Recent Research


OPAM 2014

posted Nov 20, 2014, 12:15 AM by Chris Koch

Distractibility of Noise during Post Concussion Visual Search
Christopher Koch
Abstract. Noise can differentially influence cognitive performance among concussed individuals.  Eight concussed subjects were compared to seven matched controls.  Subjects completed a search task while listening to a recording.  Subjects had faster response times for feature searches and for target present searches.  No differences were found between groups.  Concussed individuals recalled more information about the lecture.  These findings suggest that visual search may not be cognitively demanding enough to produce decrements in performance in the presence of noise.

Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies 2014

posted Nov 20, 2014, 12:09 AM by Chris Koch

Executive Function Training Increases Reading Rate, Accuracy, Fluency, and Comprehension
Joseph Sandford, Christopher Koch, & Lonnie Rae Smith
Abstract.  This study was conducted to determine if a computer-based training program focusing on a variety of cognitive skills (e.g., persistence, selective attention, response control, and processing speed), improves reading ability.  Thirty-five students (26 males) who had been referred for reading difficulties participated in the study.  Reading ability was assessed using the Gray Oral Reading Tests-Fourth Edition.  Participants were below grade level for reading rate, accuracy, fluency, and comprehension.  After several weeks of training, participants’ reading ability was reassessed.  Each participants’ reading scores improved to at or above grade level.  As a group, the results show significant improvement in reading rate, accuracy, fluency, and comprehension.  These findings indicate that attention and executive function training can have a meaningful impact on reading ability.

2014 OHSU Healthy Aging Alliance Conference

posted Sep 28, 2014, 11:32 PM by Chris Koch

Cognitive Training and Everyday Functioning Among the Elderly:  Phase 1
Christopher Koch and Elizabeth Berger

Abstract. Cognitive training has become popularized with programs like Brain Age and Lumosity.  Transferability of these programs is an important question.  In particular, does cognitive training transfer to everyday tasks (e.g., managing a schedule or taking prescribed medications)?  The current study focuses on baseline ability and is phase 1 of a larger national study examining the impact of cognitive training on everyday functioning among the elderly.  Residents from a local retirement facility participated in the study (n=34). Greater awareness was associated with fewer everyday memory errors (r=.62, p <.001).Awareness was not correlated with delayed recall performance but was moderately correlated with LTM retrieval (r=.37, p<.05).  Everyday memory scores were only correlated with LTM retrieval (r=.35, p<.05).  However, subjective health was related to both delayed recall (r=.36, p<.05) and LTM retrieval (r=.37, p<.05).  General self-efficacy and task self-efficacy were related (r=.36, p<.05).  Although memory and task self-efficacy were not associated, greater awareness and task self-efficacy were correlated (r=.62, p<.001).  Flourishing was correlated with general self-efficacy (r=.34, p<.05) and subjective health (r=.53, p<.001).  Older subjective age ratings corresponded with higher pain ratings (r=.57, p<001).  Finally, better everyday awareness was associated with fewer sleep problems (r=.42, p<.02).

Society for Computers in Psychology 2014

posted Aug 6, 2014, 1:03 PM by Chris Koch   [ updated Nov 20, 2014, 12:19 AM ]

A Student-Based Evaluation of PSPP
Christopher Koch & Elissa Shinseki
Abstract. GNU PSPP version 0.8.3 is a statistical software package developed through the Free Software Foundation.  It is designed to resemble, function like, and replace SPSS.  The syntax and data files are compatible with SPSS and PSPP opens SPSS files.  Given the non-propriety availability of PSPP, it may be a useful tool for teaching students how to conduct statistical analyses.  A class of 34 graduate students in a professional program in the Pacific Northwest used PSPP and Excel during the course of a semester and then evaluated both programs after completing a professional practicum.  Twenty-one students completed the evaluation.  Specific to PSPP, students evaluated the software regarding the ease of downloading and installing, documentation, and aspects of usability.  Ratings were generally noncommittal, however, students typically believed that the documentation was lacking.  Students were asked parallel questions about using PSPP and Excel.  Specifically, they were asked to indicate which was more difficult: knowing what analysis to do, knowing how to do the analysis with PSPP/Excel, or if they were both equally difficult.  Students were more likely to indicate that “knowing how to use PSPP” was the most difficult (X2(2) = 7.6, p < .05) but were equally likely to select “knowing how to do the analysis” and “both were equally difficult” for Excel.  Statistical self-efficacy was positively correlated with PSPP documentation and icon ratings along with applying concepts from the course in the practicum experience.  Overall, PSPP may be useful for teaching statistics but its effectiveness may be moderated by other factors. 

