Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Jenny Whittemore Fremlin completes dissertation in the School of Psychology

Sense of Community in a Mediated World -- Jenny Whittemore Fremlin
Review of the Literature – Part A

As Internet use becomes more prevalent and access to existing social relationships expands through the use of media, the landscape of community changes. This literature review begins with a broad look at the implications of mediated communities on social interactions. It then provides a review of well-established and emerging sense of community theories and a chronological exploration of scales. Communities in general and massively multiplayer online gaming communities in particular are reviewed across psychology and related social science literature. With this literature review, a need for research on sense of community across multiple communities including social digital games is identified. The literature review concludes that psychological research has been limited in consideration of online communities by categorizing them only based on their mediated nature. It suggests a need for research comparing differences between a variety of communities and an exploration of how members conceptualize sense of community within those communities.

Keywords: sense of community, Brief Sense of Community Scale, online community, virtual community, mediated community, changing community, factors of sense of community, World of Warcraft, MMOG, guilds, social media

Sense of Community in a Mediated World - Part B

Although feelings of sense of community differ within community types such as neighborhoods and interest-based communities, research continues to address online communities as a single concept due to their mediated nature. This study measures sense of community across online and offline communities, starting with teams of players in an online game, to look for differences by community type. Results indicate that guilds, the online game teams, show significantly higher sense of community scores than participant-identified online communities, which mostly include social news sites and social networks. Both guilds and online communities have significantly higher scores than neighborhoods. Participants identified an additional community, labeled communities of choice, that include online and offline groups composed mainly of gaming groups and professional communities. Communities of choice sense of community scores are not significantly different from guilds but do have significantly higher scores than both online communities and neighborhoods. Text analysis of open-ended responses shows that traditional factors are primary identifying elements of sense of community across all community types despite some differences between communities.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Fielding student Tonya L. Bennett and faculty member Henry V. Soper present research poster at Fielding's Winter Session 2012

Differential Effects of Intellectual Level on Age Related Declines in Intelligence -- Tonya L. Bennett, Student, School of Psychology and Henry V. Soper, Faculty, School of Psychology

Though intellectual declines with age have long been acknowledged, the question of interest here is the differential loss of functioning over the years among those of above and below average intelligence. Methods: We decided to compare the performances of the different age groups to those just entering adulthood at age 16. We used a current adult intellectual assessment scale, the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-IV. Scores which would result in average (index = 100), superior (120) and low average (80) for each age were compared using the normative data for 16-year-olds. Results: Full Scale scores for the lower two groups start to drop after age 45, and by age 80 average functioning is equivalent to the borderline or lower range for 16-year-olds. The Full Scale IQ (FSIQ) scores for the superior group actually rise on the order of 10 points and remain above the initial score to about age 55, whence a slow decline begins. Vocabulary score held well for all groups, and verbal comprehension held almost as well. Perceptual reasoning showed declines after mid-adulthood. Working memory, surprisingly, held well into the 70s for each group, but the expected drop in processing speed after age 45 was observed. Conclusions: This study showed the expected and previously observed intellectual decline of those of average and below intelligence, but the results indicate that those who start in the superior range hold overall ability and actually improve in FSIQ scores over the working years.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Carter J. Haynes completes dissertation in the School of Human and Organizational Development

Merton’s Approach to Spiritual Development: A Hermeneutic Reappraisal of Thomas Merton’s Approach to Spiritual Development -- Carter J. Haynes

Carter J. Haynes is an Adjunct Professor of Psychology at William Jessup University

