Now showing items 1-20 of 3149

    • Rural Youths’ Perspectives on the Significance and Impacts of New Roads: The Case of Kaasa - Zogsa Road, Builsa North District, Ghana

      Adeetuk, Lina; Department of Geography
      This thesis investigates the uneven and differential implications of a newly constructed road for residents of Kaasa, a rural community in northern Ghana, with an emphasis on youth, a group whose experiences and practices in relation to road-based mobility have been largely overlooked. It also examines the labour-intensive model used to construct the road, and the relationship between this construction model and the completed road’s uneven implications for community members. Primary data was collected using in-depth qualitative phone interviews with a sample of 15 youth from Kaasa, the road-building project supervisor, and the local assemblyman. Analysis of this material, which employs a motility capital – or motility – framework, yielded three main typologies: (a) six implications of involving locals in the road-building process, (b) six themes that describe youths’ lived experiences of the new road, and (c) five additional themes that summarise youths’ perspectives on the implications of the new road for the community as a whole. Findings reveal that these three sets of implications overlap significantly, and that locals’ ability to experience the benefits of the newly constructed road depend mainly on their motility, including the assets and opportunities they possess as well as the ambition to act on available opportunities. By contributing to knowledge on the multifaceted material and social implications of rural road construction for differently positioned individuals in a small rural community, this thesis also adds to knowledge on rural development research and practice, and the new mobilities scholarship in the social sciences.
    • Examining The Influence of Social Augmented Reality Apps on Customer Relationships: The Mediating Role of Shared Social Experience

      Nguyen, Oanh; Faculty of Business Programs
      The development of augmented reality (AR) has provided firms with increasing opportunities to improve customer experiences, especially in a shared context where customers are encouraged to communicate with others. This study investigates the effectiveness of social AR in building relationships among customers through a shared social experience, one which includes shared sense of place, social interaction, and social identity. Data was collected from 378 active users of a social AR application and was analyzed using the partial least squares structural equation modelling (PLS-SEM) and Hayes’ PROCESS Macro. Results from this study show that shared sense of place, social interaction, and social identity mediate the influence of social AR past usage on customer-to-customer relationships, which consequently enhance customers’ continuance intention to use the social AR application. Additionally, the results of the moderated mediation analysis reveal that the indirect effect of social AR past usage on continuance intention is positively moderated by extraversion, such that at higher level of extraversion the mediated relationship becomes stronger. These findings offer important contributions to the AR marketing literature and add valuable insights for practitioners to advance the use of AR technology.
    • An In-depth Examination of Personality and Aggression Across Different Contexts

      MacDonell, Elliott; Department of Psychology
      Acts of aggression are associated with a variety of negative outcomes. Accordingly, research has aimed to identify the personality traits that give rise to different forms of aggressive behaviour. Recent work has indicated that the factor of Honesty-Humility is associated with a variety of deviant behaviours, including aggression towards others; however, the nuances of these relationships require further investigation. This dissertation aimed to address several gaps in this literature through three main studies. In Study 1, we extended previous findings to younger populations, examining the associations between Honesty-Humility and aggression longitudinally in a large sample of children and youth. These findings demonstrated a bidirectional relationship between Honesty-Humility and aggression over time, such that low levels of Honesty-Humility resulted in higher levels of aggression and vice versa. In Study 2, we explored the specific facets of Honesty-Humility to determine if they differentially predict proactive and reactive aggression. Despite the theoretical link between Modesty and reactive aggression, we found limited support for this association, especially when controlling for proactive aggression. Overall, the Sincerity and Fairness facets were found to strongly predict both forms of aggression. Lastly, Study 3 explored the associations between Honesty-Humility and deviance, aggression, exploitation, and victimization in a workplace context. Robust relationships were found between Honesty-Humility and several deviant behaviours, further emphasizing the importance of this trait. In particular, when provided with the opportunity to aggress, individuals low in Honesty-Humility were more likely to do so, regardless of their level of power in the situation. Collectively, these findings indicate that Honesty-Humility is the strongest predictor of aggressive and deviant behaviour among the broad factors of personality. However, this dissertation extends previous findings by demonstrating the applicability of Honesty-Humility across different contexts and by providing a nuanced understanding of the components responsible for this relationship.
    • There's No Place Like (Rural) Home: Why People Choose Rural Despite Decline

