School of Psychology (Conference Papers)

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Recent Submissions

  • Publication
    Interacting with dementia: The MARIO approach
    (IOS Press, 2017-09-13) Kouroupetroglou, C.; Santorelli, A.; Raciti, M.; Barrett, E.; D'onofrio, Ricciardi, F.; Giuliani, F.; Greco, A.; Sancarlo, D.; Mannion, Arlene; Whelan, S.; Pegman, P.; Koumpis, A.; Reforgiato Recupero, D.; Kouroupetroglou, A.; Santorelli, A.; Horizon 2020
    This paper presents the results from trials of MARIO interacting with people with dementia (PWD). MARIO aims to help PWD to battle isolation and loneliness by enabling them to stay socially active. In this paper, results from the first trials are presented in terms of acceptability and user interaction with the robot.
  • Publication
    In-game motion dynamics provide a means of exploring the cognitive dynamics of deception
    (IEEE, 2018-07-15) O’Hora, Denis; Redfern, Sam; Duran, Nicholas; Zgonnikov, Arkady; Sweeney, Daragh
    User interfaces that produce an immersive and intuitive in-game experience depend on a strong coupling between user input and the motion of game objects. Such user interfaces require a high sensitivity to user movement that has the potential to reveal characteristics of user cognitive processes that occur during gameplay. The current project investigates whether cognitive processing during deception affects in-game motion. We present here two paradigms that allow deception to be expressed over repeated trials and in a naturalistic setting. The first, an interactive exhibit at Science Gallery DublinTM, tracked motion while users deceptively responded to autobiographical statements. The second, a two-player bluffing game, tracked motion during unsanctioned, motivated deception. Our findings indicate that in-game motion is influenced by the cognitive processes underlying deception. In-game motion provides an important source of data on human psychological processes that can stimulate theoretical progress within psychology and contribute to the development of more credible artificial agents.
  • Publication
    Capturing hearts and minds: preparing an organization for effective implementation of behaviour-based safety
    (Irish Ergonomics Society, 2013) Tammemagi, Triona; O'Hora, Denis
    Many companies fail to successfully implement behaviour based safety (BBS) programmes within their organisation. Often failures are linked to the implementation strategy rather than the programmes themselves. BBS can be introduced without a clear rationale and can create fear of change and lack of trust, leading to low employee buy-in. ESB is Ireland's premier electricity utility and one of Europe's leading engineering and consultancy companies. This paper outlines the structure of a BBS framework at ESB which seeks to (i) facilitate employee involvement and (ii) build trust through leadership alignment. Combining best practice research from behavioural science and crew resource management, ESB's approach seeks to capture the hearts and minds for safety. Details of this approach are provided so as to enable leaders in high reliability industries to introduce BBS in a way that produces employee involvement and develops trust and leadership commitment.
  • Publication
    Effective design of total worker health interventions for lone workers: examples and implications for the Irish context
    (Irish Ergonomics Society, 2014) O'Hora, Denis; |~|
    Workplace safety does not exist in a vacuum. Individuals come to work with a variety of advantages and disadvantages derived from their off-work activities. Extra-workplace behaviors and attitudes are likely to have greater impact for lone workers because such workers typically operate under less formal and informal oversight and receive less workplace support. The Total Worker HealthTM (TWH) approach, advocated by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in the USA, integrates traditional safety and health protection within a broader health promotion focus that acknowledges interactions between health and well-being and workplace injuries. The current paper outlines features of the TWH approach and summarizes TWH interventions recently developed for truck drivers and home care workers. With this background, opportunities for the development of TWH interventions for Irish lone workers are considered.
  • Publication
    Developing behaviour-based solutions that last: Examples from industry.
    (Irish Ergonomics Society, 2011) O'Hora, Denis; |~|
    Organizational behaviour management (OBM) is an approach to enhancing the performance of organizations. Based originally on the theories of B. F. Skinner and other psychologists, OBM practitioners have developed tried and trusted solutions in the areas of behaviour-based safety, performance management and behavioural systems analysis. Core to an OBM approach is a focus on bringing about persistent and irreversible positive behaviour change. The current paper provides a brief conceptual background on OBM and details three examples of OBM-based solutions in a range of industries. Through these examples, we will demonstrate how organizational contexts inadvertently support and maintain substandard performance and how changing organizational contingencies and culture enables us to develop lasting behavioural solutions.
  • Publication
    The effects of goal-setting on feedback requests.
