Browsing Theses - Department of Psychology by Issue Date
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Item Open AccessThe effect of maternal mental state talk on preschool children’s theory of mind abilities(Bilkent University, 2016-05) Bozbıyık, Bahar; Ilgaz, HandeThis study investigates the relation between maternal mental state expressions during story book reading and 3- to 5-year-old Turkish speaking children’s theory of mind (ToM) abilities. Thirty-two children completed ToM, executive functions, and standardized language tasks. Following these, parents read a wordless picture book to their children. Mothers’ mental state languages were coded in 3 levels of structural complexity: the word, the morphological, and the clause levels. At the word level we coded for the frequency and the diversity of mental state words (i.e., perception, physiological states, motivation/intention, desire, affect, cognitive, contrastive). At the morphological level we coded for modality for volitional wishes (-se, -sa) and modality for volitional suggestions (-e, -a). Mental state words with their subcategories were coded in accordance with their referents: (1) the child, the mother, or others (MSW-CMO) (2) story characters (MSW-SC). At the sentence level we coded for mental state causal explanations under two categories: (1) Explicit explanations and (2) Implicit Explanations. Results revealed that mothers’ total MSW was related to children’s ToM after controlling for strong predictors. Additionally, frequency of total MSW-CMO, cognitive-CMO, perception-CMO, perception-SC, and total perception word uses were correlated with children’s ToM. Furthermore, while cognitive words positively predicted children’ ToM, explanations for cognitive words negatively predicted children’s ToM. In line with correlational results that emphasize the role of perception words, an analysis that investigated the effects of perception, cognitive, and contrastive words found that the aggregate frequency of these categories predicted children’ ToM. Lastly, only mothers’ cognitive-CMO predicted children’s ToM. Item Open AccessThe origins of individual differences in romantic attachment: evolutionary psychological insights(Bilkent University, 2016-05) Yılmaz, Cansu; Lewis, David M. G.The current thesis investigated the hypothesis that evolved psychological mechanisms producing adult attachment strategies are sensitive to personal and contextual inputs linked to costs and benefits of alternative attachment strategies. Three studies were designed to 1) identify the link between the inputs “early parental environment, speed of life, and mate value” and attachment strategies; 2) examine temporary activation of adult attachment mechanisms in response to a blind date opportunity with individuals varying in physical attractiveness; and 3) test the relationship between physical attractiveness and secure base use behavior in couples experimentally manipulating physical attractiveness. Study 1 results showed adult attachment mechanisms up-regulated both men’s and women’s attachment anxiety in response to low mate value and low quality early parental environment; men’s attachment avoidance in response to fast life speed and low quality early parental environment; women’s attachment avoidance in response to fast life speed and low mate value. Study 2 results showed both men and women exhibited an anxious attachment strategy in response to a blind date opportunity with an individual of high physical attractiveness whereas only women exhibited an avoidant strategy in response to a blind date opportunity with an individual of average physical attractiveness. Study 3 results revealed a positive correlation between women’s ratings of facial attractiveness and secure base use scores; between individuals’ physical attractiveness and their secure base scores specifically among individuals who compared themselves to attractive others. These results enhance the understanding of the origins of individual differences in adult romantic attachment. Item Open AccessPaternalistic leadership in Turkey: its relationship with organizational identification, work-group identification, supervisor identification and organizational citizenship behaviors(Bilkent University, 2016-05) Alabak, Merve; Lewis, David M. G.The present study investigates paternalistic leadership from the dyadic leader-subordinate perspective and explores whether paternalistic leadership is associated with subordinates’ identification with the organization, work-group and supervisor, as well as subordinates’ organizational citizenship behavior (OCB), and organizational citizenship behavior directed toward supervisor (OCB-S). The data was obtained from 81 supervisors and 132 employees. Supervisors evaluated their own paternalistic leadership style and also employees’ OCB and OCB-S. Employees evaluated their supervisors’ paternalistic leadership style, their own organizational identification, work-group identification, supervisor identification, OCB and OCB-S. The findings showed that paternalistic leadership ratings of supervisors and employees was borderline significant. Supervisor-perceived paternalistic leadership was related to both employees and supervisor ratings of OCB and OCB-S. Employee-perceived paternalistic leadership was related to employees’ identification with the organization and supervisor, and employee-rated OCB-S. There was a congruence between supervisor