Open Science Research Excellence

Open Science Index

Commenced in January 2007 Frequency: Monthly Edition: International Paper Count: 426

From Electroencephalogram to Epileptic Seizures Detection by Using Artificial Neural Networks

Seizure is the main factor that affects the quality of life of epileptic patients. The diagnosis of epilepsy, and hence the identification of epileptogenic zone, is commonly made by using continuous Electroencephalogram (EEG) signal monitoring. Seizure identification on EEG signals is made manually by epileptologists and this process is usually very long and error prone. The aim of this paper is to describe an automated method able to detect seizures in EEG signals, using knowledge discovery in database process and data mining methods and algorithms, which can support physicians during the seizure detection process. Our detection method is based on Artificial Neural Network classifier, trained by applying the multilayer perceptron algorithm, and by using a software application, called Training Builder that has been developed for the massive extraction of features from EEG signals. This tool is able to cover all the data preparation steps ranging from signal processing to data analysis techniques, including the sliding window paradigm, the dimensionality reduction algorithms, information theory, and feature selection measures. The final model shows excellent performances, reaching an accuracy of over 99% during tests on data of a single patient retrieved from a publicly available EEG dataset.

Negative RT-PCR in a Newborn Infected with Zika Virus: A Case Report

Congenital Zika Virus Syndrome is an entity composed by a variety of birth defects presented in newborns that have been exposed to the Zika Virus during pregnancy. The syndrome characteristic features are severe microcephaly, cerebral tissue abnormalities, ophthalmological abnormalities such as uveitis and chorioretinitis, arthrogryposis, clubfoot deformity and muscular tone abnormalities. The confirmatory test is the Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) associated to the physical findings. Here we present the case of a newborn with microcephaly whose mother presented a confirmed Zika Virus infection during the third trimester of pregnancy, despite of the evident findings and the history of Zika infection the RT-PCR in amniotic and cerebrospinal fluid of the newborn was negative. RT-PCR has demonstrated a low sensibility in samples with low viral loads, reason why, we propose a clinical diagnosis in patients with clinical history of Zika Virus infection during pregnancy accompanied by evident clinical manifestations of the child.

Students’ Perceptions of Communication Design in Media: Case Study of Portuguese and Spanish Communication Students

The proliferation of mobile devices in society enables the media to disseminate information and knowledge more rapidly. Higher education students access these contents and share them with each other, in the most diverse platforms, allowing the ubiquity in access to information. This article presents the results and respective quantitative analysis of a survey applied to communication students of two higher education institutions: one in Portugal and another in Spain. The results show that, in this sample, higher education students regularly access news content believing traditional news sources to be more credible. Regarding online sources, it was verified that the access was mostly to free news contents. This study intends to promote the knowledge about the changes that occur in the relationship of higher education students with the media, characterizing how news consumption is processed by these students, considering the resulting effects of the digital media evolution. It is intended to present not only the news sources they use, but also to know some of their habits and relationship with the news media.

The Analysis of Deceptive and Truthful Speech: A Computational Linguistic Based Method

Recently, detecting liars and extracting features which distinguish them from truth-tellers have been the focus of a wide range of disciplines. To the author’s best knowledge, most of the work has been done on facial expressions and body gestures but only few works have been done on the language used by both liars and truth-tellers. This paper sheds light on four axes. The first axis copes with building an audio corpus for deceptive and truthful speech for Egyptian Arabic speakers. The second axis focuses on examining the human perception of lies and proving our need for computational linguistic-based methods to extract features which characterize truthful and deceptive speech. The third axis is concerned with building a linguistic analysis program that could extract from the corpus the inter- and intra-linguistic cues for deceptive and truthful speech. The program built here is based on selected categories from the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count program. Our results demonstrated that Egyptian Arabic speakers on one hand preferred to use first-person pronouns and present tense compared to the past tense when lying and their lies lacked of second-person pronouns, and on the other hand, when telling the truth, they preferred to use the verbs related to motion and the nouns related to time. The results also showed that there is a need for bigger data to prove the significance of words related to emotions and numbers.

