Permanent URI for this collection


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 3 of 3
  • Item
    The effects of attributions for crime on attitudes toward prison reform.
    (Wheaton College (Norton, Mass.), 2013-09-17) O'Toole, Megan.
    Early attribution research suggests that when individuals view criminal behaviors as highly internal, controllable, and stable, they tend to support more severe and retributive forms of punishment. Although crime continues to be a top concern among American, such research has greatly slowed since the last major prison reforms of the 1980s. This study aims to reevaluate this topic by examining how lay people's attributions for crime relate to their perceptions of responsibility, emotions, and opinions on goals of punishment and support for prison reform. College student participants (n = 150) completed surveys presenting one of five criminal convictions scenarios. Correlational analyses and a path model provided strong support for links between internal and controllable attributions, high levels of anger and blame, retributive punishment purposes, and judgments against reform funding. Additionally, those with higher prison system knowledge and the politically liberal were more likely to agree that prison system change is necessary. The potential use of these data for prison reform activists is considered.
  • Item
    Olfactory discrimination in a captive turkey vulture (Cathartes aura)
    (Wheaton College (Norton, Mass.), 2013-09-17) Beckstrom, Jessica.
    Birds are not known for their sense of olfaction; in fact, until recently it was thought that all birds had a markedly poor sense of smell in comparison to mammals. Recent studies, however, have proven otherwise. Although only a select few birds species have been found to rely heavily on olfaction for food and nest location, a sense of olfaction is by no means absent in birds. There have been numerous studies on avian olfaction but to date there have been no studies directly testing a turkey vulture’s ability to use olfaction in a discrimination task, and the methods employed in other studies on this subject are inconclusive. By utilizing a behavioral olfactory discrimination task, this study aims to test a thirteen-year-old captive turkey vulture’s use of his sense of olfaction to discriminate between visually identical unscented and peppermint scented containers. In a preliminary study, Stan performed well above chance levels during every session of a visual discrimination task. Similarly, results of an olfactory discrimination task indicate that Stan chose the correct container (scented with peppermint extract) significantly more often than the unscented container. Although a right side bias was initially observed and although Stan adopted a win-stay-lose-shift strategy, those strategies were eliminated with the introduction of negative punishment. Stan was successfully able to use olfaction as cue to earn a food reward; however, he did not appear to develop an effective discrimination learning set and he did not generalize well from one stimulus type to another. These results suggest that wild turkey vultures may also be able to use odorants as a cue to find food or discriminate between carrion at different stages of decomposition, and that they may be similarly predisposed to use simple heuristics (i.e., win-stay-loseshift) when faced with cognitive challenges.
  • Item
    Effects of short-term and long-term administration of bisphenol A on sex behavior, body weight, and uterine weight in adult female ovariectomized rats
    (Wheaton College ; Norton, Mass., 2009) Merrill, Liana
    Bisphenol A [2,2-bis(4-hydroxyphenyl) propane (BPA)] is a chemical that is produced in large amounts worldwide as an additive in polycarbonate plastics that may have adverse effects on human health. BPA is characterized as an endocrine disruptor, or an environmental estrogen, which is a chemical that binds to estrogen receptors and may mimic estrogenic action. While some findings have shown that BPA does in fact mimic estrogen, other research has shown that BPA may act as an anti-estrogen by blocking estrogen receptors. Substantial research has examined the effects of developmental exposure to BPA, but fewer studies have focused on the effects of exposure to BPA in adulthood. The possible hormonal effects of BPA in adults can be examined using the female rat sex behavior model. Female sex behavior is estrogen dependent and has been shown to be adversely influenced by anti-estrogens. Therefore, the aim of the current set of studies is to examine whether short-term or long-term administration of BPA may facilitate or inhibit estrogen-induced female rat sex behavior. In Experiment 1, thirty-six female rats were divided into four experimental groups. Animals received two injections of 1) 2.0 µg estradiol benzoate (EB) or a sesame oil vehicle and 2) 40 mg/kg BPA or a 10% EtOH in sesame oil vehicle. Animals received 500 µg of progesterone approximately 48 hours after initial injections and 4 hours before being observed with sexually active male rats for sexual receptivity. In Experiment 2, the same thirty-six animals received two daily injections of 1) 5.0 µg/day EB or a sesame oil vehicle and 2) 50 µg/kg/day BPA or a 10% EtOH in sesame oil vehicle for a total of 15 days. Animals were tested with sexually active males for sexual receptivity on days 3, 6, and 14 of treatment. In both Experiment 1 and 2, there was a significant main effect of EB treatment on sexual receptivity, such that EB-treated groups showed significantly higher levels of sexual receptivity than animals treated with oil. However, there was no effect of BPA treatment on sexual receptivity. BPA did not inhibit receptivity in the presence of EB or facilitate receptivity in combination with EB or alone. There was a similar pattern in the results of body weight and uterine weight in that there was a significant main effect of EB but not BPA.