• 6th Annual Conference on

    Psychological Science

    April 12, 2019

    The University of Mississippi

  • The conference At a glance

    Held from 10:00 am - 5:00 pm in Peabody Hall

    Please use the links to navigate to different sections for more details.

    10:00 - 11:00 am

    Peabody 206

    A live Q&A panel with current graduate students from Psychology and Social Work on their experiences with graduate school

    11:00 am - 12:45 pm

    Come grab a few slices of FREE pizza (in Peabody 111) and visit our poster sessions


    Poster Session I: 11:00 - 11:45 am in Peabody 110


    Poster Session II: 12:00 - 12:45 pm in Peabody 110


    Meet presenters and learn about findings from research conducted on campus.

    1:00 - 3:15 pm

    Peabody 206

    Our short-format talks (5 minutes each) allow the audience to become familiar with research across various areas in psychology.


    Data Blitz Session 1, 1:00 - 2:00 pm


    Data Blitz Session 2, 2:15 - 3:15 pm

    3:30-3:55 pm

    Peabody 206

    The following awards will be recognized at the conference.

    • Undergraduate Taylor Medal Awards
    • Graduate Research Achievement Awards
    • Faculty Graduate Mentor of the Year Award
    • Psi Chi Undergraduate Faculty Mentor Award
    • Best Poster Presentation Awards
    • Best Data Blitz Presentation Awards

    4:00-5:00 pm

    Peabody 206

    About the Speaker: Dr. Chester is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University. His research focuses on the psychological and biological processes that motivate and constrain aggressive behavior.


    Join us for his engaging talk, titled, "The Reward of Revenge: Positive Affect’s Role in Aggressive Behavior."

  • 10:00-11:00, Graduate Panel Q&A

    "The Stark Realities of Graduate School"

    Peabody 206


    Clinical Psychology Students: Anandi Ehman & Tracy Protti

    Experimental Psychology Students: Reagan Pearce & Don Skinner

    Masters of Social Work Student: Austin Conner


    So, what’s graduate school like after you get in? Here is a good opportunity to find out! Some graduate students from our department and Social Work will be here to answer any questions you have about their graduate school experience.



    Interested in learning more about the psychology major? Check out our academic advising website!

  • 11:00 - 11:45, Poster Session 1

    Peabody 110, located on the bottom floor of Peabody Hall (down the stairs from the main floor)

    Socioeconomic Factors Association with Depressive and Anxiety Symptoms during Pregnancy​

    Chelsea B. Carter, Jaime P. Murtagh, & Danielle J. Maack


    The present study examined whether low socioeconomic status gave rise to mental health symptoms such as depression and anxiety in women during pregnancy. The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that pregnant women with lower socioeconomic status will show more depression and anxiety symptoms compared to those with a higher socioeconomic status. Household income and employment status was a significant indicator of depression; however, only household income predicted anxiety.

    Does Education Matter? Assessing potential relations between Education and Depressive symptoms in Pregnancy​

    Denise A. Frantz, Brittany S. Sapp, & Danielle J. Maack


    This study looked at the relationship between education level and depressive symptoms in pregnant women in a Tupelo, MS OBGYN clinic. Results showed a negative association between maternal education level and depressive symptoms.

    Maternal age as it relates to depression and nausea in pregnancy​

    Bailey M. Garner, Brittany S. Sapp, & Danielle J. Maack


    This study was conducted in order to determine the relationship between nausea and vomiting in pregnancy and maternal age. No significant correlation was found, thus acknowledging the need for further research on the various elements that contribute to pregnancy symptoms. This study helped reveal unique factors relating to NVP and age in pregnancy that may not have been studied in depth previously.

    Use of Safety Behaviors in Predicting Social Anxiety in Adults with Dermatological Conditions​

    Mallory M. Long, Lindsay B. Sappington, Nicole M. Seale, Sara M. Witcraft, & Laura J. Dixon


    This study examined the role of safety behaviors in social anxiety symptoms among individuals with skin disease(s). Positive actions, such as rehearsing, and restricting behaviors, such as limiting speech, demonstrated a stronger association with social anxiety symptoms among individuals with skin disease compared with concealing symptoms of blushing and sweating.

