Social Sciences, Humanities, and Arts 1

Police Income, Gender Inequality, and Union Membership

Xiaoshuang Iris Luo
Criminology, Law and Society
Research has found a meaningful income gap between males and females across several occupational settings and this is also true within law enforcement. As more female workers enter the criminal justice system, it is important to revisit and update these patterns of gender inequality to account for the changing gender dynamics within this occupation. Using Current Population Survey data (1976-2018), I document the gender differences in pay among police over the past 42 years, while accounting for how unions and unionization shape police pay in a gendered way. As a public sector occupation, police officers experience income advantage compared to general working population. However, female police officers earn much less than their male counterparts and the magnitude of this income disadvantage has slightly declined over the past four decades. Female police officers also experience a large motherhood income penalty. Moreover, while union membership increases the average income within this occupation, it is also associated with an increase in the gender pay gap.

Music to My Ears: A Proposed Intervention for Speech Discrimination in Noise

Alexandria Weaver
We live in a world rich with sounds. Unfortunately, as we age the risk of experiencing hearing loss increases. Having trouble hearing makes it difficult to enjoy talking with friends and family, respond to warnings, and can affect our overall wellbeing. Even mild hearing loss as a natural result of aging is associated with an increased risk of developing dementia. Although hearing aids have been revolutionary, they are unable to help individuals discriminate speech in noisy environments. In my research, I explore how musical training impacts cognitive functions as a means to improve skills that are outside of training specific areas. Here I will discuss an intervention I am creating to improve one’s ability to process speech in noisy environments.

Is Being Grateful the Key to Happiness? A Meta-Analytic Review of the Relationship Between Dispositional Gratitude and Well-Being

Florencio Portocarrero
Organization and Management – Business School
This paper reviews and analyzes the extant literature to provide a better understanding of the role of dispositional gratitude on well-being. First, we evaluate the association between dispositional gratitude and mental well-being as a function of various categories (i.e., positive, negative), dimensions (i.e., subjective, psychological), and indicators (i.e., life satisfaction, happiness, stress). Our meta-analytic results from aggregating 325 effect sizes from 119 independent samples (N=75,808) provide evidence that dispositional gratitude is moderately to strongly correlated with well-being, but that the strength of these associations vary (e.g., dispositional gratitude has a stronger association with depression than anxiety). Second, we examine potential moderators of the association between dispositional gratitude and well-being, such as country-level religiosity and individualistic orientation, and sample-level gender and age. Third, we examine our findings in context by comparing our results to those of two prior meta-analyses which assess the relationship between personality variables and subjective well-being (DeNeve & Cooper, 1998; Steel, Schmidt, & Schultz, 2008). We conclude that dispositional gratitude is one of the best predictors of subjective well-being.

Breaking Noh: Ishimure Michiko’s Shiranui as Activism Against Tradition

Sara Newsome
East Asian Studies
Although perhaps best known as a novelist for “Paradise in the Sea of Sorrow, ” late writer-activist Ishimure Michiko dabbled in many other forms of mixing activism with pre-modern styles of Japanese literature, including tanka poetry and Noh plays, of which two have been published: “Shiranui” in 2004 and “Okonomiya” in 2016. As Noh plays, they adhere to some semblance of a traditional Noh structure, with set characters such as the shite and waki, and the use of a Noh chorus. Noh costuming and sets are used in their production, as well as famed Noh actors. But both of these plays also break with tradition in their structure, performance and content. In this presentation, I examine Ishimure’s play “Shiranui,” inspired by the Chisso Corporation’s poisoning of the Shiranui Sea which led to the acute mercury poisoning we now refer to as “Minamata Disease.” Ishimure harnesses the traditional religious and didactic nature of Noh in her play “Shiranui” to shame humankind for poisoning the sea– but ultimately it is the act of “breaking” Noh– that is, not following the traditional structure of Noh– the is rebellious and activist in and of itself.

