Spring 2018 Colloquia: Graduate Portfolio in Applied Statistical Modeling

Speaker

Date

Time

Location

Title

Zhuoya You May 1, 2018 2:00 to 2:30 pm GDC 7.402 "Renewable Energy and Economic Growth"
Sz-Yan Wu May 1, 2018 2:30 to 3:00 pm GDC 7.402 "Can Functional Movement Competence Serve as an Injury Predictor? A Pilot Study Using Survival Analysis in Male Professional Soccer Players"





 Lichen Zhen  May 4, 2018  1:30 to 2:00 pm  GDC 7.402  "A Social Network Analysis of Individual Creative Performance in Chinese Film Industry"
Chi-Chun Fang May 4, 2018 2:00 to 2:30 pm GDC 7.402 "Effect of initial queen/worker count on colony success in fungus-gardening ants, Mycocepurus smithii"





Ashutosh Singh May 7, 2018 1:30 to 2:00 pm GDC 7.402 "Modelling Asset Risk and Product in Insurance Industry Using Neural Networks and Recurrent Neural Networks"
Justin Busch May 7, 2018 2:00 to 2:30 pm GDC 7.402 "The cultural evolution of conservation beliefs: Evidence for variation in the folk psychology of sustainability"
Nicole Wen May 7, 2018 2:30 to 3:00 pm GDC 7.402  "Examining the Ontogeny of Ritual and Social Group Cognition"
Jessie-Raye Bauer May 7, 2018 3:00 to 3:30 pm GDC 7.402 "Exploring the Fundamentals of Early Causal Reasoning"





Shuo Ellie Jin May 8, 2018 1:00 to 1:30 pm GDC 7.402  "Effects of Exogenous Testosterone on Cognitive Performance"
Sarah Harris May 8, 2018 1:30 to 2:00 pm GDC 7.402 "Assessing Quality of a Professor-Written Multiple-Choice Item Exam in Undergraduate Biology"
Anao Zhang May 8, 2018 2:00 to 2:30 pm GDC 7.402 "The effectiveness of empirically supported intervention for primary care depressice and/or anxiety disorders: A systematic review and meta-analysis using Robust Variance Estimation in meta-regression"
Yi-Ling Peng May 8, 2018 2:30 to 3:00 pm GDC 7.402 "Hip Position and Sex Differences in Motor Unit Firing Patterns of the Vastus Medialis and Vastus Medialis Oblique in Healthy Individuals"

 Zhuoya You

(PhD, Mechanical Engineering, Cockrell School of Engineering, supervised by Dr. Kamal Hamidieh)

Title: "Renewable Energy and Economic Growth"

Abstract: This paper investigates the Granger causality associations among economic growth (GDP), renewable energy consumption and renewable energy investment over the world, by applying panel Granger causality approach developed by Dumitrescu and Hurlin(2012). First, we test for cross-sectional dependence and homogeneity of the panel dataset and indicate the existence of cross-sectional dependence and heterogeneity across areas/countries. The results of panel granger causality test support that the Economic Growth is Granger-causing for renewable energy consumption in China and renewable energy consumption is Granger-causing for Economic Growth in US and India. Moreover, we find that the causality direction of Economic Growth and renewable energy investment works in a single direction in China, India, Middle East & Africa, and ASOC (exclude China & India) from Economic Growth to renewable energy investment, and from renewable energy investment to Economic Growth in US. In the end, the findings show a bi-directional causality between renewable energy consumption and renewable energy investment in China and Europe. Renewable energy investment causes renewable energy consumption in US and AMER (exclude US & Brazil). Renewable energy consumption causes renewable energy investment in ASOC (exclude China & India). The empirical findings provide strong evidence of the interdependence between renewable energy consumption, renewable energy investment and economic growth. However, these outcomes are very sensitive to the cross-sectional dependences between countries. Therefore, government policies of environmental and growth policies should be widely reconsidered when enhance the development of the renewable energy sector.



