Theses, Dissertations, and other Required Graduate Degree Essays

Receive updates for this collection

This collection contains digitized SFU theses except for those theses submitted within the last 12 months. If you cannot find the thesis you are looking for please search Recently Submitted Theses as it may be a recently submitted thesis and thus not yet available in Summit.

Circadian mechanisms of multiple meal anticipation

Date created: 
2021-12-14
Abstract: 

Circadian food anticipatory activity (FAA) has been modeled as the output of a dual food-entrainable oscillator (FEO) system, based on reports that rats can anticipate two but not three daily meals, and two meals recurring at different circadian intervals. Using operant responding to measure FAA, we found that rats can anticipate at least four daily meals, that the anticipation rhythm persists during food deprivation, and that the master light-entrainable circadian pacemaker in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) is not required. Intact and SCN-lesioned rats could also anticipate 2 daily meals recurring at 24-hour and 26-hour intervals. Critically the two bouts of FAA persisted with ~24- and ~26-hour periodicities during food deprivation tests. These findings are consistent with a multiple circadian FEO model of food anticipation. A circadian FEO model is challenged by limited evidence that rats can anticipate meals scheduled at long (e.g., 16-hour) but non-circadian intervals, suggesting a ‘universal timing system’ that is not constrained to circadian intervals. At many of these intervals, however, meals occur at a few circadian phases every two or three cycles. Apparent non-circadian anticipation could therefore be based on entrainment of multiple circadian FEOs. We found that rats can anticipate meals recurring at 16-hour, and possibly 18-hour intervals, but do so by becoming active at each of three or four possible daily mealtimes, respectively, rather than every 16 or 18 hours. Anticipation of circadian feeding intervals does not require the SCN, but anticipation of food on fixed-interval reinforcement schedules in the seconds-to-minutes range has been reported to be disrupted in mice housed in constant light (LL), which damps SCN rhythms. To determine whether LL-induced circadian desynchrony has a similar effect in rats, we tested 15- and 30-second interval timing in rats housed in LL. We found no evidence for a similar disruption of short interval timing. These results confirm and extend the evidence that timing of short (seconds to minutes) and circadian intervals rely on formally and neuroanatomically distinct mechanisms, and that timing of intermediate (e.g., 4-, 6-, 12-, 16-, 18-hour) and circadian intervals relies on a system of circadian oscillators entrainable by food.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Ralph Mistlberger
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Psychology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Investigating the utility of the user type hexad for educational gamification design

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-07-28
Abstract: 

Applying game mechanics outside of digital game contexts to improve learning outcomes is known as educational gamification. Games can be highly motivating and engaging to players but not all games are equally motivating to all players. Gamification works best when the type of game mechanic matches the intrinsic motivational needs of a student. This thesis investigates the concept of customizing gamification to match individual user preference categories. Throughout this thesis, I document how one novice game designer and researcher attempts to simultaneously use and investigate a bleeding-edge motivational gamification design tool, the User Type Hexad framework (Marczewski, 2015; 2018; Tondello, Mora, Marczewski, & Nacke, 2018) to create an educational application intended to teach life skills through motivationally customized gameplay in the real world. This thesis also details the creation and validation of a new instrument, LifeLeaps (Life Skill Learning Preference Survey), which I hope can assist future researchers, game designers, and educators, to assess life skill learning preferences. The goal of this work was to investigate if clusters of motivational preferences (User Types) are correlated to life skill learning preferences and to create gamified instruction which pairs learning preferences with gameplay preferences.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
David Kaufman
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Selection between variance-optimal and bias-optimal designs when some two-factor interactions are important

Date created: 
2022-04-25
Abstract: 

Fractional factorial designs are useful for collecting data in many fields of studies because they allow us to study the effects of many factors on the response. As the primary interest of most experiments is for screening important factors, interactions are generally assumed to be negligible. When some two-factor interactions are important, variance-optimal designs and bias-optimal designs are available. In this study, we compare these two types of designs by using a mean squared error criterion that takes effect sparsity into consideration. We obtain a closed-form expression of this mean squared error criterion for the two types of designs. Under different levels of sparsity, results are obtained for designs of 10, 12, 14, 20, 26, 28 runs, which will help practitioners to choose between the two types of designs.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Boxin Tang
Department: 
Science: Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.Sc.

