Matching Items (13)

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The Rhythm of Running: An Analysis of Preferred Running Tempo

Description

The action of running is difficult to measure, but well worth it to receive valuable information about one of our most basic evolutionary functions. In the context of modern day,

The action of running is difficult to measure, but well worth it to receive valuable information about one of our most basic evolutionary functions. In the context of modern day, recreational runners typically listen to music while running, and so the purpose of this experiment is to analyze the influence of music on running from a more dynamical approach. The first experiment was a running task involving running without a metronome and running with one while setting one's own preferred running tempo. The second experiment sought to manipulate the participant's preferred running tempo by having them listen to the metronome set at their preferred tempo, 20% above their preferred tempo, or 20% below. The purpose of this study is to analyze whether or not rhythmic perturbations different to one's preferred running tempo would interfere with one's preferred running tempo and cause a change in the variability of one's running patterns as well as a change in one's running performance along the measures of step rate, stride length, and stride pace. The evidence suggests that participants naturally entrained to the metronome tempo which influenced them to run faster or slower as a function of metronome tempo. However, this change was also accompanied by a shift in the variability of one's step rate and stride length.

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  • 2017-05

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Sit-to-stand task with physical and cognitive perturbations: A comparison of linear and nonlinear methods of analyzing postural data

Description

Variability is inherent in human movement, and poses a challenge to researchers attempting to measure balance. Human movement variability was analyzed using two methods: standard deviation and largest Lyapunov exponent.

Variability is inherent in human movement, and poses a challenge to researchers attempting to measure balance. Human movement variability was analyzed using two methods: standard deviation and largest Lyapunov exponent. The experiment was a sit-to-stand task with physical and cognitive perturbations. The physical perturbation consisted of stable and unstable platform conditions, while the cognitive perturbation consisted of a counting task. The data were collected from 24 healthy young adults. The purpose of this study was to compare the standard deviation and largest Lyapunov exponent as measures of stability, and to determine the Lyapunov exponent's sensitivity to cognitive perturbation. Evidence suggests that the Lyapunov exponent serves as a more accurate indicator of stability than standard deviation, and that it lacks sensitivity to the counting task.

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Date Created
  • 2016-12

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The Trajectory of Thought: Lévy Flight Patterns and Dynamical Systems in Human Memory Foraging

Description

Recent work in free-recall tasks suggest that human memory foraging may follow a Lévy flight distribution – a random walk procedure that is common in other activities of cognitive agents,

Recent work in free-recall tasks suggest that human memory foraging may follow a Lévy flight distribution – a random walk procedure that is common in other activities of cognitive agents, such as animal and human food foraging. This study attempts to draw parallels between memory search and physical search, with the assumption that humans follow similar search patterns in both. To date, research merely equates the two processes (foraging in memory and the physical world) based on a similarity in statistical structure. This study starts with demonstrating a relationship between physical distance traveled and IRIs by having participants list countries. An IRI, inter-retrieval interval, is the time interval between items recalled. The next experiment uses multidimensional scaling (MDS) to derive a Euclidean perceptual space from similarity ratings of freely-recalled items and then maps the trajectory of human thought through this perceptual space. This trajectory can offer a much more compelling comparison to physical foraging behavior. Finally, a possible correlate of Lévy flight foraging is explored called critical slowing down. Statistically significant evidence was found in all three experiments. The discussion connects all three experiments and what their results mean for human memory foraging.

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Date Created
  • 2016-12

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Effects of Videotaped and/or Written Instructions on Learning to Slackline

Description

The human body is a complex system that links mental learning processes and developed muscular capabilities to produce novel movements or refine existing movements. It is well known that skills

The human body is a complex system that links mental learning processes and developed muscular capabilities to produce novel movements or refine existing movements. It is well known that skills are learned and become more refined with practice, however motor skills can develop by watching others perform an action. The current study aims to test the utility of videotaped and/or written instructional methods in teaching novice slackliners. Results showed a significant interaction between group and trial. The video+word group had significantly longer balance times than the control and video groups in trial two. The word group had significantly longer balance times than the control and video groups in trials three and four. A cumulative skill score was not found to be significantly correlated with balance times. Limitations of the current study are discussed, as well as recommendations for future study and applications.

