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Analysis of School Discipline with a Focus on Characteristics of Hispanic Adolescents with Learning Disabilities from a Low-Socioeconomic Area

Description: The research reported herein examined the emotional and behavioral characteristics of adolescent Hispanic students with and without learning disabilities from a middle school in north central Texas. The data were based on all students enrolled at the campus (N = 986), but focused on 55 students of Hispanic descent with learning disabilities and 55 students without. The data accrued for this study utilized a school discipline database. In addition, a 43-item behavioral rating scale was completed on each student of the more focused group. Methods of data analysis were derived from descriptive statistics, one-way analysis of variance, and multiple regression measurements. The results indicate that Hispanic students with learning disabilities often exhibit more disruptive behaviors.
Date: December 2009
Creator: Garcia-Rodriguez, Gina D.

An Analytical Model of the Determinants and Outcomes of Nation Branding

Description: Nation as a brand represents the intangible assets of a country, encompassing various dimensions such as politics, economics, culture, history, and technology. However, much of extant work in nation branding has been limited to the empirical investigations of its positioning and implementation for specific countries, while other scholarly works in nation branding are conceptual. Various factors associated with nation branding are discussed in the literature, but there is no organizing mechanism to connect these factors to explore the dynamics underlying nation branding. To fill this gap, this dissertation attempts to identify the relevant factors underlying the deployment of nation branding, and to develop models to assess the association among these factors. Hunt and Morgan's resource advantage theory serves as the theoretical foundation of this dissertation's framework. After establishing panel data models that link the factors of building and developing the nation brand, the strategic implications of nation branding are discussed. Archival data were used for economic factors such as economic development, tourism, export, and inward foreign investment, and cultural, political, infrastructural, and geographical factors. The primary data were collected for qualitative factors perceived reputable brand and perceived reputable industry. The Anholt-GfK Roper's 2008 Nation Brands IndexSM was incorporated into the model as a moderating variable to test its impact on the relationship between the dependent variables and the independent variables. A total of 24 nations were analyzed to build and validate the models. This dissertation makes several contributions to the nation branding literature. First, it clarifies the definition of nation brand and nation branding. Second, it builds a predictive econometric model to connect the critical determinant and outcome factors of nation branding. Finally, it discusses nation branding strategies in terms of resource advantage theory and provides crucial insights on the development and management of a nation brand that can be ...
Date: December 2009
Creator: Sun, Qin

An Analytical Study: Applying Hindemith's Tonal Theory to Niels Viggo Bentzon's Third Piano Sonata, Op. 44

Description: Niels Viggo Bentzon (1919-2000) is the most significant composer in the post-Nielsen period of Danish piano music. Bentzon's Third Piano Sonata, Op.44 was composed in 1946 and is considered by Mark L. Lehmann to be one of the great piano sonatas of the twentieth century. Not only does this sonata reflect Hindemith's ideas, but it also reveals Bentzon's unique style that successively empowers his innovative features. By applying Hindemith's theory, this study offers a way of understanding this piece and demonstrates the relevance of Hindemith's theory as a tool for analyzing the sonata. Chapter 1 presents the significance of the study, the state of research, the purpose of the study, and method. Chapter 2 provides a theoretical analysis of Bentzon's Third Piano Sonata, Op. 44. With a discussion of each movement, this analytical chapter traces Hindemith's influences: Bentzon organizes the four movements with a clear formal structure, a mediant relationship between the first movement and the rest of the movements, and a motivic coherence of each movement. Also, this chapter demonstrates how Bentzon follows Hindemith's way of chord construction and harmonic progression. This chapter provides insight into Bentzon's original style that facilitates an understanding of the tonal organization of each movement and illuminates Bentzon's intensity of expression through the use of quasi-improvisational passages, texture, dynamic fluctuations, and treatment of the full range of the piano. The last chapter concludes with a summary of Bentzon's compositional style based on observations from previous chapters.
Date: December 2009
Creator: Kim, Sun Hee

Assessing Play Interests in Toddlers.

