Browsing Towson University Graduate Theses and Dissertations by Issue Date
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ItemEvaluation of high fidelity simulation within a health assessment course(2008-10-21) Bye, Beverly June Davis; Jones, Paul E.; Towson University. Department of Educational Technology and LiteracyThe purpose of this quasi-experimental research was to investigate the impact of high fidelity simulation on knowledge and confidence levels among undergraduate baccalaureate nursing students within a Health Assessment course. Due to the decrease in nurse educators and limited clinical placements in hospital settings, innovative teaching methodologies to teach clinical and assessment skills need to be integrated within nursing programs. The participants in this study were first semester junior level nursing students from three baccalaureate level Health Assessment classes. Two classes of approximately 15-20 students each were exposed to simulation- an actor (standardized patient) or a high fidelity simulator while the third group experienced a traditional classroom and lab -not simulation. A pre and post test was designed to measure knowledge and a survey instrument was used to measure student confidence levels before and after the learning experience. Results of the study have implications on the development and integration of innovative teaching pedagogies for nurse educators. ItemComputer-based recorded speech for word recognition testing(2008-10-21) Perry, Matthew H.; Emanuel, Diana C.; Towson University. Department of Audiology, Speech-Language Pathology and Deaf StudiesAlthough the importance of using standardized recordings for word recognition testing is well established, many clinicians still routinely use monitored-live voice (MLV). A prototype software program was developed to combine the speed and flexibility associated with MLV with the standardization of recorded word lists. The sound quality of 20 personal computers was evaluated for total harmonic distortion plus noise (THD+N). The computers with the poorest sound quality were then used to replace the recorded speech sources of two clinical audiometers and tested for compliance with ANSI standard s3.36-1996. Of the 20 computers evaluated, only one had sound quality too poor to qualify for clinical use under the ANSI standard. These findings suggest the sound quality of most personal computers is adequate for clinical use, and future computer-based presentation methods for word recognition testing could provide an attractive alternative to traditional methods. ItemFuzzy mediation as a dynamic method of information fusion and shared control(2010-07-27) Vincenti, Giovanni, 1978-; Towson University. Department of Computer and Information SciencesInformation fusion algorithms are designed to perform efficiently when dealing with multiple sensors and environments with a static set of integration rules. When placed in an environment with multiple controllers and the need for dynamic fusion, conventional algorithms do not extend to accomplish the task. Fuzzy Mediation is an innovative approach to creating an information fusion framework that can be used to mediate between an expert and a novice controller. With this research, we explore different aspects of Fuzzy Mediation. We start with the demonstration of the concept in conceptual as well as static environments, and then we move on to simulations that place an expert controller and a one based on artificially intelligent algorithms at the commands of an agent. Finally we explore the reactions of human controllers to the Fuzzy Mediation framework in a setting of learning a new motor task. The results show that Fuzzy Mediation is a successful extension of conventional information fusion techniques to accommodate for the dynamic interaction of two controllers directing an agent. We observed that the overall performance of the agent based on Fuzzy Mediation shows an improvement when compared to the performance of an agent directed solely by the novice controller. Moreover, this framework allows for a novice with no training to start interacting with the agent after observing very few examples. This situation would not be possible if an unsupervised novice controller directed an agent. When human controllers interact, Fuzzy Mediation shows its strengths as an index of how closely the two operators perform. The results obtained through this research show that Fuzzy Mediation is a very promising dynamic extension of information fusion techniques. As this is a new approach to shared control, it sets the perfect ground for further research. The possible applications range from the automotive and aeronautical fields to the evaluation of training effectiveness and performance. ItemThe relationship between acute stress, chronic stress, and spatial performance(2011-10-19) Mitchell, Margo Page; Faulkner, Margaret; Towson University. Department of PsychologyMany theories differentiate the cognitive impacts of acute versus chronic stress. For example, acute stress has been suggested to alter visual attention (Williams & Anderson, 1997), and chronic stress has been implicated in hippocampal atrophy by means of hypercortsolism (Sapolsky, 1999). This study related the stress indicators blood pressure, heart rate, and selfreport questionnaires, with