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Source: Donald Saucier, 785-532-6881,
Note to editor: Laura Dare is a graduate of Hays High School, and Scott Fluke is a graduate of Olathe Northwest High School.

Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2009


MANHATTAN -- Four Kansas State University psychology students are receiving the Doreen Shanteau Undergraduate Research Fellowships.

The $500 awards support upper-division undergraduate students in psychology for their work with a faculty mentor on psychological research. The fellowships were established by K-State's James Shanteau, university distinguished professor of psychology, in memory of his wife, Doreen. Students must be nominated for the award.

The fellowship recipients will conduct their research projects during the 2009-2010 school year in collaboration with their faculty mentors, and will be expected to present their findings at the K-State psychology department's annual Undergraduate Research Convocation at the end of the spring semester and to submit their findings for publication in a psychology journal.

Award recipients, all seniors in psychology, and their projects include:

Laura Dare, Manhattan, will study the relationship between the ability of nicotine to enhance experience and impulsive choice, such as choosing small immediate rewards over larger delayed rewards. Dare predicts that rats who are more impulsive will be more sensitive to the reward-enhancing effects of nicotine and will test her prediction using a paradigm in which rats will respond for sucrose reinforcers in a delay-choice task. Her project, in behavioral neuroscience, will be done with Matthew Palmatier, K-State assistant professor of psychology.

Scott Fluke, Olathe, will study how individuals may use superstition to reduce the anxiety they may feel as a result of their mortality. Fluke predicts that when participants are provided with the opportunity to use superstition, they will increase their perceptions of control and lower their degrees of anxiety, and will consequently better manage their fear of death. He will conduct his project in social psychology with K-State's Donald Saucier, associate professor of psychology.

Mason Burns, Overland Park, will examine how an individual's levels of narcissism -- inflated feelings of self-worth -- influence his or her reaction to positive or negative feedback following a mortality salience cue. Burns predicts that individuals higher in narcissism will be more likely to respond anti-socially after they receive negative feedback from potential dating partners and have had their mortality made salient. He will conduct his social psychology project with K-State's Saucier.

Emily Reinhardt, Poland, Ohio, will study if enriched rearing conditions during childhood and adolescence will reduce the symptoms of anxiety in rats. Reinhardt predicts that rats raised in enriched conditions with novel stimuli will have their levels of anxiety reduced more quickly than rats raised in other conditions, and will test her prediction using a Pavlovian conditioning paradigm. She will conduct her project in behavioral neuroscience with Mary Cain, K-State associate professor of psychology.