Graduate Theses & Dissertations


Social Communicative Factors as Predictors of Symptom Severity in Autism Spectrum Disorders
Early diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), while providing many benefits, presents challenges to clinicians such as predicting the stability of symptoms. Accurately predicting symptom severity allows clinicians to confidently diagnose and assign the most appropriate treatment. Little research exists to date to predict symptom severity in children with ASD who have not been exposed to treatment. The present file review examined prelinguistic skills as predictors of symptom severity in a group of young children (age: 18 – 64 months) with ASD (n = 199) who had not been exposed to significant levels of treatment. Hierarchical regression analyses demonstrated that of the two core diagnostic features (social communicative deficits and restricted repetitive behaviours), social communicative skills best predicted symptom severity. Furthermore, social communicative gestures predicted symptom severity after age, adaptive behaviour, restricted repetitive behaviours, and functional gestures had been accounted for. Author Keywords: autism, gestures, predictors, prelinguistic, social communicative, symptom severity
Social Anxiety, Theory of Mind, and Executive Function in Late Adolescence and Early Adulthood
Studies that have investigated the relation between social anxiety and theory of mind or executive function have shown that individuals with deficits in these cognitive processes have high levels of social anxiety. However, methodological problems make past findings questionable and difficult to interpret. The current study investigated whether deficits in theory of mind and executive function predicted symptoms of social anxiety in 99 older adolescents and young adults (18-29). On average, participants had moderate levels of social anxiety. Performance on measures of theory of mind and executive function did not predict symptoms of social anxiety. This lack of associations could be due to characteristics of the current sample, methodological differences in the current study compared to past studies, or the type of social anxiety and theory of mind measure used. Implications and directions for future research are discussed. Author Keywords: Early Adulthood, Executive Function, Late Adolescence, Social Anxiety, Theory of Mind
Social Anxiety and Emotional Competence
Prior research has examined social anxiety, emotional competence (EC) and life adjustment (i.e., loneliness and life satisfaction) using cross-sectional designs, although there is limited information on their association over time. The present study examined the impact of social anxiety on life adjustment and assessed if EC could mediate this relationship from young to middle adulthood. University students (N = 283) completed self-report measures at two time points: in first year university and 15 years later. The results accord with previous research demonstrating the stability and slight decrease of social anxiety over time. Social anxiety in young adulthood was a robust predictor of loneliness in middle adulthood, and a weak predictor of life dissatisfaction for men. Mediation analyses revealed that social anxiety was indirectly associated with interpersonal adjustment via EC, especially the intrapersonal EC domain. Social anxiety requires early intervention and EC may help to prevent later social anxiety and maladjustment. Author Keywords: emotional intelligence, life adjustment, social anxiety
Smote and Performance Measures for Machine Learning Applied to Real-Time Bidding
In the context of Real-Time Bidding (RTB) the machine learning problems of imbalanced classes and model selection are investigated. Synthetic Minority Oversampling Technique (SMOTE) is commonly used to combat imbalanced classes but a shortcoming is identified. Use of a distance threshold is identified as a solution and testing in a live RTB environment shows significant improvement. For model selection, the statistical measure Critical Success Index (CSI) is modified to add emphasis on recall. This new measure (CSI-R) is empirically compared with other measures such as accuracy, lift, efficiency, true skill score, Heidke's skill score and Gilbert's skill score. In all cases CSI-R is shown to provide better application to the RTB industry. Author Keywords: imbalanced classes, machine learning, online advertising, performance measures, real-time bidding, SMOTE
Smile and a Neutral Attitude
This thesis examines the ways in which body image is discussed in online settings. There are three different communities discussed: body positivity, proED (pro-eating disorder), and body neutrality. Both body positivity and proED content are fairly popular online, and both have found significant support and followers on various social medias. In this thesis, I argue that both of these types of content cause significant harm to those who engage with them, primarily because both communities (though different in their approaches to body image) work to uphold the thin ideal. I then bring up the third type of content: body neutrality. Body neutrality has not been given the same academic attention as body positivity and proED content, likely due to its relative infancy. In this thesis, I propose body neutrality as a much healthier way to frame body image online because of its completely neutral stance on fat, thinness, and general body image. Though any work relating to social media is quickly out of date, I hope that this thesis provides an overview of body neutrality and how, in its current form, it provides a more balanced approach to online body image discussions. Author Keywords: body image, body neutrality, body positivity, eating disorders, social media
