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Measuring the Double-Edged Sword: Does Scientifically Deterministic Evidence Protect or Punish Criminals?

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Scientists, lawyers, and bioethicists have pondered the impact of scientifically deterministic evidence on a judge or jury when deciding the sentence of a criminal. Though the impact may be one that relieves the amount of personal guilt on the part

Scientists, lawyers, and bioethicists have pondered the impact of scientifically deterministic evidence on a judge or jury when deciding the sentence of a criminal. Though the impact may be one that relieves the amount of personal guilt on the part of the criminal, this evidence may also be the very reason that a judge or jury punishes more strongly, suggesting that this type of evidence may be a double-edged sword. 118 participants were shown three films of fictional sentencing hearings. All three films introduced scientifically deterministic evidence, and participants were asked to recommend a prison sentence. Each hearing portrayed a different criminal with different neurological conditions, a different crime, and a different extent of argumentation during closing arguments about the scientifically deterministic evidence. Though the argumentation from the prosecution and the defense did not affect sentencing, the interaction of type of crime and neurological condition did.

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2014-05

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An Analysis of Stimulus Confrontation as Self-Help for Specific Phobias: A Scholarly and Personal Narrative

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Perhaps by some ingrained sense of human preparedness, phobias are an outlier in the world of conditioning. Again and again, they are highlighted as the only thing which avoidance makes worse, rather than alleviates. My own fear of insects had

Perhaps by some ingrained sense of human preparedness, phobias are an outlier in the world of conditioning. Again and again, they are highlighted as the only thing which avoidance makes worse, rather than alleviates. My own fear of insects had reached its most severe level just as I began learning about phobias, and avoidance, in my undergraduate psychology courses. There, I learned that avoidance of the phobic stimulus \u2014 in my case, insects \u2014 seemed to be a fundamental element of maintaining a phobia, and I was more than guilty of it. Following this realization, I endeavored into what I would later come to call Stimulus Confrontation: A self-designed therapeutic course of action to overcome my fear. This thesis, then, is the record of this project. It weaves together my scholarly research on phobias with my own personal narrative concerning the employment of Stimulus Confrontation, beginning with the etymology and proposed etiologies of phobias, followed by an overview of contemporary treatment options available and a recounting of Stimulus Confrontation as applied to my own phobia. Told from her own perspective, English writer and journalist Jenny Diski's book, What I Don't Know About Animals, tells of her own arachnophobia, and includes an honest account of the fear and anxiety it caused for her, as well as her own journey to overcome it. Like my own, Diski's phobia \u2014 arachnophobia \u2014 had come to affect her everyday life. Prior to seeking treatment for her fear at the age of 58, Diski too had learned to avoid the thing which she so feared. Inspired by What I Don't Know About Animals, the personal anecdotes I have included throughout this thesis serve to elaborate upon my personal experience with my own insectophobia, and the cessation of avoidance that led to substantial progress in overcoming my fears. Throughout this thesis, I refer to this cessation of avoidance as Stimulus Confrontation, with the intention that following the same process I did may benefit others in overcoming their own specific phobias.

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2015-12

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Transcendence of prejudice or transcendence with prejudice?: stronger beliefs regarding transcendence are correlated with greater Intergroup bias

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Recent research has identified affirmation of transcendence and exposure to violent Bible verses as being related to greater prejudice toward value-violating out-groups (Blogowska & Saroglou, 2012; Shen et al., 2013). Effects of exposure to specific Bible verses on attitudes toward

Recent research has identified affirmation of transcendence and exposure to violent Bible verses as being related to greater prejudice toward value-violating out-groups (Blogowska & Saroglou, 2012; Shen et al., 2013). Effects of exposure to specific Bible verses on attitudes toward out-groups have not been measured in combination with the Post-Critical Belief Scale developed by Hutsebaut (1996). The relationships between exposure to scriptural endorsements of prejudice, affirmation vs. disaffirmation of transcendence, literal vs. symbolic processing of religious content, and prejudice toward value-violating out-groups were examined using an online survey administered to a sample of U.S. adults (N=283). Greater affirmation of transcendence scores were linked to greater prejudice toward atheists and homosexuals and more favorable ratings of Christians and highly religious people. Lower affirmation of transcendence scores were linked to less favorable ratings of Christians and highly religious people and more favorable ratings of atheists. Exposure to scriptural endorsements of prejudice did not have a significant effect on levels of prejudice in this study.

