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Full-Text Articles in Psychology

How Occam’S Razor Guides Human Inference, Eugenio Piasini, Shuze Liu, Pratik Chaudhari, Vijay Balasubramanian, Joshua I. Gold Nov 2022

How Occam’S Razor Guides Human Inference, Eugenio Piasini, Shuze Liu, Pratik Chaudhari, Vijay Balasubramanian, Joshua I. Gold

Department of Physics Papers

Occam’s razor is the principle stating that, all else being equal, simpler explanations for a set of observations are preferred over more complex ones. This idea is central to multiple formal theories of statistical model selection and is posited to play a role in human perception and decision-making, but a general, quantitative account of the specific nature and impact of complexity on human decision-making is still missing. Here we use preregistered experiments to show that, when faced with uncertain evidence, human subjects bias their decisions in favor of simpler explanations in a way that can be quantified precisely using the …


“Not Nearly As Bad”: Social Comparisons And The Debt Experience, Ellen Bryer Sep 2022

“Not Nearly As Bad”: Social Comparisons And The Debt Experience, Ellen Bryer

Penn Education and Inequality Working Papers

Despite the growing awareness of the role that families play in the experience of student borrowing, debt is still understood as a private experience. As student debt becomes more widespread, individuals are increasingly likely to know others with student loans, yet questions remain about how others—friends, acquaintances, and colleagues—may shape the way student borrowers make sense of their debt. This study draws on interviews with recent master’s degree recipients to examine how young adults understand their educational debt in relation to others. The author finds that borrowers are enmeshed in “debt dense” social networks that both normalize debt and facilitate …


Building Belonging, Jacob M. Ross Aug 2022

Building Belonging, Jacob M. Ross

Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) Capstone Projects

This project comes from a deep love of the idea of creating cultures of belonging, originating from my own relationship with community, in which my life was saved by the loving generosity of the 12-step community. This connects to contemporary research on both the nature of, and need for, a sense of belonging to something bigger than oneself. This project begins with a review of current literature on the experience of belonging in the workplace, and the influence that feeling a sense of belonging within one’s organization has on well-being. It then goes into an exploration of current interventions that …


Psychedelics, Positive Psychology, And Positive Humanities, Hamide Eygoren Aug 2022

Psychedelics, Positive Psychology, And Positive Humanities, Hamide Eygoren

Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) Capstone Projects

Public and scientific interest in the effect of psychedelic drugs on wellbeing has risen significantly. Preliminary data show that psychedelic drugs, specifically classic psychedelics (DMT, psilocybin, mescaline, and LSD), may have the potential to treat mood disorders and increase wellbeing through their acute subjective effects. The acute subjective effects and enduring effects of psychedelics on wellbeing seem to relate to positive psychological frameworks (e.g., resilience factors and PERMA) considerably. Moreover, optimizing acute subjective effects indicates the importance of set (individual’s internal (mental) factors) and setting (individual’s external factors) in psychedelics administration as moderating factors. A new subfield in positive psychology, …


Organizations As Agents For Well-Being: How An Organizational Orientation To “Do Good” Could Lead To Flourishing, Andrew Frick Aug 2022

Organizations As Agents For Well-Being: How An Organizational Orientation To “Do Good” Could Lead To Flourishing, Andrew Frick

Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) Capstone Projects

It has been proposed that flourishing individuals enable flourishing organizations which leads to a flourishing world. However, is it also possible that by focusing on building a flourishing world a reciprocal elevation of organizational flourishing and individual flourishing can occur? This paper discusses well-being, the progression of research regarding organizational orientation to do good, and mirror flourishing. The amplification effect of virtuousness, along with the heliotropic effect, provide support to the theorized concept of mirror flourishing. In addition, this paper proposes a study design using appreciative inquiry to conduct interviews to better understand how an organization’s orientation to do good …


The Aspiring Entrepreneur Model For Flourishing - A Model Designed To Keep Aspiring Entrepreneurs Engaged, Committed, And Flourishing, Aaron Marcum Aug 2022