This dissertation is about the tenets of spiritual development outlined in Thomas Merton’s writings. Merton (1915 – 1968) was a monk, scholar, author, spiritual practitioner, and mystical theologian. Beginning with the research question: “What is Thomas Merton’s contribution to the theory and practice of spiritual development as found in some of his selected writings on community vs. solitude, contemplative vs. “mental” prayer, and knowledge of self vs. knowledge of God?” I interrogate several veins of literature. These include previous scholarly investigation of Merton and his writings, spiritual development, spiritual direction; Merton’s intellectual, philosophical, and theological heritage; and his monastic and spiritual heritage. Using three selections from Merton’s corpus as data, I employ hermeneutic phenomenology, including Gadamer’s three levels of hermeneutic understanding, and analytical commentary to study objectively and react subjectively to three passages, one each from Merton’s books, letters, and journals. I ascertained Merton’s contribution to the theory and practice of spiritual development in sufficient detail to produce several findings and a model of spiritual development that describes the relationships between the themes of the study (from the research question), some of Merton’s other concepts, and the contributions of other theorists who have studied Merton or spiritual development. Previous Merton scholarship has failed to offer any coherent and comprehensive description of Merton’s views on spiritual development that is both methodologically sound and psychologically informed. The current study successfully fills a gap in the literature by examining Merton’s writings using accepted methodological tools, considering Merton’s thought in the light of other theories of spiritual and psychological development, and offering both a narrative description and model of the major elements of Merton’s approach to spiritual and psychological development.

Key Words: Thomas Merton, Spiritual Development, Contemplation, Spiritual Direction

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Fielding students Tonya L. Bennett and Casey J. Dawson, and faculty member Henry V. Soper present research poster at Fielding's Winter Session 2012

Neuropsychological Analysis of the Visual Organization Test

Tonya L. Bennett, Student, School of Psychology, Casey J. Dawson, Student, School of Psychology and Henry V. Soper, Faculty, School of Psychology

Objective. Preliminary work suggested that the item percept often can be determined by only one of the two to four elements in each stimulus array, and “Visual Organization” is not needed. Those with weakness on the right side of the brain might well tend to look at individual items to determine the target, and, hence, with poor visual organization skills would still get several answers correct. Method. The 100 individual items composing the 30 stimuli for the VOT were presented individually to 191 adults, including 44 college students, all with no known neurological impairments. This was followed by the standard administration of the 30-item VOT, on which most performed well (mean = 25.4, SD = 2.92). The 100-item presentation was administered through a booklet form. Results. The prior results were confirmed. For 16 of the 30 stimuli there was at least one element that alone sufficed for correct identification of the stimulus at least 90% the time, rendering “visual organization” not necessary. Also, for 24 of the items one element results in a correct score of at least half the time. Conclusions. The VOT has proven to be an excellent test to determine brain damage. Just because identification can be made from a single item, our patients do not necessarily do it, but these results do call into question the “Visual Organization” aspect of the VOT. On the other hand, other gestaltic principals may be called into use when using only a single element for making a response.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Fielding students Leah Barreca, Chad Brownfield and Malena Castillo present research poster at Fielding's Winter Session 2012

An Exploratory Study: Accurate Assessment of Alcohol Abuse and Treatment by Mental Health Practitioners.

Leah Barreca, Student, School of Psychology, Chad Brownfield, Student, School of Psychology, and Malena Castillo, Student, School of Psychology

Fielding doctoral students in the clinical psychology program belonging to the addiction study work group with Dr. Marilyn Freimuth have complied data with regard to various factors that contribute to mental health practitioners ability to identify alcohol use and misuse. Mental health practitioners were given a questionnaire that addressed their attitudes about drinking, personal history with alcohol, experience treating alcohol and drug abuse, opinions on effective treatment methods and anticipated treatment approach to the individuals in the vignettes probvided. Vignettes were given which depicted examples of both harmful drinking and symptoms of alcohol abuse. Vignettes were repeated with substance dependency and substance abuse. Of the participants that were given the Harmful Drinking vignette, 65% indicated that they would treat the individual’s alcohol use in therapy at this time. Seventy one percent of participants who were given the Substance Dependent Vignette indicated that they would treat the individual’s alcohol use in therapy at this time. We were also interested in the primary goal of therapy if the participants’ choose to treat the individual’s alcohol use in therapy. Of the participants’ that received the Harmful Drinking vignette and chose to provide therapy, 56% of those participants’ chose primary goals other than abstinence, reducing the amount, and limiting negative consequences. Of the participants’ that received the Substance Dependence vignette and chose to treat the alcohol use in therapy at that time, 43% indicated that they would have a primary goal other than abstinence, reducing the amount, and limiting negative consequences. In addition, 34% of participants indicated that they would choose a primary goal of abstinence for the individual described in the Substance Dependent vignette. 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Fielding faculty member Jonathan Cabiria publishes book chapter in Reinventing Ourselves: Contemporary Concepts of Identity in Virtual Worlds

Virtual worlds and identity exploration for marginalized people -- Jonathan Cabiria

This chapter looks at the positive benefit of utilizing online social environments by marginalized people for identity development.