Masquerade and “What Comes Behind Six Is More Than Seven”: Thoughts on Art History and Visual Culture Research Methods

In the 21st century, the disciplinary boundaries of past centuries that we often create through mainstream art historical classification, techniques and sources may have been eroded by visual culture, which seems to provide a more inclusive umbrella for the new ways artists go about the creative process and its resultant commodities. Over the past four decades, artists in Africa have resorted to new materials, techniques and themes which have affected our ways of research on these artists and their art. Frontline artists such as El Anatsui, Yinka Shonibare, Erasmus Onyishi are demonstrating that any material is just suitable for artistic expression. Most of times, these materials come with their own techniques/effects and visual syntax: a combination of materials compounds techniques, formal aesthetic indexes, halo effects, and iconography. This tends to challenge the categories and we lean on to view, think and talk about them. This renders our main stream art historical research methods inadequate, thus suggesting new discursive concepts, terms and theories. This paper proposed the Africanist eclectic methods derived from the dual framework of Masquerade Theory and What Comes Behind Six is More Than Seven. This paper shares thoughts/research on art historical methods, terminological re-alignments on classification/source data, presentational format and interpretation arising from the emergent trends in our subject. The outcome provides useful tools to mediate new thoughts and experiences in recent African art and visual culture.

Analysis and Evaluation of the Public Responses to Traffic Congestion Pricing Schemes in Urban Streets

Traffic congestion pricing in urban streets is one of the most suitable options for solving the traffic problems and environment pollutions in the cities of the country. Unlike its acceptable outcomes, there are problems concerning the necessity to pay by the mass. Regarding the fact that public response in order to succeed in this strategy is so influential, studying their response and behavior to get the feedback and improve the strategies is of great importance. In this study, a questionnaire was used to examine the public reactions to the traffic congestion pricing schemes at the center of Tehran metropolis and the factors involved in people’s decision making in accepting or rejecting the congestion pricing schemes were assessed based on the data obtained from the questionnaire as well as the international experiences. Then, by analyzing and comparing the schemes, guidelines to reduce public objections to them are discussed. The results of reviewing and evaluating the public reactions show that all the pros and cons must be considered to guarantee the success of these projects. Consequently, with targeted public education and consciousness-raising advertisements, prior to initiating a scheme and ensuring the mechanism of the implementation after the start of the project, the initial opposition is reduced and, with the gradual emergence of the real and tangible benefits of its implementation, users’ satisfaction will increase.

Landslide Susceptibility Mapping: A Comparison between Logistic Regression and Multivariate Adaptive Regression Spline Models in the Municipality of Oudka, Northern of Morocco

The logistic regression (LR) and multivariate adaptive regression spline (MarSpline) are applied and verified for analysis of landslide susceptibility map in Oudka, Morocco, using geographical information system. From spatial database containing data such as landslide mapping, topography, soil, hydrology and lithology, the eight factors related to landslides such as elevation, slope, aspect, distance to streams, distance to road, distance to faults, lithology map and Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) were calculated or extracted. Using these factors, landslide susceptibility indexes were calculated by the two mentioned methods. Before the calculation, this database was divided into two parts, the first for the formation of the model and the second for the validation. The results of the landslide susceptibility analysis were verified using success and prediction rates to evaluate the quality of these probabilistic models. The result of this verification was that the MarSpline model is the best model with a success rate (AUC = 0.963) and a prediction rate (AUC = 0.951) higher than the LR model (success rate AUC = 0.918, rate prediction AUC = 0.901).

Effects of Ophiocordyceps dipterigena BCC 2073 β-Glucan as a Prebiotic on the in vitro Growth of Probiotic and Pathogenic Bacteria

The  β-glucan produced by Ophiocordyceps dipterigena BCC 2073 is a (1, 3)-β-D-glucan with highly branching O-6-linkedside chains that is resistant to acid hydrolysis (by hydrochloric acid and porcine pancreatic alpha-amylase). This β-glucan can be utilized as a prebiotic due to its advantageous structural and biological properties. The effects of using this β-glucan as the sole carbon source for the in vitro growth of two probiotic bacteria (L. acidophilus BCC 13938 and B. animalis ATCC 25527) were investigated. Compared with the effect of using 1% glucose or fructo-oligosaccharide (FOS) as the sole carbon source, using 1% β-glucan for this purpose showed that this prebiotic supported and stimulated the growth of both types of probiotic bacteria and induced them to produce the highest levels of metabolites during their growth. The highest levels of lactic and acetic acid, 10.04 g·L-1 and 2.82 g·L-1, respectively, were observed at 2 h of cultivation using glucose as the sole carbon source. Furthermore, the fermentation broth obtained using 1% β-glucan as the sole carbon source had greater antibacterial activity against selected pathogenic bacteria (B. subtilis TISTR 008, E. coli TISTR 780, and S. typhimurium TISTR 292) than did the broths prepared using glucose or FOS as the sole carbon source. The fermentation broth obtained by growing L. acidophilus BCC 13938 in the presence of β-glucan inhibited the growth of B. subtilis TISTR 008 by more than 70% and inhibited the growth of both S. typhimurium TISTR 292 and E. coli TISTR 780 by more than 90%. In conclusion, O. dipterigena BCC 2073 is a potential source of a β-glucan prebiotic that could be used for commercial production in the near future.

