Graduate Theses & Dissertations

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Talking it out
The literature to date that investigates the development of social perspective taking in children primarily focuses on preschool aged children. These studies provide evidence that implicates language as being crucial for social perspective taking in young children but less is known about the importance of language to social perspective taking during middle childhood and early adolescence. The current study uses Selman's theory of socio-cognitive development to investigate the maturation of social perspective taking and the importance of language to social problem solving in 8 year olds (n = 111) and 12 year olds (n = 112). Analysis of variance and scalogram analysis shows a developmental progression of social perspective taking across the social problem solving process. Children may be able to demonstrate reciprocal perspective taking when generating strategies before they are able to demonstrate reciprocal perspective taking for other steps of social problem solving. Flexibility in interpersonal orientation is shown to be a predictor of social problem solving ability. Correlations and multiple regression analysis demonstrate that language is important to overall social problem solving but that the role of semantic and syntactic language may differ at age 8 compared to age 12. Author Keywords: interpersonal orientation, language, Selman, social cognition, social perspective taking, social problem solving
TESTING THE ROLE OF BIMODAL CELLS IN NEAR-HAND EFFECTS
We investigated whether hand-proximity effects arise from the recruitment of visual-tactile bimodal cells. In Experiment 1, we executed right-hand open-loop reaching movements to targets, presented either near or far from the resting left-hand, and after applying repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) to suppress neuronal activity in the PMd and AIP, in Experiment 2. Results from Experiment 1, indicated that near-hand targets improved accuracy and reduced variability. In Experiment 2, suppressing PMd showed similar near-hand effects as above. In contrast, applying rTMS to AIP disrupted the representation of target location, indicating less accuracy and greater error. Near-hand proximity effects possibly arise from the recruitment of visual-tactile bimodal cells within the human AIP. Author Keywords: anterior intraparietal sulcus, peripersonal space, repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), , rTMS, anterior intraparietal sulcus, AIP., visual-tactile bimodal neurons
EXAMINING DREAMS, DREAM CONTENT, AND MEANING OF DREAMS IN BEREAVEMENT
Dreams that occur in bereavement have been mainly overlooked in the psychological literature. This study focuses on the most memorable dreams of the bereaved that contain imagery of the deceased. There were 52 participants who completed the study via email. The main goal of the study was to investigate the occurrence of common themes in the dreams that have the deceased as a character. It was hypothesized that the most memorable dreams are memorable because they positively influenced the dreamers waking life grief process, which was partially supported. Furthermore, it was expected that that the most memorable dreams will have a greater frequency of positive elements and a lower frequency of negative elements than the normative data on dreams, which was partially supported. These findings support past research on dreaming of the deceased and expand the impact that these types of dreams can have on the grief process. Author Keywords: bereavement, deceased imagery, dream content, dreams, grief
Near-Hand Effects and Recruitment of Visual-Tactile Bimodal Cells
Near-hand benefits are seen when individuals are able to process targets more quickly, accurately, and with greater precision when a hand is placed near, rather than far from a target. One possibility is that near-hand stimuli recruit visual-tactile bimodal cells. Research reports that placing a hand near a target delayed immediate saccade onset and speeded delayed saccade onset. Study 1 examined saccade onset to targets appearing near a real hand, a realistic fake hand, or a non-hand visual cue. Immediate saccades were facilitated and delayed saccades were slowed with a real hand in the display, in comparison to a fake hand and no-hand. To establish the link between near-hand effects and bimodal cells, Study 2 used repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) to depress cortical activity in PMd. RTMS did not induce a reversal of interference induced by near-hand, congruent targets. However, a reversal of the hand effect was found in the stimulation group; a real hand in the display may delay immediate saccades and improve delayed saccades post-stimulation. This finding may double dissociate the effect of the real hand from the fake hand and may be inconsistent with the hypothesis that the hand is attracting attention. Author Keywords: multisensory integration, near-hand effects, PMd, premotor cortex, rTMS, visual-tactile bimodal neurons
