• Do we become more honest as we age? A multi-methodological approach to studying dishonesty across adulthood

      O'Connor, Alison; Department of Psychology
      Being dishonest with others is a common social behaviour, and it has been proposed that dishonesty increases throughout childhood, peaks in adolescence, and gradually declines across adulthood (i.e., an aging-honesty-effect among older adults). Yet, very little research has comprehensively explored how dishonesty is used and evaluated in later life. Using a multi-methodological approach, the primary goals of my dissertation were to examine if this aging-honesty-effect replicated across methodologies and social contexts and to provide a deeper understanding of the deceptive profiles of older adults to uncover what they lie about, who they lie to, and how they morally evaluate lies. In Study 1, I measured younger and older adults’ willingness to cheat in a spontaneous deceptive paradigm and personality traits of honesty-humility. In Study 2, younger and older adults completed an experience sampling study where they recorded their daily lies for a 7-day period. In Study 3, younger and older adults morally evaluated truths and lies, and participants were recruited in Canada, Singapore, and China to examine if age differences were culturally dependent. Results supported the proposed aging-honesty-effect where older adults were less likely to cheat in a task when given the opportunity (Study 1), they scored higher in the honesty-humility personality trait (Study 1), and they told fewer lies across a 7-day period (Study 2) compared to younger adults. Extending these results beyond lie frequency, Study 2 provided insight into the ways in which younger and older adults use lies in their natural social lives, uncovering that this aging-honesty-effect can vary depending on the type and topic of the lie and the relationship between the liar and the lie recipient. Finally, Study 3 found that not only are older adults more honest themselves, but they evaluate blunt or immodest honesty more favorably and good-intentioned lies less favorably than younger adults, and these effects persisted beyond a Western cultural context. These results provide the foundation for understanding older adults’ use and evaluation of dishonesty and can contribute to constructing a lifespan model of dishonesty from childhood through to old age.
    • A domain-general perspective on medial frontal brain activity during performance monitoring

      van Noordt, Stefon; Department of Psychology
      Activity of the medial frontal cortex (MFC) has been implicated in attention regulation and performance monitoring. The MFC is thought to generate several event-related potential (ERPs) components, known as medial frontal negativities (MFNs), that are elicited when a behavioural response becomes difficult to control (e.g., following an error or shifting from a frequently executed response). The functional significance of MFNs has traditionally been interpreted in the context of the paradigm used to elicit a specific response, such as errors. In a series of studies, we consider the functional similarity of multiple MFC brain responses by designing novel performance monitoring tasks and exploiting advanced methods for electroencephalography (EEG) signal processing and robust estimation statistics for hypothesis testing. In study 1, we designed a response cueing task and used Independent Component Analysis (ICA) to show that the latent factors describing a MFN to stimuli that cued the potential need to inhibit a response on upcoming trials also accounted for medial frontal brain responses that occurred when individuals made a mistake or inhibited an incorrect response. It was also found that increases in theta occurred to each of these task events, and that the effects were evident at the group level and in single cases. In study 2, we replicated our method of classifying MFC activity to cues in our response task and showed again, using additional tasks, that error commission, response inhibition, and, to a lesser extent, the processing of performance feedback all elicited similar changes across MFNs and theta power. In the final study, we converted our response cueing paradigm into a saccade cueing task in order to examine the oscillatory dynamics of response preparation. We found that, compared to easy pro-saccades, successfully preparing a difficult anti-saccadic response was characterized by an increase in MFC theta and the suppression of posterior alpha power prior to executing the eye movement. These findings align with a large body of literature on performance monitoring and ERPs, and indicate that MFNs, along with their signature in theta power, reflects the general process of controlling attention and adapting behaviour without the need to induce error commission, the inhibition of responses, or the presentation of negative feedback.
    • Dreams of the Deceased: Who Has Them and Why?