performance in a spatial navigation task, the virtual Morris Water Maze. Fifty-four university students participated. Significant positive relationships found between the questionnaires and two of the physiological measurements lend physiologic support to the questionnaires. Some support was found for the relatedness of acute and chronic stress measurements (hypothesis one). This study shows that a coalescence of chronic and acute stress indicators relates more closely with performance than either chronic or acute stress exclusively (hypothesis two). This uniquely suggests that acute and chronic stress are both instrumental to the stress-performance relationship. A quadratic relationship found between the main performance variable, mean time latency, and a combination of chronic and acute stress variables indicates the lowest stress levels corresponded with the lowest performance, and highest stress levels with both the poorest and best performance (F (2, 46) = 3.57, p<.05). Also of interest is daily video-gamers' significantly higher blood pressure readings. ItemAntagonism of pro-2-PAM using central and peripheral anticholinergic drugs(2011-10-19) Ferrara, Teresa M.; Chachich, Mark; Petri, Herbert L.; Parente, Frederick; Towson University. Department of PsychologyThe goal of this study was two-fold. Experiment 1 characterized the intoxicating tremor produced by two known tremor-inducing drugs, oxotremorine and physostigmine in order to characterize the tremoregenic effects of a centrally acting oxime, pro-2-PAM. Pro-2-PAM crosses the blood brain barrier and may have therapeutic value against OP intoxication. Experiment 2 attempted to antagonize the tremor produced by 28.0 mg/kg of pro-2-PAM with a Med Associates System using central and peripheral anticholinergics. The centrally acting anticholinergics were atropine sulfate and scopolamine HBr; the peripherally acting anticholinergics were AMN and SMN. In Experiment 1, the only drugs that showed a tremoregenic effect against their controls were oxotremorine and physostigmine. A high dose of physostigmine (0.4 mg/kg) induced more tremor than 0.1 mg/kg of oxotremorine; only 0.1 mg/kg of oxotremorine induced more tremor than 28.0 mg/kg of pro-2-PAM. In Experiment 2, only the centrally acting anticholinergics reduced the tremoregenic effect of pro-2-PAM. ItemIncreasing the reading rate of Braille through telegraphic text and scaffolding(2011-10-19) Eskenazi, Michael A.; Sheffield, Ellyn G.; Towson University. Department of PsychologyBraille reading is a significantly slower process than sighted reading, but manipulations can be introduced to affect this speed (Knowlton & Wetzel, 1996). This study removed 20% of words within the text (known as telegraphic text) and provided context-based scaffolding to increase reading rate and maintain high levels of recall. Participants read six stories, were timed for reading rate, answered questions concerning details, and completed a demographic questionnaire about their reading experiences with Braille. Telegraphic text significantly increased reading rate and scaffolding significantly increased participants' memory for story details. Age, age of Braille acquisition, and age of blindness were negatively correlated with reading rate and amount of time spent using Braille was positively correlated with reading rate. User preference does not coincide with either speed or ability to recall story details. Implications for future research and applied technologies are discussed. ItemCommunity strengths to career capacities: family support, authenticity and career decision-making self-efficacy in the lesbian, gay and bisexual community(2011-10-19) Russon, Jody; Schmidt, Christa K., 1974-; Towson University. Department of PsychologyTheories in career development and positive psychology have discussed the importance of career decision-making self-efficacy (CDMSE) for diverse groups; however, there has been little development in this area for the lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) community (Lent, Brown & Hackett, 1994; Perez, 2007; Taylor & Betz, 1983). Previous research has shown that LGB individuals may experience a disruption in career development as psychological energy could be focused on developing sexual identity (Hetherington, 1991). The present study sought to determine if strength-based characteristics, found among LGB individuals, such as authenticity, acceptance from others, and social support from friends and family, predicted CDMSE (Kernis & Goldman, 2006; Mohr & Fassinger, 2003; Procidano & Heller). Survey results from 55 LGB-identified individuals indicated that social support from family and need for acceptance accounted for a significant amount of the variance in CDMSE. Implications for research and career counseling are discussed. ItemReducing misinformation effects while maintaining accurate recall in eyewitness memory(2011-10-19) Matsiyevskaya, Irina; Goodwin, Kerri A.; Towson University. Department of PsychologyA witness to a crime may mistakenly recall the events and relay those misrepresentations to their co-witnesses. This becomes problematic when witnesses provide testimonies to police officers; witnesses are likely to include the misinformation obtained during the discussion in their report. Previous studies attempted to reduce the misinformation