Quebec Elementary Pre-service Teachers’ Conceptual Representations about Heat and Temperature

This article identifies the conceptual representations of 128 students enrolled in elementary pre-service teachers’ education in the Province of Quebec, Canada (ages 19-24). To construct their conceptual representations relatively to notions of heat and temperature, we use a qualitative research approach. For that, we distributed them a questionnaire including four questions. The result demonstrates that these students tend to view the temperature as a measure of the hotness of an object or person. They also related the sensation of cold (or warm) to the difference in temperature, and for their majority, the physical change of the matter does not require a constant temperature. These representations are inaccurate relatively to the scientific views, and we will see that they are relevant to the design of teaching strategies based on conceptual conflict.

Market Acceptance of a Murabaha-Based Finance Structure within a Social Network of Non-Islamic Small and Medium Enterprise Owners in African Procurement
Twenty two African entrepreneurs with Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in a single social network centered around a non-Muslim population in a smaller African country, selected an Islamic financing structure, a form of Murabaha, based solely on market rationale. These entrepreneurs had all won procurement contracts from major purchasers of goods within their country and faced difficulty arranging traditional bank financing to support their supply-chain needs. The Murabaha-based structure satisfied their market-driven demand and provided an attractive alternative to the traditional bank-offered lending products. The Murabaha-styled trade-financing structure was not promoted with any religious implications, but solely as a market solution to the existing problems associated with bank-related financing. This indicates the strong market forces that draw SMEs to financing structures that are traditionally considered within the framework of Islamic finance.
Self-Care Behavior and Performance Level Associated with Algerian Chronically Ill Patients

Chronic illnesses affect many Algerians. It is possible to investigate the impact of illness representations and coping on quality of life and whether illness representations are indirectly associated with quality of life through their influence on coping. This study aims at investigating the relationship between illness perception, coping strategies and quality of life with chronic illness. Illness perceptions are indirectly associated with the quality of life through their influence on coping mediation. A sample of 316 participants with chronic illness living in the region of Batna, Algeria, has been adopted in this study. A correlation statistical analysis is used to determine the relationship between illness perception, coping strategies, and quality of life. Multiple regression analysis was employed to highlight the predictive ability of the dimensions of illness perception and coping strategies on the dependent variables of quality of life, where mediation analysis is considered in the exploration of the indirect effect significance of the mediator. This study provides insights about the relationship between illness perception, coping strategies and quality of life in the considered sample (r = 0.39, p < 0.01). Therefore, it proves that there is an effect of illness identity perception, external and medical attributions related to emotional role, physical functioning, and mental health perceived, and these were fully mediated by the asking for assistance (c’= 0.04, p < 0.05), the guarding (c’= 0.00, p < 0.05), and the task persistence strategy (c’= 0.05, p < 0.05). The findings imply partial support for the common-sense model of illness representations in a chronic illness population. Directions for future research are highlighted, as well as implications for psychotherapeutic interventions which target unhelpful beliefs and maladaptive coping strategies (e.g., cognitive behavioral therapy).

Constructing a Two-Tier Test about Source Current to Diagnose Pre-Service Elementary School Teacher’ Misconceptions

We discuss the alternative conceptions of students analysing the behaviour of electrical circuits. The present paper aims at, on one hand, studying the misconceptions of 80 elementary pre-service teachers from Quebec in Canada, in relation to the current source in DC circuits. To do this, they completed a two-choice questionnaire (true or false) with justification. Data analysis identifies many conceptual difficulties. For example, their majority considered a battery as a source of constant current: When a circuit composed of battery and resistors is modified, the current supplied by the battery remains unchanged. On the other hand, considering the alternatives conceptions identified we develop a two-tier test about source current. The aim of this two-tier test is to help teachers to diagnose rapidly their students’ misconceptions in order to consider in their teaching.   

