Journal Club

-Are you interested in learning more about current psychology research?
-Do you like to hang out with psychology majors?
-Do you want to get better at understanding psychology journal articles?

Then come join us at the Monthly Psychology Club Journal Club!

Each month, we select a short (<10 page) journal article from a recently published psychology journal, we read it and discuss it at our next Journal Club meeting.

Fall Semester 2015

First Meeting: Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015, 4:30-5:30pm, Centenary Square 210

Improving Vision Among Older Adults: Behavioral Training to Improve Sight
Denton J. DeLoss, Takeo Watanabe, and George J. Andersen

A major problem for the rapidly growing population of older adults (age 65 and over) is age-related declines in vision, which have been associated with increased risk of falls and vehicle crashes. Research suggests that this increased risk is associated with declines in contrast sensitivity and visual acuity. We examined whether a perceptual-learning task could be used to improve age-related declines in contrast sensitivity. Older and younger adults were trained over 7 days using a forced-choice orientation-discrimination task with stimuli that varied in contrast with multiple levels of additive noise. Older adults performed as well after training as did college-age younger adults prior to training. Improvements transferred to performance for an untrained stimulus orientation and were not associated with changes in retinal illuminance. Improvements in far acuity in younger adults and in near acuity in older adults were also found. These findings indicate that behavioral interventions can greatly improve visual performance for older adults.

Second Meeting: Tuesday, October 20th, 2015, 4:30-5:30pm, Centenary Square 210

Neuroanatomical Correlates of the Income-Achievement Gap
Allyson P. Mackey, Amy S. Finn, Julia A. Leonard, Drew S. Jacoby-Senghor, Martin R. West, Christopher F. O. Gabrieli, and John D. E. Gabrieli

In the United States, the difference in academic achievement between higher- and lower-income students (i.e., the income-achievement gap) is substantial and growing. In the research reported here, we investigated neuroanatomical correlates of this gap in adolescents (N = 58) in whom academic achievement was measured by statewide standardized testing. Cortical gray-matter volume was significantly greater in students from higher-income backgrounds (n = 35) than in students from lower-income backgrounds (n = 23), but cortical white-matter volume and total cortical surface area did not differ significantly between groups. Cortical thickness in all lobes of the brain was greater in students from higher-income than lower-income backgrounds. Greater cortical thickness, particularly in temporal and occipital lobes, was associated with better test performance. These results represent the first evidence that cortical thickness in higher- and lower-income students differs across broad swaths of the brain and that cortical thickness is related to scores on academic-achievement tests.

Final Meeting of term: Monday, November 9th, 2015, 4:30-5:30pm, Centenary Square 210

Subliminal Strengthening: Improving Older Individualsí Physical Function Over Time With an Implicit-Age-Stereotype Intervention
Becca R. Levy, Corey Pilver, Pil H. Chung, and Martin D. Slade

Negative age stereotypes that older individuals assimilate from their culture predict detrimental outcomes, including worse physical function. We examined, for the first time, whether positive age stereotypes, presented subliminally across multiple sessions in the community, would lead to improved outcomes. Each of 100 older individuals (age = 61Ė99 years, M = 81) was randomly assigned to an implicit-positive-age-stereotype-intervention group, an explicit-positiveage-stereotype-intervention group, a combined implicit- and explicit-positive-age-stereotype-intervention group, or a control group. Interventions occurred at four 1-week intervals. The implicit intervention strengthened positive age stereotypes, which strengthened positive self-perceptions of aging, which, in turn, improved physical function. The improvement in these outcomes continued for 3 weeks after the last intervention session. Further, negative age stereotypes and negative self-perceptions of aging were weakened. For all outcomes, the implicit interventionís impact was greater than the explicit interventionís impact. The physical-function effect of the implicit intervention surpassed a previous studyís 6-month-exercise-interventionís effect with participants of similar ages. The current studyís findings demonstrate the potential of directing implicit processes toward physical-function enhancement over time.

If you have questions, please email email in the Psychology Department.

Wondering what we've read previously? Look here.