effect using warnings, however, this methodology also reduced the amount of accurate information recalled, causing a tainted truth effect. In this study, participants witnessed a simulated crime, received post-event information (PEI) in the form of a narrative, then the warning, followed by a memory test. Optimum testimony was achieved by providing non-discrediting warnings about possible inaccuracies in the co-witness's report. The warning reduced the misinformation effect observed in participants who received misleading information. Participants who received all accurate PEI had similar accuracy rates in the warning and no warning conditions, displaying a reduced tainted truth effect. ItemPlacebo effect: impact of the expectation of caffeine on reaction time and mood(2011-10-19) Riloff, Tracy L.; Goodwin, Kerri A.; Towson University. Department of PsychologyThe placebo effect is a physiological and/or psychological response to an inert substance that is believed to contain active ingredients. A body of placebo research has linked this phenomenon to the expectancy theory. The present study investigated the impact of expectations about the effects of caffeine on subjectivity (e.g., mood) and objectivity (e.g., reaction time). Subjects (n = 90) were asked to consume decaffeinated club soda and were either falsely informed that the drink contained caffeine equivalent to one cup or four cups of caffeinated coffee or were accurately told that the drink did not contain caffeine. Mood and reaction time were measured by a subjective mood scale and a lexical decision task, respectively. Results demonstrated no significant main effects or interaction effects. Although the hypotheses were not supported, the placebo effect is a highly researched occurrence and has been demonstrated in a variety of fields including pharmacology, psychology, and medicine. ItemMentoring in higher education: an evaluation of the SAGE mentoring program and its relation to implicit intelligence theories(2011-10-19) Travers, Christopher; Wallace, Devin; Towson University. Department of PsychologyMore African Americans are in college than ever before, but these students still lag behind their white counterparts in every major area of academic achievement. The disparity between African American and White students is known as the achievement gap. Colleges have tried to improve this gap by providing students with mentoring and educational assistance programs. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of one mentor program, (SAGE), on achievement in terms of Grade Point Average. It was expected that implicit intelligence theories would moderate the relationship between SAGE participation and GPA. A hierarchical regression analysis was run in order to examine the interaction between SAGE and implicit intelligence theories. Results showed no significant main effects or interaction. ItemDispositional and comparative optimism: a framework for understanding positive minority experience(2011-10-19) Gonzalez, Kirsten A.; Galupo, M. Paz (Marlene Paz); Towson University. Department of PsychologyThe present research is the first to explore dispositional and comparative optimism across sexual orientation and race. Participants included 327 individuals 18 to 63 years of age from different race, sex, and sexual orientation backgrounds and were recruited through online data collection sites. Multiple ANOVAs were conducted to determine differences among the responses to the dispositional and comparative optimism measures. Supporting the initial hypothesis, there were no differences in the dispositional optimism scores across minority status. Partially supporting the initial hypothesis, sexual but not racial minorities rated the minority salient positive events of the comparative optimism measure more likely to happen to them as compared to individuals who identifying with the majority. There were no significant differences in those who identify with the majority and those who identified as minorities with regard to general positive events. Findings suggested that focusing on comparative optimism provides as a useful framework for further understanding positive minority experience. ItemJudean pillar figurines: a study(2011-10-19) Shapiro, Allen L.; Gittlen, Barry M.; Towson University. Jewish Studies Program[From Chapter 1: Introduction] Over one thousand small female terra cotta figurines have been discovered in almost every archaeological excavation within the region of ancient Judah in contexts dating from the eighth to the sixth century B.C.E (Kletter 1996: 4, 40-41)[...] These standing "pillar" female figurines are characterized by moulded or handmade heads, large exaggerated breasts, and columnar lower bodies. Some of the bodies are solid and handmade or moulded like the head; some bodies are wheel-turned and hollow (Kletter 1996: 19)[...] Intriguingly, despite their large number, wide spread distribution and remarkable appearance, the absence of any inscriptions on the JPFs or any direct biblical or other textual statements directly linking to the JPFs has sparked a vigorous debate among scholars concerning the figurine's function and purpose[...] This present study seeks to discover new insights, such as differences in the various types of JPFs found in the geographical regions of ancient Israel