Recent Submissions

  • Exploring Environmental Stewardship in the Niagara Region of Canada: How Do Elements of Environmental Stewardship Relate to Success?

    Kapeller, Brooke; Environmental Sustainability Research Centre
    Environmental stewardship is imperative as it provides a means for individuals and society to reconnect with the biosphere as well as work to protect and conserve the environment for future generations. While the concept of stewardship is not new, the scholarship addressing it is still developing. In particular, there is limited research that addresses what makes stewardship successful. This thesis addresses calls in the literature for empirical investigations into local-scale environmental stewardship. Specifically, it contributes to a better understanding of elements of stewardship and what makes stewardship initiatives successful. Two studies were conducted in the Niagara Region of Canada. The first study investigated the social-ecological context of the area and examined the elements of environmental stewardship initiatives by empirically testing a framework for environmental stewardship. The second study examined factors allowing for stewardship success, from the perspective of the organizations conducting the work. In concert, the findings reveal: a nuanced relationship between context and stewardship elements; factors making for stewardship success; and an expanded conceptual framework which more fulsomely describes local environmental stewardship. Finally, recommendations for future work in this realm of empirical environmental stewardship investigations are put forth.
  • Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Body Mass, Physical Activity and Nutrition in Canadian Post-Secondary Students

    Bell, Madison; Applied Health Sciences Program
    This study examined changes in body mass, physical activity, and dietary intake and habits in Canadian university students during the first (March – September 2020) and second (October 2020 – March 2021) lockdown/restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic. Two observational, self-reported recall surveys were conducted online; in September 2020 (T1) and March 2021 (T2). Five hundred ten (99 males, 411 females) students completed the survey at T1 and 135 of them also completed the survey at T2. The surveys included demographic information (age, sex, living arrangements, activity level, etc.), body mass and height, and a series of standardized questionnaires on eating habits and behaviours, as well as energy, macronutrient, and micronutrient intake. Body mass and body mass index increased in both males and females. Body mass increased on average by 0.91 kg, t(132) = -2.7, p = 0.008, 95%CI = [0.24, 1.58]. Importantly, a significant change was shown that between T1 and T2 with a greater number of participants identified as overweight (19.8% to 24.4%) than normal weight (61.7% to 54.8%). Body mass change was not associated with changes in physical activity and dietary intake. Females were more likely to decrease At Home Workouts compared to males with no other significant changes detected for type of physical activity in either T1 or T2. Energy intake significantly decreased by ~200 kcals/d. Diet quality also changed in both sexes characterized by negative changes in in both macro and micronutrients. Restrictive eating behaviours were found to increase significantly in females and were more frequent in those with eating disorders. Therefore, modest weight gain did occur during the pandemic in Canadian university students despite the insignificant changes reported in physical activity and the decrease in overall dietary intake, which can be possibly attributed to the changes in diet quality and dietary behaviours.
  • CEO Overconfidence and the Probability of Bankruptcy

    Amin, Ruhul; Faculty of Business Programs
    This thesis examines the relation between CEO overconfidence and the probability of bankruptcy. In addition to the main research question, we develop two additional hypotheses. We evaluate the potential link or channel between CEO overconfidence and the probability of bankruptcy. In the relationship between CEO overconfidence and the probability of bankruptcy, we seek for any interaction effects of CEO dominance. It is not uncommon for CEOs to be overconfident about their firms' prospects. In our sample, we use data from the year 2000 to 2019 for US companies. We proxy the bankruptcy probability using Altman’s Z Score. We use a stock option-driven measure of overconfidence, and this measure assumes that non-overconfident CEO will exercise their stock options if it is in the money, while overconfident CEOs will hold stock options beyond a rational threshold. We construct both continuous and indicator-based measures of overconfidence to test the hypotheses. The empirical findings reveal that CEO overconfidence increases the probability of bankruptcy. We do not find any evidence in favor of overinvestment which we consider as a channel through which overconfidence leads to increased bankruptcy risk. We also find that dominant and overconfident CEOs are suited for innovative firms, implying that giving an overconfident CEO a dominant position can minimize a firm's probability of bankruptcy. The implications of this study are that firms should be cautious in hiring overconfident CEO and they should take measures to reduce the negative effects of CEO overconfidence like the probability of bankruptcy. One way to reduce the probability of bankruptcy in innovative firms is to appoint overconfident CEO into a dominant position.
  • Children with Neurodevelopmental and Behavioural Challenges: A Descriptive Case Study Examining the Integration of Dance and Behaviour Therapy Within Day Treatment

