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2020
Friday, April 24th

Poster Number: 062

Active Shooter Protocols: Perceptions, Preparedness, and Unintended Consequences

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Veronica Worthington, Winthrop University

Faculty Mentor: Matthew Hayes, Ph.D., and Melissa Reeves, Ph.D.

The national concern about active shootings has pushed schools to implement intense drills without considering some unintended consequences. Studies have found that training had the potential to increase preparedness; however, some studies have found that training increases anxiety. While these findings apply to short-term effects, there is a lack of empirical research on long-term effects of active shooter drills. The present study investigated whether active shooter training completed in high school impacts current levels of anxiety and preparedness of undergraduates. Participants (N = 364) completed an online survey and answered questions about their perceived knowledge of protocols, protocol actions, and training methods from high school followed by the same set of questions, this time referring to their current university. Participants then completed an anxiety measure and a preparedness measure. Two hierarchical regression analyses were conducted to predict anxiety and preparedness. This study expanded findings on the effects of active shooter training by demonstrating long-term effects for high school training; evacuation protocols and perceived knowledge positively impact anxiety and preparedness of university students. Experiences at the university level have an additional, larger impact on student anxiety and preparedness, which seem to overshadow the effects from high school. This may be problematic, because the perceived knowledge that leads to higher feelings of preparedness may not translate into appropriate actions in a real-life situation, potentially risking lives.

Poster Number: 063

Willingness to Commit Crimes in Relation to Prior Crime Exposure and Personality

Chloe Rizer, Winthrop University
Veronica Skubisz, Winthrop University
Iyegbekosa Siobhan Omoigui, Winthrop University

Faculty Mentor: Tara J. Collins, Ph.D.

The main objective of the present project was to study the correlation between exposure to crime in childhood and adolescence, with other weighing factors such as childhood adversities, socioeconomic status, personality, and the acts of criminal behavior in adulthood. 191 individuals participated through an online survey assessing their exposure to criminal behavior in childhood and their willingness to commit crimes in adulthood. Crime was measured by assessing the participants’ frequency of witnessing or experiencing crime. Childhood adversities assessed the frequency with which participants experienced those different adversities in their lives. Socioeconomic status was measured to assess the socioeconomic categories the participants fit into in childhood, as well as parental education levels and levels of consistency of legal guardianship in the home. Simple demographic questions were then asked, such as age, race, and gender. It was found that the main hypothesis of exposure to crime had a positive correlation. It was also found that psychological childhood adversities did have a significant correlation to willingness to commit crimes; however, the other childhood adversities such as physical, household substance abuse, and criminal behavior in the home did not. The only personality trait that yielded a positive correlation was conscientiousness; the other four traits did not hold statistical significance. It can be concluded that exposure to crime or criminal behavior in childhood and adolescence does predict an increased likelihood of willingness to commit crimes in adulthood. This can also be due to other factors such as personality type, gender, or childhood adversities.

Poster Number: 064

Factors that Predict Knowledge and Perceptions of Police Use of Force

Alexis McInnis, Winthrop University
Alexandra Smith, Winthrop University

Faculty Mentor: Merry Sleigh, Ph.D.

This study examined whether use of force perceptions depend on the gender(s) of the police officer and citizen involved in the situation. Participants were 100 adults with a mean age of 19.51 (SD = 1.71). The majority were Caucasian (63%) and women (65%). Participants were randomly assigned to one of four scenarios. In all scenarios, a police officer interacted with a citizen during a routine traffic stop, ultimately ending with the police officer deploying a taser. The gender of the police and citizen were modified across the four versions to be male/male, male/female, female/male, and female/female. Participants responded to items to assess their perceptions of the presented situation, knowledge of use of force, perceptions of police, and aggression levels. Results revealed that young adults had negative perceptions toward the police officer and use of force in our scenarios. Participants were most understanding of a female officer using a taser to subdue a male citizen and viewed the remaining three gender combinations similarly. Perhaps this finding reflects participants’ assumptions about the size and strength of the female officer and male citizen. Having positive past interactions with police was linked to more positive attitudes towards police officers; however, these positive past interactions did not predict more positive attitudes toward the use of force in the scenarios. Aggressive individuals were not more supportive of use of force and felt more negatively toward police officers, perhaps reflecting their overall hostility toward others or because their aggression had caused previous problems with authority figures.

Poster Number: 065

Past and Present Views on Criminal Responsibility

Kalvin Anfinson, Winthrop University

Faculty Mentor: M. Gregory Oakes, Ph.D.

In this paper, I look at the development of laws as they pertain to criminal responsibility. I argue that people’s views on criminal responsibility have changed thoughout the years, and will continue to change, given the increasing amount of information generated from neuroscience. This investigation ranges from the earliest records of legal systems through contemporary times. I show how laws regarding criminal responsibility have changed over time and how neuroscientific evidence may support laws granting lowered criminal responsibility to specific individuals. In addition, I compare the views of Aquinas and H.L.A. Hart on the relation between morality and law, their justifications of punishment, and opinions on how individuals should be punished.

