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Adaptation in families of children with developmental delay

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Family adaptation to child developmental disability is a dynamic transactional process that has yet to be tested in a longitudinal, rigorous fashion. In addition, although children with developmental delays frequently have behavior problems, not enough research has examined possible underlying

Family adaptation to child developmental disability is a dynamic transactional process that has yet to be tested in a longitudinal, rigorous fashion. In addition, although children with developmental delays frequently have behavior problems, not enough research has examined possible underlying mechanisms in the relation between child developmental delay, adaptation and behavior problems. In the current study, factor analysis examined how best to conceptualize the construct of family adaptation to developmental delay. Also, longitudinal growth curve modeling tested models in which child behavior problems mediated the relation between developmental risk and indices of family adaptation. Participants included 130 typically developing children and their families (Mental Development Index [MDI] > 85) and 104 children with developmental delays and their families (MDI < 85). Data were collected yearly between the ages of three and eight as part of a multi-site, longitudinal investigation examining the interrelations among children's developmental status, family processes, and the emergence of child psychopathology. Results of the current study indicated that adaptation is best conceptualized as a multi-index construct. Different aspects of adaptation changed in unique ways over time, with some facets of adaptation remaining stable while others fluctuated. Child internalizing and externalizing behavior problems were found to decrease over time for both children with developmental delays and typically developing children. Child behavior problems were also found to mediate the relation between developmental risk and family adaptation for over half of the mediation pathways. Significant mediation results indicated that children with developmental delays showed higher early levels of behavior problems, which in turn was associated with more maladaptive adaptation. These findings provide further evidence that families of children with developmental delays experience both positive and more challenging changes in their families over time. This study implies important next steps for research and clinical practice in the area of developmental disability.

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2011

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I think I can: the relation of self-efficacy to cessation and relapse among smokers utiilizing a telephone quitline

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When people pick up the phone to call a telephone quitline, they are taking an important step towards changing their smoking behavior. The current study investigated the role of a critical cognition in the cessation process--self-efficacy. Self-efficacy is thought to

When people pick up the phone to call a telephone quitline, they are taking an important step towards changing their smoking behavior. The current study investigated the role of a critical cognition in the cessation process--self-efficacy. Self-efficacy is thought to be influential in behavior change processes including those involved in the challenging process of stopping tobacco use. By applying basic principles of self-efficacy theory to smokers utilizing a telephone quitline, this study advanced our understanding of the nature of self-efficacy in a "real-world" cessation setting. Participants received between one and four intervention calls aimed at supporting them through their quit attempt. Concurrent with the initiation of this study, three items (confidence, stress, and urges) were added to the standard telephone protocol and assessed at each call. Two principal sets of hypotheses were tested using a combination of ANCOVAs and multiple regression analyses. The first set of hypotheses explored how self-efficacy and changes in self-efficacy within individuals were associated with cessation outcomes. Most research has found a positive linear relation between self-efficacy and quit outcomes, but this study tested the possibility that excessively high self-efficacy may actually reflect an overconfidence bias, and in some cases be negatively related to cessation outcomes. The second set of hypotheses addressed several smoking-related factors expected to affect self-efficacy. As predicted, higher baseline self-efficacy and increases in self-efficacy were associated with higher rates of quitting. However, contrary to predictions, there was no evidence that overconfidence led to diminished cessation success. Finally, as predicted, shorter duration of quit attempts, shorter time to relapse, and stronger urges all were associated with lower self-efficacy. In conclusion, understanding how self-efficacy and changes in self-efficacy affect and are affected by cessation outcomes is useful for informing both future research and current quitline intervention procedures.

