there was a statistically significant decrease in stress after the workshop (M = 26.50, SD = 7.91) compared to before the workshop (M = 28.77, SD = 7.41), t(56) = 29.33, p < .001. These results provide more insight into the utility of sleep workshops for students and whether they can help students
manage stress and im-prove their sleep quality, potentially improving student mental health by
lowering stress and improving quality of life and education overall.
Keywords: sleep quality, sleep workshop, perceived stress, college students, community college
Nicholas T. Nguyen
Irvine Valley College
The present study examined the relationship between frequency of gym attendance, workout length, happiness, and perceptions of self-esteem, appearance, and the benefits of exercise. A total of 85 participants (48 females, 37 males) completed eight self-report measures, including the Rosenberg SelfEsteem Scale (Rosenberg, 1989), the Subjective Happiness Scale (Lyubomirsky & Lepper, 1999), the Appearance Anxiety Inventory (Veale et al., 2013), the Body Dysmorphic Disorder Questionnaire (Phillips, 2005), the Muscle Dysmorphic Disorder Inventory (Zeeck et al., 2018), the Exercise Benefits/Barriers scale (Sechrist et al., 1987), and two additional measures reporting weekly gym attendance and duration. Results showed that the frequency of weekly gym attendance and time spent in the gym had no relationship to Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD), Muscle Dysmorphia (MD), and appearance anxiety. Time spent in the gym had no relationship to BDD, MD, and appearance anxiety. However, both frequency of gym attendance and workout duration had a strong positive relationship to beneficial views of exercise and self-esteem. Lastly, happiness was found to have no relationship with the frequency of gym attendance but had a positive relationship with the amount of time spent at the gym. Overall, it was concluded that gym attendance in general helps to improve certain aspects of mental health, perhaps through creating a more positive self-perception and increased subjective happiness.
Keywords: mental health, self-esteem, appearance anxiety, gym, exercise
Tristan G. Martin
Researchers suggest that college students experience especially elevated levels of stress and notoriously poor-quality sleep. To address this, many schools provide wellness workshops designed to increase awareness and educate students on topics such as healthy sleep habits, stress management tips, and ways to avoid burnout. While the aim of these workshops is to improve students’ well-being, are they successful, and are students experiencing a measurable benefit from attending? This study assesses whether a sleep-focused wellness workshop improved students’ sleep quality and reduced their perceived stress levels. To evaluate the effectiveness of these methods, we hosted a sleep-focused wellness workshop open to all registered students and measured pre- and post-workshop perceived stress, anxiety, and sleep quality. The online pre- and post-surveys contained forty-six questions, consisting of
demographics, the Perceived Stress Scale, modified versions of Beck’s Anxiety Inventory, and the Sleep Quality Scale. We hypothesized that students who learn about better sleep habits by attending the sleepfocused wellness workshop would experience a reduction in their perceived stress and anxiety along with better overall sleep quality two weeks after participating. We hoped that the methods being taught were effective and that students effectively incorporated what they learned into their daily lives. This study found that attending a wellness workshop reduced students’ levels of perceived stress and anxiety but had no effect on sleep quality. These findings provide confirmation that student support initiatives are an effective way of helping students manage stress and anxiety in college, even when the intervention is limited to a one-hour virtual wellness workshop. Future research should assess if offering more robust interventions yields a greater positive effect on students’ well-being.
Keywords: sleep, sleep quality, perceived stress, wellness.
Leo Thom Kawile, Keli Fisher, and Mia Noergaard
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has lasted nearly three years, costing millions of lives worldwide. However, increased availability of COVID-19 vaccines has provided an opportunity to increase survival rates. Willingness to receive a COVID-19 vaccine has seen fluctuations in the United States. Key pivotal shifts have been due to increasing accessibility of COVID-19 vaccines and public knowledge of how COVID-19 vaccines work, largely influenced by both the spread of information and misinformation. This study examined patterns between COVID-19 vaccine knowledge and willingness to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in southern California residents over 18. Responding to an online survey, participants (n = 77) reported demographic information (including vaccine status), rated their willingness to receive the vaccine based on social pressures and perceived safety. Participants also answered questions about their individual and perceived vaccine knowledge. Data were analyzed using Pearson’s r. In support of the hypotheses, participants with higher levels of vaccine knowledge and greater perceived threat of COVID-19 were more willing to receive a vaccine. However, perception of vaccine knowledge was not significantly correlated with vaccine willingness or actual vaccine knowledge. Our findings add further understanding of factors that influence willingness to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The results can inform researchers, policy makers, and the general public, furthering progress toward sufficiently immunizing the American population against COVID-19.
Keywords: community college, COVID-19, vaccine knowledge, vaccine willingness, perceived vaccine knowledge
Saina Salamati, Valerie H. Nguyen, Noor Dalati, Ryan Cabagnot, Harin Lee, and Ruth Castillo
Irvine Valley College
Research suggests that the presence of peer mentors in Introductory Psychology classes can improve student performance by raising course completion rates, promoting achievement of student learning outcomes (SLOs), and elevating overall grades (Asgari & Carter, 2016). Accordingly, Psi Beta student researchers brought honors psychology students into Introductory Psychology classrooms to serve as peer mentors. These mentors delivered three online lessons through Zoom, which covered scientific reasoning, biopsychology, and antidepressant therapy. The present study evaluated the effectiveness of these peer-presented lessons through a 64-item post-presentation assessment pertaining to Introductory Psychology. A total of
73 undergraduate psychology students from Irvine Valley College completed the assessment, with a control group of 64 participants and a treatment group of 9 students who participated in the supplemental Zoom lessons for extra credit. It was hypothesized that students who completed the supplemental lessons would score higher on the assessment than students who did not complete the supplemental lessons. A subset of hypotheses was posed that the treatment group would score higher on three individual SLO’s compared to the control group. These SLO outcomes encompassed the following abilities: First, recall of various fundamental concepts presented in Introductory Psychology, second, the application of critical thinking to differentiate between psychological misconceptions and truth, and third, the ability to recognize different research designs, and formulate conclusions based on data. Results indicated no significant differences between the groups on the overall assessment nor the individual student learning outcomes. Limitations include group sizes, potential bias in the treatment group, and reduced impact of online learning compared to in-person instruction. Future research should compare the relative effectiveness of live in-person lesson delivery, live Zoom sessions, on-demand pre-recorded lectures. Results from this study can be used to further enhance psychology instruction and ensure that students comprehend course content while simultaneously providing growth opportunities for peer mentors.
Keywords: Peer-mentoring, community college, introductory psychology
Hartrisha Dhindsa and Jerry Rudmann
Irvine Valley College
Our department has developed a unique way to support APA’s Introductory Psychology Initiative (IPI) (Rudmann et al., 2022). Advanced students, all Psi Beta honor students, train and deliver supplemental instruction to introductory psychology students. Supplemental instruction includes lessons covering evidence-based study skills and applications of basic scientific concepts to topics of interest to students. The scientific concepts align with material presented in most introductory psychology courses (Becker-Blease et al., 2021; Stevens et al., 2016). Several forms of instructional delivery are used: In class presentations, live presentations via Zoom, or on-demand interactive web presentations using the PlayPosit platform. A comprehensive assessment plan gauges the supplemental instruction’s impact on student outcomes: Course SLOs, a pre- and post-presentation assessment battery, and longitudinal tracking of the academic progress of the introductory psychology students. In addition, our Psi Beta student presenters benefit from participating in a combined service and research project. Preliminary results indicate improved learning, but more comprehensive evaluation research is planned to overcome limitations of the current study.
Keywords: supplemental instruction, introductory psychology, peer-teachers