The Role of Media Exposure Before Hurricane Irma in Miami Residents’ Acute Stress in its Aftermath

Adebisi Akinyemi
Psychological Science
The media plays an important role in providing necessary information about the threat of a severe weather event. However, repeated exposure to sensationalized media before a storm may contribute to post-storm distress. We conducted a hierarchical regression analysis to examine the amount of variation in Miami-metro area residents’ (N = 102) post-Hurricane Irma acute stress that is explained by their pre-landfall exposure to anxiety-provoking tweets from NWS Miami’s Twitter account (@NWSMiami) over and above other predictors (hours of media exposure, evacuation behavior, Hispanic ethnicity, and gender). We found that the other predictors explained 27% of the variation in acute stress, R2 = .27, F(4,93) = 8.56, p < .001. Adding exposure to anxiety-provoking tweets to the model improved the amount of variation explained in acute stress by 9%, R2 = .36, F(5,92) = 10.24, p < .001. Exposure to anxiety-provoking tweets was a significant positive predictor of acute stress, b = 22.28, β = .31, p = .001. Hours of media exposure (b = .04, β = .35, p < .001), evacuation behavior (b = .60, β = .32, p < .001), and gender (b = .36, β = .22, p = .01) were also significant positive predictors while Hispanic ethnicity (b = .18, β = .11, p = .20) was not significant. These results suggest that exposure to anxiety-provoking media in advance of a natural disaster may increase acute stress in its aftermath.

Memory Madness

Karen Arcos
Cognitive Sciences
We investigate whether and how different senses impact short-term memory (STM) and working memory (WM) in blind and sighted humans. People who are blind have superior STM relative to the sighted. Braille’s influence on memory in blind individuals is less clear. Braille is a written code for the blind, in which raised dot patterns felt with the fingertips represent characters.
Sighted participants and legally blind participants were recruited. We examine how well blind and sighted individuals retain and manipulate information gained through visual, auditory, and tactile senses. Thus far, blind individuals remember more than the sighted for heard items. Whereas sighted participants have better STM for seen versus heard items, the blind remembered roughly the same number of items whether they were heard or read in braille. Notably, blind individuals have somewhat better WM. Whereas sighted individuals recalled fewer items when listing items in reverse order (a WM measure), blind individuals performed equally well regardless of order. Finally, everyone, blind or sighted, did worse on tasks that required discarding and updating items to-be-remembered.
Findings from my research will help us better explain how memory interacts with information from the various senses. This research also has potential to improve teaching approaches. WM is predictive of academic achievement (Alloway & Alloway, 2010). Understanding how individuals with different sensory capacities manipulate information may aid in developing useful educational products, such as devices that show multiple lines of print and braille. This, in turn, has potential for significant impact on young people’s access to information across academic disciplines such as STEM fields. Ultimately, my work has potential to guide policy intended to increase the 30% employment rate among the blind.

Waves of Emotion: Getting a Feeling for Ocean Education

Maureen Jenne Purcell
Social Ecology Core

This project investigated the landscape of motivations, strategies, and goals of informal ocean science centers in Orange County, Ca. The objective was to understand how ocean education is put into action on-the-ground across the county, and how cohesive the expectations for outcomes are within the environmental education for sustainability framework.

Making progress on global environmental goals is said to depend, in no small part, on education. How do we move people to take action or behave differently through education? What are folks on-the-ground doing to make this happen? Looking at the motivations, strategies, and goals of organizations that apply education in such a specific niche as ocean education, can help better understand what kind of progress can be expected as an outcome of education efforts.

The results of such studies are of use to practitioners, decision makers, and researchers alike. Understanding the strategies being used and niches being filled allows practitioners to make more informed decisions as to where and how to direct their own efforts. From a policy and funding standpoint, it’s also helpful for decision-makers to know the challenges educators are facing and what their true motivations are. This establishes a more grounded starting point for supporting the centers’ efforts. Aside from expanding understanding of the practice of environmental education amongst environmental education researchers, this study also reveals points at which research from social movements literature may help inform or bolster understandings of strategies and outcomes of efforts such as environmental education that aim to move people to action.


Location: Emerald Bay A Date: April 26, 2019 Time: 10:30 am - 12:00 pm