Description: Play is a significant part of childhood. Typically developing children exhibit a wide range of interests within their play behavior, but children with autism do not. The purpose of this study was to design and implement an assessment tool that will capture the constellation of behaviors indicating play interests in young children. The Early Play Interests Assessment (EPIA) includes categories of play behavior and their components behaviors. Additionally, measures of child affect were built into the EPIA. All behaviors were observed under various environmental conditions. The results show that the EPIA was useful in observing toddlers' play behavior within behavioral categories and components and in assessing the interactions among these measures of play interests. The results are discussed in relation to the importance of creating observational systems to quantify play interests in typical and atypical children and for establishing a link between the information gathered in assessment and the planning and implementation of autism interventions.
Date: December 2009
Creator: Kodaka, Mitsuru

Assessing the Stimulus Control of Observers.

Description: The science of behavior analysis relies heavily on direct observation. Human observers are typically used to measure behavior in applied settings. Although the use of human observers is beneficial in many regards, it also presents challenges. Of primary concern is the extent to which the data generated by observers actually corresponds to the behavioral events of interest, and the implications this may have in terms of replication. This study assessed the effects that labels, definitions, and examples and non-examples of two different modalities had on observer accuracy, consistency, and agreement. Results showed that current practices in observer training may require refinement to ensure high observer accuracy, consistency, and agreement. Suggestions for how to improve the desired stimulus control of observers are provided.
Date: December 2009
Creator: Kuhn, Robin Merritt

Bidirectional Effects Between Engaged Lifestyle and Cognition in Later Life: Exploring the Moderation Hypothesis for Personality Variables.

Description: Longitudinal data (N = 263) was used to investigate the bidirectional relationship between engagement (engaged lifestyle activities) and cognition (crystallized & fluid intelligence). Extroversion and openness to experience were also tested as moderators of the relationship between engagement and cognition. Results showed that the relationship between engagement at Wave 1 and cognition at Wave 2 did not differ from the relationship between cognition at Wave 1 and engagement at Wave 2. Testing for moderation with regression indicated that neither extroversion nor openness was moderating the relationship between engagement and cognition in either direction. Structural equation models provided further summary evidence that the relationships among engagement at Wave 1, extroversion, openness, and cognition at Wave 2 were not strong. However, a strong limitation to these results was the measurement error associated with a new measure of engagement.
Date: December 2009
Creator: Starkweather, Jonathan

The Captive Animal Activity Tracking System: A Systematic Method for the Continuous Evaluation of Captive Animal Welfare.

Description: Optimal animal welfare has been a long-term goal for captive animal institutions. To measure welfare a definition and identification of elements that make up welfare need to be established. Further, a method to measure welfare's elements that can be implemented into staff's daily routine is necessary to establish baseline levels and track changes in welfare. The goal of the proposed captive animal activity tracking system is to allow for the measurement of each element of welfare quickly, while providing information regarding the animal's current state of welfare and how changes to the animal's environment affect welfare. The data show that this system is effective in revealing behavioral patterns and changes in behavior that occurred in response to environmental changes.
Date: December 2009
Creator: Kalafut, Kathryn Lynn

Children's Spiritual Development: Analysis of Program Practices and Recommendations for Early Childhood Professionals.

Description: The purpose of this study was to determine the extent to which faith-based preschools promote spiritual development in preschoolers. The participants in the study were faith-based early childhood teachers and administrators from seven states. Early childhood professionals representing 11 Christian faith traditions completed written surveys or online surveys. A total of 201 faith-based educators completed the survey; 20 respondents participated in semi-structured interviews. The concurrent triangulation mixed-method design provided data on 8 program dimensions which support children's spiritual development: prayer, Bible literacy, worship, building character, service opportunities, assessment, parental involvement and context. I analyzed quantitative data using descriptive and inferential statistics. All items were examined using mean, standard deviation, frequency, and percentages. Qualitative data gathered from semi-structured interviews were coded and analyzed using NVivo8® qualitative analysis software (QSR International, Inc., Cambridge, MA, http://www.qsrinternational.com). From this data I identified the extent to which faith-based preschool programs support children's spiritual development through the practices of prayer, Bible literacy, worship, building character, service opportunities, assessment, parental involvement and context. Data analyses revealed statistically significant differences in faith-based teachers' hours of training in children's spiritual development across all program practice dimensions. A key finding of the study was that training in children's spiritual development is important regardless of the education level of the early childhood professional. Qualitative data indicated no standardized spiritual development training in faith-based preschools represented in this study. The mixed-method analysis revealed that the 8 program practice dimensions were not always connected in a framework that supported children's spiritual development. Recommendations for professional practice include a program framework to support children's spiritual development in faith-based preschool programs; training for faith-based early childhood professionals in children's spiritual development; and formulating a definition of children's spiritual development.
Date: December 2009
Creator: Myers, Joyce Eady

Comparing a discriminative stimulus procedure to a pairing procedure: Conditioning neutral social stimuli to function as conditioned reinforcers.