Online Information Seeking: A Review of the Literature in the Health Domain

The development of the information technology and Internet has been transforming the healthcare industry. The internet is continuously accessed to seek for health information and there are variety of sources, including search engines, health websites, and social networking sites. Providing more and better information on health may empower individuals, however, ensuring a high quality and trusted health information could pose a challenge. Moreover, there is an ever-increasing amount of information available, but they are not necessarily accurate and up to date. Thus, this paper aims to provide an insight of the models and frameworks related to online health information seeking of consumers. It begins by exploring the definition of information behavior and information seeking to provide a better understanding of the concept of information seeking. In this study, critical factors such as performance expectancy, effort expectancy, and social influence will be studied in relation to the value of seeking health information. It also aims to analyze the effect of age, gender, and health status as the moderator on the factors that influence online health information seeking, i.e. trust and information quality. A preliminary survey will be carried out among the health professionals to clarify the research problems which exist in the real world, at the same time producing a conceptual framework. A final survey will be distributed to five states of Malaysia, to solicit the feedback on the framework. Data will be analyzed using SPSS and SmartPLS 3.0 analysis tools. It is hoped that at the end of this study, a novel framework that can improve online health information seeking is developed. Finally, this paper concludes with some suggestions on the models and frameworks that could improve online health information seeking.

Optimized Brain Computer Interface System for Unspoken Speech Recognition: Role of Wernicke Area
In this paper, we propose an optimized brain computer interface (BCI) system for unspoken speech recognition, based on the fact that the constructions of unspoken words rely strongly on the Wernicke area, situated in the temporal lobe. Our BCI system has four modules: (i) the EEG Acquisition module based on a non-invasive headset with 14 electrodes; (ii) the Preprocessing module to remove noise and artifacts, using the Common Average Reference method; (iii) the Features Extraction module, using Wavelet Packet Transform (WPT); (iv) the Classification module based on a one-hidden layer artificial neural network. The present study consists of comparing the recognition accuracy of 5 Arabic words, when using all the headset electrodes or only the 4 electrodes situated near the Wernicke area, as well as the selection effect of the subbands produced by the WPT module. After applying the articial neural network on the produced database, we obtain, on the test dataset, an accuracy of 83.4% with all the electrodes and all the subbands of 8 levels of the WPT decomposition. However, by using only the 4 electrodes near Wernicke Area and the 6 middle subbands of the WPT, we obtain a high reduction of the dataset size, equal to approximately 19% of the total dataset, with 67.5% of accuracy rate. This reduction appears particularly important to improve the design of a low cost and simple to use BCI, trained for several words.
A Preliminary Conceptual Scale to Discretize the Distributed Manufacturing Continuum

The distributed manufacturing methodology brings a new concept of decentralized manufacturing operations close to the proximity of end users. A preliminary scale, to measure distributed capacity and evaluate positioning of firms, is developed in this research. In the first part of the paper, a literature review has been performed which highlights the explorative nature of the studies conducted to present definitions and classifications due to novelty of this topic. From literature, five dimensions of distributed manufacturing development stages have been identified: localization, manufacturing technologies, customization and personalization, digitalization and democratization of design. Based on these determinants a conceptual scale is proposed to measure the status of distributed manufacturing of a generic firm. A multiple case study is then conducted in two steps to test the conceptual scale and to identify the corresponding level of distributed potential in each case study firm.

Introduce Applicability of Multi-Layer Perceptron to Predict the Behaviour of Semi-Interlocking Masonry Panel
The Semi Interlocking Masonry (SIM) system has been developed in Masonry Research Group at the University of Newcastle, Australia. The main purpose of this system is to enhance the seismic resistance of framed structures with masonry panels. In this system, SIM panels dissipate energy through the sliding friction between rows of SIM units during earthquake excitation. This paper aimed to find the applicability of artificial neural network (ANN) to predict the displacement behaviour of the SIM panel under out-of-plane loading. The general concept of ANN needs to be trained by related force-displacement data of SIM panel. The overall data to train and test the network are 70 increments of force-displacement from three tests, which comprise of none input nodes. The input data contain height and length of panels, height, length and width of the brick and friction and geometry angle of brick along the compressive strength of the brick with the lateral load applied to the panel. The aim of designed network is prediction displacement of the SIM panel by Multi-Layer Perceptron (MLP). The mean square error (MSE) of network was 0.00042 and the coefficient of determination (R2) values showed the 0.91. The result revealed that the ANN has significant agreement to predict the SIM panel behaviour.
Integrating Microcontroller-Based Projects in a Human-Computer Interaction Course