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2011

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Generalized statistical tolerance analysis and three dimensional model for manufacturing tolerance transfer in manufacturing process planning

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Mostly, manufacturing tolerance charts are used these days for manufacturing tolerance transfer but these have the limitation of being one dimensional only. Some research has been undertaken for the three dimensional geometric tolerances but it is too theoretical and yet

Mostly, manufacturing tolerance charts are used these days for manufacturing tolerance transfer but these have the limitation of being one dimensional only. Some research has been undertaken for the three dimensional geometric tolerances but it is too theoretical and yet to be ready for operator level usage. In this research, a new three dimensional model for tolerance transfer in manufacturing process planning is presented that is user friendly in the sense that it is built upon the Coordinate Measuring Machine (CMM) readings that are readily available in any decent manufacturing facility. This model can take care of datum reference change between non orthogonal datums (squeezed datums), non-linearly oriented datums (twisted datums) etc. Graph theoretic approach based upon ACIS, C++ and MFC is laid out to facilitate its implementation for automation of the model. A totally new approach to determining dimensions and tolerances for the manufacturing process plan is also presented. Secondly, a new statistical model for the statistical tolerance analysis based upon joint probability distribution of the trivariate normal distributed variables is presented. 4-D probability Maps have been developed in which the probability value of a point in space is represented by the size of the marker and the associated color. Points inside the part map represent the pass percentage for parts manufactured. The effect of refinement with form and orientation tolerance is highlighted by calculating the change in pass percentage with the pass percentage for size tolerance only. Delaunay triangulation and ray tracing algorithms have been used to automate the process of identifying the points inside and outside the part map. Proof of concept software has been implemented to demonstrate this model and to determine pass percentages for various cases. The model is further extended to assemblies by employing convolution algorithms on two trivariate statistical distributions to arrive at the statistical distribution of the assembly. Map generated by using Minkowski Sum techniques on the individual part maps is superimposed on the probability point cloud resulting from convolution. Delaunay triangulation and ray tracing algorithms are employed to determine the assembleability percentages for the assembly.

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2011

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Children's appraisals as a mediating factor in the relation between interparental conflict and child adjustment

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This study examined the mediating role of children's self-reported appraisals in the relation between interparental conflict intensity and child adjustment. Both parent-reported and child-reported conflict intensity were used as predictor variables. Findings suggested that children's total appraisals mediated the relationshi

This study examined the mediating role of children's self-reported appraisals in the relation between interparental conflict intensity and child adjustment. Both parent-reported and child-reported conflict intensity were used as predictor variables. Findings suggested that children's total appraisals mediated the relationship between child-reported conflict intensity and all four outcome variables (conduct disorder, depression, anxiety, and total adjustment). Additionally, children's appraisals of negative evaluation by others mediated the relationship between child-reported conflict intensity and depression, and both rejection and negative evaluation by others mediated the relationship between child-reported conflict intensity and anxiety. Only one mediational relationship was established when assessing conflict intensity through parent report, with children's appraisals of harm to others mediating the relationship between parent-reported conflict intensity and anxiety. Findings from this study outline the importance of assessing conflict and appraisals from the child's perspective as results indicated a higher level of mediating effects of child appraisals in the relation between conflict and child outcomes when assessing conflict from the child's perspective.

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2014

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Conveying controversial science: Sam Harris's "The Moral Landscape" and popular science communication

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The academic literature on science communication widely acknowledges a problem: science communication between experts and lay audiences is important, but it is not done well. General audience popular science books, however, carry a reputation for clear science communication and are

The academic literature on science communication widely acknowledges a problem: science communication between experts and lay audiences is important, but it is not done well. General audience popular science books, however, carry a reputation for clear science communication and are understudied in the academic literature. For this doctoral dissertation, I utilize Sam Harris's The Moral Landscape, a general audience science book on the particularly thorny topic of neuroscientific approaches to morality, as a case-study to explore the possibility of using general audience science books as models for science communication more broadly. I conduct a literary analysis of the text that delimits the scope of its project, its intended audience, and the domains of science to be communicated. I also identify seven literary aspects of the text: three positive aspects that facilitate clarity and four negative aspects that interfere with lay public engagement. I conclude that The Moral Landscape relies on an assumed knowledge base and intuitions of its audience that cannot reasonably be expected of lay audiences; therefore, it cannot properly be construed as popular science communication. It nevertheless contains normative lessons for the broader science project, both in literary aspects to be salvaged and literary aspects and concepts to consciously be avoided and combated. I note that The Moral Landscape's failings can also be taken as an indication that typical descriptions of science communication offer under-detailed taxonomies of both audiences for science communication and the varieties of science communication aimed at those audiences. Future directions of study include rethinking appropriate target audiences for science literacy projects and developing a more discriminating taxonomy of both science communication and lay publics.