The Aspiring Entrepreneur Model For Flourishing - A Model Designed To Keep Aspiring Entrepreneurs Engaged, Committed, And Flourishing, Aaron Marcum

Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) Capstone Projects

The entrepreneurial experience is not for the faint of heart. Due to the stress associated with starting a new business, it can challenge the well-being of even the best intended entrepreneurs, especially those early on in their journey, whom I call aspiring entrepreneurs (AE). It is possible for an AE to flourish, where they thrive and continue to grow through the experience, as long as they invest in certain key well-being dimensions that positive psychology researchers and practitioners have identified as foundational to entrepreneurial flourishing. This paper explores three of these dimensions, (1) purpose in life, (2) autonomy, and (3) …


A Prescription Of Positive Psychology: Bridging The Intention-Behavior Gap In Social Prescribing In The Uk, Jill Rzym Aug 2022

A Prescription Of Positive Psychology: Bridging The Intention-Behavior Gap In Social Prescribing In The Uk, Jill Rzym

Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) Capstone Projects

Although people have intentions to change their behavior, many do not take any action, and this discrepancy is called the intention-behavior gap. Studies estimate the gap is as high as 50%, a figure of some significance in health behavior change. This paper explores the intention-behavior gap in the context of social prescribing in the UK. It looks at the current problems of measurement and evaluation within social prescribing and the potential impact of the intention-behavior gap. The paper also considers the current research addressing the gap and proposes an alternative solution based on a positive psychology framework and positive psychology …


Coping With The Unforeseen: An Investigation Of Character Strengths Of Parents Who Have Children With Life-Altering Diagnoses, Rabiya Karamali Aug 2022

Coping With The Unforeseen: An Investigation Of Character Strengths Of Parents Who Have Children With Life-Altering Diagnoses, Rabiya Karamali

Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) Capstone Projects

Parenting is a challenge role, and it is an even more challenging experience when you have a child with a life-altering diagnosis (LAD). In this investigation, the character strengths of parents of healthy children and parents of children with LADs were measured, as well as their sense of meaning and well-being. We hypothesized that parents of children with LADs might have a different profile of top strengths than parents of healthy children. However, the results revealed no significant differences in character strengths between the two groups of parents, except for the character strength of love of learning. There were significant …


Story As Medicine: Indigenous Storytelling As A Path To Resilience, Siena E. Loprinzi Aug 2022

Story As Medicine: Indigenous Storytelling As A Path To Resilience, Siena E. Loprinzi

Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) Capstone Projects

In many Indigenous communities around the world, storytelling was a central part of life (Erdoes & Ortiz, 1984). Stories were how wisdom was passed on, often from elders to young children; they held lessons and were something that could be ingrained into memory and helped build culture (Doucleff & Greenhalgh, 2019). As a result of the genocide of Native Americans in North America that lasted centuries (Corntassel et al., 2009), their stories changed from lessons of how the world came to be to lessons on how to overcome the deepest levels of grief and adversity. Today, some of the most …


Raising Flourishing Adults: How Positive Psychology Can Help Adolescents Rise Above Stressful Life Events To Lead Flourishing Adult Lives, Devon J. Still Aug 2022

Raising Flourishing Adults: How Positive Psychology Can Help Adolescents Rise Above Stressful Life Events To Lead Flourishing Adult Lives, Devon J. Still

Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) Capstone Projects

Adolescence is a time of dramatic change and growth across multiple systems. Simultaneous development of neural, biological, and social domains of functioning renders adolescence a heightened period of sensitivity to early life experiences. Among these experiences, stressful life events are shown to disrupt the architecture of the developing brain, increasing the risk of future mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety. In this paper, I discuss the risk of adolescence, such as the vulnerabilities to stress, alongside the unique plasticity that creates an opportunity for positive external influences (e.g., family milieu). Finally, I propose a multidimensional construct, known as …


