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Leidheiser: The Effects of Age and Working Memory Demands on Automation-Induced Complacency

Student name: Will Leidheiser
Title of Thesis: The Effects of Age and Working Memory Demands on Automation-Induced Complacency
Type: Thesis Proposal
Thesis Advisor: Dr. Richard Pak
Thesis Committee Members: Dr. Richard Pak, Dr. Patrick Rosopa, and Dr. Kelly Caine
Date, Time, and Location: Monday, August 4th at 10:00 a.m., Brackett 419

Abstract:
Complacency refers to a type of automation use expressed as insufficient monitoring and verification of automated functions. Previous studies have attempted to identify the age-related factors that influence complacency during interaction with automation. However, little is known about the role of age-related differences in working memory capacity and its connection to complacent behaviors. The current study aims to examine whether working memory demand of an automated task and age-related differences in cognitive ability influence complacency. Higher degrees of automation (DOA) have been shown to reduce cognitive workload and may be used to manipulate working memory demand of a task. Thus, we hypothesize that a lower DOA (i.e. information acquisition stage with lower level) will demand more working memory than a higher DOA (i.e. decision selection stage with higher level) and that a lower DOA will result in a greater difference in complacency between age groups than a higher DOA.

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Hartman: Investigation of Distance to Break Using Compliant Nonlinear and Linear Materials in a Simulated Minimally Invasive Surgery Task

Time and Location: Tuesday, August 5, 2014 at 10:30AM, Brackett 419

Committee Members: Dr. Chris Pagano (Chair), Dr. Timothy Burg, Dr. Ben Stephens

Title: Investigation of Distance to Break Using Compliant Nonlinear and Linear Materials in a Simulated Minimally Invasive Surgery Task

Abstract:Accurate interpretation of the mediated haptic information in minimally invasive surgery (MIS) is critical for applying appropriate force magnitudes into soft tissue with the aim of minimizing tissue trauma.  Force perception in MIS is a dynamic process with surgeon’s administration of force into tissue revealing information about the remote surgical site which will further inform the surgeon for further haptic interaction. In previous research the relationship between applied force and material deformation rate was shown to provide biomechanical information specifying the distance remaining until the tissue would fail, which has been term distance-to-break (DTB).The current study furtherinvestigates whether observers are using DTB to stop before the failure point of the tissue or if they are stopping using another component such as increase in force. Findings replicated Long et al. (submitted) results that observers could reliably perceive DTB in simulated nonlinear biological tissues. The sensitivity for the DTB invariant is further supported by the poor performance of the additional linear profiles participants were tested on that lacked the DTB invariant.

 

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Phil Jasper thesis defense

Phil Jasper will be defending his Master’s Thesis titled: USING THE BITE COUNTER TO OVERCOME THE EFFECT OF PLATE SIZE ON FOOD INTAKE on Friday, May 2, 2014, in Bracket Hall, Room 419. (Contact Phil about the time).

ABSTRACT:

According to a recent National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, overweight and obesity have reached epidemic levels in the United States (Flegal et at., 2010, NHANES, 2010) There are many treatments for overweight and obesity, the most popular being behavioral interventions (Berkel et al., 2005). Self-monitoring is one of the most important factors of successful behavioral interventions (Baker & Kirschenbaum, 1993). The Bite Counter is a newly developed tool for weight loss that aids in the self-monitoring process (Dong et al., 2011). The purpose of the current study was to determine if bite count feedback and an instruction on the number of bites to take could overcome the known environmental cue of plate size where eating from larger plates causes individuals to eat more (Wansink 2004). Data were collected from 112 participants eating a meal of macaroni and cheese in a laboratory setting. In a 2×2 design, the participants were assigned to one of four conditions: instruction given and small plate, instruction given and large plate, instruction not given and small plate, or instruction not given and large plate. Grams consumed and bites taken were measured post meal as the main dependent variables. A 2×2 ANOVA of grams consumed revealed a main effect of INSTRUCTION (F(1,104)= 5.297, p=.023, η² = .048), a main effect of PLATE SIZE (F(1,104)= 5.798, p=.018, η² = .053), and an interaction (F(1,104)= 7.695, p= .007, η² = .069). A 2×2 ANOVA of bites taken revealed a main effect of INSTRUCTION (F(1,104)= 7.47, p= .007, η² = .067), a main effect of PLATE SIZE (F(1,104)= 14.264, p< .001, η² = .121), and an interaction (F(1,104)= 14.964, p< .001, η² = .126). The results suggest that a given instruction on the number of bites to take along with feedback on the number of bites taken, can partially overcome a known environmental cue of plate size.

Committee Chair: Dr. Eric Muth
Committee Members: Dr. Adam Hoover and Dr. Tom Alley.

