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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

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

A Catalog of Extinctions

Description: The preface describes the construction of a book-length, interwoven sequence of poems. This type of sequence differs from other types of poetry collections in its use of an overarching narrative, repeated images, and recurring characters. Three interwoven sequences are used as examples of how to construct such a sequence.
Date: December 2009
Creator: Casey, Edward Anthony

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.

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.

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

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

Electrical resistivity as a measure of change of state in substrates: Design, development and validation of a microprocessor-based system.

Description: Smart structures are relevant and significant because of their relevance to phenomena such as hazard mitigation, structural health monitoring and energy saving. Electrical resistance could potentially serve as an indicator of structural well-being or damage in the structure. To this end, the development of a microprocessor-based automated resistance measurement system with customized GUI is desired. In this research, a nodal electrical resistance acquisition circuit (NERAC) system was designed. The system hardware interfaces to a laptop, which houses a customized GUI developed using DAQFactory software. Resistance/impedance was measured using DC/AC methods with four-point probes technique, on three substrates. Baseline reading before damage was noted and compared with the resistance measured after damage. The device was calibrated and validated on three different substrates. Resistance measurements were taken from PVDF samples, composite panels and smart concrete. Results conformed to previous work done on these substrates, validating the effective working of the NERAC device.
Date: December 2009
Creator: Le, Dong D.

Electrochemical Deposition of Zinc-Nickel Alloys in Alkaline Solution for Increased Corrosion Resistance.

Description: The optimal conditions for deposition of zinc-nickel alloys onto stainless steel discs in alkaline solutions have been examined. In the past cadmium has been used because it shows good corrosion protection, but other methods are being examined due to the high toxicity and environmental threats posed by its use. Zinc has been found to provide good corrosion resistance, but the corrosion resistance is greatly increased when alloyed with nickel. The concentration of nickel in the deposit has long been a debated issue, but for basic solutions a nickel concentration of 8-15% appears optimal. However, deposition of zinc-nickel alloys from acidic solutions has average nickel concentrations of 12-15%. Alkaline conditions give a more uniform deposition layer, or better metal distribution, thereby a better corrosion resistance. Although TEA (triethanolamine) is most commonly used to complex the metals in solution, in this work I examined TEA along with other complexing agents. Although alkaline solutions have been examined, most research has been done in pH ≥ 12 solutions. However, there has been some work performed in the pH 9.3-9.5 range. This work examines different ligands in a pH 9.3-9.4 range. Direct potential plating and pulse potential plating methods are examined for optimal platings. The deposits were examined and characterized by XRD.
Date: December 2009
Creator: Conrad, Heidi A.

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

An Evaluation of the Effects of Two Different Role Play Formats on the Outcomes of a Parent Training Curriculum

Description: The current study was designed to replicate and extend previous research on the effectiveness of behavioral parent training. Specifically, the effectiveness of the Behavior Management and Parenting Services (BMAPS) curriculum in teaching parents to exhibit a set of parenting skills and respond accurately to a multiple choice examination about positive parenting techniques was evaluated. In addition, the curriculum was revised so that the relative effectiveness and acceptability of two role play formats could be assessed. The outcomes of the study showed an improvement in the participants' ability to identify correct answers on a multiple choice examination and apply the parenting skills taught in class within a role play format; results pertaining to the efficacy of each role play format were less conclusive.
Date: December 2009
Creator: Carlson Litscher, Barbara J.

Force-Directed Graph Drawing and Aesthetics Measurement in a Non-Strict Pure Functional Programming Language

Description: Non-strict pure functional programming often requires redesigning algorithms and data structures to work more effectively under new constraints of non-strict evaluation and immutable state. Graph drawing algorithms, while numerous and broadly studied, have no presence in the non-strict pure functional programming model. Additionally, there is currently no freely licensed standalone toolkit used to quantitatively analyze aesthetics of graph drawings. This thesis addresses two previously unexplored questions. Can a force-directed graph drawing algorithm be implemented in a non-strict functional language, such as Haskell, and still be practically usable? Can an easily extensible aesthetic measuring tool be implemented in a language such as Haskell and still be practically usable? The focus of the thesis is on implementing one of the simplest force-directed algorithms, that of Fruchterman and Reingold, and comparing its resulting aesthetics to those of a well-known C++ implementation of the same algorithm.
Date: December 2009
Creator: Gaconnet, Christopher James

GranCloud: A real-time granular synthesis application and its implementation in the interactive composition Creo.

