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Feelin' Good...And Then Some: A Functional Evolutionary Approach to Positive Emotions in Sport

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Sport is a widespread phenomenon across human cultures and history. Unfortunately, positive emotions in sport have been long vaguely characterized as happy or pleasant, or ignored altogether. Recent emotion research has taken a differentiated approach, however, suggesting there are distinct

Sport is a widespread phenomenon across human cultures and history. Unfortunately, positive emotions in sport have been long vaguely characterized as happy or pleasant, or ignored altogether. Recent emotion research has taken a differentiated approach, however, suggesting there are distinct positive emotions with diverse implications for behavior. The present study applied this evolutionarily informed approach in the context of sport to examine which positive emotions are associated with play. It was hypothesized that pride, amusement, and enthusiasm, but not contentment or awe, would increase in Ultimate Frisbee players during a practice scrimmage. Further, it was hypothesized that increases in pride and amusement during practice would be differentially associated with sport outcomes, including performance (scores, assists, and defenses), subjective social connectedness, attributions of success, and attitudes toward the importance of practice. It was found that all positive emotions decreased during practice. It was also found that increases in pride were associated with more scores and greater social connectedness, whereas increases in amusement were associated with more assists. The present study was one of the first to examine change in positive emotions during play and to relate them to specific performance outcomes. Future studies should expand to determine which came first: emotion or performance.

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2014-05

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

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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

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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2016-12

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The effect of partial exemplar experience on ill-defined, multi-modal categories

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The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of partial exemplar experience on category formation and use. Participants had either complete or limited access to the three dimensions that defined categories by dimensions within different modalities. The concept

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of partial exemplar experience on category formation and use. Participants had either complete or limited access to the three dimensions that defined categories by dimensions within different modalities. The concept of "crucial dimension" was introduced and the role it plays in category definition was explained. It was hypothesized that the effects of partial experience are not explained by a shifting of attention between dimensions (Taylor & Ross, 2009) but rather by an increased reliance on prototypical values used to fill in missing information during incomplete experiences. Results indicated that participants (1) do not fill in missing information with prototypical values, (2) integrate information less efficiently between different modalities than within a single modality, and (3) have difficulty learning only when partial experience prevents access to diagnostic information.

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2011

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Grounding concepts: physical interaction can provide minor benefit to category learning

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Categories are often defined by rules regarding their features. These rules may be intensely complex yet, despite the complexity of these rules, we are often able to learn them with sufficient practice. A possible explanation for how we arrive at

Categories are often defined by rules regarding their features. These rules may be intensely complex yet, despite the complexity of these rules, we are often able to learn them with sufficient practice. A possible explanation for how we arrive at consistent category judgments despite these difficulties would be that we may define these complex categories such as chairs, tables, or stairs by understanding the simpler rules defined by potential interactions with these objects. This concept, called grounding, allows for the learning and transfer of complex categorization rules if said rules are capable of being expressed in a more simple fashion by virtue of meaningful physical interactions. The present experiment tested this hypothesis by having participants engage in either a Rule Based (RB) or Information Integration (II) categorization task with instructions to engage with the stimuli in either a non-interactive or interactive fashion. If participants were capable of grounding the categories, which were defined in the II task with a complex visual rule, to a simpler interactive rule, then participants with interactive instructions should outperform participants with non-interactive instructions. Results indicated that physical interaction with stimuli had a marginally beneficial effect on category learning, but this effect seemed most prevalent in participants were engaged in an II task.

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2014