      Black, Joshua; Department of Psychology
      The limited research on dreams of the deceased is a cause for concern for those working with bereaved persons. This research addressed four questions: 1. Why do some bereaved individuals dream of the deceased while others do not? 2. Why are some dreams of the deceased a positive experience, while others are negative? 3. Are dreams of the deceased a form of continuing bond? 4. Are continuing bonds helpful for grief recovery? Four studies were conducted. In one, participants were 268 U.S. residents who had a romantic partner or spouse die in the prior 12 to 24 months. The second study had 199 U.S. residents whose dog or cat had died in the prior six months. The third study had 226 U.S. residents who experienced a stillbirth or miscarriage in the prior year. The fourth study had 218 participants, mostly U.S. residents, who had a romantic partner or spouse die in the prior 6 to 24 months. Participants completed all questionnaires online. Study 1 and 2 focused primarily on the issue of predicting the frequency of dreams of the deceased and found that frequency of general dream recall (all dreams, not just dreams of the deceased) was the primary predictor. In addition, grief intensity, openness to experience, and attachment security all showed indirect effects. All four studies, but especially studies 2 through 4, addressed the questions about the quality of dream experience, the relation of dreams of the deceased to continuing bonds, and the adaptiveness of continuing bonds. In general the findings from all four studies, but especially study 4, support the idea that there are multiple types of continuing bonds with differing impacts on grief recovery, and there are differing forms of dreams of the deceased, not all of which represent continuing bonds.
    • Dynamic DNA Nanotechnology for Probing Single Nucleotide Variants and DNA Modifications

      Wang, Guan; Department of Chemistry
      In the last decades, various DNA hybridization probes have been developed that attempt to conquer the challenge of single-nucleotide-variants (SNVs) detection. Even though a powerful toolbox including the toehold-exchange reaction, the dynamic ‘sink’ design, and the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) has been built, it still faces practical problems. For example, the natural DNA is usually in double-stranded form whereas most hybridization probes aim for single-stranded targets; the concentration of extracted DNA samples is totally unknown thus may lay outside the optimal design of probes/primers. To achieve ultra-high sensitivity and specificity, expensive and sophisticated machines such as digital droplet PCR and next-generation-sequencing may be inapplicable in rural areas. Therefore, the quantitative PCR method is still the gold standard for clinical tests. Thus motivated, my PhD career was mainly focused on the fundamental understanding of the challenges in SNVs discrimination and developing robust, versatile, and user-friendly probes/strategies. In this thesis, Chapter 1 provides a general introduction of dynamic DNA nanotechnology and its representative applications in discriminating SNVs. Chapter 2 to 4 describe three completed projects that aim to understand the thermodynamic and kinetic properties of strand displacement reactions and to circumvent the challenges of discriminating SNVs through finely tuned probes/assays.
    • Educating for love of wisdom : John Dewey and Simone Weil

      Windhorst, H. Dirk.; Department of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in Education (Brock University, 2009-05-28)
      The writings of John Dewey (1859-1952) and Simone Weil (1909-1943) were analyzed with a view to answering 3 main questions: What is wisdom? How is wisdom connected to experience? How does one educate for a love of wisdom? Using a dialectical method whereby Dewey (a pragmatist) was critiqued by Weil (a Christian Platonist) and vice versa, commonalities and differences were identified and clarified. For both, wisdom involved the application of thought to specific, concrete problems in order to secure a better way of life. For Weil, wisdom was centered on a love of truth that involved a certain way of applying one's attention to a concrete or theoretical problem. Weil believed that nature was subject to a divine wisdom and that a truly democratic society had supernatural roots. Dewey believed that any attempt to move beyond nature would stunt the growth of wisdom. For him, wisdom could be nourished only by natural streams-even if some ofthem were given a divine designation. For both, wisdom emerged through the discipline of work understood as intelligent activity, a coherent relationship between thinking and acting. Although Weil and Dewey differed on how they distinguished these 2 activities, they both advocated a type of education which involved practical experience and confronted concrete problems. Whereas Dewey viewed each problem optimistically with the hope of solving it, Weil saw wisdom in, contemplating insoluble contradictions. For both, educating for a love of wisdom meant cultivating a student's desire to keep thinking in line with acting-wanting to test ideas in action and striving to make sense of actions observed.
    • Effective Police Interviewing