    (Irish Ergonomics Society, 2012) Tammemagi, Triona; O'Hora, Denis; |~|
    Prior research suggests that performance feedback enhances the effect of a goal on performance. The current study examined the effect of goal level on feedback solicitation. Participants were exposed to five conditions: baseline, a low, attainable goal, a second baseline, a high, unattainable goal, and a fifth condition in which participants were required to choose between a high or low goal. Presentation of the high and low goal was counterbalanced to avoid order effects. Participants had the option to choose ‘time remaining’ or ‘score’ feedback throughout the testing by clicking a button on the task screen. Results were examined for frequency of feedback solicitation per condition. Feedback-soliciting responses occurred more frequently during the low goal condition than any other condition. The lowest frequency of feedback-soliciting responses occurred during the high goal condition.
  • Publication
    Creating a safety culture: What are the consequences.
    (2012) O'Hora, Denis; |~|
    Getting our work done safely is an ethical and financial imperative. An effective safety culture depends on the consequences for behaviour at every level of the organisation. The safety culture of an organization is not static and unchangeable, but sometimes the language of ‘culture’ can make it seem so. In this piece, we transíate culture into consequences to enable the reader to measure and improve safe behaviours in their organization. In this ways positive change becomes more tangible and accessible to all employees. We provide suggestions for leaders who wish to become effective consequence providers and to tailor the consequences provided for safe behaviour throughout the organization. To conclude, we summarise a case study at a large construction project in the City of Edinburgh.
  • Publication
    Fechner's colors are induced by flickering monochromatic light
    (Pabst Science Publishers, 2001) Elliott, Mark
    Fechner described the phenomenon of inducing illusory colors by means of rotating blackand- white disks. The induced spectral illusions were later termed "Fechner's colors". Similar color perceptions can be induced by non-rotating stimuli even on computer screens. We performed an experiment to investigate whether a uniform "Ganzfeld" formed by means of rhythmically generated, unstructured, monochromatic light (i.e. flicker) is sufficient to induce perceptual phenonemoa analogous with Fechner's colors. Ten human observers participated in the experiment, reporting both color and form illusions despite the absence of particular spectral and spatial variations in the "Ganzfeld". Moreover, particular illusions were induced reliably at particular frequencies, which may be taken to indicate that visual experience of different qualities may be subserved by mechanisms with different temporal sensitivities. In conclusion, rhythmic visual stimulation is sufficient to induce form-based illusions and illusions analogous with Fechner's colors, while the qualitative nature of those illusions may necessarily depend upon the frequency of stimulation.
  • Publication
    Evidence for impaired integration-segmentation processes and slowed synchrony coding in dyslexics
    (Pabst Science Publishers, 2001) Elliott, Mark
    Using a primed figure-detection task we were able to reveal the existence of two distinct groups of dyslexics. One group is characterized by a significant impairment of visual integration-segmentation processes, resulting in slowed performance for the detection of a illusory Kanizsa-type figure in a matrix of distractor elements. These deficits appear to be produced by inefficient synchrony coding mechanisms. The second group of dyslexics shows slightly impaired integration-segmentation abilities. The results suggest a visual processing deficit apparent in a subgroup of dyslexics which is possibly based on slow magnocellular processing. The reported results are in agreement with previous findings reporting the existence of a distinct subgroup of dyslexics, which shows spatio-temporal processing deficits based on impairments of the magnocellular pathway in the visual system. Dyslexia is a pronounced difficulty or inability in learning to read and/or to spell, despite otherwise normal intellectual functions. It has been proposed that reading requires the coordination of many functions and processes, such as visual and semantic decoding. Reading disability is supposed to be based on the failure of this coordination due to single or multiple impairments in functions involved in the reading process.
  • Publication
    Expectancy, not memory determines identical search rates in static and dynamic displays.
    (International Society for Psychophysics, 2005) Elliott, Mark; Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft project grant # EL 248/1
    Search rates are often used as a measure of search efficiency. Horowitz & Wolfe employed this measure to compare static and dynamic visual search (Horowitz & Wolfe, 1998). Based on identical search rates, they argued that visual search operates without memory. Subsequently and in contrast a number of other authors have agued that visual search relies upon iconic memory ( Bäcker & Peral, 1999; Peterson, Kramer, Wang, Irwin, & McCarley, 2001; Scheier, Khurana, Itti, & Koch, 1999). In a reanalysis of Horowitz and Wolfe¿s data, Kornbrot found contrary results (Kornbrot, 2004). Search rates only indicate search efficiency and the implications of this may be limited. In this commentary we propose a probability model and point out that factors such as target probability and subjective expectancy may bring about similar results.
  • Publication
    New measures of functional (but not perceptual) continuity in visual grouping
    (International Society for Psychophysics, 2004) Elliott, Mark
    The benzodiazepine, Lorazepam enhances the efficiency of inhibitory GABA-A synapses in the cortex, which stabilize postsynaptic, excitatory activity by synchronizing their own discharges at around 40 Hz. Lorazepam treatment also affects contour integration processes, suggesting GABAA-mediated synchronization may be of direct influence during visuo-perceptual organization. By adding contours orthogonal (but at varying distances) to the unspecified continuances formed by the collinear arrangement of cross elements that flicker asynchronously but in a regularly arranged 3 x 3 element matrix, we found priming by means of 4 synchronized crosses presented in square arrangement was substantially increased when orthogonal contours were placed directly adjacent to the virtual continuances between the crosses, but only following lorazepam administration. We conclude that GABAA-induced inhibition influences directly the coding of relations between spatially separate visual stimuli related to the Gestalt principle of good continuation.
  • Publication
    Modeling as part of perception: a hypothesis on the function of neural oscillations
    (Pabst Science Publishers, 2001) Elliott, Mark
    We argue that the effectiveness of synchronization of oscillatory neural activities coding simple features, as it relates to perceptual organization, may originate in the temporal characteristics of resonance that develops in a two-stroke architecture of neural information processing a cycling between bottom-up and top-down mechanisms. We provide empirical evidence to support the idea that resonance involves the generation and evaluation of 'models' of spatial and temporal stimulus attributes. By virtue of temporal modeling, temporally assisted spatial segmentation comes to be very precisely determined by the combination of both global and local stimulus phase.
  • Publication
    The visual hallucinatory response to flickering polychromatic light.
    (The International Society for Psychophysics, 2004) Elliott, Mark
    Our understanding of human visual perception generally rests on the assumption that conscious visual states represent, in some qualitative fashion, a complex interaction between spatially structured variations in the ambient optic array and our visual nervous systems. The existence of visual hallucinations in a number of pathologies (e. g. Kolmel, 1984) as well as in experimental contexts (Fechner, 1838; Benham, 1895; Herrmann & Elliott, 2001; Knoll & Kugler, 1959) questions the assumption that what we see in the environment is necessarily determined by spatial structure in the distal stimulus. Here we show that complex colour and form hallucinations are evoked by flickering light and that the type of hallucination varies with flicker frequency flicker phase and the occurrence of other flicker induced hallucinations. This evidence supports theories of consciousness that stress temporal aspects of perceptual processing.
  • Publication
    Some effects of negative delays upon the perception of causal relatedness
    (The International Society for Psychophysics, 2004) Elliott, Mark
    We examined the effects of negative delays on the perception of causality using a variation of the paradigm originated by Michotte (1954) and as an extension to similar work conducted by Kanizsa and Vicario (1968). In our design, on some trials a second Object B started to move prior to collision with the launching Object A Given that contact A B was made we expected reports akin to ¿A launched B¿ following some negative delays. However, rather than obtaining unequivocal measures related to launching, with variations in reportage over the range of negative delays, Experiment 1 revealed a tendency for subjects to adjust their pattern of responses following positive delays as a function of their reportage following negative delays. In fact observers tended to equilibrate their pattern of causality and no causality responses such that the different proportions of responses were symmetrical across negative and positive delays. In Experiment 2, which introduced a further report alternative aiming to better describe causality reportage by means of metaphor, report equilibration was found to equilibrate across the different classes of causality reports and one alternative class of no causality report. The two experiments described here strongly suggest that causality reportage may be governed by a tendency for subjects to try to balance the number of reports they make such that each response alternative is equally represented.
  • Publication
    Defining perceptual synchrony
    (Kijima Printing Co., 2007) Elliott, Mark
    How does neuronal activity bring about the interpretation of visual space in terms of objects or complex perceptual events? If they group, simple visual features can bring about the integration of spikes from neurons responding to different features to within a few milliseconds. Considered as a potential solution to the binding problem it is suggested that neuronal synchronization is the glue for binding together different features of the same object. This idea receives some support from correlated- and periodic-stimulus motion paradigms, both of which suggest that the segregation of a figure from ground is a direct result of the temporal correlation of visual signals. One could say that perception of a highly correlated visual structure permits space to be bound in time. However, on closer analysis the concept of perceptual synchrony is insufficient to explain the conditions under which events will be seen as simultaneous. Instead, the grouping effects ascribed to perceptual synchrony are better explained in terms of the intervals of time over which stimulus events integrate and seem to occur simultaneously.
