1. K-State home
  2. »McNair Scholars Program
  3. »Research Abstracts
  4. »Summer 1996 Research Projects

McNair Scholars Program

Summer 1996 Research Projects

Scholar: Laura A. Bathurst
Mentor: Harald Prins, Ph.D.

Tarascans and the Fourth World

The struggle of indigenous groups for their existence within the confines of a dominant state is the result of centuries of colonialism. Native groups functioning as pockets within nations (also known as the Fourth World) have adopted diverse strategies which allow them to retain a distinct cultural identity. The Tarascans of Michoacan, Mexico, are one example of the complex cultural dynamic inherent in a struggle for cultural survival amid invaders.


Scholar: Pamela Bivens
Mentor: William Griffitt, Ph.D.

Relationship Between Personality Type and Infidelity: Psychological Research on the Internet

Many studies have been conducted on how personality affects personal preferences or behaviors. Previous research has indicated that extraverts demonstrate a greater tendency toward promiscuity, a high rate of change in sexual partners and a high rate of sexual encounters. While studies regarding attitudes about sexual infidelity in dating and marital relationships have found that infidelity is more acceptable to men than women, infidelity in committed dating relationships is significantly more acceptable than marital infidelity. The current research project was interested in whether a certain personality type or category was predictive of a person's tendency to be unfaithful. Specifically, this study is interested in determining if one, or more, personality type(s) was related to infidelity. Infidelity was defined as participation in behaviors determined unfaithful while involved in a monogamous relationship (i.e., a relationship based on the assumption of exclusive involvement). In today's society, infidelity can have detrimental effects ranging from mild/severe psychological implications to death. The people participating in unfaithful behaviors put not only themselves at risk, but also the people with whom they are involved.

Four hundred and eighty-two subjects accessed a personal web page containing the experiment. There were 345 males and 137 females, or roughly seventy-one percent of the participants were males. Ninety percent of subjects involved in this experiment had some level of college experience. Each subject took two surveys: The Keirsey Temperament Sorter, to ascertain their personality categories, and a second survey to determine whether they were unfaithful in their relationships. The Keirsey Temperament Sorter consisted of 70 questions designed to determine an individual's personality type. Completed surveys resulted in individual personality categories and fidelity rating of either faithful or unfaithful for each participant.

It was predicted that one, or more, personality type categories would be indicative of either faithful or unfaithful tendencies. Extraversion was the personality type category predicted to indicate a tendency toward infidelity. The personality type was obtained by calculating the number of responses in each category. For example, a total of ten questions were presented for the extraverted or introverted category. Each question contained one extraversion response and one introversion response. A subject obtaining an extraverted personality type would have to choose at least 6 of 10 extraversion responses. The fidelity score was obtained by determining if the subject had been unfaithful according to the answers chosen on the list of behaviors, as well as the responses chosen for the time factors. The list of behaviors (someone asked you for a date and you accepted, you asked someone out on a date, sexual intercourse, kissing, petting (breast or genital fondling), and oral sex) were rated on a scale of 1 to 5. One being rated as faithful and five as unfaithful. Statistical analysis was calculated using the Pearson Correlational Matrix and Multiple Regression in which the combined and independent predictive value of all four personality scores were evaluated.

The extraversion was the only category of personality to result in significant findings. A Pearson Correlation Matrix resulted in a correlation of .21 between the extraversion category and infidelity. Multiple regression resulted in a correlation (multiple R) of .23. A significant difference was found for the extraversion personality type category (F(4,481) = 6.46, p<.0001). Although under the accepted level of acceptance, the perceiving category showed a slight contribution (p<.07).


Scholar: Vickie Choitz
Mentor: Linda Thurston, Ph.D.

Wasting America's Future

An estimated 20% of America's children live in poverty. The impact of child poverty on the American economy is difficult to measure. However, in 1994, the Children's Defense Fund used four methods of calculation to estimate that each year 14.6 million children grow up in poverty thus reducing their future lifetime economic output by between $36.0 billion and $176.9 billion (Wasting America's Future). Using revised and updated values of the estimated lifetime earnings of a child who grows up in poverty, the author updated the estimates of the first two methods. Using the updated figures, method one presented a reduction in the future lifetime economic output of $30.0 billion. Method two yielded a reduction of $77.9 billion. Although these updated estimates are lower than the original estimates, they are more accurate with the revisions to estimates of educational level. It is still apparent that child poverty in the United States does reduce our economic productivity, and that effects all of us.