Repertoires for designing with nonhumans

Author: 
Date created: 
2022-04-06
Abstract: 

HCI and design researchers are increasingly seeing limitations to human-centeredness in design. As a result, researchers are turning to new explorations that emphasize the need to see design and computing within a broader set of more-than-human relations and values. In this shift toward posthumanism, related theories and philosophies have long pointed out the need and challenge of decentering the human. In design, this challenge falls to the human designer. It requires design practitioners to critically and introspectively rethink their relations to methods, practices, and nonhumans such as tools and materials. The work in this dissertation investigates possible actions that the human designer can take to increase the participation of nonhumans, or what is referred to as repertoires. The work presented in this dissertation develops repertoires through three design cases: Videos of Things, which looks at how to better account for nonhumans through narrative strategies; Morse Things, which reconsiders design journeys as a way to pay attention to nonhumans in the design process, and; Woven Things, which draws from anthropological approaches to develop three repertoires to actively work with the nonhumans of design. The work takes a first-person approach to design with a commitment to thing perspectives. The contribution of this dissertation is as follows: firstly, it articulates and mobilizes three repertoires. It also offers the process of developing such repertoires, strengthens their position amongst existing methods and activities of design in HCI, and illustrates the nuances and attitudes necessary to engage in more-than-human design.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Ron Wakkary
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Fault-tolerant topology and operation of multi-port interlink modular multilevel converter based solid-state transformer in future distribution systems

Author: 
Date created: 
2022-04-14
Abstract: 

Conventional radial AC distribution systems cannot effectively accommodate the rapidly increasing renewable energy sources (RESs) and new loads such as fast charging stations of electric vehicles. To address the pressing challenges, active distribution grids and DC systems have attracted significant interests with their many potential benefits. Considering that AC and DC systems will coexist in future distribution grids wherever suitable, hybrid AC/DC distribution is regarded as a promising and practical solution for future distribution systems. The focus of this work, multiport interlink modular multilevel converter-based solid-state transformers (iMMC-SSTs), is expected to play a key enabling role in hybrid distribution systems to integrate different grid entities, including both AC and DC networks at both medium and low voltage levels. The iMMC-SST features capabilities such as bidirectional power transfer, fault isolation and restoration, system reconfiguration, and voltage regulation. However, power electronics-based SSTs are more vulnerable under abnormal conditions, which hinders their adoption in practical systems. The high number of circuit elements are potential fault sources in the iMMC-SST. The possible faults of the SST and the connected feeders can destroy balance of the system and even result in second faults. A comprehensive protection scheme for the iMMC-SST is indispensable to ensure the device's safety and improve the system’s reliability and robustness. Based on the fault location, abnormal conditions are in general divided into external and internal types. In this work, grounding scheme for the SST is designed and investigated to address typical external fault conditions such as the single line-to-ground (SLG) short-circuit fault and single pole-to-ground (SPG) short-circuit fault. For internal abnormal conditions, power switch faults are of major concerns of the iMMC-SST since a switch failure will lead to arm voltage imbalance, circulating current increase, and second faults. The submodule (SM) switch open-circuit (OC) fault analysis is presented considering different operation modes of the iMMC-SST in Chapter 4. Unlike traditional MMC applications, the iMMC-SST has different fault characteristics, and the previous fault diagnosis and fault-tolerant schemes developed for other applications are not applicable here. Based on detailed analysis of the fault behaviors, a fault-tolerant scheme based on the global redundant module and unbalanced control is proposed in Chapter 5. Similarly, the dual active bridge (DAB) switch OC fault is studied in detail, and a DC current injection fault-tolerant method is proposed to address the overcurrent and transformer saturation issues in Chapter 6. The proposed solutions and their analysis are verified with MATLAB simulations and experiments with scaled-down laboratory prototypes.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Jiacheng (Jason) Wang
Department: 
Applied Sciences: School of Mechatronic Systems Engineering
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

From the Organization of African Unity (OAU) to the African Union (AU): Regionalism, international organization and institutional change in Africa

