Previous Studies 


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Abstracts from a few studies. 

   Morgan, Gin, Killough, Cynthia M., and Thompson, Laura A. (2013). Does visual information influence infants movement to music? Psychology of Music, 41(2), 249-264.
   Humans are often exposed to music beginning at birth (or even before birth), yet the study of the development of musical abilities during infancy has only recently gained momentum. The goals of the present study were to determine whether young infants (ages 4 to 7 months) spontaneously moved rhythmically in the presence of music, and whether the presence of visual information in addition to music would increase or decrease infants movement. While nearly all infants moved in the presence of music, very few infants demonstrated rhythmic movement. Results revealed that when visual information was present, and particularly when infants appeared to show focused attention toward the visual information, infants moved less than when only auditory information was present. The latter result is in agreement with most studies of sensory dominance in adults, in which visual stimuli are dominant over auditory stimuli.

This study was conducted in conjunction with the lab.
   Stauble, Melissa R., Thompson, Laura A., and Morgan, Gin (2013). Increases in cortisol are positively associated with gains in encoding and maintenance working memory performance in young men. Stress: The International Journal on the Biology of Stress, 16(4), 402-410.
   Past studies have demonstrated that increases in cortisol are associated with either enhancements or impairments of long-term memory, depending on the subprocess involved. However, working memory is generally studied as a unified system within the cortisol literature. The present study sought to determine if cortisol increases are positively associated with increases in performance in the encoding subprocess of working memory, and whether increases are positively or negatively associated with performance changes in the maintenance subprocess. Thirty-three young men (M = 19.4 years, SD = 0.89) participated in a change detection task, consisting of a condition requiring encoding only and a condition requiring both encoding and maintenance. To elicit a cortisol response, participants completed the Trier Social Stress Task (TSST) between two administrations of the task. Cardiovascular measurements and saliva samples were obtained before the TSST (T1), and mid-way between blocks of the second administration of the change detection task (T2), to measure autonomic and cortisol response to the TSST evident during the second change detection task. Cortisol increases between T1 and T2 were positively correlated with both encoding (r(32) = 0.503, p = 0.003) and maintenance (r(32) = 0.463, p = 0.007) performance. This is a novel finding as previous studies have shown an impairing effect of cortisol on working memory. The positive relation between cortisol and working memory has likely been obscured in previous tasks, which did not examine these specific subprocesses in isolation from each other. The beneficial role of cortisol in the stress response is discussed.
   Executive Functioning and Cortisol Reactivity in Preschool Children (EFCR-PC Jan-April 2010)
     Follow-up study from the previous Mother-Infant Synchrony Study. During this study the mom was asked to filled
     out a questionnaire while the child completed a card sorting task. Two saliva samples were taken from the child during
     the visit.

N    N2

     EFCR-PC Participant sorting cards by color and shape
     Feeding Study (Summer 2009)
     This study involved moms and their infants (between 4-6 months old). The main purpose of the study was to learn
     more about mother-infant interaction  during the feeding activity and infants’ reaction to music.

     Mother-Infant Synchrony Study (2006-2009)
This study involved first-time moms and their infants. The study started when the infants were 3-months-old and
     ended when the infants were 12-months-old. The babies took part in learning tasks such as looking at pictures and
     listened to their mom's voice while the mom watched the baby's responses. Saliva samples were taken during each
     of the 6 visits. The purpose of the study was to observe how mother-infant interaction impacts infant development.






New Mexico State University
College of Arts and Sciences
Psychology Department

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Las Cruces, NM, 88003
(575) 646-7356