Alumni Dissertations and Theses

 
 

Alumni Dissertations and Theses

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  • THE ROLE OF SEXUAL SATISFACTION IN COUPLE RELATIONSHIP SATISFACTION, INDIVIDUAL STRESS, AND QUALITY OF LIFE

    Author:
    Mae Basow
    Year of Dissertation:
    2013
    Program:
    Psychology
    Advisor:
    Denise Hien
    Abstract:

    One variable frequently found positively associated with relationship satisfaction is sexual satisfaction. In turn, relationship satisfaction is positively associated with both reduced individual stress of each partner and with subjective quality of life. However, little research has examined the relationship among all of these variables. This study examined the possible gender differences in the associations among relationship satisfaction, sexual satisfaction, individual stress, and quality of life. Additionally, this study explored whether the frequency of sex impacts the association among relationship satisfaction and well-being (individual stress and quality of life) for men, but not for women. There were some gender differences in the findings. Specifically, results showed that for men, sexual satisfaction and sexual conflicts were associated with their relationship satisfaction, stress, and quality of life. However, for women, sexual satisfaction and sexual conflicts were not associated with their relationship satisfaction, stress, and quality of life. The results also demonstrated that for both men and women, sexual frequency was not associated with their relationship satisfaction, quality of life, and stress.

  • Neverending Stories: Unauthorized Continuations, Fictional Realities, and the Long-Form Narrative from 1590 - 2011

    Author:
    Balaka Basu
    Year of Dissertation:
    2013
    Program:
    English
    Advisor:
    Carrie Hintz
    Abstract:

    In reader-response theory, the open text demands that its readers collaborate in its construction. Such participation requires that these readers invest in the text's narrative universe, an investment made more possible when a fiction exhibits the properties of selvage: a firm, detailed, and consistent framework shot through with unfinished edges (termed fractures) that invite and support the reader's response in the form of continuation. These unauthorized extensions literally transform active reading into writing, while their presence recursively solidifies the fictional universe's imaginary space, further buttressing its autonomous existence. Such narrative reinforcement troubles many critics because an independent fictional reality not owned solely by a primary creator has disruptive implications for textual properties and copyrights. Nevertheless, these unauthorized continuations are the tangible artifacts of invested, pleasurable, and embodied reading, a type of reading and pleasure that is itself a revelatory form of literary criticism. Classifying texts in terms of their readers' desire to enter into and extend the narrative world encourages an understanding of these texts as evolving objects that must be categorized and described not just statically, but also dynamically, in terms of their capacity to generate. Three distinct (though occasionally intersecting) kinds of source-texts are identified here; the first locates the source's imaginary space as a narrative of place, the second as a narrative of society, character, and people, and the third as a narrative of interstices. Narratives of place such as Sir Philip Sidney's Arcadia evoke fantasies of exploration and colonization; narratives of society like Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice call forth fantasies of unveiling; and narratives of interstices such as J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series, as well as various long-running television programs, endorse fantasies of dimensionality and dialogue. An examination of these fantasies of continuation from 1590 to 2011 reveals a cyclical pattern in the reception of derivations and continuations. After the Romantic privileging of originality in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the postmodern conception of creativity once more begins to resemble the more collaborative vision of the early modern period, a perspective which produces a queer, non-normative, multiplicitous, and post-canonical understanding of literature and fiction.

  • Word Association and Semantic Priming in Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders

    Author:
    Dana Battaglia
    Year of Dissertation:
    2012
    Program:
    Speech & Hearing Sciences
    Advisor:
    Richard Schwartz
    Abstract:

    Lexical organization in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) is not fully understood. This study investigated the nature of word association in individuals with ASD using two experimental paradigms: a word association task (Experiment 1), followed by an individualized semantic priming task (Experiment 2). In Experiment 1, participants were asked to name as many semantically related words as possible when auditorily presented with a target (e.g., participants heard the word cat and were asked to name semantically related words, within 60 seconds). In Experiment 2, participants were asked to name a target picture, preceded in time by 50 ms. Four types of auditory primes were used: Associated (e.g., bird-nest), Individual Semantic (e.g., bird-(tree)), Identity (e.g., bird-bird), and Unrelated (e.g., bird-car). The primes in the Individual Semantic condition were semantic associates obtained from responses in Experiment 1. Participants were 15 individuals with ASD (aged 14;0 to 19;2), 16 with typical language development matched for chronological age (CAM) (aged 15;0 to 19;7), and 14 with typical language development matched for raw score (VM) on the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test 4th ed (aged 8;1 to 13;4) (Dunn & Dunn, 2007). In Experiment 1, while individuals with ASD produced many appropriate word associations, they also produced more unrelated word associations than both control groups. In Experiment 2, participants' reaction times revealed that individuals with ASD performed similarly to both control groups in all conditions: they exhibited priming in the Identity condition, but not in the Associated and Individual Semantic conditions. Absence of group x condition interaction in the Associated condition calls method into question. Results from Experiment 1 suggest that individuals with ASD have a similarly organized lexicon (i.e., more associated than unrelated responses to a given target), but the breadth and depth of their lexicons may be immature (i.e., higher proportion of unrelated responses, relative to both control groups). Findings have clinical and educational implications for vocabulary instruction in individuals with ASD. Word associations may first appear to be typical. However, in-depth analyses (i.e., monitoring associated, perseveration, proper noun, phrase, or unrelated responses), provides robust information regarding lexical organization.