and employee ratings on employees’ OCB and OCB-S. Practical implications, limitations and possible future research of these findings were mentioned. Item Open AccessDoes distance affect memory predictions by activating beliefs about perceptual fluency(Bilkent University, 2016-06) Elibüyük, Esra; Besken, MiriPeople predict their future memory performance to be better for the perceptually fluent stimuli than for the disfluent ones. For instance, their memory confidence is higher for the words written in large fonts than small fonts (Rhodes and Castel, 2008). This effect was previously believed to stem from experiential difficulty in encoding of the disfluent stimuli. However, a recent study showed that, one’s beliefs and theories, rather than experiential difficulty, make the major contribution to the effect of perceptual fluency on people’s memory predictions (Mueller, Dunlosky, Tauber and Rhodes, 2014). The close relationship between spatial distance and perceptual fluency increases the likelihood that spatial distance affects people’s memory predictions in the absence of experiential difficulty. The present study investigated the effect of perceived spatial distance on people’s judgments of learning (JOLs) and actual memory performance in two experiments. The perceived spatial distance of stimuli was manipulated by showing the stimuli at either top or bottom positions on a scene with depth perspective. At the same time, the depth cue was expected to produce physical size illusion enabling comparing the effects of perceived spatial distance and perceived size on JOLs. Results revealed no effect of perceived spatial distance or perceived size on JOLs and memory performance when tested with words (Experiment 1) or objects (Experiment 2). The null results for perceived size and JOLs were believed to stem from the size differences within the stimuli. Item Open AccessTo have or not to have : the role of desire to have children and gender in visual representations of babies(Bilkent University, 2016-07) Akgönül, Büşra; Günaydın, GülPast research has shown that desire to have children (DTC) and gender play a role in expectations about having children whether individuals construe becoming a parent as a positive or a negative experience. The present study aims to extend previous literature by studying for the first time visual representations of babies. In this research, the reverse correlation method was used to examine how men and women’s DTC is linked with their visual representations of babies. Participants’ visual representations of babies was evaluated according to cuteness and temperament of the baby image. Results showed that women represented babies as cuter compared with men. In addition, participants with high DTC represented babies as cuter compared with participants with low DTC. Men with high DTC represented babies as cuter compared to men with low DTC. However, baby representations of women with high DTC and baby representations of women with low DTC did not significantly differ from each other on cuteness. Both men and women with high DTC had more easygoing baby representations compared to men and women with low DTC. Nonetheless, the link between DTC and representations of a prototypical baby’s temperament was stronger for men than for women, parallel to the findings on cuteness. Moreover, women represented babies more as a baby girl than as a baby boy whereas men represented babies more as a baby boy rather than a baby girl. By investigating visual representations, this study extends past work which studied the role of gender and DTC on expectations about parenthood. Item Open AccessAre our memory predictions absolute or relative? : The effect of comparison on memory judgments(Bilkent University, 2016-12) Karademir, Derya; Besken, MiriThe effect of divided attention on memory is well documented. However, its effects on memory predictions are not known. One of the aims of the present study was to investigate whether divided attention affects memory performance and prospective memory predictions. The other aim of the current study was to investigate whether people take into consideration the list composition while making memory predictions. In other words, in this study, we investigated whether the effect of divided attention on memory judgments is relative or absolute. In order to investigate these aims, we conducted two experiments. In both experiments, three separate groups were used in the study. One group only studied words under full attention instructions. The other group of participants studied words under divided attention instructions. A third group experienced both divided attention and full attention conditions in a mixed list. Then, these three groups were compared in terms of their actual memory and predicted memory performance. The results revealed no significant difference among these groups in terms of actual memory performance and memory predictions. The results were discussed in terms of findings, limitations and future suggestions. Item Open AccessThin slices of friendship: do non-verbal behaviors predict first impressions during getting acquainted interactions?