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2013

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Chronic stress and plasticity in the limbic system: implications for post traumatic stress disorder

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The brain is a fundamental target of the stress response that promotes adaptation and survival but the repeated activation of the stress response has the potential alter cognition, emotion, and motivation, key functions of the limbic system. Three structures of

The brain is a fundamental target of the stress response that promotes adaptation and survival but the repeated activation of the stress response has the potential alter cognition, emotion, and motivation, key functions of the limbic system. Three structures of the limbic system in particular, the hippocampus, medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), and amygdala, are of special interest due to documented structural changes and their implication in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). One of many notable chronic stress-induced changes include dendritic arbor restructuring, which reflect plasticity patterns in parallel with the direction of alterations observed in functional imaging studies in PTSD patients. For instance, chronic stress produces dendritic retraction in the hippocampus and mPFC, but dendritic hypertrophy in the amygdala, consistent with functional imaging in patients with PTSD. Some have hypothesized that these limbic region's modifications contribute to one's susceptibility to develop PTSD following a traumatic event. Consequently, we used a familiar chronic stress procedure in a rat model to create a vulnerable brain that might develop traits consistent with PTSD when presented with a challenge. In adult male rats, chronic stress by wire mesh restraint (6h/d/21d) was followed by a variety of behavioral tasks including radial arm water maze (RAWM), fear conditioning and extinction, and fear memory reconsolidation to determine chronic stress effects on behaviors mediated by these limbic structures. In chapter 2, we corroborated past findings that chronic stress caused hippocampal CA3 dendritic retraction. Importantly, we present new findings that CA3 dendritic retraction corresponded with poor spatial memory in the RAWM and that these outcomes reversed after a recovery period. In chapter 3, we also showed that chronic stress impaired mPFC-mediated extinction memory, findings that others have reported. Using carefully assessed behavior, we present new findings that chronic stress impacted nonassociative fear by enhancing contextual fear during extinction that generalized to a new context. Moreover, the generalization behavior corresponded with enhanced functional activation in the hippocampus and amygdala during fear extinction memory retrieval. In chapter 5, we showed for the first time that chronic stress enhanced amygdala functional activation during fear memory retrieval, i.e., reactivation. Moreover, these enhanced fear memories were resistant to protein synthesis interference to disrupt a previously formed memory, called reconsolidation in a novel attempt to weaken chronic stress enhanced traumatic memory. Collectively, these studies demonstrated the plastic and dynamic effects of chronic stress on limbic neurocircuitry implicated in PTSD. We showed that chronic stress created a structural and functional imbalance across the hippocampus, mPFC, and amygdala, which lead to a PTSD-like phenotype with persistent and exaggerated fear following fear conditioning. These behavioral disruptions in conjunction with morphological and functional imaging data reflect a chronic stress-induced imbalance between hippocampal and mPFC regulation in favor of amygdala function overdrive, and supports a novel approach for traumatic memory processing in PTSD.

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2013

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Emergence and cosmic hermeneutics

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Emergentism offers a promising compromise in the philosophy of mind between Cartesian substance dualism and reductivistic physicalism. The ontological emergentist holds that conscious mental phenomena supervene on physical phenomena, but that they have a nature over and above the physical.