      Logue, Michael; Department of Psychology
      Suspect interviewing is a vital tool for law enforcement agencies. However, a large body of empirical literature has demonstrated that many interviewing techniques limit the amount of information gleaned and demonstrate chance levels of deception detection accuracy. The series of studies presented provide evidence that the application of Reality Monitoring (RM) to statements elicited by a modified version of the Cognitive Interview for Suspects (CIS) improves deception detection accuracy in comparison to levels previously reported in the literature. Study 1 considers deception detection accuracy in statements provided in a mock theft scenario. Participants were interviewed using a modified version of the CIS. Six RM criteria were applied to all statements as a measure of deception detection. This study found an overall accuracy rating of 86.6%, supporting the use of this protocol. Study 2 directly compares deception detection accuracy of RM to the subjective judgements of observers. Three hundred and ninety observers judged deceptiveness of 100 CIS interviews previously recorded in Study 1. Collectively the average level of accuracy for observer ratings of the first question of the CIS interviews was 52.73% and only 47.82% at the conclusion of the interview. Observer ratings of deception became significantly less accurate at the conclusion of the interview (t(389) = 4.75, p <.01). In contrast, the RM scale was highly accurate (92.5 %) in a direct comparison of the same interviews. Study 3 considers whether certain personality traits, namely psychopathy and social dominance, increase successful deception both in terms of observer ratings and Reality Monitoring. Findings indicate that social dominance was related to increased observer ratings of honesty over time, however socially dominant people were not particularly successful deceivers. Similarly, psychopathic traits were not significantly related to deceptive ability overall. However, Factor 2 psychopathy was linked to being less believable by observers, even when telling the truth. These personality traits were not linked to an increased ability to beat Reality Monitoring, providing further evidence for the use of this scale. Collectively, the studies presented provide evidence of the effectiveness of the use of Reality Monitoring on statements derived from the Cognitive Interview for Suspects.
    • Effects of Exogenous Lipopolysaccharide Exposure on Bone Outcomes in Rodent Models

      Bott, Kirsten; Applied Health Sciences Program
      Chronic low-grade inflammation has been identified as a potential contributor to the pathophysiology of osteoporosis. A key mediator may be lipopolysaccharide (LPS) released from gram-negative bacteria in the gut that can enter circulation stimulating an inflammatory response and upregulate bone resorption. Since rodent models mimic the loss of bone mineral density (BMD) and structure that occurs in humans, rodents offer an accelerated model for studying these inflammation-mediated changes. Therefore, the objective of this thesis was to characterize a rodent model of LPS-induced bone loss using repeated in vivo μCT scans to establish a time course effect of LPS longitudinally and for this purpose three studies were conducted. Study 1 & 2 were run simultaneously using the same control mice. Study 1 demonstrated that repeated irradiation had a negative impact on trabecular bone in both male and female CD-1 mice, while cortical bone was only negatively impacted in the females. In study 2, continuous delivery of exogenous LPS via osmotic pumps for 12 weeks elevated serum LPS in both male and female CD-1 mice but did not alter trabecular or cortical bone structure or BMD at any of the scanning timepoints. Results from Study 2 may in part have been influenced by the effects of repeated irradiation from the in vivo μCT scans at 4-week intervals for a total of 4 scans analyzed in Study 1. In study 3, a systematic review was conducted to better characterize a model of LPS induced bone loss and identify factors that may impact the effects of LPS on bone outcomes in rodent models. Regardless of study duration, exogenous LPS negatively impacted trabecular bone structure and BMD but not cortical bone structure, due to an upregulation in bone resorption. Together these data suggest that exogenous LPS can induce alterations in bone structure and BMD in rodent models, however a clearly defined model of exogenous LPS induced bone loss has yet to be fully characterized.
    • Effects of local muscle temperature manipulations on neuromuscular function

      Mallette, Matthew M.; Applied Health Sciences Program
      Human muscle can operate through a wide range of temperature; however optimal function may occur throughout a much narrower range. Muscle cooling results in an impairment in muscle contractile properties and maximal force, whereas heating the muscle fosters faster and more powerful contractions. However, what neural compensatory mechanisms exist such that the muscle can still function adequately throughout a wide range of temperatures are unknown and forms the purpose of this dissertation. To this end, muscle contractile and motor unit properties of the flexor carpi radialis were examined during three separate projects involving forearm temperature manipulations. Chapter 4 investigates the effects of local forearm cooling on motor unit properties during an isometric wrist flexion contraction to 50% of baseline maximal force. Chapter 5 builds upon Chapter 4 to include local heating and contraction intensities above and below the motor unit recruitment range of the flexor carpi radialis. Finally, Chapter 6 investigates how different muscle temperatures affect manual performance – assessed through a staircase isometric force tracking task. Local cooling did not affect the ability to perform voluntary contractions to 50% of baseline force, but motor control was achieved through changes in the relationship between motor unit firing rate and recruitment threshold, indicating either faster motor unit firing rates and/or earlier motor unit recruitment to accomplish a task at the same absolute force (Chapter 4). However, these differences were not present when force requirements were made relative to muscle capacity of the respective temperature conditions. We found that motor units were recruited earlier in the cold when contraction intensity was above the motor unit recruitment range (Chapter 5). The altered relationship between motor unit firing rate and recruitment threshold observed in Chapter 4 with muscle cooling at an absolute force level did not affect isometric force tracking ability (Chapter 6). Collectively, this thesis found that the motor unit recruitment threshold may be depressed in the cold due to cutaneous stimulation, and that manual function during an isometric force tracking task involving relatively light loads is not impaired with muscle temperature changes.
    • The Effects of Magnetic Dilution and Applied Pressure on Several Frustrated Spinels