This paper describes the design and application of a short in-class project conducted in Algoma University’s Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) course taught at the Bachelor of Computer Science. The project was based on the Maker Movement (people using and reusing electronic components and everyday materials to tinker with technology and make interactive applications), where students applied low-cost and easy-to-use electronic components, the Arduino Uno microcontroller board, software tools, and everyday objects. Students collaborated in small teams by completing hands-on activities with them, making an interactive walking cane for blind people. At the end of the course, students filled out a Technology Acceptance Model version 2 (TAM2) questionnaire where they evaluated microcontroller boards’ applications in HCI classes. We also asked them about applying the Maker Movement in HCI classes. Results showed overall students’ positive opinions and response about using microcontroller boards in HCI classes. We strongly suggest that every HCI course should include practical activities related to tinkering with technology such as applying microcontroller boards, where students actively and constructively participate in teams for achieving learning objectives.

Developmental Differences in the Construction of Concepts by Children from 3 to 14-Year-Olds: Perception, Language and Instruction

This study was designed to investigate the relationship between language and children’s construction of the concept of objects, actions, and states. Participants of this study are 120 children whose ages range from 3 to 14 years. Ten children participated from each age group and 10 adults participated as normative group. Data were collected using 28 words which were identified and grouped according to the purpose of this study. Participants were asked the question “What is x?’ for each word in a reserved room. The audio recorded data were transcribed and coded. The data were analyzed primarily qualitatively but quantitatively as well to support qualitative findings. The findings reveal that younger children rely more on their perceptual experience and linguistic input while 7-year-olds and older ones rely more on instructional language in the construction of the concepts related to objects, actions and states. Adults differ from all age groups with their usage of metaphors to refer to objects. It has been noted that linguistic, perceptual and instructional experiences work in an interwoven way but each one seems to be dominant at certain ages.

Hand Gestures Based Emotion Identification Using Flex Sensors

In this study, we have proposed a gesture to emotion recognition method using flex sensors mounted on metacarpophalangeal joints. The flex sensors are fixed in a wearable glove. The data from the glove are sent to PC using Wi-Fi. Four gestures: finger pointing, thumbs up, fist open and fist close are performed by five subjects. Each gesture is categorized into sad, happy, and excited class based on the velocity and acceleration of the hand gesture. Seventeen inspectors observed the emotions and hand gestures of the five subjects. The emotional state based on the investigators assessment and acquired movement speed data is compared. Overall, we achieved 77% accurate results. Therefore, the proposed design can be used for emotional state detection applications.

The Creative Unfolding of “Reduced Descriptive Structures” in Musical Cognition: Technical and Theoretical Insights Based on the OpenMusic and PWGL Long-Term Feedback

We here describe the theoretical and philosophical understanding of a long term use and development of algorithmic computer-based tools applied to music composition. The findings of our research lead us to interrogate some specific processes and systems of communication engaged in the discovery of specific cultural artworks: artistic creation in the sono-musical domain. Our hypothesis is that the patterns of auditory learning cannot be only understood in terms of social transmission but would gain to be questioned in the way they rely on various ranges of acoustic stimuli modes of consciousness and how the different types of memories engaged in the percept-action expressive systems of our cultural communities also relies on these shadowy conscious entities we named “Reduced Descriptive Structures”.

