State University College at New Paltz

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    Generational Differences in the Use of Emotional Words
    (2016) Citera, Maryalice; Spence, Coreyann; Spero, Madalena
    Generational Differences in Emotional Word Use Researchers have demonstrated that culture plays an important role in the interpretation of emotions. Extending the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis to emotions would suggest that the use of emotion words and their meaning would be intimately dependent on the culture and worldview of a group. The purpose of this study was to extend the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis to examine emotion word use and meaning across 5 different U. S. generations: Digital Natives (1995-present), Millenials (1984-1994), Generation X (1965-1980), Baby Boomers (1946-1964), and the Silent Generation (1930-1946). Each cohort of individuals born in the same time frame share common experiences that influence how they see the world and that shape their interpretations of it. For example, 9/11 was a defining moment for Millenials. One hundred four participants representing these 5 generations were asked to describe slang words they used to express the six basic emotions: happiness, sadness, fear, disgust, surprise, and anger. Interview responses were qualitatively coded and results showed that slang words used to describe emotional feelings varied across the different generations. For example, in describing happiness, the Silent Generation used the phrase "happy as a lark"; the baby boomers used "cool", "awesome", and "holy shit"; Generation X used "rad", "stoked", and "happy go lucky"; Millenials used "lit", "fucking awesome," and "wavy"; and Digital Natives used "LOL" and "OMG". Major themes that emerged included: 1) the Silent Generation reported using the least slang words and the most positive words, 2) media such as television, music, and technology influenced the emotion words used (e.g., Generation X used "dynamite"), 3) more profanity was used in the Baby Boomer and Generation X, 4) more recent generations, like Millennials and Digital Natives, used more religious profanity, and 5) Digital Natives used more abbreviations like "OMG". The bond that exists among individuals in a generational cohort is manifested in the shared lexicon that they use to describe their emotional experiences which is derived from the cultural and media influences around them. These results suggest that generational experiences lead to variations in emotional expression and may provide insight into how emotion regulation may vary across generations.
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    Differences in Transitional Saccades in 4-month-olds When Viewing Pairs of Possible and Impossible Objects
    (2016) Planke, Julie; Shuwairi, Sarah
    Perceiving objects as complete and coherent in 3D space is a fundamental achievement of the developing visual system, and previous work demonstrated that 4-month-old infants responded with significantly longer looking and increased oculomotor activity toward pictures of impossible cubes relative to possible ones (Shuwairi & Johnson, 2013). 4-month-olds also fixated to a greater extent specifically within the critical region of impossible displays, which was not observed reliably in younger infants. The findings suggested that they are able to selectively respond to vertex information that are diagnostic of structural coherence, and this ability strengthens considerably during the first several postnatal months. However, it left open the question of whether 4-month-olds would systematically respond with increased visual interest to other geometrically impossible figures. In the current investigation we tested 4-month-old infants in an eye-tracking paradigm with novel pairs of possible and impossible objects. We hypothesized that infants would engage in active comparison of the objects, and that impossible figures would generally evoke increased visual attention in order to ascertain global structural integrity. We replicated that infants showed a preference to fixate reliably longer on the impossible cube relative to possible one (p < .04) and produced a greater number of transitional saccades between the interior critical region and neighboring regions of the impossible cube (p < .01). In contrast, infants responded with non-significantly different dwell times for possible and impossible items across the other object pairs. However, there were reliable differences in transitional shifts of gaze between the upper and lower halves of the ovals (p < .01) and peg-squares (p < .05) as a function of possibility. The high degree of variability in infants' fixation behaviors toward these shapes may be due to individual differences in selective looking or emerging sensitivity to pictorial depth information. This may also be a stimulus-dependent response that manifests exclusively with certain shapes. By 4 months, infants are beginning to hone their selective looking mechanisms to adequately register shape defining contours and line junctions cues in static images, which enables them to detect conflicting local depth relations and distinguish between pictures of possible and impossible objects.