      Korobanik, Jory; Department of Physics
      The effects of magnetic dilution and applied pressure on frustrated spinels GeNi2O4, GeCo2O4, and NiAl2O4 are reported. Dilution was achieved by substitution of Mg2+ in place of magnetically active Co2+ and Ni2+ ions. Large values of the percolation thresholds were found in GeNi(2-x)MgxO4. Specifically, pc1 = 0.74 and pc2 = 0.65 in the sub-networks associated with the triangular and kagome planes, respectively. This anomalous behaviour may be explained by the kagome and triangular planes behaving as coupled networks, also know as a network of networks. In simulations of coupled lattices that form a network of networks, similar anomalous percolation threshold values have been found. In addition, at dilution levels above x=0.30, there is a T^2 dependency in the magnetic heat capacity which may indicate two dimensional spin glass behaviour. Applied pressures in the range of 0 GPa to 1.2 GPa yield a slight decrease in ordering temperature for both the kagome and triangular planes. In GeCo(2-x)MgxO4, the long range magnetic order is more robust with a percolation threshold of pc=0.448. Similar to diluted nickel germanate, at low temperatures, a T^2 magnetic heat capacity contribution is present which indicates a shift from a 3D ordered state to a 2D spin glass state in the presence of increased dilution. Dynamic magnetic susceptibility data indicate a change from canonical spin glass to a cluster glass behaviour. In addition, there is a non-linear increase in ordering temperature with applied pressure in the range P = 0 to 1.0 GPa. A spin glass ground state was observed in Ni(1-x)MgxAl2O4 for (x=0 to 0.375). Analysis of dynamic magnetic susceptibility data yield a characteristic time of tau* = 1.0x10^(-13) s, which is indicative of canonical spin glass behaviour. This is further corroborated by the linear behaviour of the magnetic specific heat contribution. However, the increasing frequency dependence of the freezing temperature suggests a trend towards spin cluster glass formation.
    • The efficacy of anti-predator behaviour in the wood fog tadpole (Rana sylvatica) /

      Kerling, Candice L.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 2007-06-04)
      Activity has been suggested as an important behaviour that is tightly linked with predator avoidance in tadpoles. In this thesis I examine predator-prey relationships using wood frog tadpoles {Rana sylvaticd) as prey and dragonfly larvae {AnaxJunius) and backswimmers {Notonecta undulatd) as predators. I explore the role of prey activity in predator attack rates, prey response to single and multiple predator introductions, and prey survivorship. The data suggest that Anax is the more successful predator, able to capture both active and inactive tadpoles. In contrast, Notonecta strike at inactive prey less frequently and are seldom successftil when they do. A mesocosm study revealed that the presence of any predator resulted in reduced activity level of tadpoles. Each predator species alone had similar effects on tadpole activity, as did the combined predator treatment. Tadpole survivorship, however, differed significantly among both predator treatments and prey populations. Tadpwles in the combined predator treatment had enhanced risk; survivorship was lower than that expected if the two predators had additive effects. Differences in survivorship among wood frog populations showed that tadpoles from a lake habitat had the lowest survivorship, those from a shallow pond habitat had an intermediate survivorship, and tadpoles from a marsh habitat had the highest survivorship. The frequency of interactions with predators in the native habitat may be driving the population differences observed. In conclusion, results from this study show that complex interactions exist between predators, prey, and the environment, with activity playing a key role in the survival of tadpoles.
    • Electrocortical indices of cognitive control in working memory : exploring the effects of proactive interference, cognitive load, and aging