Reduction in Population Growth under Various Contraceptive Strategies in Uttar Pradesh, India

Contraceptive policies have been derived to achieve desired reductions in the growth rate and also, applied to the data of Uttar-Pradesh, India for illustration. Using the Lotka’s integral equation for the stable population, expressions for the proportion of contraceptive users at different ages have been obtained. At the age of 20 years, 42% of contraceptive users is imperative to reduce the present annual growth rate of 0.036 to 0.02, assuming that 40% of the contraceptive users discontinue at the age of 25 years and 30% again continue contraceptive use at age 30 years. Further, presuming that 75% of women start using contraceptives at the age of 23 years, and 50% of the remaining women start using contraceptives at the age of 28 years, while the rest of them start using it at the age of 32 years. If we set a minimum age of marriage as 20 years, a reduction of 0.019 in growth rate will be obtained. This study describes how the level of contraceptive use at different age groups of women reduces the growth rate in the state of Uttar Pradesh. The article also promotes delayed marriage in the region.

Adaptive E-Learning System Using Fuzzy Logic and Concept Map

This paper proposes an effective adaptive e-learning system that uses a coloured concept map to show the learner's knowledge level for each concept in the chosen subject area. A Fuzzy logic system is used to evaluate the learner's knowledge level for each concept in the domain, and produce a ranked concept list of learning materials to address weaknesses in the learner’s understanding. This system obtains information on the learner's understanding of concepts by an initial pre-test before the system is used for learning and a post-test after using the learning system. A Fuzzy logic system is used to produce a weighted concept map during the learning process. The aim of this research is to prove that such a proposed novel adapted e-learning system will enhance learner's performance and understanding. In addition, this research aims to increase participants' overall understanding of their learning level by providing a coloured concept map of understanding followed by a ranked concepts list of learning materials.

Conceptualizing of Priorities in the Dynamics of Public Administration Contemporary Reforms

The article presents the results of the creative analysis and comparison of trends in the development of the theory of public administration during the period from the second half of the 20th to the beginning of the 21st century. The process of conceptualization of the priorities of public administration in the dynamics of reforming was held under the influence of such factors as globalization, integration, information and technological changes and human rights is examined. The priorities of the social state in the concepts of the second half of the 20th century are studied. Peculiar approaches to determining the priorities of public administration in the countries of "Soviet dictatorship" in Central and Eastern Europe in the same period are outlined. Particular attention is paid to the priorities of public administration regarding the interaction between public power and society and the development of conceptual foundations for the modern managerial process. There is a thought that the dynamics of the formation of concepts of the European governance is characterized by the sequence of priorities: from socio-economic and moral-ethical to organizational-procedural and non-hierarchical ones. The priorities of the "welfare state" were focused on the decent level of material wellbeing of population. At the same time, the conception of "minimal state" emphasized priorities of human responsibility for their own fate under the conditions of minimal state protection. Later on, the emphasis was placed on horizontal ties and redistribution of powers and competences of "effective state" with its developed procedures and limits of responsibility at all levels of government and in close cooperation with the civil society. The priorities of the contemporary period are concentrated on human rights in the concepts of "good governance" and all the following ones, which recognize the absolute priority of public administration with compliance, provision and protection of human rights. There is a proved point of view that civilizational changes taking place under the influence of information and technological imperatives also stipulate changes in priorities, redistribution of emphases and update principles of managerial concepts on the basis of publicity, transparency, departure from traditional forms of hierarchy and control in favor of interactivity and inter-sectoral interaction, decentralization and humanization of managerial processes. The necessity to permanently carry out the reorganization, by establishing the interaction between different participants of public power and social relations, to establish a balance between political forces and social interests on the basis of mutual trust and mutual understanding determines changes of social, political, economic and humanitarian paradigms of public administration and their theoretical comprehension. The further studies of theoretical foundations of modern public administration in interdisciplinary discourse in the context of ambiguous consequences of the globalizational and integrational processes of modern European state-building would be advisable. This is especially true during the period of political transformations and economic crises which are the characteristic of the contemporary Europe, especially for democratic transition countries.

Analysis of Linguistic Disfluencies in Bilingual Children’s Discourse

Speech disfluencies are common in spontaneous speech. The primary purpose of this study was to distinguish linguistic disfluencies from stuttering disfluencies in bilingual Tamil–English (TE) speaking children. The secondary purpose was to determine whether their disfluencies are mediated by native language dominance and/or on an early onset of developmental stuttering at childhood. A detailed study was carried out to identify the prosodic and acoustic features that uniquely represent the disfluent regions of speech. This paper focuses on statistical modeling of repetitions, prolongations, pauses and interjections in the speech corpus encompassing bilingual spontaneous utterances from school going children – English and Tamil. Two classifiers including Hidden Markov Models (HMM) and the Multilayer Perceptron (MLP), which is a class of feed-forward artificial neural network, were compared in the classification of disfluencies. The results of the classifiers document the patterns of disfluency in spontaneous speech samples of school-aged children to distinguish between Children Who Stutter (CWS) and Children with Language Impairment CLI). The ability of the models in classifying the disfluencies was measured in terms of F-measure, Recall, and Precision.

