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March 23, 2009

ULM group presents at Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Psychological Association

Three University of Louisiana at Monroe students gained professional acclaim at the Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Psychological Association in New Orleans, Feb. 18-20.

William G. McCown, Ph.D. and professor of psychology at ULM, presented with graduate student Ilia Blake, who was first author on two papers, something McCown said was “amazingly rare and shows the commitment and creativity of all of our students. [It is] a heck of an achievement for anyone anywhere in any discipline. Ms. Blake's findings have practical implications.”

Their first paper was titled "Executive function deficits and chronic procrastination."

Findings suggest that chronic procrastination is related to "executive function," or the uniquely human higher cortical capacity for attention, concentration and allocation of cognitive resources. McCown stated that findings do not support the notion that procrastination is a learned behavior or that procrastinators are "neurotic," willfully arrogant or simply "lazy."

“This research builds on the findings of other graduate students from the ULM program, who have shown that procrastination shares a great deal in common with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and may in fact be a less severe, but related, manifestation of this syndrome,” McCown said.

The second presentation was "Confirmatory factor analysis of ADHD and Bipolar disorder measures."

It analyzed previous data from the ULM research group. “The paper has important clinical implications,” McCown said. “Often it is impossible to differentiate Bipolar disorder from ADHD in young adults. The treatments are usually substantially different and can interfere with each other. The critical diagnostic decision-making is often assisted with several psychometric questionnaires.

“Our research suggested that differential diagnosis may not be possible with the instruments that we possess. In fact, it may not be possible at all. The research suggests that the reason symptoms overlap is that there may be a common cause ‘behind’ these two disorders.

“I think this work is a good example of how we are teaching critical thinking to our students. They even get to contradict professors.”

Rick Stevens, associate professor of psychology, worked with graduate students Toshia Hyatt and Kimberly Nichols.

Their presentation was titled "Ethnic Differences in Jealousy.” It was a collaborative effort with University of Nevada, Las Vegas professor Dr. Clayton Silver and student Jeannine Klein.

The same group also has a poster at Rocky Mountain Psychological Association, in Albuquerque, N.M., with the title, "Sex and Ethnic Differences Concerning Expressions of Love and Sex."

In May, Stevens will attend the Association for Psychological Science Conference in San Francisco, Calif. He will present "Recall Improvement Due to Virtual Location Change" with graduate student co-authors Trey Hill and Jason Leonard, who will also attend.

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