Oral Presentations: UC 326


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Friday, April 27th
9:00 AM

The Effect of Accountability on Dialectical and Elaborative Complexity

Gavin W. Ploger, University of Montana, Missoula

UC 326

9:00 AM - 9:20 AM

This experiment examined how accountability to an audience with unknown views influenced the integrative, dialectical, and elaborative complexity of people’s statements. The experiment tested 185 undergraduate students randomly assigned to one of two conditions: No Accountability and Accountability. Participants in the No Accountability condition were assured their responses would be completely anonymous. Participants in the Accountability condition were told they would have to explain their views to another individual, but not what that individual’s views were. Participants responded with their views on 4 controversial social issues: abortion, immigration, climate change, and gun ownership. Hypothesis One: Individuals who are accountable to an audience with unknown views will respond with greater integrative complexity than individuals who are not accountable to an audience. Hypothesis Two: Individuals who are accountable to an audience with unknown views will respond with a greater ratio of dialectical complexity to elaborative complexity than individuals who are not accountable to an audience. There was no evidence to support either Hypothesis One (p=.324) or Hypothesis Two (p=.7128). However, there was very strong evidence that the accountability manipulation caused a greater drop-out rate for participants in the Accountability condition than in the No Accountability condition (p=.007). These results suggest that although accountability to others may not influence complexity in all contexts, instead sometimes causing some people to be less willing to express controversial views.

9:20 AM

The Impact of Outdoor Education on Health

Tessa A. Leake

UC 326

9:20 AM - 9:40 AM

The effect, if any, that outdoor education and experiential learning has on health was studied by interviewing students who participated in the University of Montana’s Patagonia winter session study abroad course. I interviewed participants before and after the course and asked them a series of questions about their health. Questions included how they defined health, what the greatest determinants of health are, if they have control over their health, and if they considered themselves to be in good health. Students were also asked to rate their levels of health overall, mentally, and physically in regard to themselves and compared to their peers. I collected the responses from the before and after interview and then compared them to see if experiential learning like the Patagonia winter session course has any effect on health. It was my theory that outdoor education would have a positive impact on health, and most of the students did show an increase in their rating of health, however based on the size of this study I can conclude no significant effect on health from outdoor education. Despite being unable to draw any concrete conclusions on the impact this course had on the students’ levels of health, responses from students nevertheless aligned with studies done on outdoor education and the impacts it has on students.

9:40 AM

Pedagogy of Pitch in Second Language Learners of Blackfoot

Naatosi I. Fish, University of Montana

UC 326

9:40 AM - 10:00 AM

Abstract Pedagogy of Pitch in L2 Blackfoot Pitch in Blackfoot is characterized by the raising of relative pitch on a syllable in a word. Pitch is not a consciously recognized piece of information among native speakers or teachers.However, pitch is important as it impacts the meaning of words. This study looks at the efficacy of visual guides for Blackfoot pronunciation of pitch by second language learners. I hypothesized that use of visual assistance would improve pitch pronunciation in second language learners. Subjects were nine Blackfoot learners recruited on campus. Participants were shown 15 words with images and asked to pronounce them. Subjects were then given pitch art, a visual tool mapping pitch, and asked to pronounce the words again with the visual aid. The recordings were analyzed in a phonetic program called Praat, and the measurements were inputted and organized in an excel file for further analysis. Their pronunciation was compared to that of a native speaker. One participants results were deemed unusable due to creaky voice. Results showed four of the remaining eight learners improved pronunciation overall, but the remaining participants did not. Three conclusions were drawn from these results: (i) the immediate use of images without instruction does not significantly improve pronunciation, (ii) complexity and familiarity of words impact second language pronunciation, and (iii) when words are simple and/or familiar, learners perform better with pitch, and when words are complex or unfamiliar learners struggle with pitch. This study contributes to the field of second language acquisition, especially regarding Blackfoot and other languages with pitch. In addition, language in the Blackfeet community plays a significant role in identity and pride, and, as such, speakers desire to sound authentic and as “native-like” as possible. This study hopes to improve education of Blackfoot language and help learners’ pronouncing Blackfoot words.

10:00 AM

Language in Totalistic Social Groups

Emily H. Allen, University of Montana, Missoula

UC 326

10:00 AM - 10:20 AM

A totalistic social group is defined as a collection of individuals who share similar values and goals and who live together within intensive boundaries enforced by the group’s leadership and/or members themselves (Lifton 1969). The focus of this project is to better understand the effect of language on (I) a totalistic group’s social structure and (II) the ideologies and actions of members. The limited linguistic research on totalistic groups claims that leaders and members use language in order to enforce rules and beliefs, encourage conformity, and maintain as well as increase membership. By examining language practices in the US military, this project fills the current gap of limited data in the linguistic literature on totalism. My research suggests that certain language practices are created and used within totalistic communities in order to support an in-group mentality between members, dedication to the group’s leaders and efforts, and a powerful social structure.

