You are here

Fall 2016 Small Research Grants Awarded

The Fall 2016 small research grant recipients are Bettina Casad, Brittany Christian, Corey Cook, Nilanjana Dasgupta, Katherine Goldey, William Jimenez Leal, Janelle Jones, Victor Karandashev, Frank Martela, Randy McCarthy, Adam Pazda, Jason Rose, and Julia Vogt. Each recipient’s project title and abstract, as well as their affiliations, may be found below. The Spring 2017 small research grant cycle will open, and applications will be accepted, beginning September 15.


Bettina Casad, University of Missouri-St. Louis
Social Media as Structural Racism: Effects on Immune and Endocrine Activity

We examine effects of racism via social media on Black adolescents’ immune and endocrine reactivity (interleukin-6 [IL-6], dehydroepiandrosterone [DHEA], and cortisol). We predict that exposure to negative media will trigger a stress response seen in studies of chronic stress such that IL-6 and cortisol will increase from baseline, but DHEA will decrease, and this reactivity will produce impaired attention and working memory. Chronic immune and endocrine activity is associated with health risks and system dysregulation.

Brittany Christian, Seattle Pacific University
The Effect of Perspective on Judgments of Intentionality and Responsibility for Same-race and Other-race Targets

Without direct access to the minds of other individuals, we must infer the mental states and intentions of those around us. The extent to which we conclude, then, that a person acted intentionally and is thus responsible for the outcome of a situation can have profound consequences. The proposed experiments will investigate how perspective (visual and written) influences perceptions of intentionality and responsibility for same-race and other-race targets.

Corey Cook, University of Washington Tacoma
Existential Threat and Climate Change

Terror management theory proposes that awareness of death gives rise to existential terror that is assuaged by embracing worldviews that provide a sense of participation in a meaningful universe. We propose that pervasive denial of evidence of global climate change stems, in part, from the existential threat posed by uncontrollable global warming. We will test the effects of mortality salience on denial of evidence of global warming, framed either positively or as a dire warning.

Nilanjana Dasgupta, University of Massachusetts
Liberty or Security? Americans’ reactions to criticism about U.S. national security policies when under threat

Openness to dissent and criticism is important for democracy. Our research investigates circumstances that make Americans open to, versus defensive about, criticism directed at their nation by testing how (1) the critic’s social identity and (2) presence or absence of national threat influences reactions to group-directed criticism. Because critical opinions can elicit defensiveness, the broader goal of this work is to uncover how to open people’s mind to different opinions even if they initially disagree.

Katherine Goldey, St. Edward’s University
The Mental Winner Effect: Effects of Imagined Victory and Defeat on Testosterone

The “winner effect” is a phenomenon in which winning a competition increases testosterone relative to losing, and this testosterone surge in winners facilitates future victories. The current study tests whether imagining oneself winning or losing can change testosterone and thus simulate the winner effect. Further, we test whether effects differ when imagining a high-investment competition (i.e., an activity of personal importance such as athletics or music) compared to a low-investment competition (i.e., entering a raffle).

William Jimenez Leal, Universidad de los Andes
Does maximizing good make people look bad? Reputational concerns in effective donations

People often do not make cost-effective charitable decisions, even when they are given clear information about the effectiveness of charities. While previous studies have explained this result based on individual factors, we propose that this explanation is incomplete. In this project we examine whether people’s tendency to allocate donations ineffectively can be explained by reputational concerns. These studies may have important implications for our understanding of the social considerations that enter into consequentialist decisions.

Janelle Jones, Queen Mary, University of London
Can “We” energize “Me”? Investigating whether energization explains how multiple social groups promote resilient responses to challenges

New research applying social identity theory to health and well-being suggests that just thinking about multiple social groups can promote resilient responses (e.g., persistence, cardiovascular recovery) to challenges. Integrating these findings with existing work on social resources and facilitation, we test whether a novel motivational resource, energization (i.e., psychological tension and/or energetic arousal, physiological arousal assessed by blood pressure and heart rate, and/or neuroendocrine arousal indicated by cortisol and alpha-amylase) mediates this effect.

Victor Karandashev, Aquinas College
Quadrangular Love Scale: Psychometric Investigation

Quadrangular Love Theory (QLT) proposes four main dimensions: compassion, affection, closeness, and commitment. Quadrangular Love Scale (QLS) was developed in two small sample studies in order to better understand which love feelings people experience within romantic relationships. Reliability and validity was confirmed for all dimensions of the QLS. The aim of the proposed project is to administer QLS with a larger sample for the purpose of comprehensive psychometric analysis with a representative sample of participants

Frank Martela, University of Helsinki
Working for personal gains and antisocial outcomes: The effect on motivation and well-being

Research has consistently shown that humans are generally motivated to pursue prosocial goals, and prosocial behavior increases well-being. However, much less research has examined the negative effect on motivation and well-being of advancing antisocial outcomes. This study offers a new paradigm that allows one to test on the street how willing participants are to pursue personal monetary gains when these gains also have antisocial outcomes (money retracted from a charity).

Randy McCarthy, Northern Illinois University
Using Cognitive Priming to Examine Spontaneously-Formed Hostile Attributions

The proposed study will examine the effects of cognitive priming on hostile attributions and aggressive behavior. Participants will be assigned to one of three conditions: A “hostile” or “kindness” priming condition, or neutral condition. Participants will then complete a task from which hostile attributions can be inferred and will have an opportunity to aggress against another individual. This study will examine the reliability of cognitive priming effects and test whether cognitive priming can reduce aggression.

Adam Pazda, University of South Carolina Aiken
Investigating the degree to which clothing color increases sexual harassment and victim blaming

Recent research has shown that clothing color can influence social perceptions. For example, men interpret red clothing on a woman as a signal of sexual interest and availability, regardless of the woman's actual sexual intentions. The present research investigates whether clothing color can influence perceptions of culpability for victims and perpetrators of sexual harassment. We also examine the degree to which men report the likelihood of sexually harassing women in red, relative to other colors.

Jason Rose, University of Toledo
“To Hope was to Expect”: Moderators and Consequences of Wishful Thinking in the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election

We will examine wishful thinking—believing desired outcomes are likely—in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. We will assess whether wishful thinking: 1) can be debiased via perspective taking, 2) emerges more for affective or cognitive forecasts, and 3) has consequences. Voters will complete an online pre-election survey about their political preferences and outcome expectations, and post-election survey on emotional reactions, counterfactual thinking, and voting behavior. Results will advance scientific knowledge and have intervention applications.

Julia Vogt, University of Reading, UK
A New Look at Good Samaritans: Investigating the Impact of Prosocial Mind-Set and Traits on Attention Allocation to People in Need

Noticing other people in need is a prerequisite for helping. According to Darley and Batson’s seminal ‘Good Samaritan’ study prosocial mind-sets or traits do not facilitate attention to emergencies. The present study aims to replicate this study using a more suitable attention measure and sample size. To this end, I will investigate the impact of prosocial traits and of activating a prosocial mind-set on automatic attention towards images of emergencies in a spatial cueing paradigm.


Congratulations to all of the Fall 2016 small research grant recipients!