Poster Number: 066

Examining Economic Impacts of Terrorism in Nigeria

Joseph Yakabowskas
Vincent P. Wasner
Broderick E. Nicewonger

Faculty Mentor: Hye-Sung Kim, Ph.D.

In recent years, many violent conflicts have plagued the state of Nigeria and have posed a major risk to the citizens who live there. In this research, we examine the relationship between economic growth and the conflict risks in Nigeria. We use time-series data from the World Bank’s World Development Indicator (WDI) dataset and the Systemic Peace’s Major Episodes of Political Violence Index, for the time period between 1960 and 2012. Our dependent variable is the Major Episodes of Political Violence index, the independent variable is per capita GDP growth, and the control variables are total population, population density, CPI-based inflation rate, unemployment rate, GDP per capita, and the percent of the industry in the GDP. We hypothesize that, as the per capita GDP growth increases, major episodes of political violence will decrease. We use multiple regression models to test our hypothesis.

Poster Number: 067

Soil Skirmishes: A Study of Political Violence in Kenya and Uganda

Michael Kendree

Faculty Mentor: Brian McFadden, M.S.

This study seeks to determine if there is any underlying correlation between soil quality and the environment in the countries of Uganda and Kenya and outbreaks of violence within the two countries. Outbreaks of violence in Kenya and Uganda, spanning from 1997 to 2018, have been catalogued, geographically plotted, and briefly described. Various environmental and soil metrics have also been recorded, including soil pH, soil cation exchange, bulk density, water storage capacity, and precipitation levels. When analyzing the distribution of skirmishes, it is important to note any patterns related to their geographic locations. Especially in Uganda, there are geopolitical factors which might explain the distribution of skirmishes. For instance, friction with the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west of Uganda has always been a source of turmoil. Additionally, the presence of paramilitary and terrorist organizations, such as the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda and al-Shabaab in Kenya, will add to conflict frequency in the areas in which they operate. Given Kenya’s and Uganda’s status as developing nations, it is likely that overpopulation in urban areas coupled with underdeveloped infrastructure also contribute to strife and conflict. It is the goal of this study to evaluate to what degree environmental factors augment, or even influence, the prevalence and spread of violence with relation to the aforementioned geopolitical causes. This analysis will examine both constant (e.g., cation exchange) and temporal (e.g., precipitation per year) factors and will relate them to the prevalence of violence in a given timeframe and geographic area.

Poster Number: 068

Castro and the United States during the Cuban Missile Crisis

Dayseanna Able, Winthrop University

Faculty Mentor: Gregory S. Crider, Ph.D.

This research focuses on the relationship between Fidel Castro and the United States during the Cuban missile crisis. It argues that the imminent threat of communism and covert operations by the United States government ultimately led to the world being on the brink of catastrophe. It then gets to the root of the deep issues that the two countries have with one another, specifically focusing on the Castro regime and the United States government and where those issues stem from. The study focuses on covert assassination plots on Fidel Castro, such as Operation Mongoose, and the exclusion of Castro during negotiations of the crisis. Utilizing several sources, including CIA documents, letters written by Castro and Khrushchev, and newspapers supports the overall objective of this paper.

Poster Number: 069

Motivations behind Joining Social Movement Organizations

Katy Osborne, Winthrop University

Faculty Mentor: Matthew Hayes, Ph.D.

This study examined the effect of uncertainty and life history strategy on whether people join a Social Movement Organization (SMO) for sanctuary or agency. While previous research has identified sanctuary and agency as two main reasons people join SMOs, no studies have examined factors that might affect which reason would be more influential. Life history (LH) theory predicts that people coming from stable childhood (slow LH) would be more likely to invest effort in long-term change (agency), while people from harsher, more unstable childhood (fast LH) would be more likely to join a SMO for short-term benefits (sanctuary). Based on Uncertainty Identity Theory, greater uncertainty should magnify these effects. All 215 participants belonged to at least one SMO and completed three online measures assessing LH strategy, reasoning for joining their SMO (sanctuary or agency), and current uncertainty. As predicted, fast LH strategy leads to stronger sanctuary motives; however, greater uncertainty did not intensify this effect. Instead, greater uncertainty reduced sanctuary motives among slow LH participants. Contrary to prediction, this same pattern of results was observed for agency motives. The results suggest that fast LH strategy increases both agency and sanctuary motives; however, these motives are unaffected by uncertainty. Whereas Uncertainty Identity Theory predicts that greater uncertainty should drive people to greater group affiliation, the present results suggest that greater uncertainty has the opposite effect for those with slow LH strategy, prompting greater disengagement.