This project analyzes data collected from an anonymous online survey regarding language within the US military. For instance, the results of this survey suggested that respondents regarded language as a powerful tool in reinforcing the military’s hierarchical structure. This research therefore suggests that language practices are taught to military members in order to encourage certain desired behavior. Ultimately, this research demonstrates how language practices in totalistic groups determine the maintenance of power and the fortification of membership. Therefore, by providing new data on language and totalism, this project is shedding much needed light on an under-researched area of sociolinguistics.

10:20 AM

Identity Construction Among Pilgrims on el Camino de Santiago

Claire Babcock

UC 326

10:20 AM - 10:40 AM

10:40 AM

The Risk of Tax Avoidance through Charitable Donations in the U.S. Art Market

Laura Sikoski

UC 326

10:40 AM - 11:00 AM

Provided in a variety of galleries, local and national museums, art is something that everyone can appreciate. Access to art through these places provides the opportunity for cultural, social and historical enrichment, functioning as an invaluable addition to the academic growth of both individuals and communities; however art is also big money. The fine arts market is one of the most poorly regulated markets in the world, allowing for extensive collusion on prices and sales which ensures that the market prices of art do not decreases. This exclusivity and collusive behavior results in pieces of art that are worth fortunes. So why would anyone willing donate art worth hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars? Rather than solely out of altruistic motivation individuals also engage in philanthropic activity due to financial incentives found within the U.S. tax code. Using a variety of economic and journalistic sources, we explore the structure of the fine arts market, paying close attention to the pricing practices and relevant U.S. tax code to open the discussion on the value of donated art and provide possible policy changes. The current structure provided through the U.S. tax code fails to address the constant increase of values seen in art and does not provide strict enough guide lines for museum donation criteria. Policies should be implemented that aim to mitigate excessive tax avoidance through the exploitation of charitable donations.

This is an edited version (2020) of the original 2018 edition of this paper which corrects typos, an arithmetic error, and clarifies content in the section “Scenarios of Charitable Donation Tax Law.” The paper is otherwise unchanged.

1:40 PM

Suprasegmental Production by American Learners of Japanese: A Phonetic Investigation

Yuna Hiranuma

UC 326

1:40 PM - 2:00 PM

This research examines second language acquisition (SLA) of English speakers learning Japanese by investigating how acoustic features of the first language influence the learners’ pronunciation. According to the theoretical notion of language transfer in SLA, linguistic features of learners’ first language emerge in their pronunciation of second language (Saville-Troike, 2006). Linguistic features concerned here are phonetic elements of word prominence (strongest part of a word). Beckman (1984; 1989) claims that English is considered a stress-accent language in which prominence is indicated by the combination of pitch and loudness, whereas Japanese is a pitch-accent language in which prominence is solely indicated by pitch. Based on these studies, I hypothesized that both pitch and loudness appear in prominence of the learners’ pronunciation, whereas only pitch is involved in that of Japanese speakers’, which indicates phonetic transfer.

The data consisted of recordings of ten Japanese words pronounced by English native-speakers who are studying in a second-year Japanese class at the University of Montana. Pronunciation by three native Japanese speakers was used as control. Pitch and loudness of all vowels in each word were measured using acoustic phonetic analysis software called Praat. Correlation between the highest pitch and loudness within the words was examined, and a comparative analysis of pronunciations between English and Japanese was conducted.

The result showed that correlation between pitch and loudness in the learners’ pronunciation was higher than that in Japanese speakers’. This indicates that prominence transfer was occurring, and thus supports the hypothesis. This research contributes to the study of SLA and related fields: it (i) adds data regarding sound acquisition, which is less common in the field, (ii) suggests a useful method for similar research, and (iii) helps learners of a pitch-accent language to become more proficient in terms of pronunciation.

2:00 PM

Climate Change Action: Chilean Response to an Altering Environment

Rebecca L. Levandowski, University of Montana-Missoula

UC 326

2:00 PM - 2:20 PM

Chile is one of the most biologically diverse areas in the world and recently published a "Plan de Accion Nacional de Cambio Climatico 2017-2022" (PANCC-II). This plan, further referred to as the National Action Plan, outlines their commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating climate change impacts on their country. The ambitious goals put them on the forefront of climate change action in South America. Due to lack of research, it is difficult to implement climate action plans including restoration and reforestation of degraded areas because there is little to no data on how to achieve these goals. This study analyzes the National Action Plan to identify if key climate issues in the area are adequately addressed. I also cross referenced it to other climate action plans to determine the scale of the projects. This project uses information from various scientists working on related tasks in this field and global organizations invested in this topic.