    Kalil, Dana; Center for Applied Disability Studies
    Dance is a form of physical activity that may improve motor skills and coordination while simultaneously providing opportunities for social interaction and promote development of socio-emotional skills. A manualized program, Dance with a B-E-A-T! (behaviour analysis and therapy), combines recreational dance with components of behaviour analysis and therapy to help facilitate improvements in motor skills, social skills, emotional regulation, and self-coping. Building on a pilot study completed by Davis et al. (in progress), the present study evaluated a similar program incorporating behavioural components such as antecedent strategies, positive reinforcement, a token economy, relaxation strategies and positive self-talk. In collaboration with day treatment staff of a mental health centre, the dance program was integrated within children’s day treatment. The intensive dance program was offered for five consecutive days to five participants with behavioural challenges (7-9 years) from the same day treatment cohort. The aim of this project was to use a blended behaviour therapy and dance program to teach three dance combinations and examine collateral benefits. Observational probes at pre and post-test measured percent of dance skills completed correctly, and in-person semi-structured interviews with the counsellor and elementary school teacher evaluated satisfaction of the program within day treatment. Results suggested a positive impact on the physical and social skills of participants; increased physical activity and bidirectional use of socio-emotional skills.
  • Examining the morphological decomposition of complex words in native and non-native speakers of English

    Chattha, Osama; Department of Applied Linguistics
    Word knowledge is an essential component of second language acquisition. For many second language learners of English, acquiring new words can be a difficult task. Understanding the structure of words may be a valuable strategy for vocabulary development. This study examines the processing of morphologically complex English words by native and non-native speakers of English in a word typing task. The evaluation of the stimuli through word typing is also explored as a possible measure of functional ability in English in non-native speakers. A total of 270 complex affixed words were used as stimuli with true and pseudo-affixed words making up the real word-stimuli and novel-possible and novel-impossible stimuli. A total of 33 native speakers completed the lexical decision task in Experiment One that provided a validity check on the stimuli. Experiment Two had 52 native and 55 non-native speakers complete a typing task. Results indicated that complex real affixed words were typed more quickly than complex novel affixed words. Of particular interest were changes in typing speed at the morpheme boundary within a word. Native speakers displayed a greater slowing at the morpheme boundary than the non-native speakers, indicating a greater sensitivity to the internal structure of words. With respect to functional ability, the results suggest that typing sensitivity to morpheme boundaries relates to more general functional ability.
  • Investigating the Modulation of Drosophila melanogaster Body-wall Muscle Contraction by the Neuropeptide DPKQDFMRFamide

    Wasilewicz, Luc; Department of Biological Sciences
    The chemical synapse is the site of communication between a neuron and its target cell, where an electrical impulse depolarizes the presynaptic cell causing chemical release. The chemicals released at the synapse are signaling molecules referred to as transmitters and co-transmitters that exert effects on the target cell and can sometimes modulate the effects of each other. A class of signaling molecules, known as neuropeptides, can act as transmitters or can be released as hormones that can modulate chemical synapses and ultimately affect many physiological functions. The neuropeptide, DPKQDFMRFamide, is an important neuromodulator of neuromuscular junctions in the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster. DPKQDFMRFamide has previously been shown to enhance excitatory junctional potentials (EJPs) elicited by specific neurons, to enhance nerve-evoked contractions, and to induce contractions directly in Drosophila 3rd instar larval body-wall muscles. This thesis investigated how the DPKQDFMRFamide peptide modulates muscle contractions elicited by the excitatory transmitter of the neuromuscular junction, L-glutamate, in D.melanogaster 3rd instar larvae. Effects were assessed by co-applying peptide with L-glutamate after removing the central nervous system. The results indicate that DPKQDFMRFamide enhances glutamate-evoked contractions in a dose-dependent manner, and there was synergy between the effects of L-glutamate and DPKQDFMRFamide on muscle contraction. DPKQDFMRFamide increased membrane depolarization in muscle when co-applied with glutamate, and it enhanced contractions induced by caffeine in the absence of extracellular calcium. Thus, the peptide appears to act at the cell membrane to increase depolarization and at, or downstream of the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) to enhance caffeine-induced contractions. However, the effects of DPKQDFMRFamide do not appear to involve the 2nd messenger nitric oxide or the calcium/calmodulin activated protein kinase, CaMKII.
  • Effects of a Tailored Social Marketing Campaign Targeting Smoking Policy Compliance on Smoking-Related Behaviour on Campus

