Alumni Dissertations and Theses

 
 

Alumni Dissertations and Theses

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  • EVALUATING THE INFLUENCE OF DAUBERT'S CROSS-EXAMINATION SAFEGUARD ON ATTORNEYS' AND JURORS' JUDGMENTS ABOUT SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE

    Author:
    Jacqueline Austin
    Year of Dissertation:
    2013
    Program:
    Psychology
    Advisor:
    Margaret Kovera
    Abstract:

    The Supreme Court's decision in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc clarified that federal trial judges were to serve as evidentiary gatekeepers for scientific evidence, evaluating scientific reliability when determining admissibility. When judges fail at gatekeeping and admit unreliable expert testimony, the Court expresses faith in the ability of cross-examination to reveal the reliability of testimony for jurors. For cross-examination to function as the Court intends, attorneys must recognize scientific flaws and craft cross-examination questions that expose scientific threats. Moreover, these scientifically informed cross-examinations must act as a form of scientific training for jurors. I conducted two studies to empirically examine the Court's assumptions regarding cross-examination. In Study One, 95 attorneys read a trial summary that contained expert testimony regarding an intelligence test. I varied the validity (presence v. absence of experimenter bias threat) and reliability (moderate v. high reliability indices on test-retest, inter-observer, and internal consistency scores) of the intelligence test. Attorneys provided lower ratings of scientific quality when the test was unreliable but did not craft cross-examination questions designed to expose the low reliability indices of the scientific test. Attorneys did not provide lower ratings of scientific quality when the intelligence test was invalid; however, a proportion of attorneys did craft cross-examination questions to expose the validity threat. In Study Two, I again varied the reliability and validity of the intelligence test and whether the cross-examination educated jurors about the study's flaws (scientifically informed vs. naïve). Either a judge or an attorney conducted the scientifically informed cross-examinations. Scientifically informed cross-examinations did not assist jurors with evaluating scientific reliability or validity. These studies suggest that cross-examinations may not function as a safeguard against flawed scientific evidence. Although some attorneys may be able to meet the Court's expectations, cross-examination may be an ineffective method of providing methodological training for jurors.

  • Narratives of Interiority: Black Lives in the U.S. Capital, 1919 - 1942

    Author:
    Paula Austin
    Year of Dissertation:
    2015
    Program:
    History
    Advisor:
    Herman Bennett
    Abstract:

    Abstract NARRATIVES OF INTERIORITY: BLACK LIVES IN THE U.S. CAPITAL, 1919 - 1942 by PAULA C. AUSTIN Advisor: Professor Herman L. Bennett This dissertation constructs an urban, social and intellectual history of poor and working class African Americans in the interwar period in Washington, D.C. Although the advent of social history shifted scholarly emphasis onto the "ninety-nine percent," many scholars have framed black history as the story of either the educated, uplifted and accomplished elite, or of a culturally depressed monolithic urban mass in need of the alleviation of structural obstacles to advancement. A history of the poor and working class as individuals with both ideas and subjectivity has often been difficult simply because there are limited archival sources. "Narratives of Interiority" uses data collected and other materials created by social researchers in the Progressive era's burgeoning social science fields to examine the everyday lives, movements, and articulated thoughts of a disaggregated African American poor and working class. While sociological and social welfare materials have been criticized for contributing to the racialization of crime and the pathologization of black urban life, they also offer historians a rich archive from which to cull the complexities of daily existence and inner life that transcend the instrumental renderings of black pathology and the narrow configurations of the black urban migration experience. This archive accentuates inner life, life of the mind, and the quotidian and brings into relief varied interpretations and understandings of political economy, educational possibilities, citizenship, family, appropriate (legal, respectable) comportment, and conceptions of self as articulated by black poor and working class individuals themselves. Furthermore, an historical examination of social science research materials instead of social scientists' and reform workers' interpretations of that material complicates an analysis of early sociology, problematizing ethnographic methodology, but also interrogating the possibilities for voice and visibility that sociological and anthropological research projects offered, and offers, people with little access to politics and visiblility writ large.