Situating Copper Bells in Prehispanic Southwest Societies
This thesis examines the spatial, temporal, and contextual distribution of copper bells in the Greater Southwest region and how they are situated in archaeological literature. To date, 672 copper bells have been found in at least 113 different Southwestern sites dating from ca. A.D. 900-1450, though there is no archaeological evidence for metallurgical activities in the area at this time. The origin of copper bells has been assumed to be West Mexico, a region known for its metallurgical traditions and whose inhabitants produced copious amounts of similar bells. Various lists of copper bells discovered have been compiled over the years, but little consideration has been given to the role these artifacts may have played in Southwestern societies. Copper bells are frequently labelled as prestige goods in archaeological literature, a term which fails to account for their significant depositional variation. By updating the database of known Southwestern copper bells, it becomes possible to examine these contextual distributions in greater detail. It is concluded that the prestige goods model is not suitable for Southwestern copper bells in many cases, and that alternative frameworks such as inalienable possessions are a better fit for these artifacts. Author Keywords: Archaeology, copper bells, inalienable possesions, interaction, U.S. Southwest
Sinc-Collocation Difference Methods for Solving the Gross-Pitaevskii Equation
The time-dependent Gross-Pitaevskii Equation, describing the movement of parti- cles in quantum mechanics, may not be solved analytically due to its inherent non- linearity. Hence numerical methods are of importance to approximate the solution. This study develops a discrete scheme in time and space to simulate the solution defined in a finite domain by using the Crank-Nicolson difference method and Sinc Collocation Methods (SCM), respectively. In theory and practice, the time discretiz- ing system decays errors in the second-order of accuracy, and SCMs are decaying errors exponentially. A new SCM with a unique boundary treatment is proposed and compared with the original SCM and other similar numerical techniques in time costs and numerical errors. As a result, the new SCM decays errors faster than the original one. Also, to attain the same accuracy, the new SCM interpolates fewer nodes than the original SCM, which saves computational costs. The new SCM is capable of approximating partial differential equations under different boundary con- ditions, which can be extensively applied in fitting theory. Author Keywords: Crank-Nicolson difference method, Gross-Pitaevskii Equation, Sinc-Collocation methods
Signalling Beliefs in Ogilby's AFRICA
This study analyzes Christian European perceptions of group identity and beliefs in early modern geographic literature, as exemplified by John Ogilby’s Africa (1670), a selective translation of Olfert Dapper’s 1668 work, and its descriptions of West-Central Africa. Ogilby’s work, congruently with contemporary geographic literature, employed the Christian religion as a key marker of group identity, using it as a lens to interpret and define the collective identities of African societies it described. Using a theoretical framework derived from Daniel Bar-Tal’s Group Beliefs, the thesis demonstrates that Africa portrayed the officially Christian kingdom of Kongo as superior to its non-Christian neighbours, consistently represented in a negative light. This attitude reflected normative European beliefs of Christian superiority fanned by the period’s intense denominationalism and religious anxiety. Africa’s general ecumenism towards other Christian denominations and its maintained “othering” of non-Christian Africans was closely linked to Ogilby’s own sense of self-identity and group beliefs shaped by his life experiences in the seventeenth-century British Isles. Author Keywords: Africa, Christianity, Identity, Kongo, Ogilby, Syncretism
Short photoperiod lowers visceral adiposity and shifts the molecular clock in Peromyscus leucopus