Changes in Verbal Memory during Youth Football

posted Aug 6, 2014, 1:00 PM by Chris Koch   [ updated Aug 6, 2014, 1:01 PM ]

Larry Jasper, Christopher Koch, Jacob Lowen, Jeffery Schloemer, & David Kays

Abstract: It appears that youth football players are as likely to suffer a concussion as high school and college athletes (Kontos, Elbin, Fazio-Sumrock, Burkhart, Swindell, Maroon, & Collins, 2013) and that the effects of the concussions may linger (Moser & Schatz, 2002).  This study was conducted to determine if youth football participants develop concussion-like symptoms over the course of a season.  The Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment Testing (ImPACT) Test (Lovell, 2011), Color and Word Stroop Test (CWST; Golden, 1978), and the Nonverbal Stroop Card Sorting Test (NSCST; Koch & Roid, 2012) were used to assess cognitive ability.  Youth football players ranging from third to eighth grade were baseline tested and then tested again at the end of the season.  None of the football players were diagnosed with a concussion during the course of the season.  Only verbal memory scores showed a significant decrease (t(17) = 2.34, p < .05, d = .55).  Parents were also asked to complete a short questionnaire during the end-of-season assessment.  The results from that questionnaire suggest that parent attitudes may be critical for testing compliance.  Therefore, implications for concussion assessment are discussed in regard to neuropsychological measures and parent education.

Poster presented at the 2014 Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association

The Relationship between Teeth Condition, Dental Care, Cognition, and Other Individual Differences

posted May 21, 2014, 12:32 AM by Chris Koch   [ updated May 21, 2014, 12:39 AM ]

Abstract. Questionnaires concerning oral hygiene, dental problems, eating behaviors, everyday memory and attention, conscientiousness, anxiety, exercise, and diet quality were administered to 100 participants.  Perceived condition of one’s teeth was related to oral problems more so than oral hygiene.  Further, condition of teeth was related to everyday attention but not memory.

Poster presented at the 26th Annual Meeting of the Association for Psychological Science (May 2014 in San Francisco, CA).

Do Descriptions of Facial Features or Personal Motivations Improve Line Ups?

posted May 21, 2014, 12:28 AM by Chris Koch   [ updated May 21, 2014, 12:39 AM ]

Abstract. This study was conducted to determine if explaining criminal behavior influences later identification.  Schooler and Engstler-Schooler’s (1990) Experiment 5 was replicated with the additional condition of describing why the criminal engaged in the behavior.  No differences were found between those who described facial features and those that described motivation. 

Poster presented at the 26th Annual Meeting of the Association for Psychological Science (May 2014 in San Francisco, CA).

Changes in Information Literacy Across the College Curriculum

posted May 21, 2014, 12:25 AM by Chris Koch   [ updated May 21, 2014, 12:36 AM ]

Abstract.  The APA Guidelines for the Undergraduate Psychology Major includes information literacy as part of Scientific Inquiry and Critical Thinking (Goal 2).  According to the Association of College and Research Libraries, information literacy consists of five outcomes or standards.  These components include: (1) determining what information is needed; (2) accessing information effectively and efficiently; (3) evaluating information and incorporating it into one’s own knowledge base; (4) using information to accomplish a specific purpose; and (5) understanding the economic, legal, and social issues related to information use.  In this study, information literacy in college students was assessed using the Standardized Assessment of Information Literacy Skills (SAILS) both cross-sectionally comparing freshmen and seniors, longitudinally comparing freshmen and seniors, and at the end of a research methods course in psychology.  Gains in information literacy were largely limited to understanding the economic, legal, and social issues related to information use (Standard 5).  Implications for improving information literacy in the psychology major are discussed.

Poster presented at the 94th Annual Meeting of the Western Psychological Association (April 2014 in Portland, OR).

Comparing Formats of Color-Word Stroop Displays

posted May 21, 2014, 12:21 AM by Chris Koch   [ updated May 21, 2014, 12:37 AM ]

AbstractAssessment measures, such as the Color and Word Stroop Test (CWST; Golden, 1978), list color-word stimuli on a single page making all items visible at one time.  However, in lab-based research, Stroop stimuli are typically presented on a monitor so that only one item is visible at a time.  This study examines whether or not the color naming times are consistent across these two formats.  Two computer-based tests were created.  The first test duplicated the CWST with five columns of 20 items appearing on the screen at the same time.  The other test included the same items in the same order but appearing one at a time on the screen.  These two versions were administered in alternating orders across participants.  The results are discussed In terms of developing a computerized Stroop test for clinical assessment.

Poster presented at the 94th Annual Meeting of the Western Psychological Association (April 2014 in Portland, OR).

The Impact of Visual Acuity and Color Vision on Stroop Tasks

posted May 21, 2014, 12:16 AM by Chris Koch   [ updated May 21, 2014, 12:37 AM ]

Abstract.  Visual ability can influence performance on cognitive tasks (e.g., LaFleur and Salthouse, 2014).  Tasks that require visual acuity, like reading, may be particularly susceptible to poor visual ability.  Color vision deficits can also impact cognitive performance (Wilkinson, 1992).  Therefore, visual ability may significantly impacts tasks that require both reading and color processing, like the Stroop task.  The impact of visual ability on two Stroop tasks was examined.  It was anticipated that visual ability would have a minimal effect on non-verbal Stroop task but a moderate to large effect on the word version of the task.  Results support these assumptions.  Consequently, it appears that the NSCST can be used regardless of the visual acuity or color vision of the examinees while the CWST should not be used with examinees having poor visual acuity or color vision deficiencies.
Poster presented at the 94th Annual Meeting of the Western Psychological Association (April 2014 in Portland, OR).

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