Alumni Dissertations and Theses

 
 

Alumni Dissertations and Theses

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  • Psychological Mechanisms Underlying Race-Based Peremptory Challenges

    Author:
    Julia Kennard
    Year of Dissertation:
    2011
    Program:
    Psychology
    Advisor:
    Margaret Kovera
    Abstract:

    Despite the Supreme Court decision prohibiting race-based peremptory challenges (Batson v. Kentucky; 1986), prosecuting attorneys strike Black venirepersons at higher rates than they strike White venirepersons (Clark, Boccaccini, Caillouet, & Chaplin, 2007; Rose, 1999; Sommers & Norton, 2007). I conducted two studies to explore the psychological mechanisms underlying race-based peremptory challenges. Study One tested the unconscious and conscious psychological influences on attorneys' strike decisions and the circumstances under which racial bias can be reduced. Study Two tested whether attorneys are driven by beliefs in the legal attitudes of Black and White jurors, beliefs in in-group favoritism between jurors and defendants, or both. Venireperson race influenced attorneys' strike decisions; however, contrary to past research, the racial bias in attorneys' decisions was directed at the White venireperson. Venireperson race was less likely to affect attorneys' strike decisions when they were warned explicitly about the Batson restrictions. There was some evidence that endorsement of stereotypes about the legal attitudes of Black and White jurors was related to attorneys' decisions but there was no evidence that beliefs about in-group/out-group bias influenced their decisions. Possible explanations for the unexpected discrimination against White venirepersons are discussed.

  • Psychological Mechanisms Underlying Race-Based Peremptory Challenges

    Author:
    Julia Kennard
    Year of Dissertation:
    2011
    Program:
    Psychology
    Advisor:
    Margaret Kovera
    Abstract:

    Despite the Supreme Court decision prohibiting race-based peremptory challenges (Batson v. Kentucky; 1986), prosecuting attorneys strike Black venirepersons at higher rates than they strike White venirepersons (Clark, Boccaccini, Caillouet, & Chaplin, 2007; Rose, 1999; Sommers & Norton, 2007). I conducted two studies to explore the psychological mechanisms underlying race-based peremptory challenges. Study One tested the unconscious and conscious psychological influences on attorneys' strike decisions and the circumstances under which racial bias can be reduced. Study Two tested whether attorneys are driven by beliefs in the legal attitudes of Black and White jurors, beliefs in in-group favoritism between jurors and defendants, or both. Venireperson race influenced attorneys' strike decisions; however, contrary to past research, the racial bias in attorneys' decisions was directed at the White venireperson. Venireperson race was less likely to affect attorneys' strike decisions when they were warned explicitly about the Batson restrictions. There was some evidence that endorsement of stereotypes about the legal attitudes of Black and White jurors was related to attorneys' decisions but there was no evidence that beliefs about in-group/out-group bias influenced their decisions. Possible explanations for the unexpected discrimination against White venirepersons are discussed.

  • EVALUATION OF CONFESSION EVIDENCE AND EXPERT TESTIMONY IN ADVERSARIAL AND INQUISITORIAL TRIALS IN THE UNITED STATES AND SOUTH KOREA

    Author:
    Min Kim
    Year of Dissertation:
    2010
    Program:
    Psychology
    Advisor:
    Steven Penrod
    Abstract:

    There have been many attempts to determine the "better" legal system between inquisitorial and adversarial, but some legal scholars argue that a direct comparison of different justice systems is impossible because every system is distinctive. Based on van Koppen and Penrod (2003)'s argument that the trial system with fewer wrongful convictions should be considered as the "better" justice system, this dissertation compared the inquisitorial and adversarial trials by evaluating the quality of legal decision-making between legal professionals and lay people on the assessment of trial evidence and their verdicts in South Korea and the United States. This study examines how coerced confession evidence and expert testimony influence the legal decisions when the evidence is introduced in an adversarial or in an inquisitorial trial and whether the two forms of trial yield the same types of biases and errors. The results indicate that inquisitorial trials yield higher guilt probabilities and produce more guilty verdicts than adversarial trials. The presence of confession evidence significantly increases guilt probability ratings and guilty verdicts. The introduction of expert testimony on confession evidence reduces the damaging effects of the confession evidence to a certain degree, but only lay persons are able to utilize expert testimony to critically evaluate the evidence. Koreans in general are more likely to perceive that the defendant's confession was coerced than Americans and give lower guilt probability ratings and guilty verdicts. When confession evidence and expert testimony are introduced in an adversarial trial, only lay persons are able to utilize the expert testimony information, give lower guilt probability ratings and were less likely to produce guilty verdicts. Americans' verdicts are more likely to be influenced by the trial type than Koreans. Americans in inquisitorial trials are more likely to vote guilty than Americans in adversarial trials. Furthermore, path analysis indicates that legal professionals and lay persons evaluate and weigh evidence differently, but legal professional-lay agreement rates indicated that the performance of lay persons is comparable to the performance of legal professionals. Korean legal professional-lay person agreement rates are also comparable to the American legal professional-lay person agreement rates. Implications for the Korean lay participation system are discussed.