      Casey, Rebekah; Department of Geography
      Rural communities play a major role in the Canadian landscape and identity. As such it is important to explore the role of rural Canadian communities and why people are so drawn to them. The purpose of this research is to explore why people are so attached to rural communities across Canada despite the presence of economic and population decline. This has been achieved through a thematic analysis of the transcripts of CBC TV series “Still Standing”. An interview with the show producer was also conducted in order to gain background information of the show. The results showed that, above all, there is a strong desire and determination to stay among community members. They will do “whatever it takes” in order to stay in the community and continue calling it home. Results also showed that residents were not concerned with initiating significant growth for the community, they simply wanted to maintain the livability of the community for themselves. Many community members spoke about various initiatives and solutions that they had developed that were quite creative in terms of community resilience. Community members also often used place-based assets and unique local qualities as a catalyst for development in the community. One of the primary challenges that was common for communities regardless of their region or province was the threat and challenge of youth outmigration. Many community members were concerned that youth outmigration would threaten the survival of their communities in the future. Some of the challenges that emerged from this research included the limited number of communities that could be studied, as well as the fact that data was taken from the transcripts of an edited television show.
    • Understanding Belongingness in Schools for Disabled Students Who Require a High Level of Support

      Primeau, Katherine; Center for Applied Disability Studies
      The principles and practices of belonging are at the heart of inclusion (Slee, 2019, p. 917). The concept of belonging allows for a broadening of the debates around the inclusion/exclusion binary (Mee & Wright, 2009, p. 774). The purpose of this qualitative study was to understand how processes of belongingness do and do not occur in schools for disabled students. A critical disability studies orientation guided the project, specifically, Meekosha and Shuttleworth’s (2017) four principles of CDS. The research questions were: (1) How do the students I work with (autistic students with IDD) develop a sense of belongingness in classrooms and school spaces? (2) What are the conditions in schools that allow belongingness to flourish? (3) What are the conditions in schools that prevent processes of belongingness from occurring? The study was influenced by Jean Clandinin and Micheal Connolly’s conceptual framework for narrative inquiry. G. Thomas Couser’s six guidelines for disability life writing and representation were used as a standard for the construction of the participant narratives. I examined the experiences of two interview participants—an autistic young adult, and a school principal with two disabled daughters. Thematic analysis was used to analyze the interviews and construct themes. Based on the themes, I composed narratives in which I quoted the participants verbatim. Each interview resulted in its own themes, along with one similarity and two differences between the interviews, in relation to the research questions. I further reflected on these findings and their implications for my teaching practice as a special education teacher. The final discussion section answers the research questions through my findings from the participants, which are contextualized in relevant literature and CDS concepts.
    • “Getting Everyone on the Same Page” An Integrated Transition Planning Process for Youths with an Intellectual/Developmental Disability with a Social Return on Investment Perspective