Scholar: Stacey Davis
Mentor: George L. Marchin


Isolation and Sequencing of the Chromium Reductase Gene from Bacillus thuringiensis 

I am testing whether the chromium reductase gene from Bacillus thuringiensis can be isolated and sequenced. In order to investigate the nature of Cr(VI) reduction I am studying the plasmid from a metal resistant strain of Bacillus thuringiensis isolated from a polluted mining area in southeastern Kansas. This study could be applicable in the bioremediation of chromium pollution.


Scholar: Jody J. Hadachek
Mentor: Jack Cully, Jr., Ph.D.

The Effects of Grazing and Burning on Populations of Lone-Star Ticks (Amblyomma americanum) in Tallgrass Prairie

Ticks are parasites of wild ungulates such as bison (Bos bison) and white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus). These parasitic arachnids can be problematic for humans, as certain species can carry diseases such as Lyme Disease (Borrelia burgdorferi). It would seem logical that studies of habitat manipulation on populations of tick species would allow us to use the most appropriate and effective methods of control to minimize harmful levels of these populations. A study was conducted under the supervision of Dr. Jack Cully during the summer of 1996 (June-August) near Manhattan, Kansas investigating the effects of fire and grazing on populations of lone-star ticks (Amblyomma americanum) in a grassland ecosystem. We hypothesized that ticks should be more plentiful in areas burned less frequently and grazed by native ungulates.

Our study site in this experiment was the Konza Prairie Research Natural Area. It is an 8600-acre grassland Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) study area which provides habitat for a variety of mammals and birds. The Konza LTER is divided into study watersheds, each with its own burning and grazing regimes; the two major grazing ungulates are O. virginianus and B. bison. This study area is very useful in studying A. americanum for two major reasons: First, this is the most abundant grassland tick species in the area. This allows for easy data collection. Second, the study site allows for controlled burning and grazing treatments on a large-scale area.

The study involved a total of twelve watersheds, variously scattered over the study site. Of these, five were ungrazed and seven were grazed. Grazing by native ungulates allowed ticks to aquire blood meals and either mature themselves or nourish their eggs. Each of the twelve watersheds were subject to 1, 4, or 20 year burn intervals. The removal of understory vegetation by fire acts to reduce humidity available for ticks, thus creating a saturation deficit and ultimately causing dessication.

The sampling technique for the watersheds involved transect dragging. This technique consisted of dragging a white cotton-flannel cloth (approximately 1m square in size) over vegetation in 1 km transects divided into ten 100m subsections, with distances being measured via a hand-held meter wheel. Ticks caught on the cloth were pulled off with tweezers and placed in a solution of 70% ethanol.

Results showed that of the 1852 ticks collected during the study, 1847 were A. americanum and five were Dermacentor variabilis. The 4-year burn interval produced the most ticks, 1295 (1251 of which were A. americanum larvae). Two-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) showed that only larval A. americanum populations showed significant responses to burn intervals (F=6.08, P<.01). The 20-year burn unit produced 563 ticks. Lower numbers in this watershed as compared to that of the 4-year seems to disagree with our hypothesis; it should be noted, however, that one of the 20- year burn watersheds was consumed in a wildfire during the summer of 1995, thus possibly incorporating some bias into the final results. Only four ticks were found in the 1-year burn units during the entire study. A total of 1124 ticks were found in native grazed pasture throughout the study period. Two-way ANOVA showed no significant response to grazing regime at any life stage of tick (larvae, nymph, adult). It seems that burning does have an effect on tick populations, especially those in their larval life stage, and is a viable tool when manipulating habitat for tick control.


Scholar: Avelina Martinez
Mentor: Bradley A. Shaw, Ph.D.