  • The Effect of Emotional Intelligence on Emotional Competence and Transformational Leadership

    Author:
    Kristen Kirkland
    Year of Dissertation:
    2011
    Program:
    Psychology
    Advisor:
    Harold Goldstein
    Abstract:

    Transformational leadership is often characterized as a form of leadership that is based on trust, admiration, and an emotional connection between the leader and the followers. Therefore, it is not surprising that many researchers have examined and expected to find a positive relationship between emotional intelligence and transformational leadership. However, the results of that research have revealed inconsistent findings. Several researchers have suggested that the inconsistencies are due to problems with the definition of emotional intelligence and a lack of clear mediating variables between emotional intelligence and transformational leadership. One potential mediating variable that has been suggested, but never tested, is that of emotional competence. Therefore, the current studies examined the effect of emotional intelligence on emotional competence and transformational leadership. In two studies, participants completed measures of emotional intelligence, emotional competence, and transformational leadership. It was predicted that higher levels of emotional intelligence predict emotional competence, which in turn predict transformational leadership. The data did not provide support for emotional competence as a mediator, and there was mixed support for the predicted relationships between emotional intelligence and emotional competence and between emotional competence and transformational leadership. In addition to the hypothesis testing, factor structure support was obtained for the newly developed emotional, intellectual, and managerial competence measures. However, the factor structures of the new behavioral measures of transformational leadership were not supported. Future research suggestions, limitations of the current studies, and applied implications are discussed.

  • The Effect of Emotional Intelligence on Emotional Competence and Transformational Leadership

    Author:
    Kristen Kirkland
    Year of Dissertation:
    2011
    Program:
    Psychology
    Advisor:
    Harold Goldstein
    Abstract:

    Transformational leadership is often characterized as a form of leadership that is based on trust, admiration, and an emotional connection between the leader and the followers. Therefore, it is not surprising that many researchers have examined and expected to find a positive relationship between emotional intelligence and transformational leadership. However, the results of that research have revealed inconsistent findings. Several researchers have suggested that the inconsistencies are due to problems with the definition of emotional intelligence and a lack of clear mediating variables between emotional intelligence and transformational leadership. One potential mediating variable that has been suggested, but never tested, is that of emotional competence. Therefore, the current studies examined the effect of emotional intelligence on emotional competence and transformational leadership. In two studies, participants completed measures of emotional intelligence, emotional competence, and transformational leadership. It was predicted that higher levels of emotional intelligence predict emotional competence, which in turn predict transformational leadership. The data did not provide support for emotional competence as a mediator, and there was mixed support for the predicted relationships between emotional intelligence and emotional competence and between emotional competence and transformational leadership. In addition to the hypothesis testing, factor structure support was obtained for the newly developed emotional, intellectual, and managerial competence measures. However, the factor structures of the new behavioral measures of transformational leadership were not supported. Future research suggestions, limitations of the current studies, and applied implications are discussed.

  • Finding Nature in the City: A Case Study of Ecological Restoration in an Urban Park

    Author:
    Elizabeth Kocs
    Year of Dissertation:
    2013
    Program:
    Psychology
    Advisor:
    William Kornblum
    Abstract:

