Researchers from Across Louisiana Present Their Work

Regional groups of the American Psychological Association––the Southwestern and the Southeastern Psychological Associations–– held their conferences in March and April.

Psychological scientists, psychologists, and student researchers from across Louisiana presented their work with a host of interesting research projects, some completed and some in
progress. We review the topics and presenters for this issue.

Southwestern Psychological Association

Lake Charles Research Consortium

The Lake Charles research consortium includes scientists from Lake Charles, McNeese,
University of Louisiana Monroe (ULM), and others. For this conference, those in the group included Lawrence S. Dilks, PhD, Clinical Neuropsychologist from Rehabilitation  Neuro-psychology, Kimberly S. Hutchinson, PhD, also from Rehabilitation Neuro-psychology, Charles Short, B.A., also from Rehabilitation Neuropsychology.

Also in the group are Burton J. Ashworth, PhD, from University of Louisiana at Monroe, Larry Wayne Mize, graduate student, Lacy Davis Hitt and Reshmi M. Maharjan Dena Matzenbacher, Department Head at McNeese State University, Kevin L. Yaudes, Assistant Professor at McNeese State University, Logan Guillory, Logan Guillory, Kyle Trenton Godeaux Ashlyn Haley Scheinost, and Mika Danielle Eidson, all from McNeese, are part of this group.

And also Billie Clare Myers, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches Louisiana, is included.

The members presented a SWPA Symposium, “How to Gain Admission to a Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology,” was presented by Dr. Burton Ashworth, Dr. Kimberly Hutchinson; Dr.  Lawrence Dilks; Dr. Billie Myers; and Logan Guillory. They covered, “Upcoming changes in internship and licensing requirements imposed by APA and APPIC will make entry into an approved doctoral program much more complicated and difficult. With so many applicants,  your training, practicum experiences, research, and application must be carefully crafted. “

A Symposium, “10 Things Every Practicum Student Needs to Know About Privacy and HIPPA, was presented by Billie Myers, Burton Ashworth, Kimberly Hutchinson, Lawrence Dilks and Logan Guillory.

Lawrence S. Dilks also presented a Symposium: “How to Start a Private Practice with Your Master’s Degree.” Presenters included Burton Ashworth, Kimberly Hutchinson, Billie Myers, and Logan Guillory.

The topic covered was, “APA’s endorsement of licensing masters level providers will change the clinical environment in ways we cannot yet appreciate. In the next decade hundreds of individuals will acquire their masters, complete the supervision period, and pass the EPPP.  These professionals will then endeavor to open private practices and offer psychological  services to the general public. In a number of places, especially Texas, the regulations are already in place.”

In poster presentations, “Gottschalk-Gleser Content Analysis Scales of Prominent Leaders in History,” was authored by  Burton J. Ashworth, Larry Wayne Mize, Kimberly S.  Hutchinson,and Lawrence S. Dilks.

According to the abstract, researchers chose to investigate both the manifest and latent content of the words spoken by a few of the world’s historically prominent people. Mother Theresa’s  content analysis suggested she experienced moderately high guilt anxiety. Jesus of Nazareth’s beatitudes suggest this man had moderately elevated levels (2 standard deviations above  norm) of achievement motivation and very high levels of hope (above 3 SDs), having the highest  score among the six at 4.014 followed by Ronald Reagan with a 3.304 level and the lowest hope score by Adolph Hitler at 0.116. Martin Luther King presented with significantly elevated levels of death anxiety, which proved to be appropriate, and which was comparable to Jesus’ death anxiety. The data suggest both men knew they were candidates for assassination.

“Salivary Cortisol Levels During I-Leap Testing,” was presented and authored by Burton J.  Ashworth, Larry Wayne Mize, Lacy Davis Hitt, Lawrence S. Dilks, Kimberly S. Hutchinson, and  Charles Short.

“Associating Brodmann Areas and Neuropsychological Tests to Facilitate Understanding of Deficits,” was authored by Lawrence S. Dilks, Kimberly S. Hutchinson, Burton J. Ashworth, Dena Matzenbacher, Kevin L. Yaudes, Logan Guillory, anCharles Short.

