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Talking Back: Trans Youth and Resilience in Action

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2020-05-12
Abstract: 

In 2015 the Gender Vectors research team received a major research grant to conduct research with and about trans-gender youth in the Greater Vancouver Area. A unique aspect of this research project involved combining social action research with the development of a prototype of a video game as a knowledge translation tool to depict the life experiences of trans youth. We draw on transformative gender just-ice theory to document and address the diminished life chances of and the need to promote resilience among trans youth in the region and more broadly, across Canada and the United States. This article provides an overview of the research project and concludes by identifying key insights relating to resiliency that resulted from 15 narrative interviews with trans-gender youth, focus group meetings with the Project’s Youth Advisory  Council,  and  dialog  from  an inter-generational workshop  for  transgender  youth  and  adult care/service providers and allies. These themes informed the creation of the prototype.

Document type: 
Article

Re-animating the Mathematical Concept: A Materialist Look at Students Practicing Mathematics with Digital Technology

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2017-02-15
Abstract: 

This paper proposes a philosophical approach to the mathematical engagement involving students and a digital tool. This philosophical proposal aligns with other theories of learning that have been implemented in mathematics education but rearticulates some metaphors so as to promote insight and ideas to further support continued investigations into the learning of mathematics. In particular, this philosophical proposal takes seriously the notion that a priori to activity, there are no objects which in turn challenge the notions of intention, affordance and/or representation. To exemplify this perspective, two episodes of grade nine students using a dynamic geometry software are analysed to elaborate how mathematics can be seen to emerge from working with a tool.

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Article
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Pre-sleep cognitive activity: A systematic review

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Abstract: 

This review focuses on three themes: 1) the nature of pre sleep cognitive activity in good sleepers and individuals with insomnia, 2) the links between measures of pre sleep cognitive activity and sleep onset latency (SOL) or insomnia, and 3) the effect of manipulating pre sleep cognitive activity on SOL or insomnia. Regarding the first theme, mentation reports have been collected in a sleep laboratory, with an ambulatory monitoring device, or using a voice activated tape recorder. Normal transition to sleep is characterized by sensorial imagery, deactivation of higher cognitive processes, hallucinations, and changes in agency (e.g., inner speech). Moreover, pre sleep thoughts in individuals with insomnia frequently relate to planning or problem solving, and are more unpleasant than in good sleepers. Regarding the second theme, ten questionnaires and three interviews were identified. Insomnia is associated with more thoughts that interfere with sleep, counterfactual processing, worries, maladaptive thought control strategies, covert monitoring, and cognitive arousal. Regarding the third theme, several strategies have been tested: mental imagery, hypnosis, paradoxical intention, articulatory suppression, ordinary suppression, and distraction. Their effect is either beneficial, negligible, or detrimental. Future research should focus on the mechanisms through which some forms of cognitive activity affect sleep onset latency

How Do Adults And Teens With Self-Declared Autism Spectrum Disorder Experience Eye Contact? A Qualitative Analysis of First-Hand Accounts

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2017-11-28
Abstract: 

A tendency to avoid eye contact is an early indicator of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and difficulties with eye contact often persist throughout the lifespan. Eye contact difficulties may underlie social cognitive deficits in ASD, and can create significant social and occupational barriers. Thus, this topic has received substantial research and clinical attention. In this study, we used qualitative methods to analyze self-reported experiences with eye contact as described by teens and adults with self-declared ASD. Results suggest people with a self- declared ASD diagnosis experience adverse emotional and physiological reactions, feelings of being invaded, and sensory overload while making eye contact, in addition to difficulties understanding social nuances, and difficulties receiving and sending nonverbal information. Some data support existing mindblindness frameworks, and hyperarousal or hypoarousal theories of eye contact, but we also present novel findings unaccounted for by existing frameworks. Additionally, we highlight innovative strategies people with self-declared ASD have devised to overcome or cope with their eye contact difficulties.

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Article
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Research process and sleep app design lessons learned from the reflective examination of a sleep study

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2019-06-12
Abstract: 

Introduction  

Mobile sleep apps are promising accessible treatment for insomnia. Using them as data collection tools akin to sleep diaries has also been proposed. Most of these apps, however, have not been developed using evidence-based principles; limited research exists on their design as research tools (Bhat et al. 2015) (Yu et al., 2019).

In the present study, we explored the opportunities and challenges experienced when using a mobile app for research with our own team’s research study as the unit of analysis. This is an intrinsic case study (Stake, 1995), which can inform other researchers as they use sleep apps in research as an intervention (treatment) or research tool (data collection). 