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2013

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Equating user experience and Fitts law in gesture based input modalities

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The International Standards Organization (ISO) documentation utilizes Fitts’ law to determine the usability of traditional input devices like mouse and touchscreens for one- or two-dimensional operations. To test the hypothesis that Fitts’ Law can be applied to hand/air gesture based

The International Standards Organization (ISO) documentation utilizes Fitts’ law to determine the usability of traditional input devices like mouse and touchscreens for one- or two-dimensional operations. To test the hypothesis that Fitts’ Law can be applied to hand/air gesture based computing inputs, Fitts’ multi-directional target acquisition task is applied to three gesture based input devices that utilize different technologies and two baseline devices, mouse and touchscreen. Three target distances and three target sizes were tested six times in a randomized order with a randomized order of the five input technologies. A total of 81 participants’ data were collected for the within subjects design study. Participants were instructed to perform the task as quickly and accurately as possible according to traditional Fitts’ testing procedures. Movement time, error rate, and throughput for each input technology were calculated.

Additionally, no standards exist for equating user experience with Fitts’ measures such as movement time, throughput, and error count. To test the hypothesis that a user’s experience can be predicted using Fitts’ measures of movement time, throughput and error count, an ease of use rating using a 5-point scale for each input type was collected from each participant. The calculated Mean Opinion Scores (MOS) were regressed on Fitts’ measures of movement time, throughput, and error count to understand the extent to which they can predict a user’s subjective rating.

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2015

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Differential perceptions of LGBT individuals: the intersectionality of sexual orientation and gender

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Current research on anti-gay attitudes has focused heavily on heterosexuals versus

non-heterosexuals, with very little research delving into the differences within these “non-heterosexual” groups. The author conducted an exploratory analysis of how the intersectional effect of gender and sexual orientation affect

Current research on anti-gay attitudes has focused heavily on heterosexuals versus

non-heterosexuals, with very little research delving into the differences within these “non-heterosexual” groups. The author conducted an exploratory analysis of how the intersectional effect of gender and sexual orientation affect perceptions of target groups’ gender and sexuality, which in turn might explain different levels of prejudice toward LGBT subgroups. Based on previous studies, the author hypothesized that participants would believe that a gay male has a more fixed sexuality than a lesbian, leading in turn to higher levels of moral outrage. This study further aims to extend the literature to perceptions of bisexual and transgender individuals by testing competing hypotheses. Participants might feel less moral outrage toward these groups than other LGBT subgroups because they believe their sexuality is even less fixed than lesbians’. Alternatively, participants might feel more moral outrage toward bisexual and transgender targets (versus other LGBT groups) because of the uncomfortable feeling of uncertainty about these groups’ sexuality and/or gender. Overall, participants demonstrated an interactive effect of gender and sexuality on factors including perceived sexual orientation, perceived biological sex, perceived gender identity, perceived sexual fixedness, and moral outrage rather than gender having a main effect on perceptions of gender and sexual orientation having a main effect on perceptions of sexuality. Furthermore, perceptions of sexual fixedness mediated the effect of gender on moral outrage for heterosexual target groups, but not gay targets. Gender certainty mediated the effect of gender on moral outrage for pre-op transgender target groups, but not heterosexuals. This work is important to inform future research on the topics of the intersection of sexuality and gender, especially to extend the limited literature on perceptions of bisexual and transgender individuals.

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2016

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How the expression of DNA evidence affects jurors' interpretation of probabilistic fingerprint evidence

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Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) evidence has been shown to have a strong effect on juror decision-making when presented in court. While DNA evidence has been shown to be extremely reliable, fingerprint evidence, and the way it is presented in court, has

Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) evidence has been shown to have a strong effect on juror decision-making when presented in court. While DNA evidence has been shown to be extremely reliable, fingerprint evidence, and the way it is presented in court, has come under much scrutiny. Forensic fingerprint experts have been working on a uniformed way to present fingerprint evidence in court. The most promising has been the Probabilistic Based Fingerprint Evidence (PBFE) created by Forensic Science Services (FSS) (G. Langenburg, personal communication, April 16, 2011). The current study examined how the presence and strength of DNA evidence influenced jurors' interpretation of probabilistic fingerprint evidence. Mock jurors read a summary of a murder case that included fingerprint evidence and testimony from a fingerprint expert and, in some conditions, DNA evidence and testimony from a DNA expert. Results showed that when DNA evidence was found at the crime scene and matched the defendant other evidence and the overall case was rated as stronger than when no DNA was present. Fingerprint evidence did not cause a stronger rating of other evidence and the overall case. Fingerprint evidence was underrated in some cases, and jurors generally weighed all the different strengths of fingerprint testimony to the same degree.