    This dissertation presents a case study of ecological restoration in an urban park, using a mixed-methods methodology that included a survey instrument, open-ended interviews, behavioral and trace observations, and modified grounded theory methodology for data analysis. The purpose of the study was to identify values that users of four ecologically restored areas of Chicago's Lincoln Park associated with their use of the park areas and to determine the extent to which they experienced contact with nature while visiting the areas. The study was conducted within the framework of a post-occupancy evaluation (POE) of the restoration projects, the Lincoln Park Evaluation Study in the College of Architecture, Design and the Arts, University of Illinois at Chicago, which was commissioned by the U.S. Forest Service. The author, the principal investigator for the POE, developed a set of ten values or benefits associated with park use that were included in the survey instrument and informed the onsite, open-ended interviews with park users--beauty, solitude, tranquility, recreation, health, contact with nature, habitat preservation/restoration, community identity, public life, tourism, and other (to allow respondents to add their own values to the list). The results of the study indicate that users valued contact with nature and habitat restoration most, followed closely by tranquility, solitude, and beauty, with health and recreation next and public life and community identity trailing all others. No new values were added. Data analysis suggested that respondents fell roughly into two camps, those who valued contact with nature most and those who valued habitat restoration most. Respondents who selected tranquility, solitude, or beauty as important values viewed them as secondary to contact with nature or habitat restoration because the former would be unavailable without the latter. The study's results complicates the dichotomy between natural and built environments, as respondents praised the restored areas--arguably built environments--as refuges from the city. A theme that emerged from qualitative data analysis suggests that ecological restoration of urban parks might be related to nature-identities, emotional bonds with types of natural areas, calling for future research to determine the relationship between urban nature and urban residents' nature-identities.

  • WORKING IN THE BUSINESS OF PLEASURE: STIGMA RESISTANCE AND COPING STRATEGIES UTILIZED BY INDEPENDENT FEMALE ESCORTS

    Author:
    Juline Koken
    Year of Dissertation:
    2009
    Program:
    Psychology
    Advisor:
    Jeffrey Parsons
    Abstract:

    The stigma attached to prostitution, as well as the nature of the labor itself, place unique demands on the coping resources of female sex workers. The purpose of this study is to qualitatively identify and explore the strategies used by Internet-based independent female sex workers to manage stigma and the emotional demands of performing sexual and emotional labor, as well as to identify potential relationships between reported coping strategies, demographic characteristics and outcomes on measures of emotional well-being. In-depth interviews were conducted with a diverse sample of 30 female Internet sex workers. Women also completed a measure of burnout, safer sex practices with clients, and demographic information which informed the qualitative analysis. The women in the sample drew on approach and avoidance focused coping strategies to manage the demands of their work as well as work related stigma, and coping strategies were thematically different between women high and low in burnout. Women of color were more likely than white women to meet criteria for burnout and reported confronting racism and discrimination on the job. The majority of the women reported managing the impact of stigma by telling few or no loved ones about their work; many reported feeling socially isolated as a result. Implications: the stigma associated with prostitution impacts the mental health of sex workers and may lead to an increased risk of burnout and social isolation. Women of color face an additional stressor in the form of racism and discrimination on the job. Women lower in burnout expressed greater job satisfaction and enhanced self-efficacy for coping with work related stress; social policy on sex work should attend to the diversity of women's experiences in sex work and the role that venue, race, and class may play in shaping these experiences.

  • DISSIMILARITY FROM MANAGERS AND PEERS: LACK OF EFFECT ON ATTITUDINAL OUTCOMES

    Author:
    Joseph Kovatch
    Year of Dissertation:
    2011
    Program:
    Psychology
    Advisor:
    HAROLD GOLDSTEIN
    Abstract:

    The study explored whether dissimilarity between employees and managers or from peer to peer influence attitudes towards an organization and postulated mediating variables in an attempt to help explain the connection using responses to survey data collected in 1999. Specifically it considered the effects of gender, ethnicity, tenure and functional differences as independent variables. Proposed mediators include opportunities for skill enhancement, managerial effectiveness, communication, and workgroup cohesion (in the peer condition). Satisfaction and voluntary turnover acted as dependent variables and the measures of attitudes. Some 27,697 respondents contributed to the manager/employee dyad condition and 4,191 responses formed the workgroup condition sample. Large sample size coupled with low correlation magnitudes suggest a lack of support for hypotheses suggesting dissimilarity and heterogeneity would have an influence on attitudinal outcomes. Partialling out the effects of mediating variables from the independent / dependent relationship generally failed to produce a meaningful reduction. Conversely, mediating variables correlated strongly with satisfaction. Conclusions suggest that surface-level dissimilarity and heterogeneity variables may have only a modest and perhaps fleeting influence on the variables proposed as mediators as well as attitudinal outcomes. All four variables proposed as mediators strongly correlated with satisfaction.