Posttraumatic Growth And Primal World Beliefs Among People Who Have Caused Accidental Death Or Serious Injury, Mark L. O'Brien Aug 2022

Posttraumatic Growth And Primal World Beliefs Among People Who Have Caused Accidental Death Or Serious Injury, Mark L. O'Brien

Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) Capstone Projects

Background. Posttraumatic growth (PTG)—positive changes that people may experience in the aftermath of highly distressing experiences—has been observed in survivors of a variety of events but has not been previously studied among people who have caused accidental death or injury (PCADIs). In addition, questions remain about the role, in PTG, of changes in the assumptive world and the relationships between PTG and distress, personality, and social support. Methods. Participants (N = 528), included PCADIs (n = 44) and a non-trauma comparison group (n = 484), who completed the Primals Inventory and measures of personality, anxiety, and depression. …


Resilience, Accelerated Aging And Persistently Poor Health: Diverse Trajectories Of Health Among The Global Poor, Iliana V. Kohler, Cung Truong Hoang, Vikesh Amin, Jere R. Behrman, Hans-Peter Kohler Aug 2022

Resilience, Accelerated Aging And Persistently Poor Health: Diverse Trajectories Of Health Among The Global Poor, Iliana V. Kohler, Cung Truong Hoang, Vikesh Amin, Jere R. Behrman, Hans-Peter Kohler

Population Center Working Papers (PSC/PARC)

Objectives: This study is among the first to document lifecourse trajectories of physical and mental health across adult and older ages (20-70 years) for a poor sub-Saharan African population having faced frequent and sustained adversities.

Methods: The 2006-19 waves of the Malawi Longitudinal Study of Families and Health (MLSFH) were analyzed using group-based trajectory models (GBTM) to identify trajectories of heath (SF12 mental/physical health and BMI) across the lifecourse. Predictors of trajectory membership were estimated using fractional multinomial logits.

Results: Analyses identified three distinct trajectories: (1) good initial mental/physical health that persisted throughout the lifecourse ("resilient aging"); (2) good initial …


Presence: A Mechanism For Developing Rapport In Physician Interprofessional Engagement, Maura F. Koutoujian Aug 2022

Presence: A Mechanism For Developing Rapport In Physician Interprofessional Engagement, Maura F. Koutoujian

Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) Capstone Projects

Inspired by my work as a coach in an academic medical center, this paper explores the mechanisms of presence and mindfulness as axioms to developing rapport within physician interprofessional engagement. Away from the physician-patient relationship, the focus here is on faculty, physicians, residents, and other clinical providers and how they relate to one another. Transpersonal experiences foster a connectedness of rapport that allows for deeper connection and mutuality. Participation in the mindfulness mechanisms of intention and attention can mitigate negative affective behavior in relationship with oneself and others. Mindful awareness encourages curiosity, presence, and rapport, which support healthy relationships. My …


Virtue Resonance: Friendship In The Context Of Adversity, Christopher J. Baccash Aug 2022

Virtue Resonance: Friendship In The Context Of Adversity, Christopher J. Baccash

Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) Capstone Projects

This capstone examines how adversity and challenge are favorable conditions for developing friendship. In Part I, I provide an overview of positive psychology, and how my capstone topic fits into the science of well being. In Part II I gather the research and literature on friendship from positive psychology, philosophy and evolutionary psychology and bring forward their wisdom on how adversity fosters connection. In Part III, I define adversity, distinguish it from trauma and discuss how friends could seek an appropriate amount of challenge in their shared experiences. Finally in Part IV, I build on several psychological theories to introduce …


Communitas: Building Community Through Leisure And Collective Joy, Louise Wo Aug 2022