For “Significance of Perceived Parental Warmth in Early Childhood Educational Development,”  authors include Burton J. Ashworth and Eshmi M. Maharjan, also Larry Wayne Mize, Lawrence S. Dilks, Kimberly S. Hutchinson, Logan Guillory, Kyle Trenton Godeaux, Ashlyn Haley Scheinost, and Mika Danielle Eidson. The results suggest that the adolescents who grow up in a  demanding but unresponsive type of family adopt the visual strategy of learning. These people learn best through description and prefer use of figures, pictures, and symbols such as graphs, flow charts or models.

For “Identifying the Demographic Factors of Elderly Adults Receiving Social Security Disability”  and Part 1 & 2, authors are Logan Guillory from McNeese State University, Lawrence S. Dilks, Kimberly S. Hutchinson, Billie Clare Myers, Burton J. Ashworth, Reshmi M. Maharjan n, Ashlyn Haley Scheinost, Kyle Trenton Godeaux, Mika Danielle Eidson, and Larry Wayne Mize. The  results showed multiple variables without any one factor being a specific precursor that  someone would be diagnosed with a disorder resulting in disability.

In “Identifying Seizures and Hypertension as Predictors for Bipolar I Disorder,” authors are Logan Guillory, Lawrence S. Dilks, Kimberly S. Hutchinson, Billie Clare Myers, Burton J. Ashworth, Reshmi M. Maharjan, Kyle Trenton Godeaux, Mika Danielle Eidson, Ashlyn Haley Scheinost,   Larry Wayne Mize.

“Emotional Regulation: Self Esteem Impact on Anger in College Age Students,” is by Burton J.  Ashworth, Reshmi M. Maharjan, Larry Wayne Mize, Kimberly S. Hutchinson, Lawrence S. Dilks, Logan Guillory, Kyle Trenton Godeaux, Ashlyn Haley Scheinost, and Mika Danielle Eidson. The  results of this study suggests that higher levels of selfesteem significantly decrease manifestation of anger. 

“Associating Brodmann Areas and Neuropsychological Tests to Facilitate Understanding of Deficits,” was presented by Lawrence S. Dilks, Kimberly S. Hutchinson, Burton J. Ashworth, Dena Matzenbacher, Kevin L. Yaudes, Logan Guillory, and Charles Short. According to the abstract, “The final product is a chart depicting the interrelationship of each Brodmann area, listing of its  neurological functions, related functional deficits and neuropsychological tests that best assess these functions. Five Broadman areas do not correlate with known human neuroanatomy and  therefore were not addressed.”

“Traumatic Brain Injury: Analyzing the Different Degrees of Impairment after Injury,” was  presented. Authors are Logan Guillory, Lawrence S. Dilks, Kimberly S. Hutchinson, Billie Clare Myers, Burton J. Ashworth, Ashlyn Haley Scheinost, Kyle Trenton Godeaux, Mika Danielle Eidson,  Reshmi M. Maharjan and Larry Wayne Mize. This experiment seeks to look at the varying degrees of brain functioning among those who have suffered a TBI.”

The same authors presented, “The Relationship between Traumatic Brain Injuries and Onset of PTSD.” This experiment seeks to look at the different rates of brain functioning among those who have suffered a TBI as well as the likelihood of developing PTSD. Researcher seed to help  explain who is more likely to make a full recovery.

“A Case Presentation of Dandy-Walker Syndrome,” was presented and authored by Kimberly S.  Hutchinson, Lawrence S. Dilks, Billie Clare Myers, Burton J. Ashworth, Logan Guillory, Larry Wayne Mize, Reshmi M. Maharjan, Kyle Trenton Godeaux, Ashlyn Haley Scheinost and Mika  Danielle Eidson.

Louisiana Tech

Matthew Young from Louisiana Tech University and faculty sponsor Tilman Sheets presented, “Examining Expressive and Instrumental Traits as Predictors  of Emotional Empathy,” as part of the SWPA Undergraduate Student Competition.

From the abstract, “Over the past three decades, empathy has been decreasing in young adults.  Along with generational changes to empathy, society’s understanding of gender has been changing.” Conclusions included, “Expressivity as a predictor indicates that the empathy  difference may be due to the influence of gender stereotypes and norms. Other important factors may be biology and empathy aversion.”