Role of Multiple Nights of Sleep in the Consolidation of an Engaging and Complex Motor Learning Task
The present study examined the role of multiple nights of sleep in the consolidation of a complex motor learning task. Participants were 24 Trent undergraduates, 12 in the learning group (Mage = 20.33, SD = 1.87, 10 female) and 12 in the control group (Mage = 21.92, SD = 3.42, 7 female). Participants underwent 5 consecutive nights of polysomnographic recordings, with a Rock Band learning session on the third night. A series of 2(group)x4(night) ANOVAs were performed on the sleep variables. Interactions were found in the number of spindles detected at Pz, F(333) = 9.19, p <.01, and in the density of spindles detected at Pz, F(3,33) = 4.06, p <.05. The pattern of changes from baseline was significantly different between the two groups; spindles increased in the learning group and decreased in the control group. The novel finding was that spindle number/density remained elevated at the third post-learning night of sleep. Author Keywords: Motor Learning, Procedural Memory, Sleep, Sleep Spindles
Neonatal Environment Influences Behavioural and Physiological Reactivity to Stressors, and Mammary Gland Development in BALB/c Mice
Using rodent models, it is possible to study the behavioural and physiological outcomes of early life stress and the influences on normal mammary gland development and carcinogenic risk. Results demonstrate that the experience of three weeks of prolonged maternal separation (LMS; 4 hrs/day) increased the susceptibility of adult, but not pubertal, female BALB/c mice to engage in higher levels of depressive-related immobility behaviour and lower levels of active floating (a suggested adaptive coping behaviour) in the acute forced swim test, than offspring that experienced three weeks of brief separation (BMS; 15 min/day) events. Despite the increased immobility behaviour, adult LMS female offspring demonstrated lower basal corticosterone levels relative to BMS females. However, the experience of chronic early-life stress, regardless of the length, results in greater changes between non-stressed and stressed corticosterone levels (i.e. stressor reactivity) in adult females compared to their male counterparts. These changes were associated with decreased glucocorticoid receptor and coactivator-associated arginine methyltransferase 1 protein expression in mammary gland of female LMS mice at young adulthood, highlighting potential mechanisms underlying their heightened risk of mammary tumourigenesis. These data suggest that early life environments can induce behavioural and physiological alterations observed in adulthood, which may have an influence on the likelihood of malignancies developing in the breast. Author Keywords: coping, early life stress, mammary gland development, mother-infant interactions, steroid receptors, stressor reactivity
Assessing the Effects of Brief Interventions on Mood and Dream Imagery in Recovering Alcohol and Drug Addicts
Addiction can lead to a plethora of health, social and economical problems. Substances are used for mood regulation, and therefore, waking day mood is extremely important during recovery of alcohol and drug addiction. The current study examined the effects of Meditation and Sleep Mentation Therapy on mood levels. All participants were male, and currently in treatment programs or early stages of recovery from alcohol and drug addiction. Participants were tested for anxiety and depression and were asked to provide a recent dream, prior and post to participating in the intervention. Dreams were scored using Hall and Van de Castle guidelines for scoring imagery. Results are consistent with previous research in that mood levels changed over the course of the meditation period. Implications for future research are discussed as well as applications of Sleep Mentation Therapy and Meditation in clinical and applied practice. Author Keywords: Addiction, Dream Therapy, Meditation, Mood
Finger-Counting Habits and Number Processing in Canadian and Chinese University Students
In the past few years there has been increasing attention paid to the influence of the motor system on numerical cognition. A 2010 study by Domahs, Moeller, Huber, Willmes and Nuerk tested German and Chinese university students. Number processing time was influenced by cross cultural differences in finger counting habits This thesis replicated and elaborated on the aforementioned research design. This consisted of recruiting a sample of from a Chinese university and comparing them to a sample of Canadian university students. This study also compared within culture differences in participants' starting counting hand using additional SNARC analyses. A second experiment evaluated the possibility that asking participants about finger counting habits prior to the experiment may influence later answers. Cross cultural and within culture differences in finger counting habits influenced number processing. Participants also appeared to be more reliable reporters of their finger counting habits if asked at the end of the task rather than at the beginning. Author Keywords: Canadian, Chinese, Cross-cultural, Finger-counting, Magnitude, Number
