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Perturbance: Unifying Research on Emotion, Intrusive Mentation and Other Psychological Phenomena with AI

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2017-01-25
Abstract: 

Intrusive mentation, rumination, obsession, and worry, referred to by Watkins as "repetitive thought" (RT), are of great interest to psychology. This is partly because every typical adult is subject to "RT". In particular, a critical feature of "RT" is also of transdiagnostic significance—for example obsessive compulsive disorder, insomnia and addictions involve unconstructive "RT". We argue that "RT" cannot be understood in isolation of models of whole minds. Researchers must adopt the designer stance in the tradition of Artificial Intelligence augmented by systematic conceptual analysis. This means developing, exploring and implementing cognitive-affective architectures. Empirical research on "RT" needs to be driven by such theories, and theorizing about "RT" needs to consider such data. We draw attention to H-CogAff theory of mind (motive processing, emotion, etc.) and a class of emotions it posits called perturbance (or tertiary emotions), as a foundation for the research programme we advocate. Briefly, a perturbance is a mental state in which motivators tend to disrupt executive processes. We argue that grief, limerence (the attraction phase of romantic love) and a host of other psychological phenomena involving "RT" should be conceptualized in terms of perturbance and related design-based constructs. We call for new taxonomies of "RT" in terms of information processing architectures such as H-CogAff. We claim general theories of emotion also need to recognize perturbance and other architecture-based aspects of emotion. Meanwhile "cognitive" architectures need to consider requirements of autonomous agency, leading to cognitive affective architectures.

Document type: 
Article

Serial diverse imagining task: A new remedy for bedtime complaints of worrying and other sleep-disruptive mental activity

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2016-03-17
Abstract: 

Introduction: A racing mind, worries, and uncontrollable thoughts are common bedtime complaints among poor sleepers. Beaudoin created a Serial Diverse Imagining task (SDIT) that can be used at bedtime to divert attention away from sleep interfering thoughts, An app randomly presents recordings of relatively concrete words one at a time with an 8-second interval between recordings during which the person creates and maintains a mental image of the word until the next recording prompts the next image and so on. Our study is an experimental test of SDIT compared to the standard treatment of Structured Problem-solving (SP) and to the combination of both treatments. A key feature of SP is that it must be done earlier than bedtime and requires about 15 minutes to do it.  SDIT, which is done at bedtime, does not have those constraints. 

Method: 154 university students (137 female) who complained of excessive cognitive pre-sleep arousal were randomly assigned to receive SDIT, SP, or both.  At baseline, they completed Pre-Sleep Arousal Scale (Somatic and Cognitive), Sleep Quality Scale, Glasgow Sleep Effort Scale and Sleep Hygiene Index.  Depending on the measure, participants redid it one week and/or one month after starting the intervention.  (They also completed sleep diaries and appraisals of the interventions, which are omitted due to space).

Results: Repeated measures ANOVAs indicated that cognitive and somatic pre-sleep arousal , sleep effort, and sleep quality improved significantly relative to baseline (p  < .001; Partial η2 = .43 to .71) even though sleep hygiene worsened ( p  < .001; Partial η2 =  .23). The latter finding is not unexpected because the baseline was done at the start of the academic term before the onset of academic pressures. The fact that we found sleep and arousal improvements in this context are notable.

Conclusion: Beaudoin’s Serial Diverse  Imagining Task (SDIT) was as effective as Structured Problem-Solving (SP) in reducing pre-sleep arousal, sleep effort, and poor sleep quality.  One advantage of SDIT is that it can be done at bedtime, unlike SP. 

After 60 Years, Do The Arguments For K-12 Vouchers Still Hold?

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2016-04-15
Abstract: 

In 1955, Milton Friedman authored a foundational paper proposing a shift in funding and governance mechanisms for public K-12   schools, suggesting that parents be awarded tuition vouchers that they could use to pay for private sector education services for their children, rather than relying   on   government   provided   neighborhood   schools.   Friedman theorized three cases in which such a system might fail, requiring greater involvement of the government in the education system: the presence of a natural monopoly; substantial neighborhood effects; and a breakdown in free exchange. This article examines these concerns by applying more than 25 years of school choice research in an attempt to answer the question, “After 60 years, do the arguments for K-12 vouchers still hold?” Findings cited in this article suggest that Friedman was correct to be concerned about possible deleterious effects that may arise from a privatized system.

Document type: 
Article

The Potential of Simulation for Teacher Assessment

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2015
Abstract: 

A teacher’s classroom skills, attitudes, and behaviours are fundamental to excellent teaching. Assessing these qualities is a logistically difficult, costly, and at times, controversial task for teacher educators and school administrators. As a result, teacher hiring and subsequent professional development rely on indirect indicators that provide only limited evidence of a teacher’s potential, strengths, and areas for improvement. Simulation techniques have been used as training and feedback tools for many years in occupations where live practice is dangerous, costly, or difficult to organize. Today’s technologies are making simulations practical in new domains. In teaching they can provide practice settings, performance data, and feedback aimed at evaluating and improving a wide range of skills. Drawing from experience in medical and health education, this chapter outlines the potential for simulations to support both teacher hiring and in-service skills development, in order to support teaching excellence with new tools in the future.