  • Perspective-taking Based Insights into Theory of Mind: An ERP Study

    Author:
    Elizabeth Axel
    Year of Dissertation:
    2010
    Program:
    Psychology
    Advisor:
    Ray Johnson, Jr.
    Abstract:

    Theory of Mind (ToM) is defined as the ability to make inferences about another person's mental state. One account of ToM, Simulation Theory, posits that this ability is accomplished by using one's own mental processes as a model for the other person's mind. This is accomplished in a serial manner by first accessing the processes related to the self before switching to taking the perspective of the other. Hemodynamic imaging studies of ToM have provided evidence that self and perspective-taking processes depend on different brain circuits but cannot identify the temporal aspects of the processes. To determine if these processes occur in the posited serial manner, event-related potentials (ERPs) were recorded while participants made evaluations either from their own perspective or from the perspective of another person (i.e., Task: Evaluation, Perspective-taking). The relatedness of the person (target) of the evaluations (i.e., Relatedness: Self, Close Other, CO, Non-Close Other, NCO) was also varied to determine if the brain areas posited to be involved in the processing of the self would be activated differentially. Thus, a three-stage, serial process was hypothesized, suggesting that the perspective-taking process requires an initial anchoring in the self, a decoupling of different perspectives (i.e., self and other) and then a late stage in which the other's perspective is maintained in order to make a decision. The results showed that RTs were similar across conditions. Recordings from 83 scalp sites revealed differential patterns of activation as a function of both Task (Evaluation, Perspective-taking) and Relatedness (Self, CO, NCO). Consistent with the "serial hypothesis," the ERP results provided evidence of three temporally distinct stages during the decision process when the various evaluation and perspective-taking tasks were compared in the electrodes corresponding to TPJ. When Evaluation and Perspective-taking judgments were compared, a first stage (i.e., 200 - 350 ms) was found in which there were no ERP differences as a function of Task, in accord with the idea that perspective-taking processes require an initial grounding in the self. In contrast, during this first stage, effects were seen as a function of Relatedness in which judgments about Self were more negative-going than judgments of CO or NCO. A second stage (400 - 600 ms) became apparent in which the lack of ERP differences between Evaluation and Perspective-taking tasks continued but now the Relatedness effects disappeared. That is, during this middle stage, the ERP activity from all conditions was similar. As a result of its timing, being interposed between the early and late stages, this middle stage may reflect the hypothesized decoupling process (i.e., shift from self to other) that was posited to occur between the self and perspective-taking stages In the third stage (700 - 850 ms) the ERP activity elicited during perspective-taking differed from that in evaluation tasks due to the addition of a negative slow potential over the temporal-parietal junction (TPJ). Relatedness effects returned in this later stage, although in this time period judgments about the self elicited more positive-going ERPs than judgments of CO or NCO. In addition, the results revealed that self-referential evaluations were marked by greater ERP activity over occipital and mid-frontal scalp very early after stimulus onset (i.e., 70 - 360 ms). Increased activity at these locations has previously been shown to reflect the level of attention devoted to stimuli indicating that self-referential evaluation engendered the highest levels of overall attention. Finally, although not addressed in models of ToM processes, the results revealed that the differences in use of control processes varied as a function of both task and the object of the decision. Specifically, compared to evaluation tasks, perspective-taking tasks elicited a larger pre-response negativity (PRN), which has been linked to the use of goal-oriented, strategic monitoring processes. Moreover, within each of these tasks, there were graded effects on the relatedness dimension in which judgments about the self required the least strategic monitoring, followed by the close other, with non-close other requiring the most. In addition, the amplitude of the medial frontal negativity (MFN), which follows the response and has been shown to reflect the residual conflict following a response, also varied as a function of both task and the object of the decision. That is, perspective taking judgments elicited larger MFNs (i.e., greater residual conflict) than evaluations and judgments about the self elicited the smallest MFN with larger MFNs for close other judgments and the largest MFNs for non-close other judgments. In sum, the ERP results from scalp sites overlying the TPJ appear to confirm the role of that brain area in ToM. More important, it was shown that the activity there is not constant during the ToM judgments but rather follows three distinct stages. Hence this supports previous hypotheses stating that the perspective-taking process involves an initial anchoring in Self before a decoupling process begins, followed by the shift to the other's perspective and suggests that the TPJ plays a role in all three of these stages. Further, we extended previous hemodynamic results by showing that the executive processes related to strategic and tactical monitoring play an important role in ToM. Taken together, the results from the present study demonstrate the value of using the ERP as a tool for studying the nature and timing of the processes used when one engages in Theory of Mind operations.