    Turnbull, Haley A; Applied Health Sciences Program
    Introduction. Smoking represents a significant risk to Canadians. Young people in Canada have historically had the highest smoking prevalence of any other age group. Implementing smoking policies can be an effective strategy for post-secondary campuses to interrupt smoking trajectories and reduce the risk of campus citizens being exposed to second- hand smoke, however compliance can be a barrier to achieving these outcomes. This study examined the effects of a social marketing campaign on policy-non-compliance on a post- secondary campus in Ontario, Canada. Methods. The 3-week campaign was implemented by students and focused on policy- compliance-related objectives. Six smoking sites were observed twice a day for one week before the campaign, and one week after the campaign was completed. 4 sites were designated smoking areas, as defined by the smoking policy at the institution. 2 sites were undesignated “hot-spots” where smoking was frequently observed to occur. A butt litter audit was completed before and after the campaign to determine if butt litter decreased after the campaign. Results. At designated smoking sites, using the strict policy definition of the designated smoking sites, the proportion of observed behaviour that was non-compliant decreased in designated smoking areas (-0.079, 95% CI = 0.143, -0.0151, p < .05). Noncompliant behaviours also significantly decreased after the campaign using a more lenient measure of compliance (-0.102, 95% CI = -0.203, -0.001, p < .05). At undesignated hot spots, the average number of people using the areas to smoke decreased at both sites after the campaign. The proportion of all cigarettes which were disposed of correctly in receptacles was 75.5% before the campaign and 77.4% after the campaign. It is unclear if second-hand smoke exposure was reduced for non- smoking pedestrians despite the overall reduction in non-compliant behaviours. Conclusions. Implementing a student-led, social marketing campaign focussed on improving compliance was an effective strategy to improve compliance with smoking policy.
  • The hydrological and limnological characterization of two Canadian water catchments sensitive to anthropogenic influences: Crawford Lake, Ontario and Old Crow Flats, Yukon

    Llew-Williams, Brendan; Department of Earth Sciences
    Crawford Lake, Ontario, and Old Crow Flats, Yukon, provide two unique locations to study interacting hydrological components and the effects of climate and anthropogenically- induced landscape changes on local hydrology, geochemistry, and limnology. Crawford Lake is a small meromictic lake near the Niagara Escarpment, whose bathymetry and wind-protected shores impede seasonal turnover, maintaining density stratification across the chemocline. Chemical and isotopic analysis identified a dense, highly conductive groundwater-fed monimolimnion permanently isolated from a less dense, more dilute mixolimnion. High concentrations of dissolved oxygen were measured in the monimolimnion year-round, with oxic conditions maintained by groundwater seeping through hydraulically conductive units in Silurian dolostones of the Lockport Group. This hydrologic setting facilitates the accumulation of varves below the chemocline where the lack of bioturbation is attributed to the saline, alkaline, and isolated nature of the monimolimnion, allowing the undisturbed laminations to provide an annually resolvable chronology of local and global anthropogenic impact. The Old Crow Flats (OCF) is a remote Arctic wetland that holds over 8700 shallow thermokarst lakes and drain a 14,000 km2 headwater basin via the Old Crow– Porcupine – Yukon River system. OCF is the traditional territory of the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nations who have observed widespread climate-induced landscape changes, including shoreline permafrost slumping, rapid thermokarst lake drainage, shrub encroachment, water level changes, and forest fires. Long-term analysis (2007 –2009 and 2015 – 2019 CE) of the hydrological response to these landscape changes have shown trends of increasing connectivity between the perched lakes and incised rivers, increased seasonal runoff contributions, and altered water chemistry. Analysis of geochemical records sampled from 24 river stations allowed for the rapidly changing contributions of the hydrological endmembers over time (including precipitation, permafrost thaw, lake water, etc.) to be tracked and cross-referenced with the observed climate-induced landscape changes and regional headwater geology.
  • Acquisition of Joint Attention Skills in Children with Cortical Visual Impairment