Sz-Yan Wu

(PhD, Kinesiology, College of Education, supervised by Dr. Jody Jensen)

Title: "Can Functional Movement Competence Serve as an Injury Predictor? A Pilot Study Using Survival Analysis in Male Professional Soccer Players"

AbstractPurpose: The aim of this study was to use a proportional hazards model to investigate functional movement competence (FMC) associated with an increased risk of lower extremity injuries in male professional soccer players. Methods: FMC was assessed by the Advanced Lower Extremity Sports Assessment (ALESA) which includes eight single leg hopping/balance tests: single leg hop (SLH), single leg triple crossover hops (SLTCH), side hops (SH), figure of eight hops (Fig8), modified agility T-test (MAT), single leg squats (SLS), single leg hops: stick series (SLHS), and single leg balance (SLB). Limb symmetry index (LSI) was obtained by calculating performance difference between non- and dominant legs for each subtest. Twenty male professional soccer players (24.15 ± 2.54 years) performed the ALESA and then were followed for pre-season (52 days) and competitive season (178 days) periods. Multivariate Cox regression model and backward elimination method were used to identify and determine significant survival probability predictors for lower extremity injuries during a season. Results: The final survival model excluded the SLS, SH and Fig8 showed evident predictability of in-season injuries (c2 (df= 7) = 28.84, p < .001, R2 = .76). Moreover, pre-season injury (eb = 8.57, z = 2.17, p = .03), LSI (eb = -3.78, z = - 2.16, p = .031), and SLHS (eb =9.44, z = 2.02, p = .044) were significantly correlated to injury survival probability. SLH, SLTCH, SLB and MAT also tended to be injury predictors (p = .053 ~ .145). Conclusion: Our results show pre-season injury as a notable injury risk factor may due to the intensive training. FMC outcome from 5 ALESA subtests and LSI also contribute to predict lower extremity injuries in a season for male professional soccer players.


Lichen Zhen

(MA, Radio, Television & Film, Moody College of Communication, supervised by Dr. Daniel Powers)

Title:  "A Social Network Analysis of Individual Creative Performance in Chinese Film Industry"

Abstract: It has been proposed that creativity is a social process (Perry-Smith, 2004). Based on creativity and social network theories, his project explores the relationship between individuals’ social network position (centrality and structural holes) and their creative performance within the context of Chinese film industry. This project uses Chinese feature film and crew credit information collected from the most popular Chinese film database – Douban.com, over the period 2006- 2016, to analyze social network position and creativity. The results obtained from zero-inflated negative binomial models indicate that 1) a more central position in a social network will lead to more creative results; and 2) a position more likely to broker connections among others will lead to more creative results.


Chi-Chun Fang

(PhD, Ecology, Evolution, & Behavior, College of Natural Sciences, supervised by Dr. Ulrich Mueller)

Title: "Effect of initial queen/worker count on colony success in fungus-gardening ants, Mycocepurus smithii"

Abstract: The early founding stage of attine ant colonies is a critical period that determines the success of the colony. Although most colonies of Mycocepurus smithii began with a single queen (haplometrosis), some colonies were founded with multiple queens (pleometrosis). It is not known how the queen/worker ratio that coexists in a newly-founded colony will impact the success of colony establishment. I aim to discover differences between these founding methods for studying colony success, which had been rated with fungal garden weight. In this study, M. smithii colonies were constructed in variety combination of different queen/worker ratio. Each fungus garden was weighted weekly after been separated from the queens and workers. Three experiments were conducted for studying 1) the effect caused by 1, 5, and 10 mature queens along with 30 workers receptively, 2) the optimal worker number (30, 60, or 90) for fungus growth without any queen existed, and 3) a single queen along with 30, 60, and 90 workers respectively that are responsible for colony success. All the data were fitted with the same generalized linear model (GLM). The data of experiment 1 unexpectedly shows that the gardens of colonies with multiple queens grow more slowly than those of single queen colonies. In the experiment 2, founding worker numbers (60 and 90) displayed an association with fungal growth. Increased founding worker numbers displayed an increase in amount of fungal growth over time (F= 27.52; p<0.05). There is no significant difference in fungal growth between the 60 and 90 worker data set. In experiment 3, analyzed data showed that the colony with 1 queen and 90 workers displayed the greatest amount of fungal growth compared to other colonies after week 3 (F=2.033; p=0.012). Most importantly, new daughter queens (gynes) emerged from the queen/worker ratio 1/60 and 1/90 colonies at the 4th month. This is the crucial discovery of the environmental conditions stimulating M. smithii mother queen to generate daughter queens (rather than workers) which strongly suggests that the optimal worker number along with a certain amount of fungus may be adequate for the colony success.



