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Abstract comm final PP

Submitted by koganezova on Fri, 04/28/2017 - 13:20

    The purpose of this study is to examine the behavioral response of domesticated dogs, Canis familiaris, to different tonal variations of human voice.  A series of video clips were recorded of two dogs in their own separate and familiar homes. Stimuli in the form of tonal variation by the dogs’ masters was presented to the dogs to observe their response. The clips were sorted into two videos according to the tone of voice: a “happy”, more upbeat tone associated with positive interaction between human and dog, and a “condescending” tone, usually reserved for response to “bad” behaviors eliciting human disappointment or punishment. Stimuli were random and did not occur in response to a previous behavior of the dogs. A key of behaviors associated with each tone was created, and a time budget analysis was performed using the Jwatcher program to examine the proportion of time the dog spent in each behavior according to tonal context. Results showed that “happy” tone stimuli resulted most often in  jumping, followed by licking and tail wagging, which are behaviors commonly associated with positive social intention. In the video with clips presenting the “condescending” tone stimuli, submissive behaviors such as lying down and looking up were more common.

Comm final project intro

Submitted by koganezova on Fri, 04/28/2017 - 13:06

    In the study of animal communication, many factors can influence behavioral response, even in cross-species interactions (Elgier 2009).  The domesticated dog, Canis lupis familiaris, is an animal known for its positive social interaction with humans and has even been nicknamed “man’s best friend”, as they seem to have “a flexible understanding of humans’ communicative intents (Brauer 2009).  Dogs have a variety of behaviors that occur in response to verbal prompts from humans. This is due to the fact that dogs are very good at tuning into the feelings of their owners(Morelle 2014). Previous research suggests that dogs use associative learning “to form a variety of connections between vocal signals (from humans) and other signals, actions and emotions having more immediate significance and meaning to them”, such as tonal variation of voice or visual gestures rather than actually understanding human words (Lindsay 1999: 356). Furthermore, research conducted by Attila Andics at Eotvos Lorand University in Hungary concluded that dogs have the ability to distinguish between praise and other forms of verbal communication by listening to the “meaning and intonation of words” (Greenfieldboyce 2016). But how would that affect the overall behavior of  Canis lupis familiaris when presented with different tonal stimuli?

In this study, we observed and recorded the response of two domesticated dogs when exposed to different tones of voice from familiar humans.This research was conducted in an environmental context the dog is acquainted with (the homes in which they live). The first video consists of a series of clips recording the dogs’ response to an upbeat tone of voice classified as “happy”. This tonal variation is usually used in contexts associated with positive interaction with the dog. The second video displays the dogs’ behavior when the human takes on a more “condescending” tone. This tone is associated with disappointment or punishment due to behavior considered bad (eg. getting into the trash, defecating on the floor, etc.). The stimuli were random, and did not occur in response to a previous behavior of the dog. We predicted that both dogs would have different responses when they were spoken to in a happy tone in comparison to when they were spoken to in a condescending tone. This would show that dogs understand that different tones of voices portray different meanings in communication.

 

Research projects methods

Submitted by koganezova on Thu, 04/27/2017 - 14:47
  • 2x2 inch samples of moss were collected from the North, South, East, and West sides of a tree in front of French Hall at UMass Amherst.
  • Each sample was put on 60 mm filter paper and left to dry for 72 hours in a 20 °C growth chamber.
  • After the 72 hours, 10 mL of water was added to each sample for rehydration.
  • Photos were taken of each sample at minutes 0, 10, 20, 40, 60, and 24 hours.
  • These photos of the rebounded samples were then analyzed using ImageJ to find the relative area of moss that was rebounded.

Discussion research project

Submitted by koganezova on Thu, 04/27/2017 - 14:34
  • The samples taken from the South, East, and West sides of the tree showed very similar results to rehydration.

  • The sample taken from the North side did not rehydrate as well as the others because, we assume, that moss sample is a different species that does not respond to rehydration as well.

  • Another assumption we made about the North sample is that the lack of rehydration could have also been because of the soil that the sample was collected with.