    Keith, Avery; Center for Applied Disability Studies
    Joint attention (JA) is a skill that is essential to children’s later social and language development. Previous studies have demonstrated the efficacy of various behavioural teaching strategies in increasing children’s responses and initiations of bids for joint attention. However, research has predominantly relied on gaze alternation to evaluate the attainment of joint attention. This is problematic as gaze alternation is not the only method of demonstrating the skill; other sensory modalities can also serve the same function. Accordingly, research on the ability to engage in bids for joint attention is scarce among the child population with cortical visual impairment (CVI). Despite the scarcity, theories suggest children with visual impairment can learn joint attention skills through enriching social experiences. Furthermore, competent caregivers could facilitate these positive experiences by means of body contact, verbalizations, and activities involving singing and rhythm. In the current study, we examined the effectiveness of caregiver-implemented behavioural teaching strategies to teach children with CVI to engage in joint attention related skills. A multiple baseline design across subjects was used with three children between 3-4 years with CVI. In addition, pre to post changes in children’s engagement in joint attention were monitored. The caregiver-implemented behavioural teaching strategies were highly effective in increasing two target JA-related behaviours for one of three participants. Further, the study offers preliminary evidence that JA performance can generalize to a novel caregiver. Potential implications of the study involve allowing for children with CVI to experience more positive social experiences and improving parent-child socialization and play.
  • Measuring the Reading-Attention Relationship: Functional Differences in Working Memory Activity During Single Word Decoding in Children With and Without Reading Disorder

    Sinha, Niki; Department of Child and Youth Studies
    Working memory (WM) is linked to the development of reading skills and has been evidenced to contribute to reading comprehension difficulties in children with reading disorder (RD). Several converging models suggest WM to contribute to the development of foundational reading skills, but few studies have assessed this contribution in either typically developing readers (TD) or children with RD. In effort to bridge this gap, the current study identified whether a functional neuroimaging task could be used to identify changes in WM activity during single word reading in children with and without RD. Two groups of children (77 RD, 22 TD) aged 7-9 completed a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) task which paired reading and n-back trials to identify activation of a priori chosen regions of interest in the WM network during single word decoding. Trials consisted of words, pseudowords, and false font stimuli to assess WM activity between groups in relation to familiar words, unfamiliar words, and non-words. Exploratory analysis of behavioural WM correlates were assessed using measures of performance on the fMRI task as well as measures of verbal learning from the California Verbal Learning Test – Children’s version. Results show the fMRI task was able to identify WM network activity in both groups. In the RD group WM activity was indiscriminate to stimulus type and did not show any patterns of lateralization. In the TD group, WM activity was strongly left lateralized, and only detected during pseudoword reading, suggesting increases in WM activity during phonetic decoding only. Findings suggest the WM network may contribute differently to single word reading in children with and without RD and highlights the potential functional imaging may have in defining this relationship over the course of reading development.
  • Beyond Drugs and Crime: Services Needed for Formerly Incarcerated Men in Cape Breton

    Morrison, Kirk; Department of Sociology
    This research is an institutional ethnographic exploration of the reentry of formerly incarcerated men who use illicit drugs in the Regional Municipality of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Formerly incarcerated drug users in Cape Breton have few resources available to them as they attempt to adjust to life outside prison. Facing many obstacles, they often find themselves vulnerable to denial of services, homelessness or substandard housing, social isolation and stigmatization, and, ultimately, reincarceration. Beginning with experiences as reported in interviews of previously incarcerated male drug users, as well as staff members of a local harm reduction organization, I identify the range of challenges men experience post-incarceration and how best to meet their needs. Drawing on the men’s vision for effective service provision and safer drug use policies, I make policy recommendations that will facilitate inclusion and effective reentry into society. My guiding questions are: What challenges and obstacles do men face after release? How effectively do men access welfare state services, employment, and housing and what are the specific barriers to access? What broad changes are required to avoid reincarceration and truly support the needs of illicit drug using men?
  • Linkage Behaviours and Outcomes for Serial Sexual Offenders