Clay Palm Press: A Technique of Hand Building in Ceramics for Developing Conceptual Forms

There are several techniques of production in the field of ceramics. These different techniques overtime have been categorised under three methods of production which includes; casting, throwing and hand building. Hand building method of production is further broken down into other techniques and they include coiling, slabbing and pinching. Ceramic artists find the different hand building techniques to be very interesting, practicable and rewarding. This has encouraged ceramic artist in their various studios at different levels to experiment for further hand building techniques that could be unique and unusual. The art of “Clay Palm Press” is a development from studio experiment in a quest for uniqueness in conceptual ceramic practise. Clay palm press is a technique that requires no formal tutelage but at the same time, it is not easily comprehensible when viewed. It is a practice of putting semi-solid clay in the palm and inserting a closed fist pressure so as to take the imprint of the human palm. This clay production from the palm when dried, fired and explored into an art, work reveals an absolute awesomeness of what the palm imprint could result in.

Development and Validation of an Instrument Measuring the Coping Strategies in Situations of Stress

Stress causes deleterious effects to the physical, psychological and organizational levels, which highlight the need to use effective coping strategies to deal with it. Several coping models exist, but they don’t integrate the different strategies in a coherent way nor do they take into account the new research on the emotional coping and acceptance of the stressful situation. To fill these gaps, an integrative model incorporating the main coping strategies was developed. This model arises from the review of the scientific literature on coping and from a qualitative study carried out among workers with low or high levels of stress, as well as from an analysis of clinical cases. The model allows one to understand under what circumstances the strategies are effective or ineffective and to learn how one might use them more wisely. It includes Specific Strategies in controllable situations (the Modification of the Situation and the Resignation-Disempowerment), Specific Strategies in non-controllable situations (Acceptance and Stubborn Relentlessness) as well as so-called General Strategies (Wellbeing and Avoidance). This study is intended to undertake and present the process of development and validation of an instrument to measure coping strategies based on this model. An initial pool of items has been generated from the conceptual definitions and three expert judges have validated the content. Of these, 18 items have been selected for a short form questionnaire. A sample of 300 students and employees from a Quebec university was used for the validation of the questionnaire. Concerning the reliability of the instrument, the indices observed following the inter-rater agreement (Krippendorff’s alpha) and the calculation of the coefficients for internal consistency (Cronbach's alpha) are satisfactory. To evaluate the construct validity, a confirmatory factor analysis using MPlus supports the existence of a model with six factors. The results of this analysis suggest also that this configuration is superior to other alternative models. The correlations show that the factors are only loosely related to each other. Overall, the analyses carried out suggest that the instrument has good psychometric qualities and demonstrates the relevance of further work to establish predictive validity and reconfirm its structure. This instrument will help researchers and clinicians better understand and assess coping strategies to cope with stress and thus prevent mental health issues.

When Psychology Meets Ecology: Cognitive Flexibility for Quarry Rehabilitation

Ecological projects are often faced with reluctance from local communities hosting the project, especially when this project involves variation from preset ideas or classical practices. This paper aims at appreciating the contribution of environmental psychology through cognitive flexibility exercises to improve the acceptability of local communities in adopting more ecological rehabilitation scenarios. The study is based on a quarry site located in Bekaa- Lebanon. Four groups were considered with different levels of involvement, as follows: Group 1 is Training (T) – 50 hours of on-site training over 8 months, Group 2 is Awareness (A) – 2 hours of awareness raising session, Group 3 is Flexibility (F) – 2 hours of flexibility exercises and Group 4 is the Control (C). The results show that individuals in Group 3 (F) who followed flexibility sessions accept comparably the ecological rehabilitation option over the more classical one. This is also the case for the people in Group 1 (T) who followed a more time-demanding “on-site training”. Another experience was conducted on a second quarry site combining flexibility with awareness-raising. This research confirms that it is possible to reduce resistance to change thanks to a limited in-time intervention using cognitive flexibility. This methodological approach could be transferable to other environmental problems involving local communities and changes in preset perceptions.