    The Stigmatization of Concealable and Apparent Intellectual Disabilities​

    Claire M. Lundy, Karen K. Kellum, & Yash Bhambhani


    The purpose of this study was to investigate the degree to which people stigmatize individuals with apparent intellectual disabilities as compared to individuals with concealable intellectual disabilities. Generally, on the IRAP participants had an easier time saying that every individual was good and a harder time saying that any individual was bad. We found slight statistical significance between the ATDP and the Apparent- Negative Trial Type of the IRAP.

    Previous Pregnancies and relation with Depression and Anxiety Symptoms​

    Meagan K. Mandabach, Molly E. Wickenhauser, & Danielle J. Maack


    This study seeks to examine the relationship between number of pregnancies and depression and anxiety. The findings of the study demonstrate that there is no significant correlation between depression and number of pregnancies and a significant negative correlation between anxiety and number of pregnancies.

    Relation of Age and Race on Antenatal Depression and Anxiety​

    Laura L. Plage & Enoch T. Sackey


    The study evaluated the potential relationship of age and race on the experience of anxiety and depressive symptoms in pregnant women. Younger, pregnant women showed higher levels of anxiety and depressive symptoms than older, pregnant women. Depressive symptoms were higher in White pregnant women than Black pregnant women.

    Flexin and Steppin: The Relationship Between Psychological Flexibility and a Contamination-Related Behavior Avoidance Task​

    Claire Price, Emmie Hebert, Claire Lundy, Kate Kellum, & Kelly Wilson

    The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between participants’ ratings of contamination fear, psychological flexibility, and psychological inflexibility at the time of the experiment and the relationship of these variables to approaching objects presented as contaminated or disgusting (i.e. aversive).

    Values Fear Factor: The Impact of Relating Values to Previously Established Aversive Stimuli​

    Wade Richardson, Emmie R. Hebert, Claire Price, Claire Lundy, Kate Kellum, and Kelly G. Wilson


    To date, there has been little empirical evidence for how values motivate behavior. This study used contaminated objects to demonstrate how values can be used to motivate behavior in the presence of something aversive.

    Behavior Analysis and Tactical Urbanism: Analysis of a Pop-Up Protected Bike Lane​

    Jennifer Trapani & Kate Kellum


    A group of cyclists, pedestrians, and people interested in sustainability in a small college town sought to improve the walkability and bikeability of a section of a primary road shared by the town and the university. While the temporary barriers were in place, there was a substantial decrease in motorist speeds and an increase in perceived safety.

    Symptoms of Health Anxiety and Disgust​

    Kendyl C. Williams, Jennifer A. Petell, & Danielle J. Maack


    Disgust is a universal emotion that functions etiologically and serves as a maintenance mechanism in a variety of anxiety disorders, such as health anxiety (Brady, Cisler, & Lohr, 2014; Olatunji, Berg, & Zhao, 2017). It was hypothesized that health anxiety will be positively correlated with higher symptoms of disgust. The current study found that symptoms of health anxiety were significantly associated with higher levels of disgust.

    The relationship between depressive symptoms and religion in pregnant women

    Candice N. Wilson, Daniel J. Pineau, & Danielle J. Maack


    The current study investigated the relationship between religious affiliation and depressive symptoms in pregnant women. Results demonstrated that there was no significant relationship (p=.08) between the two factors. Future research on religious affiliation as a protective factor could help in long-term mental health outcomes for pregnant populations.

  • 12:00 - 12:45, Poster Session 2

    Peabody 110, located on the bottom floor of Peabody Hall (down the stairs from the main floor)

    Depressive Symptoms and the Freeze Response

    Kirsten G. Abbott, Jennifer A. Petell, & Danielle J. Maack


    The present study examined whether symptoms of depression on the DASS-21 scale were associated with the freeze response on the FFFQ scale. Results indicated that higher symptoms of depression were significantly associated with the freeze response.

    Sarcasm Understanding in Adults​

    Kristen B. Barnett, Jenna L. Spies, & Stephanie E. Miller


    In the present study, we found that adults use verbal prosody to make judgments about how sarcastic a statement was. Although facial expression was not important for sarcasm judgments, it did come into play when judging how mean a statement was. This extends work on individuals’ use of cues in sarcasm understanding.