  • A Behavioral and Biopsychological Investigation of the Role of the Illusion of Control and Perseverative Chasing Between Problem and Non-problem Gamblers

    Author:
    Brett Bauchner
    Year of Dissertation:
    2014
    Program:
    Psychology
    Advisor:
    Michael Lewis
    Abstract:

    The illusion of control is associated with problem gambling. The perception that one is in control of a random event, when in reality there is no control, can facilitate problem gambling behaviors. The degree or extent of control may activate physiological mechanism of increased excitation and reward that reinforce gambling. In the studies presented here, performance on simulated gambling tasks that provided varying levels gambling participation were compared to physiological measures of behavioral activation in problem gambler and nongamblers. Participants watched video clips of three horseraces scenarios that permitted different degrees of participation and control over wagering. Concurrently saliva samples were collected throughout the experiment. Salivary cortisol levels, a glucocorticoid produced in response to hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis activation, were increased in problem gamblers in comparison to nongamblers when they were permitted unrestricted wagering. This study provides evidence that that gamblers produce higher levels of salivary cortisol than nongamblers, only when the illusion of control is present within the gambling session. There was no difference between problem gamblers and nongamblers in cortisol production with wins or losses. No correlation was found between participants' ratings of excitability, desirability of control, and production of salivary cortisol and gambling status. In addition, levels of risk-taking and perseverative chasing (chasing after one's losses) were measured using the Balloon Analogue Risk Task using a population of gamblers and nongamblers. Gamblers were found to be both riskier and more likely to chase their losses than nongamblers. The research reported in this dissertation provides support for the hypothesis that the illusion of control and perseverative chasing are two important factors that facilitate problem gambling behavior. Given these findings, treatment strategies for problem gambling may include methods for addressing these important determinants of the behavior.

  • THE IMPACT OF ATTACHMENT ON SEXUAL RISK TAKING, ATTITUDES AND TRAUMA IN ADOLESCENCE: A STUDY OF NEW YORK INNER CITY YOUTH

    Author:
    Elizabeth Baumann
    Year of Dissertation:
    2012
    Program:
    Psychology
    Advisor:
    Denise Hien
    Abstract:

    The present study examines how attachment impacts sexual behavior, attitudes and sexual risk taking among Latino American and African American adolescents on the Lower East Side of New York City. This population was chosen because inner city teens are at particular risk of HIV/STD infection and because past research suggests a high prevalence of sexual risk among inner city youth. The current study is a secondary analysis of an established study at the Hunter College Center for Urban and Community Health investigating adolescent sexual risk in the context of HIV/AIDS. Participants in this study were 120 Latino and African American adolescent residents of the Lower East Side of Manhattan who completed questions about their sexual and risk taking behavior and knowledge of STDs using a computer-administered battery. The overall purpose of this study is to examine the relationships between these high-risk adolescents' sexual behavior in the context of their attachment organization, sexual attitudes and values, and risk behavior. The study predicted that the way a teenager feels comfortable being intimate with others in the world would have an impact of how he perceives himself as a sexual being. The goal of this study of adolescent sexual behavior using an inner city multi-racial sample was to examine the extent to which insecure attachment and trauma were predictive of sexual risk taking. Investigators accomplished this by examining key variables that were hypothesized to play a role in sexual risk taking behavior. Study results provided some support for the hypotheses and revealed several valuable findings. Results revealed that attachment insecurity was significantly related to sexual risk behavior. Moreover, it was determined that adolescents with higher avoidant attachment were more likely to have had sex and engaged in sexual risk behavior. Adolescents with high attachment anxiety were also more likely to participate in risky sexual behavior. The relationship between attachment organization and these risk behaviors were in part but not significantly mediated by PTSD symptoms. These findings are discussed in relations to implications for understanding attachment in adolescent non-white samples as well as public health and clinical practices for adolescents in urban settings.