“Does Generativity Explain Conservatives’ Environmental Attitudes?” was presented by Christina  Cantu, Graduate Assistant at LaTech, along with other numerous researchers from University of Texas and University of North Texas.

McNeese State

“Students’ Perceptions of Factors That Influence Academic Success,” was presented by Linda  Loraine Brannon, Ph.D. from McNeese State University, along with Dena Matzenbacher,  Department Head at McNeese State University, and Haden Paul Cooley, also representing   McNeese State University. “Our research will provide such information about a more extensive  list of factors contributing to college success and also allow for identification of external factors  not included in previous research.”


Researchers at Southeastern Louisiana University, under the guidance and direction of Dr.  Paula J. Varnado-Sullivan, presented numerous research articles in projects at the Southwestern  Psychological Association convention. Dr. Paula J. Varnado-Sullivan leads The  Research Incubator for Psychology Students (RIPS) “The Impact of Life Events on Body Image,”  was authored by Paula J. Varnado-Sullivan, Ph.D., Kayli Alphonso Coleman, B.S., Christian Olivia Ledet, Savannah Hays, Jade Renee Horton, and Katherine A. Hernandez, Southeastern Louisiana University.

“Preliminary results indicate that females experience higher levels of body image  concern, lower body appreciation and lower self-esteem than male participants, but males  experience more concerns about muscularity. Males reported more dissatisfaction with their  exercise habits than their eating habits or weight. Females were dissatisfied with their eating,  exercise and weight.”

“Political Attitudes of Neutral Party Affiliation and Non-Voters,” was presented by authors Paula  J. Varnado-Sullivan, Ph.D., Danielle Eliser, B.A. and Kayli Alphonso Coleman, B.S.

According to  the abstract, the study was to examine the opinions and attitudes of no affiliation or non- voters. Data collection has just begun––to date, 122 participants have completed the survey.  Across all affiliations, time was indicated as the biggest impediment to voting. No  differences were found for political orientation and the Dark Triad characteristics. Results are preliminary and data collection is ongoing.”

For, “Political Attitudes of Neutral Party Affiliation and NonVoters (Part 2): The Impact of an Impending Election,” authors are Danielle Eliser, B.A., Paula J. Varnado-Sullivan, Ph.D., and Cherie Nicole Arthur, B.A.

“Is Stigmatization of Anorexia Nervosa Impacted by Degree of Weight Loss or the Visual Depiction of Weight Status?” was presented by authors Paula J. Varnado-Sullivan, Ph.D., Kayli Alphonso Coleman, B.S., Christian Olivia Ledet, Peter Brent Schneckenburger, and Garrett Voison.

“Impact of Social Support on Academic Success,” was presented by authors Danielle Eliser, B.A.,  Elise Laurent, Paula J. Varnado-Sullivan, Ph.D., and Cherie Nicole Arthur, B.A.

“Does Drug Type Impact the Stigmatization of Substance Use Disorder? was presnted by  authors Kayli Alphonso Coleman, B.S., Paula J. Varnado-Sullivan, Ph.D., and Danielle Eliser, B.A.

University of Louisiana– Lafayette

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette had several research labs presenting their findings and their projects at this year’s convention. Brooke Ozenne Breaux, PhD, Assistant Professor at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette presented, “Searching for truth: Truth decay, epistemic  beliefs, and individual differences.” Authors included Ariel Ruiz and Trey M. Delcambre.

“We found some evidence to suggest that authority but not tenacity is likely to be a factor that  college students use as evidence of truth. As for the role of individual differences, we found that responses to individual items did not differ significantly based on age, race/ethnicity, college  major, or political affiliation.”

For, “Factors that influence the production of death-related language,” authors are Brooke Ozenne Breaux, Marissa Claire Pitt, Marissa Pitt, Peyton Delaney Corwin, Tayla Patrice Weary, Brionne Wright, and Krystal Ariana Dean. “…we argue that spirituality is useful for predicting the type of language that people will produce when they are put into situations where talking about death cannot be avoided; […]”

“Is ‘fake news’ just a new name for propaganda?” was part of the Online Cognitive Psychology  Talk Session 1. Authors are Brooke Ozenne Breaux, Natalie Ann Dauphinet, and Robert B. Michael.