Emergentism offers a promising compromise in the philosophy of mind between Cartesian substance dualism and reductivistic physicalism. The ontological emergentist holds that conscious mental phenomena supervene on physical phenomena, but that they have a nature over and above the physical. However, emergentist views have been subjected to a variety of powerful objections: they are alleged to be self-contradictory, incompatible with mental causation, justified by unreliable intuitions, and in conflict with our contemporary scientific understanding of the world. I defend the emergentist position against these objections. I clarify the concepts of supervenience and of ontological novelty in a way that ensures the emergentist position is coherent, while remaining distinct from physicalism and traditional dualism. Making note of the equivocal way in which the concept of sufficiency is used in Jaegwon Kim's arguments against emergent mental causation, I argue that downward causation does not entail widespread overdetermination. I argue that considerations of ideal a priori deducibility from some physical base, or "Cosmic Hermeneutics", will not themselves provide answers to where the cuts in the structure of nature lie. Instead, I propose reconsidering the question of Cosmic Hermeneutics in terms of which cognitive resources would be required for the ideal reasoner to perform the deduction. Lastly, I respond to the objection that emergence in the philosophy of mind is in conflict with our contemporary scientific understanding of the world. I suggest that a kind of weak ontological emergence is a viable form of explanation in many fields, and discuss current applications of emergence in biology, sociology, and the study of complex systems.

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2013

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Active and passive precision grip responses to unexpected perturbations

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The development of advanced, anthropomorphic artificial hands aims to provide upper extremity amputees with improved functionality for activities of daily living. However, many state-of-the-art hands have a large number of degrees of freedom that can be challenging to control in

The development of advanced, anthropomorphic artificial hands aims to provide upper extremity amputees with improved functionality for activities of daily living. However, many state-of-the-art hands have a large number of degrees of freedom that can be challenging to control in an intuitive manner. Automated grip responses could be built into artificial hands in order to enhance grasp stability and reduce the cognitive burden on the user. To this end, three studies were conducted to understand how human hands respond, passively and actively, to unexpected perturbations of a grasped object along and about different axes relative to the hand. The first study investigated the effect of magnitude, direction, and axis of rotation on precision grip responses to unexpected rotational perturbations of a grasped object. A robust "catch-up response" (a rapid, pulse-like increase in grip force rate previously reported only for translational perturbations) was observed whose strength scaled with the axis of rotation. Using two haptic robots, we then investigated the effects of grip surface friction, axis, and direction of perturbation on precision grip responses for unexpected translational and rotational perturbations for three different hand-centric axes. A robust catch-up response was observed for all axes and directions for both translational and rotational perturbations. Grip surface friction had no effect on the stereotypical catch-up response. Finally, we characterized the passive properties of the precision grip-object system via robot-imposed impulse perturbations. The hand-centric axis associated with the greatest translational stiffness was different than that for rotational stiffness. This work expands our understanding of the passive and active features of precision grip, a hallmark of human dexterous manipulation. Biological insights such as these could be used to enhance the functionality of artificial hands and the quality of life for upper extremity amputees.

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2013

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Behavior of colloids with anisotropic diffusivities

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Locomotion of microorganisms is commonly observed in nature and some aspects of their motion can be replicated by synthetic motors. Synthetic motors rely on a variety of propulsion mechanisms including auto-diffusiophoresis, auto-electrophoresis, and bubble generation. Regardless of the source of