Ashutosh Singh

(PhD, Operations Research & Industrial Engineering, Cockrell School of Engineering, supervised by Dr. Thomas Sager)

Title:"Modelling Asset Risk and Product in Insurance Industry Using Neural Networks and Recurrent Neural Networks"

Abstract: Neural networks, with their capability to model complicated relations with minimum assumptions and, the capability of Recurrent Neural Networks to model time-based relations motivated me to explore their application in modelling Asset Risk and Product Risk.

My research project is based on the comprehensive model presented in the paper, The relations among asset risk, product risk, and capital in the life Insurance Industry, by Thomas W. Sager and Etti G. Baranoff. The paper tries to explore the correlations between capital-asset ratio and product risk and asset risk using a Partial adjustment model in simultaneous-equation mode. In my research, I have utilized the same predictors and thesis to model risk. My research explores application of Simple Neural Network and Recurrent Neural Network models to fit the panel data used by Thomas W. Sager and Etti G. Baranoff. 

In the 1st part of my research, I used a two-layer Neural Network to fit the panel data with additional lagged predictors that have a lag of one time-period. To further tackle the problem of interpretability, I used t-tests based on comparison of Mean Squared Errors(MSE) of reduced models and full model. To asses the importance of a predictor, I assessed the converging MSE of the reduced model without the particular predictor and calculated the t-Statistic using the converging MSE value of the full model.

During the second part of my research, I wrote a program to fit Long Short-Term Memory(LSTM) based Recurrent Neural Networks. I used the LSTM cell by feeding in a sequence of time-series data and tried to reduce the MSE by training the model to attain appropriate weights. I also explored a variety of Optimizers and parameter tuning techniques to achieve the best results.


Justin Busch

(PhD, Psychology, College of Liberal Arts, supervised by Dr. Cristine Legare)

Title:"The cultural evolution of conservation beliefs: Evidence for variation in the folk psychology of sustainability"

Abstract: Examining variation in reasoning about sustainability between diverse populations provides unique insight into how group norms surrounding resource conservation evolve. Cultural institutions, such as religion and formal schools, can mobilize populations to solve collective challenges associated with resource depletion. This study examined conservation beliefs in a Western industrialized (urban U.S. city) and a Non-Western, subsistence agricultural community (Tanna, Vanuatu) among children, adolescents, and adults (N = 171; n = 58 7-12-year-olds, n = 53 13-17-year-olds, and n = 60 18-68-year-olds). Participants were asked to endorse or reject three types of justifications for engaging in land and animal conservation: sustainability, morality, or religious. Participants were also asked if it was permissible not to conserve. In both populations, sustainability justifications were endorsed most frequently. Religious justifications were more frequently endorsed in Tanna than in the U.S. Tannese participants were also more likely to endorse multiple justifications for conservation than U.S. participants. Data across all justification types shows a main effect of age in both communities; endorsement of conservation decreased with age in the U.S., whereas it increased with age in Tanna. U.S. participants were more likely to endorse the conservation of animals than land, whereas there was no difference between these domains in Tanna. Overall, these results demonstrate variation in the cultural transmission of belief systems that support the conservation of natural resources.