      Tays, William James; Department of Psychology (Brock University, 2012-04-04)
      Cognitive control involves the ability to flexibly adjust cognitive processing in order to resist interference and promote goal-directed behaviour. Although frontal cortex is considered to be broadly involved in cognitive control, the mechanisms by which frontal brain areas implement control functions are unclear. Furthermore, aging is associated with reductions in the ability to implement control functions and questions remain as to whether unique cortical responses serve a compensatory role in maintaining maximal performance in later years. Described here are three studies in which electrophysiological data were recorded while participants performed modified versions of the standard Sternberg task. The goal was to determine how top-down control is implemented in younger adults and altered in aging. In study I, the effects of frequent stimulus repetition on the interference-related N450 were investigated in a Sternberg task with a small stimulus set (requiring extensive stimulus resampling) and a task with a large stimulus set (requiring no stimulus resampling).The data indicated that constant stimulus res amp ling required by employing small stimulus sets can undercut the effect of proactive interference on the N450. In study 2, younger and older adults were tested in a standard version of the Sternberg task to determine whether the unique frontal positivity, previously shown to predict memory impairment in older adults during a proactive interference task, would be associated with the improved performance when memory recognition could be aided by unambiguous stimulus familiarity. Here, results indicated that the frontal positivity was associated with poorer memory performance, replicating the effect observed in a more cognitively demanding task, and showing that stimulus familiarity does not mediate compensatory cortical activations in older adults. Although the frontal positivity could be interpreted to reflect maladaptive cortical activation, it may also reflect attempts at compensation that fail to fully ameliorate agerelated decline. Furthermore, the frontal positivity may be the result of older adults' reliance on late occurring, controlled processing in contrast to younger adults' ability to identify stimuli at very early stages of processing. In the final study, working memory load was manipulated in the proactive interference Sternberg task in order to investigate whether the N450 reflects simple interference detection, with little need for cognitive resources, or an active conflict resolution mechanism that requires executive resources to implement. Independent component analysis was used to isolate the effect of interference revealing that the canonical N450 was based on two dissociable cognitive control mechanisms: a left frontal negativity that reflects active interference resolution, , but requires executive resources to implement, and a right frontal negativity that reflects global response inhibition that can be relied on when executive resources are minimal but at the cost of a slowed response. Collectively, these studies advance understanding of the factors that influence younger and older adults' ability to satisfy goal-directed behavioural requirements in the face of interference and the effects of age-related cognitive decline.
    • Electron Transfer Involving the Phylloquinone (A1) Cofactor of Photosystem I Examined with Time Resolved Absorbance and Electron Paramagnetic Resonance Spectroscopy

      Mula, Samuel Jr.; Department of Chemistry (Brock University, 2015-01-23)
      The dependence of the electron transfer (ET) rate on the Photosystem I (PSI) cofactor phylloquinone (A1) is studied by time-resolved absorbance and electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy. Two active branches (A and B) of electron transfer converge to the FX cofactor from the A1A and A1B quinone. The work described in Chapter 5 investigates the single hydrogen bond from the amino acid residue PsaA-L722 backbone nitrogen to A1A for its effect on the electron transfer rate to FX. Room temperature transient EPR measurements show an increase in the rate for the A1A- to FX for the PsaA-L722T mutant and an increased hyperfine coupling to the 2-methyl group of A1A when compared to wild type. The Arrhenius plot of the A1A- to FX ET in the PsaA-L722T mutant suggests that the increased rate is probably the result of a slight change in the electronic coupling between A1A- and FX. The reasons for the non-Arrhenius behavior are discussed. The work discussed in Chapter 6 investigates the directionality of ET at low temperature by blocking ET to the iron-sulfur clusters FX, FA and FB in the menB deletion mutant strain of Synechocyctis sp. PCC 6803, which is unable to synthesize phylloquinone, by incorporating the high midpoint potential (49 mV vs SHE) 2,3-dichloro-1,4-naphthoquinone (Cl2NQ) into the A1A and A1B binding sites. Various EPR spectroscopic techniques were implemented to differentiate between the spectral features created from A and B- branch electron transfer. The implications of this result for the directionality of electron transfer in PS I are discussed. The work discussed in Chapter 7 was done to study the dependence of the heterogeneous ET at low temperature on A1 midpoint potential. The menB PSI mutant contains plastiquinone-9 in the A1 binding site. The solution midpoint potential of the quinone measures 100 mV more positive then wild-type phylloquinone. The irreversible ET to the terminal acceptors FA and FB at low temperature is not controlled by the forward step from A1 to FX as expected due to the thermodynamic differences of the A1 cofactor in the two active branches A and B. Alternatives for the ET heterogeneity are discussed.
    • An Electrophysiological Investigation into the Role of Cognitive Control in the Attentional Blink