(Bilkent University, 2017-06) Urgancı, Betül; Günaydın, GülDoes a very brief observation of a person predict first impressions? Prior research has shown that these brief observations, called thin slices, predict many psychological outcomes such as individual performance. However, there is a not much research investigating whether thin slices predict first impressions formed following live interactions. In the present research, one hundred female participants were asked to complete three 15-minute face-to-face interactions in dyads. After each interaction session, their explicit and implicit warmth about their interaction partner was assessed. Ten observers rated these participants on warmth, competence and attractiveness based on brief silent video clips extracted from the interactions. Multilevel analyses revealed that for a given participant, observer-rated attractiveness (but not observer-rated warmth and competence) of their interaction partner predicted greater implicit and explicit warmth toward this person following dyadic interactions. The role of attractiveness in implicit warmth was more pronounced when the interaction required low (vs. high) self-disclosure. Moreover, explicit (but not implicit) warmth increased over time. These findings support a halo effect and the “familiarity breeds liking” hypothesis. Item Open AccessEffects of operational sex ratio on sexual misperception(Bilkent University, 2017-06) Demirci, Dilara Ekin; Al-Shawaf, LaithThe current thesis investigates the operational sex ratio of the environment and its effects on people’s accuracy in evaluating the sex and commitment intent of others. We conducted a speed meeting experiment in Ihsan Doğramacı Bilkent University’s Psychology Laboratory (N=260), where both men and women evaluated their partner’s sexual intent towards them. Results showed a difference between sexes in the error types they made when they evaluated sexual intent. We did not observe any effect of operational sex ratio between experimental groups. We discuss possible reasons for the absence of this effect and directions for future research. Item Open AccessThe dimples of Venus: an adaptive morphological trait of physical attractiveness(Bilkent University, 2017-07) Flores, Jonathon Albert; Al-Shawaf, LaithThis thesis documents a series of studies investigating the Dimples of Venus (DOV) as a physically attractive fitness-relevant cue in mating contexts. Judgments of attractiveness across four studies were measured through forced-choice tasks and ratings of attractiveness. Cross-cultural data was attained between The United States of America and Turkey. Results indicate that men consistently prefer the DOV on women whereas women hold a weaker preference for the DOV on men. The sexdifferentiated preference may be linked to pregnancy fitness-benefits in women since the DOV are linked to underlying biological structures related to spinal health and stability for carrying heavy loads, such as offspring. Item Open AccessFact vs. fiction: preschoolers’ learning of information from narrative and expository books(Bilkent University, 2017-12) Aydın, Emre; Ilgaz, HandeExpository and narrative books differ in terms of their structure, content, and language. This study investigated 3- and 5-year-old children’s learning of information from different genres, and whether children differ in their preference for the expository genre. Seventy six Turkish-speaking 3- and 5-year olds were presented with expository and narrative books that cover the same topic (i.e., caterpillars). These books contained 4 types of facts (i.e., Narrative-only, Expository-only, Conflicting and Supporting) that aim to investigate: (1) Amount of information children learned from the expository and the narrative book, (2) Children’s preference for the expository book when information between genres conflicted, (3) The effect of convergent information in both the expository and the narrative book on children’s learning. After hearing both the expository and the narrative book each child was asked questions related to information presented in the books. Analysis of children’s answers revealed that 5-year-olds learned more information from both the narrative and the expository book. When information conflicted between narrative and expository books, 3- and 5-year-olds differed in their preference for the expository book. Five-year-olds showed a preference for the expository book whereas 3-year-olds were at chance level indicating susceptibility to learn false information. Lastly, when information converged across the two genres all children regardless of age retained more information. Findings and their implications are discussed in light of the literature. Item Open AccessAn investigation of Turkish mothers’ narrative styles and their relation to children’s narrative comprehension(Bilkent University, 2018-05) Mutlu, Ecem; Ilgaz, HandeQuality of mothers’ book sharing interactions with their children show variations at both individual and cultural levels. The narrative styles that mothers adopt during these book sharing interactions influence their children’s emergent literacy skills. The current study investigated Turkish mothers’ narrative styles as they narrated a wordless picture book to their 3-, 4-, and 5-year-old children, and whether these narrative styles had a relation to their children’s narrative comprehension. To answer these two questions, the current study consisted of two phases. In the first study, eighty-seven mothers were asked to narrate a wordless picture book to their children. Their narrative discourse was coded according to the pragmatic function and the narrative content of their utterances. As a result, two different narrative styles were