      Readhead, Anne; Department of Child and Youth Studies
      Transitioning out of high school is a significant step in a young person’s life. The Tri-Sector TAY Planning process in the Niagara Region of Ontario, Canada has developed a single integrated transition plan for youths with an intellectual and/or developmental disability (I/DD). This plan unfolds collaboratively, with education and community professionals meeting at the same planning table with the family and the youth beginning at the age of 14 years. Notably, no new government funding was provided to support this process. The case study reported herein explored both the potential benefits of the Tri-Sector Planning process and the ways in which this multi-sector planning procedure might be improved. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with fourteen participants, including youths, parents, and professionals. A qualitative thematic data analysis was conducted. Collaboration was identified as an important component of the multi-sector integrated planning process, critical to promoting successful outcomes for youths, including gainful employment and entry into post-secondary education. On the question of possible improvements to the procedure, promoting increased youth engagement and agency during the planning process emerged as an important consideration. In addition, a Social Return on Investment (SROI) quantitative and qualitative data analysis was completed on the case study data to examine the identified impacts of the process. Even with the investment into the Niagara Region Tri-Sector TAY Planning process based only on an estimate of funding from participating organizations, the net SROI ratio was 1.00:4.92, illustrating that for every $1.00 of funding contributed by participating organizations, the after-cost impact benefit was $4.92.
    • The Effects of the Mad Dog Diet on Bowel Function, Body Composition, Neuropathic Pain, and Depression in a Spinal Cord Injury and Multiple Sclerosis Population

      Sullivan, Timothy; Applied Health Sciences Program
      Inflammation has been shown to negatively influence bowel function, body composition, neuropathic pain, and depression within the spinal cord injury (SCI) and multiple sclerosis (MS) populations. Four individuals with varying levels of SCI’s (C5-T1/AIS A-D/3 male 1 female) and two individuals with varying diagnoses of MS (SPMS & RRMS, female) were recruited for the study. Bowel function was assessed via The Bowel Management subset of the Spinal Cord Injury Quality of Life (SCI-QOL) and Neurological Bowel Dysfunction (NBD) questionnaires, body composition was assessed via dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scans, neuropathic pain was assessed via the neuropathic pain questionnaire, and depression was measured via the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D) questionnaire. This study investigated the effects of 6-weeks of the Mad Dog diet, which aimed to reduce inflammation, and improve the aforementioned ailments. The 6-week Mad Dog diet was associated with a significant reduction in total body mass (p=0.006), lean mass (p=0.046) and fat mass (p=0.038). Despite the significant reduction in fat mass, there were no significant changes in subcutaneous fat mass (p=0.091), or visceral mass (p=0.33), which suggests that the study was underpowered and could not distinguish the relative contribution of either fat source to the losses in total fat mass. Likewise, there were no significant changes in bowel function as determined by SCI-QOL scores (p=0.33), or NBD scores (p=0.29), and no significant changes in any domain of neuropathic pain (sensory, p=0.55; affective, p=0.15; sensitivity, p=0.12), or depression (CES-D scores, p=0.34). These findings demonstrate that 6 weeks of the Mad Dog diet may be beneficial for body composition in the SCI and MS populations. Findings from this research provide the basis for a larger study that can more fully assess the outcomes from this study along with changes in biological measures of inflammation.
    • Urban Tree Canopy Assessment Using Geospatial Technologies: A Case Study of the Town of Lincoln, Ontario

      Razaghirad, Baharak; Environmental Sustainability Research Centre
      Urban trees provide important benefits to communities, from mitigating stormwater to improved air quality. Municipalities across Ontario encounter a decline in their urban tree canopy (UTC). UTC assessment is essential for the management of urban trees, especially in the context of climate change. However, quantifying the canopy remains a challenge, given that tree crowns are difficult to assess from the ground. Geospatial technologies provide a suitable alternative to costly, ground-based assessments. Still, they typically require a significant investment in resources, including technical expertise and equipment. For many small- and medium-sized municipalities facing the realities of climate change, these investments are cost-prohibitive. This study aimed to assess the UTC within the Town of Lincoln, Ontario, using geospatial technologies. The first objective was to estimate canopy cover and distribution using image classification as the main approach. The second objective was to assess the proficiency of a low-cost method based on image interpretation (i.e., i-Tree Canopy) to calculate canopy cover compared to the main approach. The third objective was to examine the possibility of using the canopy goal designated by the Niagara Official Plan as a standard canopy goal. This research study produced three main results. First, the image classification indicated that the tree canopy covers 21% of the Town. Second, this study demonstrated that the results from the main approach are similar to those obtained from i-Tree Canopy. Given the similarity between these approaches, this study concluded that the lower-cost i-Tree Canopy method could be combined with other methods to prepare accurate and affordable canopy assessments for resource-limited municipalities. Finally, this study concluded that canopy goals should account for local Urban Tree Canopy Assessment Using Geospatial Technologies differences based on geographic location. This study makes a valuable contribution to the literature as it informs management of canopy resources in communities with limited resources. Outcomes from this study can also better inform tree-canopy goals and policies with a cost-effective method that requires minimal expertise. The ability to conduct UTC assessment in smaller communities is critical in mitigating the impacts of climate change facing most of these communities.
    • Menstrual Cycle Related Fluctuations in Circulating Markers of Bone Metabolism at Rest and in Response to Running in Eumenorrheic Females