Materials and methods:

Data were collected during a larger study, designed to test the effects of serial diverse imagining (Beaudoin et al., 2016), using SomnoTest, on insomnia. Data of 19 controls and 15 insomniacs, aged between 18 and 30 years, were analysed. Participants were assigned to one of two app conditions. Group 1 participants heard a countdown from 99 to 1 and Group 2 were prompted to visualise randomly selected brief scenes read by the app at eight-second intervals. Participants completed a one-week sleep diary while using SomnoTest, during the second week.

            This was the first study to analyze SomnoTest data using a qualitative approach involving direct interpretation of participants’ patterns of mobile app usage based on actions recorded (i.e., press start, end, pause, resume, or cancel; time stamp; count of played items), reorganization of usage patterns into tables (visualisation; tabulation), reflection of researchers on their respective experiences in analyzing the data, and the derivation of themes and selection of exemplars based on participants’ usage and researchers’ experiences.

Results

Our exploration revealed four themes: 1) unreliability of sleep diaries when triangulated against SomnoTest data, given that 9 participants had not used the app as claimed; 2) complex, intensive qualitative analysis is needed to identify valid data in an unstructured data set; 3) importance of visualisation when examining data to uncover patterns; 4) identification of “fans” who continue to use the app after their participation in the study.

Our findings reveal that data cleaning involves intensive case-by-case analysis of participant data, which proved challenging with 34 participants and would prove prohibitive for larger scale studies. However, these insights can inform how future sleep studies involving mobile app. 

Conclusion

The development of an algorithm that can efficiently filter valid data usage patterns would facilitate data analysis and researchers’ experience. This would increase sleep app usability as a treatment and research tool. Developing a process for increasing efficiency in data analysis is necessary to exploit the advantages of large-scale data collection that a sleep app makes possible. Further, informing participants that app data would be triangulated against sleep diary during data collection and analysis might increase the accuracy of the data that participants provide in sleep diaries.

Acknowledgements

Conflict of Interest 

Dr. Beaudoin is president of CogSci Apps (develops SomnoTest, mySleepButton and Hook propductivity apps) and owner of CogZest.

References:

Beaudoin, L. P., Digdon, N., O’Neill, K. & Racour, G. (2016). Serial diverse imagining task: A new remedy for bedtime complaints of worrying and other sleep-disruptive mental activity.Poster presented at SLEEP 2016 (A joint meeting of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society). Denver, CO.

Morin, C. M., Drake, C. L., Harvey, A. G., Krystal, A. D., Manber, R., Riemann, D., & Spiegelhalder, K. (2015). Insomnia disorder. Nature Reviews Disease Primers, 1, 15026.

Allocca, G., Ma, S., Martelli, D., Cerri, M., Del Vecchio, F., Bastianini, S., ... & Blackburn, S. (2019). Validation of' Somnivore', a Machine Learning Algorithm for Automated Scoring and Analysis of Polysomnography Data. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 13, 207.

Towards an integrative design-oriented theory of sleep-onset and insomnolence from which a new cognitive treatment for insomnolence (serial diverse kinesthetic imagining, a form of cognitive shuffling) is proposed for experimentally testing this

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2019-09-21
Abstract: 

We present progress towards an integrative design-oriented (IDO) theory of sleep onset and insomnolence: the somnolent information-processing theory (SIPt; Beaudoin, 2013, 2014). We define “insomnolence” as difficulty falling (back) asleep — a key feature of insomnia (DSM-V).

We argue that theories of human sleep onset and propensity require an IDO approach. By “design-oriented” we mean adopting the design stance (Dennett, 1982; Poggio, 2012; McCarthy, 2008) which is universally known in theoretical Artificial Intelligence and cognitive science but unused in theories of sleep onset and insomnolence, SIPt aside. Like other cognitive science, IDO involves interdisciplinary information-processing theories; but it is also integrative, aiming to specify how requirements of autonomous agency (competence) are realized by the interaction of diverse component processes (subsuming motivational, cognitive, executive and ancillary functions). The IDO approach requires that any appeal to key psychological constructs (“consciousness”, “arousal”, “emotion”, “attention”, “goals”, “intention”, etc.) be grounded in specific IDO theories. This approach is meant to contribute to a paradigm shift in research in insomnia, “emotion” and psychology more generally, in response to what Beaudoin, Hyniewska & Hudlicka (2017) and Muthukrishna & Henrich (2019) identified as the root of psychology’s replication crisis: lack of rigorous, ambitious, progressive, evolutionarily grounded theoretical integration. We claim control of human somnolence posed a significant evolutionary challenge particularly due to their abundant cortex.