identified: storytellers who make use of informative utterances that do not require their children’s participation and talk about events that are within the storyline, and story builders who use interactive utterances that encourage their children’s contribution and talk about both within and beyond the storyline. In the second study, forty-nine children were asked comprehension questions after their mothers had narrated the wordless picture book to them. Analyses revealed no significant link between mothers’ narrative styles and their children’s narrative comprehension skills. However, children whose mothers adopted the story builder style displayed higher receptive vocabulary competence. Findings and implications of both studies were discussed in terms of their congruence and contributions to the existing literature. Item Open AccessThe effect of text coherence on metacognitive judgments(Bilkent University, 2018-08) Ersen, Ezgi; Besken, MiriText coherence has an important influence on measures of learning and memory performance. The more coherent the texts are, the easier they are learned and remembered in subsequent memory tests. Moreover, studies also reveal that participants believe that they will remember coherent texts better than incoherent texts. Yet, some of precautions that are taken to ensure that participants are paying attention to the texts such as verification questions may confound memory predictions. In the current study, the effects of timing of verification questions on memory predictions for texts were investigated. Participants were presented with coherent or incoherent texts, followed by memory predictions. Participants also received simple verification questions about text either before or after their memory predictions. In the testing phase, they were given a cued – recall task. The results of the study revealed that timing of verification question did not have an influence on memory predictions. On the other hand, coherent texts led to faster reading time, higher JOL ratings and better memory performance than incoherent texts. Item Open AccessRelationships between preschoolers’ screen-based media use and self-regulation abilities(Bilkent University, 2018-08) Sümer, Cansu; Allen, Jedediah Wilfred PapasScreen-based media technologies have become integrated into nearly every aspect of families’ lives. The long-term impact of these technologies on children has only recently started to be investigated. While past developmental research has looked at children’s attention abilities as related to TV viewing, it is yet to be investigated whether and how children’s use of next-generation screen-based media devices (e.g., tablets, smart-phones, etc.) are related to their self-regulation. Given that parents are children’s gateway for using these devices in terms of access, it is crucial to understand the purposes and contexts in which parents allow children to use these technologies. Accordingly, the current study investigated parents’ uses of TV and mobile devices for child-related purposes (e.g., keeping the child occupied) and preschoolers’ abilities to regulate their emotions, behavior and cognitive processes. Parents’ ratings and children’s performance-based scores were obtained for children’s emotion and behavior regulation. Parents also reported their frequency of using TV and mobile devices for child-related purposes. Significant correlations were found between parents’ frequency of using these devices to calm their child when she/he is upset and parent reports of children’s emotion regulation. However, parents’ frequency of using these devices for child-related purposes was not correlated with children’s performance-based scores. Implications of these findings, limitations, and future directions are discussed. Item Open AccessTurkish speakers' conceptualization of belief-related words and its implications for theory of mind development(Bilkent University, 2019-05) Haskaraca, Feride Nur; Ilgaz, HandeThis thesis is comprised of three studies. Study 1 & 2 investigate whether there are pragmatic nuances between belief-related mental state verbs (e.g., “to think, guess, and falsely think”) acknowledged by Turkish-speaking adults, and whether Turkish adults’ implicit processing of the belief-including situations such as false belief tasks are affected by the appropriate (vs. inappropriate) use of mental state verbs. Study 3 investigates whether Turkish-speaking preschooler’s performance in belief-related tasks of Theory of Mind (ToM) Battery [Diverse Belief (DB) and False Belief (FB) tasks, devised by Wellman & Liu, 2004] is affected by the verb used in these tasks. In Study 1, 150 Turkish-speaking adults completed an online survey asking for their judgments of appropriateness regarding the use of mental state words in belief tasks. In Study 2, 61 Turkish-speaking adults’ accuracy rates and reaction times in response to interchangeable use of mental state verbs (MSVs) in FB tasks were investigated. In Study 3, 60 Turkish-speaking children were tested on both the original ToM Battery and on the pragmatically modified versions of the DB and FB tasks. The DB and FB tasks were modified by either a) replacing the MSV used in the task (i.e., “think”) with a pragmatically and semantically more appropriate one (e.g., “guess” or “falsely think”); or, b) changing the epistemological circumstances of the task by adding an evidential basis for the belief so that the MSV used