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Drew Morris’s thesis proposal

Student Name: Drew Morris
Title of Thesis: The Cold Driver: Driving Performance Under Thermal Stress
Type: Thesis Proposal
Thesis Advisor: Dr. June J. Pilcher
Thesis Committee Members: Dr. June Pilcher, Dr. Fred Switzer, Dr. Chris Pagano
Time and Location: Tuesday, April 29th at 1:30pm, Brackett 419
Abstract:
Exposure to cold environments can impact complex task performance and increase cognitive and physiological error in response to thermal stress. Critically, the task of driving a vehicle requires the use of calibrated mental and physical actions to be conducted safely without error. Few studies have examined the effects of cold stress on driving performance and none have explored the potential for advanced driver safety systems to detect error. Active vehicle safety systems which monitor dangerous driving behavior due to drowsiness have been research and developed, though technology associated with thermal stressed driving error is unexplored. The current study aims to examine the effects of cold stress by way of skin cooling on driving simulator performance, and evaluate vehicle behavior metrics for possible dangerous driving detection systems. Driving under cold stress is expected to result in systematic vehicle behavior and driving performance error which can be utilized for future safety system development.

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Bliss Altenhoff’s dissertation proposal

Perceiving Soft Tissue Break Points in the Presence of Friction

Tuesday, April 29th at 10:00am
Brackett 419

Committee: Dr. Chris Pagano (chair), Dr. Tim Burg, Dr. Ben Stephens, Dr. Rich Pak

Abstract: In minimally invasive surgery (MIS), surgeons face several perceptual challenges due to the remote interaction with the environment, such as distorted haptic feedback through the instruments due to friction produced from the rubber trocar sealing mechanisms at the incision site. As a result, surgeons sometimes unintentionally damage healthy tissues during MIS due to excessive force. Research has demonstrated that useful information is available in the haptic array of soft tissues, which allows novices to successfully perceive the penetration distance remaining until a material will fail based on displacement and reactionary forces of simulated tissues using a haptic invariant, Distance-to-Break (DTB). Attunement and calibration training will be used in the current study to investigate whether observers are able to identify material break points in nonlinear compliant materials through haptic force application, while ignoring haptic stimulation not lawfully related to the properties specifying DTB, including friction. A pretest, feedback, posttest, and transfer-of-training phase design will be used, allowing participants to probe four virtually simulated materials at varying levels of friction: no friction, low friction, and high friction in the first experiment, and pull the simulated tissues in the second experiment to investigate if perception of DTB generalizes to other tasks used in MIS.

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Morris: The Cold Driver: Driving Performance Under Thermal Stress

Title of Thesis: The Cold Driver: Driving Performance Under Thermal Stress

Type: Thesis Proposal

Thesis Advisor: Dr. June J. Pilcher

Thesis Committee Members: Dr. June Pilcher, Dr. Fred Switzer, Dr. Chris Pagano

Time and Location: Tuesday, April 29th at 1:30pm, Brackett 419

Abstract:
Exposure to cold environments can impact complex task performance and increase cognitive and physiological error in response to thermal stress. Critically, the task of driving a vehicle requires the use of calibrated mental and physical actions to be conducted safely without error. Few studies have examined the effects of cold stress on driving performance and none have explored the potential for advanced driver safety systems to detect error. Active vehicle safety systems which monitor dangerous driving behavior due to drowsiness have been research and developed, though technology associated with thermal stressed driving error is unexplored. The current study aims to examine the effects of cold stress by way of skin cooling on driving simulator performance, and evaluate vehicle behavior metrics for possible dangerous driving detection systems. Driving under cold stress is expected to result in systematic vehicle behavior and driving performance error which can be utilized for future safety system development.

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Jennings: The role of social support in seeking treatment and treatment retention in the military: Examining the function and source of support

The role of social support in seeking treatment and treatment retention in the military: Examining the function and source of support
Thesis Defense by Kristen Jennings
Friday, April 18th at 11:00 am
Brackett 414
Committee: Dr. Thomas Britt (chair), Dr. Bob Sinclair, Dr. Heidi Zinzow

Abstract:
Service members of the United States military occupy jobs that are unlike most in the exposure to exceptional stress and the potential for life-threatening and traumatic on-the-job experiences. Because of the nature of the job tasks and duties, many soldiers are vulnerable to developing mental health problems. Even more problematic, many soldiers experiencing mental health symptoms are not getting the treatment they need. The present study examined how social support can influence a soldier’s decision to engage in treatment and stay in treatment. More specifically, the study examined the unique influence of family and friends, fellow unit members, and leaders in the soldier’s decision to seek treatment, as well as different supportive behaviors from leaders that affect treatment seeking and retention. Using data from active duty soldiers surveyed at two time points, results indicated that support for treatment seeking is related to whether or not soldiers seek treatment through positively affecting their attitude toward treatment. Support from family members and friends was found to be most related to attitude and treatment decisions. These relationships were further moderated by functional impairment, where the effect of support on treatment seeking through attitude was strongest for those with problems causing low or moderate impairment. In terms of leader supportive behaviors, instrumental leader support was rated as the most influential to soldiers’ treatment decisions. Lastly, in terms of treatment retention, initial evidence was found that support from family members and spouses may influence whether or not soldiers drop out of treatment. Results from this study are intended to be informative for application in enhancing social support resources that are most effective for getting soldiers into treatment and increasing retention.

