Honour’s Student Projects

Can Talking to Myself Help Me Win? The Impact of Two Dimensions of Self-Talk on Video Game Performance

Brandon Justus, Shayna Rusticus



While self-talk has been shown to improve sports performance, no research has examined its impact on sports-related video game performance. In Study 1, participants (n = 24) were asked to pilot a speed skating and snowboarding video game which would be used for Study 2. In Study 2 (n = 34), 2 three-way ANOVA’s were conducted to look at valence, function, and gender for each video game to determine the feasibility, limitations, and piloting of self-talk sentences. The results from Study 2 informed materials and methodology for the Main Study. The Main Study (n = 81), investigated the impact of two dimensions of self-talk –valence (positive/negative) and function (motivational/instructional) –on video game performance. For the Main Study, a 3 positive/negative/control) x 2 (motivational/instructional) mixed factorial ANOVA was used, and the study’s preliminary results indicated that these self-talk dimensions did not impact performance. A key limitation of the research study included the self-talk sentences lacking adequate manipulation strength –potentially resulting in the lack of significant findings.

Justus, B. J., & Rusticus, S. A. (2019). Can talking to myself help me win? The impact of two dimensions of self-talk on video game performance. Kwantlen Psychology Student Journal, 1. https://journals.kpu.ca/index.php/KPSJ/article/view/408

Can’t Live Without my Phone: A Mixed-Methods Study Identifying Contributing Factors to Problematic Smartphone Usage

Brittney Stobbe, Shayna Rusticus



Over the past decade, smartphones have become an integral component of daily life for most of the developed world. Smartphones have led to various benefits to society such as productivity, communication, and entertainment; however, over-reliance on these devices can also potentially lead to smartphone addiction. This study utilized a mixed-methods design to identify factors that may contribute to smartphone addiction in a sample of young adults. In the first study, 23 individuals under the age of 25, participated in one of six focus groups targeting their motivations for smartphone use and the positive and negative aspects of smartphone use. Conventional content analysis identified four key themes related to smartphone usage social communication, entertainment, utility, and mental health. The purpose of this second study was to quantitatively explore the impact of these factors on smartphone addiction. A total of 70 participants completed an online survey to identify whether, fear of missing out (FOMO), depression, anxiety, stress, social support, utilitarian attitudes, and hedonistic attitudes could predict smartphone addiction. Analysis of a multiple linear regression found that FOMO was positively correlated with smartphone addiction and social support from peers was negatively correlated with smartphone addiction. This new understanding of the various factors that may contribute to smartphone addiction may help to identify ways to prevent smartphone addiction in the future.

Evaluating the Effectiveness of the Online Teaching of Introductory Psychology at Kwantlen Polytechnic University

Amanda Dumoulin, Shayna Rusticus



In response to COVID-19, KPU switched to mandatory online courses for the past year. This created a new and challenging environment for students and faculty and raised questions about how to best teach students in this online environment. This project was a formative program evaluation that aimed to identify the facilitators and barriers to the mandatory switch to online learning in introductory psychology courses and to determine the effectiveness of teaching introductory psychology online. Self-developed questionnaires were administered to students and faculty who were involved in the introductory courses in Fall 2020 and/or Spring 2021 semesters. These questionnaires queried participants on aspects of the course including engagement, delivery, assessments, teaching/learning skills, work-life balance, and perceptions of flexibility and productivity. The results of this evaluation will assist instructors in improving the delivery of course material and provide strategies to ensure students receive a quality education in an effective online learning environment.

Are We Really That Different? Evaluating the Gender Similarities of Behaviours, Attitudes, and Traits Associated with Masculinity and Femininity

Jonathan Lau, Shayna Rusticus



Masculinity and femininity are defined as the possession of social role behaviours that are presumed to be characteristics of men or women, respectively. If masculinity and femininity are characteristics of men and women, one would expect large gender differences between the two constructs; however, Hyde (2005) has proposed agender similarities hypothesis stating that men and women are more alike than different. Thus, this study aims to investigate whether behaviours, attitudes, and traits characteristically associated with femininity and masculinity are more similar than different. Through a systematic review, beginning with over 15,000 entries across seven different databases, we applied a set of inclusion and exclusion criteria to select studies examining male and female differences in aspects of masculinity and femininity. Results will be evaluated using Hedge’s g, and their overlapping coefficient to visualize the degree of differences or similarities, accompanied by a qualitative synthesis of patterns among these findings.

Alone Together in the Social Distancing Era of Academia: Pandemic-Imposed Online Learning and Student Mental Well-Being

Stephanie Ng, Shayna Rusticus



In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, KPU had abruptly shifted to an online format to comply with social distancing measures and to slow the spread of the virus. This study aims to examine the mental health status of the KPU student population during this pandemic using an exploratory sequential mixed-methods design. In the qualitative first phase, semi-structured individual interviews were conducted with 15 students to explore any changes to their lives and mental well-being that had been affected by taking online courses during the pandemic. The goal of this phase is to identify any factors, not presented in the literature, that may influence student mental well-being due to the pandemic. In the quantitative second phase, an online survey, taken by an estimated sample of200 students and analyzed using a series of multiple linear regressions, was used to explore factors which may predict student mental well-being (depression, anxiety, loneliness).