and the contexts of the finds, breakage patterns, and assemblages with other objects to suggest conclusions concerning their purpose. To this end, I created a database derived from Raz Kletter's published tabulation and catalogue of the typology, location, context, changes in the size and shape of the figurines in various regions, breakage patterns, and the site, square, location of the finds of JPFs, the association of JPFs with other artifacts, and bibliographic reference to each find (Kletter 1996: 147-231)[...] The data in this study suggests three possible uses of the JPFs: (1) objects used in sorcery 6 or magic, (2) cult objects for fertility or other feminine purposes; or (3) objects representing or related to the goddess Asherah. In many ways these three are similar. ItemA Spanish-language modified rhyme test for word recongition testing(2011-10-19) Ball, Rita Irene; Kreisman, Brian M.; Towson University. Department of Audiology, Speech-Language Pathology and Deaf StudiesA Spanish-Language Modified Rhyme Test (MRT) for word recognition testing was developed using the original MRT structure by House et al. (1965) with modifications as specified by Aguilar (1991). The greatest modification to the Spanish-Language MRT originally proposed by Aguilar (1991) is the use of bisyllabic Spanish words instead of monosyllabic words. A total of six 50-word lists were developed and recorded onto a compact disk (CD). This study also included testing of the developed test material in order to collect normative data. Forty four (N=44) native Spanish-speaking participants (18 males, 26 females) with normal hearing were included in this study. Paired-samples t-tests showed no ear, age or gender effect between the mean scores. Individuals with normal hearing scored close to or equal to 100% correct on all lists. Further studies, which may include a larger sample size and the inclusion of Spanish-speaking participants with hearing loss, are necessary in order to further validate the materials. ItemPediatricians' treatment decisions for children with mental health disorders(2011-10-19) Bonesteel, Janna E.; Mattanah, Jonathan; Towson University. Department of PsychologyPediatricians are being called upon to take a more active role in the treatment of mental health problems among their patients. The aims of this study were to examine pediatricians' treatment decisions for patients presenting with symptoms of attentiondeficit hyperactivity disorder or depression and examine the effect of parental pressure to prescribe medication. Exploratory analyses were conducted to examine if pediatricians' attachment styles impacted their treatment decisions. An online survey was completed by 97 pediatricians in Maryland. Pediatricians reported being more likely to treat ADHD on their own than depression and were more likely to prescribe medication for ADHD than depression. Parental pressure to prescribe medication was not a significant predictor for managing the case on their own, prescribing medication, or managing the case in conjunction with a referral to a mental health provider. Exploratory analyses testing the effect of pediatricians' attachment were non-significant for all three variables of interest. ItemPredicting the effects of land cover and stormwater management on stream health in Baltimore County, Maryland(2011-10-19) Hirsch, Robert H., IV; Lu, Kang Shou; Towson University. Department of Geography and Environmental PlanningMaintaining stream health in urban and agricultural riverscapes is a challenge for environmental managers, and requires a better understanding of stream ecology and biogeography. This study develops a spatial generalized least squares model for predicting the effects of land cover and stormwater management (SWM) on Piedmont stream health in Baltimore County, Maryland. Such models are needed to better integrate stream health management with local land use planning and SWM programs. The model predicts stream health impairment with >80% accuracy. Model performance is suitable for supporting a precautionary policy for preventing water quality impairment. Results show how SWM reshapes catchments, and interacts with stream health through coupled human-environment systems. Riparian buffers had little impact on stream health, while large effects were found for impervious surfaces and forest cover. Continuing development of SWM data resources and refinements to the model promise new knowledge and more nuanced and precise predictions. ItemThe role of distance and proximity in social support and psychological distress for women with infertility(2011-10-19) Chong, Alexandra; Shifren, Kim; Towson University. Department of PsychologyAbout 10% of women aged 15-44 have difficulty getting pregnant or remaining pregnant (CDC, 2011). This study was on how women use their social support to cope with their infertility. The three aims of the present study were: (1) examine online communication versus face-to-face interactions for infertility social support groups, (2) examine online communications versus face-to-face interactions for personal social support network, and (3) examine relationships between the average geographical location of personal social support network and psychological distress outcomes. There were no significant differences between face-to-face interactions and online communication on psychological distress for either infertility social support groups or personal social support groups. A greater average geographical distance of personal social support was significantly correlated with lower levels of emotional distress and less negative coping styles. The findings suggest that the use of online communication for social support when coping with infertility is comparable to face-to-face interactions, if not preferable. ItemElectrophysiological responses of taste-receptor cells to various feeding stimulants, deterrents, and their interactions in gypsy moth larvae, Lymantria dispar (L.)