Author: 
Date created: 
2022-03-11
Abstract: 

The literature on regionalism in Africa often discounts the OAU’s replacement by the AU as a ‘cosmetic name change’ or describes the AU as ‘old wine in a new bottle’. My dissertation contributes to these discussions by responding to the ‘what changed’ and the ‘why’ questions of this institutional change in Africa. First, it applies a three-tier ontological model of institutional ordering to identify and empirically map institutional changes within the OAU from 1980 to 2000 and from the OAU to the AU at three primary levels: the foundational/constitutive (deepest level 1), and the organizational and operational (shallower levels 2 and 3). I advance two main arguments. First, I argue that the replacement of the OAU by the AU was an innovative change in African regional governance architecture, which was a more significant form of institutional change than an adaptive change. An innovative change occurs at all three levels of institutional ordering. Adaptive change, on the other hand, is generally mechanistic and occurs mainly at levels 2 and 3, without any significant changes at level 1. Second, I argue that the replacement of the OAU with the AU was the result of a historical conjuncture of material and ideational, and normative factors that challenged the OAU’s institutional legitimacy, especially from the 1980s to 2001. Within the context of the historical conjecture, material factors, exogenous and endogenous to Africa provided the push for the OAU’s replacement by the AU. However, these material factors cannot, on their own, provide an adequate account of the change and must be examined together with the ideational/normative factors. My analysis thus emphasizes the role of ideas and an African agency in understanding how the material and ideational and normative elements of the historical conjuncture came together at a particular historical period and interpreted in a particular manner that culminated in the decision to disband the OAU in 2001. At the core of this institutional change is the redefinition of ‘sovereignty as responsibility’ in Africa through the Constitutive Act of the Union, NEPAD, and the APRM. The findings of this study thus provide relevant lessons for the comparative study of regionalism, international organization, and sovereignty regimes in Asia, the Americas, and Europe, given that leading regional governance organizations like the ASEAN, OAS, and EU are yet to institutionalize the emerging norm on ‘sovereignty as responsibility.’

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
James Busumtwi-Sam
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Political Science
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Sustainable management of bioplastics: Lessons from a social innovation lab for Simon Fraser University and British Columbia

Author: 
Date created: 
2022-03-30
Abstract: 

Bioplastic food packaging is gaining traction as an alternative to petroleum-based plastics and is being considered within university sustainability strategies. However, bioplastics present their own complex challenges and limitations to sustainability across their lifecycle. Using a social innovation lab approach, this research explored the challenges and opportunities of bioplastic packaging and foodservice ware from a systems perspective. This study draws upon the findings from key informant interviews and three workshops with stakeholders from across the bioplastics system, as well as a current practice scan of Canadian universities. The findings from this research informed recommendations for improving the use and management of bioplastics with respect to bioplastic feedstocks; standards and regulations; waste management; and sustainability and single-use item reduction more broadly. Furthermore, the findings were applied to the context of Simon Fraser University (SFU), and the study provides recommendations on bioplastic use and sustainability at SFU.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Tammara Soma
Department: 
Environment: School of Resource and Environmental Management
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.R.M. (Planning)

Untying the knot of dance expertise: Enabling kinesthetic transfer in technologically-mediated spaces

Date created: 
2017-01-17
Abstract: 