Discrepant Views of Social Competence and Links with Social Phobia

Adolescents’ biased perceptions about their social competence (SC), whether negatively or positively, serve to influence their socioemotional adjustment such as early feelings of social phobia (nowadays referred to as Social Anxiety Disorder-SAD). Despite the importance of biased self-perceptions in adolescents’ psychosocial adjustment, the extent to which discrepancies between self- and others’ evaluations of one’s SC are linked to social phobic symptoms remains unclear in the literature. This study examined the perceptual discrepancy profiles between self- and peers’ as well as between self- and teachers’ evaluations of adolescents’ SC and the interrelations of these profiles with self-reported social phobic symptoms. The participants were 390 3rd graders (15 years old) of Finnish lower secondary school (50.8% boys, 49.2% girls). In contrast with variable-centered approaches that have mainly been used by previous studies when focusing on this subject, this study used latent profile analysis (LPA), a person-centered approach which can provide information regarding risk profiles by capturing the heterogeneity within a population and classifying individuals into groups. LPA revealed the following five classes of discrepancy profiles: i) extremely negatively biased perceptions of SC, ii) negatively biased perceptions of SC, iii) quite realistic perceptions of SC, iv) positively biased perceptions of SC, and v) extremely positively biased perceptions of SC. Adolescents with extremely negatively biased perceptions and negatively biased perceptions of their own SC reported the highest number of social phobic symptoms. Adolescents with quite realistic, positively biased and extremely positively biased perceptions reported the lowest number of socio-phobic symptoms. The results point out the negatively and the extremely negatively biased perceptions as possible contributors to social phobic symptoms. Moreover, the association of quite realistic perceptions with low number of social phobic symptoms indicates its potential protective power against social phobia. Finally, positively and extremely positively biased perceptions of SC are negatively associated with social phobic symptoms in this study. However, the profile of extremely positively biased perceptions might be linked as well with the existence of externalizing problems such as antisocial behavior (e.g. disruptive impulsivity). The current findings highlight the importance of considering discrepancies between self- and others’ perceptions of one’s SC in clinical and research efforts. Interventions designed to prevent or moderate social phobic symptoms need to take into account individual needs rather than aiming for uniform treatment. Implications and future directions are discussed.

Experimental Simulation Set-Up for Validating Out-Of-The-Loop Mitigation when Monitoring High Levels of Automation in Air Traffic Control

An increasing degree of automation in air traffic will also change the role of the air traffic controller (ATCO). ATCOs will fulfill significantly more monitoring tasks compared to today. However, this rather passive role may lead to Out-Of-The-Loop (OOTL) effects comprising vigilance decrement and less situation awareness. The project MINIMA (Mitigating Negative Impacts of Monitoring high levels of Automation) has conceived a system to control and mitigate such OOTL phenomena. In order to demonstrate the MINIMA concept, an experimental simulation set-up has been designed. This set-up consists of two parts: 1) a Task Environment (TE) comprising a Terminal Maneuvering Area (TMA) simulator as well as 2) a Vigilance and Attention Controller (VAC) based on neurophysiological data recording such as electroencephalography (EEG) and eye-tracking devices. The current vigilance level and the attention focus of the controller are measured during the ATCO’s active work in front of the human machine interface (HMI). The derived vigilance level and attention trigger adaptive automation functionalities in the TE to avoid OOTL effects. This paper describes the full-scale experimental set-up and the component development work towards it. Hence, it encompasses a pre-test whose results influenced the development of the VAC as well as the functionalities of the final TE and the two VAC’s sub-components.

NewPerceptual Organization within Temporal Displacement
The psychological present has an actual extension. When a sequence of instantaneous stimuli falls in this short interval of time, observers perceive a compresence of events in succession and the temporal order depends on the qualitative relationships between the perceptual properties of the events. Two experiments were carried out to study the influence of perceptual grouping, with and without temporal displacement, on the duration of auditory sequences. The psychophysical method of adjustment was adopted. The first experiment investigated the effect of temporal displacement of a white noise on sequence duration. The second experiment investigated the effect of temporal displacement, along the pitch dimension, on temporal shortening of sequence. The results suggest that the temporal order of sounds, in the case of temporal displacement, is organized along the pitch dimension.
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