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Wilson: ASSESSING THE BITE COUNTER AS A WEIGHT LOSS TOOL

ASSESSING THE BITE COUNTER AS A WEIGHT LOSS TOOL on Tuesday, April 8, 2014, in Brackett Hall, Room 419, at 1030 am.
ABSTRACT

Obesity is a growing health concern throughout the world. Health risks associated with obesity such as diabetes and heart disease result in obesity costing us over $170 million annually. Self-monitoring of Energy Intake (EI) is a critical element of a successful weight loss plan; however current methods to monitor EI are cumbersome and prone to under reporting. The primary purpose of the study was to develop and test an experimental diet protocol based on user feedback from the Bite Counter. A secondary purpose was to examine if this protocol would affect meaningful weight loss by device users. Data were collected from 30 participants (15 control) in a study where Bite Counter feedback was used to titrate daily bite count goals in order to meet a 1 to 2 pound per week weight loss goal measured against the control group which was only given weight loss literature. 77% of our participants were able to use the device to self-monitor a majority of the eating activities. Although weight loss was higher in the Bite Counter group, we determined that a diet protocol based solely on using the Bite Counter did not produce statistically significant weight loss over the ten-week study period. The Bite Counter was able to help the control group sustain their weight loss throughout the entire study period. The study determined that aggressive screening measures during study uptake is needed in order to ensure the recruitment of participants who are likely to complete future studies. User profile personas were developed to assist future researcher identify and classify users as successful or unsuccessful candidates for losing weight using the Bite Counter.

Committee Chair: Dr. Eric Muth
Committee Members: Dr. Adam Hoover and Dr. Patrick Rosopa

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Nathan Klein dissertation defense

Nathan Klein
Dissertation Defense
Understanding and Improving Pedagogical Aspects of a General Education Eportfolio
Chair: Benjamin Stephens
Committee: Lee Gugerty, Fred Switzer, and Joel Greenstein
Monday, March 24, 2014 at 12:30pm Brackett 214

The goal of this research was to examine general education eportfolio components that may help improve student learning outcomes. A general education eportfolio is essentially a website created by a student, who selects, links, and reflects upon artifacts they have created in order to demonstrate their competency in the various domains of higher education, e.g. social science, mathematics, and natural science. This dissertation research combined and extended previous research by Klein et al. (2011) into two studies. The first study employed a factorial design manipulating the type of reflective activity required for an eportfolio and the type of eportfolio support provided. The second study manipulated the number of artifacts used during reflection. The main outcome variables were student competency, metacognitive accuracy, and subjective experiences. Support, reflective activity, and an additional artifact were each expected to improve the outcome measures. Support and activity were also expected to produce a synergistic interactive effect. Reflective activity only had a marginal impact on competency, whereas eportfolio support was found to cause significant improvements in all of the outcome measures. There was a trend for a stronger effect of mentoring in eportfolios with rationale activities for social science competency. The second experiment did not detect any differences in outcomes resulting from using two artifacts compared to using one. This research informs educators of best practices in eportfolio program design at the general education level for improving learning outcomes in college students.

Keywords: eportfolio, learning, metacognition, reflection, support, general education

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Wiedemann: “Employee Engagement Simplified by Self-Determination Theory”

“Employee Engagement Simplified by Self-Determination Theory”

Thesis Proposal, Crystal Wiedemann

Committee: Dr. Fred Switzer (chair), Dr. Robert Sinclair, Dr. Patrick Raymark

Tuesday, Feb 25th at 2:00 pm, Brackett Rm. 121

Due to increasing economic pressures over the last decade, organizations have been forced to “do more with less.” In an effort to maintain performance, and in some cases gain strategic advantage, more and more companies are looking to derive all they can from their employees. A fully “engaged” workforce has steadily moved from a dream to a necessity in today’s fiercely competitive marketplace. Unfortunately, actually creating an engaged workforce has proven to be a difficult endeavor. Organizations that have been able to figure out the mystery of employee engagement tout increased employee loyalty, happier customers, and bigger profits (Harter, Schmidt, & Keyes, 2002). Despite the demand for scientific research on employee engagement from the business community, a large amount of ambiguity still surrounds the conceptualization of the construct in academic research. This paper will investigate Self-Determination Theory (Deci & Ryan, 1985) as a theoretical framework in which to root employee engagement as proposed by Meyer & Gagne (2008). We will examine whether satisfying the needs for competence, autonomy, and relatedness through the work environment will result in increased autonomous work motivation, employee engagement, and well-being. If employee engagement turns out to be as directly related to Self-Determination Theory as hypothesized, it could simplify the course of action required to increase engagement in organizations.