  • COMPARATIVE ADS AND THEIR AFFECTIVE CONSEQUENCES: THE EFFECT OF SCHADENFREUDE ON PURCHASE LIKELIHOOD AND ATTITUDES

    Author:
    Ozge Aybat
    Year of Dissertation:
    2012
    Program:
    Business
    Advisor:
    Thomas Kramer
    Abstract:

    Comparative ads, in which a brand compares itself to a competitor brand, are frequently used in print and television media. When marketers compare their brands to others, they often show comical situations in which misfortunes befall those consumers who are using competitors' brands instead of theirs. Extant research has examined the impact of comparative ads without taking consumers' affective reactions into account, even though persuasive messages have been shown to elicit affective reactions that may mediate consumers' attitudes and behaviors. In the current research, I examine "schadenfreude," defined as the pleasure at the misfortunes of others, as an incidental emotional response elicited by comparative ad appeals. Across a series of studies, I show that more competitive individuals are likely to experience greater levels of incidental schadenfreude when they are exposed to comparative ads. More importantly, I examine the downstream implications of invoking schadenfreude and show that more competitive individuals are more likely to buy the advertised product when a higher-status brand uses comparative ads, since these ads make them experience greater levels of incidental schadenfreude.

  • INTANGIBLE HERITAGE'S UNCERTAIN POLITICAL OUTCOMES: NATIONALISM AND THE REMAKING OF MARGINALIZED CULTURAL PRACTICES IN TURKEY

    Author:
    Bahar Aykan
    Year of Dissertation:
    2012
    Program:
    Sociology
    Advisor:
    Patricia Clough
    Abstract:

    The scope of cultural heritage management has been extended from tangible to intangible products in the few last decades. Debates surrounding the field of heritage raise fundamental questions about its inherent political character, calling particular attention to the ways in which heritage programs are dominated by nationalistic concerns. This study examines UNESCO-initiated intangible heritage making in Turkey. I focus on the complex relationship between heritage and nationalism, and the various levels of heritage making of marginalized cultural practices by national governments. This study shows that global heritage protection mechanisms have diverse and uncertain outcomes even in the same country. Yet when examined together, these outcomes reveal how heritage mechanisms nonetheless continue to be dominated by nationalist government interests. Drawing on interviews, ethnographic research, and content analysis of the UNESCO documents, I offer three case studies of recent heritage management programs in Turkey launched by the Justice and Development Party (JDP) government to safeguard marginalized cultural practices. These are the Mevlevi Sema ceremony, Nevruz festival, and Alevi-Bektaºi Semah ritual. Radical differences in the Turkish government's methods of handling the heritagization processes of these three practices uncover a recent transformation in the official nationalist policy and discourse in Turkey, from secularist Turkish nationalism (of Kemalism) to Islamist Turkish nationalism (of the JDP). It is these shifting nationalist trends that make Turkey's intangible heritage practices not only an aspect of the politics of recognition (in the case of the Mevlevis), but also of nonrecognition (in the case of the Kurds), and misrecognition (in the case of the Alevi-Bektaºis) regarding the extent these marginalized ethnic and religious identities comply with the current government's nationalist agenda.

