Science University Research Symposium (SURS)

The Impact of Childhood Experiences: What Can Change Your Cognition?

Publication Date

Fall 2022


Sciences and Mathematics, College of


Psychological Science, Department of

SURS Faculty Advisor

Dr. Michael Oliver

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation


Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are becoming an increasingly popular area of study for many researchers. Particularly interesting is the effects that ACEs can have on an individual’s adulthood experience of living. The current study aims to examine further the effects ACEs can have on specific cognitive abilities in adults. Specifically, this study is focused on reaction times and social information processing abilities. For the current study, participants' experience of childhood abuse, household dysfunction, and/or neglect were examined. In order to examine participants’ experience of ACEs, the current study asked participants to complete an ACEs questionnaire developed by the California Surgeon General’s Clinical Advisory Committee. Prior to completing the ACEs questionnaire however, participants were asked to complete two separate implicit association tasks (IATs). These tests were used to gauge participants’ reaction times and their forgiveness scores. We hypothesized that childhood neglect would be negatively correlated with reaction time and positively correlated with forgiveness and that childhood household dysfunction would be positively correlated with reaction time and forgiveness. Additionally, we hypothesized that childhood abuse would be positively correlated with reaction time and negatively correlated with forgiveness. Overall, the purpose of the current study is to further examine the effects of ACEs on adulthood cognitive functioning. The current study also hopes to further the understanding of reaction time and social information processing abilities in individuals who experienced abuse, household dysfunction, and/or neglect, as this currently appears to be understudied.

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