  • Publication
    Electrophysiological correlates of flicker-induced form hallucinations
    (The International Society for Psychophysics, 2010-10) Twomey, Deirdre; Glennon, Mark; Elliott, Mark
    Form hallucinations can be reliably induced using temporally modulated light within a specific frequency range (15-30Hz). The neural substrates of such states have yet to be established with certainty. Brain activity of 5 "high responders" was recorded as they completed a visual report paradigm in flickering Ganzfeld (FGF) conditions. Illusory geometric forms were induced via stimulation of the Ganzfeld with rapid and intermittent square-wave light pulses of 3,000 cd/m2 at 15-30Hz. On experiencing a specified target form (point, rectangle, spiral or circle) a left index button press was made to terminate the flicker presentation. A synchronization of activity in the theta (3.5-7Hz) and gamma (30-70Hz) frequency bands reflective of top-down and bottom-up processing respectively may enable the apperception of geometric form.
  • Publication
    Structural imbalance and aesthetic preference in domestic chicks
    (The International Society for Psychophysics, 2010-10) Mulcahy, Paul; Elliott, Mark
    In Arnheim¿s (1954/1974) theory of structural balance, an image is more aesthetically pleasing when it demonstrates balance between multiple internal sources of directed perceptual force. Areas of balance and preferred object positioning are assumed to be near/at centre, and along major structural axes (horizontal, vertical, and diagonals). We studied expediencies in visual processing of structural misalignment in week-old domestic chicks (Gallus gallus), using a conditioning procedure to reinforce chicks for pecking at either an ¿aligned¿ or ¿misaligned¿ image as their training stimulus. Subsequently, a generalization testing phase (using less axially dense stimuli) established whether the chicks would retain their group category, or revert to chance responding. Chicks trained on the misaligned stimuli were more likely to prefer the misaligned test stimuli, while the aligned group reverted to chance responding. Findings are discussed in terms of action-relevant dynamic information resulting from the instability of the preferred images.
  • Publication
    Temporal structure and inner psychophysics: A glimpse of equilibrium?
    (The International Society for Psychophysics, 2010-10) Elliott, Mark; Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft project grant SCHR 375/1; NUI Galway Millennium Fund
    It has been suggested that the synchronization of spatially distributed neural assemblies at fast frequencies in the range 20 - 80 Hz (the ¿gamma¿ band) is instrumental for binding the separate feature-elements of a figure or object. In agreement with this we have shown that reaction times to a display matrix containing a target Kanizsa square (an illusory square consisting of grouping 90° corner junctions) are expedited when the target is preceded at its location by a synchronous priming stimulus. This stimulus comprises four crosses presented simultaneously within a matrix of otherwise asynchronously presented premask crosses, but only if the premask display flickers at key frequencies within the range 27.75 ¿ 67.5 Hz. We have previously argued that this can be partly explained as a function of the return phase of the priming stimulus, suggesting that one of the primary functions of repeated stimulus presentation is the formation of a pattern of anticipatory activity, and it is presumed a pattern of recurrent activity, which relates to the precise timing of the stimulus. However stimulus timing cannot entirely explain the relationship between stimulating frequency and the timing of the anticipatory response. Rather and as is suggested from subsequent data, repeated stimulus presentation provides a means of access to a rich, but as yet not fully circumscribed structure of temporal relations within the receiver.
  • Publication
    Process timing and its relation to the perception of tonal harmony
    (Editora Legis Summa Ltda, 2002) Elliott, Mark
    Recent advances in auditory research suggest that gamma-band synchronization of frequency-specific cortical loci could be responsible for the integration of pure tones (harmonics) into harmonic complex tones. Thus far, evidence for such a mechanism has been revealed in neurophysiological studies, with little corroborative behavioral data. Using psychophysical techniques, we observed a rate- and time- specific response-time (RT) advantage for a sequence of target pips when the defining frequency of the target was a fractional multiple of an entrainer frequency. The effect was only observed when entrainer and target tone-pip sequences were presented at 33 pips per second (pps) and when the inter-stimulus interval (ISI) was approximately 100 milliseconds (ms). This evidence implicates the oscillatory gamma-band activity in the representation of harmonic complex tones and suggests that synchronization with precise temporal characteristics is important for their integration. A model is presented, which accounts for these findings in terms of fast resynchronization of relevant neuronal assemblies.