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.


Fall Semester 2018

Wednesday, September 19, 2018, 4:30-5:30 pm, Centenary Square 210
Discussion led by Dr. Peter Zunick (PSY355 Prejudice and Stereotyping)

Changing Norms Following the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election: The Trump Effect on Prejudice
By Christian S. Crandall, Jason M. Miller, and Mark H. White II

The 2016 presidential election was characterized by the remarkable expression of prejudice toward a range of groups. In two closely related studies (N = 388; 196 supporting Trump, 192 Clinton), we measured (1) perceptions of social norms toward prejudice or (2) people’s own levels of prejudice toward 19 social groups, shortly before and after the election. Some groups were targeted by the Trump campaign (e.g., Muslims, immigrants) and some were not (e.g., atheists, alcoholics). Participants saw an increase in the acceptability of prejudice toward groups Trump targeted but little shift in untargeted groups. By contrast, participants reported a personal drop in Trump-targeted prejudice, probably due changing comparison standards, with no change in prejudice toward untargeted groups. The 2016 election seems to have ushered in a normative climate that favored expression of several prejudices; this shift may have played a role in the substantial increase in bias-related incidents that follow closely upon the election.

Monday, October 22, 2018, 4:30-5:30pm, Centenary Square 210
Discussion lead by Dr. Jessica Alexander (PSY317 Sensation and Perception)

A Social Bouba/Kiki effect: A Bias for People whose Names Match their Faces
By David N. Barton & Jamin Halberstadt

The “bouba/kiki” effect” is the robust tendency to associate rounded objects (vs. angular objects) with names that require rounding of the mouth to pronounce, and may reflect synesthesia-like mapping across perceptual modalities. Here we show for the first time a “social” bouba/kiki effect, such that experimental participants associate round names (“Bob,” “Lou”) with round-faced (vs. angular-faced) individuals. Moreover, consistent with a bias for expectancy-consistent information, we find that participants like targets with “matching” names, both when name-face fit is measured and when it is experimentally manipulated. Finally, we show that such bias could have important practical consequences: An analysis of voting data reveals that Senatorial candidates earn 10% more votes when their names fit their faces very well, versus very poorly. These and similar cross-modal congruencies suggest that social judgment involves not only amodal application of stored information (e.g., stereotypes) to new stimuli, but also integration of perceptual and bodily input.

Thursday, November 15, 2018, 4:30-5:30pm, Centenary Square 210
Discussion lead by Dr. Adam Blancher (PSY326 Abnormal Psychology)

Association of Maternal Use of Folic Acid and Multivitamin Supplements in the Periods Before and During Pregnancy With the Risk of Autism Spectrum Disorder in Offspring
By Stephen Z. Levine, Arad Kodesh, Alexander Viktorin, Lauren Smith,  Rudolf Uher, Abraham Reichenberg, & Sven Sandin

The association of maternal use of folic acid and multivitamin supplements before and during pregnancy with the risk of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in offspring is unclear. This study will examine the associations between the use of maternal folic acid and multivitamin supplements before and during pregnancy and the risk of ASD in offspring. Using a case-control cohort study, 45 300 Israeli children born between January 1, 2003, and December 31, 2007, were followed up from birth to January 26, 2015, for the risk of ASD. The cases were all children diagnosed with ASD and the controls were a random sample of 33%of all live-born children. Maternal vitamin supplements were classified for folic acid (vitamin B9), multivitamin supplements (Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical A11 codes vitamins A, B, C, and D), and any combination thereof exposed in the intervals before and during pregnancy. Of the 45 300 children in the study, 572 (1.3%) received a diagnosis of ASD. Maternal exposure to folic acid and/or multivitamin supplements before pregnancy was statistically significantly associated with a lower likelihood of ASD in the offspring compared with no exposure before pregnancy (RR, 0.39; 95%CI, 0.30-0.50; P < .001). Maternal exposure to folic acid and multivitamin supplements before and during pregnancy is associated with a reduced risk of ASD in the offspring compared with the offspring of mothers without such exposure.


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