Learn about Stress and Risk-Prone/Adverse Personalities

The next talk in the Psychology Graduate Research Series, co-hosted by the Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences and NSU’s Center for Psychological Studies (CPS), will include presentations from two students in the college’s M.S. in Experimental Psychology program, Rima Alomari and Isabelle Barbu.

Thursday, Mar. 15
Noon–1:00 p.m.
Parker Building | Room 360

“Acute Stress Sensitizes the Brain: Evoked Cortical Priming to Emotional Pictures and Reduced Attention to Non-Emotional Stimuli,” presented by Rima Alomari

Presentation Abstract

Acute stress alters attention processes and attention to emotional stimuli. Stress-induced increases in corticosteroids are shown to impair selective attention, which impairs the ability to focus on relevant information. In a forthcoming study, Alomari will evaluate participants’ emotional processes through neurophysiological measures and attentional processes through behavioral measures after exposure to stress. This talk will discuss the prediction that, consistent with previous research, stress sensitizes the brain for increased processing of salient environmental cues and alters attention to non-emotional cues. This “emotional priming” is due to the adrencortical influence on cognition, specifically in attention. Alomari is working under the guidance of faculty adviser Jaime Tartar, Ph.D., associate professor and coordinator of psychology research in the college.

“Sex and Drug Risk Behaviors Among College Students: The Role of Perceived Control,” presented by Isabelle Barbu

Presentation Abstract

As young adults embark on the journey of college and, perhaps, living on their own for the first time, they may encounter novel situations. While college life can teach students how to become responsible adults, a number fall prey to dangerous situations that may carry lifelong negative consequences. Students may begin experimenting with drugs, alcohol, and sex. However, there are certain personality variables—such as perceived control, self-efficacy, and time orientation—that can protect individuals from engaging in dangerous behaviors and help them avoid risky situations. In this presentation, Barbu will examine some of these and discuss a series of hypotheses for her forthcoming research on this topic. Barbu is working under the guidance of faculty adviser Myron Burns, Ph.D., assistant professor in the college.

The Psychology Graduate Research Series is free and open to the public. Pizza will be served. For more information, contact Jaime Tartar, Ph.D., at (954) 262-8192.

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