Bio paper PP

Submitted by koganezova on Fri, 04/21/2017 - 13:11

The study used an amputee who still had enough of the muscle left in his upper arm to help control his movement and different daily tasks using the prostheses. During all experiments, the amputee was visually and acoustically isolated, so the results would be only caused by the hand prosthesis. The experimenters took TIME devices and surgically implanted them in the ulnar and medial nerve, because they control most of the palm and the finger sensory fields. These TIME devices connected to mechanical sensors on sensors located in the prosthesis. This then turned the information received into electrical signals that the nerves in the arm received. They used different currents to test different responses. As they increased the current, the neurons firing rate increased as well. 

bio paper conclusion

Submitted by koganezova on Fri, 04/21/2017 - 11:11

One strength of this study is that they were able to produce a more realistic hand property with the bidirectional control in which he can feel the stimulation but also respond to it. They also performed over 700 trials to confirm the shape recognition experiments to receive the results they did. Another strength is that they used a current that was below pain threshold, so that was beneficial for the participant. On the other hand, even with the strong strengths, there were a few weaknesses with this study. They performed this study with only one participant, specifically one who was able to use prostheses very well, so one cannot really tell if the same experimental results will come with a higher sample of participants. Another weakness is that the equipment used is very large and not very mobile. The experiment only lasted about 7 days, so there is no telling whether the patient would retain the movement and object recognition that he learned through experience. A final weakness about this study is that the participant was able to feel sensation for a week but then got it taken away quickly. This could be psychologically difficult for him to get his hand senses taken away again. The conclusion taken away from this study is that there is a good possibility of this prosthesis, given the high success rates from the experiments. Some further experiments can definitely be done given the weaknesses of the study. The next step would be to repeat this with a higher number of participants to increase the validity of the results of this study. Another step that could be taken would be to increase the length of the experiment past just a week. More tasks could be added to the experiments with a wider variety of objects. One final step to be taken would be to figure out ways to shrink the machinery to make the study more mobile.

            

Bio paper part 3

Submitted by koganezova on Fri, 04/21/2017 - 10:25

Another experiment was done to test whether the participant could sense where the object is on his hand. Once he would feel where the object was and whether he can grasp it or not, he would give the object to the experimenter given which side of the palm the object was laying on. He performed this task with an accuracy of 97% so it proved pretty successful. To test whether the participant can identify physical properties of an object, an experiment was done where he was given different objects with different stiffness levels and different shapes and his recognition was timed. His level of performance with the stiffness levels was found to be around 78% success rate. His main mistakes were the misjudgment of the medium stiffness level object as either hard or soft level of stiffness. The shape recognition test was proved rather successful with a rate of 88%. The amputee performed around 700 trials to show confirmation in his identification abilities.

Bio paper body paragraphs

Submitted by koganezova on Thu, 04/20/2017 - 12:56

The study used an amputee who still had enough of the muscle left in his upper arm to help control his movement and different daily tasks using the prostheses. During all experiments, the amputee was visually and acoustically isolated, so the results would be only caused by the hand prosthesis. The experimenters took TIME devices and surgically implanted them in the ulnar and medial nerve, because they control most of the palm and the finger sensory fields. These TIME devices connected to mechanical sensors on sensors located in the prosthesis. This then turned the information received into electrical signals that the nerves in the arm received. They used different currents to test different responses. As they increased the current, the neurons firing rate increased as well. 

            The results mainly proved successful after the many trials that were performed for each experiment. The staircase task, where the participant had to gradually increase the force he applied when grasping, was done to test his ability to control his grasp force. This experiment proved successful with a rate of 90%. To further test this, they administered placebo tests where they changed velocity randomly without the participant knowing and observed his responses. They saw that at faster velocity, the participant had more trouble controlling his movements. Another placebo test was done in which they completely shut off the feedback, and as a result, the participant had an extremely hard time with the movements given that he had no feedback to work with. 

Bio paper intro

Submitted by koganezova on Wed, 04/19/2017 - 16:23

The loss of hand usage is an extreme disability, since everything we do is with our hands. We write, touch, feel, and grab with our hands and the loss of that sensory system is an extremely hard thing to adjust to. The research article, “Restoring Natural Sensory Feedback in Real-Time Bidirectional Hand Prostheses”, talks about a study that was done on a patient that lost his arm due to an accident some years ago. The objective of this study was to restore natural touch sensation using transversal intra-fascicular multichannel electrodes (TIMEs) connected to the nerves in the arms of the amputees. The reason they were looking into this is because bidirectional usage of the prostheses is not something we have been able to achieve yet. Prostheses these days are used mainly for attending to the motor control of the hand, not the sensory aspect. During this study, scientists hypothesized that the amputee would be able to feel pressure as well as classify objects based on their stiffness, shape, and size. 

Research project PP

Submitted by koganezova on Fri, 04/14/2017 - 14:41

My group and I decided to use our own research proposal on moss dessication and rehydration rates for our research project. A team member and I headed over to a tree near French Hall to collect our sample pieces this past weekend. Using a compass, we collected approximately 2x2 inch samples from the north, south, east, and west sides of the tree, put each in a ziploc bag, and brought it to the lab in Fernald. When we collected the samples, we made sure to leave as much soil off the moss sample as possible behind, since we were interested how other variables affected the dessication and rehydration rates.

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