Butler trip 2014

On Friday, Profs. Olofson and Schmitzer-Torbert traveled with the senior Psychology majors to attend the 2014 Butler Undergraduate Research Conference.  A total of 23 students presented the results of their year-long senior capstone research projects, presenting either a 15 minute oral presentation, or in an hour-long poster session.

It was a busy day, with Fracisco Huerta delivering the first Wabash talk at 8:45am, and Brad Wise capping the end of the day at 4:30pm. The seniors all did an excellent job presenting their work, and it was satisfying to see the results of their capstone research: projects that were begun in the fall of 2013, if not earlier. The Butler URC is a diverse conference, with about 500 presentations were scheduled for the day, from 45 different college and universities.

After the conference, Profs. Gunther, Aubele-Futch and Rush met up with the group at Abyssinia on 38th street to celebrate with Ethiopian cuisine before returning to campus. It was a busy day, but a great way to cap the senior research projects.

And, it was great preparation for the last Psychology event of the year, the Psychology Research Symposium (Thursday, April 24th, 5pm in Detchon International Hall), where our seniors will present posters based on their capstone projects.  Following the poster session, we will have a keynote, delivered by Barron Hewetson ’08, who will be speaking about his career path from a psychology major at Wabash to pursuing graduate studies in biological engineering at Purdue.

Some photos from the day are posted on the Psychology Department Facebook Page:



And, the seniors who presented, and their presentation titles are all listed below:


  • Francisco HuertaCompetition and the Effects on Interpersonal Interactions
  • Shane Brown & James LaRoweHow the Number of Competitors Moderates Performance Between Avoidant and Approach Motivated Individuals
  • Alex HirschNarcissism and the Moderating Effect on Performance and Competition
  • Andy WalshDwell Time in Preschoolers During Nonverbal Theory of Mind Tasks
  • Bobby ThompsonMaternal Mind Mindedness, a Predictor of Theory of Mind
  • Connor O’RearThe Effects of Scaffolding on Children’s Dwell Time in an Implicit False Belief Locations Task
  • Kenton Armbruster & Patrick MarlattValidation of Self-Paced Slide Shows as an Implicit Measure of Theory of Mind
  • Spencer BurkThe Effects of Rivalry on Competitive Performance
  • Spencer PetersAlcohol and Impulsivity
  • Joel BeierAn Investigation into the Effects of Hangover on Memory
  • Fidel OjimbaThe Effects of Video Games on Stress Through Testosterone and Cortisol Activation
  • Trevor YoungEffects of PHA-543613 on the Rodent Anterior Cingulate Cortex: a Study in Rodent Schizophrenia
  • Jacob OwensHow Changing the Contrast of a Visual Stimulus Affects Neuronal Responses in Humans
  • Andrew FultonThe Effects of Local Administration of Flutamide and Fulvestrant in the Right Orbitofrontal Cortex on Impulsive Decision-Making in Male Rats
  • Nathan BryantThe Effects of the Serotonin Agonist Sumatriptan on Aggression in a Neutral Cage in Adult Male Rats
  • Brad WiseThe Impact of Estrogen on Risky Decision-Making in Female Rats


  • Jorge Diaz-Aguilar & Marc EscobedoFacebook and Narcissism
  • Jonathan AnleitnerA Parent Report to Measure Earlier Developments in Children’s Theory of Mind
  • Andrew GibsonThe Impact of Empathy in Physician-Patient Relationships on Malpractice Lawsuits
  • Rudy DuarteThe Relationship between Color Vision and Sleep


Juniors present in Chicago

There is no rest for the weary psychology major at Wabash: on the Friday of finals week this year, junior psychology majors Connor O’Rear ’14 and Jacob Owens ’14 traveled to Chicago to present their summer research projects with Dr. Schmitzer-Torbert.  Their poster was presented in the Psi Chi poster session of the Midwestern Psychological Association’s annual meeting, and was titled: Facilitation of habit-learning by post-training infusion of cocaine into the infralimbic cortex.

Owens and O’Rear at their MPA poster.

Previous work by other Wabash students had shown that addictive drugs, such as cocaine, could bias rats towards the use of habitual behaviors in a lever pressing task, and that damage to the prefrontal cortex could block this effect.  O’Rear and Owens presented the results of their summer internships, in which they tested if directly injecting cocaine into the prefrontal cortex could have the same effect on habit learning (as giving the cocaine to the whole brain through systemic injections).

The research project, including the summer internship positions, was funded by a grant by the National Institute of Drug Abuse to Wabash College.  Funds to support O’Rear and Owen’s travel to Chicago was provided by a grant from Wabash’s Undergraduate Research Celebration Committee.

Other Wabash students who also worked on this research project in summer internships include  include Josh Stowers ’14, and recent grads Steven Apostolidis ’12, Drew Casey ’12, Romeo Amoa ’13, Xumin Sun ’13.