Application of the Sexual Self-Control Model and the Two-Dimensional Sexual Double Standard Scale to Heterosexual Undergraduate Men and Women
This thesis examined the applicability of the sexual self-control model to men, which resulted in the creation and analysis of a new two-dimensional sexual double standard scale. In Study 1, a sample of 124 men completed the Self-Control Schedule assessing general learned resourcefulness, the Sexual Resourcefulness Inventory, Sexual Self-efficacy Scale, Reasons for Consenting to Unwanted Sexual Advances Scale, and the Sexual Giving-in Experiences Survey. Contrary to expectations based on female samples, lower sexual resourcefulness was not a unique predictor of consenting to unwanted sexual advances in men. Instead, a mediation model was supported whereby men having more reasons for consenting to unwanted sexual advances were more likely to comply despite having higher levels of sexual resourcefulness skills. Concurrent with Study 1, 11 men were interviewed in Study 2 to further examine their giving-in to unwanted sexual advances, reasons for consenting, and sexual resourcefulness, but men shifted the conversation toward the sexual double standard despite scoring neutral to a quantitative sexual double standard measure in the survey of Study 1. Therefore, a new sexual double standard scale was created based on the content of the interviews. Study 3 examined the new scale's psychometric properties and its association with sexual consenting. The findings revealed that the new scale was best represented by two dimensions: personal attitudes and peer responses. Neither of these two subscales uniquely predicted giving-in to unwanted sexual advances, but were significantly associated with several key variables differentially. Author Keywords: learned resourcefulness, sexual double standard, sexual health, sexual resourcefulness, sexual script theory, unwanted sex
FIRST NATION COMMUNITY PERCEPTIONS OF POSITIVE BEHAVIOUR CHANGES IDENTIFIED IN YOUTH ASSOCIATED WITH PARTICIPATION IN A COMMUNITY RECREATION PROGRAM
This research project focused on the positive behaviour changes in First Nations youth as a result of participation in a community-based recreation program. The study was a secondary analysis based on a qualitative data set. Both adults and youth were interviewed in one-on-one and focus group settings in 12 First Nations communities across Ontario. The data was analyzed using a grounded theory approach and a substantive model was formed based on the themes that emerged from the data. The most significant of these themes were the job of the role model, self-esteem and self-efficacy. The issue of overcoming shyness and peer mentoring are also discussed. Author Keywords:
War and Peace
The relationship between siblings is unique in both its history and duration across the lifespan. Previous relationship researchers have examined siblings in childhood, but few have explored this distinctive relationship in adulthood. In this study, the adult sibling relationship was explored from an attachment perspective to determine the effect of an individual's attachment on conflict and collaboration with siblings. As expected, secure attachment predicted negative associations with conflict and positive associations with collaboration whereas insecure attachment (fearful, preoccupied, and dismissing) predicted opposite patterns. Results were compared to the abundance of literature on romantic relationships and findings from this study provided support for the theory that siblings function as attachment figures in adulthood. Author Keywords: Attachment, Collaboration, Conflict, Relationships, Romantic partners, Siblings
Comparing Two Tablet-Based Visuomotor Tasks to Standard Laboratory Versions
The assessment of visuomotor function can provide important information about neurological status. Several visuomotor tasks exist for testing in the laboratory, although attempts to make these tests portable to allow quick and reliable assessment have been limited. We developed an assessment tool using two laboratory visuomotor tests as a tablet application: the double-step task, and an interception task. Performance was assessed by measuring the participants’ ability to reach toward unpredictably moving targets in each task. Response patterns were compared across equipment types to determine if participants were responding similarly to the moving targets in the standard laboratory and the tablet version of the tasks. On the double-step task, participants adjusted to the displaced target adequately in both the lab and tablet versions. On the interception task, participants intercepted non-accelerating targets, and performed worse on accelerating targets in both versions of the task. These findings suggest that the tablet version of these tasks assesses similar visuomotor processing as the respective laboratory version. Author Keywords: concussion assessment, double-step task, interception task, visuomotor processing, visuomotor system

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