Description: Social stimuli that function as reinforcers for most children generally do not function as reinforcers for children diagnosed with autism. These important social stimuli include smiles, head nods, thumb-ups, and okay signs. It should be an important goal of therapy for children with autism to condition these neutral social stimuli to function as reinforcers for children diagnosed with autism. There is empirical evidence to support both a pairing procedure (classical conditioning) and a discriminative stimulus procedure to condition neutral stimuli to function as reinforcers. However, there is no clear evidence as to the superiority of effectiveness for either procedure. Despite this most textbooks and curriculum guides for children with autism state only the pairing procedure to condition neutral stimuli to function as reinforcers. Recent studies suggest that the discriminative stimulus procedure may in fact be more effective in conditioning neutral stimuli to function as reinforcers for children diagnosed with autism. The present research is a further comparison of these two procedures. Results from one participant support recent findings that suggest the discriminative stimulus procedure is more effective in conditioning neutral stimuli to function as reinforcers. But the results from the other participant show no effects from either procedure, suggesting future research into conditions necessary to condition neutral social stimuli to function as reinforcers for children with autism.
Date: December 2009
Creator: Koelker, Rachel Lee

Comparison of IKONOS Derived Vegetation Index and LiDAR Derived Canopy Height Model for Grassland Management.

Description: Forest encroachment is understood to be the main reason for prairie grassland decline across the United States. In Texas and Oklahoma, juniper has been highlighted as particularly opportunistic. This study assesses the usefulness of three remote sensing techniques to aid in locating the areas of juniper encroachment for the LBJ Grasslands in Decatur, Texas. An object based classification was performed in eCognition and final accuracy assessments placed the overall accuracy at 94%, a significant improvement over traditional pixel based methods. Image biomass was estimated using normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) for 1 meter resolution IKONOS winter images. A high correlation between the sum of NDVI for tree objects and field tree biomass was determined where R = 0.72, suggesting NDVI sum of a tree area is plausible. However, issues with NDVI saturation and regression produced unrealistically high biomass estimates for large NDVI. Canopy height model (CHM) derived from 3-5m LiDAR data did not perform as well. LiDAR typically used for digital elevation model (DEM) production was acquired for the CHM and produced correlations of R = 0.26. This suggests an inability for this particular dataset to identify juniper trees. When points that registered a tree height where correlated with field values, an R = 0.5 was found, suggesting denser point spacing would be necessary for this type of LiDAR data. Further refining of the methods used in this study could yield such information as the amount of juniper tree for a given location, fuel loads for prescribed burns and better information for the best approach to remove the juniper and ultimately management juniper encroachment into grasslands.
Date: December 2009
Creator: Parker, Gary

Cultivating the Ecological Conscience: Smith, Orr, and Bowers on Ecological Education

Description: During the past two decades, one of the positive developments in academia has been the emergence of a sizable literature pertaining to ecological education-the theory and practice of preparing children and adults alike for ecologically responsible citizenship. Gregory A. Smith, David W. Orr, and C. A. Bowers are three of the more prolific writers in the field. Smith critiques modern primary and secondary education and argues for, and paints a picture of, an alternative "green pedagogy" that seeks to inculcate in students strong community and ecological values. Orr focuses on the social and ethical problems associated with the environmental crisis and the changes that colleges and universities need to make in order to become propagators of, rather than impediments to, a widespread diffusion of ecological literacy. Bowers emphasizes the role that ecologically problematic modern cultural assumptions play in blinkering the ecological vision of most educational theorists and in preventing the flowering of an eco-justice pedagogy. Each writer seeks the transformation of both education and culture with a view toward realizing ecological sustainability, strong communities, social justice, and moral edification. They neglect or ignore some important subjects, including animal welfare ethics, politics, and corporate influence on governments.
Date: December 2009
Creator: Hoelscher, David W.