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Brawley: Unifying specific climate research with a molar climate measure: A Situational Affordances approach

“Unifying specific climate research with a molar climate measure: A Situational Affordances approach”

Thesis defense, Alice M. Brawley

Committee: Dr. Cynthia L. S. Pury (chair), Dr. D. DeWayne Moore, & Dr. Fred S. Switzer, III

Thursday, February 27th at 8:30 AM in Brackett 419

Abstract: Organizational climate – briefly, the shared perceptions of a workplace – was originally studied as a molar concept, but this approach generally lacked focus and thus resulted in unmanageable measures. Organizational climate research has been subdivided into many areas of specific climate research focusing on particular organizational factors or outcomes, such as safety or customer service (Schneider, Ehrhart, & Macey, 2013). While the study of specific climates has been and remains worthwhile, recent literature in the area has called for a return to the molar or global conceptualization of organizational climate (Kuenzi & Schminke, 2009; Schneider et al., 2013). In an answer this call, the present study develops and validates a self-report measure of molar organizational climate, the Situational Affordances at Work Scale (SAWS). This measure is based on a taxonomy of Situational Affordances (Pury et al., 2014) that conceptualizes the broad influences on behavior in a given situation as affordances, allowing or preventing particular behaviors. These seven Affordances – Change (Dynamic and Static), Ownership (Self and Other), Valence (Approach and Avoid), Timing (Wait and Act), Target (Object and Person), Privacy (Keep and Share), and Consideration (Self and Other) – are proposed as a holistic view of high-level situational characteristics that influence behavior.
In Study 1, undergraduate students with work experience (N = 217) responded to an initial version of SAWS. Results of this study were used to develop a preliminary version of SAWS. In Study 2, residents of the United States (N = 465) responded to the preliminary version of SAWS and to measures of safety climate, service climate, job characteristics, and social desirability. Results of this study show that the relationship between safety climate and service climate in a cross-section of jobs and industries is strongly positive, r = .652. Therefore, the two climates, in terms of molar climate dimensions, are largely similar. Both safety and service climates are positively related to molar climate Affordances for Change, Self-Ownership, Positive Valence, Acting, Focusing on both Persons and Objects, Sharing information, and Considering both one’s Self and Others. Both climates are negatively related to molar climate Affordances for not Changing, Other-Ownership, Negative Valence, Waiting, and Keeping information private. A few of these relationships with molar climate differ in magnitude across the two specific climates: service climate is more strongly positively related to Affordances for Self-Ownership and Positive Valence and more strongly negatively related to Affordances for not Changing, Other-Ownership, and Negative Valence than is safety climate. These results suggest molar climate dimensions where safety climate and service climate may differ in a cross-section of workplaces, but overall indicate that these two specific climates are more similar that previously hypothesized in the literature (cf. Paul, 2012). Results of this study also show statistical discrimination between SAWS and job characteristics, indicating that SAWS measures a construct distinct from job characteristics. Results of these studies support SAWS as potentially useful tool in understanding the broad portrait of an organization’s climate.

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Brock Bass Thesis defense 12/16

Faces as Ambient Displays: Assessing the Attention-Demanding Characteristics of Facial Expressions

Thesis Defense

Dr. Richard Pak (Advisor), Dr. Leo Gugerty, Dr. Christopher Pagano

Ambient displays are used to provide information to users in a non-distracting manner. The purpose of this research was to examine the efficacy of facial expressions as a method of conveying information to users in an unobtrusive way. Facial expression recognition requires very little if any conscious attention from the user, which makes it an excellent candidate for the ambient presentation of information. Specifically, the current study quantified the amount of attention required to decode and recognize various facial expressions. The current study assessed the attention-demanding characteristics of facial expressions using the dual-task experiment paradigm. Results from the experiment suggest that Chernoff facial expressions are decoded with the most accuracy when happy facial expressions are used. There was also an age-effect on decoding accuracy; indicating younger adults had higher facial expression decoding performance compared to older adults. The observed decoding advantages for happy facial expressions and younger adults in the single-task were maintained in the dual-task. The dual-task paradigm revealed that the decoding of Chernoff facial expressions required more attention (i.e., longer response times and more face misses) than hypothesized, and did not evoke attention-free decoding. Chernoff facial expressions do not appear to be good ambient displays due to their attention-demanding nature.

1 pm, Monday December 16th, 419 Brackett

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Cartee: The Effects of Reminder Distinctiveness and Anticipatory Interval on Prospective Memory

Thesis proposal

ABSTRACT: Prospective memory (PM) failures (or failures to remember a future intention) can result in a wide range of negative consequences. The use of reminders has been shown to improve the rate of PM successes. The current study aims to examine the effectiveness of reminders based on their type (text or picture) and their timing. We hypothesize that successful PM performance will be maintained over longer anticipatory intervals when paired with picture reminders rather than with simple text reminders because of their inherent distinctiveness. Prior research has shown increased memory for PM intentions when distinctiveness was high.

Committee: Rich Pak (chair), Patrick Rosopa, Paul Merritt
Wednesday, November 20th at 12:30pm in Brackett 414.

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Stephanie Whetsel Borzendowski’s dissertation proposal

Stephanie Whetsel Borzendowski’s dissertation proposal is scheduled for Tuesday, November 26 at 9:00 am in Brackett 419.