in the task (i.e., “think”) would be in line with the pragmatics of Turkish. Results revealed that Turkish-speaking children benefited from one modification that did not involve a manipulation of MSVs but the epistemological circumstances of the MSV (i.e., DB task presented with evidence). Item Open AccessA systematic analysis of category learning: effects of different learning strategies and task characteristics(Bilkent University, 2019-06) Solmaz, Elif Cemre; Besken, MiriMany studies showed that organization of study materials has a strong effect on learning performance (Kornell & Bjork, 2008). The current study compared category learning performance through blocked and interleaved learning conditions, using verbal (Experiment 1) and pictorial (Experiment 2) materials. Participants were assigned to one of three conditions at encoding phase: blocked, interleaved, and semi-interleaved learning conditions. In blocked learning, participants studied four exemplars of the same category within the same trial, and categories were blocked across trials. In interleaved learning, participants studied one exemplar from four different categories within the same trial, and categories were interleaved across trials. In semi-interleaved learning, participants studied four exemplars of the same category within the trial, but categories were interleaved across trials. At testing phase, participants were tested on old and novel exemplars of the categories that they studied and were asked to identify the category of each exemplar. Lastly, they were tested on explicit understanding of categories. Both Experiment 1 and 2 revealed that participants produced the highest learning performance in the semi- interleaved learning condition. Learning similarities within the same trial and learning differences across trials might lead to the most optimal learning strategy for category learning, regardless of the type of stimuli used. Item Open AccessThe role of emotion word use in perceived responsiveness during getting acquainted interactions(Bilkent University, 2019-07) Çiftçi, Öykü; Günaydın, GülPast research has showed that perceived responsiveness (i.e., the extent to which people think that their relationship partners understand, care for, and appreciate them) is positively associated with individual and relational well-being. However, predictors of responsiveness were not extensively investigated. Researchers predominantly investigated stable individual differences as predictors of responsiveness and ignored dynamic factors such as language use and time. In addition, perceived responsiveness was mostly studied in the context of close relationships even though responsiveness is an important construct for less intimate relationships. To fill these gaps, the current study examined the role of emotion word use in perceived responsiveness during getting acquainted interactions. Female participants (N = 200) were instructed to engage in three 15-minute interactions in pairs, in which they took turns in reading aloud and answering given sets of questions. These interactions were video-recorded and transcribed into text files to capture participants’ emotion word use via a computerized text analysis program. After each interaction, participants reported their interaction partner’s responsiveness. Results of multilevel analyses revealed that participants who used a greater number of positive emotion words during interactions also perceived their interaction partner as more responsive. In addition, as time went by, participants perceived their partner as more responsive. However, negative emotion word usage did not significantly predict perceived responsiveness of the interaction partner. These findings contribute to the responsiveness literature by revealing that dynamic interpersonal factors such as emotion word use during a live interaction and time play a role in perceived responsiveness of newly acquainted individuals. Item Open AccessThe spatial extent of size adaptation effect in peripheral vision(Bilkent University, 2019-07) Altan, Ecem; Boyacı, HüseyinIt has been shown that prolonged exposure to a certain object size (i.e. size adaptation) alters the subsequent size perception such that the size of the latter appears more dissimilar to the adapted size (Pooresmaeili, Arrighi, Biagi, & Morrone, 2013). However, how much of the visual space is in uenced by the size adaptation at a certain location remains unanswered. Here, in order to investigate the spatial extent of the adaptation effect, we tested the size adaptation effect at the adapted location and various non-adapted locations. In the first psychophysical experiment, we showed a mid-sized adapter stimulus and tested its in uence on subsequent size perception at 5 locations. Results showed that the size perception at non-adapted locations was in uenced by the adapter, although not as much as the effect at the adapted location. In the second experiment, we tested the size aftereffect at 15 different locations and mapped out the perceived size distortions over the visual field. Lastly, in the third experiment, we tested the effect of size adaptation with ring-shaped stimuli and found a substantially large effect just as in the second experiment. These findings overall suggest that the size adaptation does not only have a local effect but also the size perception in consequence of adaptation is being distorted throughout the visual field. Item Open