Category: Research

ACSHF Forum: Monday, October 11

The Department of Cognitive and Learning Sciences will host speaker Stefka Hristova  (Associate Professor Humanities) at the next Applied Cognitive Science and Human Factors forum. The presentation, “Emptied Faces: In Search For An Algorithmic Punctum”, will be from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. Monday (Oct. 11) in Meese 109 and via Zoom.

Abstract: In his seminal work Camera Lucida, Roland Barthes wrote that in photographic portraits “[t]he air of a face is unanalyzable.” This argument connects to the larger theory of the photographic punctum, a laceration of time that signals the existence of a subject and forecasts its death. The punctum of the traditional portrait quickly became complicated as portraiture fueled composite portraiture linked to human typologies as exemplified by the work of Galton, Bertillon, and Lombrosso. This practice of combining and reconfiguring faces has found new currency in contemporary algorithmic culture where human faces are recorded, dissected, and recombined into seamless deep fake faces by what Deleuze and Guattari call “faciality machines.” This talk traces the articulation of faces in predictive algorithms through an investigation of the UTKFace data set. Further, it analyzes the rise of deep fake portraits through an engagement with Philip Wang’s This Person Does Not Exist and Mitra Azar’s DoppelGANger projects. This harnessing of portraits and therefore of human faces as raw material has been challenged in a counter project titled This Person Exists, which exposes the real people behind Wang’s project. This work brings back notions of personhood and humanity by revealing the original photographs as well as their authors and subjects and points to the ways in which algorithms feed on and erase humanity. I situate two additional sites of resistance to the decomposition of the human face: namely Deleuze and Guattari’s concept of “unknown tracts” and Barthes’ notion of the photographic punctum.


ACSHF Forum: Monday, September 13

The Department of Cognitive and Learning Sciences will host speaker Cindy Miller (staff engineer, Harley-Davidson Motor Company) at the next Applied Cognitive Science and Human Factors forum. The presentation, “Human Factors in Aviation, Healthcare and Motorcycles,” will be from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. Monday (Sept. 13) via Zoom. Dr. Miller will present a summary of human factors engineering projects in aviation, healthcare, and motorcycles. She will discuss some of the tools, methodology, and design processes used for these projects, as well as provide a short review of her career path.

ACSHF Forum flyer


Dr. Samantha Smith is Exploring Effects of Completing Physically-Demanding Tasks Simultaneously with Memory Tasks

You’ve heard that people are bad at multitasking, but have you thought about how well you process and remember information while exercising? Or how a heavy cognitive load impacts your workout performance?

Dr. Samantha Smith’s lab is currently conducting research to explore the bidirectional effects of completing physically-demanding tasks while simultaneously engaging in different types of memory tasks.

Want to participate? Here’s information on how to sign up!


Dr. Kelly Steelman and CLS Affiliated Faculty Receive National Science Foundation Grant

Dr. Kelly Steelman (CLS) is the Principal Investigator of a newly funded project titled “EAGER: SAI: Illuminated Devices: A Sociotechnical Approach to Empowering Digital Citizens and Strengthening Digital Infrastructure.” The National Science Foundation (NSF) is awarding a research and development grant of $299,617.

Michigan Tech faculty members Dr. Briana Bettin and Dr. Leo Ureel, who have joint appointments in CLS and CS, and Dr. Charles Wallace, who is affiliated with CLS, are named as Co-Principal Investigators.

Find the project’s abstract and additional information on the NSF’s website here.


ACSHF Forum: Monday, January 11

Over the last 100 years, the way we work has changed drastically, transitioning from the early ideas of scientific management by Frederick Taylor to concepts rooted in high organizational agility. Agile, a movement focused on improving the way we work, is one of the movements that has led the way to transforming the way we think about working with people.

During this session, Mark Cruth, a long-time Agile advocate and 2009 Michigan Tech Psychology graduate, will share his experience with Agile and how leveraging intrinsic motivation has positively influencing organizational culture change over the last 20 years. Please join us on Zoom for the presentation on Monday, January 11, at 2 pm. Zoom meeting link.


ACSHF Forum: Monday, February 8

Cyber crime has a significant impact on nations, corporations, and individuals. Violations of information security can reduce consumer confidence and valuation at the corporate level, and jeopardize social and financial well-being at the personal level.

In this talk, Robert West, an Elizabeth P. Allen Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience of DePauw University, will explore the findings of some of his recent research to demonstrate the utility of a decision neuroscience approach to providing insight into the neural correlates of ethical decision making in the context of information security. Please join the ACSHF Forum on Zoom Monday, February 8, at 2 pm. Zoom meeting link


ACSHF Forum with Dr. Ricardo Eiris

All are invited to attend a virtual conversation with Dr. Ricardo Eiris, whose research leverages virtual reality to enable STEM students to obtain active learning experiences in remote, dangerous, or too expensive to reach locations.

In this ACSHF Forum, Dr. Eiris will be discussing how virtual reality can be used to deliver virtual field trip experiences to STEM students. Site visits or field trips are a common tool utilized by STEM educators to engage students in active learning, assist traditional lessons, and attain stronger and deeper student learning experiences. However, there are major logistical challenged for educational institutions and teachers to perform these types of experiences. These barriers to implement site visits effectively reduce the number of students that have access to the benefits of such technique. By exploring the intersection of engineering, computer science, and cognitive and learning sciences, Dr. Eiris’ work in virtual site visits aim to overcome the existing barriers for STEM field trips and provide means to expand learning beyond what is possible in the classroom or the field.

Please join Dr. Eiris in exploring the democratization of STEM site visits to enable students to have unlimited access to otherwise impossible opportunities. Some of the specific multidisciplinary topics that will be covered in this forum discussion will be virtual reality, omnidirectional images, virtual humans, collaborative learning, and attentional allocation.


ACSHF Forum: Monday, September 14, 2020

This ACSHF Forum promises to provide even the most seasoned researcher a fresh perspective on human subject research (HSR). Attendees will receive a brief history of human rights violations that lead to the development of the Belmont Report, MTU’s guiding principles and the Common Rule. It will summarize why MTU is required to have both a Human Research Protection Program (HRPP) and an Institutional Review Board (IRB), their differences, and how they function at MTU.

In addition, attendees will learn HSR training requirements, process for determining if a project is Research or research, project submission process, review levels, and PI responsibilities of approved non-exempt projects. Please join the ACSHF Forum via Zoom.


Alexandra Watral Awarded BCBS Grant

Alexandra Watral, Applied Cognitive Science and Human Factors PhD student, has been awarded a Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation Student Award Grant for the upcoming academic year. This grant will support her research investigating the use of newly developed, brief clinical motor measures as diagnostic tools for mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease.