PSI Early Graduate Group Conference, 27-28 February 2015
Oral Presentations Session 2

Oral Presentation Session 2: 5:30-6:30pm

Room 1

Brain & Behaviour

 

Chair: Dr. Brian Slattery

Rebecca Gaffney

DIFFERENTIAL OUTCOME EFFECTS (DOE) UTILISING PHYSICAL REINFORCEMENT IN THREE-YEAR-OLD CHILDREN

Introduction: The Differential Outcome Effect (DOE) is an increase in accuracy and acquisition of knowledge during a learning task coined the Differential Outcome Procedure (DOP). This procedure involves correct responses to specific stimulus-response pairings being rewarded with different reinforcers (Miller, Waugh & Chambers, 2002). The discriminant reinforcer acts as a cue for a particular response, thus providing an additional discrimination stimulus (Trapold & Overmier, 1969). Previous research has demonstrated a DOE in animals (Trapold, 1970; Urcuioli, 1990), adult humans (Plaza, Esteves, LopezCrespo & Fuentes, 2011) and children as young as 4-years-old (Mike, Overmier, Delos, & Gutmann, 1995). Methods: Using a matching-to-samples task with arbitrary symbols the aim of this experiment was to investigate if a DOE can be elicited in 3-year-olds using physical reinforcement. Results: No significant difference between the level of learning in the control and differential condition. However, results demonstrated that within the differential condition the participants were performing at a level above chance. Conclusion: This does not provide concrete evidence that a DOE is possible, but it does suggest that a DOP may facilitate learning in this population.

 

Amanda Sesker

CONSCIENTIOUSNESS AS A PREDICTOR OF PROBLEM AND EMOTION-FOCUSED COPING

Introduction: Previous research has demonstrated that conscientious individuals utilise problem-solving during stressful situations. Likewise, mindful individuals also tend to favour approach-based coping methods. Could Conscientiousness and mindfulness be consistent determinants of agentic coping behaviour across populations? Methods: hierarchical linear regressions were conducted using data from 782 participants drawn from the National Survey of Midlife Development in the United States (MIDUS) Study II and MIDUS II Biomarker Project. Personality responses were derived from the Five Factor Model inventory, gathered at a single time-point. Results: Conscientiousness predicted problem-focused coping (p=.000; β=.231) and inversely predicted emotion-focused coping respectively (p=.000; β=-.136), even after controlling for remaining Big Five and confounding variables. Mindfulness also predicted problem-focused coping (p=.000; β=.211). Neuroticism predicted emotion-focused coping (p=.000; β=.398). Conclusions: Consistent with previous research, findings suggest that Conscientiousness and mindfulness may contribute to coping responses in healthful ways, highlighting new evidence regarding the potential protective role of Conscientiousness.

 

Stephen Quigley

Bipolar disorder - what's going on in there?

Introduction: Previous Structural Magnetic Resonance Imaging (S-MRI) studies of bipolar disorder have reported variable morphological changes in subcortical brain structures and ventricles. Differences in analytical methodology as well as small heterogeneous samples may account for some of this variation. Methods: The study aimed to establish trait related subcortical volumetric and shape abnormalities in a large and relatively homogenous sample of euthymic bipolar I disorder (BD-I) patients (n=60). Volume and shape metrics were derived from manually segmented S-MRI images. Results: BD-I patients displayed significantly smaller left hippocampal volumes and significantly larger left lateral ventricle volumes compared to controls. Shape analysis revealed an area of contraction in the anterior head and medial boarder of the left hippocampus as well as an expansion in the right hippocampal tail medially in patients compared with controls. Lateral ventricle changes appear not to be regionally specific. Conclusions: The reduction in the head of the left hippocampus in BD I patients is interesting given this region’s link to verbal memory.

 

 

 

Tom Burke

POPULATION BASED NEUROPSYCHOLOGICAL PHENOTYPING IN AMYOTROPHIC LATERAL SCLEROSIS

Introduction: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is fatal, age-related motor-system degenerative condition, characterized by considerable heterogeneity regarding site of onset, rate of motor progression, and cognitive decline. Executive dysfunction is known to occur is ALS, although the decline of auxiliary cognitive processes is less understood.