      Guzman, Anne; Applied Health Sciences Program
      The aim of this study was to investigate potential fluctuations in bone metabolic markers across the menstrual cycle both at rest and after a 30-minute bout of vigorous-intensity running at 80% of �̇ O₂max. Resting and post-exercise (0, 30, 90 min) sclerostin (inhibitor of bone formation), parathyroid hormone (PTH, regulator of calcium homeostasis), carboxy-terminal cross-linking telopeptide of type I collagen (β-CTX, marker of bone resorption), and procollagen type 1 N propeptide (P1NP, marker of bone formation) were assessed in 10 young, eumenorrheic women (21.7 ± 3.2 years, 23.2 ± 3 kg. m2 ) during the mid- to late-follicular (FP: day 8.0 ± 1.4) and midluteal (LP: day 22.0 ± 2.5) phases of the menstrual cycle. Ovulation was determined using ovulation kits and daily measurement of oral body temperature upon awakening. Menstrual phase was subsequently confirmed by measurement of plasma estradiol and progesterone taken on study days, confirming an increase in both hormones during the mid-luteal phase. At rest, there were no significant differences in sclerostin (FP: 266.5 ± 48.6 pg·mL-1 ; LP: 296.0 ± 37.5 pg·mL-1 ; p=0.507), PTH (FP: 1.00 ± 0.22 pmol·L-1 ; LP: 0.71 ± 0.16 pmol·L-1 ; p=0.485), β-CTX (FP: 243.1± 52.7 ng·mL-1 ; LP: 202.4 ± 30.8 ng·mL-1 ; p=0.691), or P1NP (FP: 56.9 ± 11.30 ng·mL-1 ; LP: 64.30 ± 18.32 ng·mL-1 ; p=0.133) between menstrual cycle phases. As there were no main effects for menstrual phase and no significant interaction, post-exercise responses did not differ between menstrual phases for any of the markers. Significant main effects for time were found in sclerostin, PTH, β-CTX and P1NP. Specifically, sclerostin and PTH increased from pre- to immediately postexercise (+46% and +43%, respectively; p<0.0001), then returned to resting concentrations at 30 min post-exercise. P1NP also increased immediately post-exercise (+29%; p<0.0001), returning to resting concentrations at 30 min post-exercise. β-CTX decreased from pre- to immediately postexercise (-20%; p=0.004) and remained below its pre-exercise concentrations at 30 min postexercise (-12%; p=0.039) and 90 min post-exercise (-17%; p=0.002). These results demonstrate that sclerostin, PTH, β-CTX and P1NP do not differ at rest or in response to exercise across the menstrual cycle.
    • Kinematics and Muscle Activity of the Upper Extremity While Performing Cleaning Tasks