    Perceived Stress and Skin Symptoms in a College Sample

    Sarah K. Berry, Gina Q. Boullion, & Laura J. Dixon


    The current study investigates the relations between PS, current skin symptoms, and self-reported skin severity. Results suggest significant positive correlations between the PS and number of skin symptoms and also between PS and self-reported skin severity.

    It’s Not Just “Skin Deep”: Social Anxiety and Anxiety Sensitivity in Adults with Psychodermatological Disorders​

    Lauren E. Ellison, Mary A. York, Sara M. Witcraft, & Laura J. Dixon


    Facets of anxiety sensitivity (AS) were examined in their relation to social anxiety symptoms in two samples of individuals with psychodermatological conditions. In both samples, AS social concerns emerged as a unique risk factor of social anxiety above concerns about the physical and cognitive consequences of anxiety.

    An Evaluation of the Relationship between Fluency and Embodied Creativity

    Emily M. Frith, Lauren Frazier, Anna-Holt Shaw, Simmy Vig, & Stephanie E. Miller


    The purpose of this study was to examine fluency performance on the TCAM in an adult population and determine whether executive function (EF) is correlated with fluency. No significant association was evident between fluency and EF. Although EF does not appear to associate with fluency, future work should evaluate whether EF may be more salient for flexibility or originality parameters on movement-based creativity assessments.

    I Can’t Stress This Enough: Correlates of stress in a southern university population​

    Dasha M. Grace, Abigail S. Reynolds, Molly J. Schadegg, & Laura J. Dixon


    This study examined stress levels, sources of concern, and gender differences among college students at a public southern university in an attempt to replicate and extend previous findings. Results indicated academics as the highest source of concern, but gender showed no significant difference between these concerns in college students.

    Walking Time as an Objective Indicator of Psychological Distress in Individuals with Multiple Sclerosis

    Claire K. Mullen, April M. Carr, Dennis J. Tirri, B.S., Helen M. Genova, Ph.D, Jeannie Lengenfelder, Ph.D, & Todd A. Smitherman, Ph.D.

    We endeavored to determine if walking speed may serve as an objective indicator of psychological distress in people with MS. Among those with MS but not controls, walking speed was positively associated with satisfaction with life and negatively associated with symptoms of depression.

    Satisfaction with Campus Involvement and College Student Academic Success

    Carissa R. Pauley


    The main objective of this study was to help determine whether the satisfaction a college student feels toward the quantity and quality of their social involvement in campus organizations is a predictor of academic success. There was a positive correlation between student involvement and GPA. There is a meaningful difference in students’ satisfaction with their level of involvement between students who do not have any campus involvement and students who are involved in just one organization.

    An Examination of Gender Differences and Distress Tolerance in Relation to Smoking Status

    Carson R. Schmitz, Sarah K. Berry, Gina Q. Boullion, & Laura J. Dixon


    The current study examined gender, smoking behaviors, and distress tolerance among a sample of college students. Results revealed gender differences among smoking groups, but no difference in distress tolerance across groups.

    The Relationship of Parenting Style and Children per Household​

    Janeisha L. Simpson, Anna K. Dickson, Z. Reagan Pearce, Carey B. Dowling, & Stephanie E. Miller


    The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between parenting styles and the number of children in the household. Hostility, over reactivity, and laxness of 45 mothers were collected through a self-report questionnaire. No significant relationships were found. However, the results indicated a marginally significant correlation between number of children and overreactive parenting, suggesting those with more children had a more overreactive style.

    Psychological Correlates of Allodynia​

    Cara J. Wittig, Skylar R. Cochran, Claire K. Mullen, Ashley N. Polk, & Todd A. Smitherman


    The present study examined psychological correlates of allodynia among migraineurs. Migraineurs experiencing allodynia reported more symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress compared to migraineurs without allodynia.

    Examination of Communication and Social Media Usage Among Socially Anxious Individuals

    Greyson K. Young, Madelyn A. Harris, Megan A. Perry, & Laura J. Dixon


    Communication and social media patterns were characterized in a sample of individuals with social anxiety. Contrary to our prediction, no significant relations were observed between these patterns and social anxiety symptoms.

  • 1:00-2:00, data blitz session 1

    Peabody 206

    Allodynia, Stress, and Disability in Migraineurs: A Mediation Analysis​

    Ashley N. Polk, B.A. & Todd A. Smitherman, Ph.D.