Communitas: Building Community Through Leisure And Collective Joy, Louise Wo

Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) Capstone Projects

Relationships and belonging are fundamental needs for well-being. At the same time, our culture is becoming increasingly individualistic and loneliness is pervasive. Our traditional community and relational frameworks, such as religious institutions and associations, are also diminishing. This capstone explores leisure as a possible pathway for building social capital and community well-being. We will look at why leisure activities based in recreation, play and the humanities have the capacity to build community and enduring connections with others, while also having individual well-being benefits. This capstone features some exemplary groups that utilize leisure activities and have built strong communities through positive …


Lunch: A Positive Intervention In The Workplace?‎, Michal Levison, Michal D. Levison Jul 2022

Lunch: A Positive Intervention In The Workplace?‎, Michal Levison, Michal D. Levison

Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) Capstone Projects

Everybody has to eat. In humans, meal eating is typically a social event, and there is a generally positive word, commensality, to describe this fact. Commensality seems to be a situation which promotes bonding. Many people spend one third of their waking hours at work. Lunch is the meal that happens in the middle of most people’s workday and could be an opportunity to create a form of commensality. Bonding enhances well-being. Therefore, it is reasonable to suppose that commensality will improve well-being, including at the workplace. A study was done to see if Americans perceive a commensal situation at …


Get Loony With Play And Other Positive Interventions: Positive Psychology Recommendations And Interventions For The Great Lake Loons, Devon Still, Katherine White, Mark O'Brien, Kimberly Dickman May 2022

Get Loony With Play And Other Positive Interventions: Positive Psychology Recommendations And Interventions For The Great Lake Loons, Devon Still, Katherine White, Mark O'Brien, Kimberly Dickman

Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) Service Learning Projects

The Great Lakes Loons nonprofit minor league baseball team is built on high quality connections among its staff and between its staff and fans. But after a year of stress and uncertainty resulting from Covid-19 and its consequences, the organization confronted challenges including workplace stress and lingering negative emotions and cognitions related to employee downsizing. The organization may benefit from recommended interventions at the individual, organizational, and community level. At the individual level, the Loons may benefit from supporting staff to develop coping mechanisms for stress and positive psychology strategies for increasing hope, optimism, and other aspects of wellbeing. At …


Crafting A Curriculum To Promote Adolescent Flourishing Through Photography, Dacia Carter, Colleen Finnerty, Jennifer Rossano, Abimbola O. Tschetter May 2022

Crafting A Curriculum To Promote Adolescent Flourishing Through Photography, Dacia Carter, Colleen Finnerty, Jennifer Rossano, Abimbola O. Tschetter

Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) Service Learning Projects

SeeingHappy, a nonprofit organization that seeks to use photography to enhance happiness and flourishing, tasked a team from the University of Pennsylvania to develop a well- being curriculum targeting adolescents. This curriculum, Happiness + photography, is rooted in evidence that suggests engagement in the arts and humanities, specifically photography, contributes to well-being through a variety of mechanisms, namely: creating, connecting, noticing, reframing, and storytelling. In addition to targeting adolescent students, the curriculum is geared toward educators for use in the classroom. Experiential learning and personal reflection are central in each lesson plan. With this curriculum in hand, SeeingHappy is …


Greenfield Hsa Service Learning Project, Christine C. Cornwell, Leena M. Taha, Zack D. Mason May 2022

Greenfield Hsa Service Learning Project, Christine C. Cornwell, Leena M. Taha, Zack D. Mason

Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) Service Learning Projects

Albert M. Greenfield Elementary School is a kindergarten to eighth-grade public school in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Greenfield Home and School Association (HSA) is a parent organization whose efforts to support the school include sending weekly informational newsletters and by fundraising for school improvements. The HSA recently has become concerned that Greenfield teachers may be struggling with burnout originating from increasing demands placed upon them by pandemic-related stresses. The HSA asked for help in identifying and evaluating positive psychology interventions that could be used at Greenfield to reduce teacher burnout and increase teacher well-being. Three students from the Master of Positive …


Platform Injustice: Material Imbalances And Epistemic Injustice On Digital Discursive Platforms, Sahaj Singh Apr 2022