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  • 2018-05

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Exploring Intentional and Unintentional Coordination Within Dyads

Description

Humans achieve coordination within and across themselves through the use of coupling. Coupling is the term for an informational linkage that allows two independent processes to eventually coordinate together. Coupling

Humans achieve coordination within and across themselves through the use of coupling. Coupling is the term for an informational linkage that allows two independent processes to eventually coordinate together. Coupling between the motor and respiratory system is evident within people through the signaling of the nervous system. However, little has been known about the degree of coordination that can be attained across two people regarding their respiratory patterns. The current study tested whether unintentional coordination of respiration across two people could be achieved when both people were intentionally coordinating their motor movements. Participants were assigned the position of leader or follower, where the leader followed the rhythm of a metronome to lift their leg to and the follower coordinated their leg-lift with the leader’s using their vision, as instructed. During the experiment the movements of each participant’s knee and their respiration were recorded. Relative phase was used as a measure of coordination. Results show that motor coordination was achieved, consistent with past studies, but that there was no coordination of respiration across the participants. This is most likely due to individual differences in physiology and the lack of coupling between the two separate respiratory systems. Although internal motor-respiratory patterns may have coordinated in a multi-frequency manner within each participant, the outward phasing of their respiration showed no such relationship. This study highlights the importance of a multi-frequency approach when observing coordination within and across physiological systems.

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  • 2020-12

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The wisdom of the acorn: social foraging in Temnothorax ants

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The coordination of group behavior in the social insects is representative of a broader phenomenon in nature, emergent biological complexity. In such systems, it is believed that large-scale patterns result

The coordination of group behavior in the social insects is representative of a broader phenomenon in nature, emergent biological complexity. In such systems, it is believed that large-scale patterns result from the interaction of relatively simple subunits. This dissertation involved the study of one such system: the social foraging of the ant Temnothorax rugatulus. Physically tiny with small population sizes, these cavity-dwelling ants provide a good model system to explore the mechanisms and ultimate origins of collective behavior in insect societies. My studies showed that colonies robustly exploit sugar water. Given a choice between feeders unequal in quality, colonies allocate more foragers to the better feeder. If the feeders change in quality, colonies are able to reallocate their foragers to the new location of the better feeder. These qualities of flexibility and allocation could be explained by the nature of positive feedback (tandem run recruitment) that these ants use. By observing foraging colonies with paint-marked ants, I was able to determine the `rules' that individuals follow: foragers recruit more and give up less when they find a better food source. By altering the nutritional condition of colonies, I found that these rules are flexible - attuned to the colony state. In starved colonies, individual ants are more likely to explore and recruit to food sources than in well-fed colonies. Similar to honeybees, Temmnothorax foragers appear to modulate their exploitation and recruitment behavior in response to environmental and social cues. Finally, I explored the influence of ecology (resource distribution) on the foraging success of colonies. Larger colonies showed increased consistency and a greater rate of harvest than smaller colonies, but this advantage was mediated by the distribution of resources. While patchy or rare food sources exaggerated the relative success of large colonies, regularly (or easily found) distributions leveled the playing field for smaller colonies. Social foraging in ant societies can best be understood when we view the colony as a single organism and the phenotype - group size, communication, and individual behavior - as integrated components of a homeostatic unit.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2014

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Psychology of a superorganism

Description

For over a century, researchers have been investigating collective cognition, in which a group of individuals together process information and act as a single cognitive unit. However, I still know

For over a century, researchers have been investigating collective cognition, in which a group of individuals together process information and act as a single cognitive unit. However, I still know little about circumstances under which groups achieve better (or worse) decisions than individuals. My dissertation research directly addressed this longstanding question, using the house-hunting ant Temnothorax rugatulus as a model system. Here I applied concepts and methods developed in psychology not only to individuals but also to colonies in order to investigate differences of their cognitive abilities. This approach is inspired by the superorganism concept, which sees a tightly integrated insect society as the analog of a single organism. I combined experimental manipulations and models to elucidate the emergent processes of collective cognition. My studies show that groups can achieve superior cognition by sharing the burden of option assessment among members and by integrating information from members using positive feedback. However, the same positive feedback can lock the group into a suboptimal choice in certain circumstances. Although ants are obligately social, my results show that they can be isolated and individually tested on cognitive tasks. In the future, this novel approach will help the field of animal behavior move towards better understanding of collective cognition.

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Date Created
  • 2013

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A recruit's dilemma: collective decision-making and information content in the ant Temnothorax rugatulus

Description

An insect society needs to share information about important resources in order to collectively exploit them. This task poses a dilemma if the colony must consider multiple resource types, such

An insect society needs to share information about important resources in order to collectively exploit them. This task poses a dilemma if the colony must consider multiple resource types, such as food and nest sites. How does it allocate workers appropriately to each resource, and how does it adapt its recruitment communication to the specific needs of each resource type? In this dissertation, I investigate these questions in the ant Temnothorax rugatulus.

