Seed Grant Awards

Each spring, the Owens Institute for Behavioral Research (OIBR) seeks applications for faculty seed grant projects in the social and behavioral sciences. All faculty in the Social and Behavioral Sciences are encouraged to apply, but OIBR gives preference to proposals from faculty who are OIBR distinguished scholars, affiliates, or grant development program participants.

More information about the program.

2024Glenna ReedAssociate Professor,
Advertising & Public Relations
$9,600Effect of point-of-view on interpretation of body-worn camera footage: A psychophysiological investigation of cognitive processing and evaluation of culpability
Body-worn cameras (BWC), small cameras worn on the body that record and provide footage of police encounters from a first-person point of view (POV), are used by an increasing number of police agencies around the United States (Chapman, 2018). Footage from these devices can be used to promote improved officer-citizen relations, deter breaches of procedural justice, and increase transparency within the justice system (e.g., White House, 2014; BJA, 2015). Some reports indicate that their use contributes to a positive relationship between law enforcement and citizens (BJA, 2015). However, despite the advantages of BWC to both police and citizens, recent research indicates that people interpret BWC footage heterogeneously in ways that can facilitate biased outcomes (Bailey, Read et al., 2021; Salerno & Sanchez, 2020; Wilson et al., 2017). For example, one study found that viewers of BWC footage attributed a violent interaction to situational factors when told the footage came from a policewoman. When told that the same BWC footage came from a policeman, viewers attributed the interaction to the officer's aggression (Salerno & Sanchez, 2020). This research, and others, demonstrates that societal stereotypes and other cognitive processes bias interpretation of BWC video evidence. This is problematic because the collection and release of BWC videos shape public discourse around policing and are often used to assess citizen/officer culpability in both formal (e.g., trial) and informal (e.g., public opinion) contexts. For this reason, we propose to build on our previous work by (1) assessing how the first-person POV inherent to BWC footage interacts with social factors such as citizen race to affect perceptions of citizen/officer culpability, (2) testing if instructions that promote awareness of these potential biasing effects can reduce bias in interpretation of BWC footage and, (3) examining implicit, automatic processes underlying reception of both the videos and the instructions using psychophysiological measures and eye-tracking.
2023Daniel JungAssistant Professor, Health Policy & Management$7,500The Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on the Gaps in Care Quality and Health Outcomes between Medicare Home Health Care Patients with and without Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementia
While it is known that the COVID-19 pandemic had a disparate impact on vulnerable populations and communities in terms of access to high-quality health care and health outcomes (Werner & Bressman, 2021), we have less information on its impact in the context of Medicare home health care. The pandemic has intensified challenges such as workforce shortages as well as insufficient access to essential resources in home health care (Denise Tyler et al., 2021; Sama et al., 2020), which may affect care quality and health outcomes differently based on pre-existing patient and HHA-level characteristics. Especially, ADRD patients are known to have worse functional and cognitive abilities which require complex needs and heavily rely on caregivers (J. Burgdorf et al., 2019; Konetzka et al., 2020). Considering these characteristics, ADRD home health care patients may have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. Identifying the unique impact of the pandemic on home health care and ADRD patients will inform expectations and policies aimed at improving Medicare home health care and mitigating the gap in care quality and health outcomes, as well as the need for further monitoring of the impact of COVID-19 pandemic. Moreover, identifying factors that affect quality of care for ADRD patients during the pandemic will inform policymakers not only on how to support home health agencies (HHAs) and disadvantaged subgroups who were disproportionately affected by the pandemic, but also on how to take action to reduce gaps in Medicare home health care beyond the effect of the pandemic.
2023Cassia RothAssociate Professor, History$5,150Determining Reproductive Value: Slave Prices, Gender, and Reproduction in Nineteenth-Century Brazil
This project tests the relationship between the prices of enslaved women of reproductive age (15–35) and changing legal parameters in the largest slaveholding society of the nineteenth century: Brazil. It uses a differences-in-differences (DiD) methodology and a large sample size (n ≈ 20,000) from original archival research in three different Brazilian regions (São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador da Bahia) to understand the role that reproduction played in the abolition of slavery. It thus has relevance for current debates on the lasting legacy of the intersection of racial and gender inequality in former slave societies such as Brazil and the United States.
2022Drew AbneyAssistant Professor, Psychology$9,955The Role of Multi-Level Parent-Child Synchrony on Child Self-Regulation
This pilot study brings together researchers with expertise in varied areas of scholarship to examine relations between parent-child synchrony and child self-regulation in a community sample of 72 families from diverse sociodemographic backgrounds. Self-regulation – the ability to manage behavior and emotions in response to environmental demands – underlies healthy development across the lifespan and is foundational for adaptative development. There is strong support for the notion that the developmental process of self-regulation has biological, social, and environmental bases, that the process unfolds largely in the context of the caregiver-child relationship, and that the dyadic unit itself serves key functions that can either facilitate or impede healthy child self-regulation. It is therefore the goal of the current study to investigate the dyadic unit through the concept of synchrony: the matching of behavioral, physiological, or neural states1. Prior work has largely examined parent child synchrony at the behavioral and physiological levels, but emerging theoretical insights2, informed by metaanalytic results3, suggests a deeper link between meaningful behavioral, physiological, and neural co-variation among children and their parents. This study will examine parent-child synchrony as a predictor of child self-regulation using behavioral, physiological, and hyper-scanning functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) neuroimaging methods in an adapted conceptual framework that makes connections between the brain, body, and environment. Data from this innovative pilot study will serve as proof of concept and inform the development of a larger external grant proposal submitted using either the NIH R01 mechanism (PA-16-160) or the NSF: Developmental Sciences mechanism (PD 08-1698). This work will ultimately inform models of child self-regulation and potentially identify novel targets for improving prevention and intervention programs for
