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Amending Florida Law to Increase Justice for Victims of Nonconsensual Porn: A Partnership Between Psychological Researchers and the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative (Asia Eaton and Yanet Ruvalcaba, Florida International University; Holly Jacobs, Cyber Civil Rights Initiative)

Nonconsensual pornography (NCP) is defined as “the distribution of sexually graphic images of individuals without their consent.” Before 2013, only three states criminalized NCP. Current laws vary, however those that are in place are often too narrow and offenders are rarely prosecuted. In a recent nation-wide study conducted using Facebook, the research team was able to demonstrate that NCP is in fact a dangerous public health concern.  Using the results of this and other studies, the research team will meet with legislators in the Florida state capital, Tallahassee, to suggest evidence-based amendments to the Florida sexual cyberharassment law. Their goal is to amend the state law to: strike the requirements for personally-identifying information of the victim and perpetrator intent to harm, and expand the criminalizable methods of perpetration beyond Internet websites. 

Confederate Memorabilia Conundrum:  Uniting Communities with a Legacy of Injustice (Ines Jurcevic, Sophie Trawalter, Benjamin Converse, and Eileen Chou, University of Virginia)

The debate on Confederate monuments has led to divisive and unconstructive conversations in local and state governments. Researchers can help communities have more productive conversations through the concept of framing. Research has shown that framing goals in terms of progress (“how far we’ve come”) can have a demotivating effect on persistence, whereas framing goals in terms of commitment toward equity (“how far we still have to go”) can increase persistence. Using archival data and item assessment, this mixed-methods study focuses on how the representation of Confederate monuments in different contexts (progress toward equity versus commitment toward equity) can affect efforts to redress inequities rooted in a racist past. The project has numerous potential implications for race relations, and the findings could inform how we reduce intergroup conflict.

Gap Analysis of Resources for LGBTQIA People in a Quasi-Rural City (Michèle Schlehofer and Diane Illig, Salisbury University; Janice Murphy, Wor-Wic Community College)

This project will explore existing resources and programs provided within City of Salisbury limits for people who self-identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, intersex, or asexual (LGBTQIA) and whether existing resources and programs meet the perceived needs of LGBTQIA residents. Using social science methodology, people living, working, or attending school in the City who identify as LGBTQIA will be recruited from the community and asked to complete a survey. The research team is working collaboratively with the City of Salisbury (population 30,000) to conduct this project. Salisbury is a small urban city located in a rural geographic area. Last year, the City established a Human Rights Advisory Committee, which provides direct recommendations to the Mayor for how to best provide support for marginalized populations within City limits and which assists with complaints of discrimination. The Human Rights Advisory Committee and the Mayor are particularly interested in exploring the perceptions of and needs for resources and experiences with discrimination among LGBTQIA people in Salisbury.



LGBT+ Mental Health Services Seeking and Tennessee’s “Counseling Discrimination Law” (Patrick Grzanka, Joseph Miles, Leticia Flores, Elliot Spengler, Keri Frantell, and Elliot Devore, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville)

In April of 2016, the Tennessee Governor allowed HB1840/SB1556 to become law. The legislation mandates that “No counselor or therapist providing counseling or therapy services shall be required to counsel or serve a client as to goals, outcomes, or behaviors that conflict with a sincerely held religious belief of the counselor or therapist.” Research has long shown that LGBT+ individuals typically access mental health services at a rate disproportionately higher than their heterosexual and cisgender counterparts. This mixed-methods study includes a large, internet-based survey along with follow-up interviews from a subsample of internet respondents. Through a partnership with the Tennessee Equality Project, the research team aims to use these data to inform legal challenges to the law, and to lobby legislators to reverse the law or pass other bills that will negate it.

Can Institutional Signals Improve Opinion toward LGBTI People in Slovakia? (Matej Hruška, Andrej Findor, and Veronika Valkovicová, Comenius University)

This research project focuses on the effect of institutional signals on public opinion toward LGBTI-identified people in Slovakia. The aim of the project is to test whether messages about equal opportunity employment for LGBTI people would make respondents more strongly believe that positive attitudes toward LGBTI people are typical and desirable behavior. The researchers hope to create evidence that can be used by Slovak policy makers, NGOs, and corporations that are interested in promoting equal opportunity (anti-discrimination) policies.

Racial/ethnic disparities in Uptake of Paid Sick Leave in Chicago (Yamile Molina, Kristine Molina, and Ariel Thomas, University of Illinois at Chicago)

This project examines the psychological factors that may affect the success of local paid sick leave policies in Chicago, a city with striking racial/ethnic disparities. In April of 2016, the City of Chicago established and passed a paid sick leave ordinance. The ordinance grants earned sick time to more than 450,000 Chicago workers. On the one hand, this policy could reduce disparities, given racial/ethnic minorities are disproportionately represented in occupations that did not previously receive paid sick leave. On the other hand, this policy could maintain or increase disparities due to low adoption of the enactments. In this study, the research team will use a mixed-methods approach to examine racial/ethnic disparities post-ordinance (specifically between 7/1/2017 and 12/1/2017) among City of Chicago employees who are eligible for the program.



Community Policing Reform Project (Michele Wittig, California State University, Northridge; Gino Galvez, California State University, Long Beach; Michael Giang, Mt. St. Mary’s University; Gabriel Weinberger, Pardee RAND Graduate School of Public Policy) 

This project uses oral histories to show that segments of the population experience interactions with the Santa Monica Police Department (SMPD) as discriminatory practices based on race, which in turn has led to distrust of the SMPD.  The project will suggest additions to, and analyses of, SMPD public data so as to 1) bring SMPD into conformity with new California laws on racial profiling and use of force, 2) promote greater transparency and accountability and 3) build trust among all segments of the community.

Understanding Policy Implementation: National Survey of Domestic Violence Intervention Program Standards (Eric Mankowski, Rachel Smith, and Kate Sackett, Portland State University).

This project applies social and community psychology principles to describe and understand how regulatory standards that govern the practices of domestic violence intervention programs are implemented across the United States. The project will document the history of program standards across the U.S., describe the composition and structure of program regulatory bodies, and identify facilitators and barriers to policy implementation, program monitoring and evaluation practices, repercussions for non-compliant programs, and funding issues that impact implementation. Findings will inform best practices for successful implementation of laws regulating intervention programs and can be used to improve the effectiveness of programs in preventing domestic violence, a social problem with significant negative impacts on individual and community health and well-being.

Shared Worlds 2015 (Achu Johnson Alexander, Clark University; Anita Fabos, Clark University; Cheryl Hamilton, International Institute of New England).

Using 100 focus groups with the aim to reach 1000 residents, the research team will examine the relationships between refugees and their U.S.-born neighbors in Worcester, Massachusetts. Specifically, the goal of this project is to look at the effect of these relationships on individual’s sense of belonging and well-being. While the central focus of the study is to better understand refugee integration in the city, marketing the conversation more broadly will increase community participation and lead to recommendations for the city to help develop policies that strengthen relationships across diverse populations (

Research that produces nothing but books will not suffice.
                                                                                                                    - Kurt Lewin