“We conclude that even though there is evidence of significant overlap between the two terms in the minds of speakers, the terms ‘fake news’ and “propaganda” are not typically viewed as synonymous. Adding complexity to this finding is that the way people define these terms can  differ based on their political affiliation, with liberals more likely to view the terms as distinct  and to view propaganda as less negative than fake news.”

Dr. Amy Brown’s research team also presented numerous studies. “The Theory of Planned Behavior: Predicting Bystanders’ Intention to Intervene,” was presented and authors are Haley N. Dunagin, Dylan Anthony John, Kade Theriot, and Amy Lynn Brown. “Our findings support the applicability of the TPB for predicting bystander intention to prevent SA.”

“Alcohol’s Role in the Association between Hooking up and Psychological Well-Being,” is authored by Dylan Anthony John, Gabriel Paul Hunter and Amy Lynn Brown.

Renee Fontenot, Lauren Neumeyer, Fatema Chowdhury Progga presented “Using measures of perceived social support to predict psychological distress.” Dr. Amy Brown was the faculty  sponsor. “The significant correlations found in this study were in line with previous research:  people with more support report less psychological distress.”

Dr. Hung-Chu Lin, and her team from University of Louisiana at Lafayette presented several  projects.

“Same Amount of Childhood Adversity but Different Health Symptoms: Two-Generation  Comparisons,” was presented by authors Dr. Hung-Chu Lin, Whitney Storey, Michelle Jeanis, PhD, Maddison Knott and Kathie Li.

“An emerging line of research has pointed to the continuity of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) across generations. […] The results indicated that the average ACE score of college  students did not differ from that of their caregivers. Moreover, ACES of the two generations were significantly correlated with each other.”

“How Stress Relates to Somatic Symptoms Varies by Attachment Anxiety,” is authored by Hung-Chu Lin, PhD, Madeline M. Jones, B.S., Maddison Knott, Whitney Storey, M. S., and Michelle  Jeanis, PhD.

“Stress and attachment anxiety were positively correlated with physical symptoms, […] The  results revealed the moderation role of attachment anxiety in the relation between stress and somatic symptoms. Considering the robust link between stress and somatic symptoms reliably reported in the literature, attachment security (low on attachment anxiety) appeared to act as a buffer against the negative impacts on somatic functioning.”

For the SWPA Graduate Student Competition, Madeline M. Jones, B.S. and Maddison Knott  authored, ” Specific ACEs items relate to mental and physical symptoms and attachment  insecurity.” Faculty Sponsors were Dr. Hung-Chu Lin, Ms. Whitney Storey, Dr. Michelle Jeanis. “These findings indicate that specific ACEs items relate to mental and physical outcomes  differently than others.”

“Differences in men’s perceived acceptability and non-conforming gender expression based on  depiction,” was presented by authors Madeline M. Jones, B.S and Hung-Chu Lin, PhD.

“Non-Judging Inner Experiences Buffer the Impact of Childhood Adversity on Somatic  Symptoms,” was presented and authored by Kathie Li, Hung-Chu Lin, PhD, and Margot Hasha, PhD, MSW.

“Results demonstrated that a higher level ACEs experienced during childhood was positively  associated with a higher level of somatic symptoms in emerging adulthood, and aspects of  mindfulness, specifically non-judging of inner experiences, served as a buffer for the negative impacts of somatic symptoms.”

Faculty member Dr. Manyu Li and her team presented several projects. “Impact of self-affirmation and perception of history on acceptance of privilege,” was presented and authored by Melanie Rochelle Cohen and Manyu Li. It is expected that participants in the self-affirmation condition will score the highest on the White Privilege Scale, those in the threat condition will score the lowest, and the relationship will be moderated by perception of history.

Authors Cheyane Mitchell and faculty sponsor Manyu Li presented, “The Impact of Race and  Gender on Sources of Belonging and Desire to Succeed.”

For “Social stigma towards people with Borderline Personality Disorder: An experimental  study,” authors are Karina Santiago, Assistant Professor University of Louisiana at Lafayette and Manyu Li.

