RSCNJ Psychology Program's Distinction Project Archive

Natalie Kraft

Pranayama and Prosody: Unilateral Nostril Breathing to Enhance Recognition of Emotional Tone

The ability to detect the emotional prosody of others is important for effective communication and empathy. Prior research has shown this to be dominant in the right cerebral hemisphere. Pranayama is the Sanskrit name for the breathing techniques of yoga. Certain techniques in this category, such as Unilateral Nostril Breathing (UNB), have been shown to physiologically shift hemisphere dominance. This research study hypothesized that left-sided UNB (LUNB) would cause a shift to right-hemisphere dominance, which would increase the ability to detect and correctly identify the emotional tone of another. Participants were randomly assigned to 3 groups: a control group (deep breathing through both nostrils), LUNB, and RUNB. Techniques were practiced for ten minutes each. A test of emotional perception was administered to all groups before and after the breathing exercises. Upon initial testing, the groups did not significantly differ in terms of pre-post changes. However, after a second set of analyses were done, where the deep breathing control group was excluded and handedness was accounted for, significance was discovered. Comparing LUNB and RUNB groups did show the LUNB group to be better at detecting fear via prosody.

Erik S. Sooy

The Effect of Color on Text Memory in Relation to Learning Style

Evidence has shown that pictures, and more importantly color pictures play a large role in recall (Spence, Wong, Rusan, & Rastegar, 2006). The present research compared memory for textual information when that information was presented alone (text only), supplemented with a black and white picture, or supplemented with a color image My research found that when color images are combined with textual information was an increase in recall over the same images in black and white. The secondary goal of my research was to see if there is a relation between the subjects’ learning style (visual or verbal) and recall. I found that verbal learners had an increase in recall for the text only information and that visual learners had an increase in recall for text information supplemented with color images.

Keyanna R. Turner

Family Communication Predicts the Decisions of Adolescents to Engage in Sexual Behaviors
This study investigated whether family communication predicted adolescent decision-making about sexual behaviors and the relationship and communication between adolescents and their parentsVarious topics related to sexual behaviors were measured by surveys and questionnaires on family communication.  Male and female college students (N=148) answered questions on a survey pertaining to their perceptions of family communication when they were younger, read a scenario, and answered a questionnaire on sexual behaviors.  Results demonstrated that females significantly reported better communication with their mothers than malesMales significantly reported better communication with their fathers than femalesFemales were more likely to report that their communication with mothers would have an effect on their decision to have sex than their communication with their fathers.