Nicole Wen

(PhD, Psychology, College of Liberal Arts, supervised by Dr. Cristine Legare)

Title: "Examining the Ontogeny of Ritual and Social Group Cognition"


Abstract: Using a mixed-methodological approach, my research examines the role of ritual on children’s social group cognition in learning and transmitting culture. A novel social group paradigm was used in an afterschool program to test the influence of a ritual versus control task on children’s behaviors toward in- and out-group members, and group leaders (N = 54, 4-11-year-olds). Multilevel regression models were computed to examine the effect of condition (between-subjects) and time spent in the group (within-subjects) on variables of interest. There were no predicted significant effects of age, sex, color group, and the number of days wristbands were worn prior, but these components were retained in the model to control for any variance due to differences in these factors. The results demonstrate that engaging in a ritual decreased attention to task materials and in-group peers. There was a main effect of time spent in the social group on attention toward in-group peers, which decreased with time. Females were more likely to attend to in-group peers than males. There was a significant interaction between condition and age on time attending to the in-group leader. Children in the ritual condition spent more time attending to the in-group leader than children in the control, but the difference between conditions increased with age. There was also a main effect of condition on time spent looking at the out-group and displaying materials to in-group leaders. Engaging in a ritual increased awareness of out-group members and time spent displaying group competence signals to the in-group leader. These findings provide insight into how ritual participation serves to increase affiliation with group members and group leaders, thereby avoiding social exclusion from the group. These data are consistent with the proposal that humans are psychologically prepared to engage in ritual as a means of in-group affiliation to prevent the threat of group ostracism. Studying the emergence of ritualized behavior in childhood provides key insight into the complex dynamics at the heart of social group cognition. Exploring these questions with an eye to child development allows us to ascertain what behaviors are early developing and, perhaps, innate aspects of human cognition.


Jessie-Raye Bauer

(PhD, Psychology, College of Liberal Arts, supervised by Dr. Patrick Carroll)

Title: "Exploring the Fundamentals of Early Causal Reasoning"


Abstract: The goal of this dissertation was to identify potential cognitive components of causal reasoning and to investigate their developmental trajectory in early childhood. We specifically focused on executive function (EF) as a potentially fundamental predictor of causal reasoning. While previous research has demonstrated that EF is related to achievement in other academic domains such as reading and math, relatively little attention has been paid to its relationship to scientific processes like causal reasoning, particularly in early childhood. To examine how EF potentially relates to the development of causal reasoning, we recruited 140 3-year-olds and 81 5-year-olds to complete three causal reasoning tasks, a battery of EF tasks, and additional cognitive measures. Results from a series of multiple regressions revealed that EF predicted contemporaneous causal reasoning, even after controlling for the influence of age, processing speed, and vocabulary knowledge. However, less variance than expected was accounted for by EF and additional covariates. We also found that a version of the traditional “blicket detector” task did not correlate with our other two measures of causal reasoning, and was not predicted by EF. Although additional research will be required to further clarify these relationships, the current results suggest that EF has the potential to support causal reasoning. Results are discussed in the broader context of scientific literacy.


Shuo Ellie Jin

(PhD, Psychology, College of Liberal Arts, supervised by Dr. Matt Hersh)

Title:  "Effects of Exogenous Testosterone on Cognitive Performance"


Abstract: Test anxiety is one of the most pervasive academic impediments among students worldwide. It describes a cluster of symptoms characterized by heightened anxiety before and/or during the taking of a test and has been associated with significant barriers to learning and performance. Research on the neuroendocrine basis of anxiety disorders in humans has linked testosterone to reductions in self-reported anxiety, and anxiety related behaviors. The present study examined the effect of testosterone administration on test performance among 140 female students. Results revealed a significant interaction between testosterone administration and cognitive anxiety, such that there was a robust negative association between cognitive anxiety and test performance in the placebo condition, which was eliminated in the testosterone condition. The findings of this study has important implications for the etiology and treatment of test anxiety.