Document type: 
Book chapter
File(s): 

A proposal for a study of motive processing

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
1991-10-01
Abstract: 

In this paper we discuss some of the essential features and context of human motive processing, and we characterize some of the state transitions of motives. We then describe in detail a domain for designing an agent exhibiting some of these features. Recent related work is briefly reviewed to demonstrate the need for extending theories to account for the complexities of motive processing described here.

Document type: 
Technical Report
Department: 
Computer Science

Cognitive Productivity: Can Cognitive Science Improve How Knowledge Workers Use IT to Learn from Source Material?

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Abstract: 

Society depends on knowledge workers (KWs) to identify, characterize and propose solutions to the many significant challenges it faces. KWs contend with ever changing information technology (IT) and bemoan "information overload." They commonly consult literature (e.g., Allen, 2001) and use productivity software that, regrettably, fail to leverage key findings in cognitive science. Can cognitive science help KWs process information and learn with technology? Yes, provided we directly address their problems. We present the Cognitive Productivity Research Project (Beaudoin, 2014) which is: characterizing information processing (IP) challenges KWs face (e.g., cognitive illusions, missing concepts and learning strategies); exploring gaps in cognitive science, including under-explored concepts (e.g., meta-effectiveness, monitors) and phenomena (e.g., KWs' self-regulated learning when using IT tools to draw on source material); marshaling an IP architecture and principles to address these issues; and proposing practical IP strategies for KWs that emphasize meta-documentation and productive practice.

A test of the somnolent mentation theory and the cognitive shuffle insomnia treatment

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2015-07-23
Abstract: 

Insomnia affects about 33% of Americans according to Harvey & Tang (2003) who called for new cognitive treatments. We will report preliminary results from a test of (a) the Somnolent Mentation theory (SMT) of sleep onset (SO) and (b) a new cognitive treatment for insomnia, the cognitive shuffle (CS), derived from the SMT (Beaudoin, 2013, 2014). According to SMT, incoherent mentation characteristic of SO is not merely a side-effect of the SO period but promotes it, meaning it is somnolent. The SMT identifies several types of insomnolent mentation, which involve sense making (e.g., problem solving). SMT postulates counter-insomnolent mentation, thought patterns that interfere with insomnolent mentation. The CS is predicted to be both somnolent and counter-insomnolent (super-somnolent). Participants either engage in constructive worry Carney & Waters (2006) or in the CS using SomnoTest an iOS app developed by CogSci Apps Corp. (led by Beaudoin) based on mySleepButton®. 

Document type: 
Conference presentation

Mending Broken Hearts: Specification for a productive practice app to assess and improve psychological treatments for romantic grief and other tertiary emotions

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2015-06-29
Abstract: 

The poster below summarizes the theory, purpose and requirements (intended functionality) of an iOS® app ("RFB") being designed to help users (1) regulate a specific emotion (romantic grief), (2) instill some of the mindware[1] of acceptance and commitment (Hayes, Strosahl & Wilson, 2011), and (3) better understand and regulate their affective states after their romantic grief is resolved. The design applies principles of meta-effectiveness theory (Beaudoin, 2015a). We intend RFB also to help researchers develop and experimentally contrast emotion regulation treatments for romantic grief and other forms of perturbance (Beaudoin, 1994) by using productive practice and other components of meta-effectiveness. Other objectives are listed in the poster below.

Document type: 
Article

Meta-effectiveness, Effectance, Mindware and Other Key Concepts for Understanding the Development of Adult Competence

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2015-05-27
Abstract: 

This article presents a list of concepts that are importants for understanding adult development of competence  (including "learning to learn") but that have not received sufficient attention in the literature on self-regulated learning.

Document type: 
Article

An Educational Video to Promote Multi-Factorial Approaches For Fall and Injury Prevention in Long-Term Care Facilities

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2014
Abstract: 

Background

Older adults living in long term care (LTC) settings are vulnerable to fall-related injuries. There is a need to develop and implement evidence-based approaches to address fall injury prevention in LTC. Knowledge translation (KT) interventions to support the uptake of evidence-based approaches to fall injury prevention in LTC need to be responsive to the learning needs of LTC staff and use mediums, such as videos, that are accessible and easy-to-use. This article describes the development of two unique educational videos to promote fall injury prevention in long-term care (LTC) settings. These videos are unique from other fall prevention videos in that they include video footage of real life falls captured in the LTC setting.

Methods

Two educational videos were developed (2012–2013) to support the uptake of findings from a study exploring the causes of falls based on video footage captured in LTC facilities. The videos were developed by: (1) conducting learning needs assessment in LTC settings via six focus groups (2) liaising with LTC settings to identify learning priorities through unstructured conversations; and (3) aligning the content with principles of adult learning theory.

Results

The videos included footage of falls, interviews with older adults and fall injury prevention experts. The videos present evidence-based fall injury prevention recommendations aligned to the needs of LTC staff and: (1) highlight recommendations deemed by LTC staff as most urgent (learner-centered learning); (2) highlight negative impacts of falls on older adults (encourage meaning-making); and, (3) prompt LTC staff to reflect on fall injury prevention practices (encourage critical reflection).

Conclusions

Educational videos are an important tool available to researchers seeking to translate evidence-based recommendations into LTC settings. Additional research is needed to determine their impact on practice.

Document type: 
Article
File(s):