Cultural and Technical Perspectives on Winter Landscape

Description: Winter Landscape is an interactive composition for erhu (Chinese two-stringed fiddle), flute, piano, and Max/MSP interactive computer music system. The total duration of the piece is approximately 15 minutes. Winter Landscape serves to demonstrate one particular approach to exploring the possibilities afforded in an interactive paradigm within a cross-cultural context. The work is intended to convey my personality and identity as a contemporary Chinese composer through diverse cultural and musical influences drawn to this particular piece while creating a balance between traditional and modern sounds. The influences of Chinese philosophy (especially Chán) and the essence of Chinese traditional music play a prominent role as demonstrated in the formation of structures, expressions, and concept of Yun in the work; these influences also play a great role in determining the instrumentation and basic pitch structures of the work. However, this work is equally influenced by techniques and practices of modern Western classical music. These diverse influences hopefully have resulted in a unique work that truly does represent a cross-synthesis of these varying influences. In Winter Landscape, the interaction that takes place between the computer and the live musician is intended to reveal the responsive human/machine relationships. The computer constantly shifts its roles as a musical instrument, conductor, performer, and improviser to facilitate the sonic realization of the solemn, nebulous, and peaceful nature of Chán philosophy, thus exploring the cultural and musical potentials; meanwhile, the design of algorithmic structures simulate the modeling of human performance, enabling the computer with intellectual ability and musical expressivity as a decision-maker, resembling its counterpart-the live performer.
Date: December 2009
Creator: Wang, Jing

Design and Validation of an Automated Multiunit Composting System.

Description: This thesis covers the design of an automated multiunit composting system (AMUCS) that was constructed to meet the experimental apparatus requirements of the ASTM D5338 standard. The design of the AMUCS is discussed in full detail and validated with two experiments. The first experiment was used to validate the operation of the AMUCS with a 15 day experiment. During this experiment visual observations were made to visually observe degradation. Thermal properties and stability tests were performed to quantify the effects of degradation on the polymer samples, and the carbon metabolized from the degradation of samples was measured. The second experiment used the AMUCS to determine the effect of synthetic clay nanofiller on the aerobic biodegradability behavior of poly (3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate).
Date: December 2009
Creator: Pickens, Mark Everett

Do Different Political Regime Types Use Foreign Aid Differently to Improve Human Development?

Description: Existing literature on foreign aid does not indicate what type of political regime is best to achieve human development outcomes or use aid funds more efficiently. I contend that political leaders of different regime types have personal incentives that motivate them to utilize foreign aid to reflect their interests in providing more or less basic social services for their citizens. Using a data set of 126 aid-recipient countries between the years of 1990 and 2007, I employ fixed effects estimation to test the model. The overall results of this research indicate that foreign aid and democratic institutionalization have a positive effect on total enrollment in primary education, while political regime types show little difference from one another in providing public health and education for their citizens.
Date: December 2009
Creator: Phan, Thu Anh

Does Stimulus Complexity Affect Acquisition of Conditional Discriminations and the Emergence of Derived Relations?

Description: Despite the central importance of conditional discriminations to the derivation of equivalence relations, there is little research relating the dynamics of conditional discrimination learning to the derivation of equivalence relations. Prior research has shown that conditional discriminations with simple sample and comparison stimuli are acquired faster than conditional discriminations with complex sample and comparison stimuli. This study attempted to replicate these earlier results and extend them by attempting to relate conditional discrimination learning to equivalence relations. Each of four adult humans learned four, four-choice conditional discriminations (simple-simple, simple-complex, complex-simple, and complex-complex) and were tested to see if equivalence relations had developed. The results confirm earlier findings showing acquisition to be facilitated with simple stimuli and retarded with complex stimuli. There was no difference in outcomes on equivalence tests, however. The results are in implicit agreement with Sidman's theory of stimulus equivalence.
Date: December 2009
Creator: Martin, Tiffani L.

Does the Knowledge of Unaudited Account Balances Adversely Affect the Performance of Substantive Analytical Procedures?

