Matching Items (74)

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Elucidating the Effects of PRAS40 on Learning and Memory

Description

The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is integral in regulating cell growth as it maintains a homeostatic balance of proteins by modulating their synthesis and degradation. In the brain, mTOR

The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is integral in regulating cell growth as it maintains a homeostatic balance of proteins by modulating their synthesis and degradation. In the brain, mTOR regulates protein-driven neuroplastic changes that modulate learning and memory. Nevertheless, upregulation of mTOR can cause detrimental effect in spatial memory and synaptic plasticity. The proline-rich Akt-substrate 40 kDa (PRAS40) is a key negative regulator of mTOR, as it binds mTOR and directly reduces its activity. To investigate the role of PRAS40 on learning and memory, we generated a transgenic mouse model in which we used the tetracycline-off system to regulate the expression of PRAS40 specifically in neurons of the hippocampus. After induction, we found that mice overexpressing PRAS40 performed better than control mice in the Morris Water Maze behavioral test. We further show that the improvement in memory was associated with a decrease in mTOR signaling, an increase in dendritic spines in hippocampal pyramidal neurons, and an increase in the levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a neurotrophin necessary for learning and memory. This is the first evidence that shows that increasing PRAS40 in the mouse brain enhances learning and memory deficits.

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Date Created
  • 2018-05

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The Effects of Multimedia Learning on Task Performance Among the Aging Population

Description

As one of the first attempts to research multimedia platforms for older adults when learning an online photo-editing software, this study examined whether an audio only, a text only, or

As one of the first attempts to research multimedia platforms for older adults when learning an online photo-editing software, this study examined whether an audio only, a text only, or a combination of an audio and text tutorial would be the most effective teaching method. Elderly adults aged 65 and older (N-45) were randomly assigned to one of the three conditions. They first went through a training phase that utilized their assigned condition to teach five tasks within the photo-editing program, and they were then tested on how well they learned these tasks as well as a transfer task. It was predicted that the multimedia condition would increase learning efficiency, produce more successes in the transfer task, and decrease cognitive load compared to the two unimodal conditions. The multimedia condition (text and audio) had no significant effect on transfer task successes or decreases in cognitive load compared to the unimodal conditions (text only and audio only). The multimedia condition, however, did produce significantly less errors on Tasks 2, 4, and 5 than the unimodal conditions. This suggests that redundancy principles may play an important role when designing learning platforms for elderly users, and that age needs to be considered as an additional factor during the technological design process.

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Date Created
  • 2017-05

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The first in its class? The cognitive effects of the contraceptive hormone drospirenone when given with and without an estrogen

Description

Drospirenone (DRSP) is a novel, pharmacologically unique synthetic progestin with properties more similar to the endogenous progestogen, progesterone, than any other progestin currently on the market. While a significant amount

Drospirenone (DRSP) is a novel, pharmacologically unique synthetic progestin with properties more similar to the endogenous progestogen, progesterone, than any other progestin currently on the market. While a significant amount of research has been conducted on the risks associated with DRSP, the impact of DRSP on cognition, especially in reference to learning and memory, is not well understood. However, it is imperative to fully understand the cognitive effects of DRSP, both alone and in combination with EE (as taken in a combined oral contraceptive [COC]), so that women and their physicians can make a fully-informed decision when deciding to take a DRSP-containing COC. Study 1 examined the effects of three doses of DRSP in order to determine the optimal dose for combining with EE, and found that the medium dose of DRSP (30 µg/day) enhanced spatial working memory performance. In Study 2, the medium dose of DRSP from Study 1 was combined with low (0.125 µg/day) and high (0.3 µg/day) doses of EE to examine the effects of DRSP as taken with EE in a COC. The results from Study 2 indicated that when DRSP was combined with a low, but not high, dose of EE, spatial working memory impairments were seen at the highest working memory load. Anxiety-like behavior was evaluated using the OFT, and DRSP was shown to decrease measures of anxiety-like behavior. Additionally, while treatment with a high dose of EE decreased several measures of anxiety-like behavior, a low dose of EE did not, suggestive of a dose response. Taken together, the findings presented from both studies suggest that some of the cognitive effects of the combination of DRSP with EE are different than those of either hormone administered on its own. Further exploration in a preclinical, ovary-intact animal model is a next step to fully understand these effects in the translational context of a contraceptive, given that women taking an EE-DRSP combination are typically ovary-intact.