Cabiria, J. (2011). Virtual worlds and identity exploration for marginalized people. In A. Peachey and M. Childs (Eds.). Reinventing Ourselves: Contemporary Concepts of Identity in Virtual Worlds. UK: Springer

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Deidre M. Pettinga completes dissertation in the School of Psychology

Media, Vengeance and Litigation: Exploring the relationship between plaintiff attorney advertising and attitudes toward personal injury lawsuits -- Deidre M. Pettinga

Deidre Morton Pettinga is an Assistant Professor of Marketing at the University of Indianapolis School of Business.

This study sought to examine the relationship between attitudes toward plaintiff’s attorney television advertising and attitudes toward personal injury litigation. In addition, the study examined the personality construct of vengeance to determine if there was a mediating factor affecting individuals’ reactions to this advertising. The study measured the same population targeted by this form of advertising; the sample included 200 adults, aged 18 and older, living in the Indianapolis metropolitan area. The results demonstrate that there is a statistically significant relationship between this form of television advertising and positive attitudes about the act of filing a personal injury lawsuit. The results further detail the statistically significant contribution of vengeance, advertising, and income on attitudes toward personal injury litigation. Previous studies have separately examined legal services advertising and vengeful behaviors. However, none has examined whether or not a desire for vengeance factors into the manner in which consumers receive and/or react to plaintiff’s attorney advertising.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Fielding faculty member Jonathan Cabiria publishes book chapter in Media Psychology

The chapter focuses on how we interact with each other using the social net.  Includes sections on how stigmatized groups use online social sites for support and identity development.

Cabiria, J (2011). The Internet and interaction. In G. Brewer (Ed.), Media Psychology. London: Palgrave- MacMillan.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Fielding graduate Kathy Cowan Sahadath will present at the Academy of Management Annual Meeting

Kathy Cowan Sahadath, MBA, MA, PhD (HOD 2010) has had a professional development workshop submission accepted by the Academy of Management for their 2012 Annual Meeting August 3 -7 in Boston, Mass. To be presented jointly by Drs. Kathy Cowan Sahadath, Dr. Dawn-Marie Turner, and Dr. Lysbeth van Silfhout. Dawn Marie is the founder and current chair of the International Council on Organizational Change with Kathy and Lysbeth as current members.

The session is entitled "Less Communication and More Conversation: Using Conversation to Facilitate Organizational Change" and focuses on:

1. The role communication plays in affecting the outcome of an organizational change initiative.

2. The natural rhythm of conversation that occurs during change.

3. The use of the guided conversation technique as a practical and effective tool for facilitating change in an organization change.

The Academy of Management (the Academy; AOM) is a "leading professional association for scholars dedicated to creating and disseminating knowledge about management and organizations". We are excited to be given the opportunity to demonstrate the use of conversation as the primary means of communication for enabling intentional change with academy members from colleges, universities, and research institutions, as well as practitioners from business, government, and not-for-profit organizations.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Fielding graduate Laura Berger publishes book

Fall In Love Again, Every Day: 3 Steps to True Connection for Any Couple -- Laura Berger and Glen Tibaldeo

Relationships are difficult until you experience the simplicity of Fall in Love Again, Every Day! In the interview, Laura Berger and Glen Tibaldeo discuss on ABC WPLG South Florida the technique of Write/Read/Relate to fall in love again, every day.

What would it take to start moving your relationship from "remember when" to "joy is now?" Maybe a year or more of counseling or six months of meandering effort? How about an hour read?

Glen Tibaldeo and Laura Berger bring their authentic experience to Fall in Love Again, Every Day, explaining a tried, true, and swift communication technique that has been handed down from generation to generation and yet remains a gem hidden from the masses. Using this one practice, your partner and you will be brilliantly surprised at the level of connection that can be created within 14 days. 50 questions are presented at the end of this straightforward and short read to get you started.