Leading theories of insomnia tend to explain insomnolence in terms of cognitive and/or physiological activity (Perlis, 2011) or “arousal” (Harvey, 2005). Cognitive theories of insomnia assume that attention, intention and effort to sleep are insomnolent (e.g., inhibiting “de-arousal”, Espie, 2006). Rejecting these assumptions, we argue that arousal is a problematically polymorphic concept unsuitable for IDO explanations of somnolence.

In contrast, SIPt grounds its major concepts in specific IDO theories. In accordance with Moors' (2017) skepticism, SIPt replaces “emotion” with computational architectures of motivation. More precisely, we leverage the H-CogAff (Sloman, 2003) and LIDA (Franklin et al, 2013) architectures. We replace the concept of “emotion” and “arousal” with IDO concepts of perturbance and alarms. Perturbance is an emergent state in which an insistent motivator tends to control executive functions (Beaudoin, 1994; Wright, Sloman & Beaudoin, 1996). Perturbance is theoretical grounding for repetitive thought (Watkins, 2008). Alarms (Oatley, 1992; Sloman, 2003; Baars & Franklin, 2009) are urgent global control signals which, we claim, also underlie the alarm reaction (Selye 1936).

SIPt postulates that (1) chronobiological processes (Borbély, 2016) are the principal contributors to somnolence; (2) sleep-onset-like information-processing is pro-somnolent (increases sleep propensity); (3) perturbance is insomnolent; (4) alarms are insomnolent; (5) some perceptual states affect sleep propensity: sensing supineness, rocking (Bayer et al, 2011) or skin temperature, Romeijn et al (2011).

We describe an effortful form of cognitive shuffling, serial diverse kinesthetic imagining (SDKI). It is suitable for an experiment pitting SIPt against other theories (eg, Espie, 2006 and Havey, 2005) since only according to SIPt should SDKI be both counter-insomnolent (per postulates 3 and 4) and pro-somnolent (per postulates 2 and 5).

Yet more theoretical work is required towards an IDO theory of somnolence.

Bringing Up Life with Horses

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2019-06-12
Abstract: 

A key phrase in working with horses, “bringing up life” is taken in its literal sense of moving expressively and energetically in order to animate the movements of the horses. The phrase also points to both what the radical phenomenologist Michel Henry referred to as the auto-affectivity of life and the vital powers of an essential hetero-affectivity. “Bringing up life” is the kinetic, kinaesthetic, affective expression of this fundamental impression that life is shared with other animate beings and that it is all the more powerfully felt for being so. Working with horses – in spite of all the human conceits that groundwork, liberty training, and the riding disciplines hold – can thus reveal what it means to “bring up life” as more than a topic of very practical interest and specific phenomenological description. Through the impressional investigation of this expression we may well begin to feel our way toward more life-affirming, life-enhancing interactions with others of our own and many other animal kinds.

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Article
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A Psychometric Evaluation of the Multidimensional Social Competence Scale (MSCS) for Young Adults

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2018-11-02
Abstract: 

The current study contributes to previous work on measuring the social phenotype in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) by validating a multidimensional test of social competence developed for use with individuals with and without ASD. The “Multidimensional Social Competence Scale” (MSCS) was previously validated as a parent-rating scale with youth 11–18 years with ASD without intellectual disability and typically developing adolescents of comparable age. The current study presents a validation of a self-report version of the MSCS in a non-clinical young adult population (N = 1178, males = 360, females = 817, age range = 17– 25 years). The MSCS consists of seven domains that represent social competence: social motivation, social inferencing, demonstrating empathic concern, social knowledge, verbal conversation skills, nonverbal sending skills, and emotion regulation. These domains are theorized to be indicative of the higher-order construct of social competence. A second higher-order theorization of the MSCS structure posits that 3 of these factors are indicative of social responsiveness, and the remaining 4 factors are indicative of social understanding and emotion regulation. Our findings indicated support for each of the theorized multidimensional factor structures. Reliability, optimal scoring, convergent and discriminant validity of the measure, as well as implications for future research are discussed.

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Article
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Practicum and Teacher Education: Wrapped Around Your Finger

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2017-06
Document type: 
Article
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