  • Sensor Strip Cover: Maximizing Network Lifetime on an Interval

    Author:
    Benjamin Baumer
    Year of Dissertation:
    2012
    Program:
    Mathematics
    Advisor:
    Amotz Bar-Noy
    Abstract:

    Suppose that n sensors are deployed on a one-dimensional region (a strip, or interval) that we wish to cover with a wireless sensor network. Each sensor is equipped with a finite battery, and has an adjustable sensing range, which we control. If each sensor's battery drains in inverse linear proportion to its sensing radius, which schedule will maximize the lifetime of the resulting network? We study this Sensor Strip Cover problem and several related variants. For the general Sensor Strip Cover problem, we analyze performance in both the worst-case and average-case for several algorithms, and show that the simplest algorithm, in which the sensors take turns covering the entire line, has a tight 3/2-approximation ratio. Moreover, we demonstrate a more sophisticated algorithm that achieves an expected lifetime of within 12% of the theoretical maximum against uniform random deployment of the sensors. We show that if the sensing radii can be set only once, then the resulting Set Once Strip Cover problem is NP-hard. However, if all sensors must be activated immediately, then we provide a polynomial time algorithm for the resulting Set Radius Strip Cover problem. Finally, we consider the imposition of a duty cycling restriction, which forces disjoint subsets of the sensors (called shifts) to act in concert to cover the entire interval. We provide a polynomial-time solution for the case in which each shift contains at most two sensors. For shifts of size k, we provide worst-case and average-case analysis for the performance of several algorithms.

  • Sovereign Debt and Tax Collection Dynamics in Argentina

    Author:
    Kyle Bauser
    Year of Dissertation:
    2014
    Program:
    Economics
    Advisor:
    Merih Uctum
    Abstract:

    This manuscript examines how the dynamic macroeconomic effects from shocks to taxes and inflation differ between the United States and Argentina. On the fiscal side, wages, private capital, and consumption tax cuts have long-run revenue growth effects (in both countries) that mitigate initial tax receipt losses. These growth effects, however, are larger in Argentina - a country where both the consumption tax rate and sensitivity to wage changes are higher. Specifically, Chapter 2 finds that growth from a U.S. capital tax cut pays for roughly 60% of the initial static loss, whereas the corresponding effect in Argentina is 80%. On the monetary side, multiple regimes are then considered with money in the utility function to determine optimal scenarios, holding tax revenues constant. Chapter 3 concludes that distortions from taxes on wages, private capital, and inflation outweigh the efficiency losses from a consumption tax, and as such, an economy whose government places more emphasis on consumption to generate tax receipts achieves higher utility. The tax frameworks introduced in Chapters 2 and 3 build from the neoclassical Ramsey growth models. Inflation's role as a source of revenue via seigniorage in Chapter 3 is extended to the Argentine fixed income market in Chapter 4. Using proprietary pricing data and a structural vector autoregression framework, Chapter 4 finds that inflation as a predictor of the probability of default in Argentina is much larger than the government claims it to be; despite non-investment-grade government bonds, Argentina's fixed income market actually became more attractive during the U.S. mortgage crisis; and global risk aversion has predictive power in explaining sovereign spreads.

  • An Experimental and Theoretical Study of The Effect of Temperature on The Mechanical Behavior of Nanoclay Reinforced Polymers

    Author:
    Selen Bayar
    Year of Dissertation:
    2012
    Program:
    Engineering
    Advisor:
    Feridun Delale
    Abstract:

    The goals of this study are to investigate the tensile loading and low velocity impact response of nanoclay reinforced polymers at various temperatures. Three types of polypropylene (PP 3371, Borealis and TP 3868) and epoxy with various nanoclay reinforcement percentages were considered. Tensile tests were conducted on ASTM Type I specimens instrumented with strain gauges using an MTS testing machine equipped with an environmental chamber. Low velocity impact tests were also performed using an Instron-Dynatup 8250 impact test machine equipped with an environmental chamber. Tensile test results were used to determine the effect of nanoclay reinforcement and different resins on the mechanical properties at various temperatures. The tensile tests results indicate that the Young's modulus of the nanocomposite increases with increasing nanoclay reinforcement percentage. The temperature has even a more significant effect. It was observed that as the temperature decreases the material becomes brittle, has higher stiffness and fails at lower strains. High temperatures have the opposite effect, in that, as the temperature increases the material loses stiffness and becomes more ductile. Temperature and nanoclay reinforcement affect the Poisson's ratio also, but this effect is less significant. In general, as the temperature increases the Poisson's ratio also increases. However, an increase in nanoclay reinforcement generally reduces the Poisson's ratio. The mechanical properties of polymer/clay nanocomposites were also calculated using the Mori-Tanaka formulation and the finite element method. Furthermore, the Mori-Tanaka model was modified to include the effect of temperature and voids. In the Mori-Tanaka formulation three types of nanoclay particle distribution was assumed: oriented nanoclay particles parallel to the direction of tensile loading, 2-D randomly distributed particles and 3-D randomly distributed particles. The finite element calculations were performed on a representative volume element having the same reinforcement percentage as the test specimens, with the nanoclay particles placed in a plane parallel to the loading direction. The comparison of theoretical and experimental results shows that both the Mori-Tanaka formulation and the finite element method provide effective tools to predict the mechanical properties of nanoclay reinforced composites. Furthermore, including the effect of temperature and voids provided a better match with experimental results.