Seeking Communicative Equivalence: A Cross-Cultural Analysis of Como agua para chocolate/Like Water for Chocolate

The following cross-cultural analysis of Laura Esquivel's Como agua para chocolate and its English translation incorporates a combination of strategies or procedures to assess attempts to achieve communicative equivalence. This includes the analysis of genre, sentence structure, and culture-norm adaptation/reproduction of such as a single text. As separate in-texts (functions), it involves word play, register, the implied reader, and the historical, political, and sociocultural context. And the analysis of rhetorical features comprises hyperbole, word play, figures of speech, idioms, and cliches.

In the final analysis, only a native linguist possesses the skills to adequately surmount the challenges and the obstacles that the translation of a culturally-bound text poses. And a cross-cultural analysis of the screenplay rather than literary text could prove to be more of a breakthrough in the discipline of translation studies.


Scholar: Cheryl (McCabria) Balaun
Mentor: Loretta Johnson, Ph.D.

Plant Biomass Differences of Drought-Stressed Andropogon gerardii and Bouteloua gracilis

Grass species Andropogon gerardii and Bouteloua gracilis were exposed to three successive 3-week drought periods. Biomass differences in roots and shoots were measured at the end of each drought period. After the first drought period, A. Gerardii and B. Gracilis showed no significant difference in root weights. By the end of the second drought period, B. gracilis plants produced slightly more root biomass (22%) than shoot biomass (18%). A. gerardii plants experienced a 54% decrease in root biomass and a 66% decrease in shoot biomass at the end of the second drought. B. gracilis and A. gerardii experienced a similar decrease in root and shoot growth by the end of the third drought period. B. gracilis had a 79% decrease in both root and shoot growth, and A. gerardii experienced a 68% decrease in root growth and a 76% decrease in shoot growth.


Scholar: Theodore Poppitz
Mentor: Michael Oldfather, Ph.D.


What is a Small Bank in Kansas Worth?

The banking landscape in Kansas is changing. Consolidation through mergers and acquisitions make buyers and sellers of Kansas banks ask: How much is the target bank worth? The valuation process usually involves a combination of ratio analysis and professional subjective estimates. Kansas banks so not typically sell at book value. Using step-wise statistical analysis for banks sold above book value, our search asks: Do substantial differences exist in bank merger premiums? If there are substantial differences, are these differences explainable? Knowledge of key variables in bank merger premiums will enable bankers to maximize their banks selling price.


Scholar: William Seeberger
Mentor: Leon Rappoport, Ph.D.

Personality Multiplicities: Variations in Personality Characteristics Due to Age and Stress

Recent personality research and theoretical discussions (e.g., Rowan 1990, Markus and Nurius 1986, Deaux and Wrightsman 1988) have focused on personality multiplicities, the idea that an individual can possess two (or more) distinct self-concepts. The suggestion from these discussions is that normal individuals in the general population may have multiple self-concepts. Although multiple personality disorder (MPD) has been recognized as a pathological condition for a long time by clinical psychologists, it is now believed that a moderate level of personality multiplicities can serve people as a useful adjustment mechanism. Personality multiplicities and MPD can be confused because in each case the individual can have two or more self- concepts, and each concept may stand alone. However, unlike MPD, personality multiplicities are not associated with pathological behaviors.

Based on research by Boone (1995) which provided evidence of multiplicities occurring in the normal population, the present study focused on two questions: 1) whether or not there were age differences in the occurrence of multiplicity in the general population, and 2) if the stress experiences reported by individuals with high multiplicity differed significantly from those with low multiplicity. It was hypothesized that younger persons (age 25 and below) would show higher measures of multiplicity and childhood stress than older (26 and above) persons. Furthermore, it was expected that reports on stress experience would differ significantly between low multiplicity individuals and high multiplicity individuals.

Eighty-six individuals (47 females and 39 males) completed two questionnaires: the Dale Lifestyle Inventory (DLI), which measures an individual's tendency towards multiplicity, and the Childhood Stress Inventory, a measure found to relate significantly with multiplicity. Following this stage of the study, a subsample of respondents were interviewed to determine whether low and high multiplicity individuals differed in the way they responded to stressful experiences.