Method: Patients were recruited as part of an ongoing investigation into the heterogeneous cognitive decline secondary to ALS, recruited through a nationwide clinic. Patients completed a series of neuropsychological tests, and a sub-cluster we also assessed using spectral electroencephalographic and detailed 3T volumetric based neuroimaging methods.

Results: This research highlights the benefit of deep cognitive phenotyping when applied to a single disease/condition. Results illustrate the trajectory, and heterogeneous nature of cognitive decline associated with ALS, and delineates the sub-phenotypes evident in ALS utilizing a multimodal approach.

Conclusion: We highlight the efficacy of neuropsychology and neurocognitive profiling in ALS patients and the translational impact for patients, family caregivers, and health services.

 

 

 

 

 

Room 2

Clinical Psychology

 

Chair: Dr. Sinead Conneely

Paula Hurley

THE LIVED EXPERIENCE OF PEOPLE WITH OBSESSIVE-COMPULSIVE DISORDER (OCD) ATTENDING A COMMUNITY BASED SUPPORT GROUP

Introduction: The objectives of this study were to explore how people with OCD experience a community based support group and how this support impacts on their lives and OCD. Secondly, to gain insight into how Exposure response prevention (ERP) is experienced within the support group. Methods: A purposive sample (n=6) were recruited from an OCD support group facilitated by Clinical Psychologists with the Adult Mental Health Services. Semi-structured interviews were analysed using Interpretative phenomenological analysis to access their lived experience. Results: Five super-ordinate themes were identified; sense of belonging, increased confidence and self- esteem, positive insight, the importance of structure and ERP made easier. Conclusion: Attending a homogeneous OCD support group instilled a sense of belonging which increased participant’s self-esteem and confidence. The participants could plan, modify and enact ERP with significant input from others. These findings suggest an OCD support group could have clinical implications for treatment such as cost-effectiveness and efficiency of therapist’s time.

 

Maebh O’Connor

INTERIM FINDINGS USING THE ‘SEQUenCE’ QUALITY OF CARE INSTRUMENT IN AN

INDEPENDENT IRISH MENTAL HEALTH SERVICE

Introduction: The present study explores Quality of Care (QoC) from a service-user perspective and investigates whether these perceptions predict clinical and social outcomes at 6-month follow-up. Methods: This ongoing investigation was conducted in St. Patrick’s University Hospital. Participants (N=49) were inpatients with a diagnosis of bipolar affective disorder or a psychotic disorder. Participants completed a QoC instrument (SEQUenCE) at baseline. Clinical and social outcomes were assessed at baseline and follow-up. Results: Interim analyses revealed a moderate negative correlation between QoC and Clinical Global Impression (CGI; a clinician-rated assessment) at discharge. This suggests that higher QoC from the service-user perspective is associated with greater clinical improvement from the clinician perspective. Conclusions: The relationship between SEQUenCE and CGI at discharge may reflect that higher QoC has a significant association with likelihood of clinical recovery. SEQUenCE may better enable services to understand and respond to the needs of people experiencing mental health issues; thereby improving clinical outcome.

 

Lisa Coyle

SELF-CARE AT EARLY GRADUATE LEVEL: HOW COMPASSION MIGHT HELP

Engaging in self-care is critical in professional psychology. It is recognised as best practice and a marker of ethical and professional conduct by the code of ethics. While looking after ourselves at the early career and pre-training stages is important, this can be overshadowed by the demands and challenges facing graduates at this stage. Compassion Focused therapy, founded by Professor Paul Gilbert, encourages us to notice, engage with and commit to alleviating our suffering or difficult emotions. Compassion Focused Therapy is introduced in the context of understanding our emotions and looking after ourselves, during the early stages of our careers and beyond.