The length of photoperiod can alter circadian rhythms and change fat depot mass whencombined with environmental temperatures below thermoneutral. To isolate photoperiod effects, we compared the effects of long and short photoperiod exposure at thermoneutrality in photoperiod sensitive, F1 generation adult male white-footed mice (P. leucopus). Mice were housed in long-day or short-day photoperiod conditions at thermoneutrality for 4 weeks. Short photoperiod decreased vWAT mass without changing body weight, scWAT or iBAT mass, or calorie consumption. Short photoperiod increased Adrβ3 and Lpl mRNA expression in vWAT with no change in Ucp1, Pgc1a or Hsl. vWAT Per1, Per2 and Nr1d1 mRNA expression were aligned to the onset of dark and food intake, while Bmal1 and Clock were misaligned. These findings suggest that short photoperiod per se can decrease visceral fat accumulation, without activating thermogenesis, reinforcing that environmental photoperiod should be considered when researching cause and prevention of obesity. Author Keywords: adiposity, circadian rhythm, clock genes, obesity, Peromyscus, photoperiod
Shoreline Stewardship
This thesis aimed to determine what factors influence individual- and community-level shoreline stewardship attitudes and behaviours. Shoreline stewardship is part of the broader literature of environmental stewardship and place-based conservation. The needs and barriers limiting stewardship action were examined, as were the opportunities for increased impact. The Love Your Lake (LYL) program served as a case study into the impact of ENGO programming on shoreline stewardship among shoreline property owners in Ontario. This was investigated using a program workshop, interviews and focus groups with past program participants, and existing participant survey data. Community-Based Social Marketing principles were used to further examine the opportunities for increased impact on stewardship behaviour. The study found that the LYL program was effective in starting or continuing a conversation in communities around shoreline health. Some of the remaining needs and/or barriers included limited time at the cottage; limited knowledge of how to fix existing shoreline issues; low stock of local native plants and environmentally minded landscapers; ineffective messaging; a lack of interest, enthusiasm or concern; and weak environmental policies and governance of shorelines. Some participants also listed cost as a barrier, while others felt it had been well addressed already. Most participants thought that education could be a barrier but that it had been well addressed locally through LYL or other programming. Some key motivators and opportunities to increase shoreline stewardship included community building, increased lake association capacity, improved communication and marketing strategies, and persistence. Author Keywords: Community-Based Social Marketing, Environmental Stewardship, Lake Health, Place-Based Conservation, Pro-Environmental Behaviour, Shoreline Stewardship
Shorebird Habitat Use and Foraging Ecology on Bulls Island, South Carolina During the Non-Breeding Season
Recent declines in North American shorebird populations could be linked to habitat loss on the non-breeding grounds. Sea-level rise and increased frequency of coastal storms are causing significant erosion of barrier islands, thereby threatening shorebirds who rely on shoreline habitats for foraging. I conducted shorebird surveys on Bulls Island, South Carolina in the winters of 2018 and 2019 and examined habitat selection and foraging behaviour in Dunlin (Calidris alpina), Sanderling (Calidris alba), Semipalmated Plovers (Charadrius semipalmatus), and Piping Plovers (Charadrius melodus). Area, tidal stage, and invertebrate prey availability were important determinants of shorebird abundance, behaviour, and distribution. My study highlights the importance of Bulls Island’s habitat heterogeneity to supporting a diverse community of non-breeding shorebirds. Considering both the high rate of erosion and the increased frequency of disturbance along the shoreline of the island, intertidal habitats should be monitored to predict negative effects of changes in habitat composition and area on non-breeding shorebirds. Author Keywords: foraging behaviour, habitat loss, habitat selection, invertebrate prey, non-breeding, shorebirds
Shaman Detective
This thesis examines a specific figure that appears throughout contemporary Japanese detective fiction (across different media), which I have termed the Shaman detective. A liminal figure that combines Japanese folk cosmologies with contemporary detective work, the Shaman detective is at once similar to, yet separate from, western postmodernist detective fiction. Invested in narratives of enchantment the Shaman detective is marked by his rejection of the epistemological ties of the modern and classical detectives that cause his counterparts to fail in the face of postmodern subjectivism. Committed to il-logic, dreaming, play, and intuition, the Shaman detective exists in the realm of the Fantastic, bridging the gap between mundane and marvellous realities. This thesis reads Shaman detective texts using western postmodernist theory with Todorov’s theory of the Fantastic and Jane Bennett’s New Materialism. This is synthesized with Japanese thought traditions, cosmologies and philosophies, in order to draw out the Shaman detective. Author Keywords: Enchantment, Japanese Fiction, New Materialism, Postmodern Fiction, Shamanism, the Fantastic


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