Category: Psychology

Mueller Interviewed by NPR

crosswordOn the 100th birthday of the crossword puzzle, NPR interviewed Assistant Professor Shane Mueller (CLS) about the skills required to be a puzzle master. Mueller also weighed in on the issue of whether doing crosswords staves off dementia. (Hint: Don’t neglect those holiday parties and long walks.)

From Tech Today.

Do Crossword Puzzles Really Stave Off Dementia?

COLE: And the winners were quietly invited to join Britain’s code-breaking department. The mental prowess of crossword solvers has also attracted the attention of scientists. A few years ago, cognitive psychologist Shane Mueller watched a movie about crossword puzzles.

SHANE MUELLER: And I thought: I could learn to play the crossword.

COLE: Mueller is a professor of psychology at Michigan Tech, so naturally, he approached his new hobby in a very scientific way.

Read more or listen to the story at NPR, by Adam Cole.

Jeon and Auditory Emoticons

Associate Professor Christopher Plummer (VPA) has had two works accepted for publication. One of them is co-authored by Assistant Professor Myounghoon Jeon (CLS). Plummer’s book review of Phillip Giddings’ text titled “Audio Systems Design and Installation” will be published in the January issue of the journal Theatre Design & Technology. A collaborative paper with Jeon and Jason Sterkenburg titled “Auditory Emoticons: Iterative Design and Acoustic Characteristics of Emotional Auditory Icons and Earcons” has been accepted for presentation at HCI (Human-Computer Interaction) International 2014 and for publication in the conference proceedings.

From Tech Today.

Coordination and Control of Muscle Force

Cognitive and Learning Science Seminar

Coordination and Control of Muscle Force
Xiaogang Hu
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
2:00 pm, Meese 110

Abstract: The interactions between the environment and our perception and action are dynamic. Thus, flexible coordination and control of our skeletal muscles are essential when we interact with our environments. In this talk, I will discuss the adaptability of muscle force coordination under the influence of task settings, uncertainty of visual information, and aging constraints. Based on the constraint-to-action framework, we have examined the force adaptability features using both experimental and modeling approaches. I will also share with you the innovative techniques that can provide valuable information regarding the neuromuscular mechanisms of muscle force control in healthy and pathological conditions. Taken together, these approaches allow us to investigate the behavioral and neuromechanical interactions between human and their environments.

World Usability Day in TechAlum Newsletter

Driving
Driving Simulator

Photo Gallery Added!!

Usability Day

We celebrated World Usability Day Thursday. Held all over the globe, it highlights the importance of humans as participants in technology. Sounds like just the job for Tech students, and many projects on campus proved that point.

We started with a driving simulator, staffed by Jason Sterkenburg, a master’s student in applied cognitive sciences and human factors.

“We are looking at a couple of factors,” Sterkenburg said. “Emotional driving, like being in an angry state, and secondary tasks that affect driving performance, like drinking coffee and other things that can distract drivers.”

Steve Landry, a master’s student in psychology, was showing how a massive keyboard worked, too. Stepping on different parts of the floor, with different emphasis, he played and changed musical notes and tones.

Ultimately, Philart Jeon, an assistant professor in cognitive and learning sciences, wants to bring in dancers whose moves will create different notes.

“Instead of dancing to music, they will be creating new music when they move,” Jeon said.

Read more at TechAlum Newsletter, by Dennis Walikainen.

Risk Literacy in APS Observations

ObserverThe Association for Psychological Science featured a brief review of Edward Cokely’s recent risk literacy research in their “observations” section.

From Tech Today.

Visual Aids Can Help People Better Understand Health Risks

In a new article, researchers Rocio Garcia-Retamero of the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin and Edward Cokely of Michigan Technological University discuss the important role that visual aids can play in communicating health-related information. The article is published in the October 2013 issue of Current Directions in Psychological Science.

Read more at Association for Psychological Science (APS) Observations.

In the News

The APS has written a new review of Edward Cokely’s (CLS) work in the observer column, “Teaching Current Directions In Psychological Science”. The article focuses on “How Psychological Science can Support Smarter Medical Decisions.”

From Tech Today.

Teaching Current Directions in Psychological Science
How Psychological Science Can Support Smarter Medical Decisions

Making smart, well-reasoned medical decisions. Two new Current Directions in Psychological Science articles — by APS Fellow Hal Arkes on hindsight biases in real medical decisions, and by Rocio Garcia-Retamero and Edward Cokely on harnessing visual aids to better communicate health risks — beautifully illustrate psychology’s contribution to informed medical decision-making:

Read more at APS Observer, by C. Nathan DeWall and David G. Myers.

Zombie U Symposium

Undead UZombies Are Coming to Michigan Tech!

They grace the covers of magazines. They star in a hit television series. And, they are featured in a popular new game on campus. Although from the world of the undead, zombies have certainly been enjoying their new star status. Now, there’s another venue to celebrate them—“Undead U: A Zombie Symposium,” set for 7-9 p.m., Friday, Nov. 1, on the campus of Michigan Technological University.

Presenter Adam Feltz, of Michigan Tech’s cognitive and learning sciences department, will combine psychology and philosophy in an analysis of why zombies are so appealing.

Read more at Michigan Tech News, by Dennis Walikainen.

A night for the living dead
Michigan Tech holds ‘Zombie U’ symposium

Adam Feltz from the department of cognitive and learning sciences at Michigan Tech led the symposium with an analysis of why we are so fascinated with zombies. To answer that question, Feltz looked to existing theories first. Those theories include the Stephen King theory, which poses the idea that our fascination with zombies reflects modern consumerism, and the war and atrocity theory, in which we like zombies more during times of hardship. Feltz dismissed those theories by simply tracking zombie movies made during those times and finding either no relationship or an inverse relationship with those trends.

So he went on to survey over 150 people and try to find common indicators that would predict who would like zombies. He found that people who like zombies are more likely to be male, to be young, to be less educated and to be liberal. But, of course, many people outside of those parameters also enjoy zombies.

“Why do we like zombies? It’s complicated because there is no ‘we.’ There are some people who like zombies and some people who don’t like zombies,” Feltz said.

Read more at the Mining Gazette, by Meagan Stilp.

Undead U

Michigan Tech staff included in the talk will be Syd Johnson and Ketty Thomas of the Humanities and Adam Feltz of the Cognitive and Learning Sciences. From the University of Minnesota Duluth’s Department of Biology comes the special guest speaker, John Dahl.

Read more at the Michigan Tech Lode, by Sarah Harttung.