Graduate Theses & Dissertations

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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 Though any work relating to social media is quickly out of date, I hope that this thesis provides an overview of body neutrality and how, in its current form, it provides a more balanced approach to online body image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
Affective Power of Intimacy
This case study’s fan fiction and its subsequent non-RPF romance novel version reveal a complex blend of the fan fiction, romance novel, intimatopia, pornography, slash fan fiction, Real Person Fan Fiction, and Men’s Hockey Real Person Fan Fiction genres and subgenres. Intimatopia’s ideological framework provides a specific method for the romance novel’s reordering of self and society, as well as a description of the resulting ordered society and self. As analysis of the reader comments left on the Archive of Our Own fan fiction reveals, intimacy is also critical to the fan fiction’s community, because the reader is driven to comment by the text’s affective power. The relationship between the reader and the text is primary for the reader, whereas the author’s primary aim is to seek an intimate relationship with their readers. There is a conceptual link between the literary and social contexts through their privileging of intimacy as a mode of interaction for the texts’s characters, readers, and authors. Author Keywords: Archive of Our Own, community, fan fiction, intimatopia, Men's Hockey Real Person Fan Fiction, romance novel
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
Mfsd8 regulates growth and multicellular development in Dictyostelium discoideum
The neuronal ceroid lipofuscinoses (NCLs), commonly known as Batten disease, are a family of inherited neurodegenerative lysosomal storage disorders. CLN7 disease is a subtype of NCL that is caused by mutations in the MFSD8 gene. MFSD8 encodes a lysosomal transmembrane protein that is predicted to play a role in transporting small substrates across membranes. However, little is known about its role and substrate specificity. Previous work identified an ortholog of human MFSD8 in the social amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum and reported its localization to endocytic compartments. In this study, the effects of mfsd8 loss during Dictyostelium growth and multicellular development were further characterized. Dictyostelium mfsd8- cells displayed increased rates of proliferation and pinocytosis in liquid media. During growth, loss of mfsd8 altered lysosomal enzymatic activities and reduced the intracellular and extracellular levels of autocrine proliferation repressor A. mfsd8- cells grown on a lawn of bacteria formed plaques in a shorter period of time compared to WT cells, providing additional support for the enhanced growth of mfsd8- cells. Upon starvation, the aggregation of mfsd8- cells was delayed, and mfsd8- cells formed more mounds that were smaller in size, which may be attributed to the reduced cell-substrate adhesion and altered lysosomal enzymatic activities observed for mfsd8- cells. Following aggregation, tipped mound formation was delayed, however, loss of mfsd8 did not affect the timing of slug/finger and fruiting body formation. Additionally, slug migration was reduced in mfsd8- cells. These aberrant phenotypes, excluding fruiting body formation, were effectively or partially rescued when Mfsd8-GFP was introduced into mfsd8- cells. Overall, these results show that Mfsd8 plays a role in regulating growth and developmental processes in Dictyostelium via lysosomal-associated functions. Author Keywords: CLN7, Dictyostelium discoideum, Lysosomes, MFSD8, Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinoses

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Format: 2023/12/03