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Examining the Effects of Exercise Level on Cognition, Perception, and Emotional Response Modulation

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Physical activity is something that everyone engages in at varying levels. It has been linked to positively impacting general wellbeing, as well as preparing the mind and body to learn new skills. However, the significance of physical activity

Physical activity is something that everyone engages in at varying levels. It has been linked to positively impacting general wellbeing, as well as preparing the mind and body to learn new skills. However, the significance of physical activity remains under-explored in some areas. The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between physical activity levels and emotional intelligence, navigation and planning skills, motor skills, memory capacity, and one’s perception of the ‘value’ of an object or an experience. During sessions, participants were equipped with two physiological sensors: the EEG B-Alert X10 or X24 headset, and the Shimmer GSR3. In addition to these, two external sensors were used: a web camera for recording and evaluating facial expressions, and the Tobii X2-30, X2-60, or Tobii T60XL eye tracking systems, used to monitor visual attention. These sensors were used to collect data while participants completed a series of tasks: the Self-Report of Emotional Intelligence Test, the Tower of London Test, the Motor Speed Test, the Working Memory Capacity Battery, watching product-centered videos, and watching experience-centered videos. Multiple surveys were also conducted, including a demographic survey, a nutritional and health survey, and a sports preference survey. Utilizing these metrics, this study found that those who exercise more experience and express higher levels of emotion, including joy, sadness, contempt, disgust, confusion, frustration, surprise, anger, and fear. This implies a difference in emotional response modulation between those who exercise more and those who exercise less, which in turn implies a difference in perception between the two groups. There were no significant findings related to navigation and planning skills, motor skills, or memory capacity from this analysis.

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Date Created
2019-05

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On Memory and Physiological Signals of Experts and Novices-Case Study: Chess

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Abstract Chess has been a common research topic for expert-novice studies and thus for learning science as a whole because of its limited framework and longevity as a game. One factor is that chess studies are good at measuring how

Abstract Chess has been a common research topic for expert-novice studies and thus for learning science as a whole because of its limited framework and longevity as a game. One factor is that chess studies are good at measuring how expert chess players use their memory and skills to approach a new chessboard con�guration. Studies have shown that chess skill is based on memory, speci�cally, "chunks" of chess piece positions that have been previously encountered by players. However, debate exists concerning how these chunks are constructed in players' memory. These chunks could be constructed by proximity of pieces on the chessboard as well as their precise location or constructed through attack-defense relations. The primary objective of this study is to support which one is more in line with chess players' actual chess abilities based off their memory, proximity or attack/defense. This study replicates and extends an experiment conducted by McGregor and Howe (2002), which explored the argument that pieces are primed more by attack and defense relations than by proximity. Like their study, the present study examined novice and expert chess players' response times for correct and error responses by showing slides of game configurations. In addition to these metrics, the present study also incorporated an eye-tracker to measure visual attention and EEG to measure affective and cognitive states. They were added to allow the comparison of subtle and unconscious behaviors of both novices and expert chess players. Overall, most McGregor and Howe's (2002) results were replicated supporting their theory on chess expertise. This included statistically significance for skill in the error rates with the mean error rates on the piece recognition tests were 70.1% for novices and 87.9% for experts, as well as significance for the two-way interaction for relatedness and proximity with error rates of 22.4% for unrelated/far, 18.8% for related/far, 15.8% for unrelated
ear, and 29.3% for related
ear. Unfortunately, there were no statistically significance for any of the response time effects, which McGregor and Howe found for the interaction between skill and proximity. Despite eye-tracking and EEG data not either support nor confirm McGregor and Howe's theory on how chess players memorize chessboard configurations, these metrics did help build a secondary theory on how novices typically rely on proximity to approach chess and new visual problems in general. This was exemplified by the statistically significant results for short-term excitement for the two-way interaction of skill and proximity, where the largest short-term excitement score was between novices on near proximity slides. This may indicate that novices, because they may lean toward using proximity to try to recall these pieces, experience a short burst of excitement when the pieces are close to each other because they are more likely to recall these configurations.

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Date Created
2017-05

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The Importance of Studying Interactions With Ovarian Hormones: Implications for Depressive Symptoms in Premenopausal and Menopausal Women

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The relevance of depression in the clinical realm is well known, as it is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States. Clinical depression is the leading cause of disease for women worldwide. The sex difference in

The relevance of depression in the clinical realm is well known, as it is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States. Clinical depression is the leading cause of disease for women worldwide. The sex difference in depression and anxiety has guided the research of not just recent studies but older studies as well, supporting the theory that gonadal hormones are associated with the mechanisms of emotional cognition. The scientific literature points towards a clear correlative relationship between gonadal hormones, especially estrogens, and emotion regulation. This thesis investigates the neural pathways that have been indicated to regulate mood and anxiety. Currently, the research points to the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, which regulates the stress response through its ultimate secretion of cortisol through the adrenal cortex, and its modulated response when exposed to higher levels of estrogen. Another mechanism that has been investigated is the interaction of estrogen and the serotonergic system, which is noteworthy because the serotonergic system is known for its importance in mood regulation. However, it is important to note that the research seeking to determine the neurobiological underpinnings of estrogen and the serotonergic system is not expansive. Future research should focus on determining the direct relationship between cortisol hypersecretion and estrogens, the specific neurobiological effects of serotonergic receptor subtypes on the antidepressant actions of estrogens, and the simultaneous effects of the stress and serotonergic systems on depressive symptoms.

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Date Created
2021-05