In Chapter 1, I summarize relevant past work on food and nest recruitment. Then I describe T. rugatulus and its recruitment behavior, tandem running, and I explain its suitability for these questions. In Chapter 2, I investigate whether food and nest recruiters behave differently. I report two novel behaviors used by recruiters during their interaction with nestmates. Food recruiters perform these behaviors more often than nest recruiters, suggesting that they convey information about target type. In Chapter 3, I investigate whether colonies respond to a tradeoff between foraging and emigration by allocating their workforce adaptively. I describe how colonies responded when I posed a tradeoff by manipulating colony need for food and shelter and presenting both resources simultaneously. Recruitment and visitation to each target partially matched the predictions of the tradeoff hypothesis. In Chapter 4, I address the tuned error hypothesis, which states that the error rate in recruitment is adaptively tuned to the patch area of the target. Food tandem leaders lost followers at a higher rate than nest tandem leaders. This supports the tuned error hypothesis, because food targets generally have larger patch areas than nest targets with small entrances.

This work shows that animal groups face tradeoffs as individual animals do. It also suggests that colonies spatially allocate their workforce according to resource type. Investigating recruitment for multiple resource types gives a better understanding of exploitation of each resource type, how colonies make collective decisions under conflicting goals, as well as how colonies manage the exploitation of multiple types of resources differently. This has implications for managing the health of economically important social insects such as honeybees or invasive fire ants.

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Date Created
  • 2019

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Collective personality in the Azteca-Cecropia mutualism

Description

For interspecific mutualisms, the behavior of one partner can influence the fitness of the other, especially in the case of symbiotic mutualisms where partners live in close physical association for

For interspecific mutualisms, the behavior of one partner can influence the fitness of the other, especially in the case of symbiotic mutualisms where partners live in close physical association for much of their lives. Behavioral effects on fitness may be particularly important if either species in these long-term relationships displays personality. Animal personality is defined as repeatable individual differences in behavior, and how correlations among these consistent traits are structured is termed behavioral syndromes. Animal personality has been broadly documented across the animal kingdom but is poorly understood in the context of mutualisms. My dissertation focuses on the structure, causes, and consequences of collective personality in Azteca constructor colonies that live in Cecropia trees, one of the most successful and prominent mutualisms of the neotropics. These pioneer plants provide hollow internodes for nesting and nutrient-rich food bodies; in return, the ants provide protection from herbivores and encroaching vines. I first explored the structure of the behavioral syndrome by testing the consistency and correlation of colony-level behavioral traits under natural conditions in the field. Traits were both consistent within colonies and correlated among colonies revealing a behavioral syndrome along a docile-aggressive axis. Host plants of more active, aggressive colonies had less leaf damage, suggesting a link between a colony personality and host plant health. I then studied how aspects of colony sociometry are intertwined with their host plants by assessing the relationship among plant growth, colony growth, colony structure, ant morphology, and colony personality. Colony personality was independent of host plant measures like tree size, age, volume. Finally, I tested how colony personality influenced by soil nutrients by assessing personality in the field and transferring colonies to plants the greenhouse under different soil nutrient treatments. Personality was correlated with soil nutrients in the field but was not influenced by soil nutrient treatment in the greenhouse. This suggests that soil nutrients interact with other factors in the environment to structure personality. This dissertation demonstrates that colony personality is an ecologically relevant phenomenon and an important consideration for mutualism dynamics.

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Date Created
  • 2018

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Modeling relationships between cycles in psychology: potential limitations of sinusoidal and mass-spring models

Description

With improvements in technology, intensive longitudinal studies that permit the investigation of daily and weekly cycles in behavior have increased exponentially over the past few decades. Traditionally, when data have

With improvements in technology, intensive longitudinal studies that permit the investigation of daily and weekly cycles in behavior have increased exponentially over the past few decades. Traditionally, when data have been collected on two variables over time, multivariate time series approaches that remove trends, cycles, and serial dependency have been used. These analyses permit the study of the relationship between random shocks (perturbations) in the presumed causal series and changes in the outcome series, but do not permit the study of the relationships between cycles. Liu and West (2016) proposed a multilevel approach that permitted the study of potential between subject relationships between features of the cycles in two series (e.g., amplitude). However, I show that the application of the Liu and West approach is restricted to a small set of features and types of relationships between the series. Several authors (e.g., Boker & Graham, 1998) proposed a connected mass-spring model that appears to permit modeling of more general cyclic relationships. I showed that the undamped connected mass-spring model is also limited and may be unidentified. To test the severity of the restrictions of the motion trajectories producible by the undamped connected mass-spring model I mathematically derived their connection to the force equations of the undamped connected mass-spring system. The mathematical solution describes the domain of the trajectory pairs that are producible by the undamped connected mass-spring model. The set of producible trajectory pairs is highly restricted, and this restriction sets major limitations on the application of the connected mass-spring model to psychological data. I used a simulation to demonstrate that even if a pair of psychological time-varying variables behaved exactly like two masses in an undamped connected mass-spring system, the connected mass-spring model would not yield adequate parameter estimates. My simulation probed the performance of the connected mass-spring model as a function of several aspects of data quality including number of subjects, series length, sampling rate relative to the cycle, and measurement error in the data. The findings can be extended to damped and nonlinear connected mass-spring systems.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2019