    Batinic, Mirna; Department of Psychology
    The purpose of the present study was three-fold; 1) to describe the behaviours exhibited by serial sexual offenders, including their criminal histories, 2) to gain a better understanding of the information that is used when linking (potential) serial sexual offences, and 3) to explore linkage outcomes and potential investigative barriers. Previous research on serial offenders has focused on how to link offenders to their multiple offences using a process known as linkage analysis. Through this process, trained analysts review case information and assess for potential links to other cases. Linking offences together allows investigators to focus their resources on investigating one offender that is responsible for multiple offences, rather than investigating each offence separately. Further, the linkage process facilitates communication between law enforcement agencies. This can help protect the public by aiding in the identification of offenders and potentially reducing victimization. There is a gap in the literature with respect to the information that is being used to link and confirm offences in practice. The current study aimed to address these limitations by reviewing a sample of 78 potential linkages (57 male sexual offenders) made by trained analysts from the Violent Crime Linkage Analysis System (ViCLAS) centre to examine the information and offence behaviours that were used to link serial sexual offenders to their offences. Further, this study described the current status of the linkages and potential investigative barriers. Overall, the information used to make linkages was consistent with previous research in that both consistent and distinctive offence behaviours were used. Regarding linkage outcomes, at the time of writing, the majority of linkages remain as potential (i.e., neither confirmed nor rejected) due to potential investigative barriers. As investigations continue, these may be updated and confirmed in the future. Implications and future directions are discussed.
  • The Big Five Personality Traits and Choking Susceptibility

    Thiessen, Burgandy; Applied Health Sciences Program
    Choking susceptibility is the likelihood or potential of an individual choking under pressure (Mesagno et al., 2012). Choking susceptibility may be influenced by personality traits. The purpose of this study was to examine the differences between the Big Five personality traits on choking susceptible and choking non-susceptible individuals. A protocol developed by Mesagno et al. (e.g., 2008; 2009), comprised of a self-consciousness scale, sport anxiety scale, and coping style scale, was used to measure choking susceptibility. Personality traits were measured using the Big Five Inventory-10. A total of 60 post-secondary students were analysed in this study; 30 were choking susceptible and 30 were choking non-susceptible. A MANOVA showed a significant effect of the personality traits on choking susceptibility. Separate univariate tests on the outcome variables (i.e., neuroticism, openness, extraversion, agreeableness, and conscientiousness) revealed a significant effect for neuroticism. Additionally, a discriminant function analysis further showed that neuroticism contributed the most to choking susceptibility compared to the other four personality traits. According to the current study, individuals higher in neuroticism are more choking susceptible than those lower in neuroticism. Therefore, individuals who are neurotic may benefit from interventions designed for their personality to combat the likelihood of choking under pressure. This study is the first to use Mesagno’s choking susceptibility protocol outside of sport.
  • Investigation of the Anti-Proliferative and Pro-Apoptotic Effects of Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) Extract on Androgen Independent Prostate Cancer Cells