      Pipher, Zachary; Applied Health Sciences Program
      In Canada, occupations including janitors, caretakers, and building superintendents are the fourth most prevalent occupational group among men in the labour force, while cleaners are the 10th most prevalent occupational group among women (Statistics Canada, 2008). Cleaning tasks, typically labor-intensive, are characterized by a combination of static muscle loads (mainly involving bending and twisting of the back) and repetitive movements of the arms and hands requiring high physical exertion. Tasks such as lifting, mopping, and vacuuming often involve awkward postures with both dynamic and static muscular activities. These types of prolonged static and repetitive muscle activities cause muscle fatigue and may lead to musculoskeletal disorders. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the effects of custodial cleaning tasks on upper extremity muscle activity and to assess changes in kinematics throughout the duration of a shift. Ten custodians employed at Brock University performed six cleaning tasks during two different sessions (pre-shift and post-shift). Kinematics of the upper extremity were collected, and muscle activity was recorded from 8 upper extremity muscles. Our results showed no significant changes in mean joint angles or joint range of motion pre-shift to post-shift. However, significant changes were observed in mean and peak EMG amplitudes as a result of time. Higher muscle activity was observed in the upper trapezius and FDS while lower muscle activity was found in the anterior deltoid, posterior deltoid, and EDC post-shift compared to pre-shift. This suggests that custodians use different muscular strategies to maintain task performance over the duration of a work shift. This may imply they are experiencing fatigue due to insufficient rest. This work acts as a stepping-stone into future investigations of custodial work and the adaptations over time.
    • The Mental Representation of Visual Information

      Robitaille, Joel; Department of Psychology
      Despite working in relative independence, the working memory and imagery literatures investigate the mental representation of visual information. Recent reports investigating the neural structure and their associated functional activity responsible for the creation and maintenance of these cognitive representations suggest a significant overlap between these fields of study. Because each field has adopted methodologies that does not allow for a direct comparison of the mental representation described by their respective literatures, it is difficult to determine whether imagery and working memory representations are related. Hence, the current thesis further investigates the properties of the visual representation of visual information to bridge between the imagery and working memory fields. In a first study, I compare the psychophysical properties of simple stimuli commonly used in working memory reports with more complex objects adopted by the imagery field. In the course of three experiments, I demonstrate that the cost of stimulus complexity predominantly affects the quality of the mental representation while still providing evidence of a shared cognitive mechanism driving the formation and maintenance of these representations. In a second study, I evaluate the impact of mental rotation on these mental representations as well as whether the adoption of different paradigms, along with different performance metrics, assess the same cognitive construct. Here again, I show strong evidence in support of a common cognitive mechanism driving the performance across mental manipulation and through assessment methods. Finally, the last study attempted to track the manipulation of these visual representations by applying an encoding model to raw EEG activity. While I show evidence of the orientation-relevant activity during perception, the encoding model does not detect reliable enough activity to allow for tracking the orientation of the stimulus during retention and mental rotation. Together, this thesis provides evidence of a shared cognitive mechanism that drives visual working memory and imagery representation, but tracking these mental representations using EEG activity during manipulation remains unclear.
    • The Effect of Perceived Deception on Consumer Repurchase Intention

      Wang, Xinyue; Faculty of Business Programs
      Online commerce changes the way products are displayed. Bounded by less chance to present information of the product, e-retailers always face misunderstandings on the consumer side, and consequently, unfavourable consumer behaviour. This makes online retailing prone to perceived deceptive practice. Past research has mainly integrated perceived deception into existing consumer behavior theories. In the same vein, this research further examines the factors moderating the relationship between perceived deception and repurchase intention. Specifically, we tested how product type (hedonic versus utilitarian), consumer regulatory focus (promotion versus prevention), and their interaction can help mitigate perceived deception's negative effect on consumer repurchase intention. This research expands the literature on perceived deception. With the prior work establishing the negative effect of perceived deception on consumer purchase behaviour, this research further investigates the factors that may attenuate the unfavourable outcome. It also helps marketers increase repurchase rates by emphasizing the hedonic attribute and instigating promotion intention to help mitigate the negative effects of perceived deception.
    • Landscape Aware Algorithm Configuration

