«Molly Allen Nancy Steblay, Ph.D., Ben Denkinger, Ph.D. Psychology Eyewitness Memory Procedure with Older Adults Older adults make more identification ...»
The magnetosphere is an active area of research because of its importance in keeping the earth safe from high speed solar radiation. Magnetospheric activity is capable of damaging satellite technology as well as electrical systems, and for these reasons, activity in this region is researched. The aim of this study was to search for a correlation between magnetic events in the bow shock region of the magnetosphere and magnetic events observed on the ground. It has been hypothesized by space physicists that there is a relationship between events identified in these two regions. To test this hypothesis, ground station data was downloaded from remote ground monitoring sites consisting of magnetic field strength, magnetic local time and magnetic latitude, and analyzed through programming written in python. First, the ground data were searched for events during time periods after a satellite identified event had been recorded. Secondly, ground events were identified first and then satellite data were searched for corresponding events. The hypothesis suggested satellite identified events and ground station events would have a strong correlation, however, our results do not agree with this expectation. A correlation ranging from only 9% to 30% was found and thus no significant relationship was found.
Priti Bhowmik Shana Watters, Ph.D.
Computer Science An Empirical Study to Determine the Cognitive Status of the Third Person Bengali Pronouns Reference resolution is a subfield of computational linguistics, an intersection of computer science and linguistics, that is interested in determining what a noun phrase or a pronoun refers to. This empirical study’s aim was to determine the cognitive status of the 3rd person Bengali pronouns using the Givenness Hierarchy framework. We coded the cognitive status of 130 referential instances of the 3rd person Bengali pronouns. The coding was performed using the Givenness Hierarchy coding protocol criteria. Our results show that the Bengali 3rd person pronouns’ referents are “in focus.” Modifications to the coding protocol criteria are proposed to account for instances where the coding protocol was not sufficient to properly classify the referent as “in focus.” This is because the Givenness Hierarchy coding protocol is considered to be sufficient but not necessary. It was assumed that modifications would possibly be required in order to determine the correct cognitive status.
Shira Bilinkoff, Devan Bedenbender, Tanner McCarthy, Ann Renner Nancy Steblay, Ph.D.
Psychology Structural Lineup Bias in Real Police Lineups This study assesses bias in police lineups that can put an innocent suspect at risk of false identification.
The problem of structural lineup bias is that it allows the eyewitness to identify the suspect without reliance on recognition memory. We have access to 50 real police lineups from a major U.S. city. The research question is whether these lineups are biased against the suspect. The mock-witness procedure is used to test for bias. Lab participants view each of a set of photo lineups. For each lineup, participants are asked to read the description of the culprit provided by the real eyewitness and then to rank the lineup members based on which is most likely the accused. Our primary measure of lineup bias is the proportion of mock-witnesses who identify the police suspect. If a lineup is fairly constructed, mock-witnesses (who did not see the crime) should identify the suspect at a rate no greater than chance. Chance is equal to a 20% selection rate from these five-person lineups. Data are available currently from 51 participants who rated nine lineups. The average proportion of suspect picks is 26%, significantly above chance, Z = 2.14, p =.04, r =.07, providing evidence of structural bias. The full set of lineups will be analyzed and presented at conference. The complete data set will allow us to assess the relationship between lineup bias and real eyewitness decisions.
Kathryn Block Benjamin Denkinger, Ph.D.
Psychology Homophily in Relationships: Do politics and race influence romantic attraction?
The current study builds on the psychological theory of relational homophily, or assortative mating, which had previously been studied mainly in marriage, not dating. Assortative mating is the idea that people are attracted to people who are similar to themselves, and it has been shown in terms of education level, IQ, personality, race, politics, and religion. Participants were recruited through Amazon Mechanical Turk to complete an online survey, which showed them a fictitious online dating profile. The racial identity and political ideology were manipulated between the profiles, so that some participants saw profiles that matches their own characteristics and some saw profiles that did not. Results showed that participants more positively rated profiles which were similar to themselves. Implications of this trend could spread to household makeup and increase racial and political divides in society.
Andrew Boyum, Jacob Kraft Ben Denkinger, Ph.D.
Psychology The influence of motivation on attention to temporal feedback It is hypothesized that when offered a timer as a source of temporal feedback while attempting some task, participants will spend a detrimental amount of time looking at the timer instead of focusing on the task at hand; this effect will be enhanced under conditions of motivation. In this experiment, X participants were given a visual object search task, some with a timer counting down and some with a timer displaying random digits. Half of the participants were informed of the possibility of winning a gift card for their participation to motivate their performance, and half were not informed. Their progress and attention were monitored using the search task’s software and an eye-tracking device. It was found that participants spent more time looking at the timer when it displayed actual descending time than when it displayed random digits, and even more time still when they were part of the “motivated” condition. Further, this increase in look time corresponded to a decrease in task performance in those conditions.
Lucinda Bukowski William Capman, Ph.D.
