James Dorr '13
By Charles Shearer '13
During the February 13th South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (SCICU) Research Symposium, Limestone College student James Dorr presented his findings about how different groups change their eating behavior based upon certain visual stimuli.
Working collaboratively with Dr. Justin Bailey, Associate Professor of Biology at Limestone, Dorr's research project was funded by SCICU and conducted during the 2012 fall semester.
Dorr is a psychology major from Spokane, Washington. He is a member of the national college honor society Alpha Chi, the Limestone College's Honors Program, and the Limestone men's volleyball team. He is also a recipient of the Division 2 Athletic Directors Association Academic Award.
About his research project, Dorr said "This is something I've been interested in for a while, so when SCICU awarded me the grant I was extremely excited. The idea was to see how different visual stimuli affected people's caloric intake as well as their moods."
The project featured groups being shown separate videos. "Both videos showed similar health information, but one featured pictures of obese individuals, while the other showed pictures of people at a healthy weight," explained Dorr. "Our hypothesis was that people shown the obesity video would consume more calories. We also found that those who watched the health video would show better moods than those who watched the obesity video."
The collected data showed that, contrary to Dorr's hypothesis, the health video group ate more food than the groups who watched the obesity video. "We believe this could be because people in the obesity group were more conscious about what they were eating in front of a group of people.
The hypothesis on mood, however, held true; those who watched the health video reported a happier mood after watching than those who watched the obesity video.
"For a future project, I would like to study the effects more closely of visual stimuli on single participants," said Dorr. "I'm very thankful to SCICU for allowing me to conduct this research. It was a very valuable and interesting experience."
Dorr will graduate from Limestone in the spring, and plans to attend graduate school to pursue a degree in Counseling Psychology in his home state.