AccessThe effect of orientation-related prior probability information on contrast perception(Bilkent University, 2019-07) Nazlı, İlayda; Boyacı, HüseyinIt is known that visual perception is the product of sensory input and prior probability information. Previous studies support well that expectation influence recognition and decision-making; however, we have limited knowledge about how expectation influences low level visual processing. In the current study, we examine the effect of expectation on early visual processing. That is, we provide task-irrelevant expectation cue related to the orientation of target Gabor grating, and we ask participants to indicate the spatial location of target grating while systematically manipulating its contrast level. In addition, we examine how different expectation validities (i.e. 75%, 50%, 100%) and neutral expectation cue affect visual perception. In Experiment 1, where the orientation of expectation cue and target gratings are vertical or horizontal, contrast threshold is lower in congruent trials at 75% validity condition. In Experiment 2, where the orientation of cue grating implies specific range (i.e. ±15 around 0 or 90), contrast threshold is lower in congruent trials at 75% and 50% validity condition. In Experiment 3B, where the orientation of expectation cue and target Gabor grating are within wider range (i.e. ±30 around 0 or 90), contrast threshold is lower in congruent trials at 75% validity condition. In Experiment 3A, where the orientation of expectation cue and target Gabor grating are within a specific range (i.e. ±15 around 0 or 90) contrast threshold is lower in congruent trials at 75% and 50% validity condition. In Experiment 3B, where the orientation of expectation cue and target Gabor grating are within wider range (i.e. ±30 around 0 or 90), contrast threshold is lower in congruent trials at 75% validity condition. Item Open AccessThe effects of mindfulness based yoga intervention on preschoolers’ self-regulation ability(Bilkent University, 2019-07) Önoğlu Yıldırım, Eda; Allen, Jedediah Wilfred PapasThis thesis taps into one of the significant developments that has effects on children’s academic and social life; self-regulation. Children develop this ability from early childhood to middle childhood. Research has shown that this ability can be enhanced via appropriate interventions and the current study uses mindfulness based yoga as a way to enhance preschoolers’ self-regulation ability. To have a comprehensive measure of self-regulation, a child battery was developed by the researchers. This battery includes tasks that measure cognitive flexibility, interference control, working memory, motor control, and delay of gratification. In addition to this child battery, mother and teacher reported executive function (EF) scales were used. The intervention was conducted with 45 preschoolers; of these; 24 were in the yoga group and 21 were in the waitlist control group. The intervention group of children took yoga 2 times a week for 12 weeks for a total of 15 hours of yoga per child. Both in pre-test and post-test children were tested and the intervention and waitlist control groups were compared with one another. Results of the child battery has shown that children who were in the yoga group performed better on working memory but none of the other aspects of EF that were measured revealed a difference. Teachers reported no difference between the two groups. Lastly, mothers evaluated that the two groups were different in terms of positive affect such that children in the yoga group were evaluated as higher. Item Open AccessThe effect of early life stress on brain white matter integrity and working memory performance(Bilkent University, 2019-08) Arslan, Seda; Toulopoulou, TimotheaFormer studies revealed that exposure to early life adversity is correlated with alterations in the white matter structure, particularly, in the areas associated with executive functioning and memory. Those alterations include both volume and microstructural white matter integrity reductions in the brain. A vast amount of the studies focused on volume reductions, and it is not clear whether the alterations in the white matter integrity is associated with cognitive functioning. The current study investigated the influence of early life stress on white matter integrity in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC)and corpus callosum (CC) among the forty-six healthy participants. Participants were split into two groups based on the Childhood Experience of Care and Abuse Questionnaire (CECA.Q). Participants with relatively low early life stress were compared with participants with relatively high early life stress on fractional anisotropy (FA) and mean diffusivity (MD) values in the ACC and CC. Another analysis investigated the working memory performance of the participants in the n-back task. Findings revealed that low-level early life stress did not significantly differ from high-level of early life stress in terms of FA values. However, there were significantly higher MD values in the high-level early life stress group compared to low-level early life stress group. In terms of cognitive performance, there were no performance differences between the two groups on the n-back task. The findings suggest that the high level of early life stress is associated with subtle white matter integrity changes in the brain but does not affect the performance.