children and their families.
2022Brett ClementzProfessor, Psychology$9,990Sensory Target Engagement for Psychosis B-SNIP Biotype-1 (STEP-1)
This project will enhance the B-SNIP consortium, by using biomarkers as Biotype-specific targets for clinical application. DSM-type diagnoses do not provide such treatment targeting information. The intervention will be a sensory training regimen that could be easily delivered in any psychologist’s office. This approach will transition psychosis treatment from a subjective, to an at least partially objective, enterprise. We will use already recruited psychosis cases and identify BT1 cases with a target biomarker feature (deficient early sensory processing due to low neural response to salient stimuli, as seen in EEG event-related potentials; ERPs). The psychosis comparison group (BT2) have deficient early sensory processing due to high EEG intrinsic brain activity, yet normal response to salient stimuli. BT3, who are normal on cognition and sensory processing, will be excluded. We will target the defining feature of neurophysiological dysfunction in BT1 using an established sensory intervention (Tone Matching Training; TMT) to normalize their neural deviation. Previous sensory training studies have been marginally successful but intervened on heterogeneous sychosis rather than a psychosis subgroup with a specific physiological dysfunction for which the treatment should be specifically efficacious. We have submitted this study as a large multi-site trial (R01), but reviewers wanted to see an indication that the intervention will specifically target BT1 like we predict (this is the only part of the project for which we lack prodigious preliminary data). Ergo, we are requesting these OIBR funds to support that specific request. We will stratify participants to one of two groups until completion of 22 cases (n=11/Biotype). TMT will be administered in 20 min sessions x 4/day, 2-3 days/week over 3 weeks, totaling 32 sessions. Baseline, midpoint, and post-training assessments will target specific neurophysiological outcomes. Target engagement (TE) hypotheses: (TE1) TMT will augment ERP amplitudes and improve sensory signal fidelity in BT1 but not BT2; and (TE2) training will improve sensory discrimination ability in BT1 but not BT2.
2022Caree CotwrightAssociate Professor, Family and Consumer Sciences$8,534Evaluating an interactive eLearning training to improve healthy beverage policy implementation among Early Care and Education Teachers in Georgia
It is essential to reduce the prevalence of obesity among young children because obese children have a higher risk of developing chronic diseases later in life. Decreasing intake of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) and increasing consumption of healthy beverages (e.g., water and milk) among young children can help address the problem of childhood obesity. SSBs are drinks that contain sucrose, fruit concentrate, high fructose corn syrup, or other caloric sweeteners (e.g., soda, fruit drinks, juice drinks). National Health and Nutrition Examination Study data show 62% of children aged 2-5 years consume SSBs, contributing 127-130 kcal to daily caloric intake. As a large majority of young children spend a significant time in the early care and education (ECE) setting, it has been recognized as an important environment for childhood obesity prevention. The majority of ECE teachers in Georgia have never had a beverage policy training. There is a lack of evaluation research regarding the use of eLearning to promote obesity prevention policies to ECE teachers. This pilot study will use an intervention-control design to test the effectiveness of an eLearning beverage policy training. Study outcomes will provide vital information on the use of an eLearning beverage policy training to improve policy implementation among ECE teachers. The proposed study may contribute to reducing obesity risk and promoting healthier diets among preschool children in Georgia.
2022Justine TinklerAssociate Professor, Sociology$4,500Intergroup Relations and Prosocial Behavior in the Wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic
Recent research on intergroup behavior suggests that individuals respond to a new threat from an outgroup by prioritizing the most privileged identity to which they feel they belong (Abascal 2015). The current study builds on and extends Abascal’s work by investigating whether the framing of the pandemic as a threat from Asia affects relations not only between Asian Americans and other groups but also has spillover effects on relations between white and Black Americans. To test our thesis, we designed an Internet-based experiment that exposes people to a news article about an ongoing pandemic threat from Asia and then measures 1) respondents’ prosocial behaviors toward a same-race versus a different-race recipient in a one-shot dictator game and 2) the strength of their racial and American identities. We have collected data from 1000 white Americans via Amazon Mechanical Turk. Preliminary results show that our treatment prime successfully activated threat perceptions and that white participants react to the prime by donating significantly less money to Asian American recipients. We propose to use the seed grant to collect data from an additional 1200 Black and Asian Americans. This research is interdisciplinary by bringing together theories from sociology, psychology, and race and ethnic relations to specify how an outside threat affects racial and national identities that have spillover effects on interracial behavior.