Alicia Ortiz '20

Alicia Ortiz

Major: Psychology
Bio: Alisia Ortiz is a senior from White Plains, New York majoring in Psychology and minoring in Spanish. She received the Dean's Summer Research Grant in 2019 to pursue her honors thesis, igniting her desire to combine her two fields of study into one career. She intends to attend graduate school to receive her PhD in clinical psychology, with the hopes of becoming a child and/or adolescent trauma therapists, specifically working with English and Spanish speaking patients.

Title of Research: Language Concordance and Visual Memory Perspective
Mentor: Karen Siedlecki
Abstract: Autobiographical memories may be viewed with a first-person perspective (in which the memory is retrieved as it was experienced, through one’s own eyes), a third-person perspective (in which one can view themselves in the memory), or a combination of both.  Recent research has demonstrated a relationship between visual perspective and self concept consistency (Libby & Eibach, 2002). Individuals are more likely to recall events from the third-person when the memory is not consistent with their current self-perception, while memories in accordance with their current self are more likely to be recalled in first-person (Libby & Eibach, 2002). However, the extent to which language functions as a conduit of self perception in autobiographical memories has not been examined, despite findings that suggest that language also influences self-concept. Based upon the framework described by Libby and Eibach (2002), this project examines the influence of language concordance between encoding and retrieval on visual perspective in autobiographical memories. Spanish-English bilingual participants were exposed to either a concordant condition, in which the survey and retrieved memory are in the same language, or a discordant condition, in which the survey is administered in one language (e.g., Spanish) and the retrieved memory in another (e.g., English). It is hypothesized that participants in the concordant condition will visualize memories from the first-person perspective due to language concordance between the initial encoding and retrieval during the condition. Participants exposed to the discordant condition are hypothesized to visualize memories from the third-person perspective due to language discordance.