  • Composing with circles, spirals, and lines of fifths: Harmony and voice leading in the music of Nicolai Roslavets

    Author:
    Inessa Bazayev
    Year of Dissertation:
    2009
    Program:
    Music
    Advisor:
    Joseph Straus
    Abstract:

    This dissertation proposes a new theoretical framework for the analysis of works of an important early twentieth-century Soviet composer Nicolai Roslavets. Roslavets was one of the few composers from his generation to develop his own unique compositional style. Although he welcomed the Russian revolution of 1917 and later held important political, professional, and social positions in Soviet society, in the 1930s he fell a victim to Stalinist cultural campaigns to eliminate all radical activity from Soviet art. Consequently, Roslavets lost his high positions in Soviet society and his name was erased from history books. It was not until the early 1980s that efforts were made both in Russia and the West to revive his name and analyze his music. Roslavets developed his own theory of pitch organization called the "New System of Tone Organization," in which he identified the synthetic chord as the driving element of each of his compositions. A synthetic chord is described as having three features: (1) it is a group of notes, usually arranged as a scale-like succession of pitches with a fixed progression of tones and semitones; (2) it is used both vertically and horizontally; and (3) it is used to define the total harmonic plan of the composition. Many theorists including Yury Kholopov, George Perle, and Anna Ferenc recognized that each of Roslavets's pieces is characterized by a contextual synthetic chord that travels through different transpositional levels; however, no theory explains the underlying symmetrical pattern through which the synthetic chord travels, causing its unique spellings. The current dissertation addresses Roslavets's unorthodox orthography, which features such peculiarities as triple sharps, and explains the structural importance of perfect fifths. Plotting the synthetic chords on different spaces of fifths--the circle, spiral, and line--reveals the underlying synthetic chord-path that can be characterized by my three types of symmetries: crisp symmetry, near-symmetry, and nested-crisp symmetry. I use pieces from 1913 through 1926--Nocturne-Quintet (1914), Sonata No. 1 for Viola and Piano (1926), Trois Compositions (1914), Trois Etudes (1914), and Cinq Préludes (1919-1922)--to show that Roslavets uses the deeper structure of fifths relations to create a novel musical language with distinct orthography and symmetrical chord-paths making him one of the most intriguing and innovative composers of his generation.

  • Las historias de vidas en el siglo XVII: Juan Pablo Martir Rizo

    Author:
    Graciela Bazet-Broitman
    Year of Dissertation:
    2013
    Program:
    Hispanic & Luso Brazilian Literatures & Languages
    Advisor:
    Lia Schwartz
    Abstract:

    Abstract LAS HISTORIAS DE VIDA EN EL SIGLO XVII: JUAN PABLO MÁRTIR RIZO by Graciela Bazet-Broitman Adviser: Distinguished Professor Lía Schwartz This dissertation examines the role of the historias de vida (stories of lives) in XVII century Spain with particular focus on the stories of lives written by Juan Pablo Mártir Rizo. The purpose of this study is twofold: 1) to discuss the genre of said writings, which some critics, based on an apparent lack of concern by Mártir Rizo for historical documents and facts, have categorized as literature and, therefore, fiction, but which some others consider as truly historiographical texts; 2) to contest the characteristic of "practical" that was given by a particular critic to the historiography of the Spanish Baroque because one of its main objectives was to influence the readers and move them to carry out certain actions and abstain from others. To be able to arrive to a solid conclusion to both problems, the study first presents a brief but thorough historical background that focuses on the writing of the stories of lives and its relationship with literature and history, as well as on the role attributed to history in the various periods since the surfacing of the first bioi in ancient Greece. This study also analyzes the philosophical background that permeates the prevalent worldview during Spanish Golden Age, namely two schools of thought: skepticism and neo-stoicism. The study goes on to analyze in detail three of the four stories of lives written by Mártir Rizo, particularly centering on the historical sources and the many digressions that Mártir Rizo introduces and are such a fundamental component of his lives. Finally, this study considers three questions the responses to which were essential to determine the genre of Mártir Rizo's stories of lives and the place that the Spanish author allocated to historical facts: 1) How were his works considered by his readers? 2) How were these works classified in the libraries of his time? 3) Which were the historical sources available to Mártir Rizo and what use if any did he make of them?