Date of Award

January 2015

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Adam L. Lawson

Second Advisor

Catherine A. Clement

Third Advisor

D. Alexander Varakin


The following study assessed cognitive mechanisms, via physiological measures, in reaction to photos depicting conditions of corporal punishment, nonphysical punishment, and a neutral control. Detections in skin conductance (SCR) were used to examine autonomic stress response. The current study examined executive working memory (WM) processes as influenced by cognitive and psychophysiological response to viewing depictions of various punishments being implemented. Results of this study found that while participants reacted differently, autonomically and cognitively, to photo conditions, these differences were unrelated to other anticipated moderators such as tendency to internalize shame or greater personal exposure to corporal punishment. Subsequent analyses, however, discovered some unexpected significant trends and relationships.