      MacLean, Mary H.; Department of Psychology (Brock University, 2013-08-22)
      Accuracy at reporting a second-target (T2) is reduced if it is presented within approximately 500 ms of the first target (T1) – an attentional blink (AB). Early models explained the AB in terms of attentional limitations creating a processing bottleneck such that T2 processing would be impaired while T1 processing was ongoing. Theoretical models of the AB have more recently been expanded to include the role of cognitive control. In this dissertation I propose that cognitive control, defined as the optimization of information processing in order to achieve goals, is maladapted to the dual-task conditions of the AB task in that cognitive control optimizes the T1 goal, due to its temporal proximity, at the cost of T2. I start with the concept that the role of cognitive control is to serve goals, and that how goals are conceived of and the degree of motivation associated with those goals will determine whether cognitive control will create the condition that cause the AB. This leads to the hypothesis that electrophysiological measures of cognitive control and the degree of attentional investment resulting from cognitive control modulate the AB and explain individual differences in the AB. In a series of four studies feedback-related N2 amplitude, (reflecting individual differences in the strength of cognitive control), and event-related and resting alpha frequency oscillatory activity (reflecting degree of attentional investment), are used to explain both intra- and inter-individual variability in performance on the AB task. Results supported the hypothesis that stronger cognitive control and greater attentional investment are associated with larger AB magnitudes. Attentional investment, as measured by alpha frequency oscillations, and cognitive control, as measured by the feedback-related N2, did not relate to each other as hypothesized. It is proposed that instead of a measure of attentional investment alone, alpha frequency oscillatory activity actually reflects control over information processing over time, in other words the timing of attention. With this conceptualization, various aspects of cognitive control, either related to the management of goals (feedback-related N2) or the management of attention over time to meet goals, explain variability in the AB.
    • Electrophysiological investigations of the timing of face processing

      Zheng, Xin; Department of Psychology (Brock University, 2013-05-07)
      As important social stimuli, faces playa critical role in our lives. Much of our interaction with other people depends on our ability to recognize faces accurately. It has been proposed that face processing consists of different stages and interacts with other systems (Bruce & Young, 1986). At a perceptual level, the initial two stages, namely structural encoding and face recognition, are particularly relevant and are the focus of this dissertation. Event-related potentials (ERPs) are averaged EEG signals time-locked to a particular event (such as the presentation of a face). With their excellent temporal resolution, ERPs can provide important timing information about neural processes. Previous research has identified several ERP components that are especially related to face processing, including the N 170, the P2 and the N250. Their nature with respect to the stages of face processing is still unclear, and is examined in Studies 1 and 2. In Study 1, participants made gender decisions on a large set of female faces interspersed with a few male faces. The ERP responses to facial characteristics of the female faces indicated that the N 170 amplitude from each side of the head was affected by information from eye region and by facial layout: the right N 170 was affected by eye color and by face width, while the left N 170 was affected by eye size and by the relation between the sizes of the top and bottom parts of a face. In contrast, the P100 and the N250 components were largely unaffected by facial characteristics. These results thus provided direct evidence for the link between the N 170 and structural encoding of faces. In Study 2, focusing on the face recognition stage, we manipulated face identity strength by morphing individual faces to an "average" face. Participants performed a face identification task. The effect of face identity strength was found on the late P2 and the N250 components: as identity strength decreased from an individual face to the "average" face, the late P2 increased and the N250 decreased. In contrast, the P100, the N170 and the early P2 components were not affected by face identity strength. These results suggest that face recognition occurs after 200 ms, but not earlier. Finally, because faces are often associated with social information, we investigated in Study 3 how group membership might affect ERP responses to faces. After participants learned in- and out-group memberships of the face stimuli based on arbitrarily assigned nationality and university affiliation, we found that the N170 latency differentiated in-group and out-group faces, taking longer to process the latter. In comparison, without group memberships, there was no difference in N170 latency among the faces. This dissertation provides evidence that at a neural level, structural encoding of faces, indexed by the N170, occurs within 200 ms. Face recognition, indexed by the late P2 and the N250, occurs shortly afterwards between 200 and 300 ms. Social cognitive factors can also influence face processing. The effect is already evident as early as 130-200 ms at the structural encoding stage.
    • Electrophysiological measures of flexible attentional control and visual working memory maintenance