    The present study examined stress as a mediator between allodynia and disability among migraineurs. The indirect effect of allodynia on disability through stress was significant, even when controlling for migraine severity.

    Disgust’s Unique Impact on Obsessive-Compulsive Symptoms Above and Beyond Contamination Fear​

    Alexandra M. Gilbert & Danielle J. Maack


    The current study aimed to explore disgust in the prediction of obsessive-compulsive (OC) symptoms above and beyond contamination fear. According to results, disgust did not uniquely impact OC symptoms controlling for contamination fear. Future research should be conducted among clinical OCD samples to further evaluate this relationship and increased diversity is needed.

    Accent on Perception: Is Race a Confound?​

    Tuong-Vy C. Nguyen & Elicia C. Lair


    This pilot study sought to disentangle race and accent. The effect of accent and questionnaire order on trait evaluation and perceived threat were also examined. There was no significant effect of accent on perceived threat. However, participants reported higher symbolic than realistic threat, regardless of accent and order condition. There was a signification interaction between accent and questionnaire order on trait evaluation.

    Is it your fault or our responsibility?: The Impact of Realistic Individual and Collective Messaging on Victim Blame and Stigma Behaviors

    Anandi C. Ehman & Elicia C. Lair


    Embedding an interdependent prime in a campus safety message reduced victim blaming, endorsement of rape myths, and intentions to avoid the victim. The findings were strongest for women. Implications for sexual assault messaging, particularly at colleges and universities are discussed.

    Is Fear of Vomit Associated with Suicidality in Pregnancy?​

    Jennifer A. Petell & Danielle J. Maack


    The current study examined whether symptoms of emetophobia are associated with symptoms of depression and suicidality in pregnant women. Results indicated overall symptoms of emetophobia were significantly associated with depression; however, dependent on scale used were equivocal in association with suicidality.

    Aggression and sound: The role of anxiety sensitivity in misophonia and aggression​

    Molly J. Schadegg & Laura J. Dixon


    This study examined the relationship between anxiety sensitivity, misophonia, and facets of aggression. The results indicate significant interaction effects of anxiety sensitivity and misophonia on all four facets of aggression (i.e. anger, physical aggression, hostility, and verbal aggression).

    Emotion Regulation as a Functional Transdiagnostic Construct in Psychopathology

    Enoch T. Sackey & Danielle J. Maack


    The study examined the variance explained by the components of difficulties in emotion regulation across psychopathology. Each component of difficulties in emotion regulation was significantly associated with some form of psychopathology in the predicted direction. The high levels of sensitivity observed show strong evidence for formulating emotion regulation as a transdiagnostic construct.

    Psychological Sensitivities in Dental Anxiety: An Examination of Sensitivities to Anxiety, Disgust, and Pain​

    Sara M. Witcraft & Laura J. Dixon


    Dental anxiety is associated with adverse oral and general health outcomes, but little is known about the mechanisms that may underlie and maintain symptoms. The current study examined the role of three psychological sensitivities as they related to dental anxiety symptoms. Results suggest that anxiety sensitivity and disgust sensitivity, but not pain sensitivity, are associated with dental anxiety.

  • 2:15-3:15, data blitz session 2

    Peabody 206

    Gender Roles, Sexual Assertiveness, and Sexual Violence in LGBTQ+ Individuals​

    Lavina Y. Ho & Alan M. Gross


    The present study examined the relationships among gender roles, sexual assertiveness, and sexual victimization in a LGBTQ+ population. Moderated regression analyses found that both gender roles and sexual assertiveness predict severity of sexual violence. The femininity gender role and lower levels of sexual assertiveness, particularly the refusal of sex subscale, predicted greater likelihood for victim status. Implications for these findings in an LGBTQ+ population are discussed.

    Understanding Disgust-Motivated Behavioral Avoidance​

    Molly E. Wickenhauser & Danielle J. Maack


    The present study investigated the role of transdiagnostic variables in behavioral avoidance. Results demonstrated that disgust sensitivity predicted steps refused on disgust-related Behavioral Avoidance Tasks (BATs) when controlling for anxiety sensitivity, emotion dysregulation, and covariates (sex, disgust and anxiety ratings during BATs). Interestingly, anxiety sensitivity and emotion dysregulation did not uniquely predict behavioral avoidance when controlling for the covariates.