Platform Injustice: Material Imbalances And Epistemic Injustice On Digital Discursive Platforms, Sahaj Singh

Penn Journal of Philosophy, Politics & Economics

In this paper, I argue that the existence of material power imbalances in systems of discourse represents a novel concern in the literature on epistemic injustice. This epistemic injustice, which I call Platform Injustice, arises from the undue assertion of agency over the background features of a system of discourse, in order to manipulate, diminish, or magnify the vocalization and reception of speech-acts. First, I demonstrate the unprecedented nature of platform control as an epistemic wrong. Next, I identify case studies of platform injustice in modern social media. Then, I situate platform injustice within Dotson’s typology of epistemic injustices; …


Political Partisanship, Extreme Polarization And Youth Voter Turnout In 2020, Vinay Khosla Apr 2022

Political Partisanship, Extreme Polarization And Youth Voter Turnout In 2020, Vinay Khosla

Penn Journal of Philosophy, Politics & Economics

The 2010s saw a rapid increase in political partisanship and subsequent extreme polarization in the United States and its political institutions and systems. Additionally, political apathy among young adult and teenage voters has long been beleaguered as a source of low voter turnout in the United States, at least comparatively when considering other developed democracies. Considering these points, this research paper seeks to identify whether rising political partisanship and extreme polarization affect the disillusionment of teenage voters in the political process of voting; do these phenomena discourage eligible teenagers from exercising their right to vote? Previous research on the effect …


Investigating Host Countries’ Refugee-Related Policies And Its Effect On Lived Experiences Of Rohingya Refugees, Nichanun Puapattanakajorn Apr 2022

Investigating Host Countries’ Refugee-Related Policies And Its Effect On Lived Experiences Of Rohingya Refugees, Nichanun Puapattanakajorn

Penn Journal of Philosophy, Politics & Economics

Rohingya refugees are one of the most discriminated against and vulnerable populations in the world. As a consequence of being persecuted in their homeland by the Myanmar government, many Rohingya have fled their homes to seek refuge in neighboring countries. However, the acceptance of Rohingya refugees has varied in different locations, resulting in the subpar treatment of the refugees. This paper explores how the host state government’s policy and stance on migrants and migrant protection within a country influences the level of violence faced by Rohingya refugees residing in their country. The host states chosen for the study include Bangladesh, …


For The Economy Or For Security? Using 5g To Explain Federal Intervention In Us-China Technological Competition, Will Matheson Apr 2022

For The Economy Or For Security? Using 5g To Explain Federal Intervention In Us-China Technological Competition, Will Matheson

Penn Journal of Philosophy, Politics & Economics

The United States under the Trump administration shifted federal policy toward greater state intervention in the technology innovation economy in response to perceived advances in this space by the People’s Republic of China (PRC). This shift is noteworthy given the free-market orthodoxy that traditionally defines US politics and has persisted despite similar perceptions of competition from more state-driven economies in the past (e.g., Japan in the 1980s). This paper seeks to understand why this shift in American economic orthodoxy appears to be occurring now, in reaction to Chinese technological innovation. It does so by beginning to investigate the motivations for …


Mask-Wearing And Trustworthiness In A Modified Investment Game: A Pilot Study, Noah Ryan, Joselle Panganiban, Sophia Velasquez, Liam Cook Apr 2022

Mask-Wearing And Trustworthiness In A Modified Investment Game: A Pilot Study, Noah Ryan, Joselle Panganiban, Sophia Velasquez, Liam Cook

Penn Journal of Philosophy, Politics & Economics

Since the early days of the COVID-19 Pandemic, face masks have emerged as a flashpoint of controversy in public discourse. While most Americans appreciate the public health importance of mask-wearing, some view masks as an unwanted imposition; some still, an affront to deep-seated values of individual liberty. In this paper, we present the results of an experiment aimed at assessing what effects, if any, face mask usage has on perceptions of an individual’s trustworthiness. While previous studies have used images of masked faces to elicit survey responses, this experiment used self-reported mask usage as a primer in a modified investment …


A Letter From The Editor, Andrew Liu Apr 2022

A Letter From The Editor, Andrew Liu

Penn Journal of Philosophy, Politics & Economics

No abstract provided.


