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Posted by Matthew Posillico at 10:14AM   |  Add a comment
Me hanging out at a restaurant in Albany


Elijah Earl and Clayton Moser, two Ithaca College senior psychology majors will be presenting their research on Thursday, March 31 at Poster Session #2. Their presentation, “THE ROLE COUNTERFACTUALS PLAY IN JUDGMENTS OF DISEASE ONSET,” is based on two years of research where they examined the connection between how people tend to think when they are diagnosed with diabetes, and how their thoughts or outlook regarding the diagnosis affect how other people perceive and support them. Elijah explained that the research revolved around the concept of counterfactuals. Counterfactuals are thoughts produced by a victim after a negative event which express an alternative situation that are either evaluatively better or worse than the actual event.


An evaluatively BETTER COUNTERFACTUAL is called an “upwards counterfactual,” and typically expresses ways in which the negative event might have been avoided. Upwards counterfactuals are typically prefaced by an “if only” statement. For example, “If only I had exercised, visited my doctor, and watched what I ate, I would not have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes”.  An evaluatively WORSE COUNTERFACTUAL is called a “downwards counterfactual,” and typically expresses ways in which the negative event might have been worse. Downwards counterfactuals are typically prefaced by an “at least” statement. For example, “At least we caught my type 2 diabetes early, before I would have to lose limbs due to my disease.”


Elijah values his research experience because “the rise of type 2 diabetes is a big problem in America and will significantly affect the future of healthcare. The research process itself was also unique and educational, as I have been able to oversee a scientific study from conception to presentation, a rare experience in undergraduate research.”

To read their full abstract or to see when this presentation is being held, please visit:


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