CAPS Lab Presents Research to Connecticut Psychological Association

Chuck Sanislow, assistant professor of psychology, brought members of his Cognitive-Affective-Personality-Science (CAPS) Lab to the Connecticut Psychological Association’s annual meeting in Windsor, Conn. Nov. 12. The students presented their research at the meeting. Pictured, from left, are Elizabeth Reagan ’13; Aaron Stern ’11; Chuck Sanislow, Katelin da Cruz ’11 and Ellen Bartolini ’11. The CAPS Lab is supported by Wesleyan, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the National Institute of Mental Health.

Elizabeth Reagan’s and Aaron Stern’s poster, titled “Evaluating Others and the ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ Effect,” examined how well those with high compared to low self-esteem integrated positive and negative perceptions of an important person in their life compared to an inanimate object (their computer) and found that subject participants with high self-esteem were able to rate a significant other more quickly than their computer. The findings suggest the procedure will be helpful for studying patient populations with emotional disorders.

Katelin da Cruz’s and Ellen Bartolini’s poster, titled “Variability in Attentional and the Dot Probe Task,” presented findings from a line of work aimed at disentangling conflicting findings reported in the literature on attention bias toward negative emotions in people suffering from depression and anxiety.

“This was a wonderful opportunity for lab members to gain experience presenting at a professional conference,” Sanislow says. “Liz, Aaron, Katie and Ellen all did a marvelous job on their research, preparing for the conference, and fielding questions from the convention attendees. I overheard several practicing psychologists at the convention comment how findings from both projects were consistent with observations from work with their patients.”