      Dennis, Cody; Department of Computer Science
      The issue of parameter selection cannot be ignored if optimal performance is to be obtained from an algorithm on a specific problem or if a collection of algorithms are going to be compared in a fair manner. Unfortunately, adequately addressing the issue of parameter selection is time consuming and computationally expensive. Searching for appropriate control parameters generally requires much more time than actually solving the problem at hand due to the need to perform many complete runs of the target algorithm. The number of runs required to obtain thorough and equal coverage of the parameter space grows exponentially with the number of parameters. As a result, costs associated with parameter selection become a limiting factor in the scale of problems that can be investigated. The primary goal of this work is to reduce the costs of parameter selection. In pursuit of this goal, this thesis examines the use of neural networks to intelligently select appropriate control parameter values based on the characteristics of the problem at hand. Two general purpose approaches are evaluated: one that predicts a single set of control parameters to use throughout a run of the target algorithm; and, another that dynamically adjusts algorithm control parameters at run time. These approaches are examined in detail using the Particle Swarm Optimization algorithm. A comparison with state of the art automated tools for control parameter selection indicates that the cost of parameter selection can be significantly reduced.
    • Strategies for Evolving Diverse and Effective Behaviours in Pursuit Domains

      Cowan, Tyler James; Department of Computer Science
      Evolutionary algorithms have a tendency to overuse and exploit particular behaviours in their search for optimality, even across separate runs. The resulting set of monotonous solutions caused by this tendency is a problem in many applications. This research explores different strategies designed to encourage an interesting set of diverse behaviours while still maintaining an appreciable level of efficacy. Embodied agents are situated within an open plane and play against each other in various pursuit game scenarios. The pursuit games consist of a single predator agent and twenty prey agents, with the goal always requiring the predator to catch as many prey as possible before the time limit is reached. The predator's controller is evolved through genetic programming while the preys' controllers are hand-crafted. The fitness of a solution is first calculated in a traditional manner. Inspired by Lehman and Stanley's novelty search strategy, the fitness is then combined with the diversity of the solution to produce the final fitness score. The original fitness score is determined by the number of captured prey, and the diversity score is determined through the combination of four behaviour measurements. Among many promising results, a particular diversity-based evaluation strategy and weighting combination was found to provide solutions that exhibit an excellent balance between diversity and efficacy. The results were analyzed quantitatively and qualitatively, showing the emergence of diverse and effective behaviours.
    • Assessing a Modified TAGteach Procedure to Increase Accurate and Fluent Performance of Gymnastics Skills in Children via Synchronous Videoconferencing

      Bajcar, Nicole; Center for Applied Disability Studies
      Sports offer children and youth opportunities to experience the physiological, physical, and psychological benefits of physical activity; however, in sports like gymnastics, injuries are quite common (Caine, 2003). Therefore, it is essential for coaches to teach athletes proper technique to prevent injury. TAGteach is an intervention package that uses an audible stimulus to provide immediate feedback following the correct performance of a skill (Fogel et al., 2010). To date, no study has (a) evaluated the effectiveness of TAGteach to enhance the fluency of dynamic sports skills or (b) conducted TAGteach remotely via a synchronous videoconferencing platform. We used a concurrent multiple baseline across skills design to evaluate the effectiveness of a modified TAGteach procedure to improve the accuracy and fluent performance of three dynamic gymnastics skills through synchronous videoconferencing with four participants between the ages of 6–11 years. For all participants, the modified TAGteach intervention package increased the accurate and fluent performance of all gymnastics skills, and these gymnastics skills maintained for a minimum of 4 weeks. Results are discussed within the context of intervention implications and suggestions for future research.
    • Airbnb in the Age of a Housing Crisis: A Case Study of Housing Affordability and Vacation Rental Regulations in Niagara Falls, ON