Description: Auditors use substantive analytical procedures to make assertions about the adequacy and appropriateness of client balances. The analytical procedure process consists of auditors creating independent account expectations and corroborating unusual fluctuations through obtaining and evaluating additional audit evidence. Prior analytical procedure research has found that knowledge of clients' unaudited account balances biases auditors' expectations towards the current year figures. However, this research has failed to examine the impact of biased expectations on the subsequent stages of analytical procedures. This dissertation assesses the full impact of biased account expectations on auditors' use of analytical procedures. I experimentally test the hypotheses of my dissertation through administering an experiment to senior level auditors. After inducing an account expectation bias that favors the client account balance in half the participants, I examine the auditors' cognitive investigation into an unusual account fluctuation. The results indicate that a biased account expectation negatively affects auditors' judgment quality. In particular, a biased expectation leads auditors to favor hypotheses and additional information that supports the proposition that the client's balance is reasonably stated. Alternatively, auditors with unbiased account expectations are more willing to consider all hypotheses and are able to identify the most pertinent additional information to the decision task. As a result of the different decision strategies employed, auditors who form unbiased account expectations are significantly more likely than auditors with biased account expectations to identify the correct relationship among the underlying data and the proposed hypotheses during a substantive analytical procedure.
Date: December 2009
Creator: Pike, Byron J.

The Effect of Participation in Advanced Placement And/or Dual Credit on Four-year Graduation Rates.

Description: Advanced Placement and dual credit programs are designed for high school students and are used to earn college credit and possibly gain college admissions advantages. The present research examined the impact of participation in one or both programs on four-year college graduation rates. Findings indicated significant differences between the programs as well as with students who did not participate in either program. Students in AP achieved the highest four-year graduation rate, followed by students in dual credit, both programs, and neither program. These findings indicate the need for further study to determine whether the programs substantially contribute to four-year graduation rates and what the implications are.
Date: December 2009
Creator: O'Keefe, Lynette Marie

The Effect of Social Support on Risky Sexual Behavior in Homeless Adolescent Youth.

Description: This study examines the relationship between social support and youth's high-risk behaviors. The data were obtained from the Midwest Homeless and Runaway Adolescent Project (MHRAP) in 1996. In the Midwestern United States, this study examines the hypothesis that youth with high social support will have low sexual risk behaviors. The study found that youths who had someone to turn to, a greater number of close friends, and someone they could count on were less likely to engage in risky sexual behaviors. The implications of the findings are discussed.
Date: December 2009
Creator: Ford, Alison Nicole

The Effectiveness of Business Leadership Practices among Principals on Student Achievement on Public School Campuses in Texas

Description: The purpose of this descriptive study was to determine if business leadership practices by Texas public school principals have an impact on principals' campus student achievement in mathematics and reading, as measured by TAKS scores. The survey instrument was the Leadership Assessment Instrument (LAI), developed by Warren Bennis in 1989. The survey instrument was electronically distributed to a sample of 300 public school principals in Texas. Of the 300, 140 principals completed and returned the survey, for a response rate of 47%. The Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS), version 16.0, was used for the analysis of data, which included descriptive statistics, analysis of variance, and regression. In addition, reliability for the LAI was also calculated. The LAI consists of the following five categories of effective business practices: focused drive, emotional intelligence, building trust, conceptual thinking, and systems thinking. No significant relationships were found between principals' use of LAI elements and student achievement in mathematics and reading. However, the lack of significant relationships between the business model as used in public schools and student achievement reveals that current models of principal preparation programs do not result in school leaders who are adequately prepared to increase student achievement. Further research is recommended as public school leaders continue to seek alternative strategies and innovative practices to improve student achievement.
Date: December 2009
Creator: Cooper, Kary M.

Effectiveness of on-line corpus research in L2 writing: Investigation of proficiency in English writing through independent error correction.

Description: Second language (L2) researchers and teachers have increasingly come to believe that using a computer-based corpus can be extremely helpful in the language classroom. The purpose of this study is to examine whether corpora can be used outside of the classroom in order for students to improve their essays independently. No previous study has tried to examine students' essays in relation to corpus use so that this study is exploratory. Seven international students wrote five essays on specific topics and then corrected their errors through corpus research. Two experiments were conducted with different students and followed three steps: receiving information about how to use the BYU COCA, writing and correcting, and interviews with students. I examined quantitatively the number and types of errors that students were able to correct in two experiments and reported qualitatively on students' interview responses.
Date: December 2009
Creator: Kim, Yu-Jeung

The Effects of Attendance at a Senior Center on the Quality of Life and Well Being of Grandparents Rearing Grandchildren.