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Date Created
  • 2017-05

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Study of Hackathons through Desert Hacks

Description

Hackathons are 24-36 hour events where participants are encouraged to learn, collaborate, and build technological inventions with leaders, companies, and peers in the tech community. Hackathons have been sweeping the

Hackathons are 24-36 hour events where participants are encouraged to learn, collaborate, and build technological inventions with leaders, companies, and peers in the tech community. Hackathons have been sweeping the nation in the recent years especially at the collegiate level; however, there is no substantial research or documentation of the actual effects of hackathons especially at the collegiate level. This makes justifying the usage of valuable time and resources to host hackathons difficult for tech companies and academic institutions. This thesis specifically examines the effects of collegiate hackathons through running a collegiate hackathon known as Desert Hacks at Arizona State University (ASU). The participants of Desert Hacks were surveyed at the start and at the end of the event to analyze the effects. The results of the survey implicate that participants have grown in base computer programming skills, inclusion in the tech community, overall confidence, and motivation for the technological field. Through these results, this study can be used to help justify the necessity of collegiate hackathons and events similar.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2017-12

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Harnessing Digital Footprints From Paper-based Assessments: An Investigation on Students' Reviewing Behavior

Description

This thesis investigates students' learning behaviors through their interaction with an educational technology, Web Programming Grading Assistant. The technology was developed to facilitate the grading of paper-based examinations in large

This thesis investigates students' learning behaviors through their interaction with an educational technology, Web Programming Grading Assistant. The technology was developed to facilitate the grading of paper-based examinations in large lecture-based classrooms and to provide richer and more meaningful feedback to students. A classroom study was designed and data was gathered from an undergraduate computer-programming course in the fall of 2016. Analysis of the data revealed that there was a negative correlation between time lag of first review attempt and performance. A survey was developed and disseminated that gave insight into how students felt about the technology and what they normally do to study for programming exams. In conclusion, the knowledge gained in this study aids in the quest to better educate students in computer programming in large in-person classrooms.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2017-05

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Cultivating Empathy for English Language Learners Through Study Abroad Experiences

Description

Traditionally, a study abroad program is a semester or year-long program. However, short-term study abroad (STSA) programs are becoming increasingly more popular for those who want to study abroad but

Traditionally, a study abroad program is a semester or year-long program. However, short-term study abroad (STSA) programs are becoming increasingly more popular for those who want to study abroad but feel as though they cannot for various reasons. A STSA experience provides opportunities for cultural immersion and second language acquisition. Additionally, the population of English language learners (ELLs) in American classrooms, specifically Arizona, is increasing. Pre-service teachers are often not properly equipped with the tools and skills necessary to address the needs of ELLs in the classroom. Previous literature reported that pre-service teachers who participated in a STSA program working with ELLs showed an increase in empathy in regards to language learning. This study merges the two mentioned above, where Arizona State University undergraduate students from various colleges participated in a one-week short-term study abroad experience to the Dominican Republic working with ELLs. Six participants share their experiences about how their work with English language learners impacted their views about ELLs here in the United States. One-on-one structured interviews were conducted after which the data was analyzed qualitatively for various themes and patterns that emerged across all participants. These themes include reasons why participants chose to participate in a STSA program and how the participants' perspective changed in regards to language learning after this experience. Additionally, participants developed an increase in empathy for English language learners, a commitment to participating in more international and local service events, and expressing the need to advocate for more support of ELLs in American classrooms. Implications for various key stakeholders within and outside of the university setting will be shared.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2016-12

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An Evaluation of the Cognitive Effects of Clinically Used Combination Hormone Therapy

Description

Estradiol (E2) and Levonorgestrel (Levo) are two hormones commonly used in hormone therapy (HT) to decrease symptoms associated with menopause. Both of these hormones have been shown to have beneficial