      Willms, Hannah; Department of Geography
      This research focuses on housing in the context of growing unaffordability and increasing popularity of Airbnb in Niagara Falls, Ontario. In a city like Niagara Falls, which sees 12 million tourists annually, vacation rentals have become a highly profitable business. However, Niagara Falls is also currently experiencing a housing crisis. Airbnb complicates this crisis by perpetuating discourses in which housing is viewed primarily as a commodity. Commodification of housing, through processes of neoliberalization, financialization and securitization, inflates housing prices. More importantly, many people have accepted the unaffordability of housing because of discourses related to homeownership, mortgage debt, and asset-based welfare. These discourses normalize the commodification of housing, making processes like privatization, gentrification and Airbnb conversions seem natural, if not desirable. Housing practices based on these discourses disproportionately affect the underhoused. My research questions include: How does the hegemony of homeownership affect the housing markets in Niagara Falls? What elements of the homeownership discourse are used to describe both long-term rentals and vacation rentals in Niagara Falls? What are the consequences of these discourses for housing affordability in Niagara Falls? To answer these questions, I conducted a content and discourse analysis of city documents and city council meeting transcripts. My intent is to explain how respondents conceptualize their experiences related to vacation rental regulations in the context of housing discourses. Furthermore, I shall be analysing prominent housing discourses to examine the relationship between Airbnb and housing affordability in Niagara Falls, Ontario. My findings show that multifaceted homeownership discourses guided the discussions. All of these tend to stigmatize rentals in general, and long-term renters in particular. I conclude that the current housing system privileges homeownership at the expense of the renter population. This system, in turn, has focused on homeowners’ expectations during the Airbnb debates with little concern for how it affects housing affordability.
    • How Virtual Reality Leads to Positive Responses to Persuasion Attempts: The Implications of VR Brand Placement

      Rabbani Movarekh, Ahmadreza; Faculty of Business Programs
      Facebook has started to test advertising in virtual reality, yet consumers’ responses toward this phenomenon have been neglected in the virtual reality and consumer behaviour literature. Most of the previous research has focused on VR as the primary tool for representing the service or product and not a medium for advertising purposes. Therefore, brand placement in virtual environments, as one of the most common persuasive advertising efforts by brands, is the focus of this study. More specifically, this research analyzes the effect of brand placement context (VR, 360 or 2D) and placement congruity on consumers’ persuasion knowledge and their responses towards brands, using the cognitive load theory and persuasion knowledge model to predict and explain the effect. The research model was tested using PLS-SEM and the PROCESS macro with a sample of 209 participants. The results confirmed that participants who experienced a higher sense of telepresence and interactivity (VR condition) were more likely to report lower persuasion knowledge and better brand evaluations and behavioural intentions. It was also found that compared to the 360 condition, in VR and 2D environments, participants were more likely to recall the brand embedded into the environment. Placement congruity was found to moderate the underlying mechanism through which interactivity and telepresence affect persuasion knowledge. These findings provide helpful insights to marketers and brand managers, who think of VR as an advertising tool, on how the technology factor impacts consumers’ responses to their persuasion attempts, such as brand placements.
    • The Influence of Perceived Value on Exploratory Behaviour Towards Future Patronage Intention in M-Commerce: An S-O-R Approach.

      Pouyan, Mohammad Mahdi; Faculty of Business Programs
      The exploratory behaviour issue has received considerable attention in both online and brick-and-mortar consumer behaviour literature so far. However, regarding the widely prevalent use of mobile commerce in daily life, surprisingly, mobile exploratory behaviour has seldom been investigated. It is unclear to what extent mobile commerce characteristics can facilitate explorative behaviour. Thus, this study aims to fill the gap in the extant literature by examining the positive relationship between the perceived value, namely, functional, emotional and social and exploration (diversive and specific), which in turn, directly impacts future patronage intention. Due to the pivotal role of flow state in computer-mediated and online behaviour in the extant literature, the current study set out to examine the mediation role of flow between the relationship of perceived values and divisive vs specific exploration. This thesis begins with a brief overview of the recent history of noted research elements and proposes the conceptual model based on the stimulate-organism-response (S-O-R) model. It then discussed the hypotheses development. The remaining part of the paper proceeds with details on the data collection process and the methodological approach adopted to test these relationships.
    • De novo sequencing, annotation, and characterization of the genome of Lavandula angustifolia (Lavender)