  • As Film is, so goes the Novel: The Image, Film Ekphrasis, and History in the Contemporary Novel

    Author:
    Ece Aykol
    Year of Dissertation:
    2010
    Program:
    English
    Advisor:
    Gerhard Joseph
    Abstract:

    My dissertation studies the use of the verbal representation of analog film in the novels of contemporary writers Paul Auster, Adam Thorpe, and Orhan Pamuk. I look at these authors' use of the moving image in relation to the existing poetics of the ekphrasis of still images and art objects. Film, understood as the "temporalization of space," informs the way in which I interpret film ekphrasis different from the ekphrasis of still objects that "spatialize temporality." In trying to emulate this temporal art form with words, these authors create a poetics of film ekphrasis, which constitutes a representation of the past in the present continuous. Their allusion to the analog image enables them to find creative means of constructing history and memory. My study also addresses the "digital" image and explains how its construction of time differs from the analog image. In order to grasp the tension between the analog and digital, and to reveal how visual artists are responding to emerging technologies, I turn to the films of Jean-Luc Godard, Michel Gondry, and Wim Wenders, as well as to JoAnn Verburg's photographs and Sam Taylor Wood's mixed media art. Understanding current practices in the visual arts, I suggest, can produce interpretive strategies for the ekphrasis of digital films.

  • Multicultural experience: A multidimensional perspective, scale development, and validation

    Author:
    Zeynep Aytug
    Year of Dissertation:
    2013
    Program:
    Business
    Advisor:
    Mary Kern
    Abstract:

    This research offers a refined conceptualization of multicultural experience. This multidimensional conceptualization distinguishes between relatively superficial and more substantial multicultural experiences, labeled multicultural exposures and multicultural interactions, which can be measured based on frequency, duration, and breadth. This construct and the corresponding instrument, Multicultural Experience Assessment (MExA), were validated in five studies. In Studies 1a and 1b, content validity was established. In Studies 2 and 3, exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses confirmed the two-factor structure of multicultural experience. Study 4 provided some evidence for the convergent, discriminant, and criterion-related validities. The reliability of the 13-item MExA ranged between .76 and .83; and the use of both student and non-student national samples established some generalizability of the instrument. Overall results improve our understanding of the construct and offer a psychometrically tested measure.

  • Dynamics of terrestrial water budget over Amazon and Mississippi basins using satellite data

    Author:
    Marzieh Azarderakhsh
    Year of Dissertation:
    2012
    Program:
    Engineering
    Advisor:
    Reza Khanbilvardi
    Abstract:

    The components of the water budget and their spatio-temporal variability are diagnosed using monthly-averaged remote sensing-based data products over the Amazon and Mississippi basins. These two large basins are divided into 14 and 12 smaller sub-basins (SB) respectively, and for each of these SBs, fresh water discharge is estimated from the water balance equation using satellite data products. The purpose of this study is to learn how to apply satellite data with global coverage over the large tropical and mid-latitude regions; therefore several combinations of remote sensing estimates including total water storage changes, precipitation and evapotranspiration. The results are compared to gauge-based measurements and the best spatio-temporal agreement between estimated and observed runoff is within 1 mm/d for the combination of precipitation from the GPCP and the Montana evapotranspiration product. Mean annual precipitation, evapotranspiration and runoff for the whole basin are estimated to be 6.1, 2.2 and 3.0 mm/d respectively but also show large spatial and temporal variations at SB scale. Using the most consistent data combination, the seasonal dynamics of the water budget within the Amazon system are examined. Agreement between satellite based and in-situ runoff is improved when lag-times between SBs are accounted (RMSE from 0.98 to 0.61 mm/d). We estimate these lag times based on satellite inferred inundation extents. The results reveal not only variations of the basin forcing but also the complex response of the inter-connected SB water budgets. Inter-annual and inter-sub basin variation of the water components are investigated and show large anomalies in north-western and eastern downstream SBs; aggregate behavior of the whole Amazon is more complex than can be represented by a simple integral of the forcing over the whole river system. Moreover, the same approach proposed for Amazon for estimating the runoff is applied to large Mississippi basin. The results show that applying the proposed method can improve the estimation of runoff using the satellite information. Some limitations exist in this basin that will decrease the reliability of the results, as the uncertainty of estimated runoff is greater that the magnitude of runoff due to existence of dams, and smaller precipitation rate compared to Amazon basin.

