Taylor Nocera-Bolton Completes Master's Project

Taylor Nocera-Bolton
Taylor Nocera-Bolton, a master’s student who has been working in the Anger and Traffic Psychology Lab and will be entering the Counseling Psychology Doctoral Program in the Fall, has successfully completed her master’s project. Taylor examined a number of dark personality variables in the prediction of cyber aggression among college students. In addition to generating useful information that will guide the lab’s future study of cyber aggression, Taylor’s work led to a poster at the Southeastern Psychological Association in March and a manuscript we plan to submit for publication very soon.

What is a master’s project? When students with master’s degrees who did not complete a formal master’s thesis during their master’s program are admitted to the Counseling Psychology Doctoral Program, they complete a master’s project before beginning work on their dissertations. A master’s project involves the completion of an independent research project that is similar to a master’s thesis but does not usually involve a thesis committee. These projects provide students with an opportunity to progress through the entire research process before taking on a dissertation. In addition to familiarizing the student with all aspects of research, they provide faculty with a clear sense of the student’s strengths and weaknesses, leading to the identification of appropriate training goals.

Taylor did a fantastic job with her master’s project, and we anticipate that she will have little difficulty transitioning into her dissertation work.
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Welcoming Taylor Nocera-Bolton to the Doctoral Program

This announcement is long overdue, but we are pleased to welcome our newest doctoral student for the Fall 2017 term, Taylor Nocera-Bolton. Taylor has already been working with us during her time in the Counseling Psychology master’s program and had plans to pursue her doctorate. We were happy that she decided to apply to our program. As a doctoral student, Taylor plans to continue her research on cyber aggression.

Congratulations to Taylor on the admission!
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Dark Personality and Cyber Aggression Presentation Accepted for SEPA

Atlanta Night Skyline Wallpaper
We just had a presentation proposal accepted for the 63rd Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Psychological Association, which will take place in Atlanta in March. Taylor Bolton a second-year master's student working in the Anger and Traffic Psychology Lab, will present research based on her master's project. Taylor's research focuses on the role of dark personality traits in electronic aggression among college students.

One of the challenges in this area of research involves the lack of consensus in how electronic aggression (aka, cyber aggression, cyberbullying) should be defined and measured (Berne et al., 2013). Taylor is using what appears to be one of the better self-report measures available for emerging adults, the Cyberbullying Experiences Survey (Doane et al., 2013). We anticipate that her findings will provide useful information about the relationship between electronic aggression and offline relational aggression and between various dark personality traits and electronic aggression.

Congratulations, Taylor!
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Introducing Taylor Nocera-Bolton

Taylor Bolton
Taylor Nocera-Bolton is a second year master's student in the Counseling Psychology program at the University of Southern Mississippi. She is originally from Alabama, where she graduated from Auburn University with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. During her undergraduate career, Taylor was involved in a parent-child interaction therapy lab where she was responsible for data collection and conducting behavioral observations.

Currently, Taylor is conducting a research project designed to evaluate one of the few published measures of cyber aggression suitable for use with college student samples. She is using it to examine various predictors of cyber aggression (also known as electronic aggression). Predictors under investigation include trait aggressiveness and several dark personality traits (e.g., psychopathy, narcissism, spitefulness, sadism). Not only is she well-positioned to make a meaningful contribution to the literature in this area, but she is helping to pave the way for future students in the Anger and Traffic Psychology Lab to study cyber aggression.

Taylor's plans for the future involve pursuing her doctorate in Counseling Psychology, and she is applying to doctoral programs this year. Her career goals include working as a director/supervisor at an inpatient or residential treatment facility.

When asked what advice she might have for future applicants to the Counseling Psychology master's program at the University of Southern Mississippi, Taylor mentioned not to be afraid of asking questions or seeking clarification. It is important to remember, she said, that many people can relate to the inevitable anxiety surrounding the admission process and are eager to help.
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Electronic Aggression

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has some information available on the topic of electronic aggression and its connection to youth violence. Since we recently mentioned some of the varying terminology used to describe these behaviors, it seemed important to note that the CDC suggests that electronic aggression is preferred term. They offer the following as their rationale: “Although many different terms-such as cyberbullying, Internet harassment, and Internet bullying-have been used to describe this type of violence, electronic aggression is the term that most accurately captures all types of violence that occur electronically.” This seems appropriate since electronic aggression is probably the broadest and most inclusive of the various terms.

They characterize electronic aggression as an "emerging public health problem" and note it has been linked to a number of problems among youth, including increased victimization, emotional distress, and conduct problems. Finally they provide downloadable resources for educators, parents and caregivers, and researchers.

At the Anger and Traffic Psychology Lab, we have just started collecting data for a new study on electronic aggression among college students. We are hoping to learn more about how to measure it effectively and how it relates to some of the dark personality variables we have been studying.
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Cyber Aggression Study Planned

cyber-bullying
It goes by many different names (e.g., cyberbullying, cyber aggression, electronic aggression), but the concept will be familiar to anyone who has interacted with others online. Slonje and Smith (2008) referred to a form of aggressive behavior "in which the aggression occurs through modern technological devices, and specifically mobile phones or the internet." Dilmaç (2009) described "an individual or group willfully using information and communication involving electronic technologies to facilitate deliberate and repeated harassment or threat to another individual or group by sending or posting cruel text and/or graphics using technological means."

Consensus definitions of these constructs have been elusive (Zalaquett & Chatters, 2014), and the lack of consistently used and psychometrically sound measures has made it difficult to compare findings across studies. As a result, many basic questions about the nature of cyber aggression remain unanswered.

The lab is planning to begin collecting data soon for a study on cyber aggression. We hope to evaluate one of the more promising measures for assessing this behavior among college students and learn something about its correlates. Given the mounting evidence that these behaviors are associated with a number of adverse correlates for both aggressors and targets (e.g., Beran et al., 2012; Gini & Pozzoli, 2013), we believe the topic is worth investigating.
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