Sarah Robinson

DRAMA, DISCOURSE AND DILEMMAS: A COOPERATIVE INQUIRY OF A PSYCHODYNAMIC PSYCHODRAMA GROUP

Introduction: This project works in partnership with the National Counselling Service to explore the lived experiences of a psychodrama group for both practitioners and survivors of child abuse that have "graduated" from this group. The research explores both the evolution of the psychodrama group as a service option, and the experience of transition from it once the therapeutic journey ends. Methods: Cooperative inquiry (Heron, 1996) was used, which brought together practitioners, service users and academics in a series of bi-weekly creative to address the research questions which emerged as part of the process. Qualitative analysis was applied to the data (Willig, 1999). Results: Unexpected findings emerged, which include a potential post-NCS service delivery model. Dominant discourses were also uncovered which influence service provision. Conclusions: This research provides a fresh research method with service users and practitioners. Findings indicate how social forces in Ireland influence service provision.

 

 

 

Room 3

Technology & Community

 

Chair: Dr. Ronan Conway

Martina Carroll

CREATING COMMUNITIES THAT PROMOTE DEVELOPMENT

As a former student of Dr. Ger Moane I would like to present a paper largely informed by her work in liberation psychology. It concerns a community psychology project for vulnerable women that I am currently developing in collaboration with Dublin City Council. The aims of the project are to adapt an existing theoretical model for ‘action research’ and ‘community psychology’, and to implement a cost effective evidence based psychological intervention grounded in the core principles of creativity, spirituality and community. The plan is to create a context for development at a new centre for homeless women in Dublin. The Finglas Women's Centre opened its doors to residents a week before Christmas. It comprises a large campus with two residential units run by two different services currently with 55 women residents. The campus has space for community style services including education and training in addition to the project I’m developing, which has been allocated a rent free space that comprises four rooms and access to a courtyard garden. I plan to develop a relaxed creative informal space where arts, crafts, creative writing etc. can be facilitated in addition to facilitated discussions, mindfulness and one on one counselling. I have agreed to provide informal weekly professional development for volunteers and staff. Additionally I have been approved to carry out participatory action research in collaboration with residents subject to their informed consent. The project is an opportunity to offer something more to residents, beyond the usual top down provision of services. There will be meetings with residents to make sure they have a say in what happens and to find out more directly what they'd like to see happen with the premises and how the space might be developed. Residents will be encouraged to engage with local community services and locals will be welcomed on campus to participate in the project. It is hoped that this project will become a model that will be researched and will evolve over time and also that it will be replicated at other locations, not as an alternative to existing mental health services but as a cost effective strategy that will extend opportunities for personal development to those who currently have little or no access to mental health services and also to generate an element of choice for vulnerable individuals currently in the system.

Caragh Hesse Tyson

MOVING INTO THE COMMUNITY: THE BARRIERS AND OUTCOMES FOR ADULTS WITH INTELLECTUAL DISABILITY IN IRELAND

The present study aimed to identify the barriers and outcomes associated with transitioning to the community from institutional settings for a group of adults with intellectual disabilities. Participants were 26 adults with mild to profound intellectual disabilities ranging in age from 18-56 years who were residing in a large-scale residential setting. Adaptive behaviour was measured with the Vineland Adaptive Behaviour Scale: Second Edition (Sparrow, Cichetti&Balla, 2005). Quality of life was measured using the Quality of Life Questionnaire (Schalock& Keith, 2004), through proxy respondents; this was supplemented and validated with direct information from participants. An audit of transitions processes was completed including systemic, organisational and planning factors to identify barriers to transition. Results indicate that moving to the community

does not lead to an improvement in quality of life or adaptive function. Higher levels of non-aggressive challenging behaviour, having a suitable place in the community, the use of person centred planning and the use of a community support plan were associated with transitions occurring. Suggestions are made for the improvement of future transition processes.