      Nattamai Malli Pooranachandhiran, Radesh; Centre for Biotechnology
      Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) is a perennial plant native to the Mediterranean region, best known for its essential oil (EOs) that have numerous applications in the pharmaceutical, cosmetic and perfume industries. We performed sequencing of the L. angustifolia genome and report a detailed analysis of the assembled genome, focusing on genome size, ploidy, and repeat content. The lavender genome was estimated to be around 870 Mbp (1C=0.96 pg) using a quantitative PCR method. Genome size was further validated through analysis of raw genome sequences using Kmergenie, providing a conclusive end to the lavender genome size dispute. The repeat element composition of the genome was analyzed using de novo (RepeatModeler) and library-based methods (RepeatMasker) and was estimated to be around 45% of the full genome or ~57% of the non-gap genome sequences. Further characterization revealed Long Terminal Repeat (LTRs) retrotransposons as the major repeat type, which contribute to ~18% of the genome, followed by DNA transposons at ~8.5% of the genome. Interestingly, unlike most other plant genomes, the lavender genome has many more Copia than Gypsy elements, both showing a trend of recent increasing activity. Furthermore, these LTRs, especially Copia elements, have shown active participation in gene function including genes for essential oil production, with Copia elements contributing to ~30 % of the coding DNA sequence (CDS) regions, in addition to promoter, intron and untranslated (UTR) regions. The lavender genome also has an unusually high number of miniature inverted-repeat transposable elements (MITEs) compared to other model plant genomes, with the number being ~88,000, which is close to that (~90,000) of the much larger maize genome. Analysis also revealed the lavender genome with a high proportion at polyploidy level, which is strongly biased towards regions containing essential oil genes, with polyploidization events in the lavender genome occurred between 16 to 41 Mya. In conclusion, our results reveal the lavender genome to be highly duplicated and with past and ongoing active retrotransposition, making the genome optimized for EO production.
    • Selecting cover crop species for vineyards of the Niagara region

      Ben kalifa, mohamed lahbib; Department of Biological Sciences
      Organic viticulture challenges growers to think and act sustainably when managing variables such as weeds, pests, and overall crop production. Ongoing climate change is adding to this challenge with projected increases in extreme weather events such as heavy rainfall and drought. Cover crops can be considered as an ecosystem-based adaptation measure when chosen carefully. They can help growers mitigate effects of climate change as well as increase vineyards biodiversity. Despite their common use, local knowledge of which species work best in what conditions is lacking. Furthermore, species are seldom tested for response to drought and flood conditions in both controlled and operational settings. The first objective of this project was to evaluate the responses of nine different cover crop species to simulated drought and flood conditions under greenhouse-controlled conditions. Of the nine species, Pennisetum glaucum (pearl millet) and Melilotus officinalis (yellow clover) were the only two species to withstand both extreme conditions without being significantly affected. Trifolium alexandrinum (berseem clover), Vicia villosa (hairy vetch), and Trifolium incarnatum (crimson clover) produced higher biomass in saturated condition, while Festuca rubra (red fescue), and Thinopyrum intermedium (pubescent wheatgrass) survived the drought without visual clear symptoms except for puny plants. The second objective was to screen 13 cover crop species in two vineyards under operational settings, where weed pressure, local weather and management may influence species establishment. After the two screening years, Pennisetum glaucum, Trifolium incarnatum, Trifolium repens, Trifolium pratense, Vicia villosa, and Medicago sativa showed promising results in terms of establishment despite facing weather challenges.