Psychology - Theses, Dissertations, and other Required Graduate Degree Essays

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Neural mechanisms mediating voluntary shifts of spatial attention

Author: 
Date created: 
2006
Abstract: 

The neural mechanisms underlying voluntary shifts of spatial attention were investigated by examining the event-related potentials (ERPs) to attention-directing cues and associated changes in alpha-band (8-14 Hz) electroencephalographic (EEG) activity. Intramodal auditory and visual shifts of attention were examined in Experiments 1 and 2, and crossmodal shifts of attention were examined in Experiments 3 and 4. Different patterns of ERP and alpha-band activities were observed across the four experiments. Frontal ERP activity (ADAN) was elicited by visual cues but not by auditory cues, which disconfirms previous claims t hat that this frontal activity reflects supramodal attentional control processes. Posterior ERP activity (LDAP) and associated changes in alpha-band EEG oscillations were observed in all experiments, but the scalp topographies of these activities depended on the modality of the task-relevant target. Such topographic differences suggest that the posterior ERP and alpha-band activities reflect attentional preparation in sensory-specific regions of cortex.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Department of Psychology - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)

The structure of physical violence in intimate relationships

Author: 
Date created: 
2003
Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Theses (Dept. of Psychology) / Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)

Psychopathy and recividism following treatment among previously violent youth

Date created: 
2003
Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Theses (Dept. of Psychology) / Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)

Social support and posttraumatic growth following diagnosis with breast cancer

Author: 
Date created: 
2003
Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Theses (Dept. of Psychology) / Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)

Worry and coping : an attachment perspective

Author: 
Date created: 
2003
Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Theses (Dept. of Psychology) / Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)

The relation between orienting to eye gaze and social gaze following in children with autism

Date created: 
2007
Abstract: 

Previous research indicates that adolescents with autism, unlike their typically developing peers, do not automatically orient their attention in response to directional gaze cues. The present study investigated relations between orienting responses to gaze direction on a computer-based attention task and performance on tasks that required the ability to understand or act on the social meaning of directional gaze in a lab setting. Results confirmed that children with high functioning autism (HFA) show less reflexive orienting in response to eye-gaze cues and also extend this finding to a younger sample (mean mental age = 131 months). Although individuals varied with regard to the degree to which they reflexively oriented to eye-gaze direction, for children with autism, volitional orienting to eyes was associated with delayed social gaze following. Findings suggest that computer based assessments of social attention may be useful indices of the real world social attention in children with autism.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Department of Psychology - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)

Judgments of violence risk: the impact of information about variable risk factors

Author: 
Date created: 
2007
Abstract: 

Despite perceived promise of variable (i.e., dynamic) risk factors for violence risk assessment, little research has examined the influence this type of factor has on risk estimates and case management decisions. This study explores whether risk judgments and case management decisions change when evaluators are provided with information relevant to variable risk factors. Mental health professionals (N = 155) completed a file-based risk assessment. Participants were randomly assigned a case history and to one of three ‘information’ conditions: (1) the patient’s past functioning, (2) the patient’s past and recent functioning, and (3) the patient’s past and recent functioning, and his plans for the future. Results showed that information about present functioning and future plans had an effect on some risk judgments and case management decisions. The findings suggest that evaluators consider information relevant to variable risk factors when assessing risk. Implications of the findings for violence risk research are discussed.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Department of Psychology - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)

The effect of “ground” on “figure”: the impact of context reinstatement and context integration on eyewitness testimonies

Author: 
Date created: 
2007
Abstract: 

Eich (1985) found that participants' recall benefited especially from context reinstatement when they integrated the target with the contextual features in their environment (i.e., context integration). We explored the relationship between these two contextual manipulations in an eyewitness situation. All participants (N = 160) viewed a video of a staged theft and were asked to identify the culprit and recall the event after a one-week delay. Results suggested that context reinstatement (but not context integration) enhanced the perceived familiarity of the target/foil and their willingness to identify someone in the lineup. Although context reinstatement improved facial identification when the target was present, it also artificially boosted participants’ confidence. In terms of recall, reinstating the study context improved participants’ free recall of both central and peripheral details and cued recall of peripheral details. The results were consistent with the (mis)attribution of familiarity and the outshining hypothesis.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Department of Psychology - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)

The role of narcissism and self-esteem in predicting peer-oriented and dating aggression in a sample of high-risk youths

Date created: 
2007
Abstract: 

In the psychological literature, low self-esteem has frequently been linked to aggressive behaviour in both youth and adults. These findings, however, have been challenged and it has been proposed that narcissism is actually the personality characteristic that gives rise to aggression towards others. Research investigating the relationship between narcissism, self-esteem and aggression in adolescents has emphasized the importance of examining both personality constructs to gain a better understanding of aggressive behaviour. The primary focus of this study is to expand on the literature examining narcissism, self-esteem and aggression in adolescents by investigating the relationship between these constructs in a sample of high-risk youth. Furthermore, this research will not only investigate peer-oriented aggression, but will extend the hypotheses to incorporate attitudes about dating aggression. Participants included 110 male and female youth between the ages of 12 to 18 years. Results indicated that narcissism predicts both peer-oriented aggression as well as attitudes towards aggression in a dating relationship for both male and female youth. Self-esteem was found to significantly predict peer-oriented aggression and attitudes towards dating aggression, but only when examined in conjunction with narcissism. No significant gender effects were found. Discussion focuses on the overlap between narcissism and self-esteem in predicting aggression, as well as an examination of different developmental trajectories which lead to aggressive behaviour.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Department of Psychology - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Dissertation (Ph.D.)