Estradiol (E2) and Levonorgestrel (Levo) are two hormones commonly used in hormone therapy (HT) to decrease symptoms associated with menopause. Both of these hormones have been shown to have beneficial effects on cognition when given alone in a rodent model of menopause. However, it is unknown whether these hormones, when taken in combination, are beneficial or harmful to cognition. This is a critically important question given that these hormones are most often given in combination versus separately. This thesis is composed of two studies examining the cognitive effects of E2 and Levo using a rat model of surgical menopause. Study 1 assessed how the dose of E2 treatment in rats impacted cognitive performance, and found that low dose E2 enhanced working memory performance. Next, based on the results from Study 1, Study 2 used low dose E2 in combination with different doses of Levo to examine the cognitive effects of several E2 to Levo ratio combinations. The results from Study 2 demonstrated that the combination of low dose E2 with a high dose of Levo at a 1:2 ratio impaired cognition, and that the ratio currently used in HT, 3:1, may also negatively impact cognition. Indeed, there was a dose response effect indicating that working and reference memory performance was incrementally impaired as Levo dose increased. The findings in this thesis suggest that the E2 plus Levo combination is likely not neutral for cognitive function, and prompts further evaluation in menopausal women, as well as drug discovery research to optimize HT using highly controlled preclinical models.

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Date Created
  • 2016-12

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The Impact of Blocked vs. Distributed Category Learning on Subsequent Generalization

Description

It is a well-established finding in memory research that spacing or distributing information, as opposed to blocking all the information together, results in an enhanced memory of the learned material.

It is a well-established finding in memory research that spacing or distributing information, as opposed to blocking all the information together, results in an enhanced memory of the learned material. Recently, researchers have decided to investigate if this spacing effect is also beneficial in category learning. In a set of experiments, Carvalho & Goldstone (2013), demonstrated that a blocked presentation showed an advantage during learning, but that ultimately, the distributed presentation yielded better performance during a post-learning transfer test. However, we have identified a major methodological issue in this study that we believe contaminates the results in a way that leads to an inflation and misrepresentation of learning levels. The present study aimed to correct this issue and re-examine whether a blocked or distributed presentation enhances the learning and subsequent generalization of categories. We also introduced two shaping variables, category size and distortion level at transfer, in addition to the mode of presentation (blocked versus distributed). Results showed no significant differences of mode of presentation at either the learning or transfer phases, thus supporting our concern about the previous study. Additional findings showed benefits in learning categories with a greater category size, as well as higher classification accuracy of novel stimuli at lower-distortion levels.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2017-12

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Virtual Reality Drum Training System

Description

Can a skill taught in a virtual environment be utilized in the physical world? This idea is explored by creating a Virtual Reality game for the HTC Vive to teach

Can a skill taught in a virtual environment be utilized in the physical world? This idea is explored by creating a Virtual Reality game for the HTC Vive to teach users how to play the drums. The game focuses on developing the user's muscle memory, improving the user's ability to play music as they hear it in their head, and refining the user's sense of rhythm. Several different features were included to achieve this such as a score, different levels, a demo feature, and a metronome. The game was tested for its ability to teach and for its overall enjoyability by using a small sample group. Most participants of the sample group noted that they felt as if their sense of rhythm and drumming skill level would improve by playing the game. Through the findings of this project, it can be concluded that while it should not be considered as a complete replacement for traditional instruction, a virtual environment can be successfully used as a learning aid and practicing tool.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2017-12

Reevaluating the Relationship between Contingency and Congruency via the Flanker Task

Description

The purpose of this project was to extend Whitehead 2016 to determine what neural substrates supported conflict-mediated learning. Unfortunately, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic we were unable

The purpose of this project was to extend Whitehead 2016 to determine what neural substrates supported conflict-mediated learning. Unfortunately, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic we were unable to address this. To repurpose the collected data, an analysis of which features of the Flanker task subjects were learning was conducted. Specifically, we wanted to know if subjects were learning by using the flanking stimuli to predict the central target or vice versa. Over 14 blocks comprised of 120 trials, we found that subjects made more stroop errors than flanker and target errors, indicating subjects were responding to stimuli in context of the flanker rather than the stroop effect.

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Date Created
  • 2020-12