Alumni Dissertations

 

Alumni Dissertations

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  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • Two Sides to a Drum: Duality in Trinidad Orisha Music and Culture

    Author:
    Ryan Bazinet
    Year of Dissertation:
    2013
    Program:
    Music
    Advisor:
    Peter Manuel
    Abstract:

    This dissertation presents an ethnographic and historical study of music and culture in the Yoruba-derived Trinidad Orisha religion in Trinidad and New York City. Its objectives are: (1) to provide description and documentation of Trinidad Orisha music, an understudied music genre in the African diaspora; (2) to shed light on the historical, cultural, and demographic factors contributing to the development of Trinidad Orisha music by its practitioners; and (3) to provide substance for meaningful comparisons between Trinidad Orisha music and other Yoruba-derived musics. Based on four years of fieldwork (2008-2012) in Trinidad and in Brooklyn, NY, the study explores Trinidad Orisha as a neo-African musical and religious practice at a crossroads of often oppositional transnational and postcolonial forces. The history of the religion includes criminalization, ridicule, and recent valorization as part of a middle class revival, and is emblematic of larger social and political transformations that have occurred since Trinidad's independence and the development of New York as an essential locale within the Trinidadian diaspora. The analysis is based on data gathered from field recordings of Trinidad Orisha ceremonies; formal interviews and informal conversations with Trinidad Orisha musicians, priests and others; and the author's own observations made while drumming during Trinidad Orisha rituals, including subjective insights into his experiences of the music, as both performer and listener. Musical performance is the main context for the practice of the Trinidad Orisha religion, and so the dissertation privileges music, and the experiences of musicians, as a central means of understanding the religion's history and present. The thesis of the dissertation invokes the physicality of a Trinidad Orisha drum - double-sided and thus approachable from more than one angle - as a metaphor for a basic duality in a complex cultural practice that is simultaneously Yoruba and Trinidadian. The conception of duality in Trinidad Orisha music and culture also refers to the push and pull between preservation and innovation; marginalization and revivalism; diaspora and homeland. The dialogue between these various forces is at the heart of understanding Trinidad Orisha music and its contextualization among musics of the African diaspora.

  • Landscape Aesthetics and the Sublime in France, 1748-1830

    Author:
    Thomas Beachdel
    Year of Dissertation:
    2013
    Program:
    Art History
    Advisor:
    Patricia Mainardi
    Abstract:

    This dissertation examines the expression of the sublime in French painting between the years 1748 and 1830, a period spanning ancien régime, Revolution, Terror, Directory, First French Empire, and Bourbon Restoration. It reveals the existence and persistence of a grand classical strain of the sublime derived from Longinus's first century On the Sublime that was passed into the eighteenth century by Nicolas Boileau-Despréaux's 1674 French translation, Traité du sublime [Treatise on the Sublime]. These works stress noble greatness and elevation more than the fear and terror more commonly associated during this period with the sublime as articulated by Edmund Burke in his 1757 A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful. In addition to establishing the existence and examining the articulation of the sublime in eighteenth-century France that is primarily based on the conveyance of noble elevation and greatness, this dissertation also suggests that the French sublime is unique in that it incorporates the influence of the Burkean sublime of fear and terror. Thus, the sublime in France is what I call multivalent; it can express both greatness and fear, elevation and terror. This complex admixture is significant for its rich and varied range of meanings particularly in the context of landscape painting, a relatively unimportant category of painting at the beginning of the eighteenth century, but which became a major genre in France between 1740 and 1790. This time period that forms the core of this dissertation, not incidentally, also saw the emergence of an intense focus on the subject of aesthetics, including the aesthetic category of the sublime. In his commentary on work submitted to the Paris Salon, the French critic Denis Diderot devotes roughly a quarter of his Salon of 1767 to the work of Claude-Joseph Vernet (1714-1789) and Hubert Robert (1733-1808). In his elaborate discussion of these artists, one who had a penchant for painting wild seascapes and shipwrecks and the other who had a proclivity for painting ruins, Diderot lent critical weight not only to the genre of landscape but also to the connection between their work and the sublime. This is significant in that unlike England with its well-documented sublime landscape tradition, eighteenth-century France has been viewed as virtually bereft of a sublime tradition due to its close ties to the Classical landscape tradition. The sublime is a powerful and nuanced concept that expressed a cultural and political ideology tied to the grandness and continuity of France. More than an inert aesthetic category, the sublime is also an incredibly flexible and powerful conduit of a wide range of ideas. It can be seen expressed in Vernet's emphasis on the heroic individual in his paintings of shipwrecks, Pierre-Jacques Volaire's (1729-1799) emphasis on the natural power of volcanic eruption as a vital new way of viewing the natural world, and in Robert's painting of the Louvre in ruins that attests to the cultural monumentalization of France projected into the future. Finally, the elevation, or apotheosis, of the cultural and political--sublime greatness--of Restoration France was inscribed on the ceiling of the 1826 Musée Charles X in the institutionalization of that sublime ideology.