 

 

Hollie Duff

THE COSÁN ASSESSMENT AND PLANNING TOOL AT ST MICHAEL’S HOUSE

Cosán is an assessment and planning tool developed by St Michael’s House which is used by frontline staff working with people with significant disabilities. It is seen as a support to the Individualised Planning process. Cosán programmes centre around enhancing skill development and the application of skills in meaningful ways in community settings. The process involves assessment by frontline staff by completing checklists, development of programmes based on these checklists, and regular review of programmes with clinicians. Prior to its development, research within the organisation identified a need for a multi-disciplinary resource which empowered staff and increased staff efficacy. Development of Cosán involved a review of existing checklists for this population and their merging to create a comprehensive checklist which is sensitive to change. Two case studies illustrate the impact of Cosán on staff and on the life of the service user in terms of well-being.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Room 4

Health & Well-being

 

Chair: Dr. Jenny McSharry

Carol Murphy

SELF-REGULATION AND RISKY SEXUAL BEHAVIOURS WHEN ALCOHOL IS A MEDIATOR

Introduction: The study proposes to ascertain if alcohol plays a role in self-regulation, taking factors such as risky sexual behaviour, sexual victimization, alcohol consumption and wellbeing into account. Method: The study aspires to gather 300 NUIG students aged between 18 and 25years old. The participants will be invited to partake in the study which will encompass a series of questionnaires. Results: It is hypothesised that high levels of self-regulation predict later initiation of sexual intercourse, fewer lifetime sexual partners, increased likelihood of contraceptive use and low composite levels of sexual risk. Alternatively, low levels of self-regulation envisage higher overall coital risk. Conclusion: Increased understanding of these pathways promises to inform the development of new theories of sexual risk-taking during adolescence. This study aims to provide evidence that such models would be incomplete if self-regulation was omitted as a personality-level factor.

Siobhan O’Neill

HEALTH, SLEEP AND PSYCHOBIOLOGICAL WELLBEING IN ADOLESCENCE

Literature Review: During adolescence there are changes in psychobiological function that can increase experiences of stress. Sleep patterns also change, shifting toward a later bed time. Studies suggest that the adolescent chronotype shift toward eveningness is indicative of fundamental changes to sleep regulation. Research has also shown that both stress and sleep problems can lead to obesity during adolescence and adulthood. Study Rationale: It is the first study to examine the relationship between stress, sleep and obesity among an Irish

adolescent population. Understanding the main and interactive effects of stress and sleep in adolescence will contribute to models of adolescent health. Study Proposal Outline: The first study incorporates a longitudinal design; at 6 month intervals participants will complete measures of daily stress levels, psychobiological indicators of stress, and sleep and health behaviours.The second study is an online survey which will examine factors that lead to poor sleep quality.

Louise Concannon

THE BARIATRIC JOURNEY

 

Introduction There is a growing body of research relating to the importance of both psychological and social determinants in post-operative well-being following bariatric surgery. This study examines outcomes of bariatric surgery with regard to a number of psychosocial factors including the impact of bariatric surgery on individuals’ intimate and interpersonal relationships. The role of attachment style with regard to its influence on post-operative functioning is also examined. Method Post-surgical outcomes were assessed in a sample of 163 participants, recruited online. Results Significant differences were found between males and females in relation to social support. Post-operative well-being was associated with a higher relationship assessment, greater levels of support and a secure relationship style. Conclusion The bariatric journey consists of both positive and negative aspects of which support and relationships play a central role.

Lisa Murphy

ACCURACY OF BODY SIZE ESTIMATION: A STUDY TO DETERMINE AGE AND SEX DIFFERENCE IN VARIABILITY AMONG A NON-CLINICAL SAMPLE

Introduction: Distortion of the body image is a key factor underlying eating disorders and individuals are consistently inaccurate in estimating their own body size. This research examined accuracy of body size estimation (BSE) in children aged 6-12 years (M = 9.1, SD = 1.93), and analysed the effects of age and sex differences on BSE accuracy. Methods: Participants (N = 119 primary school children) completed visual (figural drawing scales) and verbal (self-report questionnaires) measures to indicate body size judgements. Results: The majority (92%) of participants were inaccurate in estimating their own body size, with a predominance of underestimation, and sex differences evident. Body dissatisfaction and body ideals were different between younger and older child groups. Conclusions: The results are interpreted with reference to health promotion and the education needs of children.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Room 5

Perception & Cognition

 

