Professor, students give presentation

WHEELING – A Wheeling Jesuit University professor and former students presented two research projects at the Society for Psychophysiological Research Conference in Florence, Italy.

Bryan Raudenbush, psychology professor, along with former students Lucas LeMasters and Kelley Asbury, gave the presentation.

The two projects were among 650 presented at the conference.

Raudenbush, along with Allison Burke, Jessica Florian, LeMasters and Sierra Moore conducted research on “The Effects of Sensory Deprivation on Creative Thinking in Relation to General Physiological Arousal.”

Undergraduates rarely have their work accepted for presentation at this conference, according to Raudenbush.

“This conference is as close to what these students will experience in graduate school as you can get,” he said. “This experience gave them a great insight into the complexity and professionalism of our discipline. What our WJU students are realizing is that they are more prepared to participate in these professional opportunities than their peers at other universities.

“Our idea was to place students in the sensory deprivation tank for 50 minutes at a time and administer the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking to see what effects sensory deprivation would have on a person’s creativity,” Raudenbush explained.

Fifty-seven students made two visits to the deprivation tank as part of the study.

“What we found out – you shouldn’t be deprived to be creative,” said Burke. “Others at the conference were excited we chose to use the deprivation tank in this way.”

Raudenbush said even though the results weren’t what they had expected, the project proved educational.

“We found people need to be stimulated to be creative, not deprived,” he said.

The second project the WJU group presented was “Personality Characteristics and Level of Frustration as Related to Physiological Measures.” Asbury, August Capiola, Florian, Megan Jarvis, Moore and Raudenbush conducted this research.

The study looked at how 62 participants reacted when they were given an impossible task. The participants completed the Big Five Personality Inventory and had their blood pressure and pulse recorded prior to completing a frustrating task – “the Impossible Maze.”

“The results showed that participants with higher levels of frustration had lower levels of agreeableness and higher levels of neuroticism than participants categorized as exhibiting lower levels of frustration,” Raudenbush said. “Results also support past research that individuals with higher levels of neuroticism exhibit higher blood pressure when faced with stressors.

“If people understand his or her personality types they can identify what types of tasks frustrate them and then can take measures to reduce stress. It is also a health issue – people who are more likely to become frustrated are at risk of physical and health related diseases.”