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. 

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.