Department of Psychology

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    Generalized anxiety disorder: does the emotion dysregulation model predict symptoms beyond the Metacognitive Model?
    (2022) Deleurme, Kendall A.; Parkinson, Sydney A.; Penney, Alexander
    While the Metacognitive Model (MCM) of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is well-established, the Emotion Dysregulation Model (EDM) of GAD has received less attention. This study examined whether the EDM helps explain GAD above and beyond the MCM. The influence of gender was also explored. A non-clinical university sample (N = 626) completed measures of GAD symptoms, worry severity, the MCM, and the EDM. In support of the EDM, it was found that fear of depression predicted GAD symptoms for men, while fear of anxiety predicted GAD symptoms for women. However, across genders, the strongest predictor of GAD symptoms and worry severity was negative beliefs about worry. While these findings support the MCM view that holding the beliefs that worry is harmful and dangerous is the strongest predictor of GAD overall, incorporating aspects of the EDM into our understanding and treatment of GAD may be beneficial.
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    Shoaling, boldness, anxiety-like behavior and locomotion in zebrafish (Danio rerio) are altered by acute benzo[a]pyrene exposure
    (2021) Hamilton, Trevor; Szaszkiewicz, Joshua; Krook, Jeffrey; Burggren, Warren
    Environmental exposure to crude oil and/or its derivatives in fishes can negatively impact survival, morphology and physiology, but relatively little focus has been on behavior. Exposures can influence prey-predator interactions, courtship and other vital behaviors, leading to individual or population disruption at toxicant levels well below those producing morphological or physiological changes. The few behavioral studies of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) on fish behavior have yielded highly inconsistent results, likely relating to chronic vs. acute treatment. A few studies report lethargy and decreased exploratory behavior, while others indicate increased anxiety and greater exploratory behavior with PAH exposure. In our study on zebrafish (Danio rerio), we hypothesized that even relatively brief (30 min) exposure to the PAH benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P) would impact group shoaling and individual behaviors in open field and novel object exploration tests. Exposures comprised measured concentrations of 1.0 μM, 10 μM, or 100 μM, B[a]P. Compared to controls, inter-individual distance (IID) was significantly increased by 100 μM B[a]P, but not by 1.0 μM or 10 μM B[a]P. Total distance moved by shoals was decreased significantly at B[a]P concentrations of 1.0 μM, 10 μM and 100 μM. In the open field test of individual locomotion and anxiety-like behavior, time spent in the thigmotaxis zone along the walls of the circular test arena (a proxy for anxiety-like behavior), was decreased at 100 μM. In the novel object approach test to investigate boldness, time spent near the object was significantly increased by both 10 μM and 100 μM B[a]P. Collectively, these data indicate a complex suite of changes in zebrafish including altered shoal dynamics, decreased anxiety, increased boldness, and decreased locomotion associated with exposure to B[a]P.
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    The dose makes the poison: non-linear behavioural response to CO2-induced aquatic acidification in zebrafish (Danio rerio)
    (2021) Hamilton, Trevor; Hurst Radke, Nicole; Bajwa, Jasmin; Chaput, Shayna; Tresguerres, Martin
    CO2-induced aquatic acidification is predicted to affect fish neuronal GABAA receptors leading to widespread behavioural alterations. However, the large variability in the magnitude and direction of behavioural responses suggests substantial species-specific CO2 threshold differences, life history and parental acclimation effects, experimental artifacts, or a combination of these factors. As an established model organism, zebrafish (Danio rerio) can be reared under stable conditions for multiple generations, which may help control for some of the variability observed in wild-caught fishes. Here, we used two standardized tests to investigate the effect of 1-week acclimatization to four pCO2 levels on zebrafish anxiety-like behaviour, exploratory behaviour, and locomotion. Fish acclimatized to 900 μatm CO2 demonstrated increased anxiety-like behaviour compared to control fish (~480 μatm), however, the behaviour of fish exposed to 2200 μatm CO2 was indistinguishable from that of controls. In addition, fish acclimatized to 4200 μatm CO2 had decreased anxiety-like behaviour; i.e. the opposite response than the 900 μatm CO2 treatment. On the other hand, exploratory behaviour did not differ among any of the pCO2 exposures that were tested. Thus, zebrafish behavioural responses to elevated pCO2 are not linear; with potential important implications for physiological, environmental, and aquatic acidification studies.
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    Criminogenic needs based on sexual assault typologies
    (2022) Thomas, Mackenzie; Jung, Sandy
    People have an intrinsic desire to understand other people’s behaviour, especially when considered socially deviant or abnormal. This fascination has led to several theoretical and empirically-based typologies for criminal behaviour, including sexual assault. These are typically based on the premise that those who commit sexual assault have different individual characteristics. The greater knowledge we gain to identify diverse groups of these individuals may help us understand the characteristics associated with their sexual offending. The current study examines the typology proposed by Knight and Prentky (1990). The Massachusetts Treatment Center Rapist Typology, Version 3 (MTC: R3) identifies five general categories of rapists, four of which are examined in the current study. These categories include opportunistic, pervasively angry, vindictive, and sexual types. Using a sample of 300 individuals who have been investigated for sexual assault, the present study categorizes these individuals into one of these typologies. This research identifies potentially unique attributes for each subtype, and it is hypothesized that these subtypes will present with different individual characteristics, including criminogenic needs, depending on the type of motivation that reflects a particular individual who sexually offends. The practical implications of this study for criminal justice professionals, such as police, will be discussed, and it is hoped that our findings will increase our understanding of individuals who have committed sexual offences.
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    Vinyl as fine wine: the role of expectation on the perception of music format
    (2022) Enstroem, Rickard; Schmaltz, Rodney
    While vinyl, compact discs, and even eight-track tapes were traditionally promoted to consumers as producing superior sound, the introduction of compressed digital music, such as mp3s, was markedly different. Initially, one of the primary selling features of digital music was convenience and portability rather than sound quality. Recently, vinyl music sales have experienced a substantial resurgence. Waveforms from vinyl represent recorded music more accurately than compressed digital formats and have the potential to produce better sound. Even so, most music listeners do not reliably listen to music on audiophile quality high-end equipment. For this reason, we believe one aspect of vinyl sales is the expectation that vinyl quality is superior. In this study, we sought to isolate the contribution of expectation to perceived sound quality. Participants were asked to listen to a selection of music on either vinyl or mp3. Some participants were told that they were listening to vinyl when the musical selection was an mp3, while others were told they were listening to an mp3 while actually listening to vinyl. A multivariate analysis through a Canonical Correlation Analysis established that expectation of music format quality drove post-listening evaluations.