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2012

What helps self-control?: Social relationship characteristics and self-control

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Researchers have found inconsistent effects (negative or positive) of social relationships on self-control capacity. The variation of findings may depend on the aspects of social relationships. In this study, rather than examining overall social relationships and self-control, characteristics in social

Researchers have found inconsistent effects (negative or positive) of social relationships on self-control capacity. The variation of findings may depend on the aspects of social relationships. In this study, rather than examining overall social relationships and self-control, characteristics in social relationships were clearly defined, including social support, social connection and social conflict, to determine their specific effects on self-control. An online survey study was conducted, and 292 college students filled out the survey. For data analysis, path analysis was utilized to examined the direct effect and indirect effect from social relationships to self-control. Results showed social connection and social conflict may indirectly associate with self-control through stress, but social support does not. It may suggest, in traditional stress buffering model, it is the social connection in social support that really reduce the stress. Concerning the direct effects, social support and social connection were significantly associated with self-control directly, but social conflict does not. This result may support the Social Baseline Theory that positive social relationships have direct regulating effects. Results are good for guidance of experimental manipulation of social relationships in study of social influences of self-control.

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2012

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Effects of elderly priming on driving speeds: a driving simulator study

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Research on priming has shown that a stimulus can cause people to behave according to the stereotype held about the stimulus. Two experiments were conducted in which the effects of elderly priming were tested by use of a driving simulator.

Research on priming has shown that a stimulus can cause people to behave according to the stereotype held about the stimulus. Two experiments were conducted in which the effects of elderly priming were tested by use of a driving simulator. In both experiments, participants drove through a simulated world guided by either an elderly or a younger female voice. The voices told the participants where to make each of six turns. Both experiments yielded slower driving speeds in the elderly voice condition. The effect was universal regardless of implicit and explicit attitudes towards elderly people.

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Date Created
2012

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Understanding team cognition through communication analysis: measuring team interaction patterns using recurrence plots

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By extracting communication sequences from audio data collected during two separate five-person mission-planning tasks, interaction patterns in team communication were analyzed using a recurrence-based, nonlinear dynamics approach. These methods, previously successful in detecting pattern change in a three-person team task,

By extracting communication sequences from audio data collected during two separate five-person mission-planning tasks, interaction patterns in team communication were analyzed using a recurrence-based, nonlinear dynamics approach. These methods, previously successful in detecting pattern change in a three-person team task, were evaluated for their applicability to larger team settings, and their ability to detect pattern change when team members switched roles or locations partway through the study (Study 1) or change in patterns over time (Study 2). Both traditional interaction variables (Talking Time, Co-Talking Time, and Sequence Length of Interactions) and dynamic interaction variables (Recurrence Rate, Determinism, and Pattern Information) were explored as indicators and predictors of changes in team structure and performance. Results from these analyses provided support that both traditional and dynamic interaction variables reflect some changes in team structure and performance. However, changes in communication patterns were not detected. Because simultaneous conversations are possible in larger teams, but not detectable through our communication sequence methods, team pattern changes may not be visible in communication sequences for larger teams. This suggests that these methods may not be applicable for larger teams, or in situations where simultaneous conversations may occur. Further research is needed to continue to explore the applicability of recurrence-based nonlinear dynamics in the analysis of team communication.

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2012

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The development of robust intuitive decision making in simulated real-world environments

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Intuitive decision making refers to decision making based on situational pattern recognition, which happens without deliberation. It is a fast and effortless process that occurs without complete awareness. Moreover, it is believed that implicit learning is one means by which

Intuitive decision making refers to decision making based on situational pattern recognition, which happens without deliberation. It is a fast and effortless process that occurs without complete awareness. Moreover, it is believed that implicit learning is one means by which a foundation for intuitive decision making is developed. Accordingly, the present study investigated several factors that affect implicit learning and the development of intuitive decision making in a simulated real-world environment: (1) simple versus complex situational patterns; (2) the diversity of the patterns to which an individual is exposed; (3) the underlying mechanisms. The results showed that simple patterns led to higher levels of implicit learning and intuitive decision-making accuracy than complex patterns; increased diversity enhanced implicit learning and intuitive decision-making accuracy; and an embodied mechanism, labeling, contributes to the development of intuitive decision making in a simulated real-world environment. The results suggest that simulated real-world environments can provide the basis for training intuitive decision making, that diversity is influential in the process of training intuitive decision making, and that labeling contributes to the development of intuitive decision making. These results are interpreted in the context of applied situations such as military applications involving remotely piloted aircraft.

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2011