Applications Of Advanced Statistical Modeling Techniques For Understanding Depression, Colin Xu Jan 2022

Applications Of Advanced Statistical Modeling Techniques For Understanding Depression, Colin Xu

Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations

We conducted three investigations into different facets of major depressive disorder. Chapter One describes the application of hierarchical modeling techniques in combination with the Linguistic Inquiry Word Count to characterize associations between depressed individuals’ emotion regulation strategies and their discrete state emotion. State emotion was associated with emotion regulation strategy selection, independent of the adaptiveness of the coping response. In Chapter Two we investigated the relationship between urban living and depression, using meta-analytic and meta-regression techniques to characterize how this relationship has changed over time across both developed and developing countries. In developed countries, depression prevalence was higher in urban …


Computational Mechanisms Underlying Perception Of Visual Motion, Benjamin Ming Chin Jan 2022

Computational Mechanisms Underlying Perception Of Visual Motion, Benjamin Ming Chin

Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations

Motion is a fundamental property estimated by human sensory-perception. When visual shapes and patterns change their positions over time, we perceive motion. Relating properties of perceived motion—speed and direction—to properties of visual stimuli is an important endeavor in vision science. Understanding this relationship requires an understanding of the computations performed by the visual system to extract motion information from visual stimuli. The present research sheds light on the nature of these computations. In the first study, human performance in a speed discrimination task with naturalistic stimuli is compared to performance of an ideal observer model. The ideal observer model utilizes …


Self-Censorship And Strategic Omission In Moral Communication, Ike Silver Jan 2022

Self-Censorship And Strategic Omission In Moral Communication, Ike Silver

Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations

In their words and actions, people are motivated to appear morally good, socially conscious, and politically correct. Yet while having a reputation for strong moral character can be extremely valuable, cultivating such a reputation can be a tricky business. Indeed, individuals who advertise their commitment to moral causes or who weigh in on hot-button social issues are often met with skepticism or scorn, and sometimes castigated as disingenuous braggarts or tactless virtue-signalers. To date, work in this area has focused primarily on the ways in which people try to broadcast their morality (e.g., by donating time and money, purchasing cause …


Bringing Identity To The Forefront: The Benefits Of Highlighting Identity And Diversity, Erika Laura Kirgios Jan 2022

Bringing Identity To The Forefront: The Benefits Of Highlighting Identity And Diversity, Erika Laura Kirgios

Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations

Prior research overwhelmingly shows that when information about an individual’s marginalized identity is communicated inadvertently (via a name that signals gender or race, for example), that information tends to trigger prejudiced behavior. As a result, both conventional wisdom and extant research suggest that women and racial minorities should obscure or de-emphasize their minority status to reduce their likelihood of experiencing discrimination. In this work, I propose that women and racial minorities might instead benefit from strategically emphasizing their demographic identity. This approach has two potential benefits: when a person’s marginalized identity is made more salient, (1) the potential for discrimination …


Lying, Cheating, And The Social Dynamics Of Ethical Decision Making, Samuel Elliot Skowronek Jan 2022

Lying, Cheating, And The Social Dynamics Of Ethical Decision Making, Samuel Elliot Skowronek

Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations

Unethical behavior in organizations is pervasive. The social and economic consequences of unethical behavior are profound, and a large body of work in economics, psychology, and management has been dedicated to investigating organizational misconduct. Despite increased scholarly interest, there has been a strong methodological convergence in behavioral ethics experiments that has narrowed the scope of ethical decision-making research. In this dissertation, I use novel experimental methods to advance the study of ethical decision making both theoretically and methodologically. In Chapters 1 & 2, I highlight the limits of financially incentivized behavior and demonstrate how fear of shame and fear of …