Brock University Digital Repository 

Brock University’s Digital Repository is an online archive showcasing and preserving the Brock community’s scholarly output as well as items from the Library’s Special Collections and Archives. Researchers can disseminate their work by depositing it in this Open Access repository, which provides free, immediate access to users while also allowing Brock scholars to track downloads and views of their scholarship.

For more information, see the repository's policies and procedures.

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Self Submission - Deposit your paper or research material directly into the repository. Simply login with your Portal Information at this link and follow along.

Thesis Submission - If you need to submit your thesis to the repository to complete your graduation requirements you can do so here. Login with your Portal Information and fill in the form.

Researcher Profiles



  • Investigating the Role of Parental Care and Executive Function in the Neurodevelopment of Psychopathy: A Moderated Expression Model of “Successful” Psychopathy

    Gauthier, Nathalie Yvonne; Department of Psychology
    Psychopathy has been an important risk factor in predicting maladaptive outcomes and antisocial behaviour. However, some research has also explored “successful” psychopathy: individuals with psychopathic traits who avoid negative outcomes (e.g., criminal or antisocial behaviour) and/or those whose psychopathic traits are used to their advantage. The Moderated Expression model (Lilienfeld et al., 2015) posits that that while successful and unsuccessful psychopaths have the same core personality traits, other factors can moderate how these traits are manifested. For example, the quality of parental care, as well as executive function (EF) skills are among the potential factors in predicting antisocial outcomes in individuals with psychopathic traits, yet to date, research has not looked at these together in predicting psychopathy success. The program of study presented in this dissertation explored these factors through a Moderated-Expression framework: Study 1 used an adolescent sample of 229 girls and 165 boys from the community, and examined the role of parental care in predicting success outcomes in youth with Callous-Unemotional (CU) traits. Study 2 expanded on this and examined the role of parental warmth and neglect on success outcomes in adults with psychopathic traits, both directly, and through their effect on EF skills. This study recruited a community sample of 293 men and 301 women. Importantly, Study 2 included multiple sub-components of EF, in order to help address the mixed findings in the research to date, and to ascertain how these functions may work together. Both studies included multiple maladaptive outcomes as well as a proxy measure of social success. Overall, both studies found that (a) parental warmth decreased the strength of the relationship between the core psychopathic traits and multiple maladaptive outcomes; (b) parental neglect increased the risk of anti-sociality and multiple maladaptive outcomes; (c) the pattern of effects differed depending on the gender of the participant and of the parent. Furthermore, while girls and women were lower in overt physical aggression, psychopathic traits still predicted relational aggression, other maladaptive outcomes, and lower social success, highlighting the importance of using diverse measures of success and to look at the patterns across and within gender.
  • Writing Self-Efficacy of Elementary Students With Learning Disabilities

    Gishen, Roselyn; Department of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in Education
    Writing is an important academic skill that many students with learning disabilities (LDs) find difficult to master. To acquire basic literacy skills, early intervention and appropriate accommodations are crucial for these learners. In the context of writing achievement, self-efficacy refers to students’ beliefs about their abilities to accomplish specific writing tasks. Past literature has demonstrated a bidirectional relationship between self-efficacy and writing performance. However, while research has explored writing self-efficacy in elementary students, little is known about the experiences of students with LDs. Using a mixed methods approach, this research project explored the writing self-efficacy and writing skills of 29 students with LDs in Grades 3-6 and explored the perspectives of 21 students and 22 parents. The study employed a multi-modal survey instrument (Zumbrunn et al., 2020) to determine whether writing self-efficacy varies across grade levels, a writing activity to assess students’ writing skills, and one-on-one semi-structured interviews with students and their parents to explore perspectives on writing and perceived learning needs. The results revealed that students in Grades 3 and 4 had lower levels of self-efficacy for self-regulation than students in Grade 5. As well, interviews yielded rich descriptions of parents’ and students’ attitudes, thoughts, and feelings toward writing and effective instruction. These findings extend theories of pragmatism, inclusion, and social cognitive theory (Bandura, 2012). Implications for the findings will inform teachers’ approaches to writing instruction and interventions for struggling writers. Future research might consider the role of additional sociodemographic and motivational variables and extend the present study to additional student populations.
  • Memetic Algorithm for Large-Scale Real-World Vehicle Routing Problems with Simultaneous Pickup and Delivery with Time Windows

