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Tuesday, April 11th
9:00 AM

The Fundamentals of Caring

Caroline Bauwens, Whitman College

Maxey 104

9:00 AM - 9:15 AM

A stigma among young adults surrounds "caring too much." People tiptoe around "commitment" and will sometimes complicate things in an effort to keep them "simple." Hook-up culture and aversion to labeling offer escape from the confines of a relationship. Popular media, specifically romantic movies, reinforce this culture through the dark image they paint of relationships. Why are people of our generation so afraid of caring? Why is it so bad to love and be loved? In my presentation, I explore connections between our generation's mindset about ambition and barriers to pursuing meaningful emotional connection. As we pursue opportunity and our desire to attain economic success, we diverge from what makes us human: emotional and cognitive connection. I believe love and success can coexist, and I argue that, while this balance is hard to find, it is worthwhile to try.

9:15 AM

Til Death Do We Part: Elderly Relationships, Autonomy, Well-Being and the Assisted Living Facility

Paige Organick, Whitman College

Maxey 104

9:15 AM - 9:30 AM

As people enter assisted living facilities, they experience a loss of physical and cognitive capabilities, rendering them less capable of taking care of themselves. This diminishes their quality of life significantly. Additionally, widowhood and loneliness through separation from family increases the likelihood for depression. Romantic relationships at times can alleviate the sense of loss or isolation. I conducted in-depth interviews with elderly residents in an assisted living facility to examine how autonomy and romantic relationships influence the elderly’s quality of life. In my presentation, I demonstrate the need for and ways in which assisted living facilities can encourage resident’s sense of autonomy and enhance the elderly’s quality of life while the forces of aging work against them.

9:30 AM

Culture, Family and Feelings of Closeness

Lin Luo, Whitman College

Maxey 104

9:30 AM - 9:45 AM

Empirical studies show that a sense of belonging and closeness are important to social satisfaction and mental health. Similarly, feeling lonely can compromise life satisfaction and even impair global motor function. My study, designed on a series of questionnaires, investigates feelings of loneliness and closeness as they occur in students from either one-child family or multiple-child family homes of either Chinese or American culture. I hypothesize that culture is the most important source of any individual differences, and that family configuration will have different effects within Chinese or American culture. I predict that cultural emphasis on collectivism as in China will be strongly associated with higher closeness and loneliness, while emphasis on individualism as in the United States will show the opposite pattern. The results of my study may enhance our understanding of how culture and family shape a person’s relationships with others.

9:45 AM

Marriage and Childbirth in Contemporary China

Wenjun Gao, Whitman College

Maxey 104

9:45 AM - 10:00 AM

My presentation examines the evolution of Chinese population policy (e.g., the original one-child policy replaced by a two-child policy in 2016) and family culture. My goal is to understand how these changes in population policy and intergenerational differences have affected decision-making by Chinese citizens about marriage and childbirth. I conducted 21 semi-structured interviews with Chinese citizens in the summer of 2016 in China. I share the results of this research in my presentation.

10:00 AM

Play for Success: An Intervention to Boost Problem-solving in Low-Income Infants

Emma Rust, Whitman College
Jamie Friedman, Whitman College

Maxey 104

10:00 AM - 10:15 AM

There is a significant achievement gap between low socio-economic status (SES) and high SES children. Precursors to this gap can be seen by 6 months of age; low-SES infants demonstrate less object exploration, which is linked to delayed problem-solving. Problem-solving, otherwise known as goal-setting, is a critical component to executive functioning (EF), another criteria in which low-SES infants show deficits. These findings are especially concerning because problem-solving is a predictor for later academic achievement. In our study, we implement an intervention called Play for Success to boost object exploration and problem-solving, in the hope of minimizing gaps in early cognitive development. Preliminary findings from 16 babies indicate that this intervention may be an effective way to promote problem-solving for low-income infants.