Chair: Dr. Christopher Dwyer

Sophia Arndt

COGNITION IN TWO LANGUAGES: BILINGUALISM AND SECOND LANGUAGE COMPETENCY AS DETERMINANTS OF COGNITIVE PERFORMANCE

Introduction: The presented project focuses on the correlation between bilingualism and cognition in the context of critical thinking (CT). The main goal is to clarify the influence of dealing with two languages on individual thought processes. Methods: The context of CT will be assessed on a bilingual sample of young adults (students and young adults in managerial positions) in different language sets (Irish-English, English-German, Japanese-Chinese). An assessment will be developed, adopting the Delphi conceptualisation of CT, and administered on the bilingual sample. Conclusions: While research suggests that bilingualism negatively influences verbal skills, further research has shown that there are a broad range of human cognition processes that possess benefits in second language acquisition, such as executive control, including inhibitory control, task switching and conflict processing. The present research will increase the ecological validity of the area due to assessing cross-language differences and cross-cultural differences in critical thinking.

 

 

Joseph Lavelle

THE IMPLICIT RELATIONAL ASSESSMENT PROCEDURE (IRAP) AS A MEASURE OF UNIVERSITY STUDENTS’ ALCOHOL-RELATED IMPLICIT COGNITIONS: THE PREDICTION OF ALCOHOL OUTCOMES AND MALLEABILITY OF ALCOHOLRELATED IMPLICIT COGNITION

Introduction: Research suggests that alcohol-related implicit cognition (measured via the IAT) may be a reliable predictor of students’ alcohol consumption and alcohol-related problems (alcohol outcomes). The present study sought to examine students’ alcohol-related implicit cognition using a potentially superior method: The IRAP and to investigate if this implicit cognition was malleable to a video-based intervention. Methods: Alcohol-related implicit cognition and alcohol outcomes (measured by the IRAP and self-report measures respectively) were measured in undergraduates (n=30). Participants were then exposed to one of two interventions before repeating the IRAP. Results: Participants held an overall positive implicit bias towards alcohol; alcohol-related implicit cognition (implicit positive/negative biases towards alcohol) did not significantly predict alcohol outcomes; alcohol-related implicit cognition was not malleable to a brief video intervention. Conclusions: This dimension of alcohol-related implicit cognition may not predict students’ alcohol outcomes; and video-based interventions may not effectively influence this aspect of alcohol-related implicit cognition.

 

 

James Moroney

SYSTEMATIC REVIEW OF THE INFLUENCE OF MOTIVATION ON SELF-CONTROL STRENGTH

Introduction: Since the early days of research into self-control and ego-depletion, motivation has been viewed as an important factor in conservation and mobilisation of self-control resources. The current research systematically reviews the studies of motivation and ego-depletion and draws conclusion on the effectiveness of motivation on improving self-control strength as well as providing suggestions for future research. Method: A systematic review of the literature was conducted using various permutations of the following search terms; Self-regulation, Self-Control, Motivation, Ego-depletion, Strength, Resource. The search was conducted in the EBSCO, Science Direct and Web of Science databases. 27 studies in total were found to be relevant to our review. Review of the grey literature is ongoing and will be completed in the next 2 weeks. Results and Discussion: Analysis of our results is ongoing and will be completed before presentation of this research on the 28th of February.

 

 

 

Barry Sheppard

INSECT DISGUST: COMPARING INFLUENCE TYPES, GENDER DIFFERENCES AND THE RELATIONSHIPS WITH RIGHT-WING AUTHORITARIANISM AND AGE

Introduction: Research on disgust, to date, has focused on general sensitivity. This experiment looks at disgust related to eating crickets, how it can be influenced and whether social conventionalism age and sex play a part. Methods: A convenience sample of 352 participants completed an online questionnaire including the right­-wing authoritarianism (RWA) scale, a measure of conventionalism. Participants, randomly assigned to groups, viewed an intellectual appeal, text, or a social appeal, video. They rated before and after, as a measure of disgust, their likelihood of eating a cricket or cricket bar. Results: The social appeal group was significantly more likely to eat a cricket bar, but not a cricket. The RWA scale was not found to correlate with the change. No difference was found for sex, and age negatively correlated with initial rating. Conclusions: Results support the role of social influence, but not social conventionalism, in disgust of eating crickets.