Dispel the myth that the most important victories in life have to be difficult. You can fall in love again, every day and have a fun, growing relationship in no time.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Fielding faculty member Francine Campone publishes article in Coaching: An International Journal of Theory, Research and Practice

Life's Thumbprint:  The Impact of Significant Life Events on Coaches and Their Coaching -- Francine Campone

Coaches do not come to their practice as a 'tabula rasa' - a blank slate.  While studies provide evidence that coaches come from diverse backgrounds, training and experiences  (Grant and Zackon, 2004; Liljenstrand and Nebecker 2008; Bono et al. 2009) ),  it is not clear what impact diverse life experiences have had on  coaches' skills, professional evolution or presence in their coaching practice.  To investigate this, a small group of coaching researchers and practitioners  adapted the survey instrument used in a global, long-term study of the development of psychotherapists (Orlinsky and Ronnestad, 2005) to serve as the basis for a parallel, long-term study of the development of coaching practitioners.  The present article documents the results of the pilot survey with a focus on one qualitative question that was added to examine coaches รข€˜ perceptions of critical life events and how these life events influence their coaching.  This article represents the first study results from a planned long-term, global study of the development of coaches.

Campone, Francine and Awal, Deepa. (2012) Life's Thumbprint:  The Impact of Significant Life Events on Coaches and Their Coaching.   Coaching: An International Journal of Theory, Research and Practice.  vol. 5, #1  March 2012

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Fielding faculty member Jonathan Cabiria publishes book chapter in Cases in online interview research

Interviewing in virtual worlds: An application of best practices -- Jonathan Cabiria

Describes best practices for online interviewing in virtual spaces. Includes examples special considerations using participants form diverse populations.

Cabiria, J. (2011). Interviewing in virtual worlds: An application of best practices. In J. Salmons (Ed.), Cases in online interview research. Thousand Oaks: Sage.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Adriana Kipper-Smith completes dissertation in the School of Psychology

What Psychologists Report Learning from Their Clients: Cross-Cultural Comparison of North American and Brazilian Psychologists -- Adriana Kipper-Smith, Ph.D., Post-Doctoral Resident at Vanderbilt Psychological and Counseling Center, Nashville, TN


There is relatively little research on what psychologists learn from their therapy clients. Based on a protocol from Hatcher et al. (2010), this qualitative, cross-cultural design study investigated what psychologists from North America (United States and Canada) and Brazil report learning from their psychotherapy clients. This subject was explored across the following domains: general wisdom, relationships, resolving moral or ethical dilemmas, coping mechanisms, courage, the relationship between personality and psychopathology, cultural differences, and developmental life stages. These domains were investigated across different cultures: North America, figuring two individualistic cultures, and Brazil, a collectivist culture.

Particularly in the United States, a growing diversity has inevitably demanded therapists to face clinical issues and cultural backgrounds that are different from the mainstream culture (Leong & Lee, 2006). Increasing psychotherapy expertise requires greater multicultural competency (Jennings, D’Rozario, Goh, Sovereign, Brogger, & Skovholt, 2008). Additionally, cross-cultural research between Latin American countries and non-Latin North America is greatly needed. As a Latin American nation, Brazil holds an increasing status as a global force, representing a strong point of departure for the evaluation of many variables that are also pertinent to the rest of the world (Pearson & Stephan, 1998; Vistesen, 2008), particularly to other collectivist cultures. The analysis of participants’ narratives indicated that nearly all the categories that emerged from Brazilian participants contained references to the social role of psychotherapy or psychoanalysis, or to the context of private practice and contemporary subjectivity. In contrast, only very few categories of this nature emerged from North American participants. The findings from this research have confirmed the importance of highlighting Brazilian and North American cultural contexts in psychology, as mediums for a better comprehension of the immense complexity present in the territory of cross-cultural psychology. While the territory of psychology in Brazil seems to be part of a more flexible culture that still understands psychology more as art than science, and psychologists seem to be culturally expected to play a major role in the enhancement of the collective subjectivity, North American participants seem to be more focused on the structural and scientific sphere of the discipline of psychology, as they more often referred to components of the therapeutic process and individual personalities, such as coping mechanisms, self-esteem, resilience, relationship and communication processes, psychopathology, personality style, and personal power. The voices of North American and Brazilian participants seemed to reiterate the paradigms of North American and Brazilian psychological contexts, as they expressed the contours of individualistic and collectivistic practices. Finally, the statements of Brazilian and North American participants are powerful evidence of the role psychotherapy has on the therapists’ lives. This dissertation has promoted the construction of a cultural “quilt” that enlightens not only how therapists of varied stages of professional development experience their learning with clients, but also how they perceive such an influence across different cultures.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Lawrence Wah Pong completes dissertation in the School of Educational Leadership and Change