The results obtained include a significant correlation of .51 (p<.001) between the DLI and Childhood Stress scores for all subjects. Also, a high correlation between childhood stress and multiplicity was found for the younger group (.64), but not for the older group (.25). When older (26 and above) and younger (25 and below) subjects' scores were compared, the younger group's scores were substantially higher than those of the older group. In the second stage of the study, eleven high multiplicity individuals and seven low multiplicity individuals participated in the stress/multiplicity interview. Frequency comparisons indicated that high multiplicity subjects were more likely than low multiplicity subjects to report handling stress better than most people, that their stress experiences were typically physical, and that stress lowered their self- esteem.

In conclusion, the results of the study supported the initial hypothesis concerning differences in the inclination towards multiplicity and childhood stress in older and younger subjects. Younger individuals had higher scores for multiplicity and childhood stress. Additionally, there was a stronger relationship between multiplicity and childhood stress for the younger individuals. On the other hand, the results were inconclusive with respect to the hypothesis that reports of stress experience would differ significantly between high and low multiplicity individuals. Some of the trends in responses by low and high multiplicity individuals indicated potentially important differences between the two groups. Future research with a larger high and low multiplicity subject sample would help to determine more conclusively if there are significant differences in their reactions to stress. In general, the findings support the view that younger individuals may benefit from a sense of multiplicity, and that further research is needed to investigate the relationship between multiplicity and stress.


Scholar: Julie Sinn
Mentor: Naomi Wood, Ph.D.

How She Came to be in a Fairy Tale Wood: A Study of Women and Nature in the Collected Tales of the Brothers Grimm

When a female in a Grimm fairy tale chose to leave the security of society and venture into the wood, her initiative to be active was often short lived. She would enter the wood and reassume her previous role as a passive, submissive female except now she sat silently in a tree. Since passivity implies weakness in the female, today's Western society may tend to disregard the importance of Grimm fairy tales. As a whole they are male-centered and filled with passive, male-dominated female characters.

The tales that I focus on are in Ralph Manheim's 1978 translation of Grimms' Tales for Young and Old. I also delved into the larger sphere of the history of the German Forest, critiques of the Brothers Grimm, ecofeminist critiques, and modern reworks of Grimm tales.

My study of the history of German forestry and a comparative survey of the relative status of women, men, and animals in the Grimm wood suggest that "wood" in fairy tales is not only a place of refuge from patriarchal authority, but also a place where patriarchal authority is more easily expressed. The implications of a king extending his control from society to include the forest are great. The king is already able to claim any female that walks into the palace garden as is exemplified in "The Girl Without Hands." So what is to happen to a female that travels into the wood where the king has spread his control? In brief, when a female is found in the wood by a hunter, she is plucked from her tree branch and presented to the king. She is not driven out of the forest; she is instead taken. Thus, the wood that is a refuge from one king becomes the expression of patriarchy for another king.

Ironically, the plucking of women from trees does prove that the forest is "the great provider" (Jack Zipes). It provides an easy-to- capture wife for the king. The girls in "The Twelve Brothers" and "The Six Swans" were content in their trees and reluctantly left them by the king's wishes. He plucks each of them out of the tree in the same fashion by which he plucks an apple, pear, or other piece of fruit from a tree. This Grimm image of a female being plucked from a tree dates back to when Wood Wives, spirits who lived in the forest and protected the trees, were captured by the Wild Huntsman.

In conclusion, the analysis of German culture including Grimm fairy tales, not simply Grimm fairy tales alone, yields evidence about the whole of the culture thus providing a vantage point from which to compare the new with the old-the modern retelling with the "original." The Grimms were not promoting "woman as other." They were promoting "everything not king as other" as a reminder Germany's common history springing from the Middle Ages' world.


Scholar: Carlos A. Urquilla-Diaz
Mentor: Karren Baird-Olson, Ph.D.

Law Enforcement Team Project: A Study of Rural Community Policing

This study attempted to create a long term partnership between law enforcement in the rural community of Council Grove, Kansas, and Kansas State University in order to provide systematic data on public perceptions about the effectiveness of the area's style of rural community policing. This case study identified issues that rural citizens as well as law enforcement officers would like to address. Urquilla's involvement included: (a) public relations; (b) translations for Spanish speaking residents; (c) in depth interviews; and (d) setting up the sampling research design and conducting decisions.