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Nicholas Joseph

Undergraduate Major: Psychology

Future Plans: Ph.D in Clinical Psychology

Nicholas Joseph

Nicholas Joseph was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. Immediately after graduating high school, he joined the Marine Corps. After completing 4 years and achieving the rank of a Sargent, with an honorable discharge, he decided to pursue his education. Nicholas Joseph received an Associate of Arts degree at Seminole State College and transferred to UCF to pursue a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology. Currently, Nicholas is a peer educator at the Wellness and Health Promotion Services, a Research Assistant for the UCF Resources and Empowerment Project (REP) and a Research Assistant for Psychophysiology of Mental Illness Laboratory. His passion for treating Schizophrenic patients has led to his involvement in becoming a Guardian Advocate for the Mental Health Association of Central Florida. Nicholas currently conducts research on Schizophrenia, Bipolar, and Schizoid type disorders with Dr. Jeffrey Bedwell. His future research interests consist of trying to solve the gap between schizophrenia disorder and the communities' understanding of its stigma. He plans to obtain a Ph.D in Clinical Psychology, as well as teach students at the college level.

The Impact of Subtle and Blatant Stereotype Threat on Heart Rate Variability

Conducted at The Ohio State University as part of the Summer Research Opportunities Program and the McNair Scholars Program

Mentor: Dewayne Williams, M.S., Julian Thayer, Ph.D. Julian Koenig, Ph.D. Department of Clinical Psychology,The Ohio State University.

Abstract: Stereotypes are widely held beliefs or assumptions about groups of people. Stereotypes have a great impact on the way people behave and even how they might treat other individuals. Stereotype threat (ST) occurs when negative stereotypes associated with a particular group are made salient by cues in the environment. Multiple lines of evidence suggest that ST has a detrimental impact on a wide variety of domains including academic performance and mental health, especially in ethnic minorities. Although some studies have suggested that ST may contribute to poorer physical health in minority individuals, few have directly investigated this claim. The present study explores the effects of ST on heart rate variability (HRV), a marker of cardiovascular function and overall health. HRV has been known to measure deficits of underlying health. Lower HRV is associated with negative health. Thus far, 67 participants (both minority and non-minority) were randomly assigned to one of three experimental priming conditions in which they received either implied but not directly mentioned (implicit), bluntly mentioned (explicit), or not at all (control condition) ST, prior to completing the Simon Effect Task. The task consists of an image of two boxes and an image of an arrow which will point to a specific box and then a dot will be presented in one of the boxes. The participant will have to distinguish in what box the dot is presented. HRV is continuously measured before the priming (baseline) phase of 5 minutes, during the completion of the Simon Effect task and during a rest period (recovery) of 5 minutes. However, to achieve adequate power, an additional 56 participants will be recruited for this study. Prior research suggests that minority participants in the implicit ST, but not the explicit ST condition, exhibits lower HRV following the completion of the task compared to minorities in the control group. Additionally, data suggests that minorities should exhibit lower HRV than non-minorities in the implicit ST group only. The current study will explore ST's effects on HRV. HRV may serve as a psychophysiological mechanism linking ST and health within the minority population.

Facial Emotion Recognition & Big Five Personality Traits In Individuals With Psychotic Disorders

Conducted at the University of Central Florida and Honors in the Major

Mentor: Dr. Jeffrey Bedwell, Department of Psychology, University of Central Florida

Abstract: Deficits in distinguishing facial information have been linked to poor communication and functional outcomes. Past research regarding individuals with schizophrenia have suggested that these individuals, when distinguishing facial information, focus more on the mouth and nose region and less on the eye region, and also require more facial information. This current research utilizes individuals with psychosis, Five Factor Model personality traits and facial recognition to better understand underlying causes of individuals with disorders with psychosis .