    Termini, Deborah; Applied Health Sciences Program
    Prostatic carcinoma is established as the third most prevalent cancer type in the worldwide population and accounts for 21% of new cancer cases in Canadian men. Prostate cancer can be categorized as androgen dependent or androgen independent, indicative of the tumor’s ability to respond to testosterone stimulation. Currently available treatments include prostatectomy, radiation therapy, androgen deprivation therapy, immunotherapy, and chemotherapy. Despite all of these treatment options, biochemical reoccurrence, and progression into more advanced stages (castration-resistant prostate cancer- CRPC) is often seen, indicating a need for novel therapeutics that specifically and efficiently target the dysregulated mechanisms in prostate cancer. In some studies, rosemary extract and its polyphenolic constituents have been shown to have anticancer properties, but the exact effects and mechanisms of action are not known. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the potential pro-apoptotic and anti-proliferative effects of rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) extract (RE) on prostate cancer cells. PC-3 and 22Rv1 prostate cancer cells, representative in vitro models of androgen independent prostate cancer, as well as the PNT1A non-cancerous prostate epithelial cells were treated with RE and docetaxel (established prostate cancer chemotherapeutic drug) for the purpose of assessing the extent of survival and proliferation, and to investigate changes in expression of key proteins involved in apoptotic and survival signalling cascades. In our studies, RE inhibited the proliferation (IC50: 26 μg/mL; 70 μg/mL) and colony formation efficiency (IC50: 2.8 μg/mL; 4.8 μg/mL) of PC-3 and 22Rv1 prostate cancer cells, respectively, and enhanced cell death by stimulating apoptosis as shown by the increased levels of cleaved caspases 9, 7, 3, and PARP. Enhanced phosphorylation of ERK 1/2, paired with a notable increase in reactive oxygen species (ROS) were also observed in RE- treated PC-3 cells. In contrast, RE had no effect on the proliferation and survival of PNT1A normal epithelial cells, suggesting an action of RE promoting inhibition of prostate cancer cells while sparing non-cancerous epithelial cells.
  • Implications of Non-Operating Room Anesthesia Policy for Operating Room Efficiency

    Liang, Yihang; Faculty of Business Programs
    This thesis focuses on examining the use of Non-Operating Room Anesthesia (NORA) policy in Operating Room (OR) scheduling. A NORA policy involves a practice whereby the administration of anesthesia stage is performed outside the OR. The goal of the thesis is to determine whether NORA policy can improve OR efficiency measured by the performance of total costs, which consists of a weighted sum of patient waiting time, OR overtime and idle time. A simulation optimization method is adopted to find near-optimal schedules for elective surgeries in an outpatient setting. The results of a traditional OR scheduling model, where all stages of the surgery are performed in the OR, will be compared to the results of a NORA OR model where the initial anesthesia stage is performed outside of the OR. Two cases are considered for the NORA model given the decrease on mean durations: (1) a model with the same number of surgery appointments and shorter session length and (2) a models with the same session length and more surgery appointments. . The impact of a NORA policy on OR performance is further analyzed by considering scenarios that capture Surgery duration variability and mean surgery durations which are two traits for surgeries that have been shown to impact OR performance. This thesis aims to investigate how a NORA policy performs when standard deviations and mean surgery durations change. The results show that NORA policy can improve OR efficiency in all settings.
  • The Association Between Puberty, Emotional Difficulties, and Sleep Problems

    Shahid, Hamnah; Department of Psychology
    Puberty is a period of developmental maturation that is often characterized by difficulties with sleep and emotion. However, the nature of the relation, if any, between pubertal development and emotional difficulties and sleep problems is unclear. The current three-year longitudinal study aimed to investigate whether adolescents’ pubertal status, level of sleep problems, and level of emotional difficulties at Time 1 predict subsequent changes in the developmental trajectories of sleep problems and emotional difficulties. Participants (N = 1284) aged 7-14 years completed a survey measuring their demographics, pubertal status, emotional difficulties, and sleep problems. The results showed that for both boys and girls, puberty was not associated with increases in emotional difficulties over time. Meanwhile, pubertal development was related to increases in sleep problems over time for girls, but not boys. Thus, the latter stages of puberty may be a time of onset for sleep problems in girls.
  • Breaking the silence: Exploring women's experiences of the #MeToo movement

    O'Halloran, Olivia; Department of Sociology
    The #MeToo movement encourages breaking the social silence about sexual violence online; survivors share their experiences of sexual violence under the hashtag #MeToo across social media platforms, joining with other survivors in a network of empowerment, resistance, and empathy. This thesis focuses on women’s participation in #MeToo through their video blog (vlog) postings on YouTube. I analyze 12 of the most viewed vlogs posted on YouTube under #MeToo between September 19th, 2019, and September 19th, 2020, addressing how women in this online forum represent their experiences of sexual violence, silencing, and participation in the #MeToo movement. Particularly, I investigate the affordances of participation that these women identify, as well as how they represent the #MeToo movement’s goals, what drawbacks they experience in relation to breaking the silence, and how they imagine their experiential narratives may affect other survivors of sexual violence. Through their detailed testimony on YouTube, vloggers voice and resist the structures that silenced them while encouraging other survivors to recognize and resist these structures in their own experiences. Analyzing these vlogs contributes to a greater understanding of how individual women think and feel about the #MeToo movement as they interact under the hashtag on YouTube, an online domain that is currently under-represented in research on digital feminist social movements.
  • Mixed Media in Evolutionary Art