      Salahub, Christine; Department of Psychology
      Top-down attentional control can be used to both guide attention toward and away from items according to their goal relevance. When given a feature-based cue, such as the colour of an upcoming target, individuals can allocate attention and memory resources according to the item’s priority. This distribution of resources is continuous, such that the amount that an item receives is dependent on its likelihood of being probed. However, top-down goals are often challenged by bottom-up stimulus salience of distractors. One’s ability to avoid attentional capture by distractors is limited by attentional control over bottom-up biases. In particular, individuals with anxiety have attentional biases toward both neutral and threatening distractors, leading to unnecessary storage of distractors in visual working memory (VWM). Using electrophysiology, it is possible to study the time course of these attentional processes to gain a better understanding of how attentional selection, suppression, and VWM maintenance relate to attentional control. The present thesis explores the event-related potential (ERP) correlates and time course of flexible attentional control, as well as how individual differences in anxiety limit this ability. In the first study, I used positive and negative feature-based cues to demonstrate that attentional selection occurs earlier when guided by target information than distractor information. Additionally, it was found that greater anxiety resulted in selection of the salient distractor, demonstrating that anxiety compromises early attentional control. For the second study, I further examined deficits in attentional control in anxiety. Here, it was demonstrated that individuals with high anxiety had early selection of threat-related distractors, whereas individuals with low anxiety could pro-actively suppress them. Interestingly, this effect did not carry over to VWM maintenance, suggesting that deficits in early attentional control do not necessarily result in poor memory filtering. In the final study, I examined the link between continuous attentional allocation and VWM maintenance, finding that individuals use priority information to flexibly select and filter information from VWM. Together, in this thesis I propose that attentional control over selection, suppression, and VWM filtering processes is flexible, time-dependent, and driven both by external cues and internal biases related to individual differences in anxiety.
    • Elucidation of odour-potent compounds and sensory profiles of Vidal blanc and Riesling icewines from the Niagara Peninsula : effect of harvest date and crop level

      Bowen, Amy J.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 2011-10-14)
      I t was hypothesized that the freeze/thaw cycles endured by icewine grapes would change their chemical composition, resulting in unique chemical fingerprint and sensory properties, and would be affected by harvest date (HD) and crop level (CL). The objectives were: 1) to identify odour-active compounds using gas chromatographic and sensory analysis; 2) to determine the effect of CL and HD on these compounds; 3) to determine the icewine sensory profiles; 4) to correlate analytical and sensory results for an overall icewine profile. CharmAnalysis™ determined the Top 15 odour-potent compounds in Vidal and Riesling icewine and table wines; 24 and 23 compounds, respectively. The majority of the compounds had the highest concentrations in the icewines compared to table wines. These compounds were used as the foundation for assessing differences in icewine chemical profiles from different HD and CL. Vidal and Riesling icewine were made from grapes picked at different HD; HI : 19 December; H2: 29 December; H3: 18 January; H4: 11 February (Vidal only). HI wines differed from H3 and H4 wines in both Vidal and Riesling for aroma compounds and sensory profiles. - Three·CL [control (fully cropped), cluster thin at fruit set to one basal cluster/shoot (TFS), and cluster thin at veraison to one basal cluster/shoot (TV)] were evaluated for Riesling and Vidal cultivars over two seasons. Vidal icewines had the highest concentration of aroma compounds in the control and TV icewines in 2003 and in TFS icewines in 2004. In Riesling, most aroma compounds had the highest concentration in the TV icewines and the lowest concentration in the TFS wine for both years. The thinned treatments were associated with almost all of the sensory attributes in both cultivars, both years. HD and CL affected the chemical variables, aroma compounds and sensory properties of Vidal and Riesling icewines and freeze/thaw events changed their sensory profile. The most odour-potent compounds were p-damascenone, cis-rose oxide, 1- octen-3-ol, 4-vinylguaiacol, ethyl octanoate, and ethyl hexanoate. The role of Pdamascenone as a marker compound for icewine requires further investigation. This research provides a strong foundation for the understanding the odour-active volatiles and sensory profiles important to icewine.
    • The Elucidation of the involvement of endonuclease DNase y in reducing DNA transfection efficiency in mammalian cells