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Cook: Correlational Study of the Handoff Communication Process as a Result of Variation in Staffing Levels

Title: Correlational Study of the Handoff Communication Process as a Result of Variation in Staffing Levels

Committee: Dr. Lee Gugerty (Chair), Dr. David Neyens (Co-chair), Dr. June Pilcher

When: April 22, 2014 @ 1:30
Where: Brackett 122

Abstract: The patient handoff is an intricate process that takes on many forms within the healthcare domain. One incredibly common, yet complex handoff is that from the Emergency Department (ED) to the respective floor unit for the extended care of a patient upon hospital admission. While the specifics of the protocol for this process vary between institutions, the importance of a successful handoff for patient safety is universal. This study will examine the effects of the variation in staffing levels on the communication handoff process based on the time of day at which the process occurs.

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Altenhoff: Perceiving Soft Tissue Break Points in the Presence of Friction

Perceiving Soft Tissue Break Points in the Presence of Friction

Tuesday, April 29th at 10:00am
Brackett 419

Committee: Dr. Chris Pagano (chair), Dr. Tim Burg, Dr. Ben Stephens, Dr. Rich Pak

Abstract: In minimally invasive surgery (MIS), surgeons face several perceptual challenges due to the remote interaction with the environment, such as distorted haptic feedback through the instruments due to friction produced from the rubber trocar sealing mechanisms at the incision site. As a result, surgeons sometimes unintentionally damage healthy tissues during MIS due to excessive force. Research has demonstrated that useful information is available in the haptic array of soft tissues, which allows novices to successfully perceive the penetration distance remaining until a material will fail based on displacement and reactionary forces of simulated tissues using a haptic invariant, Distance-to-Break (DTB). Attunement and calibration training will be used in the current study to investigate whether observers are able to identify material break points in nonlinear compliant materials through haptic force application, while ignoring haptic stimulation not lawfully related to the properties specifying DTB, including friction. A pretest, feedback, posttest, and transfer-of-training phase design will be used, allowing participants to probe four virtually simulated materials at varying levels of friction: no friction, low friction, and high friction in the first experiment, and pull the simulated tissues in the second experiment to investigate if perception of DTB generalizes to other tasks used in MIS.

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Stanyar: IMPACT OF PHYSICAL AND PSYCHOSOCIAL WORKPLACE HAZARDS ON EMPLOYEE HEALTH: AN IRISH TALE OF CIVIL SERVANT WORKERS

Kyle Stanyar

When: Wednesday April 16th, 2014; 10:15am
Where: 419 Brackett Hall
Committee: Dr. Sinclair (Chair), Dr. Rosopa, Dr. McCubbin, and Dr. Merritt

IMPACT OF PHYSICAL AND PSYCHOSOCIAL WORKPLACE HAZARDS ON EMPLOYEE HEALTH: AN IRISH TALE OF CIVIL SERVANT WORKERS
Obesity, mental health problems, and absenteeism are both economic and health burdens for employers and employees. Research suggests that physical and psychosocial hazards in the workplace contribute to health risks and health problems among employees. There is a need for researchers to examine how exercise, diet, and age interact with the negative effects of workplace hazards upon health. Hypotheses 1a through 3b predicted that physical and psychosocial workplace hazards would negatively impact body mass index (BMI), general mental health, and sickness absences. Further, hypotheses 4a through 9b predicted that exercise and diet would buffer stress from occupational hazards upon BMI, mental health, and sickness absences. Finally, hypotheses 10a through 11b predicted that age would act as a moderator between occupational hazards and employee health outcomes. A sample of 16,651 civil servant workers from the Northern Ireland Civil Service Workforce were examined. The data was split into two groups based on salary; senior level pay grade and lower level pay grade. The results confirmed hypotheses 1a, 1b, 3a, 3b, 11a, and 11b for the lower level pay grade, but failed to support hypotheses 2 and 4a through 10b. Additionally, the results confirmed hypotheses 1b for the senior level pay grade; however the results failed to confirm hypotheses 1a and hypotheses 2 through 11b. Theoretical and organizational implications are discussed.

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