    Gibbons, Ethan; Department of Computer Science
    The vehicle routing problem is a combinatorial optimization problem which has many real-world applications from supply chain management to public transportation. Many variants of the vehicle routing problem (VRP) exist with different constraints to reflect a variety of transportation scenarios faced by different industries. In this thesis, we examine the VRP variant referred to as the vehicle routing problem with simultaneous pickup and delivery with time windows (VRPSPDTW). In particular, we tackle a set of 20 recently released large-scale VRPSPDTW problem instances that were derived from the data of actual customers served by the transportation company known as JD Logistics. A memetic algorithm (MA) using an altered version of the Best-Cost-Route-Crossover is proposed and applied to this problem set. The proposed MA is able to find new best known solutions and performs better on average for all 20 instances in comparison to previous efforts. Comparative experiments are performed with other state-of-the-art crossovers to validate the effectiveness of the altered BCRC when used in the proposed MA. In addition, the dynamic VRPSPDTW (DVRPSPTW) is introduced by providing a mathematical formulation of the problem and transforming existing VRPSPDTW instances into dynamic instances. We perform a preliminary study on these dynamic instances using the proposed MA in conjunction with a simple but effective vehicle loading strategy, and the results are provided to promote further research into this dynamic variant.
  • A Comparative Study of Evolutionary Algorithms and Particle Swarm Optimization Approaches for Constrained Multi-Objective Optimization Problems

    McNulty, Alanna; Department of Computer Science
    Many real-world problems in the fields of science and engineering contain multiple conflicting objectives which need to optimized simultaneously, as well as additional problem constraints. These problems are referred to as constrained multi-objective optimization problems (CMOPs). CMOPs do not have a single optimal solution, but instead a set of optimal trade-off solutions where an improvement in one objective worsens another. Recently, many constrained multi-objective evolutionary algorithms (CMOEAs) have been introduced for solving CMOPs. Each of these computational intelligence algorithms can be classified into one of four different approaches, which are the classic CMOEAs, co-evolutionary approaches, multi-stage approaches, and multi-tasking approaches. An extensive survey and comparative study of the aforementioned algorithms on a variety of benchmark test problems, including real-world CMOPs, is carried out in order to determine the current state-of-the-art CMOEAs. Additionally, this work proposes a multi-guide particle swarm optimization (MGPSO) for the constrained multi-objective problems. MGPSO is a multi-swarm approach, which has previously been effectively applied to other challenging optimization problems in the literature. This work adapts MGPSO for solving CMOPs and compares its performance against the aforementioned existing computational intelligence techniques. The comparative study showed that the algorithmic performance was problem-dependent. Lastly, while the proposed MGPSO approach was likewise problem-dependent, it was found to perform best for some of the real-world problems, namely the process, design and synthesis problems, and had competitive performance in the power system optimization problems.
  • The Sketchbook as a Learning Tool to Support Student Well-Being: Examining the Perspectives and Practices of Visual Art Teachers

    Marshall, Rebecca
    This study explores the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on art education in Ontario, focusing on the sketchbook pedagogies of six secondary Visual Art teachers in the District School Board of Niagara (DSBN). The study investigates whether teachers have modified their sketchbook practices due to the pandemic, and asks for their perspectives on how sketchbooks influence student learning and well-being. Findings indicated that teachers perceived sketchbooks as flexible, holistic, and instrumental to effective art instruction. A majority of teachers noticed an increase in sketchbook use to support student well-being during the pandemic, and many maintained efforts to use sketchbooks this way during the return to in-school instruction. Concerns presented by teachers included a lack of engagement from students when asked to complete practice and planning-based sketchbook tasks, as well as difficulties assessing sketchbooks. Data analysis identified implications for future research regarding sketchbook assessment practices, how to promote student buy-in in light of decreasing motivation, and how to develop purposeful adaptive strategies via sketchbook use for student well-being. The results of this study influenced a companion project in the form of a manual titled: Sketchbooks: A Reference for New Art Educators.

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