is a psychology major and looks forward to achieving his goal of obtaining a PhD in Clinical Psychology. He has authored presentations that have appeared at Stanford University Undergraduate Research Convention
, EWU's Graduate and Undergraduate Research and Creative Works Symposium,
the American Psychological Association Annual Convention,
the Western Psychological Association Annual convention,
and the National Council on Undergraduate Research
. He has also maintained a 4.0 GPA in major course work as well as a 3.9 cumulative GPA.
Andrew's current research interests lay with issues surrounding the well-being of minority and underserved populations. He would like to explore issues of stigma and discrimination that many people face on a daily basis and how to best thrive in the face of such adversity using positive psychological frameworks. He is also interested in understanding factors that either promote or antagonize safe sex behaviors, especially amongst populations at high risk for sexually transmitted infections.
His McNair summer research internship examines the hypothesis that individuals with a strong God concept as expressed by their gratefulness to God find it easier to maintain positive affect in their life's events. This prediction stems from the theory that someone's belief in and gratitude towards God increases the amount of events a person could feel grateful about as well as an increased availability of grateful expression.
Summer 2011 McNair Internship Faculty Research Mentor: Dr. Philip Watkins, EWU Psychology
Summer 2012 McNair Internship Faculty Research Mentor: Dr. Jane Simoni, UW Psychology
Abstract: Brief Literature Review on Sexual Norm Formation in Men Who Have Sex with Men (MSM)
Pereira, Andrew (Jane Simoni, UW, Psychology), Eastern Washington University, Washington
Background: Young men are likely learn about sex through sexually explicit media, mimicking what they see. Over the past two decades, men who have sex with men (MSM) have engaged in increasingly more online sex-seeking behaviors, including consumption of MSM-specific sexually explicit online media (SEOM). At the same time, the amount of MSM-specific SEOM showing unprotected anal intercourse (UAI) has increased, raising concerns about HIV transmission among the actors and encouragement of risky sex among SEOM consumers. More information about the potential influence of SEOM consumption on MSMʼs sexual behaviors is needed.
Methods: In-depth qualitative interviews were conducted with 16 online partner-seeking MSM. Participants were asked about how they felt SEOM influenced their sexual behaviors and the sexual behaviors of other MSM. Themes were established using content analysis.
Results: Participants reported that SEOM normalized their sexual behaviors, inspired them to try new sex acts, and influenced their standards of physical attraction for sexual partners, as well as the sex acts they thought they should engage in. Participants also reported that seeing UAI in SEOM increased their desire for UAI, normalized UAI, and set the expectation that their partners will desire UAI. While participants reported feeling influenced by SEOM, they claimed it had a much stronger influence on other MSM in the community.
Conclusions: As SEOM continues to display UAI, the expectation that UAI is preferred among MSM may increase, resulting in an increased acceptance of irregular condom use and a reduced desire to use condoms among MSM. Consistent with the fundamental attribution error, MSM felt that SEOM had a greater influence on other MSM than it did on them. Further research is needed to better understand the influence of UAI in SEOM. If found to be influential, SEOM may be an innovate medium in which to present HIV prevention interventions to MSM.