Biology Effects of Host Plant Stress on Flowering in Dodder, Cuscuta pentagona Cuscuta pentagona (fiveangled dodder) is a holoparasitic plant with no roots or leaves that gains all its nutrients from its host plant through the insertion of root-like appendages called haustoria. Past studiesdone at Augsburg College have shown that some velvetleaf plants (Abutilon theophrasti) are resistant to dodder attachment. It was also noticed during these studies that on some host plants the dodder attaches but flowers much earlier than normal, with little if any vegetative growth. We have not known how to interpret these situations of premature flowering but have suspected they might be responses to limited resources due to poor haustorial connections on partially resistant host plants. We tested the hypothesis that flowering in dodder is a response to reduced resources from the host plant. We defoliated and damaged the vascular systems of velvetleaf host plants to reduce resources available to the dodder. We found that dodder bud clusters were initiated earlier on defoliated host plants, but intrinsic characteristics of the highly variable individual host plants seemed to have the greatest influence on dodder performance on a given host plant in the end.
Hector Camerena Mark Engebretson, Ph.D.
Space Physics TCV and ICW: Ultra low frequency waves and the effects on space weather The Earth’s upper atmosphere extends gradually for hundreds of miles into space. At these highest altitudes (the magnetosphere) it consists of an ionized gas, called plasma. Earth’s plasma environment is confined and often perturbed by the solar wind, plasma moving out at high speed in all directions from the Sun. By better understanding the effects of large solar wind perturbations on our magnetosphere we could prevent satellite, spacecraft, and aircraft damage. Pressure increases in the solar wind generate waves that carry information along magnetic field lines to Earth’s surface at high latitudes, where they can be detected by ground-based magnetometers. Such pressure increases often generate two kinds of waves simultaneously, with very different frequencies: Traveling Convection Vortices (TCVs) and Ion Cyclotron Waves (ICWs). In this study I am attempting to correlate the amplitudes of both kinds of waves to the characteristics of these perturbations. I selected 30 TCV/ICW events from nearly 4 years of high latitude magnetometer observations in Arctic Canada (Cape Dorset) and Antarctica (South Pole Station), and I used data from spacecraft both high in the magnetosphere and in the solar wind to characterize the initial perturbations. A data model using both satellite and ground data was created, tested, and is now running preliminary experiments to determine why these two different waves are occurring together. In particular, I will provide an observational test of a simplified theoretical model that suggests that ICW amplitude is proportional to the magnitude of the perturbation, while the TCV amplitude is proportional to its derivative (time rate of change).
Anika Clark Kevin Potts, Ph.D., Miles Ott, Ph.D., Pavel Belik, Ph.D.
Biology, Mathematics The Chimpanzee Social Network: Identifying the Potential Targets of Ebola Vaccination in Wild Chimpanzees Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) are endangered, and among the factors most directly threatening future population persistence is the threat of emerging infectious diseases, particularly Ebola. Consequently, preventative action must be taken to ensure that future Ebola epidemics do not decimate chimpanzee populations, as has happened to Western lowland gorillas. In 2014, an Ebola vaccine was developed and shown to be effective in a captive chimpanzee population. The vaccination of large numbers of wild chimpanzees, however, is logistically difficult and would be prohibitively expensive. Because the disease spreads through social contact, targeted vaccination of the most socially central chimpanzees may effectively halt the spread of the disease through a population. Ebola outbreaks are endemic among human populations in Uganda, with the most recent in 2012. Chimpanzee mortality rates from Ebola far exceed those of humans, and have been as high as 98% in outbreaks in Central and West Africa.
Uganda’s Kibale National Park is home to the largest and most dense community of chimpanzees in the world, at the Ngogo site, in the center of the Park. By using social network analysis, this research aims to determine which chimpanzees from the Ngogo community would be potential "superspreaders" of Ebola—i.e., individuals with the highest numbers of social contacts in the community. Our long-term aim is to examine the feasibility of vaccinating these superspreaders, who, if infected with Ebola, would pose the greatest risk of spreading the disease.
Mathia Colwell, Najma Jama Ralph Butkowski, Ph.D.
Biology Blood Clotting Modulator Histidine Rich Glycoprotein Purification Histidine Rich Glycoprotein (HRG) is a component of plasma where it plays a role in blood clotting, and has been associated with several other biological functions. The initial goal of this project was to evaluate several of the published purification schemes for HRG and to develop methods to improve the existing purification strategy. During these studies we learned about a reagent “HisDetector TM” used by molecular biologists to detect recombinant proteins containing many copies of the amino acid histidine. Since HRG has multiple histidines in its amino acid sequence, we decided to test HisDetector binding to HRG. HisDetector proved to bind strongly to HRG and our goals shifted to include further studies of its interaction with HRG. Enzyme immobilized assay (EIA) demonstrated HisDetector reactivity in plasma, and Western blotting revealed that HisDetector reacts specifically with an HRG-size component of plasma. Purified HRG completely inhibits HisDetector reaction, further indicating that the reactivity of HisDetector is due to HRG in plasma. Since these studies demonstrated that HisDetector was ideal for identification of HRG, quantitative EIA and Western blotting were then used to measure the concentration of HRG in plasma and to track progress of its purification. Further research plans aim to study the role of HRG as a regulatory protein involved in blood clotting.
Mary Cornelius Colin Irvine, Ph.D.