Encouraging the Appropriate Use of High Beam Headlamps: An Application of the TPB

Drivers typically underuse their high beam headlamps at night even under ideal conditions (i.e., no leading, following, or oncoming vehicles). One explanation for this is a lack of knowledge regarding both the magnitude of visibility problems at night and the benefits that high beams provide. The purpose of the present study is to design and evaluate an educational intervention that is based on the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) that targets a more appropriate reliance on high beams. The TPB provides a framework for understanding how interventions may lead to changes in intentions and/or behavior. Study 1 will identify salient beliefs about high beams and determine the factor(s) that best predict intentions to use high beams. This information will inform the design of the intervention that will be evaluated in Study 2. Half of the participants who receive the intervention in Study 2 will form implementation intentions about the conditions under which they plan to use their high beams; it is expected that these participants will report using their high beams more often. I hypothesize that the participants who receive the intervention, particularly those who form implementation intentions, will report using their high beams more often, will be observed using their high beams more often during a short on-road drive, and have greater knowledge of the visibility benefits provided by high beams.

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Amelia Kinsella thesis proposal 9/24

I have scheduled my thesis proposal for Tuesday, September 24 at 9:00 am in Brackett 419.

The Effect of Frequency and Amplitude of Latency on Simulator Sickness in a Helmet Mounted Display

The purpose of the current experiment is to further examine the relationship between frequency of latency and amplitude of latency in a helmet mounted display (HMD), and simulator sickness. Motion sickness has been studied for decades in a variety of vehicles including ships, planes, trains and automobiles (Money, 1972). More recently virtual environments, including those utilizing an HMD have been shown to generate significant sickness, often termed simulator sickness (Kennedy, et al., 1993). Many studies have linked system latency to simulator sickness and recent research has found that latency is not a constant; but rather it varies systematically over time due to sensor errors and clock asynchronization (Wu, Dong, & Hoover, 2011). One hundred twenty participants will be recruited and randomly assigned to one of four conditions. Collected data will be analyzed using analysis of variance. Main effects of both frequency and amplitude of latency are expected, as well as an interaction between frequency and amplitude of latency. It is expected that sickness symptoms will increase for participants experiencing .2 Hz frequency of latency condition and the varying amplitude condition.
Chair: Eric Muth
Committee: Adam Hoover, Chris Pagano

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Phil Jasper thesis proposal 9/23

Time: Monday, September 23rd at 11:00am in 419 Brackett

Title: Using the Bite Counter to Overcome Environmental Cues that Lead to over Eating

Abstract: According to a recent National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, overweight and obesity have reached epidemic levels in the United States. There are many treatments for overweight and obesity, the most popular being behavioral interventions. Self-monitoring is one of the most important factors of successful behavioral interventions. The Bite Counter is a new tool for weight loss that aids in the self-monitoring process. The purpose of the current study is to determine if bite count feedback and a given instruction can overcome a known environmental cue of serving container size. That is, if an individual is instructed on the maximum number of bites to take, and given feedback on the numbers of bites taken, will they use this information to overcome their tendency to eat more food when the food is dispensed from a larger container? Data will be collected from 80 participants eating a meal of macaroni and cheese in a laboratory setting. In a 2 X 2 design, the participants will be assigned to one of four conditions: instruction given and small serving container, instruction given and large serving container, instruction not given and small serving container, or instruction not given and large serving container. Grams consumed will be measured post meal as the main dependent variable. It is hypothesized that: participants in the instruction condition will consume equal grams of macaroni and cheese, participants in the instruction not given condition will consume more grams of macaroni and cheese if serving from the larger container, and there will be an interaction between the instruction variable and serving container size variable. Specifically, serving container size will not affect intake amount in the instruction given condition, however those with the larger serving containers will consume more food in the instruction not given condition.

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Mike Wilson thesis proposal

Monday, 9 September, 1:15 p.m. in Brackett 419.

Assessing the Bite Counter as a Weight Loss Tool

Obesity is a growing health concern throughout the world. Health risks associated with obesity such as diabetes and heart disease result in obesity costing us over $170 million annually. Self-monitoring of Energy Intake (EI) is a critical element of a successful weight loss plan; however current methods to monitor EI are cumbersome and prone to under reporting. The present study seeks to assess the effectiveness of a newly developed tool, the Bite Counter as a tool to assist motivated individuals to effectively monitor their EI and adjust their eating to achieve a targeted weekly weight loss goal. Data will be collected from 40 participants (20 control) in a study where Bite Counter feedback was used to titrate daily bite count goals in order to meet a 1 to 2 pound per week weight loss goal measured against the control group which will only be given weight loss literature. Halfway through the study, Bite Counters will be introduced into the control group to determine if the results from the initial Bite Counter group could be replicated.

Chair: Eric Muth Committee Members: Adam Hoover, Patrick Rosopa

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