  • A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF REPRESENTATIONS FOR EXECUTIVE FUNCTION IN THE CONTEXT OF HIV MEDICATION ADHERENCE AND METHAMPHETAMINE USE

    Author:
    William Kowalczyk
    Year of Dissertation:
    2012
    Program:
    Psychology
    Advisor:
    Sarit Golub
    Abstract:

    The current research seeks to clarify the relationship between executive function and the behaviors of medication adherence and methamphetamine use in HIV+ men who have sex with men. Executive function is impaired by HIV, and those impairments are associated with difficulties in adherence. Difficulties in adherence lead to greater disease burden and more impairment. Methamphetamine contributes to the problem by exacerbating executive function directly, and by impacting executive function indirectly through disease progression related to poorer adherence, less effective treatment, and by directly increasing the replication rate of HIV. Executive function is the process by which distinct cognitive functions are coordinated in order to direct behavior towards a goal. The construct of executive function and many of the neuropsychological tests used to measure it are multifaceted in nature, making it difficult to delineate specific components of executive function. This inability to accurately differentiate components creates a barrier to targeted intervention development for impacting executive function problems that may lead to nonadherence and methamphetamine use. The present study operationalized executive function in three ways: a) by using individual neuropsychological test variables; b) by averaging individual variables to create a executive domain NPZ score, the standard for the current literature; and c) by using factor scores created through exploratory factor analysis of the individual neuropsychological test variables. These three methods were compared in their association with demographic variables, methamphetamine-use characteristics, disease progression, and adherence variables. The factor analysis yielded a six-factor solution: Executive Inhibition, Decision Making/ Reinforcement Processing, Wisconsin Card Sorting Test Performance, Motor Impulsivity, Slowness of Processing, and Sustained Attention. All three methods for operationalizing executive function predicted adherence behavior while controlling for methamphetamine dependence severity. However, the comparison of the three representations of executive function demonstrated the strengths and weaknesses of each approach. Analyzing the relationship between executive function and HIV-related health behaviors using neuropsychological test variables individually retained specificity, but lacked statistical predictive power. The executive domain NPZ score was a powerful predictor, demonstrating a relationship between executive function and adherence even when controlling for demographic factors. However, this method lacked specificity and was sensitive to misinterpretation. The factor scores were not as powerful, but greatly added to the interpretability of function associated with HIV-related health behavior. These three methods for operationalizing executive function all retain some value for predicting HIV-related health behaviors. The factor scores provide an intermediate level of power between individual scores and an executive domain NPZ score. Most importantly, the convergent and divergent evidence provided by the factor loadings increases the confidence that the factor scores are measuring specific delineated functions than. Clarifying the relationship between specific functions and health behavior is the first step in paving the way to targeting executive function difficulties for intervention development in HIV+ persons.

  • Biological motion processing in typical development and in the autism spectrum

    Author:
    Aaron Krakowski
    Year of Dissertation:
    2014
    Program:
    Psychology
    Advisor:
    John Foxe
    Abstract:

    Biological motion (BM) analysis and interpretation is a fundamental process of human neurocognition that has been only minimally explored neurophysiologically. In addition to its importance in understanding the underlying roots and development of social cognition, BM processing is a prime candidate domain for exploring the underlying etiology of social cognitive disorders such as the autism spectrum. In an initial experiment, typical adults observed BM point-light displays of a human actor (UM) as well as their spatially scrambled counterparts (SM), in both an unattended distractor task as well as an explicit attention task. Results showed a neurophysiological response manifested as three phases of activity over parieto-occipital sites: an early (100-200 ms) automatic phase that was task-invariant; a mid-level activity (200-350 ms) that was amplified by attention; and a later phase of activation (400-500 ms) that only manifested when BM was explicitly attended. In contrast, in follow-up experiments with typically-developing children (TDs), BM processing that distinguished UM, SM, and inverted motion (IM) occurred later (250 ms onward) and appeared as only one contiguous window of activation that was unaffected by attention. It was also observed that children with an autism spectrum disorder (cASD) demonstrated both typical BM behavioral ability as well as typical BM-related electrophysiological activity as manifest in the interactions between group and the three BM stimulus-responses (UM, IM, SM). Notably, all three stimulus-responses individually generated similarly distinct between-group effects from quite early (129 ms) suggestive of more general visual processing dysfunctions in the disorders. In addition, a more powerful secondary analysis detected between-group effects even in the differences between the responses evoked by the UM and SM conditions, suggesting the presence of specific BM-processing dysfunctions in ASD. The role of such sensory deficits in the development of social impairments in the disorders such as in theory-of-mind is discussed.