(2011-10-19) Martin, Timothy Lee; Shields, Vonnie; Towson University. Department of Biological SciencesGypsy moth larvae are highly polyphagous feeders. They possess taste sensory organs, the medial and lateral galeal styloconic sensilla, which play an important role in host-plant selection through the detection of phytochemicals, such as alkaloids. The styloconic sensilla each house four taste receptor cells, including a sugar, salt, deterrent, and inositol cell. Using a single cell electrophysiological tip-recording method, my aim was to characterize the temporal firing patterns and sensitivities of the receptor cells within each sensillum when exposed to a selected phytochemicals. These results revealed that one or more cells responded to selected alkaloids, sugars, sugar alcohols, and salt. The deterrent cell exhibited a robust temporal firing pattern and displayed varying sensitivity to alkaloid stimulation. I also examined the effects of mixture interactions of these phytochemicals on food palatability. This study offers insights into the role of phytochemicals, especially alkaloids, in the taste physiology of this larval insect. ItemShining a light on campus offenses: a look at student offending and victimization at Towson University(2011-10-19) Kirsch, Janet Julia; Manasse, Michelle; Towson University. Social Sciences ProgramWith only forty percent of crimes reported, the underreporting of criminal incidents is a national problem as well as a campus problem. The purpose of this study was to investigate the crimes that occur at Towson University. Since drug and alcohol usage is a hidden crime and not likely to be reported, this study also examined the extent of drug and alcohol usage. The objective was to see if there was a correlation between drug and alcohol usage and criminal incidents on campus. This study also determined if certain characteristics were related to a student's involvement in campus crimes. Data analyses found that campus crimes are underrepresented. The analyses also showed that there is a significant positive relationship between marijuana usage and campus offending and victimization. Also, there is a significant positive relationship between involvement hours and victimization as well as between fraternity membership and victimization. ItemExternal secretions and antifungal defense in subterranean termites(2011-10-19) Hamilton, Casey; Bulmer, Mark S.; Towson University. Department of Biological SciencesTermites face strong pathogenic pressures associated with their social organization and ecological attributes. Reticulitermes subterranean termites are exposed to the entomopathogenic fungus Metarhizium anisopliae, which is a natural pathogen ubiquitous in the soil that these termites nest and forage in. M. anisopliae can effectively evade insect innate immune defenses after penetrating the cuticle. Here, I describe an external antifungal defense system utilized by Reticulitermes in which salivary gland antifungal secretions with strong GNBP-associated B-1,3-glucanase activity are spread over the cuticle. Inhibition of B-1,3-glucanase activity decreases antifungal activity and increases mortality in termites exposed to a local strain of M. anisopliae. RNA interference shows that GNBP2 and termicin are essential antifungal molecules in these termites, and important components of external defenses. This external defense strategy targets fungal pathogens before cuticular penetration, and could have been important in overcoming the pathogenic pressures associated with group living and nesting in soil. ItemThe effect of direction of background noise, background noise type, and signal type on the acceptable noise level in individuals with normal hearing(2011-10-19) Moore, Colleen Elizabeth; Emanuel, Diana C.; Towson University. Department of Audiology, Speech-Language Pathology and Deaf StudiesAcceptable Noise Levels (ANLs) were examined for 19 participants with normal hearing using three types of stimuli (speech, music, phone ring) presented in the sound field at 0 degrees and two types of noise (babble, white noise) presented in the sound field via three different direction conditions: 0 degrees only, 180 degrees only, and surround (0 degrees, 90 degrees, 180 degrees, 270 degrees). Results showed no significant differences in ANLs across noise type or stimulus type, but a significant difference for surround sound loudspeaker array compared with speakers from one direction, with a larger ANL associated with multiple loud speakers. The main conclusion was that an individual's tolerance for background noise is not affected by signal type or type of background noise but is affected by the direction of the noise source.