Description: GranCloud is new application for the generation of real-time granular synthesis in the SuperCollider programming environment. Although the software was initially programmed for use in the interactive composition Creo, it was implemented as an independent program for use in any computer music project. GranCloud consists of a set of SuperCollider classes representing granular clouds and parameter objects defining control data for the synthesis. The software is very flexible, allowing users to create their own grain synthesis definitions and control parameters. Cloud objects encapsulate all of the control data and methods necessary to render virtually any type of granular synthesis. Parameter objects provide several simple methods for mapping grain parameters to complex changing data sets or to external data sources. GranCloud simplifies the complex task of generating granular synthesis, allowing composers to focus less on technological issues and more on musical considerations during the compositional process.
Date: December 2009
Creator: Lee, Terry Alan

High Resolution Satellite Images and LiDAR Data for Small-Area Building Extraction and Population Estimation

Description: Population estimation in inter-censual years has many important applications. In this research, high-resolution pan-sharpened IKONOS image, LiDAR data, and parcel data are used to estimate small-area population in the eastern part of the city of Denton, Texas. Residential buildings are extracted through object-based classification techniques supported by shape indices and spectral signatures. Three population indicators -building count, building volume and building area at block level are derived using spatial joining and zonal statistics in GIS. Linear regression and geographically weighted regression (GWR) models generated using the three variables and the census data are used to estimate population at the census block level. The maximum total estimation accuracy that can be attained by the models is 94.21%. Accuracy assessments suggest that the GWR models outperformed linear regression models due to their better handling of spatial heterogeneity. Models generated from building volume and area gave better results. The models have lower accuracy in both densely populated census blocks and sparsely populated census blocks, which could be partly attributed to the lower accuracy of the LiDAR data used.
Date: December 2009
Creator: Ramesh, Sathya

The impact of climate and flooding on tree ring growth of Fraxinus pennsylvanica in north-central Texas.

Description: Tree cores of Fraxinus pennsylvanica were used in a dendrochronological analysis investigating the species' responses to climate and flooding. The objective was to develop a model that incorporates the effects of precipitation, temperature, and flooding on radial growth in this species in north-central Texas. The trees exhibited strong climatic signals. The study clearly shows that all three factors have significant impacts on tree ring growth both prior to and during growth; however, the nature and extent of these impacts are highly dependent on what time of year they occur. The large temporal variations in growth responses emphasize the importance of considering the timing of environmental events when studying tree growth responses.
Date: December 2009
Creator: Komperod, Mari

Integrating environmental data acquisition and low cost Wi-Fi data communication.

Description: This thesis describes environmental data collection and transmission from the field to a server using Wi-Fi. Also discussed are components, radio wave propagation, received power calculations, and throughput tests. Measured receive power resulted close to calculated and simulated values. Throughput tests resulted satisfactory. The thesis provides detailed systematic procedures for Wi-Fi radio link setup and techniques to optimize the quality of a radio link.
Date: December 2009
Creator: Gurung, Sanjaya

Interactions of equivalence and other behavioral relations: Simple successive discrimination training.

Description: The experimenter asked if documented equivalence class membership would influence the development of shared discriminative stimulus function established through simple successive discrimination training. In Experiment 1, equivalence classes were established with two sets of 9 stimuli. Common stimulus functions were then trained within or across the equivalence classes. Greater acquisition rates of the simple discriminations with stimuli drawn from within the equivalence classes were observed. In Experiment 2, a third stimulus set was added with which no equivalence relations were explicitly trained. The findings of Experiment 1 were replicated, but the Set 3 results were inconsistent across subjects. The outcomes of the two experiments demonstrate that equivalence classes have an effect on other behavioral relations which requires further investigation.
Date: December 2009
Creator: Brackney, Ryan