    Maslen, Jordan; Department of Computer Science
    This thesis focuses on creating evolutionary art with genetic programming. The main goal of the system is to produce novel stylized images using mixed media. Mixed media on a canvas is the use of multiple artistic effects being used to produce interesting and new images. This approach uses a genetic program (GP) in which each individual in the population will represent their own unique solution. The evaluation method being used to determine the fitness of each individual will be direct colour matching of the GP canvas and target image. The secondary goal was to see how well different computer graphic techniques work together. In particular, bitmaps have not been studied much in evolutionary art. Results show a variety of unique solutions with the application of mixed media.
  • A Study on Immersion and Emotions’ Influence on Impulse Buying in Virtual Environments

    Selcuk, Cem; Faculty of Business Programs
    Impulse buying has always been an interesting phenomenon that is observed in our daily lives. Statistics have shown that impulse purchases make up almost 40% of all purchases made online. Many studies have examined impulse buying, and they have found that emotions accompany impulsive behaviors naturally. With the recent development in virtual reality (VR) technology, this phenomenon is observable in online virtual environments. Retailers can create immersive virtual shops where the customer can walk among the aisles of a virtual store and make purchases. This study examines whether the effects of emotions on impulse buying vary across different immersion levels (2D vs. VR) and gender. To test our hypotheses, we collected data from the 2D and VR setting using experiments. The results provide evidence that gender plays a significant role in the three-way relationship between positive/negative emotions, immersion, and impulse buying. The unique setting of our research extends the literature on impulse buying, marketing, and virtual reality. The results offer valuable insights to marketers and retailers who want to develop virtual shops and influence impulse buying in these virtual shops.
  • The Influence of Posttetanic Potentiation on Neuromuscular Efficiency in Mouse Fast Twitch Muscle at 25°C

    Laidlaw, Ryan; Applied Health Sciences Program
    Within skeletal muscle the release of calcium is responsible for the initiation of muscle contraction. In addition intracellular Ca2+ also induces the protein skeletal muscle myosin light-chain kinase (skMLCK) to phosphorylate the regulatory light chain (RLC) of fast myosin isoforms. For a short time following RLC-phosphorylation a potentiated state is induced within muscle fibres in which force generation and other contraction dynamics are augmented. The intent of our study was to examine the effect of tetanic stimulation (>100Hz) induced potentiation on the efficiency of neuromuscular contraction (Work output: # of Pulses). Concentric contractions were used in which muscles shortened 1.10 -> 0.90 Lo, at ~70% maximal shortening velocity (Vmax). The fast twitch extensor digitorum longus muscles were excised and mounted in vitro (25oC) to examine the effect of NME on whole muscle function. Unique to our lab were the use of skMLCK-/- mice which are unable to phosphorylate their myosin-RLC, and thus display no magnitude of posttetanic potentiation. These models were used as a negative control for potentiation compared to the wild type EDL. NME was tested during series of submaximal tetani at five frequencies (10, 25, 40, 55, 80 Hz) before and after muscles were exposed to the conditioning stimulus (4 x 400 msec, 100 Hz, over 10 seconds). Neuromuscular efficiency was found to be increased at all frequencies for both wild type (P<0.001) and skMLCK-/- (P<0.002) genotypes following the CS (n=12). NME potentiation was significantly impacted by the expression of skMLCK and test frequency. At optimal frequency wild type EDLs displayed a 92% increased relative NME compared to the 33% seen in the skMLCK-/- genotype showing the importance of RLC-phosphorylation to contractile enhancement. Work values preceding the CS were not significantly different at any frequency in either genotype (P = 0.236). The presence of RLC phosphorylation is physiologically significant in enhancing force output as well as improving neuromuscular efficiency following PTP.

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