Locomotion of microorganisms is commonly observed in nature and some aspects of their motion can be replicated by synthetic motors. Synthetic motors rely on a variety of propulsion mechanisms including auto-diffusiophoresis, auto-electrophoresis, and bubble generation. Regardless of the source of the locomotion, the motion of any motor can be characterized by the translational and rotational velocity and effective diffusivity. In a uniform environment the long-time motion of a motor can be fully characterized by the effective diffusivity. In this work it is shown that when motors possess both translational and rotational velocity the motor transitions from a short-time diffusivity to a long-time diffusivity at a time of pi/w. The short-time diffusivities are two to three orders of magnitude larger than the diffusivity of a Brownian sphere of the same size, increase linearly with concentration, and scale as v^2/2w. The measured long-time diffusivities are five times lower than the short-time diffusivities, scale as v^2/{2Dr [1 + (w/Dr )^2]}, and exhibit a maximum as a function of concentration. The variation of a colloid's velocity and effective diffusivity to its local environment (e.g. fuel concentration) suggests that the motors can accumulate in a bounded system, analogous to biological chemokinesis. Chemokinesis of organisms is the non-uniform equilibrium concentration that arises from a bounded random walk of swimming organisms in a chemical concentration gradient. In non-swimming organisms we term this response diffusiokinesis. We show that particles that migrate only by Brownian thermal motion are capable of achieving non-uniform pseudo equilibrium distribution in a diffusivity gradient. The concentration is a result of a bounded random-walk process where at any given time a larger percentage of particles can be found in the regions of low diffusivity than in regions of high diffusivity. Individual particles are not trapped in any given region but at equilibrium the net flux between regions is zero. For Brownian particles the gradient in diffusivity is achieved by creating a viscosity gradient in a microfluidic device. The distribution of the particles is described by the Fokker-Planck equation for variable diffusivity. The strength of the probe concentration gradient is proportional to the strength of the diffusivity gradient and inversely proportional to the mean probe diffusivity in the channel in accordance with the no flux condition at steady state. This suggests that Brownian colloids, natural or synthetic, will concentrate in a bounded system in response to a gradient in diffusivity and that the magnitude of the response is proportional to the magnitude of the gradient in diffusivity divided by the mean diffusivity in the channel.

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2013

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Towards haptic intelligence for artificial hands: development and use of deformable, fluidic tactile sensors to relate action and perception

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Human fingertips contain thousands of specialized mechanoreceptors that enable effortless physical interactions with the environment. Haptic perception capabilities enable grasp and manipulation in the absence of visual feedback, as when reaching into one's pocket or wrapping a belt around oneself.

Human fingertips contain thousands of specialized mechanoreceptors that enable effortless physical interactions with the environment. Haptic perception capabilities enable grasp and manipulation in the absence of visual feedback, as when reaching into one's pocket or wrapping a belt around oneself. Unfortunately, state-of-the-art artificial tactile sensors and processing algorithms are no match for their biological counterparts. Tactile sensors must not only meet stringent practical specifications for everyday use, but their signals must be processed and interpreted within hundreds of milliseconds. Control of artificial manipulators, ranging from prosthetic hands to bomb defusal robots, requires a constant reliance on visual feedback that is not entirely practical. To address this, we conducted three studies aimed at advancing artificial haptic intelligence. First, we developed a novel, robust, microfluidic tactile sensor skin capable of measuring normal forces on flat or curved surfaces, such as a fingertip. The sensor consists of microchannels in an elastomer filled with a liquid metal alloy. The fluid serves as both electrical interconnects and tunable capacitive sensing units, and enables functionality despite substantial deformation. The second study investigated the use of a commercially-available, multimodal tactile sensor (BioTac sensor, SynTouch) to characterize edge orientation with respect to a body fixed reference frame, such as a fingertip. Trained on data from a robot testbed, a support vector regression model was developed to relate haptic exploration actions to perception of edge orientation. The model performed comparably to humans for estimating edge orientation. Finally, the robot testbed was used to perceive small, finger-sized geometric features. The efficiency and accuracy of different haptic exploratory procedures and supervised learning models were assessed for estimating feature properties such as type (bump, pit), order of curvature (flat, conical, spherical), and size. This study highlights the importance of tactile sensing in situations where other modalities fail, such as when the finger itself blocks line of sight. Insights from this work could be used to advance tactile sensor technology and haptic intelligence for artificial manipulators that improve quality of life, such as prosthetic hands and wheelchair-mounted robotic hands.

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2013