Description: The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of attendance at a senior center on the well being and quality of life of grandparents that were rearing grandchildren. Using convenience sampling, grandparents (N=130) who were rearing grandchildren were given a self administered demographic data survey along with an attendance at a senior center questionnaire, the Quality of Life Scale, the Well Being Scale by Liang, the UCLA Loneliness Scale, the Caregiver Burden Scale, and the Role Satisfaction Scale. An initial MANOVA (F 7, 69 = 2.72, p < .01) suggesting that senior center attendance affect the measures as a set was conducted and then a series of one way ANOVAs were carried out to test the hypothesis that attending a senior center has an effect on the dependent variables: well being, quality of life, role satisfaction, caregiver burden, loneliness, current health, and heath one year ago. Subsequently, a hierarchical regression analysis was conducted to find out whether frequency and quality of attendance of a senior center predicted quality of life, caregiver burden, well being, loneliness, and role satisfaction, controlling for the demographic data. The results of the MANOVA showed that the dependent variables: quality of life, caregiver burden, well being and role satisfaction were impacted positively by the attendance of a senior center. The results of the regression analyses showed that for each of the major dependent variables, after controlling for the demographic data, the quality and frequency of involvement at the senior center did not have a uniquely significant role in predicting the dependent variables. The results of this study shows that further research need to be conducted to answer other questions regarding grandparents who are rearing minor grandchildren and the affects that senior centers may have in assisting in the management of this new task that ...
Date: December 2009
Creator: Rhynes, LaTrica Q.

Effects of Background Music on Preschoolers' Attention.

Description: Background music is often used in preschool classrooms with the belief that music makes children smarter and increases attention. The purpose of this study was to determine if background music increased children's focused attention during play activities. Focused attention occurs when children maintain attention to a task regardless of distractions. This quasiexperimental study investigated background music and play in a laboratory setting. I videotaped individual children during play with math manipulatives in a pretest-posttest research design with background music used as the treatment. Forty-three 3-, 4-, and 5-year-olds played for 15 minutes. The first 5 minutes of play had no music (pretest), the second 5-minute play episode had background music (treatment), and the final 5-minute play episode had no background music (posttest). Data were analyzed using one-way repeated measures analysis of variance. Findings revealed that the subjects paid less attention to the play task with background music than they did during the pretest, with no music. Another key finding was that children with more musical experiences at home, as reported by the Child's Home Musical Experience Survey (CHIMES), exhibited longer periods of focused attention with background music. This study confirmed previous research that 3-year-old children have shorter focused attention than 4- and 5-year-old children with and without background music. These findings have implications for teachers and parents that background music, instead of increasing attention in children, might indeed decrease children's focused attention during play activities.
Date: December 2009
Creator: Dartt, Kevin Maurine

Endangered newspaper: An analysis of 10 years of corporate messages from the Dallas Morning News.

Description: Most newspapers today are struggling to survive in an increasingly fragmented and digital media environment. How have their owners or corporate parents shaped or adapted their business practices to in order to thrive? This question guides the overall approach to this study. The focus is on one newspaper, the Dallas Morning News. In particular, how has the News used corporate messages to respond to the changing media landscape? This study employs forms of rhetorical and discourse analysis to determine the effectiveness of the News' corporate messages during a 10-year period in order to answer this question. This study finds that the News used inconsistent and ineffective corporate communications throughout this tumultuous period.
Date: December 2009
Creator: McLarty, Amy

E‐Shape Analysis

Description: The motivation of this work is to understand E-shape analysis and how it can be applied to various classification tasks. It has a powerful feature to not only look at what information is contained, but rather how that information looks. This new technique gives E-shape analysis the ability to be language independent and to some extent size independent. In this thesis, I present a new mechanism to characterize an email without using content or context called E-shape analysis for email. I explore the applications of the email shape by carrying out a case study; botnet detection and two possible applications: spam filtering and social-context based finger printing. The second part of this thesis takes what I apply E-shape analysis to activity recognition of humans. Using the Android platform and a T-Mobile G1 phone I collect data from the triaxial accelerometer and use it to classify the motion behavior of a subject.
Date: December 2009
Creator: Sroufe, Paul