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2005 Psychology Abstracts

2005 Research Fair Archive - Psychology Abstracts

The Impact of Sleep Deprivation on the Post Adolescent Brain
by Nicki Blair  (Faculty Sponsor:  Lesa Ellis)

It is suspected that even slight amounts of sleep deprivation can impact brain functions. To test this hypothesis the Attention Network Test (ANT) was used to test the alertness of executive functioning in the brain of participants. Each participant was tested once after a night of sleep deprivation and once after a night of full rest. The two scores were then compared to determine the difference in executive functioning between a sleep deprived state and a rested state. (Results pending.)

The Relationship Between Risk Taking and Adolescent Pubertal Status
by Laura Richey  (Faculty Sponsor:  Lesa Ellis)

While there are a number of social theories for increased risk-taking in adolescence, certain biological theories suggest an evolutionary component for adolescent risk-taking. It has been suggested that biological brain changes associated with puberty may play a role in such increases (Spear, 2000), as well as decreases in fear levels. The current study examines whether adolescent pubertal status is related to their levels of temperamental surgency, a construct encompassing individual differences in high intensity pleasure, fear, and shyness. Ninety middle school students in the Western United States (38 males and 52 females) ranging from age 11.5  14.5 (mean = 13.1) completed self-report measures of pubertal status and surgency. Results indicate that adolescent levels of surgency increase as pubertal status increases. Age, however, was not significantly associated with surgency levels. These results suggest that biology (specifically puberty) may be a significant factor in adolescent behavior. Future research should seek to employ improved measures of adolescent pubertal status as well as risk-taking behavior.

Gender Differences and Single-Gender Treatment
by Chris Brinkerhoff  (Faculty Sponsor:  Colleen Sandor)

Research has revealed a gender difference between male and female substance abusers. Societal pressures and biological make-up may account for many of these gender differences. Currently, most treatment models cater to men, thus making women less likely to recover from an addiction. Single-gender treatment groups that acclimatize for gender specific issues have been offered as a possible solution for improving female substance abuse recovery.

Gender Differences in the Development of Aggression During Puberty
by Jennifer Morrison  (Faculty Sponsor:  Lesa Ellis)

During adolescence a transition toward independence may involve an increase in aggressive behaviors, especially as the impact of parents decreases and the role of peers increases. The current study examined the relationship between pubertal status and levels of aggression in a sample of 90 middle school students in the Western United States. The adolescents (mean age = 13.1) completed self-report measures of pubertal status and temperament. Results indicate that levels of aggression in females increased significantly across puberty, but only in relational aggression. The levels of aggression in males remained more consistent across puberty. Overall, males had higher levels of aggression than females. These results suggest that puberty has a greater impact on female aggression than male aggression. Future research should focus on relational aggression and its development during female adolescence.

Exploring the Reality of ADD/ADHD
by Meghan Hamilton  (Faculty Sponsor:  Lesa Ellis)

This research synthesizes current findings on biological, genetic, social, and behavioral aspects of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder to promote a greater awareness of this often misunderstood disorder. Through the analysis of current research, Hamilton offers suggestions for future research which may lead to a greater understanding of the neural mechanisms involved with the disorder and offer insight into subsequent treatment approaches.