Claremont, Calif. (April 27, 2012) — Pitzer College student Madison Noble ’12 received a Psi Chi Undergraduate Research Grant to fund research for her psychology honors thesis, “Effect of Mainstream Media on Body Image and Stress Reactivity in Latina Females.”
A psychology and Spanish major, Noble worked with her thesis advisers, Assistant Professor of Psychology KaMala Thomas and Assistant Professor of Spanish Milton Machuca, to examine how exposure to advertising affects the psychological and physical well-being of college-aged women.
In Noble’s study, participants filled out questionnaires and watched commercials while their heart rate and blood pressure were recorded. The funding from the Psi Chi grant allowed Noble to measure participants’ levels of cortisol, a stress hormone.
Noble’s research found that young women, regardless of ethnicity, reacted to commercials showing idealized images of models with higher blood pressure and lower levels of body esteem while remaining unmoved by a car commercial that didn’t use images of women to sell its product. Noble has also translated her thesis into Spanish.
The Psi Chi Undergraduate Research Grant is awarded to support research projects of undergraduate members of Psi Chi, an international honor society in psychology.