In Journal Club, students and professors talk together about exciting new psychology research. By reading and discussing a short, current article, students learn necessary skills about understanding and interpreting psychological research.


Thursday, Feburary 8th, 4:30-5:30pm, Centenary Square 210
Discussion led by Dr. Jessica Alexander (PSY323 Cognitive Neuroscience)

Trait‑Related Neural Basis of Attentional Bias to Emotions: A tDCS Study

Angela Marotta, Miriam Braga, & Mirta Fiorio

Negative emotional stimuli can strongly bias attention, particularly in individuals with high levels of dispositional negative affect (NA). The current study investigated whether the prefrontal cortex (PFC), a brain region involved in the top-down regulation of emotional processing, plays a different role in controlling attention to emotions, depending on the individual NA. Sham and anodal transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) was delivered over the right or left PFC while assessing attentional bias (AB) to emotions (happy, angry, sad faces) in individuals with higher and lower trait NA. When tDCS was inactive (sham), individuals with higher trait NA showed AB toward angry and away from sad faces, while individuals with lower trait NA presented with no AB. Right anodal-tDCS abolished the AB toward angry faces and induced an AB toward sad faces in individuals with higher trait NA, while no effect was found in individuals with lower trait NA. Left anodal-tDCS abolished any AB in individuals with higher trait NA and induced an AB away from happy faces in individuals with lower trait NA. These findings confirm a critical role of trait NA in AB to emotions and demonstrate a different involvement of PFC in emotional processing based on dispositional affect.


Monday, March 11th, 4:30-5:30pm, Centenary Square 210
Discussion led by Dr. Amy Hammond (PSY342 Dating & Mating)

Sex Differences in Misperceptions of Sexual Interest Can Be Explained by Sociosexual Orientation and Men Projecting Their Own Interest Onto Women

Anthony J. Lee, Morgan J. Sidari, Sean C. Murphy, James M. Sherlock, & Brendan P. Zietsch

Sex differences in misperceptions of sexual interest have been well documented; however, it is unclear whether this cognitive bias could be explained by other factors. In the current study, 1,226 participants (586 men, 640 women) participated in a speed-dating task in which they rated their sexual interest in each other as well as the sexual interest they perceived from their partners. Consistent with previous findings, results showed that men tended to overperceive sexual interest from their partners, whereas women tended to underperceive sexual interest. However, this sex difference became negligible when we considered potential mediators, such as the raters’ sociosexual orientation and raters’ tendency to project their own levels of sexual interest onto their partners. These findings challenge the popular notion that sex differences in misperceptions of sexual interest have evolved as a specialized adaptation to different selection pressures in men and women.


Wednesday, April 17, 4:30-5:30pm, Centenary Square 210
(cancelled for April 10 due to weather)
Discussion led by Dr. Amy Hammond (PSY368 Human Sexuality)

People with Intellectual Disabilities' Sexuality from Three Different Perspectives: Parents, Professionals, and Themselves

María Dolores Gil-Llario, Olga Fernández-García, Raquel Flores-Buils, Tania B. Huedo-Medina, Vicente Morell-Mengual, & Rafael Ballester-Arnal

Background: A positive conception of sexuality among people with intellectual disabilities is crucial and relies on several social and interpersonal contexts. The goal of this study is to analyse the interaction and impact of three different contextual groups: individuals with intellectual disabilities, their parents, and professionals working with them.
Methods: Survey data were collected from 330 people with intellectual disabilities attending occupational centres in eastern Spain, 330 parents, and 100 professionals.
Results: Correlation and variance analyses of dyad-level data show significant differences among the three groups in all variables. Professionals perceived people with intellectual disabilities to have higher knowledge of socio-sexual norms than people with intellectual disabilities actually appear to be, but they are also more concerned about aspects related to this area of people with intellectual disabilities. Compared to people with intellectual disabilities and professionals, parents perceived people with intellectual disabilities to have lower sexual knowledge.
Conclusions: Our study demonstrates inconsistent perceived knowledge of people with intellectual disabilities' socio-sexual norms and sexual knowledge among the three groups, leading to disparate levels of concern regarding people with intellectual disabilities sexuality. Thus, the need to collect information from different perspectives for more accurate reporting and the critical need for sex education programs that involve the target population, but also parents and professionals who frequently interact with people with intellectual disabilities are highlighted.


If you have questions, please contact Dr. Amy Hammond in the Psychology Department.

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