Sarah Harris

(PhD, STEM Education, College of Education, supervised by Dr. Matt Hersh)

Title:"Assessing Quality of a Professor-Written Multiple-Choice Item Exam in Undergraduate Biology"

Abstract: Undergraduate professors often write and administer multiple-choice item exams to assess their students’ content knowledge and assign course grades. Given the ethnically ambiguous issues surrounding the use of organizational compiled test banks, some professors make use of publishers’ item banks that accompany textbooks while others choose to write their own items for course exams and finals. Regardless of the choice, professors will use the data collected from exams to classify and rank students. Therefore, it is necessary to consider test construction and validity. This study will systematically evaluate a professor-written item exam in a large, undergraduate biology course using a statistical item analysis. The mean difficulty (0.721) shows that the exam is of average difficulty with many individuals are getting at least half of the items correct. The discrimination values (M=0.196) are fair with more than 53% of items having an unsatisfactory discrimination, suggesting that many items may benefit from revisions. These results indicate that professor-written items would benefit from modifications to improve the overall quality of the biology assessment.


Anao Zhang

(PhD, Social Work, Steve Hicks School of Social Work, supervised by Dr. Tasha Beretvas)

Title:"The effectiveness of empirically supported intervention for primary care depressice and/or anxiety disorders: A systematic review and meta-analysis using Robust Variance Estimation in meta-regression"


Abstract:Backgrounds: Depressive and/or anxiety disorders (DADs) are the most prevalent mental disorders in the U.S. primary care system and consequences of DADs are real and substantial. Most effective psychotherapy approaches are delivered in traditional outpatient mental health settings, their effectiveness for primary care DADs remain unknown. Purpose: Using a systematic review and meta-analysis approach, this study aims to evaluate the empirical evidence on primary care based psychosocial interventions for DADs. Methods: Following the Cochrane guideline, this study searched across seven electronic databases, six professional websites, article reference lists and contacted field experts. With an initial pool of 1,140 articles, after title/abstract screening, full-text review, this study obtained a final analytical sample of 65 studies containing 198 effect sizes. To account for the with-in study effect size dependence, robust variance estimation in meta-regression assuming a random-effect model was used to estimate an overall treatment effect. For moderator analyses, the same method assuming a mixed-effect model was used. Results: Results: Sixty-five studies (198 effect sizes) reported an overall statistically treatment effect size of interventions for primary care DADs, d = 0.462, 95% CI (0.335, 0.589), p < 0.001. Sub-group analysis and moderator analysis were also conducted with interventions effective across types of outcome, treatment modality among other factors. Treatment modality, composition and settings of delivery showed up as significant moderators. Conclusion: psychosocial interventions included are overall effective for treating primary care DADs. Single- and multiple-predictor moderator analysis indicated treatment characteristics should be considered in delivering these interventions.


Yi-Ling Peng

(PhD, Kinesiology, College of Education, supervised by Dr. Nathan Marti)

Title:"Hip Position and Sex Differences in Motor Unit Firing Patterns of the Vastus Medialis and Vastus Medialis Oblique in Healthy Individuals"

Abstract: Weakness of the vastus medialis oblique (VMO) has been proposed to explain the high prevalence of knee pain in females. Clinicians commonly use exercises in an attempt to preferentially activate the VMO. Recently, our group found evidence to support clinical theory that the VMO is neurologically distinct from the vastus medialis (VM). However, the ability to voluntarily activate these muscle sub-sections is still disputed. The aim of this study was to determine if VM and VMO activation varies between sexes and if control of the two muscles is different between rehabilitation exercises. Thirteen males and 13 females performed isometric straight leg raises in two hip positions, neutral hip rotation and 30 degrees lateral hip rotation. Bipolar intramuscular fine-wire electrodes were inserted into the VM and VMO to obtain motor unit recruitment thresholds and initial firing rates at recruitment. Linear mixed models and Tukey post hoc tests were used to assess significant differences in 654 motor units. Females demonstrated faster motor unit firing rate at recruitment, 1.18 ± 0.56 Hz higher than males. Motor units fired 0.47 ± 0.19 Hz faster during neutral hip rotation compared to lateral hip rotation. The VMO motor units were recruited 2.92 ± 1.28% earlier than the VM. All motor units were recruited 3.74 ± 1.27% earlier during neutral hip rotation than lateral hip rotation. Thus, the VM and the VMO can be activated differentially and their motor unit recruitment properties are affected by sex and hip position.