“It is expected that the results of this randomized experimental study will allow us to see how  the label of BPD, paired with a description of varying severity of behaviors will affect people’s  perception of a person with BPD. “

Valanne L. MacGyvers, Ph.D. leads an active research group at Lafayette and presented  numerous papers at the convention.

MacGyvers and her team presented a SWPA Symposium, “Incorporating research projects into  a graduate course: Presenting the process and projects.” Authors and presenters were Valanne L. MacGyvers, Taylor Gage, MaKensey Sanders, Samantha R. Shurden, Madison N. Istre, Marissa Claire Pitt, Allison Liberto, anf Kristin TellezMonnery (Independent). The discussant, former  SWPA president, was Theresa Wozencraft.

Authors William Raymond Curth, Jr. and Valanne L. MacGyvers presented two projects on Harry Potter.

One was, “Harry Potter Fanship and Identity Development” was reviewed and explained.

“Fans of fictional works may incorporate aspects of those works into their identity through  identification with the characters and themes of a series. This study examines how the identities of Harry Potter fans may be associated with the series.”

For “Pilot Measure of Thematic and Fantastical Elements in the Harry Potter Series,” authors  noted, “After running the results through five levels of factor analysis, the researchers found  two distinct factors that represent Thematic and Fantastical elements.”

Authors Taylor Gage and Valanne L. MacGyvers, presented two studies on Active shooter  training. The first was, “Active Shooter Trainings: An Effectiveness Study.” According to the  abstract, this study is ongoing. “This study examined different methods of training to find the effectiveness of different trainings for college students on variables such as knowledge of  training, safety, self-efficacy, and perceived probability.”

For, “The Components of Active Shooter Training: A Content Analysis,” the researchers will “…  evaluate about 50 different ASRTP for ease of learning for children and for adults.

“Does Mental Health Trump Beauty?” was presented by authors Allison Liberto and Valanne L.  MacGyvers. The expected findings are that when participants believed the subject had a  psychopathology, they gave lower attractiveness ratings.

Authors Valanne L. MacGyvers, and Audra P. Jensen, M.S. (University of Northern Illinois) along  with Krista R. Malley and Christopher Veal of University of Louisiana at Lafayette, presented,  “Leadership and Followership: Beyond Mindset.”

According to the abstract, “It is the effective followers who actually contribute the most to  creating successful outcomes. Understanding the differences in what makes a good leader or a  good follower is an important research activity. The purpose of this research was to examine various factors of incoming college freshmen, to see which of them were associated with  leadership and followership. […] Feeling properly prepared for college, having a good work ethic  and emotional maturity are all related to both leadership and followership…”.

Authors MacGyvers, Jensen, and Veal also presented, “Mindset and parenting as predictors of  leadership and followership.”

According to the abstract, regression analyses revealed that mindset is significant in predicting  both leadership, and followership, such that the fixed mindset was associated with lower scores  on both leadership and followership. Further, maternal and paternal permissiveness significantly predicted the fixed mindset.

Valanne L. MacGyvers and David Richard Perkins, Associate Professor of Psychology, ULL,  presented, “Empathizing and systemizing as an advising tool: A pilot study.”

Authors David Richard Perkins, Mateo Chavez, and Valanne L. MacGyvers, presented, “Music  and math: The effects of key and tempo on mathematics anxiety.”

Brittany R. Milton and David Richard Perkins presented, “Evaluating the Effectiveness of an  Alcohol Education Program at UL-Lafayette.”

“Analysis of high risk groups showed that fraternity and sorority members demonstrated levels  of drinking-related behaviors at rates much higher than students not in fraternities and  sororities. […] This study offers data contributing to the larger discussion of factors influencing drinking and how to promote decreases in problematic drinking.”

Theresa Wozencraft, Ph.D., Associate Professor at University of Louisiana at Lafayette, joined  with her students and colleagues also to present research.

“Loss and Well-Being in Gulf Coast Natural Disaster Victims,” was authored and presented by  Alexandra Grantadam Nordman, Theresa A. Wozencraft and Manyu Li. Researchers explored  the relationship between levels of loss in a natural disaster and well-being, in a sample of  natural disaster victims residing in Louisiana or Texas. As predicted, peri-disaster WB scores were lower than current WB scores.


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