    Processing styles and modern racism influence perceptions of individuals in Black Lives Matter​

    Lauren N. Jordan & Elicia C. Lair

    This study sought to determine if cognitive processing styles and modern racism influence perceptions of an individual in the Black Lives Matter movement. Results indicate that processing styles do not influence perceptions for those low in racism, but they do for those high in racism.

    Self-Efficacy for Disaster Preparedness: A Multi-Group Latent Variable Model with University Students, Faculty, and Staff​

    Marcela C. Weber & Stefan E. Schulenberg


    This study investigated the effects of threat perception and self-efficacy on preparedness for and fear of tornadoes and active shooter situations. Accounting for gender and prior experiences, both threat perception and self-efficacy predict preparedness. Fear is not necessary to motivate people to be prepared for disasters.

    The Role of Interpersonal and Intrapersonal Emotion Regulation in the Development of Aggression within Social Anxiety​

    Megan M. Perry & Laura J. Dixon


    The purpose of the current study was to examine intrapersonal and interpersonal emotion regulation, social anxiety, and aggression outcomes among college students. Previous findings were replicated and extended by illustrating that both intrapersonal and intepersonal emotion regulation difficulties mediated the relationship between social anxiety and aggression.

    Effects of Migraine on Next Day Physical Activity​

    Dan G. Rogers, Tracy Protti, April M. Carr, Patrick W. Richardson & Todd A. Smitherman


    Research suggests migraine-related disability is related to avoidance of stimuli associated with pain, rather than solely from avoidance of pain per se. Building on prior research, the present study sought to clarify the effects of migraine activity on next-day physical activity. Findings support the theory that reductions in physical activity persist independent of the effects of an acute migraine episode.

    Emotion regulation and pediatric obsessive-compulsive symptoms: The moderating effects of gender​

    Brittany S. Sapp & Danielle J. Maack


    This study explored the relation between emotion regulation (ER) and pediatric Obsessive-Compulsive (OC) symptoms, including the moderating effects of gender. Findings revealed that emotion regulation significantly predicted OC symptoms above and beyond demographic variables. Gender was found to moderate this relationship, with ER being more predictive of OC symptoms in girls than boys.

    An Evaluation of Age-Associated Trends in Divergent Thinking

    Emily M. Frith, Brittany N. Avila, & Stephanie E. Miller


    This experiment examined fluency and originality, as well as originality/fluency ratio scoring methods, illuminating significant developmental trends in DT, particularly evidence for higher originality in 4th graders, relative to 1st graders and adults.These findings offer preliminary impetus for future research to inform evidence-based training strategies and educational programs that aim to accentuate or maintain creative originality from the first decade of life into adulthood.

  • Awards Ceremony

    3:30-3:55, Peabody 206

    Annual Departmental Achievement Awards

    Marcus Elvis Taylor Medal Recipients, awarded to undergraduates with outstanding academic achievement


    Research Achievement Awards, granted to graduate students with outstanding research productivity (sponsored by ORSP)


    Faculty Graduate Mentor of the Year, to recognize outstanding mentorship of graduate students by a faculty member


    Psi Chi Faculty Undergraduate Mentor of the Year, to recognize outstanding undergraduate mentorship by a faculty member

    Conference Awards (sponsored by ORSP)

    Best Poster Presentations


    Best Data Blitz Presentations

  • Keynote Presentation

    Dr. David chester

    The Reward of Revenge: Positive Affect’s Role in Aggressive Behavior

    4:00-5:00 pm, Peabody 206

    About the Speaker: Dr. Chester is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University. His research focuses on the psychological and biological processes that motivate and constrain aggressive behavior.

  • Show your UM Psychology Pride!


    A limited number of t-shirts will be available for purchase the day of the conference and are priced at $20.00.



    Honor Society for Psychology Majors

    Think about joining Psi Chi! If you meet the eligibility requirements, you can become a member. This is a great opportunity for undergraduates looking to pursue a graduate degree in psychology.

    Psychology Club

    Student Organization

    Think about joining Psychology Club and get more involved in the department. This is a great opportunity for undergraduates looking to meet up with others who share their interest in psychology.