The technological transmission of dance is increasingly becoming more integrated in the construction of dance knowledge. In my dissertation I examine how the physical experience and practice of dance can be effectively recorded and transferred in technologically-mediated spaces. I refer to the physical experience of dance as kinesthetic knowledge and conduct a series of three case studies, informed by my practice in dance and Laban/Bartenieff Movement Studies, to examine the kinesthetic transmission process. Through my research I demonstrate the importance of movement expertise in the kinesthetic transmission process and show how observers interpret translations of kinesthetic knowledge through their unique movement training background. I argue that for kinesthetic knowledge to be effectively transferred in technologically-mediated spaces, there needs to be more understanding of how to design for audiences of diverse movement backgrounds and application of dance expertise research. Informed by an enactive theoretical understanding of cognition, I analyze expert perception through observers' eye movement patterns, performance in a change detection task, interview data, and survey data. I find dance experts perform better in the change detection task and look closer to the mover's hip region than non-experts. For research to continue to progress, I suggest dance expertise must be more rigorously defined, and I create the Movement Expertise Survey as a first step in this process. In parallel research, I critically examine how knowledge is transmitted in technologically-mediated dance works and develop the I-TEC design framework to promote kinesthetic interaction. I apply this framework to my development of A Performer's Perspective, an online interactive documentary that transmits the kinesthetic experiences of three dancers. I suggest embodied design approaches and multi-modal observational practices can increase kinesthetic empathy and generate new physical experiences that are only possible in technologically-mediated spaces. By combining practice-led and practice-based approaches, I emphasize the equal importance of generating knowledge through both artistic and scientific avenues of discovery and suggest a new understanding of movement expertise that can inform research in embodied cognition, dance documentation, and embodied design practices.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Thecla Schiphorst
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Conditional statements in mathematics and beyond: Syntax, semantics, and context

Author: 
Date created: 
2022-01-20
Abstract: 

Logic is an inseparable part of mathematics and is ubiquitous everywhere, such as in definitions, in theorem statements, in proofs, etc. This thesis starts with a discussion about the significant role of logic, both in formal mathematics and in informal mathematics, that includes all mathematical discussions in everyday language, with the main focus on conditional statements. A conditional statement does not have a fixed definition and has different interpretations in colloquial language, philosophy, logic, and mathematics. Mathematics uses the same definition as the one defined in logic, known as a material conditional. However, this definition is different from the interpretations in other disciplines, which makes it a topic that causes difficulties for students, especially when conditionals have irrelevant antecedents and consequents. This thesis discusses word problems in mathematics and explains why mathematics needs to include conditionals with irrelevant clauses. Like any other language, logic has its own semantics and syntax, but, besides the logical form of a statement, its context can influence the way people understand them. The current work adds a third component, namely context, to syntax and semantics of logic as a language, and details two studies to show that the context of a conditional statement is a determinative factor in understanding them. The first study examines how a mathematician with a good background in elementary logic understands conditional statements in different contexts of logic, mathematics, and colloquial language. The data are created through a clinical interview designed in three formats: structured, semi-structured, and non-structured. I also extend Stephen Toulmin's argumentation scheme to capture more features of the events and prepare data for analysis. The second study examines the language that thirty-four prospective elementary school teachers use and understand when dealing with situations involving conditional sentences; data is collected through a questionnaire. The theory of mental models is used to analyze data for both studies. The results from the research studies of this thesis show that the context can highly influence people’s understanding of a conditional statement, and they mostly choose the type of conditionals present in everyday language.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Rina Zazkis
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Re/construction of self: Discourse, and the myth of the return analyzing the narratives of seven women diagnosed with schizophrenia

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-12-10
Abstract: 

Psychiatry underwent a significant transformation from 1945 to 1965, particularly with respect to techniques and practices for patients with schizophrenia. My dissertation offers evidence of this transformation in autobiographical narratives written by women diagnosed with schizophrenia published during this time that references psychiatric language in the patients’ narratives of becoming, stories of their renewed self or return to their former state of normalcy. By analyzing these autobiographical texts in the historical context of these two decades, which included the widespread adoption of psychoanalytic theory in the late 1940s, the rise of the anti-psychiatry movement, and the introduction of anti-psychotics into the asylums, overlapping and intersecting spheres of influence in the field of psychiatry can be seen to inform the autobiographers’ efforts to re/build their sense of self. The socio-political and theoretical works of Erving Goffman, Michel Foucault, and Sigmund Freud serve as a foundation for this work. Vladimir Propp’s study of the folktale form and structure, and the mythological motif of “the return” in particular, complements the work of these three figures and can consistently be seen in the architecture of narratives written by schizophrenics. These autobiographical schizophrenic narratives construct the authors as a third persona generated in the act of writing a “fabricated self.” The writing process is therefore not a cure, but a desire to return to their family, their community, and ultimately to a normal state they believe existed prior to diagnosis.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Gary McCarron
Department: 
: Individualized Interdisciplinary Studies
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.