2:20 PM

The Value of Silence in Finland: A Geographic and Cultural Perspective

Meghan E. Kuhns, University of Montana

UC 326

2:20 PM - 2:40 PM

Silence-based tourism, an emerging tourism sector in Finland, is relatively understudied. This research is focused around three specific areas: 1) the geographical and historical context of silence farms (developed and potential), 2) the value of silence to the Finnish culture and economy, and 3) the role and motivations’ of Finnish farmers as they expand into this area of silence tourism, to cultivate and preserve silence spaces, and their perceptions regarding the effects that silence farms and silence experiences have on tourists. In this context, silence is referred to as natural sounds such as the chirping of birds, the rustling of the wind, or the flowing of streams and rivers. Due to Finland’s unique geographic and cultural context, the topic of silence emerges as a compelling area of study. Silence, as an experience and social goal, reflects values that are closely linked to the Finnish culture and economy. The overarching question posed by this study is: How does silence thrive in a modern society, especially considering its endangered status in the face of all-consuming urban noise pollution throughout many places in the world. This research aims to shed light on the Finnish tourism sector through engagement with farmers who operate silence farms or have knowledge about the silence farm tourism sector. This study will draw on the analysis of tourism sector documents and qualitative data collected through an online survey of farmers. More precisely, the study will examine the cultural and economic values that silence holds in Finland. The study will also determine whether there is a geographic pattern in silence farm tourism or concentrations of preferred locations for silence farms that are currently underway or planned for development. The hope is that this study will provide a new perspective on the experience and value of silence in our globalizing world.

2:40 PM

A Review of the Historical Influences of the Rural Physician Shortage in the United States

Andrew Honken

UC 326

2:40 PM - 3:00 PM

4:00 PM

Where there's a Will, there's a Way: Young People and Climate Change

Emma H. Kiefer

UC 326

4:00 PM - 4:20 PM

Climate change is the defining issue of our time. It will disproportionately impact young people, less developed and impoverished nations, global agricultural systems, and vulnerable ecosystems across the globe. Current and future generations of students must be educated and empowered to tackle the problem. My research looks at the experience of students learning about climate change in an introductory climate change class, CCS 103X, at the University of Montana. I evaluate data from survey questionnaires taken at the beginning and the end of the class, and comments made during and after each class, to evaluate the relationship between the attitudes about climate change given by lecturers to agency and pathway thoughts in students, as well as students’ overall emotional response to global warming. I draw from Dr. Charles R. Snyder’s Hope Theory to understand how certain thoughts may help students to achieve their objectives and develop a stronger sense of agency. I also look to multiple studies from Maria Ojala, an associate professor at Ӧrebro University, to understand the influence of hope on young people, and how this affects their willingness to not only learn about environmental issues, but to engage in solutions. Understanding the complex role that emotions play in youth development is vital to effectively teach climate change in the classroom. This project is compelling because it looks at the ways that professors speak about climate change and relates it back to students’ own feelings about their abilities to enact change and the different ways they calculate and reach their goals. Now more than ever, it is crucial that educators use their positions of authority to empower and engage their students on a transformational level that encourages them to go outside of the class and find solutions to the problems in their own communities.

4:20 PM

Dreaming American Dreams: The American Dream as Related to Race and Ethnicity

Nikia S. Reynolds, University of Montana; Missoula

UC 326

4:20 PM - 4:40 PM

This study examines the current meaning of the American Dream and how one’s racial identity is related to perceptions and definitions of this ideal. I argue that members of different racial and ethnic groups understand and define the American Dream in a different ways depending on societies impression of their race or ethnicity. Data was collected from the beginning of April 2017, through May 2017. Two focus groups, one made up of minority members, heavily Native American, and one of white members, were formed and asked questions related to the American Dream such as how they personally define the concept, how they believe it applies to them and to other members of their racial/ethnic group, and whether they believe this beloved philosophy, in both the traditional and their personal definitions, is attainable. I analyzed the discussion then cited quotes and themes when evaluating each focus group to draw conclusions about the American Dream as defined by minority and white Americans. Race was found to have a profound impact on participants’ beliefs about the American Dream, especially in how they defined this idea and weather they believe that it is accessible to themselves and their racial group. I expected that members of the minority group would be less likely to believe in the American Dream while white participants would be more likely to trust in this American ideology, but my focus groups yielded different results. In fact, through research it became clear that while both groups believed the American Dream to be tangible the main difference between minority and white Americans was how they chose to define this ideal. While white Americans prescribed to a more traditional definition, I found that minority Americans had formed definitions based less on monetary value and more on personal achievements.

4:40 PM

White Folks Has Everything They Need": Diversity and Inclusivity at the University of Montana

Emily K. Gillispie, University of Montana

UC 326

4:40 PM - 5:00 PM


The University of Montana has a diverse student body, consisting of individuals from a variety of different religious backgrounds, abilities, ethnic identities, gender identities and sexual orientations. Despite the diverse populations at the University, the value the school has placed on them is questionable. Providing proper support for members of marginalized communities not only helps individuals have access to resources, but it also is beneficial to the university itself. In this research, I combine interview data with analysis of websites and campus events to evaluate how the university has been both successful and unsuccessful in reflecting a specific stance toward, responsibility for, and engagement with issues of diversity. I interviewed students and faculty, examined the websites of every department on campus, and considered events such as the President's Lecture Series. I found that the University's department’s websites included more information on diversity than I was expecting. However, the information for resources was provided rather inconsistently, with some departments mentioning diversity while others did not have any information. The university must improve the consistency of its diversity resources in order to provide proper support to students.