Journey of a Thousand Miles Leading to an Acculturated Self: The Autoethnography of a Chinese American Immigrant -- Lawrence Wah Pong

This autoethnography is about a Chinese American’s experiences from early childhood to recent years, and it relates immigration from China to acculturation into American society. It is my story, presented as a scholarly personal narrative of my life experiences beginning with my birth in 1948 as an American citizen born on Chinese soil; living in America throughout the latter half of the 20th century as a Chinese American immigrant; and ending with my thoughts and reflections on my current status as a 21st century “model minority” American citizen. This autoethnography spans the time period from the late 1940s to the present, narrating my heretofore untold story of revolution, survival, transoceanic migration, discrimination, hardships, identity crisis, coping strategies, hopes, dreams, and accomplishments. It is ultimately also the scholarly life narrative of anyone who has been “in my shoes,” connected by history, Chinese cultural heritage, and the circumstances which forced their immigration to the United States of America. The first chapter points to the uniqueness of Chinese culture which has enabled Chinese immigrants to survive and thrive in a hostile Eurocentric and nativistic American society from the mid-19th to the early 20th centuries. This chapter notes that within the past half century, historians and social scientists have greatly expanded the knowledge base of published literature relative to Chinese American immigrant history and socio-cultural development. Adding to that rapidly growing knowledge base, Chinese American authors have written personal accounts of lived experiences in the form of memoirs or autobiographies, and these genres are currently gaining popularity. Few of these publications, however, are autoethnographies. In chapter 2, I review literature about the history of Chinese American immigrants; the discrimination and injustices they experienced; the adaptive strategies and resistance they employed for survival; and their hopes, dreams, and successes which benefitted future generations of Chinese American immigrants and their children. This chapter includes current empirical studies. The methodological assumptions are presented in chapter 3. Chapter 4 contains 14 personal vignettes that highlight my lived experiences from childhood to recent years as a Chinese American citizen immigrant. These vignettes are framed in the context of published literature, reviewed in chapter 2, relative to the general history of Chinese American immigrant experiences, establishing links between my personal experiences and the larger social context of being Chinese American. Finally, I offer a final vignette in chapter 5 to summarize and contextualize my experiences, plus I discuss the implications of this research. In the writing of this autoethnography, I sought to inform my own cultural awareness and to rediscover relationships between myself and others.

Key words: Autoethnography, Chinese American history, immigration, model minority

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Indira Kajosevic Skoric completes dissertation in the School of Human and Organizational Development

Survivors of Sexual Violence in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo (After the war in Yugoslavia) -- Indira Kajosevic Skoric

Indira Kajosevic Skoric has extensive professional experience with international organizations (American Friends Service Committee, International Organization for Migration, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies). She has organized and participated in numerous international seminars, conferences, and United Nations meetings as well as grass-roots gatherings dealing with women, peace, and security. For over a decade, she has served as the Executive Director for Reconciliation and Culture Cooperative Network (http://balkansnet.org), an organization that works with immigrants from the Western Balkans which she co-founded in 1997. She has collaborated with artists, trauma professionals, conflict resolution specialists, and academics in an area whose common ground is a fundamental belief in the power of creativity to support the learning and growth of survivors of trauma and violence from Southeastern Europe. She currently teaches at the Vermont State Colleges/Community College of Vermont.