  • Arab Music Vocabulary in Syrian Contemporary Clarinet Chamber Works

    Author:
    Kinan Azmeh
    Year of Dissertation:
    2013
    Program:
    Music
    Advisor:
    David Olan
    Abstract:

    This dissertation examines three chamber music pieces by contemporary Syrian composers that use the clarinet, looking for different elements drawn from traditional Arab music and how they are used in a western contemporary context. The three works studied in this dissertation are: Qunitet by Shafi Badreddine (b.1972), Buhur by Kareem Roustom (b. 1971), and Quintet for the Damascus Festival by Dia Succari,(1938-2010). From analysis of these works and from conversations I had with the composers, these central topics emerged: 1) how they use the muwashshah as a source of inspiration and 2) how they use maqam. Using the muwashshah as a departure point, Roustom uses poetry meters in the entire piece, Badreddine only uses its general form and titles, while Succari based a number of his compositions on the main theme of a famous muwashshah. While Roustom and Succari approach the maqams in a way that is somewhat less unconventional, Badreddine subjects them to a microscopic treatment that focuses on the qualities of a specific interval (or intervals) in a given maqam. A central aim of this dissertation is to study how knowledge of Arab music affects the overall performance of these works, and to question whether these works challenge the performer differently from other western classical music works. Through this research it became clear that such challenges do exist, and that a comprehensive performance of any musical work can only be achieved if work is put into learning the fine nuances specific to the culture from which the composer drew inspiration.

  • Queer Environmentality: Thoreau, Melville, Cather, and Barnes

    Author:
    Robert Azzarello
    Year of Dissertation:
    2009
    Program:
    English
    Advisor:
    John Brenkman
    Abstract:

    My chief objective in this project is to draw some connections between queer studies and environmental studies within the more general context of literary studies. I will propose an alternative understanding of literary environmentalism, rich in tropological abundance, poetic complexity, and hermeneutic indeterminacy, and I will magnify a queer sensibility, present in varying degrees, in this history, or what I call "queer environmentality." In order to develop this queer-environmental literary theory, I perform careful exegeses of four key figures in the American tradition: Thoreau, Melville, Cather, and Djuna Barnes. Each writer problematizes conventional notions of the strange matrix between the human, the natural, and the sexual, and thus challenges the assumption that the subject of American environmental literature is essentially and consubstantially heterosexual. Each brilliantly demonstrates the ways in which the queer project and the environmental project are always already connected, that is to say, in which the questions and politics of human sexuality are always entwined with the questions and politics of the other-than-human world. Like Charles Darwin, the four primary objects of my analysis--Thoreau, Melville, Cather, and Barnes--believe in reconsidering the human as a natural being, as a species, or type of being, that occupies a particular niche in the order of things, and, therefore, as subject to the explanatory gestures afforded to other species that also constitute and populate their particular biological kingdom. But figuring the human as natural does not provide a stable ontology, nor does it permit an escape from all kinds of epistemological problematics. Like Henri Bergson, each thinker takes seriously the profound connection between ontology and epistemology and offers long meditations on the super-saturation of life--human and otherwise--with desires and aims, with indeterminate geneses and inexplicably deferred endpoints. Thoreau's sinewy sense of "sensuality" within the animal-human-divine matrix, Melville's symbolic struggle with extra-human forces, Cather's cryptic musings on the singularity of organic composition, and Barnes's biologically inflected--perhaps infected--decadence all point to an environment as explosive with meaning, with "interlinked terrors and wonders" (Moby-Dick 139), as the creatures that dwell within.