      Centre for Biotechnology (Brock University, 2005-05-28)
      Gene therapy is predicated upon efficient gene transfer. While viral vectors are the method of choice for transformation efficiency, the immunogenicity and safety concerns remain problematic. Non-viral vectors, on the other hand, have shown high degrees of safety and are mostly non-immunogenic in nature. However, non-viral vectors usually suffer from low levels oftransformation efficiency and transgene expression. Thus, increasing transformation efficiency ofnon-viral vectors, in particular by calcium phosphate co-precipitation technique, is a way of generating a suitable vector for gene therapy and is the aim of this study. It is a long known fact that different cell lines have different transfection efficiencies regardless oftransfection methodology (Lin et a!., 1994). Using commonly available cell lines Madine-Darby Bovine Kidney (MDBK), HeLa and Human Embryonic Kidney (HEK-293), we have shown a decreasing trend ofDNase activity based on a plasmid digestion assay. From densitometry studies, as much as a 40% reduction in DNase activity was observed when comparing HEK-293 (least active) to MDBK (most active). Using various biochemical assays, it was determined that DNase y, in particular, was expressed more highly in MDBK cells than both HeLa and HEK-293. Upon cloning of the bovine DNase y gene, we utilized the sequence information to construct antisense expressing plasmids via both traditional antisense RNA (pASDGneoM) and siRNA (psiRNA-S4, psiRNA-S11 and psiRNA-S16). For the construction ofpASDGneoM, the 3' end of the DNase y was inserted in opposite orientation under a cytomegalovirus (CMV) promoter such that the expression ofRNA complementary to the DNase 2 ymRNA occurred. For siRNA plasmids, the sequence was screened to yield optimal short sequences for siRNA inhibition. The silencing ofbovine DNase y led to an increase in transfection efficiency based on traditional calcium phosphate co-precipitation technique; stable clones of siRNA-producing MDBK cell lines (psiRNA-S4 Bland psiRNA-S4 B4) both demol).strated 4-fold increases in transfection efficiency. Furthermore, serial transfection of antisense DNase y plasmid pASDGneoM and reporter pCMV-~ showed a maximum of 8-fold increase in transfection efficiency when the two separate transfections were carried out 4 hours apart (i.e. transfection ofpASDGneoM, separated by four hours, then transfection ofpCMV-~). Together, these results demonstrate the involvement ofDNase y in reducing transfection efficiency, at least by traditional calcium phosphate technique.
    • Enantiodivergent chemoenzymatic synthesis of codeine

      Leisch, Hannes G.; Centre for Biotechnology (Brock University, 2009-05-28)
      The present thesis describes our latest results in the chemistry of morphine alkaloids. An enantiodivergent synthesis of codeine utilizing a cis-cyclohexadiene diol derived from microbial whole cell oxidation of ~-bromoethylbenzene,as starting material is discussed. The total synthesis of (+)-codeine in 14 steps featuring a Mitsunobu inversion and two intramolecular Heck cyclizations is presented. Investigation of a regioselective nucleophilic opening of a homochiral vinyl oxirane, which led to a total synthesis of the natural isomer of codeine, is detailed. Furthermore, described herein are novel methodologies designed for the transformation of naturally occurring opiates into medicinally relevant derivatives. Two studies on the conversion of thebaine into the commercially available analgesic hydrocodone, two novel ·transition metal catalyzed N-demethylation procedures for opioids, and the development of a catalytic protocol for N-demethylation and Nacylation of morphine and tropane alkaloids are presented. In addition, reactions of a menthol-based version of the Burgess reagent with epoxides are discussed. The synthetic utility of this novel chiral derivative of the Burgess reagent was demonstrated by an enantiodivergent formal total synthesis of balanol. ii

      Simone, Jonathan; Department of Biological Sciences
      The present thesis investigated the contributions of adolescent endocannabinoid signalling to brain and behaviour development in male and female rats. In chapter 2, daily administration of the CB1 antagonist AM251, alone or in tandem with a psychological stressor, increased social interactions, reduced dorsal hippocampal CB1 expression, and increased mPFC GAD67 expression in female rats 24-48 h after treatment, with no effects in males. In chapter 3, adolescent CB1 antagonism reduced anxiety in adult males, with no effects in females. Conversely, adolescent AM251 increased contextual fear in adult females, with no effects in males. In chapter 4, AM251 females spent more time initiating social interactions after a 5-day drug washout period than vehicle females, with no effects in males. To identify brain regions underlying the effects of AM251 on social behaviours, I repeated social interaction testing in vehicle and AM251 females and collected brains for immunohistochemical labelling of EGR-1 as a marker of neural activation in the CA1, CA2, and CA3 subfields of the dorsal hippocampus and the shell and core divisions of the nucleus accumbens (NAc). Consistent with my previous findings, AM251 females spent more time initiating social interactions and had greater EGR-1 cell counts in the NAc shell than vehicle females, with no group differences in the NAc core or in any of the hippocampal subfields investigated. EGR-1 cell counts in the dCA2 were negatively correlated with social interactions in vehicle and AM251 females. A positive correlation between NAc shell EGR-1 cell counts and social interactions was observed only in AM251 females. Regression analysis using drug treatment and EGR-1 cell counts in dCA2 and NAc shell resulted in a model with an adjusted R2 of 0.90. Both drug treatment and EGR-1 cell counts in the dorsal CA2 emerged as unique predictors of individual differences in social interaction, and drug and NAc shell EGR-1 cell counts interacted to significantly predict social interactions in AM251 females only. Together, these studies provide support for sex-specific contributions of endocannabinoid signalling to the development of brain and behaviour in adolescence in male and female rats.