From charting the impact of COVID-19 lockdowns to uncovering a forgotten chapter of history, Dyson College faculty members have provided new understanding on a variety of topics recently. Here’s a closer look at their work.
COVID lockdowns and PSY Health
Has the strain of mandatory COVID-19 lockdowns affected your mental health? The psychological toll has been widely discussed in the media, and now, a new analysis from Pace University Associate Professor of Psychology Anthony Mancini, PhD, and Gabriele Prati, a researcher at the Università di Bologna, provides groundbreaking insight that indicates we might be more resilient than we thought.
“We found that, in the early stages at least, the effect was quite small,” Mancini said. He and Prati analyzed 25 studies involving more than 72,000 participants, and findings showed no statistically significant negative impact on social support, loneliness, general distress, negative affect, and suicide risk among the general population. However, Mancini also notes that the data was extremely varied, which suggests that the psychological effect of lockdowns may differ depending on factors such as social group or geographical location. This may also be due in-part to the disparate health impact of the pandemic.
The full study, “The Psychological Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic Lockdowns: A Review and Meta-Analysis of Longitudinal Studies and Natural Experiment,” is published in the journal Psychological Medicine.
Unlocking the Secrets of Bee Propolis
Propolis, a sticky residue produced by bees and used in the construction of hives, has been recognized for its medicinal properties since ancient times. Today, Pace University Associate Professor of Chemistry Elmer-Rico Mojica, PhD, and his students are working to gain a better understanding of the material.
“[Propolis doesn’t] have exact composition since its chemical make-up is dependent on many factors like location, bee species and season,” said Mojica. “What we are trying to do is to find out if we can have some sort of a chemical marker that can identify that one propolis sample from a particular place.”
To understand how it might be possible to differentiate between propolis samples, the first step is to determine optimal methods to extract the propolis. Mojica recently published new findings in the LSUA Undergraduate Journal in Teaching and Research that demonstrate the efficacy of using ultrasonification (ultrasonic sound waves). He completed the study, “Comparative Study of the Extraction Methods for the Instrumental Analysis of Bee Propolis,” with Lyric O. Wyan ’19, BS Forensic Science, and Jozlyn Charland ’20, BS Forensic Science.
The research is ongoing with other students, and Mojica recently had papers accepted for publication in the Philippine Journal of Science and the Journal of Tropical Life Science.
The Impact of Online Dating Service Advertising
In the world of online dating services (ODS), advertising may be the third wheel, according to award-winning new research from Assistant Professor of Communication Studies Aditi Paul, PhD. Her findings, presented recently at the 7th International Communication Management Conference, showed that advertising messages for ODS are standardized globally, not aligning with the values of different cultures. “Consistent exposure to such standardized advertisements can transform people’s dating practices,” Paul said.
Inspired by a Stanford University study, "How Couples Meet and Stay Together," Paul has worked on her project since 2018, in collaboration with Saifuddin Ahmed, a researcher at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. Their paper, “Does Online Dating Promotion Vary Across Cultures? Analyzing Homepage Advertisements of Online Dating Services in Fifty-One Countries Across Europe, North America, and South America,” was awarded $5,000, first place recognition at the conference, held virtually and hosted by MICA, a strategic marketing and communication institute in Ahmedabad, India.
“Because of the pandemic, both Dr. Ahmed and I have not been able to visit our families in India for over a year,” Paul said. “To receive this recognition at a conference hosted in India was the closest we got to being home during these extraordinary times.”
Karolina Zaluski ’04, a business economics major, also assisted Paul with the research.
Survival in Today's Media Market
How can local news organizations, especially digital ventures, ensure survival in today's media market? New research from Department of Media, Communications, and Visual Arts Assistant Professor Mirjana Pantic, PhD, demonstrates that establishing a unique niche is one key strategy.
“It is not enough for local digital media to base their originality on the specific region where they produce the news,” Pantic said. “They need to have certain unique characteristics which are usually reflected in the type of content they provide.”
Supported by a Pace Undergraduate Student and Faculty Research Program grant from the Provost’s office, Pantic worked with Jade Perez ’20, Digital Journalism, and conducted in-depth interviews with ten local news organizations.
Results, published earlier this year in the journal Journalism Practice, indicated that focusing on localized content of particular interest to the specific audience rather than investing resources to cover stories being covered by other larger outlets is an effective approach. Pantic also found that utilizing the talents of emerging journalists and students is beneficial to news websites, as well as the individual journalists.
Unearthing Hidden Women’s History
The Korean War, which began on June 25, 1950, has been referred to in the United States as “the forgotten war,” for the limited consideration it has received in comparison to World War I, II, and the Vietnam War. Assistant Professor of History Michelle Chase, PhD, is working to change that, particularly when it comes to an all-but-forgotten protest movement led by a group of women in Cuba. Her article, “Hands Off Korea! Women's Internationalist Solidarity and Peace Activism in the Early Cold War,” published recently in the Journal of Women's History explores the efforts of the Democratic Federation of Cuban Women, a group active in opposing the war. Members held protests, signed petitions, and wrote letters against engaging Cuban troops in the fighting. One managed to travel to North Korea to collect information on wartime atrocities. Chase’s work is the first scholarly article on the group.
“My article emphasizes the fact that in the early Cold War you did see some interesting expressions of women's activism, including some very radical peace activism that tried to build bridges between women in Latin America and the Caribbean and women in Asia,” said Chase. “It’s an interesting group, because in some ways their protests prefigured events of the 1960s, like opposition to the Vietnam War. In other ways, they anticipated arguments made by second-wave feminists in the 1970s. So, I think it’s a very intriguing story that hasn’t been fully told.”