In addition to her PhD from the Fielding, she holds a master’s degree from City University of New York in International Relations. She completed her BS at Belgrade University in Political Science. Her work is recognized through a number of awards and fellowships, most recently the Revson Fellowship at Columbia University, the Union Square Award for organizing in New York City, and the American Association of University Women Fellowship.

Indira is an accomplished public speaker, appearing before audiences from New York City to Sarajevo, and has been a guest lecturer at Yale University, Columbia University, New School University.

A well-published freelance journalist in the former Yugoslavia, she has contributed to the NTV Studio B, Radio Montenegro, Politika, Danas, New York Daily News, and others. She has also appeared on CNN international, Lehrer NewsHour, and NPR's Morning Edition, among others.

Indira is a passionate snowboarder, cook, mentor to young women and mother of 8-year-old Tin Aragorn.

A study on sexual violence published by Kosovo Women’s Network (KWN, 2000) emphasized the difficulty in gathering data from the women directly affected by this type of violence. It pointed out that women remain reluctant to speak out and become engaged. In January 2000, the International Committee of the Red Cross documented approximately one hundred babies delivered by women in Kosovo that were conceived as a result of rape. According to Rehn and Sirleaf, “additional women gave birth to children following rape, but chose not to disclose this information.” (Rehn & Sirleaf, 2002, p 15). As a professional who has experienced sexual violence and who has access to women who have had the same experience, I am intrigued by several elements I have observed in some women over the years. I have witnessed their ability to use these experiences to transform their lives and even emancipate themselves from the horror that haunts them.

This research illuminates how advocacy can be a tool for genuine learning and historical justice that establishes formidable linkages between survivors and state and international actors.

It contributes to the literature on emancipatory learning by revealing how these women created the conditions for their own survival, and adds to the literature of feminist studies.

A substantial part of this research was looking at the relationship between the research and the subjects. This research identified many problems, for example, “to conceptualize who the subjects are that give rise to the inter-subjectivity experience” of the oral history interview. Some findings: Women's center activities have lead to a “trigger event“ for survivors’ learning and growth as adults; Rape as a shared trauma experience: Acceptance by family members and community was unique to Bosnia-Herzegovina; The Balkan Muslim women are syncretistic anew; Reciprocity and a dialogical interview framework are instrumental to the process of survivors’ ownership in this research.

Key words: Advocacy, Balkans; Bosnia-Herzegovina; Gender-Based Violence; Feminism; Kosova; Kosovo; Muslim Women; Oral History; Survivors; Trauma; Transformative Learning; Yugoslavia, War.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Fielding graduate Kathie Court publishes article in the International Journal of Business and Social Science

Mapping the economic contribution of women entrepreneurs -- Kathie Court

The purpose of this research was to discover and describe the economic contribution of one group of women entrepreneurs to their communities. The research participants were women who had graduated from a Microenterprise Assistance Program (MEP). There was no differentiation among women by age, race, or ethnicity. This study was designed using an interdisciplinary approach. The theoretical landscape that underpins this research includes economic geography, women entrepreneurs, and entrepreneurship. This exploratory data analysis generated questions for future research. This research provided a geographic representation of the dispersion and volume of the self-reported business expenses of women entrepreneurs located in one geographic area. In addition, this research developed and examined the viability of an assessment tool that maps the business payments made by entrepreneurs.

Key Words: women entrepreneurs, microenterprise assistance programs, geographic information systems (gis), economic geography

The purpose of this research was to discover and describe using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) the economic contribution of one group of women entrepreneurs to their communities. The research participants were low resource and recently laid-off women who had graduated from a Microenterprise Assistance Program (MEP). MEPs are non-profit organizations that provide training, support, and microloans to low-income people, ethnic and racial minorities, and women. The article is based on my Fielding dissertation entitled Mapping the economic contribution of women entrepreneurs has been published in the International Journal of Business and Social Science, Volume 3 Number 1 (publication date: January 2012). It is available at: http://www.ijbssnet.com/journals/Vol_3_No_1_January_2012/14.pdf

Court, K. (2012). Mapping the economic contribution of women entrepreneurs. International Journal of Business and Social Science, 3(1).