Alexander Dodson is majoring in Psychology at Eastern Washington University. He is the Treasurer and President-Elect of EWU's chapter of Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology. Alexander has been a Dean's List student for every quarter he has attended Eastern Washington University. He is also a research assistant for Dr. Phil Watkins studying gratitude. For his 2022 McNair Research Internship, Alexander studied impression formation and trait attribution in a social media context with Dr. Amani El-Alayli as his mentor. This summer Alex and Dr. El-Alayli expanded their research, drawing implications on relational impacts from social media presentations. He is particularly interested in social psychology. After graduation Alexander is planning to pursue his PhD with the goal of continuing research and ultimately a career as a professor of Psychology.
2023 EWU Faculty Research Mentor: Dr. Amani El-Alayli
Research Title: Political Orientation Moderates Pride and American Flag Effects on Person Perception
Abstract: The priming of American cues can increase negative judgments of others (Ferguson & Hassin, 2007), and people tend to prefer those with similar political ideologies (Chambers et al., 2013). Thus, we predicted that an American flag in a social media profile would induce negative perceptions, while the rainbow Pride flag would induce positive perceptions, especially among more liberal participants. Participants viewed a fake Twitter profile with a Pride and/or American flag background and then rated the person on various characteristics. The American flag significantly increased perceptions of aggressiveness and general prejudiced attitudes, especially for liberal participants. Also as predicted, the Pride flag increased perceptions of positive traits only among liberals. Additionally, the Pride flag caused liberals to like the target more, but conservatives to like them less. A 3-way interaction on perceived anti-gay attitudes illustrated that the Pride flag provided a strong buffer against the negative effects of the American flag among liberal participants. If incorrect, assumptions from social media profiles may unfairly impact potential relationships and employment opportunities.
2022 EWU Faculty Research Mentor: Dr. Amani El-Alayli
Research Title: Effects of Flags on Judgments of Others in a Social Media Context